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Cornyn resigns from the Senate effective 2020

The Puppyblender has the details.

2017-03-29 11:55:30.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Patterico lays out the path to Obamacare repeal

Read the whole thing. It can pass if the Republicans actually try to explain it, and are prepared to use the same tactics Democrats did in passing Obamacare originally.

2017-03-29 10:55:30.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI Deputy Director investigating Hillary did not report $600K donation

Free BeaconAndrew McCabe, the deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations who aided the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server, did not report his wife Jill's salary or campaign donations in financial disclosure forms. The Washington Free Beacon reported on Nov. 7, 2016 that Hillary Clinton bundlers and Clinton ally Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe were major donors to Jill McCabe's Virginia state senate campaign.

By "major" they mean $600,000. That presents, at a minimum, the "appearance of impropriety" which is sufficient to require someone in the FBI to recuse themselves from a case. That this official did not do so, and in addition chose not to report the very substantial donations from someone he was investigating, is enough to prove to me he had something to hide. Hell, under the circumstances -- investigating a prominent politician in the middle of a presidential campaign -- I'd probably be willing to put those facts before a jury by themselves.

Now that this information is public, the ethics watchdogs at the DOJ should be putting together a case for bribery.

2017-03-29 09:55:30.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Laying out the illegal surveillance on Trump

The Daily Wire has quotes from the media proving Trump (and/or his transition team) was surveilled and the details of the surveillance leaked to the media. Even if the surveillance was legitimate foreign intelligence gathering, leaking it to the media to influence the election or damage the incoming Trump administration involves multiple felonies. And yes, probably one of them is treason, once Trump is the President-Elect.

2017-03-28 11:24:43.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About those illegal aliens voting...

Conservative ReviewThe inclusion of a voter registration form in a “welcome” gift basket designed for refugee families is eyebrow-raising. Individuals with refugee status in the United States are only allowed to naturalize after they spend a minimum of five years in the U.S. and obtain permanent residence (a green card). But presumably, individuals who accept a “welcome” basket are new arrivals to the U.S. and have not met the requirements to become citizens. They would be ineligible to register to vote.

They may be ineligible to vote, but the Democrats know that no one is checking their citizenship status when they process the registration card.

2017-03-28 10:24:43.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Maryland wants to give sanctuary to an illegal Alien who raped 14-year-old

The FederalistLast week, two male high school students at Rockville High School in Maryland allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl in the bathroom. One of the two suspects is an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, but Maryland Democrats want to protect him from getting deported.

Not included in this particular article, but available in others, is that the other alleged attacker is likely also here illegally.

Obviously, Maryland officials aren't specifically passing their sanctuary state policies just to protect one or two individual illegal aliens who committed a pretty awful crime. However, protecting such criminals is the end result of sanctuary policies. Allowing illegal aliens to basically flaunt the law and live without taxes, laws, or regulations to inhibit their behavior has consequences. Most of those consequences are economic, but occasionally, much worse.

2017-03-28 09:24:43.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

How to disable the windows 10 keylogger

How to disable the windows 10 keylogger. Don't assume this makes your Windows 10 device actually safe. I'm posting it here mostly as a note for myself, since I've ended up with a couple of Windows 10 machines (unwillingly).

2017-03-27 11:16:27.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Women in tech

The AtlanticBethanye Blount came into work early to interview a job applicant. A veteran software engineer then in her 30s, Blount held a senior position at the company that runs Second Life, the online virtual world. Good-natured and self-confident, she typically wore the kind of outfit—jeans, hoodie, sneakers—that signals coding gravitas. That day, she might even have been wearing what’s known as the “full-in start-up twin set”: a Second Life T-shirt paired with a Second Life hoodie.

There's a lot of descriptive adjectives in that paragraph. A lot of stage-setting. A lot of "Let's introduce the person we're writing the article about" stuff. Presumably, it's based on what that individual recollected about the incident she was describing, and told the author of the article.

The incident, by the way, is: she interviewed a job applicant at her company, a man, and she didn't think he was taking her seriously. Later, she overheard him taking a male interviewer with less experience at the company much more seriously, and concluded that the candidate was sexist.

She might be right. I don't know the candidate and for all I know, he's a sexist, misogynist pig.

I also don't know her. Not a clue about her coding skills or her ability to program. But just reading the introductory paragraph of the article, I think I can identify the problem.

How does this woman try to establish her technical credibility? She says she's "good natured and self confident", two attributes that have nothing to do with writing code. She talks about wearing an outfit -- jeans, hoodie, sneakers -- that "signals coding gravitas". She might have even been wearing logo gear sold by the company she works for. Fashion sense -- or lack thereof -- also has nothing to do with writing code. Lots of people lack fashion sense and wear hoodies or company logo shirts. Few of them can actually code. (Few of ANY group that doesn't relate to programming can actually code).

How do people generally identify other people who can code? I assure you it's not by checking a dress code. The people who can code generally do not care how they dress. They don't think about it. They are too busy thinking about writing code. This woman, whatever her technical skills, clearly spends a lot of time thinking about what she is wearing. That's a contraindicator for coding.

It's not perfect; there are women in tech who can code and have great fashion sense. But if you ask them about their work, they won't point to the hoodie they are wearing with the company logo on it. They won't reference their clothing to establish their technical credibility. Instead, they'll talk about what they've written, what programming languages they can speak, projects they have worked on.. any number of things, really, except clothing isn't on the list.

So the advice I would give to any woman interested in working in the tech field: take the chip off your shoulder, focus on getting the job done, and focus on developing your technical skills and contributing. If you want to talk about clothing, or wear a company-logo hoodie, that's fine. But it won't sell your skills to anyone.

2017-03-27 10:16:27.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Fake Obamacare repeal is not good enough

The Texas Public Policy Foundation sums up the Obamacare repeal legislation. Really short version: it's not good enough.

Texas Public Policy FoundationThis plan fails to repeal most of the costly mandates and insurance regulations driving up premiums and deductibles
• This plan replaces Obamacare’s subsidy scheme with a new costly federal entitlement in the form of a refundable tax credit
• This plan leaves significant portions of the flawed and costly Medicaid expansion intact by delaying the freeze on Medicaid enrollment, maintaining the expansion of the program to the able-bodied, and providing a pathway for non-
expansion states to accept enhanced federal dollars.

Republican leadership should have been ready for this. They only ran on it for 6 years. Clearly they meant to lose gracefully to Hillary and were surprised and shocked and dismayed when pit bull Trump broke out of their yard and actually caught the damn car they had been pretending to chase for years.

I'm glad this first plan failed. Now the party needs to go back into a huddle and come up with legislation that actually repeals Obamacare. And here's the deal: everyone knows Obamacare is failing. The Democrats will yell and squirm and complain, but they know Obamacare is failing too. There are people who will say "Let it fail!", and maybe they have a point, but laws and regulatory schemes don't "fail" just because they cease being economically viable. Someone has to actually go in and repeal the laws, reverse the regulations, and either set up a new framework or turn the free market loose.

If the Democrats get back into power with a supermajority, they will go for single-payer. It's what they always wanted and they can point to Obamacare and say it didn't go far enough. If the Republicans do a half-assed repeal there will still be a health care problem when the Democrats get back into power and that's exactly what they will do. The only way to save a free market in health care is to repeal Obamacare and create a free market in health care.

2017-03-27 09:16:27.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Smoking gun on Obama surveillance order?

Fox NewsRepublican congressional investigators expect a potential “smoking gun” establishing that the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team, and possibly the president-elect himself, will be produced to the House Intelligence Committee this week, a source told Fox News.

So far, the Obama administration has done an excellent job keeping all potential scandals tamped down long enough for the gun to stop smoking. But we'll see.

2017-03-25 10:21:43.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS policy allowing targeting still in effect?

The Daily SignalAn obscure bureaucratic policy that allowed IRS officials to target conservative and tea party tax-exemption applicants during the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns is still in place, meaning the same abuses may be continuing, according to a nonprofit government watchdog.

The federal tax agency’s policy requires IRS officials to stop processing tax-exempt applications that are “likely to attract media or congressional attention,” the Cause of Action Institute said in a report made public Wednesday.

What insane kind of policy is that? Anything that might get attention can't be processed? Not only does this make complaining a catch-22, what does any amount of public attention have to do with whether an organization is following the tax laws? (And wouldn't that public attention rule stop the IRS from approving Satanic high school clubs? I mean, sure, 1st Amendment right, but public attention!)

Read the whole thing; it's worse than just that short summary seems. And yes I remember when this policy came up during the initial IRS investigation.

2017-03-25 09:21:43.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

North Dakota gets constitutional carry

John has the details. Making progress in South Carolina, too (Hat tip to Sebastion). Come on, Texas, keep up!

2017-03-24 13:43:08.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another terrorist attack

French-Tunisian is the latest euphemism for Middle-Eastern Muslim.

2017-03-24 11:15:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

When conventional wisdom differs from real wisdom

The Republican Establishment line on recent revelations that Trump's associates, and possibly Trump himself, had their conversations recorded and transcribed while Trump was conducting his transition appears to be that somehow it wasn't "wiretapping" because Trump wasn't personally targeted. His communications were only collected "incidentally" to surveillance of someone else, which is presumed to be legitimate and authorized by warrant.

I'm sorry, that's a distinction so fine that it might as well not even exist. If Trump's transition team's communications were picked up, than his conversations (that were picked up) were wiretapped. It might not be all of them if he wasn't the target, but the ones that were picked up -- absolutely those conversations were wiretapped and thus so was Trump.

It does change the legal questions, but it doesn't change the basic fact that Trump's transition team communications were wiretapped.

So with that out of the way, what else is wrong here?

Well, apparently those communications were widely disseminated by Obama's order shortly before the inauguration, and the identify of at least one American participant in the "incidentally collected" conversations was leaked. (Presumably that's Flynn). Unmasking that American identity and leaking it to the press? Felonies for each conversation and each different American involved. So just because the collection was "incidental" doesn't mean it's not a big deal. And that bit about Obama ordering the widening of distribution right before the inauguration? That reeks of a political motive. So does the massive leaking to the press.

And you know what none of that actually explains? The original news reports about three separate warrants targeting Trump and/or his associates. There's the FISA warrant that was requested and denied, which mentioned Trump, and then the second FISA warrant that did not mention Trump and was granted. And the third non-FISA warrant which may or may not have been granted. That sequence stinks to high heaven.

And Comey isn't cooperating with Congressional investigations here either. Given that we're looking at allegations way the hell beyond a simple counterintelligence investigation, that cannot stand. And given Comey's earlier, repeated, attempts to interfere in the election process by both omission and commission, I think it's time Comey spent more time with his family. He's clearly either incompetent or being blackmailed by multiple parties.

Another point that's not being recognized:

Jerry PournelleWe still need to know: how did Sallie Yates know what General Flynn told the Vice president about his phone call from the Trump Tower to the Russian Ambassador? There was some source of information about Candidate Trump and his staff that very likely came from a wiretap of Trump Tower; how did Obama people get it?

It's one thing to know what Michael Flynn said to the Russian Ambassador. Presumably the Russian Ambassador's phone is tapped 24/7 on general principles. How did Yates (and the press) know what Flynn told VP Pence about that conversation in order to leak the contradiction?

2017-03-24 10:15:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Treason

Free BeaconMeanwhile, holdovers from the Obama administration are working to undermine the Trump administration's agenda through efforts to alter official communications, a number of administration officials confirmed in conversations with the Washington Free Beacon.

Multiple sources expressed concern over what they described as an unprecedented effort by the former administration to subvert President Donald Trump's team. [...] "We have members of the former administration at the highest levels who through their actions after January 20 have demonstrated their refusal to recognize the results of the general election," one senior administration official told the Free Beacon. "They have pursued, organized, and managed a comprehensive subversion of the new administration."

They are accused of rewriting executive orders, conspiring to limit initial hiring during the transition via budgetary manipulation, coordinating press leaks, and quite a bit more, including (by implication) the various coordinated leaks alleging Russian ties.

A lot of these things strike me as not just firing offenses (even for "civil service" positions), but criminal offenses, up to and including treason. When you work for the government, you are -- or should be, anyway -- putting your own opinions in second place to what the elected officials want. Actively sabotaging those officials is a serious matter.

2017-03-24 09:15:37.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Does the GOP have the votes to pass healthcare repeal?

Well, maybe they have the votes to pass repeal, but they don't seem to have the votes to pass "repeal and replace". Of course, it might help if Trump wasn't being advised by one of the Obamacare architects.

Memo to GOP: Keep your promises.

2017-03-23 10:01:03.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Can someone remind McConnel not to backstab his own president?

When the president proposes cutting liberal programs, you applaud and do your best to force those cuts through. Maybe some have to be bargained away, but you fight as hard as you can to keep them. You don't volunteer your opposition, especially not when your party controls all three branches. Even if you are going to ignore the White House budget and create your own (which is fine, though somewhat odd when your party controls all three branches), you don't call a press conference to say you think your own party's president is wrong. Especially on a policy where the President's position is closer to the party's platform than yours.

And you certainly don't use a Supreme Court nomination hearing as an opportunity to threaten a president of your own party with impeachment, like Senator Lyndsey Graham just did.

It really does look like it's Trump and the People versus the Uniparty and the Deep State.

2017-03-23 09:01:03.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Terror attack on UK Parliament

Details are sketchy, but so far it seems like 12 people wounded, 2 dead (so far). The method appears to be a combination of two common attack methods: running over people with a vehicle and then getting out of the vehicle to stab more people (police officers).

The police are already calling it a terror attack, which is a refreshingly rapid analysis of motivation.

2017-03-22 12:51:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Deep State smells blood in the water

Dallas NewsUnder questioning from the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, he also publicly contradicted a series of tweets from Trump that declared the Republican candidate's phones had been ordered tapped by President Barack Obama during the campaign.

"I have no confirmation that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," Comey said. The same was true, he added, of the Justice Department.

I think this nails it: Comey is blackmailable. Hillary has dirt on him, and so does someone else. That's why he's being pulled in so many different directions. He has at least three masters (Hillary, someone else opposed to Hillary, and the actual elected president).

But note the careful wording of this denial. Comey admits to some sort of investigation of Trump or his associate's connection to Russia. But then he denies that the FBI or DOJ had conducted a phone tap of Trump's phones specifically, and specifically that Barack Obama ordered it personally.

What if Trump's associates phones were the ones tapped, as news organizations breathlessly reported not long ago? What if Obama did not personally order it through the FBI or DOJ -- what if it was performed through the CIA, NSA, or British intelligence? (Comey did also deny that it was done through British intelligence, but how would he know?)

The reports and testimony from Comey appear to be in direct contradiction to multiple news reports from earlier this year. That tells me all the denials are carefully worded and evasively phrased to avoid the obvious truth: People close to Trump, possibly including Trump himself, were wiretapped during and possibly after the campaign, and the Obama Administration received the information even if he did not order the tapping personally.

I can't imagine a good outcome here. Does the Deep State think that if they somehow unseat a legitimately elected president that the people will meekly roll over and accept it?

UPDATE: House Intelligence Chairman confirms "incidental" surveillance of Trump. As the puppy-blender is fond of saying, Trump should be taken seriously but not literally, while the media insists on taking him literally but not seriously. In this case, it appears that Trump's claim was accurate, and the FBI is refusing to cooperate with the House investigation.

UPDATE: Paraphrased press conference. I'll update with a better source or actual video when I see one.

UPDATE: PJMedia reports on the issue.

2017-03-22 11:33:19.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why won't Trump fire IRS Commissioner Koskinen?

TaxProf quoting Washington ExaminerPolitical cartography in Washington can be difficult. After three months in office, it's clear President Trump doesn't believe the D.C. bog includes the federal building at the corner of 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. He won't drain the swamp at the Internal Revenue Service.

I'm not sure why, but I'm pretty sure that it was Wilkins who was actually behind both the scandal and the coverup. The most positive spin I can give Trump on this one is that maybe he's waiting to see what's in the 7000 documents Judicial Watch recently uncovered, so he can fire Koskinen then. If he fires Koskinen now, with Wilkins already gone, he might be left with no one to fire when the coverup finally unravels.

2017-03-22 10:33:19.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why won't the media cover the IRS scandal?

The HillJust this past week, the IRS revealed that it had found nearly 7,000 documents potentially related to the targeting of tea party groups. Yes, the agency that has stone-walled Congress for four years, lost computers and hard drives and tens of thousands of emails, just discovered 6,924 documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Judicial Watch...

Two hallmarks of a free society are that individuals do not have to live in fear that their political views or activities will cause them to be subjected to abuse by the federal taxing agency, and that the press holds government accountable when it becomes abusive to its citizens. It seems, in both areas, we have a lot more work to do.

The most disappointing part of this is that after increasing Republican control of government for the past 6 years, we still do not have substantial progress on this issue.

It's almost like the Republicans in office don't want to do anything about it.

It's almost like they don't like being challenged in primaries by people who will actually do something instead of just talking about doing something.

2017-03-22 09:33:19.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Appearance of impropriety

It appears Obama met with the judge who ruled against Trump's "travel ban" executive order the same day the judge issued the ruling.

There's a reason we have a tradition of ex-Presidents retiring from politics, and this meeting is a perfect example of why we have it.

2017-03-21 11:16:39.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Insurance Policies are not sharing risk

Charlie Martin explains how insurance works.

2017-03-21 10:16:39.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Senators demanding investigation of foreign election influence by the Obama Admin

PJMediaThe Obama administration's meddling in Macedonia is part of a larger pattern of using U.S. tax dollars to fund left-wing organizations in foreign lands to influence elections. In 2015, the Obama State Department efforts to derail Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection bid failed. But that same year, they were able to frustrate Jonathan Goodluck's reelection bid in Nigeria, resulting in the election of their favored candidate, Islamist former dictator Muhammadu Buhari of the far-left "All Progressives Congress" (APC) party.

Is anyone surprised that the Obama Administration favored a Muslim former dictator?

2017-03-21 09:16:39.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

An interesting contrast

FBI Director Comey asked the Department of Justice to deny that Trump was wiretapped (by the FBI) during the presidential campaign. But the DOJ has not yet issued a denial, and Democrat senators are claiming they expect an FBI investigation to be announced. DOJ is asking for more time to respond to requests from the House for documents on the matter, and multiple anonymous sources are suggesting the real requests were routed through GCHQ.

Previously, I thought the GCHQ connection was a smokescreen to hide the real fire. The British are denying it. But their denials are suspiciously narrow:

TelegraphBritish officials were quick to rubbish Mr Napolitano's claims earlier this week. A government source reportedly said the claim was "totally untrue and quite frankly absurd".

The British official told Reuters that under British law, GCHQ "can only gather intelligence for national security purposes" and noted that a US election "clearly doesn't meet that criteria".

That doesn't sound like the statement of someone who has actually checked to find out whether any surveillance was conducted. It sounds like someone making a rote denial based on the assumption that any such request would be denied according to their understanding of British law. But that's simply not how intelligence agencies work. First, any such request would undoubtedly be framed in national security language ("Look, we can't spy on a presidential candidate. It would look bad. But we think this guy has Russian connections. We need you to spy on him -- using the NSA's infrastructure but you originate the request to get around US law -- and give us the take so we can make sure this guy isn't a Russian plant"). Second, such agencies basically ignore the law, since no one is willing to enforce it against them. They use national security law against others, they don't follow it themselves. And third, they don't report on their requests and operations to random government officials who are authorized to confirm or deny such requests to press inquiries.

If in fact the Obama Administration made a request of GCHQ to access the phone calls of his advisors, there are probably three people at GCHQ who know it happened. That's the person who received the request, the person who carried out the request, and at most one level of management to authorize it. And none of them are likely to be talking to the press.

In fact, the article I quoted above is probably best understood as a veiled threat. Shut up and don't admit to anything, or we will prosecute you to cover up our involvement. Sound familiar? As always, if you or any member of your team are captured or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

As it happens, the official in charge of GCHQ resigned shortly after Trump was inaugurated to "spend more time with his family".

As everyone well knows, spending more time with your family is politician-speak for "I got caught."

(Read More...)

2017-03-20 12:35:56.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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