Newsroom: July 2018

Campus carry leads to nothing happening at Kansas State, MGM Resorts sues the victims of the Vegas shooting, and the Libertarian Party’s 2020 candidates somehow manage to look even worse.

It’s a post-Blowback Newsroom, so it’s rather brief.

1.) Campus Carry. It has been over a year since campus carry went live in Kansas. In a pattern that has happened non-stop in every other state with Campus Carry on the books, all of none of the apocalyptic claims from anti-gun groups actually happened. In fact, Kansas State Police Department didn’t file any criminal charges relating to firearms on campus. The best one can point to are “two policy violations.”

The apocalypse continues to be quite late. In a related story, HB 60 in Georgia has been live for upwards of 4 years now.

2.) LP 2020. The Libertarian Party’s Presidential candidates for 2020 already include Adam Kokesh, running on a platform of dissolving the Federal government; and Bill Weld, who famously couldn’t stop endorsing Hillary Clinton in 2016. Now we have a href=”http://reason.com/blog/2018/07/06/controversialist-arvin-vohra-announces-2″>Arvin Vohra who has thus far been famous for challenging age-of-consent laws, and having a rather dim view of military vets.

The Libertarian Party’s best shot was last cycle, and it’s rather obvious they aren’t really going to have much of a chance this cycle.

3.) Suing the victims. In a bizarre twist in the Vegas shooting case, MGM Resorts International is suing roughly 1,000 victims of the shooting in Nevada’s federal court system. The suits allege, essentially, that MGM Resorts has no liability whatsoever to defendants. The lawyers representing the victims have taken a much different tact, with attorney Robert Eglet telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal that “It’s just really sad that they would stoop to this level.”

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

Blowback: Reversal

This year’s Blowback is nothing short of a release for me. An annual event that current events has finally allowed to get back to where it should be.

Blowback, as time went on, got progressively harder to write. Eventually, it became easier to maintain this yearly update’s optimistic tone by completely avoiding the present, and looking back to the foundation of the country. In the past few years, the news has been not much more than a collapsing healthcare market, a stagnant economy, and a general pessimism in regards to the direction of the country.

A lot has changed in the last year or so. It’s time we realized that. The economy is doing brilliantly, we have had incredible developments in the gun rights world (including a continuing uptick in gun sales), and pro-Constitution rulings on a regular basis from the Supreme Court. Pessimism has, in about a year or two, become optimism.

1.) Baseline. Recent events, namely heated rhetoric from Rep. Maxine Waters and others, have put something of a wrench in the schedule for the second half of this year. I am working on gathering information on that, but will hold off until next month to do a full report. That being said, it would be foolish to not at least acknowledge events that have been occurring in the last few days, namely the newsroom shooting and the almost-immediate attempts to exploit it for political gain by slandering Milo Yiannopoulos and attempting to tie the shooting to Trump’s constant criticism of the press. (Inconveniently for both outrage efforts, it turned out that neither of them had anything to do with the shooting, and the suspect had a long-standing grudge against the paper.

We will handle this next month. But it is worth noting the left has gotten quite desperate and loud. As we’re about to discuss, they have plenty to distract from.

Despite that (and, to an extent, in spite of that), Blowback is a celebration of the Fourth of July. It is built, from the ground up, to celebrate the nation. This year will be no different.

Many thanks to my InSov colleagues for helping find material for this year.

Welcome to Blowback: Reversal.

2.) Economy. We begin tonight with a discussion on a surging economy. The economy was fairly stagnant in the Obama years. This is obvious by the need to attach “saved or created” to job reports, among other things. The Trump administration appears to have supercharged economic growth, to the point where CNBC raved that the economy “suddenly looks like it’s unstoppable.” Economists started calling for 3-4% growth in the second quarter of this year, a near-unprecedented rate given the stagnation of the years prior.

March of this year, in particular, saw a great jobs report; with 313,000 new jobs, 4.1% unemployment, and 2.6% wage growth.

This, of course, is in the wake of the massive tax cuts passed last year. Trump suggested in June that the cuts “unleashed an economic miracle” and reports indicate that he wants to cut taxes yet further in 2018-2019.

It is trade where his policies start to become a bit harder to figure out. From his discussions on renegotiating NAFTA to the now well-known tariff deals. At the same time, it stands to reason that someone who has placed a lot of his political capital on the economy (and has seen that pay dividends, no pun intended), would not make a concerted effort to destroy the economy with bad policy. The tariff fights are still in their relative infancy, although they have involved long-time allies like Canada, and trading partners like China.

On the whole, however, it is extremely difficult to argue that the economy is not in excellent shape. (Indeed, many Democrats don’t want to, at present. A lot of this economic growth is happening in spite of Democrat efforts to derail the tax cuts last year.)

3.) Firearms. At this point, anti-gunners now openly admit that they aren’t interested in compromise. It’s a refreshing change of pace, and a rare moment of honesty from a movement largely based in slander, twisted stats, and complete tactical ignorance.

This is something of a last-ditch effort. Gun sales have indeed slowed down, but every effort at gun regulation only leads to more firearms being sold. The gun regulations that were signed into law in Florida after the Parkland shooting only proved this to be true once again.

Meanwhile, the NRA has an excellent take on the state of gun rights a decade on from the Heller decision. It’s also worth noting that HB60, the “Guns Everywhere” law that was supposed to turn Georgia into a blood-stained hell, turned four this week. At this point, the anti-gun movement needs all hell to break loose in order to maintain any real credibility. Speaking of the Heller decision, we would be remiss to skip the fact that Justice Kennedy is retiring, leaving Trump the chance to nominate a second Justice, something Trump intends to do very soon.

4.) Fourth Amendment. However, while the idea of another Trump appointee is exciting, it’s worth picking up one story that, while positive, actually came from the left of the court. Carpenter v. United States was a major Fourth Amendment case this term. The case was about whether police needed a warrant to access location data on a person, despite the fact that the data was held by someone else. The Court ruled 5-4 that police do indeed need a warrant, however Gorsuch and the right of the Court were the dissenters (despite, as Reason notes, Gorsuch’s dissent reading more like a concurrence.)

The case still is a massive victory for the Fourth Amendment, even though it came from the most unexpected place.

5.) Free Speech. Much like the victory for the 4th Amendment came from an unexpected place, so do does our latest story in regards to the free speech movement. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing group known for calling just about everybody to their political right a “hate group,” ended up being forced to pay Muslim reformist Maajid Nawaz $3 million after Naawaz sued the group for calling him an anti-Muslim extremist.

The SPLC’s loss has resulted in a torrent of other organizations, upwards of 60, considering similar suits against the SPLC.

But, perhaps the best take on this has been an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “The Southern Poverty Law Center has lost all credibility” by Marc A. Thiessen.

6.) Bottom Line. We are seeing a resurgence. Whether we’re discussing the economy, the free speech debate, firearms (both in terms of rights and, frankly, in terms of raw numbers), or even in terms of how citizens feel about the country; there is a ton of excellent news throughout the country as we get ready for Independence Day. People are feeling more optimistic about the country than they have in some time. Granted, according to Gallup, we have a fair way to go on that front, however we have evidence of an upward trajectory that we simply didn’t have a few years ago.

In the last few years at Blowback, we have discussed the foundations, and the strength, of the country. We now have a working case study of Blowback’s core tenants; the perspective that has informed this annual update from the beginning. 1.) That the country is unique, and absolutely worth fighting for, 2.) That its history deserves much more respect than being burned down to simple Tweets and gross characterizations, and 3.) that individual freedom is and always has been, the driving force behind the nation’s success.

All of which becomes more exciting when one realizes that we not only have a case study, but we’re living through it.

We will discuss the opposition to the news next month, but for now we should realize the tectonic shift in the country’s mindset, and celebrate both that change, and the history of the nation as a whole.

Celebrate the foundations, while building on them.

Enjoy Independence Day, and as always:
Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.