NSA recommends dropping phone surveillance of Americans
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.
Kamala Harris threatens executive action on gun control if elected
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.
About that election-influence collusion with foreign governments...
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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".
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.
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.
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.
California judge strikes down standard capacity magazine ban
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.