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The Spy Who Talked to Me

Glenn Reynolds links to an article that suggests Marina Butina was railroaded. I met Maria Butina briefly at an NRA function at the annual meeting. I still have her business card. She was completely up front that her organization had the blessing of the Kremlin. I remember her saying that, and saying that they were not an opposition group, since such things aren’t allowed.

I didn’t think much of it because at the time the UN Arms Trade Treaty was among the buzz, and the Kremlin was opposed. So I figured the outreach was to build alliances against the treaty. I don’t recall her claiming she was just a little old Russian girl from Siberia who started a gun rights group, though she did pitch she was hoping to build an RKBA movement in Russia.

I take the Spectator article with a grain of salt. I accept that Butina is probably sitting in prison for engaging in what a lot of foreign nationals in DC routinely do. I accept that she was unlucky enough to get caught up in the Russian collusion narrative and that her activity would never have risen to the level of being noticed otherwise. I do agree she wasn’t a spy in the sense most people understand it. But she is, in my opinion, guilty of what she was charged with, along with a lot of other foreign nationals that will never be unlucky enough to get caught up in a red scare-like whirlwind.

Politician Believe in Being Reelected

Kirsten Gillibrand now says she never really believe in the 2nd Amendment.

Now that she’s being called out for her hypocrisy, the presidential hopeful is spinning the policy shift as a “simple mistake.”  “I didn’t do the right thing,” Gillibrand told CNN‘s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” Wednesday. “I mean, I think someone who can’t recognize when they’re wrong is far more concerning if you can never admit when you’re wrong. And not only was I wrong, and not only should I have cared more about gun violence in other parts of my state or other parts of my country, I just didn’t.”

It’s easy. When she was a Congresswoman from upstate New York, it was beneficial to her politically to be pro-gun. When she became Senator of New York, it was beneficial for her to be anti-gun. What politicians never want to admit is that their views are fungible depending on political expedience. It goes back to the old Groucho line: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”

Even your favorite politician who tells you how much he loves the Second Amendment, in most cases, is telling you that because it’s politically expedient. Our great task is to make it politically expedient. There are true believers out there, but they are rare.

Armed Resistance in Venezuela

Miguel, who is an expat from Venezuela, notes that one civilian armed with a pistol stopped a National Guard advance. Remember, the people who spew all this bullshit about the government having tanks, jets and nuclear weapons don’t really get what armies are for. The purpose of an army is the imposition of political will. It’s not just to kill people and destroy things. Armies do those things, of course, but the overriding goal in using an army is to impose your political will on other people. That becomes much harder and more complicated when the people you’re looking to do that to are universally armed and willing to resist. The problem in Venezuela is there’s not enough of either.

More on the Realignment

Probably one of the most interesting developments in the realignment going on. If my social media feeds tell me anything, protestant evangelicals have largely done a turnaround in their attitudes towards jews and Israel as the political winds have shifted. The Dems now host some of the more virulently anti-semitic elected officials in American politics. That whole issue is in the process of swapping parties.

Listening to Trump’s SOTU, it’s pretty clear there are some other issues shifting as well. How many issues Trump brought up in SOTU would have been Dem issues a decade ago? Family leave? Fair trade? Ending wars? I was told all these things were good and wholesome, but the orange man, he is bad!

Why Polls are Junk

One thing Bitter and I agree on in regards to Trump is that he doesn’t give a rats ass about polling, and that it’s both refreshing and terrifying. My Congressman, Brian Fitzpatrick, a rare specimen of the endangered Republicanus Bloombergensus, I don’t think takes a shit without checking first to see how well it will poll. The problem with leadership by poll is that most polls are junk, and lobbyists pushing one issue or another are happy to put their junk polling in front o lawmakers and their staff. The one Salon is hawking to promote gun control is no exception. Looks good for the gun control folks doesn’t it? Eight percent say it’s their biggest issue! Of those four to one broke for Dems! Oh dear! I don’t want to be on the wrong side of history!

Except if you look at the AP survey, at its root it’s a self-selected poll, which has about zero validity:

We start by mailing a postcard to a random sample of registered voters in 25 states, inviting them to take our survey either online or by phone. We also try to reach those registered voters directly by phone. At the same time, we’re conducting a random-sample survey of registered voters nationwide. Finally, we survey self-identified registered voters in all 50 states using online panels, which allows us to interview a very large number of people in just a few days.

Emphasis mine. Even if your initial sampling is random, if they have to choose whether to participate, the numbers are going to be skewed over what they would be if they were truly random. In truth all polling has this flaw, which is why polling, for the most part, is bullshit. Telephone polling was a better method in the era when people answered their phones and would have felt social pressure to participate. But what’s replacing telephone polling is utter garbage. This survey has all those flaws in spades. No one should pay a lick of attention to this shit. I think an attribute of people who are politically successful after the realignment is they won’t pay any attention to polling. Polls, like candy, are the junk food of the political world.

How do you know what voters in your community think, if you’re the politician representing them? Get out there and talk to them. Get out there in the community. There’s no substitute for that. Don’t just talk to your donors. Talk to real people. Years ago, everyone knew this. Somehow, we’ve forgotten.

What’s Important in the Debate? Is it Even Debate?

Reader RAH notes:

Yet when Mitch Daniels who was a very good governor and he said to stick with fiscal conservatism and avoid culture clashes. He was wrong Culture is what drives policy. The left has been winning culture wars and that affect my freedom and my children’s freedom. I see the same Mitch Daniels attitude in the comments here a lot.

I used to think reason and debate mattered, but now I’m not all that sure. It matters to a small subset of the population who like that kind of thing. But in the overall political picture, I’m not sure reason and debate matter worth a damn. Most base what they think on emotion. In fact, one reason I’d argue social media is awful is because you can’t get away from that. People going off about things without even basic experience on a topic, aggressive ignorance, overt emotional displays and virtue signaling are the bread and butter of political opinion on social media. This is not limited to one side of the debate: this is true about every side of any issue.

But is RAH correct? I’m increasingly thinking so. Look at where the Overton Window has shifted to in the abortion debate. The debate is now whether it’s OK to commit infanticide. I’m nominally in favor of abortion being legal, but this is too far for me. But that’s where the debate has shifted to. I spent ten years on this blog arguing that machine gun rights are a lost cause unless we can change the issue culturally. In five years the left has gone from pushing gay marriage, which I agreed with them on, to getting us to question whether someone with a Y-chromosome is a male or not, and whether I’m a bigot for calling someone with a penis a dude. This is crazy. And a lot of people seem happy to vote for this crazy.

Why can’t this work for us? My instinct tells me it won’t work. But why? The left seems to be succeeding in wildly changing the culture. Is it because they control social media? Is it Google? What it is? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have shit to do with reason and debate.

Politics 101

Some people need to hear it:

I find some of the responses here disturbing. Look, sure, you want to elect people who agree with you 100%. But it’s hard to get a majority that way. The Dems took the House by running centrist (or centrist-appearing) candidates who could win in close districts. You’re not going to win a seat Ed Markey holds with a Ted Cruz, or Tim Scott. But somebody who caucuses with you and votes with you most of the time is better than someone who caucuses with the other side and votes with them all of the time. And just by running someone you make the Dems defend what would otherwise be safe seats, leaving them fewer resources to go after others. This is Politics 101 and it works.

There are limits, of course, but this is truth. Culturally, the whole Boston to DC Acela Corridor is a monoculture dominated by New York City, which has traditionally concerned itself with suppressing the rabble so the Right Kind of People can run things and make money. But we’ve also seen the spread of New England Puritanism through the Acela Corridor.

In the 21st century the modern day Puritans have pretty much given up dour protestantism and have instead adopted dour state worship as their purifying religion. They’ve even brought back witch hunting! But we’re oh so sophisticated about it these days.

But it doesn’t change the fact that you won’t win a Massachusetts Senate seat with Ted Cruz. What you need to capitalize on is that no one fucking likes witch hunting Puritans, no matter what religion they have adopted for themselves.

More on the Realignment

Ace of Spades doesn’t get the people who don’t want their elected politicians to fight for their interests. He points out:

I think the biggest difference between the cuck and non-cuck wings of the Republican party (apart from the cucks being liberals) is that non-cucks valorize audacity and aggression, whereas cucks valorize caution and defensiveness.

In a period of relative political stability, caution and defensiveness are what get you through. There are apple carts that don’t need upsetting, so people will tend to select for those traits. The problem is we’re in the middle of the political realignment where everything is up for grabs, and new arrangements are being negotiated. In that kind of political environment, audacity and aggression are what will get you through, but it’ll take a while to move aside all the people who rose under the last period of political stability.

I’m not always happy about the battles Trump picks, but he’s a fighter. He is a harbinger of the realignment. We will need more politicians who fight.

Bleeding Oregon

Thought of the day, and I guess open thread: if the shit is going to hit the fan, so to speak, I think it’s going to start in a blue state. The excrement will be put in motion by narrow minded urbanites forcing policies on rural people that ruin them. What state will this happen in? My prediction is Oregon. Portlandia has basically lost its mind, and the rest of the state is culturally the mountain west.

Oregon will be the 21st century Bleeding Kansas. Lets hope it works out better for them than it did for Kansas.

Good Turnout at Pittsburgh Protest

AtI’ll take 800 by press accounts! We need the politicians to realize people still care. Because Governor Wolf, now in his lame duck term, is getting more aggressive about gun bans. You can count on the media counts being the low limit. I’d believe 1000 or even 1500 if the media is claiming 800, which is pretty good for a preemption fight. Preemption is a hill to die on, as in defend at all cost. Without it, there would be no way to transport firearms without risking arrest and prosecution, because no one can know all the local ordinances and laws. The other side knows that, which is why they are trying to eliminate it. Their goal is to ban guns, but absent that they’d be OK with making it so legally risky that no sane person would bother.

People think all the gun ban movement will come on strong with jack booted thugs coming door to door, but that’s not how it will happen. They’ll be happy to have you defy the law, and keep your guns in your safe. They just need to wait you out. In a generation there will be no gun culture. That’s how they’ll win. They’ll never cross the line enough to provoke violent resistance. They don’t have to.

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