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The Most Bloomberg Thing Ever

He’s paying people to pretend to like him. Seriously, how cartoonish is that? You can almost imagine the rich kid at recess handing out fivers so other kids will play with him. It’s a real life caricature. This is the most Bloomberg thing I’ve ever heard of. Begs the question: how much is he paying people to pretend to give a shit about gun control? I’m half tempted to switch my registration just to be able to Bern Bloomberg in the primaries. I’ve never in my life seen a more patently offensive campaign to every day people than his.

Before us is a great test of our republic: can someone actually flat out buy the Presidency?

Conspiracy!

Tam has a look at the reality of the Iowa Caucus debacle. This whole affair was made for conspiracy theorist. I admit I’m quite amused at the whole thing. On one had, I can totally see a software team being that incompetent, especially if it’s all former Hillary people right out of some code camp. What I’d like to believe, is that this was a legit attempt to rig the election for establishment Dems, but they screwed the app meant to do it up so bad the plot was foiled! But it’s generally a good rule to never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

Good Choices

I endorse this NRA ballot. Frank Tait is Chairman of the Board for Lower Providence Rod and Gun Club. Graham Hill is also one of the good guys. Both will support reform, which is desparately needed.

Job Searching

Sorry for the dearth of posting, but I’m back out on the job market again after eight years with the current outfit. The work is drying up and I don’t think the company will sustain much longer.

I will say, the market is much much better than it was during my last rodeo in 2011. I only started in earnest yesterday, and I already have a phone screen tomorrow, and probably one today. I remember back in 2011, hardly anyone was biting, and there weren’t a lot of senior level positions that weren’t management, and a lot of outfits were doing contract-to-hire, which seems to be less common now, thankfully.

I also think LinkedIn is a far better tool than it was back in 2011, though I need to look at some other places too. I keep seeing ads for ZipRecruiter, but I don’t know if that’s loaded up with spammy recruiters, or a tool real companies who are looking for people are using. One thing about this go around over the last, most of my network are gainfully employed, which helps. Last time a lot of my colleagues were out of work and looking too.

So I’m pretty optimistic so far. I already have a few leads and one that looks promising.

Political Hobbyists

Really interesting article in the Atlantic about college educated people ruining politics.

Unlike organizers such as Matias, the political hobbyists are disproportionately college-educated white men. They learn about and talk about big important things. Their style of politics is a parlor game in which they debate the issues on their abstract merits. Media commentators and good-government reform groups have generally regarded this as a cleaner, more evolved, less self-interested version of politics compared with the kind of politics that Matias practices.

I disagree they are mostly college educated white men. There’s plenty of gender equality here. I was raised by parents who were very involved in their community. They were not political activists, but political involvement flows naturally from community involvement. While I’ve certainly been guilty of treating politics like sports (though, I hate all the teams), there’s a certain superficiality about it that’s described here that annoys me.

I’ll leave the reader to ponder the irony of decrying people talking politics to death on a politically oriented blog :)

So Far So Good

Looks like a lot of people having fun with it so far. I have a lot of faith in the average gun owner to do the right thing. But provocateurs and clingers on are the big risk, and Northam and other’s rhetoric ahead of the rally seemed to indicate they were planning for and maybe even hoping the shit would hit the fan. The day isn’t over yet, but I’m becoming optimistic that fears of a minority of whakadoodles ruining things for everyone else was misplaced. I’ll update if anything changes.

Next steps? Get gun people in Virginia registered to vote. There are a lot of non-political gun owners who may bitch and moan about things, but don’t vote on the issue. The next move is to teach the Dems that the gun vote isn’t baked into the GOP numbers.

UPDATE: Check out Cam Edwards‘ and Steve Gutowski’s Twitter feeds are a good source of on-the-ground coverage of the rally from people I trust to report fairly.

UPDATE: Let the bullshit flow. Miguel deals with some of it. Worst. Nazi. Rally. Ever. So does Dave Hardy.

UPDATE: Bearing Arms: “Virginia Lobby Day Rally Finishes Up Without Issue” They note that CSGV is dismissing the turnout, saying it was mostly people from out-of-state, and that the gun vote is already baked into the losing side’s numbers. See above. A good strategy is to use this crisis to find and make more gun voters.

UPDATE from the Bee: It does seem that way, doesn’t it. And I’m not sure it was just the media. “Media Offers Thoughts And Prayers That Someone Would Start Some Violence At Gun Rights Rally

UPDATE: Is anyone surprised? “YouTube Removes Livestreams of Richmond Gun-Rights Rally.” The Facebook feeds stayed up.

Virginia Court Upholds Governor’s Gun Ban

Judge upholds Virginia governor’s Capitol gun ban

The law is no obstacle where the powerful feel threatened. She ruled that there’s no right to carry a firearm on government property per Heller. That’s not a huge reach: Heller says government buildings specifically. But statutorily, Virginia Law limits the Governor’s powers in regards to restricting firearms. That is a reach. But if they find a judge actually willing to apply the law in this case before Monday, I’ll eat my hat.

Remember, when the wealthy and powerful want something, they will usually be successful at getting it. Bloomberg wants your gun rights. The key lesson here for other states is put the hard work Virginians are putting in now before it gets to this. Work to ensure the party doing this pays a price electorally. Sanctuary is a desperation move, and if you live here in Pennsylvania with me, or in Florida, we are not there yet.

Lobby Day Logistics for Virginians

VCDL is getting the word out. I really hope my concern about this is severely misplaced. A strong rally can help stave off the worst. But it has to be an epic showing, and nothing can go wrong.

The January 20 Protest

I’m very sorry to say that I can’t find much to argue with here.

But hey, maybe I’m all wrong, and it will be a Kumbaya love-fest between pro-gun 2A boomers arriving with their CCW pistols, Antifas from Redneck Revolt and The John Brown Gun Club with their shields and clubs (and guns?), actual neo-Nazi “accelerationist” idiots, lefty trolls dressed as Nazis, the Bloomberg “Everytown” gun grabbers, climate change activists, pro-life and pro-choice groups, the Richmond Police, the VSP, the FBI, the ATF, and all the other Lobby Day participants. What could possibly go wrong? (Not to mention that FBI and VSP super-high-res crowd scanning cameras will capture every face and cell phone interaction for social network analysis and future use.)

Except he’s a lot more optimistic about the Courts fixing things for us than I am. I’m hoping to be proved wrong. The crowd in Richmond on the 13th was peaceful. So has the sanctuary movement been. But there’s going to be a lot of assholes who will show up to cause trouble, and he’s right that VCDL isn’t going to stop them from showing up.

Everytown’s Finances

I’ve done a lot of Form 990 analysis on this blog over the years, but a change to the tax requirements for non-profits gives us some more insight. Previously, the IRS did not make the Schedule B public, which for most non-profits lists any donor over $5,000, but for 501(c)(3)s lists any donor that goes over 2% of funds raised. Recently the rule was changed so that non-profits could submit their Schedule B without identifying information. This provides some transparency but without allowing the Twitter mobs to target big donors.

So Everytown raised a record 67 million dollars in 2018, according to their Form 990. According to the Schedule B, 39 million of that was raised from one donor. I think we can all guess who that is. But even Mike Bloomberg has friends. They raised 4 million more dollars in million dollar donations. That takes us up to 43 million raised from rich assholes. If you count the rest, if my math is right, Everytown raised 47.2 million in donations over $5000, leaving about $20 million raised in increments lower than $5000. Now that’s way more than Brady could have dreamed of a few years ago, but 47.2 million will buy you more fundraising muscle than Brady could have afforded.

Indeed, Everytown spent 2.4 million on fundraising. A generally acceptable return is $1 back for every 24 cents spent, so Everytown should have raised about 10 million just based on their fundraising spend. That’s assuming Everytown is getting average fundraising efficiency. I’d bet because they hire good people they are beating 24 cents on the dollar. It’s not unheard of to get 12 cents on the dollar, and they might be doing that.

If the rich assholes disappeared from the books next year, Everytown’s yearly take would be about 20 million. Ten million of that would be spoken for just in management expenses and fundraising, and the rest wouldn’t cover payroll. So they would be a very different organization with very different concerns were the big donors to disappear. I’d note that Everytown’s top paid exec is only pulling $350,000 (take note, Wayne), so they aren’t blowing a lot of money on execs.

Two donors pledged to them 17.6 million in stock, and they actually took possession of 1 million worth of pledged stock. But that doesn’t count toward their money raised: it’s an asset. Those are counted as non-cash gifts which is a different line item.

The Everytown 501(c)(3) is harder to tell, because the public support test the IRS uses is largely a joke. A $50 million dollar charity with fifty $1,000,000 donors is a charity with 100% public support. In fact, because that calculation is done over a 5 year period, you could sneak in a few larger donors under the radar without budging your public support percentage very much at all. The IRS also only requires that you count the overage over 2% of gross receipts, so if a donor donated $1,000,001 dollars, the million is public support. Only the $1 counts against it.

So what does the charity look like? Pretty similar in terms of dependence on rich assholes. They took in 37 million. 12.4 million of that came from donors who donated more than $740,000. So you’d think that means 67% public support, but that’s not how it’s calculated. It’s 82.4% for that year by the way the IRS calculates it. So a half a million dollar donation to Everytown Support Fund does not need be disclosed and counts as public support. See what I mean about it being bullshit? As they raise more money, more and more rich asshole money counts as public support.

How many of you could afford to donate $5000 to NRA? NRA’s 2017 Schedule B is 30 pages long, with 173 donors donating over $5000. NRA raised 30.5 million from 16 donors over $500,000, but that’s on $311 million in revenue. NRA’s biggest donor donated 18.8 million (who was that?). The next guy down was 1.2 million. NRA’s return shows a lot more depth of support.

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