Posts Tagged ‘Guns’

Guns, Tyranny and Asymmetrical Warfare

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

One Standard Anti-Second Amendment Talking Point is that the Second Amendment is outdated and can’t possibly provide a bulwark against tyranny, because no group of citizens armed merely with legal firearms could possibly stand up to the technological might of the U.S. armed forces. The notion has a certain surface-level plausibility, as a bunch of guys armed only with AR-pattern rifles isn’t going to take out an M1A2 tank in open combat.

Tiny problem with this argument: recent history shows it’s demonstrably wrong:

Who exactly do you think has stymied the U.S. in Afghanistan for 16 years? The Taliban is made up of Afghan Bubbas. The Taliban doesn’t need to defeat nuclear weapons, though they are humiliating a nuclear power for the second time in history. They use a mix of Kalashnikovs and WWII-era bolt-action rifles. Determined insurgencies are really difficult to fight, even if they are only armed with Enfield rifles and you can target them with a TOW missiles system that can spot a cat in the dark from two miles away. In Iraq, expensive tanks were destroyed with simple improvised explosives.

If the U.S. government (and the American people behind them) doesn’t want to use nuclear weapons on foreign fundamentalists in Afghanistan, why does anyone presume they’d use them against Americans in Idaho?

It is not just our fecklessness. All great powers take into account the moral and manpower costs of implementing their rules and laws on a people. And an armed citizenry, especially if they seem to have a just cause to rally around, will dramatically raise the price of ruling them. The British Empire controlled one quarter of the world’s territory and ruled one quarter of the earth’s population in 1922. In that very year, they were forced to make an effective exit from the main part of their oldest colony, Ireland. Why? Because a determined group of Irish men with guns made the country ungovernable. The British technically could have deployed their entire navy, blockading the restive island, and starving any rebellion into submission. But they were unwilling to pay the moral price, or the price in blood. It was precisely this foreseeable event that had caused the British to ban Irish Catholics from possessing firearms hundreds of years earlier.

And just as in the 1770s or the 1920s, governments in similar positions today or in the future would have a difficult time maintaining military morale while trying to impose rule on a people who resist it manfully.

Let’s say that liberals get their wish, put Democrats in control of congress and the White House, and instantly pass Australian-style mandatory gun confiscation laws. If Democrats jump straight to violating the Constitution, the gloves come off. Not only will American gun owners form the largest armed insurgency the world has ever seen, but the “civilized” rules of engagement would no longer apply.

Let’s let Scott Adams spell it out:

The way private gun ownership protects citizens is by being a credible threat against all the civilians who might be in any way associated with a hypothetical tyrannical leader who uses the military against citizens. Citizens probably can’t get close to the leaders in such a scenario, but it would take about an hour to round up their families, and the families of supporters.

That would do it.

America is unconquerable.

Imagine the top hundred Democratic Party donors in every state being taken hostage by an American insurgency. Imagine the immediate families of every Democratic U.S. Senator and Governor being taken hostage.

Beltway snipers Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad had two states and a dozen police departments freaking out in the Beltway Sniper attacks of 2002. Now imagine that times a thousand.

The problem is compounded even further that those same “bubbas” are exactly the sort of men who make up the bulk of the United States armed forces. Do liberals seriously believe that, come an actual civil war and suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act, troops from Texas, Kansas and Georgia will cheerfully do the bidding of elites from New York and San Francisco to disarm their own fathers and brothers (many ex-military themselves) in deep red states?

Once again, liberals openly pining for a civil war between red and blue America seem to have overlooked the tiny obstacle that red American is the half with all the guns.

A well-armed citizenry as large as that in the United States would make Afghanistan and Iraq look like calk walks compared to trying to occupy America. That’s why the Second Amendment remains the ultimate bulwark of American liberty.

My Bumps, My Bumps, My AR-Stocky Humps

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Bump fire stocks (or just “bump stocks”) are replacement stocks for semiautomatic rifles that let the shooter simulate automatic by firing several shots without having to re-squeeze the trigger, are a hot topic in the news after Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock used them as part of his deadly rampage.

Unlike the overwhelming majority of our press corps, I had actually heard of bump stocks before the shooting, and seen videos like this, before the shooting:

Usually the NRA’s reaction to any call for gun control is “See you in Hell first!” However, their reaction to a call for bump stock regulation was quite different:

“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”

So the NRA just signaled it’s willingness to sign on to a national gun control regulation. You better head out early, as the lines for the ski lodges of Gehenna are going to be out the door.

Of course, NRA support was contingent on getting national carry reciprocity in return, so watch congressional Democrats derail the deal, probably by tossing in the usual knee-jerk demands for for banning other “scary” gun part, higher capacity magazines, etc. Because NRA.

I’ve never fired a bump stock, and don’t know anyone who owns one. To get a better handle on this issue, I sent a few questions to old friend and master class shooter and trainer Karl Rehn about bump fire stocks.


1. My impression is that bump stocks are generally not well-regarded in the majority of the firearms community, and that they’re not allowed at the overwhelming majority of shooting ranges. Is that true? Do you allow bump stock firearms at any classes or events at KRTraining’s A-Zone range?

I’ve never had a student show up for a long gun class with a gun with a bump fire stock. They aren’t considered professional grade gear. You won’t find a SWAT team or a Navy SEAL or a professional shooting competitor using one.

I do not prohibit the use of bump stock equipped guns in my long gun classes. I’ve just never had anyone show up for a class wanting to use one. The drills we run in my long gun classes generally don’t involve firing more than 3 rounds at any target, and accuracy is part of the scoring for every drill.

2. Is it possible to rapid fire a bump stock equipped gun accurately, or is it a “spray and pray” weapon?

I haven’t used one. See answer #1. People serious about shooting quickly and accurately, or even just accurately, don’t use them.

3. What, if any, legitimate use cases are there for bump stock guns besides “having fun on your own land?”

It was originally invented as an aid for disabled shooters to operate a rifle more easily.

4. Besides the ill-conceived and ill-fated “Assault Weapons” ban, has the federal government ever attempted to regulate rifle stocks, or indeed anything beyond the receiver?

There has been considerable controversy and confusion associated with the ‘pistol brace’ which is sort of a stock that can be attached to pistols made from rifle lowers. See https://www.sigsauer.com/press-releases/atf-clarifies-ruling-pistol-stabilizing-braces/.

Will a bump stock ban have any impact on crime? Unlikely. If the shooter had not had the bump stock, could he have fired just as many rounds in the same time? Probably yes.


I would oppose a bump fire stock ban on general principles of federalism, and the fact that it won’t actually prevent any mass shootings, nor will they actually prevent new bump stocks, since bump stock designs are readily available for 3D printing.

That said, if you’re going to sacrifice any firearm component on the alter of appeasing mass hysteria, heavier regulations on bump fire stocks (which have always struck me as a quick and dirty hack) is probably the best option. Especially if we get national carry reciprocity in the bargain.

Gun Control as Charlie Brown’s Football

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Following the Las Vegas shooting, we were treated to the same weary parade of liberal Democrats making the exact same noises they make after every shooting:

“Now is the time for a national dialog and common sense gun laws. And by ‘dialog,’ I mean that Republicans shut up and let us shame them into voting for gun control. And by ‘common sense’ I mean ‘complete civilian disarmament of the sane and law-abiding.'”

There was the ritual denunciation of the NRA. “Column after column is fired off about how much the National Rifle Association donates to congressional candidates (spoiler: it’s not much, about 200K a year). For every breathless declaration that the NRA has blood on their hands, it’s worth noting more journalists have committed mass shootings in this country than NRA members.”

And don’t forget the four or five national media reports in which basic firearms details are so obviously and egregiously wrong that any knowledgeable gun owner could have spotted the error.

Let me know where I can buy some of those “automatic rounds.” Ace of Spades has similar thoughts on that piece, including slamming them for this obvious lie about gun experts: “Those who are knowledgeable often don’t want to talk on the record.” Sayeth Ace:

Are you fucking kidding me with that? You have 100 conservative gun expert bloggers and reporters trying to explain to you the difference between semi-auto action and full auto action (and revolver action, etc.) every time a fucking gun crime occurs, and you put your hands over your ears and say “My ears are hurting” like that childish retard on MSNBC.

Every single time. This is not our first go-round on this, Media Gun Control Experts. It’s not even our hundredth go-round.

Actual gun owners and experts are begging to explain the basics to you — but you won’t listen. Instead, you babble on ignorantly about “automatic rounds” and the modifications you need to make to your gun to get it to fire these exotic bullets.

These rank stupidities get corrected again and again, but major media organizations still don’t bother to give their reporters the training or fact checkers necessary to catch these obvious errors. It’s as though they wear their ignorance on their sleeve as a badge of virtue signaling honor.

But all this is off my central point: Why do Democrats persist in pursuing the exact same strategies when it is obvious they’ve not convinced voters any previous time before?

Indeed, the Democrats’ most fervent advocacy for gun control comes during the same period when Democrats where hemorrhaging seats to Republicans. Gun control isn’t the only issue that’s made them unpopular everywhere but urban centers, but it’s certainly a contributing factor.

So why do Democrats keep pursuing the same strategies over and over again even though they not only aren’t working, but seem to be counterproductive?

Maybe complete civilian disarmament is the Democratic Party’s core value, and they feel a compulsion to spout it akin to a fervent Christian’s drive to “give witness” by reciting the gospel to unbelievers.

Like Charlie Brown, Democrats just can’t keep themselves from trying to kick the gun control football, even though they must know by now that the scene ends with them lying on the ground in pain and humiliation.

A smattering of other related gun pieces

  • 538 writer: “I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.”
  • Mass shootings are a poor lens through which to view violence involving guns.
  • Larry Correia slams Elizbeth Moon for her foolish, ill-argued opposition to suppressors. I’m friends with Elizabeth, but Correia has the far better argument here.
  • LinkSwarm for September 22, 2017

    Friday, September 22nd, 2017

    Welcome to the first LinkSwarm of fall! Between a new job, car trouble, dog trouble and iPhone updates, you’re lucky there’s a LinkSwarm at all!

  • Final total for J.J. Watt’s YouCaring campaign: $37,131,967.
  • Death toll in the Mexico City earthquake hits 273.
  • Mexican rescue dog saves over 50 lives.
  • 100% of Puerto Rico is without power following Hurricane Maria.
  • Obama Administration official Samantha Power asked for over 260 unmaskings of American citizens. “She continued to seek identifying information about Americans caught up in incidental surveillance right up to President Trump’s inauguration.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • And Obama’s FBI Director James Comey was apparently eavesdropping on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “House IT Worker At Center Of Scandal Allegedly Abused Three Muslim Women.” “Multiple women in relationships with Imran Awan, the indicted former IT aide for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have recently called Virginia law enforcement and alleged being abused by him, police reports obtained under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act show.”
  • President Trump didn’t forget Poland.
  • “The mainstream media failed to see the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Now it’s overlooking another grassroots movement that may soon be of equal significance— the growing number of liberals “taking the red pill.” People of all ages and ethnicities are posting YouTube videos describing “red pill moments”—personal awakenings that have caused them to reject leftist narratives imbibed since childhood from friends, teachers, and the news and entertainment media.”
  • “Federal Prosecutors Say Anthony Weiner Convinced [15-year old] Teen To Strip, Touch Herself On Skype.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Evergreen State College has settled a tort claim against it from embattled Professor Bret Weinstein and his wife, Professor Heather Heying, for $500,000, according to an email sent to faculty Friday evening.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Article on the decline of NFL ratings offers and explanation in the comments section: “One after another, cogent, thoughtful comments clearly stating the exact reason that life long NFL fans have turned off the TV, dropped their cable subscription, and moved on.” Sample: “There will be no NFL at my house until the employment of players that disrespect our flag and anthem is terminated.”
  • More signs of NFL’s decline in popularity: Los Angeles Rams can’ even sell out their temporary stadium. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Flashback: Ted Kennedy, drunken serial sexual molester.
  • Wisconsin appeals court dismisses union lawsuit against right-to-work law.
  • Armed citizen stops would-be rapist near downtown Austin. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’ capable of building molecules.” No indication these 150-atom “robots” can contain programming or self-replicate, so we’re still a long way from K. Eric Drexler’s nanotechnology…
  • Valerie Plame steps in it:

  • LinkSwarm for August 25, 2017

    Friday, August 25th, 2017

    Harvey has intensified into a Class 2 Hurricane overnight, and is expected to make landfall sometime around 1 AM, then stall and dump as much as 15-25 inches of rain from Brownsville to Houston.

    Naturally Houstonians are stocking up on the essentials: booze.

    Stay safe.

    Now enjoy your regularly scheduled Friday LinkSwarm:

  • “The Very Strange Indictment of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s IT Scammers:”

    To summarize, the indictment is an exercise in omission. No mention of the Awan group’s theft of information from Congress. Not a hint about the astronomical sums the family was paid, much of it for no-show “work.” Not a word about Wasserman Schultz’s keeping Awan on the payroll for six months during which (a) he was known to be under investigation, (b) his wife was known to have fled to Pakistan, and (c) he was not credentialed to do the IT work for which he had been hired. Nothing about Wasserman Schultz’s energetic efforts to prevent investigators from examining Awan’s laptop. A likely currency-transportation offense against Alvi goes uncharged. And, as for the offenses that are charged, prosecutors plead them in a manner that avoids any reference to what should be their best evidence.

    There is something very strange going on here.

  • Jihadists wanted to blow up Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona with a massive truck bomb.
  • DNC fundraising still sucking wind:

    The Democratic National Committee just posted its worst July fundraising numbers in a decade, raising questions about why the party machine cannot capitalize on President Trump’s low approval ratings and whether new Chairman Tom Perez is up to the task.

    The DNC raised $3.8 million last month, compared to $10.2 million for the Republican National Committee. The tally fit a pattern for the Democrats, who have posted a string of depressed fundraising numbers month after month this year, even after new party boss Perez took charge in February.

    Why, it’s almost like Russian conspiracy theories, LARP Nazis and the the imminent threat of Confederate statues doesn’t motivate Democratic donors to open their wallets. Or that Bernie Sanders supporters realize that the DNC is still the the hands of the same corrupt Clinton cronies who rigged the 2016 primaries…

  • “Ask yourself a few questions: Does the typical ‘swing’ voter who made the difference for Trump in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin consider monuments to Robert E. Lee a major social problem?”
  • “Antifa Declares: ‘F**k Your F***ing Constitution, We’re Here to Punch Nazis.'” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Antifa beats their own ally at a rally. Way to win friends and influence people!
  • Arrest warrants are out for three men who skipped their arraignments yesterday after being cuffed following the ‘Free Speech Rally’ on the Boston Common Saturday and massive counterdemonstration.” So if you spot Antifa dumbasses Adan Daroba, Roberto Bonilla or Chad Cruger, contact the police… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • It’s all fun and games until you take one in the yarbles.
  • Update: Joshua Stuart Cobin, AKA “tear gas in the nads guy” has been arrested for assault, evidently for kicking the tear gas canister back toward police. There are a lot of real crimes numerous Antifa protestors should be arrested for, but this one seems a very dubious charge if that’s all it’s for.
  • Kurt Schlichter wonders just what the hell does #NeverTrump think they’re accomplishing?

    Oh yeah, we’ll repeal Obamacare. Oh yeah, we’ll defend the border. Oh yeah, we’ll defund the baby-butchering cartel. Oh yeah, blah blah blah blah blah. All lies, but they didn’t care. They had their power and prestige and the promise of a fat paycheck down the road when they moved from Congress to K Street. Actual conservative ideology? Well, that was for the rubes. And we were the rubes. We in the base, who are suffering from the establishment’s incompetent mismanagement of the society it had been foolish to try to micromanage in the first place, tried to warn them. But the Fredocons wouldn’t listen, because they’re smart, not like everyone says, like dumb…

    That warning was called ‘the Tea Party,” and the GOP establishment didn’t like it either. Remember how all those activated Republican voters helped recapture Congress, yet most of the establishment types looked at them like they were something nasty that was smeared on their shoes? See, the base isn’t supposed to be activated. It’s supposed to be obedient. It’s supposed to turn out on election day to do volunteer work and write checks. It’s not supposed to try to have input. That’s for our betters, not for us.

    But the thing is, now we’re woke, and we’ve realized that our establishment sucks, and that we’re tired of being the suckees. They didn’t listen to us when we gave them the Tea Party, so now we gave them Trump. And they’re very, very upset with us. That’s a key reason they want to undercut Trump. Some people are just always going to want to trash the guy getting the attention and wielding the influence they think rightfully belongs to them. That’s true whether they are some donkey–looking senator from Arizona or Nebraska pimping a book about his agonizing moral struggles, or some tiresome op-ed scribbler serving as the domesticated house conservative on a failing liberal rag, or the invasion-happy beneficiary of his parents’ success who finds he can’t fill the cabins on his brochure’s cruises anymore.

  • Chief Obamacare Architect Fired, Forced To Settle Fraudulent Billing Investigation In Vermont.” I know we were all hoping he’d be pushed off the Nakatomi Tower…
  • Mike Rowe smacks down a moron who called him a white nationalist:

    You say that White Nationalists believe that everyone who goes to college is an “academic elite.” You then say that Republicans promote “anti-intellectualism.” You offer no proof to support either claim, but it really doesn’t matter – your statements successfully connect two radically different organizations by alleging a shared belief. Thus, White Nationalists and The Republican Party suddenly have something in common – a contempt for higher education. Then, you make it personal. You say that Republicans “love” me because they believe that my initiative and “their” initiative are one and the same. But of course, “their” initiative is now the same initiative as White Nationalists.

    Very clever. Without offering a shred of evidence, you’ve implied that Republicans who support mikeroweWORKS do so because they believe I share their disdain for all things “intellectual.” And poof – just like that, Republicans, White Nationalists, and mikeroweWORKS are suddenly conflated, and the next thing you know, I’m off on a press tour to disavow rumors of my troubling association with the Nazis!

    Far-fetched? Far from it. That’s how logical fallacies work. A flaw in reasoning or a mistaken belief undermines the logic of a conclusion, often leading to real-world consequences. And right now, logical fallacies are not limited to the warped beliefs of morons with tiki torches, and other morons calling for “more dead cops.” Logical fallacies are everywhere.

  • “A Thorium-Salt Reactor Has Fired Up for the First Time in Four Decades.”
  • “One Statistics Professor Was Just Banned By Google.” Statistics professor Salil Mehta, adjunct professor at Columbia and Georgetown who teaches probability and data science, was banned by Google last Friday. “On Friday afternoon East Coast Time by surprise, I was completely shut down in all my Google accounts (all of my gmail accounts, blog, all of my university pages that were on google sites, etc.) for no reason and no warning.” His blog isn’t political and his Twitter account follows several prominent Democrats. (Update: restored.)
  • Mapping terrorist groups operating in Pakistan.
  • “After applying the latest big data technique to six 2,000 year-long proxy-temperature series we cannot confirm that recent warming is anything but natural – what might have occurred anyway, even if there was no industrial revolution.”
  • “For many Republicans, what matters most about Donald Trump is that he’s demonstrated resolve against the enemy — not the Islamic State or the Taliban, but the media.”
  • The Village Voice to end print publication. “Under its current ownership, the paper eliminated sex advertising.” Given that’s the only way “alternative” weeklies make money, I bet that was the final nail in the coffin. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Empower Texas has released their legislature ratings. A lot of Republicans ranked a lot lower than you might think…
  • Go to Cancun, do shots, get raped. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Freedom Center demands a retraction from the SPLC.
  • San Antonio ends ShotSpotters, one of those acoustic gunshot locator systems, because it doesn’t work. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
  • Whole Paycheck no more?
  • Trump’s ‘energy dominance’ strategy starting to crack Eastern European markets.” Shipping coal to Ukraine and LNG to Lithuania to replace Russian sources. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Why it took time for electricity to replace the steam engine.
  • “A rising number of young Chinese people are failing fitness tests required to join the army because they are too fat and masturbate too much.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Captain Kirk destroys social justice warrior cling-ons.
  • Heh:

  • Nearing its 50th Anniversary, here’s a look back at how The Prisoner TV show got made.
  • Ladies, important safety tip: never allow a loaded gun in your vagina. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • LinkSwarm for August 11, 2017

    Friday, August 11th, 2017

    North Korea is making crazy threats again, which at this point is a dog-bites-man type story if ever there was one. They’ve done this sort of crazy lunatic invalid sabre-rattling before and, if President Trump doesn’t end up wiping them off the map entirely, will undoubtedly do it again. But it doesn’t change the underlying dynamic of the situation: North Korea can hurt us, but we can completely erase North Korea from the Prime Material Plane. So unless actual military action occurs, I doubt I have much to say (or link to) on North Korea…

  • NSA says no Russian hack of DNC computers. “Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.” Will the Trump Derangement Brigades finally let go of their Russian hacking fantasy? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Why Does the Left Suddenly Hate Russia?”

    The new progressive hatred of Russia is baffling. Of course, Vladimir Putin is a thug and a killer who in the grand tradition of Russian autocracy has no intention ever of holding free elections. But he is perhaps no more a murderer than are the Castro brothers in Cuba, with whom we have concluded a détente and who have no arsenal capable of destroying the U.S.

    Putin is no more or less trustworthy than are the Iranians, with whom in 2015 we cut a deal on nuclear proliferation and who are far more likely than the Russians to send a nuclear missile into Israel someday. Putin’s brutal suppression of the press recalls the ongoing repression by President Recep Erdogan of Turkey — a linchpin member of NATO.

    There is no freedom in China. The Communists still in control have the blood of 50 million Chinese dead on their hands from Mao’s brutal revolutions and genocides. Yet we enjoy all sorts of cultural, political, and economic bipartisan relationships with China, whose nuclear patronage of North Korea has done more damage to U.S. security than any plot from the dark mind of Vladimir Putin.

    In terms of Russia’s macabre history, Putin is a piker compared with Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, who may have orchestrated the deaths of 20 million Russians. After December 1941, the United States concluded a “Big Three” wartime pact with Stalin and supplied 20 percent of the Soviet Union’s wartime resources and arms — some of it later lavishly recycled to post-war Communist uprisings around the globe.

  • “Australian terror suspect planted plane bomb on brother.” And of course the BBC puts this information 17 paragraphs into the story: “The two suspects – Khaled Khayat, 49, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32.”
  • Democrats are screwed in 2018…and beyond:

    Even if Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by less than 3 percentage points — a pretty good midterm by historical standards — they could still fall short of the House majority and lose five Senate seats.

    Snip.

    In the last few decades, Democrats have expanded their advantages in California and New York — states with huge urban centers that combined to give Clinton a 6 million vote edge, more than twice her national margin. But those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans have made huge advances in small rural states — think Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and West Virginia — that wield disproportionate power in the upper chamber compared to their populations.

    Snip.

    Consider: In 1980, there were 18 states where the presidential margin was at least 5 points more Democratic than the national result, 18 states where it was at least 5 points more Republican than the national result and 14 states in between. Hypothetically, over three successive election cycles, all either party needed to do to win a Senate majority was win all 36 of the seats in the friendly states plus at least 15 of the 28 swing-state seats.

    Today, Republicans don’t even need to win any “swing states” to win a Senate majority: 52 seats are in states where the 2016 presidential margin was at least 5 percentage points more Republican than the national outcome. By contrast, there are just 28 seats in states where the margin was at least 5 points more Democratic, and only 20 seats in swing states.

  • 23% of federal prisoners are illegal aliens.
  • Former “sanctuary cities” in Clark County in Nevada and Miami-Dade County in Florida have confirmed they’re now in compliance with federal immigration law. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “For Fear Of Leaks, Google Cancels All-Hands Meeting Over Engineer Firing Fiasco.” Google went full Social Justice Warrior. Never go full Social Justice Warrior…
  • Christina Hoff Sommers: “Google has excommunicated James Damore for crimes against the Pink Police State.”
  • Trump Appoints More Judges in 200 Days Than Obama, Bush, Clinton.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Perhaps the Second Amendment is the black man’s ultimate sign of full citizenship.” Also this: “The National African-American Gun Association he founded has grown from 800 to 20,000 members since 2015.” Though the piece is marbled with the usual leftwing “America the racist” framing. (Hat tip: Shall not Be Questioned.)
  • This is, I think, a grave miscarriage of justice: man convicted of DUI for driving in and out of his own garage while drunk, never leaving his own property, which strikes me as a takings clause violation.
  • Julian Castro forms a PAC. Possibly eyeing a 2020 Presidential run? Well he’s certainly not going to win statewide…
  • Democrats “pro-worker” policies hurt workers. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Why is Spain arresting European journalists on Turkey’s behalf? Swedish citizen Hamza Yalcin is in jail for “treason” which seems to mean “criticizing the Erdogan regime.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • How Japan could have won World War II. “Win” in this case is not “pummeling America into submission” (impossible) but “making the costs of a protracted war so high that it avoids defeat.” Not striking Pearl Harbor was one key possibility. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Giant mech fight! Finally, the 21st Century I was promised! (The headline says “robots” but the video clearly shows piloted vehicles.) Now, from an actual military standpoint, that under-armored, under-powered mech is going to last about 15 seconds on a real battlefield and could be taken out by a single RPG (or any 8-year quick enough to jam a crowbar into the exposed, undersized tread gears), much less a real tank…
  • NY Times Editors Deny Reading Their Own Newspaper.”
  • “Emails Show WaPo, NYT Reporters Didn’t Want to Cover Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Meeting.”
  • Paper beats rock. Rock beats Mexican. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • I hate linking to ESPN given its SJW turn, but this profile of fighter Conor McGregor was too good not to.
  • Neanderthal cave structure dated to 176,500 years ago.
  • The fate of Viking settlers in Greenland. (Hat tip: Jerry Pournelle.)
  • Tweets:

    I encourage Antifa to buy a Soviet tank. They’ll discover tanks are cool, which will be a gateway drug to learning that guns are cool, after which it’s only a matter of time until they’re eating BBQ, driving pickup trucks and listening to Garth Brooks…

  • LinkSwarm for August 4, 2017

    Friday, August 4th, 2017

    Friday! LinkSwarm! The day is already packed, so let’s get this puppy out the door…

  • West Virginia’s Governor Jim Justice announced at a rally with President Trump that he’s switching to the Republican Party. Since Trump won West Virginia by over 40 points in 2016, that seems less “smart” than “inevitable.” West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin says he’s still staying a Democrat. We’ll see…
  • Do Democrats realize how much trouble they’re in?

    By tomorrow, 164 million Americans will live in the 26 states that are wholly controlled by Republicans, 109 million will live in states where power is shared between the parties, and only 50 million will live in the six states controlled by the Democrats.

    Those who run the Democratic Party spend their time overwhelmingly in Washington, California and New York, and they read the New York Times and the Washington Post. They watch CNN and MSNBC, along with network news. As a result, I am not sure they are fully attuned to how unpopular their party has become in most of America. They may win a tactical victory against President Trump, whose inexperience and personality make him vulnerable. But I suspect that very few voters are responding to the Democrats’ daily assault on the administration by saying, In the next election I am going to change my mind and vote liberal! On the contrary, it may be that the Democrats’ hysterical, unprecedented assault on the president will prove to be a distraction that actually retards their ability to address their party’s long-term decline.

  • Lawyers in DNC Class-Action Suit ‘Perplexed’ by Media Blackout. Press ignores fraud case brought by 2016 Sanders backers against Democrat Party.” How severe a blackout? “A search on Google News for the name of the case in quotes “Wilding v. DNC” yields zero results.” Why, it’s almost as if the MSM considered itself an extension of the Democratic Party… (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Trump Has Quietly Accomplished More Than It Appears.” All this liberal and #NeverTrump talk about how the Trump White House is in “chaos” is like someone talking incessantly about what the magician’s right hand is doing while completely ignoring his left… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Media keep overplaying their hand, especially with the Trump/Russia delusion. Even Democrats are getting tired of it…
  • “Trump pushes to sharply cut the number of legal immigrants and move U.S. to a ‘merit-based’ immigration system.” Expect this to be widely popular with the public and DOA with those congressional Republicans still freebasing “comprehensive immigration reform”/illegal alien amnesty…
  • Speaking of that proposal, here White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller delivers a brutal smackdown to CNN’s rude and clueless Jim Acosta, who seems painfully ignorant of the history of the Statue of Liberty.
  • And speaking of people Miller smacked down, he also corrected New York Times’ Glenn Thrush (who you may remember from such movies as I Sought Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Approval on All My Copy About the 2016 Election) that low-skilled immigrants do indeed drive down wages for native workers. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Four Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle clerks charged with making fake IDs for illegal aliens and registering them to vote. Remember: When Democrats tell you there’s no such thing as voter fraud, they’re not only lying, their party is the one committing the fraud. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Illegal alien apprehensions up almost double since President Trump took office. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus.)
  • Liberals: “We can’t let ICE pick up illegal aliens just because they’re breaking the law!” Ice: “OK, then, we’ll just pick them up at the courthouse.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Putin expels 755 American diplomats in retaliation for new sanctions. If they’re Obama holdovers, that could be a net plus…
  • “Twitter’s “burn rate” has increased in the past year to the point that they’re now losing $38.8 million each month.”
  • The Twitter account of Breitbart London editor in chief Raheem Kassam has been suspended by the platform, just days after he announced the forthcoming publication of his new book on Radical Islam.” The book in question is No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You, due out August 14.
  • “Your boyfriend raped you.” “No he didn’t.” “Shut up and say you were raped. USC knows what’s best.”
  • The rise of the illiberal media:

    We aren’t dealing with a liberal media anymore, but an illiberal media. The liberal media was content to use its institutional power as a megaphone to broadcast its views. But you could debate those views. Actual conservatives were allowed to write columns, and not just as a strategic attack on some element of the GOP the way it is now, and appear on television to offer opinions, and not just as punching bags.

    The liberal media was convinced it would win the argument because it was right.

    The illiberal media isn’t interested in winning an argument, but in silencing the opposition. It doesn’t just want to shout louder than you. It wants to use its institutional power to shut you up.

    This isn’t just a media phenomenon. It’s what happened across the social spectrum when the people we used to call liberals became illiberal leftists. It’s why colleges censor controversial speakers and punish dissenting faculty. It’s why the environmental debate went from scientific discussions to calls to punish, fine and even jail those who question the left’s Luddite alarmism on Global Warming.

    It’s why the debate over gay marriage shifted to punishing Christian bakers and florists, the arguments about Israel tilted to preventing musicians from performing in Tel Aviv and civil rights turned into a call to create “safe spaces” that ban everyone else. Diversity is no longer dressed up as an expansion, but is now explicitly a contraction. Don’t read books by white authors. Don’t hire more men. Kick Jews out of the gay rights rally. Send the IRS after conservative groups. Punch a Trump supporter in the face.

    Nearly every leftist cause these days is expressed by punishing someone. Arguments are won by force. The illiberal totalitarian lurking inside the liberal, as David Horowitz described it, is out of the closet.

  • “A local council has banned the construction of a synagogue in Bondi [Australia] because it could be a terrorist target.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Three months after inauguration, French President Emmanuel Macron is now less popular than President Trump. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Dallas: It’s another attack by a group of people on a single train rider where the racial characteristics of the attacker are clearly visible in the video, but never mentioned
  • Good: Government realizes the Internet-of-Things is deeply insecure. Bad: Trying to pass a law to fix it. That’s like trying to darn a sock with a pipe wrench…
  • “Apple Now Owns $51.5 Billion In Treasurys, More Than Mexico, Turkey Or Norway.”
  • Tam: “How to Carry Concealed In a Purse (If You Must).” (Hat tip: Shall not Be Questioned.)
  • Zero Hedge has another of those the auto industry is doomed pieces, but this time it’s about longevity surpassing demand, not the usual one about off-lease vehicles…
  • MRE reviewed. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Tweet:

  • Man, the pollen is just brutal this time of year.
  • Campus Carry for Texas Community/Junior Colleges Takes Effect Today

    Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

    Good news! Campus carry went into effect for four-year colleges, and today it takes effect for community and Junior Colleges:

    On Tuesday, August 1, Texas’ campus carry law goes into effect for community colleges around the state. As previously reported, Senate Bill 11 – legislation prioritized by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick during the 2015 legislative session and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott – took effect for four-year public colleges and universities one year ago. The law set the implementation date for public junior colleges as August 1, 2017.

    As expected, adult faculty, staff and student License to Carry holders have behaved in the same law-abiding, responsible manner on public college and university campuses as they have everywhere else in the State of Texas for the more than twenty years the carry law has been in effect. Naysayers’ predictions of increased crimes involving firearms at these institutions have, unsurprisingly, not come to pass. In a recent article in the Austin American Statesman (“Campus Carry: No problems so far at UT-Austin”), SB 11 author Sen. Brian Birdwell stated: “After decades of resounding success with the concealed handgun license program in Texas, I’m not the least bit surprised to see the campus carry law being implemented successfully and without incident. It’s a testament both to the irrationality of the original prohibition and the law-abiding nature of handgun license holders.”

    LinkSwarm for July 28, 2017

    Friday, July 28th, 2017

    Supposed to hit 104° in Austin today, and 106° tomorrow. Try to keep your cool…

  • “Why Was Wife of DWS’s Swindler Staffer Allowed to Leave the Country?”

    In early March [Imran’s] wife, Hina Alvi, suddenly left the country for Lahore, by way of Doha, Qatar. Notwithstanding the return flight she booked for a date in September 2017, the FBI believes that she actually has no intention to return to the U.S. She had abruptly pulled the couple’s three daughters out of school without alerting the school’s staff, and brought them with her — along with lots of luggage and household goods — to Pakistan.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Mark Steyn on Tucker Carlson: Everything Democrats have looked for and not found in the Russia wild goose chase is actually, demonstrably present in the Imran Awan case:

    Steyn also notes: Why worry whether Vladimir Putin gave the DNC emails to Wikileaks when Debbie Wasserman Schultz just gave Imran Awan her DNC iPad password? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • “The mainstream media are doing their best to ignore a bizarre, serious, and colorful story, but it’s not going to work.” Also: “Occam’s Razor suggests that DWS and the Dems were being blackmailed. For what? And what secrets, if any, were compromised by the members of the House Intelligence Committee who employed the Awan ring?” Note that both Steyn and American Thinker’s Thomas Lifson invoke Occam’s Razor to conclude that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was being blackmailed. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • This eye-opening Lee Smith piece in Tablet mag not only details how Fusion GPS came to gun up the Trump Russian fantasy (and how it’s plating both sides of the fence on Russia), but how deep research is now outsourced to opposition research firms:

    Donald Trump, Jr. appears to be the latest figure in President Donald Trump’s inner circle to be caught in the giant web of the Great Kremlin Conspiracy. Trump the younger said he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, but that all he got in his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was an earful about dropping the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials involved in the death of a Russian lawyer who was killed in detention.

    If the Trump, Jr. meeting is just another chapter in the Beltway telenovela about Trump selling out America to the Russians through an ever-changing cast of supposed intermediaries—come back, Mike Flynn and Carter Page, we hardly knew ye—it sheds valuable light on the ways and means by which the news that fills our iPhone screens and Facebook feeds is now produced. You see, the Russian lawyer—often carelessly presented as a “Russian government lawyer” with “close ties to Putin”—Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump, also worked recently with a Washington, D.C. “commercial research and strategic intelligence firm” that is also believed to have lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. That firm, which also doubles as an opposition research shop, is called Fusion GPS—famous for producing the Russia dossier distributed under the byline of Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent for hire.

    Steele’s report, a collection of anonymously-sourced allegations, many of which were said to come from “high-ranking former Russian government officials”—i.e. not exactly the kinds of people who seem likely to randomly shoot the shit with ex-British spooks—detailed Trump’s ties to Russian officials and strange sexual obsessions. Originally ordered up by one of Trump’s Republican challengers, the dossier circulated widely in D.C. in the months before the 2016 election, pushed by the Clinton campaign, but no credible press organization was able to verify its claims. After Clinton’s surprise loss, the dossier became public, and it’s claims—while still unverified—have shaped the American public sphere ever since.

    Yet at the same time that Fusion GPS was fueling a campaign warning against a vast Russia-Trump conspiracy to destroy the integrity of American elections, the company was also working with Russia to influence American policy—by removing the same sanctions that Trump was supposedly going to remove as his quid pro quo for Putin’s help in defeating Hillary. Many observers, including the press, can’t quite figure out how the firm wound up on both sides of the fence. Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to know if Fusion GPS has violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    As the founders of Fusion GPS surely understand, flexibility is a key recipe for success—and the more room you can occupy in the news cycle, the bigger the brand. After all, they’re former journalists—and good ones. Fusion GPS is the story of a few journalists who decided to stop being suckers. They’re not buyers of information, they’re sellers.

    Snip.

    For the past seven years, I’ve reported on and written about American foreign policy and what I saw as troubling trends in how we describe and debate our relationship to the rest of the world. What I’ve concluded during that period is that the fractious nature of those arguments—over the Iran Deal, for instance, or the war in Syria, or Russia’s growing role in the Middle East and elsewhere—is a symptom of a problem here at home. The issue is not about this or that foreign policy. Rather, the problem is that the mediating institutions that enabled Americans to debate and decide our politics and policies, here and abroad, are deeply damaged, likely beyond repair.

    The shape of the debate over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action illustrated this most clearly. The Obama White House turned the press into an instrument used not only to promote its initiatives, but also to drown out and threaten and shame critics and potential opponents, even within the president’s own party. Given the financial exigencies of a media whose business model had been broken by the internet, mismanagement, and the rise of social media as the dominant information platform, the prestige press sacrificed its independence for access to power. If for instance, your beat was national security, it was difficult at best to cross the very few sources of power in Washington that controlled access to information. Your job depended on it. And there are increasingly fewer jobs in the press.

    Read the whole thing.

  • Breakdown of Fusion GPS toes to Russia. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Another day, another failed ObamaCare repeal vote in the Senate, although the “skinny repeal” was nothing to write home about, Republicans John McCain, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against it.
  • While we were concentrating on the Islamic State, the Taliban seized three districts in Afghanistan:

    The Afghan Taliban has overrun three districts previously held by the Afghan government in the provinces of Paktia, Faryab and Ghor over the past several days. The Taliban is demonstrating that it can sustain operations in all theaters of Afghanistan. The three districts are located in three different regions of the country.

    The district of Jani Khel in Paktia, a known stronghold of the Haqqani Network – the powerful Taliban subgroup that is based in eastern Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas – fell to the Taliban earlier today after several days of heavy fighting, according to Afghan officials and the Taliban. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the district headquarters buildings, the police headquarters and all security checkpoints are under his group’s control. Fighting is underway at a nearby military base.

    Jani Khel was effectively under Taliban control. At the end of March, the group claimed that all but six percent of the district, including the district center, was under Afghan government control.

    The districts of Taywara in Ghor in central Afghanistan, and Kohistan (or Lolash) in Faryab in the northwest fell to the Taliban on July 23 after several days of fighting. TOLONews confirmed that the two districts are now Taliban controlled and “government forces have not yet launched military operations to re-capture these districts.”

    The Taliban has also claimed it seized control of Pusht Koh in Farah province and Guzargah in Baghlan, however the reports cannot be independently confirmed. However Taliban reports on the takeover of districts have proven accurate in the pasts.

    The loss of the three districts shows that the Taliban is capable of conducting operations in all regions of the country. Even as the three districts fell, the Taliban is on the offensive in all of the other regions. Afghan security forces, which are sustaining record highs in casualties and desertions, is largely on the defensive in most areas of the country.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • The awful time Yazidi girls have recovering from Islamic State sexual slavery.
  • Liberals freak out over President Trump’s no trannies in the military policy. I don’t think most of America realized our military had trannies. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Defense of same ban by wounded Iraq veteran.
  • Texas special session update. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has gotten the Senate to consider and pass 18 bills in just the first week. Meanwhile, Speaker Joe Straus’ House hasn’t even considered most in committee yet.
  • Kid Rock can win.
  • Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke outraised Ted Cruz in Q2 for the 2018 Texas Senate race, but Cruz still has $5.7 million cash on hand.
  • Flashback: Trump has no path to 270 electoral votes. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • We were close to nabbing Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in 2015 until a leak to the New York Times dried up information.
  • Congress passes veto-proof sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea.
  • Sweden now has 61 “no go” zones, up from 55 last year. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Convicted felon Brett Kimberlin loses in court yet again. “Nearly four years after Brett Kimberlin sued Patrick Frey, myself and numerous other defendants (including Michelle Malkin, Breitbart.com and Red State) in a bogus federal RICO suit, the case has finally concluded with Judge George Hazel granting Frey summary judgment.”
  • Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn to build $10 billion display plant in Wisconsin.
  • President Trump gets a huge welcome in Youngstown, Ohio. Bonus: People interviewed are sick and tired of hearing about Russia. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Greece Arrests Russian ‘Mastermind’ Behind $4 Billion Bitcoin Laundering Scheme.”
  • Dwight has DEFCON and Black Hat rundowns for you computer security boffins. Plus regular updates.
  • Appeals court invalidates D.C.’s ‘good reason’ constraint on public carry of firearms.”

    Because the District’s good-reason law merits invalidation under Heller regardless of its precise benefits, we would be wasting judicial resources if we remanded for the [lower] court to develop the records in these cases. … We vacate both orders below and remand with instructions to render permanent injunctions against enforcement of the District’s good-reason law.

  • NSA expert hacks “smart gun” with $1.5 million supercomputer. And by “NSA expert” I mean a random hacker and by $1.5 million supercomputer I mean $15 worth of magnets. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • 15 pro-illegal alien protestors arrested for blocking traffic near the capitol in Austin. Bonus: Only five actually reside in Texas.
  • Swarthmore commies disband after realizing they were all middle upper class white people. Also, “Swarthmore Commies” would make a good name for a rock band.
  • My piece on ISIS-pledged terrorist groups made it to Zero Hedge. Which I’m happy about. But the comments do seem to be much more Israeli/Jewish conspiracy theory-heavy than I’ve seen there in the past…
  • Speaking of which, no, Edward Snowden did not say that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s is really an Israeli Jew named Elliot Shimon. In fact, he specifically denied saying that through his lawyer.
  • Charlie Gard, RIP.
  • “A number of so-called scientific journals have accepted a Star Wars-themed spoof paper…an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes.”
  • Nice house, lots of room. The decoration scheme is a little…wait a minute…”
  • “A Weaponized Race-Baiting Machine”

    Sunday, July 16th, 2017

    The NRA’s Colion Noir brings the wood on #BlackLivesMatter, George Soros, dysfunctional Democrat-run cities, and the liberal media complex, among other topics:

    “When you start calling everything that attacks the white liberal agenda ‘white supremacy,’ the term means nothing.”

    It’s a wide-ranging discussion that touches on a lot of topics before focusing on black firearms ownership at the end, and I don’t think Noir is 100% accurate on some topics. (For example, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 probably did not “lock up millions of black fathers for [petty} drug offenses,” as incarceration rates after it was passed merely continued the same upward trend that had been evident since the launch of the War on Drugs in the early 1980s.) But he’s more correct than not.