The Caning Of Charles Sumner

Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was an ardent abolitionist. On the floor of the Senate in 1856, he made a speech in which he castigated Sen. Andrew Butler of South Carolina over his support for slavery.

Butler was not present when Sumner made his speech but his cousin, Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina, got wind of it. As the Senate’s historian puts it:

Representative Preston Brooks was Butler’s South Carolina kinsman. If he had believed Sumner to be a gentleman, he might have challenged him to a duel. Instead, he chose a light cane of the type used to discipline unruly dogs. Shortly after the Senate had adjourned for the day, Brooks entered the old chamber, where he found Sumner busily attaching his postal frank to copies of his “Crime Against Kansas” speech.

Moving quickly, Brooks slammed his metal-topped cane onto the unsuspecting Sumner’s head. As Brooks struck again and again, Sumner rose and lurched blindly about the chamber, futilely attempting to protect himself. After a very long minute, it ended.

You can see a reenactment of this in the Drunk History video below.

It amused me that the odious Patton Oswalt aka Constable Bob in Justified played Sen. Sumner.

What got me to thinking about the caning of Sen. Sumner was the behavior of the Democrats in the Senate and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Twice now the Senate Democrats have stopped passage of a coronavirus stimulus package. This came after they had worked out the details over the past week with the Republican majority.

Pelosi has larded up her so-called package with more agenda items and less stimulus items that will get people back to work and on their feet. As Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) told House Democrats, “This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Forgive me for thinking that we need to take a gutta-percha brass-headed cane a’la Preston Brooks to the heads of certain Democrat obstructionists. Of course, I mean this figuratively as voters and not literally. Losing power and the attendant perks would be the worst punishment for most of them.

The actual cane is now on display at the Old State House Museum in Boston.

Does He Want To Turn DC Into Sarajevo?

Jeet Heer is the National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation magazine. He just published an article in The Nation that confirms he is both a fool and a knave.

Heer has called for mass street protests because he feels that Congressional Democrats are being too conservative with impeachment. He calls for a “people’s impeachment”.

Unleashing the power of mass protest to force resignation is rare in America but common elsewhere. Indeed, we seem to be living in an age when it’s not unusual for street protesters to topple governments. From South Korea to Spain to Iceland to Finland, street protests have played a key role in bringing down despised heads of government.

The reason such mass protests to force a resignation are rare in the United States is because we have seen the folly of a civil war.

Heer is critical of impeachment as he thinks it is too “centrist” and too legalistic.

In the words of Pelosi and Gopnik, we once again hear the yearning for a centrist restoration. Trump, in this worldview, is a horrific anomaly in an otherwise well-functioning system. After you get rid of him—or even just give him a symbolic rebuke in the form of impeachment—the system will return to normal. The hope is that once Trump is gone, the old order will rise again, with Democrats and Republicans joining hands in bipartisan comity.

He goes on to say:

Could a people’s impeachment achieve the level of success of the Puerto Rico protests? This is unlikely, given that removal by the Senate would require 67 votes. Further, the anti-Trump resistance isn’t yet as radicalized as Puerto Rico was in the summer of 2017.

Puerto Rico should be treated as a benchmark for the best possible outcome. But even if a people’s impeachment falls short of forcing Trump’s resignation, it still has a crucial role to play in mobilizing the population to defend democracy.

(Author Dana) Fisher says the hallmark of the resistance to date is a commitment to peaceful protest. But she adds that this could change, given that a younger cohort of protesters is being radicalized. She speculates that if Trump is reelected, we could see a wave of truly disruptive protests.

You know my thoughts on a hot civil war. They are something only a fool would want because life becomes nasty, brutish, and short to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes.

It is easy for Heer to call for the protests that lead to a hot civil war. After all he is a Canadian and would just go back across the border to escape the violence. The rest of us would not be so lucky.

Lest he need a reminder, Rule 303 (or a modern equivalent) will always trump a concrete milkshake. I hope and pray we never see Rule 303 put into action.

The Text Of HR 8 – The “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019” (Updated)

The text of the Democrat’s universal background check bill has been released. The bill will be HR 8 which has been reserved for the Speaker and which number was chosen to represent the day that then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot. I think Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) will be the official sponsor of the bill and I presume most Democrats will be on board as co-sponsors. Gotta get that Bloomberg money, ya know.

As to the “Bipartisan” part of the title, I presume that is because Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and maybe a few others will be co-sponsors of the bill. One Republican or 20 really doesn’t make it “bipartisan” any more than a Republican bill that has one or two Democrats as sponsors.

Here is the text of the bill:

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


Mr. THOMPSON of California introduced the following bill; which was referred
to the Committee on January 8, 2019.



A BILL


To require a background check for every firearm sale.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.


This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019’’.


SEC. 2. PURPOSE.


The purpose of this Act is to utilize the current background checks process in the United States to ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms.


SEC. 3. FIREARMS TRANSFERS.


Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is
amended—



(1) by striking subsection (s);
(2) by redesignating subsection (t) as subsection (s); and
(3) by inserting after subsection (s), as redesignated, the following:


‘‘(t)(1)(A) It shall be unlawful for any person who
is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person
who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed
manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession
of the firearm for the purpose of complying with subsection (s).



‘‘(B) Upon taking possession of a firearm under subparagraph (A), a licensee shall comply with all requirements of this chapter as if the licensee were transferring
the firearm from the inventory of the licensee to the unlicensed transferee.



‘‘(C) If a transfer of a firearm described in subparagraph (A) will not be completed for any reason after a
licensee takes possession of the firearm (including because
the transfer of the firearm to, or receipt of the firearm
by, the transferee would violate this chapter), the return
of the firearm to the transferor by the licensee shall not
constitute the transfer of a firearm for purposes of this chapter.



‘‘(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to—


‘‘(A) a law enforcement agency or any law enforcement officer, armed private security professional, or member of the armed forces, to the extent
the officer, professional, or member is acting within
the course and scope of employment and official duties;

‘‘(B) a transfer that is a loan or bona fide gift
between spouses, between domestic partners, between parents and their children, between siblings,
between aunts or uncles and their nieces or nephews,
1or between grandparents and their grandchildren;

‘‘(C) a transfer to an executor, administrator,
trustee, or personal representative of an estate or a
trust that occurs by operation of law upon the death
of another person;

‘‘(D) a temporary transfer that is necessary to
prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, if the
possession by the transferee lasts only as long as immediately necessary to prevent the imminent death
or great bodily harm;

‘‘(E) a transfer that is approved by the Attorney General under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or
‘‘(F) a temporary transfer if the transferor has
no reason to believe that the transferee will use or
intends to use the firearm in a crime or is prohibited
from possessing firearms under State or Federal
law, and the transfer takes place and the transferee’s possession of the firearm is exclusively— 

‘‘(i) at a shooting range or in a shooting
gallery or other area designated for the purpose
of target shooting;

‘‘(ii) while reasonably necessary for the
purposes of hunting, trapping, or fishing, if the
transferor—

‘‘(I) has no reason to believe that the
transferee intends to use the firearm in a
place where it is illegal; and

‘‘(II) has reason to believe that the
transferee will comply with all licensing
and permit requirements for such hunting,
trapping, or fishing; or

‘‘(iii) while in the presence of the transferor.


‘‘(3)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this
chapter, the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations.

‘‘(B) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph
may not include any provision requiring licensees to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (1).

‘‘(C) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph
may not include any provision requiring persons not licensed under this chapter to keep records of background
checks or firearms transfers.

‘‘(D) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph
may not include any provision placing a cap on the fee
licensees may charge to facilitate transfers in accordance
with paragraph (1).

‘‘(4) It shall be unlawful for a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer possession of, or title to, a firearm to another person who is
not so licensed unless the importer, manufacturer, or dealer has provided such other person with a notice of the
prohibition under paragraph (1), and such other person
has certified that such other person has been provided
with this notice on a form prescribed by the Attorney General.’’.



SEC. 4. TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.


(a) SECTION 922.—Section 922(y)(2) of title 18,
United States Code, is amended in the matter preceding
subparagraph (A) by striking ‘‘, (g)(5)(B), and
(s)(3)(B)(v)(II)’’ and inserting ‘‘and (g)(5)(B)’’.

(b) CONSOLIDATED AND FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012.—Section 511 of title V of division B of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended by
striking ‘‘subsection 922(t)’’ each place it appears and inserting ‘‘subsection (s) or (t) of section 922’’.



SEC. 5. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this
Act, shall be construed to—

(1) authorize the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a national firearms registry; or
(2) interfere with the authority of a State,
under section 927 of title 18, United States Code,
to enact a law on the same subject matter as this
Act.



SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE.


The amendments made by this Act shall take effect
180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

 
UPDATE: Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned notes that those of us who have Curios & Relics licenses would have to go through a licensed dealer for our transfers. Notice that the wording in the bill makes no mention of “licensed collectors” but only importers, manufacturers, and dealers.

UPDATE II: Attorney and scholar David Kopel has a textual analysis of the bill on the Volokh Conspiracy. Dave notes that it would also ban the transfer of a handgun to those 18-20 years old which is now legal in many states in private sales. You can’t have a FFL transfer a handgun to you unless you are 21 years of age or older.

Democrats Love Symbolism…When Abridging Your Rights

Tuesday, January 8th is the eight anniversary of when then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot at an event in Tucson. The killer obtained his Glock at a licensed gun shop after going through a FBI-run NICS check. Keep that in mind for later. At the time, the shootings were blamed on “insurrectionist ideology“, “weak” gun laws, and the lack of a permanent BATFE director among other things. Just like with the Parkland murders, the failure of school officials and the local sheriff contributed to the shootings and not the lack of a background check.

Thus, it should be no surprise that on Tuesday, a bill will be introduced by House Democrats that will mandate universal background checks. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have been pushing universal background checks for years. They sent this out earlier today – along with the requisite beg for money to abridge your rights.

Here’s some news I think you’ll be quite happy to hear:

This Tuesday, January 8, Democrats in the House of Representatives will introduce bipartisan universal background checks legislation.

We fought to elect this Congress — one that will stand up to the gun lobby — and right away, they are delivering. The bill is H.R. 8, a symbolic action that will mark the 8th anniversary of the shooting in Tucson. It is also testament to all of our work moving the needle on this issue.

Gabby will be there for the announcement and we’ll be ready to fight to get this thing passed.

But you know the gun lobby, they won’t go down without a fight, especially on this issue. So we have to ask:

Can you make a $3 donation to Giffords PAC? We’ll put it right to work in the fight to pass universal background checks.

This is a big deal, and we’ll have a lot more soon. But right now, we’re gearing up for what’s sure to be a tough fight on this issue. So thanks for chipping in.

All my best,

Mark Kelly

My guess that the only thing bipartisan about this bill will be one or two RINOs like Rep. Peter King (R-NY) as a co-sponsor.

According to Politico, the bill will be number H.R. 8 to commemorate the date. The bill will be introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

“Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force has been fighting for a chance to pass legislation that will help save lives,” Thompson said in a statement. “Finally, with our new majority that ran on helping to prevent gun violence, we will introduce a bipartisan, universal background checks bill. We will hold hearings, we will have a vote, and this legislation will finally pass the House.”


“In communities across America, courageous survivors, families and young advocates are showing outstanding courage and persistence in demanding an end to the horrific scourge of gun violence in our nation,” Pelosi said in a statement. “It is an honor to join Congressman Mike Thompson and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to answer their call by taking the first step to pass commonsense background checks – which 97 percent of the American people support.”

Notice those supposed poll numbers in support of “commonsense background checks”. According to Pelosi, it is 97%. Was this supposed to be a gift to Threepers as the stalwart 3% that oppose this legislation? Why it was only yesterday it seems that Bloomberg, Giffords, and the rest of the gun control industry were saying it was a mere 90%.

So-called universal background checks are a solution in search of a problem. Criminals will continue to obtain firearms and the expectation that they will go through a NICS check is ludicrous. Moreover, as we have seen in the mass shootings which the news media and the gun control industry seem to feed on, the firearms were obtained from legitimate sources after a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was completed. Finally, a law such as this is unenforceable absent a total registration of the 300-600 million firearms thought to exist in the United States.

BOHICA

I posted the gun control industry’s wish list earlier this morning. If you don’t think they have a serious chance of getting much of it through the House, you are living in a dreamland. Read Nancy Pelosi’s statement from Friday marking the sixth anniversary of the murders in Newtown, Connecticut.

“For six years, Americans across the country have taken time to remember the 26 beautiful souls that were murdered in an act of unfathomable horror and heartbreak at Sandy Hook Elementary School. While the pain and grief of that tragic day remain, our determination to end the daily horror of gun violence continues to strengthen.


“Since that unspeakable tragedy, too many families in too many places have been impacted by the deadly epidemic of gun violence. In shattered communities across the country, the nation has had to console family members, comfort survivors and honor victims. Yet, at every opportunity Republicans refuse to lift a finger to stop the bloodshed. Enough is enough.


“Countless families, survivors and young people around the country have courageously turned their grief into action. Inspired by their strength and tireless advocacy, the new Democratic Majority will act boldly and decisively to ensure that no other family must endure the pain caused by gun violence.”

 The gun control lobby was supportive of Pelosi becoming Speaker and they are expecting their payoff. I have no doubt that she will attempt to come through. As Politico reports, she even has some Republican allies on gun control like Rep. Peter King (R-NY). Moreover, the House Judiciary Committee will be headed by known gun control advocate Jerold Nadler (D-NY) and there will be a House Gun Violence Task Force headed by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA).

What does all of this mean?

It means that we need to be on Defcon 1 for any and all gun control bills being introduced in January 2019 and those of us who have Republican senators need to be talking to them now. Take Giffords’ wish list, make comments on it, and email or fax it to those senators. Explain that red flag laws aka “Extreme Violence Protection Orders” not only violate the Constitution but get innocent people killed. Given how the GOP bows and scrapes to cops emphasize that some of those killed trying to enforce such a law will be cops. I think you can go through that list and come up with more reasons that none of them need be passed.

A Takeaway For Gun Owners From Pelosi’s Campaign For Speaker

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Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will probably be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. I say probably because there are some Democrats that are opposed to her and the aging leadership. She, Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and James Clyburn (D-SC) are all in their 70s. However, while this group of dissidents might prevent Pelosi from getting the requisite number of votes (218), it is doubtful they will win in the end.

In a story in the Washington Examiner about Pelosi’s campaign for Speaker and the battle her allies are waging on her behalf was this:

As the leadership fight escalates, Pelosi’s lined up endorsements from former President Barack Obama — who called Pelosi “one of the most effective legislative leaders” on Tuesday — and key advocacy groups that helped Democrats retake the majority. Progressive groups, gun control organizations, unions, reproductive rights groups like NARAL Pro-Choice and more have thrown their weight behind Pelosi’s speaker bid.


“Do you really want to make enemies out of these groups?” said (Rep. Jan) Schakowsky, adding later, that the fight “is not just inside baseball, this has enormous ramifications for how we successfully move forward to pass an agenda that’s going to help people.”

The Brady Campaign and Shannon Watts have all formally endorsed Pelosi for Speaker. Moreover, Michael Bloomberg who “invested” over $100 million in this election cycle to get Democrats elected has worked closely with Pelosi and shared office space with her super PAC.

What does this mean for gun owners?

It should be obvious – expect gun control to be on the Democrats agenda in the House from day one of the new Congress. Pelosi has a constituency to repay and she will. I fully expect that bills will be introduced that will contain every gun control measure that you can think of and some that we haven’t. Moreover, these bills will get a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee and most will pass in the House. Furthermore, the Hearing Protection Act, national reciprocity, and even provisions for use of Pittman-Robertson funds to construct shooting ranges are dead.

Our only hope for stopping these infringements will be the Senate which remains in Republican hands. Even then, there are some Republicans who might vote for things like red flag laws or bans on bump fire stocks. Fortunately, the filibuster is still alive when it comes to bills passing the Senate and it still will require 60 votes to invoke cloture. Therefore, if you haven’t contacted your two Senators or Senator-elect, you better do it now and put opposition to gun control on their radar.

The Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” will epitomize the next two years when it comes to the fight for gun rights.

NSSF Analysis Of The Midterms

The National Shooting Sports Foundation sent out an email yesterday analyzing the midterm elections for their impact on the firearms industry as well as on firearm regulations. They will also be having a pair of webinars next Tuesday afternoon which I hope to be able to watch. I’ll report on those afterwards.

I think the NSSF is correct in that a lot of bills will be proposed and may even pass the House dealing with gun control. These will then die in the Senate. They refer to the Senate as the Red Wall. I think they are also correct that the pace at which new judges will be confirmed will pick up.

From the NSSF:

A Blue Ripple, A Red Senate Wall And What It Means For The Firearms Industry

The
results are still trickling in on Wednesday, but we’re getting a
clearer picture of what we can expect when it comes to the next two
years for gun laws in the United States.

Conventional
wisdom says that the party in the White House loses “bigly” when it
comes to the midterm elections, but last night’s results are proving
different. We’re seeing more of a mixed bag in the Congressional
results, a changing landscape in the governorships and gun control
advocates that spent big and claim victory. But that call might be a bit premature.

House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives will flip back to Democrat control in the 116th Congress.
There are several West Coast races still awaiting final counts, but Fox
News’ Karl Rove predicted the final count will be 228-207 in favor of
Democrats, which will see the Speaker of the House’s gavel change hands.

Prevailing sentiment says Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will again become house speaker, but many incumbent and congressmen-elect have vowed to not support her
for the top leadership spot. We can expect short-term leadership
power-plays, but they will have little effect on what we will eventually
see in the next two years from the House.

What it Means

The “Blue Wave” wasn’t the tsunami gun
control advocates expected, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see a flood
of gun control bills. Rep. Pelosi promised Floridians when she visited
there in October that gun control would be a “top priority” in the
coming year. She said then that she’d push for a gun background check bill, which we can only assume means what she’s already advocated for in universal background checks.

Expect more. Virginia Democratic Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton defeated Rep. Barbara Comstock on a platform that included banning AR-15 modern
sporting rifles and standard-capacity magazines. She’s just one of
several newly elected members of Congress who will be looking to make
good on their campaign promises.

Expect
the House to turn from a legislative body to an investigative body.
Democrats will take over every committee chairmanship. We should expect
little to get done in the way of legislation because they’ll be more
interested in investigating everything from impeachment to Russian collusion to President Donald Trump’s tax returns. And firearms will be in the mix too. Expect hearings on
taxpayer-funded gun violence research, magazine restrictions,
ammunition bans, age-based gun bans and attempts to outright ban entire
classes of firearms.

Senate

If
the House was the “Blue Ripple,” the U.S. Senate served as the Red
Wall. And it got bigger. Republicans appeared to pick up at least net
three seats, including North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer beating Heidi
Heitkamp, Missouri’s Josh Hawley defeating Claire McCaskill, Florida’s
Rick Scott topping Bill Nelson and Indiana’s Mike Braun overcoming Joe
Donnelly. Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller lost to Jacky Rosen, turning one
Republican seat blue. Votes are still being counted in Arizona, and
Mississippi is headed for a runoff. The first and most glaring lesson is
that with the exception of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), each of these
Democratic senators voted against Supreme Court Justice Brett
Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

What it Means

Most
importantly, the Senate has been called the saucer that cools the hot
tea that comes over from the House. It’s been a frustrating
characteristic at times, but now will become a reality that benefits the
firearms industry and gun owners. Legislation can pass the House by
simple majority, even if it’s just one vote. But it only takes one
senator to kill a bad bill.

It also means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is going to keep up the blistering pace of
confirming judges to the bench and Trump Administration nominees won’t
be automatically mired in the morass of politics. That’s especially important when
it comes to the Supreme Court. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen
Breyer are in their eighties. Neither has indicated a desire to retire,
but no one foresaw that President Trump would nominate and confirm two
justices in his first two years either.

More to Come

We’re
still sifting through all the results, including state governorships,
state legislatures and ballot initiatives. Tune in when NSSF hosts webinars on
what the midterm election results mean to our industry and what we can
expect. You can know this much: NSSF will remain engaged, fighting
against legislation that hurts our industry and that infringes on our
rights while working to America safer while respecting our liberties.

Best Comment On Absurd Statement By Pelosi

Last Friday, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement on the first anniversary of the shootings in the theater in Aurora, Colorado. It was, as you would expect from the source, nonsensical. Rep. Pelosi stated in part:

“In Congress, there can be no more fitting memorial to the lives lost in Aurora, in Newtown, and across the country than a concerted effort to enact commonsense gun safety legislation. We must uphold our oath to ‘protect and defend’ the constitution and all Americans by expanding background checks and keeping dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands.

Beyond misstating the Congressional Oath of Office that she took, the rest of the statement is just absurd.

The cartoonists at Failure To Fire nailed her on this today and they did a damn fine job of it.

Pelosi Is Losing It

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has a fertile imagination. Either that or she is losing it. Given that she is now 72, the latter is unfortunately a distinct possibility. Having watched my Mom suffer from dementia I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and that includes Pelosi.

Pelosi is firmly convinced that the attempts by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to get Attorney General Eric Holder to honor their lawfully issued subpoena is nothing more than a Republican attempt at voter suppression. The first paragraph of her statement on the filing of a civil lawsuit today by the Oversight Committee is below:

“This partisan lawsuit wastes taxpayer dollars and resources, and is a distraction from the urgent business before Congress: acting to create jobs and grow our economy. It is also designed to distract the Justice Department from its critical job of challenging state laws designed to restrict the rights of Americans to vote.

It is as if 300 dead Mexican nationals and 2 Federal law enforcement officers are just collateral damage in the effort to win elections by hook or by crook.

Delusional

Former Speaker and current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is delusional. In this clip from today’s Meet the Press, she insists to David Gregory that the Republican leadership brought the contempt charges for Attorney General Eric Holder merely as payback. The payback is for what she calls “voter suppression” (sic) or what the rest of us call requiring voters to present identification showing that they are who they say they are.

No mention is made of the deaths of Federal law enforcement agents Brian Terry or Jaime Zapata nor is any mention made of the deaths of an estimated 300 Mexican nationals.

As I said in the headline, delusional.