1934 NFA, the Failed 1938 NFA, Miller, and the Regulation of Gun Parts

Many Second Amendment supporters have heard of the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934. It went into effect on 26 June, 1934. It was the first national “gun control” measure to have substantial effect. It was the first federal statute challenged in the Supreme Court on the basis of the Second Amendment, in United States v. Miller .

Source: 1934 NFA, the Failed 1938 NFA, Miller, and the Regulation of Gun Parts

Random Critical Analysis on Health Care

We pay more for health care because we have more to spend.

The excellent Random Critical Analysis has a long blog post, really a short book, on why the conventional wisdom about health care, especially in the United States, is wrong . It’s a tour-de-force. Difficult to summarize but, as I see it, the key points are the following. (I also drawn on It’s still not the health care prices .) 1. Health care spending is well predicted, indeed caused, by income.

Source: Random Critical Analysis on Health Care

Gell-Man Amnesia: An Example of Loserthink?

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward — reversing cause and effect. I call these the ‘wet streets cause rain’ stories. Paper’s full of them.

“In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.” 

This was named by physicist Murray Gell-Mann, and was picked up by Michael Crichton.

And of course, as Erwin Knoll said:

“Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge.”

15 Flaws in Adam Schiff’s Case

Here are 15 times that Schiff related a stilted, distorted, or flatly erroneous version of events:
1. “Just as he made use of Secretary Clinton’s hacked and released emails in the previous presidential campaign.”

Schiff wanted to connect Trump to Russia’s hacking, even though there is no connection. So he said Trump “made use” of the emails. But what does that mean? That he cited them. Well, so did everyone else. As Byron York pointed out the other day, the press widely reported on the WikiLeaks disclosures. If it was blameworthy to make a big deal of information revealed in the hacks, Bernie Sanders was a major offender, calling for the resignation of then–DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz after the DNC hack.
2. “In 2016, then–candidate Trump implored Russia to hack his opponent’s email account.”
Again, this is an attempt to make Trump responsible for Russia’s hacking. It refers to a press conference where Trump made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Russians’ being rewarded by the press if they found Hillary’s missing emails. The Russians did attempt to spearfish a domain used by Clinton’s personal office on the same day, but it’s hard to believe Russian hackers were taking their cues from Trump, and of course, they had already hacked the DNC — hence, the occasion for Trump’s riff.
3. In pushing the Ukrainians on the discredited CrowdStrike theory, Trump was “attempting to erase from history his previous election misconduct.”
Trump has been, no doubt, desperate to find someone else to finger for the Russian hacking since Russia is such a focus of his critics, but the hacking wasn’t his work, so to refer to it as “his previous election misconduct” is absurd.
4. Robert Mueller testified “that Russia systemically interfered in our election to help elect Donald Trump, that the campaign understood that, and they willfully made use of that help.”
Schiff wants to portray Mueller as having found Trump guilty in his probe, when he actually found no evidence of collusion.
5. After Mueller catalogued Russian interference, the very next day, “President Trump is on the phone with a different foreign power, this time Ukraine, trying to get Ukraine to interfere in the next election.”
In the Schiff version, a Trump caught red-handed working with the Russians to interfere in U.S. politics then immediately turns around to work with the Ukrainians. But the opposite was true. It was Trump’s sense of outraged innocence over the Mueller probe that partly motivated him to focus on Ukraine’s purported role in getting the Russia investigation started.
6. Trump believes “that under Article II, he could do anything he wants.”
This has become a favorite chestnut of Democrats during impeachment, but it wrenches Trump’s statement out of context. He was talking about having the inherent Article II power to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Whatever you might have thought about the wisdom of such a move, Trump was correct about his power.
7. “The military aid that we provide Ukraine helps to protect and advance American national-security interests in the region and beyond.”
This is certainly true, but every time Democrats revert to the importance of Ukrainian defense aid as a matter of policy, it raises the question of why, by and large, Democrats went along with Barack Obama’s refusal to provide any lethal assistance to Ukraine whatsoever and how Trump, overall, has been better on Ukraine assistance.
8. Trump is guilty of “abusing the powers of that office in such a way to jeopardize our national security.”
It’s ridiculous to suggest that what turned out to be a brief hold on Ukraine aid had dire national-security consequences for the U.S.
9. “He personally asked a foreign government to investigate his opponent.”
This has become the conventional way that Democrats refer to Trump’s request of Zelensky, although in concrete form it became a push to get them to commit to probe Burisma, the shady Ukrainian energy company that had Hunter Biden on its board. An investigation of Burisma is not the same thing as an investigation of Joe Biden. Assuming the Bidens aren’t at the center of some corrupt scheme involving Burisma (and there’s zero indication that they are), the investigation would have been a nothingburger in its impact on U.S. politics. Trump would have touted the investigation, but it is doubtful that this would have had any more impact than his already full-throated denunciations of Biden corruption.
10. Trump was asking the Ukrainians to help “smear a political opponent.”
This accords more with Schiff’s fictional version of Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president than the reality. The Ukrainians weren’t being asked to manufacture evidence against Joe Biden, and an investigation of Burisma presumably wouldn’t have smeared him, per the above point.
11. Acting ambassador Bill Taylor testified that the Trump team wanted the Ukrainians “in a public box” by publicly committing to the investigations, and this shows that “President Trump didn’t care about the investigations being done.”
Schiff’s theory is that Trump wanted only a public announcement of an investigation, so he could use it against Joe Biden in his campaign. Usually, though, if you want an official to publicly commit to something, it’s to make it harder for him to back out of his promise.
12. Trump doesn’t have a right to solicit “prohibited foreign aid in his reelection.”
This makes it sound like Trump was raking in Ukrainian campaign contributions and getting the Ukrainians to run ads in swing states. In reality, he was pushing for the Ukrainians to investigate a Ukrainian company, the practical political effect of which would have been nil in the U.S.
13. “The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we can’t be assured that the vote will be fairly won.”
It’s really amazing that Democrats have gone, in about three years, from insisting it’s impermissible to question the potential outcome of an election, when Trump ill-advisedly did so at a debate in 2016, to making it central to their worldview. They believe they were robbed in 2016 and also believe they will perhaps be robbed again. But Hillary lost under her own power in 2016, and regardless, it’s beyond the power of one person to rig a national election that will draw massive attention and turnout.
14. “I don’t think that impeachment power is a relic. If it is a relic, I wonder how much longer our republic can succeed.”
Schiff argues that failure to remove eviscerates the impeachment power. Since no president has ever been convicted and removed, it’s not clear why this would be. It just means that there is a high bar to removal.
15. “If impeachment and removal cannot hold him accountable, then he truly is above the law.”
Again, Schiff wants to portray impeachment as the only way a president can be held accountable, when Congress has all sorts of other levers — from investigations, to funding, to inter-branch relations, to censure — to hold a president accountable.

Unicorn Farts Is No Basis For a System of Government — According To Hoyt

Hello boys and girls, dragons, minotaurs and tadpoles! There are concepts so obviously and moronically evil, whose proponents use such irrational and ridiculous arguments to defend them, that the only way to comment on them is with gifs. Lots and lots of gifs. This is because when people think closing their minds, ignoring the lessons […]

Unicorn Farts Is No Basis For a System of Government — According To Hoyt

The only good kind of socialism

There’s been a lot of talk about socialism in this election cycle. The people pushing for it assure everyone that they’re not talking about socialism as seen in the Soviet Union or Venezuela. Instead, they’re promoting “democratic socialism”. But what does that even mean?

Oxford Dictionaries—whose slogan is “Language Matters”—defines socialism as “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” It offers these terms as synonyms: leftism, welfarism, progressivism, social democracy, communism, and Marxism.

Maybe now we’re getting somewhere. Sounds precise, right? Hardly. What is meant by “the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole”? Should a convenience store have to put to some public vote the decisions about what to stock the shelves with or whom to hire for the night shift?

And what about this “regulated by the community as a whole” stuff? Have you ever known a regulatory body to be everybody in town or all 325 million people in the country? Don’t such bodies end up being some handful of people with political power?

The XYZ’s of Socialism

It occurs to me there is a form of socialism where the entire population votes on these things. My local grocery store changes how it stocks its shelves based on the votes of every person in the entire country, although most of these people vote “I don’t care”. The tally of these votes, received almost continuously, tell the store owner which stock items to keep, which to buy more of, and which to get rid of. And if enough people care about who’s working the night shift, the store owner hears about that too.

And this is perfectly democratic. It’s much more democratic than our politics are, since the voting is not restricted to an election cycle or a voting day. Furthermore, the store owner has an incentive to seek more votes, so he can make better decisions. Store owners who ignore votes wind up losing business.

So when all is said and done, the very best form of “democratic socialism” is what we call “capitalism”.

Liberalism Causes Achievement Gaps

(John Hinderaker) This report by Chris Stewart of Brightbeam is a blockbuster. It is titled: “The Secret Shame: How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity For All.” Stewart is a liberal activist from Minnesota who undertook to find out why the Twin Cities’ left-wing public schools have some of the country’s worst achievement gaps between white and minority (black and Indian) students.

Source: Liberalism Causes Achievement Gaps

ADVICE FROM A FORMER NEVERTRUMPER: Calm down, hysterical ninnies. No, we are not a monarchy now….

ADVICE FROM A FORMER NEVERTRUMPER: Calm down, hysterical ninnies. No, we are not a monarchy now. No, the constitution is not in shambles. No, the President is not a dictator. No, the confederacy is not complicit in protecting the President.

….

Democrats in the House could have called all these people you’re demanding the GOP call. But they chose not to. They didn’t even fight for them. They could have. They chose not to.

….

I know none of you think you are responsible because you signal as loudly as possible every second of every day that Trump is to blame, must be removed, and you want to burn down the GOP. But that’s just it — therein lies your portion of culpability. Because you’ve screamed wolf at every shadow and railed against the President for everything he has done, no matter how insignificant, you’ve helped desensitize everyone else.

I mean honestly, it is hard to take any of it from either side seriously at this point.

Source: ADVICE FROM A FORMER NEVERTRUMPER: Calm down, hysterical ninnies. No, we are not a monarchy now….

Donald Trump, the toast of Nigeria

(Paul Mirengoff) Did you know that Donald Trump’s approval rating in Nigeria is around 60 percent? I didn’t. But that’s what the Pew Research Center found in a January survey, and according to Nigerian journalist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani , this has been Trump’s consistent level of approval in Nigeria.

….

What about Trump’s labeling African nations “shit holes?” This seems to be an example of the candor Nigerians appreciate, political correctness apparently not having infected that country:

Many Africans agree [with Trump’s assessment]. Ask the multitudes risking death by drowning to escape to Europe. In 2017, the bodies of 26 Nigerian young women and girls were recovered from the Mediterranean Sea, following their attempt to reach Europe in a rubber boat. Out of 181,000 migrants who arrived by sea in Italy from Libya in 2016, about 11,000 women and 3,000 children traveling alone were from Nigeria, according to the United Nations. . . .

Source: Donald Trump, the toast of Nigeria