About the Stormy Daniels thing...

I don't care who the President may or may not have slept with while he was not President. That's between him and his wife and ex-wives and other mistresses. So long as they are consenting, above legal age, don't work for him, and he doesn't commit perjury to get out of a sexual harassment lawsuit concerning them. I don't even care if they were Russian hookers urinating on a hotel bed in Moscow, frankly. I knew I wasn't getting a moral compass.

But the actual facts of the matter appear to be a bit disturbing on another level that isn't being talked about. We have a porn star who, apparently, attempted to blackmail the President (while he was a candidate), maybe got paid by someone (who may or may not be Trump), and now, after the election, wants to renege on the deal and claim her 15 minutes of fame and possibly huge cash rewards?

And she's going on MSNBC claiming to have pictures of the President's secret servicer?

How exactly is this not blackmail?

That's a serious question.

Tue Mar 20 10:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Things are escalating...

Daily CallerThe Broward County Sheriff’s office announced Monday that a woman had crashed a car filled with “accelerants” into a department satellite office earlier that morning.

Wow. They haven't named the woman yet. The safe bet would be the mother of one of the victims of the Parkland shooting, I guess. But even that seems crazy.

Fox NewsA Florida woman has been arrested for posting on Facebook she was “going to blow everyone up” during an elementary school teacher planning day, police said.

Not inclined to be sympathetic to her claims of being taken out of context.

Tue Mar 20 10:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS documents 1.3 million identity theft cases, refers none to prosecutors

CNSNewsThe Internal Revenue Service in 2011 through 2016 documented more than 1.3 million cases of identity theft perpetrated by illegal aliens whom the IRS had given Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN), which are only given to people who are ineligible to work in the United States or receive Social Security Numbers, according to information published by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

On the one hand, tax filings are generally not supposed to be a starting point for a non-tax criminal investigation. Police aren't supposed to just troll through tax records to find people to charge with something. But that's when honest citizens are filing honest taxes in their own names and making, occasionally, honest mistakes. It seems like illegal aliens committing identify theft are a bit different.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Russia's experiment with honest elections appears to be over

CNSNewsAs widely anticipated, Vladimir Putin has won another six-year term as president of Russia, securing his biggest victory yet in this his fourth presidential election campaign.

With 99 percent of ballots from the country’s 97,000 polling stations counted early Monday morning, Putin had won 76.6 percent of the votes, according to the Central Elections Commission (CEC).

His past presidential election victories garnered him 64 percent in 2012, 72 percent in 2004 and 53 percent in 2000.

That first election in 2000 might have been legitimate, but ever since then, he's been in dictator territory.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

How background checks work in the real world...

PJMedia has the story about a student who was threatened and then attacked physically for defending the NRA verbally, then suspended from school for defending himself from the attack. The student had plans to go into the military and might need to apply for a security clearance -- and the incident will remain on his record and possibly cause problems for him. And this while the people who actually need to be locked up to prevent mass murder slip through the cracks in the system.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A chilling effect

Frontpage MagazineProfessors Clancy and Lyon completely overreacted to the questions to the point of calling in the campus cops and asking audience members to step outside. Whatever happened to free speech and the free exchange of ideas? There was absolutely no disruption whatsoever. Yet members of the audience were told that their questions were unacceptable. Since when?

And why did Ms. Lyon stop the event 60 minutes early? Because the speaker and her hosts were unwilling to engage in a discussion of aspects of Islam like Sharia law, draconian punishments, and terrorism.

This event was obviously intended as a propaganda whitewash of Islam, not a real discussion. The speaker's rather flustered reaction to being challenged is understandable, especially if she herself was ignorant and unprepared, as seems to be the case. However, that does not excuse the use of police to intimidate people asking honest questions and expecting honest discussion. This is a textbook chilling effect, even if no action was actually taken by the campus police.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Warrants requesting cell location data for anyone close to a crime

WRALOn a satellite image, they drew shapes around the crime scenes, marking the coordinates on the map. Then they convinced a Wake County judge they had enough probable cause to order Google to hand over account identifiers on every single cell phone that crossed the digital cordon during certain times.

In at least four investigations last year – cases of murder, sexual battery and even possible arson at the massive downtown fire in March 2017 – Raleigh police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime, according to a WRAL News review of court records. These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search.

The only reason they can get away with this is because the warrant is applied against Google, for "records", rather than trying to get probable cause against the people whose location they really want. We're probably going to need some Supreme Court cases to fix this.

Note that this inherently confines the suspect list to people who have cell phones and brought those cell phones to the scene of the crime. What does a smart criminal do with his cell phone? He leaves it at home when planning on committing a crime, so he can't be convicted based on the location information, and can use it as an alibi ("I was at home taking a nap! Check my phone!").

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Comparing Trump and Obama... and Congress

National JournalRepublicans are facing the prospect of a historic repudiation this November in part because many die-hard Trump supporters aren’t reliable Republicans and some won’t show up to vote.

Actually, Republicans are facing the prospect of a historic repudiation this November in part because many die-hard Republican officeholders don't reliably vote Republican and many more don't support Trump and the agenda that carried Trump to victory. The difference here is that Obama's party united behind him and passed sweeping, polarizing changes -- most notably, Obamacase -- while Trump's party has failed to unite behind him and failed to pass significant policy changes into law, with the exception of a tax cut. Trump and Obama may be partisan mirrors of each other, but their respective Congresses are not, and it's Congress that is up for election in 2018.

It remains to be seen which is the better strategy.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama campaign director admits Facebook helped them

IJRA former Obama campaign official is claiming that Facebook knowingly allowed them to mine massive amounts of Facebook data — more than they would’ve allowed someone else to do — because they were supportive of the campaign.

In a Sunday tweet thread, Carol Davidsen, former director of integration and media analytics for Obama for America, said the 2012 campaign led Facebook to “suck out the whole social graph” and target potential voters. They would then use that data to do things like append their email lists.

Well, if it wasn't for the way courts have treated political campaigns and spam laws, that would count as illegal spam. Surely there are some legal approaches that can be effectively used to prevent companies like Facebook sharing the personal information of their customers directly with political campaigns without permission.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another package explosion near Austin

KXANA package exploded at a FedEx distribution center northeast of San Antonio shortly after midnight. NBC's Pete Williams is reporting investigators have a "pretty good indication" that the package was bound for Austin, where four other package bombings have occurred in the past three weeks.

This one was in a package at a FedEx facility in San Antonio, believed to be bound for Austin. It may represent a departure -- the bomber leaving the Austin area, attempting to set off one last bomb to confuse when he left -- or possibly a mistake about how the earlier bombs were delivered. Or just changing methods to confuse the issue.

The sooner they catch this guy, the better.

Tue Mar 20 09:04:30 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

TSA searching digital devices on domestic flights

LATimeU.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have increasingly searched digital devices carried by travelers on international flights, as they look for data in cellphones, laptops and other electronic gadgets that can provide clues to possible terrorist attacks.

Now, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration demanding to know why TSA security officers also are looking at data stored in digital devices carried by passengers on domestic flights.

There's no excuse for this, but increasingly, the federal government doesn't need one.

Mon Mar 19 09:12:38 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Precipitating a Constitutional Crisis

Washington TimesMr. Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, called on the Justice Department Saturday to immediately shut down Mr. Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California said Sunday that Democrats and Republicans alike should move to reinstate special counsel Robert Mueller if President Trump moves to fire him.

Abusing the intelligence agencies to try to influence an election is a constitutional crisis. Abusing the special counsel statute to investigate a president on the basis of zero real evidence is a constitutional crisis. Congress attempting to usurp the Constitutional role of the President would be a constitutional crisis. The only thing here that wouldn't be a constitutional crisis would be President Trump firing a man who, legally, works for him.

That doesn't mean it would be wise to fire Mueller, but it's increasingly looking like Mueller will keep escalating until he is fired -- and he will then use the firing to claim obstruction of justice.

Mon Mar 19 09:12:38 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Propublica Retracts story on CIA head's association with torture

PropublicaOn Feb. 22, 2017, ProPublica published a story that inaccurately described Gina Haspel’s role in the treatment of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida leader who was imprisoned by the CIA at a secret “black site” in Thailand in 2002.

The story said that Haspel, a career CIA officer who President Trump has nominated to be the next director of central intelligence, oversaw the clandestine base where Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods that are widely seen as torture. The story also said she mocked the prisoner’s suffering in a private conversation. Neither of these assertions is correct and we retract them. It is now clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.

Our account of Haspel’s actions was drawn in part from declassified agency cables and CIA-reviewed books which referred to the official overseeing Zubaydah’s interrogation at a secret prison in Thailand as “chief of base.” The books and cables redacted the name of the official, as is routinely done in declassified documents referring to covert operations.

The Trump administration named Haspel to the CIA’s No. 2 job in early February 2017. Soon after, three former government officials told ProPublica that Haspel was chief of base in Thailand at the time of Zubaydah’s waterboarding.

So, they lied to you, and likely leaked classified information in the process. Will you name your sources so they can be punished for leaking and lying, and their credibility in future leaks or other public testimony appropriately reduced? No?

Then you are still complicit in their lies.

Mon Mar 19 09:12:38 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Now it's tripwires in Austin

Breitbart“We do believe, based upon what we’ve seen, that this was a bomb. that exploded. However, we are not believing that this is similar to the previous ones as in packages that were left on doorsteps,” the chief said while responding to reporter’s questions. “But instead, this was some type of a suspicious package that was left on the side of the road that detonated and injured these two men that were hurt earlier tonight.”

This is concerning for a number of reasons. First, it comes after a string of three explosions from packages left on doorsteps; all of those resulted in serious injuries and there were some deaths. This latest attempt also resulted in serious injuries. But the switch in tactics from explosive packages left on doorsteps to tripwires on packages left by the side of the road as soon as the word got out about the packages is significant. It means the person behind this is flexible and changes tactics based on response. He's not figuring it out as he goes, he already knows what he's doing. Second, tripwires on the side of the road are a tactic very similar to IEDs seen in Iraq and elsewhere, and indicate a possible connection to that conflict (ie, skills learned there) and an inherent randomness about the targets. Third, the lack of communication with the police to claim credit for a cause, along with the (so far) lack of reported connection between the targets, suggests this person is basically attacking at random and intends to continue doing so.

There was an arrest Sunday for someone who emailed a bomb threat to a specific location near to where the other bombs were placed. He was charged with the threat, but not (yet) with the actual bombings. More explosions Monday morning, after his arrest, means they probably don't have the right guy for the actual bombs.

And finally, there might be a second device that was found before it went off. Hopefully just a false alarm.

Mon Mar 19 08:19:20 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Teacher suspended for questioning gun control walkout

Daily WireA history teacher at a California high school who dared to question her school's participating in the hyper-political pro-gun control National School Walkout has been placed on leave.

Julianne Benzel said she opened up a discussion in her classroom about the politics of the protest and was subsequently told to stay home on Wednesday because the administration disagreed with her views.

It's only allowed to be political if you are a leftist. Anyone else, it will cost you your job.

Sat Mar 17 09:39:53 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Would they do this to Obama?

Apparently the New Yorker thinks it's funny to put a naked Trump on the cover of their magazine. Would they do the same for Obama? Of course not. It's because they're racist.

Sat Mar 17 09:39:53 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Liberal tolerance

Daily CallerMinnesota students taking part in the national gun control walkouts on Wednesday allegedly assaulted another student carrying a Trump flag.

According to CBS, the incident occurred outside of Southwest High School and Minneapolis Police are currently investigating the incident as an assault.

Daily Caller
U.S. Capitol Police have arrested a male Democratic operative for assaulting a female Interior Department communications official following a House budget hearing Thursday.

The assault happened after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke finished testifying on the department’s 2019 budget proposal before the House Committee on Natural Resources. The suspect identified himself as a reporter with American Bridge and pushed a female Interior Department communications official to the floor, chasing after Zinke, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned.

What other group of young, politically-active individuals obtained a reputation for violence and intimidation on the path to gaining control of their government?

Sat Mar 17 09:39:53 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Andrew McCabe fired!

CBS NewsFormer FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been fired, effective immediately the Department of Justice said late Friday night. The decision comes as FBI officials recommended his firing, as they wait for a Department of Justice Inspector General report critical of him to be released.

It wouldn't have happened to a better man. The firing is richly deserved, as anyone who has been following media accounts of the Hillary email investigation and Trump-Russia investigation should know well. The officially stated reasons are unauthorized disclosure to the media -- leaking -- and "lacking candor" -- that's lying -- including under oath.

In other words, he tried to take down a president with lies and backroom politics, and he failed. He learned that if you strike at the King, you must kill him, for if you strike at the King and do not, he will surely kill you. Politically, in this case. In the old days it was a bit more literal.

Note that just being fired doesn't mean he's off the hook for whatever crimes he may have committed in the process.

McCabe has released a statement in which he whines like a bitch and blames everything on a vast right wing conspiracy to cover up a vast Russian conspiracy.

UPDATE: Conservative Treehouse identifies at least once McCabe likely lied under oath to Congress. Even if he was authorized to release information to the press as he claims, he was not authorized to lie about it.

Sat Mar 17 00:12:06 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Judge who accepted Flynn's guilty plea may have been colluding with corrupt FBI agents

The FederalistNewly discovered text messages obtained by The Federalist reveal two key federal law enforcement officials conspired to meet with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge who presided over the federal case against Michael Flynn. The judge, Rudolph Contreras, was recused from handling the case just days after accepting the guilty plea of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser who was charged with making false statements to federal investigators.

So the judge who accepted Flynn's guilty plea, and who sits on the FISA court, turns out to have been friendly with Strzok and Page, the dynamic and adulterous duo at the FBI who so deftly spied on the Trump campaign after exonerating Hillary Clinton.

And the text messages revealing the collaboration were deliberately hidden from Congress according to the Federalist article.

The FederalistThe pair even schemed about how to set up a cocktail or dinner party just so Contreras, Strzok, and Page could speak without arousing suspicion that they were colluding. Strzok expressed concern that a one-on-one meeting between the two men might require Contreras’ recusal from matters in which Strzok was involved.

“[REDACTED] suggested a social setting with others would probably be better than a one on one meeting,” Strzok told Page. “I’m sorry, I’m just going to have to invite you to that cocktail party.”

“Have to come up with some other work people cover for action,” Strzok added.

“Why more?” Page responded. “Six is a perfectly fine dinner party.”

So they are deliberately making up social events as cover for their nefarious collusion with a judge on the FISA court. That shows consciousness of guilt on their part, even if the judge did nothing wrong.

Fri Mar 16 13:49:08 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reforming the FISA court results in business as usual

The FederalistIn June 2015, Congress adopted modest reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) — the federal statute that allows the Department of Justice to obtain an ex parte order from a secret court to wiretap suspected terrorists and foreign agents, including American citizens. Recognizing the risk of government abuse inherent in such one-sided proceedings, Congress directed the FISA court to create a roster of attorneys willing to appear as amicus curiae, or friend of the court, to challenge the DOJ’s application for a surveillance warrant...

Although 5 attorneys were named to the roster of available amici curiae, the FISA court has rarely sought their assistance. In 2015, the FISA court appointed amici curiae in only four instances of the approximate 1,000 applications it considered, but in 2016, the FISA court used amicus curiae just one time, while handling more than 1,500 applications. (Statistics for 2017 are not yet available.)

Appointing one of those attorneys should be mandatory, not optional. And they should be required to write a year-end summary of their work, for public consumption, speaking in aggregate without naming names. We need to know what the FISA court is authorizing so we can have a proper public debate on government surveillance of Americans.

But it gets worse:

(Read More...)

Fri Mar 16 10:10:03 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Diverse Feminist Engineers At Work

I meant that as a joke, but it turns out to be true. The project executive is named Leonor Flores and uses feminine pronouns.

It should be noted I'm not ascribing blame here. I don't know who screwed up. But somebody did, and that's why it's important for standards in engineering to remain "can get the right answer" rather than "diversity and inclusion".

Apparently the company has done shoddy work before.

ReasonSpecifically, DOT did not document key decisions to (a) accept and review applications received after the published deadline; (b) advance projects with lower technical ratings instead of more highly-rated projects, and its procedures were inconsistent with DOT’s internal guidelines; and (c) change the technical ratings of lower-rated projects selected for funding to the highest technical rating category.

Asking politicians to make decisions about engineering kills people.

Fri Mar 16 09:10:03 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Grassley, Graham call for second special counsel

Sessions has already appointed a prosecutor to work with the Inspector General, but it's not known who or what they are doing.


Fri Mar 16 09:10:03 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The Broken Window Fallacy

KXANState figures show the spending that came in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey generated jobs in construction, retail and other sectors, giving a surprising boost to the Houston-area economy.

The Houston Chronicle reports that billions of dollars in insurance payments and federal disaster aid came to the region following Harvey’s arrival in August. People spent the money at retailers to replace damaged household goods and hired contractors to repair homes.

Someone tell the press, it's only been a thing since 1850.

Fri Mar 16 09:10:03 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama dropped fugitives from NICS system

Daily CallerThe Justice Department under Barack Obama directed the FBI to drop more than 500,000 names of fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, acting FBI deputy director David Bowdich testified Wednesday.

Why would Obama do something like this? He's generally anti-gun, so why would he allow fugitives -- indicted criminals with outstanding warrants -- access to guns?

The same reason he ordered the FBI, DOJ, and ATF to order gun stores to allow criminals to buy guns in Operation Fast and Furious (which we will likely be seeing in the news, as AG Sessions has recently authorized the release of more documents that the Obama DOJ was withholding). Those criminals, committing crimes with guns, possibly even committing high-profile mass murders, become fodder for his political policy of gun control.

Just as adding thousands of elderly Americans and financially-challenged soldiers to the NICS list fit his political policies of not letting normal, law-abiding Americans have guns.

Thu Mar 15 15:24:53 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FBI disciplinary office recommends firing McCabe

Washington PostThe FBI office that handles employee discipline has recommended firing the bureau’s former deputy director [Andrew McCabe] over allegations that he authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter and misled investigators when asked about it, leaving Attorney General Jeff Sessions to decide whether he should fire the veteran official just four days before his expected retirement date, people familiar with the matter said.

Much as McCabe deserves to be fired (and then prosecuted and jailed), I can't help but think this is bait for Mueller to invoke obstruction of justice charges. That said, you can't let that sort of thing paralyze you. Fire him.

Thu Mar 15 10:55:28 CDT 2018 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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