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HAPPILY, I ALREADY OWN A LOT OF GUNS, THOUGH THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS HAVING TOO MANY: Record-Setting Gun Sales Could Leave Stores Dry.

An analysis of background check numbers by industry analyst Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting released on Wednesday indicates that more than 2.3 million guns were sold in the United States during June. That’s an increase of more than 145.3 percent over June 2019. It’s also up from the 1.7 million estimated to have been sold in May, the 1.8 million in April, and just shy of the all-time monthly record of 2.5 million set back in March.

There have now been an estimated 8.3 million firearms sold in the United States since March—a record-setting pace likely to make 2020 the greatest year for gun sales in American history if the trend continues.

Gun and ammunition retailers are having trouble keeping up with the demand as Americans flood stores.

“Obama was the best gun sales in the country they claimed,” Brandon Wexler, owner of Wex Gunworks in Delray Beach, Fla., told the Washington Free Beacon. “No, Covid19 is.”

Well, and Black Lives Matter rioters.

I have a lot of ammo, too, but it’s definitely flying off the shelves.

AMMO TECHNOLOGY HAS COME A LONG WAY: First Look: Speer Gold Dot Carry Gun Ammunition.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Paranoid, Yes. But Are We Paranoid Enough? Waco Netflix Series Revives an Old Horror:

Waco proposes (as one ATF agent reported at the time) that the first shots were fired by ATF agents killing the Branch Davidians’ dogs — and suggests that the rest of the agents on the scene, who had not been expecting to hear those gunshots, opened fire in panic and kept firing until they ran down their ammunition. But the real issue is not who fired first; the real issue, as Waco emphasizes, is that the federal government under the Clinton administration staged a military operation instead of a law-enforcement operation, that it did so for purely political reasons, and that in doing so it created a situation that was far more combustible than the one it was, in theory, attempting to police.

The Clinton administration was succeeded by the George W. Bush administration, which constructed a theory of unlimited presidential power in a “war on terror” in which the battleground is literally everywhere. The Bush administration was succeeded by the Barack Obama administration, which claimed for itself the power to assassinate American citizens as part of that same unceasing war. Barack Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump, who declared himself to be in possession of authority that is “total.” The pissant mayor of New York City has threatened to permanently shut down churches and synagogues that violate the city’s coronavirus social-distancing mandates. Many Republicans agree with my National Review colleague and former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy that “there was no good-faith basis for an investigation of General Flynn,” that the case against him was part of a political operation masquerading as a law-enforcement operation. Many progressives take it as an article of faith that local police routinely murder young black men with no consequence, and Joe Biden recently suggested that the Trump administration intends to execute what amounts to a coup d’état by canceling the election.

There is a strain of unreasoning paranoia in American public life, and it is a serious problem — but it did not come from nowhere.

It came, at least in part, from Waco.

Read the whole thing.

Flashback: Jesse Walker of Reason on The United States of Paranoia.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: California Ammunition Purchase Law Shut Down by Federal Judge. “In truth, red tape and the state’s disastrous database errors made it impossible for hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Californians to purchase ammunition for sport or self-defense. The Court found that the flimsy reasons offered by the government to justify these Constitutional infringements … woefully inadequate.”

If you can’t get ammo for it, you aren’t bearing a firearm — you’re the holder of an over-engineered club.

THIS WAS NOT A SUCCESSFUL PROCUREMENT: After Nearly 4 Years in Service, the USS Zumwalt Is Almost Ready To Fight. “The first-of-its-kind warship transformed from a ship designed to provide gunfire support for U.S. Marine landings to one designed to range across oceans and engage enemy fleets with long range missiles. In the meantime, the ship’s two 155-millimeter guns—the reason why they were built in the first place—are still without ammunition.”

IF THERE’S ANYTHING WE NEED, IT’S A NEW AMMUNITION CALIBER: SHOT Show 2020 Video: SIG Sauer .277 SIG Fury Ammunition.

IRAN: “You Killed Our Geniuses” – Regime Crackdown Intensifies As Iranians Flood Streets In Third Day Of Protest. “During the protests, which erupted out of anger over the regime’s initial lies about Flight 752 (it initially insisted that a “mechanical error” was responsible despite video evidence suggesting a missile strike), Iranian security forces fired both live ammunition and tear gas into crowds of demonstrators furious over the government’s denials.”

YOU DON’T SAY: California’s new ammo law hurts the wrong people — and doesn’t stop ‘bad guys’ with guns.

When California started requiring people to pass background checks to buy ammunition on July 1, hunters hoped for the best and braced for the worst. What happened was far worse than we feared.

The premise of the new law is that people who can’t have guns shouldn’t have ammo either. I don’t know anyone who disputes that. Bad guys shouldn’t have guns or ammo.

The law says if you do not appear on a prohibited-persons list and you have passed a background check to buy a gun during the time the state has stored those records in a database, you can buy ammunition. Simple, right?

Here’s where it fell apart: The state Department of Justice finalized regulations to implement the law just before it took effect. There was no time, and no effort, to raise awareness, no time for gun owners to verify they were in the database, and most critically, that their ID matched their information in the database.

In the first four months, the checks thwarted 101 ammunition purchases by prohibited persons, and a staggering 62,000 purchases by people who had every right to buy ammunition. More than half of the rejections were due to data mismatches, such as an address change; one-third were because buyers weren’t in the database.

That’s 620 good guys for every bad guy.

That means it’s working. No, really — the law wasn’t meant to stop bad guys, but to stigmatize law-abiding gun-owners. By that measure, the law is working as designed (if not as advertized).

Note: This one is actually a couple of weeks old, but the browser tab got lost in the holiday madness.

IDENTITY POLITICS ENABLES ANTI-SEMITIC VIOLENCE. ENOUGH:

When it came to discussing the recent shooting at the Jersey City kosher supermarket by two Black Hebrew Israelites, reporting was startlingly sparse on the particulars surrounding the murders. As Bethany Mandel of Ricochet noted, many key details appeared purposely omitted, including but not limited to, the fact that video footage suggested the perpetrators’ initial target was a school full of Jewish children; that the perpetrators had a significant amount of ammunition; and that videos taken after the attack revealed many in the neighborhood blamed the Jews for the attack. Even following the killings, I am not sure if even one media outlet reported on the fact that a school board member in Jersey City, referring to Jews as “brutes,” essentially defended the murders as a natural response to too many Jews moving into the area.

The “social justice” arena in the United States, where most issues related to racial discrimination get siloed, is occupied primarily by those on the left. Thus, the growing problem is now groups traditionally in the business of confronting hate are less interested in doing so if they are unable to attribute the Jew-hatred to Trump or Republicans. If that anti-semitism is emanating from corners traditionally occupied by the left, the advocacy figures and media talking heads show an alarming and frankly disturbing indifference.

No enemies to the left, to coin a phrase popular with early “Progressives in a hurry.”

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: Pawn shop owner arrested on weapons charges after connection to Jersey City shooters. “U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced Saturday that Ahmed A-Hady, 35, was arrested on felony weapon charges after police found a handwritten note in suspect David Anderson’s pocket containing a phone number and address traced back to A-Hady’s New Jersey pawn shop. . . . Law enforcement also said they found 400 rounds of ammunition, including hollow-point bullets, in A-Hady’s home and said he is a convicted felon, who is not legally permitted to own firearms.”

GOOD LORD: Amnesty says at least 106 killed in Iran protests.

“Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons,” Amnesty said. “Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.”

Amnesty, citing eyewitnesses corroborated by video footage, said snipers also shot into crowds of people from rooftops and, in one case, a helicopter.

So far, scattered reports in state-run and semiofficial media have reported only six deaths.

The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” about reports of live ammunition being used against demonstrators. It also urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully.

“We are especially alarmed that the use of live ammunition has allegedly caused a significant number of deaths across the country,” spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement.

Colville added that it has been “extremely difficult” to verify the overall death toll.

The Mullahs don’t have Obama to bail them out this time.

UGH: Three killed in Baghdad protests as military bans live ammunition. “Iraq’s military says security forces have been ordered not to use live fire on demonstrators as UN voices criticism.”

MORE: Iraqi forces kill four protesters in Baghdad, southern port blocked.

HMM: The Navy Obfuscates On Shock Testing The $13 Billion USS Ford.

The only certain tasks that the Navy mentioned about the USS Ford schedule were that flight ops were set to start in early 2020, and that the Navy was trying to work in repairs for the ships nine non-functional lower deck ammunition elevators–which get ammunition to and from weapons magazines–sometime during the next 18 months of at-sea testing, where they want to put in thousands of aircraft launches and recoveries, shaking the ship out.

Unfortunately, it did not sound as if the Navy was setting aside time to fit in a Full Ship Shock Trial (FSST), a vigorous test where explosives are detonated near a new Navy vessel to simulate near-misses in a battlefield environment.

If the USS Ford is not shocked–and the validity of the design is not tested–the shock trials will supposedly be shunted to to the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), the next Ford Class carrier, when most of the remaining Ford class aircraft carriers (CVNs 80, 81 and 82) will be too far along in their production cycle to incorporate many fixes.

The Navy does not appear to be confident that the USS Ford will absorb a shock trial without major damage. The organization has not hidden it’s desire to push shunt shock trials upon a later Ford variant, shocking the next Ford class carrier sometime in the 2024 to 2026 time-frame.

Not good.

CAVEAT VENDITOR: Why Hornady Stopped Selling Ammunition to Walmart 12 Years Ago.

In my previous life, I worked for a company that lived and died by Walmart. And like many companies, Walmart treated them poorly. And, as we were going through these things with Walmart, I decided that if I was ever in a situation where I didn’t have to do business with them, I would not. And when I got to Hornady, we were doing some business with them, it wasn’t a lot, but they started to become difficult to work with again. I was in a situation where I made the decision for our company to walk away and everybody in the company supported my decision. And we have not looked back.

Much more at the link.

YOUR LOCALLY-OWNED GUN STORE ALREADY HAD A BETTER SELECTION AND PROBABLY NO SUCH RESTRICTION: Walmart to no longer sell certain ammunition, ask customers to stop open carry in stores.

WALMART ENDING HANDGUN AND “SHORT-BARREL RIFLE” AMMO SALES: I confess I never thought of .223 and 5.56mm as “short-barrel rifle” ammunition, as some of those suckers are pretty long. Real winner here has to be Mosin Nagant owners. Walmart: for all your 7.62x54R ammo needs!

9MM RESURGENCE: Why the FBI & Police Went Back. “The reality is there is such a minute difference in the terminal performance between the 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, that the interface between the shooter and the handgun, ammunition capacity and shot placement (accuracy) matter more. It would seem it has taken bullet engineers about 30 years to level the playing field between these cartridges, and it has taken the FBI about the same amount of time to realize the obvious.”

Well, the FBI.

ROGER KIMBALL: The embarrassment of Fredo Cuomo.

As I write, thousands of Chinese troops are massing on the border of Hong Kong, but this week the world is mesmerized by the spectacle of CNN anchor Fredo Cuomo screaming threats and obscenities at some hapless chap who called him ‘Fredo.’ What Donald Trump accurately described as Fredo Cuomo’s ‘lunatic ranting, raving, & cursing,’ did not, as far as I know, include the painful objection that ‘I can handle things. I’m smart. Not like everybody says — like dumb. I’m smart and I want respect!’

Fredo’s exchange did, however, include various colorful threats — mostly involving a staircase — a lesson in scatological imprecation, an almost David Mamet-like deployment of the ‘F-word’ and its cognates.

Speaking of words so awful that they must, in polite society (and even when discussing people who work for CNN, the network that helps to make waiting for airplanes so taxing) — speaking, I say, of Voldemort words that must not be named, Fredo screamed at his interlocutor that calling someone of Italian heritage ‘Fredo’ was an ethnic slur, akin to calling someone who is black the ‘N-word.’

Rush Limbaugh — who was apparently the first to call Cuomo ‘Fredo’— pointed out that it is simply ‘absurd’ to say that calling someone ‘Fredo’ is an ethnic slur. It has nothing to do with ethnicity. It is simply a common or garden variety insult, casting aspersions on the intelligence, competence, and stability of the person so denominated.

CNN is apparently having a rare moment of lucidity if this report is true: CNN now ‘embarrassed’ by Chris Cuomo’s ‘Fredo’ flap.

One insider said they personally thought the run-in was “great” and that Cuomo would get a pass from higher-ups because “he’s BFFs with [CNN president Jeff] Zucker.” Another said the newsroom chatter was that “everyone thinks it’s fine to stand up to trolls, but it escalated way past where it needed to.” While they said Cuomo generally has a good reputation with the staff, “It was embarrassing.” They added, “It was an unforced error, and he gave the right — and the president — ammunition to use against him and CNN.”

Fredo stupidly failed to heed the advice that the Don told another of his sons: “Santino, never let anyone outside the family know what you are thinking.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How Long Can You Keep Your Magazines Loaded? “Even when kept fully compressed, a magazine spring will retain its energy long past the operational life of the ammunition.”

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Mueller Agrees to Resuscitate Dying RUSSIA-Collusion Hoax. “Why? Well, the politically expedient RUSSIA-collusion hoax is fading from the news cycle. The late night court jesters are short on unfunny material to quack out. Current and former subpoenaed WH administration officials are not providing the ammunition information for show trial hearings and their contested appearances are going to be held up while the Democrats’ demands work their way through the legal system. How to keep this story alive? Let’s get Mueller to testify! Mueller always plays ball.”

Indeed.

SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED: Rep. Eric Swalwell rolls out gun control plan.

A 48-hour cooling-off period between the time a person purchases a firearm and the time they take possession of it.

Implement background checks for all firearm and ammunition purchases.

Require that liability insurance be purchased before a person can buy, trade, or otherwise receive a firearm.

Create a national firearm registry that is linked to individual firearms, and require that all purchases, transfers, and donations of firearms be mandatorily registered.

Prohibit individuals from purchasing more than one handgun per 30-day period.
Prohibit the online sale of ammunition.

Ban and buy back bump stocks, large-capacity magazines that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and silencers.

Prohibit individuals from hoarding ammunition in quantities exceeding 200 rounds per caliber or gauge.

Repealing the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Guns Act.

Prohibit states from arming teachers.

I think the only thing he missed was Danny Davis’s 50% ammo tax.

LEFT WING FASCISM NEVER DISAPPOINTS: “Mass. teacher accused of planting live ammo at school, then calling police.” If the facts don’t fit your narrative, then invent the facts. Remember, it’s “for the children”:

“Southbridge police said high school biology teacher Alfred Purcell III, 57, of Woodstock, Connecticut, reported to staff that he had just found one live round of 9 mm ammunition in the rear stairwell. The school was placed on lock down. During the lockdown, police and Southbridge High School staff reviewed video footage and saw Purcell removing the live round of ammunition from his pocket, dropping it on the floor and quickly leaving the area, police said.

About 10 minutes later, the video shows Purcell standing over the ammunition and taking a picture of it with a cellphone, police said.”

Like Stalin said: “If you want to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs.”

Or as one of his current admirers put it: “I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”

FLASHBACK: 60 Minutes Whitewashes Massive FBI Failure in 2015 ISIS Texas Terror Attack.

As Patrick Poole noted, “The attackers rolled up in a car loaded with guns and ammunition to the ‘Draw Mohammad’ cartoon contest event in Garland, Texas,” four years ago today.

HOMAGE TO YODA — ANDY MARSHALL: A superb reminiscence of the great American strategist by Andrew Krepinevich.

Aside from his towering intellect, Marshall’s success was rooted in his intense desire and abiding curiosity to understand what is really happening or, more simply, the truth. There was also his intellectual honesty, refreshing in an age where so many are driven by agendas and seek “ammunition” to support their views rather than insights to better understand a complex world. Another key to Marshall’s success—and to his enduring value to presidents of both political parties—was his willingness to reconsider his beliefs when they conflicted with the facts, and to challenge the conventional wisdom when it became apparent that it did not reflect the reality of the true state of affairs.

A bit more:

Marshall’s remarkable ability to anticipate shifts in the strategic environment became legendary over time.

Absolutely true. I had the privilege of working for Mr. Marshall as a special consultant in strategic war gaming. Read the entire essay.

UPDATE: The breakingdefense link worked initially. Thanks to a reader, we have this alternative link.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Trump’s a white nationalist redux and much, much more. “So predictable. This time, the shooter who I will not name cited Trump in his manifesto giving the left more ammunition for their favorite issue. The gunman wanted the media to go after the individuals he singled out in his rantings and the media has delivered right on cue! They always take the bait.”

It’s “RUSSIA!” all over again.

ROOSEVELT’S COURT PACKING SCHEME (AND ERIC HOLDER’S): In early 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had recently been re-elected in a landslide. Believing that his popularity should not go unexploited, he set about to use it as a weapon against the Supreme Court, which had been a thorn in his side during his entire first term.

Roosevelt was upset that so many parts of his New Deal legislation had been ruled unconstitutional, often in split decisions. On March 9, therefore, in one of his weekly radio Fireside Chats, he argued that in order to help the Court handle its workload, he should be authorized to add an additional Supreme Court Justice for every current Justice over the age of 70.

The Chief Justice shot back that the Court was having no trouble keeping up with its workload. Roosevelt’s true motivations were obvious. Even the most gullible Americans understood that Roosevelt wasn’t concerned with helping the Court; he wanted to stack it with New Dealers. Indeed, he essentially admitted this.

Call it one of the most audacious power grabs in American history. If he could get Congress to go with him, he could effectively nullify the Supreme Court as the third branch of government. But, though audacious, it was not unconstitutional. Congress does have the authority to change the number of seats on the Court. And it had used it in the past, sometimes not with the purest of motives.  The first Supreme Court had six seats. Nine had been the number between 1837 and 1863 and again since 1869.

The American people, however, decided that they were not amused by Roosevelt’s plan. Newspapers editorialized against it. Political cartoonists ridiculed it. Even Vice President and Senate Democrats weren’t crazy about it. It is likely that it would have gone nowhere.

But maybe nobody had told Owen Roberts that. Three weeks later, when the Court handed down its 5-4 decision in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish (1937), Justice Owen Roberts, who had usually sided with the more conservative wing of the Court, switched sides and voted to uphold a minimum wage law. Roberts’ move has been forever dubbed the “switch in time that saved nine.” Maybe that was his intent. Or maybe not.

Two months later Justice Willis Van Devanter retired, and Roosevelt appointed Hugo Black, a New Dealer and former KKK member, in his place. The Court Packing plan may have had no chance. But Roosevelt had won the battle by more conventional means.

But he paid a hefty political price for the scheme. As Michael Parrish wrote, “the protracted legislative battle over the Court-packing bill blunted the momentum for additional reforms, divided the New Deal coalition, squandered the political advantage Roosevelt had gained in the 1936 elections, and gave fresh ammunition to those who accused him of dictatorship, tyranny, and fascism. When the dust settled, FDR had suffered a humiliating political defeat ….”

Eric Holder should keep this in mind when he argues that the next Democratic President should “seriously” consider Court packing.

THE GERMAN MILITARY HAS BECOME A SAD JOKE: “Fighter jets and helicopters that don’t fly. Ships and submarines that can’t sail. Severe shortages of everything from ammunition to underwear. If it sounds like an exaggeration to compare Germany’s Bundeswehr to ‘The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight,’ look no further than the army’s standard-issue assault rifle, Heckler & Koch’s G36. The government decided to scrap the weapon after discovering that the gun misses its target if it’s too hot. . . . Given Germany’s size and economic might, Berlin’s attention to security is surprisingly shallow; citizens and politicians alike often seem oblivious to the challenges the country faces. Though Germany faces growing security threats from both Russia and China, one wouldn’t know it hanging around the German capital. Much of the media now portrays the U.S. as a security threat on par with Russia. Public attitudes have moved in a similar direction. Security discussions are driven by a handful of like-minded think tank analysts who seem to spend most their time on Twitter.”

It’ll serve ’em right if they wind up invaded by the Poles.

IF I WERE IN CONGRESS, I’D COUNTER WITH A 50% EXCISE TAX ON ABORTION: Connecticut Dem introduces 50 percent tax on ammunition, calling it ‘public health measure.’

I address why this stupid idea violates the Second Amendment in my Second Amendment Penumbras piece.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: A jury acquitted him of rape in less than four hours. Yale expelled him anyway. Now he’s appealing.

Last March, Khan was found not guilty by a New Haven, Conn. court on four counts of raping a fellow student on Halloween 2015. Yet on Jan. 2, Yale expelled the 25-year-old from its campus following its own investigation into the alleged sexual assault.

The two outcomes highlight the drastically different standards used by criminal courts and universities in determining guilt in sexual assault cases, and gives further ammunition to those arguing university-led sexual assault processes often violate the due process rights of the accused.

“This isn’t ‘he-said-she-said,’” Khan told The Fix in a phone interview. “It’s ‘she-said versus what the evidence says.”

Well, Yale.

PROCUREMENT: As the Last Zumwalt-Class Vessel Launches, the Stealth Destroyer’s Fate Remains Deeply Uncertain. “The Navy still hasn’t said what it’s going to do about the fact that it can’t afford the ammo for the boats’ fancy guns.“

The service now has three destroyers with no ammunition for their long-range guns, which was the entire point of building them to begin with. The Navy is reportedly planning to reconfigure the destroyers as hunter-killers, meant to seek out and attack enemy ships and land targets with precision-guided missiles. In such a case, the Zumwalts would rely on the 80 vertical-launch missile silos per ship to provide offensive firepower.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Marines are still awaiting the fire-support replacement for the Iowa-class battleships, 26 years after the last battleship was retired.

What a mess.

TO BE FAIR, MY NEIGHBORHOOD PROBABLY HAS THIS BEAT: GAO: The IRS Has 4,500 Guns, 5,000,000 Rounds of Ammunition.

TRUMP: RASHIDA TLAIB ‘DISHONORED’ HERSELF, COUNTRY WITH PROFANE TIRADE.

President Trump hit back Friday at a freshman House Democrat who called him a ‘motherf***er’ and promised to impeach him.

After she was sworn in on Thursday, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan spoke to a crowd of supporters near Capitol Hill and described an exchange she had with her son after her election victory.

“When your son looks at you and says, ‘Mama, look, you won. Bullies don’t win.’ And I said, ‘Baby, they don’t,’” Tlaib said. “Because we’re gonna go in there; we’re gonna impeach the motherf***er.”

“I thought her comments were disgraceful,” Trump told reporters Friday afternoon outside the White House. “This is a person that I don’t know. I assume she’s new. I think she dishonored herself and I think she dishonored her family, using language like that in front of her son and whoever else was there. I thought that was a great dishonor to her and to her family. I thought it was highly disrespectful to the United States of  America.”

Tlaib, a Detroit native, is the first Palestinian-American woman to be elected to Congress. A self-described democratic-socialist, she won the Democratic primary in Michigan’s 13th Congressional district before winning the general election to take over for retiring representative John Conyers, who had held the seat since 1965.

Pretty fascinating response from Trump to someone who comes from a culture of honor and shame.

UPDATE: Dems livid after Tlaib vows to ‘impeach the motherf—er.’ Party leaders fear such explosive talk only gives ammunition to the GOP.

+P RATED 9MM IS THE NEXT BIG THING: First Look: SIG Sauer M17 9mm +P Ammunition.

TRIBUNE, TRONC AND BEYOND: A SLUR, A SECRET PAYOUT AND A LOOMING SALE:

At the dinner, as at other moments, [Chicago investor Michael Ferro, who ran Tribune Publishing, which then-published the L.A. Times] railed against those who he felt were impeding him — including perceived rivals and competitors. Among them: the Southern California billionaire and civic leader Eli Broad, whom Ferro called part of a “Jewish cabal” that ran Los Angeles.

* * * * * * * *

Early this year, however, Tribune Publishing made the first in a series of secret payments to total more than $2.5 million to avert a threatened lawsuit filed by a fired newspaper executive, according to three people with knowledge of the deal. That had the effect of keeping Ferro’s anti-Semitic slur out of the public spotlight.

The payments, reported here for the first time, are stark embodiments of the consequences of Ferro’s actions that contributed to a series of crises at Tribune Publishing. The LA Times has been sold. Tribune Publishing has put itself on the auction block and is reviewing three bids from potential buyers.

Ferro no longer controls day-to-day operations; he stepped down as chairman after sexual harassment accusations arose involving his conduct outside Tribune Publishing.

According to NPR, the fired official was then-editor in chief Davan Maharaj, who “hired a prominent Beverly Hills attorney to pursue a wrongful termination suit. Maharaj had ammunition, having recorded Ferro in unguarded conversation with associates.”

Read the whole thing.

Harriet Ryan of the L.A. Times tweets, “You’re the editor of the LA Times. You find out the CEO is an anti-Semite. Do you: a) confront him? b) assign an investigative reporter to expose him? Or c) use the information to get a $2.5M personal payout at a time the company is laying off journalists and closing bureaus?”

C’mon – it’s the L.A. Times; the newspaper that “kept rockin’” as it buried the John Edwards story in 2008 and has still kept the tape of Obama’s meeting with former PLO mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi in 2003 in the vault. Of course, you ignore the story. Or as Jim Treacher would say:

WOW: Mom with ‘gut feeling’ stops school shooter before planned attack.

Koeberle Bull of Lumberton, N.J., woke up to a racist message on Facebook from a man in Kentucky. “It was really vulgar — he called my kids the N-word and hoped terrible things for them,” Bull tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

The mom of three biracial children, ages 16, 11, and 8, was especially concerned about the man’s profile picture in which he showed off a gun, so, going on a “gut feeling,” she called her local police station and filed a report. “But I felt like it wouldn’t really go anywhere, so I posted a screenshot of the message on Facebook,” she says.

The man had blocked Bull. However, her friends dug around for details about his identity, and Bull soon had enough information to share with the police in Lawrenceburg, Ky. “I spoke to Officer Josh Satterly, who told me, ‘There’s no room for this kind of hate in my world,” she says. “He took me seriously.”

Local and state police followed the mom’s tip, and on Thursday, officers drove to the home of a 20-year-old man named Dylan Jarrell, just as he was leaving his house with more than 200 rounds of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, a firearm, a 100-round high-capacity magazine, and a “detailed plan of attack.”

Well done.

IT’S ALWAYS IN THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK: Army might have found its new rifle in Colorado Springs garage.

Grier, a self-described inventor who has worked at a local bed and breakfast, built the new “ribbon gun” with a hobbyist’s tools. It looks like a space-age toy drawn by a fifth-grader.

But goofy origins and cartoon-looks aside, this could be the gun of the future. The Army is studying Grier’s gun and has ordered a military-grade prototype.

The specifications are incredible, four 6 mm barrels cut side by side within one steel block. New ammunition blocks fired by electromagnetic actuators that could theoretically give the weapon a firing rate of 250 rounds per second.

And then there’s the feature no soldier would turn down. “It’s called a power shot,” Grier said.

That’s the shotgun feature of this sniper-shot, machine-assault gun that can send four bullets simultaneously whizzing toward an enemy at more than 2,500 mph.

It isn’t science fiction. He’s built the gun and patented the technology behind it. Now his garage-based company, FD munitions, is hoping the Army will buy it.

I’ll take two.

NO GUNS AT SAN DIEGO COUNTY’S MOST POPULAR GUN SHOWS?: According the San Diego Union Tribune, the Del Mar Fairgrounds Board of Directors voted 8 to1 to suspend the popular gun shows until a “policy is developed that could include a complete ban on the possession of any firearms or ammunition.…”

“We’re not doing our kids any service if we continue this,” said Director Lisa Barkett, before voting for the suspension….

“Essentially, it’s a ban of the gun show,” said Wendy Hauffen, executive administrator of the San Diego County Gun Owners, after the decision. “You can’t have gun show with no guns.”

Next for Del Mar Fairgrounds:  No horses at the horse races.

CIVIL RIGHTS IN ACTION: Teen girl fires shot at armed intruder in Spanaway.

The teen told returning deputies that after the first incident, she and her mom had gone across the street to check on the woman involved in the first incident. The girl returned home first to find the power had been shut off and grabbed a .22 pistol, deputies said.

Moments later, she heard a noise coming from the backyard and saw the man from before standing in her door.

The teen said the man told her “she was going to die” and tried to stab her with a knife several times. He managed to cut her shirt and give a light wound to her home before she kicked the man away and fired one shot at him. The man ran off.

Deputies saw a man who matched the description walking down a nearby road and arrested him. He was found to have a knife, black airsoft pellet gun, 35 rounds of hollow point 9mm ammunition, and black gloves, deputies said.

It’s a shame she missed.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: THE MONOLITHIC MEDIA MAY BE BIASED!   Dr. Hal Pashler and I ran a psychology experiment showing that one’s ideological point of view will tend to color one’s judgment on what is newsworthy. If a news story seems to provide ammunition for one’s own viewpoint, it’s more likely to be viewed as newsworthy. The result may not come as a bolt from the blue for savvy Instapundit readers. But by golly, it’s science now. (Note that the article contains lots of groovy graphs. I’ll bet that you didn’t think I could make graphs like that.)

MICHAEL BARONE: The Kavanaugh confirmation Kabuki.

Theater, much like Japan’s Kabuki. That’s all the Supreme Court confirmation process is. President Trump’s presentations of his two nominees, Judge Neil Gorsuch last year and Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Monday, were uncharacteristically graceful — a worthy theatrical innovation, in the view of even some Trump critics.

Now, we get to watch television clips of Kavanaugh’s visits to senators’ offices — where he’ll likely never return to after the play-acting is over — with cordial words from Republicans who are certain to vote for him, and maybe even from Democrats certain to vote against.

Then, there will be hearings before the Judiciary Committee, presided over by the folksy but canny Chairman Chuck Grassley. The ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, may be a bit restrained by her earlier imposition of what sounded like a constitutionally prohibited religious test for office on another judge on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist.

This process is ostensibly to enable senators to make informed decisions. But Kavanaugh is certain to invoke the 1993 precedent set by his D.C. Circuit predecessor Ruth Bader Ginsburg in refusing to say how she’d vote in any case.

Sure, everybody knows judges shouldn’t make decisions off the tops of their heads. But everyone also knows that they have to deny ammunition to the other side. Judge Robert Bork in 1987 did the opposite, unfortunately for his nomination. Supreme Court nominees for years have been very smart people, able to deftly avoid this mistake.

Of course, everyone knows the outcome of the play, as they do when they go see “Hamlet.” Praise from liberal legal scholars Akhil Reed Amar and Benjamin Wittes won’t make any difference in the outcome. Judge Kavanaugh will be confirmed, with all Republican and perhaps a few Democratic votes.

Well, let’s hope. And in the meantime, think of all the fundraising opportunities!

PRO-GUN-CONTROL ARMY VET TRIES TO PULL RANK, GETS SHOT DOWN BY TAM KEEL:

So, one Michael Diamond recently wrote a chiding little piece about the dysfunction of American civilian gun culture, by comparing it to the hard-nosed serious firearms professionalism he’d acquired in the Army.

I mean, thank you for your service and everything, Mike, but from what you’ve written, you were an intel officer in the reserves for seven years. I’m hard pressed to think of a gig in the United States Army that would give you less exposure to firearms that doesn’t require a degree in medicine or divinity, and frankly I’m coming up empty.

“Although I had fired countless live rounds over the years on various military weapons ranges…”

As a matter of fact, Mike, I’m pretty comfortable making the statement that I probably expend more ammunition in any given month than you did in your entire seven year career, since you likely never busted a cap outside of required qualifications.

As has been brought up by fellow blogger McThag, the U.S. Army pistol qualification is barely a sobriety test, let alone any sort of marksmanship challenge.

There are people in the Army who know more about guns than Tam. And I hear they’re both very nice guys.

KEVIN BOYD: More Proof The Left Really Does Want To Abolish Legal Gun Ownership.

One of the left’s big talking points is “guns should be licensed and insured like cars.” They have proposed making liability insurance mandatory for gun owners. But what happens when gun owners cannot legally get gun liability insurance? New York State just shut down NRA Carry Guard, a liability insurance program for gun owners. Gun control advocates have also been targeting Carry Guard’s underwriters with boycotts.

The next front of the anti-gun movement’s attack on gun ownership is ammunition. Every gun fires it so it makes sense for gun banners to heavily restrict it. Democrats are pushing for background checks on all ammunition purchases. The problem with them is that the costs of background checks, anywhere from $20 to $40, can make a trip to the range a costly venture. It would price working class gun owners out of exercising a constitutional right.

But the anti-gun movement is not stopping there. They want to zone gun stores out of existence. Alameda County, California, has an ordinance banning gun stores within 500 feet of areas that include a residentially zoned district. There’s one catch to that ordinance, not a single lot in the county meets that rule.

Gun rights groups have sued the county, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with county. They have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court sides with Alameda County, local and county governments could virtually outlaw the sale of firearms.

If I were thinking of opening a gun store, I’d do it somewhere on I-80 just east of the California-Nevada border.

WIRED MAGAZINE EDITOR EQUATES TRUMP TO A ‘STEPFATHER WHO WAS GOING TO RAPE US:’

On the final day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the editor of one of the country’s leading magazines felt it appropriate to compare President Donald Trump’s inauguration to incestuous rape.

In a tweet posted Monday afternoon, Virginia Heffernan, a contributing editor for Wired, referred to former President Barack Obama as “our true father” and equated Trump to “a stepfather who was going to rape us”:

Heffernan tweeted, “When Obama left the White House in a helicopter that horrible day, I had the impression our true father was leaving & the nation was stuck with a stepfather who was going to rape us. Now I increasingly believe that the media is the mother who won’t stand up for us & defy him.”

What is it with Wired staffers and presidential-induced melodrama? Back in November of 2008, it was then-Wired contributor Spencer Ackerman who infamously wrote on the Journolist, immediately after Obama won, “Let’s just throw [PJM columnist Michael] Ledeen against a wall. Or, pace Dr. Alterman, throw him through a plate glass window. I’ll bet a little spot of violence would shut him right the fuck up, as with most bullies.”

I’m so old, I can remember, prior to its acquisition in 1998 by Condé Nast, that Wired’s editors were made of sterner stuff, back when the magazine was founded by a libertarian. Speaking of whom, Louis Rossetto takes a much more reasoned view of Trump than today’s Wired editors, telling Reason’s Nick Gillespie:

For most of my life, my tendency has been to try to diminish the power of the state. Part of that is literal power, and part of it is the power that’s in your head. The president has become this figure of immense authority that you’re obliged to respect, who has the ability to project that power all over the planet.

Trump is a refreshing reminder that the guy in the White House is another human being. The power of the state is way too exalted. Bringing that power back to human scale is an important part of what needs to be done to correct the insanity that’s been going on, where you have these large institutions that control all aspects of our lives. Leaching respect out of the state is kind of a good thing.

Not the least of which, a child-like worldview that makes you equate the president to your father or step-father, and the media to his wife.

DEPLATFORMED: Reddit announces new addition to site-wide rules regarding the use of Reddit to conduct transactions.

Hello All—

We want to let you know that we have made a new addition to our content policy forbidding transactions for certain goods and services. As of today, users may not use Reddit to solicit or facilitate any transaction or gift involving certain goods and services, including:

Firearms, ammunition, or explosives.

Good catch from “Sam” on Twitter who explains that “the subreddit r/GunDeals [was] merely posts and links to gun retail websites that are fully FFL compliant.”

DEPLATFORMED: YouTube Suspends Major Gun Manufacturer, Bans Instructional Gun Videos.

“While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories, specifically, items like ammunition, gatling triggers, and drop-in auto sears,” reads a statement from a YouTube spokesperson.

The list of prohibited content now includes links to sites that sell firearms, videos that teach installation of certain accessories, and videos that teach the entirely legal acts of manufacturing guns and reloading ammunition.

It’s time to regulate YouTube, Google, Facebook, and Twitter as common carriers.

CHANGE: Walmart Statement on Firearms Policy.

In light of recent events, we’ve taken an opportunity to review our policy on firearm sales. Going forward, we are raising the age restriction for purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21 years of age. We will update our processes as quickly as possible to implement this change.

In 2015, Walmart ended sales of modern sporting rifles, including the AR-15. We also do not sell handguns, except in Alaska where we feel we should continue to offer them to our customers. Additionally, we do not sell bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and similar accessories. We have a process to monitor our eCommerce marketplace and ensure our policies are applied.

We take seriously our obligation to be a responsible seller of firearms and go beyond Federal law by requiring customers to pass a background check before purchasing any firearm. The law would allow the sale of a firearm if no response to a background check request has been received within three business days, but our policy prohibits the sale until an approval is given.

We are also removing items from our website resembling assault-style rifles, including nonlethal airsoft guns and toys. Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way.

“If an object resembles something we think is bad, then it is bad,” is the sloppiest kind of magical thinking.

FBI TIPSTER WARNED NIKOLAS CRUZ WAS ‘GOING TO EXPLODE’ AND SHOOT UP A SCHOOL WEEKS BEFORE PARKLAND MASSACRE:

“I don’t know how he got the debit card, but he did,” she said. “And he took it, and he bought all these rifles and ammunition and he posted pictures of them on the Instagram.”

Another of the woman’s stunning revelations: Cruz was obsessed with ISIS.

“He’s so into ISIS and, um, I’m afraid this is so something’s gonna happen,” she said, describing how Cruz would post pictures of himself dressed up as an Islamic terrorist. She also recounted how Cruz would frequently post pictures of himself donning a “Make America Great Again” cap.

The caller provided the agent with usernames for two of Cruz’s social media accounts, encouraging the FBI to comb through the pages.

“It’s alarming to see these pictures and to know what he’s capable of doing and what could happen,” she said. “He’s [been] thrown out of all these schools because he would pick up a chair and just throw it at somebody, a teacher or a student, because he didn’t like the way they were talking to him.”

The woman said she phoned in because she “wanted a clear conscience if he takes off and, and just starts shooting places up.”

At Hot Air, John Sexton links to a Wall Street Journal article that notes, “The caller described disturbing behavior by Mr. Cruz, including a propensity for cutting up frogs and, at least on one occasion, a bird.” Sexton adds, “He actually brought the bird into the kitchen and cut it up with a knife, reportedly saying, ‘I want to see what’s inside.’ The caller, who is only identified as a woman close to Cruz, also provided the FBI with Cruz’s various social media accounts so they could see for themselves what he was saying online. Obviously, this should have led the FBI to connect his YouTube account (username Nikolas Cruz) and the previous threat about becoming a school shooter.”

SHIPS WITH FRICKIN LASER BEAMS: The U.S. Navy Is Funding Lasers and Killing the Railgun.

The so-called Navy Laser Family of Systems is meant to get laser weapons to sea in the near term, giving the U.S. Navy the ability to deal with what might be called “pesky” threats: unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned ships, and armed speed boats, also known as fast inshore attack craft (FIAC). Such threats cannot sink America’s large warships directly, but they can surveil, harass, and even damage a ship as large as a destroyer. The “family” also includes larger 150-kilowatt weapons that could be useful against missiles and aircraft.

But what about the U.S. Navy’s vaunted railgun, also known as Project 3370? The 2019 budget provides zero funding for the railgun. In its place, the Navy is funding the Gun Launched Guided Projectile, also known as the Hyper Velocity Projectile Block 0, which will “double the range of the current 5-inch conventional ammunition while meeting multi-mission operational requirements for Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), and Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) missions.”

Both systems require huge amounts of electricity, but only the railgun has the reach to engage over-the-horizon threats. China is reportedly preparing to test-fire their own railgun.

SHOT: Navy to Deliver 2nd Stealthy Zumwalt-Class Destroyer in March.

CHASER: The Navy’s stealthy mega-destroyer still doesn’t have ammunition for its gun.

HANGOVER: No New Round Planned For Zumwalt Destroyer Gun System.

It’s a helluva warship that can’t be seen or heard.

CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN: Praise the Lord, Pass the Ammunition? Texas AG Says It’s OK to Pack Heat in Pews.

THAT WILL CURB CHURCH SHOOTINGS:  Praise the Lord, Pass the Ammunition? Texas AG Says It’s OK to Pack Heat in Pews.

MATT WELCH: JOURNALISTS ARE AT WAR WITH THEIR CRITICS — AND THEY’RE LOSING BADLY.

After President Trump recently tweeted another sophomoric insult at CNN anchor Don Lemon, for example, the network opted for not a bemused stoicism but a condescending whine: “In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect on a regular basis with insults and name-calling, it is sad to see our president engaging in the very same behavior himself. Leaders should lead by example.” Boo-frickity-hoo.

As the above illustrates, the two opposing views on media are self-reinforcing and increasingly dominate American politics. Anti-media fervor is arguably the strongest glue left holding together the Republican coalition, as evidenced by our troll president; his troll-Svengali, Breitbart editor Stephen K. Bannon; and the uber-troll, twice-defrocked Alabama jurist Roy Moore.

The legacy media and its left-of-center customer base, meanwhile, cannot resist taking the bait, leading to too much anti-Trump error and an off-putting haughtiness when caught out. Reliable Sources this weekend used the occasion of a bad CNN mistake — the network had reported that Trump and his son received a WikiLeaks web address and encryption key before they were made public, when in fact they got them after — to have several guests bemoan Trump’s attacks on the media, rather than, I don’t know, delve into exactly how CNN messed up.

The struggle against Trump’s norms-shattering presidency is real. So is the decreasing marginal utility of crying wolf at every opportunity. How to thread that needle? Another CNN anchor, Jake Tapper, pointed the way at the L.A. Press Clubs awards this year.

“We don’t need to give the enemies of the Fourth Estate any ammunition,” Tapper warned. “That means we need to be squeaky clean. We’re not the resistance. We’re not the opposition. We’re here to tell the truth, report the facts, regardless of whom those facts favor one way or the other.”

That’s nice. How’s the search for Anderson Cooper’s “hacker” coming along?

BRITISH PREPPERS: Man jailed over 160 guns found in Gillingham house fire.

The weapons and ammunition, including machine guns and assault rifles, were discovered at Paul Bushell’s home in Nelson Road, Gillingham on 7 May.

Sentencing at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Philip Statman said the haul posed a “significant risk to the community”.

How, exactly?

ARMY GREEN ON POLICE BLUE: White House reverses Obama ban on police getting military equipment.

Former President Obama put a halt to the so-called 1033 program in 2015 after images of heavily armed police responding to protests in Ferguson, Mo., shocked the nation.

Obama’s initiatives blocked the transfer of armored vehicles, grenade launchers, armed aircraft, bayonets and guns and ammunition of .50 caliber or higher.

Semi-militarizing the police was never a good idea. Their job is to “protect and serve,” not to occupy. That’s a job for the National Guard, on the rare occasion that the need arises.

REMEMBER, EVERY POLITICAL ACTION SPARKS A POLITICAL REACTION: Violence by far-left protesters in Berkeley sparks alarm. “The clashes came despite widespread calls from activists and elected officials across the Bay Area for peaceful civil disobedience and underscore Berkeley’s growing reputation for violent reaction by the far left. Other protests earlier this year in the city turned ugly, with far-left and far-right forces fighting in the streets. Some in Berkeley worried that Sunday’s chaos, captured on video and quickly disseminated through social media, would provide unwanted ammunition to Trump and his supporters.”

Yes, that’s the big worry: That it might provide a right-wing talking point.

U.S. EXPEDITIONARY SEA BASE DEPLOYS: The USNS Lewis B. Puller is a mobile, floating forward staging base.

The huge ship

…is 784 feet long and has a 52,000 square-foot flight deck. It serves as a logistical hub for other ships with fuel and ammunition storage and repair facilities.

Its helicopter facilities and storage capacity make it ideal for humanitarian and disaster relief support alongside conventional military operations.

The Puller will be permanently stationed overseas to allow continuous suport for other deployed ships. Crew rotations would take place in theater.

Yes, it is named after Lientenant General Chesty Puller.

A. BARTON HINKLE: Is It Time to Start Dismissing ‘Economics Deniers’?

In late June, researchers published a careful and data-rich study on Seattle’s minimum-wage law. It found that the city’s graduated hike in the minimum wage is costing thousands of jobs and cutting the number of hours worked by people in low-pay jobs. In the aggregate, Seattle workers are losing millions of dollars in wages thanks to the law. The study has drawn praise for its analytical rigor; one economist at MIT called it “sufficiently compelling in its design and statistical power that it can change minds.”

Or not.

Since its publication, liberals have given the study hyper-skeptical treatment, claiming to find all sorts of shortcomings with its methodology, data set, and so on. They point to a different study, from the University of California at Berkeley, which examined the law’s effects on the restaurant industry and found no statistically measurable effect.

Even Seattle’s political leaders are piling on, although they commissioned the research in the first place.

The idea that the price of something has no effect on demand for it sounds pretty funny, coming from liberals. After all, progressives generally support raising taxes on cigarettes to discourage people from smoking. Last November several cities joined the growing list of liberal demesnes that have imposed soda taxes—Berkeley, Philadelphia, San Francisco, etc.—to discourage consumption of sugary drinks. Heck, some localities even have firearms and ammunition taxes. One of them, in fact, is Seattle—where gun sales have dropped as a result.

The cognitive dissonance can be head-spinning.

As usual.

FAKE NEWS: The Hill: Media errors give Trump fresh ammunition.

A string of high-profile corrections and retractions by major news organizations on stories about President Trump or his allies have fueled more allegations of bias in the mainstream press.

The relationship between Trump and the news media regularly hits new lows, with insults flying between the two camps and reporters warning that the president is inciting violence against journalists.

But Trump’s allies on the right believe the president’s claims that the mainstream media is “fake news” have been bolstered by recent missteps. They point to recent admissions from top news outlets — including CNN, the New York Times and the Associated Press — that bombshell stories were either overcooked or included incorrect details.

Adding insult to injury: Breitbart News, the pro-Trump media outlet that is scorned by many in the mainstream press, has been fact-checking their mainstream counterparts with some success.

Breitbart’s Washington political editor Matthew Boyle was first to call into question a CNN story on alleged ties between a Trump associate and Russia that was later retracted. Boyle was also reporting on an error in an Associated Press report when the newswire corrected and later rewrote the story.

As Ken Layne once said a long, long time ago, this is the Internet and we can fact-check your ass.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: The FBI’s Briefing On The GOP Baseball Shooting Couldn’t Have Been More Bizarre.

The FBI admits that Hodgkinson:

•vociferously raged against Republicans in online forums,
•had a piece of paper bearing the names of six members of Congress,
•was reported for doing target practice outside his home in recent months before moving to Alexandria,
•had mapped out a trip to the DC area,
•took multiple photos of the baseball field he would later shoot up, three days after the New York Times mentioned that Republicans practiced baseball at an Alexandria baseball field with little security,
•lived out of his van at the YMCA directly next door to the baseball field he shot up,
•legally purchased a rifle in March 2003 and 9 mm handgun “in November 2016,”
•modified the rifle at some point to accept a detachable magazine and replaced the original stock with a folding stock,
•rented a storage facility to hide hundreds of rounds of ammunition and additional rifle components,
asked “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” before firing on the Republicans,
ran a Google search for information on the “2017 Republican Convention” hours before the shooting,
and took photos at high-profile Washington locations, including the east front plaza of the U.S. Capitol and the Dirksen Senate Office.
•We know from other reporting that the list was of six Republican Freedom Caucus members, including Rep. Mo Brooks, who was present at the practice.

So what does the FBI decide this information means? Well, the takeaway of the briefing was characterized well by the Associated Press headline about it: “FBI: Gunman who shot congressman had no target in mind.”

The FBI is going to have to do better than this if the Bureau wants to earn back the reputation squandered by James Comey.

AT AMAZON, 70% off or more on Ammunition Holders and Pouches.

THE CASE FOR CASELESS AMMUNITION:

The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army agree they may have finally found a caseless ammunition design that will work reliably in combat and be much (37 percent) lighter than conventional 5.56mm ammo.

PROGRESS: Marines Testing Polymer Solutions to Cut Ammo Weight.

“We have to have lighter equipment,” Williford said, adding that the service is interested in using “polymer magazines, polymer rounds” and other polymer products to reduce ammunition weight.

The Marines have tested polymer-cased .50 caliber ammunition, but companies also make polymer ammunition pallets that offer significant weight reduction.

“On a .50-caliber pallet, we think we can save 1,000 pounds per pallet,” Williford said.

The U.S. Army has had a strong interest in reducing the weight of ammunition for a decade. The service has invested in the Lightweight Small Arms Technology program, which has produced a matured lightweight squad automatic weapon that is about half the weight of a 17-pound M249 squad automatic weapon.

I wonder if lighter rounds would be easier on the barrels as well as on the shooters.

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO MASS-MURDER: Maryland teen caught with shotgun and bomb-making materials for school shooting plot. “An 18-year-old student meticulously planned a mass shooting at her high school in which she intended to die, authorities in Maryland said Monday. A shotgun, ammunition and bomb-making materials including nails and fireworks were found at Nichole Cevario’s home in Thurmont on Thursday, Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said at a news conference.”

STILL NOT TIRED OF ALL THE WINNING: In Office One Just Day, Trump’s Interior Secretary Reverses Spiteful Obama Ammo Ban.

I’M SURE THIS IS DONALD TRUMP’S FAULT SOMEHOW: Texas Pre-School Teacher Removed From Classroom After Twitter Calls to ‘Kill Some Jews’ Come to Light. “Salem — a member of the UTA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and a supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — used her now-disabled Twitter account to post such remarks as: ‘How many Jews died in the Holocaust? Not enough…HAHAHAHA.'”

Related: Cary, NC Man Charged With Online Threat To Non-Muslims:

“For too long the kuffar [non-Muslims] have spit in our faces and trampled our rights. This cannot continue. I cannot speak of anything. Say your dua [prayers], sleep, and watch the news tomorrow. It will only be the beginning . . .”

A search warrant executed at Grimsley’s apartment resulted in the recovery of an AK-47 rifle, four 30-round magazines and about 340 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.

“I am just shocked someone would want to kill us, that they had AK-47s and bombs and they were going to kill everyone that wasn’t Muslim. It’s shocking,” said neighbor Kelly Biagianti.

Yeah, who could have seen this coming?

ACHTUNG BABIES: Hollywood’s Nazi Paranoia Is Out of Control:

[Sarah] Silverman apparently has never lived in a “town” that has ever had surveyor markings or communication markers to inform utility engineers where to drill when doing street or power line repairs. This magical place where no construction work ever happens also sounds like Heaven on Earth, so in case Sarah gives this a read, I hope she directs me to this city so I can move there immediately.

These six-to-midnight comparisons of Trump to Hitler serve only to assure average voters, who presumably remember all the “Bushitler” signs during the George W. Bush administration, that this is simply business as usual for Hollywood activists whenever a Republican is elected president. If this was President Ted Cruz, Rand Paul or even Jeb Bush, we’d be hearing the same things. But worst of all, it’s just dumb and lazy.

There are valid reasons to be concerned about President Trump. Reports of infighting and dysfunction at the highest levels of his administration aren’t a great look, especially for a candidate who ran on hiring the “best people” and doing a better job than our “incompetent leaders.”

Which makes it even more incredible that the following actually needs to be spelled out: Donald Trump isn’t Adolf Hitler, and hasn’t actually done a single comparable thing to the Nazi dictator. He hasn’t confiscated guns or banned ammunition. He hasn’t banned a race of people from working in the firearms industry, or any other industry for that matter. He hasn’t put the national media under state control, and he doesn’t have a minister of information personally approving which films can or cannot be made.

Nahh, those last two items in particular would cause the lefties at Salon to squeal with delight – or at least would have if Trump was still a Democrat.

PRAISE THE LORD, AND PASS THE AMMUNITION: Attempted kidnapping of woman in Cleveland stopped by Bible study group. And a good example by the intended victim here: When people try to force you into a car, never go with them. It’s better to make a scene on the spot than let them take you out into the woods.

MEGAN MCARDLE ON THE SUPREME COURT: Liberals Will Not Like How This Revenge Plot Ends:

I thought Republicans should have confirmed Garland, and I’ve written before that the arms race to procedurally hack the U.S. government — via controlling the Supreme Court, or dreaming up ever-more-arcane uses of the parliamentary rules — is bad for the country and needs to stop. That doesn’t mean I think it’s going to. The escalating tit-for-tat game over the Supreme Court has been going on at least since the 1980s, and arguably long before that, in the post-New-Deal era when courts began tilting noticeably leftwards. Under Reagan, conservatives sought to reverse that by grooming conservative justices for all levels of the courts. Democrats tried to keep them from doing so, culminating in the disgraceful treatment of Robert Bork. Ever since, we’ve been locked in a spiraling cycle of payback.

Everyone understands that this is destructive; everyone wishes it to stop. The catch is, they also believe that it needs to stop after they themselves get last licks in. And so it continues.

Thus I was unsurprised when Democrats began talking about a filibuster before they even knew who the nominee was. . . .

So I’m struggling to see what the point of this is, other than revenge. I do see why people want revenge. And revenge can play a useful role in politics, policing the worst excesses of the other side.

But there’s a reason that they say revenge is a dish best served cold. People who seek vengeance without stopping to count the potential costs to themselves often end up hurting their own side worse than the enemy. Democrats are already in an electorally vulnerable position, and facing a president who uniquely terrifies them. That’s probably a good time to stop, take a careful assessment of their tactical position, and imagine what battles they might need to hoard their ammunition for. Instead, they seem prepared to storm the barricades with all guns blazing. Unfortunately, the American system of justice, and perhaps even the Democrats themselves, are the ones most likely to be wounded by the engagement.

Ask yourself who has more to gain, or lose, from the discrediting of the Supreme Court, and you’ll know the answer to who has more to gain or lose from this fight.

MAD DUCK: Obama Issued A Massive Ammunition Ban Just One Day Before He Left Office.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, an Obama appointee, ordered a new ammunition ban for certain federal lands on Thursday–his last full day in office.

The ban, which took effect immediately, eliminates the use of lead-based ammunition on federal lands like national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as any other land administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service.The ban is expected to have a major impact on much of the hunting that takes place on federal lands across the United States as lead-based ammunition is widely legal and used throughout the country.

Ashe said the order was necessary to protect wildlife from exposure to lead.

President Trump can and should reverse this order.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. BuzzFeed undermines all journalists with Trump ‘dossier.’ “In crossing one of the few lines left for mainstream news outlets, a demand for some level of verification, BuzzFeed could not have given Trump better ammunition with which to vilify the press as dishonest, biased and all the other claims he makes in trying to inoculate himself against valid criticism.” Yeah, well, being dishonest, biased, etc. will do that. I mean, after Rathergate and Journolist, none of this is a surprise, but they just get lamer and more obvious with each iteration.

HACKING: Five things to watch for in Russia hearings.

Here’s one:

What evidence does the IC have that Putin wanted to assist Trump?

The CIA reportedly believes that Russia was explicitly trying to help Trump — raising politically explosive questions about the degree to which it succeeded.

Publicly, the administration has been much more circumspect.

“President Obama and this administration is 100 percent certain in the role that Russia played in trying to sow discord and confusion and getting involved, through the cyber domain, in our electoral process,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told CNN Tuesday.

Reports of the CIA’s stronger assessment are based on anonymous leaks to a number of publications.

The leaks have given ammunition to critics who say the Obama administration is trying to undercut Trump before he takes office on Jan. 20.

“There are real questions about why there have been so many leaks over the last seven or eight weeks from the administration about the motivations or the intentions of Vladimir Putin or other foreign leaders,” Cotton said Tuesday.

While we’re at it, let Senate committee ask about the truth of the information released by Wikileaks, and get that on the record.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Army Abrams Tanks to Control Robotic Attack Drones.

Algorithms are progressing to the point wherein they will be able to allow an Abrams tank crew to operate multiple nearby “wing-man” robotic vehicles in a command and control capacity while on the move in combat.

Army researchers, engineers and weapons developers are preparing to prototype some of these possibilities for future Abrams tanks, Maj. Gen. David Bassett, Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Systems, told Scout warrior in an interview.

“As I look to the future and I think about game-changing technologies, manned-unmanned teaming is a big part of that. There’s a set of things that we think could be really transformational,” Bassett said.

This kind of dynamic could quickly change the nature of landwar.

Autonomous or semi-autonomous robotic vehicles flanking tanks in combat, quite naturally, could bring a wide range of combat-enhancing possibilities. Ammunition-carrying robotic vehicles could increase the fire-power of tanks while in combat more easily; unmanned platforms could also carry crucial Soldier and combat supplies, allowing an Abrams tank to carry a larger payload of key combat supplies.

All that’s lacking is repairbots and refuelbots, and the ability to swap out tired human crews for fresh ones — and you’d have an armored formation able to fight nearly 24/7, denying the other side the ability to rest.

Either that, or one heck of a big reason for Skynet to smile.

ISRAELI AMBASSADOR: Iran is smuggling weapons to Hezbollah on commercial flights.

UN Ambassador Danny Danon sent an urgent letter to the Security Council members in which he revealed the smuggling route from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to Hezbollah: “The Iranian Al-Quds Force packs weapons, ammunition and missile technology to Hezbollah in suitcases and puts them on Mahan Air flights.”

Danon added that “these planes fly directly to the airport in Lebanon or Damascus and from there the weapons are transferred on the ground to Hezbollah.”

The UN envoy wrote that “Iran continues to violate Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 1701 and 2231.” Iran arms terrorist organizations in the Middle East and works to undermine stability in the entire region, he added.

You’d think this is the kind of thing which might have come up in President Obama’s years-long negotiations with the mullah’s regime.

PROCUREMENT: The Army’s More Lethal M1A2 SEP v4 Abrams Tank Variant Will Start Testing in the 2020s.

This ECP 1 effort also initiates the integration of upgraded ammunition data links and electronic warfare devices such as the Counter Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Device – Electronic Warfare – CREW. An increased AMPs alternator is also part of this upgrade, along with Ethernet cables designed to better network vehicle sensors together.

The Abrams is also expected to get an advanced force-tracking system which uses GPS technology to rapidly update digital moving map displays with icons showing friendly and enemy force positions.

The system, called Joint Battle Command Platform, uses an extremely fast Blue Force Tracker 2 Satcom network able to reduce latency and massively shorten refresh time. Having rapid force-position updates in a fast-moving combat circumstance, quite naturally, could bring decisive advantages in both mechanized and counterinsurgency warfare.

The M1 Abrams may well be the most lethal, survivable, and adaptable land weapons platform ever devised. Increasing its networking capabilities — the key to modern weaponry and warfare — ought to be a no-brainer.

POLITICO: Hill Republicans raring to investigate Clinton from Day One.

If the GOP wins either or both chambers of Congress next week, and Clinton takes the White House, she’s likely to come under investigation by Capitol Hill from Day One, or possibly before she’s even sworn in. FBI Director James Comey’s recent decision to revisit the probe of her email setup, and an assortment of Justice sources who’ve leaked to the press since Friday, have armed GOP lawmakers with more than enough ammunition to rev up their own investigations, say Republican sources on Capitol Hill.

The dynamic could sour relations between Clinton and Capitol Hill from the get-go, dousing any hope of even a brief honeymoon for Clinton should she defeat Donald Trump next week.

Why should a full-court investigation be contingent on her winning?

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Army Abrams Tanks to Control Robotic Attack Drones.

“As I look to the future and I think about game-changing technologies, manned-unmanned teaming is a big part of that. There’s a set of things that we think could be really transformational,” Bassett said.

This kind of dynamic could quickly change the nature of landwar.

Autonomous or semi-autonomous robotic vehicles flanking tanks in combat, quite naturally, could bring a wide range of combat-enhancing possibilities. Ammunition-carrying robotic vehicles could increase the fire-power of tanks while in combat more easily; unmanned platforms could also carry crucial Soldier and combat supplies, allowing an Abrams tank to carry a larger payload of key combat supplies.

Also, perhaps of greatest significance, an unmanned vehicle controlled by an Abrams tank could fire weapons at an enemy while allowing the tank to operate at a safer, more risk-reducing stand-off range.

The important question is whether such technology could be reduced enough in size to fit in the back of a midsize SUV, like one might find in my garage.

SHOT: NPR CELEBRATES TUPAC SHAKUR’S ‘PRO-FEMINIST,’ ‘PRO-CHOICE’ LEGACY.

NewsBusters, yesterday.

Chaser:

When Bing died, most Americans knew he was the guy who sang “White Christmas”. Elvis? “Heartbreak Hotel”. Lennon? “Imagine”. But 2Pac is a model of contemporary shortcut celebrity: he became a household name without ever having had a household song. First, he was famous for sexual assault; next, he was famous for being shot; now, he’s famous for being dead. His latest album, the prophetically titled All Eyez On Me shot (as we say) from 69 on the Billboard album chart to 18. Twenty years ago in Britain, a guy called Pete Wingfield had a hit single called “Eighteen With a Bullet” — a reference to Billboard’s practice of highlighting fast-selling records with the aforementioned ammunition. Poor old Tupac is the first guy on the Hit Parade to be literally 18 with a bullet.

—Mark Steyn from Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade: Obituaries & Appreciations expanded edition, 2014.

Hangover, and/or Exit Question: Why Aren’t Social Justice Warriors Trying to Ruin Hip Hop?

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Watchdogs warn of ‘serious’ conflicts of interest for Clinton Foundation.

Donald Trump is not the only voice sounding the alarm over conflicts of interest surrounding Hillary Clinton’s namesake nonprofit.

Government watchdog groups — all of them champions of heightened transparency, campaign finance reform and other Democratic priorities — are also warning of potentially “very serious” conflicts of interest if the Clinton Foundation continues as business as usual with Clinton in the White House.

The transparency advocates are not calling for the foundation to shut its doors, as Trump has done from the campaign trail. But they are urging the adoption of tough new firewalls to eliminate any perception that Clinton Foundation donors could use their wallets to gain undue access to a Hillary Clinton White House.

“The Clinton Foundation has posed a very serious conflict of interest for the entire time that it’s existed,” Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, said Thursday. “The conflicts of interest are very real, and that gives Trump some ammunition to throw at it, and we’re going to hear about it [until the campaign ends].”

Holman said Clinton’s recent vow to bar all foreign and corporate donations to the Clinton Foundation if she wins the presidency is “a big, big step in the right direction.” But, he quickly added, that alone is not enough to eliminate the “pay to play” perceptions now dogging the Clinton campaign following revelations that top State Department aides acted on the foundation’s behalf when Clinton headed the agency.

To do that, he said, the Clintons will have to snip all family ties to the foundation, including the removal of Chelsea Clinton from the group’s board — a step the Clinton team said it’s not ready to take.

They’ll do nothing, because they can get away with anything. And rubbing your noses in it is half the fun.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Clinton Is Making Her Trust Problem Worse.

Bloomberg’s left-leaning Al Hunt:

Her inadequate response to the conflicts of interest inherent in the Clinton Foundation,” the influential liberal columnist Jonathan Chait wrote last week in New York magazine, shows she “has not fully grasped the severity of her reputational problem.” He added, “If the Clinton Foundation is not leveraging the Clinton name, it has no purpose.”

At the same time, I spoke with a prominent Clinton insider, a person of integrity and high ethical standards. He said shutting the Clinton Foundation would hurt millions of people around the world and would be giving in to right-wing critics who will find something else to seize on.

I agree that right-wingers like Representative Jason Chaffetz, Senator Tom Cotton or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — who seemed to grant himself a medical degree last week when he ludicrously diagnosed Clinton with health problems — will find something. Much of it will be phony.

That is no reason to give them ammunition. Politifact and Jonathan Chait are not part of what Clinton once famously called the “vast right wing conspiracy.”

It’s a safe prediction that Clinton will continue to hand out ammunition.

THE POWER TO TAX IS THE POWER TO DECARBONATE: Soda Consumption Falls After Special Tax in California City.

The peer-reviewed research is the first to measure the impact of the penny-per-ounce tax. It found that consumption declined 21% and many residents switched to water after the tax went into effect in March 2015, according to the study published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

The study states that the results “suggest’’ that the tax lowered consumption but acknowledged other factors also could have been at play, including increased awareness about the health impact of sugary drinks.

The American Beverage Association, an industry group, said the Berkeley study has flaws and there is no indication the tax has had a measurable impact on public health. Street surveys relying on people’s recollections are “inherently unreliable,” said Brad Williams, an economist who does consulting work for the association.

Even so, the study is likely to provide ammunition to public-health officials pushing for similar levies in other parts of the country.

Nanny-staters gotta nanny state.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: ‘Veto Gunmageddon’ Wants to Pick Off 7 New California Gun Laws.

Veto Gunmageddon launched separate petition drives against each of the seven laws on Aug. 12. The petitions ask for ballot referendums that would ask voters in November to repeal the laws.

Six of the gun control laws in Bahrami’s sights were signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) July 1. The seventh was signed July 22. Brown vetoed five others that he felt should be decided by voters.

The new laws that Veto Gunmageddon wants to stop cover assault weapons, ammunition sales and the registration of guns “personally manufactured or assembled,” along with new regulations regarding lost, stolen, or borrowed firearms.

“My goal in signing these bills is to enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Gov. Brown wrote in his signing message.

Amanda Wilcox, a lobbyist with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told the New York Times she especially liked one of the bills. It requires background checks for ammunition purchases.

“It can give us a handle on who has illegal guns in the state, as well as limiting access to ammunition by dangerous people who may have illegal guns,” she said.

Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition, certainly doesn’t see any of the legislation as being positive.

He described the measures signed by Brown as “constitutionally-illegitimate laws passed by a patently illegitimate government that had the audacity to attack and criminalize millions of its own people in Stalin-esque fashion.”

Read the whole thing.

Absent serious and effective pushback from groups like Veto Gunmageddon, California will soon achieve that Progressive paradise, where everything not compulsory is forbidden.

A HATE CRIME IN BRISTOL, TENNESSEE?

The suspect in a fatal Bristol shooting may have been motivated by recent police shootings, investigators revealed on Friday. But, authorities said the work to investigate remains active and ongoing. . . .

Officials said the suspect, Lakeem Keon Scott, had at least two weapons and a large amount of ammunition with him when he fired shots around 2:20 a.m. Thursday through the window of the Days Inn on Volunteer Parkway.

Investigators determined Scott shot the clerk, then indiscriminately began shooting at several vehicles driving by on the highway.

When police arrived on scene, he shot at three officers. They returned fire and shot him, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Scott was taken to the hospital where, as of Friday afternoon, he is in serious but stable condition.

Investigators said preliminary info revealed Scott may have targeted officers and individuals because he was troubled by recent incidents involving police and African-Americans.

If you have a carry permit but don’t carry regularly, it might be a good time to start.

CALIFORNIA WILL NOW REQUIRE AN ID AND BACKGROUND CHECK FOR AMMUNITION PURCHASES, BUT…

(Wait for it!)

Not to vote.

(H/T: Cary Cheshire.)

OMAR MATEEN’S PARADE OF THE RED FLAGS.

Better dead than rude.

Related: “On April 5, Mateen ‘quit-claimed’ the deed on his Port St. Lucie, Fla., house, signing it over to his sister, Sabrina Abasin, and his brother-in-law Mustafa Abasin for just $10 according to county property records.  The records list his wife Noor Salman as a witness in the curious real estate transaction.”

More: “Robert Abell, a co-owner of Lotus Gunworks in Jensen Beach, Florida, told ABC News today that a man entered the store five or six weeks ago and asked specific questions about high-end body armor. When employees said the store didn’t carry the body armor he wanted, Abell said, the man made a phone call in a foreign language, hung up and then asked about ammunition in bulk.”

RESET: NATO ministers approve expanded aid package for Ukraine.

The package includes “projects on countering hybrid warfare and booby traps and other explosive devices, as well as strategic communications,” but the story doesn’t mention anything about sending rifles, ammunition, or antitank weapons.

FEDS HAVE NO IDEA IF OR HOW MANY FIREARMS HAVE BEEN STOLEN FROM U.S. PRISON ARMORIES: Officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons operate 120 armories containing handguns, rifles, ammunition, and incapacitating chemical agents – think tear gas – all of which could be useful to domestic terrorists.

The problem is, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s Katie Watson, government officials likely have no clue where any of these items are at any given time. Here’s why: The BOP inventory control system is “neither complete nor accurate” and lacks data for “tracking product movement,” which increases “the risk that armory munitions and equipment could be lost or stolen,” an inspector general report notes.

Watson said the IG investigation was prompted in 2011 after a BOP employee pleaded guilty to stealing munitions from a federal prison facility, but changes made since 2011 by BOP have not remedied the problem. U.S. prisons have been hotbeds of Muslim recruiting for decades.

A CIVIL RIGHTS MILESTONE: Last Handgun Ban In An American Jurisdiction Struck Down As Unconstitutional. “The court also strikes down the ban on importing handguns, because the ban makes handguns essentially unavailable: ‘In the Commonwealth, the import ban on handguns can only operate as a sales ban on a constitutionally protected product. The import ban on handguns and their ammunition is unconstitutional and violates the Covenant; Defendants will be enjoined from enforcing it.’ And it agrees with the parties that, if the handgun ban is unconstitutional (as it is), it can’t be applied to lawful permanent residents any more than to citizens, since the 14th Amendment has been understood as generally prohibiting state discrimination based on citizenship (and thus, under the Commonwealth Charter, discrimination by the commonwealth).”

ONLY TRAINED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS SHOULD BE TRUSTED WITH GUNS, GERMAN EDITION: An accidental discharge ruined the Bremerhaven police department’s plan to demonstrate its firearms on Tuesday, as the stray bullet wounded a local journalist in the thigh.

Meanwhile, the head of the police department called an emergency press conference to apologize.

“This kind of thing should not happen”, he said, adding that the weapon ought to have been unloaded when the officer demonstrated it.

All the weapons shown to the journalist have been secured and no ammunition was found in any of them, he went on.

“It’s beyond my understanding why this happened,” he said.

Well, actually, I have a pretty good idea.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE UPDATE: U.S. Marines Pre-Positioning Tanks, Ammunition In Secret Norway Caves Against Russian Invasion. “In 2015, it was revealed that Russia rehearsed military takeovers of northern Norway, the Swedish island of Gotland and the Danish island of Bornholm.”

Related: U.S. Sends 5,000 Tons Of Ammunition To Germany. “Recent moves in response to Russia’s sending troops into Ukraine have seen the US reverse some of its gradual reduction in numbers in Europe, especially Germany where it has had large bases since the end of the Second World War.”

WHAT KIND OF SUPREME COURT NOMINEE WILL OBAMA SELECT? “Obama says he will defy GOP, nominate Scalia replacement,” the Washington Examiner reports.

As Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line, “I think that President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Scalia will be dead on arrival at the Senate, regardless of whom Obama selects. I suspect that Obama will reach the same conclusion. If so, Obama will select the person whose rejection will provide Democrats with the most political ammunition.”

One of Bernie Sanders’ chief inspirations once advised sharpening the contradictions, a notion that Obama has built his whole toxic career on.

EVERYTHING HE’S DONE ON GUN CONTROL MAKES SENSE NOW: “Barack Obama might seem an unlikely investor in the firearms industry. But the U.S. president, a fierce advocate for gun regulation, has money in a pension fund that holds stock in gun and ammunition companies.”

I wish I’d bought Ruger and S&W stock in 2009.

LESSONS UNLEARNED:

Shot: “When South Vietnam fell…the North captured a treasure trove of American tanks, trucks and other equipment sitting in warehouses.”

“Lessons of Vietnam — How to avoid a repeat, and why it’s crucial to do so,” Brendan Miniter, the Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2007

Chaser: “According to Reuters, the U.S.-made weaponry that fell into enemy hands including 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles, at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks, 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems, plus small arms and ammunition.”

“U.S. Shoots Itself In the Foot By Accidentally Arming ISIS,” the Fiscal Times, June 4th, 2015.

To be fair, “accidentally” is a perfectly cromulent substitute for the adverb “unexpectedly.”

 

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The China Bubble: It’s probably bursting, one way or another. And the world hasn’t figured out what to do about it.

China’s slowdown is having knock-on effects around the world. Here at TAI, we have been following the commodity crash story for some time—and not just as a piece of economic news mostly interesting to financial market speculators. This is a political and a geopolitical story as well. Falling commodity prices matter to everything from the security of Putin’s power base to the ability of the oil-dependent Nigerian state to wage an effective war against Boko Haram; the fate of democracy in countries like Brazil and South Africa is complicated by the prospective fallout from the commodity crash; Venezuela may implode into chaos as a result of the oil crash, and fears for Venezuela’s future were a major consideration in Cuba’s decision to respond to the Obama Administration’s normalization overtures. In other words, significant shifts in world commodity prices can tilt the balance of power, undermine the stability of some governments, and boost the prospects of others.
But the story may be getting still bigger. We may be looking at something more serious than the unwinding of a commodity boom; we may be looking at the bursting of a bubble that could dwarf what happened in 2008. The China Bubble is bigger than the real estate bubble, and its liquidation could pose bigger risks for world politics than the subprime implosion.

There’s a difference between China and the China Bubble. China is a middle-income developing country bumping up against the limits of a growth model built on massive exports of manufactured goods. There are lots of bubbles inside China, largely because both national and local governments have pursued a mix of stimulative policies even as the health of the underlying growth model deteriorated. Massive over-investment in real estate, infrastructure and manufacturing capacity, overvalued stock prices and poorly priced financial assets have created an increasingly toxic and dangerous economic situation inside China, and a rattled government is doing its best to keep the system from imploding. The government is hoping to achieve a ‘soft landing’ as China switches away from growth led by manufacturing for export to growth led by services and internal consumption. We shall see; China’s regulators and managers are skilled and have a lot of ammunition. But this is a difficult maneuver to execute and as Chinese society and the Chinese economy both become more complex, the task of running the country keeps getting harder.

The China Bubble on the other hand is an international phenomenon. All over the world, the producers of commodities and manufactured goods have bought into the idea that Chinese demand is a perpetual growth machine.

Something that can’t go on forever, won’t.