The Republic of Bill

Sat Aug 30 16:57:58 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

An attempt to ban body armor

HR 5344, the laughably titled “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” is nothing more or less than attempt ban Level III and higher body armor that can defeat most common rifle ammunition, such as the steel plate armor sold by AR500 Armor* and other vendors.

Body armor is not a weapon and can't actually hurt anyone. It is only, and solely, a protective device meant to save lives. Why on earth would anyone want to ban body armor?

Sat Aug 30 12:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Imminent Terrorist Attack Warning

According to Judicial Watch:

Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

The scary part is, Mexico is almost as much of a failed state as the regions ISIS has been taking control over in the middle east. If they can get a foothold there, it's possible they could take and hold territory against the Mexican government. They could not survive extended engagement with our own military, but the whole point of being a terrorist group is to avoid extended engagements. Against a hapless administration, it could be Vietnam all over again -- except with terrorists conducting covert cross-border operations and retreating to refuge in Mexico.

We are going to get hit again. I don't see how we can stop it. Or no, that's not true. I think Obama has checked out and will not bother trying to stop it. Mark Levin on his radio show has been openly speculating the Obama isn't even bothering to read his intelligence briefings. At best, that's willful ignorance and a resulting paralysis; at worst, Obama hopes a terrorist attack on the US will create a useful crisis which he can take advantage of.

Sat Aug 30 11:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another Illegal Mayor arrested, this time for harassment

Note that harassment, in this case, includes not only threats to "punch someone right in the mouth", but actually knocking someone over bar stools. No wonder he doesn't want citizens to have guns. They might be able to defend themselves against him.

Sat Aug 30 10:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

If they don't live in your state...

Sat Aug 30 09:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

They must be the same real killers that OJ is looking for

Legal Insurrection is reporting on a Rasmussen poll. His take is related to whether the Department of Justice is motivated by politics. I have a somewhat more pessimistic take:

This distrust of the feds carries over into views of a planned new federal database to track “misinformation” and hate speech on the social media site Twitter. Thirty-five percent (35%) believe the federal government will use the database to go after real criminals, but 53% believe it will be used to monitor law-abiding citizens instead. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure.

We're talking about a federally-funded research project (on which I have previously commented) to track political "misinformation" and "hate speech" on twitter. Obviously, it will -- and almost certainly is intended to -- have a chilling effect on free speech. But the interesting thing here is the response to the poll; 35% of respondents believe the government will use the database to go after "real criminals", and 12% are not sure. I commend the 12% for admitting to being clueless, but the 35% who think the DoJ will go after real criminals?

There are no "real criminals" on twitter spewing "political misinformation" or "hate speech" on twitter. That is because speech is not a crime, and cannot be a crime under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.

There are no real criminals.

And yet, 35% of the people responding to the poll are so absolutely fucking clueless that they respond approvingly to a suggestion that the federal government police the internet to punish people saying mean things in direct contravention of the founding principles of our nation and the literal written law of our Constitution.

Fri Aug 29 18:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Stupid feminists

I've written before about my experiences trying to tell feminists complaining about "rape culture" that the law in the US allows them to carry a gun, which is very effective at preventing rape. The response was usually an incoherent temper tantrum about how men should be taught not to rape and women shouldn't have to pay attention to the world around them in order to be safe. (Newsflash: is world. Is not safe.) Now, someone has invented nail polish that changes color if your drink has a date-rape drug in it.

And feminists are opposed to it, because empowering women with the option to test their drink for a date-rape drug contributes to rape culture or something.

The loud crashing noise is me banging my head against the wall. Repeatedly.

Fri Aug 29 17:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Do gun control supporters care about saving lives?

No, they want gun owners dead.

And teachers appear to want their students dead.

Remember, this is the party of "tolerance".

Fri Aug 29 16:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Holder arranging political payoffs in bank settlements

Radical Democrat activist groups stand to collect millions from Attorney General Eric Holder's record $17 billion deal to settle alleged mortgage abuse charges against Bank of America.

Buried in the fine print of the deal, which includes $7 billion in soft-dollar consumer relief, are a raft of political payoffs to Obama constituency groups. In effect, the government has ordered the nation's largest bank to create a massive slush fund for Democrat special interests.

This is absolutely blatant corruption and abuse of power to funnel money to political supporters in advance of a tough election. If you read further in the article it's clearly not the first time Holder has pulled this trick. I didn't report on it at the time, but my sources were showing large amounts of money being funneled to various fake-religious groups to "supply housing for unaccompanied minor illegal immigrant children". Billions of dollars in money being almost literally thrown at shady characters operating under false pretenses. And when they run out of public money they start extorting it from private businesses.

This makes me so furious I hardly know how to express it.

Fri Aug 29 15:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A live recording of a SWAT raid in progress

What I find interesting is that the very first thing they do when they find out their raid is being streamed live over the internet is turn the camera over and ask him how to stop the recording. What do the police have to hide? Aside from looking like idiots for raiding a guy playing a video game, anyway. (Can't even really blame them for that if they got a fake 911 call). But the immediate impulse to disable the recording device is mighty suspicious to me.

Fri Aug 29 14:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Russia officially invades the Ukraine

I knew this was coming. The only thing that could stop it would be Obama growing a spine.

Fri Aug 29 13:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A very telling difference

While discussing "tax inversion", a corporate merger designed to transfer ownership of the newly created merged corporation outside of the United States, allegedly for tax purposes, 3 Boxes of BS has an excellent quote:

I find it more than hypocritical that so many people are interested in securing the borders — IF the company or people are leaving America for a better place or for more money.

A free society, with both economic and civil liberty, has to build a fence to keep people out. A totalitarian society, on the other hand, has to build a fence to keep people in.

Right now, we're in transition from one to the other. People without money are coming in. People with money are leaving.

Fri Aug 29 12:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lerner's blackberry destroyed after investigators interviewed her

Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the BlackBerry was "removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012."

"We had already talked to her. Our personal staff and Oversight Committee staff had sat down with Ms. Lerner and confronted her about information we were getting from conservative groups in the state of Ohio and around the country," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News.

People need to go to jail for this. And whatever physical hardware remains available that might possibly hold copies of the relevant information needs to be physically seized so that it is not under the control of the IRS itself.

Fri Aug 29 11:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Whistleblower on IRS backup files

But Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents other conservative groups suing the IRS, cited a whistleblower who bolsters Judicial Watch's interpretation.

"I received information from a former Department of Homeland Security official who had security clearances. He just retired in April," Mitchell said. "He contacted me and he contacted Judicial Watch and some members of Congress and said there is backup material."

Without hearing him describe in detail what he knows, it's hard to tell exactly how big a story this is. But if there really is still backup material that really does contain the Lerner emails, and possibly other material, that would be very big indeed. Conversely, the whistleblower might be speaking only about the known backup systems, which the IRS claims recycled their tapes every 6 months.

But the fact that a whistleblower felt the need to come forward about this suggests that he may have specific information and details that the IRS is reluctant to disclose.

Fri Aug 29 10:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government by Unicorn

An interesting point of view on people who imagine that government is benevolent.

Hat tip to Borepatch.

Fri Aug 29 09:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Bill Quick finds a real gem

Crist is the bright-orange Florida politician who ran against Marco Rubio for the Republican nomination to the Senate. Crist lost the primary, and later he switched parties. He is now a Democrat, and he said this about his prior record:

Crist said the strong showing is a sign that Democrats believe in him. “Frankly, I think I was on their side when I was in the other party,” he said as he prepared a victory speech. He said a friend once told him, “Charlie, you’ve been a Democrat your whole life, you just didn’t know it.’ Well, now I know it.”

And the Republicans wonder why their party's base is pissed at them and keeps running primary challengers?

It's not like Crist was the only person to do this, either. Arlen Specter did something very similar. Other Republicans remain within the party and vote the other way when it suits them. It adds up to a party that isn't trusted by their base.

Thu Aug 28 17:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Forbes summarizes recent firearms rights cases

Hours later a mainstream reporter next to me in the press section gasped, “Oh no,” when Justice Anthony Kennedy hinted that he believed the Second Amendment to be an individual right while asking the government’s attorney a question.

Pretty revealing anecdote, but the rest of the article is a summary of things that, if you read this blog, you have already seen. Good to send to people who don't read the gunblogs, though. Hat tip to Of Arms and the Law on this one.

Thu Aug 28 16:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

California giving drivers' licenses to illegal aliens

Why do Democrats want illegal aliens to have drivers' licenses so badly?

Brown has made California a sanctuary state by signing the Trust Act, giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. He has also expanded financial aid to illegal immigrants by signing the California DREAM Act. Nieto reportedly thanked state officials for embracing foreigners, citing measures that extend state benefits to immigrants.

Because if you have a drivers' license in California, you can move to another state and get a new driver's license from that state pretty easily -- at least that was my experience. And if the state you move into happens to be a red state with a voter id law, well, you can probably vote with your new ID. Not legally, no, but how many states are diligent about cleaning their voter lists of non-citizens with drivers' licenses who check the box on their voter registration form that says they are citizens?

I'm betting very few if not none.

Thu Aug 28 15:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama Admin claims no new backups disclosed

I reported earlier that Judicial Watch had been told by a DoJ lawyer that Lerner's emails were recoverable from backup tapes, but that doing so would be "too onerous" for an FOIA request.

This would obviously be a bombshell revelation, and was reported as such.

The administration's side of the story is that the backup tapes referred to are those that have been previously reported as being recycled every six months:

The official said DOJ lawyers were only referring to tapes backing up IRS emails that were routinely recycled twice a year before 2013, when the investigation into the Tea Party controversy began.

“There is no newly divulged back-up system that was not previously known about,” the official said. “Government lawyers were simply referring to the back-up system at the IRS that Commissioner Koskinen had already disclosed.”

Problem: "onerous" is a word that means "difficult and unpleasant work", not "impossible" work. The task may be "onerous", but it can still be completed. If you are a lawyer defending the IRS in this situation, and want to retain even a shred of a good reputation, you need to be very careful in what you say. Top officials at the IRS ahve previously testified that these backup tapes didn't exist; then they had been recycled; then they had been written over with new data... and now, well, "they are too onerous to search" is another change. What was once impossible has now become merely difficult and annoying and likely to be embarrassing.

I won't deny that restoring from a data recovery system backup will be a significant task, possibly even an onerous one. But that's why we have backup systems. And if restoring from those backups is possible -- even if difficult -- now, it was surely possible when Koskinen, Kane, and others testified that the emails were lost permanently.

To put it another way, a federal agency does not get to tell Congress what the agency will provide in response to a subpoena. Congress issues, and the agency must comply. No matter how onerous.

At this point, we need someone outside the executive branch to take physical possession of the backup tapes and apply whatever possible techniques they can to recover them. Spend millions if necessary. Billions is not unreasonable. Come back for more when you run out. Take the money from the IRS budget for Star Trek videos, bonuses and IT services they clearly aren't using.

Thu Aug 28 14:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Patterico reacts to Lerner's destroyed Blackberry

His reaction, summarized? "Convene a grand jury, please." Being employed as a prosecutor in California (though speaking as a private citizen blogger rather than in an official capacity), he knows when grand juries are appropriate.

Thu Aug 28 13:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Can the police seize your house over $40 of drugs?

Don't bet your house they can't, because they can and they will. And remember, they aren't charging you with anything. They are charging your house. Your house does not have due process rights.

Thu Aug 28 12:44:35 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Speaking of media bias...

... in a report on a local school district allowing trained teachers to carry firearms (and posting signs advertising that decision):

guns blazing...pack heat...shoots straight...the long arm of the law...Gun-toting teachers


I fully support school districts that allow teachers to do this. I am less sure about the wisdom of posting signs advertising it. If nothing else, it invites political controversy over an issue that could be handled with a quiet change of law.

Come to think of it, perhaps "inviting political controversy" is why the school district put up the signs. The people in charge of the school district are likely less gun-friendly than the legislators.

Thu Aug 28 11:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DOT rules proposal requires vehicles to broadcast location, direction, and speed

Are the possible safety benefits from such transmission worth the fact that the police will be able to issue speeding tickets with a radio on the side of the road and absolutely no human involvement? Or simply automatically track who is near a particular point?

I promise you this will be a privacy nightmare. When you enable automated data collection, you change the whole game.

Thu Aug 28 10:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS attorney in ethics office accused of lying

This isn't directly related to the targeting scandal, as far as I can tell, but when one of your lawyers working in your ethics office faces disbarment -- for the layfolk, that's losing your license to practice law -- over misuse of client funds from before the IRS hired her... well, you start to wonder about how committed to honesty and ethical behavior the agency is.

UPDATE: More details about the case.

Thu Aug 28 09:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

What exactly does metadata mean, anyway?

I've already discussed how it means that the NSA will scan the content of your emails for key words. But the NSA apparently considers your cell phone location data to be "metadata" it can access without a warrant, too.

The big issue is again what the heck we mean by "metadata." NSA officials and defenders have been downplaying the word ever since Snowden's leaks began, trying to convince us all it's just basic, non-private info. But one of the documents The Intercept has published shows that the NSA has added 25 additional forms of "metadata" past what used to be traditionally accepted: phone numbers called, what time and what length of calls and the like. The new description of metadata includes everything from unique cellphone codes, passport and flight records, visa application records, and cellphone location data.

To the NSA, metadata means "We don't need a warrant" and that's about it.

And then there's the question as to whether this massive expansion in metadata gathering is being used not to fight terrorists but to help secure domestic crime convictions through "parallel construction" processes, secretly sharing this info with local law enforcement agencies

After 9-11, Congress passed the Patriot Act (the first of many such pieces of security legislation) with the promise that it would only be used against terrorists. Rather than keep that promise, they lied to courts, judges, and the people.

Wed Aug 27 12:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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