Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

A lot of points for Republicans to keep in mind for the next two years.

There have been about a dozen stories I’ve been meaning to write about before the election, but alas, life gets in the way.

So here’s just a roundup of the voter fraud stories that lead us up to the 2014 midterms.

From Daily Caller, La Raza is disseminating info on places to vote with ID, so illegals can vote.  And make no mistake about it – illegal aliens are voting in US elections.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, if you’re voting for the R… you’re gonna vote for the D anyway.  “Calibration error” is even more hokey than “pregnant chad”.

And in Colorado, you can vote for your friends, or your neighbors, or whoever’s ballot you can acquire.  Ballot harvesting, they call it.

While it’s legal to give your ballot to someone else — one person may turn in up to 10 ballots — election watchers worry that the practice is ripe for abuse.

“These are totally unauthorized people coming to the door and gathering ballots and doing whatever they want to them,” said Marilyn Marks, president of the Aspen-based Citizen Center, which focuses on election integrity.

“If I have collected your ballot, I could do the honest thing and put it in the mail for you, or take it to the clerk’s office and drop it off — or I could look inside, open it gently, see how you voted, and if I didn’t like it, I could make some changes,” said Ms. Marks. “Or the other thing I could do, if I don’t like the way you’re voting, I could throw your ballot in the trash can.”

In a Denver Post op-ed, Ms. Marks urged voters not to turn over their ballots to strangers. Secretary of State Scott Gessler has asked voters to give their ballots only to people they know, and to verify afterward that their ballot was received on GoVoteColorado.com.

Still, Mr. Gessler, a Republican, has made it clear that he’s not thrilled with the new voting law, the Voter Access and Modernized Elections Act, which passed the Democrat-controlled legislature in 2013 with no Republican votes.

A law that makes voter fraud easier that was passed with only Democrat support?  Naw… couldn’t be.  They’ve told us there’s no impropriety there.

Ballot harvesting is actually a pretty common tactic for the left.

A Republican party official in the largest county in Arizona says surveillance tape shows a progressive Hispanic activist blatantly and openly engaging in vote fraud.

Between 12:54 and 1:04, LaFaro said, he observed a man wearing a “Citizens for a Better Arizona” T-shirt loudly drop a box containing hundreds of early-voting ballots on a table.

Citizens for a Better Arizona is a progressive group.

The man then began “stuffing the ballot box,” LaFaro said. “I watched in amazement.”

There’s more to the story at the link, but there’s also video.

But he’s not engaging in voter fraud… he’s probably just helping the 164-year-olds who can’t walk to the voting booth.

Of course, it’s not really a big deal anyway – according to the poll workers, as videod by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas:

And meanwhile, in North Carolina, the same contempt for the integrity of the voting system is shown.

North Carolina election officials repeatedly offered ballots last week to an impostor who arrived at polling places with the names and addresses of ‘inactive’ voters who hadn’t participated in elections for many years.

No fraudulent votes were actually cast: It was the latest undercover video sting from conservative activist James O’Keefe, whose filmmaking résumé reads like a target list of liberal causes.  …

Now O’Keefe has strolled into more than 20 voting precincts in Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro, N.C., proffering the names of people who seldom vote in order to test the integrity of the election process. It seems to have failed on a massive scale.

‘I just sign this and then I can vote?’ he asked one poll worker. ‘Yep,’ came the reply.

Don’t worry, though… Democrats have assured us there is no voter fraud.

Baghdad Bob

Sharyl Attkisson, for those who don’t know of her, is an old-school journalist.  She finds a story and she pursues it, and no amount of political rhetoric and denials will dissuade her if she has a story.

She pursued Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, just to name a few – and all because there are stories there that a good reporter would want exposed.  And they’re also stories that the Obama administration does not want exposed, because despite most of the media acting as a propaganda arm of the Democrat party, ultimately some people will hear and listen when they hear the truth – especially in contrast with handwaving and absurd denials.

sharyl attkisson

Her computers were hacked by some shadowy most-likely-government entity a while back.  I remember it coming up last year and writing about it thenTwice last year, in fact.

Now she’s got a book out and she’s elaborating.  The people in her story are mostly written about under pseudonyms for their own safety.

She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

That “laying the groundwork for possible charges” is because someone buried classified documents deep in her computer.

Next big moment: Attkisson gets her computer checked out by someone identified as “Number One,” who’s described as a “confidential source inside the government.” A climactic meeting takes place at a McDonald’s outlet at which Attkisson and “Number One” “look around” for possibly suspicious things. Finding nothing, they talk. “First just let me say again I’m shocked. Flabbergasted. All of us are. This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America.” That’s all coming from “Number One.”

The breaches on Attkisson’s computer, says this source, are coming from a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA).” Attkisson learns from “Number One” that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the “intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”

To round out the revelations of “Number One,” he informs Attkisson that he’d found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she’d never know they were even there. “Why? To frame me?” Attkisson asks in the book.

Media meta-reporter Erik Wemple (who’s so impressively attuned to everything news about news that he even asked me a few questions once) wrote several pieces on Attkisson’s encounters with electronic surveillance.

The first discusses computer intrusions as “worse than anything Nixon ever did”, and introduces us to “Jeff”, “Number One” and “Jerry Patel”, all of which are pseudonyms for various computer experts.  And in the first and into the second, we’re introduced to Don Allison of KoreLogic, who also diagnosed Attkisson’s computer, and is not protected by a pseudonym, but is behind a nondisclosure agreement for the time being.

And then there’s Wemple’s third piece, which talks about the strange case of a “spare” wire.

…By November 2012, writes Attkisson, disruptions on her home phone line were so frequent as to render it unusable: “I call home from my mobile phone and it rings on my end, but not at the house. Or it rings at home once but when my husband or daughter answers, they just hear a dial tone. At the same time, on my end, it keeps ringing and then connects somewhere, just not at my house. Sometimes, when my call connects to that mystery-place-that’s-not-my-house, I hear an electronic sounding buzz,” reads one passage in “Stonewalled.” She also alleges that her television set “spontaneously jitters, mutes, and freeze-frames.” The home alarm, too, “sounds at a different time every night” and when she checks with the alarm system, it indicates that there’s “trouble with the phone line.”

Phone, TV and computer service chez Attkisson all run on Verizon’s FiOS service. “Jeff” asks to inspect the exterior of the house in a check for anything suspicious. He finds a “stray cable dangling from the FiOS box attached to the brick wall on the outside of my house. It doesn’t belong.” “Jeff” says the cable in question is an “extra” fiber-optic line that could be used to download data and then send it off to another spot.

Attkisson takes a picture of the cable. Then she calls Verizon, which tells her that it’s not something they would have installed; they refer her to law enforcement. Attkisson doesn’t feel its a matter for the cops, and in any case Verizon calls back to say that they want to have a look for themselves as soon as possible — on New Year’s Day, no less. “Yeah, that shouldn’t be there,” the Verizon technician tells Attkisson.

Attkisson is a sensible, common sense reporter who follows leads to write reports of real life events.  She is neither Kolchak nor Mulder.

At one point, Attkisson gets a visit from pseudonymous “Terry,” who has “connections to the three-letter agencies.” “Stonewalled” takes it from here:

Terry tells me of a conversation he’d had with my husband back in 2011. He’d noticed a white utility truck parked up the street by a pond. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all,” he tells me now, shaking his head. . . . “I didn’t like it because I recognized the type of truck and the type of antennae it had. And if you look” — he points up the street — “there’s a direct line of sight from where it was parked to your house.” My husband, who once worked in law enforcement intelligence, had on several occasions in the past couple of years mentioned the presence of nondescript utility trucks parked in our neighborhood — trucks that were working on no known utility projects. Neighbors noticed, too. Ours is a small community filled with people who pay attention to such things. Some of them worked for the three-letter agencies.”

That’s the kind of thing that would make other reporters at least a tad intimidated, if not a bit paranoid.  Of course, if she lives in a neighborhood full of cops and retired spooks, this might be the amateur hour Obama G-men trainees trying to stake out people whose lives are Tom Clancy novels.

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Jazz Shaw and Mary Katherine Ham have been following the story at HotAir as well, with their own opinions on the hacking and journalistic intimidation, as well as reminding us of James Rosen’s encounter with the Obama administration.

My feelings remain much the same as they did last time.

Maybe it’s as a result of too much X-Files, Shadowrun and Project Twilight in the 90s, but I find this government spying stuff is damn creepy.  From the NSA’s massive computer and phone data mining to electronically targeting reporters, it’s like 90s conspiracy-themed entertainment has become 2009-present reality.

I’m sure there’s a pop-culture scholarly way to compare Nowhere Man and The Net to current events, but it’s less fun than it is disturbing when you think about it for too long – even if Attkisson and her three-letter agency neighbors are precisely the kind of people who are adept at navigating that kind of world.

Insanely left or insane lefties at MSNBC are blaming the National Rifle Association for the ebola outbreak.

Actually, that is one of the primary responsibilities of the United States surgeon general. There’s just one problem: Thanks to Senate dysfunction and NRA opposition, we don’t have a surgeon general right now. In fact, we haven’t had a surgeon general for more than a year now — even though the president nominated the eminently qualified Dr. Vivek Murthy back in November 2013.

He’d be one of those people who sees your right to protect yourself as a matter of “public health” requiring him to start regulating your rights – again, in the name of “public health”.  Of course, without the NRA to blame, there’d still be Manbearpig.

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Meanwhile, in California, Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown has signed a bill that allows family members to petition judges to remove their family members’ rights.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will become the first state that allows family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat, under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday he had signed.

This does nothing to deal with the root causes of maniacal violence – that of the maniac.  Institutionalization is still nigh-impossible, yet removing constitutional rights without a trial, a hearing, or their knowledge from family members who said the wrong thing after Thanksgiving dinner is easier than ever.  Stasi-tastic!

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And in even less fun economic news, the US is churning about $8,000,000,000,000 in debt.

When discussing the national debt, most people tend to only focus on the amount that it increases each 12 months.  And as I wrote about recently, the U.S. national debt has increased by more than a trillion dollars in fiscal year 2014.

But that does not count the huge amounts of U.S. Treasury securities that the federal government must redeem each year.  When these debt instruments hit their maturity date, the U.S. government must pay them off.  This is done by borrowing more money to pay off the previous debts.  In fiscal year 2013, redemptions of U.S. Treasury securities totaled $7,546,726,000,000 and new debt totaling $8,323,949,000,000 was issued.  The final numbers for fiscal year 2014 are likely to be significantly higher than that.

So why does so much government debt come due each year?

Well, in recent years government officials figured out that they could save a lot of money on interest payments by borrowing over shorter time frames.  For example, it costs the government far more to borrow money for 10 years than it does for 1 year.  So a strategy was hatched to borrow money for very short periods of time and to keep “rolling it over” again and again and again.

Eric Holder’s calling it quits.

And congress is still proceeding with looking into Fast and Furious, now years later.

The contempt of Congress case against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — the first sitting Cabinet member ever to face such a congressional rebuke — will continue even after his resignation takes effect, but it’s unlikely he will ever face personal punishment, legal analysts said Thursday.

Mr. Holder, is expected to announce his resignation later Thursday, and Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the timing is not accidental: A federal judge earlier this week ruled that the Justice Department will have to begin submitting documents next month related to the botched Fast and Furious gun operation in a case brought by Judicial Watch.

“I don’t think it’s any coincidence he’s resigning as the courts are ruling the Fast and Furious information has to be released,” Mr. Fitton told The Washington Times.

It’s not a coincidence.  He’s quitting so he can dodge criminal charges that would stick.

Last month’s news:

A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to provide Congress with a list of documents that are at the center of a long-running battle over a failed law enforcement program called Operation Fast and Furious.

In a court proceeding Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson set an Oct. 1 deadline for producing the list to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

He’s quitting so the Democrat-held senate can force a successor through, just in case the Democrats lose the senate in the mid-term elections.

He’s also quitting so that he won’t be in office and thus will be eligible for presidential pardons.

holder fucks

He stonewalled long enough to slither out of office, but no doubt his successor will be a miserable leftist as well and Holder will be back as a consultant or advisor or in some other role where he can continue his schemes.

The Militarization of “Protesters”

Posted: September 7, 2014 by ShortTimer in Crime, Culture, Government, Leftists, Media
Tags:

Ferguson’s rioting is now yesterday’s news, except that Eric Holder is going to investigate the crap out of it to get justice immediately, while Fast and Furious is apparently a cold case.  But I think it’s important to bring this up before it’s totally forgotten.

Among the complaints about the Ferguson situation was “the militarization of police”, which is an argument I’m pretty skeptical about.  People seem to pine for a past that didn’t quite exist, demand that cops facing Molotov-throwing rioters still act like Sheriff Andy Taylor, and seem to miss that the reporters aren’t filming the crowds as much as the cops – and missing out on the crowd helps to miss the point.

First off, a quick photo of the “good ol’ days” before the police had rubber bullets and tear gas and sirens and MRAPs and flak jackets and before Tennessee vs Garner (where cops could apprehend by fire) and before Miranda rights:

1964 chester police riotBut if you notice something about the protester (called a rioter in the caption, but it’s easy to give him all benefits of the doubt) – he’s dressed pretty normal.

This is from the Harlem Riot of 1964:

harlem riot 1964 a

In that particular incident, there was protesting, rioting, and looting.  Given the situation at the time, the guy on the ground could be any of those, and the police could be quelling a disturbance where he’d just attacked someone, or they could be racist thugs in uniform beating the crap out of an innocent man for getting “uppity”.

But those guys are also dressed pretty normal for the time.

These people in Ferguson are not:

If you watched more than a couple minutes in, you saw “protesters” wearing helmets and gas masks.  Here’s a screenshot from 1:03 of a “protester” putting on their helmet & gas mask:

ferguson protester helmet and mask

That’s escalating a situation.

Among the handful of people yelling, there are also a dozen people there to record an incident that they are precipitating.  There are agitators there with cameras specifically to instigate – that’s why they brought gas masks and helmets.

ferguson protester helmet 2

The police there were dealing with rioters, looters, and arsonists across the city.  The police are trying to disperse a crowd that started aggressive and is getting worse and they’re using non-lethal crowd control techniques that are being neutralized by some agitating “protesters” who came ready with countermeasures.

You can hear the self-important glee in the voice of the man recording the incident.  He’s one of those folks who gets off on the confrontation, because it puts him at the front lines of what he thinks is important – but it’s a situation he’s working to create so he can applaud himself further.

In his own mind, he’s putting his life, and talent, on the line.

dick thornburg

What’s really going on is he’s just making the situation worse by escalating it.

No one looks at that video (or any of the rest of it that shows the “protesters” in Ferguson) and says “gee, I want that in my neighborhood”, or thinks “well, that sure showed the police that they should review their procedures, policies, and institutional culture that led to the shooting of Michael Brown and the community is concerned that there should be an impartial review of the incident”.

The militarized protester is armored for the confrontation, and armed with the camera to record the confrontation he precipitates in order to show he’s the victim and justify the beliefs he brought in to begin with.

There are as many people recording as there are with their hands up yelling.  They’re brought in by the lure of cameras and the feeling of attention, while that helmeted, gas-masked agitator is using them to prop himself up.

And then of course there are the people throwing firebombs.

ferguson molotov 1

A lot of the actions on the part of “protesters” is contingent on police response being very restrained.  “Restrained!  They teargassed those people!”  Yes, restrained.

Unlike in other nations (like Colombia, above), our policemen do have rules, and are held accountable.

That’s why police in the US work to use crowd control that has the least likelihood of causing permanent harm, while preventing personal and property damage in the community the police are hired by.  They ultimately are supposed to be there to serve and protect – and for every rioter there are several people in their homes who would like to go to the store tomorrow and not find it burned down.

The protester who’s gone out to confront police with a helmet and gas mask is, again, working to negate the police ability to use crowd control that’s relatively harmless.  They want confrontation – whether as an instigator for their own ego purposes as above, or for their own ideological ends.  They want an escalating conflict where their weapon is their camera and where they have a mob to do violence for them, and where they can stay and outlast police tactics until the police have exhausted peaceful options.

Clausewitz’s most famous quote was: “War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.”

For some, escalating their politics to conflict, especially with a police force that is duty-bound to protect its city and maintain order, is a win-win.  If the “protester” militarizes but with the focus on generating a narrative rather than taking ground, he gets his propaganda victory every time the police are forced to act.  He points his camera at the police and not at the broken windows, burned shops, or at the people hiding inside their homes while riots run on their streets.  He ignores the people who can’t get to their homes, can’t get to their workplaces, can’t get to stores for food, can’t go outside without fear of a mob – he ignores those in favor of his own political ends.  He gets a sympathetic national media to report his story while ignoring the people terrorized by his actions and the actions he instigates.  The instability he brings destroys communities and he rewrites the narrative to blame his ideological foes – the police, the business owners and citizens of the city who left – everyone but the person responsible for the violence of the conflict – the militarized protester himself.

It’s asymmetrical warfare and it’s quite effective.

13 Hours At Benghazi

Posted: September 7, 2014 by ShortTimer in Government, Middle East, Obama administration, terrorism
Tags: ,

HT Jawa Report, via Soopermexican at Right Scoop & Mass Tea Party, from FOX News:

As a reminder, Benghazi has been hushed up since the beginning by the Obama administration, even going so far as to have the CIA was moving personnel and changing names of their people so they couldn’t be found by investigators: