Virginia Politician Joins Ranks of Political Dumbassery

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Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of stories about the burning stupid of politicians. There was Hank “Guam is capsizing” Johnson, who worried that the small island would actually tip over if we staged a military buildup there.

There was this moron Joe Salazar, who didn’t think women should defend themselves against rape with a gun, because they’re just too emotional and stupid to do so. Use call boxes and whistles, he told potential rape victims.

There was Sheila Jackson Lee, who thought the Democrats should write Executive Orders for the President.

There was Todd Akin’s blisteringly dumb “legitimate rape” comment.

There were Anthony Weiner’s numerous gaffes with Weiner Jr.

There was Sarah Palin’s “North Korean allies” gaffe.

And there was Corrine Brown’s historic speech on the floor of the Congress, “GO GATA!” which will forever go down in history as one of the most entertaining speeches on the House floor – one that never fails to crack me up.

The list of politician stupid is too long to detail, and frankly, there’s just not enough bandwidth to do it justice.

And recently, it looks like a Virginia legisleech is joining the ranks of the stupid.

In his efforts to relieve Virginia gun owners of their rights, Alfonso Lopez (D-umbass, Arlington) has introduced new legislation to ban high capacity magazines in the Commonwealth. In order to add gravitas… or just hysterical idiocy… to his proposal, Lopez decided to show just how “unsafe” the residents of the Old Dominion are with these evil high capacity magazines running around.

“Since 1931, federal law prohibits me from having more than three shotgun shells in my shotgun when I’m duck hunting,” he said. “That means that ducks have more protection than people in Virginia.

“Let me repeat that: Under the law, ducks have more protection than people in Virginia,” Lopez said.

Yep. Ducks are apparently safer in Virginia than humans, says Lopez.

Well, PolitiFact disagrees. As a matter of fact, they gave this claim their “Pants on Fire” rating, meaning if Lopez was any more off, his pants would double as an incendiary device used in controlled forest burns.

The very premise of Lopez’s claim is flawed. It’s legal to hunt ducks in Virginia. If you shoot one with a barred firearm for duck hunting, it’s a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine.

It’s illegal to shoot people in Virginia with any firearm, except in limited instances of self defense.

The murder of person in Virginia is punishable by death or lengthy prison sentences. There’s no jail time for shooting a duck, even if it’s done with an illegal shotgun.

It’s illegal to even point a gun at another person in Virginia in a menacing way, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine. State law is silent about pointing a gun at a duck.

For his part, the idiot tried to walk back his lunacy, claiming that’s not what he meant, but PolitiFact points out that not only did he say exactly that “ducks have more protection that people” from assault gun violence, but that he repeated it to drive the point home.

I’m sure the ducks are worried.

Election Eve 2014 in Virginia

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Greetings, folks. Yes, I know it’s quite some time since you’ve heard from me in this space, but I figured this was an important enough occasion for me to pop my head up. As those of us in Virginia no doubt already know, thanks to the deluge of election mailers, emails and robocalls, tomorrow is election day. Annoying as all that is and has been, everyone should still get out and cast an educated vote tomorrow, if they haven’t voted absentee already.

At stake this year is about one third of the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, and various of sundry gubernatorial, statewide, county, city and local races around the nation. As it stands, the Republicans currently hold the House, and the Democrats control the Senate, along with, of course, the White House. The electoral environment is particularly good for Republicans this cycle, more due to the combination of far-left ideology and rank incompetence on display by the Democrats than anything the Republicans themselves have to offer. Here in Virginia, U.S. Senator (and former Governor) Mark Warner is up for re-election, endorsed by his predecessor (no relation) John Warner, a notoriously weak Republican who was never popular with the grassroots among his own party. Mark Warner was actually a decent governor, aside from pushing the largest tax increase in Virginia history through the General Assembly. He was even fairly pro-gun as governor. Then he ran for U.S. Senate in 2008, promising to be a ‘radical centrist’ if elected. He has not been. As Republicans love to point out, he’s voted with President Obama 97% of the time. And he’s been effectively anti-gun, as his endorsement by MomsDemandingAttention/GunHysteriaNonsenseInEverytown shows:

Mark Warner voted for the Manchin-Toomey Amendment (S.AMDT.715) to S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, which would require background checks for guns sold online, at gun shows, and through classified ads.

As such, the most important thing is for everyone to get out and vote AGAINST Mark Warner in Virginia. The aforementioned anti-gun nutbag hysteria machine has also endorsed some Democrats running for U.S. House in Virginia: incumbent Rep. Bobby Scott in the 3rd District, Don Beyer here in the 8th District, John Foust in the 10th, and incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly in the 11th District. If you live in any of these districts, please get out and vote to DEFEAT these weasels.

Lastly, if you live in Arlington County, please, please, PLEASE vote for John Vihstadt for County Board tomorrow. He represents the only independent, non-Democratic voice on our board, and is carrying the banner of good government and fiscal responsibility. Want our horrendous roads fixed? Want to put a stop to the wasteful Artisphere, Columbia Pike streetcar, aquatic center and other vanity projects being pushed by the current Board majority? Support John tomorrow.

That is all.

Oh, but the UK has low murder rates!

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How many times have you heard the gun grabbers screech that we should be just like the UK, because they only have a few hundred murders per year?

I’m so sick and tired of hearing the shrieks and moans about how we should be more like the UK! Because no. Just NO!

My latest for the Zelman Partisans explores this “We should be like the Brits” meme.

The UK enacted its strict gun control legislation after the 1996 Dunblane massacre, which resulted in the deaths of 16 children and their teacher. The ban did not stop murders in the UK. As a matter of fact, they increased dramatically in the aftermath of the legislation, and reached their peak in 2003/2004.

That said, the nation has had historically low homicide rates to begin with, so the increase was definitely noticeable.

What also is notable are the low homicide rates prior to the enactment of the gun control legislation, which left most Britons disarmed and vulnerable to armed thugs.

So in a country with historically low homicide rates, one incident prompted a comprehensive infringement on the people’s right to bear arms, and said infringement had no appreciable effect on the already low homicide rates in this country.

Meanwhile in the United States, we finally got rid of the odious and worthless “assault” weapons ban, gun ownership rates have been climbing, and homicide rates have been declining steadily.

Further, the UK government has now decided that if you’re a gun owner, you no longer have rights. Apparently, you’re just not a full citizen – at least that’s what I’m getting from their latest legislation.

Registered gun owners in the United Kingdom are now subject to unannounced visits to their homes under new guidance that allows police to inspect firearms storage without a warrant.

The new policy from the British Home Office went into effect Oct. 15, permitting police and constabularies to conduct surprise home visits to legitimate gun owners.

Property rights? Screw you!

Privacy rights? Screw you!

The right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures? Not if you’re a gun owner.

And this is what the gun grabbers want to enact here to make us “safer”?

The stats prove that the Brits’ gun control legislation did nothing to reduce homicides. So now, they want to further punish gun owners, who are already registered and tracked like criminals, even further.

So go over to the Zelman Partisans and read my latest.

Then tell the gun grabbers shrieking about how we should be more like Britain to stuff it.

About those sanctions

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If you haven’t heard, the Treasury Department has released the latest round of sanctions against Russia for its activities in Ukraine, and some Second Amendment advocates are suspicious, to say the least.

Earlier today, the Department of Commerce announced new sanctions against Russian products and companies operating in the United States. Previous sanctions only tangentially impacted the import of cheap and reliable firearms from Russia into the United States, but now the Obama administration is specifically targeting the makers of Saiga rifles and shotguns, as well as other companies. 

There’s going to be a lot of information out there in the next few days, so let’s get a few facts out of the way.

This is not in any way, shape or form an assault on your Second Amendment rights. The sanctions impact companies, banks and entities that have been supporting Ukrainian separatists and destabilizing the region.

The U.S. moves to impose restrictions on the Russian state-controlled oil giant OAO Rosneft and other top firms are aimed at squeezing Russia’s already struggling economy and financial system. They followed weeks of U.S. threats that Russia would face repercussions unless it helped defuse the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia separatists have been fighting the Ukrainian government for months.

The sanctions stop well short of crimping international business ties or blocking deals with entire sectors of the Russian economy.

The U.S. and Europe say separatists in Ukraine are getting significant support from Russia, an accusation Moscow has denied. 

And yes, the U.S. government has plenty of information confirming Russian involvement, funding and support of Ukrainian separatists. These entities include the Russian firearms company Kalashnikov, as well as Almaz-Antey, Uralvagonzavod, Novatek and several banks.

Is this an attempt to limit imports of firearms in the United States? Absolutely not.

This is an attempt to cut off companies and entities that are involved in destabilizing Ukraine off from the U.S. financial system and punish them for their actions.

This means that U.S. companies and individuals can do no further business with the sanctioned entities. No. Further. Business.

That means the AKs that you love so much that are already here in the stores are perfectly legal to buy and sell – UNLESS the store still owes money to Kalashnikov for an order. You can still buy, sell, trade, whatever your AK or your Izmash-produced firearms. What you are NOT  allowed to do is start new business with these companies.

Given the number of other companies that produce inexpensive AK-like and other firearms, this really shouldn’t affect your everyday right to keep and bear arms.

Is this an indefinite ban on imports of AKs and other inexpensive firearms? The sanctions will stay in place until the illegal activities cease. Some Second Amendment advocates claim once the government implements these sanctions, they will continue, because BAN! That’s not true. OFAC has de-listed a myriad of different companies and entities once they’re deemed to no longer be involved in illegal activities, or with a successful appeal.

This is all about Russia’s activities in Eastern Europe, and it has nothing to do with our right to keep and bear arms.

A list of frequently asked questions is here.

374. If I own a Kalashnikov product, is that product blocked by sanctions?  Am I able to resell a Kalashnikov product at a gun show or other secondary market? 

If a U.S. person is in possession of a Kalashnikov Concern product that was bought and fully paid for prior to the date of designation (i.e., no payment remains due to Kalashnikov Concern), then that product is not blocked and OFAC sanctions would not prohibit the U.S. person from keeping or selling the product in the secondary market, so long as Kalashnikov Concern has no interest in the transaction.  New transactions by U.S. persons with Kalashnikov Concern are prohibited, however, and any property in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest is blocked pursuant to OFAC’s designation of Kalashnikov Concern on July 16, 2014.  If a U.S. person has an inventory of Kalashnikov Concern products in which Kalashnikov Concern has an interest (for example, the products are not fully paid for or are being sold on consignment), we advise that U.S. person to contact OFAC for further guidance on handling of the inventory. [7-16-2014]

There are other answers that may be of concern to gun owners as well. Please go read the release closely and understand it. Misinformation helps no one.

Cowards, Corruption, and Conventions

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By now, most observers of Republican politics here in the Old Dominion know what transpired down in Virginia Beach Monday evening. Gary Byler, the current chair of RPV’s 2nd Congressional District Committee, is a supporter of conventions to determine our statewide nominees, and the establishment old boy network of our state party doesn’t like conventions anymore, so they wanted to replace him. He elected NOT to run for re-election, and the Vice Chair of the 2nd, Curtis Colgate, stepped up. He also is a supporter of conventions, and is a fairly big donor, has a long history of party activism, and notably owns the historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach. Establishment Senator Frank Wagner (R-7th) put together a campaign for the chair of the 2nd before Byler announced he wasn’t running. You may remember Frank Wagner is the genius who introduced, along with his buddy Del. Scott Taylor (R-85th), bills in both houses of the General Assembly this past session to forbid any method of nomination except open primaries by ANY political party for statewide candidates. Thankfully, this effort went down to ignominious defeat after a popular outcry.

Senator Frank Wagner, the man who would be king.

Senator Frank Wagner, the man who would be king.

Back to Monday evening at the Virginia Beach Republican Party mass meeting. Sen. Wagner knew the Beach comprises 64% of the total voting strength at the 2nd Congressional District Convention this year, so he was kind enough to help slate the Virginia Beach delegation down to just 32, including himself and his most reliable minions. This was out of nearly 1,000 people who filed to be delegates. He disenfranchised all of these people simply because some of them were Colgate supporters. The hand count was NOT done through a ‘division of the house’, so that both sides get an accurate, fair count. It was orchestrated so Wagner’s people had every advantage. If it stands, he has 100% of the Beach’s voting strength, and is now guaranteed the chairmanship of the 2nd. Slating is something that’s done to remove ineligible or compromised voters, such as known members of another political party, etc. This was done so that Frank Wagner can win. No other reason. Del. Barry Knight (R-81st) and Sen. Jeff McWaters (R-8th), along with Taylor, helped organize and lead this effort. Del. Chris Stolle (R-83rd), chaired the mass meeting and played along. The rumor is that Sen. Wagner is planning to use this as a springboard to take control of the RPV State Central Committee over the next few years, and then run for Governor in 2017 in an open primary, which he will ensure is the mandatory method of nomination. Particularly distasteful is how Wagner, Taylor and co. hide behind the “Conventions disenfranchise members of the military!” canard. This is the worst, basest, craven cowardice. I’ll bet some of the nearly 1,000 folks you slated were military, Frank.

Senator Jeff McWaters, minion of both Bob McDonnell and Frank Wagner. He made his fortune off of Medicaid, through his firm AmeriGroup, which was then sold off to WellPoint. Real conservative.

Senator Jeff McWaters, minion of both Bob McDonnell and Frank Wagner. He made his fortune off of Medicaid, as CEO of AmeriGroup, which was then sold off to WellPoint. Real conservative.

Needless to say, I have no intention of standing by and letting this happen, and I know plenty of other grassroots Republicans leaders in the Commonwealth won’t either. If they get away with this sort of underhanded behavior here, it will happen all across Virginia. Not a chance. I plan to do my part to shine a light on this, have the Virginia Beach delegation either include everyone who filed, both at the RPV Convention in Roanoke and at the 2nd CD Convention, or have the delegation black flagged (disqualified). Then I plan to help ensure Wagner, McWaters, Taylor, Knight, and Stolle all face strong primary challenges next year. Should they gain nomination, I wouldn’t mind seeing conservative or libertarian independents in the general. These men are unworthy of being leaders, and certainly unworthy of the public trust.

The REAL Future of libertarian Politics

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A couple of weeks ago, Brian Doherty over at Reason published an article about the recent gubernatorial election in Virginia. He included a few links to Virginia political blogs, and interviewed Chuck Moulton, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Virginia (and someone I consider a friend), Chris Stearns, the pro-liberty chair of the Republican Party of Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District Committee, Rob Sarvis, the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, and Arthur DiBianca, co-founder of Libertarian Booster PAC.

Libertarian Booster PAC is the PAC that assisted Sarvis’ campaign and has taken donations from Joe Liemandt, a major Democratic donor. This led a lot of pro-liberty Republicans to accuse Rob Sarvis of being a Democratic plant, a somewhat ridiculous allegation given his previous membership in the Fairfax Young Republicans (he signed up to be a delegate at the 2013 Young Republican Federation of Virginia convention) and ties to the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia (he came and spoke to our 2011 state convention about his race against Dick Saslaw for the Senate of Virginia that year), but by that point many Republicans were unfortunately susceptible to this sort of thing. I can personally tell you this PAC also assisted Laura Delhomme’s campaign here in the 47th HoD race, and they supported LP candidates in 2012. So allegations that this PAC came into being to support Sarvis are patently ridiculous. Having said that, I will take serious issue with Mr. DiBianca’s quote to Brian Doherty:

…it also helped Sarvis that the Virginia race was one of the only big political shows of the year and he was the most interesting thing about that race, which got him big free press coverage, very unusual for a Libertarian. He was also helped by the fact that McAuliffe and Cuccinelli were both assholes.

Oh, really? I’ve been critical of the horrible campaign that Dave Rexrode and Chris LaCivita ran for Ken Cuccinelli; they should never work in Virginia politics again. That said, what does THIS guy know about Ken Cuccinelli, or Virginia politics? NOTHING. That much is obvious by his characterization of Ken. I’ve met Ken around 8-10 times at events since 2005 or so. I’m just an activist, just a guy. not trying to get into politicians’ good graces or anything like that, or build a career through my activism. I’m simply one guy motivated by ideology, working within the Republican party, to advance my ideals, and I just happened to end up the chair of RLCVA. There’s no reason he’d remember who I am, but the man has never blown me off, always actually listened what I had to say (I encounter a LOT of politicians and I can tell when they’re not), and is generally a good guy. Nobody I know that actually KNOWS him thinks anything less. Mr. DiBianca is typical of the LP types who think EVERYONE in politics not associated with the LP is evil. Ed Crane, who long ago publicly renounced support for the LP, funneled a lot of money into the race through his Purple PAC, specifically to oppose Ken Cuccinelli. All of this is because purist libertarians have a narrow set of social issues that they disagree with Ken on, namely abortion, marriage equality, and the existence of the state’s sodomy law (which Ken has little to do with either way, the General Assembly tried to replace that law a few years ago, but couldn’t come to an agreement), so they recruited a gubernatorial candidate to run against him, and oriented their messaging and campaign to reflect that. To assert anything else is dishonest.

I spoke with Rob Sarvis himself, in early April, after I heard he was running. Despite having been complimentary of Ken in 2011, he told me directly that his run was motivated by Ken’s social conservatism, and that the LPVA had recruited him, not the reverse. As Nicki pointed out earlier, no candidate or party is entitled to the votes of pro-liberty activists or anyone else. So Rob didn’t ‘take’ votes away from either Ken or McAuliffe. That said, he, his supporters, and LPVA all jumped right onto the same dishonest message that Ken wanted to require transvaginal ultrasounds for every abortion (that was McDonnell’s bright idea; Ken opposed it), that he was not only looking to use the sodomy statute to regulate the sexual behavior of consenting adults, but that he was responsible for the law’s existence (both blatant lies), and that he would somehow use the office of the governor to move against legal abortion (something Ken directly addressed and denied). This was repeated by Rob’s campaign manager and volunteers every chance they got on social media and everywhere else. The secretary of LPVA actually (seemingly) seriously posited several times on social media and blogs that Ken was ‘taking’ votes from Rob because the LPVA convention happened a month before the RPV convention! Considering Ken had been in the race for close to a year before Rob even considered getting in, that’s utterly ridiculous and speaks to the level that LPVA was operating at.

Chuck Moulton had a few things to say about RLCVA, as it turns out In addition to a few comments he made on social media, Brian Doherty quoted him:

Moulton remembers attending meetings of the state’s Republican Liberty Caucus back then and “my impression was that they are misnamed; they are more like the Republican Fiscally Conservative Caucus, because they didn’t seem to care so much about social issues. I asked each candidate in a Q and A about those issues and Sarvis stood out as the only truly libertarian candidate there.”

No, Chuck, you are quite wrong. The difference between RLCVA and LPVA (and the LP in a broader sense) is that we understand that we have to ally with people we mostly agree with to achieve anything at all politically. You basically helped scupper a largely pro-liberty candidate in Ken Cuccinelli because of abortion and marriage issues. The LP is like the Goth children from South Park… if you’re not EXACTLY like them, they won’t hang out with you. This is why the LP is simply not serious about politics, and perhaps not even about policy. What about gun rights? Property rights? Marijuana legalization, where Ken has come our way significantly over the past four years? Plenty of other issues other than fiscal issues where Ken is great. The guy who’s with you 80% of the time is your ally, not your enemy.

Since this fight has been picked, let me address the LP in general. It is a WASTE OF TIME. LP activists are actually celebrating the fact they got 6.6% in a statewide election. I’m not kidding. In the American political system, from the local level on up to how Presidents are elected, it’s set up for two major parties, whoever they might be. The last time a major party collapsed was in the mid-19th century, when the Whig party collapsed. The American, Free Soil, and Republican parties struggled to the be the replacement; the Republicans won that struggle. The other two disappeared shortly thereafter. The LP has won some local races, and has even elected some state legislators in a few states. Good for them. But they cannot be taken seriously in Virginia until they at least elect ONE member of the House of Delegates, and their statewide candidates have no chance of winning. In U.S. politics, minor parties do nothing except help the major party they are further away from ideologically. In the case of the Libertarian Party, despite some agreement on social issues, that party is the Democratic Party. That is all the LP accomplishes, and both the genesis and tactics of the Sarvis campaign bear out that they understand that, despite their protestations to the contrary.

If pro-liberty activists in Virginia want to be effective politically, their best course of action is join the Republican Party and help us advance liberty within it. They can join local unit committees, and they can join the Republican Liberty Caucus of Virginia.

Nanny Bloomberg sticking his nose in the Old Dominion’s business… again.

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Readers of this blog are familiar with our opinion of “former Republican” Stalinist yankee lawn gnome and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (Summary: it ain’t good.) He’s spending close to $2 million trying to defeat Ken Cuccinelli, the pro-liberty, pro-gun, RLCVA-endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate this year, due to his having the audacity to stand against the Gnome’s plans to eventually disarm us all. That’s bad enough. But to make matters worse, now, he’s pouring in over $1 million to defeat pro-liberty, pro-gun, RLCVA-endorsed Republican attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain, for the same reasons.

I have had more than enough of this clown interfering in Virginia politics. From trying to ban large size sugary beverages to his ceaseless assault on our Second Amendment-guaranteed liberties, the Gnome is wrong on practically every single public policy issue of any consequence. It’s bad enough that he may succeed in making Terry McAuliffe, a contemptible human being if ever there was one, the next governor of the Old Dominion, but he’s now trying to help Mark Herring, a standard issue anti-gun Democrat state senator, come from behind to defeat Obenshain. Folks, I’ve had occasion to meet Mark Obenshain a bunch of times during the campaign. We don’t agree on every single thing, just as I don’t with Ken Cuccinelli, Rand Paul or anyone else. That said, he’s honest, forthright, down to earth, and actually listens when you talk with him. He understands the value of personal liberty, and that it’s actually possible to respect it while simultaneously doing the job of enforcing the law. He knows who he is, what he believes, and why he believes it, and is actually dedicated to public service in the finest traditions of our Commonwealth. He’s also the only statewide candidate of the seven out there to have run a relentlessly positive, upbeat, issues-based campaign. He’s actually focused on why he wants to be Attorney General and what he’ll do with the job when he gets it.

We cannot simply stand by and permit anti-liberty out-of-state influences like the Gnome to have this kind of impact unopposed. To that end, I’ll just share the image from Mark’s campaign that came out earlier today (click on it) and you’ll know what to do:

ObenshainVs.TheGnome

And get out on Tuesday, November 5th, and VOTE VOTE VOTE for Mark Obenshain… and Ken Cuccinelli. Talk to everyone you know who’s undecided. Convince them, and do what you can to make sure THEY get out to support Ken and Mark.

And as for Michael Bloomberg, he needs to get lost and stay there, permanently. People like him have made places like NYC and most of the Northeast into what it is today. Let’s not allow them to do the same to Virginia.

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