Colorado legislature moves to protect their seats after pissing off voters with gun control

Colorado's Democratic-controlled state legislature is ramming through an election bill that critics say will open the door to voter fraud and intimidation.

The "Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act" is expected to pass the legislature this week. Democrats control both chambers of the legislature, as well as the governor's mansion, meaning the bill could pass without a single Republican vote.
Key provisions include:
  • Same-day voting after registration
  • Mandatory mail-in ballots
  • Eliminate local polling places
In short, it's a recipe for voter fraud and intimidation.

Read the whole thing.

More details here.

Mon May 13 23:25:24 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Fourth Amendment? What fourth amendment?

This isn't exactly news, but it's good to have a reminder that the government sees fit to demand access to your internet communications without a warrant every once in a while.  Just think of it as encouragement to use encryption.  And of course the existing status quo is not good enough for the government; the Obama administration is close to backing an FBI plan to wiretap the internet.

Mon May 13 23:02:14 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A position based on ignorance

According to a Rasmussen poll released on Friday, while gun killings have plunged 39 percent since 1993, and non-fatal gun crimes have dropped 69 percent in the same period, those who want gun control think that gun crime is up. Rasmussen reports that only 7 percent of adults believe there are fewer gun owners in the country than there were 20 years ago -- and more importantly, 64 percent of those who want more gun control think that gun crime has escalated.
Now, the truth is that political pressure for gun control is based more on the rare, highly-publicized mass shootings than everyday gun crime.  Those events are so rare -- and sufficiently likely to prompt copycat crimes -- that it's difficult to get a good measure of trends.  But gun control policies are not targeted accurately at people planning to commit multiple victim public shootings; gun control is targeted at the general population, both law-abiding and criminal. 

While multiple-victim public shootings are horrible events, they are statistical nulls.  In the big picture, the number of guns in public hands has been going up, while gun crime -- and crime in general -- has been going down.  That directly contradicts the fundamental premise of gun control.

Mon May 13 22:48:36 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government obtains two months of reporters' telephone records

The records obtained were not just for a few individuals, but a broad-ranging request that included reporters, their editors, and even the general numbers for office buildings.  There is, so far, no official explanation of what was being investigated, but it may be related to a leak.

This is not how a free society is supposed to work.

Mon May 13 20:45:44 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati...

Megan McArdle on the IRS tea party audit scandal:
Lerner, who heads the relevant IRS unit, says it was "initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati," so it's not like this was administration policy.
Megan, Megan, Megan... you're just going to take her word for it?

Sat May 11 15:27:09 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS admits to political targetting of political groups during 2012 election

I recall reading reports about this during the election, along with vigorous denials that there was any political motive to the additional scrutiny.  This is confirmation that there was, in fact, partisan political motivations.  And yes, mistakes were made.  There should certainly be an investigation, but it doesn't make any sense to demand the Obama administration investigate itself.  This is a job for a House committee that can publish the results, or a special prosecutor who can put people in jail, or both.

Frankly, the way that Republican leaders in the House and the Senate have soft-pedaled everything from Benghazi to Fast and Furious, I'm starting to wonder if the Obama administration has pictures of them in bed with a dead boy on one side and a live donkey on the other.

Hat Tip to Dan Riehl.

Sat May 11 11:14:55 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Outage resolved

Sorry again for the unexpected downtime.  It appears my connectivity provider employs nuclear grade idiots.  If you are seeing this, everything should be back to normal.

If you are not seeing this, it may take a few days for DNS to propagate.

Fri May 10 07:51:15 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A useful idiot self-identifies

I'm not a gun nut. I'm a regular nut who owns guns, but only to hunt, not to defend my home and family, join the militia or fight the forces of tyranny.
So you wouldn't defend your home and family with a gun if they were attacked?  I mean, I understand that not being your primary reason for owning guns, especially since we all hope that we never have to -- but surely you can accept that they are useful for that purpose if, in fact, you have to.

As for joining the militia, you don't have to.  You are automatically enrolled, being of sound mind and body and between the ages of 18 and 45.  Did you register for the draft?  Congratulations, you're officially in the militia.
I don't use the word, "nut," lightly. I mean it as a sincere compliment -- no different than somebody calling me a "fishing nut" and making my chest swell. (It might even the best thing I've been called lately.)

To me, a nut is a devotee, enthusiast, purist, the top dog in a cultural niche, a person with the level of passion most of us only see in our dreams and imagination. So, readers with guns, especially those with black ones, please do not be offended by what follows. Instead, just keep polishing your M4 and SIG P210, read on, and be proud.
This is an elaborate justification for his desire to keep calling honest, law-abiding gun owners "nuts".  If you want people to listen to you, don't insult them.

There's a bit of the old Markey's Law with that "polishing" comment, too.
Even though gun nuts -- or "Bitter Clingers" as they now call themselves -- have recently called me a "traitor" and "useful idiot," I've always been a pro-gun guy. Now, after listening to the gun nuts, I'm even more pro-gun, but I'm sure, still not pro-gun enough.
About that "Bitter Clingers" thing.  Obama called us that.  He didn't mean it as a complement.

If all the pro-gun guys you talk to are calling you a traitor or a "useful idiot", you should consider the fact that maybe they are right.  Or, at the very least, not helping.
I consider my right to bear arms one of my basic freedoms, but not the only one, so buckle up, gun nuts. I happen to think other amendments to our constitution such as Number 1 (freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition), 13 (abolishing slavery), 14 (equal protection under the law), 19 and 26 (right to vote for women and all citizens over 18) and others might actually be more important than Number 2.
I don't disagree about those being important.  But here's the thing.  Without the 2nd Amendment, we can't enforce any of the others.
Shoot, I wonder if the gun nuts have asked themselves this question. Would the Second Amendment even pass today?
73% of the population supports it.  That's well over the 2/3rds majorities required for a Constitutional amendment.
I've learned that gun nuts are scared, and I am, too, but for a different reason. They're terrified about our new president sending out a flock of black helicopters to confiscate their guns?or at least make it harder to buy them.
That would be because people are calling for gun control laws to confiscate firearms.

That's not all that scares me. I could go on, but the point is. Losing some of my gun rights doesn't make my top twenty concerns. If that makes me a "traitor," well, we have a pandemic of treason in this country.
If it's just a matter of not being your top concern, well, people disagree.  It doesn't make you a traitor, just a "useful idiot" in your own terms.  But "traitor" seems more appropriate, since you claim to be a "gun nut" while trying to calm down gun owners who are trying to protect their rights.  And your rights, too. 
Even after enduring the name-calling, I admire the dedication of gun nuts.
You don't have ANY space to talk about name calling.
Guns, guns, guns -- that's all that matters to these people. They've closed their minds to compromise. To them, there's no such thing as a common sense gun law. Because of their single-mindedness, they get it done. Ask any politician who has proposed a "reasonable gun law."
We have "common sense gun laws", not all of which make much sense, but are the result of over a hundred years of compromise.  We are tired of being asked to compromise.
Despite the fear mongering I read in the comment sections and gun blogs, I believe President Obama is smart enough to keep his party from being again swept out of power because of the gun issue.
See you in November 2014.

Thu May 02 06:30:47 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

They don't spy on Americans... just anti-government Americans

After claiming that his office "absolutely" does not spy on Americans, he proceeded to explain that this does not apply to those who could be interpreted as a "threat" to national security. Davis said his office places its focus on international plots, domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government. We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.

Across the US, fusion centers have reported on individuals who conducted "crimes" like putting political stickers in public bathrooms or participating in movements against the death penalty. In October, the bipartisan Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations finished a two-year investigation on fusion centers, only to find that the centers had directly violated constitutionally protected civil liberties.

"In reality, the Subcommittee investigation found that the fusion centers often produced irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever," the report stated.

Sounds like a good place to start making budget cuts.

Thu May 02 06:11:10 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government fights stingray case

What's a stingray, you ask?  It's a government device that pretends to be a cell phone tower in order to trick your cellular network device (phone or computer) to access the fake tower instead of, or in addition to, the real one. 

Why would the FBI want to do that?  Well, when they do, they find out where you are.  And who you call.  And who calls you.  And what you say to them.  And what they say to you.  And what you are texting about.  And the pictures you send to your friends from your phone.  And the pictures your friends send to you on your phone.  And... you get the idea.

More details here, including the lovely tidbit that Verizon will happily reprogram your computer's wireless network access device to connect to the FBI's fake cell phone tower (stingray) whenever the FBI requests that it do so, thus revealing your location. 

You know what?

I think that's a pretty good analogy for planting a GPS tracking device on someone's car.  After all, you're modifying their device.

Stuff like this should require a warrant.  Keeping the methods secret avoids the judicial scrutiny that a free society requires to remain free.

Thu May 02 06:09:32 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

GAO to investigate Homeland Security ammunition purchases

I'm not clear on exactly what they are investigating, though.  It's not illegal to buy ammunition.  The question is why they are buying so much of it.  Hopefully we'll get some answers.

Thu May 02 00:41:14 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Missouri governor Nixon knew about illegal records request

You may remember earlier posts about Missouri illegally providing a list of its concealed-carry licensees to the Department of Homeland Security.  The governor of that state claimed he didn't know about the request.  Turns out he was lying and even received an official thank-you letter from Janet Napolitano.

Thu May 02 00:41:03 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Magpul making magazines, sights outside of Colorado

No word yet on where, but they say they will reveal more after the NRA's annual meeting this weekend.

Wed May 01 08:19:44 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Manchin claims new gun control bill is "clean"

... which is pretty much an admission that the previous one wasn't. 

What makes you think we'll trust you this time?  Sorry, you had your chance.

Wed May 01 05:47:49 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Media trying to catch legal gun owners in Colorado

Don't be the guy who gives them their story.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Looks like it's too late.

Wed May 01 03:45:11 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lawsuit filed against Connecticut's gun control law

A lawsuit to be filed against Connecticut's sweeping new gun laws will argue that the legislation signed into law by Governor Malloy in April was not properly vetted and pushed through in a way that snubbed the opinion of some gun owners.
I haven't read the actual lawsuit yet, just the news report.  The news report doesn't exactly give a favorable case, focusing on the "emergency" nature of the law and the lack of public input.

Unless there are real procedural issues with the law, a judge is going to be reluctant to second-guess the legislature.  But we'll have to wait and see how this one goes.

Wed May 01 03:12:51 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Buying the media spin, hook line and sinker

Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post's pet "conservative", is attacking Ted Cruz and twisting herself into a virtuoso gymnastic knot to do so.   Here's her thesis:
It is a shopworn technique of hard-line conservatives to declare themselves men and women of principle in contrast to those other Republicans -- the ones, you know, who pass legislation and try to represent their constituents. It is both self-serving (presuming principles are of no matter to opponents) and lazy in that it is always easy to say no, ridicule compromise and remain pristine rather than trying to improve legislation or introduce an alternative.
It's interesting that Rubin characterizes Cruz's Republican Senate colleagues as his "opponents", but it's more important to note that Rubin criticizes Cruz for not "trying to improve legislation" or "introduc[ing] an alternative".  There will be a test at the end of this post.

Let's see what prompted the Post's pet "conservative" to attack an up-and-coming Senator who is already demonstrating political skill and leadership, shall we?  It seems Cruz gave a talk to his constituents in which he  reports that "a bunch" of his Republican Senate colleagues were "yelling at the top of their lungs" at him over the gun filibuster vote:
We've had probably five or six lunches with a bunch of Republican senators standing up and looking at Rand and Mike and me and yelling at the top of their lungs -- I mean really . . . And they said: 'Why did you do this? As a result of what you did, when I go home, my constituents are yelling at me that I've got to stand on principle.' I'm not making that up. I don't even bother to argue with them. I just sort of let them yell. . . . They said: 'Listen, before you did this, the politics of it were great. The Democrats were the bad guys. The Republicans were the good guys. Now we all look like a bunch of squishes.' Well there is an alternative. You could just not be a bunch of squishes."
Frankly, Cruz's response to being yelled at by his colleagues seems rather mild to me.  Yelling at someone is unprofessional and impolite at a minimum.  It certainly qualifies as being a jerk, so at first glance, I was willing to follow along for this:
There is being principled, and then there is being a jerk. Putting down your colleagues to boost your own street cred with the base falls into the latter category.
But then I read the next paragraph...
There are many things wrong with Sen. Cruz's comments, whatever you think of the merits of the gun legislation.
Wait a minute, she's saying Cruz was a jerk?  He was the one being repeatedly yelled AT, not the one doing the yelling.
For starters, it's just not smart to annoy colleagues whose cooperation and support you?ll need in the future. Second, as a conservative he should understand humility and grace are not incompatible with "standing on principle"; the absence of these qualities doesn't make him more principled or more effective. Third, for a guy who lacks manners (see his condescending questioning of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) he comes across as whiny. They yelled at me! Boo hoo, senator.
Yelling at Cruz, Lee, and Paul (the three Senators who have been shaking things up) isn't going to annoy them?  How does yelling at the trio demonstrate humility and grace?  Personally, I find his simple response ("Well, you could just not be a bunch of squishes") to be polite, humble, and graceful in comparison to being repeatedly yelled at.

The kicker, though, is Rubin's acceptance of the media meme that Cruz was "condescending" to Feinstein. He wasn't.  I've seen the video.  He asked her to defend the constitutionality of her proposed assault weapons ban.  She tried to duck the question.  He pointed out that she didn't answer his question, and asked again.  Polite and reasonable, without condescension at all -- well, without any from Cruz, Feinstein's answer was positively dripping with it. 

The condescension talking point is the media take, but it bears no resemblance to the actual event.
There is a deeper problem, I think, with Cruz's approach to the Senate, which has nothing to do with ideology. The contrast between him and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is telling. Paul is no less conservative than Cruz, but he is polite to a fault, soft spoken and gracious. These qualities serve him well, indeed making some strident positions seem less so. Moreover, Rand Paul is trying to accomplish something. He's put forth a budget. He's offered suggestions to amend the Gang of Eight's immigration bill. He's suggested reforms to our drug laws.
It seems that the Cruz-Grassley gun bill escaped Rubin's notice.  He did put together a constructive alternative to the Democratic position on gun control.  It got 52 votes.

But it gets better!
What exactly is Cruz doing affirmatively to aid the country, the conservative movement and the GOP? Yelling at people and voting no don't qualify.
Voting no is a good place to start, especially when it constitutes standing on principle and representing your constituents who are demanding you stand on principle.  And if you remember, it wasn't Cruz doing the yelling; he was the one being yelled at.
Cruz's actions suggest an immaturity and lack of sophistication about conservative governance. He might want to apologize to his colleagues for betraying their confidence and sit down and think what it is he wants to do in the Senate. Obstruction is easy; governance is hard. And if the answer is that only hackneyed gestures (e.g. push for repealing Obamacare with a Dem Senate majority, but offer no alternative) that interest him, then the people of Texas are being shortchanged. Worse, he's doing nothing to suggest he's a man of stature and future leader in the party.
His colleagues might want to apologize to him for "repeatedly yelling" at him.  As far as I, one of his constituents, am concerned, standing on principle for the Second Amendment is demonstrating his stature and leadership qualities.  He has done more to lead the opposition on the gun control issue than any other Senator, and I completely approve of his performance.

Wed May 01 03:12:19 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

New Jersey sends involuntary committment data to FBI gun prohibition list

The names of hundreds of thousands of current and former New Jersey residents who have been involuntarily committed to psychiatric facilities have been added to an FBI database used to bar firearms purchases by people with criminal records or a history of mental illness.
Whether this is good or bad depends a lot on the standards being used. I'm going to tentatively call it good, because:
  1. It's what should have been happening all along, by federal law;
  2. "involuntarily committed" is the correct legal standard (ie, not "voluntarily checked in" or "admitted for observation" or "takes anxiety medication")
There are likely to be some negative effects too, as people who had issues when they were younger and got over them might find themselves denied.  But they were, assuming no errors, already a prohibited person... just the system wasn't aware of that. 

I am mainly posting it to point out that they are only now, in 2013, actually doing the work to submit this data to the NICS system.  They started after the Tucson incident in 2010, and like any IT project, took a while before they could actually submit any data.  (3 years to get to a working system does seem a little extreme, though).  This for a system that was mandated in 1993 (Brady Act) and launched in 1998.  It only took New Jersey 15 years after launch -- 20 after the enabling federal legislation -- to begin submitting data. 

When people complain that the system doesn't work because the mentally ill can still get guns, this is part of the reason why. 

This isn't the only case where the same large cities and blue states that call for gun control the loudest have sought to ignore or even suppress factual information related to the gun issue.  California has being trying to avoid gathering actual data on "assault weapons" used in crime for years.  The problem being, of course, that they aren't used in crimes, but gun banners wouldn't have a boogeyman if that was widely known.

Wed May 01 02:59:26 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Saudis warned us of Marathon Bomber in 2012

They cited sources in Yemen.  Yemen has Al-Qaeda like a dog has fleas.  This is a separate warning from the Russians.

Obama was warned multiple times by multiple sources and did nothing.  He was worried about his second term legacy?  This is it. 

Wed May 01 02:52:57 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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