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Naked Power Plays

The McConnell hate is palpable right now. If you don’t think the Dems would have done the same thing if the situation were reversed, I have a bridge to sell you. They would be fools not to.

Most of politics is slinging bullshit. You weave a narrative for the rubes to rally around.

“Let the next President fill the seat!”

“Do your job!”

“It was her dying wish!”

“Mitch is a hypocrite!”

It’s all nonsense that will be repeated mindlessly by partisan cheerleaders. If the Dems had been in charge of the Senate, Merrick Gardland or someone more liberal would be on the court right now, and to me that’s a consequence of losing elections. If Hillary had won and the Dems won back the Senate in 2018, no one vilifying Cocaine Mitch right now would be complaining about Schumer allowing a vote on RBG’s replacement. What surprises me is how many educated people are fall for “The Narrative.”

This is raw, naked, political power, as our system is designed to allow. Anyone who thinks higher principles are involved here is a fool. Mitch McConnell is doing exactly what Chuck Schumer would be doing if the party was reversed. When the party in the White House, controls the Senate, they can put whoever they want on the federal courts without compromise. That’s how the system is designed to work. If you want a check, the party that doesn’t hold the White House needs to take the Senate. If you fail to do that, these are the consequences.

I had no greater principle to espouse when Scalia died suddenly and unexpectedly and the GOP moved to block the Garland nomination. Why did the GOP do that? Because it could. There needs to be no higher explanation than that.

I spent a lot of time on here telling people “This is how the system works. If you don’t like reality, learn how things work then work harder than your opponents and outmaneuver them.” If you’ve ever read “Rules for Radicals,” even a lot of Alinsky’s advice amounted to “Don’t be a crybaby. Work for the change you want to see.” A lot of Dems very desperately need this lesson, but no one is telling them.

As for the current Supreme Court situation: there may now be a prayer for the Second Amendment. They won’t need to worry so much about holding Weeble Woberts. But if I were a fan of Roe or Obergefell, I’d be worried. I understand the Dems freaking out. But the temper tantrums I can’t abide by.

BTW, I’ll also make a prediction, because I like predictions. John Roberts is the next David Souter. He’ll move further left to rebalance the Court. If I were the Dems, I’d be inviting the Chief Justice to all the cool kid parties and try for that play.

Happenings

While I’m heartened by the victory in the 9th circuit, I fear it might be short lived. Trump has very nearly flipped the balance, but nearly isn’t flipped, and I’d say an en banc review will be difficult. The Duncan case might be a good setup for taking a case into the Supreme Court if there’s a change, and I think before too long there will be a change.

But who knows what will happen next year. Will there even be an NRA? I’d like to think a judge is going to scoff at politicians dissolving their political opposition, but get the wrong judge, and the worst could happen. Either way, I’m not sure how useful the NRA will be as long as it’s a cash cow for Bill Brewer’s law firm, which I’m sorry to say looks worse to me than NRA being a cash cow for Ackerman-McQueen.

One reason I’m not blogging as much is because who the hell knows anything? I feel like anyone who claims to know where this is all going is selling you something. I still believe we’re going through a political realignment, sure, but what new order is being born? Can’t tell you. The global trend is a populist backlash against globalism, but the wealthy have a habit of getting what they want. All I can tell you is that no one is happy with the old order, except the people who benefit from it.

I’m focusing on a new job, which has more challenges than I’ve faced in past work. They are actually a pretty competent outfit, compared to other places I’ve been, which means their problems are harder. Still, I’m surprised by how fast even good outfits grow their technical debt.

Being a club officer is also becoming a part-time job I don’t get paid for, and that shit is getting old fast. We’re going through tumultuous times, just as the country is, as problems that were mounting for years are now being addressed for good or ill. That costs time, money, and energy. Also, working in the technology sector, where people either adapt to change or wash out of the industry, I did not have an appreciation for how dispositionally conservative most people are. I don’t mean politically conservative, I mean it in the sense of distrusting and disliking change. I think that becomes more true the older people get. On a daily basis, the thing I struggle the most with is: “We’ve done it this way for 30 years. Why change it?”

Countersuit

NRA filed a civil rights lawsuit in the Northern District of New York yesterday. It is possible that Letitia James is a second rate tyrant who is violating the NRA’s civil rights, and that Wayne LaPierre is a hapless grifter. Both things can be true. I believe that both things are true. James does not have your best interests at heart as a gun owner and NRA member. She is trying to silence political opposition, and she should be ruined for it. I sincerely hope this suit succeeds. I’m surprised by how many gun people I see who seem fine with dissolution. James’ move here is unconscionable and naked totalitarianism. It will invite tit for tat if the courts are silent (note that SPLC is in Alabama, and probably has more skeletons in its closet than NRA does by far).

New York AG Moves for NRA Dissolution

If I’m a judge, no way would I allow a politician to dissolve their political opposition. This is Soviet level shit. I would consider the remedy of removing Wayne. That needs to happen. But as guilty as they might be, most charities and non-profits are going to show issues if put under a microscope. Not saying Wayne is a straight shooter. We’ve known for years a lot of this stuff was going on, and shame on us as members for looking the other way because times were good.

I suspect James knows she won’t get dissolution, but she has political ambitions, and the Dem base will eat this shit up. The cancel cultural warriors will love this. But hopefully adults will intervene and we can just be rid of the problem at the top and move on.

Not my circus …

… not my monkeys.

Why Not a Shooting Post?

I don’t really feel like commenting on statue toppling. I don’t really favor toppling statues for the most part. Though I’m sort of OK (sort of because in general people who want to erase history are up to no good) with removing (through democratic, rather than mob action) statues that were put up in the racial identity politicking revival of the last century’s teens and twenties. The problem we have in this country is we need to topple statutes. Statute toppling I can get on board with. Statues are history and art. You know who liked destroying statues? The Taliban. Statutes, on the other hand…. if half the tax code disappeared, would anyone really miss it?

OK, so I said this post would be about shooting. I’m looking for opinions on loading for the M1 Garand without a gas plug.

I’ve been looking for a powder that can do .223, .30-06 and .308 reasonably well so I can economize. Normally my go-to would be Varget, but I can never find it. I got a hold of 8# of Ramshot TAC, since it had loading data for all three. But I’m not sold on it. It leaves the .30-06 case empty enough it shakes like a maraca. Cycled the action fine on the starting load, but I need to chrony it. Internet fora suggest “Never use ball powder in an M1! 4895 or go home!” But Internet gun fora are full of bullshit, myth, and legend. My club is honestly no better. I’m sure bending the op-rod is a real thing, but I just don’t know how much of a risk it reasonably is if you’re careful and don’t run hot loads. Anyone have experience with M1 loads that deviate from the norm? Or is that really not a good idea to play with?

I Kept Saying Roberts Was the Weak Link

The Supreme Court will continue to allow the lower courts to rule the Second Amendment into irrelevance. I stand by my assertion that Roberts was the weak link all along, or at least one of them. Maybe Kennedy was too. But clearly unless there’s yet another change on the Court, this isn’t going anywhere. Judges are elites. They don’t really want the peons armed either.

Civil Unrest

It’s getting friskier in the ‘burbs than at any point in my living memory. I lived somewhere else during the Rodney King riots, but I don’t remember any of that coming out of the city. Here, we had a looting attempt at Neshaminy Mall and an active issue at Franklin Mills Mall. A pizza place around the corner from me had an incident. We were wondering what all the sirens were about.

To quote my grandfather: “This country is going to hell in a hand basket.” At this point, if I didn’t have to maintain a Facebook presence for my club, I would quit social media, which I think is stirring this toxic brew. I keep going back to “One Screen, Two Movies,” because it’s becoming more and more apparent as time goes on.

Remember back when we all wanted to take down the mainstream media? Mission accomplished! And now we’re getting it good and hard by what is replacing it.

Polling Shows People Support Closing Gun Stores

I believe the poll showing that Americans want to keep gun stores closed is correct. But people’s real views on any given topic are always more complicated than any poll can tease out. Very few people want to tell pollsters they think the economy is more important than saving grandma. What this poll tells you is that for many people, saving grandma is important to them. How many people who say “yes,” gun shops should stay closed were frantically calling around trying to make an appointment to buy guns? A whole lot if you believe the NICS figures.

Just to give a personal anecdote, someone asked yesterday whether I think the response was a) appropriate, b) inadequate, or c) excessive. Really all three, depending on context. But I chose c), and that reveals what I care about. Because in front of my mind are:

  • The drive up church services being busted up.
  • Golf courses being allowed to open but not outdoor shooting ranges.
  • California’s Governor threatening to close down beaches which can be used safely if people stay apart.
  • The arbitrary enforcement of the lockdown rules in some states (Home Depot and Lowes are getting away with violations that small businesses aren’t, and it’s destroying them).

But, generally speaking, I think the broad quarantine orders were understandable given the circumstances of where I live. Maybe not if you lived somewhere COVID was largely absent when the orders came. But no government response is going to be overflowing with competence. One reason you haven’t seen me going off on political rants is I have very low expectations of what government is capable of, and I think expecting competence is naive. Government is a poor tool to fix what ails society. Sometimes it’s all we got, but it’s never going to be really good at the things it does which are necessary. And it certainly won’t perform well during a century level crisis where nobody really has a clue.

Overall, I don’t think there’s any unity in this country at all. I’m seeing awful behavior from nearly everyone. This is exacerbating our divisions and bringing out the worst on the left and right: both have their respective pathologies dialed up to 11. What’s needed is adaptability and a little humility, and I’m not seeing any of that. When we come out of this crisis, I think our political divisions will be much worse than the already sorry state we entered it with.

OK, Maybe One More COVID Post

I started a new job right before all the lockdowns started, which meant being onboarded at the new offices, given a laptop, and sent home. I haven’t seen the office or any coworkers since. I used to work with the manager at a previous job, almost 20 years ago at this point, which is how I got in. So I at least know one person there. But I’ve had to lean on him more than I’d like to. He could use having items taken off his plate. But even when I started with clients, I tended to be there for the planning stuff, and only did the actual execution from home.

As for switching jobs when I did, let me tell you, I’m damned lucky. I have spent the past 20 years worried whether I’ll have a job in a few months. I’ve never worked for a company that consistently made money. This company is, and because we’re in the clinical trial business, we’re expecting COVID to slow the growth a bit, rather than hammer us. Trials are still continuing, and we’re signing some COVID related business, which feels good to be helping.

Our club has been closed since the order mid-March. We cancelled all events, including my steel matches, before that. The place has been shut down. We were starting to wrap up a major construction project when this hit, and that had to stop. I’ve only been there to check on the place and make sure the mail gets taken in, etc. The club is a mess. Garbage has blown in from all over the place. It really needs a work party.

I figured this would be a good time to get a lot of things done for the club, but I find I just don’t have the energy. All the energy goes into the new job, and there’s nothing left over, which is unusual for me. My mental productivity is probably half what it was pre-lockdown. So I’ve had no energy at all for the blog. I’m an introvert, so I would say I’m handling it OK, but there are limits. It’s also hard when I get calls from club members, and realize they just want someone to talk to. We’re the only social interaction some of these guys get.

One question they asked at the new job to introduce the new employees: “What are you going to do when everything opens back up.” To answer is go to the gun club I belong to and shoot the shit out of the steel targets.” But you never know how people are going to react to that answer, so I had to come up with something else quick. Governor Wolf announced construction can continue May 1st, so we’re hoping we can resume that project and have everything open when we reopen. It would be nice. But when can we reopen? Who knows at this point, and dues are coming up. I’m really hoping it’s not a blood bath of non-renewals, because we just finished climbing out of our last deep membership hole. Now we have a whole new one.

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