McCain facing a tough primary in Arizona

Fri May 20 09:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Power Line explains Hillary's Whitewater scandal

Power LineThroughout the Whitewater/Castle Grande scandal, Hillary Clinton’s instinct was to stonewall and deceive. She lied about her role, removed and destroyed documents, and opposed the appointment of a special counsel.

From Hillary’s perspectives, her instincts were spot on. Absent the special counsel, much unpleasantness, including the Monica Lewinsky matter and the impeachment, might well have been avoided. And had Clinton been forthcoming about her role in Castle Grande, her husband’s 1992 campaign might have been derailed.

The current email scandal isn’t just a replay of the Castle Grande document theft and destruction. It is a logical outgrowth of it. Her basic instinct having been reinforced in the 1990s, it’s natural that they carry the day now.

What scandal and criminality will Hillary Clinton’s instincts produce is if she is elected president?

Read the whole thing, especially if you need a refresher on Whitewater.

Wed May 18 12:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

CIA destroys only copy of torture report

Washington Examiner"As you may be aware, the office of the CIA inspector general has misplaced and/or conditionally destroyed its electronic copy and disk of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's full 6,700-page classified study of the CIA detention and interrogation program," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a Friday letter to CIA Director John Brennan.

I suppose they figured that if the IRS and the State Department can get away with it, so can they. And as it turns out, the IRS has been getting away with it more than once. In addition to the 20-30 IRS employees related to the Tea Party targeting scandal whose data was not available to investigators for a variety of reasons related to computer failures of one kind or another, the IRS recently destroyed a hard drive under a preservation order in a different case:

Fiscal TimesThe Internal Revenue Service appears to have violated a court order once again requiring the preservation of evidence needed by investigators looking into questionable practices at the agency. In a case sure to stir up memories of the Lois Lerner investigation, which saw IRS Commissioner John Koskinen dragged before Congress for multiple hearings, the agency destroyed a computer hard drive belonging to an IRS official connected to the subject of a Congressional query.

This sort of thing looks very much like a pattern of criminal behavior at this point.

Wed May 18 11:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trump and his tax returns

National ReviewSometime soon, the profound distrust of “the system” and of politicians in general — a distrust shared across almost all demographics, but particularly apparent in the young — will finally start attaching itself to Trump, especially as he dodges and weaves like a two-bit political hack on things like his tax returns. John Fund is right that, one way or another, conservatives should be working on serious contingency plans.

He seems determined to avoid releasing them now that he's effectively unopposed. I don't think he will be able to get away with that in the general election; either the media will force him to release the returns or they will be leaked. I also think that's (mostly) appropriate for people seeking public office. It allows the public a view into the candidate's financial behavior which their public claims can be measured against, especially when a political voting record does not exist.

Between this issue and the Trump University lawsuit, things are going to get very messy for Trump as we get closer to the general election. The media will take off the gloves when dealing with him.

The unexpected release of new and damaging information after the primary campaigns have finished is about the only way that a palace coup by the party at the convention could be justified. The only other reason for such a thing by the party elites that I would consider justifiable would be a felony indictment.

How crazy is it that we may well see both this year?

Wed May 18 10:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Journalists should report on details of all candidates

Washington ExaminerHe said that Bezos has urged the Post to run as many stories on Trump and the other candidates so that voters can't say they didn't know about the eventual president.

"He said, 'Look the job at the Washington Post has to be tell us everything about who the eventual nominee will be in both parties, 15 part, 16 part series, 20 part series, we want to look at every part of their lives and we're never going get the whole story of course but we can get the best attainable," said the famed reporter.

Some people are complaining about this statement from Bezos, claiming it shows bias. I think the bias is in the mind of the reader in this case; Bezos' own words don't single out Trump and refers to both parties. In my experience, Bezos seems to be more libertarianish than most tech companies (who usually tend to lean strongly left), and since he bought the Post his direction seems to have improved the paper.

Wed May 18 09:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hidden microphones used for government surveillance

CBS Bay AreaHidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed... Jeff Harp, a KPIX 5 security analyst and former FBI special agent said, “They put microphones under rocks, they put microphones in trees, they plant microphones in equipment. I mean, there’s microphones that are planted in places that people don’t think about, because that’s the intent!”

FBI agents hid microphones inside light fixtures and at a bus stop outside the Oakland Courthouse without a warrant to record conversations, between March 2010 and January 2011.

Note that it wasn't California police doing this, but federal agents. That means they think they can do it anywhere. We have gone full police state.

Tue May 17 10:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on Koskinen misconduct

House Judiciary CommitteeThe House Judiciary Committee today announced that it will hold two full committee hearings to examine misconduct by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen.

At the first hearing, which will take place on Tuesday, May 24 at 10:00 a.m., members of the House Judiciary Committee will hear from a witness panel presenting the findings of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s investigation of IRS Commissioner Koskinen. The House Judiciary Committee will also invite IRS Commissioner Koskinen to testify. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has investigated the targeting of conservative groups for several years and many of the Committee’s members have found that Commissioner Koskinen failed to comply with a congressional subpoena which resulted in destruction of key evidence, made false statements during his sworn congressional testimony, and did not notify Congress that Lois Lerner’s emails were missing.

At the second hearing, which will take place in June, members of the House Judiciary Committee will invite outside experts to comment on the findings presented in the first hearing and whether further congressional action is warranted. Witnesses for both hearings will be announced at a later date.

I firmly believe that the only effective way to remedy Koskinen's obvious and egregious misconduct would have been to impeach him immediately and remove him from office. At this late date, any attempted remedy will be overshadowed by the fact that he got away with his primary goal: covering up a scandal that likely lead to the White House, and preventing the perpetrators from facing punishment. In light of that failure, even impeachment as the president he protected leaves office is essentially a meaningless gesture.

The House, however, is unlikely to even seriously consider impeachment. The most we are likely to see is a motion to censure. That's little more than a slap on the wrist that carries embarrassment but no real consequences.

Tue May 17 09:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

President impeached over budget violations

Yes, yes, it's the president of Brazil. And it's frankly embarrassing. Why can't we impeach our president when he spends money Congress did not appropriate and manipulates economic figures for political advantage? UPDATE: Or violates court orders?

Fri May 13 17:02:31 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Nothing less than a blatant attempt to criminalize disagreeing with Democrats

Washington Free BeaconThe attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands is targeting dozens of conservative and libertarian organizations in a racketeering lawsuit against climate change skeptics that has been widely described as an effort to silence political opponents.

There's not really anything that can be said about this that I haven't said already in other posts about similar efforts. Trying to criminalize disagreement is the last refuge of politicians in power who are losing the argument, not to mention a violation of basic human rights. We used to cherish the idea that we were not governed like a totalitarian dictatorship, and that dissenters could speak freely without fear of serving time in prison for their dissent. How much longer can that possibly last with these coordinated efforts underway?

I will say this: each time I see one of these stories, I get a little more willing to toss principle aside and work to elect people who will use the same tactics back. Not forever... just enough to teach the lesson.

Fri May 13 12:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obamacare loses in court

Patterico explains the lower court ruling. In short, Obama has been spending money Congress has not appropriated to prop up the insurance companies offering plans under Obamacare, violating the Congressional power of the purse. The ruling is stayed pending appeal, and unfortunately the DC circuit is packed with Obama appointees and the Supreme Court is likely to vote 4-3 in Obama's favor on this one (I'm assuming Roberts will wilt as per usual, and of course Scalia is gone).

If the courts will not enforce even the most basic and fundamental provisions of the Constitution in the face of a tyrannical executive, then our Republic is dead. I hope we aren't yet that far gone, but I can see little reason to hope for a correct ruling from the thoroughly politicized Supreme Court.

Fri May 13 11:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

New Benghazi details emerging

A pilot says he could have flown to the site before the attack ended, but he was told they were waiting on a call. Another source says there were opportunities to kill or capture the people responsible, but the political decision was made to hold off: “It was political,” Mike says, adding “I read the emails, I read the emails where they were saying, hey, we can’t do this now…now’s not the right time.”

Assuming the story is accurate, "Mike" is saying he saw emails that the Benghazi committee has not seen. That would be prima facie evidence of a coverup and a violation of Congressional subpoenas. He is also alleging what amounts to witness intimidation.

Worst of all, the one terrorist captured and preparing to stand trial is allegedly a minor player, and the leaders have essentially escaped punishment due to the political paralysis.

One of the people ultimately responsible for the fiasco of the response that night and the failure to bring the terrorists to account afterwards is in the White House and will escape punishment. The other is running for President.

Hat tip to Irons in the Fire.

Fri May 13 10:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

There are two kinds of people in the Republican party...

PJMediaAm I wrong? Remind me again where Trump, at least currently, is not a conservative? Taxes, check. Deficit, check. Immigration, check. Sanctuary cities, check. Strong defense, check. Supreme Court, check. Veterans, check. Common core, check. Iran deal, check. Israel, check. Healthcare, check. Pro-life, check.... Oh, yes, Planned Parenthood. He thinks the part of that operation that treats cervical cancer is okay. What a sin.

People who believe in Trump's promises despite the copious evidence that he's lying through his teeth, and people who have never bought a bridge in Brooklyn.

This is, I think, what it fundamentally comes down to. Like Obama, Trump is a figure on which certain parts of the Republican base (and yes, some crossover Democrats who feel abandoned by their party) can project their own positions and desires. Obama gave us fantastical promises to turn back the rising tide and avoided specific policy questions that might divide his supporters. Trump is careful to take three different positions on every policy issue before breakfast, and his supporters just choose to believe the one they like.

I'm simply not that credulous.

Trump can earn my vote in November if he makes specific, concrete promises as to the actions he will take in office, if those promises are good enough. Promising to appoint Ted Cruz to the Supreme Court would be a good start. But he needs to make those promises in a way that shows he means to keep them; no bluster, no backtracking, no showmanship. Solemn, serious promises.

If Trump can show me that supporting him will benefit the cause of liberty and smaller, Constitutional government in some concrete, long-term way, I'm willing to consider giving him my vote.

But I don't think he can, because I don't think he wants to.

And note well, Trump supporters: I will not be convinced by appeals to emotion, by appeals to party unity, or by appeals to any of the many various and contradictory promises Trump has made that convinced you. Trump's fundamental problem with voters like me is not that we haven't heard about his promise to do this or his promise to do that. It's that we don't believe him.

Fri May 13 09:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Dissolving the People and selecting a new People

Instapundit (quoting another source)“It was alleged that the document showed that Labour had overseen a deliberate open-door ­policy on immigration to boost multi-culturalism. Voting trends indicate that migrants and their descendants are much more likely to vote Labour.”

Exactly the same thing has been going on in American government, mostly uninterrupted, since the 1960s changed the immigration policy. We have been dealing with the consequences of that deliberate decision by the elites of both parties to change the electorate ever since. That's why the open borders policies continue regardless of which party is in power; the only people who want to close the borders are the ordinary folk who generally can't afford to run for office.

It remains to be seen whether Trump is going to close the borders (as he promised to do) or betray the people who thought they had finally found a champion.

Hillary, of course, will do her best to ram permanent amnesty through Congress.

We will have a choice in November between a giant golden question mark and a woman whose corruption and incompetence are already legendary and who may well become the first felon to ever be elected president. The alternatives are a palace coup by the party elite on the Republican side and an open socialist on the Democrat side.

What did we ever do to deserve this?

Thu May 12 12:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Nova Armory in Arlington under attack

The goal is to make it impossible to make a living in the firearms industry. If the antis can't manage that, they will do their best to shut down new gun stores on the theory that they can at least keep us from gaining ground. It's an abuse of power, but there's nothing new about that in Democrat-run cities. It's too late to attend the hearing, which was held with no notice because "fair play" isn't in their anti-gun vocabulary.

UPDATE: Virginia Citizens Defense League showed up in numbers and succeeded in blocking the attempt to pull NOVA's occupancy permit.

Thu May 12 11:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Cruz will be seeking to retain his Senate seat

Daily CallerTexas Sen. Ted Cruz filed paperwork Wednesday to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2018. The suspension of his presidential campaign, reactivated his campaign committee, Ted Cruz for Senate.

Reagan didn't get the nomination the first time he ran, either.

Thu May 12 10:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Potential congressional investigation into ATF

AmmolandEdward Mark Felix’s story is complex, ranging from allegations of being directed to allow straw purchases similarly to methods revealed from Operation Fast and Furious, to claims of stolen guns, to being squeezed out of his store, to FFL renewal irregularities, to claims of having illegal tracking devices placed on his car, and more. He has been trying to gain attention and an investigation into his claims for years, with extremely limited results and plenty of stonewalling by those who could provide the clarification he seeks, but won’t.

Even if this gets the same level of attention as Fast and Furious did in Congress, it's like not there were serious consequences for anyone involved in that.

Thu May 12 09:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Words of Wisdom

Random Nuclear Strikes“You can’t do that. You cannot see yourself as ‘A Woman’ first. You are a individual human being first. Once you put yourself into a box of ‘I’m a woman’ or ‘I’m black’ as the first part of your internal identity, you have lost and you will never have another happy day in your life. You may get happy moments, but they will be at the expense of those who are not like you and they will be made from spite and envy.”

“The moment you let someone tell you how to think of yourself, you have lost your true identity as an individual and as a human being. And it is someone else telling you to believe that. You do not do that to your own mind. It has to be fed to you, usually by someone telling you that the opposite of you is ‘bad’.”

Individuals matter. Individual rights, and individual responsibilities. People can meet those responsibilities or not. That's going to happen anyway, because that's how reality works. Submerging your identity into the group around you and allowing the group identity to take precedence over your own is basically an admission that not only do you think you can't manage on your own, but that you are unwilling even to try.

Wed May 11 12:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

US Government tracking political opponents with no-fly list

PJMediaThe Southern Poverty Law Center, which is in the business of demonizing those who oppose its hard-Left agenda, falsely and libelously called me a “hate group leader” for my work exposing the motives and goals of jihad terrorists. Is there a dusty government office somewhere in Washington where my comings and goings -- and those of others who have been smeared by the SPLC -- are tracked in the Obama administration’s ongoing battle against “extremism”?

Maybe there is another explanation for why checking in for a flight has become suddenly problematic for me. But let’s take a rational look at the background provided by the Obama administration: the IRS targets conservative groups; the administration signed on to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s effort to compel Western governments to stifle criticism of Islam; the administration scrubbed the records of Muslims with jihad terror ties.

Is the idea that this administration would keep tabs on public foes of its policies farfetched? Or is it a reasonable assumption?

It seems to me that this is not an assumption at all. It's a fact.

Now, what we do about it... that's the real question.

Wed May 11 11:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Facebook ex-employees expose media manipulation

Boston HeraldThese ex-Facebook employees, known as “curators,” manage this highly important news feed section viewed by millions. And now they’ve come forward saying that Facebook deliberately blocked news stories about CPAC, Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, Rand Paul and other 
political topics of interest from being displayed among its top trending stories.

I suspected this was going on, and it's one reason (among many) I don't use Facebook. I'm not willing to trust someone else to "curate" news for me; that's why I use tools that let me pick my own sources to trust and evaluate what I see for myself.

Boston HeraldUp until now, Facebook users have been led to believe that “Trending News” stories landed there “organic­ally,” buoyed by massive public discourse. Now we’ve learned they’ve been actively squelching political speech much like the state-run 
media operations in totalitarian North Korea and China do.

I think there's a market opportunity here for someone who's willing to not curate news, or at least curate it honestly.

Wed May 11 10:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Flint mayor diverted water funds to PAC

CNNThe former city administrator of Flint, Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit against the current mayor's office, claiming she was fired after raising concerns about donors being directed away from a charity for victims of the city's water crisis and toward a fund sharing a name with the mayor's campaign fund.

That's pretty low even for a politician.

Wed May 11 09:31:24 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trump hires top Democrat financier as finance chair

Trump's pick has worked at Goldman Sachs (remember when that was a big attack on Cruz?), donated to both Hillary and Obama, and worked for George Soros.

If this doesn't make Trump's supporters see what is really going on, they are being willfully blind.

Tue May 10 10:27:07 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

State Department claims it can't locate Clinton's email admin archive

The HillThe State Department has lost all archived copies of the emails sent to and from the man believed to have set up and maintained Hillary Clinton’s private email server during the four years she served as secretary, it said on Monday.

They aren't even bothering to claim the hard drive crashed anymore; they just say they can't find the file.

Tue May 10 09:27:07 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI interviews Huma Abedin about Clinton email server

It couldn't happen to a more deserving person... except Hillary herself, of course.

Fri May 06 11:46:29 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Florida reforms asset forfeiture laws

ReasonSome great news in asset forfeiture reform is coming out of Florida. S.B. 1044, approved by the legislature earlier in the month, was signed into law today by Gov. Rick Scott.

The big deal with this particular reform is that, in most cases, Florida police will actually have to arrest and charge a person with a crime before attempting to seize and keep their money and property under the state's asset forfeiture laws. One of the major ways asset forfeiture gets abused is that it is frequently a "civil", not criminal, process where police and prosecutors are able to take property without even charging somebody with a crime, let alone convicting them. This is how police are, for example, able to snatch cash from cars they've pulled over and claim they suspect the money was going to be used for drug trafficking without actually finding any drugs.

Sometimes, things actually get a little bit better.

Fri May 06 10:46:29 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About that Facebook swinging elections thing...

The FederalistGizmodo, a tech blog, talked to the people behind Facebook’s news aggregation service–“news curators” in Facebookspeak–and it turns out that Facebook’s news coverage isn’t based on fancy, unbiased algorithms at all. Nope. Facebook’s news service is instead run by people who want to make sure none of that icky right-wing coverage finds its way in front of people’s eyeballs:

... yes, they are already doing it, just based on topics and news sources rather than specific candidates. This is a big reason not to use Facebook, or any site that attempts to "curate" what people see based on anything other than the user's specific choices and input. For a site like Facebook, the only trustworthy way to run the algorithm is simple: what you subscribe to is what you see. The moment you start trying to adjust your user's moods, or encourage them to vote (or not to vote), or hide things from them they want to see, or show them things they don't want to see, you lose the trust of the users as soon as they notice.

That's why this sort of manipulation has to be done in secret.

Fri May 06 09:46:29 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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