Only a good guy with a General Electric M134 Minigun can stop a bad guy with a General Electric M134 Minigun

Florida has a nifty new variation on "Stand your Ground" legislation in the works. Not only would it make it easier for criminal defendants to escape murder prosecutions by claiming self-defense, but it would also require the state to reimburse defendants for their trouble, to the tune of up to $200,000 for court costs and attorney fees. Not surprisingly, the bill has the backing of the NRA and would give defendants a huge six-figure incentive to claim self-defense. As we know, Stand Your Ground has already done a terrific job of helping violent criminals beat prosecution, so this new wrinkle should ensure even more mayhem, yay.

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As Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell explains, House Bill 169 would shift the burden of proof to prosecutors in Stand Your Ground cases, "so that anyone who claims self-defense is essentially assumed to be telling the truth unless the state can prove otherwise, often in a pre-trial immunity hearing." Look, we understand "presumed innocent until proven guilty," but isn't that supposed to happen in a trial?

Maxwell also suspects that the bill's proponents included the $200K payout for defendants' "court costs, reasonable private attorney fees and related expenses" as a strategic distraction, "just so they could later take it out, claiming it was now a thoughtful compromise." Hey, that's clever!

It's a tactic they've used before with extremist bills — such as an early version of the "Docs vs. Glocks" law that sought to imprison pediatricians who discussed gun safety with patients.

That was the 2011 law that made it illegal for doctors to ask parents if they had a gun in the home; it was upheld in 2014.

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And surprise, surprise: The bill's Senate sponsor, state Sen. Rob Bradley, said that as a matter of fact, he would be willing to strip that provision, since the cost of paying up to $200k to every brave ground-stander would almost certainly mean counties would have to make cuts elsewhere -- probably in prosecutors' offices. Other than that one provision, both Bradley and state Rep. Dennis Baxley, who introduced the bill in the Florida House, think it's a dandy piece of legislation that protects the rights of the accused. Yes, that's two Tuff-On-Crime Florida Republicans who've suddenly become sympathetic to criminal defendants, as long as they've been accused of blowing someone away with their responsibly owned firearm.

Maxwell predicts that if HB 169 becomes law, "most anyone charged should claim self-defense. There's no reason not to." And he reminds us of the 2012 Tampa Bay Times investigation that found roughly 70 percent of defendants claiming they'd been "standing their ground" got off -- including charming cases like a guy who shot a man lying on the ground and successfully claimed self-defense. The Times' investigation concluded: "In nearly a third of the cases … defendants initiated the fight, shot an unarmed person or pursued their victim -- and still went free."

And now Florida legislators -- with NRA lobbyists smiling benevolently in the background -- want to make it even easier for people who kill with a gun to walk away without any consequences, and possibly even a cash bonus, because surely that's what the Founders had in mind.

[Orlando Sentinel / Tampa Bay Times / Orlando Sentinel again]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Hell of a coincidence we have here! On the very same day that a Russian spy gets arrested for using the NRA as a conduit to the Republican Party -- ahem POLITICAL PARTY 1! -- the United States Treasury announces that it won't be collecting donor information from "social welfare groups." Guess which "GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION" is a tax exempt social welfare group that raised $337 million in 2016 and will now be able to hide its donor list from the prying eyes of the American public?

Here's a hint:

That's right, donors to the the NRA and those Kochsuckers at Americans for Prosperity can now dump infinity political dollars into their lobbying and electioneering efforts without having their names disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. Or the IRS. Or anyone who might object to propping up lunatic politicians who want to arm preschoolers.

In the bad old days, i.e. yesterday, "social welfare organizations" had to give the IRS names and addresses of anyone donating over $5,000. But now they get to keep it all secret, as White Jesus and Charles Koch intended. Here's how the Treasury explains the change on its website.

Tax-exempt organizations described by section 501(c), other than section 501(c)(3) organizations, are no longer required to report the names and addresses of their contributors on the Schedule B of their Forms 990 or 990-EZ.

Okay, now 'splain us how awesome this is gonna be, Steven Mnuchin!

Americans shouldn't be required to send the IRS information that it doesn't need to effectively enforce our tax laws, and the IRS simply does not need tax returns with donor names and addresses to do its job in this area. It is important to emphasize that this change will in no way limit transparency. The same information about tax-exempt organizations that was previously available to the public will continue to be available, while private taxpayer information will be better protected.

BOOOOORING! Hey, Mitch McConnell, you're a big old whore -- say the quiet part out loud to the Wall Street Journal.

The IRS's decision is a move in the right direction to end activist regulators' culture of intimidation to silence political speech. [...] More and more states were using these documents to chill political discourse, rather than encourage it.

That'll do it! Can't do anything about the pizza racists running their mouths and ruining the grift. But you can make it harder for customers to work out what corporate owners do with their earnings. Because money is speech, and speech is free, and we all have a First Amendment right to secretly fund organizations that team up with Russia to ratfuck American elections and starve the poor.

Thanks, Justice Kennedy!

Follow your FDF on Twitter!

If you click here to fund us, we promise not to make you read about tax policy tomorrow! PROBABLY.

[ / WSJ]

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Fox News has been LI'L BIT CONFUSED about how to cover Donald Trump's treason meeting with Vladimir Putin. There was a lot of tut-tutting from Fox's daytime journalists (the "real" ones) on Monday, but then it was Double Dipshit Time on Monday night as Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity took over the commentary. Carlson found the real election hackers (brown Mexican people who either move to America and become legal citizens who vote or brown Mexican people who are just born here, as if THAT is allowed!) and declared that Russian meddling is like number 115 on the list of things that threaten America. (The other 114 are the blacks and the Mexicans and the gypsies, because Tucker Carlson is a white supremacist.) Meanwhile, Hannity hosted Donald Trump for some kind of mutual lick-off session where Trump said that Putin had informed him that there was NO COLLUSION. It's good to have a KGB handler who remembers stuff like that!

But even then, there was a hopeful moment! Fox News's Chris Wallace committed an actual act of journalism Monday night when he interviewed Vladimir Putin, going so far as to stick Robert Mueller's indictments in the Russian leader's stupid fucking face and dare him to read them. He even asked Putin why he constantly murders people with poison. GO GET HIM, CHRIS WALLACE!

Usually the next morning's "Fox & Friends" is like Carlson and Hannity's afterbirth, but Tuesday morning was a little bit different! For some reason, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade and Abby Huntsman were not 100% pleased with Dear Leader's behavior in Helsinki! So they put on their Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski masks and did their best impression of a more dumber version of "Morning Joe," and oh my god it was SO WEIRD. Like, they would be outraged for a second, but then they would immediately compliment him and reassure him that he is a Very Good Boy who won that presidential election fair and square.

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