Lincoln Chafee announces exploratory committee for presidential run
Gentlemen, I would like to propose a toast.
Confusion to the enemy!
I would also like to recommend that Boehner take a hint from Chafee and formally switch his party affiliation to Democrat. That way, he can openly advocate what he presently advances in secret backroom deals, and we can have a Speaker who actually represents us.
This is almost the right answer. You need to stop the questioner, provide your alternate target and question, and then stick to it. Move directly into the next question, call on the next interviewer, or just keep hammering your point home. Do not stop after your challenge and give them dead air to follow up. Turn the tables, attack the question, attack the questioner, return to your prepared script. Keep track of whether your questions get asked and when they try again, remind them.
The pathetic embarrassments to journalism at all the major TV networks, Fox News included, are the enemy.
If you are taking flac, you must be over the target.
As a libertarian I might make those arguments. I have in the past -- without the caveats about discriminatory action, because we have the right to freedom of association. But the sort of liberal or progressive who can even comprehend those arguments, much less volunteer them, is an antique specimen indeed. One might even say obsolete.
The new progressives are all fascist, all the time.
To have a valid treaty, Obama needs 67 votes for his treaty in the Senate. But both the Republicans and Democrats are arguing over whether the Republicans can get to a veto-proof 67 votes against. It's complete and utter nonsense. There is no treaty without a two-thirds vote in favor of the treaty.
And even that is meaningless, because the President doesn't even have agreement with his negotiating partners in Iran. He doesn't even have a signed piece of paper. He left the talks and presented his talking points to the press about the "deal"; Iran went home and presented their talking points to their population and immediately began yelling about how Obama was lying. They couldn't even maintain an agreement in public for 24 hours, much less the 10 years the deal is supposed to cover.
So let me tell you what is going to happen.
Obama and Iran will, eventually, pretend to agree to something. Obama will wave a piece of paper (having learned that verbal agreements with the Iranians are worthless) and proclaim peace in our time. The Iranians will go home and resume work on their ICBMs and nuclear warheads and uranium enrichment. The sanctions will be lifted because Obama trusts Iran and wants them to have a nuclear weapon so long as they get it after he leaves office. Congress will hold votes on whatever agreement Obama claims to reach, and the agreement will certainly not come close to 67 votes in favor; but Obama will order his administration to cancel the sanctions anyway.
And shortly after Obama leaves office, the next president will learn that Iran has already built nuclear weapons and mounted warheads on missiles that can target American cities.
House to consider IRS reform legislation this week
Do those sound like helpful reforms to you? They sound like weak sauce to me. If you want to fire someone for slow-walking you have to prove they did it and prove they did it for political reasons. That's a whole long process that would be made difficult by employees losing their emails and pleading the 5th. Requiring the IRS to issue regulations allowing for appeals is going to be an exercise in frustration, because the IRS will simply write the regulations to ensure the appeals reach the same result. Having a broadly-worded taxpayer bill of rights is useless without an enforcement mechanism and penalties for violating it.
But it gets worse.
In order to reach that entirely unnecessary two-thirds, the legislation will need to be substantially watered down in advance. Which means it will be carefully structured to protect Democrats from being exposed, and when it goes to the Senate, Republicans there will be in a weaker bargaining position as they seek to overcome a filibuster, and weaker still if they need to overcome a veto.
For the left, "to each according to their need" is enough. They need the money to enjoy their retirement; someone, therefore, will have to provide it, and it doesn't matter who, so long as it isn't them -- because they are retired, remember, and they don't have to work anymore.
To be honest, "retirement" has always been a thing for the wealthy. Those who accumulated enough wealth and capital in their lives could spend their declining years in comfort. Those who did not simply kept working until they died, or subsisted on the charity of their family and friends. Social security is compulsory charity, no more moral than welfare, no less offensive than any other tax.
You know what is offensive, though?
Their nest is well feathered with our cash, and if they worked at some job other than a teaching job for a few years, they can probably draw social security to supplement their meager $100K pension.
This massive surveillance program, purportedly for use in the drug war, intercepted billions of calls for decades, did things the NSA was never allowed to do, and was targeted directly at Americans. It was canceled only after Snowden's leaks made surveillance a hot national topic.
But then, politicians don't have to answer for programs they successfully keep under wraps, which seems to me to put the incentives in rather the wrong order.
Breitbart Texas is reporting on a county judge charged with firearms trafficking
The charges are serious, including selling guns to a known felon in a straw purchase, falsifying the 4473 information, and lying to an ATF investigator trying to track down the guns. However, when you look closely at the details, a couple things become obvious.
First, all the charges could easily come from the dealer conducting what he thought were legal sales and the ATF thought was a straw purchase. If the information on the 4473 is that of the straw purchaser who filled them out, and that straw purchaser passed a background check, you could easily transform ordinary conversations with ATF agents investigating the case into lies. So we might well be dealing with ATF trying to railroad someone here. The judge is also charged with helping transport the firearms to Mexico, which is harder to explain without knowing the details of the allegations and any explanation for them.
Additional factors: the target of the investigator is a judge and a licensed gun dealer. This makes him a valuable political target. The ATF is also asking for asset forfeiture in the case, including the firearms and a truck, nearly $100,000 in total value.
And then there's some of the firearms that were seized and apparently shopped to news outlets to sensationalize the story:
Oh look! Legal, semiautomatic pistols Allegedly illegal machine guns firing rifle ammunition used in Mexico to kill police officers, just like the AR-15 pistols ATF was using as an excuse to ban "green tip" rifle ammunition as armor-piercing when such ammunition has never presented a threat to law enforcement in the united states, and an attempt to resurrect the gun-control lie that criminals buy guns in American to smuggle into Mexico to commit crimes.
In addition, that wonderfully scary bit about how the weapon functions "exactly as those used by enemy troops" is almost certainly a lie; if these firearms were manufactured as handguns and then imported and sold legally in the United States, they are almost certainly semiautomatic firearms rather than the fully-automatic machine guns that are used by military forces. The firearms listed in the indictment include fully-automatic firearms. I remain skeptical about this aspect; see updates below.
So, we have a large financial incentive, a political incentive in the removal of a hostile judge, another political incentive in creating a perception of a media threat that doesn't exist to drum up support for gun control, and all of it very closely matching a pattern of ATF operations seen in Operation Showtime which resulted in the Waco massacre, Operation Fast and Furious, and other attempts to push gun control via media.
Is it possible that the judge is guilty? Sure. But I smell a rat. UPDATES BELOW.
A White House link in the Rolling Stone campus rape fiasco?
The White House exercises unprecedented and almost invisible control over the news cycle. The internet and the new media are the few remaining holdouts, and the FTC and FCC are moving against them even now.
However, the more Obama tightens his grasp, the more star systems media sources slip through his fingers. If he should strike us down, we will become more powerful than he can imagine...
For those among my readers who still doubt the existence of a liberal media bias, note the distance between the social justice warrior spin and the neutral correction. Note also that Entertainment Weekly issued a correction, because they made the factual mistake of claiming that racist misogynists were voting against women and minorities by voting for women and minorities without checking it... but they did not issue an apology to the people they unfairly labeled racists and misogynists.
Wisconsin chief justice refuses to step down following a state constitutional amendment removing her from office
Instead of stepping down in favor of the newly elected chief justice, Abrahamson is suing in federal court to keep her position.
It strikes me that this is more dangerous than it appears. Left-wing judges have a long history of ignoring election results and constitutional amendments that they do not like, but left-wing politicians are normally willing to step down when they actually lose an election. Issuing a ruling on a complex policy question where there is room for argument is one thing. Personally refusing to leave office when voters say so is something else entirely.
As Obama's term draws to a close, and he floats trial balloons in the media about running Michelle Obama to follow his own two terms, I fear what this small incident in Wisconsin says about the secret hearts lurking within the left. If he runs Michelle Obama, will the Left elect her? If he refuses to step down, will the Left support him remaining in office?
I am not predicting he will do either. But I am beginning to be concerned.
New York Civil Liberties Union obtains stingray data
That's a 98% record for violating the 4th Amendment. No wonder the FBI is apparently encouraging prosecutors to drop cases entirely rather than provide information to the courts on the use of Stingray devices.
UPDATE: Watching the episode, it's pretty good. They have a fictional dead marine to drive the investigation, but one of the whistleblower agents mentions "a dead border patrol agent" as a hypothetical consequence. There are multiple references to ATF stonewalling the investigation of the murder. But of course it all gets neatly wrapped up in an hour without going too deep into the ATF itself. And I think it's pretty telling that they couldn't touch this scandal until Holder had announced his pending resignation.
Judicial Watch files FOIA lawsuit concerning explosion in Minneapolis Muslim neighborhood
I remember being curious -- by which I mean, suspicious -- about the cause of the explosion, but not seeing more information about it released after the investigation. It's good that Judicial Watch is on the ball about this; god knows that no one else seems to be pressing this administration for answers.
20 years is a long, long time to run a program like this covering such a broad scope of targets. It would have started around 1995, which by an odd coincidence was when I first started to pay attention to rumors of government surveillance of phone activity and the Clipper chip controversy under Clinton.
Government surveillance has been with us in semi-secret for a long, long time.
They used to shut down this sort of discussion by calling those who spoke out about it paranoid.