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Trump admits he's lying to voters

Associated PressDonald Trump's chief lieutenants told skeptical Republican leaders Thursday that the GOP front-runner has been "projecting an image" so far in the 2016 primary season and "the part that he's been playing is now evolving" in a way that will improve his standing among general election voters.

The message, delivered behind closed doors in a private briefing, is part of the campaign's intensifying effort to convince party leaders Trump will moderate his tone in the coming months to help deliver big electoral gains this fall, despite his contentious ways.

I was afraid of this from the beginning, and it seems I was right.

2016-04-26 09:48:49.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

We still have the right to free speech in California

Washington Free BeaconCalifornia regulators’ attempts to compel a conservative nonprofit group to turn over a list of its major donors is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

For now, at least.

2016-04-25 12:34:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

No relationship between firearms and homicide or suicide

Gun Free ZoneTaking into consideration all figures, no relationship can be established between the number of firearms and the total number of homicides and suicides: where there are more firearms, the total number of homicides and suicides is not consistently higher or lower, and vice versa.

This should be simple common sense. People who want to commit suicide tend to find a way. Firearms are only one means of doing so. But it's nice to have evidence to counter the gun control argument.

Hat Tip to Sebastian

2016-04-25 11:34:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hillary's corruption

CNBCIt's not just Wall Street banks. Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found. Their interests are sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.

Thoroughly corrupt, and leading her party's primaries for president.

2016-04-25 10:34:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Virginia governor allows felons to vote by executive order

Washington PostGov. Terry McAuliffe will allow more than 200,000 ex-cons in Virginia to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election, one of the biggest actions taken by a state to instantly restore voting rights. The governor called the instant restoration of rights to these Virginians the natural next step to his incremental streamlining of a process that has already given 18,000 nonviolent felons their rights back. With the signing of Friday’s executive order, McAuliffe eliminated the need for an application for violent felons who had completed their sentences up to that moment.

Doing this by executive order seems problematic, but if framed as a use of the pardon power (I assume the Virginia governor has such a power) than it might perhaps be legal. Still, felons in general are probably not the best voters. It is certainly preferably to have a process for restoration of rights (including firearms rights) in place, but it also seems appropriate to consider each case individually to examine whether they have become a responsible member of society or continued their life of crime.

The political motivations for this move are obvious: transforming the electorate into one that can elect Hillary Clinton president.

UPDATE: There are arguments that McAuliffe doesn't have the constitutional authority to do this.

2016-04-24 11:09:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A matter for concern

CBSNewsFederal law enforcement investigators are searching in at least three states for more than 500 pounds of explosives stolen from a CSX train, CBS News has learned.

CBS News Justice Department and Homeland Security correspondent Jeff Pegues reported a law enforcement source says the amount stolen has authorities concerned that the explosives could fall into the wrong hands.

500 pounds of explosives is a lot.

2016-04-24 10:09:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

War Room

2016-04-24 09:09:58.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Benghazi coverup confirmed

Washington Free BeaconState Department officials removed files from the secretary’s office related to the Benghazi attack in Libya and transferred them to another department after receiving a congressional subpoena last spring, delaying the release of the records to Congress for over a year.

I'm sure that moving the files was just a coincidence. Like destroying the backup tapes that had Lois Lerner's email.

2016-04-23 12:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

40 minutes of Bill Whittle

Read or watch the whole thing.

2016-04-23 11:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama's Supreme Court nominee's papers blocked from public review

National Law JournalThe executors of the papers of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr. are blocking public access to the justice's file on high court nominee Merrick Garland, who clerked for Brennan in 1977 and 1978. The file, along with other documents relating to law clerks, case histories and correspondence, are part of the closed portion of Brennan's collection that will not be opened to the public until July 2017, the 20th anniversary of Brennan's death.

When the nominee's papers are blocked from public review, it usually means there's something either embarrassing or politically inconvenient in them.

2016-04-23 10:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Appropriate This!

2016-04-23 09:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Political theater

The Republican party plans to pass some IRS reform legislation. Unfortunately, most of it is toothless. The main proposals seem to be:

1) Cracking down on IRS employees who don't pay their own taxes. A good idea, but mostly meaningless in terms of overall reform. Especially since it requires the Treasury Secretary to "certify" but probably doesn't provide any penalties if he certifies incorrectly.

2) Blocking the IRS from rehiring those it fired for misconduct. Again, a good idea, but not a lot of actual reform.

3) Ban IRS employees from receiving bonuses until it improves customer service. Again, this doesn't strike me as very helpful, but it's doing better than the other proposals because it has penalties that will hit the IRS in the personal pocketbook.

4) Blocking funding for targeting citizens exercising their first amendment rights. Honestly, I can't imagine a more toothless way to do this. As if the IRS is going to admit some particular activity is targeting? Who makes that determination and denies the funds? No one, at least not until after the fact. This is better than nothing, I suppose, but lacking enforcement mechanisms ultimately meaningless.

5) Printed copies of IRS rules upon request... is this even a serious problem? Really?

Not mentioned in the above list of proposals (which I based on the linked article) is the only one which seems to have a chance at being effective, HR 4885:

Accounting TodayH.R. 4885, IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending Act of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., would repeal the IRS’s current authority to spend the user fees it collects without congressional approval. The proposed legislation would restore to Congress full authority over how the IRS spends those resources. The proposal requires the Treasury to deposit the funds from user fees into a general fund that would be used for improving taxpayer services.

Preventing the IRS from using user fees as a slush fund might actually give Congress some control over the rogue agency.

According to the Accounting Today article, all of those proposals have passed the House. I'd like to see the Senate take up HR 4885 and make it a must-pass piece of legislation, including tying it to those hideous must-pass funding bills if necessary. The rest can proceed individually; let the Democrats block them if they can and force Obama to veto them to protect his enforcers.

Notably absent, however, is the best available mechanism for encouraging the IRS leadership to behave responsibly rather than covering up abuses: impeaching the IRS commissioner who conducted the coverup.

Color me not impressed with the GOPe, for the most part.

2016-04-22 12:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Health Department refusing to hand over subpoenaed documents

Daily CallerFederal health officials refuse to give Congress hundreds of subpoenaed documents on Obamacare’s failed co-ops so that people will continue enrolling in the deeply troubled program, a congressional leader said Tuesday.

Twelve of the 23 co-ops created in 2011 under Obamacare at a cost of $2.4 billion have failed, and another eight of the remaining 11 are likely to go under this year. But the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) won’t hand over documents subpoenaed months ago by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

I would say that this administration's contempt for the rule of law is shocking, but frankly, it's no longer shocking.

2016-04-22 11:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hillary sees gun control opportunity after Scalia's death

Chelsea Clinton on Gun Control“So if you listen to Moms Demand Action and the Brady Campaign and the major efforts pushing for smart, sensible and enforceable gun control across our country, disclosure, have endorsed my mom, they say they believe the next time the Court rules on gun control, it will make a definitive ruling,” Clinton said. “So it matters to me that my mom is the only person running for president who not only constantly makes that connection but also has a strong record on gun control and standing up to the NRA."

We know what kind of justice Hillary will appoint if she wins. We know what kind of justice Obama has already nominated, if the Republican squishes in the Senate confirm him. We know that the next justice will likely determine whether the 2nd Amendment has legal force to protect our rights or becomes yet another dead-letter amendment that the government ignores.

I trust Ted Cruz, who has argued for the Second Amendment before the Supreme Court, to appoint justices who will protect our rights.

Trump, I'm not so sure about, but a question mark is better than a Hillary.

2016-04-22 11:37:06.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Sixth Circuit rules 4th Amendment does not protect cell site location data

No warrant required to find out every cell tower you've connected to. Which your cell phone does automatically whenever it is turned on.

2016-04-22 10:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Political operatives and corruption at the Department of Justice

PJMediaDuring the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, [Community Relations Service] helped to organize rallies and protests against George Zimmerman.

CRS did the same thing in Ferguson, pouring gasoline on the flames of protests, violence, and looting. This included training demonstrators on how to protest and “spreading the word” that what had happened was racially motivated -- which the grand jury investigation concluded was completely untrue.

One observer said the CRS basically put “a keg of dynamite in the middle of Ferguson” and lit the fuse. A source inside DOJ confirmed that CRS was stirring things up instead of trying to calm things down.

Yes, we've gotten to the point where the government is inciting riots. Is it any surprise that the people doing that are also massively corrupt and wasteful with the tax money they were given?

2016-04-22 09:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Left is coming for you next

National ReviewKamala Harris, Eric Schneiderman, Claude Earl Walker, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch should not resign — they should be hounded from office, and from polite society. Prosecuting political institutions and businesses for political activism is brown-shirt business, plain and simply and ugly and heinous. If you believe that this will stop at prosecuting wicked, evil “corporations,” you are deluding yourself.

Read the whole thing, while you still can.

2016-04-21 12:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Complaints are not enough

Instapundit[quoting Ann Althouse] “It is true that Facebook would be protected by the First Amendment, even as it screwed with the freedom of speech of over a billion human beings. What's tremendously important here is to maintain pressure on Facebook to respect our freedom. We don't have a legal right to assert against Facebook, but that is absolutely not a reason to give up and let Facebook do what it wants to repress speech. We have moral, political, social and economic power, and we should assert it.”

In response to these concerns, Facebook has announced that it doesn’t try to influence how people vote: "We as a company are neutral — we have not and will not use our products in a way that attempts to influence how people vote.”

To put it bluntly, I don't believe Facebook's protests here. Or those of companies in a similar position like Google.

While Althouse suggests that simply complaining loudly at Facebook will help, and I don't disagree that those complaints should be voiced, the more important task is to create and maintain alternatives to market dominance. Ultimately, complaints about Facebook by people on Facebook are meaningless. Those complaints must be backed by the ability to exit.

2016-04-21 11:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Putin forms internal security force focused on firearms

The Liberty ZoneWe view the right to keep and bear arms as a bulwark against tyranny. The fact that Putin has now created an armed entity, controlled solely by him, to focus on “all that is connected with firearms” should tell you everything you need to know about where that nation is headed internally. And that, my friends, coupled with the recent aggression of Russian fighter jets first buzzing the USS Donald Cook, and then flying dangerously close to one of our recon craft, is indicative of the kind of threats with which the next President will be dealing.

A very ominous sign indeed.

2016-04-21 10:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did Twitter kill a Pro-Gun-Rights ad campaign?

According to BearingArms, that's exactly what happened. And while Twitter would normally be free to abuse their customers speech however they chose, we are also free to object. Or, for that matter, simply abandon the platform.

2016-04-21 09:46:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

San Bernardino iPhone data reveals... nothing

Daily MailThe FBI has found new data that has helped answer some remaining questions in the probe against the San Bernardino terrorists after successfully hacking into their iPhone.

Investigators say they are confident that terrorist Syed Farook and his wife, Tasheen Malik, didn't make contact with another plotter during an 18-minute gap that was missing from the FBI's time line of the attackers' location after the mass shooting, CNN reported.

In addition, the iPhone 5c has helped authorities address concerns that were lingering about whether the two had help from family and friends, officials say.

According to CNN, the iPhone did not contain evidence that the couple had contacts with other ISIS supporters and that they did not use encrypted communications during the 18-minute gap the FBI was worried about.

Declining to offer more specifics, FBI investigators concluded there was data on the phone they did not have previously, CNN reported.

In other words.. the iPhone had no contacts with other plotters, no encrypted communications (beyond the encrypted iPhone itself), no contacts from family and friends (not surprising, since it was a work phone not a personal phone), and no contacts with other ISIS supporters.

In short, the iPhone had nothing useful at all, and the only "new data" the FBI found was the absence of new data. But of course they are trying to imply that they found something useful to preserve the public impression that oh-my-god-the-terrorists-might-use-encryption as an argument against ordinary people preserving their privacy rights by using encryption.

They are trying to lie by implication to influence public policy and undermine the fourth amendment, and it disgusts me.

2016-04-20 12:37:57.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Paul Ryan thinks his party is made up of idiots

TaxProfReps. Paul Ryan and Jason Chaffetz both believe IRS Commissioner John Koskinen should be fired, but they disagree about the timing. Chaffetz wants to remove Koskinen now, while Ryan says the GOP must win the White House first.

I can understand the argument that repealing Obamacare requires winning the White House, because Obama is inevitably going to veto any repeal of his major policy win, and the GOP doesn't have the votes to override a veto. Not even close. (Arguably, if they tried really hard to make an effective case with a viable alternative, they could get enough votes to override -- but at this point, they haven't done the work and it's just not going to happen).

But while an impeachment requires a 2/3rds vote in the Senate, it has nothing to do with the presidency, so this is just Ryan trying to placate his party's demands for real action with meaningless mouth noises he probably recites in his sleep by now.

Ryan should be pushing hard to impeach Koskinen for his multiple documented failures to produce evidence, obstruction of justice by delay, and actual destruction of evidence in aid of covering up violations of the law. Force the Democrats to make a clearly political vote against. Lay out the evidence of negligence and the case for deliberate destruction of evidence.

I think the case for negligence is provable beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. The Senate may not be a court of law, but there's no need to wait for a new president to impeach the current IRS commissioner.

2016-04-20 12:07:06.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

EPA head named conservationist of the year... despite chemical spill

Daily CallerEnviromental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy was recognized as 2015 “Conservationist of the Year” at a Thursday luncheon of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

The green group is honoring McCarthy even though she presided over the spill of three million gallons of toxic and acidic mine waste-water from the Gold King Mine in Colorado last year.

They are issuing this award to a political ally who has fed them all sorts of legal, policy, and financial benefits. That's all they care about. The actual environment is unimportant.

2016-04-20 11:07:06.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Judge says IRS is not to be trusted

Washington TimesJudge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said there is strong evidence that the IRS violated the constitutional rights of the groups when it delayed their nonprofit status applications and asked inappropriate questions about their political beliefs.

But the wheels of justice turn so slowly that the president who likely ordered it will be stepping down at the end of his second term before anything is done about the IRS abuse that helped give him a second term.

2016-04-20 10:07:06.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The attacks on free speech seem endless

National ReviewHillary Clinton’s hometown of Chappaqua, in Westchester County, New York is ground zero in the national controversy over AFFH. Westchester’s County Executive, Robert Astorino, a Republican, has been publicly asking Hillary Clinton whether she thinks her hometown is discriminatory, and whether she agrees with the Obama administration’s efforts to force Chappaqua to build a low-income housing development that it doesn’t want. Last July, Astorino even held a press conference outside of Hillary’s home to press her to speak to the issue.

And now it just so happens that the “Federal Monitor” appointed to oversee the settlement of a court case compelling Westchester to “affirmatively further fair housing” has asked a court to muzzle Astorino. The Federal Monitor wants to force Astorino, the man who has led public resistance to Obama’s de facto takeover of local governments, to repudiate his own claims and parrot the administration’s line instead. In effect, they want a court to order Astorino to stop criticizing Obama’s HUD and start advertising HUD’s own views. This is truly Orwellian stuff, a frightening demonstration of how the expansionist regulatory state ultimately chokes off political speech itself.

I remember when the Democrats claimed to support free speech. That was back when free speech meant a media dominated by Democrat operatives with bylines.

2016-04-20 09:07:06.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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