Currently Browsing: Politics
Mar 13, 2015
I had to take a couple of breaks from this Atlantic piece on how awful it is that the First Amendment allows unpleasant people to say unpleasant things in an unpleasant manner.
Yes, freedom does mean that some people will live and speak in a different manner than you – maybe even in a way that is offensive. Speaking out and telling them how offensive they are is often a great tool to get them to quiet down. In fact, such results might even be considered social shaming, which is a form of punishment that exists outside of government. It involves things like individual people making the decision to no longer support the people who offend them and letting them suffer social consequences that can often be extremely unpleasant. However, the Atlantic writer appears to believe that since such punishment doesn’t involve a police gun to the head, handcuffs, and a court room, it’s not actually any punishment at all.
I think what really got me going was the extreme elitism on display in this bit:
No one with a frontal lobe would mistake this drunken anthem for part of an uninhibited and robust debate about race relations. … If the First Amendment has become so bloated, so ham-fisted, that it cannot distinguish between such filth and earnest public debate about race, then it is time we rethink what it means.
It would seem that the argument is that if you can’t speak eloquently and aren’t engaged in thoughtful debate, then your First Amendment rights should be “rethought.”
I have to say that one reason this elitism on speech probably drove me a little more up the wall today is because I just witnessed someone in another forum who, to be blunt, is currently incapable of speaking eloquently or engaging in what the writer would consider “earnest public debate.” While her form of rather odd text speak at all times is nearly impossible for others to follow, that doesn’t mean the government needs to declare that she deserves less in the way of protection for her speech than what I deserve because I am likely capable of being more articulate in expressing the same things.
Freedom means that some people will make different choices that you don’t like. The beauty of freedom is that when those people are in charge, you can make the choices they don’t like and feel confident that you won’t be put away for the “crime” of those statements and actions.
Mar 9, 2015
I congratulate Christine Vendel of PennLive for finally noticing something we’ve been screaming about for quite some time: that all towns claiming the sky was falling, and they needed a “lost and stolen” law to combat illegal firearms trafficking, were completely full of shit. The article acknowledges there is no enforcement, which we’ve also been blowing the whistle on to no avail.
This was never the problem our opponents claimed it to be, and now they are incredulously claiming, “It’s not measured by the number of fines. It’s measured by compliance.” So everyone who’s trafficking guns to criminals is just magically obeying the new law? This so laughably lacks credibility, it’s hard to believe they would even try to throw that turd at the wall.
This was never about stopping illegal trafficking. The goal was to weaken state preemption by pushing a non-issue that would easily pass in a number of towns. It was preemption they were after. So how did it work out for them?
The end result is Act 192, which strengthened the preemption law.
Mar 5, 2015
Tam this morning:
Not only do we think Our Guy can do no wrong, but when Their Guy is in the big chair, we blame everything bad on him. The elected executive of our republic has metamorphosed into some Frazer-esque sacral king, on whose luck rides the success or failure of the harvest and the path and frequency of Gulf coast hurricanes.
Six years into this Administration and I’m frankly tired of politics, and not all that makes me feel disillusioned is to be found on the left. I had hoped that the Internet age would turn out to be a more enlightened than the age of mass media which precedes it. But then social media came along, and I suddenly realized that the Internet could be worse; much worse.
I’m still an optimist, though. My theory is that with the baby boomers retiring, and suddenly finding themselves with a lot of time on their hands, they’ve decided to resettle old scores, and turn the whole country into Del Boca Vista, writ large.
Things will settle down once Xers move toward retirement to take over from the boomers. We’ll be too busy helicopter grandparenting to generate this much drama.
Feb 27, 2015
Charles C. W. Cooke of National Review did this interview with a Philadelphia radio station yesterday, and I loved a comment that he made about the size of CPAC – a general right-of-center, every issue you can imagine convention – versus the NRA annual meeting which is largely single issue.
“And this is going to sound ungrateful, but it’s small because I’m used to the NRA convention which is Madison Square Garden-sized.”
This is the argument I used for years with people in the conservative movement when pointing out that they need to look more to what the NRA has done over the years. It seemed like the gun issue was so often overlooked, yet the NRA consistently turned out more people to participate than anything that was happening in DC circles. So it’s kind of funny to hear Cooke mention the vast difference in size for an event that wants to represent an entire “side” of the political aisle and the many different issues that come along with it.
Besides, the NRA convention is more fun in my experience. I was sick of CPAC by the time I went for the fourth time. Most of my friends felt the same way when I was in DC. But I still look forward to the NRA convention. While I’ve shifted what events I tend to visit at the convention, there’s still something interesting going on each day. I like that it’s a chance to dig deep into the issue – whether it’s connecting with other people passionate about grassroots, the law, or just getting out to shoot.
Anyway, go listen to the interview since I think it’s a really good one beyond the NRA comparison. I’ll have to add Cooke’s new book, The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s Future, to my wish list now.
Feb 27, 2015
Remember, it’s not just guns they want to control. I find several parts of this whole fiasco disturbing. Right from the beginning of the article, DHS and FAA held a “conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener.” When one of those attendees (who runs a small drone shop) posted a picture and notes from the conference, DHS asked him to take it down (he complied).
Then we get to the meat of the issue – that a drone manufacturer unilaterally chose to add all of DC to their drones’ internal “no-fly” map. First, of course, that their drones have a “no-fly” map in the first place, and secondly, that “DJI is preparing an update that will increase the number of airport no fly zones from 710 to 10,000, and prevent users from flying across some national borders.” This is of course, pointless, as there are other manufacturers as the spokesam for DJI points out. Wired also points out that this won’t prevent terrorism, because there will always be workarounds, legal or otherwise.
Sebastian noted a while back about the wishes of gun-control advocates to be able to erect “no-smartgun” zones at will. It looks like their counterparts in drone control will get that wish. I can only hope that DJI gets what Smith and Wesson got from firearms enthusiasts when they kow-towed to the government.
Feb 27, 2015
While not herself a Mayor Against Illegal Guns, NJ State Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) has been a consistent and loud voice against the RKBA in NJ’s legislature, and is a close political ally of MAIG member Mayor Colleen Mahr (D) of Fanwood, NJ. So there’s some fresh schadenfreude for me to find in the news that she’s resigning ahead of a couple of scandals involving residency and political payback, and that the state AG’s office is investigating her and her husband’s actions.
She’s run twice that I know of for the US House of Representatives, getting beaten both times; so just a reminder that NJ isn’t entirely a lost cause.
Feb 26, 2015
Off topic, because gun news is a bit thin right now. Instapundit notes that Republicans have agreed to run a clean DHS funding bill, whereas previously they decided to use this to make a point on Obama’s immigration power grab. A 92-2 vote means that even some of the hardest core tea party types voted to drop the immigration issue. Why?
I tried to argue unsuccessfully in Instapundit’s comments that shutdowns almost never work out in favor of the GOP. They nearly always take a hit in the polls, and take the blame. Given the countries current vulnerability to attack, and our ascendent enemies, I can’t really get all that worked up that the GOP didn’t want to get near the cliff, less some jihadist decide to push them off it with an attack during or near the shutdown, for which the GOP will nearly certainly be blamed in the media. I think one of the other commenters had the right idea:
Never take a hostage you’re not prepared to shoot. Attach the amnesty prohibition to EPA funding. Nobody cares if EPA shuts down. Let the greens and la raza fight it out among themselves.
Now that’s just crazy enough to work!
Feb 25, 2015
It would seem that someone gave the Cumberland County, NJ prosecutor a clue that putting an elderly man away for 10 years (likely life in his case) is not really an appropriate move for someone who collects 18th century stuff and managed to pick up a flintlock pistol. Charges have just been dropped without further comment from the DA.
Feb 25, 2015
Emily Miller’s application for a carry permit was approved. About time.
My guess is they figured that doing so and hoping she went away was better than the alternative
Feb 25, 2015
It would seem that the Brady Campaign staffers were making funding promises to Pennsylvania officials that they may have had no intention of keeping.
Back when Pennsylvania municipalities were regularly passing gun control ordinances, several cities only went through with the measures that violated state preemption laws because the Brady Campaign/Center promised, via MAIG and CeasefirePA representatives, to pay for the defense of those ordinances if the cities were sued.
Well, now the threat of lawsuits is looming and the Brady Campaign is telling the media that they never made such promises by claiming that the person who made the promises wasn’t really speaking for them.
While the local Fox affiliate dug up city records from Lancaster and Erie that showed they made those promises, we recalled another instance in Radnor. Except, Radnor lawmakers demanded the promise in writing. From Sebastian’s 2010 report on that meeting:
Commissioners seemed skeptical when CeaseFirePA mentioned that the Brady Campaign would pick up the tab for any lawsuits against the ordinance, and indicated they’d want it in writing. It’s my opinion the Bradys will be very reluctant to put anything into writing, so I think that’s a strategy to use going forward. Get your local politicians to demand that. If the Bradys don’t deliver, that’s another point, and it may start the politicians wondering whether the promise is worth anything.
It seems that now we have the proof that the Brady promises on this issue really were worthless.
In Lancaster, the pledge came from Max Nacheman who represented MAIG and Brady at the time and would later represent CeasefirePA. In Radnor, it appears that Commissioner Elaine Schaefer called the Brady Campaign herself and got the pledge that the group would defend the town. So the Brady Campaign is now trying to claim that the exact same promise made in at least 3 different cities via at least 2 different people, was really just some random miscommunication?
Yeah, that’s totally believable.
It would seem that town officials are now learning what we’ve been trying to tell them for years – you can’t believe the false promises the anti-gunners tell you when they are trying to get their agenda passed. They need something to call a “win,” and if your budgets take a beating due to legal expenses because they told you to do something illegal, they don’t care. It’s still a “win” for their agenda even as taxpayers lose.