Tuesday, August 20, 2019

CNN Reports That Craig Morgan Is Resigning From NRA Board


If what has been reported by CNN is correct, country music star Craig Morgan becomes the seventh NRA Director to resign since the 2018 NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas and the sixth  seventh this year . In addition, David Lehman, Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel of the NRA-ILA, is reported to have left.

From CNN:
Country music singer and NRA board member Craig Morgan has resigned, sources with knowledge of the matter tell CNN, and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress stepped down on Monday. David Lehman, the deputy executive director and general counsel at the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, also is leaving the organization, the sources tell CNN.
I predicted a while ago that I would not be surprised to see more of the celebrities resigning from the NRA Board of Directors. Craig Morgan fits this category if the report by CNN is accurate.

According to the story, the NRA has not responded to requests for comment and CNN has not heard back on their request for comment to either Morgan or Lehman. I'm sure more will become known in the next few days.

Richard Childress Resigns From NRA Board


NASCAR legend and NRA Board member Richard Childress has resigned from the NRA Board of Directors effective yesterday. He served as First VP until late April of this year. He along with Oliver North were asking the difficult questions about finance and the Brewer law firm. His resignation is the sixth this year if you count Pete Brownell.

His letter below says he needs to fully focus on his businesses which include his race team and a winery in North Carolina. His business acumen and his fund raising abilities will be missed by the NRA. It is my understanding that he is the reason Bass Pro Shops and their Cabelas subsidiary are such large sponsors especially at the Annual Meetings.



Monday, August 19, 2019

A Good Way To See Gun Bans On A Monday Morning


My friend Kerry Slone of We the Female posted this tweet from Caleb Howe on Facebook yesterday. It is a brutal yet accurate skewering of those who promote gun bans.





That is right up there with Shannon Watts discouraging active shooter drills because it might scare the children.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How Not To Win Friends And Influence Justices


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) considers himself worthy of authoring an amicus brief for a case before the Supreme Court. He should think again. Despite a long legal career before being elected to the Senate which culminated with him serving as both the Attorney General of Rhode Island for one term and before that as the Clinton-appointed US Attorney for Rhode Island, his brief in NY State Rifle and Pistol Association v. City of New York is a polemic and not an argument.

Moreover, as the son and grandson of diplomats, you would have thought somewhere along the line it would have rubbed off on him how to be diplomatic towards those that matter. Daddy served as deputy ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam followed up as the ambassador to Laos and then Thailand. Granddad was ambassador to Guatemala and Colombia and served earlier on the commission that wrote the Treaty of Versailles.

Whitehouse was joined in this polemic, I mean amicus brief, by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) who are all lawyers by training. They begin the brief arguing that the NYSRPA, the petitioners, are asking the Court to be their allies in " a “project” to expand the Second Amendment and thwart gun-safety (sic) regulations." They continue that it is no wonder polls show the Supreme Court is "motivated mainly by politics." It goes downhill from here.

They then argue that it was the National Rifle Association, the Federalist Society, and other conservative groups fought to make sure that Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh would be on the Court to "break the tie" in favor of the Second Amendment. It goes on to say about the Federalist Society:
The Society counts over eighty-six percent of Trump administration nominees to the circuit courts of appeal and to this Court as active members. It is not yet clear who the powerful funders are behind Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society judicial selection effort, nor what took place as the Federalist Society was “insourced” into the Trump administration’s judicial selection process.5 But massive political spending and secrecy are rarely a salubrious combination.
In other words, these fine senators are pissed off that President Trump has nominated active members of an organization dedicated to an interpretation of the Constitution that preserves the original meaning. They would much prefer those of the Living Constitution stripe.

This brief then goes on to attack the amicus briefs in favor of the NY State Rifle and Pistol Association implying that they are stooges of the NRA. Eight of the amici are affiliated with the NRA. However, most of those are from only one amicus brief - that of the National Sheriffs Association. Then, heaven forbid, a number of amici are 503(c)(4) social welfare organization who are not required to disclose their donors. As the secretary of the Maryland Democratic Party might note, this makes them harder to dox. Of course much of this is ludicrous. Accusing groups like the Pink Pistols and GOA of being stooges of the NRA is laughable.

Whitehouse ends Section I of the brief with this.
Out in the real world, Americans are murdered each day with firearms in classrooms or movie theaters or churches or city streets, and a generation of preschoolers is being trained in active-shooter survival drills. In the cloistered confines of this Court, and notwithstanding the public imperatives of these massacres, the NRA and its allies brashly presume, in word and deed, that they have a friendly audience for their “project.”
You might think Whitehouse might now try to curry favor with the justices in Section II and you'd be wrong. After a few paragraphs saying how the Court shouldn't be answering moot questions and legislating from the bench, he then accuses the Court's majority of being the tools of big business, the GOP, and fat cats.
Recent patterns raise legitimate questions about whether these limits remain. From October Term 2005 through October Term 2017, this Court issued 78 5-4 (or 5-3) opinions in which justices appointed by Republican presidents provided all five votes in the majority. In 73 of these 5-4 decisions, the cases concerned interests important to the big funders, corporate influencers, and political base of the Republican Party. And in each of these 73 cases, those partisan interests prevailed.
Then he accuses the petitioners of engaging in strategic "faux litigation". What he is speaking of is strategic civil rights litigation with carefully chosen plaintiffs and with the purpose of building precedent. The interesting historical aspect of this is that the model for this strategic litigation was none other than the NAACP Legal Defense Fund run at the time by future Justice Thurgood Marshall.
For example, we have seen flocks of “freedom-based public interest law” organizations that exist only to change public policy through litigation, and which often do not disclose their funders. We have seen behavioral signals, like litigants who rush to lose cases in lower courts “as quickly as practicable and without argument, so that [they] can expeditiously take their claims to the Supreme Court” (ordinarily, in litigation, litigants seek to win). Almost invariably, and as we have seen in this case, such plaintiffs are accompanied by throngs of professional amici, whose common funding sources and connections to the organizations behind the supposed party-in-interest are obscured by ineffective disclosure rules.
Instead of being flattered, Whitehouse seems to say how dare these dirty, low down conservatives imitate the tactics and strategies of the Left!

He then ends the brief with a threat.
The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be “restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.” Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.
Whitehouse is no FDR but he thinks his threat of packing the Court is going to sway it. His demeaning attitude should irritate even the most ardent liberals on the Court. Whether this case is ultimately dismissed as moot or not, there will be more cases that have even more impact for Second Amendment rights that are now or soon will be in the pipeline.


UPDATE: I'm not the only one who found Whitehouse's brief to be a polemic and not a real argument. Prof. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection covered it as well. Note the comments. I agree with the person who said " The Court should strike the brief without a right to refile an amended brief, and impose sanctions."

Monday, August 12, 2019

Julie Golob Makes Four


Competitive shooter and NRA Board of Directors member Julie Golob announced today that she had resigned from the Board. She said the decision was the best "for me and my family." Other than that, she did not go into any specifics.

Dear NRA Members,

I gave my notice to NRA President Carolyn Meadows, Secretary John Frazer, and Directors that I have resigned my position on the National Rifle Association Board of Directors.

My intentions in running as well as serving in this volunteer position are directly aligned with the purposes and objectives of the organization. I am proud to have had the opportunity to represent the members of the National Rifle Association but I can no longer commit to fulfilling the duties of a director.

This was not a decision I made lightly. I apologize to those members who have supported me that I will not be completing the full 3-year term. I also feel this is the best decision for me and my family.

I wish the director who fills my vacancy and the rest of the board nothing but success. I will absolutely continue to support the NRA’s programs and sports as a proud benefactor member and active participant in the preservation of freedom.

Sincerely yours,
Julie Golo
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 Julie was only one of three people I endorsed in 2018 for the Board of Directors. The other two were Tim Knight and Adam Kraut. As covered already, Tim has resigned from the Board and Adam declined the chance to fill one of the open positions. I'm not sure what this says about the power of my endorsements.

We may never know Julie's motivations for leaving the Board and it is her choice to make them known if she so wishes. I do foresee further resignations from the Board especially given the most recent subpoena from Attorney General Letitia James to 90 current and former Board members. If I were an attorney - and I'm not - giving risk management advice to one of the deep-pocketed members of the Board, I'd say you must protect what you've earned and it is time to go. You can still support the organization in other ways but you need to get the heck out of there.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Technology, The Second Amendment, And Hong Kong


The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong should be instructive for everyone in this country. You have a territory that was once a colony of Britain and is now essentially a vassal state of Red China. The people there have never been entirely free. While freer as a British colony, they were still ruled by edicts from London. Now as part of China with the "one country, two systems" policy, they are still ruled from afar. What they want is what we take for granted in the US - human rights, freedom, and democracy.

These protesters understand something that all the Democrats running for president, much of the media, and even too many Republicans don't. That is the real purpose of the Second Amendment.

Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
They don't plan to go duck hunting or deer hunting in Hong Kong. They fully understand the Second Amendment is what gives the people the power to change or overthrow a tyrannical government. While former presidential candidate Rep. Eric "Nuke'em" Swalwell is incredulous that people armed with mere small arms could take on a world power, one need only look to Afghanistan or to our former adversaries in Vietnam.

Modern technology gives the pro-democracy protesters a communication advantage that is hard to stop. They have found that Tinder can be used for more than hookups and that Poke'man Go isn't just for my son-in-law to drive my daughter crazy.
Posting information about protests on Tinder is just one of several creative ways Hongkongers are using technology to mobilize people. For more than eight weeks now, technology has been at the center of organizing demonstrations against a controversial extradition bill.

People primarily communicated through Telegram groups and streamed their actions on gaming platform Twitch. As violence has escalated in recent weeks, though, police have been cracking down harder. So now protesters are resorting to more unorthodox methods of organizing and communicating online.

One of those methods, besides Tinder, is Pokémon Go.

When the Hong Kong police denied protesters permission to march in one of the city’s suburban neighborhoods on safety grounds, the protesters decided to say that they weren’t going for a march -- they were just showing up for a game of Pokémon Go.
Rather than sneaking out messages like dissidents did using samizdat in the old Soviet Union, protesters are using Apple's peer-to-peer AirDrop to pass on information to visitors from the rest of China. These visitors normally would only hear what the government allowed them to hear in China.
What makes AirDrop the ideal communication tool in this case is that it bypasses Chinese censors; news of protests in Hong Kong against the extradition bill have been blocked on popular social media platforms in China such as Weibo, WeChat and Baidu
I don't know what will eventually happen in Hong Kong. Nonetheless, we in the United States should be paying attention. This is true especially now that you have media and technology giants controlling some much of what we see and hear. When you combine that with the statist nature of most politicians, right or left, it becomes an imperative that alternate voices are heard. You know like ones that ask the hard questions about the efficacy of background checks or red flag laws.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Every Local TV Story Should Feature Billy


City workers in Huntington, WV cut down a tree that was a hazard due to limbs breaking off. Unfortunately, the tree didn't fall where they wanted it to go. The full story is here at WSAZ.

That was sad for the young lady whose Fiat 500 was destroyed. However, out of this comes a new hero of local TV news. That hero is Billy Tatum. You can hear why is the excerpt that has gone viral on Twitter.





Don't you just know every local TV reporter who wants to make it to the big time wishes they had Billy Tatum in their highlight reel.

In case you have trouble with West Virginia accents, here is what Billy had to say.
"It sounded like a beer can getting flattened," Tatum said. "It just was 'crunch.' I hate to say it, but it was kind of cool, you know? What guy doesn't like destruction. That's why we go to demolition derbies, but hey, the bottom line is that's that girl's new car, and she can't get to school now."

Friday, August 9, 2019

A Better Suggestion For The "NRA Mansion"


A couple of days ago the Washington Post broke a story that there had been talk about the NRA buying a $6 million mansion in Dallas for EVP Wayne LaPierre post-Parkland. The NRA is saying that it was Ackerman McQueen's idea and AckMac is saying it was Wayne's idea.
The origins of the idea to buy the mansion, its proposed purpose and the reason the deal never went through are now being fiercely disputed by the NRA and Ackerman McQueen, which are locked in a bitter legal fight.

In a statement late Tuesday night, Ackerman McQueen said LaPierre had sought the ad firm’s assistance with the real estate transaction, a proposal it said alarmed company officials. “Actions in this regard led to Ackerman McQueen’s loss of faith in Mr. LaPierre’s decision-making,” the firm said.

For their part, NRA officials said that the real estate purchase was suggested in early 2018 by Ackerman McQueen as an investment that would be managed by the ad firm’s top executives — and that it was ultimately rejected by top NRA leaders.

“The agency introduced Mr. LaPierre to its preferred local real estate agent, directed a tour of multiple homes, and established a company to manage the investment,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said in a statement late Wednesday. “No matter, Mr. LaPierre ultimately rejected the opportunity and not one dime of the NRA’s money was spent on this venture.” The LaPierres did not respond to requests for comment.

The New York attorney general’s office is now examining the plan for an NRA-financed mansion as part of its ongoing investigation into the gun lobby’s tax-exempt status, in which it has subpoenaed the group’s financial records, the people said.
According to the Zillow listing, the mansion has 4 bedroom and 9 bathrooms. It overlooks a lake.

Now the idea of an organization have a residence in which to entertain rich donors and to house an executive is not unheard of. Indeed, universities and colleges around the nation do it all the time. If the NRA still wants to think about such a residence, I have a much better suggestion.

The Internal Revenue Service contracts with a company called CWS Marketing to sell seized properties. These properties are often seized due to tax fraud or due to being bought with illegal proceeds from drug or other transactions. As luck would have it CWS is holding an auction next week for a slightly smaller mansion that still has a lake view and is just made for entertaining.


The stately house is located in Mason, Ohio which is a suburb of Cincinnati. How ideal would it be to have the NRA Mansion be located in the same town as the Cincinnati Revolt of 1977. Just think how the location might remind NRA executives that if they didn't stand up and fly straight they could go the way of Maxwell Rich.

It has a beautiful bar in the basement which is ideal for entertaining.


It also has a media room and a billiards room in the basement.

Moreover, it has some large closets that would fit most, if not all, of Wayne's custom suits.



The house has a beautiful entry way which would be ideal for welcoming well-heeled donors.


It has a large patio and deck area on the rear of the home overlooking the lake. I think this would be ideal for cocktail parties and other gatherings where the touch is put on donors.


You can see many more pictures as well as the floor plans here.

The Zillow estimate of the value of the home is $1.8. However, with some artful bidding, I'm sure it could be had for much less than that.

A little bit of paint, some new carpeting, and it would be ready to go! Now doesn't this make more sense than some house in Dallas. By the way the temperature in Dallas right now is 101 deg. while it is a balmy 84 deg. in Mason.