NSA recommends dropping phone surveillance of Americans

Conservative TreeHouse quoting Wall Street JournalThe National Security Agency has recommended that the White House abandon a U.S. surveillance program that collects information about Americans’ phone calls and text messages, saying the logistical and legal burdens of keeping it outweigh its intelligence benefits, according to people familiar with the matter.

The recommendation against seeking the renewal of the once-secret spying program amounts to an about-face by the agency, which had long argued in public and to congressional overseers that the program was vital to the task of finding and disrupting terrorism plots against the U.S.

The latest view is rooted in a growing belief among senior intelligence officials that the spying program provides limited value to national security and has become a logistical headache.

Frustrations about legal-compliance issues forced the NSA to halt use of the program earlier this year, the people said. Its legal authority will expire in December unless Congress reauthorizes it.

My feeling is that this program has never been useful for tracking terrorists, despite prior claims to that effect. It may be useful for tracking spies, except that spies know about it and know to avoid it. Even that claim deserves skepticism. The amount of data to sort through and the ease of avoiding entry into the surveillance database by professions while ordinary American's communications are available for known and documented abuse (80%+ of queries of this database in the lead up to 2016 election were legally unjustified) means that the program needs to be shut down.

My hunch is that NSA is only recommending this because they want to be able to tell the courts later that the program is already shut down, nothing to worry about, our audits worked. That would allow them to start it up again and protect other programs they may have that do similar things (such as collecting all American's email traffic).

So, yes, this program must end. I'd rather it end by court order, though.

Thu Apr 25 08:55:25 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Kamala Harris threatens executive action on gun control if elected

BreitbartDuring a town hall on CNN on Monday, 2020 presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) vowed that if Congress doesn’t pass gun legislation within the first 100 days of her administration, she will “take executive action.”

Harris said, “Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws, and if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action.”

She continued, “And specifically, what I will do is put in place a requirement that for anyone who sells more than five guns a year, they are required to do background checks when they sell those guns. I will require that for any gun dealer that breaks the law, the ATF take their license. … And then, on the third piece, because none of us have been sleeping over the last two years, part of what has happened under the current administration is they took fugitives off the list of prohibited people. I’d put them back on the list, meaning that fugitives from justice should not be able to purchase a handgun or any kind of weapon.”

Well, the executive action thing is increasingly popular, which doesn't bode well for the constitutional separation of powers.

The five-guns-a-year thing is basically putting a number to the age-old question of how many guns you have to sell to qualify as a dealer. The number seems low, especially when some of the informal requirements for being a dealer involve having a storefront. But because her proposal doesn't require every sale to have a background check, it's basically just creating another loophole for the next candidate to complain about.

Not sure what she's talking about on the "fugitives from justice" thing. As far as I know, if you have pending charges you still can't buy a gun. But reporting on that from Dan Bongino's podcast says the change was made under the Obama administration.

Thu Apr 25 08:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Dictionary changes definition of assault weapon

Thu Apr 25 07:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

"Diversity will be [the] gold standard" at Marvel

Bounding Into ComicsAvengers: Endgame director Joe Russo declared that the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films “will be an inclusive one.”

In a wide-ranging article focused on Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige from Variety, Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo discussed the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Russo noted, “The future of these movies will be an inclusive one. He added, “Diversity, both in front of and behind the camera, will be its gold standard.”

Russo’s comment echoes what Kevin Feige has been telling fans for quite a while. All the way back in 2017, Feige hinted at the possibility of bringing a female Thor to the big screen

Shark, jumped.

(Read More...)

Thu Apr 25 06:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About that election-influence collusion with foreign governments...

Daily CallerA 2012 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court motion contained a little-noticed provision expanding the FBI’s ability to share information with foreign officials, which could have laid the groundwork for abuses against U.S. citizens, Rep. Louie Gohmert said.

“This motion and order would allow the FBI to collude with foreign governments about U.S. citizens,” Gohmert, a Texas Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The way this works is simple. The US can't spy on their own citizens, but their agreements with other nations allow those other nations to do the spying, and share the results. That FISA court motion in 2012? It lets the US tell those other nations who to spy on.

Wed Apr 24 08:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Things that make you go hmm...

The Democrats sure are persistent about demanding access to Trump's tax returns. But -- by legal necessity -- Trump disclosed his tax returns to the IRS under the Obama administration for 8 years. Obama has a known history of abusing the IRS for political purposes, and during the 2016 election was spying on Trump with everything he had. What are the chances Obama or his minions haven't gone through those returns with a fine toothed comb looking for damaging things? Zero, I figure.

So, is there something in those tax returns that the Obama Administration thinks would be damaging? Is that why they keep pushing for their release?

Wed Apr 24 07:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Private companies are not exempt from the law

PJMediaThere are no easy answers to this problem. As the law currently stands, Twitter, Facebook, et. al are private companies and can legally ban or suppress any speech they want. While many on the conservative side think federal regulations are the answer, we ought to think long and hard about the consequences of such regulations. More often than not, when the government gets involved, things get infinitely more complicated and more expensive — and, ultimately, less free.

People keep saying this. It's not true.

Twitter, I believe, is publicly owned. It's accountable to its shareholders and has fiduciary duties. Is it wise for a publicly owned company to piss off half its potential users? No.

Under the Communications Decency Act, Twitter has a "safe harbor" from prosecution for the content of its users only insofar as it does not exercise editorial authority over that content. That is, if Twitter is a public platform where users can post anything they want, Twitter will not be blamed for it... unless Twitter starts to decide what can and cannot be posted on its service. The moment they start to make those decisions, Twitter becomes a publisher and thus responsible for everything posted on its service.

In effect, despite being a private entity not itself bound by the First Amendment, Twitter is nonetheless bound by existing regulations.

Wed Apr 24 06:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Bump Stock Ban is based on a hoax

If you remember, the bump stock ban going into effect was premised on the Las Vegas mass shooting at a country music event. If you believe the official story, a single man holed himself up in a hotel room with literally dozens of guns, several phones, and at least one laptop with a missing hard drive, before using his elevated vantage point and some of his firearms to shoot into a crowd. By the time police worked up the courage to enter his room, he was dead -- supposedly by suicide.

The firearms he supposedly used to shoot into the crowd were also supposedly fitted with bump stock devices. The ATF subsequently used that event as justification to make a rule change banning bump stocks by considering them to be machine guns -- a rule change that violates the plain language of the law.

There were a LOT of questions about that case. Lots of sketchy and contradictory stories by the police on the scene, and lots of evidence kept hidden. Now, we find out that the ATF personnel were not allowed to examine the weapons used to determine if they had been converted to machine guns. (There are ways to do that, but performing the conversion is illegal, and generally not easy, as anything that makes the process too easy is considered to be a machinegun itself).

So what if the guns the killer used were actually illegally modified machine guns, and he just happened to have some bump stock guns lying in the room but did not use them?

Well, the ban -- which will affect roughly half a million people -- would be based entirely on false premises, wouldn't it?

Why would the FBI refuse to allow the ATF to examine the guns?

To be sure, there are other possible reasons the FBI might not allow the ATF to examine the guns. A few that come to mind: did the shooter have ties to law enforcement or intelligence agencies that might have shown up if the guns were examined and (especially) their serial numbers traced?

Some people will call this a conspiracy theory. They said the same thing about the idea that the FBI were listening in on the Trump campaign, and look how that turned out. I'm not claiming to know what happened or saying it was all some sort of plot. But is it too much to ask that government agencies tell the truth, stop hiding information, and stop taking advantage of public crises like this one to advance their so-called national security policies through fear?

Tue Apr 23 08:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Casual sideswipe bias...

Epoch TimesAccording to the sources, Trump chose to wait on nominating Barrett because she would likely face resistance from two Senate Republican women who support abortion: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Some of Trump’s aides believed Republicans would pick up seats in the 2018 midterms, which would make it easier to confirm a more conservative candidate like Barrett.

Unmentioned: the Republicans did in fact pick up a Senate seat in the 2018 midterms. They lost the House, yes, but did gain a single seat in the Senate. And the Senate is where judicial confirmations happen. So why is this phrased as a counterfactual?

Epoch TimesGinsburg, 86, is the oldest justice on the Supreme Court. She had three bouts with cancer but returned to the bench each time and appears healthy.

If you've seen recent video of Ginsburg, she does not "appear healthy". She is mobile, but with an aide (or perhaps bodyguard) literally clutching her arm as she walks. Also note the lack of descriptives for Ginsburg's politics. Ginsburg is very political but is not described as such. The subject of the article is described as a "firebrand".

Tue Apr 23 07:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Waco "biker shootout" really a police massacre?

I really can't come up with a better explanation than that for how four years of investigation into 9 murders and 20 more injuries produces no charges.

Tue Apr 23 06:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did Nellie Ohr lie to Congress?

Conservative Treehouse makes the case. It's pretty open and shut. The claim is based on Nellie's application for a HAM radio license, which is a public document now verified by FOIA request, and what she told Congress about how that license compared to her employment at Fusion GPS. She told Congress she got the license "well before" working for Fusion, but it appears from the document that she actually applied for the license after gaining employment at Fusion GPS.

This doesn't seem like a big deal, but... why lie to Congress about it?

Speculation is that she was using it to communicate with others, possibly still inside the intel community, without being monitored. But that's just a guess. The dates -- and her lie -- are not just guesses; they are evidence.

Mon Apr 22 08:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Being a Dick costs you $150 million

Daily CallerDick’s CEO Edward Stack – with evident pressure from the media and anti-gun lobby – has embarked on an escalating series of policies to restrict the chain’s sale of guns, at one point a significant part of the company’s revenue stream.

Now Bloomberg’s own media outlet,, is reporting that Dick’s itself estimates the price of its anti-gun advocacy at $150 million in lost sales in 2018, or almost 2% of the company’s annual revenue.

The people of the gun have a very, very long memory. And Dick's has now joined Bloomberg's gun control group, suggesting they realize they have burned their bridges.

Mon Apr 22 07:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

About that unbiased media...

Mon Apr 22 06:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Terrorist attack in Sri Lanka on Easter

Details. Three churches and three hotels were targets. Death toll of at least two hundred, and approximate 450 injured. Given the location, timing, and method (suicide bombs) it's almost certain to be an islamic terror attack.

Sun Apr 21 14:46:36 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Attkisson 4th Amd lawsuit dismissed

Daily CallerA federal court ruled 2-1 last week against allowing Sharyl Attkisson to revive her suit over the Obama administration’s alleged efforts to hack her personal devices. The ruling spells doom for Americans victimized by government hackers in the future.

The ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of her case against President’s Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, “six unknown agents” and others. Forensic investigators working for Attkisson — a former reporter for CBS — found that proprietary government software was used to hack her home and business computers, but the court denied her any right to pursue further evidence.

The case represents a serious blow to the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees our right to be secure in our “papers and effects.”

One of the major flaws in the Constitution as written is the lack of a significant enforcement mechanism. There are no penalties for the government violating the 4th Amendment. Sure, they can't use the evidence against you in court -- usually. But there are so many other things they can do with the surveillance results that don't involve courts.

Sun Apr 21 08:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DOJ ordered to hand over Comey memos

Epoch TimesA federal judge ordered the Department of Justice to hand over the memos drafted by former FBI Director James Comey in which he recorded the details of his one-on-one conversations with President Donald Trump.

Judge James Boasberg ruled in favor of CNN, the Daily Caller News Foundation, Judicial Watch, and others ordering the Justice Department and the FBI to turn over the memos to the court by April 1.

We've seen most of them, but it will be interesting to see beneath the redactions.

Sun Apr 21 07:47:31 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

California judge strikes down standard capacity magazine ban

Power LineYesterday, Judge Roger Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California handed down an 86-page decision holding that California’s ban on magazines that contain more than ten rounds violates the Second Amendment. Judge Benitez’s decision is closely reasoned and unsparing in its dismantling of the feeble evidentiary case made on behalf of the state. It is premised largely on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.

This will likely end up at the Supreme Court itself. 9th Circuit will strike it down, almost inevitably. The Supreme Court, with new presumably pro-gun members, will see the district court opinion pointing out how California's laws are in direct conflict with Heller.

Sun Apr 21 06:47:33 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

British MP proposes GPS trackers on all.... knives?!

Cornwall LiveMr Mann took to the social media site this morning to say: “Every knife sold in the UK should have a GPS tracker fitted in the handle. It’s time we had a national database like we do with guns.

“If you’re carrying it around you had better have a bloody good explanation, obvious exemptions for fishing etc.”

Once you decide that the people as a whole cannot be trusted with things that can be used as weapons, you rapidly descend into the absurd.

Sat Apr 20 08:47:18 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Supreme Court denies injunction on bump stock ban

Daily CallerThe Supreme Court has turned down two bids to halt the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks, an accessory that increases a semiautomatic rifle’s rate of fire.

Chief Justice John Roberts rejected one application to stay the bump stock ban on Tuesday. A second and final effort to delay implementation of the bump stock rule was rejected Thursday. As is typical of orders of this nature, the Supreme Court did not give reasons for rejecting the application. There were no noted dissents. Both challenges to the bump stock prohibitions will continue in the federal courts.

Not specifically stated in the article, but I believe these were requests for injunctions against enforcement. As such, it's not a final decision, just letting the law go into effect while the lower courts work their way through. Of course, that means people not protected by an injunction (some people are, the specific plaintiffs and their members, IIRC) are stuck holding stuff they can get in trouble for. Or, you know, going on boat trips.

While this isn't reason to panic on gun rights in general, it's a reminder that gun rights cases are a hard sell at the Supreme Court level.

Speaking of... when was Ruth Bader last seen in public? Recently, it seems, but apparently someone thinks she needs at least 4 bodyguards men in suits to go to a movie.

Sat Apr 20 07:47:18 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Two more Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuits

Judicial Watch Judicial Watch announced today that it is suing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for details of a meeting with the FBI regarding national security threats associated with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “private” email system.

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok that the ICIG reportedly found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list. It was a compartmentalized bit of information that was sending it to an unauthorized source.”

Gohmert said the ICIG presented the findings to Strzok, but that the FBI official did not do anything with the information.

Judicial Watch Judicial Watch announced today it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seeking records of communications between former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and CNN around the time the Clinton-Democrat National Committee Trump dossier was being pitched to key media outlets.

A House report detailed that Clapper leaked information regarding the dossier to CNN in January 2017. The former ODNI chief signed on as an analyst for CNN in August 2017.

Sat Apr 20 06:47:18 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Mueller Investigation: Mission Accomplished

Fri Apr 19 08:47:18 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Obama Administration's SpyGate involvement

Epoch TimesThe Spygate scandal also raises a bigger question: Was the 2016 election a one-time aberration, or was it symptomatic of decades of institutional political corruption?

This article builds on dozens of congressional testimonies, court documents, and other research to provide an inside look at the actions of Obama administration officials in the scandal that’s become known as Spygate.

Read the whole thing. It's long, but worth it.

Categories Spygate

Fri Apr 19 07:47:18 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The power of symbols

I know some of my readers are religious. I am not, but I wanted to point something out. Attorney General Barr released the redacted Mueller report at 11am Eastern Time, April 18th, 2019. Immediately, the media attacked Barr for running a cover up, attacked Trump for obstructing justice (even though the Mueller report did not charge that he did), called on Congress to impeach, and generally went completely nuts.

The day after the report was released --that's today -- is Good Friday.

BibleVerseStudyJOHN 19:6 6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”

Mueller, despite his corruption, despite his biased team, despite everything, could find nothing with which to charge Trump. Not even with obstruction, for the protests of an innocent man being framed are the cries of justice. Nevertheless, the media and the Democrats cried out to crucify him.

BibleVerseStudyJOHN 19:7-11 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

Who delivered Trump to Mueller to be tried? That would be Hillary and Obama, aided by the Deep State. And they should now be very, very afraid. The wyrm has turned; Mueller's investigation has closed and can no longer offer cover against Congressional or internal investigations. IG Horowitz's report on FISA abuse is now expected this summer. AG Barr is unlikely to whitewash the conclusions of the report as was done with the Hillary coverup. And, speaking of, there are calls to reopen that investigation and investigate how it was covered up too.

If Trump doesn't release his prepared rebuttal to the Mueller report on Easter Sunday, the day when Christ rose from the tomb, he's a fool. So that's the prediction I'm putting on the table: we'll see the rebuttal released Easter Sunday.

Fri Apr 19 06:47:18 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Mueller report released

AG Barr's comments. He thanks Rosenstein. Rosenstein looks constipated; it's political hostage situation. Barr is roping Rosenstein into every major controversial decision here. Barr points out, again, no collusion from the Trump team or any (knowing) cooperation from any other American. Three times (so far). Very heavy emphasis on that point.

Barr says Mueller's report says GRU disseminated some of the stolen materials to Wikileaks. The GRU to Wikileaks claim remains unproven, I think. No member of the Trump campaign colluded illegally in the document release. This may mean the report alleges someone in the campaign did try to get involved in the release in a way that is not illegal. I think we've seen some allegations about this, and they are weak.

Barr notes the Mueller report discusses obstruction, notes his own findings, and explains them.

He discusses redactions at length. No executive privilege. No redactions, or recommended redactions, from anyone outside the AG's office (presumably including Mueller) and possibly from the intelligence community ("advice" not specific redactions). Congress will get a version with ONLY grand jury information redacted.

The full report is now available.

Thu Apr 18 12:07:17 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Is it the rule of law or rule of the elite?

Thu Apr 18 08:47:18 CDT 2019 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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