Ginsburg under lung surgery for cancer

Sat Dec 22 07:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Roberts wimps out again

He voted with the liberals to uphold a lower court's stay on Trump's asylum policy change. Between this and Obamacare, Roberts is starting to look like a Bush-admin own-goal.

Sat Dec 22 06:47:19 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI releases dossier briefing document

It's short -- two pages -- and practically all of them are redacted. Notably, though, the unredacted portions do not faithfully describe who paid for the dossier. The description is technically accurate, but does not mention the Clintons, the Democrats, or political opposition research. Instead, the funding is described as coming from "private clients" only.

Remember, the FBI and DOJ knew where this was coming from. There is no way to spin this briefing document, being presented to the President, as anything less than deliberately deceptive. It was a weasel move, by a weasel of a man who does weasel things.

This release takes on a certain new significance given that Comey recently testified to Congress that he only knew the funding came from "private clients", not specifically who those clients were. It could even be argued that the release was timed to tell Comey what the documents said, so he could claim not to know anything more than what was in the documents.

Fri Dec 21 12:54:48 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Facebook privacy infodump

A bunch of internal Facebook files related to user privacy have been released. The long and short of it is that facebook doesn't respect your privacy. But there are some specific details worth calling out because they may well lead to legal liability.

Technology ReviewFacebook aggressively tried to shut down the competition. When Twitter launched the six-second-video-clip platform Vine, Zuckerberg approved revoking its access to Facebook’s API.

Interfering with competitors is a major element of antitrust law.

Technology ReviewFacebook found ways to access users’ call history without alerting them, in order to make “People You May Know” suggestions and tweak news-feed rankings. Facebook planned to make it as hard as possible for users to know that this was happening.

Deceptive practices deliberately hidden from users.

Technology ReviewFacebook “whitelisted” certain companies, meaning that they still had full access to users’ friends’ data after platform changes in 2014-15, including Airbnb, Netflix, and Badoo. “It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not,” said Damian Collins, a member of Parliament and committee chair.

Claiming you've fixed privacy problems while actually giving certain companies continued access to the data is, again, deceptive.

Fri Dec 21 08:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About that unbiased media...

Ace of Spades quoting Der SpiegelGerman weekly Der Spiegel says one of its star reporters has left the publication after committing journalistic fraud "on a grand scale" over a number of years.

The magazine published a lengthy report Wednesday following an internal investigation into the work of Claas Relotius, a 33-year-old staff writer known for his vivid investigative stories.

Spiegel reported that Relotius, who previously worked for other publications and won a CNN Journalist of the Year award in 2014, has resigned after admitting to inventing interviews.

As a blogger, I'm upfront about what I do. I read news articles online, and write my thoughts about those articles, often picking up obvious factual errors, logical contradictions, or adding context with other articles. Sometimes I get my hands on original documents or transcripts and write about those, as with Comey's transcribed testimony to Congress (part 1 part 2). Sometimes I write based on my own technical expertise and apply that to the news of the day. I rarely have the chance to interview anyone directly. Always, I strive to be clear about my sourcing, and I don't just make stuff up, or claim I conducted interviews where I did not.

Apparently, that's a better standard than professional journalists are able to maintain.

UPDATE: More on this story.

Fri Dec 21 07:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

State Dept disseminated Russiagate documents hours before Trump took office

Judicial WatchJudicial Watch today released two sets of heavily redacted State Department documents, 38 pages and 48 pages, showing classified information was researched and disseminated to multiple U.S. Senators by the Obama administration immediately prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The documents reveal that among those receiving the classified documents were Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Robert Corker (R-TN).

Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a June 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department after it failed to respond to a February 2018 request seeking records of the Obama State Department’s last-minute efforts to share classified information about Russia election interference issues with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-01381)).

The documents reveal the Obama State Department urgently gathering classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.

We knew there was an effort to do this before, but we didn't know the details. Now we know more. It's noteworthy that Senator Corker, a Republican, is on the list of recipients. I seem to recall Corker was instrumental in getting the Iran deal through the Senate by pretending it wasn't a treaty (which would need a two-thirds vote). It's also noteworthy that this effort took place after Trump had won the election. In other words, rather than treating Trump as the incoming president due (at a minimum) respect, they conspired against him.

Categories Spygate

Fri Dec 21 06:47:19 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Wall funding passed the House

It took a veto threat from Trump to make the Republicans back up their promises. The next stop is the Senate. My advice to Trump if it passes is to spend it quickly and make sure something concrete gets built. And it it doesn't pass with the funds to do that, veto it.

UPDATE: From a horse-trading perspectrive, why wasn't the criminal legislation reform bill tied to wall funding? Seems like the Dems want criminal justice reform so some of their voters get let out of jail, and tying the funding together would seem like an obvious deal.

Fri Dec 21 01:06:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trump Foundation to dissolve; what about Clinton Foundation?

CNSNews“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone," she said. "We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”

So when will the Clinton Foundation be dissolved? When will the New York AG be investigating its principles?

My guess is when hell freezes over, which is NOT one set of rules for everyone.

Thu Dec 20 08:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Transgender mafia goes after baker -- again

Washington TimesHe won his six-year legal battle over his refusal to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, but Christian baker Jack Phillips is now facing what could be a lengthy courtroom sequel on the issue of a transgender birthday cake.

Any hope of a speedy resolution was dashed Tuesday when a federal judge indicated he plans to reject the effort to dismiss the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s latest complaint against Masterpiece Cakeshop involving a birthday cake for a gender transition.

The process is the punishment.

Thu Dec 20 07:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Comey testifies, part 2

Transcript here. You may be interested in my take on the first day of testimony and Comey's media interview after talking to Congress.

Detailed comments below the fold. My overall impression is that we, again, lost out by having this held in a public forum. Comey can hide behind that to avoid answering important questions. He can also hide behind the Mueller investigation. I'd like to see this all public, but getting there requires investigators to be able to ask about classified things so the answers can then be declassified.

(Read More...)

Thu Dec 20 07:14:43 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

How the gun control thought process (doesn't) work

View from North Central IdahoThis is almost baffling. One way to interpret this is that they believe that once a gun has been involved in a crime they think it is more likely to be used to commit a crime in the future. Don’t laugh! This is what some people believe (see also here).

Another way to interpret this is that they believe this is, in essence, a zero sum game. They may actually believe that every time a gun is destroyed that is one less gun in existence. This is, of course, not true. It just increases the market size for new guns. Is this what they really want?

Considering the usual lack of sophistication I don’t think this is the most likely thought process but they may think that raising the price, by decreasing the supply, of guns can be achieved this way. Increasing the price means that fewer people can afford them making it more unlikely people will exercise their rights. The problem with this line of thinking is that the number of “crime guns” is so small compared to the total new gun sales, less than 1%, that any change is in the noise.

I believe the thought process is a lot simpler than this. So much simpler it can hardly be called thought. I think that they believe destroying a gun is an objectively good act, considered in isolation. Yes, the gun can be replaced. They don't care. Yes, the price might go up if they reduce the supply, but that's not the reasoning. Destroying those guns means fewer guns and fewer guns is objectively good.

Thu Dec 20 06:47:19 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Judicial Watch gets discovery over Hillary's email server

Judicial WatchJudicial Watch announced today that, in a ruling excoriating both the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth has ordered both agencies to join Judicial Watch in submitting a proposed schedule for discovery into whether Hillary Clinton sought to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a private email system and whether the State Department acted in “bad faith” by failing to disclose knowledge of the email system. The decision comes in a FOIA lawsuit related to the Benghazi terrorist attack.

It's hard to know what they are likely to find after all this time. Hillary would be in real trouble if we could read her mind.

Wed Dec 19 08:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

New Jersey bans normal capacity magazines; turn in by Dec 10th

Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol ClubsIn a 2-1 decision, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit refused to stop the enforcement of New Jersey’s 10-round magazine ban. The majority, in an opinion by Judge Shwartz and joined by Judge Greenaway, both appointed by President Obama, held that the ban did not violate the Second Amendment because it reasonably advanced the State’s interest in reducing mass shootings without severely burdening the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Judge Bibas, appointed by President Trump, authored a forceful dissent, pointing out that the majority refused to apply standard constitutional principles to the case and instead treated the Second Amendment differently than any other constitutional right. Judge Bibas observed: “The Second Amendment is an equal part of the Bill of Rights. We must treat the right to keep and bear arms like other enumerated rights, as the Supreme Court insisted in [District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)].” He rejected what he termed the majority’s “watered down“ approach to the Second Amendment.

ANJRPC intends to appeal the decision.

In the meanwhile, the last day for gun owners to comply with the mag ban law is December 10, 2018. Failure to comply by the deadline is a 4th degree crime that could result in fines and imprisonment for each non-compliant magazine, in addition to loss of gun rights nationwide.

Losing national gun rights because you got caught with a metal box that was a little bigger than the state allowed is exactly how the government controls honest men. I don't think we'll see a high compliance rate for this law from existing gun owners, though they may store their magazines out of state or otherwise "creatively comply" without actually giving up ownership.

Ayn Rand“There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

At some point, we're going to see laws like this challenged at the Supreme Court. Someone will get a pissant conviction for a metal box of the wrong size in New Jersey and then sue to restore their gun rights from Texas. Until then, blue states have a club to threaten their residents with even after they leave the state.

Wed Dec 19 07:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Occasional-Cortex is burned out before even being sworn in

Wed Dec 19 06:47:19 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Sullivan throws a wrench into the Flynn sentencing, but for the wrong reasons

Because Judge Sullivan has previously seen some political schemes and machinations from the FBI (notably the Ted Stevens case), some people were hopeful that he would see through the FBI bullshit. Instead he seems to have latched on to the failure to register as a foreign agent charges (which Flynn got out of by way of the plea bargain with Mueller) and threatened Flynn into cooperating more. Disappointing.

Gotta wonder if the Deep State got to Sullivan.

UPDATE: For clarity, the failure to register charges involved Turkey, not Russia.

UPDATE: Conservative Treehouse has a more positive take on this.

Tue Dec 18 12:54:31 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Why it's time to fire Rosenstein

The FederalistOn Thursday, Fox News reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein received prior notice of former Donald Trump private attorney Michael Cohen’s plea deal before Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker did.

Rosenstein seems like an affable guy who continuously demonstrates his wickedly dry humor with ironic speeches claiming fealty to the rule of law. But his mere presence in the Department of Justice is now demonstrably undermining its change in leadership. That the special counsel first checks in the deputy attorney general before the AG proves Rosenstein is still in charge.

Mueller cannot accept Whitaker as his boss and still complete the tasks he was given as special counsel. The real tasks, that is: keeping the attention on Trump and off of the Clintons' and Obama's malfeasance with our intelligence agencies and other crimes. So, of course he's going to report to Rosenstein first for as long as he can do so.

And that means Rosenstein has to go. Read the whole thing; there are 9 more reasons to fire Rosenstein immediately.

Tue Dec 18 08:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Comey and his lawyers

PJmediaHouse Republicans were left frustrated after former FBI Director James Comey's lawyers prevented him from answering a number of key questions during Friday’s closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, according to reports.

Of course his lawyers told him not to answer the questions that might get him in trouble. One of those lawyers was from DOJ, and obviously told Comey to refuse to answer any questions that might get DOJ in trouble.

Tue Dec 18 07:57:21 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Comey talks to the media following second testimony

Comey testified to Congress for the second time today. He talked to the media afterwards. We should get a transcript sometime soon.

He says he was asked about "which form people filled out". This is either a reference to the 302s about the Flynn interview, or the procedures necessary to initiate a sensitive political investigation (which he previously admitted to not knowing or following).

He admits that he "took a decision away from Sally Yates" to avoid the appearance of political bias, which is the same reasoning he used when announcing that he would not recommend prosecuting Clinton himself (because Lynch was compromised by the tarmac meeting and other, unspecified, information). He says he did this "to make it necessary for Trump to burn down the entire FBI to stop the investigation" and was shocked that Trump was willing to do just that. He seems to think he is acting in a completely non-partisan manner and all his actions, no matter how improper or obviously partisan, are above reproach. It's disgusting.

Asked if he takes any responsibility for the hit the reputation of the FBI has taken, he blames Trump for "lying". That's bullshit; Comey was at the head of the agency while it behaved in a nakedly partisan manner to influence the Presidential election in 2016. Blaming Trump for the actions in which Trump was a victim is absurd, and he wasn't in office for the Clinton investigation.

He blames others and says they should be ashamed for being silent. This is the man who said he couldn't remember or didn't know under oath over 200 times.

He's "proud" of the way the FBI interviewed Flynn, despite admitting previously he "took advantage" of the chaos in the incoming administration.

He won't comment on whether the memos he leaked were classified. Of course not. That would embarrass him.

Guess what, Comey? You are a weasel who does weasel things.


(Read More...)

Tue Dec 18 07:56:54 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About that insurance policy...

Meaning In HistoryMr. Steele wrote: “Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie. It engaged Fusion to obtain information necessary for Perkins Coie LLP to provide legal advice on the potential impact of Russian involvement on the legal validity of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election.

“Based on that advice, parties such as the Democratic National Committee and HFACC Inc. (also known as ‘Hillary for America’) could consider steps they would be legally entitled to take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election.”

Read the whole thing. But at least part of this answer is explained by the Hillary campaign needing a reason to pay Perkins Coie for legal services rather than opposition research. Casting Steele's dossier as legal services is batshit fucking insane, but that appears to be what they are trying to do. Imagining that they could challenge Trump's election if they lost on the basis of phantom Russian collusion should be even more batshit fucking insane, but it seems to be working so far.

Categories Spygate

Tue Dec 18 07:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Federal court strikes down New York nunchuk ban

New York Post A federal court says New York’s ban on nunchucks, the martial arts weapon made famous by Bruce Lee but prohibited in the state for decades, is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

It says arms, not firearms. Knives, swords, nunchuks, spears, arrows, are all fair game.

This will make it easier when it is time to challenge restrictions on tanks and warships.

Categories 2nd Amendment

Tue Dec 18 06:47:19 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Original 302 of Flynn interview posted

Document here. Power Line analyzes it briefly, and finds that the denials that resulted in Flynn's guilty plea are actually pretty weak. Of the four things he supposedly lied about, two of them were more of a "I don't remember" than a lie, and the remaining two are still less than a firm denial. Given that Flynn was the incoming National Security Advisor and the conversations themselves were perfectly legitimate, I just don't see criminality here. Obviously a person will not remember his conversations with the perfect accuracy of a transcript. That's just how memory works.

If in fact Flynn did not accurately inform his superiors (Trump, Pence, etc) about the content of the conversation, that's a different question and possibly a firing offense regardless of intent. It's awkward, even potentially dangerous, to have your National Security Advisor talking to Russia and asking for things without passing that on. But that's a matter for Trump and Pence to consider, not something that criminal law really embraces. Especially not in a blatant perjury trap like this.

Actually, calling this a perjury trap seems inaccurate. A perjury trap is giving someone the opportunity to lie deliberately, knowing you can catch them in the lie. This was more like going to Flynn with the determination to manufacture a lie.

UPDATE: Did Flynn agree to plea deal to avoid being charged with failing to register as a foreign agent during his dealings with Turkey? Seems likely.

Categories Spygate

Mon Dec 17 23:43:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The warming is in the adjustments -- and only in the adjustments

Borepatch lays it out. The record temperature data, not subjected to adjustments by the "Climate Scientists", does not show the same warming that the daily temperature data shows after it has been adjusted. Indeed, in recent years more states are setting records for cold temperatures than warm ones.

Folks, we're not warming up here. The earth is not warming. It hasn't been warming nearly as much as they say for the past ten or twenty years. If anything, it's been getting colder. If the solar dynamo models are correct -- and they have better predictive value than the climate models at this point -- it's going to get much colder in 2020 or so and stay that way for about 30 years. (Yes, we'll still see summers and winters and such; it's an average temperature thing).

I'm not sure how we can prepare for this, but a wise government would be thinking about measures they can take to alleviate short growing seasons. That's probably the biggest factors. Places that get a lot of snow already prepare for that, and fuel for heating doesn't seem to be an insurmountable problem. The effects are likely to be subtle rather than a doomsday scenario. But warming is right out.

Mon Dec 17 19:50:42 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

73-year-old vietnam vet hero killed by police without consequences

Richard Black shot a naked intruder trying to drown his 11-year-old grandson. Responding police officers shot Black thinking he was the attacker. The DA refused to charge the cop who killed him.

The Second Amendment Foundation has recently called for a national dialog with police on this issue. Apparently we really need one. Police response protocols (which all seem to include shouting multiple confusing and contradictory orders at people who have just been deafened by firing a gun without ear protection indoors) need to be adjusted so that innocent people don't get shot.

So that police have an incentive to pay attention, and to ensure justice is done, those who shoot innocent people by mistake should be charged, tried, convicted, and punished. Yes, even police officers.

Mon Dec 17 08:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

US government subsidizing Soros' organizations

Judicial WatchThe U.S. government subsidizes billionaire George Soros’ radical leftist agenda dedicating hundreds of millions of dollars to his deeply politicized Open Society Foundations (OSF) worldwide, records uncovered by Judicial Watch show. In a special investigative report Judicial Watch documents the financial link between U.S.-funded entities and OSF affiliates to further the Hungarian philanthropist’s agenda seeking to destabilize legitimate governments, erase national borders, target conservative politicians, finance civil unrest, subvert institutions of higher education and orchestrate refugee crises for political gain. The special report also illustrates the financial and staffing nexus between OSF and the U.S. government.

What, you thought Soros was spending his own money on politics? You pay lobbyists and politicians, and if you can pay them enough, you get many multiples of what you paid back in the form of subsidies and grants to your organizations from the taxpayer's wallet.

No, your taxes don't count. If you are paying the IRS, you're being fleeced, not buying fleece.

Mon Dec 17 07:47:18 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another motive to go after Flynn?

PJMediaI’ve been told, I believe reliably, that General Flynn had either ordered, or intended to order, a full accounting of decades of intelligence community malfeasance. This was likely to reveal vast sums of money that were never spent to carry out the missions for which they were appropriated. This would have intensified the IC’s desire to get rid of him.

We're already pretty sure that the dossier on Trump and the Carter Page FISA warrant came from a desperate attempt to get legal authority for spying that Mike Rogers, as NSA Director, had cut off (and initiated an audit of). If Mike Flynn had intended to order an even broader audit, and this became known, and if the abuses were as common and as significant as they seem to be, then this would represent a huge motive for the entire Obama administration to go after him. They could safely fire Flynn to block his audit while the Obama administration was in power, but when Trump hired him, the Obama administration would surely realize the audit was back on the table.

Categories Spygate

Mon Dec 17 06:47:19 CST 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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