Maryland and Connecticut will both see challenges. Colorado already has cases pending. Illinois is likely to see a genuine compromise on concealed-carry laws (more details).
Conservatives have long tangled with Lerner, who was director of enforcement at the Federal Election Commission from 1986 until 2001, when she moved to the IRS.More details from the Weekly Standard.
I'm going to throw in one huge caveat here.
We know there was an emergency meeting of the Journ-o-list membership within the White House on Wednesday. Several known left-wing "journalists" and pundits were spotted entering the White House, presumably to strategize the response to the scandals. Those who came out were sticking to the same story: It was all Lois Lerner's fault and doesn't go any higher than that.
There seems to be ample evidence that Lerner would not object to the sort of tactics used in the improper IRS investigations, but the fact that we are being fed Lerner as the target suggests to me that there's more to it than that.
It seems the IRS has decided that Lerner's work is so good she deserves a paid vacation.
UPDATE: Part of the "more to it" is Sarah Hall Ingram, who was in charge of the IRS division when the whole thing started.
During a discussion on Monday about the Justice Department tracking and snooping into Fox News reporter James Rosen's personal emails, Fox News host Shepard Smith offered another, related claim. The network's computer servers were also looked into, he told Judge Andrew Napolitano. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office denied it.They hacked Sharyl Attkisson's computer, too.
We have been living in a police state since Obama took office, and we are only now finding out just how bad it has become.
Sharyl Attkisson's biggest story lately has been Fast and Furious, for which she has taken heat from the management at CBS and many other sources.
Who benefits from compromising her ability to communicate with anonymous sources?
Holder and Obama.
The whole spying on reporters for reporting news critical of the Obama administration appears to be a pattern of behavior, not just an isolated incident.
Yeah, this is definitely a "gun control by other means" thing. With the traditional routes to gun control blocked, someone in the Obama administration is pushing states to look at their microstamping/smart gun laws and try to activate those. California already did bring their microstamp requirement into effect. New Jersey has a smart gun requirement that goes into effect as soon as one comes on the market.
This latest smart gun idea involves a microchip and antenna in the gun (probably a cheap cell phone chip), a service provider, and a cell phone app that can detect when the gun is being moved and disable it remotely. Let's go over the problems with this technology, even assuming it works exactly as designed:
Gun owners do not want and will not accept this technology unless mandated by law -- as is already in place in New Jersey, assuming it becomes commercially available.
Free citizens will not ask permission from the State before defending themselves, no matter what laws the State has put into place.
But the State would love to use technology like this to make us submit.
Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won't answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening -- or why she didn't disclose it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III. Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.There's an interesting dilemma here. Does Congress proceed to charge her with crimes, or offer immunity in return for testimony about involvement higher in the food chain?
It looks like she won't get out of appearing.
Clayton Cramer examines the statistics from the 13 states that have already passed universal background check laws.
Read the whole thing. It is the smoking gun.
UPDATE: Four Pinocchios to Lois Lerner from the Washington Post.
UPDATE: True The Vote hassled by IRS, FBI, ATF, and OSHA. That spells systemic corruption to me.
UPDATE: Laying out the White House's shifting story. So... the White House council was told about the scandal April 22nd, and some of her staff had been told the previous week, but she did not inform the President until he saw it on the news? Even taken at face value, that's not exactly a President in charge of... anything, really.
... for implementing Obamacare, of course. The administration doesn't seem satisfied with the funds Congress has allocated to the task, and was seeking help from outside organizations. Lamar Alexander compares it to Iran-Contra. While this scenario lacks the foreign policy implications, it's very similar in other ways: the White House is seeking outside funds to implement policies that Congress has chosen not to fund. Since the Constitution assigns the power of the purse to Congress, if the Executive is able to raise funds on its own to pursue its own policies, it's a serious evasion of Constitutional checks and balances.
To put this situation in historical perspective, the English kings often had conflicts with parliament over finances. Parliament held the power of the purse over raising and spending money, just as our Congress does; kings who objected to this power would seek other ways to raise funds, often by confiscating private property from the church or nobility. Obviously, that's extremely dangerous for the civil rights of those who have money or property which the executive covets.
Worse, though, the executive could use those funds to operate outside of the restraints imposed by parliament or Congress.
So while this doesn't seem like a big deal at first glance, it will have a corrosive effect on the rule of law if left unchecked.
"It starts to change the relationship between the citizen and state, you do have to get permission to do things," said Chris Calabrese, a congressional lobbyist with the American Civil Liberties Union. "More fundamentally, it could be the start of keeping a record of all things."He's talking about provisions in the immigration bill that would require e-verify (government permission to work) and a biometric database for identification purposes.
Protecting David Gregory
If you remember, David Gregory was the news personality who held up a standard-capacity magazine during an on-air interview with an NRA spokesperson. The segment was filmed in DC, and the magazine is illegal there. The law is complete nonsense, of course, but the DC police enforce it vigorously when random citizens violate it while going about their ordinary, lawful business. David Gregory should not be above the law, but was not prosecuted for his stunt.
The blog Legal Insurrection is trying to find out why.
Because car accidents can injure 50 people, and it takes a deliberate act to do that with a gun.
Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Conservative Enterprise Institute.Combine this with the IRS targeting of tea party groups, and it looks like a systemic problem. At some point, it doesn't matter whether the White House ordered officials at various government agencies to break the law and target their enemies; the officials at those agencies know what to do without being told. They can help and hinder in ways both small and large. And over time, when it is consistent, it adds up.
... and they brought up a recent incident where a two-year-old child was shot by her five-year-old brother. Quite frankly, this infuriates me. It's bad enough when it's the media or a politician; it's much worse coming from someone close to you. The implication of bringing up accidental deaths of children in a gun control debate is obvious: "If you cared about dead children, you would change your position."
I do care about children, and I don't want them dead any more than the next more. But I didn't shoot them. It wasn't one of my guns that was left where a child could find it and shoot their sibling or themselves. I wish that didn't happen, and it's a tragedy when it does.
But I also understand statistics.
The truth is, more kids get killed by swimming pools than guns by a whole order of magnitude. For children younger than 10 years of age, dying by gunshot is literally more than a one-in-a-million chance. 2/3rds of those are shot by adult criminals, people who are not allowed to legally own guns already.
Being a legal gun owner is remarkably safe, even before you consider the lives saved by firearms used in self-defense. It's not perfectly safe, because nothing is perfectly safe. Accidents will always happen.
Blaming responsible gun owners for accidents they had nothing to do with is nothing more than emotional blackmail. It offends me to my core, and I won't stand for it.
I've always felt the claim that the Second Amendment was about something other than armed insurrection against a tyrannical government was the claim that needed supporting evidence. The framers who wrote that Amendment did so only a decade after their own armed rebellion. It's not so great a leap to think that they anticipated another might be necessary.
That this idea scares the establishment is the intended result.
The two "rogue low-level employees" turn out to be four employees who were just following their bosses' orders while targeting almost 500 organizations. In at least one case, groups paid $400 to "fast track" the process without actually being fast-tracked. There are credible charges that information from Romney's tax information was leaked during the campaign. The head of the office in charge of this can of worms was Sarah Hall Ingram, who seems to have received more than $100,000 in bonuses (in addition to $175,000 in salary) during the relevant period. Oh, and those bonuses would have had to be approved at the Presidential level, and she's now in charge of Obamacare.
UPDATE: A smoking email?
UPDATE: Reason magazine has a good summary of the situation.
UPDATE: Obama's counsel was told weeks ago, which contradicts his claim to have only learned about the scandal from the news. House Democrats are demanding more resignations.
UPDATE: No ordinary scandal. It started at the top.
Unlike her first article on the topic, this one actually provides useful information.
Ok, ok, it's a blog post by Jennifer Rubin, not the Washington Post editorial board. But there IS a pool on the resignation question. So, go vote: it's 64% in favor of resignation as I write this.
The Democrats are trying to go back to the gun control issue, but they have a "new" idea: smart guns! Never mind that their new idea doesn't exist despite various companies spending years trying to come up with one. Apparently, if James Bond has one in his latest movie, that's good enough for House Democrats. There are a lot of problems with this, but I'm going to lead with the low-hanging fruit:
Tierney said his Personalized Handgun Safety Act, H.R. 2005, would help prevent accidental deaths, like the case in New Jersey last month when a six-year old accidentally shot and killed a four-year-old child.OK, so the theory is, this .22 caliber rifle would be modified to add some sort of biometric recognition device, and not actually fire when the 6-year-old pointed it at his sister and pulled the trigger.
We'll assume for the sake of argument that the new technology functions properly and that the person who bought the rifle was willing to pay for it -- considering that the technology probably doubles or triples the cost of a simple .22 caliber rifle. (If the legislation passes, they would be forced to pay for it, or else go without).
The rifle would still have fired, and the child would still be dead.
The rifle was a gift. The 6-year-old owned it. He was an authorized user -- whether or not that is a smart decision is another matter -- and thus allowed to fire the gun.
So what are the real problems here?
First, a 6-year-old child had unsupervised access to a firearm. It's one thing to train a child to shoot under adult supervision, quite another for them to be allowed access to a firearm unsupervised.
Second, both children were unsupervised, period. Even inside a house there are many dangerous things to young children. It's not a problem unique to firearms. Which brings me to the statistics:
The CDC reports that for 2010 (the latest year available), one single six-year old died from a gunshot. For all children younger than 10, there were 36 accidental gun deaths, and that is out of 41 million children. Perhaps most important, about two-thirds of these accidental gun deaths involving young children are not shots fired by other little kids but rather by adult males with criminal backgrounds...Firearms safety for young children is a solved problem. There will always be tragic accidents, but 36 deaths in one year out of 41 million children is incredibly low. The right course of action for this "problem" is to not let your children play with dangerous things.
That's not the only problem with this latest gun control proposal, though. Smart guns have been around in concept for decades. They have yet to be successfully implemented, because:
Fundamentally, "smart" guns are assuming a stupid gun owner who needs to be protected from himself more than he needs the gun to protect himself from a criminal. The low rate of accidental gun injuries with existing firearms technology tells us that "smart" guns are a stupid idea, at least outside of Hollywood where the fights aren't scripted.
"Today I'm going to take a big leap over all of the many specific challenges we're facing, some of which you'll hear about from the incomparable Cecile Richards, to suggest a more comprehensive solution, Schakowsky said. "Today I am asserting that humanity is at a crossroads on this small planet and that our survival as a species is dependent on women taking charge, taking the world in our own hands."I don't intend to be taken charge of by politicians of either party -- or gender. Moreover, I am offended by the blame that Schakowsky places upon my gender for what she claims is the end of the world.
A question for supporters of Barack Obama
1) Fast and Furious -- smuggled thousands of firearms to Mexican drug cartels, resulting in the deaths of several American law enforcement officers and hundreds of Mexican citizens. The President blocked release of evidence to Congressional investigators using executive privilege, yet claims to have known nothing about the operation. Americans died, and the President lied.
2) Benghazi -- a US consulate was overrun after requests for increased security were denied. No military aid was provided during the attack and operatives willing and able to go to the aid of those under attack were told to stand down. Within days of the attack, a coverup was initiated, and a video on youtube which no one had seen before it was pointed out by the administration was blamed for provoking the attack. Talking points were heavily edited by the State Department and the White House to remove references to terrorism and Al-Qaeda. The person behind the YouTube video was publically arrested, and ads apologizing for his video were broadcast in Pakistan with taxpayer money. The filmmaker is still in jail. Americans died, and the President lied.
3) Politically-motivated IRS audits of "tea party" organizations -- going all the way back to 2010, an obviously politically motivated witch hunt, beginning shortly after the President joked about using the IRS to go after his political enemies. IRS officials concealed evidence from Congress and the timing of this activity suggests it may have affected the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election. A "chilling effect" has already been demonstrated, and reporters asking tough questions of the President have been targeted. Abusing the IRS to go after political opponents was one of the articles of impeachment against Nixon (Article 2: Abuse of Power):
(1) He has, acting personally and through his subordinated and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.In addition to politically motivated audits of groups using Tea Party related names, the IRS has leaked private tax information to political allies, which published that information.
Israel-related groups have also been subjected to additional scrutiny. Because it isn't like persecuting Jews crosses a bright moral line or anything.
Of course, we should keep in mind that it might not be Obama behind this activity. It might be Senate Democrats.
4) Sebelius has been caught soliciting outside funds to implement Obamacare -- Doesn't seem like a big deal until you realize that, a) This is the same basic offense as was alleged in Iran-Contra, and b) it is an offense against the separation of powers in the Constitution, with the historical roots of this conflict going all the way back to the English kings seeking to work around the power of Parliament.
5) The Justice Department wiretapped whole offices of journalists for two months, in violation of internal protocols, and still has not said what they were seeking.
Still think he's a good president?
... blame the IRS asking for details information on membership in their organizations, including family members, with the intent to make that information public.
Schools are staging "code red" drills involving an active shooter with assault weapons and fake blood. Students are reporting being locked in closets thinking their fellow students were being massacred just outside.
Maybe I'm being paranoid here, but it strikes me that these drills are much, much more effective at teaching emotionally vulnerable children to be deathly afraid of guns than they are at improving emergency response capabilities.
Well, that was fast. I didn't even have time to post a link to the original design files before the State Department ordered them taken down, citing arms export regulations. For those with long memories, it's very reminiscent of the fight over cryptography during the Clinton administration.
The good guys won that fight, but it took years, and a lot of legal risk, and finally a fait-accompli strategy of publishing the source code to Pretty Good Privacy in a printed book, sending the book out of the country, where some tireless soul typed it back in and hosted it outside of US jurisdiction. And that was First Amendment issue with clearly settled law. Adding firearms issues into the mix is only going to make it more complicated.
The good news is that the file has already made it outside the US to various hosting locations. The bad news is, that doesn't mean the fight is over. Anyone hosting the file inside US jurisdiction is likely to become a target for lawyers in cheap suits. They have lots of ways to attack this particular project; they've chosen to start with "posting the design on the internet is a violation of arms export regulations", but they could go after it for being an undetectable plastic gun, for not having a rifled barrel making it an NFA-regulated Any Other Weapon, for manufacturing a firearm without a license (the rules on this are tricky; it may be legal to print one for yourself if you never, ever let anyone else touch it)...
Remember when gun control groups kept saying that teddy bears are more heavily regulated than guns? Yeah, about that...
So why aren't I hosting the files? Well, I certainly believe that people in the US have both a First and Second Amendment right to host design files for printable firearms. That doesn't mean that the present administration agrees, and it has already indicated that it will enforce that view.
At any rate, if you're inside US jurisdiction, you don't want to be the guy they pick to prosecute. No matter how stupid the laws are. Anyone hosting the files while located in the US had better do so with the support of well-prepared lawyers and an organization like the EFF prepared to back a court challenge.
This isn't exactly news, but it's good to have a reminder that the government sees fit to demand access to your internet communications without a warrant every once in a while. Just think of it as encouragement to use encryption. And of course the existing status quo is not good enough for the government; the Obama administration is close to backing an FBI plan to wiretap the internet.
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