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Dec 12, 2013
This is veering off topic, but while I have the makings of another tab-clearing news link, everyone is all atwitter about the Ryan budget deal. I haven’t been able to get all that worked up about it, to be honest, because it seemed another case of the grassroots conservatives wanting to fight on every front all of the time rather than picking battles carefully. I see this quite often in the gun issue. A lot of people got worked up over UFA renewal, but it’s the wrong battle to fight at the wrong time. The bill has nearly zero impact on every day gun rights, and for a lot of reasons I think it’s fine to kick that fight ten years down the road for now.
Megan McArdle wrote an article today I think is correct in term of analyzing the Ryan deal.
But if they do nothing at all, many reason, they get all the sequestration cuts. Why trade them away?
To avoid another showdown. Though I, too, would like government to shrink, I think this is the right policy trade-off; shutdowns are making it harder and harder to talk about rational budget policy in this town. And tactically, I think this is a clear win for the Republican Party. The last thing they need right now is to take the focus off the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and revive Obama’s flagging poll numbers with an ill-timed budget battle. Their best shot at a budget they really like is, after all, to retake the Senate in 2014.
RTWT. From my reading of it, the Ryan deal is meant to avert another government shutdown, which the Democrats have been preparing to do. Another shutdown would be a disaster for the GOP, because as Megan says, it would take the focus off the flaming train wreck that the ACA is turned out to be. That’s why the Dems would love to precipitate another shutdown in order to distract the low-information voters from their own failures and focus everything back on how awful the GOP is.
Of course, the GOP won’t say that, because they would rather piss on your leg and tell you it’s raining, and that, I think, pretty much sums up the GOP’s problem, which is messaging and communication. That gets back to what Glenn Reynolds noted:
I think that’s right. I think the problem is that a lot of the grassroots don’t trust the GOP leadership to do that. The leadership might want to think about what it can do to build such trust.
No one trusts them because a) the 1994 revolution turned into a non-revolution, and b) the GOP sucks at communicating. The Ryan deal may be necessary, but the GOP leadership would rather kick the grassroots in the teeth and offer platitudes than talk to them like actual adults. Want to understand the popularity of Chris Christie? Because he communicates, and treats voters like adults. Corbett, by contrast, just hiked my gas taxes and then has the nerve to send me a fundraising letter bragging about how he eliminated the retail gas tax (failing to mention that he accomplished this through a massive hike in the wholesale gas tax). Maybe we had to hike the gas tax. Maybe that was the only way to get a transportation bill funded. But don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Level with me. The GOP might be playing a bad hand the best they can right now, but you’d never know it, because they have no idea how to communicate to voters. If you ask me, that’s the GOP’s number one problem.
Dec 11, 2013
Imagine a situation where an armed robber breaks into your home, but maybe you do or don’t have a means to defend yourself. What you do have is a phone with access to 911, and let us pretend for a moment that the local cops can get there in time to save you. What would keep you from using the phone in that situation?
Well, thanks to the efforts of Bloomberg-ally and MAIG Mayor Tom Leighton, you might lose your home if you call the police. You may face permanent eviction if you dare call the police while in danger. If you live paycheck-to-paycheck and can’t afford another place to live, then maybe you hide in the closet and hope for the best instead of calling the police.
See, this MAIG mayor has instituted a “one-strike ordinance” that allows his city to shut down any property for up to six months (without a hearing or notice) if the property is ever the site of a single gun or drug crime.
Another town instituted a similar rule that, instead of shutting down a property, fines the landlords as punishment, and a victim of domestic violence was threatened with eviction after the police were called to help her. When the boyfriend showed up again and stabbed her in the neck, she was too fearful of losing a roof over her young daughter’s head to call the police. Even as she was bleeding from her wounds, she pleaded with her neighbors not to call the police on her attacker because she and her daughter would be the ones punished and left without a home.
That case has resulted in litigation, and despite seeing the impact of this rule on a domestic violence victim, MAIG Mayor Leighton stands by using the one-strike ordinance, even if the ultimate result is to punish the poor for calling police when trouble lurks in their neighborhoods.
By supporting efforts to disarm citizens, Leighton forces them to rely on police. Now he’s punishing those who do rely on the police and who cannot afford to move if their landlords evict them because they dared call the police while in danger.
Dec 9, 2013
Passed by unanimous consent, which is effectively the same as 100-0, but it looks like Chuck Schumer is going to remain disappointed. This is not a victory of any sort — we simply avoided losing more ground — but I don’t mind Schumer remaining disappointed.
Dec 9, 2013
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel deserves some kudos for something you don’t see much of these days: real reporting. The article details that the botched tactics used in Milwaukee weren’t limited to that city. It includes this gem of a quote:
“To say this is just a few people, a few bad apples, I don’t buy it,” said David Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and an expert on law enforcement tactics and regulation. “If your agency is in good shape with policy, training, supervision and accountability, the bad apples will not be able to take things to this level.”
The fish rots from the head. “A few bad apples,” was the excuse for Fast and Furious too. Is Jones doing anything at all to clean up the agency? Not that any of us had high hopes, or really any hope at all, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
Dec 6, 2013
There are accusations that discounted or free licenses to carry are being granted to political friends and supporters of the Sheriff of Beaver County, and the story just gets weird from there.
From the various reports, it apparently started when a citizen sitting in a public area of the public office recorded a conversation between the Sheriff and a Constable that revealed he was undercharging for permits for selected people. The recording became public, and the Sheriff’s first response appears to have been to call the District Attorney and demand that there be an investigation for violation of the wiretap laws and leaking of confidential information rather than address the real problem of using licenses to carry in this manner and possibly shorting the county its share of fees.
It turns out that the DA found there was zero expectation of privacy between the individuals given their roles as public officials and where they had their conversation, and nothing confidential was leaked. So, the Sheriff now appears to claim that it was all above board because he was purposefully handing out the licenses in order to see if one of his secretaries who had recently filed a grievance against the office was leaking information. However, the person who benefited with the discounted license was apparently never informed prior to the event that he was part of such a plot and had to pay up later. Needless to say, there are people who doubt the after-the-fact claims of a secret investigation.
It appears the DA has turned the evidence related to the issuance of discounted licenses to carry over to state authorities, and a source tells the local paper that a grand jury has been called related to some sort of investigation into the Sheriff’s office.
They also report that the state Auditor General’s office found the Sheriff may not be charging the appropriate fees mandated by the state for carry licenses or writs of execution, which now means the County Controller is also investigating.
It’s very odd, indeed. Even if the licenses are being issued according to the law in regards to background checks, it is very troubling to hear that there are concerns that discounts and freebies are being used to benefit political supporters while those who aren’t so well-connected are forced to pay the higher, state-mandated price.
Dec 4, 2013
Ace talks about how Mitch McConnell is looking for just a few, good, bland Republicans. Ace of Spades generally have good insights into the political process, so if you like that kind of thing they are worth a read. If I had to pick which major internal factors are causing the GOP’s woes, I’d put them in this order.
The DC-based consulting firms and think tanks that the GOP has come to rely on are more concerned about milking the movement for their livelihoods than they are about actually winning hearts and minds (and thus elections). They are also completely out of touch with the mood of the American People.
Conservatives pay too much attention to money changers in the temple; people who tell the grassroots soothing things they want to hear rather than preaching reality and helping grassroots conservatives be more effective. I’m not one who thinks talk radio is necessarily good for the conservative movement. I’m noticing more conspiratorial nonsense turning up locally, and it can almost be guaranteed once you look it up, it’s being spread by a talk radio personality. I don’t mean Alex Jones and the dark corners of talk radio, I mean people like Glenn Beck. Helping people “connect the dots” as he sees them might make Beck a lot of money, but it’s not doing any favors for the conservative movement. When local politicos see a bunch of people showing up at meetings yammering about “Agenda 21″ and other UN conspiracy BS, those local politicos get scared, and rightfully so. Because to anyone who isn’t wrapped up in the world of the money changers, it sounds nuts.
Our movement just recruits some awful political talent. Part of that problem is that the angry grassroots have more outrage than experience, and have no idea what qualities you need in someone who can, say, win and hold a senate seat. That someone holds similar views to you, or even popular views, does not translate into electability. Sam Rohrer was the popular conservative heart throb in Pennsylvania for a while, but he was always a lousy fundraiser, and couldn’t really seem to get a statewide campaign going. I don’t care what your beliefs are, if you can’t raise money you’re toast.
I am no fan of the GOP status quo. If I didn’t think it would put McConnell’s seat at risk, I’d be enthusiastic about a primary challenge. McConnell loves feeding at the pork barrel, and I’ve had about enough of that. But what I’ve seen, again and again, are these grassroots primary challenges that essentially surrender the seat to the Democrats because the grassroots candidate was completely unelectable. Having a candidate that believes a lot of the same things you do won’t do a lick of good if you can’t get them elected.
Dec 3, 2013
The issue of Massachusetts gun licensing delays is getting attention from non-gun sources, and they highlight the reports of nearly 1,000 gun owners who have had their licenses delayed past the point of the state breaking its own laws.
The article highlights a Senate Democrat who notes that this squarely falls on the shoulders of the Deval Patrick administration, and they include the fact that Attorney General Martha Coakley is refusing to investigate why the state government is violating the law, nor will her office even answer public questions on the matter.
Sadly, this isn’t new to Massachusetts gun owners. The government there has had a history of delaying licenses that are needed in order to continue lawfully possessing your guns. It was an issue when I lived there and had to get my gun license.
Dec 3, 2013
The Washington Post is busy helping the antis drive the perception that gun control won them Virginia, or at the least didn’t hurt them. In politics, perception is just as important as reality, so as long as they can make the powers that be believe what they say is true, it doesn’t honestly matter if it’s not. Did Al Gore really lose over his position on gun control? That’s the perception. It doesn’t matter if it was true or not. I think often time our side sees the lie and assumes everyone else will see it too. Here’s the spin the Post is offering:
The National Rifle Association ran commercials against Herring, but its messages were directed at voters who our own polling showed were never accessible to Herring. The NRA avoided the largest concentrations of swing voters in the Northern Virginia, Norfolk and Richmond markets. That is not a recipe for growth or success.
What they are arguing, essentially, is that the gun vote are already baked into the GOP numbers. In other words, the Democrat has nothing to fear on gun rights, because those votes were never really up for grabs anyway. As someone who has pulled the D lever before, in order to punish the GOP for their stances on certain issues, I can at least personally say that’s not true for me. I might be willing to vote for a pro-gun Democrat against Corbett, who seems to be just about as good at raising my taxes as Ed Rendell was. But the gun issue will likely keep me in Corbett’s corner in 2014.
The other side is now driving the perception that gun control is a winning issue for Democrats, whereas up until very recently, it was seen as a toxic issue. This is not a good place to be in, if they are successful. We will lose our rights if we remain here, because you can’t count on one party to control everything all of the time, and it will only be a matter of time before the GOP realizes they can, once again, get away with just not being as bad as the other guy. The Democrats have to be punished severely in 2014 for their stance in favor of gun control. This should lock them out of certain states and regions.
Dec 3, 2013
There’s a gun-related case in the Arizona Court of Appeals today that deals with overly vague content-based speech restrictions on government property. The Goldwater Institute and ACLU are siding with pro-Second Amendment folks who submitted various advertisements for the Phoenix mass transit system only to see some of them turned down on content restrictions against politically-related advertising and others with similar messages and links accepted.
It’s a case that isn’t just about considering federal First Amendment protections/restrictions on speech, but also may define the state’s constitutional limits on the freedom of speech. The ACLU has apparently argued that state courts have never ruled on the issue of content-based restrictions on government property or provided legal tests to determine when such regulations may be allowed.
The pro-speech/gun side is arguing that the rules are so vague and arbitrary that a reasonable person could not be expected to know when their advertisements may be approved or might be turned down. Attorneys for the city claim that if they can’t have these vague rules that apparently only city bureaucrats understand, then they will be forced into an “all-or-nothing approach — allow no advertising or allow all advertising.”
Nov 27, 2013
Yesterday, it was rumor that only if recall organizers in Colorado managed to force a recall that Sen. Evie Hudak would resign in exchange for special perks in choosing her replacement in the Senate and on her committee in order to keep the Democratic Party in charge in the Senate. That kind of naked power grab doesn’t sit well with many people, as evidenced by even the comments here on our report from yesterday’s rumor.
This morning, the local media picked up on the rumors, and suddenly Hudak announced that she is instead going to resign before the recall petition signatures are even due.
According to the early report, part of Hudak’s initial deal with Democratic Party leaders was that they would go all out for her to keep a recall from even happening. They certainly tried that by getting quite nasty with phone calls and lit drops that implied anyone signing the recall petitions was giving their personal information to sex offenders and criminals.
While Colorado’s Senate remains in the hands of Democrats for now, this is a prime opportunity to start focusing on 2014′s political punishment for backing gun control.