I can’t make it, but if you’re anywhere near the Capitol I certainly hope you can. And make sure you join GOCRA – the single most effective advocate in Minnesota for the law-abiding gun owner, and perhaps one of the most powerful grass-roots political organizations in the state.
Part of it is that for much of my childhood – the part where real movie addicts got “going to the theater” in their blood – my hometown didn’t even have a theater. There were always other things to do.
Part of it is that I spend so very little time in front of the TV watching things – and while I spend plenty of time in front of the computer, it’s almost always writing, either for work or, well, this. The rare times I sit still and try to just consume, I usually fall asleep.
So the list of great movies I’ve never seen, or seen parts of, but not in sequence, or not the the whole thing, is a very long one.
One of them, until this past weekend, had been Schindler’s List. Believe it or not.
But it was on FX on Saturday night. And I took a rare night of doing nothing, and chugged a Red Bull and watched the whole thing.
Never seen it? Don’t go in on a night when you’re feeling down on the human race. Here’s the scene where the Nazis decide to ship the Jews out of the Krakow Ghetto:
It gets worse, and more depressing.
It’s because humanity, at its core, is rotten. That fact is at the core of the Judeo-Christian worldview, and it’s been proven in the absolute human absence of that worldview, which was one way you could describe the Holocaust.
How to describe humanity? I’ll leave it – partly for a little comic relief – to one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Dr. Perry Cox:
With that in mind, what actually separates us – the United State of America – from what you saw in the video above?
Two centuries of small-”l” liberal democracy? Sure.
A legal system that, at the moment, works? You bet.
But Germany was a western country. It was part of Western Civilization; the home of Bach, Händel, Schubert, Einstein (speaking culturally, not in terms of borders), Kafka, Beethoven. Not a “liberal democracy”, necessarily, by the time Hitler took office – Germany had suffered some very hard times.
And that’s the point.
It took a bad outcome to a war, and a decade and a half of economic misery to turn what was one of the wealthiest, most educated “first world” nations, the culture of Mozart and Schubert, into the stormtroopers. It took a demigogue at the head of a mass movement, one who tapped into long-standing cultural antipathies toward a cultural boogeyman at an opportune time, to turn the nation of Göthe into the nation of Amon Göth:
Has our Democracy ever been threatened with this?
No – leaving out all of history’s imponderable ”what ifs“, we have not.
And how do we assure it stays that way?
You really have two options:
Have faith that government will always stay good. Or at least “not evil”. That judges and courts and laws and tradition will always hamstring not only the tyrants and murderers, but the tyrants who are murderers. That, irreducibly, means trusting to human nature. And it can, hypothetically, work. And it can, hypothetically, fail miserably.
But that is the leap of faith that Second Amendment opponents like Alice Hausman and Heather Martens and Rahm Emanuel want you, The People, to take.
The other option?
Make sure the people – no, The People – are equipped to make certain government stays on the straight and narrow. Make sure the people have not only the right to tell the government “you’re getting out of bounds”, but the ability to enforce it.
Want to see what the Second Amendment is about? This is it. Preventing what you see in Schindler’s List - preventing government from turning on the people, from metastasizing into a self-sustaining engine of evil.
That is the choice; trust in human nature’s desire to curb its worst aspects, or counterbalance it with sheer numbers.
I’m not saying the likes of Alice Hausman and Heather Martens are depraved totalitarians.
I am saying that depraved totalitarians need a society full of Hausmans and Martenses and Bidens and Emanuels and Michael Paymars, people more willing to empower government in spite of knowing the failings of human nature than they are to trust The People, to have a shot.
And that’s why some of us fight for the Second Amendment.
Last week, it came to our attention that the local lefty alt-media was shilling for the DFL meme that anti-gun Representatives felt “intimidated” by the presence of all the gun owners – people with carry permits who’ve passed criminal background checks, and are thus most likely less apt to resort to violence than, well, the Representatives and Senators on the panels – in the audience.
I feel I should respond to this.
I’ll neither confirm nor deny that I have a carry permit, a handgun, or permission to carry in the Capitol complex. If I do, I would never carry openly, primary out of deference to the warped sensitivities of the ones complaining; “pick your battles”, I always say.
But I’ll urge you, gun-grabbing DFL legislator, to be intimidated.
Be intimidated by the fact that I, like most of the pro-Gun Rights people I know, know more about the issue than you do. Be intimidated that I make the anti-gun, pro-gun control argument better than you, and better than Heather Martens, for that matter – and can then turn around and destroy it. With facts, history, the law, and a lot of style.
Be intimidated by the fact that I, and most of the pro-Gun Rights people I know, take that superior knowledge out to my fellow MInnesotans, one by one, and win them over, just as we have been for 25 years now.
Be intimidated by the fact that I am one member of what was, 10 years ago, one of the most amazing grassroots political movements in Minnesota political history, the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance which, with no help from corporate donors or Rockefellers or PACs, started rolling a big heavy rock up a very high, steep hill in 1995 – and won the issue in 2003, playing a key role in flipping the House of Representatives along the way.
Be intimidated by the fact that GOCRA, and other gun rights groups and the people they represent, are coming back bigger and tougher and more focused than ever before.
Be intimidated by the fact that our movement adds more people every day than will ever show up at a gun control rally, and that every one of those people understands the issue better than any of the anti-gunners, and most of you legislators as well.
Be intimidated by the fact that we have energy, savvy, and the grim determination to crush you, rhetorically speaking. We’ve been through this before. We’ve run the marathon – the seven-year battle to enact Shall Issue. You’ve run the sprint. Who’s going to be still up and standing and fighting in a year? Two years? Four years?
My gun – if I have one, and if I’m carrying it? That’s literally, figuratively and statistically the least of your worries.
We Real Americans – that defined as “Americans who support all ten Amendments in the Bill of Rights, the Second and Tenth as devoutly as the First and Fourth – know that giving any ground with the gun grabbers is a fool’s bargain. The metrocrat Orcs will exploit any opening we Real Americans give them to harass us, badger us, turn us – the most law-abiding people in this country – into criminals.
The “assault weapon” bans are – or were – stupid, and would not affect crime in the least (or at least would never reduce it). Magazine restrictions are also of no actual value as anything but harassing the law-abiding, as well as putting them (in rare cases) at a disadvantage to criminals.
But it gets worse.
This just in from GOCRA: The worst of them all is up on the dock now:
The most dangerous bill this session is not a magazine ban, or an “assault weapon” ban. It’s universal registration, masquerading as “universal background checks.”
It’s called SF 458, and it will be heard on THURSDAY at the state capitol. GOCRA will be there to fight it. Will you?
I’ll give it my best shot. Hope you can too.
Why is this bill so bad? For starters, because it’ll tack $25 onto the sale prices of a firearm, plus $25 for permit to purchase – which makes firearms $50 harder to obtain for the poor (who are, after all, the ones the DFL wants to disarm…first).
Worse? It’s registration! It doesn’t go by the name, but that’s exactly what it is; a paper trail leading, over time, to every single gun in the United States.
This bill needs to be not just defeated; it needs to be crushed and humiliated. Any outstate DFLer that supports it needs to feel the wrath of every gun owner in their district, sports or self-defense. Any Republican who supports this abomination must be primaried and expunged from public life.
No compromise on the rights of the law-abiding.
No mercy for the politicians who get it wrong.
Here’s the hearing schedule; all hearings are in room 15 of the State Capitol. Get there two hours early to get a seat in the hearing room, or use overflow seating with a closed-circuit feed of the hearings.
Please let us know if you plan to attend (and which session) by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, February 21
Noon: SF 235, 458, 69
Thursday, February 21
6 p.m.: Public testimony on SF 235, 503, 69, 458, 557, 520, 400, 413 and 568
Shotguns are a fearsome weapon, close-in – deadlier than assault rifles in some cases; British special forces have long used the Benelli semi-automatic hunting shotgun as their favorite weapon in the jungle.
But this part of Hausman’s bill is no less bizarre and ill-informed than the rest of it; it’d ban any…:
3.16(4) semi-automatic shotgun that 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;
(iv) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of seven rounds; or
(v) an ability to accept a detachable magazine;
It’s aimed, seemingly, at weapons like the Russian-built Saiga…:
…which is basically a 12-gauge semi-automatic AK47.
But the Mossberg 930 - it’s semi-automatic, and holds eight rounds…:
…is also covered.
In the meantime? It doesn’t cover pump-action shotguns with all the same goodies…:
…which are almost exactly as deadly. But “pump” sounds quaint, while “semi-automatic” sounds, if you’re a DFL staffer or (who are we kidding) Heather Martens, vaguely evil.
I keep saying “it gets dumber”. Because it does. Stay tuned.
(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…)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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.
I’m not exactly expecting an answer. The one time Nick answered a question of mine, it was…
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.
I 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
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?
Executive Editor, The UpTake
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.
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…
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?
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!”
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.
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.
To: Governor Messinger Dayton
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
Re: A Time For Choosing
Governor Messinger Dayton,
I have a couple of questions for you.
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?
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.
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?
To: Senator Amy Klobuchar
From: Mitch Berg, Peasant
I have a couple of questions for you.
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?
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.
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?
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.
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
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]
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?]
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]
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]
Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers. [Superfluous]
Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign. [You mean, like the ones the National Boogeyman Rifle Association has been running for decades?]
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]
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. [Again, amazed this isn't already the case]
Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.[As above]
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]
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]
Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.[Exactly as the NRA has been asking]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers. [Wait - you mean exactly as the NRA recommended?]
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"]
Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
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]
Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
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.
The slope is still slippery. It’s not as steep as it could have been, but we’re all still sliding.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.