Alice Hausman’s Illiterate Obsession, Part III: Weird Looking Guns!

The next stop on our dissection of HF241 – Alice Hausman’s gun grab bill focused on so-called “assault weapons” - is, I’ll be honest, mind-bogglingly obtuse.

It would ban…:

 (3) semi-automatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has one or more of the following:

(i) any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand;

(ii) a folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock;

(iii) a shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel; or

(iv) the capacity to accept a detachable magazine at any location outside of the pistol grip;

This is aimed at the various semi-automatic pistols that have been teased into a vaguely military-looking appearance, like the “Uzi Pistol”

…which are, literally, pistols with little collapsible stocks on them.  They are mostly famous for appearing in movies in the hands of gang-bangers, which is no doubt why Heather Martens some DFL staffer added them to the bill.

But it also includes our old friend the Mauser C96…:

…which can add a stock to make it a light carbine (for horse-mounted troops in the 1800s), and is a big collectible.   No, I had a friend who owned one.  It’s not that far-out.

(I didn’t forget the Browning HP35…

…which the DFL staff and/or Heather Martens didn’t think about, apparently because it’s not appeared in any gang-banger movies or TV shows, but also has a 13 round magazine, so the DFL will want to ban it anyway…)

Later today:  Yes, this bill gets dumber still.

Alice Hausman’s Illiterate Obsession, Part II: Huh-Wha?!?

The next section of HF 241 – Alice Hausman’s gun grab bill focused on so-called “assault weapons” - is a little bit confusing:

3.4(2) semi-automatic pistol, or any semi-automatic, centerfire, or rimfire rifle with a fixed magazine, that has the capacity to accept more than seven rounds of ammunition;

Does this section mean “any semi-automatic pistol with a magazine capacity of over seven rounds” is banned, as well as fixed-magazine rifles?  Or does it only refer to “semi-automatic pistols with fixed magazines of greater than seven rounds”?

I’m not trying to be tendentious here; it could refer to semi-auto pistols with fixed magazines, although I can think of only one…:

…the Mauser C96, and it has an eight-round fixed magazine.

But I suspect it means “semi auto pistols with more than seven round magazines, or any semi-auto rifle with a fixed magazine of greater than seven rounds”.

Which means this pistol…:

…the classic Colt M1911 .45 calibre with its seven round magazine, is legal, while this one…:

…the SIG P220 .45 with its eight-round magazine, is not.

Huh?

Beyond that?  ”Semi-automatic rifles with fixed magazines” holding more than seven rounds include…:

…Grampa’s M1 Garand from World War 2.

The WW2-era Swedish Ljungmann I used to own?

Ten-round semi-detachable magazine (you could detach them, but only for cleaning or clearing jams).

Or the SKS – a Russian design that’s become one of the most popular deer-hunting rifles in America?

Yep, it’s got the ten-round fixed magazine.  It’s cheap (under $300 up until before the election) and ubiquitous – and, apparently, an “assault weapon” in Alice Hausman’s curious little world.

Alice Hausman’s Illiterate Obsession, Part I: Parts Is Parts!

HF 241 – Alice Hausman’s gun grab bill focused on so-called “assault weapons” – has morphed from a list of ugly-looking army-type guns into a recipe book written by people who don’t understand much about guns, but know they really really don’t like them.

Rather than write one long article about this deeply stupid bill, I’m going to break it down in terms of its pure, specious illogic over the next day or so.

The first part of the bill bans any…:

(1) semi-automatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and has one or more of the following:

(i) a pistol grip or thumbhole stock;

(ii) any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand;

(iii) a folding or telescoping stock; or

(iv) a shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel;

Put briefly, if the rifle has a detachable magazine (the thing that holds the bullets) it can’t have a pistol grip, a forward handgrip, an adjustable stock or – this is confusing – the wrong kind of thingie wrapped around the barrel.

So in other words, this Ruger Mini-14 is legal…:

…while this one is illegal…:

…even though the two are functionally exactly identical.

Exactly. As in, there is no difference, down to and including the magazine size.

Oh, it gets dumber.  Yes, the bill would ban this rifle…:

…which is functionally exactly identical to this rifle here:

Both are Ruger 10/22s, perhaps the most ubuquitous .22 caliber plinking rifle in the country.  They are mechanically identical – but one has furniture that offends Alice Hausman’s sensibilities.

Dumber still?  If you like sniping at varmints, this 10/22 is just as illegal as the “tacti-cool” one above:

It’s the same gun, with the “thumbhole stock”.  And if you want to have an adjustable stock, so your kids can shoot the same rifle you do?

Yep. Banned.

Every last one of them is precisely mechanically the same; same ten-round detachable magazine (it pops out of the stock just ahead of the trigger guard), same low-power .22 round.

In other words, Hausman’s gun grab isn’t aimed at even the most tangential definition of “Deadliness”; it’s entirely focused on cosmetic features that have nothing to do with a weapon’s effect.

They get dumber.   More later today.

Letter To Nick Coleman, “Executive Editor” Of The Uptake

I sent the following to Nick Coleman – the “Executive Editor” of Twin Cities’ videoleftyblog The Uptake, which appears to have jettisoned all pretense of being anything but, well, a videoleftyblog – after reading his email to the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance last night:

Mr. Coleman,

I caught your note to Andrew Rothman on Facebook.

As a rigidly law-abiding gun owner, I have a special interest in policing my own.

So if you would please: from whom are you getting this “growing sense” at the Capitol?

Any actual legislators you could name? Did they have complaints about any specific behavior, from any particular attendees?

If they felt intimidated, was there a reason they didn’t notify Capitol Security – who said, Mr. Rothman noted, that the crowd was better-behaved than most?

Finally, Mr. Coleman – as you have publicly acknowledged being a carry permit holder, how do people “find it possible” do do anything around you, knowing that you may be armed? It’s a serious question.

Thanks in advance.

Mitch Berg

Uppity Peasant

I’m not exactly expecting an answer.  The one time Nick answered a question of mine, it was…

…well, memorable.

That Growing Sense The DFL Lost That One

I used to read a lot of liberal bloggers.  I don’t so much anymore; part of it’s the time; part of it is that there are so few good ones.

A few Minnesota liberal blogs – one in particular, but I’m not naming names – have a particularly annoying habit when they get pressed in an argument with a rare conservative commenter; if it’s not going well for them, one of the blog’s writers will dig hard to wrench context hard enough to find some sort of offense in the comment; he’ll feign the Victorian Vapours at the (contrived) offense…

…which has the side-effect of taking the focus of the debate off of, well, the debate.

I’m not sure I’m surprised to hear this next story – that the Minnesota DFL is using the same precise tactic after having been shredded in the marketplace of public opinion last week.

am a little surprised at the person asking the questions.

From: Nick Coleman <[redacted]@[The Uptake].org>

Date: Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Subject: guns at capitol query

To: [redacted]@gocra-mn.org

Joe, Andrew, et al:

There is a growing sense at the Capitol that the presence of so many guns during last week’s gun control hearings affected the process, or even intimidated Legislators. Would you please comment today for a story I am writing for The UpTake?

Is it possible to debate guns in a room full of guns?

Thanks,

Nick Coleman

Executive Editor, The UpTake

www.theuptake.org

651-747-[redacted]

Oh, good lord.

The “Growing Sense” is weasel words for “a conclusion that we can’t actually substantiate”.

A little background here: a carry permittee – a person who has passed a background check and taken a training course – can get permission to carry in the Capitol and the State Office Buildings by informing the head of Capitol security they intend to do so.

And those notifications spiked big-time before Gun Week, last week, as carry permittees – out of symbolism or the practical desire not to have to sweat storing their firearms in their cars – filed with the capitol cops.

Are some legislators intimidated by the existence of firearms?  No doubt.

Are they right to be intimidated by a population that is two orders of magnitude less likely to commit any significant crime than the general public?

No more than they would be to feel “intimidated” by exercise of free speech, worship, press (or radio) or assembly – although some of them are.  And they’re wrong then, too.

And the cutesy final question: “Is it possible to debate guns in a room full of guns?”  Given the reality – carry permittees are safer to be around than just about anyone – the answer is “just as possible as it is in a room full of speech, assembly or religion”.

But let’s cut the crap: the only “growing sense” is among the DFL Caucus’ PR flaks (and, let’s be honest, Alida Messinger and Carrie Lucking) that they need to do something good ‘n Alinsky-riffic to try to undercut the groundswell of popular opinion that swarmed the Capitol last week and humiliated the DFL representatives and their copy-and-pasted bills.

Andrew Rothman, VP of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, had a response too.  It’s below the jump.  And it includes a classic story about Heather Martens, from the late Joel Rosenberg, that is perhaps one of the best examples of the hyperbolic hypocrisy of the gun-grabber movement…

…and its’ new stenographer, Nick Coleman.

Continue reading

Incremental

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

One problem with gun control is over-breadth. To keep firearms out of North Minneapolis, we must ban them statewide, even nationwide and perhaps worldwide, or else they’ll just trickle back in as people move around.

Maybe the problem is freedom of travel? That doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution or the amendments, it’s a right invented by the Supreme Court and the early cases dealt with travel Between states. But what about travel Within a single state? Can we limit that?

Perhaps Minneapolis could impose reasonable restrictions on travel into or out of North Minneapolis? Close off all but a few streets, set up a checkpoint and search everyone coming into the North Minneapolis Sterile Zone for ugly guns and high-capacity magazines. That would create a safe and peaceful Gun Free Zone where it’s most needed but still allow people in rural Minnesota to keep firearms for hunting and self-defense. Nizel George would not have died in vain.

Reasonable restrictions on a right that’s not even mentioned in the Constitution. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Joe Doakes

Como Park

Saint Paul could use the same idea – a wall around the city, with a fee to get out - for economic development!

The Constitution doesn’t mention anything about “no walls around cities!”

Paymar And The Blazing Reichstag

I spoke too soon yesterday in writing about the DFL Metrocrats’ hearings regarding guns.  They – Hausman, Paymar, Sheldon Johnson and Simonson, to be exact - introduced a bill today aimed at “High Capacity Magazines”.

Their definition of “high-capacity”:  seven rounds.

Money shot:

Sec. 3. PERSONS POSSESSING LARGE-CAPACITY MAGAZINES ON EFFECTIVE DATE OF ACT; REQUIRED ACTIONS.

2.29Any person who, on August 1, 2013, is in possession of a large-capacity magazine has 120 days to do either of the following without being subject to prosecution under

Minnesota Statutes, section 624.7133:

 

2.32(1) remove the large-capacity magazine from the state; or

(2) surrender the large-capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for  destruction.

OK, gun owners - all of you, hunters and skeeters and defensive shooters alike; if you’ve never come out and gotten active in politics before, now is the time.  This piece of Stalin-era twaddle isn’t going away on its own, or because the orcs who introduced it will be overcome with long-hidden feelings of libertarian conscience.

It’ll be because law-abiding Real Americans like you and me take it down and kick it to death.

It’s going to the “Public Safety Committee”, which we talked about yesterday.  Call them, especially Ward, Savick and Rosenthal (UPDATE: And Simonson).

We need to crush the switchboards.

BONUS QUESTION FOR CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLARS: Isn’t “give us your legally-purchased and not-by-any-means-inexpensive property or risk going to jail” the very definition of an “Illegal Taking?”

Because 13 round magazines for a SIG P250 were $45 a pop even before the current hysteria set in.  Or so I’m told.

Open Letter To Governor Dayton

To:  Governor Messinger Dayton
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  A Time For Choosing

Governor Messinger Dayton,

I have  a couple of questions for you.

  1. Do you support President Obama’s declaration that legal gun ownership by the law-abiding citizen is a dangerous condition that needs monitoring?  I’ll ask you not to equivocate; yes, or no?
  2. If you support it, please make sure everyone knows.  You’ve never been shy about using the media that serves as your praetorian guard, and the lavishly-funded apparatus that your puppeteer ex-wife owns, to get the message out before; please don’t stop now.
  3. If you support the President, could you please prevail upon Minnesota’s DFL legislators to publicly declare their support as well?  Very, very publicly?  Maybe in a big press conference on the Capitol steps?

You ran as a “pro-2nd-Amendment” candidate in the 2010 election.  I’ve always suspected that you did it more out of memory of what happened to Ann Wynia (and the rest of the Democrat majorities) in 1994, or to the DFL’s majority in the House in 2002, than out of any sincere care for civil and human and rights…

…but I’m willing, if not expecting, to be surprised.

I mean, one way or another, it’s time for a big profile in courage, isn’t it?

That is all.

Open Letter To Senator Klobuchar

To:  Senator Amy Klobuchar
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  Powers

Sen. Klobuchar,

I have  a couple of questions for you.

  1. Do you join President Obama in the belief that the law-abiding, legal gun owner is a public health risk and manifesting a mental illness?  I’ll ask you not to equivocate; yes, or no?
  2. Could you please make your reasons for this support as public as you can, if applicable?  You’ve never been shy about using the media that serves as your praetorian guard to get the message out before; please don’t stop now.
  3. If you support the President, could you please prevail upon Minnesota’s DFL legislators to publicly declare their support as well?  Very, very publicly?

You’ve spent the past six years in a calculated effort to create a public image of studied innocuity.  But given your massive victory last November, surely you feel secure enough politically to be honest about your stance and motivations.

I mean, you just know you’re bulletproof come election time, don’t you?

That is all.

Open Letter To Senator Franken

To:  Senator Al Franken
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  Powers

Sen. Franken,

I have  a couple of questions for you.

  1. Do you support President Obama’s executive order saying law-abiding gun ownership is mental illness?  I’ll ask you not to equivocate; yes, or no?
  2. If so, please make your support very, very public.
  3. Again if so – please do what you can to make MN DFL legislators “come out” publicly on their support, would you please?

I mean, you just know you’re bulletproof come election time, don’t you?

That is all.

Open Letter To Rep. Peterson

To: Rep. Colin Peterson (DFL MN-07)
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  Power, Power, Power!

Rep. Peterson,

If you’d be so kind, I’d love it if you answered the following:

  1. Do you support President Obama’s decree, yesterday, saying that law-abiding legal gun ownership is a form of mental illness?  Yes or no, please.
  2. As you’ve always claimed to be a pro-Second-Amendment guy, then – if you don’t support Obama, what do you plan to do to fight this usurpation?

Your attention to this matter will be appreciated.

That is all.

Open Letter To Representative Walz

To:  Rep. Tim Walz (DFL-MNCD1)
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re:  Powers

Rep. Walz,

I have  a couple of questions for you.

  1. Do you support President Obama’s executive orders trying to equate legal, law-abiding gun ownership with mental illness? I’ll ask you not to equivocate; yes, or no?
  2. If so, are you urging DFL legislators in the 1st CD to do the same?
  3. If not, how do you plan to manifest this dissent politically?  Concrete terms, please.

Please make your stance on this issue as public as you possibly can.  Tell the Strib, if you’d be so kind.  Failing that, at least inform Sally Jo Sorenson; she’s always been a reliable steno.

That is all.

Dodging The Whirlwind

I’m going to call this one a tactical victory for Real America.  It’s a won battle; it’s not the war.

The President saw the result of Slow Joe Biden’s trial balloons last week – the suggestions of magazine limits, assault weapon bans and other draconian nationwide assaults on law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment Rights - which was measured in an explosion of NRA memberships, a mobilization of grass-roots support for the originalist version of the Second Amendment, and the greatest gun-buying frenzy since the US Army signed gave a blank check to John Garand in 1040 – and blinked.

No ineffective gun bans – this time.  No reinstatement of the worthless and abuse-prone Assault Weapons Ban – yet. No useless magazine capacity restrictions – this go-around.

That’s the good news.

In a more mixed vein?  Here, reportedly (according to Business Insider) are the Administraiton’s recommendations, with my responses following in blue:

  1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
  2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.  [These first two, at first glance, don't seem like bad ideas in and of themselves, although I have a hunch what's in that data is going to be worth a fight.  More below]
  3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.    [Like what Minnesota could have done, had Gov. Messinger Dayton not vetoed the "Stand Your Ground" bill in a fit of bitchy partisan picque, you mean?]
  4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.   [Nice and vague and subject to boundless politicization]
  5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.   [I'm a little amazed this doesn't already happen.  I'm also leery of giving more "discretion" to law-enforcement, or at least law-enforcement in places like Chicago]
  6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.   [Superfluous]
  7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.   [You mean, like the ones the National Boogeyman Rifle Association has been running for decades?]
  8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).  [Superfluous; gun locks and safes arguably prevent a few accidents; again, it only bears on those responsible enough to use them, rather than criminals]
  9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.   [Again, amazed this isn't already the case]
  10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.  [As above]
  11. Nominate an ATF director.   [Superfluous at best, adding to the bureaucratic misdirection at worst.  The BATF has little measurable effect on crime; it serves mainly to badger the law-abiding, at least when it comes to firearms sales]
  12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.  [Which is great; law-enforcement has advanced a lot in this area since Columbine; given that it took cops 20 minutes to respond to New Town, it'd seem it hasn't advanced enough.  And you can be sure the federally-mandated training won't include the conclusion that's blazingly obvious from the training that is being given to law enforcement (that resisting as immediately as possible with lethal force is vital); that having people in the target area with guns and the abiliity to resist is beyond vital]
  13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.   [Exactly as the NRA has been asking]
  14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.   [Now we're getting Orwellian - and this is the area where Real Americans need to be watchful.  The Administration seems to be moving toward the passive-aggressive long game - towarad calling gun ownership a precursor condition to mental illness.  There is great danger here]
  15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.   [This is a nod toward "gun safety technology" like bolt-face stamps and biometric safeties that make guns much less safe for the law-abiding user, and much more expensive for the lower-income citizen.  Which is, of course, one of the goals] 
  16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes  [In other words, turning doctors into Adminstration spies, gathering data for future actions.  Suffice to say I've got one 'condition' I'll never tell my doctor about]
  17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.   [Also amazed this isn't generally the case]
  18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.   [Wait - you mean exactly as the NRA recommended?]
  19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.   [Provided, apparently, that those "model plans" not include "armed citizens killing monsters"]
  20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.  
  21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.   [Within the context of a rapidly-socializing healthcare system, this and the previous are how the whole "Mental Health" issue gets dealt with, I suppose.  Sigh]
  22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
  23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.  [Because who better to lead a dialogue on mental health than a couple of bureaucrats?]

LIke most tactical victories, today’s developments leave many potential roads to future battles; the definition of mental health, the potential for using Obamacare’s information systems to add millions of Americans to the federal NICS database as “mentally ill” without any real recourse, and on and on.

And on some issues – “School Resource Officers” and safety training – the Administration is bordering on triangulation to the right.  Which isn’t all bad, since both of those measures are (on their face) sensible.

But the price of liberty is eternal vigilance – and the orcs have left us much to be vigilant about.  Joe Doakes of Como Park emails:

The President assured the nation the federal government isn’t going to take all guns, just impose common sense public safety measures.

I’m thrilled to hear it. I encourage the President to extend that reasoning to other Constitutionally protected rights.

We won’t ban all religions, only those with a tendency toward violence: Catholics. And Jews, because their mere existence provokes peaceful Muslims.

You still can say things that have serious artistic or literary merit, but nothing critical of the government; that’s sedition.

We will only use warrantless searches on the persons, papers, houses and effects of radical extremists: gun owners and church-goers.

See how easy this is? Utopia is within our grasp if we only have the Will to impose it.

Joe Doakes

Como Park

The slope is still slippery.  It’s not as steep as it could have been, but we’re all still sliding.

 

Fire In A Crowded Theater

In case I haven’t mentioned it before – a billion thanks to Professor Joe Olson and the rest of the crew at the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance for ensuring Minnesota’s carry permit law was written so that carry permits are not public records.

While the safety of the individual carry permittee wasn’t the primary reason, the depraved indifference of some – many – journalists to the safety and well-being of people who oppose their editorial agenda, and their families, is reason enough to say “Thanks, Joe and GOCRA”.

We’re a lot luckier than the poor saps in New York, the legal, law-abiding carry permit holders whose names and addresses were published by the in-the-bag-for-the-left News Journal.

It’d seem that the information has been used to target the law-abiding citizens for attack.  A White Plains (NY) homeowner targeted by the News Journal was burglarized; his gun cabinet was singled out:

A White Plains residence pinpointed on a controversial handgun permit database was burglarized Saturday, and the burglars’ target was the homeowner’s gun safe.

At least two burglars broke into a home on Davis Avenue at 9:30 p.m. Saturday but were unsuccessful in an attempt to open the safe, which contained legally owned weapons, according to a law enforcement source. One suspect was taken into custody, the source said.

The News Journal’s interactive online map of…:

  • law abiding citizens, who…
  • …passed a stringent background check, and were…
  • …issued carry permits by the State of New York…

…served no news purpose whatsoever; under any other circumstance, a list of demonstrably law-abiding people who’ve obtained a legal document under normal processes is the very definition of “dog licks dog”, journalistically speaking.

Since there’s no news purpose, the only reason for the “story” was politically-motivated badgering of law-abiding citizens.

Which is an interesting juxtaposition; in producing a “story” about people exercising their Constitutional rights in a thoroughly law-abiding manner, the News Journal, with the blessing (or silent acquiescence, which is the same thing) of much of the American mainstream media, abused their First Amendment rights; isn’t pointing a big red “Burgle Me!” sign at citizens the very definition of “fighting words?”

The gun owner was not home when the burglary occurred, the source said. The victim, who is in his 70s, told Newsday on Sunday that he did not want to comment while the police investigation continues.

Police are investigating what role, if any, the database played in the burglars’ decision to target the home, the law enforcement source said.

Prediction:  under political pressure from Andrew Cuomo, the police will play down any connection they find.

Don’t believe your own lying eyes, peasants!

The News Journal should be sued out of existence.  If the homeowner (and the other citizens whose privacy was frivolously gang-raped by their idiot media) decide to file a suit, I’ll be happy to send a buck or two to their legal attack fund.

U Of M: Cone Of Silence For DFLers?

So last Wednesday, the entire State Legislature attended a “Policy Conference” at the U of M.

Check out the notice.  It’s “closed to the public”.

Inquiries to the U’s public relations contact were – is this surprising to anyone? – not returned.

This follows close on the heels of an event in September at the U with Governor Dayton; Dayton’s performance appeared addled – but the U of M didn’t videotape the speech (citing “expense”), and the media in attendance embargoed their own video of Dayton’s performance.

I’m not as clear on open meeting laws as I should be, but I have to wonder: has the U become a handy place for the DFL to skirt open meeting laws?

 

No una oportunidad, los Republicanos

The GOP’s new motto on immigration reform?  Yo quiero pander…to all sides of the debate:

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Politico that he’s open to giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship in exchange for a temporary moratorium on all legal immigration while they “assimilate.” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a longtime proponent of reform, said legalization should be paired with the repeal of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil. And Republican House Speaker John Boehner told reporters on Friday that he would not commit to including a path to citizenship in his immigration reform efforts…

Juan Hernandez, a Texas-based Republican political consultant who served as Sen. John McCain’s director of Hispanic outreach in 2008, said whatever the potential disagreements, congressmen should start hammering out a deal now.

“Should it be with two, three or four steps? That’s fine. Let’s negotiate. But let’s starting taking the first steps immediately,” Hernandez said. “We may not find a political moment again in which at least I see everyone saying it’s time for immigration reform.”

The cries that demographics equal destiny for an eventual GOP shift to the left on all issues pertaining to immigration reform have been shouted for some time.  And in the wake of a narrow popular vote re-election for Barack Obama, carried in part by a 44% margin of victory among Latino voters, the cries have renewed with vigor.  Even some in the conservative intelligentsia have backed a 2007-esque immigration reform stance, including Sean Hannity and Charles Krauthammer.

But would backing amnesty, a path to citizenship, however the GOP wishes to define such legislation, really give the GOP any electoral edge?  Republicans have gained nothing among African-American voters despite the GOP’s critical role in civil rights legislation.  Yet pollsters love to mention Bush’s 44% showing among Latinos in 2004 and equally enjoy pointing out 65% of all voters (including 3 out of 4 Latinos) support some opportunity at citizenship for illegal immigrants.  Of course, Bush’s Latino support was greatly inflated and was more likely around 38%.  And last, but not least, is the data suggesting that immigration from Latin American countries may be actually reversing.

That last part is critical because Latino attitudes towards immigration reform vary depending on whether they were born here or immigrated.  While 42% of all Latino voters called immigration reform their number one issue, only 32% of U.S. born Latinos agreed compared to 54% who were foreign born.  Financially stable ($80k+ incomes) Latinos and those who are second generation are less likely to focus on immigration reform or support carte blanche amnesty.  Those who called Spanish their first language were far more interested in immigration reform than those who said English was their primary language.  The greater integrated recent immigrants had become, the less interested they were in immigration concerns.

Republicans focus on Latinos when speaking about immigration reform ignores a number of other demographic groups who have more at stake in any immigration conversation.  Asians are now the largest block of recent immigrants, surpassing Hispanic migration.  And as a voting block, Asian-Americans voted by similar margins to Latinos for Obama.  Where are the breathless newspaper column inches declaring the GOP must court Asian-Americans?

Republican outreach to minority groups has been a priority mothballed election cycle after election cycle.  If an election where nearly 13 million fewer voters showed up prompts the GOP to finally engage demographics they’ve thus far all but ignored, then great.  But if Republicans try and out liberal liberals on issues like immigration reform, they will continue to find no real opportunities for political gain.

ADDENDUM: Rachel Campos-Duffy at National Review hits the nail on the head of the broader challengers standing between Republicans and Latino voters:

Hispanics come to America for the American Dream. They are “trabajadores,” and you would be hard pressed to find an American farmer, contractor, or restaurant owner who would not testify to their work ethic. Unfortunately, the communities in which they live and work are teeming with liberal activists: farm and service-industry labor unions, well-intentioned community-based social services providers and more radical and racially motivated Latino groups such as La Raza, LULAC, and Mecha. In addition, the curricula their kids encounter in public schools are either hostile or silent on the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and ideas that are the foundation of conservative thinking. All of these activist groups and institutions have a common ideology and an affinity for big and centralized government, and of course, entitlements. They go out of their way to sign folks up and to begin the cycle of government dependency. Once hooked to the IV of government handouts, a steady drip of ideology, and a heavy dose of raunchy pop culture, the once vibrant American Dreams and traditional family values of Hispanics drift into a slow, deep coma.

Nobody Died At Watergate

Yesterday, the President invoked “executive privilege” in order to cover up his administration’s involvement in a plan to slander America’s law-abiding gun owners, which went awry and ended in the death of a Federal agent.

IBD’s editorial board has had enough

President Obama’s contempt for the rule of law hit a new low when, on the eve of a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, he granted his AG’s 11th-hour request to hide sought-after documents on Operation Fast and Furious under the cover of executive privilege.

“I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the relevant post-Feb. 4, 2011, documents,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole says in a letter that GOP Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa received just before Wednesday’s hearing and vote, a letter that apparently was not mentioned in a last-minute meeting between Issa and Holder Tuesday night.

Or maybe it wasn’t the 11th hour at all, but just a long-planned final gambit in the cover-up of who made the decisions in a federally sponsored effort to provide Mexican drug cartels with sophisticated American firearms and who is ultimately responsible for the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry with these weapons?

Remember – Fast and Furious didn’t attack terrorism.  It didn’t even attack the narcotraficantes that have made Northern Mexico more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan, even Chicago.

It was a government financed effort to smear America’s firearms industry and law-abiding gun owners, in pursuit of Obama’s goal to try to reverse the slide in this nation’s gun control laws.

No more.

Executive privilege, as Issa noted in his opening remarks, can only be asserted when it involves direct presidential decision-making and communications. It cannot be invoked, legally, to prevent others in the chain of command from explaining their actions or responding to requests for information on their decisions in which the president is not involved.

And the Administration has been lying to Congress, and the people (over half of whom the program attempted to slander) the entire time:

Back in February 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ron Welch, in response to the investigations by Rep. Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley of the Fast and Furious gun-”walking” program run out of ATF’s Phoenix office, wrote a letter stating that the “allegation that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons … is false.”

Later, Deputy Attorney General Cole, in another letter to Congress, wrote: “Facts have come to light during the course of this investigation that indicate the Feb. 4 letter contains inaccuracies.” In other words, the Department of Justice lied to Congress. The cover-up continues with the invocation of executive privilege.

IBD’s editorial writers have reached their conclusion:

Fast and Furious has become worse than Watergate. No one died at Watergate. Just what is in those documents that Obama and Holder so desperately want to hide? Brian Terry’s family and the American people deserve answers.

Well, this was supposed to be the most transparent administration in  history.

Rhetorical question:  can you imagine what would have happened had George W. Bush spent federal money to smear, say, ACORN or Common Cause or the Violence Policy Center?

The Public Fraud

The First Amendment protects free speech (as well as the press, assembly, and worship provided that the subject isn’t contraception).

But it has limits.

Fraud is not free speech.  You need to speak to commit fraud – “Hey, you have money in Nigeria, and we need $1,000 in legal fees to get it for you!”, right?  But it’s illegal.

It’s not illegal, in most cases, to lie.  There is the odd exception – the Stolen Valor Act which, by the way, makes me uncomfortable; I’d rather have a group of Green Berets set an impersonator straight than some federal prosecutor.    In most other cases, it’s not illegal.

Indeed, in some cases it’s encouraged, even among public servants.  The Supreme Court has said it’s OK for cops and prosecutors to lie to suspects to get information out of them.  That’s acceptable, generally, although it’s led to the odd miscarriage of justice.

But I think there should be a great, shining exception to “freedom of speech”.  Officers of the court should not be able to lie about the law, to their constituents.

There are only two explanations for Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom so grossly misstated the potential effects of the “Stand Your Ground” bill, vetoed yesterday by Governor Dayton.

He Doesn’t Know Any Better And, Like The Strib “Editorial Board”, Just Wrote What He Was Told.  If he’s that ignorant of the laws he’s supposed to enforce, he should not be a County Attorney.

Or…

He Actively Misrepresented The Law To An Audience Including His Constituents. With the goal of influencing public policy (the bill was then in committee), Backstrom wrote an op-ed (not for the first time, mind you) that actively and knowingly tried to mislead the public by lying about the consequences of a law.

I don’t know the legal definition of fraud – and I don’t have to, to still be able to say “this sort of behavior on the part of a court official defrauds and actively disinforms the public, toward a political end”.

And while there never will be, there oughtta be a law.

 

A Brief Interruption To The Sunday Routine

I rarely post on Sundays.

But I had to break the silence to point out that yesterday, the Strib ran an editorial about Rep. Tony Cornish’s “Stand Your Ground” bill that was distinguished by having not one solitary true assertion in it.

Not one.

As egregious as the Strib editors’ assaults against fact (on behalf of the DFL) have always been, I can not recall one in the past that not only so grossly buggers fact in pursuit of supporting the DFL’s agenda, to say nothing of being so morally, ethically and factually void to a physical absolute.

Tomorrow morning at 6AM here on Shot In The Dark.

Too Much Of Everything

What are the big lessons of this story?

The Department of Justice is under fire for taking the bold step of sending armed agents into the factories of Gibson Guitar in Nashville and Memphis to seize what it believes to be illegal wood.

Via press release from Gibson: “The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.”

The story – by Ben Howe at RedState – notes that this isn’t the first time Gibson has been raided by “federal agents with automatic weapons” over abstruse definitions of what wood is legal.

Bear in mind that the wood in question in both raids was certified legal by an industry self-regulation group. No matter; in come the automatic weapons and the pencil-necked Assistant US Attorneys.

So the lessons are what?

  1. We Have Too Many Regulations: Our bureaucracy has metastasized far beyond any level needed to ensure health and safety and adherence to rational laws.  It exists, like most Campaign Finance Boards and gun laws, to create criminals where there were none before.   This seems to be the case here; the Feds haven’t proved their case from the last raid, a few years back, whose results are still being knocked around in federal court.  This raid seems, to Howe, to be a way of stalling a defeat in the first case.
  2. We Have Too Many Regulators: They have to justify their existence somehow. More than that, they need to guard their turf; the wood industry, especially as re the music industry, has been regulating itself; how many customer bases are as PC as musicians (outside country-western, anyway)?
  3. The Feds Have Too Many Gun and SWAT Teams:  They sent a SWAT team to raid a guitar factory.  Not a crack house.  Not a Zeta stronghold in the Arizona mountains (perish the freaking though).  This is not a surprise, really; ever since the Clinton Administration, the federal government has been arming the bureaucracy; where once the Feds would depend on local SWAT teams to provide the armed muscle for the rare events it was needed, today that Feds have thousands of armed agents outside the FBI and the Marshalls, to say nothing of the military.  Where once the FBI might have something akin to a SWAT team, today the Department of Customs, the Marshalls, even the Department of Education have their own heavily-armed paramilitary units.   I would joke that the National Endowment for the Humanities has a SWAT team – but I’m afraid that someone would chime in with a link to a story about NEH commandos fast-roping in from a helicopter to serve a no-knock summons.
Cutting regulations?  Hell – it’s time to start disarming government.

Democrats: “Americans Are Eggs; We Are The Chefs”

As we’ve been showing this past week on this blog, Governor Dayton has been using poor Minnesotans as an anvil on which to try to hammer the GOP, intentionally ratcheting up the pain to them of a possible government shutdown.

It’s part of a great liberal liberal tradition; individuals can, and if need be must, be sacrified to “the greater good” (which, to modern progressives, means “liberals retaining power”).

Perhaps you’ve heard – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been busted running a “sting” that only stung Americans.

Operation Gunwalker – aka “Fast and Furious” –  has unravelled, with allegations that at very best, it was an incompetently-run operation which allowed thousands of guns to go, untraceably but with tacit, undercover government blessing, to Mexico.  Guns involved in Gunwalker are alleged to have been involved in the death of at least one Border Patrol agent.

And that’s the best that can be said about it.  Because…

The most damning revelations coming out of the hearings on Operation Fast and Furious held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform are the unmistakable indications that the program was never designed to succeed as a law enforcement operation at all.

The fact that failed as law-enforcement is bad enough.  It gets worse:

A quartet of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) agents and supervisors turned into whistleblowers to bring the operation down, but only after U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was gunned down in the Arizona desert. Two of the weapons recovered at the scene of Terry’s murder were traced to the operation.

Bear in mind that every single weapon was bought by a known “straw buyer” under surveillance from the ATF; every single weapon was brought to, and across the border, where it vanished from ATF surveillance.

No, really:

ATF agents testifying in front of the House Oversight Committee could not explain how the operation was supposed to succeed when their surveillance efforts stopped at the border and interdiction was never an option.

ATF Agent John Dodson, testifying in front of the committee, said that in his entire law enforcement career, he had “never been involved in or even heard of an operation in which law enforcement officers let guns walk.” He continued: “I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”

Note that the entire gun rights movement – the NRA, the GOA, GOCRA, every single one of us – favors keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

But why would the government do this?  Emphasis added:

The obvious answer is that Gunwalker’s objective was never intended to be a “legitimate law enforcement interest.” Instead, it appears that ATF Acting Director Ken Melson and Department of Justice senior executives specifically created an operation that was designed from the outset to arm Mexican narco-terrorists and increase violence substantially along both sides of the Southwest border.

Success was measured not by the number of criminals being incarcerated, but by the number of weapons transiting the border and the violence those weapons caused…At the same time in 2009 that federal law enforcement agencies (the ATF, the DOJ, and presumably Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security) were creating the operation that led to the executive branch being the largest gun smuggler in the Southwest, the president’s team was crafting the rhetoric to sell the crisis they were creating.

On television, in various news outlets, and even in a joint appearance with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Obama pushed the 90 percent lie, implying that 90% of the guns recovered in Mexican cartel violence came from U.S. gun shops.

Like Dayton here in Minnesota, Obama and his administration cynically created a crisis to advance their “progressive” political goals.

It’s the stuff of conspiracy theories – except the evidence is right there, in the words from the ATF whistle blowers.

Unlike Dayton (so far), Obama’s perfidy has claimed the life of a US public servant.

This is worse than Iran-Contra, which never killed any Americans.   Indeed, if the allegations are true, it may be the worst abuse of government power I can remember – because with its complete lack of law-enforcement value, it is intended solely to infringe on the human rights of millions of law-abiding Americans, by way of killing hundreds of Mexicans and one unwitting US cop.

If it were a Republican plan, it would be front-page news.

Progressivism will kill you – literally – if it needs to to meet its goals.

Some Problems Solve Themselves

Chuckles Schumer demands a “Do Not Ride” list for Amtrak

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for better rail security now that the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound has turned up plans to attack trains in the U.S.

“Anyone, even a member of al-Qaida could purchase a train ticket and board an Amtrak train without so much as a question asked,” Schumer said. “So that’s why I’m calling for the creation of an Amtrak no ride list. That would take the secure flight program and apply it to Amtrak trains.”

Of course, except for the tiny fragment of America living in the congested mid-Atlantic strip, Amtrak is largely on Amerca’s “do not ride” list.  Amtrak is an epic money pit.

In vast swathes of the US, terrorists would be the only person on an Amtrak train.

This should really help!

A Good Cause

Joel Rosenberg is holding a Legal Defense Fund fundraising dinner tonight:

Location: Chanhassen AmericInn conference room. Donations can be made at the door, or by contributing to the Legal Defense Fund either by mail or in person at any Wells Fargo location, in or out of Minnesota.

It’ll feature photographer and Second Amendment activist – and yes, he combines the two – Oleg Volk:

Oleg Volk will be both speaking and giving a photo presentation*.

Joel will be attending but, on advice of counsel, won’t be discussing pending legal matters.

All profits, after the room and the food are paid for, will go to the Legal Defense Fund. (Oleg and all of the servers — Joel, Felicia, Judy, Rachel, and friends — are donating their time, of course.) Attending registrations are limited to 40 people — the Fire Marshall insists — so please sign up in advance, if you can.

Note: the Legal Defense Fund is not a registered charity, and contributions are not tax-deductible. Alas.

Volk’s an interesting guy, and I hope you can make it.  I have family stuff tonight, but I’ll be donating via other means…

First We’ll Get The Law-Abiding Ones

Georgia cop considers a concealed carry advocacy bumpersticker “probable cause” for turning a speeding stop into a pat-down.

The second thing the officer asked me, after asking for my license, was if I had any firearms. I responded that I was choosing to exercise my right to remain silent on that question. That answer prompted the officer to have me get out of the car for a pat down. The officer told me that the reason for his question (about firearms) was because I had a “right to carry” sticker on my car. Yes, he actually said that. It’s a sticker for Georgia Carry.org (GCO) Although the audio isn’t 100% clear for that part, you can clearly hear him reference the sticker when talking to me and to another officer. Additionally, it appeared as if “back up” had been called, because there were 3 police right cars behind me and two more across the street. In the end, I got a ticket for speeding and for not having a working light bulb over my license plate.

The state; terrorizing dissent into submission for 5,000 years.