Well, that didn’t take long….

As I opined here, here and here, it didn’t think it would take long for a SCOTUS ruling upholding Texas’ egregious* abortion law [SB8], to translate into similar efforts regrading firearms. Precedence may rear it’s legislative head.

Here comes Gavin Newsome:

If states can shield their laws from review by federal courts, then CA will use that authority to help protect lives. We will work to create the ability for private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts in CA.Twitter

Is it going to work? With California, it’s hard to say….but file this under, watch what you wish for….

*I’m not commenting on the topic of abortion itself rather the means by which this law is enforceable.

Upvotes for Liz Cheney

I generally care little when members of the Duopoly hurl petulant pejoratives at one another, but I found Liz Cheney’s response….at least parts of it….hilarious.

@Liz_Cheney is hitting back at @tedcruz after he went on Fox News last night & accused her of “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” saying she was “broke” by Trump.

“Trump broke Ted Cruz,” Cheney told me. “A real man would be defending his wife, and his father, and the Constitution.”

Cucks deserve to be called out as such.

Thoughts on the Virginia Elections

Though I’m an Oregon Duck [U of O] through and through, Virginia has been my adopted state since late 2008, when I retired from the Army [or the John Wayne Lifelong School for Wayward Boys].

I’ve watched several elections here with varying amounts of interest, this a bit more so than others……even though there was no Libertarian candidate in any of the races I could have cast a ballot for. Some random thoughts below:

Good on Winsome Sears for winning [though I really don’t get the business attire/firearm photo that seems to be trendy among the virtue-signalling Right]. It’s a good win for the Virginia GOP, though most Virginians are waking up this morning and researching exactly what the hell the Lt Gov even does.

More concerning to civil liberties, is the AG race, which last time I checked, is still too close to call.

Youngkin is secretly thanking McAuliffe for handing him the victory, by way of his asinine comment during the last debate. All most knew about him before then was that he liked basketball. His rhetoric of an enormous education budget is worrisome, especially if he doesn’t throw a bone to the large home-school population of this State, like all of his GOP predecessors failed to do. Since the 1977 Gubernatorial election, the party out of power in the White House, has only lost one election for Governor. In 11 out of 12 elections, only Terry McAuliffe has bucked that trend during the Obama Administration…..so this isn’t exactly a momentous occasion.

The Second Amendment Foundation [of which I’m a member] published the following:

“Old Dominion gun owners were not about to allow anti-gun Democrats enjoy another two years of power after what happened in January 2020. They knew what Terry McAuliffe’s return to Richmond would mean for their Second Amendment rights. His party’s politics of attacking gun owners, and their outrageous record of eroding gun rights brought gun owners to the polls to say enough is enough.”

“What is most gratifying, was to see savvy gun rights voters ignore the despicable last-minute ad buy by desperate Democrats to suppress the gun vote by painting Republican Glenn Youngkin as an anti-gunner, when it is their own candidate who has a deplorable record on gun rights.”

To be sure, Youngkin seemed like and empty suit [or fleece vest] up until McAuliffe’s education gaffe. He never really took a strong position, that I saw, on 2nd Amendment Rights……..even in a year where SCOTUS started hearing oral arguments [today I believe] in a landmark NY case.

So, Trump…..or overt lack of ties to Trump aside…we’ll see how a Youngkin Administration pans out for civil liberties. I have an open mind, but I’m not exactly brimming over with confidence in any Republican.

The (Still) Unconstitutionality of the Texas Abortion Law

The Firearms Policy Coalition filed an Amicus brief supporting the Plaintiffs in the current lawsuit against Texas S.B. 8 set to go before SCOTUS. The entire brief is worth the read, if you’re a gun rights policy nerd like me…….but the conclusion is below:

This case is important not because of its specific subject matter of abortion, but instead for Texas’s cavalier and contemptuous mechanism for shielding from review potential violations of constitutional rights as determined by this Court’s precedents. It is one thing to disagree with precedents and seek their revision or reversal through judicial, congressional, or constitutional avenues; it is another simply to circumvent judicial review by delegating state action to the citizenry at large and then claiming, with a wink and a nod, that no state actors are involved.

From Amicus’s perspective, if pre-enforcement review can be evaded in the context of abortion it can and will be evaded in the context of the right to keep and bear arms. While the political valences of those issues seem to be opposites, the structural circumstances are too similar to ignore. As with Roe and Casey, many States view Heller as wrongly decided. Those States, with the help of many circuit courts, have showed an ongoing refusal to accept the holding in Heller and a continuing creativity in seeking to circumvent any protections for, and to chill the exercise of, Second Amendment rights. It is hardly speculation to suggest that if Texas succeeds in its gambit here, New York, California, New Jersey, and others will not be far behind in adopting equally aggressive gambits to not merely chill but to freeze the right to keep and bear arms.

The SecDef Should Tender his Resignation

A lengthy article from Andrew Milburn over at Task & Purpose, but suffice to say……Austin is not the Secretary of Defense that we need right now, with China staring us down over Taiwan. Clean house and clean it quick.

As for what the country wants, it must surely include general officers who haven’t surrendered their moral autonomy to the political administration of the day: Generals who understand that it is their responsibility to set the right balance between the mission and the men because they also have an obligation to subordinates – the sons and daughters of the American public that General Milley so readily brings to his defense. Generals that have thought deeply about what their obligation to the nation really entails.

This is an obligation that defies neat categorization. It can’t be captured on a PowerPoint slide or be easily explained in a chummy press conference. Understanding it demands intellectual and moral rigor. I would guess that these are the qualities that America expects of its generals. 

Resignation won’t atone for lives lost, or the debacle that American involvement in Afghanistan became, but it would at least demonstrate that these men understand the ethics of their profession. It would help calibrate the moral compass of thousands of officers beneath them. It might even help all three find absolution if such a thing still matters to them.

Sadly, the men and women at the pinnacle of our institution are a product of a culture that doesn’t nurture initiative, disciplined disobedience, or a profound understanding of our professional ethics. “I’ve taken an oath to the Constitution” is only the beginning of that intellectual and ethical journey, not the destination. 

The hearings were a blow to those of us searching for redemption among our senior uniformed leaders. Instead, they illustrate the pernicious effect that having men such as these in positions of the highest responsibility can have upon America’s standing in the world. 

Resignation may solve little, but is simply the right thing to do. And, at the very least, it will clear the way for those better qualified to begin the task of restoring this nation’s credibility on the global stage.

Any defense wonks have a pick who would fill that role nicely?

Pet Issues and Precedent, Continued

Alan Dershowitz illustrates my concern about the Texas abortion legislation being used as precedent for other issues, in Democratic monopoly states:

Consider this out-of-the-box proposal: Liberal, pro-gun-control states could apply the Texas bounty approach to gun control. New York or Illinois, for example, could declare that gun crime has gotten so serious that the private ownership of most handguns should be deterred. It would be unconstitutional for the state to authorize the criminal prosecution of those who facilitate constitutionally protected gun ownership. But the state could, instead, enact a gun-bounty civil law modeled on the Texas abortion law. It would empower any citizen to sue for $10,000 anyone who facilitates the sale or ownership of handguns.

Gun-ownership advocates would rail against such a law as circumventing Heller, just as abortion advocates are railing against the Texas law as circumventing Roe. But it would be hard for the courts to uphold the civil mechanism of the anti-abortion law without also upholding the identical mechanism in the anti-gun law.

Creating this “shoe on the other foot” challenge would bring home the dangerous implications of the Texas bounty approach which, if not stopped, could undercut the authority of the Supreme Court to enforce other constitutional rights.

Texas could, for example, next apply it to gay marriage — any private citizen could sue anyone who performed or facilitated same-sex marriages — thus circumventing Obergefell v. Hodges. New York could then apply it to Citizens United v. FCC and offer a civil bounty to sue any media outlet that ran corporate political ads. Any state could simply target any Supreme Court precedent it doesn’t like and deter its enforcement by authorizing citizens who oppose it to sue. This would empower every state to effectively overrule Supreme Court decisions, as some southern states unsuccessfully tried to do following Brown v Board of Education in 1954.

Pet Issues and Precedent

I’m watching in fascination, both the various legal analyses of the newly implemented Texas abortion law….and the even newer pursuit of one-upsmanship on the part of a couple of other states.

Whether it’s the Left on issues like gun control or the Right with abortion……one wonders if they ever stop to calculate the second and third order effects……as well as the very real fact that their legal victories…..can serve as precedent when tables are turned, or in jurisdictions where they aren’t in the majority.

To this end, an OpEd in the WSJ notes:

“This one delegates exclusive enforcement to private citizens, who are authorized to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after six weeks. Citizens who prevail in their civil lawsuits are entitled to at least $10,000 per abortion along with legal costs.”

The law sets an awful precedent that conservatives should hate. Could California allow private citizens to sue individuals for hate speech? Or New York deputize private lawsuits against gun owners? Texas argues that abortion providers don’t have standing to challenge the law because the state isn’t enforcing it and neither at this point is any private citizen. Thus there is no case or controversy, which is what courts are supposed to settle. This is technically correct and it is why the five Justices declined to enjoin the law.

The entire article is behind a paywall, but this and another snippet can be found here.

I have little doubt that this law will be struck down, not because it effectively skirts settled law, but for the manner in which it does…..and the horrible precedent it sets. Snitch lines/website? Blanket legal standing for unaffected Citizens to sue?

This is a dangerous road that political myopia built.

The Media Gets off it’s Ass, at least for one Falsehood *Updated*

*An even better article was just published today at LawfareBlog, outlining the myth-making occurring over divested equipment in Afghanistan.*

The media should consider it a duty, to dispel false political myths and memes….but it so often doesn’t.

Everyone by now has seen, I’m sure….the long and illustrious list of U.S. military equipment that “we” “left” behind. Below is what I posted on a fellow Blogger’s site:


Nonsense.

In almost every instance, when we essentially invade a foreign nation and rebuild their military from the ground up…we equip them. We sometimes take different approaches with regard to standardized equipment [as in Iraq, where we tended toward ‘Soviet-bloc’ items*].

In AFG, we leaned heavily on U.S. equipment, and a smattering of Czech and Russian, especially with regard to airframes.

This equipment, again over the past almost 2 decades, has been Divested through the Foreign Military Sales Program [which ensures that only our export models of equipment is eligible]. The equipment left behind, for the most part anyway, was divested to the ANSF. We no doubt left some ancillary gear when we withdrew from various Forward Operating Bases and Bagram…nothing of great import.

All of this equipment was dropped in place by the surrendering and running ANSF….and now the Taliban are able to kit themselves out like westerners, on the cheap.

We saw this as well in 2014 in Iraq, where ISIS took control of the vast amount of equipment we had divested to them, and gifted by running and surrendering ISF.

Our media has generally done a poor job, as they always do…of educating our public on issues such as these, and this…they become fodder to be trafficked by folks who want. to try and score political points.


Today, the WaPo finally ran the claim being made by the Right, regarding this equipment….with the full implications that the current Administration simply ‘leaving it all behind’.

U.S. military equipment was given to Afghan security forces over two decades. Tanks, vehicles, helicopters and other gear fell into the hands of the Taliban when the U.S.-trained force quickly collapsed. The value of these assets is unclear, but if the Taliban is unable to obtain spare parts, it may not be able to maintain them.

But the value of the equipment is not more than $80 billion. That’s the figure for all of the money spent on training and sustaining the Afghan military over 20 years. The equipment portion of that total is about $24 billion — certainly not small change — but the actual value of the equipment in the Taliban’s hands is probably much less than even that amount.

Reasons Why I Carry – Example#….OK, I Lost Count

“I’m going in there with 20 strong men, I’m going to speak to the school board and I’m going to give them an option. They can leave or they can be removed ” said Steve Lynch who is running for PA Governor, “Make men men again”, he said during Freedom Rally today.

And….

At protest in Santa Monica today before the vote on mask-mandate, Jason Lefkowitz has the home addresses of each LA City Council member on his sign. He says they are going to the homes of whoever votes for it, and if it passes, it’s “civil war, get your guns.” From @chadloder

Soon is coming the time for patriots to grab muskets from over the mantle, secure shot and ball, and prepare to defend our nation from the Cult of the Unmitigated Asshole. Those self-aggrandized snowflakes who allow their impotent rage to convince them that they’re victims because of <insert baseless reason here>.

A reckoning is indeed coming, but they mistakenly reckon that the cause of Patriots is on their side.

They will be proven wrong.