Cuba Demoted to “Not Real Socialism”

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

If the Socialist Party of Great Britain is an authority on such things, it is official: in light of recent anti-communist protests and civil unrest, Cuba has been demoted to “Not Real Socialism” and reclassified, along with the USSR and other failed socialist experiments, as “actually state capitalism.”

La Revolucion, it appears, is moving into the last stage of what we might call the Niemietz Cycle in honor of Kristian Niemietz’s excellent-and-downloadable-for-$0 book Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies (I review it here and here). The first stage is the “honeymoon” stage where things look like they’re going well. Contrary to what neoliberal naysayers might think, short-run successes seem to prove that socialism is viable.

In the second stage, which Niemietz calls the “Excuses-and-Whatabouttery” stage, mounting socialist failures are explained away as the products of a series of unfortunate (and entirely coincidental) events, like weather in the Soviet Union and Zimbabwe. In the case of Cuba, we’re told–as we have been hearing for six decades–that the country’s problems aren’t because of socialism. They’re actually because of the US embargo. If it weren’t for the embargo, we’re told, the regime would be stable and socialist Cuba would thrive.

I think the embargo is a terrible idea that should be lifted immediately, as it has given Cuban communists a convenient scapegoat for their country’s problems. The embargo, however, is not what causes Cuba’s woes, and people blaming the embargo overlook the fact that Cuba trades pretty extensively with the rest of the world–how else do you think Canadian and Mexican merchants get the Cuban cigars they hawk to American tourists? It’s not because a Cuban Rhett Butler is smuggling them past a blockade. It’s because Cuba trades freely with the entire world. I suspect the US embargo hasn’t really hurt Cuba that much more than the “transgender bathroom” boycott hurt Target.

The “embargo” story also doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in light of Marxish claims about imperialism and free trade. On one hand, we learn that “periphery” countries are poor because they trade freely with rich countries like the United States and welcome foreign direct investment. On the other hand, we learn that Cuba is poor because it cannot trade freely with the United States. I’m not sure how this works without a lot of auxiliary assumptions. It also ignores the conspicuous and inconvenient truth that the Cuban government restricts imports and has only lifted these restrictions for food, medicine, and toiletries “temporarily” in response to the protests.

In the last stage of the Niemietz Cycle, the failures become too obvious to ignore or explain away, and the country is demoted to “not real socialism.” Western intellectuals fawned over Stalin’s experiment with socialism, and only after it became a conspicuous failure did we learn that “It wasn’t actually socialism; it was Stalinism, and if only Trotsky had been in charge instead of Stalin….”

Cuba’s defenders have made much of its literacy programs and health care; however, 2018 research by Gilbert Berdine, Vincent Geloso, and Benjamin Powell shows that while Cuban health data aren’t exactly fake news, they aren’t exactly accurate, either. Even if the data are above reproach, there’s another important and uncomfortable question: if Cuba is a workers’ paradise, why are so many people trying so hard to leave? Migration patterns tell the clearest story. Cuba might provide asylum for high-profile American intellectuals and dissidents, but people “vote” overwhelmingly against socialism and for capitalism when they risk life and limb to get from Cuba to the United States. They may not be able to build a case from first principles explaining exactly why they prefer capitalism to socialism in a way that would satisfy a lot of intellectuals, but they demonstrate by their actions which system makes it possible for them to live as they see fit. Moreover, a few seconds with Google suggest to me that actually moving to and getting a job in Cuba would be really, really difficult, and if this website is correct that “A university professor can expect to earn in the region of CUP 1,500 (around US$68 per month),” I understand why so many intellectuals are perfectly happy to extol the virtues of Cuban socialism from comfortable offices and armchairs in the United States instead of lining up to live the collectivist dream.

We can sit around all day and debate the merits and demerits of socialism, whether or not Cuba is “real socialism,” whether or not its apparent reclassification is a demotion or a promotion (as the Babylon Bee calls it), and what intellectuals think people should do and want. Alternatively, we can look at socialism’s miserable track record and try to learn from what people actually do and actually want. Retroactively saying “Actually, that isn’t real socialism” about the Cuban revolution won’t change the fact that people vote for freedom and against socialism in overwhelming numbers.

*****

This article was published on July 19, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from AIER,  American Institute for Economic Research

Goldwater Institute Challenges Ruling That Raises Taxes For Arizona Shooting Ranges

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Goldwater Institute is challenging an Arizona Court of Appeals ruling that shooting ranges qualify as “places of amusement,” subjecting them to higher tax rates.

The court ruled in April that shooting ranges are “comparable” to “amusement parks.” The Goldwater Institute filed a friend of the court brief last week, arguing that shooting ranges are not circuses but places where people can go to learn a new skill and practice self-defense.

Timothy Sandefur, vice president for litigation at the Goldwater Institute, said it was important to clarify the distinction between amusement parks and shooting ranges because Arizona legislators amended tax law to remove “places of instruction” from the tax and replace it with “places of entertainment” about 30 years ago.

“In doing so, they created an exemption for businesses such as aerobics studios or martial arts dojos, because these are places where people go to learn and practice their skills – which is different from places such as carnivals, circuses, or fairs, which is what the tax was intended to apply to,” Sandefur said in a statement.

Sandefur said the Arizona Court of Appeals maintains a policy of strictly interpreting laws. He believes the court’s decision that a shooting range “offers the same type or nature of activity as those provided by the businesses specifically [listed] in [the tax law]” was a broad interpretation.

The businesses listed in the tax law include “races, contests, games, billiard or pool parlors, bowling alleys, public dances, dance halls,” which Sandefur holds differ from a shooting range, “where people receive training, instruction, and supervision at all stages and are there to learn and practice their self-defense skills.”

Sandefur said the lower court’s decision not only was an overreach of power “beyond what the people’s elected representatives authorized,” but additionally “intruded on the individual’s right to practice self-defense.” When taxes increase, so do prices, Sandefur said, making consumption harder for Arizonans.

“We urge the state’s high court to review the case and ensure that the taxing power remains within its limits,” he said.

*****

This article was published on July 21, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Corporate Media Outlets Lost More Than Half Their Audiences In The Last Year

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

Corrupt corporate media outlets that revolved their coverage around the quest to take down former President Donald Trump saw a significant decrease in traffic after he left office.

According to recently released data, The Atlantic, ABC News, Time all saw a more than 50 percent decrease in audience since summer 2020. Forbes saw the largest drop with more than 60 percent declining viewership while Vox and Politico experienced more than 40 percent in audience reduction.

The New York Times, CNN, NBC News, CNBC, The Guardian, The Hill, Los Angeles Times, and Axios, some of the other publications that capitalized on anti-Trump rhetoric and fake news reporting saw traffic fall more than 20 and sometimes even thirty percent compared to traffic in 2020.

The same trends occurred in cable news. Not only did corporate media outlets such as CNN and MSNBC see large declines in audience viewership during the second quarter of the year, but Fox News, a notably right-leaning network, topped ratings for the quarter and the month of June.

“In total day, Fox News averaged 1.17 million in total viewers, down 35%; MSNBC posted 763,000, down 37% and CNN was at 580,000, down 49%. In the 25-54 demo, the numbers were 195,000 for Fox News, down 42%, 133,000 for CNN, falling 59% and 99,000 for MSNBC, dropping by 48%,” Deadline reported.

In 2017, Trump predicted the corporate media’s inability to capture viewers once he left office.

“Newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there, because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes,” he said.

*****

This article was published on July 19, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

‘Woka-Cola’: Ad Trolls Coke for Defending China, Giving Americans Diabetes

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Consumers’ Research, a consumer advocacy group, launched a series of advertisements Thursday calling out Coca-Cola’s “woke hypocrisy” for its reported defense of China and alleged health concerns associated with its sugary drinks.

Part of the campaign is a video advertisement satirizing a Coca-Cola commercial, which is set to music with lyrics like “Just drink Coke, the road to obesity” and “China is our labor supplier that drives our stock price even higher.” The group also created a website, “alwayswokacola.com,” to continue to expose the company.

In addition to promoting the video advertisement that will air in Atlanta and nationwide, Consumers’ Research says it plans to drive mobile billboards around Coca-Cola’s headquarters, the Coca-Cola museum, and the Georgia State Capitol for 28 days.

“Today, we are launching AlwaysWokaCola.com and the accompanying ads as a satirical reminder to Coke to focus on their consumers, not woke politicians. The company has taken its eye off the well-being of the customer,” Consumers’ Research Executive Director Will Hild said in a statement Thursday.

“Their products continue to contribute significantly to childhood obesity, they have sourced sugar from companies in China reportedly using forced labor, and they have such poor quality control that racist directives, like ‘be less white,’ are included in staff training,” Hild added.

The campaign aims to “to amplify the voice of consumers fed up with how the company is failing them and as a warning to Coke and other companies,” according to the statement.

“Any corporation who decides to distract from their misdeeds by taking radical positions on political and social issues that are unrelated to their business to garner positive praise from woke politicians and press is on notice, it’s not going to work,” Hild said.

The new advertisements are part of a seven-figure campaign Consumers’ Research is conducting to also expose American Airlines, Nike, Ticketmaster, and the MLB, according to a press release. The Consumers First Initiative aims to give consumers transparency about companies so they can decide for themselves what products to buy.

Coca-Cola was sued along with the American Beverage Association in 2017 for allegedly knowingly misleading consumers about the health effects of its drinks. Coca-Cola said at the time that the accusations were “legally and factually meritless,” according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

The plaintiffs in the case said they’ve since withdrawn the complaint, recognizing that both groups “have moved away from claiming that their products have no connection to chronic disease.”

The company also reportedly pushed back on legislation that sought to crack down on forced labor in China. Coca-Cola has been tied to sugar suppliers in Xinjiang, where China is reportedly committing a genocide against the Uighur ethnic minority group.

Coca-Cola defended, according to The New York Times, that it “strictly prohibits any type of forced labor in our supply chain” and has independent auditors monitoring its suppliers.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola continues to make statements about political issues in the U.S. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey earlier this year labeled a Georgia voting bill that has since been passed as “unacceptable.”

“It is a step backwards and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity—this is frankly just a step backwards,” he said. “We have said for many decades we promote within Georgia better society and better environment and this is a step backwards and our position remains the same. This legislation is wrong.”

The company also allegedly promoted a course that encouraged people to “be less white.” The lesson was later deleted from LinkedIn.

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This article was published on July 16, 2021 and is reproduced from The Daily Signal.

Biden Administration Wants to Silence People They Don’t Agree With

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“We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

Those were the words of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week, and they should send chills up and down your spine. It’s bad enough that we already have Big Tech playing speech police on a daily basis. Now, the federal government is flagging “problematic posts” FOR Facebook?!?

But this level of government censorship and collusion doesn’t stop with Facebook. Psaki turned around the next day to say that if you’re banned from one social media platform, you should be banned from them all. And she admits that the White House hasn’t taken any options off the table when it comes to exercising more control over social media platforms. For the record, that also appears to include censorship of your text messages. (That’s right. They’re even trying to get your phone carrier involved).

So, just to recap. The federal government, which is supposed to uphold the U.S. Constitution, is actively aiding social media companies in censoring and banning Americans. Has anyone in the Biden administration read the First Amendment?

Surely President Biden must have at some point. After all, he’s been in public office since the 1970s. But Biden took it a to a whole other level, accusing Facebook of “killing people” for allowing “COVID misinformation.” That’s certainly an interesting attack considering Facebook has been a willing partner in censoring people. But apparently, the social media giant hasn’t gone far enough for President Biden’s tastes.

So, what exactly do the Democrats mean by “misinformation”? And what posts have the Biden administration flagged as such? Predictably, Psaki would not commit an answer, maneuvering around the question like a skilled tap dancer.

But Jen Psaki doesn’t have to say it for us. The reality is that this has nothing to do with COVID. Democrats and Big Tech have one goal in mind. They want to silence conservatives like you. Just look at what’s taken place this past year:

  • Google-owned YouTube de-platformed the pro-life group LifeSiteNews without explanation.
  • YouTube demonetized The Epoch Times, an independent news media that doesn’t claim a party affiliation.
  • Facebook deleted conservative actor Kevin Sorbo’s page without telling him why.
  • Twitter shut down MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell
  • Google, Apple, and Amazon teamed up to remove the Parler app from the internet for a period of time.
  • And Twitter banned President Trump while he was still the President of the United States with Facebook extending its ban of Trump to at least two more years this past June.
  • The list could go even further. But one thing is clear. The Biden administration isn’t even pretending anymore. They want an internet crack down on people they don’t agree with, and they’re using COVID as their excuse.

    This is outrageous, and it’s incredibly dangerous.

    If the government is allowed to decide who is banned from the public square today, what does that look like tomorrow? Or four years from now? Or a decade from now?

    And what does it look like if your preferred party isn’t in power?

    This should not only concern Republicans, but Democrats, Independents, and anyone who values free speech. Because if the Biden administration get its way, criminalizing speech could be next.

    *****

    This article was published on July 22, 2021 at the Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

    Arizona Senate Not Holding Maricopa County in Contempt Due to Holdout Republican

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    The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate isn’t voting to hold Maricopa County officials in contempt for refusing to fully comply with election audit subpoenas because of a single Republican senator.

    Republicans lost a seat in the state Senate in the Nov. 3, 2020, election and hold a narrow 16–14 majority. That gives state Sen. Paul Boyer, a Republican, the power to stymie efforts to hold the county’s Board of Supervisors (BOS) in contempt.

    “Senator Boyer agreed to proceed with [the] audit but when Maricopa BOS refused to cooperate, Boyer would not vote with us for the resolution of contempt which leaves us one vote short,” Arizona Senate President Karen Fann, a Republican, wrote in a July 21 social media post.

    Boyer, who didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time, responded directly to Fann.

    “You told us in closed caucus the ‘audit’ would not cost taxpayers more than $150k, and you wouldn’t divulge who you were hiring. Had you told us it was an inexperienced, partisan firm, I wouldn’t have been the only one to object,” he said.

    Fann tapped Florida-based Cyber Ninjas to lead the audit, along with subcontractors Wake Technology Services, CyFIR, and Digital Discovery.

    Democrats and other critics have said that Cyber Ninjas isn’t qualified to perform such an audit because the firm lacks experience conducting audits and because its CEO, Doug Logan, shared and made posts on social media last year alleging election fraud had occurred in the Nov. 3, 2020, election. Proponents and Republicans have said the firm has created a transparent process for an unprecedented election review and that the subcontractors have ample experience.

    On the issue of funding, taxpayers are only paying $150,000. Donations are funding the rest of the audit.

    Senators voted in February on a measure to hold the BOS in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas issued by the state Senate in late 2020.

    Supervisors “have repeatedly and willfully delayed and obstructed a vital and duly authorized investigation by the Arizona Senate,” the resolution stated.

    The measure would have enabled the Senate to send the sergeant-at-arms to arrest the supervisors.

    The vote went along party lines, except for Boyer, who sided with Democrats. That made the vote 15–15.

    “My vote is about patience,” Boyer said, noting that it would provide “a little bit more time for us to work together charitably and amicably as friends.”

    The standoff between county and state officials ended later that month, when a judge ruled against the county, saying the subpoenas the Senate issued were valid.

    County supervisors agreed to turn over nearly 2.1 million ballots, 385 tabulators, and other election-related materials, but have refused to send over router or router images and passwords to access the election machines at an administrative level.

    Auditors want that information, as well as ballot envelope images and splunk logs, to try to clear up issues they’ve identified in their review. The county isn’t cooperating, however…..

    *****

    Continue reading this article, published July 22, 2021 at The Epoch Times.

    Too Much Money Chasing Too Few Goods and Services

    Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

    Inflation can be considered a tax, an especially regressive one, falling harder on those with lower income and/or assets.

    As we’ve noted previously, the Federal Reserve’s “M2” monetary aggregate began growing significantly faster than the “GDP” measure of economic output in the United States beginning around 2008, amidst the 2007-2009 financial and economic crisis.

    With the federal government’s massive fiscal and economic “stimulus” policies arriving together with a pandemic and government lockdowns, M2 growth has recently risen dramatically higher than GDP growth.

     

     

    Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (within the U.S. Department of Labor) reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose in June at one of its fastest growing rates in more than a decade. Some people have been pointing to the fact that year-over-year changes in the CPI may be high recently in part because the comparisons to last year’s levels were amidst the onset of the pandemic. But in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the first quarter of 2021 and on a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI rose at an annualized rate of more than 8 percent, which is the highest quarterly growth rate since the third quarter of 1981.

    It’s always worthwhile to keep an eye on alternative inflation measures, given the estimation issues associated with government statistics, and considering the source of those statistics.

    Along those lines, a recent survey of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) returned a result for prices that hasn’t been reached since 1981.

    And the prices component of the monthly Institute for Supply Management survey of business purchasing managers rose in June 2021 to its highest reading since July 1979.

    Inflation can be considered as a tax, and an especially regressive one, falling harder on those with lower income and/or assets. Inflation can be considered one cost of government.

    *****

    Continue reader this article at Wolf Street.

     

    It’s About Time We Stopped “Trying Communism”

    Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

    I don’t know how many protests, solidarity movements, refugees, human rights alerts, economic collapses, and purges are going to get this message through everyone’s heads, Communism is a terrible system of governance. In fact, at this point, we should be consistent. Any government that does not guarantee as to the very justification for its existence, individual rights, open markets, and accountable governance, is worth challenging.

    I am of course referring to the ongoing protest in Cuba, to which those on the far left will shamefully attribute to the US embargo on the Communist regime. Others may simply beat around the bush and try to attribute the reasons for the protests to current events. Although all these may contribute to the discontent fueling the Cuban protests, just like every single Communist regime, the ultimate reason why things are going poorly is that the people live under a crushing regime of incompetence and oppression.

    To make room for a colleague that will inevitably publish on the Cuban protests in more detail, my article will focus not on Cuba but on the general topic of Communism.

    The Shameful Track Record of Communism

    Real Communism has never been tried before, but it certainly has been attempted in all sorts of flavors and every single one of them sucked. For some reason, their leaders can’t bring themselves to care about the rights of individuals. Perhaps it undermines their overall collectivist views? Perhaps individual dignity would lead down the slippery slope to capitalism? Perhaps individual rights and preferences are a bourgeois construct? That’s certainly what Che Guevara, the leader of Cuba’s Communist revolution, and Fidel Castro, Communist Cuba’s first leader thought. In fact, Human Progress points out,

    “Both Guevara and Castro considered homosexuality a bourgeois decadence. In an interview in 1965, Castro explained that “A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a militant communist should be.”

    Although the American Left somehow rationalizes the deification of men like Che Guevara, they seem to conveniently forget that much like all power-hungry dictators with no regard for human life, he was blatantly a racist, a bigot, and a mass murderer. Human Progress notes,

    “According to Álvaro Vargas Llosa, homosexuals, Jehova’s Witnesses, Afro-Cuban priests, and others who were believed to have committed a crime against revolutionary morals, were forced to work in these camps to correct their “anti-social behavior.” Many of them died; others were tortured or raped.”

    Even today the Cuban government and every single communist country are incredibly repressive. In fact, in reaction to the protests that some may keep telling themselves aren’t against the Communist government, they just shut off the internet. You don’t do that when the people are protesting the actions of a foreign government, such as a US embargo; you do that when the protestors are against the domestic government.

    To briefly highlight some of the many atrocities committed by Communist regimes let’s start with China. It’s been a little bit more than a month since the anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square Massacre and tens of millions died in Mao’s Great Leap Forward as well as the Cultural Revolution. A failure of Communist economic and political reform respectively. North Korea is such a repressive and poor country, it’s hard to even know where to begin. Furthermore, there are entire books about how life in the Soviet Union sucked.

    In Cambodia (this one is cool because my family fled this genocide so that’s why we all live in America now), under the communist Khmer Rouge, not only did they manage to kill off as much of a quarter of the population, but the mass murder, starvation, and torture got so out of hand, communist Vietnam had to intervene with military force. Vietnam is probably one of the more well-behaved communist nations; however, they still have a repressive one-party state and much like China, their current economic success is directly attributed to market reforms. In other words, becoming less communist and more capitalist.

    It is simply puzzling that in all these regimes that purport to represent the proletariat, they end up doing more to impoverish and oppress the working class than even the most sadistic capitalist. In hindsight, it really isn’t that difficult of a question. As mentioned before, any government that does not protect individual rights, open markets, and constraints on power is not only a recipe for disaster but a moral tragedy.

    In liberal democracies, like the United States, there is much talk about the consent of the governed to which governments derive their legitimacy. We already have trouble justifying the impositions that we live under as truly consensual. Such a notion cannot even remotely exist in a Communist regime or any authoritarian regime for that matter.

    There is not a single country that adopted Communism or moved in its direction that was able to provide the standards of living and prosperity found in a free and open society like the United States. In fact, that bar is too high, because not a single one has produced any sort of relative prosperity without some sort of market reform, and not a single one can produce a human rights record that doesn’t make the problems in freer countries look like child’s play.

    The Basics of Governance

    It has become fashionable for some, like the Chinese Communist Party and all those around the world who share their sentiments, to call for a system of moral relativism when it comes to governments. Respect the rights of governments, not individuals. Such a way of thinking believes that the world must be inclusive of different types of political systems, from the freest to the most oppressive. It eschews any sort of moral foundation when it comes to the rights of individuals or sound economic thinking. It subscribes to the fantasy that different political systems work for different countries.

    This is empirically false, which is why the current rules-based international order holds that human rights and open markets are the universal standards for good state conduct.

    Take a look at any economic freedom index. There is a powerful correlation between prosperity and free markets. Objective metrics such as infant mortality rates, educational attainment, calorie consumption, life expectancy, and other desirable indicators are all better in richer countries than poorer countries. Basic political science and legal theory tell us that checks and balances are necessary for an accountable government, whether that be preventing the arbitrary use of power or full-on massacres.

    Think about it; qualified immunity, a doctrine granting protections for police in the United States against being sued for infringing on a private citizen’s rights, already causes enough problems here. Imagine if an entire government had such privileges? A restrained and gridlocked government is far preferable to an unrestrained and power-drunk one.

    Finally, there’s the basic truth that governments cannot run society; they merely exist to facilitate a productive natural order by securing rights and establishing peace. Commerce, invention, culture, and trade arises spontaneously without central dictate. This is why societies in command economies like Maoist China were incredibly bleak and drab. This is also why former Soviet Union president Boris Yeltsin was so amazed and awestruck when he visited a grocery store in the United States. The New Haven Register notes,

    “He told his fellow Russians in his entourage that if their people, who often must wait in line for most goods, saw the conditions of U.S. supermarkets, there would be a revolution.”

    Key Takeaways

    People will always try to find some superficial reason for why a Communist state is failing, whether it’s because of sanctions, resource shortages, inflation, civil unrest, or what have you. These are all fine and good but they ultimately fail to see the elephant in the room. Or in this case, the highly authoritarian, oppressive, and economically incompetent system in place.

    We live in an age where ignorance is a choice when it comes to the superiority of a free and open society. The quicker we stop averting our eyes and look at the facts, the quicker we can move towards a world where every individual, regardless of their geographical and political fortune, can live free and prosper.

    *****

    This article was published on July 17, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from AIER, American Institute for Economic Research.

    Arizona, Missouri Lead Coalition To Protect Second Amendment Rights in New York

    Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

    Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced he and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt are leading a coalition of 26 states to defend Second Amendment rights at the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In their amicus brief in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Corlett, the state attorneys general urged the court “to declare New York’s subjective-issue firearm license regime unconstitutional.”

    New York’s subjective-issue concealed carry permit laws require an individual seeking a concealed permit to carry a firearm outside the home to “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.”

    The laws require residents of New York “to prove that they have already been a victim of violent crimes before they may protect themselves from potentially becoming victims of violent crimes,” according to the attorney general’s office.

    Brnovich called these laws a threat to public safety and violation of Second Amendment rights.

    “Law-abiding citizens should not require the consent of faceless bureaucrats to exercise their right to keep and bear arms,” Brnovich said in a news release.

    The coalition’s brief contains examples of citizens in good legal standing who were denied permits after demonstrating a need in order to demonstrate that New York’s “proper cause” requirement bans nearly all citizens from acquiring arms, Brnovich’s office said.

    The brief holds that if the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling is upheld, “the liberty of citizens in every State, not just New York” will be threatened.

    The 28 attorneys general agreed the original meaning of the Second Amendment gave Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense outside their homes. They cited the Supreme Court’s Heller v. D.C. decision, saying the holding was that “the federal constitution ‘guarantee[s] the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation’” and that the decision clarified that any prohibition that “makes it impossible for citizens” to engage in self-defense violates the Second Amendment.

    Arizona, along with 42 other states, have objective-issue systems where a permit is issued to an individual who meets a certain set of objective criteria, such as a background check, mental health records check, fingerprinting, knowledge of applicable laws and firearms training, according to the attorney general’s office.

    Brnovich cited the success of Arizona’s objective-issue regime, writing that Arizona implemented a licensed concealed carry regime in 1994 and a right-to-carry for all law-abiding citizens without a license requirement in 2010. He said that while Arizona saw 10.5 murders per 100,000 people in 1994, by 2016, Arizona’s murder rate was 5.5 per 100,000, nearly matching the national rate of 5.3.

    The brief offered empirical evidence that citizens who are concealed carry holders are significantly less likely than the general public to commit a crime and argued that objective-issue permitting and concealed carry permits generally decrease crime. The attorneys general cited a 2013 review by the National Research Council that reveals victims of crime who resist with a gun are less likely to suffer serious injury than victims who either resist in other ways or offer no resistance at all.

    “New York cannot override the Second Amendment or the natural right of self-preservation,” Brnovich said. “I will continue to vigorously protect Americans’ constitutional rights.”

    *****

    This article was published on July 21, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

    New Book Shows Top U.S. General Comparing Trump Supporters To Nazis Seeking A ‘Coup’

    Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

    Anyone who looked at the events of 2020 and projected a coup attempt onto Donald Trump has no place in senior government leadership, let alone a Dairy Queen serving Blizzards.

    What better way to know the U.S. military is compromised—aside from racially extremist training and leftist propaganda videos—than when its top officer ignores widespread violence from one political faction while calling isolated violence from another a “coup”?

    CNN, an outlet we know from sinking ratings is having an identity crisis post-Trump, published a preview last week of a new book titled “I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year,” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. The 2,300-word piece declares as follows about Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley.

    The book recounts how for the first time in modern US history the nation’s top military officer, whose role is to advise the president, was preparing for a showdown with the commander in chief because he feared a coup attempt after Trump lost the November election …The authors explain Milley’s growing concerns that personnel moves that put Trump acolytes in positions of power at the Pentagon after the November 2020 election, including the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the resignation of Attorney General William Barr, were the sign of something sinister to come.

    I am sure these Pulitzer-Prize winning writers might even strike up a film deal with their 592-page Trump Derangement Syndrome manual. Anyone who looked at the events of 2020 and projected a coup attempt onto Donald Trump has no place in senior government leadership, let alone a Dairy Queen serving Blizzards.

    “They may try, but they’re not going to f-cking succeed,” Milley is quoted as telling his deputies, according to Leonnig and Rucker. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.” He also reportedly told his aides, “This is a Reichstag moment. The gospel of the Führer.”

    Yes, this is Milley juxtaposing elected oversight of the U.S. military with the government of Adolf Hitler. What sound military leadership and strategic guidance can a general provide if he has determined that the president of the United States is comparable to a dictator who killed approximately 6 million people?

    Let’s not forget who Milley is. This is the same left-wing media darling who said unironically in congressional testimony that “white rage” was behind the Capitol breach, deflecting on the military’s relationship with critical race theory (CRT). “White rage” was coined in Emory University professor Carol Anderson’s 2016 book “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” as “the operational function of white supremacy” that “undermine[s] African American achievement and advancement.”

    Let that sink in. The highest-ranking and most senior official in the U.S. military not only believes in white privilege but also that such privilege could lead to the president coordinating a coup upon losing the election. Notwithstanding that the breach began 20 minutes before Trump even finished speaking that Wednesday afternoon, it is vital that we clarify one fact.

    January 6 was not an insurrection, nor a coup. According to eyewitnesses and visual evidence such as live streamed videos, the Capitol breach was a riot perpetrated by a small minority of a large crowd of mostly peaceful demonstrators.

    Whereas the Capitol breach was a largely disorganized meandering of MAGA-hat flag-wavers taking pictures in Democrat offices, a coup is an attempt to violently overthrow the government. No serious person can say, based on the available evidence, that the individuals in the Capitol that day aimed to destroy our republic, or even to harm public officials. The only person purposefully killed that day was an unarmed civilian shot by security forces. Jan. 6 was a stupid stunt, not a coup.

    Milley’s characterization of this event, according to the book, tells a different story. Speaking to senior leaders in preparation for President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, he once more compared his fellow countrymen to Nazis.

    “Here’s the deal guys: These guys are Nazis,” he said, “they’re boogaloo boys, they’re Proud Boys. These are the same people we fought in World War II. We’re going to put a ring of steel around this city and the Nazis aren’t getting in.”

    They put a ring of steel around the city alright. It took six months for the government to take down the metal fencing around the Capitol, and the left still mendaciously seeks a 9/11-style commission. The FBI claimed to strike gold when they confiscated a riot suspect’s LEGO set three weeks ago.

    It’s long past time to tell it like it is. The U.S. military, illustrated by Milley’s testimony likening national security threats from China and Russia to “climate change” and “infrastructure,” has mangled priorities. Milley is a symptom of institutional decay. 

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    This article was published on July 19, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.