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Political Roundup

As the new Congress gets moving and we approach the inauguration of the new president, I’m starting to see more and more rather interesting political news come across the wire.

 

First, It would appear that Congress is going to be considering a National Reciprocity bill this session.  Not sure how far this will get, but here’s hoping it gets through.  Here’s the NRA’s pitch for it:

NRA Backs Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill in U.S. House 

Bill Would Eliminate Confusing Patchwork of State Laws

Fairfax, Va.— On behalf of its five-million members, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded the introduction of H.R. 38, TheConcealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, authored by Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8). This legislation would eliminate the confusing patchwork of state carry laws by allowing individuals who possess concealed carry permits from their home state or who are not prohibited from carrying concealed in their home state to exercise those rights in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.

“The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders. This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. “Congressman Hudson’s legislation provides a much needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners.”

This legislation would not override state laws governing the time, place or manner of carriage or establish national standards for concealed carry. Individual state gun laws would still be respected. If under federal law a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under this bill.

“Law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while traveling across state lines,” continued Cox. “This is an extremely important issue to our members and we thank Congressman Hudson for leading the fight to protect our rights,” concluded Cox.

Next, the Senate is considering a proposed constitutional amendment that would impose term limits on senators and representatives.  While there are good arguments supporting allowing good public servants to serve as long as their constituents want to keep re-electing them, unfortunately the Congress has practically become a job you can keep as long as you want it.

‘‘ARTICLE—

‘‘SECTION 1. No person who has served 3 terms as a Representative shall be eligible for election to the House of Representatives. For purposes of this section, the election of a person to fill a vacancy in the House of Representatives shall be included as 1 term in determining the number of terms that such person has served as a Representative if the person fills the vacancy for more than 1 year.

‘‘SECTION 2. No person who has served 2 terms as a Senator shall be eligible for election or appointment to the Senate. For purposes of this section, the election or appointment of a person to fill a vacancy in the Senate shall be included as 1 term in determining the number of terms that such person has served as a Senator if the person fills the vacancy for more than 3 years.

‘‘SECTION 3. No term beginning before the date of the ratification of this article shall be taken into account in determining eligibility for election or appointment under this article.’’.

Finally, my Congressman has re-introduced legislation to audit the Federal Reserve.  No matter what you think about how money flows in our government and the rest of the country, I hope we can agree that sunshine would make the process a lot easier to swallow and might just make things better.

U.S. Representative Massie Reintroduces Bill to Audit the Federal Reserve
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Thomas Massie reintroduced H.R. 24, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2017, also known as “Audit the Fed.” The bipartisan bill would require the Comptroller General to conduct a full examination of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks.
“The American public deserves more insight into the practices of the Federal Reserve,” Massie said. “Behind closed doors, the Fed crafts monetary policy that will continue to devalue our currency, slow economic growth, and make life harder for the poor and middle class.”
“No institution holds more power over the future of the American economy and the value of our savings than the Federal Reserve, yet Fed Chair Yellen refuses to be fully accountable to the people’s representatives,” said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who introduced companion legislation, S. 16, in the U.S. Senate. “The U.S. House has responded to the American people by passing Audit the Fed multiple times, and President-elect Trump has stated his support for an audit. Let’s send him the bill this Congress.”

Former Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), who has long championed this cause, originally introduced the bill in 2009.
Massie concluded, “It is time to force the Federal Reserve to operate by the same standards of transparency and accountability to the taxpayers that we should demand of all government agencies.”
The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2017 was introduced with 44 bipartisan original cosponsors. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), passed an identical version of the bill, which had 201 cosponsors, in May 2016, marking an important step toward getting the bill to the House floor for a vote.
Anyway, please take the time to look into these and other issues Congress is looking into, and make your wishes known to your Senators and Representative.

NRA Statement on Designee for the Secretary of the Interior

Below you ‘ll find the NRA’s statement on Secretary Designate Zinke, who has been chosen to head the Department of the Interior under the Trump administration.  Personally, I’m still forming my own opinions on the new cabinet, but I like what I hear so far about Congressman. Zinke.

 

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior
Fairfax, Va.— Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement on the nomination of Congressman Ryan Zinke to be the Secretary of the Interior:“On behalf of our 5 million members, we commend President-Elect Donald Trump for nominating Congressman Ryan Zinke of Montana to be our next Secretary of the Interior,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The sportsmen and women of this nation have long waited for an Interior Secretary who understands the need to preserve America’s outdoor heritage for generations to come. Ryan Zinke will champion those traditions with the devotion of a true outdoorsman while serving as our next Secretary of the Interior.”

Letters to Congress

Below is the text of the message I left with Senator Rand Paul on his Senate website.  I sent similar messages to my other senator, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and my Congressman, Thomas Massie.

There will be votes in the coming days on measures to use government lists to restrict or deny our civil rights.  I urge all of you to reach out to your Senators today, be it by phone or email, and let them know how you feel on the subject.  To paraphrase my Congressman, the higher the stack of messages on a subject, the more they pay attention to it.

 


 

Senator Paul,

Like you, I was horrified and disgusted by the murders of innocent people in Orlando over the weekend.  When one American is attacked, we are all attacked.  

But I was also dismayed at the political reaction to this atrocity.  While I am not surprised that President Obama and his minions have moved swiftly to capitalize on the nation’s grief, I am also disheartened by the willingness of members of your caucus to abandon civil rights in favor of temporary political gain.

The current proposals before the Senate to restrict the civil rights of citizens without due process of law should not be passed, and I ask you to stand against them.  You have stood up for our rights before, and I ask you to do so again.  Giving this administration, or any other, the power to restrict any of our rights based on denunciation and suspicion would be a precedent leading to tyranny.  Such measures would be enabling acts that permit a faceless government employee, without the checks imposed by having to show cause and give evidence in open court, to negatively impact the life and liberty of our citizens.

Please, as a constituent, I ask you to not only vote against these efforts, but to use your influence to convince others to follow suit.

Thank you for your time,

 

Tom Rogneby
Louisville, Kentucky

A Letter to the NRA-ILA

Below is the text of a message I left with the NRA-ILA at their webpage.  If you are an NRA member, whether or not you agree with me, please take a moment to give the NRA’s leadership your opinion on how they should handle the present situation.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It was with some concern that I learned of the National Rifle Association’s decision to endorse Donald Trump for the 2016 presidential election.  Mr. Trump may not be a rock-ribbed supporter of gun rights, but this year seems to have a dearth of those. Considering his opposition in the other major party, I took it as the NRA making the best choice it could between two bad alternatives.

However, today I learned that Mr. Trump plans to meet with the NRA’s leadership to discuss ways in which someone on the government’s terrorism watch lists could be denied their constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.  I will not comment on what Mr. Trump’s motives are for doing this, but I will point out that this more closely aligns him with Mrs. Clinton and President Obama than it does with this proud gun owner.

In response to this, as a life member of the NRA, I have only one thing to ask you, the leaders of the NRA:

Please, tell him no.

Things are much better than they were as recently as ten years ago.  To allow the government, no matter who is in the White House and Congress, to wield the power to strip a citizen of their rights because their name appears on a secret list, with no due process protections, would be a huge step backward for gun rights, if not all civil rights.

Mr. Trump is asking you to work with him to find a way to curtail our rights.  He needed us during the primaries, and now that he has sewn up the nomination, wishes to put the NRA’s members on the bargaining table.

I ask that senior NRA leadership clearly and publicly refuse to cooperate with efforts to curtail our rights in this manner.  I urge you to make it clear that the NRA will not only fight such efforts in the Congress, but at the ballot box as well.  And if Mr. Trump insists on reneging on his pledge to stand and fight with us, then I urge you to withdraw the NRA’s endorsement of him.  If there is no other suitable candidate to support, I believe we should make no endorsement for president this year.  Instead, we should pour our energies to making sure that Congress is a bulwark in the defense of our rights.

Please, for the sake of our rights, do not mince words with Mr. Trump.  Tell him no.

Thank you for your time,

Tom Rogneby
Louisville, KY

Once again, the President and his congress of anti-civil rights apes are politicizing a horrific incident by flinging crap at the wall and seeing what sticks.  In this instance, they’ve chosen to toss around a stinking wad of “people on watch lists shouldn’t be allowed to get their hands on guns” so everyone can get a good whiff.

Their proposal boils down to not allowing people on ‘no-fly’ and other government lists to legally purchase firearms.  Now, to refresh everyone’s memory, federal law enforcement keeps at least a few lists of people who, for one reason or another, have come to its attention.  One of these lists is popularly called the “no-fly” list, because those on it are not allowed to board an airplane, but there appear to be others.  Nobody will say how one gets on these lists, who is already on them, or how to get off of them if you don’t belong.  The first sign of membership appears to be when your name, or one that’s similar, comes up when you try to check in at the airport or do something else where your name is flagged.

Now, it would appear that the murderer in Orlando was on at least one government list, but was able to legally purchase a firearm through a dealer.  This means that he passed a criminal background check, had never been adjudicated as incompetent or unwillingly committed to a mental health facility, and had no convictions or protective orders pertaining to domestic abuse.*   The FBI looked into him on a few occasions, and concluded that there was no there, there.

But he was indeed on a list, and now people want to know why such a list with no due process, not even to the point that someone is told they are on it, isn’t used to deprive someone of a constitutionally protected right.

I have a little thought experiment for those folks, so please, close your eyes and do a little imagining for me.

Now, for the sake of the argument, let’s just imagine that every single person on said list is there because they are, indeed, a terrorist.  Let’s also imagine that President Obama and Mrs. Clinton are wise, dedicated, honest individuals who would never use a secret list to disarm and discredit their political opponents.  Let’s imagine that the process for denying legal purchases is linked to that list.  Let’s even imagine that such a measure, justly wielded by anti-gun philosopher kings, is effective and keeps guns out of the hands of terrorists.

You with me?  Just imagine that for a moment.

Now, imagine giving the power to deny a right by putting someone on a secret government watch list to Donald Trump.

Still with me?

Still think that giving someone, anyone, the power to deny civil rights, without going through the bother of working through the courts, is such a good idea?  Any power you give to the best president to ever lead this republic will also be wielded by the most venal, evil president ever inflicted upon it.

Administrations change, for good or ill, but their powers rarely decrease.  If you wouldn’t give the power to someone you don’t want to be president, you should not, cannot, give it to someone you do, no matter their party.

Secret watch lists can and will be enlarged to include the actual and perceived political and social enemies of those in power. What seems like a good, limited response to a real threat can only grow, encompassing more people and more rights.

I recognize that we have a problem with violence in this country, be it done with guns, fists, knives, or whatever.  I recognize that many of us want to find a solution.  I just fail to recognize how using a tool so ripe for corruption and abuse can be that solution.

*It has come to light that his ex-wife and family acknowledge that he was an abuser, but apparently nobody made it official and went to court. Doing so would probably have kept him from legally owning a firearm.

 

Thoughts on NRAAM 2016

Well, the NRA Annual Meeting for 2016 is in the books.  I’ve had a great weekend with a lot of great people.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • There wasn’t a lot gun-wise that caught my attention.  The exceptions were the new Remington RM380 and the Browning 1911-380.
    • The Remington gets into the mouse-gun category for me.  When I indexed my finger along the slide, my last knuckle could curl around the muzzle.
    • The Browning was just… neat.
  • I have a sneaking suspicion that the manufacturers are waiting to see how the election and the next administration come out before devoting production lines and schedules to big new products.
  • The tacticool monster is raising his hoary head once more.  I heard some lady at a booth ask, and may I be struck down if I lie, “Have you seen our tactical garment bag?”
  • I could have easily spent a whole lot of money at several knife dealers who do not reference the temperature of their metal.
  • I’m trying to find the time, energy, and interest to go back and watch the political speeches.  If I do, I’ll post my thoughts. No promises.
    • I have decided that I’m going to take the presidential candidates at their word, both those uttered now and those uttered in the past.  Where there is conflict between the two, I’m going to believe that which they said most often.  This seems to be the only hope of figuring this out.
    • Seriously, out of over 300 million people, this is the best we can do?
  • The male to female ratio in the crowd seemed to be tipping toward equilibrium this year.
  • Interestingly enough, I only saw one booth babe in the exhibition hall, although I have been told that there was a mermaid in one of the booths on Saturday.
  • Gun people continue to be good people.  I heard no rude remarks, saw lots of polite conversation, and the crowd parted for anyone who needed room for a wheelchair or service dog.
  •   Having 20 or 30 people out to the house for dinner on Friday night was a lot of work, but it was worth it.  I haven’t had that much fun in months.
    • Irish Woman commented that my friends are outstanding people, and she seemed surprised that they knew so much about her.  I can’t imagine how that happened.
    • One guest looked around the house and commented on how the Minivandian stories really aren’t fiction.  That drew a belly laugh.
    • You know it’s a good party when you end up with more booze than when you started.
    • Our friends discovered the reason I maintain that food is love in our house.

Please Help Out If You Can

From John Richardson, we learn about a bad situation for Paul Lathrop, host of the Polite Society Podcast:

Paul is being accused of making “terroristic” threats. Many of you are aware that that is one of the latest ploys used by ambitious prosecutors all over the nation. In addition, they included “Possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony”. Of course the “felony” is the trumped up charge of making terroristic threats. I find that to be a self-referencing, catch 22 type of charge.

A lot of people have gotten good information from Polite Society over the years, and I hope that this gets taken care of quickly and cleanly for Mr. Lathrop.  In the meantime, his family could use help with bail and attorney’s fees.  See John’s post for a link to donate.

This Again?

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. — Thomas Jefferson

 

Thanks to Tam, we find out that the Obama administration and their minions in Congress are trying to get a bill passed, which mirrors the the efforts the State Department made last year to make publishing information about weapons a violation of ITAR.  This would make the publication of things like reviews, specifications, and manufacturing / maintenance data a crime.

If they can’t find one way, they’ll find another, it appears.  Yeah, the quote above has become a cliche, but it rings true today.  If they can’t get their way through Congress, they’ll do it via executive orders.  If they can’t get it that way, they’ll do it through regulations.  If that is thwarted, they’ll go back to Congress.

Around and around she goes; where she stops, nobody knows.

Please, reach out to your Senator as soon as you can.  Tell them what you want them to do about this bill, and what you expect of them when it comes to your rights.

Please, join and support a group that fights for your rights, and get involved.

They’re not going to quit.  Neither should we.

 

Weak Tea

Yesterday, after meeting with the Attorney General to confirm his biases and uninformed opinions, President Obama finalized plans for a series of executive initiatives which he hopes will make people think he’s still relevant when it comes to the subject of gun control.

I won’t enumerate or discuss them here, because better writers and thinkers than me have already done so.

What I do want to point out is just how ineffectual this president is, and to be honest, always has been, no matter the subject.

Obama came into office with a majority in the House of Representatives and a super-majority in the Senate.  He and his party wielded that powerful tool until after the 2010 mid-term elections.  They accomplished exactly one significant thing with it – Obamacare.  That one, singular sensation was so odious that it had to be packed with carve-outs, bribes, and favors to get even the Democrats to vote for it.  It is such a bad law that the President has had to delay its full implementation on multiple occasions, and it is currently in danger of imploding under its own weight.

Other than that, President Obama has accomplished, well, not much.

We have the Iran nuclear deal, which is off to a resoundingly bad start as Iran tests missiles, sometimes less than two kilometers from our ships.  But, hey, the Iranians turned over the nuclear material we knew about to the Russians, who we all know can be trusted.

Speaking of Russia, how’s the President’s policy toward them working out?  Well, if we’re being brutally honest, it’s not.  A big chunk of Czechoslovakia Ukraine lies under Putin’s heel, and our NATO allies are more likely to work with Russia in Syria than they are to work with us.

Speaking of Syria, the President has made so many red lines, then scribbled them out, that the country must look like it lost a Sharpie fight with Jackie Chan.  At the moment, the best that we can hope for is that the stable dictator is able to hold onto power so that the unstable horde doesn’t get its hands on the entire country.  In the meantime, the most the President can do is have our pilots wave from 35,000 feet as they pass overhead while our Kurdish allies fight to hold what they’ve got.

Back on the domestic front, the President has focused his attention on gun control, but seems to be prescient enough to realize that he’s powerless to influence the direction of the country in that particular situation.  That is, of course, unless you realize that every time he opens his noise hole, every company, craftsman, and merchant involved in the legal gun trade gets trampled by their customers buying every gun and bullet they can.  Seriously, I know more people who went from neutrality on guns to “DB, what’s the best AR-15 under $1000, and where’s the best place to buy cheap ammo?” than I ever thought possible.

While we’re on that subject, I’d like to thank the President for swelling the ranks of the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the myriad other gun rights organizations across the country.  We couldn’t have done it without you, big guy.  It is my sincere hope that after you leave office, somebody thinks to send you a ball cap or something for your efforts.  Now that I think about it, the NRA ought to start a new prize, named for the President, which recognizes the person who does the most to grow the NRA and get people into the gun stores and shooting ranges.

So, here we are, with the lamest duck I’ve ever seen.  His super-majority in Congress is a distant memory, and the best he can do now is t say “While I’m President, try to do what the law has told you to do since before I rolled my first joint.”  But, remember folks, he’s the most powerful man in in the world, and quite possibly the smartest.  Just ask him and his dwindling crowds of adoring fans.

I’ve always wondered what it would look like if this country didn’t have leadership or even management at the top.  Looks like I’m about to find out.

Your Daily Snark

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