Wednesday News Links

Very busy. This will probably be the first year I don’t attend NRA Annual Meeting. I have attended every one for the last 10 years, but this time I’m too short of time, too broke, and Dallas is just too far. Bitter is also starting a new job, so there’s also that complication. I am disappointed I cannot go, given what we’re up against.

They see me trollin’ they hatin’: Everytown for Knife Safety

Glenn Reynolds on Fair Weather Federalism.

I’m afraid there’s not much that’s going to stop New Jersey from getting worse. Any state where the Democratic majority is largely untouchable is going to be in trouble.

Can we dispense with this notion that 97% want universal background checks? On the ballot it got 59% in a deep blue state, was a razor thin win in another bluish state, and outright lost on the ballot in a purple state. People tell pollsters all kinds of shit. They act differently in the voting booth. This is, at best, an issue where Americans are divided pretty evenly.

The Hoggs have signed a book deal. But this is a genuine, organic grassroots response to a tragedy. Hell, when I was in high school, I could have pounded a book out no problem while touring the country.

They are going after preemption in Illinois. They will go after it everywhere they can. Really, gun ownership without preemption is unworkable. No one could possibly know the laws of every jurisdiction they pass through. Which is exactly why they want to get rid of it. Going after preemption is a direct assault on carry and transportation rights for firearms owners. It’s not a “no big deal” kind of thing. Preemption is a defend at all cost issue.

Pennsylvania has dropped reciprocity with Virginia. I figured when Virginia recognized our licenses by statute, they’d statutorily recognized by PA, but I guess not. Shapiro also removed recognition of non-resident permits. Added reciprocity agreements were made with Alabama and Idaho. Shapiro was careful not to screw anyone who can vote in Pennsylvania. I’d like to see Pennsylvania pass universal reciprocity, and tighten the Attorney General’s power with regards to reciprocal agreements. I’d be willing to trade a fix to make it so that a PA resident has to have a PA LTCF to carry in PA.

I did this kind of analysis a while ago, and came to the same conclusion: “Everybody’s Lying About the Link Between Gun Ownership and Homicide.” This guy did a much more thorough job. The reason researchers control for confounding factors is based on the idea that comparing say, New York City to rural Vermont isn’t a fair comparison, so we have to control for differences. But there’s a lot of room for bullshit in that process. Also, I think admitting there are confounding factors at all is tacit admission that guns aren’t the real issue.

You’re damned right it’s intentional. Remember, when New York City banned almost all semi-automatic rifles, they used the registration lists to round them up. We already have a sort of de facto registration with the 4473, but at least it’s distributed.

Speaking of New York City, when you concentrate this kind of power into a small number of hands, corruption is inevitable. It’s not a matter of getting the right people. There are no right people.

The same people who a few months ago were saying it was unreasonable to expect armed police officers to engage an active shooter with an AR-15 are now saying only wimps need a gun to engage an active shooter with an AR-15. This Hogg kid is going to grow up to be a great slime ball some day. I’m not saying that because he disagrees with me: I’ve met plenty of gun control people who are otherwise decent folk who I just disagree with. But there’s something about Hogg that is very off putting. Maybe he has a career as a politician ahead of him? I don’t know. Politicians have to be likable, and this dude always looks angry and pissed off. Maybe a yellow journalist? Sleazy lawyer? In the typography of sleazy professions, which one do you think fits?

Speaking of the Parkland Kids, one of them is now admitting that the confiscation of all semi-automatic weapons is the goal. Remember, this has never been about public safety. In the words of Glenn Reynolds, “It’s about sticking it to those flyover rubes and showing them who’s boss.”

Gee whiz, I can’t imagine what issue could be killing the Democrats right now?

I think Apple realizes that if they let SJW’s dictate content, there’s no logical end to their demands. Of course, Apple says they are keeping a close eye out for “Hate Speech.” How long before one of their Ack-Mac approved loose cannons says something stupid enough to get NRA TV kicked off? I’m so old I remember when NRA TV was basically just Cam & Company, and not much else. While some of their additional voices have been good (think Colion Noir), overall I’m not so sure. I have a strong preference for happy warriors. The angry pundit deal doesn’t work for me.

AR-15 used to repel home invasion. But I thought the AR-15 was no good for home defense? I’m told this by noted experts bought and paid for by Mike Bloomberg.

Apparently the CDC has been holding out on studies it did that suggests Gary Kleck’s estimates on defensive gun use (DGUs) were correct.

The Issue in PA At the Moment

Our neighbor Delaware will get a “red flag” law. There’s a bunch of bills working through the legislature in Pennsylvania right now. Quinn’s bill I’m not quite so concerned about, because it pertains to people that are already prohibited under current law. I’m more concerned about the “red flag” law working its way up in PA. On the surface, it would appear to have more due process than the early states that adopted these laws, like California. It’s something to keep an eye on. I think, overall, we’re probably better off if these don’t pass. In each of these mass shootings, we’ve seen that officials haven’t even done the barest amount of work under existing laws to intervene and prevent the shooters from legally acquiring firearms. I don’t see how adding more laws that no one will bother with is going to help. Mass shootings will still happen, and almost by definition, those are going to be committed by the people who managed to slip through the network of laws in place to try to prevent this kind of thing.

NRA’s concession on this “red flag” issue, in exchange for more due process, is pissing a lot of people off. I don’t like to losing either. You know what lobbyists also don’t like? Losing. A lot of people seem to think NRA lobbyists sit around all day thinking “Gee, what issue can we concede on next?” Do you think none of these people have anything to lose themselves? No. They are all gun owners. Almost all of them I’ve met are Gun Culture 2.0 types. They are not going to call a tactical retreat without a decent amount of necessity.

I’ll keep repeating this until I’m blue in the face, because a lot of people need to hear it: you don’t always have a choice between winning and losing. Sometimes it’s between losing badly and or not so badly. NRA will always take not so badly. Things get real unpredictable and stakes get real high when you throw all in. Sometimes you have to do that, but you need to know when to do that. Currently the defend at all costs ground are semi-auto rifles and magazine bans. That’s where the fight is. Don’t lose sight of that.

Anyone Watch the New “Lost in Space?”

I try not to binge watch these days. The problem is, you end up watching a whole season in a weekend, and by the time the next season comes around, you forget everything and have to watch the whole thing over again. I prefer spacing things out these days. One thing kids today probably don’t appreciate is that my generation was too small for the entertainment industry to really cater to. Gen X got recycled Baby Boomer culture. We watched the same shit our parents watched when they were kids. So most Xers are pretty well acquainted with shows from the 1960s like “Lost in Space,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Bewitched,” or “Hogan’s Heros.” My mom watched “Star Trek” TOS as a teenager, and what did I end up watching with her in syndication? We were fans. I remember mom crying at the end of Star Trek II the Wrath of Kahn (Best. Star Trek. Ever.) when Spock died.

I’ve been watching the “Lost in Space” remake. The original series is one of those shows I used to watch on daytime TV if I was home sick from school. It was on Netflix or maybe Amazon for a while, and I rewatched it. I was surprised by how well the early episodes held up. The show went downhill in later seasons, but the early seasons are still pretty good. The remake borders on being really good, but it never quite reaches it. In terms of excellence in remaking old sci-fi shows… the Battlestar Galactica remake before it went off the rails… that was excellent. This could have been that good, because they are using talented actors, writers, and clearly have decent budget.

I agree with the Federalist that the new LiS anti-gun plot line is “forced and ludicrous.” Seriously, your on-board 3D printers can make firearms, and you’re having people fashion spears to battle alien predators? Are you fucking kidding me? In the original series, Will Robinson used guns like, well, of course he would use guns. I find myself through the entire series saying to the TV: “You know what would be pretty useful right about now? Some fucking guns.”

I don’t have any issues making Dr. Smith a woman. There’s no reason that character has to be male. But the original Smith sometimes had redeeming qualities. I find myself wondering why they don’t just suck the current Smith out an airlock and be done with it. She’s cartoonishly deceitful. She’s like Hillary Clinton without all the Chardonnay. The Smith remake could have been pretty excellent if they wrote her better. They almost wrote a compelling character.

Men in the show have been dumbed down. This is something the Battlestar Galactica remake did not do. It introduced strong women characters, but without diminishing the male characters. In the original LiS, John Robinson was a capable person. In the remake, he’s not really. He’s kind of a brute. Everything that John Robinson was in the original series has been transferred to Maureen Robinson. She’s the brains. She’s also a bitch. I find the reboot Maureen to be very unlikable. And it’s not like the original Maureen Robinson was June Cleaver, so why did they feel the need to do this, other than virtue signaling?

The new Robinson dynamic detracts from the story. They even dumbed down Will a bit with the unnecessary subplot that he didn’t actually qualify for the mission, and mommy had to pull strings. I actually like the Don West remake. There’s a bit of a swindler element to him that I don’t remember in the original character, but as a whole his character works.

Despite the problems I’ve outlined, the show is very watchable. Some of the other SciFi series on Netflix I just can’t get into. Good acting and writing makes up for a lot, even if there are aspects of the characters that are eye rolling.

Has anyone else been watching it? What do you think?

Yeti Coolers Caves

From Marion Hammer:

DATE: April 20, 2018
TO: USF & NRA Member and Friends
FROM: Marion P. Hammer
USF Executive Director
NRA Past President

For years YETI Coolers have been a hot item for sportsmen at the Friends of NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction events around the country.

These Foundation events raise money to support youth programs and educational programs nationwide. The youth of America who benefit from these programs are the future hunters, hikers, fishermen/women, bikers, campers, wildlife photographers, mountain climbers, sportsmen/women and conservationists who will protect our natural resources and recreational lands.

Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The NRA Foundation saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor, and refused to say why. They will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation. That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed. They have declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities. These activities enable them to appreciate America and enjoy our natural resources with wholesome and healthy
outdoor recreational and educational programs.

The NRA Foundation is 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization.

In this day and age, information is power. We thought you needed this information.


7601 Southwest Parkway
Austin, TX 78735

Seems pretty foolish of them. Not quite as foolish as a gun or accessories maker turning, but foolish for an outdoor product used by a lot of hunters. Oh well. Get woke, go broke.

Challenge to Vermont’s Magazine Ban

From NRA:

Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced support for a lawsuit brought by Vermont citizens, sporting-goods stores, and shooting clubs to challenge the state’s recent ban on many of the most popular firearm magazines in America.

“The magazines Vermont has now banned are owned by millions of law-abiding Americans,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “In fact, nearly half of all magazines in the nation would now be deemed ‘large capacity’ by Vermont.”

At issue in the lawsuit is one of the measures signed into law by Governor Scott on April 11, which bans the possession, sale, purchase, or transfer of long-gun magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds and handgun magazines with a capacity greater than 15.

“Vermont claims its new ban will advance public safety, but we know from other States that have experimented with this type of misguided ban that violent criminals are not going to adhere to the ban. The only people really harmed by the ban are the law-abiding citizens who will now be forced to defend themselves, their families, and their homes from violent attack by using sub-standard ammunition magazines. We are pleased to have been able to support the plaintiffs in this fight to vindicate their rights under the Vermont Constitution, and we expect the Vermont Courts to swiftly strike down this plainly unconstitutional ban.”

Challenging through state court is smart. We’ve had much better luck with state court rulings on the Second Amendment and state analogues than we have with the federal courts. Pursuing this via the First Circuit Court system would have a predictable result: we’d lose.

Congressional Ballot Narrowing

I touched on this briefly in the news links yesterday, but a much clearer picture is emerging that the current focus on the gun issue is hurting Dems on the generic ballot. Also, this from the WaPo:

 The survey shows the GOP making a more pronounced shift among white voters, who now prefer Republicans by a 14-point margin over Democrats, up from five points in January. Republicans lead by 60 percent to 31 percent among white voters without college degrees, slightly larger than an 18-point GOP advantage three months ago.

White voters without college degrees are responsible for closing the gap? Gee whiz…. what issue could that demographic possibly care about that could account for this? I can’t imagine.

After watching some of the Facebook hearings with Zuckerberg, it became apparent to me we won’t be getting any regulation of Silicon Valley that it isn’t OK with. None of the lawmakers have any idea how any of this stuff works, and they’ll be ripe for regulatory capture.

Social media makes astroturfing a lot more effective, and you don’t even need a lot of money to do it. Lawmakers weren’t prepared, and it’s a new world they have no understanding of. There are Republicans who fell pretty readily for Bloomberg’s narrative post Parkland. Those Republicans, like Phil Scott in Vermont, need to be punished electorally for their transgressions. There are a number of Florida Republicans in that boat too. But we will have to pick our battles carefully.

Culture Leads Politics

Kevin has a bit on “Why R. Lee Ermey Eatters,” because we need more cultural figures to show that shooting is FUN. We can all forget that sometimes. Despite the role Ermey is best known for, he was a hell of a nice guy. He also impressed me that he would attend NRA Board Meetings. There are some celebrities who I do not believe have even shown up to be sworn in. At the Glock booth, the line would always be around the corner (and Glock’s booth is BIG) to meet him and get a picture and autograph. Generally speaking, I don’t vote for celebrity Board members, even if they are sometimes contributors, just because they don’t need my help. But I always voted for Ermey. He struck me as a stand-up guy. And yes, the one time I saw him walking to the restroom from a Board meeting, I was tempted to tell the hotel staffer who also saw him walk by, “I hope that head is so sanitary and squared away that the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to go in there and take a dump!” That movie was one of those shared cultural experiences of my generation I’m not sure we really have anymore.

Monday News Links

Time for some tab clearing. Sorry for the light posting. Things are getting busy, and my sinuses haven’t been managing this odd seasonal change, or not change, as the case may be, well at all.

No, The ‘March For Our Lives’ Isn’t Defining A Generation

Bloomberg’s money is making a big difference: “In the struggle over Virginia’s gun laws, gun control advocates are winning the money battle – big time” If the media were doing its job, they’d be harping on Everytown and Moms Demand about what percentage of their funding comes from Mike Bloomberg and other billionaires he’s friendly with at every opportunity. When they have been asked, they won’t answer, which should tell you something. As it is now, they are willing to play along with the narrative that these are grassroots driven groups.

You don’t say? “This seems to have had the opposite effect than what was intended. A major shift in the generic congressional ballot polls occurred this past month. In February, Democrats led by 16 points. By the end of March, that lead shrank to six. When Republicans hear the demagoguery and read op-eds like former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call to repeal the Second Amendment, they are motivated to turn out and protect their rights.” Our greatest asset is that our people care, deeply. Six months from now they will still care. Six years from now, they will still care. We have something to lose.

The Portland Press Herald loves the ruling out of Massachusetts that says assault weapons have no constitutional protection. The judge in this case cherry picked some parts of Heller he liked, and ignored the parts of it that didn’t suit the result he wished to reach. He even invented parts of the Heller decision that are not there. The whole idea that militarily useful weapons are categorically unprotected is found exactly nowhere in the Heller decision. The fact that this guy is a Reagan appointee doesn’t give him automatic pro-gun bonafides like the Press Herald suggests. Silents have always been more supportive of gun control than other generations, so this does not surprise me.

I’ll have more to say on the Pennsylvania situation in a bit. There are some who would burn everything down and attack on all fronts. Quinn’s bill is an analogue of a federal law, and generally speaking we’ve not burned bridges over that. I’m much more concerned over Stephens’ bill, as it lacks sufficient due process. In Pennsylvania, an observational commitment is disabling, and all that takes is for someone to take you in for observation involuntarily. It’s not a high bar to reach, so I’m not sure why Stephens thinks this kind of thing is necessary. But hey, “Something must be done!,” right?

Despite what your lefty friends scoff at, this is true: “Armed civilians have the power to resist a bad government, and the collective force of millions of armed Americans absolutely acts as a deterrent to increased authoritarianism from its own leaders.” Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t understand how humans exercise power over other humans. Planes, tanks, bombs and nuclear weapons are useful for destroying armies in the field, but to subjugate a population, you need to send people out to use force and intimidation against the people you wish to subjugate. That becomes a lot harder when that population has the ability and will to turn the tables on the subjugators. At that level, the kinds of tools you use to defeat armies are a lot less useful.

I’ve seen a lot of this: “Will the NRA go the way of the tobacco lobby?” It was actually Ed Rendell who came up with the idea of trying to do to the gun issue what governments did to the tobacco issue. This isn’t a new idea. It’s just that Bloomberg’s money is a really useful mechanism for trying to put something like that in place. Personally, I think people like “Mark Pertschuk, former president of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights and former legislative director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence” are querulous busybodies who need to learn to mind their own business.

Also along the lines of the tobacco companies, The Brookings institution has another ridiculous idea. We’re very well served to keep the gun industry largely a cottage industry. Bloomberg could not ever hope to do as much damage to the gun making business as Cerberus Capital did.

Business these days seem to want to be involved in politics. So give it to them good and hard. Hopefully that convinces the other big banks to stay out of the debate. Apple and the other streaming companies seem to be holding. I think they realize if they start censoring politically controversial speech at the behest of activists, there will be no logical limit.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This is not a left-right issue. This is an issue of the upper classes, who can afford to pay security and pay to live in very safe neighborhoods, versus working class Americans. For the most part, it is a class issue. While you’ll find people in all classes on both sides, for the most part, we’re up against wealthier elites.

Joe Huffman: “Talk is cheap. Thankfully so is ammunition and gas. Talk less about how bad genocide is and invite your friends and family to Boomershoot instead.

Glad to hear that, but the lower courts are being permitted to do an awful lot of damage to it: “Parkland student says Clarence Thomas assured him 2nd Amendment ‘won’t be touched’” I think what you’re dealing with is a Court in stalemate on the issue. Without a change, there isn’t going to be another decisive ruling on the matter.

This is what happens when you give in to the kind of people who demand gun control.

Well, that doesn’t fit the narrative: “Florida’s state lawmakers haven’t gotten a dime from the NRA since 2005” Well, the Republicans haven’t done much for us in Florida since then, and have, in fact, actively screwed us.

When it comes to banning guns, the South Florida Sun Sentinel doesn’t think we ought to let pesky things like definitions bother us at all. What a bunch of clueless dolts. You can define assault weapons. That was never the argument. Our argument is that the definition is absurd. It’s a war on cosmetics and ergonomics. Guns must be uncomfortable to use, and look the same as they did 150 years ago!

The gun control people acted like this was the end of the world, and the Congressman should be charged for brandishing. But it’s really not cool to whip it out in public if you’re not planning on using it. It’s not a prop.

They can’t help themselves:

Get used to it kid: “It’s not just because I’m rolling my eyes at ignorant ‘full semi-automatic’ or ‘weapons of war’ comments coming from the anti-rights crowd, but because I’m ashamed of what the people on my own side are saying.” That’s why you never read the comments. Except here. You should read the comments here.

Bank of America Caves

The next domino has fallen:

On Tuesday, Finucane said, “We have had intense conversations over the last few months. And it’s our intention not to finance these military-style firearms for civilian use.” She said the reaction has been mixed.

“These are clients we have enjoyed a relationship with,” she said. “There are those I think will reduce their portfolios and we’ll work with them and others that will choose to do something else.”

The amount of damage Bank of America and Citi can do pales in the amount of damage already done to the US Firearms business by Cerberus Capital via Remington Outdoors. The gun business is better off as a highly distributed cottage industry, and I suspect with changes in technology, that’s where it’ll be headed. Such an industry is going to be less vulnerable to pressure from big banks and the financial industry.

Personally, I think the banks need to be broken up. Both Citi and Bank of Americans eagerly lapped up trillions of our tax dollars. Never again. Break them up.

Teachers Union Threatens Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo has, so far, resisted a tremendous amount of pressure from these left-aligned groups to stop doing business with the NRA and legal gun manufacturers and sellers. A major national Teachers Union is now threatening to end a mortgage program with Wells Fargo, or else.

“We’re issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum—they can have a mortgage market that includes America’s teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers,” Weingarten said in the statement. “They can’t do both.”

Hopefully 20,000 mortgages isn’t a huge amount of money for a bank as large as Wells Fargo. I bank with Wells Fargo, having started with Core States Bank, and then gone through all the mergers over the years. I will send them a note saying that I appreciate them staying out of this political battle and not caving to pressure to take a position in the gun debate.

I really don’t get this new fad of people needing the companies they do business with to affirm their politics. I mean, if you’re selling fair trade coffee, I think it’s reasonable to expect that the brand would promote the idea of fair trade. Or if you’re selling guns, the business would promote the idea of gun rights. Some products are lifestyle products, and you can’t get around that. But banking and financial services are not among those. I don’t need my beliefs on, say, the non-delegation doctrine affirmed by my bank when I make a deposit. I don’t need a lecture about Big Ag when I go to buy a burrito. Personally, if you think that way, you probably need to get a life.

« Previous Entries