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Maine trending towards Constitutional Carry?

Bangor Daily NewsSen. Eric Brakey, an Auburn Republican serving his first term in the Legislature, is bullish about rolling back restrictions on carrying concealed handguns in Maine, despite several similar efforts that failed in recent years.

His bill, LD 652, would make Maine the fifth state to establish “constitutional carry” — a universal right of all legal firearm owners to carry concealed handguns on their person or in their vehicles. The bill has a whopping 96 co-sponsors, more than half the state Legislature, including leaders from both parties.

There's a poll on the story, so go vote.

I am, frankly, shocked and disappointed that Texas is still inching towards open carry and Maine is within shouting distance of Constitutional Carry!

2015-04-14 12:57:46.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did Erdely have a prior fake-rape story?

Red State thinks they found one.

2015-04-14 11:57:46.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

From the mouths of babes

Ace of SpadesChelsea was on the phone with friend when the agent walked in. "Oh, I've got to go," she said. "The pigs are here."

The agent didn't appreciate that, Payne recalled, and tried to explain to Chelsea that he was just doing his job, which was "to stand between you, your family, and a bullet."

Chelsea replied: "Well, that's what my mother and father call you."

Even wiping your email server can't hide the skeletons in the network closet.

2015-04-14 10:57:46.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Breaking: Romulan queen tests new tricorder on strange earth food.


Why I'm not voting for Hillary

2015-04-14 09:59:42.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

No wonder she wiped the server

Ace sums up Hillary's corruption. As in, "I will explain. No; wait. Is too much. I will sum up." But here's the key bit:

International Business Times via Ace of SpadesThe details of these financial dealings remain murky, but this much is clear: After millions of dollars were pledged by the oil company to the Clinton Foundation -- supplemented by millions more from Giustra himself -- Secretary Clinton abruptly changed her position on the controversial U.S.-Colombia trade pact. Having opposed the deal as a bad one for labor rights back when she was a presidential candidate in 2008, she now promoted it, calling it "strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States." The change of heart by Clinton and other Democratic leaders enabled congressional passage of a Colombia trade deal that experts say delivered big benefits to foreign investors like Giustra.


I believe that is spelled quid pro quo.

2015-04-14 09:57:46.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lincoln Chafee announces exploratory committee for presidential run

Providence Journal via Legal InsurrectionChafee, a former Republican turned Independent turned Democrat, said he will spend the next few months in New Hampshire, Iowa and other key battleground states, asking voters whether his “independent thinking and fresh ideas for the future” are what is needed in the 2016 presidential campaign.

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.

2015-04-14 09:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Turning the tables on the media

Comments at InstapunditWhen confronted with questions that are essentially accusations as Rand Paul was, I think Senator Paul and other Repubicans should respond with something like "I'll answer that when you ask a similar question of Hillary Clinton". Even better if they can provide the question such as "Before I answer your question let me ask you - Will you ask Hillary Clinton if she has changed her opinion about [fill in the blank]" or "will you ask Hillary Clinton if someone who compromises American security by exposing intelligence information should be trusted with the Presidency?" Don't attack the media, but expose their bias. Personally, I think it would be fine for Senator Paul to say "I'm not answering until you ask Hillary a similar question."

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.

2015-04-13 13:22:20.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Illegal aliens flying into the US on the taxpayer dime

Gateway PunditA joint program between the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security called the In Country Refugee and Parole Program is reuniting children from Central America with their parents or just one parent who is now living in the US. And you get to pay for it.

2015-04-13 12:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Say, I have an idea...

... can we maybe report this tax-exempt group to the IRS for engaging in electioneering activities that oppose a specific candidate?

2015-04-13 11:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Bernstein's mental model of the progressives is out of date

Volokh ConspiracyConfronted with the hate speech analogy, progressives will typically reply that supporting freedom of speech is completely different from supporting the right to engage in discriminatory action. After all, speech is just speech—sticks and stones, and whatnot—while discriminatory actions cause real distress to the victims. And besides, they argue, the marketplace of ideas can be trusted to ensure that egalitarian views will emerge victorious.

Confronted with the free speech argument for the last 10 years or so, progressives will reply that they support hate speech laws, that advocating for race-blind competition is hate speech, and that you should shut up -- in fact, they've been harping on that last theme for 18 years already.

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.

2015-04-13 10:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Political theater on the Iran treaty

The Republicans are trying to muster 67 votes for a veto override to stop Obama's deal with Iran with legislation that requires a role for the Senate. The White House is trying to block that legislation. Both sides are pointing and yelling and making noise like idiots. What does the Constitution say about this?

Constitution[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur

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.

2015-04-13 09:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

House to consider IRS reform legislation this week

The BlazeThree of the bills up next week deal with the targeting scandal. One of these, from Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.), would try to ensure the IRS can no longer play politics with tax exempt applications by allowing groups to declare tax-exempt status on their own, without having to wait for the IRS.

Another from Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) calls for the firing of any IRS worker that delays their tasks for political reasons, such as slow-walking the tax-exempt status of a political group. And the third, from Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), would require the Treasury Department to issue regulations allowing groups to appeal decisions by the IRS not to grant them tax-exempt status.

The House will also look at three other bills next week aimed at improving the overall level of customer service at the IRS. One would create a taxpayer bill of rights ensuring that taxpayers have the right to appeal decisions and the right to privacy, and another would require the government to keep people informed about ongoing investigations into the release of confidential taxpayer information — under current rules, the IRS is not required to tell people much of anything about these investigations.

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.

The BlazeEach of these bills are expected to be considered under House rules that allow for a shorter debate, but require a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The GOP plan to pass the bills in this manner indicates the party enjoys broad bipartisan support, since dozens of Democrats will be need to reach the two-thirds majority threshold.

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.

2015-04-13 01:05:12.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

It's always an excuse for authoritarianism

National ReviewThere is no epidemic of rapes on American college campuses. And Rolling Stone cannot make that true, nor can 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 student activists, bloggers, administrators, compliant law-enforcement agencies, feminist scholars, or New York Times columns.

But, to the Democrats and the social justice warriors, it must be true, otherwise terrified young women won't need to be rescued from the rape epidemic by politicians.

2015-04-12 12:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

McArdle on retirement reality

Megan McArdlePerhaps you are confused. Weren't we just talking about entitlement reform so that we could spend less on the program? Why, yes, we were. But since no one, left or right, really wants to take on our vast army of retirees, that chatter has died down. Now that it has, progressives who are ideologically opposed to shrinking the welfare state and are, of course, worried about retirees have decided that the best defense is a good offense, as Jamelle Bouie chronicles in Slate. Instead of reluctantly agreeing to a compromise where Republicans let some taxes rise and Democrats agree to entitlement cuts, they're demanding bigger tax hikes to fund bigger entitlements.

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?

Illinois ReviewThe number of retired Illinois public school teachers taking home six-figure pensions topped 5,600 in 2014, according to pension records obtained by Pension360. Nearly six out of every 100 teachers with ten or more years of service have retired with a six-figure pension.

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.

2015-04-12 11:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Nevada campus carry passes state House

Las Vegas Review JournalThe vote for passage was 24 to 15 with all but one Democrat, James Ohrenshall of Las Vegas, opposed. Three members were absent.

It's interesting that three of those members didn't show up, presumably to avoid a vote. I'm guessing the missing folks are Democrats.

2015-04-12 10:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reminder: Holder was at DoJ in the 1990s, too

USA TodayThe now-discontinued operation, carried out by the DEA's intelligence arm, was the government's first known effort to gather data on Americans in bulk, sweeping up records of telephone calls made by millions of U.S. citizens regardless of whether they were suspected of a crime. It was a model for the massive phone surveillance system the NSA launched to identify terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks. That dragnet drew sharp criticism that the government had intruded too deeply into Americans' privacy after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked it to the news media two years ago.

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.

2015-04-12 09:49:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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:
Breitbart TexasAlso seized were three of the six Zastava M92PV he bought at a store in Georgetown. While the ATF lists them as “pistols,” they are a cut down version of the AK-47, firing the full size 7.62 x 39 Russian ammunition. Manufactured without a shoulder stock the weapon functions exactly as those used by enemy troops since the Korean War, including Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They pack serious firepower and that type of rifle is used by Mexican drug gangs on a daily basis. Breitbart Texas reported about guns of this type being used in a cartel ambush of 15 Mexican police officers.

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.

(Read More...)

2015-04-11 14:45:16.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A White House link in the Rolling Stone campus rape fiasco?

Daily CallerAs the Rolling Stone article fell apart, [Education Department's Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights] Lhamon’s involvement has gone virtually unmentioned. But a deeper look reveals her ties to Emily Renda, a University of Virginia employee and activist who put Erdely in touch with Jackie, the student whose claim that she was brutally gang-raped by seven members of a fraternity on Sept. 28, 2014, served as the linchpin for the 9,000-word Rolling Stone article.

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...

2015-04-11 12:03:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

If you haven't been following the Hugo kerfluffle...

Investor's Business DailyLast Monday afternoon, Entertainment Weekly posted a story in its Books section with the ominous headline: "Hugo Award nominations fall victim to misogynistic, racist voting campaign."

Within a few hours, the headline changed to: "Correction: Hugo Awards voting campaign sparks controversy."

That's some correction. So what happened?

... this is a short article to catch you up on efforts to combat puppy-related sadness.

Entertainment WeeklyCORRECTION: After misinterpreting reports in other news publications, EW published an unfair and inaccurate depiction of the Sad Puppies voting slate, which does, in fact, include many women and writers of color. As Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgerson explained to EW, the slate includes both women and non-caucasian writers, including Rajnar Vajra, Larry Correia, Annie Bellet, Kary English, Toni Weisskopf, Ann Sowards, Megan Gray, Sheila Gilbert, Jennifer Brozek, Cedar Sanderson, and Amanda Green.

This story has been updated to more accurately reflect this. EW regrets the error.


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.

2015-04-11 11:03:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Wisconsin chief justice refuses to step down following a state constitutional amendment removing her from office

AlthouseUnder the old provision, Abrahamson was entitled to the position because she is the most senior member of the court. Under the amendment we voted for in yesterday's election, the justices elect their own chief.

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.

2015-04-11 10:03:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

New York Civil Liberties Union obtains stingray data

New York Civil Liberties UnionThe New York Civil Liberties Union released today records it received from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office on its use of ”stingrays,” devices that can track and record New Yorkers’ locations via their cell phones. The records showed that of the 47 times the Sheriff’s Office used stingrays in the past four years, it apparently only once obtained a court order, contradicting the sheriff’s own remarks.

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.

2015-04-11 09:03:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

NCIS features Fast and Furious in an episode

Gun Free ZoneImagine my surprise when Jethro Gibbs mentions the magic words “Operation Fast and Furious.” But I composed myself knowing that it was just a passing reference and nothing more would be said…

And then they pulled out the baseball bats.

Read the whole thing.

I'm going to have to see if I can find that episode somewhere. It's titled "No Good Deed"...

Hat tip to SaysUncle

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.

2015-04-10 12:03:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Judicial Watch files FOIA lawsuit concerning explosion in Minneapolis Muslim neighborhood

Judicial WatchAt 8:16 a.m. on New Year’s Day in Minneapolis, a building at 516 Cedar Avenue containing a grocery store and several apartments exploded, killing three people and injuring 13. All of the apartments were occupied by single men. Many were hurt while jumping out of the burning building’s windows in order to escape the carnage.

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.

2015-04-10 11:03:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DEA intercepted metadata for two decades

Ars TechnicaThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), under approval from the top echelons of the Department of Justice, ran a secret, extensive phone metadata bulk collection program for over two decades, amassing billions of records, according to a new report published Tuesday in USA Today. This database had previously been revealed to a lesser extent earlier this year, but neither its operational details nor its scope had been revealed until now.

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.

Ars TechnicaDEA agents, the paper added, "gathered the records without court approval, searched them more often in a day than the spy agency does in a year and automatically linked the numbers the agency gathered to large electronic collections of investigative reports, domestic call records accumulated by its agents and intelligence data from overseas."

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.

It seems the paranoids were right all along.

2015-04-10 10:03:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Different priorities

Judicial WatchWhile hordes of illegal immigrants, drugs and criminal elements slip into the United States through the porous Mexican border, the government agency that’s failing miserably to secure the area celebrates an “aggressive enforcement” program that confiscates imitation name-brand handbags, sunglasses, apparel and jewelry.

Frankly I could care less about imitation name brand fashion accessories. Stop the illegal aliens, the drug smugglers, and the terrorists.

2015-04-10 09:03:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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