Obama administration running weapons to Syria

Sat May 30 12:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI took seven years to comply with Congressional privacy requirements

The HillThe FBI took seven years to fulfill a legal obligation that it adopt additional privacy protections for searches under legal provisions of the Patriot Act currently up for debate in the Senate.

A Justice Department watchdog report released on Thursday claimed that the FBI’s 2013 implementation of “minimization procedures” for data collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act was too long of a wait, given that Congress had demanded the measures in a 2006 reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

I am sure of four things:

1) The government, FBI and NSA included, will treat new restrictions in any reauthorization of the Patriot Act surveillance rules with exactly the same urgency and respect that they treated the requirements in the original 2006 reauthorization act. That is, with very nearly zero respect.

2) The government, FBI and NSA included, will treat the failure to reauthorize the Patriot Act surveillance rules as having a legal significance residing somewhere between "bup" and "kiss". However, a big public relations push will be made to claim that the surveillance is being stopped.

3) If Congress fails to reauthorize the NSA public surveillance program, there will shortly thereafter be one or more terrorist attacks that the government will claim they could have stopped if only they had been allowed to continue spying on people who aren't terrorists. This will likely lead to reauthorization in secret.

4) No whistleblowers will emerge to point out that they never actually stopped.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject... notice how the focus is suddenly on the NSA's telephone records surveillance program, when the NSA's Internet surveillance program is much more relevant to modern life?

Sat May 30 11:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Republicans planning to lose even if they win the Obamacare case

Sharyl Attkisson“There are Republicans right now scared to death that we’re going to win,” says one Republican leader who did not want to be quoted by name. “They’re in meetings right now planning ways to revive the subsidies if the [Supreme] Court strikes them down.” ... According to a dozen Congressional Republicans who discussed the topic but did not wish to be named, they worry the public wouldn’t view a strike-down of the subsidies as a weakness in Obamacare, but would instead blame Republicans for taking money away from them.

The Ruling Party wants Obamacare. The rest is just theater.

Sat May 30 10:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Remember when Obamacare was going to save you $2500 per year?

Megan McArdleThe good news is that even if we do see big rate hikes for the next few years, that doesn't mean we need expect them indefinitely. Eventually, insurers will figure out the price of providing these products, and then -- barring a self-selecting "death spiral" -- cost increases will move with the rate of health care cost inflation, rather than wildly gyrating as insurers realize they're losing money. The bad news, of course, is that we don't know how many big increases we might need to get to that price.

Sat May 30 09:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Texas passes open carry

Texas TribuneHouse Bill 910 from state Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, would allow license-holders to carry handguns openly in a hip or shoulder holster, changing current law requiring that such weapons be concealed.

Governor Abbott has promised to sign it, so that's pretty much that.

Note that you still need to have a license to carry.

This is a step forward for gun rights in Texas. It does not yet go far enough, but it is a good start. We need to work to add language preventing police from stopping individuals solely because they are carrying a firearm openly, and we need to remove the licensing requirement so that anyone legally allowed to own a gun can also carry one openly without breaking the law.

Given the license requirement, probably the most important part of this law is the protection it offers to those already licensed to carry a concealed handgun whose concealment is rendered momentarily ineffective. Previously, you could actually get in legal trouble if, say, the wind blew your jacket open. Once this legislation goes into effect, that won't be an issue.

Fri May 29 21:21:38 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

House requests new AG Lynch to prosecute Lerner

The HillAll 24 Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to the newly confirmed AG on Thursday, asking her to respond to the panel’s 2014 request to charge Lerner for possible crimes, including using her position to have the Internal Revenue Service target conservative groups; impeding investigations by giving misleading information; and disclosing confidential taxpayer information.

The proper time and place to bring this pressure was before the Senate confirmed her. Now that she has been confirmed, she has no reason to comply. This is pure political theater.

UPDATE: The plot thickens. The letter is requesting a status update on the matters other than contempt which Congress also referred to the DOJ, specifically misleading the Treasury IG, improperly influencing IRS action against conservative organizations, and disclosing taxpayer information improperly (by using personal email). The decision not to charge Lerner for contempt did not address those other issues, so they are presumably still open.

Fri May 29 12:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another political prosecution

Ace of SpadesAs you may or may not know -- well, you almost certainly know it; I don't know why I'm low-balling you here -- it's illegal to "structure" withdrawals from a bank in order to evade the IRS $10,000 (?) threshold which triggers a reporting requirement.

Well, Denny Hastert did that, feds claim. He is indicted for Malicious Withdrawals of His Own Money.

He is obviously guilty of being a Republican politician.

UPDATE: The Washington Post is reporting on leaked details that appear to amount to a blackmail scheme in which Hastert was the victim. If the allegations are correct, Hastert's conduct was presumably criminal, right? So why is he being charged with "structuring" and a paper-thin charge of lying to investigators?

All in all, this seems to be a remarkably strange situation. Whatever Hastert may have done in the past, the present charges seem purely political.

Fri May 29 11:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The new green indoctrination is really old school

Wall Street JournalWhile many American parents are angry about the Common Core educational standards and related student assessments in math and English, less attention is being paid to the federally driven green Common Core that is now being rolled out across the country. Under the guise of the first new K-12 science curriculum to be introduced in 15 years, the real goal seems to be to expose students to politically correct climate-change orthodoxy during their formative learning years.

This is certainly environmental indoctrination, and it is certainly objectionable (if perhaps inevitable in government controlled schools) to use the school system to push political causes and beliefs. But it's far from new. I went to high school in the 1990s. I remember global warming was a frequent topic and events like "Earth Day" prompted speakers and assemblies. People usually manage to grow out of their childhood indoctrination once it is confronted by evidence to the contrary.

The problem is that the modern environment movement has successfully divorced itself from any reliance upon actual evidence among believers. The new ice age scare turned into global warming turned into climate change and now climate disruption. It has become completely unfalsifiable, unaccountable, and evidence free. The frantic data manipulations of climate "scientists" are no longer necessary. The faithful will believe in the face of proof to the contrary.

Pournelle lays out the end game:

Jerry PournelleAnd you get to pay for it, and your children will come home ashamed of their Denier parents: even as the evidence pours in showing that we don’t know much about climate even with our multi-million dollar models... But that isn’t going to be taught to your kids.

Our school system is so bad that perhaps it won’t be effective in indoctrination; but the next step will be to have the kids report their Denier parents, and then send Child Protective Services to help the kids resist the evil parents who are teaching The Wrong Stuff to their kids.

That's the end game, and it has always been the end game.

Fri May 29 10:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Two men arrested in New York for manspreading

National ReviewNew York police allegedly arrested two men for “manspreading” (sitting with their legs far apart) on the subway, according to a report entitled “That’s How They Get You” released by the Police Reform Organizing Project.

Arrested? That's why Officer Friendly has left the building. Not every problem needs a law and a police response.

Fri May 29 09:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

1200 MORE Clinton emails deemed personal and not released

The HillMore than 1,200 emails turned over to the State Department from Hillary Clinton have been deemed "personal" and will not be made public. The ruling from the government's chief records official followed a request from the State Department to analyze approximately 30,000 emails from the former secretary of State’s private server.

Remember, these emails have already been picked over by Clinton's personal staff to ensure that "personal" emails were removed and not turned over to the State Department. Now, the State Department is itself declaring that even more emails are "personal" and will not be released or stored as part of the public record. While the State Department is a more neutral and appropriate party to be conducting the review (now that Clinton is now longer head of the department, at least), I still think it's interesting and suspicious that more emails are being withheld. I suspect they are just using it as an excuse to hide information that damages someone other than Hillary.

But we will likely never know.

Thu May 28 12:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Clinton foundation sued for email server access and racketeering

Washington ExaminerBill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation have been hit with a racketeering lawsuit in Florida court.

The lawsuit, filed by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, includes a legal request to have the Florida judge seize the private server on which Hillary Clinton and her aides hosted their emails while she served as secretary of state.

Normally I would discount this as a longshot lawsuit that wasn't likely to amount to much, but the request to seize the email server makes it potentially significant. If the judge grants such a request, it seems likely to open a can of worms for the Clintons.

Thu May 28 11:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

An unusually vigorous defender of spying on ourselves

TriggerFingerin comments at The Silicon GreybeardOur unusually vigorous commenter appears to be convinced that the NSA can stop terrorist attacks on the United States if they are allowed to listen to every phone call, read every email, and hack every server run by people in the United States who aren't interested in attacking themselves.

That's why there have been no successful terrorist attacks against the United States ever. 9-11 was a bad dream; the underwear bomber and the shoe bomber did not get onto a plane; no one attacked the cartoon contest; the Boston Marathon has never been bombed; a military psychiatrist did not shoot several dozen people while screaming the name of his god.

But we should be scared that all of those things might have happened, if only the NSA was not carefully spying on everyone in order to prevent them from happening.

Oh, wait...

Read the post at Greybeard's place. It's funny.

Thu May 28 11:31:16 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Tax and Spend Socialists

Bernie Sanders via Irons in the FireSanders has advocated for returning the personal income tax rate to 90 percent for top earners, as it was in the 1950s. He brushed off the comments from businesses that have called his “revolution” for the transfer of wealth from the top earners to the middle class, similar to Nazi Germany.

“These people are so greedy, they’re so out of touch with reality,” Sanders said. “You know what? Sorry, you’re all going to have to pay your fair share of taxes.”

You know what happens when the income tax rate is 90%?

No one pays it, because they don't want to work that hard.

The rich stay rich, because their money doesn't depend on income.

And no one new gets rich.

Thu May 28 10:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Islam is incompatible with free speech

CNSNews via Protein Wisdom“In January the Pahang mufti, appointed by the State Islamic Authority, declared that non-Muslims were prohibited from using the word ‘Allah’ and 34 other words associated with Islam,” said the State Department. “He told reporters that non-Muslims were barred from using the words in statements, speeches, publications, or in any broadcast as it could ‘mislead’ and affect the faith of Muslims. He said that doing so would violate the law, which, with a conviction, carries a fine up to RM 5,000 ($1,526) and/or imprisonment up to two years.”

Remember when I said that Islam is incompatible with democracy? This is an example.

Thu May 28 09:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Proof that Hillary deleted emails?

InstapunditTHE HACKERS KNOW, BUT WE DON’T: A screenshot from a Romanian hacker confirms that two emails sent to Hillary Clinton from Sidney Blumenthal regarding intelligence reports on Libya are “missing.” Hmmmm… I wonder what happened to them? Nothing to see here–move along.

If Hillary did in fact delete -- or order deleted, whatever the mechanism -- then this could lead to serious problems for Hillary. Criminal problems. But only if she loses in 2016.

That shouldn't matter, but obviously it does.

Obama is obviously not going to prosecute anyone with a D after their name, at least as long as the party stays in ranks behind him. Hillary will obviously not prosecute herself for covering up Benghazi, which leaves a Republican president with integrity as the only possible hope for prosecuting the cover-up operation.

Chances of electing a Republican look pretty good. Chances that Republican will actually have the integrity to prosecute Hillary for covering up her role in the Benghazi cover up are slim.

Wed May 27 12:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The New York Times is correct by accident

New York Times via Instapundit[A] new brand of authoritarian government has evolved that is better adapted to an era of global media, economic interdependence and information technology. The “soft” dictators concentrate power, stifling opposition and eliminating checks and balances, while using hardly any violence.

Read Glenn's whole post at a minimum. It's rare for the pundit whose trademark is "instant" to go on at any length, and when he does, it's always worth it.

Wed May 27 11:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Some religions are not compatible with democracy

American ThinkerThe red line is unequivocal: full democracies are effectively absent once the Muslim population reaches 6 percent or higher... You might ask what the relationship is between Christians and the democracy index. It is the exact opposite of that for Muslims, and even more statistically convincing. There is a stronger correlation (p=5e-22, r=+0.66), except in the positive direction, between the Christian population and democracy. The highly significant relationship between the Muslim population and press freedom is strongly negative. On the other hand, the significant correlation between the Christian proportion of a nation’s population and its press freedom is strongly positive.

It gets worse.

Breitbart via Bill QuickIn a recent survey conducted by, the website for the Al Jazeera Arabic television channel, respondents overwhelmingly support the Islamic State terrorist group, with 81% voting “YES” on whether they approved of ISIS’s conquests in the region.

Both of those news items simplify the issue considerably, yet make points that are vitally important. We cannot afford to allow large numbers of Muslim immigrants into our nation if we want to keep our democracy and our relative safety from terrorism. That does not mean that every Muslim is a terrorist, or supports terrorism, or opposes democracy. It does mean that the Muslim idea of democracy is substantially different from that of Western nations, leaving out important freedoms of speech and religion that the west takes for granted.

That is why the United States is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Even a Muslim majority cannot use government to violate the rights of free speech and freedom of religion spelled out in our Constitution. But those protections are only as strong as the people defending them.

Wed May 27 10:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The IRS is preparing to regulate political speech again

New York TimesThe Internal Revenue Service could issue as early as next month new draft regulations governing political activity by tax-exempt organizations, according to a notice issued on Thursday. But it remains unlikely that the new rules would be in place before the 2016 election.

They really need to just back away from this issue. They have neither the expertise nor the political credibility to manage it properly, and the fact that they keep returning to the issue makes their motives perfectly clear.

Wed May 27 09:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Texas campus carry legislation down to the wire

NRA-ILAThe House will be working until midnight tonight. Please contact your state Representative IMMEDIATELY and urge him or her to pass meaningful campus carry legislation. Any amendment to SB 11 which would allow institutions of higher education to "opt-out" of campus carry or give them wide latitude to determine where and whether CHLs may lawfully possess firearms will not accomplish this goal. It will only lead to a patchwork of inconsistent application of the law and denial of self-defense rights to the most law-abiding and responsible segment of the population.

Texans, you have until midnight to contact your Texas House representative and urge him to pass SB11 cleanly.

Tue May 26 16:45:20 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

5th circuit upholds amnesty injunction

This quote leaped out at me from early in the decision, referring to the consequences of allowing an illegal alien to remain lawfully within the United States:

5th Circuit DecisionThat designation makes aliens who were not otherwise qualified for most federal public benefits eligible for “social security retirement benefits, social security disability benefits, [and] health insurance under Part A of the Medicare program.”

Further, “[e]ach person who applies for deferred action pursuant to the [DAPA] criteria . . . shall also be eligible to apply for work authorization for the [renewable three-year] period of deferred action.” “An alien with work authorization may obtain a Social Security Number”; “accrue quarters of covered employment"; and "correct wage records to add prior covered employment within approximately three years of the year in which the wages were earned or in limited circumstances thereafter."

This is a victory, but it's only a temporary victory. The nature of an injunction like this depends on the results of the final case, and while granting an injunction usually indicates a likelihood of success on the merits, there is still a lot of lawyering to do including the possibility of a Supreme Court appeal on the injunction itself even before the merits of the case are considered.

So take this as a good sign, not a final decision.

Read the full 68 page decision.

UPDATE: Obama will not appeal to the Supreme Court. That means no amnesty -- assuming the lawyers aren't misleading the judge again -- until a full decision on the merits.

UPDATE: But he will appeal to the 5th Circuit en banc. And remember, he's had years to stuff the courts with his appointees, so an en banc hearing probably favors Obama more than the Supreme Court.

Tue May 26 15:23:34 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

State Dept employee accused of sextortion sheme from his gov computer

Daily CallerFederal agents arrested a State Department employee flying out of Atlanta this week and charged him with running a massive “sextortion” scam claiming he stole sexually explicit photos of young women from their Internet accounts and then blackmailed them for more sexual photos and videos.

But no one at the NSA would ever abuse their power, right Rubio?

Tue May 26 12:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Gowdy identifies gaps in Hillary emails

The Daily Signal June 10-Aug. 8, 2011—Time period where Clinton was heavily involved in Libya policy.
Sept. 14-Oct. 21, 2011—Dates of Clinton’s trip to Libya, when the now-famous picture of Clinton on her blackberry was taken
Oct. 21, 2011-Jan. 5, 2012—Time period when the State Department was extending the Benghazi mission for another year
April 27- July 4, 2012—Time period of increased security during which an IED was thrown at the compound blasting a hole through the wall and during which the British ambassador was attacked

Those gaps are very interesting indeed.

Tue May 26 11:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Two failures of justice

When a successful criminal defense involves the claim that the defendant cannot be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because other people were shooting at the same person, you know you're dealing with a police shooting. If it was a shooting with ordinary people involved, they would all be found guilty of being involved in a murder.

And when the person who tossed a grenade into a baby's crib won't pay a dime towards the medical bills of the baby in question, and even the taxpayer settlement doesn't cover those medical bills, you know you're dealing with a SWAT raid.

Tue May 26 10:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

$7 billion in food aid to ineligible recipients per year

Judicial WatchThe bloated federal agency charged with feeding the poor—and eradiating “food insecurity” in the U.S.—blew nearly $7 billion to provide “ineligible recipients” with the welfare benefit and there appears to be no end in sight to the fleecing.

The people administering these programs don't seem to understand that it isn't just money for them to give away to favored constituent groups; it's a political compromise that is supposed to represent compassion for the truly needy. When the terms of the political compromise are blatantly violated without remorse, it puts the whole program at risk.

Tue May 26 09:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Third accomplice arrested in Lone Wolf attacks

Gateway PunditSuspected “lone wolf” jihadi Omar El-Hussein killed two people in Denmark in January before being gunned down by police.

It's starting to look almost... organized.

Mon May 25 12:43:47 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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