Guess who approved the ‘bump stock’? That’s right, Obama’s ATF

Liberals are all enraged that Stephen Paddock could transform two AR-15s into “machine guns” using a simple “bump stock” device. Now they know who to blame.

First of all, the “bump stock” does not convert an AR-15 into a machine gun. A machine gun will fire as long as the trigger is depressed. Even the military M16 does not have full-automatic mode (and hasn’t since Vietnam). The M16A2 fires a three-round burst based on a selector switch position (where the safety switch is on the AR-15). One trigger pull fires three rounds.

The “bump stock” requires constant pressure on the trigger cover of the device, and considerable pressure in the non-trigger hand on the rifle stock. The device uses the shooter’s shoulder as a recoil to slide the trigger cover back and forth, depressing the trigger once for each shot, which is what semi-automatic firearms do. But with the “bump stock,’ the AR-15 can achieve rapid rates of fire with some practice (and a sore shoulder).

A company named Slide Fire invented the “bump stock.” Here’s their video showing how it works.

Slide Fire submitted their invention, along with its patent, to the ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch, for testing and approval. The ATF responded in June 2010.

The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed. In order to use the installed device, the shooter must apply constant forward pressure with the non-shooting hand and constant rearward pressure with the shooting hand. Accordingly, we find that the “bump-stock” is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act or National Firearm Act.

You can read the letter here.

What does that mean? It means that gun laws don’t stop people from converting AR-15s into rapid-fire weapons. Because most gun laws are based on feeling (“it looks scary!”) and emotion. It also means that when Congress attempts to ban the “bump stock,” they’ll have a hard time figuring out what they’re banning.

In fact, the “bump stock” could be classified as an assistance device for disabled people–they’d be banning something under the ADA and violating the Second Amendment rights of thousands of disabled people who have lost hands or mobility in their fingers. Nothing about the “bump stock” says it has to be used as a rapid fire device. That’s just a side effect (along with a sore shoulder).

Next, liberals will want to ban fingers that can press the trigger too fast–or just ban fingers altogether.

Obama’s White House More Like Animal House

Working at the White House, while considered prestigious, is also pretty stressful, filled with long hours and often thankless tasks–particlularly if you’re a member of the communications team.  With a town that’s addicted to scandal and a press always on the lookout for the next fix, the job of setting the narrative and crafting the president’s image never stops.  The cool part, though, is that you get to be in the room where it happens–even if “it” has less to do with Hamilton-esque intrigue and more to do with explaining what the boss was doing with that intern–and that means you got stories.  Lots of stories, in fact.  And, as every writer knows, when you got stories that people wanna hear, there are piles of money to be made.

Can anybody say, “Book Deal”?

It’s one of the perks for having been there, and former speechwriter David Litt has cashed in on his own experiences with Thanks, Obama:  My Hopey Changey White House Years.  Litt, who came to the Obama administration as a 24-year-old newbie with a degree from Yale and a rather prodigious history with recreational pot, became the youngest member of the team and the humorist in residence–although based on Obama’s singular inability to make fun of himself, I’m guessing that self-deprecation wasn’t much in demand.

Litt did have some interesting things to say about his team’s culture, though–and let’s just say that it doesn’t appear to have been social justice warrior approved:

Working alongside speechwriters Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Jeff Nussbaum, he tells how they called each other ‘bro’ and showed off their status in and outside of the White House.

‘I studied the West Wing with my anthropological intensity, and had learned to translate my boss’s unique dialect: the curt, one-line message,’ he writes.

‘The final category of email, and by far the most precious, was any message containing the words “boom!” or “bro,” he adds.

‘These were special. They meant you were totally killing it and had established yourself as a valued member of the team.’

Whoa, dude.  There must’ve been some serious manspreading there.  Weren’t they at all concerned about making women feel marginilized? Oh, that’s right–they were too busy trying to get them into bed:

‘There was the winter, for example, when a blond local newscaster caught the eye of a co-worker. (I’ll call him Chase, because that’s what he enjoyed),’ he writes.

‘Chase’ pursued the news anchor by inviting her to holiday receptions and sports teams visits to the White House.

‘Each time she arrived…he’d charm her for a few minutes, drop a couple of names, and then apologize for being so busy he couldn’t stay.

‘It was almost too easy. After sealing the deal, Chase bragged about his conquest.’

Maybe he was just pumping her for information.

Litt admits his White House business card had worked its magic on him on one occasion as well.

BOOM, bro!  That is Litt as F**k!  Come to think of it, that might have been a better title for your book.

He also told that the ‘ultimate Oval Office power move’ among the men was to take an apple as you left a meeting, polish it using your suit and ‘take a casual chomp on your way out of the door’.

Okay, now you’re just teasing me with all this Don Draper stuff.  Tell me again how this was a Democrat administration?

Litt also has a few things to say about the boss, who was so sports crazed that he just expected his speechboyz would share that passion with equal intensity:

Obamaworld was also a place where there was no other choice but to like college basketball or pretend to like it, as the former president was known to be a huge fan.

Kind of makes me wonder what else they pretended to like.  Maybe the president’s sense of humor?

During another rehearsal, Obama had been practicing lines for a skit involving Comedy Central star Keegan-Michael Key for the 2015 Correspondents Dinner.

After the president was asked if the crew should return the next morning for another run-through, he responded: ‘Nah…The truth is, I’m pretty f***ing good at this.’

Well, like Wacky Baracky once said,  “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters.  I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.  And I’ll tell you right now that when it comes to comedy, Amy Schumer can bite me.  When do I get my own Netflix special?”

Conservative commentators will probably get a lot of milage out of this, and use it to point out the hypocrisy of Democrats who raise such a fuss in public about sexism, mansplaining and toxic masculinity, but when they go back to the office it’s just like Mad Men after a three martini lunch.  While that’s all true, I must also confess a sneaky bit of relief that the Y-chromosome hasn’t yet been totally beaten out of the progressive male.  It means that deep down, in spite of the ideologies that divide us, we still have a lot in common–even if it is just acting like pigs when the ladies aren’t around.

Lindsey Graham Says He Was Surveilled By Obama Administration

Government surveillance of American citizens has been a controversial issue for years. It became more so this year when President Trump tweeted that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.” Trump never provided evidence of his claim, but now another Republican is coming forward to claim that he too may have been the subject of surveillance by the Obama Administration.

In an interview with Fox News, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that he had “reason to believe” that he may have been surveilled and unmasked by Obama Administration officials. Graham believes that the surveillance was incidental and possibly resulted from his meetings with foreign leaders in his role as a senator.

“I have reason to believe that a conversation that I had was picked up with some foreign leader or some foreign person and somebody requested that my conversation be unmasked,” Graham said. “I’ve been told that by people in the intelligence community. All I can say is that there are 1,950 collections on American citizens talking to people that were foreign agents being surveilled either by the CIA, the FBI or the NSA.”

“Here’s the concern,” Graham continued. “Did the people in the Obama Administration listen in to these conversations? Was there a politicizing of the intelligence gathering process? So, what I want to know: Of the 1,950 incidental collections on American citizens, how many of them involved presidential candidates, members of Congress from either party and if these conversations were unmasked, who made the request? Because I want to know everything there is about unmasking, how it works and who requested unmasking of conversations between foreign people and American members of Congress.”

If the Obama Administration was conducting purposeful surveillance on members of Congress, there is a possible violation of the separation of powers under the Constitution. Surveillance of political opponents could be used gather inside information on political strategies or even for blackmail.

“Now if you’ve got a reason to believe that a member of Congress is committing a crime, then you go get a warrant to follow us around like you would any other citizen,” Graham said. “But I meet with foreign leaders all the time. And I would be upset if any executive branch agency listened in on my conversations, because I’m in another branch of government.”

Graham said that he was not sure if his conversations were unmasked by Obama Administration officials. The senator sent letters to the FBI, CIA and NSA requesting the details of any surveillance that involved him.

Graham is not the only Republican other than Trump who believes that he may have been under surveillance. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote in a letter to President Trump in April, “An anonymous source recently alleged to me that my name, as well as the names of other members of Congress, were unmasked, queried or both in intelligence reports or intercepts during the previous administration.”

The common thread among Trump, Paul and Graham is that all three were Republican presidential candidates in 2016. In May, Paul told the Washington Times, “There are rumors about other people who ran for president as well. I’m concerned not only for myself but for Americans in general.”

So far, there is no firm evidence that the Obama Administration acted improperly in conducting surveillance, but the claims by Trump, Paul and Graham do raise serious questions about surveillance technology and the oversight needed to prevent its abuse. The subject of surveillance of presidential candidates and members of Congress may come when former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week.

Unmasking Susan Rice

The walls are closing in on Susan Rice, or so it would seem based on reports that have been popping up in the news.  And in spite of CNN’s refusal to cover the story, the numerous questions that have recently arisen about Barack Obama’s national security adviser aren’t going away anytime soon.

Like many Washington scandals, this one started out as something completely different–the allegation that the Trump campaign had coordinated with Russia to manipulate the 2016 election.  It was a meme that popped up immediately after Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency, and had three main purposes:  First, it would deflect attention away from how terrible a candidate Hillary Clinton was, and provide an explanation as to why she lost what was supposed to be easily-winnable election.  Secondly, it would delegitimize Trump’s victory, and immediately force his administration to spend valuable time and political capital defending against a manufactured scandal.  Finally–and most importantly–it would slow and hopefully halt the Trump agenda, which consisted largely of dismantling Barack Obama’s legacy.

The media eagerly pushed this narrative by publishing materials leaked from the intelligence community, purporting to show illicit contacts between Russian nationals and members of the Trump campiagn, and later his transition team.  For some reason, however, the media and their sources never seemed to think that anybody would raise the question of how the intelligence community knew about these contacts in the first place.  That is, until Donald Trump issued his now infamous tweet:

All of a sudden the narrative changed, and the media had to change gears and prove that Trump’s accusation was more than false–it was downright crazy, and yet another example of how he was unfit for office.  But a funny thing happened on the way to impeachment.  It turned out that while there was no evidence that Trump Tower had been bugged, there was evidence that Trump and his associates had indeed been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies.  The initial spin was that the monitoring had been incidental, and only happened because foreign nationals (i.e., Russians) who had contacts with the Trump team happened to be under routine surveillance.

But the leaks published by the media called out Trump associates by name.  That information is supposed to be redacted to protect the identities of American citizens caught up in surveillance of foreigners–so how did it end up in the leaked materials?

Somebody unmasked them.  And that somebody, as it turned out, was Susan Rice.

Even though she initially denied knowing anything about Trump and his associates being monitored, she later admitted to Andrea Mitchell on NBC news that she did in fact request that their identities be unmasked.  She denied, however, that she leaked that information to the media, employing the rather unusual double-negative, “I leaked nothing to nobody.”  Make of that what you will, but it sounds to me like parsing words to give herself an escape hatch just in case she ever needs one.

And that day might be coming sooner than later.  Fox News is now reporting that the surveillance went way beyond intercepted phone calls:

“This is information about their everyday lives,” Rep. Peter King of New York, a member of the House Intelligence committee said. “Sort of like in a divorce case where lawyers are hired, investigators are hired just to find out what the other person is doing from morning until night and then you try to piece it together later on.”

This isn’t incidental surveillance. This is looking more and more like the Obama administration used the intelligence resources of the United States to spy on a political rival. Even Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is expressing openness to inviting Rice to testify before Congress on the matter.  Wheather he really wants answers is debatable–but when the guy who has been running point on the “Russian hacked the election” story wants her in for questions, you know that the whole thing has gotten too big to ignore.

One thing’s for sure, though.  This scandal has taken on a life of its own.

BREAKING: Nunes Says Trump Team Was Under Surveillance

Politico reports that House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes is claiming that Donald Trump’s transition team was indeed under surveillance by the Obama administration:

Members of the Donald Trump transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under surveillance during the Obama administration following November’s election, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters Wednesday.

 

Nunes said the surveillance appears to have been legal, incidental collection and that it does not appear to have been related to concerns over collusion with Russia.

Exactly why Trump’s team would be the target of surveillance if not for the investigation over connections to Russia remains a mystery, but one would imagine that if anybody was in a position to know, it would be someone like Nunes.  It also seems unlikely that Nunes would make such a claim lightly, given the hissy fits pitched by the media over the supposed debunking of Trump’s claims that Trump Tower was being bugged by Obama.

This also flies in the face of testimony by FBI director James Comey that there was no evidence that Trump was being bugged, further muddying the waters on an already murky subject.  With any luck, we’ll get more clarity from Nunes soon.

Payday loans are a poor option. No payday loans would be worse

The do-gooders at the Obama administration never do good.

Read this.

These borrowers aren’t incompetent and irrational bums, whatever federal regulators and consumer activists may imagine. They are mostly lower middle class, not poor. Nearly all are high-school graduates. Every one of them has a job and a bank account.

Obama’s unicorn-obsessed social engineers would put the payday loan industry out of business (destroying jobs at 20,000 locations), while simultaneously increasing the number of bounced checks, debt collections, and bankruptcies.

Hooray for liberals. Your read of the day.