King v Burwell decided against us

It was a 6-3 decision with Roberts and Kennedy joining the left wing of the court. Scalia wrote the dissent, Thomas and Alito joined.

Thu Jun 25 09:45:33 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

This was always the plan for Obamacare

Washington ExaminerOther Republicans, however, have argued that now that Obamacare is in place, it's unrealistic to think Republicans could scrap Obamacare and not have an answer for the millions of beneficiaries who would lose insurance coverage as a result. This dynamic has received added attention due to the Supreme Court case challenging the legality of subsidies offered on federal health insurance exchanges, which is expected to be decided in June and would mean millions of people in up to 37 states losing subsidies.

The Democrats would offer up a plan that would fail, but would shift the perceived center of the debate to the left and gain "moderate" Republican support for preserving the entitlements, just like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and every other fucking entitlement program ever. Then, when Obamacare did finally fail, the Democrats would claim that their "free market" plan wasn't socialist enough and push for single payer. Unable to face the possibility of taking candy from voters, moderate Republicans would passively go along with the new plan.

And it is working exactly as intended.

Thu Jun 25 09:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another reason to end the drug war

When the DEA agents who spend their on-duty time abusing their citizens with civil forfeiture laws spend their off-duty time having sex parties with prostitutes hired by the drug cartels they are supposed to be investigating.

These people are completely insane and have no sense of consequences.

Wed Jun 24 12:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

NRA pushing for national concealed-carry

The Hill"It's time for Congress to pass national right-to-carry reciprocity for the entire United States," LaPierre declared to cheers from the crowd of thousands of conservatives gathered at the Maryland event.

While I support the legislation, I am under no illusions that there is a enough support to muster a veto override. I wonder if we aren't better off pushing for Congress to insert provisions that block spending on ammunition bans.

Wed Jun 24 11:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Police brazenly lying about license plate reader system

Ars TechnicaAn official from the wealthy Phoenix, Arizona, suburb that has begun to mount stationary license plate readers in fake cacti told Ars that its soon-to-be-deployed 15 license plate readers are primarily designed to thwart burglaries. Just how many burglaries were there in Paradise Valley, Arizona, in 2014? Only 55.

The obvious fact is that the license plate reader system has everything to do with tracking the citizens who nominally employ them, rather than with preventing burglary.

Ars TechnicaBurke also told Ars that the city will be retaining the LPR data for six months and would not be releasing the entire dataset, nor would it be releasing individual records under the state public records act. He argued that the city does not want to get involved in domestic disputes, such as one person retrieving information on an estranged partner.

Once the data is there, it can and will be dragged into everything: court cases, lawsuits, investigations, everything. The only way to keep data like that safe is not to collect it in the first place.

Ars Technica"The purpose is not to track the movement of day-to-day drivers, but the purpose is to match it against the Department of Public Safety's hotlist," Burke added. "It's collected for law enforcement purposes and used for law enforcement purposes, not for tracking purposes."

If it's not being used for tracking purposes, why don't you delete the plates that don't match your hotlist immediately?

This idiot seems to think that "law enforcement purposes" and "tracking purposes" are somehow different purposes. They aren't. Law enforcement finds it very useful to track people's movements, especially if they can automate the tracking and look it up later. It's very convenient for them. It's how they solve crimes. But it's also an invasion of privacy and a violation of the 4th Amendment.

Wed Jun 24 10:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Denmark law proposes making cash transactions illegal

Daily TelegraphA proposed new law in Denmark could be the first step towards an economic revolution that sees physical currencies and normal bank accounts abolished... The Danish proposal sounds innocuous enough on the surface – it would simply allow shops to refuse payments in cash and insist that customers use contactless debit cards or some other means of electronic payment.

The author of the article seems to think this is a good idea, because it would eventually lead to a "cashless society" where all money exists only in electronic bank accounts and be subject to government control.

Darleen at Protein Wisdom points out that people who don't own the fruits of their labor are called slaves.

But there's more wrong with the idea than just that.

Daily TelegraphBut if notes and coins were abolished and the only way to hold money was through a government-controlled bank, there would be no escape.

There is always an escape. The concept of money has existed for millenia because it is simple, effective, and it works. The moment the government's "money" system becomes more annoying to use than some other system, people will switch. And there are thousands of alternatives, whether you prefer alternative electronic systems like BitCoin, or running your black market economy on imported paper dollars from the US, or coming up with a new currency from scratch.

Believing that this proposal could actually eliminate the concept of cash is insane. ("Sharply reduce the use of" is a different question).

Wed Jun 24 09:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A repost, and an emphasized point

Larry CorreiaThere were four mass killing attempts this week. Only one made the news because it helped the agreed upon media narrative.

Oregon. NOT a gun free zone. Shooter confronted by permit holder. Shooter commits suicide. Only a few casualties.
Texas. NOT a gun free zone. Shooter killed immediately by off duty cop. Only a few casualties.
Connecticut. GUN FREE ZONE. Shooters kills until the police arrive. Suicide. 26 dead.
China. GUN FREE COUNTRY. A guy with a KNIFE stabs 22 children.
And here is the nail in the coffin for Gun Free Zones. Over the last fifty years, with only one single exception (Gabby Giffords), every single mass shooting event with more than four casualties has taken place in a place where guns were supposedly not allowed.

Read the whole thing. (Again, if necessary). I wanted to call out a specific point about the above.

Once guns exist in widespread form, gun control policy -- whether having it or not having it -- is self-reinforcing.

People in gun control states see criminals using guns to commit mass murder; they are horrified and sickened and disgusted by guns, and guns in their state are very hard to get due to gun control laws they pass in response, and in order to stop mass murders you need to rely on the police who take 15 minutes to arrive when a mass murder with a gun only needs 3 minutes to kill dozens.

People in gun-rights states do not see mass murders on the same scale because in non-gun-free-zones, people are usually armed and on the scene when the attack starts and can respond in seconds rather than minutes. This limits the causalities and tells the people of that state that they made the right choice and that guns, rather than enabling the attacker to kill dozens, instead enable the potential victims to stop the attacker with relatively few people hurt. When a gun-rights state does have a mass-murder incident with a lot of victims, it happens in a gun-free zone such as Fort Hood (yes, military bases in the US are often gun free zones for most of the people in them).

Whichever path is taken initially is the path that gets reinforced. That's how we ended up with the vastly divergent camps and policies in the US, though the 2nd Amendment should have prevented that by enforcing gun rights throughout the nation.

Tue Jun 23 13:51:30 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

White House calls Yemen a success as government flees and civil war begins

Washington ExaminerA White House spokesman said American efforts in Yemen are a "template that has succeeded," even as President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the country by boat... The turmoil in Yemen is particularly problematic for the White House, as President Obama has repeatedly cited the country as a model for his counterterrorism strategy.

If Yemen is a success, then what, exactly, are the criteria for success?

Tue Jun 23 12:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Applications still pending for some conservative groups

NewsmaxEven in the aftermath of the IRS targeting scandal that has seen numerous government investigations, at least a half-dozen conservative groups are still awaiting a decision from the agency about their tax status, a process which is putting in peril their very survival, Politico reported.

One of them is Karl Rove's group, which is probably the real reason the other groups are still being held up; just holding back the one group would look far more suspicious than holding back a few. And that makes three election cycles that those groups have been kept out of (2010, 2012, 2014), and coming up fast on four. And it's not necessary to deny a group; delaying it indefinitely is often quite enough to cripple it.

Tue Jun 23 11:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

House passes NSA reform and renewal legislation

Ars TechnicaNearly two years after the US government's collection of telephone calls became public following the Edward Snowden leaks, the US House of Representatives has passed, by a vote of 338-88, the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would end the government's phone surveillance database. The data will still be available for government searches, but it will lie with the individual phone companies.

The bill was opposed by 47 Republicans and 41 Democrats, most of whom said the proposal didn't go far enough to protect civil liberties. A roll call of votes on the bill is available here.

Policymakers on all sides of the surveillance debate were under pressure to make some kind of move, with relevant portions of the Patriot Act set to expire at the end of this month. The USA Freedom Act ends the bulk phone database but doesn't include many other wished-for reforms, such as a privacy advocate at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was in an earlier version of the bill. It also doesn't include "minimization" procedures meant to make sure the government purges information about people not related to its investigations.

This smells like weak reform to me. Remember, the legislation being used to authorize most of the surveillance expires in June, so one of the possible alternatives is not renewing authorization at all. Of course, the flip side of that is that McConnell wants to renew with no changes at all.

Tue Jun 23 10:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

2016: Why I am probably not voting for Trump

Trump is running for the Republican nomination for President. My take... I don't know. I feel like Trump is running more for personal publicity and to take part in the clown show than anything else, especially after his candidacy in 2012 fizzled out pointlessly. He doesn't have any significant political experience or any voting record to back up whatever he says his views on. His speech was big on applause lines and pretty much completely empty of coherent policy proposals to achieve the results he bragged about.

He has exactly the sort of personality, wealth, and ego that could make him an absolute game-changer if he decided to run seriously. Those same qualities could also make him an utter loose cannon. And his history of policy positions is not encouraging.

I'm not going to take him seriously until he shows some signs of taking the campaign seriously. And if he ever does that, I'm going to take a long hard look at what he's supported in the past as well as what he is claiming to support now.

Tue Jun 23 09:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Senate Finance Committee investigation of the IRS

National JournalWelcome to the only bipartisan investigation of the Internal Revenue Service in town. The group consists of roughly half a dozen staffers from both Chairman Orrin Hatch's committee roster and that of ranking member Ron Wyden. They have become chummy over the last few years. Republican and Democratic aides meet regularly to share "hot docs" and observations from their individual perusals. As one aide put it, "There's no 'hide the ball' going on."

I will be interested to see what these reports produce. I believe this committee has authorization to view the unredacted documents from the IRS, so they have the opportunity to build a better -- or at least more complete -- factual picture of what happened.

Oddly enough, Wyden has earned some credit with me for his efforts to expose the NSA surveillance operations. I hold out some hope that he will do a credible job without trying to cover up smidgens of corruption.

Mon Jun 22 12:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Understanding the reality of the FCC power grab

USA TodayTo justify its actions, the FCC had to resort to misleading distortions that essentially asserted "the Internet is so horribly broken that only the government can fix it." And "you can trust unelected Washington bureaucrats to do a better job of running the highly complex Net than engineers, entrepreneurs and consumers."

Calling it "network neutrality" is deceptive; it is far broader and more dangerous than that. Every horror story you heard about Ma Bell under government regulation will now be applied to the Internet.

Mon Jun 22 11:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Racism and sexism

Independent"I want to explain why this is false. I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.

"And therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist because we do not stand to benefit from such a system.

"In order for our actions to be deemed racist or sexist, the current system would have to be one that enables only people of colour and women to benefit economically and socially on such a large scale and to the systematic exclusion of white people and men, who for the past 400 years would have to have been subjected to block colonisation.

"We do not live in such a system, we do not know of such a history, reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real."

It is racist to claim that the color of your skin renders your actions immune from moral scrutiny. It is sexist to claim that your gender renders your thoughts immune from moral scrutiny. It is exactly as racist for a black woman to make that claim as it would be for a white male to make that claim.

No one gets a free pass.

Mon Jun 22 10:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Nebraska legislator would shoot police before ISIS

Washington Examiner"I wouldn't go to Syria, I wouldn't go to Iraq, I wouldn't go to Afghanistan, I wouldn't go to Yemen, I wouldn't go to Tunisia, I wouldn't go to Lebanon, I wouldn't go to Jordan, I would do it right here," he added. "Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people as the police do us daily."

"If I was going to carry a weapon, it wouldn't be against you, it wouldn't be against these people who come here that I might have a dispute with. Mine would be for the police," Chambers said. "And if I carried a gun I'd want to shoot him first and then ask questions later, like they say the cop ought to do."

There may be some police officers who act like thugs, but those are individual bad apples and their bad qualities are usually limited. ISIS, on the other hand, is an organization devoted to brutal murder, sexual slavery, torture, and extermination of damn near anyone up to and including mass murder of children for watching a soccer game.

There's a BIG difference, and it's not just geographic location.

Mon Jun 22 09:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The effects of Operation Choke Point are still being felt

The Daily SignalOn May 7, Craig called TD Bank seeking a new line of credit to buy inventory and produce advertisements for her small, 23-year-old storefront, Michael’s Pawn and Gun. When a TD Bank representative pulled up the shop’s Facebook page and discovered that it sells guns, Craig says the representative told her, “We can’t lend to anyone who sells firearms.”

The Obama Administration is trying to create a chilling effect around the gun industry, and they seem to be succeeding.

Sun Jun 21 12:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama just took new unconstitutional action on immigration

Washington ExaminerObama intends to make it easier to bring more foreign guest workers to the United States — likely at significant cost to workers already here — by loosening the rules governing something known as the L-1B visa program. Under the program, a multinational company with offices in the United States can move workers from abroad to live and work in the U.S. for as long as five years in what is known as an intra-company transfer. There are almost no rules concerning what those workers can be paid, so there is no barrier to a company firing American employees and bringing in workers from foreign facilities to replace them at much lower pay.

And once here, legally, they can obtain identification documents and register to vote. As they will not be citizens, they should not be allowed to vote; but any attempt to clean the voter rolls of non-citizens will be challenged in court by the Obama administration (as they have already been doing for the last several election cycles). Thus, those who register will likely be able to vote.

And thus is America fundamentally transformed.

Sun Jun 21 11:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Not exactly a 17 minute gap...

PJMediaGovernment officials working with leftist organizations decided to target the President’s political opponents just before the President faced reelection. When the bad behavior is discovered, top officials in the administration and at the Justice Department use their power to hide the truth about the targeting of political opponents. Officials at the Justice Department fight disclosure of information about the administration’s wrongdoing. They even deny that tapes exist documenting communications about the wrongdoing by top government officials. We then learn the stunning news that tapes with all of the information detailing who knew what and when, actually do exist.

Next we’ll hear that the backup tapes in West Virginia have a 17-minute gap.

... But 9 of the tapes were erased.

Sun Jun 21 10:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

TSA doesn't even know if its' bomb scanners are working

Free BeaconThe Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has such poor management over its airport security equipment that the agency does not know if its screening machines are working, according to an audit by the Office of Inspector General.

So, for over a decade now, the TSA has been slowing people down, sexually harassing them, taking pictures of them in the nude with advanced technology that may cause cancer, and violating the Fourth Amendment... in return for precisely zero benefit in safety because the machines don't work.

Free BeaconAmerican lives may be at risk due to ineffective maintenance of its equipment, which has cost taxpayers $1.2 billion.

When I started writing this post, I was going to object to this idea that American lives may be at risk because the bomb-detecting machines aren't working properly to detect bombs, and thus a terrorist attack might cost lives. The truth is that the TSA bomb-detecting machines have never stopped a terrorist attack. Every failed terrorist attack, including such famous incidents as the underwear bomber and the shoe bomber, got on the plane successfully.

But then I remembered that improperly maintained scanners present a serious cancer risk and that risk has not been fully evaluated.

So, yes, American lives are at risk thanks to the TSA's poor bomb scanner maintenance. From cancer, not terrorists.

Sun Jun 21 09:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Tax-exempt Media Matters hires Clinton advisor as 2016 campaign heats up

American ThinkerLast week, the Democratic party website Media Matters hired long time Clinton family friend and advisor James Carville to write for the site. This is just the latest in a series of moves made by the Democratic party organ to boost the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

But, as the Washington Examiner points out, Media Matters is a tax exempt organization, prohibited by law from engaging in political activity. The site is run by another Clinton confidante, David Brock, and the website hasn't been shy about defending Mrs. Clinton in this latest scandal over her emails.

It's fine for Democrats to do this, but the IRS will come down on you like a ton of bricks if a conservative organization tries to get a tax exemption for engaging in politics. Rules are for suckers. And the fact-checking organizations are political propaganda anyway. And, oh yes...

The FederalistPhil Kerpen notes on Twitter that PunditFact and PolitiFact are funded by a large and active Clinton Foundation donor and partner, a fact PunditFact conveniently failed to disclose in its defense of the Clinton Foundation.

... also funded by people linked to the Clintons.

Sat Jun 20 12:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS employee tasked with recovering Lerner emails legally blind

This actually isn't news to me, because I read the original documents in which it was mentioned, but I didn't think it was worth reporting on from a serious perspective. It's possible to do effective work on computers without much vision. Mind you, it's likely to be slow going and some tasks will remain difficult, but it's not quite so absurd as it sounds at first glance.

But then, it sounds pretty absurd. I'm willing to post it for laughs.

Sat Jun 20 11:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Pope calls for world to feed its people by preventing climate change

Gateway Pundit“We must do what we can so that everyone has something to eat, but we must also remind the powerful of the Earth that God will call them to judgment one day and there it will be revealed if they really tried to provide food for Him in every person and if they did what they could to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food.”

The striking comments from the Argentinian pontiff came ahead of the upcoming publication of a papal encyclical on the ethical aspects of environmental issues that is eagerly awaited by campaigners for action to address global warming.

Left unsaid and unthought: even if global warming climate disruption is real, plants (ie, food) grow larger and faster in warm environments rich in carbon dioxide.

So we should feed the planet by increasing our carbon dioxide output to produce more global warming.

Sat Jun 20 10:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Texas to bring its gold back home

Talking Points Memo via Random Nuclear StrikesOn Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation that will create a state-run gold depository in the Lone Star State – one that will attempt to rival those operated by the U.S. government inside Fort Knox and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s vault in lower Manhattan. “The Texas Bullion Depository,” Abbott said in a statement, “will become the first state-level facility of its kind in the nation, increasing the security and stability of our gold reserves and keeping taxpayer funds from leaving Texas to pay for fees to store gold in facilities outside our state.” Soon, Abbott’s office said, the state “will repatriate $1 billion of gold bullion from the Federal Reserve in New York to Texas.”

Remember, in a run on the banks, the person who is first in line to withdraw their money wins.

Sat Jun 20 09:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS still stonewalling Lerner email release

People's Pundit Daily“Even though the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration already identified and removed emails that are duplicates, the IRS is in ‘the process of conducting further manual deduplication of the 6,400’ emails, rather than reviewing them in response to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act requests that are more than two years old now,” Fitton said. “Our legal team will continue pursuing all necessary and available legal options to hold the IRS accountable for its flagrant abuse of power.”

When the IRS says they are manually deduplicating the additional emails discovered, bear this in mind:

1) The Inspector General already bought software to remove duplicate emails -- and when your document base includes 30,000+ emails, computers will be far better at identifying duplicates than humans.

2) There is absolutely no reason to be concerned about releasing duplicate emails. Just release them. Judicial Watch and the public can sort out any duplicates.

Of course, what the IRS is really doing has nothing to do with deduplication. The IRS has sent the emails provided by the Inspector General to the special cover-up review board where the same people involved in the targeting are now working diligently to redact, deduplicate, and otherwise hide the evidence.

Fri Jun 19 12:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another civil forfeiture

Legal InsurrectionLast year, 24 year-old Charles Clark became just one more victim of a system that benefits law enforcement at the expense of everyday citizens. He lost $11,000 after officials decided that carrying cash in an airport should be treated as a crime—even though there’s nothing unlawful about it.

In addition to the due process and other Constitutional concerns with these seizures, which should be fatal to the process on their own, they represent an end run around legislative control of funding for police agencies.

Fri Jun 19 11:03:45 CDT 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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