DC grants 8 concealed carry licenses

They have granted 8 and denied 11 out of 69 applications so far, and have certified 6 trainers. This is a victory for gun rights, but DC's rules for obtaining a license are so strict that legal challenges are likely to continue.

Fri Jan 30 12:54:28 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Bullion and Bitcoin

Triggerfinger via Comments at Shall Not Be QuestionedNothing is perfect, but freedom from fiat currency is usually better.

The problem with metals-based currency (or, really, any scarcity-based commodity) is that it’s hard to get more of it without putting a lot of work into it. That’s also the benefit of metals-based currency.

Fiat currencies present not a problem of physical or computational effort, but a mere command: PRINT MORE MONEY! And so it is done. The problem is not one of scarcity but one of moral hazard. And we know humans are flawed, immoral beings; eventually, and often, the holder of the currency will succomb to temptation.

I’m not convinced that deflationary cycles are the bugaboo that some economists seem to think they are. However, I’m willing to concede that no solution is perfect. I just prefer a financial system where the incentives are aligned in the right direction.

Fri Jan 30 11:54:28 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The state of the Texas libertarian party

Triggerfinger via Comments at Shall Not Be QuestionedIn Texas, the Libertarian party runs candidates for many local races. In their communications, that is one of their major selling points: they are trying to be a real political party working from the ground up as well as running no-hope candidates for big races. The big races are viewed as tools for ballot access (usually, x% of the ballot for president or governor means you don’t have to petition for ballot access).

This doesn’t mean that they can organize their way out of a wet paper bag consistently, but they seem to do a better job of it than most third parties and are consistently on the ballot in 1/3rd to 1/2 of local races.

I can’t speak to other states, though.

Fri Jan 30 10:54:28 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Local police can track your car in real-time, but object to being tracked

PJMediaNow, here we have an interesting juxtaposition between this story, revealing that local law enforcement can track your car in real-time, and the story I wrote about yesterday where law enforcement officials are lobbying the Waze app to disable the feature where citizens are able to track and locate police officers as they drive. This situation is entirely INVERTED. It’s the citizens who need to keep an eye on their government, not the other way around... Add this to the disclosures that airplanes are mimicking cell phone towers to collect flyers’ cell phone data and collecting metadata from digital communications, and it’s indisputable that we live in a police state now.

I've been saying this for a long time. It's gratifying, in a sort of dystopian way, to see others doing so.

Fri Jan 30 09:54:28 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

More flexibility after the election, indeed

Gateway PunditIn May 1881 US explorers approached Jeannette Island, Wrangell Island and Henrietta Island in the Arctic Ocean and claimed them for the United States.

But according to the Obama Department of State no claim exists today over these US islands. In fact the State Department is conspiring with Russian President Putin to give away Wrangell Island to Russians. Wrangell and its 200 mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has billions of barrels of oil/gas reserves and hundreds of millions of pounds of fisheries. It also has a strategic military location for tracking Russian moves in Arctic.

When Obama said he would have more flexibility after the election, he wasn't kidding.

Thu Jan 29 12:10:11 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Not cool, Barack

PJMediaOne indication of the generous financing is that it has now flown in a team of five American campaign experts (including Jeremy Bird, the Obama campaign’s national field director) who will run the campaign out of offices taking up the ground floor of a Tel Aviv office building. V-2015 is careful not to support a specific party – rather “just not Bibi”. As such, the foreign funds pouring into the campaign are not subject to Israel’s campaign finance laws.

Meddling in the elections of a foreign nation, particularly one that is a traditional ally of the US, is verboten.

Thu Jan 29 11:10:11 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Speaking of destroying the healthy gun culture...

PublicolaThe anti's goal is to eliminate civilian gun ownership. They cannot do this in one fell swoop, not in a head on contest. So their method is to enact barriers piece by piece. In 1938 the feds passed a law prohibiting folks convicted of a violent felony from possessing firearms. In 1968 the feds passed a law prohibiting folks convicted of any felony from possessing firearms. In 1996 the feds passed a law prohibiting folks convicted of certain types of misdemeanors from possessing firearms. You see where this is headed don't ya?

The proposals coming out of Connecticut are aimed at the same thing. So is the SAFE Act in New York.

Thu Jan 29 10:10:11 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

New Mexico court rules switchblades not protected by the 2nd Amendment

Volokh ConspiracyThe statement that “knives … are themselves a peripheral subset of arms typically used for self-defense or security” seems to suggest that the court would have upheld knife bans even more broadly, including bans that are not limited to switchblades. For cases concluding that knives are substantially protected by the Second Amendment, see this post; in particular, State v. Delgado (Ore. 1984) held that switchblades are constitutionally protected by the Oregon Constitution’s “right to bear arms” provision — the New Mexico case expressly disagreed with Delgado on this.

The most important thing to know about this case for most of us, who don't carry switchblades in New Mexico, is that there appears to be a circuit split between the 9th and 10th federal districts on knife rights. That makes a Supreme Court ruling on the issue more likely.

Thu Jan 29 09:10:11 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FDIC attempts to end Operation #Chokepoint

Washington TimesIn an effort to put an end to Operation Choke Point — a financial task force that was created by the Obama administration to “choke out” businesses it finds objectionable like gun shops — the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. issued a letter Wednesday saying all banks should examine their customer relationships on a case-by-case basis and not by industry operational risk.

The government agency followed the action with a memorandum to its supervisory staff requiring examiners put in writing their recommendation to terminate an account, which the financial institution must review before the account is ended.

This is a big deal if the FDIC actually has the authority to enforce it. The letter to banks will counteract the pressure to close accounts of politically-disfavored businesses, and more importantly the requirement to make recommendations in writing will provide for an evidence trail in cases where accounts are actually closed due to government regulatory pressure.

I do find myself with some uncomfortable questions, though.

First, obviously this doesn't address past issues.
Second, it won't stop people from giving "advice" and not putting it in writing. It may discourage it, but it can't stop it.
Third, Operation Chokepoint has generally been described as a joint operation with the Department of Justice. The details aren't known, but FDIC doesn't necessarily have authority over everyone involved.

Washington Times
“We’ve gone down that road and have choked off Choke Point,” said Mr. Luetkemeyer in an interview with The Washington Times. “The FDIC has acknowledged wrongdoing and put in place measures to stop this activity.”

Admission of wrongdoing sounds like lawsuits can and should be filed pronto.

This is big news, and I wonder if -- like with the IRS case -- an internal investigation is driving the desire to get out in front of the news cycle with this.

Thu Jan 29 00:25:37 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government monitoring gun shows with license plate readers

Shall Not Be QuestionedAccording to the ACLU, the DEA and ATF were conspiring to use license plate readers at gun shows. Presumably all this was because, war on drugs, and because, terrorism or something like that. You have to wonder with as pervasive as the surveillance state is becoming, with technology enabling it to ever greater heights, how long we have until there’s de facto registration even without the government even needing to resort to 4473s. Just watch a gun range for a while via drone or satellite, and just start compiling a list. Soon you won’t even need people to do this. You won’t even need to specifically focus the camera on the gun range. It’ll all be done algorithmically by computers, compiling tons and tons of data to be called up and analyzed any time the powers that be want to scrutinize someone.

The only thing I have to add to this is that it is no longer a hypothetical situation. Between satellites, drones, automated license plate readers, financial monitoring of credit card transactions, the paper 4473s, NICS, and NSA monitoring of communications activity (including email, telephones, and web traffic) the government could compile a list of gun owners and match that list to a high-confidence list of what firearms they owned with relatively little effort. It wouldn't be serial numbers, but probably close enough for the cop on the raid to ask you where the AR-15 you bought last year is and why you didn't turn it in.

Wed Jan 28 20:07:10 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Confirmed: Justice Department has an operational database of guns and cars

Wall Street JournalThe Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.

That's the "car" part of the database. Put it together with other databases, such as state lists of concealed-carry permit licensees, and you can find out if a particular car is likely to have a gun, as happened to this Florida resident driving through Maryland. We know their motivations are centered around guns because they originally intended to deploy this around gun shows:

Wall Street JournalA federal agent proposed using license-plate readers to scan vehicles around gun shows in order to aid gun-trafficking investigations, according to an internal Justice Department email.

It seems clear this is a fully operational gun-registration program that purports to be about cars and has been kept mostly secret until now.

Wed Jan 28 20:06:21 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Anti-austerity party wins in Greece

Daily MailAn anti-austerity party has won a landmark election victory in Greece which critics fear could force the Eurozone into a fresh crisis. With 97 per cent of the votes counted, radical leftist party Syriza was set to have 149 seats in parliament - just short of the 151 it needs to rule outright.

If your memory for European news items goes back a couple years, you will recall that Greece has been pretty much in perpetual debt crisis for at least 5 years or so, and has already been rescued multiple times by bailouts from the other European nations using the Euro as their currency (mostly Germany).

The results there make it clear: Democracy will last until the people realize they can vote themselves money from other people -- in this case, from other nations. That lasts until other nations stop giving them money; then comes hyperinflation, as the democratically-elected leaders print money instead; and finally a complete economic crash as people bring wheelbarrows full of cash to buy a loaf of bread.

And then it gets really ugly.

Wed Jan 28 12:52:45 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A disturbing lack of rotten flounder

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler“You are an oppressive, bigoted result of oppressive bigotry, and denying that you are makes you even more of an oppressive, bigoted result of oppressive bigotry.”

Seriously: How does anybody manage to be around the likes of you for more than five minutes without shoving a rotting flounder down your throat to shut you up?

I've found that the most common reason for that to be lack of readily available rotten flounder. But there is usually an acceptable substitute available.

Wed Jan 28 11:52:45 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Potentially big news in Fast and Furious, BATFE whistleblower lawsuit

It seems the judge hearing the case accused DoJ attorneys of committing fraud:

Of Arms and the LawGot into the Court of Claims docket-- here's the ruling (pdf) in which the Court accuses the Department of Justice attorneys of having committed a fraud on the Court. That's the document which the Court recently ordered unsealed.

The order also has a notice for copies to be sent to a lot of interesting people, including the Attorney General, DOJ Inspector General, and DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility.

David CodreaCommenting on revelations about Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Department of Justice (DOJ) actions in the case of retired agent Jay Dobyns against his former employer, attorney David Hardy equated them with “a BATF and DOJ Watergate... or worse,” Friday. Noting that actions taken over a civil lawsuit evidently have included concealing evidence, secret threats against witnesses, and surveillance of attorneys and witnesses, the new information lends further credence to Dobyns’ allegations and appears to show government lawyers engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

And remember, it's not just a plaintiff making those allegations; it's a judge, in a ruling on the case.

There's an awful lot of smoke here. Fire seems likely.

Wed Jan 28 10:52:45 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Utah makes vehicle seizure mandatory for lack of insurance

Techdirt via Bill QuickA new law that went into effect on Jan. 1 changes the wording and adds provisions to a law that has been in effect since 2008 allowing officers to impound a vehicle that isn’t insured. The crucial verb that was changed, raising sides between those in favor and those opposed to the revised law, is the shift from the law previously stating that an officer “may” seize a vehicle without warrant if it’s being operated without insurance to the fact that now an officer “shall” seize said vehicle.

What was once a voluntary mandate applied by officer discretion to those obviously operating outside the law is not a mandatory part of a traffic stop, and will most likely be applied to anyone whose insurance paperwork is even a few days out of date.

Wed Jan 28 09:52:45 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Food for thought on the drug war

We think that drugs cause addiction, but there's credible scientific evidence that says that isn't so. People with miserable lives who have nothing but the drugs to enjoy become, and stay, addicted. People with happy lives do not, even if -- for medical reasons -- they are forced to use a drug for pain relief temporarily.

What does this mean on a policy level? You can't mandate human connection and a happy, fulfilling life as a government policy. But I do think a lot of our current laws pretty much ensure that anyone who has ever gotten in trouble with the law will have an unhappy, unfulfilled life; and that is exactly the environment that would drive them to return to drug addiction.

Tue Jan 27 12:52:45 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Pro-gun legislation in the House

Guns Save LivesH.R. 131 would ensure the law has the effect Congress intended when it passed more than 25 years ago. Specifically, the legislation would make clear that transportation of both firearms and ammunition is federally protected, as well as expand the protections afforded to travelers to include “staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental” to the trip.

Additionally, the bill would place the burden of proof clearly on the state to show that the traveler failed to comply with the law.

This sounds like reasonable legislation to me, and would probably have some positive impact in anti-gun states, but not much impact considering the differences from existing federal law are minor and anti-gun states often feel free to ignore the existing federal law anyway. It's better than nothing, but is it worth the political capital?

Tue Jan 27 11:52:45 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

I am aghast

It actually took me a little bit of thought to decide on that adjective. My first thought was shocked; but I'm hardly surprised by the Obama administration's incompetence and mendacity anymore. Sometimes I am horrified by it, sometimes I am infuriated by it; most of the time I am resigned to it. But this particular instance needed a new word for emphasis.

I can understand the president feeling slighted by Congress inviting Netanyahu to speak. Foreign policy is traditionally the president's realm, but if he was intent of keeping it that way he should make more of an effort to avoid screwing it up. So feeling slighted is understandable. A competent president might make the argument that Congress receiving Netanyahu without the President's involvement is unconstitutional, but this president doesn't seem to care about that and is evidently incapable of making that argument coherently even when it would be to his advantage.

Having a temper tantrum in the media about it, however, is definitely not. That's just childish.

Worse is the announcement that the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad) is supposedly against sanctions on Iran and at odds with Netanyahu on that topic. If true, this would be the sort of thing you bring up in a private meeting with the other head of state, to avoid political embarrassment. But of course, the point here was to cause political embarrassment in order to hurt Netanyahu's chances in upcoming elections. Which is another thing that experienced diplomats try to avoid doing, because if the gambit fails they have just pissed off a sitting head of state.

Of course, Netanyahu has lots of reasons to be pissed at Obama already, so maybe this was a cheap shot.

But the worst part?

The worst part is knowing that our president, AND all of his advisors, are stupid enough collectively to believe they can announce that the Israeli intelligence agency disagrees with the Israeli head of state without that intelligence agency immediately issuing a press release to the contrary. I mean, that is the instant, obvious, effective response in their national interest, even and especially if that response is true.

In fact, the response from Mossad was so swift, so accurate, complete with transcripts of the conversations in which the claim was supposedly made, that I am convinced it cannot be that simple and obvious. No, I think this was a setup. I think the claim that Mossad disagreed with Netanyahu was a deliberate leak, a petty revenge on a petty man, and Obama took the bait like a... chickenshit.

Tue Jan 27 10:52:45 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Gun control groups don't care about prosecutions

Lancaster Online via Shall Not Be QuestionedShira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, agreed that prosecutions aren’t the point of the law.

I just want to get the above on record: gun control groups do not care if anyone is actually prosecuted under any of their laws. They are content, it seems, with having those laws in place to intimidate law-abiding citizens who might engage in legal conduct with firearms.

Tue Jan 27 09:52:45 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Sometimes both ends of the spectrum are insane

Earlier, I commented on legislation in Pennsylvania seeking to ban the use of silhouette targets. The idea was that using even a simple, featureless human outline as a target was unacceptably dehumanizing and would encourage people with no previous criminal intent to shoot other people.

That was stupid.

On the other side of the spectrum, a police department using mug shots taken from their actual arrests as training targets is also really, really stupid. The pictures are real people who the officers might well encounter on the street some day. Even if not, surely there's some reputational damage and an implied threat when you are talking about specific, identifiable individuals who did not agree to the use of their images (or indeed to their images being taken at all).

Can't we just agree not to do stupid stuff on either side?

Mon Jan 26 21:46:50 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Bergdahl to be charged with desertion

Weasel ZippersShaffer was on the Bill O’Reilly show. He said Bergdahl’s attorney has been informed Bergdahl, is being charged with desertion, that the attorney has received the charges. Bill O’Reilly said the White House has had this information, that the charges have been ready for awhile but the White House has been delaying it under the auspices of Ben Rhodes, Assistant National Security Advisor. You may remember Ben Rhodes who featured prominently in the construction of the Benghazi talking points.

We traded 5 terrorists and god only knows how many millions of dollars to get this guy back just so we can charge him with desertion? Not that he shouldn't be charged now that we have him, of course. But he clearly wasn't worth the trade.

Oh, and the swap wasn't even legal.

I have to wonder if we're going to see a pardon from the White House in an effort to keep this quiet.

Mon Jan 26 20:45:23 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

You shall not pass!

Bearing ArmsA package of nine gun control measures that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has made a centerpiece of his legislative agenda this year died Monday morning in a state Senate committee.

It seems that this political ploy did not exactly go as planned.

Mon Jan 26 19:43:10 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Government's role in housing crisis covered up by government

Investor's Business DailyWallison's sobering, trenchantly written "Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World's Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again" reveals that the Democrat-led panel buried key data proving that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other federal agencies pushed the housing market over the subprime cliff. The final FCIC report put the blame squarely on Wall Street.

I'm curious about why he didn't talk at the time and why he's talking now.

I'm also curious why a book released 10 days ago already has almost 60 one-star reviews, many posted just a day or two after the book's release, most with no other posted reviews and a very strong dislike of banks.

Mon Jan 26 12:52:03 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]


New York TimesThe scientists previously described some of the most significant findings reported in the Science papers — that the water on the comet does not resemble that found on Earth, probably ruling out comets as the source of the Earth’s oceans, and that a diverse stew of molecules streaming off the surface includes those found in the odors of rotten eggs and urine.

I get that the typical reader of the New York Times probably has absolutely no memory of, say, high school chemistry. My own memory of high school chemistry is shaky enough, but I know how to use google to remind myself of things I am interested in. And I get that the typical New York Times reader is probably more interested in knowing that a comet smells like rotten eggs and urine than knowing that the comet possibly has hydrogen sulfide, and there's way too much stuff in urine to be able to guess what "smells like urine" means.

But why couldn't they just... put the chemistry in a footnote or something? Or at least link directly to the actual results that indicate that the comet surface is organic rich?

Mon Jan 26 11:52:03 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

If you control the question, you control the answer

Campus Reform via Weasel ZippersIn an emailed survey to students, [University of Kentucky]’s student government asked students to choose their preferred free speech policy for the university’s public campus.

Students could choose between a “single designated free speech zone in a specific location on campus,” or “multiple designated free speech zones in various locations across campus.” Students could also choose “no preference.”

There's no option for "Fuck you", but you can bet I would say that to the person reading me the survey questions anyway; it might get back to the administrators that way. Though they would probably do it by computer these days, and computers aren't capable of realizing something is wrong when everyone they give a survey to responds with something vulgar.

Mon Jan 26 10:52:03 CST 2015 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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