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This Could be a Play for Preemption

Pittsburgh is looking at bucking preemption again. The risk here is that we now have a Dem Supreme Court who has already demonstrated they have absolutely zero respect for the rule of law by, without having any lawful authority, usurped the legislature’s power to determine how legislative districts are drawn.

If they repeal preemption, which is plainly spelled out in law, and which has been previously upheld by several previous PA Supreme Courts, in my opinion they will have become an utterly lawless, tyrannical body, with no legitimacy that is worth anyone’s respect. No more than a criminal enterprise, acting under color of law.

Do the Dems keep wanting to raise the stakes?

If You Read One Article Today …

This is absolutely worth your time. I read this early this morning when I couldn’t sleep.

French elites have convinced themselves that their social supremacy rests not on their economic might but on their common decency. Doing so allows them to “present the losers of globalization as embittered people who have problems with diversity,” says Guilluy. It’s not our privilege that the French deplorables resent, the elites claim; it’s the color of some of our employees’ skin. French elites have a thesaurus full of colorful vocabulary for those who resist the open society: repli (“reaction”), crispation identitaire (“ethnic tension”), and populisme (an accusation equivalent to fascism, which somehow does not require an equivalent level of proof). One need not say anything racist or hateful to be denounced as a member of “white, xenophobic France,” or even as a “fascist.” To express mere discontent with the political system is dangerous enough. It is to faire le jeu de (“play the game of”) the National Front.

The only ideas I see coming out of tech elites are “Universal Income” for the deplorables, which presumes the real issue is economic rather than one of dignity and meaning. The solution is not welfare for those left behind. That will end very badly if that’s all they’ve got. But what is the solution? I don’t have one. I wish I did. But I don’t see any of this headed good places.

As the article points out, the fundamental question of our day is over globalization. In the end, we’re all going to end up living in a smaller world. We won’t stop that. It’s just a question of what globalism looks like and who it benefits. The current system being set up by transnational elites is untenable. They won’t admit it, but it is. They will probably put the world through hell figuring that out, and I think this is just the beginning.

I’ve had to do a lot of hard thinking as political coalitions have shifted around. It’s enough to really make you question your values. Do I feel any kind of solidarity with France’s Yellow Jackets? What if I do? What does that make me? I’m sure a lot of you are struggling with the same things. I keep coming back to this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

I think I still believe that. I think I’ve always believed it. We’re a country that had a bourgeois rebellion. The French took the same ideas and had la Terreur. The article I pointed out noted that in many ways the French Yellow Jackets have it worse than we do. What are we going to do when it’s our turn?

E-Mail Spam With True Threat

I’m getting spam today saying “My man has carried a bomb ([some random explosive here]) into the building where your company is conducted” and they will set it off if they aren’t paid some bitcoin. That’s meme comical. I haven’t laughed so hard since somebody set up us the bomb.

Look, if you’re going to get all technical, please learn the difference between a primary explosives, secondary explosives, and blasting agents, if you want me to take you seriously. Also, use of proper English grammar and vocabulary would also be helpful. Best comment I’ve seen so far:

The venn diagram of people who know how to pay them in Bitcoin and people who would fall for this is very small.

Apparently there are businesses all across the country evacuating over this. I have a feeling whatever Nigerian basements these guys are sending this stuff from is going to get found and raided relatively quickly by third world cop standards.

What’s Going on at NRA?

I should preface this by noting that over the past two years, I’ve focused on things other than keeping up with internal NRA gossip and goings on. We still know people there, and still can give some Board members a call to find out what’s going on, but for the most part, I’ve been focused on other things. So people who ask me what’s going on in Fairfax, I don’t likely know more than you do at this point.

That said, I’ve noticed a few things going on at NRA over the past several months. One is that The Trace is actually doing some quality reporting on NRA’s internal issues. Granted, you have to understand the lens through which they want to present things, which is to make NRA look bad generally, but they are doing interesting work if you read it with a critical eye.

Second, whatever is going on at NRA, there are people willing to leak to The Trace either because they are that disgruntled, or to gain the upper hand in internal battles by outing their internal opponents dirty laundry in a way that will cause embarrassment. Either way, it tells me the internal quibbles are bad enough that there are people who think airing dirty laundry to the enemy is better for the organization than letting their internal opposition win. That’s not a good situation to be in.

I know there are reformers out there trying to make a difference, and I’m open to reformers. But I’m not seeing anything out there I feel like I could get behind. So I offer the following advice for reformers, which you can take or leave. I don’t really care either way:

  • If you’re going to come in hard and strong, openly claiming to represent an upending of the status quo, and challenging the Board’s powerful members (I’m talking to you, Adam Kraut), you better be coming with an army behind you. NRA has 76 Board members. One, two, or three people aren’t going to change the Board, and you can absolutely expect any organization to circle the wagons against an avowed revolutionary.
  • Even if you can get one, two, or three reformers on the Board, you’re better off learning the Board’s politics and working with it. At this stage it’s important to not be seen as having personally antagonized people. Otherwise the body is going to do everything they can to keep your reformers out of the loop and keep them as powerless as they can manage.
  • Every organization I’ve ever been involved with has a handful of practices that are culturally destructive. You won’t be able to fix all of them. Take them on one at a time. Your allies for each will probably be different. You may not even be able to get the worst practices. Stick to what’s doable, and what’s doable is going to depend on what you can find allies for.
  • Even people who agree NRA needs reform need to understand the political situation and know what limitations we face. There are times when retreat is necessary. Generals who don’t understand when they need to retreat in battles lose armies and lose wars. You have to know when a position is untenable, and the best option is to fall back and regroup. Here’s an unpleasant truth: bump stocks are not a tenable position. Machine guns or anything that shoots like a machine gun is not a tenable position. Saving semi-automatic rifles is a tenable position, and they are under severe threat in a number of states, such as Washington, Oregon, and probably soon to be Nevada and Colorado. Machine guns were lost in 1934. That was the time to fight, and our grandparents and great-grandparents blew it. We’re in a “save what we can, where we can” situation with respect to machine guns, and the bump stock issue threatens to upend that whole applecart. I just use this issue as an example. But fighting everything, everywhere, all the time, 100% is a recipe for losing. “No compromise” is a recipe for losing. We do not have the numbers to always get our way.

I’m not saying revolution is bad, necessarily. In 1977 it was necessary. Maybe it’s necessary again. But the NRA of today is very different than the NRA of 1977. For one, it’s about 5x larger. Over the years it’s also put mechanisms in place to thwart revolutions. It would be very difficult if not impossible to pull off another Cincinnati Revolt. If there’s NRA is to reform, it’s probably going to come incrementally.

Pick one or two issues. They can be big issues. Even issues that is likely going to make some staffers cringe. But be realistic about what you can achieve. Be very careful about attacking people personally. If you do so, you better be sure doing so will gain you more allies than it’ll cost you. If you’re going to aim for the king, you had better not miss.

Couldn’t Have Happened to a Bigger Bunch of …

Dicks Sporting Goods says it may have to close its Field and Stream stores because of poor sales. Still, they say they don’t regret their choices and would make the same choices again if they were given a do-over. It’s not many companies that will deliberately and knowingly piss away significant business while telling investors they are happy to have cost them money. I notice they are rated a sell currently.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc holds several negative signals and is within a wide and falling trend, so we believe it will still perform weakly in the next couple of days or weeks. We therefore hold a negative evaluation of this stock. Due to some small weaknesses in the technical picture we have downgraded our recommendation for this stock since last evaluation from a Hold/Accumulate to a Sell Candidate.

Sounds about right to me!

There’s No Possibility Getting National Reciprocity During Lame Duck

Why does everyone in the gun issue think a Lame Duck passing of National Reciprocity is possible? It’s not. Not happening. Wasn’t going to happen in any known universe of possibilities.

Lame duck sessions are when you might get an outgoing party to do something for an important constituency they didn’t want to otherwise do if having to face re-election. It’s not a magical time where you can get anything you want. First, the Lame Duck House has already passed National Reciprocity. They weren’t the problem.

The problem is getting 60 votes for cloture in the Senate. The votes for that aren’t there, whether it’s a lame duck session or not. The only option would be to eliminate the filibuster, and while I do think the filibuster should be taken back to what it used to be prior to the 1970s, I have a bad bad feeling if we did that now, we’d very much come to regret it in the not too distant future.

The only way we’re likely making progress is to have the courts firm up the 2nd Amendment a bit, and make Bloomberg reel some. Strategically, I think the number one goal should be to get gun bans off the table. You cannot ban handguns, rifles, and shotguns, no matter what they look like, and what ergonomic features they have. Semi-automatic firearms are categorically protected. We also need some kind of protection for common accessories, like magazines. If those are off the table, we’re on much better ground for moving carry forward. I’ve never agreed with putting carry first on the priority list. We need bans off the table, first and foremost.

Kennedy May Have Been the Weak Link

Dave Hardy noticed something in John Paul Stevens’ piece on writing his memoirs:

He said he had taken an extraordinary step in trying to head off the decision. Five weeks before Justice Antonin Scalia circulated his draft opinion for the majority, Justice Stevens sent around a draft of what he called his probable dissent. He said he could not recall ever having done anything like that.

“I thought I should give it every effort to switch the case before it was too late,” he said.

The effort failed. But Justice Stevens wrote that he helped persuade Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who was in the majority, to ask for “some important changes” to Justice Scalia’s opinion. A passage in the opinion, which Justice Scalia had plainly added to secure a fifth vote, said the decision “should not be taken to cast doubt” on many kinds of gun control laws.

As Dave notes, this is pretty strong evidence that Kennedy was the weak member of the coalition, and his replacement by Justice Kavanaugh may tip the balance. Of course, that assumes there was only one weak link, not two. But this is very encouraging. It’s clear that Stevens targeted Kennedy to flip, and when he wouldn’t he at least convinced him to water down the ruling. Indeed, those passages have been latched on by lower courts and gun control advocates to render Heller and McDonald largely meaningless.

This is very good news, because at some point the Republicans will be out and the Dems in, and Dems are still competitive in dozens of states with currently reasonable gun laws. We really do need strong court protections for the Second Amendment, and we’re not going to get them through Congress.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Looking to Exit Guns

They’ve been taking a beating, and are looking to exit the business. How stupid is Dick’s CEO? Let’s say you’re in a business where part of your business is regulated in such a way that emerging players like Amazon can’t easily compete with you. Lets also say you have some good economies of scale over mom and pop businesses that are your other main competition in that area, and can move product more efficiently and offer lower prices. Do you:

  1. Make every effort to stay in the regulated space and keep those customers happy with your brand, so give your brick and mortar business a business line Amazon can’t touch?
  2. Decide, in the same of Social Justice, to anger your customers in your regulated business and piss it away, leaving you to compete directly against Bezos, who eats brick and mortar stores for breakfast, in markets he finds much more favorable.

If you went with two, you’re about as stupid as Dick’s CEO. Angering gun owners and pissing away that business was about the dumbest things Dick’s could have done. You had a strong presence in a protected industry. Are you nuts?

New Shiny Thing: Mk.262

At my club, 200 yards is the max I can reach out to, so the regular old 55 grain FMJ-BT is my bullet of choice. These days what powder I use depends on where I can get some for a very low price or free. Since I’m still going through powder I have scrounged from various sources, I’m not all that familiar with the wide array of choices. I generally have been sticking to Varget, H322, IMR4895 and I just came across a few pounds of Varmint and IMR4198.

I know a couple of guys who occasionally head to a 600-yard range near Atglen to do some long-range silhouette shooting. I haven’t really shot Silhouette in years, because it’s honestly about as much fun as watching paint dry if you’re not getting better. I don’t have the time, patience, or desire to master the sport. Those Silhouette guys helped improve my shooting a lot, but there came a point where it had done everything it was going to do for me without devoting more time to the game than I was willing to give.

But turn it into a precision rifle event with half-scale animals at ridiculous distances? You once again have my attention. That’ll be fun even if I’m missing a lot, and it gives me an excuse to tinker, which never gets old.

However, the most precisionist rifle I have is my AR, which isn’t anything to write home about. I bought it during the height of the ban almost 20 years ago by this point and it’s 100% stock, save the bayonet lug and birdcage flash suppressor I put on after the ban. It has regular old A2 furniture. A few weeks ago I uncased at the club and had some young guy say, “Wow. That’s old school!” It seems like just yesterday it was me saying shit like that to grey haired shooters. I resisted the urge to come back with, “You know, back in my day, we didn’t have any of these free-floatin’ barrels and fancy-dancy ACOGs with illuminated reticles.”

Old school or not, I’m thinking of slapping a halfway decent optic on it, and taking it out to see how I do at that distance with so-so equipment. But no way I’m taking my regular 55 grain load. I’m interested in the capabilities of the Mk. 262 round for reaching out to 600 yards. For those of you who may not be familiar, the Mk.262 is a 5.56x45mm round developed by SOCOM for longer range work. It uses a 77-grain Sierra Match King bullet. It is about as decent a round as you can get and still be able to stuff them into a magazine. I want to work with a practical round and not with loadings that have to be single-loaded into the rifle.

The trouble is, I’m not used to working with bullets that heavy in this chambering, and I’m paranoid about overpressure. A few months ago, I ran into a supply of 75gr HPBT bullets, and I am starting with those. That bullet with 22gr of H322 driving it isn’t yet a compressed load at 2.26″ OAL. Hodgdon says that’ll push out at about 2785ft/sec with 48,100 CUP from a 24″ test barrel. For a 77gr bullet, 21.8grs of H322 pushes 2,721ft/sec a 50,900 CUP. Black Hills seems to get close to 2900ft/sec out of a 20″ Colt AR barrel, so I’m guessing they have to be loading over the SAAMI spec and closer to the NATO spec on chamber pressure, which is about 10,000CUP higher. Anyone have any experience trying to replicate this load to get the same performance as the factory Black Hills load?

The Consequences of Swalwell’s Redneck Snuff Fantasy

Larry Correia has an article well worth reading that takes apart the current memes suggesting the 2nd Amendment is obsolete.

The confiscators don’t live on base. They live in apartment complexes and houses in the suburbs next door to the people you expect them to murder. Every time they go out to kick in some redneck’s door, their convoy is moving through an area with lots of angry people who shoot small animals from far away for fun, and the only thing they remember about chemistry is the formula for Tannerite.

In something that I find profoundly troubling, when I’ve had this discussion before, I’ve had a Caring Liberal tell me that the example of Iraq doesn’t apply, because “we kept the gloves on”, whereas fighting America’s gun nuts would be a righteous total war with nothing held back… Holy shit, I’ve got to wonder about the mentality of people who demand rigorous ROEs to prevent civilian casualties in a foreign country, are blood thirsty enough to carpet bomb Texas.

If we have another Civil War, and the military is as divided as our society on its loyalties, we won’t have room for all the bodies it’s going to generate. It’s going to be ugly. And that’s even before our foreign rivals use the chaos to take what they can. Remember, the last time we had a Civil War, we didn’t have to worry about the rest of the world as much because the British Empire mostly had that under control, and they weren’t going to intervene on behalf of a CSA avowing to preserve slavery. We won’t have that luxury this time around. If we have another go, you can expect everyone and their brother to make a play for any asset they think they can get.

I suspect in that case we’d need to have an accommodation with both sides in the Second Civil War that control of the nukes stays in neutral hands, maybe military leaders both sides trust, where our policy would be to nuke any power making a grab for US assets like Guam, Hawaii, or Alaska and use the nuclear umbrella to secure things while we killed each other like civilized people. That would really be the only option.

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