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Picking a Gun Fight

Governor Wolf may not have been expecting a fight over guns, but he sure as hell got one. There is a little known (outside of gun circles) provision in Pennsylvania law that when a state of emergency is declared, the only people who become eligible to possess firearms “on the public streets” are military, police, and people who have a License to Carry Firearms.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania has been hit particularly hard by opioid addiction. So naturally things will tend to follow the progression of politicians and pearl clutchers everywhere: this is a crisis of epic proportion, so Something Must Be Done. Declaring a State of Emergency over the opiods is Something, so therefore it Must Be Done.

There’s an effort growing to change the state of emergency law to remove the firearms ban. This would be a good idea. And since I believe the Governor did not intend to pick a fight on this issue, we might have a reasonable shot at getting him to sign it. It will also be interesting to see the gun control groups fight this, because of course having complex laws in place no one knows about means more people like you and me in prison, where no doubt many of them believe we belong.

Ouch

From David French at National Review:

In April 2014, America was transfixed by an armed standoff in the Nevada desert. On one side was a collection of dangerous, out-of-control armed men who were deliberately provocative, prone to saying unhinged things in a single-minded quest to destroy their enemies, and who lied time and again to cover their misdeeds.

On the other side was Cliven Bundy.

How bad did the feds get that National Review is dismissing armed resistance to the government? Pretty bad, if you read any of the whistleblower documents.

Dismissed with Prejudice

What does it say that the Bundys case was not only dismissed, but dismissed with prejudice, which means the government can’t reopen it. What does it say that it was an Obama appointed judge who did it? How bad was the government’s misconduct in the case, and if it was that bad, maybe the protesters had some justification for shaking their guns in the tyrant’s face?

“The government’s irresponsible and, at times, false proffers to this Court as well as its dismissiveness toward the defense inspires no confidence in the prospect of fairness,” they wrote. “A dismissal is necessary to remedy the constitutional violations, to preserve the integrity of this court’s processes, and to deter future misconduct. Anything short of a dismissal is tantamount to condoning the government’s behavior in this case.”

People can balk at an armed population being a check on bad behavior from the government all they want, but based on what I’ve read from this case, there were agents in the Bureau of Land Management who were itching for a fight, and when it looked like they might actually get one, decided that discretion was the better part of valor and backed down.

Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

– Thomas Jefferson

“Consent of the governed” doesn’t really have a whole lot of meaning if harsh language is your best defense. An armed society may be more messy, and more uncomfortable for some than one where everyone is at the mercy of government bureaucrats, but I much prefer a world where people have to think, and think hard, about whether or not to trample a minority interest under the public boot.

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.

Some would probably be more comfortable if we were more like Germany or Sweden, but that’s not who we are, and like Jefferson, I hope we will never be.

Netflix Binge Watching: The Crown

We’ve been watching The Crown, the tales of the latest monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Windsor. It’s surprisingly good. The actress who plays Elizabeth II starts out kind of awkward, but after a few episodes starts to wear the role very well. The actor who plays Prince Philip really looks the part, and does very well in the role.

I don’t know how I’d feel about the Constitutional Monarchy if I were raised in the UK. I’m a bit of an insufferable republican. Monarchy is a really awful thing to do to people; especially the monarchs. It is interesting human drama to put people into that kind of position for no other reason than accident of birth. Probably why those of us in the US have such a fascination with British royalty. At least our leaders have to want it. But if they really want it, are they fit to have it?

Why All These Bundy Cases Ended up Jury Nullified

As Dave Hardy pointed out, this is a doozy. BLM agent accuses his superiors of numerous illegal abuses and misbehaviors in the Bundy Ranch case:

The investigation also indicated that on multiple occasions, former BLM Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC) Love specifically and purposely ignored U.S. Attorney’s Office and BLM civilian management direction and intent as well as Nevada State Official recommendations in order to command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale, and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible. Additionally, this investigation also indicated excessive use of force, civil rights and policy violations. The investigation indicated that there was little doubt there was an improper cover-up in virtually every matter that a particular BLM SAC participated in, or oversaw and that the BLM SAC was immune from discipline and the consequences of his actions.

If BLM regularly deals with ranchers in this manner, it would explain why the Bundys were jury nullified even though they were guilty as hell.

All in all, it is my assessment, and the investigation showed that the 2014 Gold Butte Trespass Cattle Impound was in part a punitive and ego-driven expedition by Senior BLM Law Enforcement Supervisor (former BLM Special Agent-in-Charge Dan Love) that was only in part focused on the intent of the associated Federal Court Orders and the mission of our agency (to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the multiple use and enjoyment of present and future generations).

Retaliation against dissidents and whistleblowers is endemic in the “civil service.” The fact that everyone so up in arms over Trump doing the kinds of things that has been routinely done in the federal bureaucracy for years has been, for me, a source of laughter and frustration. How often do you find yourself thinking about something a friend, colleague, or family member wrote: “You didn’t give a shit about X until biased news site Y just told you that Trump did X and now it’s the worst. thing. ever. Even though Obama and everyone that came before him did X all the time.”

We have some real serious issues about how the federal government runs, but we all need to be operating in the same reality to do something about it. We all increasingly don’t operate in the same reality. I’ve heard concerns for the “deep state” being dismissed as right-wing paranoia. I don’t care what you call it, this is the truth: the federal bureaucracy is a branch of government onto itself, which has very little accountability to the elected officials that under our system are supposed to lead it.

To All the Celebrating Dems

Congratulations! You beat a child molester. Barely.

The silver lining for the anti-gun among them is that this will probably destroy any prospect of National Reciprocity, unfortunately. But I can’t tell you I’m sorry Moore lost. If he had run for President, he would have topped Hillary in terms of “Worst. Presidential Candidate. Ever.” He would have written the DSCC’s 2018 campaign ads for them.

He joins such luminaries as Christine “I am not a witch!” O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Todd Akin. That is why the first thing I look at when I look at a candidate isn’t “Does he agree with me?” but “Can he win?” Because if the answer to the latter question is no, what’s the point? If you’re backing candidates that can’t win, the race is just an exercise in selfish delusions.

Also, I’m starting to think Steve Bannon was just a lucky bastard with Trump, rather than some kind of evil genius. He was also lucky to be going up against the “Worst. Presidential Candidate. Ever.” in terms of Hillary.

Was Luther Strange an establishment choice? Sure he was. But if he had been the nominee that race wouldn’t have even been close, and we’d only be looking at having to flip one vote for National Reciprocity instead of two.

The Senate Math for CCW in 2017

It’s not looking probable; we would need a miracle. Here’s the breakdown

Starting with the 2013 vote (57 Ayes to invoke cloture), I did up a spreadsheet of the likely vote results in 2017, based on current occupancy, the 2013 vote, and the Senators political stances on the issue.

I came out with maximum of 59 Aye votes (assuming Luther Strange gets to vote Aye or his replacement votes Aye).

The vote delta (because we had both gains and losses)

NH: -1 (Maggie Hassan replaced Kelly Ayotte)

IA: +1 (Joni Ernst replaced Tom Harkin)

SD: +1 (Mike Rounds replaced Tim Johnson)

WV: +1 (Shelley Moore replaced John Rockefeller)

However, what I don’t see is the 60th vote. I broke out the Nay votes who are in seats up in 2018 in states that voted for Trump

Bill Nelson is a hard NO
Claire McCaskill is a hard NO
Sherrod Brown is a hard NO
Bob Casey is a firm No
Tammy Baldwin is a hard NO

And, if anyone flips to be the 60th, I wouldn’t put it past some of the presumptive Ayes to flip to Nay to prevent it. Fix NICS is already being pulled out as a cover for voting Nay (and was used for that purpose in the House).

Now, maybe the GOP leadership knows something I don’t, or this really was a setup to burnish everybody’s 2A pro/con credentials. Whichever way that goes, if you want reciprocity this year, better start praying.

Charges of “Whataboutism”: A Pet Peeve of Mine

I see this accusation a lot on social media. Some have collectively decided to rename “rooting out hypocrisy and naked partisanship” as “whataboutism.” When I first saw it, I thought it was weak. It was pointed out that it was a Soviet propaganda technique, but while the Soviets used it to cover up their much deeper sins, they weren’t always wrong about the flaws in our own society. This expert from the linked article strikes me as quite right:

If the intent of asking the “what about” question is indeed only to change the subject to protect a politician, then it’s exactly what critics contend, an effort to distract, deflect, or rationalize.

However, making a comparison is justifiable if it’s to flesh out the principles of a person silent about the conduct of a politician he likes while contending that hanging’s too good (figuratively speaking) for a politician he dislikes.

I’d like to think we can all agree that having perverts in public office is a Very Bad Thing. But many of the people saying that have covered for and defended perverts in public office for years, and have only now taken to rooting them out because they are becoming a political liability. Alabamans appear to be overlooking Roy Moore’s sins. Why wouldn’t they? Dems partisans are happy to sweep the Clinton’s and their allies aside now that they aren’t politically useful. But Al Franken? Hell no, not him. They need him.

I am not trying to argue that Roy’s just fine because Al’s a perv too. I think both of them are unfit to hold public office. In better times, we’d probably get some broad agreement there. But these are not better times, rather a time of political realignment. As a certain blogging law professor likes to say, “We have the worst political class ever!” And as we all go through this realignment, this cold civil war of sorts, we sure do.

How Philadelphia Plans to Shut down Convenience Stores that Sell Beer

If you’re Councilwoman Bass, you’ll put them out of business by making them easier to rob.

A controversial bill under consideration would require liquor stores to pull down the bulletproof glass they currently use to protect their clerks. After all, liquor stores are often prime targets for robbery. The glass keeps clerks safe, at least to some extent, and now it needs to come down.

These store owners tend to be Korean, so the accusation is being thrown around that the motivation for this is straight up racism. These business technically operate as restaurants. Convenience stores can’t sell alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania, so what some stores do is to have a limited menu of items, apply for a liquor license as a restaurant, and then sell takeout, which restaurants are allowed to do.

I covered this issue some time ago, about the double standards at work here, and was very proud to have the current Mayor of Philadelphia tell me to go eff myself. You sell 7% ABV beers to white hipsters and no one cares. Do the same in minority neighborhoods and the world is coming to and end and we must stop it. Hard for me to agree there’s no racial issues at work here. I get the concern over social problems, but last I checked, dealing drugs, public intoxication, and public urination (all mentioned by Councilwoman Bass) were all crimes. Maybe address those issues, rather than targeting people who run the stores and ultimately their customers, many of whom probably just want a beer at the end of a hard day like we all do.

It is absolutely beyond the pale that this Councilwoman would see people get shot and stabbed. She should be ashamed for even proposing this. I would argue that armor are arms, and a bill like this should be properly found unconstitutional under the 2nd Amendment.

After Action Report in a Philly Ring County

Someone who knows I’m a registered Republican even though I’m more libertarian than they really like and not enough party cheerleader. But a local woman posted something about Bucks County GOP losses this morning that made me think there was room for some serious observations about things both large and small local and county candidates could have done to improve their odds in an opposition party wave year – a factor that was completely predictable.

Of course, I should have known better than to assume anyone was interested in talking about things they saw that worked well for candidates and missed opportunities for others. People would rather scream “SHAME!” than actually think about things they could help do for their candidates of choice in next year’s elections.

I guess I’m sharing an edited version here since I hope that someone might be willing to be inspired by some of these thoughts and ultimately make a positive impact for gun rights.

Locally, I don’t think most of the GOP candidates prepared to run in what is, historically, going to be a year that favors the opposite party. There were some small things I noticed that probably made a difference, and then some big concepts, too.

For most of the county-level offices, other than glossy mailers that immediately go into the recycling bin, all I ever saw were the generic blue signs that had lots of last names with no visible office listed. The offices were listed on the signs, but nearly impossible to read in much smaller print squeezed between 3-5 last names of various GOP candidates on plain blue backgrounds. Even the glossy mailers I got a look at as they fell into the trash all had many candidates for different offices so that they all blended together.

In a specific an example, for sheriff, I knew a guy named Milt Warrell was on the ticket because his signs were big, bold, clear, and not typical campaign colors. They were bright yellow and black. If it weren’t for the fact that I knew the GOP incumbent had a different name, then I would not have know Milt was a Democrat or anything else. But, unlike the GOP candidate, I knew he was running for sheriff. Milt’s visible campaigning just showed him being something different and that he was clearly running for that office.

I get that local campaigns don’t have major resources to spend, and that’s why they try to campaign together. However, it’s not acceptable to have literally no individual efforts. First of all, and this is pretty important in a purple-blue state for Republicans, you need to accommodate the ticket splitters. There have been times when I’ll take a sign for one candidate, but leave the others behind because I’m not on board with them. So why should the guy or gal I like miss out?

On the state level, Sallie Munday, a candidate for our state Supreme Court, clearly benefitted from split ticket voting given the spread she put up statewide. As much as I hate to admit it, I do think part of it was because she is a woman. (There were several races where GOP women beat Dem men by percentages that aren’t likely explained by much more than they won the women’s vote because they are women.) But I think the significant vote spread was also because she was willing to run very targeted social media ads that don’t cost a ridiculous amount of money. Even before I had my NRA orange mailer on her endorsed candidacy, I was getting ads for her on the issues I clearly follow on Facebook. I knew her name well before Election Day, before the NRA ever sent anything about her, and on issues I care about.

On a side note, what was up with NRA PVF having multiple statewide-endorsed candidates in Pennsylvania and then leaving them off of their website? We had to go through the effort to scan in the mailer to share with Sebastian’s gun club. It would have been easier to point to a public webpage like we could with New Jersey.

Back to the Pennsylvania state races… Christine Fizzano Cannon was also doing some ads, though not as targeted as Munday’s, but enough that I knew she was a ballot for something. However, her good move was to do several “alert” style ads starting around 11:00am on Election Day over the fact that Philadelphia purposefully printed her name incorrectly on about half of their voting machines. I don’t know if she ran those sponsored posts statewide, but every time I opened Facebook yesterday, I saw one here in a ring county. That plays very well into the narrative most suburbanites and “T” people have that Philly is corrupt. That’s hours of sending a message out there that will motivate many who may have been uninspired to make sure and hit the voting booth on the way home. Not to mention, the specific reason her name was chopped in Philly could have caused some split voting tickets because it’s something unique to women who don’t give up their maiden names, but also use their husband’s names. Philly decided not to recognize her “2nd” last name on half of their machines. That’s not something most men would face, and women know it. She beat out a Democratic woman, and I suspect that if we could get the timing of those votes cast for her, there was an uptick after she got the word out about Philly screwing her over.

There is one exception to the social media spending that didn’t win in a race I was watching closely, and that’s a local supervisor candidate. He started spending on Facebook ads right before the election, but they weren’t targeted (beyond location) and they were reproductions of those glossy mailers that go straight into trash. They didn’t tell me anything about him. It’s like someone told him to spend something online, but he didn’t know about any of the power to really target it. And since guns have come up as a local issue, he could have done something. I’m sure that’s true for a variety of other local issues that he didn’t really hit on.

I don’t think that online ad spending is the ticket to success, but I do think that individual campaigns that at least tried to talk about issues voters care about won out here over generic 3-5 candidate signs that barely fit the office names on there. It was expected to be an opposition party wave year, and they didn’t run like it at all here in Bucks County.

I also won’t ignore that Trump was a factor, even though federal races weren’t on the ticket here. But that isn’t a surprise since this is typically the result when one party takes the White House the previous year. One way to both run against what many find off-putting about Trump without actually running against him and his policies is to make yourself really likable. I see a huge missed opportunity with one relatively small office in Pennsylvania that could really spawn a lot of fun online ad themes, and that’s Prothonotary. I still can’t say it. I still don’t fully understand what they do (even though I believe some of it is genealogically-related), and I can assure you that other regular and irregular voters are in the same boat. Surely someone in a candidate’s circle of friends or family could help draft a series of funny videos around that theme. Run them online for not much money, and that could have been one more county office to hold onto just by running on a platform of being a likable person with a sense of humor.

There’s also the mobilization issue. How many GOP-leaning voters were put off by a lack of enthusiasm, a dislike of driving in dark and rain, and heavy rain? In an aging state like Pennsylvania, probably quite a few. Was there an effort to reach out to older voters who otherwise would have gone to vote? I don’t know. I know that some races were close enough that everything should be on the table as proposals to GOTV for the county GOP. I also know enough to know that they won’t do it here. Sad.

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