The Obamedia did blew off the Black Panther voter intimidation case, Fast & Furious and other sundry missteps and outrages from this White House. The media were able to dismiss those dead bodies as a right wing conspiracy until the whistleblowers came forward.
They doubletaked when it was confirmed the Obama administration sicced the IRS on Tea Party groups–after their successful 2010 elections, but were still willing to be BFF’s.
But now the man who gives them shivers up the leg and is ‘bigger than God,’ has done it. Big time.
Now he’s gone after them in this AP wiretap story.
Even the likes of former MSNBC flamethrower David Shuster has gotten over his case of the Obama vapors and isn’t liking what he’s smelling, taking to Twitter tonight,
There are national security issues with going after the Associated Press (see post here), but it appears that the Holder Justice Department put a very wide and overly broad net indeed over the AP’s phones. Without the benefit of all the facts, this smells like a wild fishing expedition to intimidate the press.
Sheesh, the New York Times and Washington Post committed virtual acts of treason–disclosing rendition sites, Wikileaks, operational details which compromised national security sending the Bush White House into a case of the yips. But behold Holder! He issued a wire tap that covers dozens of AP reporters phones AND their phone at the Congress! Chutzpah!
And there to circle the wagons was Jonathan Alter of the Daily Beast/Newsweek offering up the official White House/Holder excuse tonight with this tweet:
Why would Holder recuse himself from this case? Oh, nevermind. Jonathan will tell us later, just as soon as he gets his talking points from Susan Rice.
Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC also attempted a little distraction. She said NOTHING in her Twitter feed about the AP story but five hours after it broke, here’s what she tweeted,
In the midst of a re-election campaign, Obama aides wanted to promote the mythology that the president who killed Osama was vanquishing terror. So they deemed it problematic to mention any possible Qaeda involvement in the Benghazi attack.
For Dowd, that’s a wagging forefinger.
What’s that sound? The breaking glass of the Obamedia icon of Barack Obama.
Oops. So much for the “slobbering love affair” as Bernie Goldberg called it in his book about the slavish devotion the media holds for President Obama. Why? The Obama Administration’s Justice Department put a wholesale dragnet for a two month period of time on the Associated Press’s phone records, the AP reports.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.
The AP says the phone records appear to be surrounding a story about a foiled terrorist attempt,
The government would not say why it sought the records. Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.
But it’s about a terrorist plot, so that OK, right? Check this out,
In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown, but more than 100 journalists work in the offices where phone records were targeted, on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
Prosecutors have sought phone records from reporters before, but the seizure of records from such a wide array of AP offices, including general AP switchboards numbers and an office-wide shared fax line, is unusual.
The AP talked to Democrat Senator Patrick “Leaky” Leahy who thinks the Obama Administration has some ‘splainin’ to do,
“The burden is always on the government when they go after private information, especially information regarding the press or its confidential sources. … On the face of it, I am concerned that the government may not have met that burden. I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government’s explanation.”
Leahy’s political polar opposite, Congressman Darryl Issa Chair of the investigative House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, issued this statement tonight,
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today issued the following statement on news that the Department of Justice has been monitoring Associated Press phone lines, including a line in the press gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives:
“This is obviously disturbing. Coming within a week of revelations that the White House lied to the American people about the Benghazi attacks and the IRS targeted conservative Americans for their political beliefs, Americans should take notice that top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone. I will work with my fellow House Chairmen on an appropriate responseto Obama Administration officials.”
To borrow a phrase by Nixon AG John Mitchell during the Watergate investigation referring to Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post,
Think of Portland’s Arts Tax as a brand new house! The idea of housing people is nice. The house is bright and shiny. Looks cool.
And there are no permits. In the eyes of the law this construction is wholly illegal, against basic code.
If you’re the City of Portland and this is the $35 a head Arts Tax passed last November, you ignore the legalities and keep trying to make the house look pretty. The City knows it is unpermitted –because the state constitution straight-up outlaws these taxes– but the City tries to ‘fix it’ anyway.
The City– metaphorically speaking (for those of you who live on Hawthorne or write for politi’fact’) –tears down the walls to expose the plumbing declares the thing fixed. Then it goes back in and tinkers with the framing and declares the thing fixed. Electrical? Rinse and repeat. The Mayor considers himself clever for ‘fixing’ the problem.
See, the City enthuses with each ad hoc change made to dress up the Arts Tax’s illegality, we’re so clever because we exempted people on a fixed income (the taxing of whom is ALSO unconstitutional)! See, we’re exempting under 18’s because we know our economy sucks and they can’t find more than a part-time barrista job or “volunteering” for the Bus Project! See, we’re offering ‘rebates’ to people who are too poor to pay! See, we’re giving government union workers (PERS recipients) a pass on paying the tax! See, we’re giving retirees a break from the tax!
There may be more waivers for cronies and others for the Arts Tax than Obama gave for ObamaCare!
Voters passed this tax last November in hopes of supporting “the children” with arts programs. A smaller portion of the $35/head tax goes to “the children” and the rest will go to the Regional Arts Commission to dole out to its favorite Zoo Bomber statue, street car art, or maybe even to the Naked Bike Ride expose at the Portland Art Museum.
The City of Portland believes it has the standing to constantly change the structure of this tax. If it can do that it can scrap it and wait for a decision from the Oregon courts where it’s constitutionality is being litigated. It’s a rickety mess.
What do you have when a person brings one or more firearms to an event where those firearms are transferred to another person for valuable consideration “no questions asked?” Well, if there are more than 25 firearms “available for transfer” at that event, Oregon law says you’re at a gun show. Thanks to local citizen journalist Michael Strickland, that sticky question will likely be the topic of discussion at Portland City Hall, and perhaps at the state capitol.
The issue arose from the 19th “Annual Gun Turn-In” promoted by Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, held Saturday, May 11 at the Lynwood Friends Church is southeast Portland. The event, co-sponsored by a variety of local government agencies and officials, brought in a reported 485 firearms, presumably destined for the smelting furnace.
But as Strickland demonstrates with his at times jumpy video at his site Strimedia, this
public-private partnership may have created a “reverse gun show” in which each person who transferred a firearm to COEF committed a class Amisdemeanor for not requesting the required background check to ensure the recipient of the firearm was lawfully entitled to receive it. And all of this was done under the nose of the Portland Police Bureau and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, which guarantees no one is going to jail over this issue.
In his video, Strickland politely confronts a Portland Police sergeant, Mayor Hales, and a representative from COEF, asking each about theevent’s status as a gun show. The PPB officer insisted no laws were being broken and eventually directed Strickland to leave the private church property. Hales asked Strickland to direct his questions to a COEF representative because he “is not a lawyer.” Finally, Strickland does reach a female COEF official, who found the question amusing enough that she offered her wrists for Strickland to handcuff before “assuming the position” for a thorough pat-down search.
Oregon Gun Show Statute
This issue ultimately turns on what Oregon law says about gun shows, background checks and who is responsible to do what. At the November 2000 general election, Oregon voters overwhelmingly approved initiative petition 5 (not to be confused with Don McIntyre’s earlier tax measure) which introduced new requirements for conducting background checks on firearms transfers at gun shows. The measure passed 921,926 to 569,996 and the statutes have remained unchanged ever since.
Contrary to the answers Strickland received by the PPB sergeant, the mayor and the COEF spokesmodel, it makes no
difference whether these firearms are going to be resold, stored indefinitely or melted into a statue of Ginny Burdick. The sergeant tells Strickland, “A transfer means they are going to continue ownership and they’re not. They’re being destroyed.” When Strickland correctly points out there is nothing in the statute to justify that claim, the sergeant firmly tells Strickland, “That’s where it ends” before directing him to leave the property. On this point, Strickland was correct. There is nothing in Oregon law that requires a transferee to “continue ownership” to effect a valid transfer. If a transferee intends to destroy every gun he or she purchases, so be it. But a transfer is still a transfer.
The problem with this event, as Strickland notes, is that the number of firearms present on site appears to trigger the definition of a “gun show” under ORS 166.432(2)(b): “Gun show means an event at which more than 25 firearms are on site and available for transfer.” This would not be an issue if a private citizen chose to turn in their firearm to the police for destruction at any other time, something COEF encourages on its website. But when more than 25 firearms “are on site and available for transfer” then Oregon law says that event is a gun show – no matter what the parties intend to do with the firearms once the transfers are complete.
Further adding to the confusion is that the COEF event reverses the roles seen at most typical gun shows, where an event space (usually indoors) is lined with sellers looking to sell their firearms to purchasers. But at the COEF event, there is effectively only one purchaser, but many sellers, though one could argue that it is difficult, if not impossible to determine who is actually making the purchase at the COEF event. COEF and its partners are clearly a transferee, but are they a “purchaser?” There is no question that COEF offered valuable consideration in the form of Fred Meyer gift cards in denominations ranging from $10 for a pellet or BB gun to $100 for each handgun transferred.
But once again, words in statutes often mean specific things, depending on how the lawmakers intended. In this case, a “purchaser” under ORS 166.412(1)(h) means “a person who buys, leases or otherwise receives a firearm from a gun dealer.” It is possible, though unlikely that any of the folks standing in line at Lynwood Friends Church met the definition of a “gun dealer” under Oregon law. If they were, then they likely violated Oregon law, regardless of whether the event was a gun show or not, because gun dealers are required to run background checks whenever they sell or transfer a firearm.
So who are the parties to these firearms transfers, and what are their legal responsibilities? Assuming the COEF annual gun turn-in meets the technical definition of a “gun show,” now what? The 2000 initiative set forth the following policy statement relating to gun show background checks:
166.433 Findings regarding transfers of firearms. The people of this state find that:
(1) The laws of Oregon regulating the sale of firearms contain a loophole that allows people other than gun dealers to sell firearms at gun shows without first conducting criminal background checks;
(2) It is necessary for the safety of the people of Oregon that any person who transfers a firearm at a gun show be required to request a criminal background check before completing the transfer of the firearm; and
(3) It is in the best interests of the people of Oregon that any person who transfers a firearm at any location other than a gun show be allowed to voluntarily request a criminal background check before completing the transfer of the firearm. [2001 c.1 §1]
Oregon law is clear that the burden to run a background check at a gun show falls upon the person who transfers the firearm, not the recipient. If the COEF event met the definition of a gun show, then every single person who transferred a firearm to COEF violated ORS 166.438(1) which provides:
“A transferor other than a gun dealer may not transfer a firearm at a gun show unless the transferor:
(a)(A) Requests a criminal background check under ORS 166.436 prior to completing the transfer;
(B) Receives notification that the recipient is qualified to complete the transfer; and
(C) Has the recipient complete the form described in ORS 166.441; or
(b) Completes the transfer through a gun dealer.”
The requirement to run the background check does not apply if the transferee, in this case COEF, is licensed as a dealer or collector under 18 U.S.C. 923. In his video, Strickland repeatedly refers to the fact that he could not find COEF listed as having a federal firearms license, which would have made the transfers lawful under Oregon law without background checks.
PPB officers handling transferred firearms.
By all accounts, none of the transferors at the COEF ran the required background check to verify whether COEF was qualified to complete the transfer. Moreover, such a transfer is required to be documented and the transferor is required to keep the documentation for five years, making the documentation available for law enforcement inspection. If a transferor fails to request the required background check or fails to maintain the required paperwork, that person commits a Class A misdemeanor.
So, is COEF off the hook for its role in the gun show transfers? Not quite. ORS 166.438(3) requires a person who organizes a gun show to “post in a prominent place at the gun show a notice explaining the requirements” for transferors to run the background checks, and complete and maintain all required paperwork. Moreover, COEF was required to provide the required form “to any person transferring a firearm at the gun show.” Violation of this section is also a Class A misdemeanor.
Back to Reality
As Strickland demonstrated with his video and still photos, there were clearly more than 25 firearms at Lynwood Friends Church at any one time “available for transfer.” In fact, nearly 500 were transferred from hundreds of transferors to essentially one transferee. And by all accounts, not a single background check was requested or run by the transferors, who likely had no idea such a requirement was their responsibility because COEF never posted the statutorily required notice. So who is going to jail over this episode? No one, of course.
Gun turn in at Rose Garden under Justin Bieber sign.
Despite the PPB sergeant’s interpretation of ORS chapter 166, and Charlie Hales’ scurried attempt to punt the problem to the COEF coed, if the Portland City Attorney’s office seriously examined the statutes cited herein and looked at the facts of this event, they would be hard pressed not to reach the objective conclusion that the COEF annual gun turn-in meets the statutory definition of a gun show. All that is required is an event where more than 25 guns “are available for transfer.” The transferee’s intent post-transfer is simply not relevant. But then again, we are dealing with a Portland city government that still cannot quite figure out how to implement an unconstitutional and highly regressive $35 head tax.
Yet, we can expect changes next year, now that COEF and local officials are aware of the issue. One remedy is to ensure that no more than 25 firearms are on the property at any one time. That’s not likely nor very practical, since public sidewalks will simply fill up with gun-toting citizens – otherwise known as Burdick’s Bane. The legislature could also step in and refine the definition of a “gun show” to expressly exclude events such as COEF’s annual gun turn-in. But the easiest fix, assuming these events qualify as guns shows, is to have COEF or one of its employees, agents or partners obtain a FFL under 18. U.S.C. 923, which would exempt transferors from the responsibility or requirement to run a background check when transferring the firearm to COEF when more than 25 firearms are present and available for transfer.
Who knows? Perhaps the woman offering to be hooked and booked by Strickland will ironically return next year wearing her Ceasefire Oregon T-shirt as a federally licensed gun dealer.