Obama is not trying to stop Iran's nuclear program

Free Beacon via Weasel ZippersA senior official in the State Department admitted on Wednesday that the Obama administration’s goal during negotiations with Iran is delaying the regime’s development of nuclear weapons rather than shutting down the Islamic Republic’s contested nuclear program.

That would explain why they still have a nuclear program, rather than a couple very large smoking holes in the ground. The problem is, I don't trust Iran -- whose leaders still regularly lead chants of "Death to America" and threaten to annihilate Israel -- with any nuclear technology whatsoever.

Mon Jan 26 09:52:03 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Sandy Hook commission wants to ban all the guns

ReasonLast Friday, the Associated Press reports, the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, appointed by Gov. Dannel Malloy, decided to recommend a ban on "the sale and possession of any gun that can fire more than 10 rounds without reloading." You may recall that Connecticut's legislature already responded to the Sandy Hook massacre by passing a raft of new gun restrictions, including a 10-round limit on magazines and an expanded definition of "assault weapons," back in April 2013. The new definition of prohibited guns covers any rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has any of five "military-style" features. The advisory commission, which is expected to issue its final report next month, apparently wants to expand the category of banned weapons to include any rifle or handgun that accepts a detachable magazine, period. And unlike the legislature, which allowed continued possession of prohibited guns and magazines as long as they were registered, the commission wants to confiscate all weapons capable of firing more than 10 rounds without reloading.

All the guns that accept a detachable magazine, anyway, because once you can accept the external magazine the gun's mechanism doesn't care how many rounds are in the magazine. Plus shotguns that can accept a magazine extension. Plus tube-fed .22 rifles.

Of course, there has been legislation introduced in Connecticut to ban everything except single-shot firearms already.

My comment now is the same as before. Banning any firearm that can accept a detachable magazine is unacceptable; it is not a rational policy response, it is an attempt to destroy the healthy gun culture.

Mon Jan 26 04:04:47 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A hope for unity

PublicolaSo as much as I would like to have unity within the two camps of gunowners, the goals of each is too disparate. I think no matter how well intentioned they are, their support of a limited expansion of background checks will lead to registration and do nothing to further the cause I have chosen to champion. I cannot support their efforts, will not support their efforts.

I think Publicola has properly identified a problem within the current gun rights camp. Some people in our camp support universal background checks; others are willing to compromise on them in order to try to keep things from getting worse. The problem is, this division weakens the opposition to such measures.

I do think there is room for compromise, though.

Mon Jan 26 03:34:37 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Cops still have license to steal

ForbesContrary to what you may have read recently, Attorney General Eric Holder did not put an end to civil forfeiture, a form of legalized theft in which the government takes property allegedly linked to crime without even charging the owner, let alone convicting him. Nor did Holder stop civil forfeiture by the federal government or by the Justice Department. He did not even eliminate the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, which lets police dodge state limits on forfeiture. Instead Holder restricted part of that program: “adoption,” where a state or local law enforcement agency seizes an asset and then asks the Justice Department to pursue forfeiture under federal law. Holder’s reform was a step in the right direction, but not nearly as big a step as much of the press coverage implied.

Thugs have always had a license to steal. We shouldn't be fooled by Holder's attempts to build an undeserved public-relations legacy.

Mon Jan 26 03:05:14 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Two laws seeking to restrict no-knock raids in Georgia

ReasonAnother Georgia bill, introduced by Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), would raise the evidentiary standard for no-knock warrants and require that they be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. "unless the judge for good cause expressly authorizes execution at another time." That begins to address the safety issues raised by middle-of-the-night raids, which include the very real risk that cops will be be mistaken for burglars and shot. A similar timing expectation for all searches would help make the knock-and-announce rule more meaningful.

It's gratifying to see actual, meaningful reforms proposed here. No-knock raids are hazardous to innocent people, innocent animals, and even police officers.

Mon Jan 26 02:43:05 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Partisan divide in NSA support

Volokh ConspiracyRepublicans have significantly more negative views about the NSA than Democrats. Democrats viewed the NSA favorably by a wide margin of 58 to 31, while Republicans viewed the NSA favorably by a closer margin of 47 to 42. This finding is consistent with the partisan trend I noted in my 2013 post, Liberals and Conservatives Switch Positions on NSA Surveillance.

Kerr notes that NSA support is highest among those under 30, which isn't particularly surprising as those people have grown up basically expecting constant surveillance. What I found more interesting, though, is the partisan split over support for the NSA.

Generally, Republicans are considered the party that emphasizes national security and the threat of terrorism. By that yardstick, you would expect Republicans to support the NSA's activities more than Democrats. Instead the margin of support for the NSA is much larger among Democrats (17 points) than Republicans (5 points).

Is it because support for Obama and the Democrats tends youthful, and the Obama administration is identified with the NSA since he is in power?

Is it because Republicans fear Obama and the Democrats will abuse the NSA's surveillance authority for political purposes, as they believe the IRS and other agencies has been abused?

Will support and opposition flip back if the White House changes parties?

I know mine won't; I was opposed to the NSA and similar monitoring projects from the very beginning of this blog.

Mon Jan 26 02:20:49 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

White House promises to stop sharing private information via Obamacare website

I believe they will remove the tracking code... temporarily. The AP should set up a reminder on their calendar to check again in 6 months and make sure it's gone.

Mon Jan 26 01:55:49 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Road To Hell

Sun Jan 25 18:50:51 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

An initiative to allow non-citizen immigrants to vote in DC

Weasel ZippersWhile many critics skewer President Obama’s recent amnesty-granting executive action, D.C.’s municipal lawmakers have their own plans for the next battle on the immigration-citizenship front. Invoking considerations of fairness and justice against “anti-immigrant hysteria,” D.C. council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) and several fellow councilmembers on Tuesday introduced the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015, a bill to grant non-American citizens residing in the D.C.-area the ability to vote in municipal elections.

It's legal permanent residents only, for now. As such I'm not horribly disturbed by it. But you can bet the line between legal and illegal immigrants will be blurred deliberately.

Sun Jan 25 12:35:19 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Wake up, Florida!

Looks like the demanding mommies are targeting Florida in stealth mode, but they slipped up and Gun Free Zone caught it.

Sun Jan 25 11:35:19 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Carrots and Sticks

Joe has an excellent guest post on the division between people who advocate gun rights politely and people who advocate gun rights rudely. It's worth reading whether you have manners or not. Go ahead, I'll be here when you're done.

Now, that said... I tend to fall somewhere in between those two groups. Both have value.

There are times when "no compromise" is important, and there are times when bargaining can mitigate a loss.

There are almost no times when storming into a legislator's office or workplace open-carrying rifles held at the ready and apparently loaded is going to advance the cause.

Negotiations are useful.

Civil disobedience is useful.

Uncivil and threatening behavior is also useful... to the other side.

Sun Jan 25 10:35:19 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

PA legislator wants to ban silhouette targets?!

I can sort of understand people being disturbed by targets made from photographs of real people, particularly when those people are women and children rather than the classic depiction of an armed thug. But basic black silhouettes should be entirely inoffensive to anyone who accepts the right of self-defense against criminal attack. So why try to ban them?

Somehow, I suspect self-defense is the problem here, at least in the mind of this one legislator. But that doesn't explain why some ranges don't allow silhouette targets, surely?

Guns Save LivesHow many readers here know of, or go to ranges that don’t allow silhouette targets?

I don't know of any ranges local to me (Texas) that forbid silhouettes. I have heard that some frown upon photorealistic targets. Others openly sell pictures of bin Laden to shoot at.

I hope this will not become a wedge issue dividing gun owners, which is probably the intent. Even if the law passes, I suspect that First Amendment protection would apply to any government attempts to ban such targets.

Sun Jan 25 09:35:19 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Politics of brand destruction trump policy agreements

Weekly StandardGiven that nine in ten African-American women voted for Democrats in 2014, it may be no surprise that a focus group of urban, female, African-Americans had mostly contempt for all things “Republican” or “conservative.” But what was shocking is that this group also, unprompted, uniformly opposed both extended unemployment benefits and a minimum wage increase, and volunteered conservative economic and moral arguments about their potentially destructive impact on job creation, costs, and conduct.

This is interesting, but not surprising; the Democrat dominance in the media has basically poisoned the Republican brand with core Democrat constituencies, even before any actual arguments are made. I'm not sure how we can beat that and made inroads, but I am sure it has to be done, somehow.

Sat Jan 24 12:35:19 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Intended consequences of Holder's asset seizure move...

PournelleMr. Dobbins is usually quicker on the uptake than that. Stop and think about what that order actually does. It stops state and local troops from gaining funds and property under Federal asset-forfeiture rules *unless the Feds are involved in the case*. I foresee a massive uptick in the number of cases the Feds are called in on, and a consequent increase in the amount of information provided to the Federal government about crimes previously handled at state and local levels.

An excellent point. Local police are not going to just stop using asset forfeiture and lose their jobs. They are going to ask what the new policy is, and what changes they need to make in how they do things in order to continue using asset forfeiture. And the answer appears to be simple: bring in a federal agent of some kind on whatever operation they want to seize.

Sat Jan 24 11:35:19 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Illinois law purports to grant authority to access student's social media

It's in Illinois, and they are claiming that they can demand a student provide their social media password (given how broadly "social media" can be defined, in practice that means any password to anything on the internet) if the school has "reasonable cause" to believe the student has violated a school's policy. Any violation. Like maybe he forgot to bring a handout home for his parents to read.

Schools are actively training students to believe they have no privacy from the authorities, and that that state of affairs is both normal and acceptable.

It's not.

But the best part is the end:

A Geek With GunsThe thing to keep in mind is that this law, like all laws, can be disobeyed. Just because the state says you have to surrender your password doesn’t mean you do. Upon receiving a demand for your password you can just as easily shutdown the account or, better yet, tell the person making the demand to fuck off.

Exactly what I would recommend. Sure, they'll punish you for not complying, but they'll punish you if they look and find anything anyway, and some demands are so outrageous that the proper response is "Fuck you."

Sat Jan 24 10:35:19 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Bloomberg running sting operation in Vermont

He's got operatives posting guns for sale and running background checks on people expressing interest. His crude methods suggested perhaps 5% of the people he checked were prohibited; even that number is likely high, as there can be many people with similar names in a "geographic area" and actual background checks have to collect a lot more information to discriminate between surface matches and actual criminals.

Let's bear in mind, too, that even in the existing background check system, criminals seeking to buy guys and failing their background check are basically never prosecuted. Why add more checks when the government isn't prosecuting those who try to buy guns illegally now?

Sat Jan 24 09:35:19 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Bloomberg's propaganda course responds

New York Daily News"The Dart Center alone will determine the content of our Arizona program. The funder of this workshop, Everytown, has no control on [sic] over the agenda, speakers or participants. If *any* funder tried to dictate the content of our programs we'd give the money back."

Frankly, I think that the default position of the journalism profession on guns alone is more than sufficient to dictate a result amenable to Bloomberg. But to his credit, the director of the program did invite a pro-gun speaker. I suggest that other pro-gun speakers ask for similar invitations, and see if they are carried through.

Fri Jan 23 12:41:17 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Police now have radar that can see you breathing through a wall

Ars TechnicaAt least 50 local law enforcement agencies—and the United States Marshals—have acquired a type of handheld radar that allows cops to scan through walls to detect a human target... On its website, L-3 describes the Range-R as having “a nominal range of 50 feet even when penetrating concrete walls up to one foot thick,” and can “see” in 160 degrees. The company also trumpets: "The sensitivity of the Range-R is sufficient to detect people breathing, making it difficult for individuals to hide from Range-R."

It seems to me that the government is conducting an open technological arms race on the 4th Amendment. Note that using this device without a warrant likely violates that amendment based on the court's rulings about thermo-imaging devices, but it hasn't stopped the police from buying them. And at $6.000 each, if they are buying them they are probably using them.

Fri Jan 23 11:41:17 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Can we fundamentally transform ourselves.... back?

Daily MailThe NHS is ‘not fit for the future’ and unless it undergoes radical change it may be forced to abandon free healthcare for all, in the future, the service's top doctor has warned. Medical director of NHS England Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said the NHS must become far less reliant on hospitals and needed a ‘complete transformation’ of the way it operates. Sir Bruce told the Guardian: ‘If the NHS continues to function as it does now, it’s going to really struggle to cope because the model of delivery and service that we have at the moment is not fit for the future.’

No matter how much money Britain's National Health Service gets, it's never enough -- and their patients have a disturbing habit of dying in hospitals of dehydration because the medical staff can't be bothered to give them water and there are bonuses for patients who die on the Liverpool Care Pathway -- a euphemism for doctors withholding treatment.

Is this really what we want for our healthcare system?

Fri Jan 23 10:41:17 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Can we sue over Operation Choke Point?

Almost certainly yes, depending on the definition of "we". Sebastian notes that we could have a case under deprivation of rights laws. Although I'm not a lawyer, I can imagine a lot of torts arising from intentional interference with business and contracts. There are a number of problems to overcome before any actual suit can be filed, though. The first problem is that the DoJ and other government agencies are the ones doing the interfering, and the second problem is that the financial industry has so far been reluctant to point the finger with any specific details. The third problem, though, is who files the suit.

(Read More...)

Fri Jan 23 09:41:17 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The more things change, the more they stay the same

In 2005, I wrote about a New Orleans police official who said that wearing body armor was almost as serious as carrying a gun. And today, I refer you to an article in Reason magazine about legislation introduced to ban body armor. It was also introduced last year. And presumably the year before that, and the year before that, and so on.

We are governed by idiots.

Thu Jan 22 23:03:22 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

More details on Obamacare's data sharing

Earlier I reported that the Obamacare website was sending personal data to advertisers, including such sensitive information as pregnancy status, whether or not an individual smokes, their income and zip code.

A Geek With Guns has more information on how the data is being sent. He also makes this point, which I vigorously second:

A Geek With GunsYou might be curious why a website paid for with taxes is sending health information about its users to an online advertiser. Usually websites only send user data to advertisers if they’re selling it. I wouldn’t be surprised if is double dipping by taking tax dollars and selling data to online advertisers. It wouldn’t be a bad money making strategy. First you force everybody to buy your product and then you sell their data.

Remember, the law that put Obamacare in place also funded it for the first two years or so. After that, Republicans took the House but continued to fund Obamacare. However, the implementation of Obamacare went so far over budget -- even just the website portion -- that the Obama administration was desperate for more funds to finish it. And the Republicans might not be willing to defund it, but they were certainly not going to throw a lot more money at the problem.

So, all sorts of juicy little side deals to sell our personal data to advertisers is probably where they got the money to finish the website.

Thu Jan 22 22:06:22 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

No-go zones in Britain and France

Recently I wrote about reports of no-go zones in Britain and France based on a Fox news story. It was far from the first story of that nature that I had seen and commented on, but Fox was apparently forced to retract it due to a minor factual error ("Birmingham is a no-go zone" versus "Birmingham has no-go zones in it").

I am writing today to point you to a review of the matter of no-go zones by the Gatestone Institute, courtesy of Power Line:

Power Line
It is common knowledge that in various parts of Europe–France is notorious in this regard–there are Muslim enclaves where the writ of the law does not necessarily run. In these “no go” zones, police and fire protection are iffy or nonexistent, and Sharia law is often enforced on a de facto basis. Until today, it hadn’t occurred to me that there was any dispute about this. If you want to see chapter and verse on European no go zones, just read this encyclopedic review by the invaluable Gatestone Institute.

Of particular relevance to my earlier post, which described those no-go zones as the 4GW version of seizing and holding territory, are these quotes:

Gatestone InstituteFrench writer and political journalist Éric Zemmour recently told BFM TV: "There are places in France today, especially in the suburbs, where it is not really in France. Salafi Islamists are Islamizing some neighborhoods and some suburbs. In these neighborhoods, it's not France, it's an Islamic republic."

... The French Interior Ministry said it was trying to "reconquer" 184 square kilometers (71 square miles) of Marseille that have come under the control of Muslim gangs...

Separately, Le Figaro reported that large quantities of assault rifles are circulating in French no-go zones. "For a few hundred dollars you can buy Kalashnikovs," political scientist Sebastian Roché said. "The price of an iPhone!"...

The newspaper France Soir published poll results showing that nearly 60% of French citizens are in favor of sending the army into troubled suburbs to restore order.

Large quantities of military weapons (illegal in France, of course); calls to send in the army; citizens claiming those areas are no longer part of their country; the government claiming it needs to reconquer territory... yes, that sounds like a military invasion to me.

Thu Jan 22 21:02:48 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

David Gregory arrest warrant affidavit obtained

Legal InsurrectionCops wanted [David] Gregory charged with illegal possession of a high-capacity ammunition magazine, but D.C. prosecutors nixed the request.

This is a classic case of the elite getting away with stuff that the ordinary folks go to jail for, and it's offensive to the rule of law. Not only was the violation quite blatant and deliberately recorded and broadcast to a wide audience, NBC was warned that what they wanted to do would violate the law and they went ahead and did it anyway.

Legal Insurrection has now obtained the full set of documents they requested concerning the decision not to prosecute in this case.

Thu Jan 22 15:11:52 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

This strikes me as a risky strategy

ReasonSheriff Lorey volunteered his county to participate in the state's already stumbling permit recertification program. As a result, some Fulton County handgun owners will receive "invitations" to go online and renew their permits under the new system—a process that's supposed to occur ever five years.

"I'm asking everyone that gets those invitations to throw them in the garbage because that is where they belong," says Lorey in the video below. "They go in the garbage because, for 100 years or more, ever since the inception of pistol permits, nobody has ever been required to renew them."

Defying the law en mass in a public, but anonymous, demonstration is one thing. Doing it individually in a way that the state can easily track and follow up strikes me as more likely to have personal consequences.

It might work out for you if your local law enforcement officer is encouraging it, but he's retiring in 2015.

Worth keeping an eye on things to see what happens.

Thu Jan 22 12:09:10 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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