Thursday, September 19, 2019

Western Stars - Official Trailer

‘Western Stars’ Is Part Concert Film, Part Visual Album, All Springsteen

By David fear
September 13, 2019
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Listen to the opening track of Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars, the album he put out this past May, and you’ll hear someone bragging about “hitch-hikin’ all day long.” He accepts a ride from a man and his pregnant wife; then he grabs a lift from someone else, just a guy free to heed the call of the open road. Two cuts later, on a song called “Tucson Train,” we get a different tale — maybe he’s a new protagonist; maybe he’s the same romantic drifter of “Hitch Hikin'” and a hundred other Springsteen tracks — who had lost his way and lost and his true love. But now he’s settled down, he’s ready to be part of society, he’s watching that 5:15 train bringing his baby to him to show up. (It takes a lot to laugh, etc.)
There are 11 more tunes, some of which are country-tinged ballads and others that are Seventies SoCal symphony pop. But you could argue that the whole story is there in those two tracks. The dude who was born to run. The man who’s finally ready to earn and embrace the human touch.
Should you still be unsure at what he’s getting at, Springsteen spells it out as plain as can be in the beginning of Western Stars, the concert film-cum-visual album he and longtime collaborator/codirector Thom Zimny premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on Thursday night. (It hits theaters October 25th.) His collection of songs about road warriors and B-movie actors, beat-up stuntmen and places where truckers and bikers drink together, is a look at “the two sides of the American character…individual freedom and communal life.” He says this over panoramic shots that turn the record’s cover of a running mustang into a literal motion picture, interspersed with clips of home movies. A close-up details a hand on a pickup’s steering wheel, ready to skeedaddle. The shot is repeated 90 or so mins later, with another hand now resting tenderly on top of the original one. This is the journey Springsteen wants you take here. It’s the same one, he notes, that he’s been taking over the last 35 years.
After releasing this solo project, the songwriter knew he wasn’t going to support the record with a tour. Still, he wanted to do something to, in his words, “get this music live to an audience.” Springsteen came up with the idea of playing the whole thing start to finish, then capture the event on film for posterity. He and Zimny, the filmmaker behind dozens of Bruce-related music videos and making-of-album docs, started to scout locations; they eventually settled on the top floor of the barn on Springsteen’s property. (“We dressed the space up quite a bit,” he admitted in a Q&A after an afternoon press screening.) The notion was to put on an intimate show “for a few friends, and to entertain the horses.” Just a small crowd, a honkytonk-style bar, a scrappy band buffered by an orchestral section, and a singer with a guitar.
And as a performance film, Western Stars is a pitch-perfect example of why this music needed to be played and heard live. On record, you can feel Springsteen working his way through some uncharacteristic styles: Jimmy Webb-style C&W lite, Brian Wilson’s baroque pop, Everly Brothers-like crooning, musical arrangements that wouldn’t be out of place on an old Harry Nilsson joint (listen to that gossamer shuffle that opens up “Hello Sunshine” and tell me you don’t expect the first line to be “Everybody’s talkin’ at me…”). Seeing him take on those songs on a stage, however, and you get the sense he owns all of it now — he’s turned all of these influences into a seamless Springsteen sound. A number of the cuts open up like an oxygenated bottle of wine, whether it’s because there’s a gaggle of string players or a single partner in crime — the interplay between him and wife/guitarist Patti Scialfa on “Stones” deepens the cut substantially — bringing something else out of him.
But what you see in the live versions is the sum of these parts as one cohesive whole. He’s a singer in sync with the musical community surrounding him, a concept as thematically on point with the album as possible. (Thankfully, the soundtrack to the film will also be released, which means you’ll get Springsteen & Co.’s gorgeous cover of Glenn Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” — an impromptu coda that, Zimny says, he didn’t know Bruce was going to do. The fact that a cameraman was nearby and quickly caught it was a stroke of luck.) Those moments share screen time with free-form scenes of Bruce wandering alone through the California desert near Joshua Tree, offering comments on both the songs and his own struggle to reconcile his stoic loner and loving husband/father sides. There are stoic poses galore, as well old clips of scruffy young Springsteen and rare Super 8 films of his honeymoon with Scialfa that Zimny found buried in the archives.
Sometimes he cracks wise (“Nineteen albums, and I’m still writing about cars”). Sometimes he goes into saloon-philosopher mode, offering the sort of deep thoughts (“Walk on through the dark, because that’s where the next morning is”) that longtime fans will tell you are part of the ride when you pay for the ticket. All of it seems part of the self-reflective phase Springsteen has been going through over the past few years; he admitted in the Q&A that the movie is the last part of “a story I haven’t really told before” that includes his 2016 memoir Born to Run and his 2018 Broadway residency. Introspection suits him, especially if this is the kind of art we’re getting from him now. He’d hoped the film would help people understand a little better what the songs were getting at. Mission accomplished.
But Western Stars isn't a therapy session. It's a portrait of lightning momentarily bottled, the way all great concert movies are. It’s the pleasure of watching a guy who’s been doing this for 50-plus years find yet another way to make it fresh without abandoning what made it great in the first place. And it’s also a personal look at someone working it out through his music, looking to find a sense of peace in the spotlight and realizing, with a sigh of relief, that he’s actually found it.

Hating Kavanaugh, Killing Journalism

The New York Times took its best shot at Justice Kavanaugh -- and destroyed itself.

By Daniel Greenfield
September 18, 2019

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Robin Pogrebin, a culture reporter for The New York Times, and Kate Kelly, a Wall Street reporter for the same paper, got together to write The Education of Brett Kavanaugh despite being curiously unqualified.
In sharp contrast to Carrie Severino, a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, who co-authored Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation, neither Pogrebin nor Kelly are especially familiar with the world they’re writing about.
And it shows.
Why send a business journalist and a culture reporter to write a book about a legal battle in Washington D.C.? There are two answers. The Education of Brett Kavanaugh is being published by Penguin Random House. Pogrebin is the daughter of leftist feminist author Letty Cottin Pogrebin. Pogrebin’s books, including her last major book Deborah, Golda and Me (Pogrebin has turned on Israel, allying with anti-Israel groups and endorsing boycotts of parts of Israel) have tended to be published by Penguin.
That’s the less cynical answer. The more cynical answer is that nobody actually cared.
The only kind of Kavanaugh book that there would be a market for in the environs of the New York Times would be a sore loser text providing ammunition for impeaching and removing Kavanaugh. It’s no coincidence that shortly after Pogrebin and Kelly debuted an article promoting their book with another freshman year sexual allegation against Kavanaugh, three 2020 Democrats called for his impeachment.
That’s not good timing. It’s a campaign.
Just to drive the point home, Kelly retweeted a reply from a media figure declaring, “He can be impeached by the house.”
Pogrebin and Kelly’s New York Times piece neglected to inform readers that the allegation had been brushed away by their supposed victim and that their source, Max Stier, had been Bill Clinton’s lawyer. Kavanaugh had worked for Ken Starr on impeachment while Stier had worked to defend Clinton against impeachment. Reporting that the accusation isn’t new, that it was not backed up by the victim and that the accuser had once fought on the opposite side of Kavanaugh in one of the country’s biggest legal battles were pieces of information that The Times thought readers shouldn’t be distracted by.
Click on the link below to read the rest of the article:

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Bad Case of the Vapors

By John Tierney
September 16, 2019

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The war on nicotine vaping has reached a new level of absurdity. It was bad enough when public health officials, politicians, and the press reacted to the recent outbreak of respiratory illness among vapers of marijuana by failing to warn the public in a clear manner. Instead of explaining the specific danger from vaping a certain kind of THC-infused oil, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told the public to stop using any kind of electronic cigarette—which is like responding to an outbreak of food poisoning by telling people to stop eating.

But now officials are using the panic they sowed to justify policies that could shorten the lives of millions of Americans. The governors of New York and Michigan have moved immediately to ban the most popular flavors of nicotine e-cigarettes used by adult smokers to quit, and the Trump administration plans to ban them nationwide. “People are dying from vaping,” Trump said, justifying the Food and Drug Administration’s plan, but there is scant evidence that nicotine vaping has contributed to any of the recent deaths or illnesses. The evidence so far clearly points to a problem with marijuana vaping, in particular to an oil derived from Vitamin E that has been added to THC in vaping cartridges sold mainly on the black market.

So why go after nicotine e-cigarettes? It’s true that a small minority of the stricken vapers said they had used nicotine, not THC, but researchers say they may have been loath to admit to illegal activity. Their symptoms don’t seem plausibly related to ordinary nicotine vaping. Nicotine, unlike THC, is water-soluble and can be vaped without the additives used to vaporize THC—like the oil blamed for the recent epidemic. It’s conceivable that some people were harmed by dangerous ingredients that were added to nicotine in liquids that were home-made or purchased on the black market, but that’s no reason to ban commercial e-cigarettes like Juul, which have been used by millions of people without causing respiratory problems. In an article published last month in Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, a team of Italian, Canadian, and American scientists surveyed the clinical research into e-cigarettes and reported that “no studies reported serious adverse events” or “significant changes in pulmonary functions.”

Their findings jibed with the conclusions by British medical authorities that nicotine itself is no more harmful than caffeine, and that e-cigarettes are at least 95 percent safer than tobacco cigarettes. While the U.S. public-health establishment has been misleading the public—so that a majority of Americans now mistakenly believe that e-cigarettes are as harmful or even more harmful than cigarettes—the Royal Society for Public Health has been urging smokers to switch to vaping, and British hospitals have been promoting e-cigarettes by allowing vape shops to operate on their premises.

The FDA is doing just the opposite with its new policies, which it tried to justify last week by releasing the latest results of the National Youth Tobacco Survey. The survey showed that 27.5 percent of high school students in 2019 had vaped at least once in the previous month, an increase from the previous year’s figure of 20.8 percent. No one wants teenagers to develop a nicotine habit, but vaping it is far safer than smoking, and in any case much of the increase in vaping has nothing to do with nicotine. Many of the students are vaping non-nicotine liquids, notably THC, which has surged in popularity among teenage vapers, especially in states that have legalized marijuana.

Meanwhile, the FDA (and most of the press) ignored the most important result from the new survey: the sharpest one-year decline in teenage smoking ever recorded. The fraction of high school students who’d smoked in the previous month declined by 28 percent, from 8.1 percent of students in 2018 to 5.8 percent in 2019—a historic low reached thanks to the availability of cigarette alternatives. Since e-cigarettes first appeared in 2010, smoking rates among teenagers, young adults, and older adults have fallen much faster than during the pre-vaping years. 

But this remarkable progress against the leading preventable cause of death is now jeopardized by the FDA’s proposal to ban Juul and other companies from selling anything except tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. Anti-smoking activists claim that flavors like mango and mint are being used to entice teenagers, but it’s already illegal for teenagers to buy any kind of e-cigarette, and these non-tobacco flavors are favored by more than three-quarters of the adult smokers who switch to vaping. In fact, one of the benefits of e-cigarettes is that once smokers become accustomed to getting nicotine from something that tastes better than tobacco, they can become repulsed by the taste of regular cigarettes.

What happens if those other flavors get banned? One consequence would be a black market in flavored liquids—and more risk of unsafe ingredients being added. Another consequence would be an increase in smoking, as Laura Pacek of the Duke School of Medicine and colleagues reported this summer in the journal Substance Use & Misusebased on a study of 240 young adults who use e-cigarettes as well as tobacco cigarettes. When asked how they would respond to a ban on flavored nicotine e-cigarettes, the young adults said that they would smoke more tobacco cigarettes.

That’s the same conclusion reached by Wall Street, which reacted to the FDA’s new plan by sending tobacco stocks higher. Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University School of Public Health who studies tobacco-control policies,says that Wall Street’s reaction “may be the best evidence yet that the FDA’s flavored e-cigarette ban will result in a substantial increase in smoking-related morbidity and mortality.” He calls it a “public-health disaster,” and the numbers back him up. By exploiting the panic they created over a few hundred cases of respiratory illness almost certainly unrelated to nicotine e-cigarettes, the federal government is in effect encouraging smokers to maintain a habit that is responsible for the deaths of 1,300 Americans per day. The U.S. public health establishment remains, more than ever, a hazard to public health.

John Tierney is a contributing editor of City Journal and a contributing science columnist for the New York Times.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Woke Doctors

By Rod Dreher
September 16, 2019

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You might remember the post here about “Moralistic Therapeutic Med School,” in which medical schools are starting to remove or relocate images of white men affiliated with the school who accomplished great things. This is about something related, but much more serious.
A reader who is a physician sent me this WSJ op-ed column the other day. He said that this is bad news for the medical profession. The author is Stanley Goldfarb, a former administrator at Penn’s medical school. Excerpts:
A new wave of educational specialists is increasingly influencing medical education. They emphasize “social justice” that relates to health care only tangentially. This approach is the result of a progressive mind-set that abhors hierarchy of any kind and the social elitism associated with the medical profession in particular.
These educators focus on eliminating health disparities and ensuring that the next generation of physicians is well-equipped to deal with cultural diversity, which are worthwhile goals. But teaching these issues is coming at the expense of rigorous training in medical science. The prospect of this “new,” politicized medical education should worry all Americans.
The zeitgeist of sociology and social work have become the driving force in medical education. The goal of today’s educators is to produce legions of primary care physicians who engage in what is termed “population health.”
This fits perfectly with the current administrator-rich, policy-heavy, form-over-function approach at every level of American education. Theories of learning with virtually no experimental basis for their impact on society and professions now prevail. Students are taught in the tradition of educational theorist √Čtienne Wenger, who emphasized “communal learning” rather than individual mastery of crucial information.
Where will all this lead? Medical school bureaucracies have become bloated, as they have in every other sphere of education. Curricula will increasingly focus on climate change, social inequities, gun violence, bias and other progressive causes only tangentially related to treating illness. And so will many of your doctors in coming years.
Read the whole thing. At some point, reality will take its revenge, and the woke will be banished. But how much suffering will innocent people have to endure before it does? And how many people of faith will be deterred from seeking a medical career because the militant left has placed absurd barriers to keep out the politically incorrect.
This morning, on the drive to the airport (I’m on my way to New York City now), I heard a radio piece talking about the need for transgender health care, and how medical educators in Oregon are meeting it. There’s not yet a transcript available for the broadcast, but I can tell you that it begins with the reporter framing transgender surgery in a politically correct way — something like, “the patient had surgery to realign her body with her gender identity.” This, by the way, is an example of how the media re-engineers society by changing language. Later in the piece, a doctor says that in years past, people with gender dysphoria would typically have been referred for mental health treatment. Today, though, they get surgical intervention.
This is massively important! What if psychiatric treatment, or some adjacent treatment, is what is better for them than gender reassignment? What if that is what would restore them to health?
Here’s a little personal story that came to mind as I was listening to this piece.
The transgender person in the story says that he (a biological male presenting as female) always felt uncomfortable in his body. No doubt this is true. I think this accounts for the disproportionate number of autistic people among gender dysphorics. Autism is often accompanied by something called “sensory processing disorder.” Nobody knows why this is, but it is common.
As I learned about autism and sensory processing disorder in my own family, a number of things about myself became clear. I am confident that I would not meet the threshold for a formal autism spectrum diagnosis, but I am equally confident that I have many of the traits of people who are (and that includes a member of my family). In fact, the sensory stuff is fairly widespread in my family.
As a child, I had very strong legs. My father recalls me doing 400 deep knee bends when I was nine years old; he stopped me because he thought I would hurt myself. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not strengthen my upper body. I had poor muscle tone, and nothing could fix that. Decades later, I learned that this is something that people on the spectrum sometimes have.
I have never felt comfortable in my body, though I thought for most of my life this was simply neurosis. No, I have never had the faintest thought of gender dysphoria, but it manifested itself in something feeling … not right. Something hard to define. To be frank, one reason I drank so much in college — aside from the fact that LSU in the 1980s had a massive binge-drinking culture — was to overcome that sense of not-rightness, so I could talk to girls. The point is, when I read about officially-diagnosed autistic young people seeking sex changes because they say they don’t feel right in their bodies, I get that. I can’t pretend to know about that from a sexualized point of view, but that sense that things aren’t right is quite familiar to me. And it never goes away. You just have to learn how to cope with it. For me, it got better as I grew older.
I can remember in my childhood, how my mom had a big heart (still does), but was not particular physically affectionate. I couldn’t understand that at all, especially when our father was physically demonstrative. Once I started learning about autism and sensory processing a decade or so ago, and began to understand things about myself, and why I could be so prickly about ordinary bodily things, I understood her in a new way. This was almost certainly not an emotional disposition for her, but a neurological-sensory disorder. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but my mom and I are so much alike in so many ways that I think this is what was going on. It’s how it is with me. I can see this trait — sensory processing disorder — manifesting to some degree in most of my mom’s six grandchildren too.
I bring this up only to say that at least some of these young spectrum people who seek gender dysphoria treatment, including radical, irreversible steps (e.g., mastectomies, hormone treatment that arrests sexual maturity) could surely benefit from ordinary therapies to help them cope with their sensory issues. If I had known as a teenager and a young adult that what I was feeling in and about my body was due not to a character or psychological flaw, but probably due to neurobiology, it would have been much easier to manage it, and to learn how to live with it.
I’ve come to see, for example, the fact that I have unusual superpowers when it comes to taste and smell to be an advantage. This is why I love food and wine so much: I can experience aromas and flavors more intensely than most people. And I’ve stopped feeling so bad about my inability to tone my upper body, though I am also sure that I will never feel quite at home in my body (I have always been terrible at dancing and athletics; I can be a graceful writer, but in the flesh, am a shambling galoot). Fortunately for me, this is all relatively minor — discomforting, not tormenting. I wouldn’t judge the subjective experiences of spectrum people suffering from gender dysphoria.
My point here is simply this: for whatever cultural reasons, young people who report a serious disjunction between themselves and their bodies are being encouraged to express  and to affirm that disjunction in sexual ways — and now the medical profession is eager to confirm that concept. Often this results in permanent surgical or hormone-driven alteration to the body. Dr. Goldfarb’s column makes me afraid for those young people and their families, being driven by the popular culture and the culture of medicine into asking for life-changing procedures that will not actually cure them of their sense of alienation from their bodies, because it may not really be about gender.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

It’s Not The NRA Stopping Gun Control, It’s America’s 100 Million Gun Owners

By Mark Overstreet
September 13, 2019

Rally in Denver on May 18, 2019.

Rally in Denver on May 18th. (Michael Ciaglio/USA Today)

During the Reign of Terror, the most bloodthirsty member of France’s revolutionary government, Jean-Marie Collot d’Herbois, a “vehement, emotional and vulgar man, craving the center of the stage, dramatizing and gesticulating and bellowing when excited” (Ch. 7), called for the executions of “merchants.”
For Adolf Hitler and the German national socialist workers party, the enemy was instead “the Jew.” For Joseph Stalin, it was “the capitalists.” For Mao Zedong, “the bourgeoisie,” “the intellectuals,” and “the reactionary classes.” And for Che Guevara, “rich landowners.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson cannot be placed in the same category as those miscreants. Nevertheless, when the Gun Control Act of 1968 didn’t require the registration of all guns and the licensing of all gun owners as he had hoped, LBJ singularly blamed “the gun lobby.”
President Bill Clinton more specifically blamed “the NRA” when, after Congress imposed the firearm background check system and a nearly make-believe “ban” on “assault weapons,” 62 Democrats, including Speaker of the House Tom Foley, were defeated in the 1994 congressional elections, giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1954.

Pick The Target and Polarize It

Participants in this year’s Democrat presidential debates have also pointed their accusatory fingers at “the NRA,” along with a laundry list of other groups and individuals, including “corporations,” “big corporations,” “the 1 percent,” “big pharma,” “big insurance companies,” “the rich and powerful,” “those with money,” “the special interests,” “PACs,” “the Koch Brothers,” “Mitch McConnell,” and, of course, “Donald Trump.”
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where vagrants reportedly cover the sidewalks with feces, urine, and needles—a condition aspired to for Austin, Texas, by its mayor, Steve Adler, and its like-minded city council—the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution labeling NRA a “terrorist organization.”

Throughout history, the left has achieved power by rallying its mob, and rallied its mob by giving it someone to hate. Vladimir Lenin encouraged “language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us,” Saul Alinsky advised radicals to “pick the target . . . and polarize it,” and leftists continue the practice today.
So, a few days ago, left-wing columnist Michael Tomasky wrote that the gun laws Democrats are now pushing can be imposed if “The NRA Can Be Beaten.” Having worked in the NRA’s political division from 1991 to 2016, I might laugh at Tomasky’s notion, if I had a sense of humor about such things. The left’s everyone-on-message vilification of “the NRA” may inspire high-pitched squeals of approval during the Democrats’ presidential debates and campaign rallies, but anyone who thinks that the NRA is all that stands in the way of disarming the people of the United States has another think coming.

It’s Not the Electoral College When You Lose Congressional Elections

Those 62 Democrats who were defeated in the 1994 elections didn’t lose just because of the several hundred of us who worked at NRA headquarters, nor even because of the NRA’s 1 million or so members at the time. There were 60 million other gun owners in America in 1994 and soon thereafter polls showed that more Americans identified with the NRA than with either major political party.
NRA’s membership roughly doubled to 3 million after Clinton and the Democrats imposed gun control and rose to 5 million after President Barack Obama tried to impose more gun control during his second term. There are now 100 million gun-owning Americans, and gun owners tend to be single-issue voters.
Tens of millions of Americans own handguns, which anti-gun activists tried to get banned in the 1970s and 1980s. Seventeen and a half million Americans have permits to carry handguns for protection away from home. A comparable number own semi-automatic rifles that Democrats in Congress have been trying to ban since 1989.
Since the 1990s, every time Democrats inside the Beltway have acted against the right to keep and bear arms, or threatened to do so, purchases of guns, particularly those that Democrats want most to ban, have soared. For example, in August, the first month of Democrats’ new push against guns, gun purchases increased roughly 16 percent, compared to the number in August 2018.
Yet Democrats believe they have reason to hope. Polls show support for some of the gun laws they are demanding, though support for gun control typically falls once the public becomes informed about the details and it has fallen this year. Also, some have recently claimed that there are internal troubles within the NRA, inspiring some of its detractors to speculate that the organization can now be defeated and gun control now be imposed.
Speculations about defeating “the NRA” may titillate the mob, but even if NRA disappeared overnight, there are still 100 million gun owners, their family members, and their friends. Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election because he won “swing states” Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida, all of which have large populations of gun owners. If gun control supporters achieve their goals, it will be because gun owners are complacent or don’t understand the details and ramifications of what Democrats are demanding, not because of rumors about the NRA.

Don’t Forget the Supreme Court

Conventional wisdom holds that you shouldn’t predict what the court might do in a specific case. But three of the justices who voted with the majority in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, are still on the court, and most observers think the most recent appointees to the court, Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, have similar respect for the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
Heller observed that self-defense is an “inherent right” that is “central to the Second Amendment,” and ruled that the amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” and “extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms.” One needn’t a crystal ball to conclude that might not bode well for state laws that impose unreasonable restrictions on carrying arms for protection or that ban firearms and ammunition magazines owned for the inherent right the amendment protects.

Confiscate Guns?

Finally, while “Beto” O’Rourke—another “vehement, emotional and vulgar man, craving the center of the stage, dramatizing and gesticulating and bellowing when excited”—says Americans would agree to hand over their semi-automatic rifles, the last time our government tried to confiscate guns from the people, it received a revolution in return.
As Meghan McCain said on “The View” several days ago—courageously taking a stand while Republican members of Congress we elected to protect our rights hide in the shadows—“If you’re talking about taking people’s guns away from them, there’s going to be a lot of violence."

Or, as Alinsky observed, paraphrasing Lenin, the radical left cannot begin murdering its political opponents in the United States, because it’s the rest of us who have the guns.

Mark Overstreet is a firearm instructor and author in central Texas. He retired in 2016 as the senior research coordinator of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, after 25 years with the organization. He is also retired from the Army Reserve, after 23 years including duty as a combat cameraman in Iraq. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the NRA or the Department of Defense. He can be reached at