Agent who covered up Fast and Furious appointed new ATF director

American ThinkerAccording to outgoing Director Jones's sworn testimony of April 2, 2014 before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Mr. Brandon was the person who determined disciplinary punishments for all of the ATF personnel involved in Fast and Furious. Brandon was "the ultimate decision maker." Director Jones confirmed that Thomas Brandon did not fire a single person for participation in Fast and Furious.

I'm reminded of an old saying... "Treason doth never prosper, for if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

Fri Mar 27 09:10:14 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

GOP and Democrats unite to spend money, again

I can explain why the GOP decided to do this now.

They want to get the "doc fix" they pass every year in place permanently under Obama, so they can blame him for it, and take the issue off the table in future budgets.

The problem is, their supporters want them to cut the fucking spending, not increase it. Only 34 Republicans voted against it.

I've been in the third-party wilderness before on matters of principle. When Obama first ran for office, I thought opposing him was important enough to try to work within one of the major parties for a while. Now, that major party holds 2/3rds of government and is, if anything, worse now than when a divided House and Senate managed to vote for sequestration, which at least managed to reduce spending a little bit.

What is it going to take to change things?

I'm hopeful that Cruz will help, but he's just one guy.

Thu Mar 26 16:59:24 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Admitted members of the American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention

That's a gun control group that is ashamed to list its members openly, but since some of them have helpfully provided quotes for media use, I am beginning to build a list:

Brian Kavanagh (New York)
Jose R Rodriguez (Texas)
Renny Cushing (New Hampshire)
Barbara Bollier (Kansas)
Stacy Newman (Missouri)

I will try to keep this list up to date if more members reveal themselves.

Thu Mar 26 12:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

This is why the Middle East can't have nice nuclear arms

Transcript of Friday prayers by MEMRI"Oh nation of Islam, listen to the advice. You are our nation. Oh army of Pakistan, you are a nuclear army. Why do some generals, who have the ability to change history with one swift blow, refrain from doing so? They have nuclear weapons."

Because, inevitably, they would use those weapons. So far, the generals in Pakistan have resisted temptation. But how long will that last with their religious leaders openly calling for nuclear jihad?

Thu Mar 26 11:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

I do not think those words mean what you think they mean

Ars TechnicaIn his prepared remarks, Wheeler said, "There were no secret instructions from the White House. I did not, as CEO of an independent agency, feel obligated to follow the President’s recommendation. But I did feel obligated to treat it with respect just as I have with the input I received—both pro and con—from 140 Senators and Representatives. Most significantly of all, we heard from nearly four million Americans, who overwhelmingly spoke in favor of preserving a free and open Internet."[Emphasis added]

When those Americans wrote to the FCC requesting the preservation of a free and open Internet, they meant that the government should keep it's damn hands off.

Thu Mar 26 10:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

I'm not a coffee drinker...

... which will make boycotting Starbucks over this racetogether idiocy quite painless.

Thu Mar 26 09:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Germanwings airplane crash had one pilot locked out of cockpit

Ace of SpadesA senior military official involved in the investigation described very smooth, very cool conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.

"The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer," the investigator said. "And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer."

He said, "You can hear he is trying to smash the door down."

They aren't releasing the audio from the black box, but they are willing to describe it, and what they describe sounds like a terrorist attack. They also aren't releasing the names of the pilots, and of course officially denying any connection to terrorism, which they always do... especially when it really is terrorism. It all adds up to an obvious conclusion. And there have been a number of other planes going mysteriously missing lately, too.

The sad truth is the authorities will deny the terrorism whenever they possibly can. But it does not change the truth.

Thu Mar 26 00:34:54 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

White House office declares itself immune to FOIA

Western JournalismAs of Tuesday, the White House Office of Administration will no longer have to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The White House contends this move is consistent with court rulings.

USA Today reported Monday that a notice is being entered into the Federal Register based on what the White House is describing as “well-settled legal interpretations of the Office of Administration’s status under Federal law and Executive Orders, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and Executive Order 13526.”

In other words, while Hillary has to play games with running her own email servers to keep her emails out of public view while serving in public office, Obama can just pick up his pen and make it so.

Wed Mar 25 12:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ted Cruz and the IRS

Washington PostWell, sorry to say it, but someone has to collect the money that keeps our government up and running, funding everything from Medicare to the military. The IRS is a cash-flow-positive agency, collecting an estimated $255 for every $1 appropriated to it, and dumping it would vastly widen existing government deficits. This is something fiscal conservatives, Cruz included, presumably already know. Yet the view that the IRS’s budget should be minimized, and perhaps zeroed out entirely, is peculiarly popular on the right.

Yes, someone will need to collect taxes as long as there is a government that needs taxes in order to operate. That doesn't mean that the current IRS and its huge bureaucracy, abusive rules, excessive powers, absurd fine print, and vast industry of hangers-on and enablers who write the software to enable ordinary people to possibly, hopefully, pay their taxes under penalty of perjury without filling out any of the 50 or so pages of forms incorrectly.

And it certainly doesn't mean that the current agency, which demands all of the above from us while penalizing those whose politics do not comport with Washington DC groupthink, should be the agency to do that collection.

And it absolutely does not mean that we should put up with being harassed and delayed and oppressed for our political views while the government that is supposed to serve the people weaponizes the tax collection system in an effort to coerce the people.

Obviously, abolishing the IRS would need to involve also replacing it with something to collect taxes. It doesn't mean that the replacement must be the same as the current IRS. It doesn't mean that the system has to be the same. Because taxes and a tax collection system are considered necessary does not mean that we must settle for the current system.

There are alternatives to a tax code that squeezes the working man while putting loopholes in place at the top and the bottom. The flat tax, the fair tax, a national sales tax, all with appropriate constitutional amendments to ensure they are not abused. We have many options for reform that do not depend on the IRS.

Yes, abolishing the IRS is a drastic action to take. But the events of the last presidency have demonstrated that it is also a necessary action.

Washington PostIf Cruz’s beef with the IRS is instead about whether it has misused its power in the way it enforces congressionally set tax law — an allegation he’s also made repeatedly — more oversight is the solution, not getting rid of the country’s key tax-collection agency altogether. Otherwise, he’ll have a hard time collecting his Senate salary, let alone a presidential one.

More oversight is the solution? More oversight? The IRS investigation has dragged on for years while the IRS lied and stonewalled and refused to turn over documents. Multiple Congresses have convened committees to explore the corruption and abuse of power -- and been able to get nowhere. The IRS executives who broke the law retire with full benefits and enjoy their pensions and bonuses while pleading the 5th amendment before Congress and the President refuses to prosecute the contempt citations Congress has issued.

If the current IRS scandal has demonstrated anything, it is that Congressional oversight of the IRS is completely, utterly ineffective.

The IRS must be abolished.

Wed Mar 25 11:32:38 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Putin issues nuclear threat

Gateway PunditPutin emerged from the shadows after a ten day absence today and told reporters Russia was ready to use nuclear weapons to secure Crimea.

I don't know if that's just bravado and machismo to distract from his brief absence, or if he's serious. Either way, it's a bad sign.

Wed Mar 25 11:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Ted Cruz and the Flat Tax

ForbesShould Cruz continue to profess the desire for a flat tax, the Democratic opposition will be downright jubilant, as they will be able to further the perceived economic divide and distrust of Republican candidates by explaining that the institution of a flat tax will increase the tax burden of many lower and middle-class taxpayers while immensely benefitting the wealthy.

The truth is that a flat tax is fundamentally superior to the current progressive tax system for a number of reasons. Functionally, right now, the poor get actual benefits paid to them from the tax system through the Earned Income Tax Credit along with various other credits and deductions, and of course leaving out the actual benefit programs for food, housing, unemployment, and so on. These people are incentivized to vote for higher taxes on everyone else, taxes they do not have to pay.

On the other end of the spectrum, some corporations with political connections and those who inherited their wealth also pay little or nothing in taxes, through the use of clever accounting, special tax loopholes inserted by politicians they helped elect, and the simply fact that taxes are based on income rather than consumption -- and they are wealthy enough to have effectively no personal income because they are wealthy enough that they do not have to work. These people have little incentive to reduce the taxes they aren't paying personally anyway.

The people in the middle, however, those who are working to secure an income for themselves and their families, those who are not yet rich but working hard to become rich; these people pay through the nose to a tax system that penalizes them more the harder they work.

By switching to a flat tax, the incentives across the political spectrum will be corrected. The IRS can be largely eliminated, along with its horrible bureaucracy and repressive rules and political bias. The incessant political desire to trade favors in the tax system for campaign donations will be reduced. The tax preparation industry can be eliminated. People can do their taxes on a postcard -- add up your income for the year, calculate 10% (or whatever the number is) of that, and send it in.

A poor man may send in $1000 from his income of $10,000. Does that seem too much? Surely he will receive more than that in government benefits even without the various tax credits he used to receive, and he can always vote to lower his taxes along with everyone else's taxes.

A hard-working individual may send in $10,000 from his income of $100,000. Does he need the money less than the poor man? Perhaps, but he is already paying 10 times more and receiving fewer government benefits.

A high-earning figure like a celebrity or CEO may bring in $1,000,000, but they will pay $100,000 rather than claiming their latest film didn't make any money because it was all hidden in shell corporations that lost money on paper, and they won't be able to avoid the taxes by employing their family and friends in a tax-exempt charity that just happens to pay for its executives to travel, play golf, and get good PR.

That's what fair looks like. Everyone pays the same rate.

There's a reason they call the current income tax system "progressive".

Wed Mar 25 11:06:38 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reminder: BATFE still planning ammo ban

The BlazeBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones told the Senate on Thursday that it has not given up its effort to create a framework for deciding which ammunition might have to be banned in the United States, and said his agency would reassess how to do that after it reads tens of thousands of comments it received over the last few weeks.

I am convinced that the ATF backed off on the ammo ban for one reason and one reason only: the premature publication of the rules change, which would have been easily challenged in court. They published the rule by accident, or without realizing they needed to follow procedures; and then they rushed to get a comment period for the change and hoped no one would notice that the publication predated the comment period. When Katie Pavlich noticed, they had to back down and arrange a proper comment period. But they will be back.

The Blaze“We’re going to take the input in,” Jones told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday. “We’re not going to move forward without analyzing the nearly 90,000 comments from all spectrums, with a sense of figuring out how we do this rationally and [in] a common-sense way that first and foremost for us protects our law enforcement officers in compliance with LEOPA.”

... and the above is the BATFE director establishing that he is going to have an open comment period and follow it and actually pay attention to the comments and consider them as input... before he reaches the same decision he reached before.

The thing is... the rational, common-sense way to do this that takes into account the 90,000 comments from all spectrums... is to not do it. But that option is clearly not acceptable to the gun control fetishists in the Obama Administration,

Wed Mar 25 10:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Clinton Foundation may have raised $170 million from foreign sources

CBS NewsThe foundation has raised at least $42 million from foreign governments – and according to an analysis by CBS News – at least $170 million from foreign entities and individuals.

It's fine for the ex-president Clinton to raise money from foreign sources to feed into his foundation, but it's somewhat more problematic for the husband of the current Secretary of State and potential future president to do it. Illegal? Arguable; I don't know the details of the ethics rules but giving large gifts to government officials is generally frowned upon. Politically, of course, it feeds the narrative of Clinton corruption.

Wed Mar 25 09:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama's deficits after 6 years in office more than total debt of all prior presidents

Gateway PunditAt the end of 2008, the accumulated total of all US Deficits for all administrations since 1789 was $5.3 Trillion. For the six years 2009 through 2014, the Obama Administration has racked up an impressive $6.3 Trillion in deficits which are now more than all of the accumulated deficits before he took office.

Sadly, I must also point out that the budget is a joint effort between the House and the Senate. In 2010, Republicans took the House, and in 2014, Republicans took the Senate. The party, as a whole, is therefore complicit in the unprecedent debt and deficit levels during Obama's presidency. The deficit and the debt are bipartisan issues and it seems neither party is willing to address them.

Tue Mar 24 12:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

We live in constant fear of upsetting the White House

Washington Free BeaconIn government emails that AP obtained in reporting about who pays for Michelle Obama’s expensive dresses, the National Archives and Records Administration blacked out one sentence repeatedly, citing a part of the law intended to shield personal information such as Social Security numbers or home addresses.

The blacked-out sentence? The government slipped and let it through on one page of the redacted documents: “We live in constant fear of upsetting the WH (White House).”

Tyranny is like that.

Tue Mar 24 11:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why are peaceful protesters so violent?

They caught the man who shot two Ferguson police officers (reports are that he confessed to the shootings). It turns out he was a "peaceful protester" and is likely to claim that he stood his ground after being robbed. Without going into details, I don't think that's likely to be a helpful defense. He is already alleging police brutality during his arrest.

Tue Mar 24 10:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Remember when Net Neutrality was supposed to prevent ISPs from making content deals with Netflix?

The idea was that such deals were somehow anti-competititve, rather than two parties coming to a mutually-acceptable agreement -- Netflix paying to deliver its bytes faster and the ISP being paid to upgrade its systems along a particular path or provide caching. End result: customers get better Netflix streaming, and everyone is happy. But for some reason, some people seemed to think that would be a bad thing and wanted the government to regulate the internet to prevent it.

Well, now the FCC has released it's rules for the internet, and the Netflix-type deals will be allowed... maybe... possibly... if the regulating agency gets enough boodle in the process to approve your deal.

"That's a nice content transfer agreement you've got there, sure would be a shame if something were to... happen to it."

Nor we will get an end to throttling data transfer rates on unlimited data cellular plans.

So, to sum up: in return for giving the FCC the power to do all manner of political intimidation and speech suppression in the only medium which the ordinary person can speak to a broad audience, we didn't even get the Net Neutrality that people thought they wanted. Instead, we got what we always get when politicians get involved: legalized bribery.

Tue Mar 24 09:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Don't blame Cruz for the Nigerian Prince snafu

Ars TechnicaIt turns out that Cruz' campaign had registered to use CloudFlare as the content delivery network for its WordPress-based site, anticipating a flood of traffic from would be supporters. But because the Cruz campaign hadn't yet uploaded a certificate to identify the site for secure visits, CloudFlare's systems automatically assigned the site one of its own certificates, CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince told Ars. "The Cruz campaign didn't do anything wrong," he said. "It was an automated process on CloudFlare's part." The certificate that the Cruz campaign's site got assigned to was also assigned to

It looks like the denial-of-service-blocking-service CloudFlare is taking the blame for this mistake.

It's a slightly rocky start, but at least Cruz didn't take 3 years and $5 billion dollars to build his site.

Mon Mar 23 16:44:20 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hillary turns over 300 Benghazi emails, but there are gaps...

New York TimesThey provided no evidence that Mrs. Clinton, as the most incendiary Republican attacks have suggested, issued a “stand down” order to halt American forces responding to the violence in Benghazi, or took part in a broad cover-up of the administration’s response, according to senior American officials.

Of course no such "stand-down" order is in the emails Clinton provided. The point of having a private email server is that you don't have to turn over the email in which you ordered that your subordinates be abandoned to die. Assuming she even emailed such an order; it would be more cautious to use instant messaging or a telephone call, or even a verbal order in person.

There's a reason movies always have the questioning subordinate asking for his orders in writing, after all.

The truth is, we don't know who issued the stand-down order, but we're pretty sure one got issued. It could be Obama issued the order. And we're also interested in how the idea that the whole thing was about a youtube video got started.

New York TimesBut they did show that Mrs. Clinton’s top aides at times corresponded with her about State Department matters from their personal email accounts, raising questions about her recent assertions that she made it her practice to email aides at their government addresses so the messages would be preserved, in compliance with federal record-keeping regulations.

So, we have definitely caught Mrs. Clinton evading the standard record-keeping processes and, when caught, lying about her practice of emailing people at their government addresses to try to mitigate the problem...

New York TimesThe emails have not been made public, and The New York Times was not permitted to review them. But four senior government officials offered descriptions of some of the key messages, on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to jeopardize their access to secret information.

In other words, the Obama administration leaked a description of a carefully selected subset of the emails to the press in order to create the right impression prior to any actual release to the public. Note well, the New York Times did not see the emails. Not even some of the emails. Someone read them a description of the emails, from which they drew the intended points: "no coverup! but Hillary did not cc her emails properly!" which conveniently exonerates the Obama administration while damaging Hillary's coronation expected campaign.

New York TimesStrikingly, given that she has set off an uproar over her emails, Mrs. Clinton is not a verbose correspondent.

But she writes emails about her daughter's wedding and yoga poses? Please.

It's not that she isn't a verbose correspondent, it's that an email from her that says "Please print" a forwarded article is safe to release, and almost nothing else is.

Mon Mar 23 14:50:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

2016: Why I support Ted Cruz for President

UPDATE: Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign after losing Indiana.

Ted Cruz is expected to announce that he is running for President on 3/23/15. This shouldn't surprise anyone who has been paying attention. As a candidate, Cruz has both positives and negatives, but due to his relatively short time on the national scene, he also has a lot of unknowns to fill in before he can be taken seriously as a candidate for President.

Let's get the negatives out of the way first. Like Barack Obama, Cruz will be running for President before his first term in the Senate is complete. He will be doing so with limited legislative accomplishments (due more to his minority party membership and Obama's veto than anything that reflects upon him personally). Unlike Obama, however, he has significant experiences before running for Senate to draw upon, including a distinguished legal career and arguing the famous 2nd Amendment Heller case before the Supreme Court.

In his short time in the Senate, however, Cruz appears to have managed to piss off the Republican Establishment by being a pain in their collective asses. In some ways this is a plus; I certainly like candidates who annoy the establishment. But it does mean that he may have burned bridges with potential allies and crippled his ability to fundraise. We will have to see how this one plays out.

The final negative is that Cruz is sort of occupying a political void right now. He's staked out a number of firmly conservative positions on various issues, but he's also left a lot of ground open where he hasn't said much or taken any sort of position at all. I didn't even realize notice this until I started writing this post, and found myself with a few bits of red meat and almost nothing else. Maybe he's openly trying to emulate Obama's blank slate nature, or maybe he's just not brought up a lot of the minor issues because they didn't seem relevant. Either way, more information is going to be needed as the campaign speeds up.

The left has tried to spin up a birther issue with him, but I don't find it convincing.

Now, on to the good things.

(Read More...)

Mon Mar 23 12:20:05 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

John Lott has a few new things worth noticing

One about Bloomberg, one about the "gun ownership is down" talking point, and a couple interviews about Ferguson.

One thing that I would be interested in, and have never seen effectively answered: why does Bloomberg, as a person, care about gun control? He lives in something fairly close to gun control utopia, he has gazillions of dollars to pay armed security guards to protect him from the disarmed serfs who surround him, he doesn't appear to be angling for political office for himself any longer, I don't know of anyone he's lost that would make it a personal crusade. I can't see how he gets money or power from funding gun control politics. So why does he care?

The only thing I can think of is that gun control is a front to cover for what he really wants to pay politicians for. But that seems too much like a conspiracy theory.

In the end, it doesn't matter. He wants what he wants. We will stop him.

But I do sometimes wonder why.

Mon Mar 23 12:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Colorado state Republican representative Thurlow is voting anti-gun

Publicola has the details.

Mon Mar 23 11:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Second Amendment challenge to 1986 Hughes Amendment gun ban filed

David CodreaA complaint for declarative and injunctive relief was filed Friday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Plaintiff Ryan S. Watson, acting individually and as trustee of the Watson Family Gun Trust, is suing Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones in their official capacities for administering, executing and enforcing “statutory and regulatory provisions [that] generally act as an unlawful de facto ban on the transfer or possession of a machine gun manufactured after May 19, 1986.”

Attorney David R. Scott is joined in the lawsuit by Stephen D. Stamboulieh, the Mississippi attorney who filed a similar action in Texas on October 30 in the case of Hollis v. Holder. This latest action differs from the first in that Watson is subject to an actual taking resulting from actions performed under authorization of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, for which approval was later revoked.

I am concerned that this was filed too soon, before enough positive precedent was established, but otherwise I'm supportive. We have to fight this battle eventually.

Note that this challenge does not address the NFA rules for these items, it only addresses the ban on manufacturing new firearms. Any newly manufactured firearms would need to go through the same purchase process as the existing stock of such items requires.

Mon Mar 23 10:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

State Department infested by Russian hackers

The HillThe State Department will shut down parts of its unclassified email network in an effort to oust hackers that have been inside the system for several months.

“As a part of the Department of State's ongoing effort to ensure the integrity of our unclassified networks against cyber attacks, the Department is implementing improvements to the security of its main unclassified network during a short, planned outage of some internet-linked systems,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement released Friday.

I know computer security is difficult, but this is just embarrassing.

Mon Mar 23 09:19:08 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The criminal arrogance of Hillary Clinton

Mon Mar 23 06:20:57 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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