TriggerFinger


Most terrorists are stupid...

... but that does not mean they aren't a threat. When they climb a six-foot fence with multiple layers of barbed wire and get stuck 12 feet into an outflow pipe to a water reservoir, that's a pretty good indication of determination to do something nefarious. Note further that the man has adopted the name of a popular 6th century so-called prophet and his motives become much clearer, even when officials refuse to officially confirm that angle.

The worrying part is that we caught him because he got stuck and called for help.

The next one might be smarter.

Also, note that he was not captured because the NSA is reading your email.

Tue Jan 21 05:51:28 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Wendy Davis' life story something less than a strong, independent woman

Wendy Davis learns that the details matter:
A single mother working two jobs, she met Jeff Davis, a lawyer 13 years older than her, married him and had a second daughter. He paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University and her time at Harvard Law School, and kept their two daughters while she was in Boston. When they divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support.

In an extensive interview last week, Davis acknowledged some chronological errors and incomplete details in what she and her aides have said about her life.

There are a number of damaging points in this narrative, regardless of to what extend she lied about it. Probably the worst is that she didn't earn her way through college and law school; half of her college education and all of her law school education was paid for her husband, who cashed in his 401k and took out a loan to pay for it. That wouldn't be so bad by itself, but the details add up. It seems she initiated the relationship despite a significant age gap. In addition to paying for her legal education, he got her started in politics using his own connections. Still not too big a deal; Hillary Clinton got into politics the same way after all.

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Tue Jan 21 02:27:17 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

I suppose you can be this blatant when you own the Justice Department

You can appoint someone from the wrong unit within DoJ to conduct the investigation into political targeting:
The same source also acknowledge that choosing Bosserman to head a probe of the IRS is “extremely odd” because the more logical choice would have been someone from the Public Integrity unit of the Department's Criminal Division.

Even though she has maxed out her legal donations to the Obama campaign:
Officials at the Justice Department, though, have defended Bosserman's donations, saying that she was exercising her constitutional rights to make political contributions. Further, officials said it is a "prohibited personnel practice under federal law" to consider political affiliation or other "non-merit" factors when making personnel decisions or assigning cases.

In other words, if they did what it looks like they did, it would be illegal, so obviously they must not have done it, no matter what it looks like.

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Mon Jan 20 07:30:37 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Irony, thy name is Internal Revenue...

This week's Democratic rally-round further highlights the intensely political nature of their IRS rule. It was quietly dropped in the runup to the holiday season, to minimize the likelihood of an organized protest during its comment period. That 90-day comment period meantime ends on Feb. 27, positioning the administration to shut down conservative groups early in this election cycle.

Mr. Camp's committee has meanwhile noted that Treasury appears to have reverse-engineered the carefully tailored rule—combing through the list of previously targeted tea party groups, compiling a list of their main activities and then restricting those functions.

And an IRS rule that purports to—as Mr. Werfel explained—"improve our work in the tax-exempt area" completely ignores the biggest of political players in the tax-exempt area: unions. The guidance is directed only at 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups—the tax category that has of late been flooded by conservative groups. Mr. Obama's union foot soldiers—which file under 501(c)(5)—can continue playing in politics.

In order to legally run a tax-exempt charity intended to educate voters about political issues, a category of speech which receives the highest degree of First Amendment protection and which the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed in the Citizens United decision, you must ask permission and submit to harassment from the Internal Revenue Service in order to have it not tax you.

Guilty until proven innocent.

And the IRS calls it "improv(ing) our work in the tax-exempt area".

If it's tax-exempt, the IRS should have no work to do in that area.

Mon Jan 20 07:22:43 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The cake analogy is a lie

Patrick Rothfuss, a well known fantasy author, is using a cake analogy to explain his giving to charitable causes. I have no problem with giving to charity voluntarily, but his analogy misses a fundamental point that I want to address:
It’s like this: if you have one piece of cake, and you eat it, that’s fine.

If you have two pieces of cake, you should probably share some with a friend. But maybe not. Occasionally we could all use two pieces of cake.

But if you have a whole cake, and you eat *all* of it, that’s not very cool. It’s not just selfish, it’s kinda sick and unhealthy.

And if you have *two* cakes, and you keep trying to get more cakes so you can eat ALL the cake? Well… that’s really fucking mental. And awful. And about as close to real evil as actually exists in the world.

Wealth, whether measured in money or cake, is not a zero sum game. You can make more cake. It's likely to require some work -- planting wheat, grinding it to flour, planting sugar, heating a stove, and so on. But you end up after that work with more cake. You haven't taken that cake away from anyone -- well, ok, maybe you did, but that's your problem. If you produced the cake with your own materials and labor, you have a cake and by making it you did not prevent anyone else from also having a cake.

So, while you may prefer to give away some of your cake, and you are free to do so, if you choose not to you are not denying anyone else the chance to have cake. You are not being "really fucking mental" or "awful". You are certainly not "as close to real evil as actually exists in the world." You're just baking a fucking cake.

You know what is as close to real evil as actually exists in the world?

Someone who breaks into my house, threatens to kill or imprison me, takes half of the cakes I baked, keeps half of that for himself, and gives the remaining quarter of my cake to people who promise to vote for him so he can do it again next year. And he does this not just to me, but to millions of people, every year.

If you want to give to the charity involved voluntarily, feel free.

Mon Jan 20 06:14:08 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Warning signs...

Cops in Maryland pull over a Florida resident with a concealed carry license. They ask where his gun is. They don't seem to have any other reason for the stop, and they hold him for hours trying to find it. They don't want to believe that he knew his Florida CCW was not valid in Maryland and left the gun at home.

So how did they know he was a gun owner?

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a database of people with a carry license for police officers to use during traffic stops. But that begs the question of why he was stopped. It's one thing to stop someone for speeding, quite another to pull them over because they are from another state and are licensed to carry a firearm in that state. Exercising your Second Amendment rights should never be a valid reason for a police stop, but it appears on first glance that that was the reason for this stop.

If so, it also suggests Maryland police routinely run the license plates of out of state vehicles without suspicion of a crime, another constitutional issue.

Sat Jan 18 14:37:36 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Tricky, tricky language

Obama must really think we are stupid:

President Barack Obama plans to call for an end to the government's mass collection of American phone data and restructure the program so the data is held outside the government, according to a senior administration official.

If the data is "being held outside the government" it is still being collected, and it is the collection that is the problem. This is basically the classic shell game. He wants to move the collected data -- the pea -- from the shell in his left hand to the shell in his right hand.

That's not an improvement. It's not even a change.

Fri Jan 17 13:46:27 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The problem with modern feminism...

... is that it can't resist framing everything as somehow unique to women and sexist in origin:

Last week, I wrote an essay on women on the Internet in which I argued that the real problem is not the sexualized remarks and threats of violence that people tend to focus on. I've now been blogging for more than a dozen years, and for all the threats and the comments, they have never resulted in so much as a light shove or a pushy pass in the real world. No, the real problem, to me, is that women attract an undue amount of nonsexual rage and denigration from people who don't like the opinions they hold. People are ruder, angrier, more condescending and more dismissive with women who make arguments they don't like.

Megan, the fact that I disagree with your conclusion and am about to condescendingly dismiss your opinion has nothing to do with your gender; it has to do with the quality of your thinking, which in this case is particularly weak. You see, people disagree with each other on the internet all the time. They are dismissive of each other's opinions on the internet all the time. Feminists are dismissive of misogynists, or people they imagine to be misogynists, and vice versa, both on and off the internet. Also of politicians, celebrity chefs, mommy bloggers, daddy bloggers, coffeeshop haunters, hollywood actors, reality tv stars...

You get the idea.

Having your opinions dismissed and condescended at on the internet -- or, for that matter, off the internet -- is not a sexist problem. It's a human problem. And it's a human problem only insofar as the dismissal and condescension is not warranted, when frankly, most opinions probably deserve more ridicule and mockery than they actually receive.

So while, yes, there is a problem with sexualized mockery and threats of rape and violence against women online, I can point to multiple cases of similarly sexualized threats directed against men online, by both men and women. The problem is not that sexualized threats of rape and violence are sexist; the problem is the sexualized threats of rape and violence, period.

But if people are being rude, angry, condescending and dismissive of your opinions in a non-sexual fashion, you should consider the possibility that it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that you are a woman. It might well have something to do with the individual and the fact that they don't agree with you. And possibly with your opinions.

Thu Jan 16 08:32:58 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

One small correction

Alphecca points to a gun salesman who, inexplicably, doesn't think the public should be allowed to own the best-selling rifles in the United States.

I have one small correction. The person quoted claims to be a gun salesman. I don't believe him. Here's why:
Since this upward trend shows no signs of ceasing, many citizens and government officials believe automatic weapons need to go.

For all practical purposes relative to criminal use, automatic weapons have already gone. The regulations are so draconian that legally-owned fully-automatic firearms are essentially never used in crime. Given the regulations involved, anyone ignorant on this point while operating in the firearms industry will probably spend the rest of their life in jail.

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Wed Jan 15 15:29:58 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Criminal charges unlikely in IRS investigation

Wed Jan 15 08:09:54 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Declaring veterans incompetent to remove their firearms rights

It seems the VA has been sending letters to veterans declaring them incompetent to manage their benefits, which also purports to render them ineligible to possess a firearm. I don't know how widespread this is, and that's an important part of the determining whether it's a real problem or not; supposedly about 130,000 people are affected so far.

If you are a sane and competent veteran and you get a communication like this from the VA, read it carefully, even if it seems to be just talking about help managing your financial benefits. Once declared incompetent, it is difficult to undo.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Obama administration would consider treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder or the like to be sufficiently disabling.

Wed Jan 15 08:07:46 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

It seems to me that Metcalf made two big mistakes...

His first mistake was in publishing an editorial calling for gun control in Guns and Ammo magazine. In so doing, Metcalf forgot that people in prominent media positions within a community have two tasks, not one. They are expected to publish things that their readers are interested in, of course; in this respect they are speaking to their readers on behalf of the latest shiny new toy manufacturer or tacticool instructor or whatever. But they are also speaking for their readers, in that their voice is supposed to reflect at least in broad outline what their readers think. In using his column to argue for gun control, Metcalf demonstrated that either he doesn't know what his readers think about that topic, or doesn't care.

His readers reacted by deciding, with justification, that they no longer wished to be represented to those outside their community by someone who, frankly, was unable -- or outright refusing -- to represent them. That this loss of trust cost him his job should surprise no one.

But it is illustrative to note that Metcalf ran to the New York Times, a noted anti-gun media outlet, in order to publish a bitter screed blaming the gun rights community for his own failure to comprehend it. In so doing, he made it obvious that he doesn't care what his readers think about the topic. That was his second mistake, and it was the mistake that made his first mistake unforgivable.

The Times is eager to spin this as an example of intolerance by gun owners. That's not true; Metcalf can hold any views he wishes to hold as a private individual. We may disagree with those views, and can do so without persecuting him for holding them. The gun rights community has proven we can forgive a writer who makes a mistake and learns from it. (See the Zumbo affair). But Metcalf has proven that his article was not a mistake; it was treason. As such, it is likely he will never work within the firearms media industry again.

Not because we are hating haters who hate; because we do not wish to be represented by someone who favors gun control, no matter how "reasonable" they think their views are.

Mon Jan 13 02:47:29 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Numbers

In 2013, the FBI performed 21,093,273 NICS checks. That is the most checks ever recorded, an 8% increase over 2012, which was itself a record year. Each of those checks represents a significant firearm-related activity; it represents purchasing a firearm, or several firearms, from a licensed firearms dealer. It is not the total number of firearms sold during a given year; it does not include private sales in states which do not require background checks for such sales. In some states, possessing a valid concealed-carry license allows for purchasing a firearm without the NICS check (because obtaining the license itself requires the check).

That's over 21 million people who have, in the space of a single year, spent a minimum of about $200 to acquire a firearm. Most of them spent $500 or more.
Those buying higher-end rifles might well have spent several thousand. Many of them already owned firearms, but many did not -- or sold a firearm privately to buy the new one.

21 million people in one year. That adds up to a lot of money, and it doesn't count ammunition, accessories, and so on. The economic force of gun owners is significant. But more illustrative than that is the comparison.

Bloomberg has his millions of personal dollars. But he can't buy votes. 21 million people voted with their wallets to reject gun control in 2013.

Mon Jan 13 02:46:20 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

National Security Agency admits spying on Congress

The NSA has admitted to spying on Congress:
The NSA's refusal to answer Sanders' question directly is a tacit admission, because we are all well aware that the NSA collects identifying data on and the content of virtually every email, text message and phone call sent or received in the U.S. In fact, just last week, the secret FISA court renewed the order authorizing massive records collection for the 36th time. If members of Congress are treated no differently than the American public, then the NSA is keeping tabs on every email, text and phone call members of Congress send and receive, too.

In other words, they are collecting just as much data on Congress as they are on the rest of the country. Of course, a member of Congress is a lot more likely to attract individualized attention than an ordinary American, which means in practice they have everything and are much more likely to actually look at it.

Normally, I'd applaud that; members of Congress should not have special rights. In this case, however, it really does make me wonder how much of the Congressional compliance with -- or lack of effective resistance against -- Obama's agenda is based on fear of blackmail.

I always figured Petraeus's ouster was somehow related to that; he didn't want to do something Obama demanded, and suddenly his affair, conducted through email, was national news.

Sat Jan 11 10:43:56 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Carolyn McCarthy announces departure from House

Carolyn McCarty, a major proponent of gun control measures, will not be seeking reelection in 2014. Gun owners will remember her as the "the shoulder thing that goes up" lady.

Thu Jan 09 14:41:10 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Is Bloomberg giving up on gun control?

Mediaite says he is. I don't believe it for a second. Here's how they put it:

When he was not belittling or cajoling gun control’s foes, Bloomberg spent the better part of 2013 agitating for stricter gun laws. As recently as December 14, the first anniversary of the massacre in Newtown, both Bloomberg’s group and President Barack Obama’s political arm, Organizing for Action, sent out messages to their supporters insisting that the need for stricter gun laws is no less critical today than it was one year ago.

But their actions speak differently. The president and Democrats were happy to support Bloomberg’s opposition toward the proliferation of firearms so long as it was not principled. However, when Bloomberg’s group released an ad targeting Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) over his opposition to new gun ownership restrictions, it became clear that Bloomberg was actually serious about this public policy initiative. So serious, in fact, that he would go as far as to challenge an embattled Democratic incumbent whose loss in November could help hand control of the U.S. Senate over to Republicans. This could not stand.


Here's how it works. The Democrats are, as far as elected officials go, anti-gun. They have some officeholders who would tell "Mr and Mrs America, turn them all in" and some party members who would allow for people to own a single gun for hunting or target practice so long as it was never used for self-defense. The ordinary people who consider themselves members of the party, though, are more diverse; there are many democrats who own guns and believe in self-defense. They are Democrats in spite of their party's policies, not because of them.

However, due to intense political opposition to gun control, Democratic politicians have learned to conceal their true position on guns. They run as pro-gun. They form stupid political action groups designed to promote them as pro-gun that last for a single election cycle before being completely discredited. They remain in hiding until a gun control comes up for a vote. And when it does, all of the Democrats vote for gun control. The vast majority vote for draconian gun control; the few who ran as gun-positive frantically try to negotiate a slightly-watered-down version; but they all vote for some form of gun control.

This is not the Democratic party changing its position on guns. This is the Democratic party going into hiding on the issue.

Thu Jan 09 12:10:41 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Demand for donor identification is a civil rights issue

... and the Democrats, particularly Obama, are on the wrong side of it.

Thu Jan 09 10:29:43 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Creepy Government Propaganda

Teaching kids to check for blue gloves before being groped by strangers. Because the blue gloves means it's ok, or something.

Wed Jan 08 12:51:18 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama unilaterally delays individual mandate; RINOs claim victory; but...

Jennifer Rubin is taking a victory lap after Obama's decision to delay the individual mandate and allow for people with canceled plans to buy catastrophic coverage. She has some good points about problems with doing things this way, but the real problem isn't in the details. It's that the Republican leadership is talking about delay rather than repeal:
Likewise, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor dashed out a statement: "Our entire health care system can't be fundamentally changed at any given time subject to the random impulses of President Obama. How can anyone make health care decisions today knowing that the law may be unilaterally changed again tomorrow?" Indeed, the move is likely to impede further sign-ups in the exchanges, exactly the opposite of what the administration recognized was essential to the plan's success. Cantor reminded voters, "Republicans have consistently asked for a one year delay of the mandates for all Americans, and put forward a proposal to allow American families to keep their health plans. The White House actions clearly prove ObamaCare can't work as designed. It's time for ObamaCare to be delayed for all."

Delaying the individual mandate until they get their website working and smooth out the bugs will only result in a functioning website that still destroys private health care in the US. It's better to have a delay than have the current disaster continue, but the goal needs to be repeal, not a fully functional death star government health care takeover.

Delay is not victory, it's only a stay on the execution.

Repeal is victory.

Wed Jan 08 12:50:34 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Graphical Aid

Sharp as a Marble has some graphs comparing concealed carry holders and the crime rate in Florida. Although it would be interesting to see a rate-vs-rate comparison, instead of crime-rate-vs-total-licensees.

Tue Jan 07 19:28:16 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Entitlement

Even $5 a month is too much for the poor to pay for cell phone service:
Cell phone service, an almost unobtainable luxury a quarter of a century ago, has now become an entitlement that the poor should not be forced to go without. Charging poor people even $5 a month for one is, apparently, a large enough burden that the charge was struck down be a federal judge. The article notes that about 14 million households receive this federal entitlement. With about 116 million households in the US, that is about 12% of all US households.

The judge may well be right on the law. I can't say. But as a matter of principle, the result is absurd. If this is the result the law demands, change the law. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and perpetuating the myth that there can be a free lunch only makes things worse. If the poor need help, that's one thing. But "help" does not mean "completely free". Oleg Volk has some provocative and relevant thoughts:

Humans have long tried to domesticate other humans. Sometimes the control is almost total (North Korea), at other times bread and circuses or dole/welfare payments were provided in exchange for votes. Individuals from a single dependent generation could transition back into independence, but after several generations of welfare culture, the results appear to resemble feral rather than wild (independent) specimens. Completely dependent people lose the ability to think or to show initiative for lack of need. The inefficiency of the welfare bureaucracy may have been a saving factor that required some ability just to navigate the system. A more perfect system of distributing resources for nothing will likely produce even less capable and more perpetually dependent clients. Would increasing numbers in themselves indicate evolutionary success of those people who succeed in becoming domesticated by others? They are generally safe from the cannibal pot, and even from such tasks as conscription as their labor becomes closer to worthless.

Every single human being needs to provide for themselves through work of some sort -- even if it is only symbolic. If humans can acquire the basic necessities of life without working or only working occasionally at low-skill jobs, many of them will learn to put forth exactly the minimum amount of effort required and nothing more. And if they learn they can vote for politicians who will enable this behavior by taking more and more from the productive citizens, or borrowing endlessly in a way that will create a financial disaster, that's what they will do. Down that path lies societal collapse, dystopia, or both.

And Obama has his foot on the gas:
The nation's long-term unemployed will be cut off from federal unemployment benefits on Saturday, even as President Obama offers his support to two senators proposing to extend expiring federal jobless aid.

Taking money from the productive and giving it to the non-productive actually discourages economic activity. The people receiving the benefits don't have to find work, and the people working see less of the benefits from their efforts.

Tue Jan 07 13:26:25 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Benghazi whistleblower's email hacked; critical information deleted

The Benghazi incident has generated more than enough suspicious activity to count as enemy action (or, in this case, a coverup). The latest incident is an email hack that deleted evidence.

I hope the whistleblower had offline copies. That seems like an obvious and necessary precaution.

Tue Jan 07 09:42:33 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Can lawful firearms ownership be cause for no-knock warrant service?

The Rutherford Institute has a lawsuit:

Warning against encroachments on the Second Amendment right to bear arms, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of a Texas man whose home was subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. Although police had obtained a search warrant for John Quinn's home based on information that Quinn's son might possess drugs, the warrant did not authorize police to enter the residence without knocking and announcing their entry. During the raid, Quinn was shot by police because he had reached for his lawfully owned firearm, thinking that his home was being invaded by criminals. In asking the Supreme Court to hear the case of Quinn v. State of Texas, Institute attorneys argue that making lawful gun ownership and possession grounds for police to evade the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment improperly penalizes and limits the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

It seems to me that the fact pattern in this case is not entirely ideal, but it's worth a try. The combination of no-knock service without a warrant authorizing it and the execution of a family member under no personal suspicion of illegal activity is a good one.

Given the amount of contraband found and who was charged with possessing it (not the person named in the warrant), I'm betting it was "found" after one of the police officers involved dropped it.

The rule of law requires that people under suspicion of a crime be given the opportunity to comply peacefully. No-knock raids that execute people for owning a firearm and defending their home against invaders who have provided no opportunity to ascertain their identity or legal purpose are a mockery of justice.

Tue Jan 07 09:42:04 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Bullet Proof Whiteboards

There's a reason that knights carried both sword and shield; one was for offense, the other for defense. A company is attempting to sell bulletproof shields to schools as a protection against mass murders in school is missing the point: a shield may buy you a few seconds, but without a sword to threaten and perhaps stop your attacker, it will not save your life.

Tue Jan 07 01:02:25 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

When you don't have a gun culture..

... you get idiots who don't know anything about gun safety and use their laser sight as a pointing device in a presentation. Yes, still attached to the gun. Read the whole thing. Just go.

Mon Jan 06 19:06:31 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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