1. 3

    UPI says that “Beto” O’Rourke’s plan would “remove all banned assault weapons from private ownership – a proposal that goes further than any presented so far by the Democratic field.”

    Let’s see if UPI’s right about it being the most confiscatory (which, given the competition, would stand as something of an accomplishment). To review the proposed infringements on Americans’ right to self-defense:

    1. “Create a nationwide gun licensing system that will ensure individuals seeking a gun undergo an assessment by law enforcement and a background check… will need to renew their licenses every five years… required to register their guns through a registry and all new handguns will be microstamped… Where a state does not have a system in place, the federal government will administer the system…” Question: What happens if an otherwise law-abiding gun owner fails to register?

    2. “In order to receive a gun license, individuals would be required to undergo a background check…”

    3. “mandatory buyback program for assault weapons and a voluntary buyback program for handguns… Individuals who fail to participate in the mandatory buyback of assault weapons will be fined…” Question: Only fined, not locked up in a cage? UPI indicates the cage option is supposed to happen. If it is a fine, presumably such a fine would be crippling. Never mind Grosjean v. American Press, which invalidated a discriminatory tax on people exercising another fundamental constitutional right.

    4. “ban the manufacturing, sale, and possession of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines…” Question: What happens if an otherwise law-abiding gun owner fails to comply?

    5. “Beto will also work with Congress to close loopholes that allow dangerous individuals… from accessing guns…” Question: That means any white men holding political views right of Bernie Sanders, right?

    1. 1

      Let’s take a look at the non-gun sections of this plan:

      1. “Beto will make cracking down on white supremacy a top priority… FBI and DOJ prioritize right wing violence… fight domestic terrorism…” Fact check: White men and women are under-represented in mass shooting cases, according to the actual data. Middle Eastern, Asian, Black, and American Indians are overrepresented. Hispanics, like white men and women, are under-represented.

      2. “Identify white nationalism as a threat in counterterrorism strategy and create dedicated domestic terrorism offices within DHS, DOJ and the FBI…” Fact check: See above. Also if white men and women are less likely to commit violence, and presumably this guy’s research crack staff knows this, why a new police agency focused on them? What’s the true motive here?

      3. “Block terrorist content online… Beto is calling on internet hosting companies to follow Cloudflare’s lead to not allow 8chan back online and supports the closure of 8chan, Stormfront and other white nationalist communities housed on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter…” Fact check: The First Amendment protects the freedom to be a racist or say racist things (and if you say such things, we are free to make our own decisions to associate with you or not). Is this proposing a new federal law? Or is it simply virtue signaling for the left?

      4. “Require large social media platforms to create systems designed to remove hateful activities… Beto would require large internet platforms to adopt terms of service to ban hateful activities… defamation targeting an individual or group…” Fact check: Yep, he’s proposing a new federal law.

      1. 1

        It seems a no brainer that the reason they are having the audio transcribed is so that they can train their own speech recognition model with actual data samples from their own software services. The transcription constitutes “tagging” of the data, which is a necessary manual process. Then you do training with 3/4 of the tagged data samples for training, and another 1/4 for “validation”, and refine your model to do speech recognition.

        1. 1

          Any proposed “red flag” gun law at the federal level should have two key amendments added before it makes its way to the House and Senate floor. After all, if seeking an “extreme risk protection order” against someone you know is OK for guns, why stop there?

          The two amendments:

          1. Anyone who has a reasonable belief that someone they know is going to create an Internet account (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and engage in libel, slander, unlawful harassment, copyright infringement, etc., can seek and be granted an ex parte order from a court. That order would direct law enforcement to seize that person’s electronic devices, including phones, and disable that person’s Internet access until judicial proceedings can take place.

          2. Any prospective father who has a reasonable belief that his wife/girlfriend/etc. is contemplating an abortion can seek and be granted an ex parte order from a court. That order would direct law enforcement to take the prospective mother into custody–prospective custody for the unborn child, that is–until judicial proceedings can taken place.

          These are not unreasonable, of course. They merely maintain the status quo and prevent crimes or other violations of the law from happening. As David French would say, these two amendments merely fill the gaps in existing law by granting standing to a defined, limited universe of people to seek temporary orders to maintain the status quo. Properly drafted, these amendments can save lives while also protecting individual liberty!

          1. 1

            The closest to mainstream media coverage today’s Everything.zip document dump has received is this Daily Beast article, which takes a deep dive into… precisely none of the documents.

            Instead the author of the article, Will Sommer, spends the entirety of his article reviewing the former Zack Vorhies’ social media history and accusing him of anti-Semitism and belief in unproven conspiracy theories. Those accusations may be true or false (though after the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, which probably surprised Epstein himself as much as anyone else, conspiracy theories got a bit of a boost). But they have nothing to do with the contents of the Everything.zip files and what they reveal about a near-trillion dollar company.

            You might expect self-professed “journalists” to be interested in leaked internal documents, right? Guess there’s a #mediajackals tag on this site for a reason…

            1. 1

              Looks like the FBI wants the courts to overturn (or ignore) Watts v. United States:

              Petitioner’s remark during political debate at small public gathering that if inducted into Army (which he vowed would never occur) and made to carry a rifle “the first man I want to get in my sights is L. B. J.,” held to be crude political hyperbole which in light of its context and conditional nature did not constitute a knowing and willful threat against the President within the coverage of 18 U.S.C. 871 (a).

              …a statute such as this one, which makes criminal a form of pure speech, must be interpreted with the commands of the First Amendment clearly in mind. What is a threat must be distinguished from what is constitutionally protected speech…

                1. 1

                  The leaked documents were posted here by Project Veritas. The easiest way to read them is to download the Everything.zip file.

                  They total hundreds, maybe over a thousand, pages, so it’ll take time for independent researchers or journalists (#mediajackals will try to ignore them, of course) to review them. But here’s a sample. In the Hiring Practices directory, there’s the “Diversity & Inclusion - solving a hard problem.pdf” file, which says:

                  In GCE, we have strong level of D&I participation from our Googlers - in fact this can be a proxy of the level of psychological safety in the team and their ability to bring the best of themselves to work. We should measure, track and recognize these participants with the aim of having the majority of the org participate in some D&I related activities. This is a good indicator of whether D&I is sticking to the DNA of the org. For example, each site in my org has volunteers for Diversity Allies who help to spark activities such as - celebrating festivities, organizing Gratitude days, and making everyone feels represented.

                  I wonder what a “Gratitude Day” is, and whether it’s mandatory? Somehow I doubt they’re expressing Gratitude toward conservatives, or libertarians, or traditional Christians, or straight white men.

                  From another document:

                  We’ve held a series of events in multiple sites geared toward open dialogue and building empathy, including UntownHalls, Meet & Greets, Listening Lunches, a Trans @ Google training, and, most recently, Diversity & Inclusion Week. Teams reported that the inclusion activities were the highlight of the week. If you have not already done it try this reflection exercise with your team…

                  Anyone want to bet that “Diversity & Inclusion,” which includes obligatory Trans training, somehow fails to be diverse enough to include conservatives, or libertarians, or traditional Christians, or straight white men?

                  1. 1

                    This amicus brief reads more like a Brady Campaign press release than a serious legal brief submitted by serious members of Congress. Guess this is all they’ve got.

                    Page 9 says: “Americans are murdered every day with firearms in classrooms…” Somehow, I doubt these good leftists, who claim to care about children, would view the same argument as persuasive if a pro-life group wrote: “American unborn babies are murdered every day by abortion clinics.”

                    (Bonus question: If they don’t really care about preserving the lives of children, why do they want to ban guns so badly?)

                    Page 17 says: “55 percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court is ‘mainly motivated by politics…’” So these leftists are making political arguments to convince some justices to vote the way they want the justices to, which seems to be the very definition of reaching a decision that’s “mainly motivated by politics.” Do they think we’re dumb?

                    The real question is why the Democrats keep threatening court packing. Here’s a Mother Jones article from March 2019, saying “at least five” of the party’s presidential candidates have been infected with this idea. Here’s an update from June 2019 saying that it seems to be metastasizing.

                    If it’s OK for the Dems to court-pack in a few years, then it must be OK for President Trump to do it this fall, right?

                    1. 1

                      This must have been what Project Veritas was talking about this afternoon on Twitter:

                      “The next shoe on this story drops TOMORROW. We reveal the identity of the Google Leaker and publish hundreds of pages of internal documents”

                      1. 2

                        Interesting insights. Not sure I buy in to the whole “Trumpism is a new American Philosophy” meme.

                        1. 1

                          It’s a theme often repeated by Kurt Schlichter. Progressives hate the vast majority of Americans. Repealing the Second Amendment, by hook or crook, will never be enough for them. Buy guns. Buy ammo. Train with your guns and then buy more ammo.

                          1. 2


                            1. 1

                              In spite of the silly allusions to the pink side of trade unionism, this article makes some interesting points.

                              1. 2

                                If 2 + 2 is negotiable — the “Congress shall pass not law abridging free of speech” or “Right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” has no chance of shared understanding and common acceptance.

                                1. 1

                                  There are two ways this can reach a steady state:

                                  1. Wayne LaPierre steps down, possibly a delayed exit after the board selects his successor. He might need to spend more time with his family, right?

                                  2. Wayne LaPierre apologies, reimburses the NRA for his rather pricey wardrobe, and commits to more transparency going forward.

                                  Both require a stated or unstated apology from Wayne LaPierre.

                                  To not reach either 1 or 2 above leaves this situation in an unsteady state. More board members will start going public with their concerns. More board members will bring this up at meetings. More board members will leak internal documents (they might even believe they have a fiduciary duty to tell membership what’s going on). More major donors will withhold funds. More pro-2A groups will, eventually at least, start up or existing ones will capitalize on the situation.

                                  But to reach 1 or 2 means Wayne LaPierre and/or a supermajority of the board to realize the perils of this unsteady state.

                                  1. 1

                                    Excerpt from New York state law, Section 400:

                                    Applications shall be made and renewed, in the case of a license to carry or possess a pistol or revolver, to the licensing officer in the city or county, as the case may be, where the applicant resides… Before a license is issued or renewed, there shall be an investigation of all statements required in the application by the duly constituted police authorities of the locality where such application is made, including but not limited to such records as may be accessible to the division of state police or division of criminal justice services pursuant to section 400.02 of this article… Applications for licenses shall be accepted for processing by the licensing officer at the time of presentment. Except upon written notice to the applicant specifically stating the reasons for any delay, in each case the licensing officer shall act upon any application for a license pursuant to this section within six months of the date of presentment of such an application to the appropriate authority…

                                    A license [to own a handgun] may be revoked and cancelled… by any judge or justice of a court of record; a license issued pursuant to section 400.01 of this article may be revoked and cancelled at any time by the licensing officer or any judge or justice of a court of record. The official revoking a license shall give written notice thereof without unnecessary delay to the executive department, division of state police, Albany, and shall also notify immediately the duly constituted police authorities of the locality.

                                    1. 1

                                      Also it’s a bit bizarre and hypocritical for Jonah Goldberg, of all people, to “want to put in a good word for partisanship.”

                                      Partisanship in the political context means you support your political party. If your political party nominates someone, and you preferred your favorite guy, you suck it up and go down the street and ring doorbells and say “vote for our nominee.” You don’t say “our guy is perfect,” but you at least say “our party is better.” That’s what partisanship is.

                                      But this is the same nominally Republican guy who, in the last 48 hours, has called a Republican president “a draft dishonest, draft dodging adulterer and serial business cheat” while heaping praise on Robert Mueller.

                                      I’m amused by how Goldberg called Kurt Schlichter, someone who’s done something in his life rather be paid to be a full-time professional (if nominal) conservative since college, a “nihilistic professional troll who is playing you.”

                                      What have these Beltway “conservatives” conserved? Why would they “put in a good word for partisanship” when they’re so evidently hypocrites?

                                      1. 2

                                        The author, Jonah Goldberg, is correct on one key point: bipartisanship can be worse than gridlock. In fact, it generally is. Much extra-constitutional mischief has been done through “bipartisanship.” Remember the Patriot Act was approved by the Senate 98-1. Bipartisanship, ahoy, matey!

                                        We should not lose sight of the goal, which is to protect our constitutional liberties. If we need do to that through bitter partisan fighting, so be it. If we can do that through “bipartisanship,” well, OK too.

                                        1. 1

                                          That story scares the hell out of me.

                                          As it should! A story like this should be plastered on the cover of Time magazine. But it’s not.

                                          It reminds me of Rod Dreher’s excellent and disturbing essay about the Catholic Jesuit magazine “America” trying to rehab Communism. Dreher didn’t go into theology or the theory of Communism. Instead he showed how Communism directly hurt people, real people, identifiable people, with photos. Some did not survive the encounter.

                                          This works better than a policy analysis (of Medicare or Communism) that nobody will ever read. When Rod Dreher is right, he’s very, very right.