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Wednesday links

  • Wow. But not surprising. The ATF and the Obama administration, via Fast & Furious, supplied drug lord El Chapo with .50 cal weaponry.
  • Zombie ships ply the ocean in hopes of paying just the interest, not the principle, on shipowners’ debt. One more place all that central bank bubble capital has been going for the last eight years.
  • Right analysis? But completely crazy proposed solution to global bubbles.
  • With state legislatures in session, it’s become political silly season. Most of the goofy new bills will never pass, so you can stop sending me alarming emails about junk that might not even make it out of committee, okay? But politicians are getting their jollies with bills enabling random acquaintances to deprive you of your gun rights, create new gun bans even in southern states, and requiring “journalists” to register with the state. Yeah, that one’ll really meet the First Amendment test, for sure.
  • Good news, however! Although politics clearly rots your brain, you may be pleased to know that, contrary to recent reports, cannabis probably doesn’t.
  • Being the grey man in a surveillance society. (Jim Bovard, who led me to this link, gets called out for one of his notable failures in the grey-man department. OTOH, I don’t think Jim has ever aimed to be grey.)
  • Or you could become the opposite of the grey man. Like this first guy in the world to travel with a passport chip in his hand. (Via David Codrea.)
  • RIP, Bitcoin? Despite this week’s developments, I don’t know whether Bitcoin is dead or not. I’m outside the Bitcoin universe. I do know, however, that there has always been good reason to watch from the sidelines before jumping in. The volatility. The out-of-thin-air nature of the currency. The ability of small groups to control it. And — above all — the fact that true believers have promoted Bitcoin at me as though it were the second coming of Jesus. Never a good sign, that.
  • She got jilted at the altar, sold all her stuff and became a world traveling writer.

11 Comments

  1. Bear
    Bear January 20, 2016 7:23 am

    GA HB 731: No one expects that to go anywhere, but it does provide some amusement. It would ban virtually all rifles with a “grip”. The sponsor believes in “extremely high powered Tommy guns,” “semi-assault” weapons, and…

    Bullet-piercing bullets. I couldn’t force myself to listen to the entire interview, so there was probably more.

    The SC journalist registration bill isn’t meant to be taken seriously, except in that he’s trying to make a point about licensing any constitutionally-protected rights (with RKBA being his main point).

    Bitcoin? Frankly, it had a better run than I expected.

  2. Claire
    Claire January 20, 2016 7:42 am

    “The SC journalist registration bill isn’t meant to be taken seriously, except in that he’s trying to make a point about licensing any constitutionally-protected rights (with RKBA being his main point).}

    Ah, that’s good to know. Thanks, Bear. And yeah, I figured the GA gun-ban bill was just some ignorant idiot’s hobbyhorse. Still, seeing a bill like that come out of the south (and I got a link to something similar from some other “safe” southern state; can’t recall which) was weird.

  3. Bear
    Bear January 20, 2016 8:21 am

    With Georgia you have to remember: Atlanta. Major Democrat enclave. And that’s pretty much always where these dumbass anti-RKBA sponsors come from.

    A little more troubling are at least three “CCW training mandate” bills that somehow haven’t died yet. They mandate training without specifying what training. (The most recent was sponsored by an idiotic Dim who got a GWL but didn’t even know how to load the gun. She assumes that everyone is as stupid as she is. Projections much?)

  4. Laird
    Laird January 20, 2016 9:47 am

    Re that SC journalist registration bill: I’m not entirely sure that it’s merely to make the point Bear suggests. Or, rather, I think it’s (at least partially) to make an entirely different point: intimidation. This is a state where the Legislature is extremely powerful; we have a “weak” governor system and all of the judges are appointed (and thus controlled) by the Legislature. They’re extremely jealous of their power, and quick to attack anyone who questions them. In the last few years, they have made serious attempts to require ordinary citizens who wish to testify before legislative committees to register as lobbyists, and to require that any such testimony be under oath and thus subject to prosecution as perjury for any error or even anything “misleading”. Here is an article taking that viewpoint (incidentally, I am a huge fan of The Nerve, where this article appears):

    http://thenerve.org/news/2016/01/20/Pitts/?utm_source=The+Nerve&utm_campaign=8fa9e6cb05-Today_on_The_Nerve&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b306b3032c-8fa9e6cb05-219794489&mc_cid=8fa9e6cb05&mc_eid=936ab18a41

    Rep Pitts is generally one of the “good ones” (I live in SC, not too far from his district, and am familiar with him), so his claim that the bill is merely to make a point about the mainstream press being quick to demonize gun ownership might be true. But given the history of this legislature, I am very cautious about accepting such statements at face value (even from Rep. Pitts).

  5. Mr.shawn
    Mr.shawn January 20, 2016 10:14 am

    Loved the grey man article. Something I’ve practiced for years. Being married and middle aged helps me to blend in. I actually get a kick out of being unremarkable. Am I invisible?
    No, of course not. There are those that have extraordinary situational awareness and may be able to describe me in the most general of ways. Medium build, medium height, dark hair.
    But most of the planet is so self absorbed, attached to their smartphone screens and going about the daily business of life that I go virtuality unnoticed everywhere.

    I do nothing to draw attention to myself. No load music in car, no graphic t’s or hats, no tat’s, no jewelry, no body odor but also no cologne, bland bland bland.
    If you bumped into me on during to normal course of life, describing me an hour later would be difficult at best.

  6. LarryA
    LarryA January 20, 2016 12:58 pm

    With Georgia you have to remember: Atlanta.

    Bingo.

    Every southern state has it’s opposite-color enclaves. Houston, Austin, and Eagle Pass are as blue as NYC and LA. Those districts elect anti-gun representatives.
    Out of the 122 Texas gun bills I tracked last year, 11 were anti-gun. None of them made it out of the first committee, but their authors got bragging rights back home in their district.
    Beyond the usual magazine limits and gun show loophole nonsense, there was HB 2409, requiring each county commissioners court to establish a gun storage facility where anyone subjected to a protective order would surrender their firearms. No provision for letting anyone else hold them, and if the person became ineligible to possess firearms the county got to sell them and the proceeds funded the storage facility.
    County commissioners were not amused.

    with the right demeanor, just about anyone can disappear into a faceless crowd of stereotypes.
    No thanks. My head would explode.
    OTOH I could see a “Who was that person who just blew the terrorist away?” fiction plot.
    And on the subject of “blending in” I had to break it to one of our local prepper ex-spurts that if you’re surrounded by brick and concrete, camo doesn’t camouflage.

  7. Fred
    Fred January 20, 2016 4:46 pm

    I maintain that Bitcoin is NOT a currency by definition. It is however, a fee free medium of exchange between currencies or users of the same currency. It is, essentially, a check card outside of the Federal (global) Reserve banking system which is why it carries risks…but rewards. Until one gets it for the labor of say, building a chair, it’s value is only in it’s convertibility to currency to buy a chair. Thing are moving fast though.

  8. Laird
    Laird January 23, 2016 8:26 am

    I want to supplement my earlier comment about the journalist registration bill filed in SC. I listened to a radio interview with Rep. Pitts the other night, and it’s clear he did file the bill purely as a means of showing the absurdity of regulating one Constitutionally-protected right (the 2nd Amendment) by applying the same technique to a different one (the 1st). What he did was to simply take the concealed-carry licensing language currently in our statutes and transfer it to journalists, with the Secretary of State as registrar, solely to make that point. And in this he has succeeded: the squeals of journalists have been a pleasure to hear.

    Rep. Pitts really is one of the “good guys” in our legislature (they are few and far between) and I’m sorry I doubted him.

  9. Claire
    Claire January 23, 2016 8:48 am

    Great update, Laird. It’s encouraging to know people like that are still around — even in government.

  10. Claire
    Claire January 27, 2016 12:55 pm

    LOL, A.G. I think Ace Ventura was indeed the delivery man.

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