The Out–of–Control Gun Control Advocate

Gun control is a powder keg of an issue anyway, but selecting an individual as spokesman that reasonable people agree should never be allowed to own a gun, only makes the effort more prone to misfire.

And that’s exactly what happened in Virginia.

Democrats are convinced the next election is always going to be the one where “gun control” pays off. Except it doesn’t: Election after election after election this favorite issue is a dud at the ballot box. Bitter clingers always manage to out vote eager grabbers.

The problem is particularly acute in off–year, non–presidential elections. Making gun control’s appearance in Virginia’s legislative races even more puzzling. The Democrat base is composed of a significant number of voters that aren’t ideologically motivated. Their participation is reward–based and presidential elections promise high caliber booty for the winners: Free daycare, free healthcare, free phones, free college and free citizenship.

Off–year Democrat voters are ideologically motivated — that’s why they’re voting in the first place. Highlighting gun control, appealing to Democrats that are already going to vote, is only firing blanks if it motivates Republicans who may not have voted if they didn’t fear losing 2nd Amendment rights.

This is why gun control failed again in Virginia. Long–time Clinton family bagman, and current Gov. Terry McAuliffe desperately needed to win an open–seat race in the Richmond area to gain control of the senate. McAuliffe’s legacy freebie was supposed to be Medicare expansion, but convincing the base to embrace scheduling a doctor visit and putting Election Day on their calendar was proving to be a daunting prospect.

Then it happened, a high–profile shooting ripe for exploitation. Only using it created a self–inflicted wound. Read my complete Newsmax column here:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/gun-control-violence/2015/11/12/id/701825/

 

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San Francisco Too Expensive for Socialists to Live There

Socialism right for youLeftists have been so successful at turning San Francisco into a “social justice” paradise that it’s getting harder for the rank–and–file cultural socialist to afford to live there. Statists who are already residents are being squeezed by higher property taxes and rising rent, while lefties who make their own Hajj to Bagdad–on–the–Bay and want to remain in the city can’t afford to buy or rent.

What’s a libertine to do?

In San Francisco they try to take out their frustration on someone else’s success. It’s the “social justice” way. In this instance the housing covetous tried to pass a referendum that would limit the number of days a resident could rent his house or apartment to tourists. This makes perfect sense in San Francisco the city that wants to register your guns and your spare bedroom.

The ballot initiative was called Proposition F officially and the Airbnb referendum colloquially. For those unfamiliar with the company, Airbnb is Uber for houses. Uber participants loan their car and their driving skill to the company in return for access to its app. The app then matches drivers with hot single women who get in your car all alone and pay for the privilege.

Something seems wrong about that last paragraph. I know! Sexual assault is a bug, not a feature. Uber just wants to match drivers who have a car and time on their hands with men and women who have a destination in mind and are willing to pay strangers to get there. As a result a company whose entire inventory consists of a list of drivers and a second list of passengers is worth billions of dollars.

Naturally Airbnb wants to get in on that action — not the assaults – just the valuation. Airbnb matches San Francisco residents with a spare bedroom, basement or hidden dominance room with other people who need a place to stay or be spanked while in town.

Do–it–yourself Hilton has always seemed to be a risky way to make money. Giving the keys to your home or apartment to a bunch of strangers while you leave town is the equivalent of Uber having you toss the car keys to someone you just met at WaWa. Some homeowners return to a dumpster fire and at least one renter has been held as a sex slave — evidently the Uber driver didn’t show up — but on the whole there are enough naive part-time landlords to make the system work.

So Airbnb is another company with two lists and a heap of enemies.

Market ignoramuses behind the referendum blame Airbnb for the high price of housing mostly because they are capitalists and deserve to be hated. Evidently they convinced themselves that if it weren’t for Airbnb, and that devious profit motive, they would be invited to stay in those spare bedrooms for free. As one spokesperson told CBS, “These units should be used to provide much-needed housing for local residents instead of being rented to short-term tourists.”

It’s too much to expect residents to blame the real causes: Rent control, NIMBY fanatics, red tape–manufacturing city bureaucrats and confiscatory “historical designations.” That would be calling into question the ideology they support lock, stock and no vacancy sign.

It’s easier to build a new house in East Jerusalem than it is in San Francisco. As a result a 765 sq. ft. shack — built as relief housing after the 1906 earthquake — sells for $408,000 after a bidding frenzy. Now, after paying almost half a million for a glorified storage shed, the new owners will be able to do almost nothing to improve the building because it has a “historic” designation that imposes heavy fines if you remove the derelicts from the backyard.

Supply and demand dictates what when you have a very limited supply of housing and an ever–increasing demand prices are going to go up. But SF residents only understand the demand part of the equation, so they make demands using ignorance and a ballot box as weapons.

Proposition F would have limited nights a home or bedroom could be rented to 75 per year. Pocket Marriotts would have to file quarterly reports with the city and even worse neighbors could’ve formed an impromptu STASI and sued if their infrared cameras detected new heat signatures on the 76th day.

Airbnb pumped approximately $8 million into the “anti” campaign, while supporters could only raise $800,000 from unions and hotel owners who didn’t want more competition. It was a good investment; Proposition F was defeated 55 to 45 percent, meaning locals can still have strangers and the strange in their domiciles for almost as long as they want.

Robot Cars: The Return of the Sunday Driver

self driving car licensePerceptive conservatives have long been suspicious of ‘mass transit’ because of the term’s Karl Marxian connotations. For the left that’s a selling point because wedging the masses into mass transit allows ‘experts’ to decide where we will work and where we will live. The only roadblock, so to speak, is the automobile.

People like cars because personal vehicles embody individual transportation decisions, which in turn is why the left hates the automobile. As far as it is concerned individual transportation decisions have been nothing but trouble. Mobility nannies blame the horse and wagon for making Manifest Destiny and the westward expansion possible —a grievous example of sprawl that killed the buffalo, put asphalt on top of the aquifer and finally produced Ronald Reagan.

(Simultaneously lefties are strangely silent on the northward expansion that brought us a quarter of Mexico’s population, closely followed by the rest of Central and South America. This may be because illegals didn’t drive here and it’s hoped these new residents will prove to be bus riders.)

Since individuals are proving to be so stubborn, planners are adopting an incremental strategy. Uber had real promise as a bridge solution because it bypassed sclerotic, unresponsive cab companies and increased utilization of cars that were already on the road. Unfortunately enthusiasm dissipated after female riders found trading dirty cabs for dirty drivers was no improvement.

Now the people who know what’s best for us have decided that robot or self–driving cars are the stepping-stone to a mass transit future. Assuming they can pry the steering wheel out of our cold, dead hands — whoops, bad analogy, particularly when USA Today reports “self-driving test cars are involved in crashes at five times the rate of conventional cars.”

Naturally human error, instead of programmer error is blamed. An explanation that creates more than a little skepticism among computer users who have had to reinstall Windoze. Trial lawyers aren’t too happy either. Robot cars may have four times the injury rate, but the injuries aren’t ambulance–worthy — meaning cable viewers probably won’t have to endure a deluge of “have you been injured by a robot car” commercials.

In my view are two factors causing the increased accident rate. Robots are extremely cautious drivers that obey all the laws. Think 16–year–old student driver out for his first test drive. And the robot’s software doesn’t assume human drivers are idiots, which is the only way to avoid most accidents.

Here are a handful of situations robot drivers may not anticipate in time to avoid collision:

  1. When robots perceive flashing blue lights on the shoulder it’s no cause for concern because authorities have the situation well in hand. Humans immediately rubber–neck to see if the victim was the fool that cut them off earlier.
  2. Robots may have no experience with drivers whose lives are so filled with spontaneity they are unable to predict turns early enough to use a signal.
  3. Robots can’t tell if a motorist comes from a culture where driving is such a cause for celebration that alcohol is liberally applied to both pilot and passengers.
  4. Robots may not accurately predict levels of distraction because they aren’t required to document their lives for future generations through texts, selfies and conversation.
  5. Being childless, robots have no experience with turning around to admonish unruly toddlers or fishing sippy cups from the floorboard.
  6. Finally, robots don’t routinely hit their brakes before changing lanes and might fail to realize many drivers use their brake in place of thought.

So far the only real advantage to robot cars is their lack of vigilante spirit. You won’t find a robot convinced the car has been deputized to reduce speeding by camping in the leftmost lane of the highway at exactly the legal speed.

Did Hillary Clinton Approve the CNBC Debate Panel?

Can someone please refresh my memory? When Donald Trump met with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to sign a loyalty pledge did anyone check to see if Priebus had signed a similar pledge to all the other candidates?

Watching Wednesday’s CNBC grudge match between Big Government Leftists and the GOP makes one wonder. The Benghazi Panel gave Hillary more respect than Republican candidates received from the Quick and The Dense.

With the exception of Jim Cramer and Rick Santelli, the rest of the inquisitors were arrogant, dismissive and argumentative, or as Chris Christie observed, “I’ve got to tell you the truth, even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude.”

The question for conservatives and Republicans (some overlap, but not always the same — as Juan Bush proves) is who takes the fall and what can be done in the future?

Fortunately, I have all the answers in the rest of my column, which you can find below at Newsmax:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/CNBC-Republican-Debate-Reince-Priebus-RNC/2015/10/30/id/699873/