We’re Doomed, Doomed I Tell You.

From Philly.com

Seventeen years after the Year 2000 bug came and went, the federal government will finally stop preparing for it.

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it would eliminate dozens of paperwork requirements for federal agencies, including an obscure rule that requires them to continue providing updates on their preparedness for a bug that many feared would afflict computers at the turn of the century.

The Pentagon will also be freed from a requirement that it file a report every time a small business vendor is paid, a task that consumed about 1,200 man-hours every year.

“We’re looking for stuff everyone agrees is a complete waste of time,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters at the White House. He likened the move to the government “cleaning out our closets.”

Deregulation is a major ambition of President Trump’s agenda; he has signed more laws rolling back his predecessor’s regulations than the combined total of the three previous presidents since the process was established by the 1999 Congressional Review Act.

Seven of the more than 50 paperwork requirements the White House eliminated on Thursday dealt with the Y2K bug, according to a memo OMB released. Officials at the agency estimate the changes could save tens of thousands of man-hours across the federal government.

Yeah, it’s a silly story, but you know, its something that happens in all organizations. We get in habits, and no matter how irrelevant, we keep on, keepin’ on. Most of the time, it does little to no harm and might build respect for tradition, but in large part, it’s kind of silly. As Doug Powers said.

The people working in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Horse & Buggy Administration are feeling a little nervous about their jobs right now.

In other news, all from Powerline, this time.

But one is far superior

Of Course

 

 

 

Rep Scalise, and an Attack on the Republic

(Photo: Shawn Thew, European Pressphoto Agency)

[I have some things to say about the Grenfell Tower fire in London, but it won’t be today. So far, I start thinking about it, and I just sit here and cry, not least because of the parallels to the WTC back on 911. The worry over my niece that was working in lower Manhatten that day still haunts me, and the pictures from this disaster bring it all back, terribly strongly. Maybe tomorrow.]

So, let’s talk about something perhaps more evil. The assassination attempt on Steve Scalise and a bunch of other Republican Representatives. Lots of time I don’t agree with any of them, you know that, but they are our elected representatives, and we should assume they are doing what they think is right. That goes for the Democrats as well. We are a representational republic, if you don’t like what they do, vote against them.

The weapon was apparently an AK 47 variant, not that it matters, it could have been anything including a bolt action. Much of the problem was that while I suspect many of these guys have carry permits, who carries a gun at baseball practice?  I don’t, you don’t, I doubt anybody does, but yesterday it would have been a Godsend.

That said, Rep Scalise being there likely saved us from a massacre, as leadership, he is entitled to security. And a couple of very brave Capitol Police officers saved the day. I don’t know whether they took the gunman out or the responding locals did, but they at least bought time for that response.

It’s no easy thing to go up against a rifle with a handgun, but Special Agent David Bailey and Special Agent Crystal Griner are beyond doubting real American heroes. Agent Griner was apparently wounded in the attack and we obviously wish her all the best. Both agents were as well as two others, and we pray for them all.

The perpetrator is dead, which is a good outcome, as Jonathon Turley reported earlier today the penalty for attacking Congressmen with intent to kill, ranges from 25 years to death, as it should. This was not a terrorist attack, at least as we generally perceive them. He was a 60-year-old supporter of Bernie Sanders, and opposed virulently both Trump and Clinton. As usual, he was likely just crazy, not that the current environment doesn’t aggravate that. None of this rebounds to Senator Sander’s fault, it is purely the responsibility of the perpetrator. Sen. Sanders released a statement which said this.

 

Fair enough, you will all remember that Senator Sanders also defended Ann Coulter’s right to speak at Berkeley. I almost never agree with him, but he’s an honest and an honorable man.

We are already, unsurprisingly seeing the attack turned into partisan politics, especially by the press, which seemingly will do and or say anything to get noticed these days. Which of course is why they have become irrelevant in the first place.

But it is time, indeed it is well past time, to cool the rhetoric in this country some. The witchhunt and the defenses against it are becoming much too likely to precipitate violence, and as we saw this morning, that is not in any of our best interest. We don’t need to agree, but we do need to agree to act civilly, if we don’t this will become the precursor of who knows what. I was asked today by a British friend whether we are getting ready to kick off Act 4 of the “Cousin’s Wars”. My answer was that I hoped not, but I feared we are.

Losses, and Despair

This blogging is a funny thing, often. We end up considering people that we’ve never spoken to as friends and colleagues. One of the people I most enjoyed reading, although only a few times have I referenced his blog was Kevin O’Brien, who went by the screen name of Hognose. He wrote mostly about guns, and their role in our society and his posts were excellent. He was an expert on Czech weapons and made them fascinating. Quite a trick with a guy like me, that tends to think the world begins and ends with Colt. In any case, the last post on his blog was by his brother

I’m sorry to have to tell you all that my brother Kevin O’Brien, host of this blog, passed away peacefully this morning at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. […]

Now I’d like to tell you more about Kevin and how he lived and died.  He was born in 1958 to Robert and Barbara O’Brien.  We grew up in Westborough, Mass.  Kevin graduated from high school in 1975 and joined the Army in (I believe) 1979.  He learned Czech at DLI and became a Ranger and a member of Special Forces.

Kevin’s happiest times were in the Army.  He loved the service and was deeply committed to it.  We were so proud when he earned the Green Beret.  He was active duty for eight years and then stayed in the Reserves and National Guard for many years, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2003.  He told me after that that Afghan tour was when he felt he had made his strongest contribution to the world.

He was the best of us, and I’ll miss him, always. Rest in peace, my friend, whom I never interacted with at all.

Also, and even sadder, Bob Owens of Bearing Arms, died yesterday. Preliminary indications are that it was suicide. Bob was an expert on all thing connected with the 2d Amendment. As far as I recall, he only appeared here once, but there are many drafts here for things that for one reason or another didn’t get published. The one that did was from that very dark period following the 2012 election, when it looked like the wheels were really coming off. He said then:

When I wrote What you’ll seen in the rebellion, I had no idea how widely read an article warning of the dangers of second Revolutionary War could become. It has been “shared” thousands of times in social media, and new readers and comments are pouring in constantly.

Since the time it was written, state legislators in Illinois and New York have formally pressed for crushing gun control measures that would outlaw standard-capacity magazines, all semi-automatic handguns, rifles, and pistols, and even pump shotguns. There would be no grandfathering in these proposals, and no inheritance rights. A complete confiscation of these arms, “liberty’s teeth” as other have termed them, are the goal of these totalitarian governments. Legislators in other states are plotting similar measures.

In Washington, DC, federal Democrats—goaded by figures in the poli-media calling for the murders of gun owners and politicians that would oppose their “common sense” statism—have pushed for a similar raft of legislation, supporting the criminalization and confiscation of the most common firearms in the United States and various accessories. The Vice President of the United States has signaled to the mayor of Boston (how historically apt) that the White House itself may attempt to circumvent Congress and attempt to outlaw these common firearms with an executive order.

The people have responded to these threats by not merely buying up the firearms, magazines, and ammunition that might be affected by these proposed bans as they did in 1993/94 before the Clinton-era ban was pushed through, but by purchasing nearly every firearm of military utility of the past 100+ years. Ruger 10/22s and other common .22LR rifles have doubled in price when they can be found at all. Inexpensive Mosin-Nagants, originally designed in 1891 and typically found by the dozen in your average neighborhoodgun shops, are nowhere to be found, and their ammunition is gone as well. U.S. citizens are preparing for war against their government by the millions. Americans aren’t “going Galt” in response to the push by would-be elites to surging statism. We’re on the cusp ofgoing Häyhä. […]

Most of the downtown shops, in fact, weren’t doing much business except the two gun stores. I’d been in one several days ago to pick a .22LR for an article I’d be writing forShooting Illustrated, and decided to stop in at the other to see what the current political environment had left behind.

There were no less than six clerks working feverishly with the dozen or so customers, so I simply stepped to the side and walked the aisles. The cases of ammunition that typically lined the far wall were picked to pieces. There was a 100-round case of .50 BMG, and cases of European shotshells suitable for small game. The .223 Remington, 5.56 NATO, 7.62×39, 7.62 NATO, and 7.62x54R had sold out long ago, along with the bulk 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.

A few pump shotguns remained along with a smattering of deer rifles, single-shots, and longer double-barreled shotguns suitable only for trap or skeet. Even the semi-automatic .22LR rifles like Ruger 10/22s were gone, along with all but one BX-25 magazine.

The customers in the shop were picking through what remained; lever-action rifles, oddball shotguns, and the smattering of name-brand centerfire pistols. One man was attempting to trade in an antique double-barrel shotgun for something more current.

I did speak to one harried clerk, briefly.

They didn’t know when they’d be getting anything back in stock, from magazines to rifles to pistols. Manufacturers were running full-bore, but couldn’t come close to keeping up with market demand.It wasn’t just the AR-15s, the AK-pattern rifles, the M1As, and the FALs that were sold out. It really hit me when I realized that the World War-era M1 Garands , M1 carbines, and Enfield .303s were gone, along with every last shell. Ubiquitous Mosin-Nagants—of which every gun store always seems to have 10-20—were gone. So was their ammo. Only a dust free space marked their passing. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Every weapon of military utility designed within the past 100+ years was gone. This isn’t a society stocking up on certain guns because they fear they may be banned. This is a society preparing for war.

He was one of those men who could easily read between the lines, the ones we need to help us all.

From the reports I’ve read, it sounds to me like he suffered from depression, and it’s not uncommon. I’ve dealt with it on a more minor scale, and even there it is an insidious disease, affecting us in ways we simply do not understand, and sometimes cannot even explain to those who want to help. Sometimes nothing at all helps, and even the good things, like the relaxation of the pressure on the Amendment in the last few months, can make things even worse. Yesterday, Nina Bookout at Victory Girls Blog said this

We were shocked and saddened to hear the news that Bob Owens died yesterday of an apparent suicide. Bob Owens deeply loved his family, this country, our Constitution, and was a fierce advocate for our 2nd Amendment rights. One only has to go back through his many blog posts at Bob Owens, his work with PJ Media or as the editor of Bearing Arms, to get a sense of who this man was. I myself first learned of him through his original blog, Confederate Yankee.

I too first read him at Confederate Yankee, and I agree with all she says here. There is a Go-Fund-Me for Bob’s family that you can access here.

God rest his soul, and give his family peace.

Once when she was having a bad spot, Jess wrote to me, ending with this,  “I guess I just have to ride this out and not give in to despair.” I guess she was right for all of us.

The Flying Pigs Report

The author, an Indian-American, visiting her first NRA convention on Friday.

I don’t talk a lot about guns here, mostly because others do it and usually better. But like most of my readers, I’m a very firm supporter of the right to own guns, in fact, I tend to think the NFA is unconstitutional (that’s the one that manned machine guns, and such) let alone the ’68 gun control act. I agree with Tench Coxe, who wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette back in the day

The power of the sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for THE POWERS OF THE SWORD ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE YEOMANRY OF AMERICA FROM SIXTEEN TO SIXTY. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American…. [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.

So it was then, so it should be today.

In any case, this story is based on one from CNN (Huh? What? Yeah, I know!) by an Indian immigrant who went to the NRA convention in Atlanta a few days ago. Her name is  Moni Basu, and she learned some things.

Guns are not a part of the culture of my homeland, except perhaps for the occasional Bollywood movie in which the bad guy meets his demise staring down the wrong end of a barrel.

My childhood in India was steeped in ahimsa, the tenet of nonviolence toward all living things.
The Indians may have succeeded in ousting the British, but we won with Gandhian-style civil disobedience, not a revolutionary war.
I grew up not knowing a single gun owner, and even today India has one of the strictest gun laws on the planet. Few Indians buy and keep firearms at home, and gun violence is nowhere near the problem it is in the United States. An American is 12 times more likely than an Indian to be killed by a firearm, according to a recent study.
It’s no wonder then that every time I visit India, my friends and family want to know more about America’s “love affair” with guns.
I get the same questions when I visit my brother in Canada or on my business travels to other countries, where many people remain perplexed, maybe even downright mystified, by Americans’ defense of gun rights.
I admit I do not fully understand it myself, despite having become an American citizen nearly a decade ago. So when I learn the National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention here in Atlanta, right next to the CNN Center, I decide to go and find out more. […]
“Why do you want to own an object that can kill another human being?”
The answers are varied, but they center on three main themes: freedom, self-defense and sport. The first type of response is rooted in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for the ownership of more than 300 million guns in America. How many other countries have the right to bear arms written into their very foundation? It’s unique and because of that, foreigners often have trouble grasping it. […]
I meet Chris Styskal at a booth set up by the NRA Wine Club. […] But then we get into serious talk. Gun ownership, he tells me, has its roots in the birth of this country. “George Washington’s army fought off the British with rifles,” he says. “They overthrew an oppressive government.”
His statement gives me pause. The gun laws in India stem from colonial rule, when the British aimed to quell their subjects by disarming them. Perhaps my Indian compatriots should consider the right to own guns from this perspective. […]
It’s a thought echoed by Brickell “Brooke” Clark, otherwise known as the American Gun Chic. She has a website by that name and also a YouTube channel. Both are bathed in hues of pink and dedicated to her recently formed passion for guns. […]
“What would you tell my friends in India who say Americans are infatuated with guns?”
“I wouldn’t say Americans have an obsession with guns,” Clark says. “We have an obsession with being free.”
I ask what the Second Amendment means to her.
“It means I can live my life without anyone overpowering me,” she says. “It makes me equal with everyone else.”
The great equalizer. I never thought of the Second Amendment in that way.

The Equalizer

Well maybe she hasn’t, many don’t, but we always have. The most iconic of American guns, the old Colt Model 1873 Army, got itself a few nicknames, one of them was “The Equalizer” because in a very real sense it made everybody equal, even a 95-pound woman being attacked by men, or a black man who the KKK was trying to lynch. It’s one of the ways America has made and kept itself free. It’s the one you see in all the movies. To continue.

Morris is 35, petite and soft-spoken, but she’s fierce about her opinions on guns.
“I’m 5 feet tall and 100 pounds,” she tells me. “I cannot wait for a cop to come save me when I am threatened with rape or death.”
People look at guns as this evil tool whose job it is to kill,” [Derrick Adams. He’s a 32-year-old electric lineman from Nottingham, Pennsylvania. He describes himself as part black, part Puerto Rican and part Caucasian] says. “They’re not at all that. They are about protection.”
Adams believes that if all law-abiding citizens were armed, crime would drastically go down. He tells me that Chicago would not have such a high gun homicide rate if good folks in the inner cities were armed to fight “thugs and gangs.”
“Stop looking to government to help us. They are not our parents,” Adams says.
Liberals in America who want more gun control, says Adams, want to keep minorities and poor people dependent on government. Gun control started after slavery ended and was a way to keep black people disarmed, he says.
He’s right, on all counts, way back in April of 2013, I ran an article by Enza Ferreri an Italian blogger working from London, who dug into the stats, and came away with the same conclusion. She wrote a most interesting (and long) article on it, which is linked from there.
Back to Ms. Banu
“You idiots,” Adams says, referring to all people of color. “It was invented to suppress you.”
He looks at me as though to say: You should know better.
Again, I think of colonialism in my homeland and how the British passed strict gun control to keep Indians from rising up.
She ends this way:
I leave the convention trying to reconcile what I’ve gathered on this day with the philosophy of nonviolence with which I was raised. I am not certain that vast cultural differences can be bridged in a few hours, but I am glad I got a glimpse into the world of guns. I have much to consider.
She does, and she wrote a fair article, and that’s rare. In a very real sense, we are who we are because of who we were. Americans were the first to throw off colonialism, and we pretty much did it ourselves, and we still remember how we did it. And the other thing we know is just how horrible a time the Revolution was, and we, none of us, want to go there again. And so we believe that an armed American citizenry is the best defense of freedom anywhere in the world, as it has been for 250 years. Welcome to our world, Moni, and all the others “yearning to breathe free”.

Hubris, meet Nemesis

msmprop4Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote for the Hoover Institution. As usual, it’s outstanding.

Donald Trump conducted a press conference recently as if he were a loud circus ringmaster whipping the media circus animals into shape. The establishment thought the performance was a window into an unhinged mind; half the country thought it was a long overdue media comeuppance.

The media suffer the lowest approval numbers in nearly a half-century. In a recent Emerson College poll, 49 percent of American voters termed the Trump administration “truthful”; yet only 39 percent believed the same about the news media.

Every president needs media audit. The role of journalists in a free society is to act as disinterested censors of government power—neither going on witch-hunts against political opponents nor deifying ideological fellow-travelers.

Sadly, the contemporary mainstream media—the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN), the traditional blue-chip newspapers (Washington Post, New York Times), and the public affiliates (NPR, PBS)—have lost credibility. They are no more reliable critics of President Trump’s excesses than they were believable cheerleaders for Barack Obama’s policies.

Trump may have a habit of exaggeration and gratuitous feuding that could cause problems with his presidency. But we would never quite know that from the media. In just his first month in office, reporters have already peddled dozens of fake news stories designed to discredit the President—to such a degree that little they now write or say can be taken at face value.

A loud and blatant truth there, if you wish to lose whatever credibility you have all you have to do is take sides, while continuing to maintain that you are objective. True for me, true for you, true for the New York Times. Although I wouldn’t know, since I have no pet birds, I have no reason to support overpriced birdcage liners. But to be serious, even as a blogger, I exercise a modicum of judgment, whether something is likely true, possible, or simply propaganda, there are many stories you don’t see here because even with the wide reading I do, I only saw it once, or it’s simply too unlikely. Whatever, if I’m not convinced, it doesn’t get posted.

VDH does an outstanding job of running down the ‘bill of particulars’ that have damned the MSM in this country, no need to do it here, so read the link.

We are now in a media arena where there are no rules. The New York Times is no longer any more credible than talk radio; CNN—whose reporters have compared Trump to Hitler and gleefully joked about his plane crashing—should be no more believed than a blogger’s website. Buzzfeed has become like the National Inquirer.

Trump now communicates, often raucously and unfiltered, directly with the American people, to ensure his message is not distorted and massaged by reporters who have a history of doing just that. Unfortunately, it is up to the American people now to audit their own president’s assertions. The problem is not just that the media is often not reliable, but that it is predictably unreliable. It has ceased to exist as an auditor of government. Ironically the media that sacrificed its reputation to glorify Obama and demonize Trump has empowered the new President in a way never quite seen before. At least for now, Trump can say or do almost anything he wishes without media scrutiny—given that reporters have far less credibility than does Trump.

Trump is the media’s Nemesis—payback for its own hubris.

Emphasis mine and via Presidential Payback For Media Hubris | Hoover Institution.

I have nothing to add to that.

Immigration, and some from CPAC

ap_16326009989758-640x442So, on Tuesday, General Kelly gave an order to his people on immigration. In short, it said this:

Henceforth, the United States shall be governed by the laws of the United States.

As said on warsclerotic.com, that it had to be said:

[…] owes to the Obama administration abuses of three legal doctrines: prosecutorial discretion, preemption, and separation of powers (specifically, the executive usurpation of legislative power).


 

 

I’m not as thrilled as I used to be with CPAC, but it does bring together some very good people, so let’s watch a few.

I always thnk Scott Walker has an idea of what to do.

Sen Ted Cruz and Mark Levin; it just doesn’t get much better!

The Vice President Mike Pence.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Senator Jim DeMint, now at the Heritage Center

And Dana Loesch, of course! 🙂

I’d guess we’ll have some more of these, as we go along. Some really good stuff gets said, and out loud too.

 

 

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