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Currently Browsing: Politics

Trolling Brilliance

I have to hand it to whoever thought this up. Seriously, this was brilliant. In this, the Era of Trump, this is the smartest bit of opposition activism I think I’ve seen so far. My hat is truly off to you.

For the people who fell for this: shame on you. Educate yourselves. They weren’t passing these flags off to ordinary people on the streets: they were passing them off to what are considered “core conservative activists.” And hey, you waved them with all the red white and blue passion we’d expect from people who only give a fuck about cheering their own team and not a damned thing beyond that.

The stakes are going up folks. If conservatives wants to be taken seriously, it’s time to start acting like that’s the case. Educate yourselves. If you took half the time and resources you spent cheerleading and tried to actually learn something, you might get somewhere.

Does Cruz Know Something?

Ted Cruz is predicting there will be a Supreme Court vacancy this summer. A lot of people are getting very optimistic about Second Amendment cases because we get to replace Scalia with Gorsuch. Even if Gorsuch turns out to be as solid on the Second Amendment as Scalia, that doesn’t get us anywhere. Recall that before Scalia stepped down, the Supreme Court still wasn’t taking gun cases, even when the lower courts were just as if not more blatant than the 4th Circuit Court of appeals was. We need to replace Ginsburg or Breyer if we’re going to get anywhere.

Interestingly, however, not too soon after Cruz made his prediction, Ginsburg told the BBC she’s not so sure how much steam she’s got left:

Asked how much longer she would stay in post, she said: “At my age you have to take it year by year. I know I’m OK. What will be next year?”

She added: “I’m hopeful however, because my most senior colleague the one who most recently retired, Justice John Paul Stevens, stepped down at age 90. So I have a way to go.”

I wouldn’t read too much into that, but that doesn’t sound like someone who’s intent on staying on the High Court until the bitter end.

Crowninshield Gets Three Years for Manufacturing Without a License

For those of you who remember, Daniel Crowninshield set up a scheme whereby a person would purchase an 80% lower, then would pay him to use his CNC mills to finish it. The government argued that this amounting to manufacturing without a license. A novel theory, to be sure, but because they picked the right guy they never had to test out this novel theory in court.

Now, if you help people machine AR-15 lower receivers for profit, you can probably expect to spend some time in prison. Just a bit of general advice for people who might be tempted to try to walk the razors edge on violating or not violating the Gun Control Act: it probably will not look very good to a jury if you go by the alias “Dr. Death.” I mean, it’s a free country and all, but just sayin’. I’d also not advise not walking the razor on GCA while being a domestic violent misdemeanant, allegedly in possession of an unregistered machine gun. I’m sure that probably played into the decision to take the plea deal. Now the feds get to claim a scalp without having to test their novel theory of manufacturing without a license in court.

UPDATE: Along the same vein, attending open carry protests and making sure everyone knows who you are, and knows that you’er armed, when you have two felony raps is also not going to make things easy on your lawyer.

“Guns in America” Forum

Tomorrow at Central Penn College in Summerdale, PA there will be a forum featuring David Keene, former NRA President, and Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFire PA. It runs from 7-8PM.

Keene has generally been a great spokesman for the issue. If anyone in the area wishes to attend, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It’s a bit of a hike for me.

Important Ruling From PA Superior Court

The en banc Superior Court, in Commonwealth v. Goslin, has ruled in favor of the defendant without dissent:

We disagree with the trial court’s conclusion that the language of Section 912(c) is vague.

Rather, we conclude that, in order to ascertain the meaning of Section 912(c), we need not look beyond its plain language. The plain meaning of Section 912(c) provides two separate defenses: possessing and using a weapon on school property “in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity” as well as possessing “for other lawful purpose.” (emphasis added, as Chief Counsel Prince specifically argued this exact construction and noted the different verbs utilized related to the different provisions)

The Court concludes:

Although we are concerned about individuals possessing weapons on school property, we are bound by the broad defense that the legislature has provided defendants in such cases.

Josh Prince is raising money for legal defenses, as the case is headed back to lower court for a re-trial. I wouldn’t exactly go carrying firearms on school grounds because of this ruling, but it seems pretty clear the legislature intended to supply a broad defense for people engaged in legal activity. We now have the second-highest court in the Commonwealth recognizing that.

UPDATE: More discussion here. It looks like the DA is dropping the charges rather than going through with a re-trial. Josh Prince also points out that this only creates an affirmative defense. The DA can still charge you.

Coming Apart

Everyone I Don't Like is HitlerGun news is pretty thin, so forgive an off topic post. I might have a news roundup this week, hopefully! These days I’m more worried that the country is literally coming apart in front of my eyes.

Maybe I have it bad because this area is kind of the front lines between Red and Blue America. We’re where Blue America starts to stop, with Red America starting out in the Western Exurbs. This week I have started to manicure my Facebook News Feed to cut out people who post non-stop political bullshit. It’s not just Facebook either. Bitter quit a neighborhood group because it descended into political bickering. It’s infected a lot of other civic institutions we’re involved with lately as well. It makes you wonder if this is what it was like to live in 1850.

But the coming apart back then was at least over a real issue; slavery. Today we’re coming apart because people are frothed up about the bad guys in the movie playing in our own heads. I really don’t want to live in an echo chamber. I’m actually disappointed I’ve never gotten more than a small handful of gun control advocates engaging in the comments, and I still have gun control blogs in my feed. I’m always open to an argument on the merits of an issue.

What I’m not into is thinking people I don’t agree with are Hitler, Nazis, Fascist, Socialists, or Communists unless those people really are those things. When we use those to describe people we don’t agree with, we cheapen those terms. If everyone is a Nazi then no one is a Nazi. If everyone is a racist, then no one is a racist. Hate, actual hate, becomes meaningless. This behavior is removing our rhetorical tools for confronting people who actually are all those things. I’m not into arguing over whether the movie playing in your head is any good or not, or commiserating with you over how nasty the bad guys are. I’m kind of appalled you think any of your Social Media friends give a crap.

I certainly have anti-Trump people in my social media circles who are offering thoughtful opposition to the Administration. These folks I don’t mind. Trump will need some thoughtful opposition over the course of his presidency. But I see precious little of that versus patent nonsense.

UPDATE: Also see: “About That ‘Punching Nazis’ Thing…

Trump’s Pick to Replace Scalia

It’s Neil Gorsuch. You can check out his profile on SCOTUSBlog here. As John Richardson noted earlier today, he’s not written any opinions on the Second Amendment, but he’s in the same mold as Scalia, except for not being very fond of Chevron Deference, which is fine by me. We don’t know exactly where he stands on the Second Amendment, but given his overall judicial philosophy, I’d find it doubtful he’d be against us. That will need to come out in the hearings.

Speaking of the hearings, I fully expect this to go nuclear, meaning the Republicans will have to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees the same as they were eliminated for lower court nominees by the Dems. I think they should do it, because they can be absolutely assured the Dems will do it if they control the Senate again in the future. They pretty much said they would. Don’t give GOP lawmakers room to be fools and unilaterally disarm.

It’s important to remember, Scalia was the strongest justice on the Court for the Second Amendment. Replacing him with someone just as solid is just not going backwards. I would have preferred someone with a record on the Second Amendment. We never had records on Roberts or Alito, but they both voted with us when it counted. Alito and Thomas are strong on this issue. Either Roberts or Kennedy, or both, are softer supporters. We need to get one more vote on there before we’ll be moving ahead.

UPDATE: NRA is endorsing the choice out of the gate. My guess is they have talked to him, and the speed of the release means they knew about it before it was announced.

Good News for Pennsylvania

The PA Game Commission has approved hunting with semi-automatic rifles:

For deer and bear, full-metal jacket rounds are not permitted and semi-automatics used for big game are limited to a five-round magazine capacity. The measure also carries a sunset provision that expires on June 30, 2020 to allow for a board review the measure.

Limited five rounds in the magazine or five round magazines? Though, I’m guessing a blocked 10 or 20 round mag would work if not.

Another Walk Down Memory Lane

I decided to take a look in the immediate post-election era to see what we were talking about here eight years ago. I think it’s kind of a fun thing to do. Basically, I was talking people on my side down from the ledge a lot. What worries me today is I only see the madness feeding on itself. Then, I believed that madness was a distraction, and would imperil serious efforts to stop the new Administration:

Morning after election: “That is all.  Get ready folks, we are in for some dark, dark times.” Actually, if you had told me then where we’d be now at the start of a new Administration, I wouldn’t have believed you. We opposed Obama when he came after us and we came out on top every time. I figured we’d win some and lose some. I think we were helped greatly by the fact that neither Obama nor Bloomberg have any understanding of the gun culture in this country.

Barack Obama is my President.” “What I mean by that is I’m giving him a chance.” I still think he sucked, but the “Not my President” crap I see from the left now is still just as obnoxious when I was seeing it from the right eight years ago.

I largely blamed the Bushes for destroying Reagan’s coalition. Nothing I’ve seen since convinces me to change that argument. If there’s one thing I will always be eternally grateful to Trump for is sweeping aside the Bush family.

Boy is this not true anymore: “There are extremes on all sides.  Part of the reason our system works is that it tends to dull extremes.” Obama was actually far more successful at transforming the country than I thought. Plus, this bit of snark: “I think it’s safe to say that the re-education camps, at best, will be a second term project.”

Initially there were bailouts. I was happy to see the Administration spending time on this because it would weaken it for fights to come. I expected the Dems to act in their own self-interest, rather than march their historic Congressional majority off a cliff, which is what they did.

Judicial minimalists were no friend to the Second Amendment then, and they still aren’t.

Good manners are in short supply these days, and sadly that’s true of much of our side as well.” Little did I know it would only get worse. One of Obama’s tactics is to troll his political opponents to throw them off balance, and make them behave irrationally. It was very effective, but also bad for the country. Trump learned from the master.

The Dems could stand to hear this today, but then I was talking to gun owners: “There are literally hundreds of bills that get introduced in Congress, or thousands if you count the legislatures of the several states, each legislative session.  Most of them aren’t going anywhere.

Gun control supporting folks in the media were calling us crazy for thinking then President-Elect Obama wanted to do gun control, except for the fact that it was in his transition platform. He actually left us alone, for the most part, during his first term, if you recall. Even signed a few pro-gun measures (admittedly under duress, since they were attached to “must pass” bills).

This is still very relevant: “We feel a deep pleasure from realizing that we believe something in common with our friends, and different from most people.  We feel an even deeper pleasure letting everyone know of this fact.  This feeling is EVIL.” This feeling is what made Zuckerberg filthy rich, and we’re all about this today.

Obamacare was starting to shape up. This is exactly what happened: “Enforced through the tax system, eh?  Well, at least that’s probably constitutional.  Either way, there’s no word on how they plan to pay for what is bound to be an enormously expensive program.  To me this is the worst of both worlds.  There will be no incentive to control health care costs with a system like this, and costs will spiral out of control.

Sarah Palin would eventually beclown herself, but the GOP response to her was a prelude to Trump, looking back now. More along those lines here.

You know, I’ve been saying that I don’t think people have to worry about Obama shipping anyone off to concentration camps in cattle cars.  I still stand by that, because I think Obama is hiring and appointing solid progressives, within our legal traditions, not murderers.” I could say the same thing about Trump’s picks today, except for the “solid progressive” part.

Paul Ryan, who is fairly hard Right, won big in areas of his district that went hard for Obama” Of course, now Paul Ryan is an establishment sellout! (yes, I’m being sarcastic).

Why It’s Not the 1930s Again.” Another thing Dem voters could stand to read now, only then I was saying it to GOP voters. More along those lines here.

Obama Will Overreach” Boy, he sure as hell did, didn’t he? People who wanted to see gun control after Sandy Hook could have easily gotten some if they hadn’t overreached. Hell, we preemptively offered to reform the background check system and apply it to all transfers, and they rejected that because it wasn’t radical enough. So we took our respective sides, fought it out, and they lost.

These same people are now Trump voters.

Interesting. Trump’s approval numbers were pretty low as President-Elect. I didn’t remember this, but it looks like Obama’s were too.

 

How I Opposed Obama Eight Years Ago

I was looking back over my archives. This is something I don’t like to do, because my beliefs have evolved somewhat, and my blogging style today isn’t quite the same as it was back then. In some cases I’d like to reach through the screen and smack my then self. But what I was talking about in the post-Obama inauguration period is a sharp contrast to the nuttery I’m seeing on social media today:

I also noticed the day before Obama’s inaugural is when I launched a Facebook presence for the blog. That’s also, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence, when dialog in this country started to head downhill.

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