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Potential congressional investigation into ATF

AmmolandEdward Mark Felix’s story is complex, ranging from allegations of being directed to allow straw purchases similarly to methods revealed from Operation Fast and Furious, to claims of stolen guns, to being squeezed out of his store, to FFL renewal irregularities, to claims of having illegal tracking devices placed on his car, and more. He has been trying to gain attention and an investigation into his claims for years, with extremely limited results and plenty of stonewalling by those who could provide the clarification he seeks, but won’t.

Even if this gets the same level of attention as Fast and Furious did in Congress, it's like not there were serious consequences for anyone involved in that.

2016-05-12 09:31:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Words of Wisdom

Random Nuclear Strikes“You can’t do that. You cannot see yourself as ‘A Woman’ first. You are a individual human being first. Once you put yourself into a box of ‘I’m a woman’ or ‘I’m black’ as the first part of your internal identity, you have lost and you will never have another happy day in your life. You may get happy moments, but they will be at the expense of those who are not like you and they will be made from spite and envy.”

“The moment you let someone tell you how to think of yourself, you have lost your true identity as an individual and as a human being. And it is someone else telling you to believe that. You do not do that to your own mind. It has to be fed to you, usually by someone telling you that the opposite of you is ‘bad’.”

Individuals matter. Individual rights, and individual responsibilities. People can meet those responsibilities or not. That's going to happen anyway, because that's how reality works. Submerging your identity into the group around you and allowing the group identity to take precedence over your own is basically an admission that not only do you think you can't manage on your own, but that you are unwilling even to try.

2016-05-11 12:31:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

US Government tracking political opponents with no-fly list

PJMediaThe Southern Poverty Law Center, which is in the business of demonizing those who oppose its hard-Left agenda, falsely and libelously called me a “hate group leader” for my work exposing the motives and goals of jihad terrorists. Is there a dusty government office somewhere in Washington where my comings and goings -- and those of others who have been smeared by the SPLC -- are tracked in the Obama administration’s ongoing battle against “extremism”?

Maybe there is another explanation for why checking in for a flight has become suddenly problematic for me. But let’s take a rational look at the background provided by the Obama administration: the IRS targets conservative groups; the administration signed on to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s effort to compel Western governments to stifle criticism of Islam; the administration scrubbed the records of Muslims with jihad terror ties.

Is the idea that this administration would keep tabs on public foes of its policies farfetched? Or is it a reasonable assumption?

It seems to me that this is not an assumption at all. It's a fact.

Now, what we do about it... that's the real question.

2016-05-11 11:31:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Facebook ex-employees expose media manipulation

Boston HeraldThese ex-Facebook employees, known as “curators,” manage this highly important news feed section viewed by millions. And now they’ve come forward saying that Facebook deliberately blocked news stories about CPAC, Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, Rand Paul and other 
political topics of interest from being displayed among its top trending stories.

I suspected this was going on, and it's one reason (among many) I don't use Facebook. I'm not willing to trust someone else to "curate" news for me; that's why I use tools that let me pick my own sources to trust and evaluate what I see for myself.

Boston HeraldUp until now, Facebook users have been led to believe that “Trending News” stories landed there “organic­ally,” buoyed by massive public discourse. Now we’ve learned they’ve been actively squelching political speech much like the state-run 
media operations in totalitarian North Korea and China do.

I think there's a market opportunity here for someone who's willing to not curate news, or at least curate it honestly.

2016-05-11 10:31:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Flint mayor diverted water funds to PAC

CNNThe former city administrator of Flint, Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit against the current mayor's office, claiming she was fired after raising concerns about donors being directed away from a charity for victims of the city's water crisis and toward a fund sharing a name with the mayor's campaign fund.

That's pretty low even for a politician.

2016-05-11 09:31:24.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trump hires top Democrat financier as finance chair

Trump's pick has worked at Goldman Sachs (remember when that was a big attack on Cruz?), donated to both Hillary and Obama, and worked for George Soros.

If this doesn't make Trump's supporters see what is really going on, they are being willfully blind.

2016-05-10 10:27:07.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

State Department claims it can't locate Clinton's email admin archive

The HillThe State Department has lost all archived copies of the emails sent to and from the man believed to have set up and maintained Hillary Clinton’s private email server during the four years she served as secretary, it said on Monday.

They aren't even bothering to claim the hard drive crashed anymore; they just say they can't find the file.

2016-05-10 09:27:07.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI interviews Huma Abedin about Clinton email server

It couldn't happen to a more deserving person... except Hillary herself, of course.

2016-05-06 11:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Florida reforms asset forfeiture laws

ReasonSome great news in asset forfeiture reform is coming out of Florida. S.B. 1044, approved by the legislature earlier in the month, was signed into law today by Gov. Rick Scott.

The big deal with this particular reform is that, in most cases, Florida police will actually have to arrest and charge a person with a crime before attempting to seize and keep their money and property under the state's asset forfeiture laws. One of the major ways asset forfeiture gets abused is that it is frequently a "civil", not criminal, process where police and prosecutors are able to take property without even charging somebody with a crime, let alone convicting them. This is how police are, for example, able to snatch cash from cars they've pulled over and claim they suspect the money was going to be used for drug trafficking without actually finding any drugs.

Sometimes, things actually get a little bit better.

2016-05-06 10:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About that Facebook swinging elections thing...

The FederalistGizmodo, a tech blog, talked to the people behind Facebook’s news aggregation service–“news curators” in Facebookspeak–and it turns out that Facebook’s news coverage isn’t based on fancy, unbiased algorithms at all. Nope. Facebook’s news service is instead run by people who want to make sure none of that icky right-wing coverage finds its way in front of people’s eyeballs:

... yes, they are already doing it, just based on topics and news sources rather than specific candidates. This is a big reason not to use Facebook, or any site that attempts to "curate" what people see based on anything other than the user's specific choices and input. For a site like Facebook, the only trustworthy way to run the algorithm is simple: what you subscribe to is what you see. The moment you start trying to adjust your user's moods, or encourage them to vote (or not to vote), or hide things from them they want to see, or show them things they don't want to see, you lose the trust of the users as soon as they notice.

That's why this sort of manipulation has to be done in secret.

2016-05-06 09:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama moving forward with social security based firearms prohibition

Katie PavlickBut an issue flying under the radar in Obama's announcement is the Administration's decision to move forward with gun control measures through the Social Security system. Late last year it became clear if an individuals needs financial help managing Social Security benefits, the agency can deem that person mentally unfit to purchase a firearm. This policy is already in place at the Veteran's Administration, where people who have been assigned a "representative payee" have been permanently placed into the NICS background check system as ineligible to purchase a firearm without due process, a hearing or a trial.

This will effect 4.2 million people, targeting by definition those with the least time and financial resources for long court battles to vindicate their rights. It's a cynical abuse of the elderly, blocking their civil rights and quite possibly confiscating their property when such individuals present essentially no criminal threat at all.

There's a law on the table in Congress to stop it, but obviously Obama will veto the law on its own, so the law will need to be attached to a spending package he needs to sign -- and he might well say to hell with it since he's going out of office and keep vetoing until Congress backs off. I don't see either Hillary or Trump caring about fixing this problem either. The courts may eventually rule that this is unconstitutional, but the law will be hard to challenge for the reasons listed above.

We may be stuck with this one for a while.

2016-05-05 12:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A browser plugin to self-censor from the Brady Bunch

Shall Not Be QuestionedThe Brady Campaign has developed a plugin that removes the names of mass shooters from your browser. I’m happy to see them starting to attack true root causes, but I’m afraid it’s the media we need to convince not to publish the shooter in the first place. But they are on the right track.

I don't think this is the right track for us at all. Sure, the root cause argument has some validity, and it's better than attacking guns. But I suspect this is mostly an excuse to get a Brady plugin installed on your browser, and I would question just what else such a plugin might do? Censor NRA spokesmen and gun rights advocates? Automatically block them on twitter? Change the wording of the 2nd Amendment?

And the idea is completely senseless anyway, because censoring such names from your own browser does nothing about the media coverage itself, and cannot possibly reduce the number of mass murders unless the people installing the plugin (ie, anti-gun activists) are themselves at high risk of becoming mass murderers if they see enough media coverage of mass murderers.

2016-05-05 11:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Puerto Rico defaults

BloombergPuerto Rico will default on a $422 million bond payment for its Government Development Bank...

And the rest of the article was about how there should be a bailout.

There should not be a bailout.

Bailouts don't solve anything; they make the public purse repay the private investment losses.

2016-05-05 10:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Speaking of punishing political opponents by naming and shaming...

The HillThe Department of Education is listing the names of hundreds of religious schools that critics say discriminate against transgender students. The Education Department on Friday published the names of colleges and universities that have requested a religious exemption from Title IX, which prohibits discrimination against women. In 2014, the protections were expanded to include transgender students. Since then, 232 schools have requested an exemption from Title IX, according to the department. At the request of Senate Democrats, the Education Department quietly published the names of all the schools that have requested religious exemptions from Title IX.

On the one hand, this is clearly one of those name & shame efforts by the Democrats. On the other hand, the list might be a useful resource for parents who don't want their daughters sharing showers with men who think they are women. Because when you're talking about a college with dorms and gym facilities, it's not just bathrooms...

2016-05-05 09:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Microsoft just took sides

InstapunditMicrosoft on Friday announced that it would be making cash donations to the Democratic convention but not the Republican one... Microsoft just took sides. They need to be reminded that there are costs to that.

I've been angry at Microsoft for literally decades; this is just one more reason they suck.

2016-05-04 12:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government is not to be trusted

View From North Central IdahoWhat the government did to Randy Weaver and his family and what they did at Waco are a why I purchased my first gun, why I’m involved in the gun rights movement and why there is Boomershoot.

Waco was also what got me into the gun-rights movement and cemented my generally libertarian attitudes. Joe is reminded of his feelings by David Hardy's series of posts on Waco and the investigation afterwards. Follow the link above and read them (I've only linked one before, but they are all worth reading if you didn't know... and even if you did).

2016-05-04 11:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government official makes weak arguments for Constitutional protections

TechDirtOn Tuesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released some redacted versions of three previously secret FISA Court rulings. There are a few interesting things in them, but one notable point, found in a ruling from last November regarding the NSA's 702 PRISM program, is that the FISC took advantage of the provision in the USA Freedom Act to appoint a public advocate to argue on behalf of the public. One of the big complaints in the past, is that the FISA Court is no court at all. Only one side -- the government -- gets to present its case, and then the judges decide.

The USA Freedom Act, however, added the ability of the FISC to appoint a public advocate. Many have been quite reasonably skeptical about this -- in terms of how often it would be used, who would be appointed and how seriously the FISC would take the public advocate. In this case, we see that the public advocate did, in fact, argue that parts of the PRISM program were unconstitutional... and the FISC then rejected that. In this case, the court appointed Amy Jeffress, a former federal prosecutor and DOJ official -- which might make some skeptical of her willingness to actually advocate for the public -- however, this ruling shows that she did, in fact argue that the program was unconstitutional (her actual arguments have not been released).

Is anyone surprised that a "privacy advocate" that comes from the government and whose resume includes the words federal prosecutor would fail to convince the FISA court to take privacy seriously? This privacy advocate has been so effective that the FISA court has approved every surveillance request in 2015. Every single one.

2016-05-04 10:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

California AG finally slapped down for privacy invasions

American ThinkerJudge Manuel Real's order was blunt, noting that "the amount of careless mistakes by the Attorney General's registry is shocking," and "[t]he pervasive, recurring pattern of uncontained Schedule B disclosures [is] irreconcilable with the Attorney General's assurances and contentions as to the confidentiality of Schedule Bs collected by the Registry."

In other words, California's lawlessness is compounded by its efforts to mislead the court, which raises serious questions about the ethics and professionalism under which Ms. Harris's office operates.

Believing that the concerted efforts by the California AG, various Wisconsin prosecutors, and the IRS in Washington are simple "careless mistakes" is a stretch, to say the least. But I think the courts are starting to catch on.

2016-05-04 09:46:29.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Indiana Primary is today..

You still have a few hours to vote for Ted Cruz.

UPDATE: Looks like Trump won Indiana, and Cruz is stepping out of the race. That leaves Kasich, who as far as I can tell is basically hoping that the party elites will change the rules at the convention to let him win despite Trump's overwhelming delegate lead. Cruz had a chance at the convention if he could keep Trump from 1237; Kasich probably can't even force a convention fight. Unless Kasich knows something we don't about what the rules committee is going to do to stop Trump, he can't win. And if the rules committee does stop Trump in favor of Kasich, that result would be so stunningly elitist and anti-democratic that I don't see how anyone could possibly support it.

Cruz can go back to trying to fight the good fight in the Senate, where he may be able to do some good.

God only knows what's going to happen in the general election. We have three insider candidates, one of them a liar, one of them completely corrupt, and the third completely insane. The hard part will be figuring out which is which!

I don't know what I'm going to do as far as my own vote. I can't be an enthusiastic Trump supporter. I may vote for him on the theory that he's the better lizard, but the problem with that is that I'm really not sure he's the better lizard and I don't want to reward nominating lizards. I may vote for Gary Johnson or whomever the Libertarians nominate. (I've been a card-carrying member of the Libertarian party in the past, and switched to Republican only when the Tea Party primary battles started to look like they might have some influence on the party).

It's all going to depend on what happens between now and the first Tuesday in November. The only thing I am sure of is that I am completely disgusted with the Republican party for taking a large slate of candidates, some of whom were pretty good, and giving us Trump instead.

2016-05-03 15:06:02.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

When law enforcement has to lie in court...

TechDirtThe EFF and ACLU -- along with the assistance of a very fortuitous public records request by Stingray-tracker extraordinaire Mike Katz-Lacabe -- have uncovered more hidden use of IMSI catchers by law enforcement. A criminal prosecution relying on real-time tracking of a suspect's cell phone has finally led to the admission by Wisconsin police that they used a Stingray to locate defendant Damian Patrick.

The information wasn't handed over to the court until the EFF, ACLU, and Katz-Lacabe's FOIAed documents forced the government to admit it used the device. Up until that point, testimony given by officers gave the impression that tracking Patrick down only involved the use of records from his service provider. They also claimed the information pinpointing Patrick's location in a parked vehicle was just a tip from an "anonymous source."

... the result is a mockery of justice.

2016-05-03 12:48:49.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Supreme Court approves FBI authority to search any computer anywhere

TechDirtThe DOJ is one step closer to being allowed to remotely access computers anywhere in the world using a normal search warrant issued by a magistrate judge. The proposed amendments to Rule 41 remove jurisdiction limitations, which would allow the FBI to obtain a search warrant in, say, Virginia, and use it to "search" computers across the nation using Network Investigative Techniques (NITs).

"Network Investigative Techniques" basically means hacking into your computer remotely and searching it in secret. Note, though, that "searching" here doesn't just mean they are looking around; it also entails the power modify the contents of your computer, ie, to plant evidence.

Law enforcement should not get to be the bad guy, and should not be allowed to operate in secret, even if that means they catch more criminals.

2016-05-03 11:48:49.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Solving the wrong problem

TaxProf quoting Wall Street JournalThe latest effort, led by Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), would change a requirement that nonprofits list all donors who give at least $5,000. That information is supposed to be redacted from the publicly available versions of the groups’ tax forms, but the IRS has inadvertently released donor information about the National Organization for Marriage and a group tied to the Republican Governors Association.

To Mr. Roskam and other Republicans, those failures are a reason to keep clamping down on the agency. “The IRS has demonstrated inability to hold confidential information close, and if it’s not necessary for tax administration, then let’s mitigate this problem and not require organizations to submit it,” he said. The House Ways and Means Committee approved his measure Thursday on a 23-15 party-line vote. ...

I approve of the idea... but it doesn't really address the real problem. People should have the ability to donate money to causes they support anonymously, but mostly, they shouldn't have to feel the pressure to give anonymously. That is, unless a cause is truly evil, giving money to support that cause shouldn't result in death threats and ostracism from business relationships and polite society. That making a donation to a relatively non-controversial cause like supporting traditional marriage can result in threats, intimidation, and even losing an important job is contrary to the principles of free speech and open debate.

While addressing the issue by withholding that information from the IRS is a good start, the real problem is with the segments of society that abuse that information and the culture that supports their misbehavior. Until we fix that, we're going to have a continuing problem.

2016-05-03 10:48:49.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

20K criminal illegal aliens released into the US

Washington ExaminerThe U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in 2015 decided not to deport but release 19,723 criminal illegal immigrants, including 208 convicted of murder, over 900 convicted of sex crimes and 12,307 of drunk driving, according to new government numbers.

Overall, those released into virtually every state and territory of America had a total of 64,197 convictions among them, for an average of 3.25 convictions each, according to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies. ICE also said that the group were convicted of 8,234 violent crimes.

You would think that these would be the people you would most want to keep locked up and, when their sentences are served, release as far away from the country they aren't supposed to be living in as possible.

2016-05-03 09:48:49.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Campus Carry rules at Texas A&M finalized

TrailBlazerCome August, the licensed concealed carrying of handguns will be allowed in all classes, nearly all dorms and likely most all faculty offices at Texas A&M and other schools. Guns will remain barred at sporting events, patient care facilities and some other areas.

The rules look reasonably decent, allowing most students to conduct their normal activities armed if they feel the need. I doubt such students will cause any problems. (Their professors might object, of course). The exception for sporting events seems odd. What on earth is the problem scenario there?

2016-04-30 12:48:49.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama now trying to push smart gun technology

PoliticoPresident Barack Obama is opening a new front in the gun control debate, readying a big push for so-called smart gun technology — an initiative that the gun lobby and law enforcement rank and file is already mobilizing against.

Honestly, I'm not too worried about this, because functional smart gun technology doesn't exist. There are "smart guns" that don't work in a variety of different ways, but there are none that could possibly pass a fair evaluation. I don't think lame-duck Obama could force through a major firearms purchase for any law enforcement or military buyer without raising a tremendous stink when the firearms being evaluated failed to fire repeatedly. The most he can realistically do is throw some otherwise unallocated money at the problem, and hope Hillary wins with enough Congressional coattails to approve whatever comes out of the process (for the military) or that local politicians override common sense advice from their officers to stay away from guns that are designed not to fire.

That said, if you're a police officer or serving in the military, you should know that Obama thinks you are of more use to him as a dead guinea pig in his social experiments than as a living, breathing person doing your job.

Hat tip to SaysUncle

2016-04-30 11:48:49.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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