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Stirrings Within NRA, and Gun Control

Sadly, I think John is probably right about what the NRA’s special meeting will be about, namely retroactively approving the bankruptcy filing. In the mean time, start activating your networks because gun control is coming at a time when the left has NRA over the ropes (ropes that Wayne happily sold them). As I heard it said, once you start losing, it’s hard to stop. It’s like opening a wound. So they might not start with gun bans, but it ain’t going to stop there if they get what they want. You can take that to the bank.

Got the Jab

Got the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine today. I can report I do not suddenly feel Marx makes more sense. If it’s reprogramming my DNA, I can’t say that I’m noticing. So far, not much in the way of side effects at all. I had to go lay down because my equilibrium was feeling a bit off, kind of like if you had too much to drink the night before off. But I’m not sure if that was the shot, because I get that way sometimes just sitting at a computer too long.

I realize that a lot of people will choose not to get it, and I’m not the type that thinks we ought to be strapping people down and making them get their shots. But I tick all the risk categories except age, so I decided it was probably worth the risk of side effects.

Bitter feels a little at the injection site. I don’t. Hopefully I’ll feel OK tomorrow. When I get a flu shot, I usually don’t get the sore arm until the next day or two.

21st Century Labor Movement?

I’d never have believed this would be a “conservative” position a decade ago. Yet this makes sense to me in terms of where the boundaries are looking to be reforming:

Conservatives should spend more time thinking about what it would mean to build effective 21st-century labor unions or guilds. Republican leaders often defect because woke concerns function as a way to signal class status. Conservatives need to find ways to nurture a new leadership class that isn’t crippled by status anxiety. The working class is less tied to woke pieties than the managerial class, and finding ways to increase their political agency would defang woke nonsense. 

Tech monopolies can’t truly be fought without fighting their anti-American labor practices. Republicans spent a year fundraising off the threat of tech censorship, and then as soon as the election was over they rewarded big tech with cheap labor. A new labor movement could help curb immigration, reform the H1-B1 program, and lessen offshoring, while encouraging strategic manufacturing in America. New labor movements must also divorce the white-collar workforce from the university wherever possible. Most colleges are a total joke, and there are plenty of well-paying white-collar jobs with fancy titles that could be done by a 19-year-old. It’s time to end the charade. These are already popular issues among the populist Right, but it’s important to stress how they help cultural fights. 

From the point of view of political strategy, this is difficult to argue with. Without wealthy donors, a political movement has to rely much much more on grassroots organization, and labor unions were good at that.

But a 21st century labor movement will look different than the 19th and 20th century labor movement. How it will look different is an interesting question.

More From the Ack-Mac Complaint

I’ve been going through the amended complaint as I have time, and a few things stand out. For one, it seems that there is great effort for pinning all the wrongs in Wayne. It looks to me, reading between the lines, that Wayne got along with Angus McQueen, but maybe didn’t get along so well with his son Revan, who took over the business.

I’m intrigued by this accusation:

LaPierre also structured certain “back-scratching” relationships to siphon money to pet projects that the NRA would otherwise be prohibited from financially supporting. Upon information and belief, the NRA makes improper expenditures to directly support Youth for Tomorrow, by making charitable contributions to a third-party charity that in turn donates the money to Youth for Tomorrow, an organization for which Susan LaPierre acted as President.

But even more by this one:

Brewer’s relationship with Angus was toxic from the outset. . For over 20 years, Brewer has had a strained relationship with Angus and a resentful, disrespectful attitude toward him and other McQueen family members. In fact, his personal history of animosity with the McQueen family, his anti-gun political sentiments, and his parade of prior ethical violations raised numerous eyebrows among NRA officials. Brewer was often disrespectful to the McQueen family, voicing frequent professional criticisms about AMc, slow-paying for the services his law firm received from AMc, and vocalizing his disdain for AMc’s relationship with the NRA due to his own political sentiments against Second Amendment rights. Indeed, Brewer has had 20 years, as a family member and AMc client, gaining key insight into AMc’s business strategy and the personal lives of the McQueen family. In that role, and as a McQueen family member, he apparently saw something that he coveted: the prestigious public-relations work that AMc provided to the NRA.

Keep in mind who the source is here, but if there’s any merit to this accusation at all by AMc, we’re in a lot of trouble. A LOT. Bitter and I have speculated whether Wayne might honestly be losing it. He’s at an age where mental decline is not out of the question.

The Continuing Daytime Soap Opera

John Richardson notes and amended complaint by Ack-Mac in their suit with NRA. What a mess this whole thing is. And John is right. We’ll be the ones paying the price. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my involvement with non-profit management, the following things are priorities, in order:

  1. Keep grifters away from money. Or for smaller organizations, don’t let financially distressed people assume positions of power if you can possibly help it. NRA is big enough, the pot is going to be temping for even a well-to-do grifter. For smaller outfits, you can help things by trying to promote people who have enough money that the smaller outfit’s funds aren’t enticing enough to be worth the trouble.
  2. Be wary of narcissistic assholes. Often they are hard workers and quite talented. But they are never worth the bullshit they are going to bring to the table.
  3. Cultivate a competent management team who will take projects and own them, and who you can count on to do things right. This is probably the hardest part, but it’s superseded by the other two. Don’t accept grifters and narcissists, even though they might help you. Honest hard workers are worth their weight in gold. That goes double if you’re not paying them.
  4. Everybody has an agenda. Know what agenda the people who are close to you really have. Be clear about your goals too.

Which of these things has Wayne and the NRA Board done right? How many violate all three of these “rules?”

From the Internets

From a comment on social media:

You know, it would probably help put a lid on all this Q-Anon bullshit if our social betters could do everyone a favor and actually stop touching kids.

I’d say I couldn’t agree more, but I can, since it’s my comment. I’m sure once they let our sniffer-in-chief back out among the people, it’s not going to get any better.

This is an Awful Idea

I’m reasonably OK with the NRA reincorporating in Texas, but I think “Certain executives are relocating to Texas, and will use this office space in connection with the NRA establishing a principal place of business in the state” will be a disaster for NRA. It would be a disaster for any organization. Ask Boeing how well having their executives far away from the people who do the work has worked out for them?

NRA has to stay in the DC area. If they are worried about Virginia’s gun laws, look at West Virginia, parts of which are turning into suburbs for long-haul commuters to DC. At least then they won’t be too far from where the worker bees need to be.

I think NRA is looking at Texas because that’s where Wayne wants to be (or maybe at least where Mrs. Wayne wants to be), and instead of just retiring like a normal person in his 70s, he’s going to drag the whole organization along with him.

A Brief History of Wayne

I am not an expert on NRA history, but I’ve read a lot and talked to people who have been around for most of the history of the modern (post 1977) NRA.

Wayne succeeded Warren Cassidy, who I understand cost NRA significant sums in settled sexual harassment lawsuits, and was generally not well liked. Wayne was selected because he was boring, and not the type anyone figured would cause that kind of trouble for The Association. As best I can tell, Wayne is not a womanizer. While there’s accusations flying around about other top NRA folks, I think they made a good choice if they didn’t want a repeat of Cassidy.

However, Wayne was not without controversy, and he pretty immediately saw challenges from hard liners. Many of the accusations leveled against Wayne by that coalition weren’t always wrong. I don’t know too many people who would argue they didn’t have a lot of points. That pretty much set up the struggle in the NRA that would continue through to the early 2000s, between the pragmatic wing of the NRA and the hard liners.

Wayne was basically a policy nerd. He was not a charming figure. So he needed help, which came from Ackerman McQueen. The Wayne LaPierre everyone knows today was largely their creation. It was Ack-Mac who helped Wayne cultivate his public image and establish himself.

I don’t know whether Wayne could have survived all these years if it wasn’t for the widely held view that the alternative was the hard liners. Many NRA folks, myself included, viewed that a hard-line takeover of the NRA would result in the organization’s political irrelevance. You don’t always get a choice between winning and losing. Sometimes the choice is whether you get lube or not.

I don’t think Wayne has ever been an ideal leader, and he’s long past his expiration date. The financial malfeasance seems a lot worse than I realized, and I think many realized. We knew the relationship with Ack-Mac had become toxic. But I think everyone figured Wayne would retire and Chris Cox would move into the EVP role, and there would be some needed change. That’s not what happened, and NRA is now in heap big trouble.

The one thing I’d warn our opponents of is that NRA’s members haven’t disappeared. We are still out here and paying attention, and figuring out how to organize around this mess, and around the networks of censorship now established via unfriendly tech monopolies. NRA’s political power didn’t come from Wayne, or the NRA Board. It came from us, and you still have to get past us.

More on NRA’s Bankruptcy

John Richardson has the details. I no longer have the time to get as far into the weeds as John is going, so he’s been a great resource in all this. Additionally, my contacts in the NRA were all pushed out during Wayne’s purge of Chris Cox and his circle. So I have no real insight as to what’s going on anymore.

I don’t know who the “good guys” are, or if there even are any in this awful mess. I don’t write much about it because to be honest, it all makes me sick to my stomach.

John notes:

I have always held that this bankruptcy filing was a gamble. Wayne and Brewer are too clever by half and I think the result will not be to their liking.

I think they had a choice between awful and even more awful, from their perspective, so they chose awful. I’m not sure Wayne, or NRA, is getting out of this easy.

Wayne’s been past his shelf life for some time, and in my opinion out of his league. It’s always seemed to me that he needed someone to tell him what to do, and that went from being Angus McQueen to to Bill Brewer.

I keep going back to this: they knew exactly where to hit us.

Short Squeeze

I have to admit, this is one of the more brazen acts of rebellion against the establishment I’ve seen in some time. They nearly bankrupted a hedge fund, and I’m not honestly sure this is over yet. The reaction is telling. Everything is fine when we manipulate the market, but if you proles do it, we’ll have investigations and demand the rules of the game be changed.

It looks like the hedge funds have been doing what I understand is called “naked shorting,” meaning shorting shares that you don’t actually own and may not even exist. The practice is illegal, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a wink, wink, nudge, nudge, as long as the right people were making enough money.

I am far from any kind of expert in finance, so this stuff both fascinates and confuses me. I know someone who trades, and have had him try to explain it all to me, and I keep coming back to: “How is this different than gambling?”

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