Cheap theater

For whatever reason, Obama is the only major political figure I have ever seen who regularly gets media coverage for people attending his political events fainting. Sure, rock stars or whatever get it occasionally; crowds, drugs and alcohol, all sorts of things can make someone a bit unsteady on their feet, but it doesn't usually get news coverage. When it happens to Obama it does. It even happens to pretty young women standing right behind the president at news events.

If it didn't happen with such regularity, I might write it off. But these days it does seem to happen with suspicious regularity, and Obama is always there to notice what's happening and offer a friendly hug or supportive arm. Even when the woman fainting -- never a man -- is behind the president and out of his view. And notice the bright red dress, carefully framed by young men in dark suits who don't make a move to help the woman. They've undoubtedly been briefed that Dear Leader will rescue her when it is appropriate.

And that's why it rings false to me. I can't prove it for any particular incident, but I am convinced it's nothing more than a staged bit of drama to give Obama the humanizing, caring, empathic touch that his supporters love.

Video of the fainting spell below the fold.

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Tue Oct 22 03:18:45 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Double standards in DC

Emily points out that the DC police are facilitating gun control activities that break the laws they are advocating to strengthen. It seems they think that gun control advocates are above the law.

Tue Oct 22 02:46:00 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Supreme Court declines cert on concealed-carry case

The Woollard case would have presented a good set of facts for challenging may-issue (as opposed to shall-issue) concealed carry licensing permits. While this is unfortunate, some gunbloggers are taking it a little too seriously:

Many had suspected that the SCOTUS would continue to develop post-Heller case law that fleshed out Second Amendment rights. This is important in that what the Supreme Court rejects is as important as what they decide. In this case, they have decided that Heller doesn’t apply outside the home, or at least, they won’t intrude on decisions they will leave to the state.

Here's the thing. What the Supreme Court rejects cert for is essentially meaningless as far as the law for those not involved personally in the case. They could take cert on a nearly identical case the next day, the next year, or the next century. The lack of cert leaves in place whatever precedent already existed, favorable or unfavorable. Obviously on most second-amendment issues precedent is presently unfavorable, but denying cert doesn't prevent any later action to correct that. If the Supreme Court took the case and we lost the case it would be far more damaging, because it would create negative precedent that would bind future courts.

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Mon Oct 21 03:17:06 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Governor says gun control groups should stay out of Colorado

He's saying that because those same groups weren't able to save two recalled legislators despite a funding advantage somewhere between 6 and 10 to 1. Even if gun owners weren't able to stop the legislation -- in large part because legislators weren't listening to their constituents -- the impact of successful recall efforts is huge. If gun control forces can't protect the people voting for their programs, politicians will notice and refuse to vote for those programs, because they want to keep their seats.

And speaking of, there's a third Colorado recall effort underway, this one for Evie Hudak:
Petition organizers have until Dec. 3 to collect 18,900 signatures. "They're well-funded and there's a lot of energy behind this, a lot of frustration," Hickenlooper said. "I'm going to guess it's probably 50-50" that they will be able to get the recall vote on the ballot.

Sun Oct 20 07:40:50 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Senate rejects Arms Trade Treaty, again

The Senate voted on the Arms Trade Treaty today:
The U.S. Senate responded decisively today to Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent signature on the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

In a bipartisan letter led by Senators Jerry Moran (R–KS) and Joe Manchin (D–WV), half of the Senate has officially pledged to oppose the ratification of the ATT.

The signatories include every Republican Senator except Mark Kirk (R–IL) and five Democratic Senators. The letter, with its 50 signatories, ends any prospect in the foreseeable future of Senate ratification of the ATT.

Ratifying the treaty would require two-thirds of the Senate; while a 50-50 vote isn't far at all from a simple majority, Obama would need to swing 17 votes to get his treaty ratified. That's very unlikely.

Sun Oct 20 07:14:53 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Utah refuses to disclose the military hardware they are buying for police forces

In Utah, Connor Boyack of the libertarian-leaning Libertas Institute recently filed a state open records request with the Utah Department of Administrative Services. (Possibly the most bureaucratically-named agency ever.) Boyack wanted information on how Utah police agencies are using the 1033 program, and what sorts of stuff they're getting from it. His request was rejected...

There's absolutely no reason this should be secret information in a free country. It is becoming increasingly obvious that we don't live in one anymore.

Sun Oct 20 07:14:24 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

EPIC challenges NSA surveillance at the Supreme Court directly

Privacy activists EPIC have taken a novel approach to challenging the bulk records collections. Rather than work its way up through the circuit courts, it has appealed to the Supreme Court directly, asking it to find that the NSA has exceeded its authority by collecting data on American citizens.

The lower courts have proven useless, so why not go straight to the top? If nothing else, it will save time on an issue of undeniable national interest.

Sun Oct 20 07:14:10 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS officials targetted Tea Party while attending White House parties

Well, maybe not parties at the White House specifically, but certainly meetings. Hundreds of meetings.
Further investigation into the IRS scandal involving draconian scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status reveals that there was significant collusion between the IRS and various government entities, including the FEC and the White House. Documents show that two IRS officials made over 100 visits to the White House during the period in which the tax agency was targeting conservative organizations.

It's not just Ingram, whose duties involving Obamacare's implementation might make a convenient excuse. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman also visited 157 times while the IRS was targeting the Tea Party. His predecessor under Bush visited the White House only once.
Meanwhile, the White House has taken to removing visitor logs recording details of these meetings, citing the government shutdown as the reason for their removal.

Because of the shutdown. Right. We'll see if they come back when funding is restored.

Sat Oct 19 15:51:28 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

North Carolina education bureaucrat to inspect homes at random

Without warrants, without probable cause, without any conception of the idea that the people have rights.
David Mills, the director of North Carolina's Division of Non-Public Education Director, defended the attempt at warrantless searches, saying the goal was to cause less inconvenience and give greater credibility to North Carolina homeschoolers.

That's what they call an attempt to "inspect" homeschooling sites, ie, people's homes, at random.

Thankfully the Lt Governor of the state has his head screwed on straight:
"This policy is intrusive, unnecessary, and has the potential to infringe on the constitutionally-protected privacy rights of tens of thousands of North Carolina homeschool families," said the lieutenant governor.

“Homeschool families should follow the law relating to the keeping of records and their lawful inspection, but should not be compelled to let any government official into their house. It is not necessary and people should reject it.”

Of course, if the Lt Governor is making these statements, it leads me to believe the Governor of North Carolina is not quite so clearheaded.

Sat Oct 19 15:51:16 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

What life is like as a convicted gun felon

Vice has a brief story about the consequences of being a gun owner while living in New Jersey. The facts of his case are available in a Reason magazine article from 2010, but the short version is that he legally owned firearms, his mother was worried about his mental state and called the police, the police determined he was sane and not a threat to anyone, but arrested him for having firearms anyway -- legally owned firearms, unloaded and locked in his trunk for transport because he was moving out of state.

This is where "mental health checks" end up in a blue state, and it's why we need to be careful when allowing for firearms restrictions tied to mental health. All it takes is one phone call from your mother concerned about your mental state during a divorce to destroy your life.

Sat Oct 19 15:50:59 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

MoveOn petition demands arrest of GOP for sedition, conspiracy

Nearly 30,000 people and counting have put their names on a petition to arrest the duly-elected political opposition in outright defiance of the First Amendment.

They have gone completely insane.

Sat Oct 19 15:38:49 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Fast and Furious smuggled grenades to Mexico?

Explosive news. Literally.
According to a Justice Department "Significant Incident Report" filed Tuesday and obtained by CBS News, evidence connects one of the grenades to Jean Baptiste Kingery, an alleged firearms trafficker U.S. officials allowed to operate for years without arresting despite significant evidence that he was moving massive amounts of grenade parts and ammunition to Mexico's ruthless drug cartels.

Grenade parts? It's going to be very hard to blame grenade parts on insufficient gun control in the US.

Fri Oct 18 13:07:13 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

New Jersey special election today

If you care about gun rights, or stopping the surveillance state, make sure you get to the polls.

Wed Oct 16 13:04:33 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Suppression of Dissent 201

When official repression is not enough, escalate:
The women, who are part of the nationwide movement Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment, were holding signs last Saturday when they say a man pulled up beside them and pointed a gun at one and splashed another with an unknown liquid. She says just moments earlier, a couple in a car had driven by and threatened to kill them.

While I doubt this was officially sanctioned, Obama has certainly used increasingly violent rhetoric to his supporters. He compares the House leadership to terrorists who are holding a gun to his head simply for exercising their Constitutional function of controlling spending; he famously told his supporters during one of his campaigns that "If they bring a knife, we'll bring a gun"; and let's not forget this either:

The message to his supporters is clear: go after the opposition in any way you can. And sometimes, they do.

Sat Oct 12 09:25:47 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS provided confidential taxpayer information to the White House

There's something pretty close to email proof now. The actual data is redacted from the email, but it was from Sarah Hall Ingram (a top-level IRS official overseeing tax exempt groups) and to people at the White House. The confidential taxpayer information was about a group mounting a religious challenge to certain Obamacare provisions and the emails themselves were discussing that lawsuit.

What possible legitimate reason could the White House have to obtain information from the IRS about organizations challenging their laws in court? None, of course. And remember when they said there was no White House involvement?

Don't forget -- the IRS has provided only a tiny fraction of documents relevant to the Congressional investigation. If this is what they are willing to provide, with redaction, how bad is the rest likely to be?

Sat Oct 12 09:19:52 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ginsburg on the 2nd Amendment

Dave Hardy has the link to the interview. Unsurprisingly, she's invoking the collective right interpretation. She neglects to deal with the simple fact that while the right to keep and bear arms is necessary to the security of a free state, the right is assigned to the people not the states.

Thu Oct 10 18:59:04 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

How to do media well

Emily Miller brings facts to the media scene:

It's impressive how well she schools the two media faces and two so-called experts on the anti-gun side. She's been a gun person for about 2 years and she was taking people on 4-to-1 and winning. Go Emily go!

Thu Oct 10 18:57:48 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Feinstein's assault weapon props

Emily Miller has the story of how DC police assisted Senator Feinstein with her assault weapons ban efforts earlier this year by providing her with the weapons she used as props, and denying Republican lawmakers the opportunity to bring their own props.

Thu Oct 10 13:34:52 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Suppression of Dissent 101

Anonymous political speech is important, and sometimes that requires you to work through an organization that will protect your identity. While a single rich individual can spend a lot of money to publicize their views anonymously, ordinary citizens usually have to band together in some sort of organization in order to afford advertising time.

The Internal Revenue Service abused its authority to reveal the identities of donors opposed to gay marriage in California. Regardless of whether you agree with that position, you should agree that publishing their donor list is inappropriate.

The National Organization for Marriage announced Thursday a lawsuit in federal court against the Internal Revenue Service for illegally releasing confidential tax documents to the Human Rights Campaign.

In March 2012, HRC published the confidential information on its website, which included the names of donors, who were subsequently harassed. The information was also republished by The Huffington Post.

Releasing confidential tax information without permission is a felony under federal law. But currently, no one is being prosecuted for the alleged crime, and the Justice Department will not confirm whether or not there is an ongoing investigation into the alleged crime.

The IRS released the donor information illegally, in what appears to be a significant attempt to suppress dissent, and the information was used to harass the donors, but no one will be prosecuted for it? How does this discourage future abuses?

Sorry, that's a rhetorical question. It doesn't, of course. It's not meant to discourage.

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Tue Oct 08 11:01:59 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lawsuit filed over gun permit list

Why do they want these records if not to publish them? They have published gun owner registration lists before, after all.

The Journal News announced [last week] that it had filed suit against Putnam County and county officials for their refusal last winter to release public records of gun-permit holders in the county.

This is one reason -- but hardly the only reason -- that gun owners oppose registration. When private choices are made a matter of public record, political opponents will use them to identify targets.

Tue Oct 08 10:53:41 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama's Surveillance Review Panel shuts down with rest of government

Because Obama cares so much about abuse of power in his administration.

“I simply thought that it was inappropriate for our group to continue working while the vast majority of the men and women of the intelligence community are being forced to remain off the job,” Michael Morell, a board member and a former CIA director, told Politico. “While the work we’re doing is important, it is no more important—and quite frankly a lot less important—than a lot of the work being left undone by the government shutdown, both in the intelligence community and outside the intelligence community.”

But then, it wasn't going to do anything meaningful anyway.

Tue Oct 08 10:52:53 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Fast and Furious document production supposedly delayed by shutdown

At least, the judge has suggested that was the reason for her decision, which is frankly insane -- the document production has been demanded for over two years now, and the shutdown has been in play for less than a week, but all of a sudden it's enough to delay the whole case?

Sorry, I don't buy that.

Especially since they are blocking a book by one of the whistle blowers in the case, too. I thought we didn't allow prior restraint on the press in the United States? Publish and let them try to stop you, I say.

Mon Oct 07 10:45:03 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Propaganda: How a volunteer with OFA bamboozled the entire mainstream media

Remember the guy who was all over the media yesterday as the only person to successfully sign up for Obamacare? It turns out that he's a volunteer for Organizing for America, Obama's campaign-organization-turned-non-profit, and according to his father, probably hasn't signed up for coverage at all.

Reason magazine has the scoop.

Mon Oct 07 08:41:28 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Red Cross calls for video games to punish gamers for violating international law

The International Committee of the Red Cross have called for video games to punish crimes committed in battle by adhering to real-life international war conventions.

On second read, I think they are calling for video games to include punishments for breaking international laws of war within the video game, which is somewhat less utterly bugfuck nuts than punishing players in real life for the actions they take within the game.

As far as I am concerned, they can make whatever requests they like, and while I wouldn't mind some obvious solutions -- such as having "no-shoot" people in the environment that have some sort of in-game penalty -- I think that sort of thing should be entirely up to the game designers, who will include it if they think it will improve the realism or fun of the game and that's that.

Silly non-governmental organizations should spend their time on real problems, not on spouting off about what happens in video games.

Mon Oct 07 08:39:10 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

New Colorado recall effort

John Lott points out a new recall effort targeting State Senator Evie Hudak. If it succeeds, control of the state senate may flip parties.

Mon Oct 07 08:38:46 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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