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DC Police Procedure for CCW

My advice would be to stay out of the District with a concealed firearm for the present, despite the recent victory in Palmer v DC. The city is very hostile to gun ownership, and if they catch you, they will pursue anything they can think of to catch you on something, including silly technicalities. If the court ruling is overturned on appeal, it's possible that could also be a problem.

Alan Gura has posted the memo to DC police on what their police for concealed carry should be following the Palmer decision and before DC implements any legal changes.

2014-07-30 09:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

SAF says DC plans to appeal Palmer victory

Saturday’s long-awaited victory in Palmer v. District of Columbia is “one more important step toward firearms freedom,” the Second Amendment Foundation said today after reviewing the ruling, which the District of Columbia now reportedly plans to appeal.

The victory itself was a surprise, since many lower courts have been fairly shy about striking down gun laws, but the appeal? Not a surprise.

2014-07-29 15:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Legislation introduced to reform civil asset forfeiture

It's Rand Paul's work. The chances the legislation will pass the Senate are probably nil. But it's a beginning, and these things build support gradually.

2014-07-29 14:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Fast and Furious may have implemented gun registration

The lawmakers contended that ATF agents, under the Operation Fast and Furious investigation, added extensive amounts of firearms to what is termed the Suspect Gun Database maintained by the agency. All told, between 1992 and 2012, the agency added data on 173,784 guns to the database. Once added, even if an investigation is concluded, the information cataloged on both the gun and the purchaser remains active.

As far as building an actual, complete registration list of firearms, this is a drop in the bucket. But if the ATF is building a database of people who own politically incorrect guns for use as a target list, well, it might work for that.

The other issue, alleged targeting of minorities, is also troubling. The raw conviction statistics do not prove racism, of course, but it is also true that the ATF has some very troubling history in that area. History aside, the current objections are to sting operations where the ATF goes into a particular neighborhood and tries to talk individuals there into committing crimes:

"There’s something very wrong going on here,” University of Chicago law professor Alison Siegler told USA Today. “The government is creating these crimes and then choosing who it’s going to target.”

From the descriptions of the sting operations in the press, I agree. Recruiting local criminals to conduct an armed robbery from a drug stash seems to me like creating a crime rather than solving one. So does recruiting the mentally-handicapped.

2014-07-29 13:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS settles with atheist group to monitor content of sermons

I see a couple problems with this arrangement. The first is the obvious. Should the IRS be monitoring content of sermons at all? It implicates the rights of free speech, free assembly, and free exercise of religion. The IRS will obviously argue that this is simply a condition of the tax-free status, but I don't really think that excuse flies. Obviously the courts have allowed it, but that doesn't mean it's right.

In this specific case we're talking about a court settlement the IRS has made with the Freedom From Religion Foundation. That reminds of the EPA's practice of being sued by and then settling with friendly environmental groups in order to implement policies it might find politically difficult otherwise. I suspect that's what's happening here, and that enforcement will be quite thoroughly biased.

Given what we now know about the internal IRS culture, we absolutely should not allow that agency anywhere near regulation of speech or politics.

2014-07-29 12:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Boys Scouts Crossing Borders

If you want to cross the southern border of the US, you will be waved right through, whether you are a US citizen or not. If you are crossing the northern border, though, even a group of US citizen boy scouts can be detained for 4 hours.

2014-07-29 11:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Something that has always interested me about the missing Lerner emails...

I have wondered ever since the missing emails started being discussed... how exactly do they know that "about 24,000" emails are missing? How did the IRS determine that number in order to provide it to Congress? If the emails are missing, they cannot be counted, right?

I can see a couple possibilities.

It could be that the number is just an estimate. Perhaps the IRS looked at how many emails Lerner sent in a typical month from the time period they do have, and extrapolated over the missing time period? That would produce a number that's better than a wild guess, but wouldn't really tell us anything for sure.

It's possible they have more information than that. It's possible that the server logs from that time period have been preserved. It's been long enough since I admined an Exchange server that I don't remember what would be logged, exactly, but most email servers do maintain traffic logs with metadata information. If the IRS has email server logs which they used to estimate the number of emails Lerner sent and received, it would be worth asking them to produce the whole log in the hopes of obtaining a list of people she was corresponding with.

It's worth asking them how they came up with that number.

2014-07-29 10:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A brief summary of smidgens

Megan Kelly does a good job summing up some of the reverses the IRS has made. Remember, one of the indications of a cover-up is when the story keeps changing to accomodate new evidence. When you tell the truth, it tends to fit without needing to be changed.

2014-07-29 09:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The tip of a very large iceberg

A police chief in Wisconsin pleaded no contest Friday to a charge that he signed a local Tea Party leader up on gay dating, pornography and federal health care websites.

He's going to get off with a clean record if he stays out of trouble for two years, something that should be fairly easy for a chief of police. What concerns me here is not so much the harm to the victim, which seems minor, but the motivation (presumably political advantage) and the abuse of police databases to obtain the information necessary.

We trust individual police officers with all kinds of otherwise-secret information and authority. For a rank and file officer to abuse the privilege is common enough but always a matter for serious concern; to have a chief of police, who is supposed to set an example of ethical conduct for his subordinates, abuse personal information for political gain suggests that the problem is far larger than it appears on the surface.

This is not an isolated incident. It is part of a pattern.

2014-07-28 18:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hillary goes on record supporting censorship

“With Klein, Halper and Kessler, we now have a Hat Trick of despicable actors concocting trashy nonsense,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “Their behavior should neither be allowed nor enabled, and legitimate media outlets who know with every fiber of their beings that it is completely made up should not get down in the gutter with them.”

We don't do censorship here, Hillary.

2014-07-28 17:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama advisor refuses to appear

Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena, prompting Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to vote to rebuke the administration.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 19-14 to reject the White House’s claim that Simas has absolute immunity from a subpoena from Congress.

The White House is claiming "absolute immunity".

2014-07-28 16:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FEC trying to interfere with distribution of Rand Paul's book

“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher,” warned Chairman Lee E. Goodman, one of three Republicans on the six-person FEC.

The Democrats are well past desperation if they are willing to try to interfere with publishing a book.

2014-07-28 15:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Representative says we have no right to know what our government is doing

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting congressional representative for the District of Columbia, angrily sputtered during a congressional hearing Friday that the White House should not be held up to scrutiny, saying that there was no right to know what it was doing behind closed doors.

The words of a woman in government who doesn't understand government. At least, not our form of government.

It's a good thing she doesn't actually get to vote, since she represents DC. But I suspect her attitude is not at all unusual.

2014-07-28 14:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The antis tell you this sort of thing never happens

As we’ve previously reported, an armed doctor prevented a possible mass shooting in a Pennsylvania hospital yesterday. The doctor engaged the shooter, hitting him multiple times in the chest and saving an unknown number of lives in the process.

He violated policy in order to be armed, and he was right to do so.

2014-07-28 13:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

MA police chiefs want control over gun ownership

Last month, a bill was introduced in Massachusetts that, among other gun control provisions, would give local police chiefs an enormous amount of power to determine who in their jurisdiction could own a long gun (rifle or shotgun).

This is inconsistent with the 2nd Amendment as a fundamental, individual right. I do not think that the proposed law would survive a Supreme Court challenge, but the legislation is still in play (currently in negotiations between the House and the Senate). We should also be aware of who has supported this provision to make sure their future political aspirations are appropriately limited.

To borrow a meme from Joe, don't ever let anyone tell you they don't want to take your guns.

2014-07-28 12:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Concealed carry holder captures 5 fleeing suspects

This man went above and beyond the call of duty, but the gun control advocates claim it never happens.

2014-07-28 11:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS backs off initial denial of providing legal advice to employees before testifying

John Koskinen had told lawmakers Wednesday that the IRS doesn’t talk to employees who are going to sit for interviews with congressional investigators.“ Any employee who wants assistance in preparing for transcribed interviews may receive assistance from the Office of Chief Counsel,” Koskinen wrote to Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), the top lawmakers on the House Oversight subcommittee he testified before on Wednesday.

This is yet another walkback from Koskinen's prior testimony. If IRS lawyers are helping prep employees before those employees testify to Congress, it raises ethical concerns over whether the advice being given is intended to protect the individual employee or the agency as a whole. The lawyers could also be a source of information for IRS cover-up efforts seeking to stay ahead of a Congressional investigation.

2014-07-28 10:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Victory in Palmer v DC!

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

Another tremendous win for Alan Gura on the 2nd Amendment. This one strikes down the last jurisdiction in the country that has no provision for law-abiding residents to carry arms in public. Gura is likewise responsible for striking down the Illinois law prohibiting concealed carry.

It must be noted that this is a DC District Court opinion. Appeals are both possible and likely.

If DC chooses not to appeal, they will need to write legislation allowing for carry by law-abiding citizens. If they take this path, it will be interesting to see what sort of legislation results. Although several states maintain may-issue licensing regimes for handgun carry, when Illinois was forced to implement a carry law they went for shall-issue. In my opinion, anything short of shall-issue is likely to have constitutional problems, though training requirements and the like might survive.

Given the timing, I suspect that the House amendment to block all DC gun laws had something to do with finally getting a decision in this case.

UPDATE: SAF press release says DC does plan to appeal.

2014-07-26 21:39:15.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why the left is trying so hard to shut up 501c4 groups...

Because in every other category of tax-exempt groups with some level of allowed political activity, the Left is dominant. They raise more money via 501c3s (often by funneling money through government grants, such as ACORN did), and more money via unions (especially public employee unions). Where they can obtain donor names, they can pressure donors to right-leaning groups or causes to stop donating or start publicity campaigns with charges of bigotry, such as we see continually in the gay-marriage debate.

2014-07-25 14:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obamacare flunks GAO audit for fraudulent benefits

Now, however, the problem has expanded from failed enrollments to successful enrollments that shouldn’t have made it. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a small test of the Healthcare.gov site, which the Obama administration claims is functional now, to see whether the system could prevent fraudulent enrollments. In twelve attempts, the GAO succeeded in eleven fictitious enrollments.

If there were proper protections against fraud, the system would be unable to redistribute wealth to illegal immigrants. So, instead we get a system that lacks the technical means to detect fraud and fails over to human beings who are unwilling to detect fraud. Meanwhile it's kicking people off the doctors they were promised they could keep, and it isn't even saving money.

A lot of people believed in Obamacare as something that would help them, or their friends, or their family, or "the poor" generically. They were wrong. They were, in fact, lied to. Slowly, as the pleasant promises of fork-tongued politicians give way to the cold hard truth of reality, they are realizing it.

2014-07-25 13:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

So,why would the IRS inspector general shut Koskinen down?

Koskinen claimed that IRS inspector general J. Russell George told him “not to do any further investigations or interviews” with employees pertaining to hard drive crashes, and that’s why he did not voluntarily provide a key witness to congressional investigators. But Koskinen later admitted that the inspector general never told him not to cooperate with Congress.

Assuming Koskinen is being honest about having been told that, the only reason I can see for such a request would be if Koskinen's interviews and investigations were actually interfering with the IG's own investigation. Such as using "interviews" to intimidate witnesses into shutting up, or taint their memories of what actually happened with after-the-fact insinuations.

2014-07-25 09:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Landmark Legal Foundation asks judge to sanction EPA for destroying emails

Landmark Legal Foundation today asked Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth to sanction the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for destroying or failing to preserve emails and text messages that may have helped document suspected Agency efforts to influence the 2012 presidential election.

The "attempt to influence the election" involved withholding proposed regulations until after the election took place, something that seems a relatively minor point. What is more serious is that continuing pattern of this administration in seeking to conceal and refusing to release internal communications to the public, even though the public is legally entitled to see them under the Freedom of Information Act.

2014-07-24 18:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Missing the point on IRS bonuses

Some idiot in the Washington Post is objecting to the House eliminating funding for IRS and VA executive bonuses:

These legislative actions demonstrate the willingness of Congress to renege on long-standing practices and promises to federal employees, promises enshrined in law. For example, the section of the U.S. code regarding senior executives says: “To encourage excellence in performance by career appointees, performance awards shall be paid to career appointees.”

I wonder what color the sky is on his world. If he thinks that the IRS and VA senior executives have been performing with excellence, it's got to have different chemistry or physics.

Besides, the IRS can use the money to upgrade their email system to one that can actually respond efficiently to Congressional investigations.

2014-07-24 17:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

I've been saying from the beginning...

... that Lerner's hard drive should have been recoverable. As it turns out, technical experts at the IRS agree with me. It's the nontechnical management team who have been claiming that no data could be recovered -- and refusing to seek outside help in performing that recovery.

I could accept not wanting to seek outside help to recover relatively insignificant email messages from an IRS employee, given that there are thousands of IRS employees and many of them will experience computer problems at one time or another, and handing the hard drive to an external contractor to recover data could risk exposing confidential taxpayer information. Such concerns are not unreasonable. But most of those employees are not management, making important decisions on IRS policy that need to be preserved. Most of them did not have a hard drive "crash" shortly after receiving a demand from Congress for their emails pursuant to an investigation. Most of them were not already involved in a lawsuit (the Z Street lawsuit) that should have placed a litigation hold on all of Lerner's email traffic.

Even then, I could understand not trying to recover her emails. It's possible there was a misunderstanding about whether the data was recoverable. It's possible someone said "Hey, we can get everything back from the email server", and then no one ever did. It's possible that a series of boneheaded decisions were involved.

But when the number of computer crashes by parties linked to Lois Lerner has advanced from just Lerner, to a current total of "less than 20" but definitely at least 9, I get suspicious. When the IRS tells us the backup tapes are not recoverable, and then has to backtrack on that, I get suspicious. When IRS management produces "contemporary" emails showing that "every effort" had been made to recover Lerner's hard drive and then has to later admit that not only was the data, originally described as "unrecoverable", actually "probably recoverable" with outside help that IRS management refused to authorize, and at one point actually described as "recovered", I get suspicious.

2014-07-24 16:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Jim Jordan versus IRS Commiss Koskinen

2014-07-24 15:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trey Gowdy versus IRS Commiss Koskinen

2014-07-24 14:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reason has some ugly quotes from police officers

They are commenting on the death by choking during the course of an arrest of a man suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes. Read the whole thing, but I wanted to call out some specific parts that seemed significant to me:

Anytime a person says "I'm tired of it. It stops today." That will almost always end with the use of force. He made that decision, not the Police. The Police must effect the arrest and rise above any resistance.

This guy is capitalizing "Police" like I would capitalize "Constitution" and other people would capitalize "God". That makes me really uncomfortable. Furthermore, resisting arrest should not automatically result in a death sentence, particularly if resistance is passive or with non-lethal means.

I could care less how the public perceives us when we're in the right and if YOU were any kind of law enforcement professional, you would understand that officer safety is FAR more important than public perception.

The only authority a police officer has comes from the public. If the public do not think he is in the right, based on accurate and complete information, then he is not in the right, and the correct response is to adjust his behavior to conform to the public standard or find a different line of work.

Again if Mr walking heart attack had simply put his hamburger shovels behind his back, he wouldn't have had a heartbattackmfor over exerting himself. The NYPD did absolutely nothing wron. Tomthe guys slamming these NYPD officekrs, I and many here wouldn't want any of you guys around us on a critical,incident. Hopefully you guys are desk jockeys.

All typos, misspellings, insults, grammatical errors, missing letters, and so on in the above are preserved intact from the comment Reason posted. Frankly, I don't want the guy who posted that around me in any "critical incident", though he doesn't seem likely to be a success at a desk job either.

I have nothing against responsible law enforcement officers who remember that they are public servants rather than public masters. I only wish there were more of them.

2014-07-24 13:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The wrong way to do immigration enforcement

Chris Burg describes an Arizona border patrol checkpoint that apparently harasses people living in the region on a daily basis. The enforcement action described ("All US Citizens here?" "US Citizens") is completely ineffective, but still a major inconvenience; imagine being stopped for speeding on your drive to work every single day. That would get old pretty fast.

Running this sort of blanket checkpoint is frankly unAmerican in addition to being about as pointless as the TSA's groping. I have to question whether it is being done deliberately to cause Americans to become fed up with border enforcement.

Stop people entering the country at the border, including measures to delay crossing until an interception can take place. Use drone surveillance technology along the border to identify illegal crossers, follow them (or their vehicles), and intercept them. All of this can be done without harassing ordinary people who are going about their daily lives without crossing borders.

2014-07-24 12:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Koskinen admits IRS has found backup tapes

Each time this guy gets caught in a lie, he takes a single step backwards and invents a new lie:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know "how they found them" or "whether there's anything on them or not." But he said the inspector general's office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any "recoverable" material.

The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes "no longer exist because they have been recycled."

It also seems that the IRS knew about missing emails in February rather than April:

According to Kane, it was confirmed on February 4 that Lerner’s hard drive had crashed... “Despite this awareness, Commissioner Koskinen failed to mention any problems with Ms. Lerner’s emails during his March 26, 2014, testimony before the committee,” the letter said. “Likewise, Ms. Duval failed to mention any issues with the IRS producing all of Lois Lerner’s emails during a meeting with bipartisan committee staff on April 4, 2014.”

As each lie and cover up attempt is revealed, they retreat back to the next line of defense. They will delay and delay and delay to avoid actually producing Lerner's emails until after the election, or possibly never.

2014-07-24 11:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Drug house robbery sting operations

Radley Balko opens the discussion, and Dave Hardy joins in:

One judge (I think it was Posner) has pointed out that the effect of these stings is to protect drug stash houses, which seems a bit paradoxical.

It's only paradoxical if you assume the cops aren't involved in the drug trade themselves.

2014-07-24 10:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Philadelphia loses concealed-carry privacy lawsuit

They are paying $1.4 million for improperly releasing applicant information.

2014-07-24 09:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lies, damn lies, and misrepresentations

“The IT professional in question told investigators that he was unable to recover the data on Lois Lerner’s hard drive – contrary to the GOP’s assertion that he said the data was recoverable. What’s more, he told investigators that he did not think Lerner’s hard drive crash was deliberate,” said Josh Drobnyk, a spokesman for the committee’s Democrats.

The IT professional said he could not recover the data, and recommended that the drive be sent to an external data recovery specialist who probably could recover the data.

What's interesting is that the old story was that Lerner requested the IRS technical staff spare no expense in taking whatever options available to recover the data; the new story is that the IRS declined to send the drive to an external contractor who likely could recover most of the data.

As for the claim that the technician "did not think Lerner's hard drive crash was deliberate", he has no possible way of knowing that and no reason to suspect it. That sort of hard drive crash could happen accidentally by dropping the laptop with the drive turned on (or throwing the laptop, or hitting it with a hammer...) and there's no real way to tell which one happened. What makes it suspicious is the timing, plus the lack of effort to recover the data combined with the claim that such efforts had been made.

Oh, and then there's the fact that the drive was listed as recovered at one point:

Additionally, committee investigators going through the IRS’s internal IT tracking system apparently found one reference to Lerner’s hard drive as being “recovered.” IRS employees, the release said, “were unable to confirm the accuracy of the documents or the meaning of the entry.

Yeah, I bet they weren't able to confirm or deny anything about that until they talked to their bosses.

2014-07-23 16:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Just how much data does the government keep when you travel?

An Ars Technica editor finds out, and doesn't like the answer.

2014-07-23 14:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Beretta moving from Maryland to Tennessee

They are citing proposed state-level gun control legislation as the reason for the move:

"During the legislative session in Maryland that resulted in passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the version of the statute that passed the Maryland Senate would have prohibited Beretta U.S.A. from being able to manufacture, store or even import into the State products that we sell to customers throughout the United States and around the world. While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the State," stated Jeff Cooper, General Manager for Beretta U.S.A. Corp.

They had originally planned a more limited move while keeping the existing facility, but have since decided to drive home the lesson: even proposing gun control can cost your state jobs.

They aren't moving the administrative staff. Yet.

2014-07-23 13:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

To borrow the only wise words of Joe Biden...

... this is a big fucking deal:

Despite early refusals to make available IT professionals who worked on Lois Lerner’s computer, Ways and Means Committee investigators have now learned from interviews that the hard drive of former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner was “scratched,” but data was recoverable. In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the Agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data. That information conflicts with a July 18, 2014 court filing by the Agency, which stated the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable – including multiple years’ worth of missing emails.

We were told that the IRS had tried internally to recover the data, even sending the drive to their "criminal investigation" unit. We were told that Lerner instructed the IT staff to spare no expense. But now the truth is coming out -- not only was the drive only "scratched" (a condition which typically allows for data to be recovered), the IRS refused to use outside experts to recover the data.

And it gets better.

A review of internal IRS IT tracking system documents revealed that Lerner’s computer was actually once described as “recovered.” In a transcribed interview on July 18, IRS IT employees were unable to confirm the accuracy of the documents or the meaning of the entry “recovered.”

So even though we have... presumably faked, now? ... "contemporaneous" emails saying that Lerner wanted the data back very very badly and that it was just too bad that the computer had to be sent to the hard drive graveyard because no data was recovered... they actually DID recover data.

And then they threw it away. Or they claim they threw it away.

We still haven't seen any IT tickets indicating disposal of the asset, and the people who would have written those tickets were transferred around the same time.

It's clear the story is starting to unravel. Congress should keep pressing for technical details and interviewing, under oath, the people who actually do the work.

So how do you scratch a hard drive? If you're talking about a laptop, dropping it on the floor usually works, especially if the computer is actually running and accessing the disk.

Throwing it across the room will work just fine, too.

Stomping on it, hitting it with a hammer -- well, the hammer might leave a hard to explain mark on the outside.

2014-07-23 12:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another NSA whistleblower speaks out

John Napier Tye is speaking out to warn Americans about illegal spying. The former State Department official, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014, declared Friday that ongoing NSA surveillance abuses are taking place under the auspices of Executive Order 12333, which came into being in 1981, before the era of digital communications, but is being used to collect them promiscuously. Nye alleges that the Obama administration has been violating the Constitution with scant oversight from Congress or the judiciary.

Read the whole thing.

2014-07-23 11:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lawyer defending IRS in court once worked for Lerner

This isn't necessarily a big deal, but it has three possible implications:
1) The obvious potential conflict of interest if the lawyer was himself implicated in targeting;
2) The personal interest in covering up activities related to his prior mnaager and friends;
3) The possibility that the lawyer himself would be a witness to some of the improper activity.

It's not really a big deal until one of those things actually shows up, though it would have been smarter for the IRS as an agency to find a lawyer without even the appearance of potential impropriety for this case.

2014-07-23 10:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

11 million new Democrats just in time for the midterms

Regardless of how Congress handles his request for more border resources, President Obama is moving toward a historic—and explosive—executive order that will provide legal status to a significant number of the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. One senior White House official says that while "what's happening at the border will provide atmospherics for the [president's] decision," it won't stop him from acting on the undocumented—probably before the midterm elections. The resulting collision over Obama's expected action could lastingly define both the Democratic and Republican parties for the burgeoning Hispanic population.

Obama does not have the authority to legalize illegal aliens by executive order. But that won't stop him from announcing it, and essentially zero states have significant citizenship verification requirements in place for ballot access. Even in voter ID states, if you have a driver's license and are in the polling book you are usually just fine. To get in the polling book, usually all you need to do is check a box saying you are a citizen. No one actually verifies that you are. Arizona tried to put in a proof-of-citizenship requirement, and lost in the 9th Circuit (appeals pending, last I checked). Colorado is handing out driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

2014-07-23 09:44:34.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did the NSA give the IRS tea party intel?

“For example,” Binney said in response to a question on how the NSA can use data and metadata to identify potential threats, “if you started to communicate with people involved in the tea party … and [the NSA] saw you were talking to somebody who was involved in setting up 501(c)3s, then they could alert the IRS to target you if you came in with a request.”

“Do you think the NSA actually did that?” Klein asked his guest. “Do you think the IRS partnered with the NSA potentially, to target the tea party?”

“I already know they have access to it,” Binney responded. “One of the answers that came from some of the testimony in Congress by people who are being asked those questions kind of implied that that’s exactly what they were doing.”

I don't know whether I believe this or not.

2014-07-22 16:35:26.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Freedom of the Photograph

We have freedom of the press, but our founders neglected to mention the freedom to photograph -- and that's making it easy for "security" to shut down photographers, even when they have obtained permission in advance that they don't actually need to take pictures of public buildings.

2014-07-22 15:35:26.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

TSA doubles fee on plane travel

Sure, slightly more than doubling a fee of $2.50 to $5.60 isn't that big of a hit, especially on plane tickets costing a hundred bucks minimum and significantly more than that on average. But in the aggregate, it will bring in over a billion dollars -- and not all of the money will be going to the TSA. Apparently it will be shuffled to other areas in need of funding.

It's just a shell game to bring in more revenue while claiming to hold the line on no new taxes. And it's disgusting.

2014-07-22 14:35:26.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Missouri gun rights amendment will be on the ballot

The ballot is August 5th and will be a positive step forward for gun rights in Missouri.

2014-07-22 13:35:26.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did you think the Obama administration was surprised by the flood of illegals?

The Obama administration, in July 2013, quietly introduced a new regulation that critics say will dramatically increase Washington’s power over local zoning laws in every city and town that accepts federal block grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And it’s the federal grants that could be used as a hook in the nose of these cities, forcing them to house illegal immigrants against their will.

You would be wrong. They planned for it a year in advance. They are funneling the money being spent on feeding, housing, and caring for the health problems of the illegal aliens to their cronies.

2014-07-22 12:35:26.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DC Court of Appeals strikes down federal Obamacare subsidies

This is not a Supreme Court ruling, but it is a victory. The next step is the DC Appeals Court en banc, likely followed by the Supreme Court.

In practical terms, this decision means that anyone who signed up for Obamacare in a state that has an exchange run by the federal government -- roughly half of the US -- will not receive the federal subsidies they were promised. The price of their insurance plan will likely increase dramatically. I expect a huge number of people to be unable to pay the new, unsubsidized price, and drop their plan as a result, which will make the Obamacare plans even more economically unsustainable.

There is enough disruption there that an appeal is almost certain. I would not be surprised if there is a stay pending appeal, so we should not expect massive disruption of the health care industry... yet.

What this decision does do is set the stage for a Supreme Court ruling along similar lines. If the Supreme Court eventually so rules, it's going to throw a mighty big wrench into Obamacare's economics. It might encourage states to set up exchanges (so their citizens can get the subsidies); it might bring the whole thing crashing down (economically, if not legally). The only thing I feel comfortable predicting as a result is chaos.

And the chaos has already begun: The White House has announced that it will ignore the court's ruling.

Note well: they did not say they will appeal and seek a stay of the ruling while the appeal proceeds. They said they will ignore the ruling outright.

2014-07-22 12:19:32.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

My God, The New York Times is filled with fawning sycophants

They actually wrote and published an article about the good impressions being made by the security detail of Atty Gen Holder and Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Because those two can't manage to make a good impression on their own, I suppose, and they aren't paid enough to live in walled compounds like they deserve.

And commenting on the article elsewhere:

So…just how dumb do you have to be to try to steal a car right next to a bunch of Secret Service agents and their idling war-mobiles?

I think the average Democrat fits the bill.

2014-07-22 11:35:27.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Issa considers another contempt vote

This one is for David Simas, who heads the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach:

“You can never predict what’s appropriate until you reviewed it but I can give you the historical element. In the case of Harriet Miers, the Judiciary Committee held her in contempt and the House held her in contempt. That would be my answer,” he said. “We’ve been faced…with the assertion that the president employees are above the law and above congressional review. We’re in the process of working with House Counsel and others to see what our response will be.”

It's amazing how the media can do the research to discover past positions contradicting the present position of Republican politicians, but allows the statements of Democrat politicians to go without challenge... even when it's the same people on the same issue.

How this actually works: Democrats went after Miers and created a precedent that Issa is now using against them. Once the precedent is there, both sides can use it.

2014-07-22 10:35:26.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

BOMBSHELL: IRS may still have backup tapes with Lerner emails

When the House Oversight Committee finally went below Koskinen to people actually doing work, they got different answers. Including some that may blow the case wide open:

Investigator: You stated at the time that document was produced to Congress, the document, the white paper in Exhibit 3, that it was accurate to the best of your knowledge. Is it still accurate?

Kane: There is an issue as to whether or not there is a -- that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6-month retention schedule.

Investigator:- So some of those backup tapes may still exist?

Kane: I don’t know whether they are or they aren’t, but it’s an issue that’s being looked at.

So what Koskinen told us was confirmed destruction of the backup tapes is now an open issue again. In the rest of the witness' testimony, he tiptoes within an inch of contradicting what his boss told Congress. This is the same individual who reported that more IRS officials related to the case had been having computer trouble, characterizing the total as "less than 20" (which is still substantially more than the previously acknowledged 7).

In an incredibly embarrassing timing quick, the IRS recently put out a request for bid on a contractor... to securely destroy thousands of hard drives and backup tapes.

2014-07-22 09:35:27.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

An IRS love song

2014-07-21 18:35:26.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

De-Facto ban on playing with toy guns

The Burlington Iowa City Council is moving to pass an ordinance that would require you to get their WRITTEN permission before your kids can play with toy guns, replica guns, BB guns, etc!

This isn't about criminals with guns committing crimes, it's about making guns taboo for children and parents.

2014-07-21 17:35:26.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS reports new computer crashes

According to an IRS official, a total of "less than 20 people" have now lost emails in a variety of computer problems, including:

The new round of computer crash victims includes David Fish, who routinely corresponded with Lois Lerner, as well as Lerner subordinate Andy Megosh, Lerner’s technical adviser Justin Lowe, and Cincinnati-based agent Kimberly Kitchens.

This is a good time to refer back to my previous list of people who lost emails.

In another interestingly-timed action, three IRS IT asset managers were reassigned roughly contemporaneously with the Inspector General's report.

At what point do we stop taking this excuse at face value and start calling it obstruction of justice?

2014-07-21 16:50:00.0 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]
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