Benghazi documents whitewashed to protect Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. UPDATE: Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff allegedly present at after-hours document review.

The person blowing the whistle on this Clinton cover-up effort is one of the people they tried to blame for the security problems. They will, of course, say that he is merely a disgruntled employee making things up. But he has a remarkably detailed account with names and locations for someone who is making things up, and those people can be called to testify under oath. They won't all plead the 5th.

Wed Sep 17 10:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Guns for me, but not for thee

Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, has donated $500,000 to an anti-gun ballot initiative in Washington State. And it turns out he is the typical sort of anti-gun bigot who personally owns a collection of military hardware while seeking to make felons from ordinary people owning rifles and handguns. And yes, that collection of military hardware includes things like a tank, a Soviet SCUD missile, and an artillery piece. Plus. one assumes, armed guards.

It's funny how it is always the billionaires who can afford personal tanks, cruise missiles, and artillery who want to make it more difficult for ordinary people to defend themselves.

Wed Sep 17 09:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

House legislation to block IRS personal email use

"No officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service may use a personal email account to conduct any official business of the government," the bill reads.

It's a one-sentence piece of legislation, and it's completely useless, because the one sentence in the law provides no enforcement mechanisms. It's already the case that government employees are supposed to avoid using personal email for official business, and if for some reason they have to, they are supposed to forward copies of their email to their work account. They won't do that if they are trying to hide what they are doing, and why should they stop trying to hide it if there are no penalties?

Tue Sep 16 13:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Voter fraud allegations in Georgia

“Preliminary investigation has revealed significant illegal activities, including forged voter registration applications, forged signatures on releases, and applications with false or inaccurate information,” Kemp wrote in the memo.

The group being investigated is linked to the Democrat Senate candidate, Michele Nunn, in that state. I would say this is a sign of desperation, but it's really not; it's business as usual.

Tue Sep 16 12:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

If you are running for US Representative, do not fly the Mexican flag

If you want support from Mexican immigrants, that's one thing. You can talk about how you will support them with your policies. Don't fly another country's flag in a parade, though; you're running for an elected office in our country, not theirs, and if they are still citizens of that other country, they can't vote for you.

Tue Sep 16 11:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Comcast refuses to allow anonymity services

Via Borepatch comes a report that Comcast refuses to allow use of Tor on its network, and has interrogated a customer using it in the course of demanding that they stop using it.

This sort of thing disgusts me, and it's why, as much as possible, I run my own services. I'm not going to trust my ISP with anything more than shuffling bits from A to B and back, and I'm going to encrypt those bits as much as reasonably possible.

Tue Sep 16 10:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Military cyberwar techniques used to search every computer in Washington State

Wow. Just... wow.

Agent Logan’s search did not meet the required limitation. He surveyed the entire state of Washington for computers sharing child pornography. His initial search was not limited to United States military or government computers, and, as the government acknowledged, Agent Logan had no idea whether the computers searched belonged to someone with any “affiliation with the military at all.” Instead, it was his “standard practice to monitor all computers in a geographic area,” here, every computer in the state of Washington….

Every. Single. Computer.

As standard practice.

The court did overturn the conviction, but that's hardly enough to repair the harm to every single resident of Washington State, never mind every single resident of every other state where this is also occurring as a matter of "standard practice." People who were never convicted, never accused, never suspected, and never did possess anything illegal, but had their computers searched illegally and secretly anyway.

Credit to Instapundit for the link.

Tue Sep 16 09:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Who are the 5 new IRS employees with missing email?

Here is a list of the affected employees:

Julie Chen has a hard drive crash on June 12th, 2012. That is well after investigations began. No data was recovered, and apparently no effort was made. She is one of the Cincinnati employees blamed for the scandal. This failure should be considered highly suspicious.

Nancy Heagney had a laptop failure on November 6th, 2012. This is also well after investigations began, and she is another Cincincati employee. Her original laptop may be recoverable, so we will see what happened there.

Justin Lowe, technical advisor to Tax Exempt Orgs Commissioner, lost data in June 2011, the same month and year Lerner lost her data. Highly suspicious.

Judy Kindell, technical advisor to Lois Lerner as Director of Exempt Organizations, had a hard drive failure in July 2010. That's at the height of the actual targeting operation, but almost a year before Lerner's drive failed in June 2011 (mere days after she received a letter indicating Congressional interest in the issue). What's interesting is that this is listed as an approximate date; unless there is documentation about this failure, it's possible she is misremembering the date. It she puts the failure at July (it is easy to remember what season something happened, because of weather cues), but is wrong about the year, it would be within a month after Lerner's failure and the start of the coverup.

Finally, Ron Shoemaker, who appears to be an IT manager, had his computer crash in March 2011. That's a few months before Lerner's crash and the letter she received. It's certainly questionable, but the timing -- ie, before Lerner received the letter from Rep Camp -- means it could just be coincidence.

Mon Sep 15 15:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Does the IRS cover-up break any laws in itself?

So, what laws does the IRS scandal cover-up effort break?

Any number of federal criminal statutes might apply to these facts, including Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1343—Wire Fraud; Section 1503—Influencing officer generally; 1505—Obstruction of proceedings before department, agencies and committees; and Section 1519—Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations. Sections 1343 and 1503 are also predicate offenses for the federal Racketeering Statute, Section 1961, which provides that a “pattern of racketeering activity” can be proved by committing two predicate acts. These statutes are punishable by terms of imprisonment varying from five to twenty years.

Assuming any of these actions were deliberate, and can be proven to be deliberate, people will be going to jail for a long time. And Lerner's pleading the 5th makes it really difficult for her to argue against deliberate destruction of her records. A court can't construe her plea as being a negative inference, but the pattern of destruction of records is clear and obvious now.

Mon Sep 15 14:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

MSNBC poll finds 83% favor kroger shoppers with handguns

Online polls are of course notoriously unreliable and subject to all sorts of unintended (and sometimes intended) bias, but they can sometimes provide useful data by accident. In this case, the poll tells us that the people who are moved to express an opinion by a gun control question are 83% more likely to be pro-gun. That doesn't mean the whole population reflects that 83%, but it means the percentage of the population who will vote on a gun question is strongly pro0-gun -- and that means that making gun control an issue at the polls will be a losing proposition for gun control supporting politicians.

Probably the best success anti-gun politicians can hope for is for the gun control issue to stay out of the news so they can take actions in secret.

Mon Sep 15 13:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Appeals court hears arguments to shut down NSA database

What struck me from this article on the hearings was a quote:

Senior Judge Robert Sack asked if the prudent thing might not be to wait. "Might we not say—great, we agree with you, but there's other litigation going on," he said. "We want to let the Supreme Court have a kick at the ball. Does it make sense to say, here are our views—and then wait until the DC Circuit speaks, and the Supreme Court has an opportunity to speak? Before actually making an order, an injunction? Suppose we're wrong, and someone blows up a subway train?"

Support the court here issues an injunction (which the NSA will probably ignore), and then someone blows up a subway train? Well, then we have one less subway train, but we have our fundamental freedom from an invasive government back, in theory at least. It's brutal math, but we should not submit to totalitarian government in order to provide a false promise of security.

And then of course there was the argument that the court should not act because other courts, or the Supreme Court, or even Congress, might act. Well, Congress isn't going to shut down the NSA database this year (or probably ever).

Mon Sep 15 12:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Benghazi security told to stand down during attack

Five security operators responsible for guarding the CIA station in Benghazi, Libya insist they were told to “stand down” the night of the deadly 2012 attacks, arguing the order prevented them from likely saving the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others.

The claim is being made in 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi to be released this week. The idea that a stand down order was given is not new, of course, but I think this is the first time that the people actually on the ground have published their accounts.

Mon Sep 15 11:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Misconduct at Department of Justice not punished

A recent FOIA act request has revealed an Inspector General's report detailing

The most shocking example is a sexual harassment case involving an FBI agent who sought sexual relationships with his direct subordinates (9), other FBI agents (8 more), and 29 other women using his government-issued Blackberry, but there is also a case of embezzlement and two cases of bribery that were not prosecuted.

In 80 cases detailed in the report, 27 had evidence of possible criminal wrongdoing, and none of them were prosecuted. The report covers the 2010-2014 time period, which I will note is all from the Obama era. There appears to be a roughly 7% decline in prosecution of public corruption cases under Obama (34% prosecuted under Obama, 41.6% prosecuted under Bush). That's after a case is established and investigated.

Mon Sep 15 10:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A study in contrasts

Turns out the same prosecutor who is charging Shaneen Allen with a felony crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison for not knowing that her concealed carry license was not valid in New Jersey is the same one who is giving pro football player Ray Rice a pass on knocking out his wife. An honest mistake that harmed no one is being punished 10x more severely than an actual act of violence.

The problem here is that the laws in New Jersey assume that if you have a firearm with you while outside of your home, you are a criminal and intend to use that firearm to commit murder.

Mon Sep 15 09:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Breitbart News targeted for audit

In the current climate, this looks really, really political. There is precedent for public critics of the IRS and of Obamacare being audited. As far as I can tell, the audits seem to be applied to people who get a small amount of attention in the news for their policy positions, but are not continually in the news -- meaning they have little ability to direct public attention to abuse once their 15 minutes of fame is up.

Fri Sep 12 15:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Inspectors General claim stonewalling by DoJ, EPA

I'm not surprised the DoJ is stonewalling. Holder has been doing that practically since he took office. The EPA also has a long history of obstruction within this administration and prior administrations. But this administration is so corrupt that even the Inspector General of the Peace Corps is complaining about being stonewalled while conducting investigations. The friggin' Peace Corps is stonewalling!

Fri Sep 12 14:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Balko on Police Militarization

Fri Sep 12 10:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

White House knew about missing Lerner emails for months

Now we know how the White House found out about the missing emails before Congress did. It was supposedly a casual conversation between friends. Right, whatever. This was a backchannel heads-up to the White House, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was the IRS' way of telling the White House that the evidence had been destroyed, so the WH should clean out its email systems too. And they had two months to do just that before anyone else knew anything.

Both parties involve in this casual conversation are lawyers who have an ethical and professional responsibility to maintain the privacy of client information, even leaving aside whatever government rules apply to information being prepared in response to a Congressional subpoena.

Fri Sep 12 09:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Senate moves forward with attempt to stifle free speech

The amendment from Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) would authorize Congress and the states to regulate and limit fundraising and spending on federal candidates. It would also prohibit the Supreme Court from reversing any future campaign finance legislation passed by Congress.

To understand why this is a problem, just imagine campaign finance regulations that permit no money to be spent on campaigns by non-incumbents. Or Republicans. Or Democrats. And no Supreme Court review of any of that.

I'm assuming this isn't even going to pass the Senate with 2/3rds majority, much less the House. But that it is even being seriously proposed and advanced by the Democrat leadership in the Senate is open tyranny.

Thu Sep 11 14:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The appearance of impropriety

The standard the Department of Justice is supposed to adhere to when conducting investigations is to avoid even the appearance of impropriety; that is, you are supposed to avoid doing things like appointing someone who has made significant political donations to a candidate for president to investigate a scandal potentially involving that president. In refusing to appoint a special prosecutor and instead placing Obama donor Bosserman in charge of the DoJ "investigation" into the IRS scandal, the DoJ has created an appearance of impropriety. And they have now been caught going further than that in attempting to coordinate with minority members of the House Oversight committee to spin the release of certain IRS scandal documents.

They got caught when they called the majority member staff by accident.

There is presently no proof -- but also no serious doubt -- that this coordination is an ongoing thing rather than an attempt to set it up for the first time.

Now, if the DoJ is going to releease documents, there's probably nothing outright illegal about coordinating their release for political purposes, because politicians live and breathe politics. It does, however, present the appearance of impropriety when the DoJ is coordinating leaks concerning an active investigation they are supposedly conducting independently.

(Read More...)

Thu Sep 11 13:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reaction to Panera Bread anti-gun statement: 85% negative

People don't like it when you give in to bullies. This should be a lesson to other companies targeted by the Demanding Mommies on this issue. If you give in, most people don't like it, even if you are careful not to change actual policies. That's because the press release and public request has messaging value even without a change in policy; Shannon Watts (Demanding Mommy In Chief) knows that, it's why she wants the press release in the first place, and the people know it too.

Of course, the criminals don't listen to press releases, or policy changes for that matter.

Commercial establishments should follow state law on the matter, because that's the best way to stay out of a controversy.

Thu Sep 11 12:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Can the President declare war?

From The Hill:

While Obama told the House and Senate leaders he would welcome congressional action that demonstrates a unified front, the president told the bipartisan group “he has the authority he needs to take action against (ISIS) in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address,” according to the White House.

I imagine he's basing this on existing authorizations for use of military force in Iraq, but even if Obama has a legal argument, it sets a bad precedent to allow a president to recommence military actions without returning or involving Congress. And I say that while thinking that ISIS is an excellent example of an attempt to set up a terrorist state that needs to be squashed like a bug as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, Obama's ability to get an additional authorization through Congress is hampered by the fact that he is a barely-competent demogogue whose skill at actual politics that involve working with other people is nonexistent.

Thu Sep 11 11:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Third installment of Atlas Shrugged movie opens this weekend

But in only about 300 theaters. The prior installments have been.... watchable... for fans of the book, and are not recommended for anyone who isn't already a fan of the book. Which is not exactly high praise.

Thu Sep 11 10:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DoJ hiding former employee linked to IRS scandal

“Despite notifying [Oversight and Government Reform] Committee staff that the [Justice] Department no longer employs Mr. Strelka, the department has refused to assist the committee in speaking to Mr. Strelka directly,” Jordan wrote. “The department’s efforts to prevent the committee from learning Mr. Strelka’s whereabouts suggest the department has cause for keeping him from speaking with the committee.”

Stelka was for a time the DoJ lawyer defending the IRS against FOIA lawsuits related to the IRS targeting. He was previously a member of the IRS exempt organizations division, reporting to Lerner and maintaining a relationship with her after he left to work for the DoJ, and had been asked to "be on the lookout" for a Tea Party organizations while he was working for the IRS.

He is no longer working for the Department of Justice, and Congress now wants to talk to him, but the DoJ is refusing to provide any contact information. What possible legitimate reason could they have for not providing any?

None; the only purpose can be to delay the investigation as long as possible.

Thu Sep 11 09:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

There can be only one

The Second Amendment Foundation has taken the quickening of the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Whether the soul of both organizations will live on as one remains to be seen.

Personally, I think the JPFO organization was a valuable voice for saying things that were not politically correct, but should have been. The decision to merge was a somewhat controversial one, but it sounds like this was a situation where not many alternatives were available. All we can do at this point is hope for the best.

Mon Sep 08 15:43:28 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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