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Trump Speaks At CPAC In First Appearance Since Leaving White House

Former President Donald Trump spoke Sunday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in his first appearance since leaving the White House in January.

Trump — who remains the face of the Republican Party, despite losing the 2020 election — took the stage at CPAC in Florida as a crowd of supporters wearing Make America Great Again hats chanted the former president’s name.

“Do you miss me yet?” Trump started, before telling the audience that he’s going to “continue to fight right by your side.”

“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” he said. “Our security and identity is at stake. No matter how much the D.C. special interests will silence us, let there be no doubt we will be victorious and be stronger and greater than ever before.”

Trump also said that his administration “stopped the child smugglers,” tipping his hat to his supporters who are QAnon followers and believe, among many other far-fetched lies, that Democrats are trafficking children.

He then repeated some of the racist lines he repeated throughout his campaigns and his presidency, calling Latinos who migrate to the country via the U.S.-Mexico border are “dangerous, dangerous predators” and COVID-19 the “China virus,” an especially egregious epithet as hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen to unprecedented levels.

Trump also bashed President Joe Biden, who is about a month into his tenure.

“We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us imagined just how bad they would be, and how left they would go,” he said.

Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday. His speech was ful



Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday. His speech was full of familiar lies about the election.

Since Biden was declared the winner of the election in November, Trump and his allies have continued to push conspiracy theories and lies about the election, claiming it was fraudulent and that Trump actually won.

On Jan. 6, violent white supremacists, militia members, QAnon believers and other Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying electoral votes and potentially harm lawmakers. 

The House responded by launching an investigation into the attack and impeaching Trump on bipartisan grounds for inciting the insurrection. The Senate acquitted Trump weeks after he left office, despite some Republican senators going against their party and voting to convict Trump.

Until Sunday, the former president had not made a public appearance since he left the White House on Jan. 20, the day Biden was inaugurated. 

During his speech, Trump refused to give up his lies that the election was stolen, even after the Jan. 6 violence. Falsely implying that he won the 2020 election, he teased to his supporters that he “may even decide to beat them for a third time.”

In a straw poll on Sunday, 55% of respondents at CPAC said they would vote for Trump if he ran for president again in 2024 ― showing that the former president still has significant influence over the GOP and its future. About 95% said they want the GOP to continue pushing Trump’s agenda and policies, while only 3% said the party should change direction. 

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Politics

Totally Normal Idaho GOP Dude Says Why Don’t We Register People Who DON’T Have Guns, HUH?

Brent Regan, the GOP chair in Kootenai County, Idaho’s third-largest, has an intriguing spin on gun ownership. Apparently, just having the right to bear arms doesn’t cut it for him, because that still leaves too many people not packing heat. So he recently wrote a post on Facebook explaining that, by his understanding of the state constitution, people who don’t have guns should be penalized for violating what he thinks is the law:

People who DON’T own a gun should register and pay a fee. Per the Idaho Constitution Article 14 Section 1, all able bodied males between the ages of 18 and 45 are part of the militia and should arm themselves. Every person claiming an exemption must pay a fee. That is the LAW.

Well that’s a heck of a fine idea! Instead of registering guns, we can register non-gun-owners, and then, following the logic the gunhumpers always roll out, those people can eventually be confiscated! (Or something?)


Mind you, there’s a bit of a problem with Mr. Regan’s logic there. (Only a bit.) The section of Idaho’s constitution he cites does indeed say all males aged 18 to 45 are in the militia, but it also says they shall “perform such military duty as may be required by law.” The next section of the constitution goes on to authorize the state legislature to pass laws providing for “the enrolment, equipment and discipline of the militia.” The Idaho law doing that is quite clear that the main force of the state militia is the National Guard, which is “equipped and armed as provided in the national defense act,” while the “organized” and “unorganized” militia are simply the portion of the population that could be called up for military service by the governor — at which point they’d be armed and equipped by the state, too. (We guess they’d issue them, like social studies textbooks!)

So while I’ll readily admit I’m not a lawyer, it’s pretty clear the Idaho constitution definitely doesn’t require anyone to own a gun.

But wait! What about that language requiring anyone who refuses to serve in the militia to be registered and pay a fee? Seems Regan left out a tiny detail there: It refers to conscientious objectors, who cannot be compelled to serve in the state militia in peacetime. We suppose all bets are off if we ever go to war with Oregon. And again, it has nothing to do with not owning your own gun. We stopped ourselves before going down the rabbit hole of whether charging a fee for conscientious objection is even constitutional; we rather doubt it, but nope, not looking.

So who is this Brent Regan guy and why are we even bothering with him? For one thing, it’s a funny bit of bullshit. But Regan is actually a pretty big wheel in Idaho rightwing politics, despite not holding elective office (he ran once for school board in Coeur D’Alene, but lost). Back in 2013, when he was a CD’A School Board Trustee, Regan apologized after making a “joke” about Barack Obama. At a political event, he said he’d been talking with his wife about “assault weapons,” and who even knows what those are?

“I said, ‘They can’t figure out what an assault weapon is – it’s just black and it looks scary,’ and she looks at me and said, ‘Well, so is Obama.'”

The local TV station reported that “some people” called the joke racist.

As this BuzzFeed News piece details, Regan has been a key figure in moving politics in Northern Idaho far to the right, as a party boss in a part of the state where there is no effective Democratic party. In Idaho, Democrats tend only to win office in socialist hellholes like Boise, Moscow, and Pocatello. In Northern Idaho, there are only other Republicans to fight, so politics tends to be a matter of one Republican accusing another of ideological impurity.

Regan also chairs the board of directors of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the ultra-libertarian astroturf group that has been at the center of opposition to Gov. Brad Little’s efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Regan’s comments about guns were featured in this AP article about how at the state and local level Republican leaders have been pretty radical on social media, and wildly supportive of Donald Trump’s big election lie.

Back in December, Regan was very enthusiastic about weirdo lawyer Sidney Powell, writing on Parler, “SIDNEY POWELL’S ‘KRAKEN’ IS DOD CYBER WARFARE PROGRAM! WE ARE AT WAR! – THE MARSHALL REPORT.” His Facebook posts are a steady stream of uncut far-right gobbledyshit. Yesterday, he posted an all-text meme reading “Dems say price-fixing for chickens is bad but price-fixing for humans is good. #MinimumWageIsZero.” Sunday, he offered this very amusing cartoon explaining that Donald Trump is a lion, Kamala Harris is a snake, and Joe Biden is the feeble pedo from Family Guy.

The guy just really loves politics, as long as by “politics” you mean culture-war shit-stirring. He doesn’t seem to be all that into the “governing” side of things. But that’s the fun of being a local party chair, we guess!

He also posted a lengthy Facebook message at the AP reporter who contacted him, for “transparency.” Therein he carefully explained that “Demanding election integrity does not incite violence, but failing to have election integrity CAN spawn protests,” and warned the reporter against quoting people out of context. The AP reporter dutifully quoted his response to her request for comment:

“My message on social media, print media, and in person is consistent: ‘Pray for serenity. Be the eye of the storm. Stay calm. Think clearly. Don’t panic. Stay peaceful while demanding integrity and honesty.'”

In conclusion, I am very glad I live in Boise, the end.

[AP via Joe.My.God / Buzzfeed News]

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Democrats Ditch 10-Year-Old Earmark Freeze, Putting GOP In a Tough Position

It is official: Earmarks are returning to Congress. The House Appropriations Committee will sooCon unveil the new process by which individual legislators can direct spending to projects in their home districts.

Both parties swore off earmarking a decade ago after each had members get caught in scandals, some going so far as to barter earmarks for campaign contributions and lavish trips.

This bad history was clearly on Democrats’ mind. This new regime for “community project funding”will look a lot differentfrom the dodgy, old way of doing business. Lawmakers’ requests for funds must be posted online, and they will be vetted by committees. Earmarks may not go to for-profit companies and may not benefit for-profit companies or lawmakers or members of their families. The Government Accountability Office will audit a sample of the projects

The restoration of legislative-directed spending was no surprise. Democrats have been talking about it for the past few years. Their plans got a boost last October when the bipartisan Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress recommending re-empowering legislators to direct funds but with strong safeguards in place. Democrats plans kicked into high gear shortly after the November election. At that time, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the second most powerful Democrat in the chamber, announced that all three of the legislators angling to chair the House Appropriations Committee supported bringing back earmarks.

Earlier this week, the revival of legislative-directed spending became all but a fait accompli. Both House Ways & Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) shared word that legislators would be allowed to request projects in an infrastructure bill they hope to move in spring.

The Republican response has been mixed. This week the House Freedom Caucus decried earmarks as “the currency of corruption.” The Republican Study Committee, which includes most GOP House members, also condemned earmarks as wasteful and contrary to the principles of federalism. “[L]ocal projects—over which earmark advocates would prefer funding control—perhaps should not be funded at the federal level at all.” The GOP generally has made denouncing earmarks as “waste, fraud, and abuse” as part of their brand.

But not all Republicans agree with the moratorium. “Earmarks never really went away,” noted Garret Graves (R-La.). “They just moved from Congress to the administration, I think, with less scrutiny and transparency.” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who has represented Oklahoma since 2003, has forthrightly defends earmarking. When “focused on core infrastructure and community service needs, this tool can vitally help members to ensure their constituencies are not overlooked.” Other conservatives have reasoned that if Republicans are not trying to direct where the money gets spent then Biden’s appointees will. With his party divided, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has not taken a position.

A similar scene is occurring in the Senate. Some GOP senators are coyly amenable to earmarking. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) signaled he was fine with earmarks so long as they were “meritorious.”Of course, for him, they never went away. As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, he had a new FBI facility built in his home state, among other things. Minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has directed lots of federal spending to his home state of Kentucky, has suggested his fellow partisans might forgo earmarks.

Political noise aside, the return of earmarks heralds a restoration of Congress’s constitutional authority and realism in governance.

Earmarks have been around since the dawn of the Republic. The Constitution gives Congress–not the executive—the authority to raise revenues and to expend them. The Founders were quite familiar with earmarks—they used them to erect piers, lighthouses, and publicly useful things. There was no Department of Transportation in the 19th century to decide where to lay out interstate roads or the transcontinental railroad. From Congress’ authority to declare war and stand up an army and navy flowed its authority to choose how much to spend on shipbuilding yards and forts.

For sure, some legislators have sought earmarks to fund projects that do not pass the laugh test, like the Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina and an unneeded atomic clock. (Neither project actually got funded.)

But it is not as if the executive branch has not had its share of costly boondoggles. And critics of earmarks tend to seize on the silliest examples and fail to mention the unmistakably worthy ones. (The human genome mapping project was funded by an earmark, as was AIDS research.) Most earmarks tend to be for military projects. and prosaic infrastructure projects, like repairing and expanding roads.

Congress was right to revisit the 2011 earmark moratorium because it failed to live up to its promises. It did not reduce federal spending. It just shifted the decision-making authority to the executive branch and gave already powerful presidents more opportunities to do their own pork-barreling. It was one more way Congress ceded power to the executive.

Nor did the moratorium stop the practice of legislators directing how appropriated funds get spent. The most powerful members of Congress continued to steer tax and spending benefits to their home states. Other legislators got executive agencies to do their bidding by phoning and writing them letters (lettermarking and phonemarking).

Most troublingly, taking earmarks out of the legislative bargaining process increased gridlock in Congress. Polarization discourages legislators from working across the aisle. Earmarks gave them a reason to buck the party line for the sake of helping their districts. Among experts on Congress, there is little doubt that earmarks create cross-partisan incentives. It’s oil for the machine.

For sure, the return of earmarks has given congressional Republicans a dilemma. Both McCarthy and McConnell want to reclaim a majority in their chambers, and one way to do that is to keep their members unified against nearly everything Democrats try to move through Congress. The last thing they want is their own members breaking ranks to receive earmarks.

Yet, plenty of evidence suggests that conservatives can help their reelection chances by securing benefits for their constituents. The problem is that House and Senate GOP rules forbid Republicans from requesting earmarks. So, recapturing either chamber could be more difficult if Democrats are getting things done for voters back home and Republicans are not.

This leaves McConnell and McCarthy with a lousy choice: continue to refuse to let their members request earmarks and risk imperiling their reelection or rescind the earmark ban and get blasted by the right for capitulating to the Swamp.

But perhaps they can thread the needle by reminding their voters that Donald Trump favored reviving earmarks while quietly letting their members request local projects. And if the earmarks prove to be meritorious, voters may reward them.

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What’s Wrong With the Federal Government Buying American?

St. Louis Screw and Bolthas been in business since 1887. As its name suggests, it manufactures heavy-duty steel bolts, nuts, screws and other fasteners that hold up bridges and buildings across the country.

At its peak post-World War II, the company had 400 workers on the payroll but shrank to just 10 workers in the 1990s when cheaper Chinese imports flooded the market. Today, says its General Manager Bill Germuga, the company has around 60 employees, half of whom work on the factory floor and half in distribution. Its manufacturing operations survive, Germuga says, because of longstanding federal “Buy America” and “Buy American” policies that require the federal government – and federally funded transportation projects – to use U.S. companies and suppliers.

“If Buy America goes away, eventually I would expect our manufacturing will go away,” Germuga adds.

Preserving manufacturing jobs like those at St. Louis Screw and Bolt is why “Buy American” is a rare point of agreement between Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Trump made “Buy American, Hire American” a signature issue. Biden, for his part, issued a “Made in America” Executive Order, creating a “Made in America Director” charged with closing loopholes in existing regulations and improving enforcement of current requirements. Incoming U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, whose confirmation process began recently, has promised a “worker-centered” trade policy, another indication that the Administration will prioritize domestic industries and jobs. “[W]e are going to use taxpayers’ money to rebuild America,” Biden said at a January event unveiling his Made in America effort. “We’ll buy American products and support American jobs, union jobs.

There’s no doubt that the Biden Administration’s embrace of Buy American is politically smart. Pre- and post-election surveys conducted by the polling firm Lincoln Park Strategies for the Hinrich Foundation found that three out of four ⁠Americans support Buy American policies, including 73 percent of Democrats and 88% of Republicans. Respondents also ranked Buy American as the most important trade policy to be pursued over the next four years, ahead of negotiating new trade agreements or increasing U.S. exports. Four in five Americans (79 percent) also believe the policy creates jobs. (Disclosure: I helped draft and commission these surveys.)

Unfortunately, Biden’s Buy American push won’t save the nation’s economy or rescue its manufacturing. In fact, it may do more harm than good, if it has much effect at all.

For one thing, Buy American only deals with what the federal government buys, which—at about $600 billion a year—accounts for only a single-digit percentage of the nation’s $21 trillion economy. Moreover, Biden’s executive order merely adds a layer of bureaucracy to federal purchasing requirements, some of which date back to 1933. Already, 97 percent of federal procurement already goes to U.S. companies, according to the Chamber of Commerce. In fiscal 2017, according to the Government Accountability Office, just $7.8 billion went to foreign firms.

Even as limited as it is, Buy American is still dubious policy. It restricts competition for government contracts and entrenches incumbent players, raising costs. For federal transportation projects, current law⁠ requires contracts to go to domestic firms unless the lowest-priced domestic bid is at least 25 percent more expensive than that of a foreign competitor. This effectively means the government pays up to a 25 percent premium to buy American.

“Taxpayers will pay more for a given amount of road, broadband or whatever the government is buying,” said Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “And then because the money doesn’t go as far—there are always more projects than money available—some projects just wouldn’t get done.”

Buy American policies also invite retaliation from other countries. Scholars have, in fact, noticed a noticed a rise in “Buy National” policies over the last decade. Many countries—most notably China—are increasingly relying on “local content requirements⁠” to favor domestic producers and exclude foreign competition. An arms race in “Buy National” could cost American jobs and hurt American exporters in business services like insurance or banking, where America enjoys a competitive advantage. This means everything from the US accounting firms hired by foreign governments to turbines and heavy equipment bought for foreign construction projects could be at stake.

Buy American also lulls Americans into believing that this quick-fix policy is all it takes to grow the economy and create new jobs. It denies the interdependence of the global economy and the tradeoffs that come with trade restrictions. It gives policymakers a pass on doing the hard work of developing policies that will promote growth—education, apprenticeships, infrastructure investment and the like – as well as trade policies that can help, such as enforcement of intellectual property rights and a strong stand against currency manipulation and other unfair practices.

Americans support policies like Buy American because its modest upside is tangible. We know, more or less, which jobs would be lost were Buy American to be repealed (The jobs at St. Louis Screw and Bolt would surely be among them.) One of the frustrations of free trade advocates is that the  benefits of trade are diffuse while the damage is acute. Factories close so that consumers can spend less at Walmart. The cumulative savings are large, but not obvious to individual shoppers.

Americans also support Buy American because many of them are increasingly questioning some of the fundamental tenets of free-market capitalism and trade. Consumers happily pay more for “fair trade” coffee or “sustainably produced” goods, and there has been burgeoning interest in socially conscious investment. Companies are increasingly measured and rewarded for their attention to “environmental, social and governance”⁠ factors in their operations as well as their profits. It’s no stretch to understand why Americans would want their tax dollars going to U.S. firms—albeit at higher prices—rather than to foreign companies

Policies like Buy American also serve legitimate strategic interests, even if indirectly. A case in point is the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company⁠ in North Carolina, which runs one of only three cast-iron foundries left in the United States, says its Vice President Brad Muller. These foundries produce everything from electric turbines to Army tanks to sewer pipes. But the U.S. has lost nearly 500 foundries ⁠over the last 15 years due to foreign competition, according to the American Foundry Society.

Founded in 1901, Charlotte Pipe employs 1600 workers across seven plants, about 500 of whom work at the iron foundry. Muller argues that preserving the foundry is a matter of national security. “If we don’t have foundries in America like Charlotte Pipe and our competitors, we can’t defend the nation,” he said. “We don’t have the infrastructure in place to build our own ships and planes … These foundries are important – you don’t just turn them off and turn them back on when you need them. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. It’s not like you can pop one up overnight and meet demand if we, God forbid, go to war with China.” While the company is not heavily dependent on business from Buy American, the policy helps it survive. “It’s hard for us without some protection from federal Buy American to compete with heavily subsidized imports,” said Muller.

Nevertheless, Trump’s trade policies—like his tariffs on aluminum and steel and his trade war with China—prove that ham-handed economic nationalism is counterproductive. A 2019 study by Moody’s Analytics concluded that Trump’s trade war destroyed at least 300,000 American jobs, while the Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimated that U.S. companies lost $1.7 trillion in shareholder value as a result. And while Trump metals tariffs did create several thousand jobs in the steel industry—it cost about $900,000 taxpayer dollars per job saved, according to the Brookings Institution.

The challenge for Biden will be to avoid the same traps. He’ll need to devise an agenda that creates new U.S. jobs, addresses the impact of globalization, and preserves the industries and assets vital to our security – but also rejects the perniciousness of protectionism. Buy American, for all its appeal, falls short of these measures. But since it’s here to stay, and the president is likely to take a tougher line on trade than either of his most recent Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Biden should temper expectations, rather than promise what can’t be delivered. The native son of Scranton, with its depressed manufacturing base, is also a Delawarian, with Wilmington’s huge port and global banking and corporate presence. Biden knows firsthand the upsides and downsides of trade. He should also give us some of his patented straight talk about the downside of policies like Buy American.

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Trump Speaks At CPAC In First Appearance Since Leaving White House

Former President Donald Trump spoke Sunday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in his first appearance since leaving the White House in January.

Trump — who remains the face of the Republican Party, despite losing the 2020 election — took the stage at CPAC in Florida as a crowd of supporters wearing Make America Great Again hats chanted the former president’s name.

“Do you miss me yet?” Trump started, before telling the audience that he’s going to “continue to fight right by your side.”

“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” he said. “Our security and identity is at stake. No matter how much the D.C. special interests will silence us, let there be no doubt we will be victorious and be stronger and greater than ever before.”

Trump also said that his administration “stopped the child smugglers,” tipping his hat to his supporters who are QAnon followers and believe, among many other far-fetched lies, that Democrats are trafficking children.

He then repeated some of the racist lines he repeated throughout his campaigns and his presidency, calling Latinos who migrate to the country via the U.S.-Mexico border are “dangerous, dangerous predators” and COVID-19 the “China virus,” an especially egregious epithet as hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen to unprecedented levels.

Trump also bashed President Joe Biden, who is about a month into his tenure.

“We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us imagined just how bad they would be, and how left they would go,” he said.

Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday. His speech was ful



Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday. His speech was full of familiar lies about the election.

Since Biden was declared the winner of the election in November, Trump and his allies have continued to push conspiracy theories and lies about the election, claiming it was fraudulent and that Trump actually won.

On Jan. 6, violent white supremacists, militia members, QAnon believers and other Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying electoral votes and potentially harm lawmakers. 

The House responded by launching an investigation into the attack and impeaching Trump on bipartisan grounds for inciting the insurrection. The Senate acquitted Trump weeks after he left office, despite some Republican senators going against their party and voting to convict Trump.

Until Sunday, the former president had not made a public appearance since he left the White House on Jan. 20, the day Biden was inaugurated. 

During his speech, Trump refused to give up his lies that the election was stolen, even after the Jan. 6 violence. Falsely implying that he won the 2020 election, he teased to his supporters that he “may even decide to beat them for a third time.”

In a straw poll on Sunday, 55% of respondents at CPAC said they would vote for Trump if he ran for president again in 2024 ― showing that the former president still has significant influence over the GOP and its future. About 95% said they want the GOP to continue pushing Trump’s agenda and policies, while only 3% said the party should change direction. 

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Totally Normal Idaho GOP Dude Says Why Don’t We Register People Who DON’T Have Guns, HUH?

Brent Regan, the GOP chair in Kootenai County, Idaho’s third-largest, has an intriguing spin on gun ownership. Apparently, just having the right to bear arms doesn’t cut it for him, because that still leaves too many people not packing heat. So he recently wrote a post on Facebook explaining that, by his understanding of the state constitution, people who don’t have guns should be penalized for violating what he thinks is the law:

People who DON’T own a gun should register and pay a fee. Per the Idaho Constitution Article 14 Section 1, all able bodied males between the ages of 18 and 45 are part of the militia and should arm themselves. Every person claiming an exemption must pay a fee. That is the LAW.

Well that’s a heck of a fine idea! Instead of registering guns, we can register non-gun-owners, and then, following the logic the gunhumpers always roll out, those people can eventually be confiscated! (Or something?)


Mind you, there’s a bit of a problem with Mr. Regan’s logic there. (Only a bit.) The section of Idaho’s constitution he cites does indeed say all males aged 18 to 45 are in the militia, but it also says they shall “perform such military duty as may be required by law.” The next section of the constitution goes on to authorize the state legislature to pass laws providing for “the enrolment, equipment and discipline of the militia.” The Idaho law doing that is quite clear that the main force of the state militia is the National Guard, which is “equipped and armed as provided in the national defense act,” while the “organized” and “unorganized” militia are simply the portion of the population that could be called up for military service by the governor — at which point they’d be armed and equipped by the state, too. (We guess they’d issue them, like social studies textbooks!)

So while I’ll readily admit I’m not a lawyer, it’s pretty clear the Idaho constitution definitely doesn’t require anyone to own a gun.

But wait! What about that language requiring anyone who refuses to serve in the militia to be registered and pay a fee? Seems Regan left out a tiny detail there: It refers to conscientious objectors, who cannot be compelled to serve in the state militia in peacetime. We suppose all bets are off if we ever go to war with Oregon. And again, it has nothing to do with not owning your own gun. We stopped ourselves before going down the rabbit hole of whether charging a fee for conscientious objection is even constitutional; we rather doubt it, but nope, not looking.

So who is this Brent Regan guy and why are we even bothering with him? For one thing, it’s a funny bit of bullshit. But Regan is actually a pretty big wheel in Idaho rightwing politics, despite not holding elective office (he ran once for school board in Coeur D’Alene, but lost). Back in 2013, when he was a CD’A School Board Trustee, Regan apologized after making a “joke” about Barack Obama. At a political event, he said he’d been talking with his wife about “assault weapons,” and who even knows what those are?

“I said, ‘They can’t figure out what an assault weapon is – it’s just black and it looks scary,’ and she looks at me and said, ‘Well, so is Obama.'”

The local TV station reported that “some people” called the joke racist.

As this BuzzFeed News piece details, Regan has been a key figure in moving politics in Northern Idaho far to the right, as a party boss in a part of the state where there is no effective Democratic party. In Idaho, Democrats tend only to win office in socialist hellholes like Boise, Moscow, and Pocatello. In Northern Idaho, there are only other Republicans to fight, so politics tends to be a matter of one Republican accusing another of ideological impurity.

Regan also chairs the board of directors of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the ultra-libertarian astroturf group that has been at the center of opposition to Gov. Brad Little’s efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Regan’s comments about guns were featured in this AP article about how at the state and local level Republican leaders have been pretty radical on social media, and wildly supportive of Donald Trump’s big election lie.

Back in December, Regan was very enthusiastic about weirdo lawyer Sidney Powell, writing on Parler, “SIDNEY POWELL’S ‘KRAKEN’ IS DOD CYBER WARFARE PROGRAM! WE ARE AT WAR! – THE MARSHALL REPORT.” His Facebook posts are a steady stream of uncut far-right gobbledyshit. Yesterday, he posted an all-text meme reading “Dems say price-fixing for chickens is bad but price-fixing for humans is good. #MinimumWageIsZero.” Sunday, he offered this very amusing cartoon explaining that Donald Trump is a lion, Kamala Harris is a snake, and Joe Biden is the feeble pedo from Family Guy.

The guy just really loves politics, as long as by “politics” you mean culture-war shit-stirring. He doesn’t seem to be all that into the “governing” side of things. But that’s the fun of being a local party chair, we guess!

He also posted a lengthy Facebook message at the AP reporter who contacted him, for “transparency.” Therein he carefully explained that “Demanding election integrity does not incite violence, but failing to have election integrity CAN spawn protests,” and warned the reporter against quoting people out of context. The AP reporter dutifully quoted his response to her request for comment:

“My message on social media, print media, and in person is consistent: ‘Pray for serenity. Be the eye of the storm. Stay calm. Think clearly. Don’t panic. Stay peaceful while demanding integrity and honesty.'”

In conclusion, I am very glad I live in Boise, the end.

[AP via Joe.My.God / Buzzfeed News]

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Trump Speaks At CPAC In First Appearance Since Leaving White House

Former President Donald Trump spoke Sunday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in his first appearance since leaving the White House in January.

Trump — who remains the face of the Republican Party, despite losing the 2020 election — took the stage at CPAC in Florida as a crowd of supporters wearing Make America Great Again hats chanted the former president’s name.

“Do you miss me yet?” Trump started, before telling the audience that he’s going to “continue to fight right by your side.”

“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” he said. “Our security and identity is at stake. No matter how much the D.C. special interests will silence us, let there be no doubt we will be victorious and be stronger and greater than ever before.”

Trump also said that his administration “stopped the child smugglers,” tipping his hat to his supporters who are QAnon followers and believe, among many other far-fetched lies, that Democrats are trafficking children.

He then repeated some of the racist lines he repeated throughout his campaigns and his presidency, calling Latinos who migrate to the country via the U.S.-Mexico border are “dangerous, dangerous predators” and COVID-19 the “China virus,” an especially egregious epithet as hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen to unprecedented levels.

Trump also bashed President Joe Biden, who is about a month into his tenure.

“We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us imagined just how bad they would be, and how left they would go,” he said.

Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday. His speech was ful



Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday. His speech was full of familiar lies about the election.

Since Biden was declared the winner of the election in November, Trump and his allies have continued to push conspiracy theories and lies about the election, claiming it was fraudulent and that Trump actually won.

On Jan. 6, violent white supremacists, militia members, QAnon believers and other Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying electoral votes and potentially harm lawmakers. 

The House responded by launching an investigation into the attack and impeaching Trump on bipartisan grounds for inciting the insurrection. The Senate acquitted Trump weeks after he left office, despite some Republican senators going against their party and voting to convict Trump.

Until Sunday, the former president had not made a public appearance since he left the White House on Jan. 20, the day Biden was inaugurated. 

During his speech, Trump refused to give up his lies that the election was stolen, even after the Jan. 6 violence. Falsely implying that he won the 2020 election, he teased to his supporters that he “may even decide to beat them for a third time.”

In a straw poll on Sunday, 55% of respondents at CPAC said they would vote for Trump if he ran for president again in 2024 ― showing that the former president still has significant influence over the GOP and its future. About 95% said they want the GOP to continue pushing Trump’s agenda and policies, while only 3% said the party should change direction. 

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Politics

Totally Normal Idaho GOP Dude Says Why Don’t We Register People Who DON’T Have Guns, HUH?

Brent Regan, the GOP chair in Kootenai County, Idaho’s third-largest, has an intriguing spin on gun ownership. Apparently, just having the right to bear arms doesn’t cut it for him, because that still leaves too many people not packing heat. So he recently wrote a post on Facebook explaining that, by his understanding of the state constitution, people who don’t have guns should be penalized for violating what he thinks is the law:

People who DON’T own a gun should register and pay a fee. Per the Idaho Constitution Article 14 Section 1, all able bodied males between the ages of 18 and 45 are part of the militia and should arm themselves. Every person claiming an exemption must pay a fee. That is the LAW.

Well that’s a heck of a fine idea! Instead of registering guns, we can register non-gun-owners, and then, following the logic the gunhumpers always roll out, those people can eventually be confiscated! (Or something?)


Mind you, there’s a bit of a problem with Mr. Regan’s logic there. (Only a bit.) The section of Idaho’s constitution he cites does indeed say all males aged 18 to 45 are in the militia, but it also says they shall “perform such military duty as may be required by law.” The next section of the constitution goes on to authorize the state legislature to pass laws providing for “the enrolment, equipment and discipline of the militia.” The Idaho law doing that is quite clear that the main force of the state militia is the National Guard, which is “equipped and armed as provided in the national defense act,” while the “organized” and “unorganized” militia are simply the portion of the population that could be called up for military service by the governor — at which point they’d be armed and equipped by the state, too. (We guess they’d issue them, like social studies textbooks!)

So while I’ll readily admit I’m not a lawyer, it’s pretty clear the Idaho constitution definitely doesn’t require anyone to own a gun.

But wait! What about that language requiring anyone who refuses to serve in the militia to be registered and pay a fee? Seems Regan left out a tiny detail there: It refers to conscientious objectors, who cannot be compelled to serve in the state militia in peacetime. We suppose all bets are off if we ever go to war with Oregon. And again, it has nothing to do with not owning your own gun. We stopped ourselves before going down the rabbit hole of whether charging a fee for conscientious objection is even constitutional; we rather doubt it, but nope, not looking.

So who is this Brent Regan guy and why are we even bothering with him? For one thing, it’s a funny bit of bullshit. But Regan is actually a pretty big wheel in Idaho rightwing politics, despite not holding elective office (he ran once for school board in Coeur D’Alene, but lost). Back in 2013, when he was a CD’A School Board Trustee, Regan apologized after making a “joke” about Barack Obama. At a political event, he said he’d been talking with his wife about “assault weapons,” and who even knows what those are?

“I said, ‘They can’t figure out what an assault weapon is – it’s just black and it looks scary,’ and she looks at me and said, ‘Well, so is Obama.'”

The local TV station reported that “some people” called the joke racist.

As this BuzzFeed News piece details, Regan has been a key figure in moving politics in Northern Idaho far to the right, as a party boss in a part of the state where there is no effective Democratic party. In Idaho, Democrats tend only to win office in socialist hellholes like Boise, Moscow, and Pocatello. In Northern Idaho, there are only other Republicans to fight, so politics tends to be a matter of one Republican accusing another of ideological impurity.

Regan also chairs the board of directors of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the ultra-libertarian astroturf group that has been at the center of opposition to Gov. Brad Little’s efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Regan’s comments about guns were featured in this AP article about how at the state and local level Republican leaders have been pretty radical on social media, and wildly supportive of Donald Trump’s big election lie.

Back in December, Regan was very enthusiastic about weirdo lawyer Sidney Powell, writing on Parler, “SIDNEY POWELL’S ‘KRAKEN’ IS DOD CYBER WARFARE PROGRAM! WE ARE AT WAR! – THE MARSHALL REPORT.” His Facebook posts are a steady stream of uncut far-right gobbledyshit. Yesterday, he posted an all-text meme reading “Dems say price-fixing for chickens is bad but price-fixing for humans is good. #MinimumWageIsZero.” Sunday, he offered this very amusing cartoon explaining that Donald Trump is a lion, Kamala Harris is a snake, and Joe Biden is the feeble pedo from Family Guy.

The guy just really loves politics, as long as by “politics” you mean culture-war shit-stirring. He doesn’t seem to be all that into the “governing” side of things. But that’s the fun of being a local party chair, we guess!

He also posted a lengthy Facebook message at the AP reporter who contacted him, for “transparency.” Therein he carefully explained that “Demanding election integrity does not incite violence, but failing to have election integrity CAN spawn protests,” and warned the reporter against quoting people out of context. The AP reporter dutifully quoted his response to her request for comment:

“My message on social media, print media, and in person is consistent: ‘Pray for serenity. Be the eye of the storm. Stay calm. Think clearly. Don’t panic. Stay peaceful while demanding integrity and honesty.'”

In conclusion, I am very glad I live in Boise, the end.

[AP via Joe.My.God / Buzzfeed News]

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Politics

Trump Speaks At CPAC In First Appearance Since Leaving White House

Former President Donald Trump spoke Sunday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in his first appearance since leaving the White House in January.

Trump — who remains the face of the Republican Party, despite losing the 2020 election — took the stage at CPAC in Florida as a crowd of supporters wearing Make America Great Again hats chanted the former president’s name.

“Do you miss me yet?” Trump started, before telling the audience that he’s going to “continue to fight right by your side.”

“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” he said. “Our security and identity is at stake. No matter how much the D.C. special interests will silence us, let there be no doubt we will be victorious and be stronger and greater than ever before.”

Trump also said that his administration “stopped the child smugglers,” tipping his hat to his supporters who are QAnon followers and believe, among many other far-fetched lies, that Democrats are trafficking children.

He then repeated some of the racist lines he repeated throughout his campaigns and his presidency, calling Latinos who migrate to the country via the U.S.-Mexico border are “dangerous, dangerous predators” and COVID-19 the “China virus,” an especially egregious epithet as hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen to unprecedented levels.

Trump also bashed President Joe Biden, who is about a month into his tenure.

“We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad, but none of us imagined just how bad they would be, and how left they would go,” he said.

Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday. His speech was ful



Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on Sunday. His speech was full of familiar lies about the election.

Since Biden was declared the winner of the election in November, Trump and his allies have continued to push conspiracy theories and lies about the election, claiming it was fraudulent and that Trump actually won.

On Jan. 6, violent white supremacists, militia members, QAnon believers and other Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying electoral votes and potentially harm lawmakers. 

The House responded by launching an investigation into the attack and impeaching Trump on bipartisan grounds for inciting the insurrection. The Senate acquitted Trump weeks after he left office, despite some Republican senators going against their party and voting to convict Trump.

Until Sunday, the former president had not made a public appearance since he left the White House on Jan. 20, the day Biden was inaugurated. 

During his speech, Trump refused to give up his lies that the election was stolen, even after the Jan. 6 violence. Falsely implying that he won the 2020 election, he teased to his supporters that he “may even decide to beat them for a third time.”

In a straw poll on Sunday, 55% of respondents at CPAC said they would vote for Trump if he ran for president again in 2024 ― showing that the former president still has significant influence over the GOP and its future. About 95% said they want the GOP to continue pushing Trump’s agenda and policies, while only 3% said the party should change direction. 

Categories
Politics

Totally Normal Idaho GOP Dude Says Why Don’t We Register People Who DON’T Have Guns, HUH?

Brent Regan, the GOP chair in Kootenai County, Idaho’s third-largest, has an intriguing spin on gun ownership. Apparently, just having the right to bear arms doesn’t cut it for him, because that still leaves too many people not packing heat. So he recently wrote a post on Facebook explaining that, by his understanding of the state constitution, people who don’t have guns should be penalized for violating what he thinks is the law:

People who DON’T own a gun should register and pay a fee. Per the Idaho Constitution Article 14 Section 1, all able bodied males between the ages of 18 and 45 are part of the militia and should arm themselves. Every person claiming an exemption must pay a fee. That is the LAW.

Well that’s a heck of a fine idea! Instead of registering guns, we can register non-gun-owners, and then, following the logic the gunhumpers always roll out, those people can eventually be confiscated! (Or something?)


Mind you, there’s a bit of a problem with Mr. Regan’s logic there. (Only a bit.) The section of Idaho’s constitution he cites does indeed say all males aged 18 to 45 are in the militia, but it also says they shall “perform such military duty as may be required by law.” The next section of the constitution goes on to authorize the state legislature to pass laws providing for “the enrolment, equipment and discipline of the militia.” The Idaho law doing that is quite clear that the main force of the state militia is the National Guard, which is “equipped and armed as provided in the national defense act,” while the “organized” and “unorganized” militia are simply the portion of the population that could be called up for military service by the governor — at which point they’d be armed and equipped by the state, too. (We guess they’d issue them, like social studies textbooks!)

So while I’ll readily admit I’m not a lawyer, it’s pretty clear the Idaho constitution definitely doesn’t require anyone to own a gun.

But wait! What about that language requiring anyone who refuses to serve in the militia to be registered and pay a fee? Seems Regan left out a tiny detail there: It refers to conscientious objectors, who cannot be compelled to serve in the state militia in peacetime. We suppose all bets are off if we ever go to war with Oregon. And again, it has nothing to do with not owning your own gun. We stopped ourselves before going down the rabbit hole of whether charging a fee for conscientious objection is even constitutional; we rather doubt it, but nope, not looking.

So who is this Brent Regan guy and why are we even bothering with him? For one thing, it’s a funny bit of bullshit. But Regan is actually a pretty big wheel in Idaho rightwing politics, despite not holding elective office (he ran once for school board in Coeur D’Alene, but lost). Back in 2013, when he was a CD’A School Board Trustee, Regan apologized after making a “joke” about Barack Obama. At a political event, he said he’d been talking with his wife about “assault weapons,” and who even knows what those are?

“I said, ‘They can’t figure out what an assault weapon is – it’s just black and it looks scary,’ and she looks at me and said, ‘Well, so is Obama.'”

The local TV station reported that “some people” called the joke racist.

As this BuzzFeed News piece details, Regan has been a key figure in moving politics in Northern Idaho far to the right, as a party boss in a part of the state where there is no effective Democratic party. In Idaho, Democrats tend only to win office in socialist hellholes like Boise, Moscow, and Pocatello. In Northern Idaho, there are only other Republicans to fight, so politics tends to be a matter of one Republican accusing another of ideological impurity.

Regan also chairs the board of directors of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the ultra-libertarian astroturf group that has been at the center of opposition to Gov. Brad Little’s efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Regan’s comments about guns were featured in this AP article about how at the state and local level Republican leaders have been pretty radical on social media, and wildly supportive of Donald Trump’s big election lie.

Back in December, Regan was very enthusiastic about weirdo lawyer Sidney Powell, writing on Parler, “SIDNEY POWELL’S ‘KRAKEN’ IS DOD CYBER WARFARE PROGRAM! WE ARE AT WAR! – THE MARSHALL REPORT.” His Facebook posts are a steady stream of uncut far-right gobbledyshit. Yesterday, he posted an all-text meme reading “Dems say price-fixing for chickens is bad but price-fixing for humans is good. #MinimumWageIsZero.” Sunday, he offered this very amusing cartoon explaining that Donald Trump is a lion, Kamala Harris is a snake, and Joe Biden is the feeble pedo from Family Guy.

The guy just really loves politics, as long as by “politics” you mean culture-war shit-stirring. He doesn’t seem to be all that into the “governing” side of things. But that’s the fun of being a local party chair, we guess!

He also posted a lengthy Facebook message at the AP reporter who contacted him, for “transparency.” Therein he carefully explained that “Demanding election integrity does not incite violence, but failing to have election integrity CAN spawn protests,” and warned the reporter against quoting people out of context. The AP reporter dutifully quoted his response to her request for comment:

“My message on social media, print media, and in person is consistent: ‘Pray for serenity. Be the eye of the storm. Stay calm. Think clearly. Don’t panic. Stay peaceful while demanding integrity and honesty.'”

In conclusion, I am very glad I live in Boise, the end.

[AP via Joe.My.God / Buzzfeed News]

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Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.