February, 2018

What Might Work?

February 20th, 2018 78 Comments

 

A childhood memory from Germany, late fifties, early sixties: I was sitting on a crowded bus, in Bad Godesberg. I was on the bus physically, but mentally I was miles and miles away, in one of those childhood vacant spots where imagination and longing intersect to make the real world vanish. I was vaguely aware that the bus briefly stopped and started again. All of a sudden, a man sitting across from me slapped my face, not hard, but hard enough to wake me up.

“Steh auf, Kleiner!” (Stand up, little one.)

A woman had gotten on the bus and there were no free seats. As a child, I was quite rightly expected to give her my seat, which I did, with an apology, as disapproving grownups glared at me.

I wonder what would happen in America today if someone did that. Would the police be called? Would the man be arrested? Would he be charged with assault or child abuse?

I am not advocating corporeal punishment on any level, by parent or stranger. What I am trying to point out is that there was, in that time and in that place, an attitude that society as a whole was responsible—to an extent—for the behavior of the individual child.

I know that attitude was once present in America, too. For a blatant and humorous example, think of A Christmas Story, when Ralphie’s mother calls Schwartz’s mother to complain that Ralphie learned “… THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the F-dash-dash-dash word…” from Schwartz. Ralphie didn’t, of course (he learned it from his father), but that was how the neighborhood parental network worked in those days.

Yet only a few generations later, when one of my children cheated on a test and was justifiably punished by the school with a failing grade, I went to talk to the teacher about what had happened and what the details were. To my surprise, the teacher was nervous and wary, and when she was done, and I told her I intended to reinforce the school’s discipline with my own, grounding my child for x-number of weeks, her reaction was one of surprise and relief. She had honestly expected me to raise hell because my child had been flunked. She told me that was the usual reaction of parents to any kind of discipline: a bad grade, suspension, getting kicked off a team, any form of punishment.

For another, parallel sea-change in attitudes, consider a slice of life from a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin. A friend of mine, younger than I, told me how in high school in the mid-seventies, he and his best friend used to ride their bikes to school every morning during duck and pheasant season with their shotguns in cases across the handlebars. At school they would hand the shotguns to their principal, who leaned them up behind the door to his office, along with others from other students. After football practice, the boys would collect their shotguns and hunt their way home.

And apparently, according some cursory research, up until sometime in the late seventies, early eighties, many American high schools had their own rifle teams, where teenagers could train and compete, just as they might in football or track.

And yet today, in a very different slice of life from 2018, in a suburb of Miami, Florida, a young man, a former student, walked into a school with an AR-15 and murdered seventeen people.

What has changed? It’s not guns; the AR-15 has been around for almost seventy years. It’s not kids; the human animal does not have the same genetic capacity for rapid evolution that a dog has. We are basically exactly what we were 50,000 years ago, and parents back then almost certainly had much the same problems parents have today.

I am suggesting that as a society we have lost a communal, a cultural sense of right and wrong and, more importantly, an understanding that, as a concept, consequences for bad behavior are at least as important as rewards for achievement. Note I did not say there should be rewards for good behavior. Good behavior was expected back then, taken for granted, and should be expected today. Nor did I say rewards for trying, as in trophies for participating; losing is as much a part of growing up as winning, and of the two, losing is probably the more important part.

Since the vast majority of young people would never dream of doing anything evil, let alone something as inconceivable as the Florida shooting, what are some of the influences that might have caused this young man to commit such an atrocity?

I’m not a psychiatrist, or a psychologist, or a social worker, or a teacher, but—according to the news reports to date—this young man gave numerous signs that he was in trouble. And it appears—again from early news reports, and keeping in mind that hindsight is always 20/20—both the FBI and local law enforcement dropped the ball badly.

But beyond all that, here was a young man whose mother had died this past November. Didn’t it occur to someone that even a mentally healthy kid might have some problems with the unexpected death of a parent, never mind a kid who was showing, as his public defender said, every red flag there is?

It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, and I’m sure both FBI and local law enforcement get inundated with warnings about any number of things, but perhaps certain combinations of warning signs should be taken more seriously. That’s a reasonable subject for public debate.

President Trump has vowed to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” and I applaud him for the intention, but it will be interesting to see what happens ‘twixt cup and lip. Jimmy Carter tried to federalize mental health, an action that was reversed by Ronald Reagan, who believed it was a states’ issue. Given the federal government’s frequently dismal bureaucratic track record, I’m inclined to agree with Reagan, but clearly funding is lacking is certain areas. More to the point, very conservative types like me believe strongly in the individual right to privacy, and how do we, as a nation, reconcile privacy with tracking and investigating warning signs? That’s another subject for public debate.

Equally important is changing the stigma against metal illness. For example, nearly every soldier who has experienced the horrors of war will return home with some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder, but that does not automatically translate into a danger to himself or to others. These issues, and more, must be discussed and debated and agreed upon.

Various social media sites loudly tout their role in bringing the world together as one big happy family freely exchanging ideas around the world. The truth is that social media giants too often block ideas they disagree with while inexplicably allowing others—consider violent jihad videos—to air. I am not blaming social media for the actions of a disturbed man, but if animal abuse is one of the standard, universally accepted signs of dangerous mental illness, one that will be followed by violence against humans as surely as night follows day, then posting gruesome pictures of dead and possibly mutilated animals on social media should raise a red flag. It should be at least as easy to flag and filter pictures of dead animals as it is to block a Prager University video presenting the actual FBI statistics on police shootings of black men; or a video in support of Israel; or one questioning why Western feminists don’t speak out about the abuses endured by Muslim women. Those are just some of the videos that have been blocked by YouTube. Yet, it was on YouTube that the Florida shooter stated his intention to become, “a professional school shooter.” The shooter’s personal videos of dead animals were posted on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, another social media site that prides itself in the free exchange of those ideas it agrees with.

Again, it’s easy to waggle an angry finger at such social media sites, but they are not responsible for what happened. What they are responsible for is taking a good long look at themselves and their criteria for freedom of expression.

I have heard right-wing pundits assigning blame to some of the ultra-violent Hollywood movies and video games that saturate the market today. I don’t know what the effect of those might be (I find them so moronic I have trouble believing anyone with an IQ greater than his hat size could be influenced by such stupidity), but I have read that child pornography has a pretty well-substantiated link to child molestation, so the same might be true of make-believe violence. This too is a subject worthy of public debate.

Much has been written about the decline of the nuclear family and the effect that has on troubled youth. In the shooter’s case, his adopted parents both dead, it’s hard to make a case for any societal failure, but keep in mind that it is one of primary contributing factors to the murder rate caused by urban drug gangs, so it too should be a topic for discussion.

Drug abuse is another. I have no idea if this young man was on any kind of legal or illegal drugs, but there is no metropolitan area in America that does not have a murder rate directly attributable to drugs and gangs. Not to guns, but to drugs and the violence of gangs. I have written before about the well-known and well-documented reasons why impoverished young inner-city men gravitate to gangs. None of this is secret, and solutions have been suggested, but local metropolitan governments seem to lack both interest and will. Both the problem, and the reluctance of city governments to even discuss the problem, let alone deal with it, should be another matter of public discussion.

Ever since this atrocity occurred, progressive politicians and pundits and the media have been screaming for gun control, excoriating the “all-powerful” NRA, and pointing self-righteous and dishonest fingers at the greedy and bloodthirsty gun industry. Never mind simple little facts such as a single anti-gun billionaire (Bloomberg, who is just one of several) outspending the NRA four-to-one to promote his anti-gun agenda. Never mind that gun companies work on a razor-thin margin, many are struggling to stay alive, and one giant, Remington, has declared bankruptcy. Never mind that blaming the NRA for a lunatic’s evil is like blaming the AARP for an old person’s bad driving. Never mind that blaming the gun for violence is like blaming the spoon for obesity. Guns are an easy target, you should pardon the expression. Mental health, social and cultural constructs governing adolescent behavior, drug abuse, the breakup of the family unit, gangs as substitutes for absent fathers, the negative aspects of social media, all those things would require real thought and effort. Marching and carrying a sign, or manipulating the emotions of a distressed voting base, those are easy.

But actions which might make a real difference will take a long time to enact and to implement. It took multiple generations to get where we are; it will take just as long to reverse the trend.

In the short term, what can be done? The first and most obvious is to better protect schools. In oblivious irony, many of the same progressives who rail against guns in private hands are the same progressives who applaud kneeling for the national anthem as a way to protest purported police brutality. Okie, dokie, that’s logic for you. But let’s put that idiocy aside and try to live in the real world. How many police officers do you think it would take to protect a school the size of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School? Over three-thousand students, multiple buildings with multiple floors and multiple entrances and exits, spread out over multiple acres? How many? This is a logistical topic that is better discussed by professionals who know what they’re talking about, but let’s say, conservatively, ten officers, daily, for the entire school year. That should do it. The average salary of a police officer in America is $61,000 a year (and it should be more, given what they are required to do), so who is going to pay the extra $610,000 a year? For just one school budget? Most public schools in America today can’t even afford to pay for the materials the teachers need to do their jobs. How much higher are you willing to see your taxes go? Remember, unless you are in a tiny community, your town has multiple schools in it, all deserving of protection.

The NRA has regularly called for the arming and training of those teachers and/or administrators who would be willing to take on that additional responsibility, and every time the NRA does, anti-gun progressives and their unthinking followers howl that such an action would endanger children even more. Never mind that to get a concealed carry license in America requires background checks far more thorough than the current standards. Never mind that most professional and reputable defensive shooting schools require a concealed carry license before you can take a class, precisely because it is an additional safeguard against potential liability. Never mind that, statistically, licensed concealed carry holders commit fewer violent crimes than law enforcement officers. (Don’t trust me on any of this; do your own damned homework before you shriek that I’m a lunatic, and by homework, I mean something a little more meaningful than going on the Mayors Against Illegal Guns or Everytown for Gun Safety sites, both of which were recently awarded four Pinocchios by the Washington Post.)

Not every teacher or administrator would be willing or have the capacity to act as an armed guard, but for God’s sake don’t stop the ones who are willing and who have the capacity. Would you rather hang up another “Gun Free Zone” sign and pretend you’ve accomplished something?

What about more laws? Just this morning I heard a pundit telling the same lies that have been told for over a decade:

We must close the gun show loophole! Don’t trust me, Gentle Reader. Do your own damned research and go to a gun show and try to buy a gun from a licensed exhibitor without going through a background check. If you can do it, I’ll reimburse you for the cost of the gun.

We must stop people from buying guns illegally over the internet! Oh, For God’s sake. Doesn’t the mainstream media ever report real news? The Government Accounting Office (GAO) was ordered by anti-gun Senators Schatz (D-Hawaii), Warren (D-Massachusetts), and Rep. Cummings (D-Maryland) to assess how well the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was enforcing firearms laws on the internet. To do so, the GAO conducted a series of seventy-two sting operations online, attempting to illegally purchase firearms without obeying the mandated background checks and laws. Out of seventy-two attempts, the GAO failed seventy-two times. The GAO then turned its attentions to the Dark Web, the shady and—I assume—illegal terrain of people who wish to remain anonymous because what they do is illegal. Out of seven attempts, even in that nether world, the GAO was successful only twice. I would argue that Warren, Schatz, Cummings, and the GOA could make better use of their time assessing how well the FBI responds to warnings about aberrant behavior.

We must ban assault weapons! The AR-15 is not an assault weapon. (Apparently—I haven’t researched this because I don’t frankly give a damn—Progressive liberal Joe Scarborough, the rabid anti-gun Morning Joe Scarborough, ran for Congress in 2013 from Florida’s 1st District, and at that time courted the NRA vote by defining an “assault weapon” as “anything the government would fear the people could use to protect their rights.” It’s a pretty accurate ideological definition, but not a legal one.) But apart from the fact that the AR-15 is not an assault weapon, does no one remember that Bill Clinton did ban so-called “assault weapons,” a ban that was allowed to expire in 2004 precisely because it had no discernible effect on violent crime. That verdict is according to multiple governmental and academic studies.

We must pass more laws! All the gun-control laws in the world will never stop either criminals or lunatics. If such laws worked, we could have stopped at Thou shalt not commit murder.

60 Minutes Concealed Carry Segment

February 14th, 2018 39 Comments

 

I watched the 60 Minutes special report on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act last Sunday (February 11, 2018). Superficially, it looked good: reasonably balanced interviews with articulate people on both sides, all of it hosted and narrated by Steve Kroft, earnestly doing his best to appear impartial. And no matter what, it certainly was a step up from Katie Couric’s so-called “Under the Gun” documentary in which footage was deliberately and unethically edited to misrepresent the Virginia Citizens Defense League (a pro-gun group) to make them look both stupid and dishonest. So progress is being made—to an extent.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (also known as House Bill 38), it is bill that would amend Title 18 of the United States Code so that all states would be required to recognize the validity of concealed carry licenses from other states and allow license holders to carry handguns from one state to another, across state lines, without fear of prosecution. Right now, each state has its own, frequently conflicting, laws, and some states have conflicting regulations from city to city, resulting, as Steve Kroft himself put it, in a confusing hodgepodge of contradictory laws. The bill has passed through Congress, and now languishes, waiting to be brought to a vote in the Senate.

The people on the pro-gun side were Tim Schmidt, founder and CEO of the US Concealed Carry Association, and Representative Richard Hudson, Republican, of North Carolina. On the anti-gun, anti-HR Bill 38 side were Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Cyrus Vance, New York District Attorney for Manhattan, and James O’Neill, New York City Police Commissioner. There were also some sound bites from other people on either side.

Let me give you a quick rundown of what was presented.

Robyn Thomas accurately stated that passing this bill would allow a concealed carry license holder to carry a sidearm into metropolitan areas in other states that might have far more stringent laws. She cited Los Angeles and San Francisco, two California cities where concealed carry licenses are automatically denied, regardless of circumstances, except in the cases of the very wealthy and/or well-connected who have the clout to transcend the law. But what Ms. Thomas did not mention, is that to obtain a concealed carry license, even in the most gun-friendly state in the nation, Arizona, a complete and thorough background check is conducted, one that goes well above and beyond the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Nor did Steve Kroft point that out, nor was anyone on the pro-gun side given a chance to point that out. Why that omitted detail is important—apart from the obvious reasons—will become clear.

Cyrus Vance and Police Commissioner O’Neill boiled their argument down to “more guns equals more violence.” They also, according to Steve Kroft, are worried specifically about more suicides, even though countless studies have shown that guns no more cause suicide than spoons cause obesity.

Vance and O’Neill have formed a coalition of prosecutors and police chiefs, from nearly every big city in America, to lobby senators to vote against the bill. Representative Hudson, when confronted with the list of cities across America whose police chiefs oppose this potential change in the law, graciously put it down to differences in opinion by “good people” on both sides. Again, I will return to “more guns equals more violence” and to the question of police chiefs in major metropolitan areas shortly.

When Representative Hudson said the licenses should be treated the way drivers’ licenses are treated, Steve Kroft responded with an argument that is often used as a specious comparison to gun ownership, namely that to obtain a driver’s license, one must pass a test demonstrating proficiency as a driver, knowledge of the law, and establish that you’re not going endanger other people. (That last one is highly questionable and open to debate, but I’ll let it go.) Rep. Hudson, to his everlasting credit, pointed out that driving is a privilege; the right to self defense is just that, a right, protected and ensured by the Constitution. Car ownership and driving are not.

Robyn Thomas denied the right to carry a gun outside the home on the grounds that the Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on that aspect of the Second Amendment. I would argue that the word “bear,” as in the phrase “the right of the people to keep and bear arms…” has meant “to carry” for over 1000 years (Beowulf is the first written example cited by the Oxford English Unabridged Dictionary), so anything the Supreme Court might or might not say about the matter is largely moot. Tim Schmidt pointed this out, albeit in different, more politic words.

Rep. Hudson also pointed out that both gun ownership and concealed carry license holders have increased exponentially over the last two decades, even as violent crime numbers have dropped to historic lows. Which brings me to the most dishonest portion of this program.

First, Steve Kroft presented the argument that states with highly restrictive or draconian gun laws have lower violent crime rates than states with lax gun laws, in other words, “more guns equals more crime.” And, superficially, if you choose only to look at selected data, that is somewhat correct. (It is not true of all states.) But what Mr. Kroft either did not know, or chose not to reveal, is that all of the studies that purport to prove this have neglected to remove drug distribution centers from the equation. Take Arizona as an example of a state with the most relaxed gun laws in the nation: if you look at the violent crime statistics for the state, it’s not as bad as some, but it’s not good. It has almost the exact same rate of violent crime as California, a state where both gun ownership and concealed carry are extremely difficult and getting more so every day. I could make an argument that the similarity in crime stats doesn’t speak well for draconian gun laws, but anti-gun advocates present it as proof that guns do not have an effect on reducing crime.

But now take Phoenix out of the equation. Phoenix and Tucson are both drug distribution centers, where Mexican cartels funnel their products through to other parts of the country. No Democrat will ever admit it, but drugs equals gangs equals violence regardless of gun laws, and if you remove Phoenix from the equation, Arizona becomes one of the safest and most peaceful places on earth.

And now we come to Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn. Dave Workman, senior editor at The Second Amendment Foundation’s publication, The Gun Mag (www.thegunmag.com), reminded me of Chief Flynn’s reaction a few years ago to Wisconsin’s right-to-carry law: “My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we’ll put them on the ground, take the gun away, and then decide whether you have a right to carry it.” Keep that reaction in mind, and remember that it is a violation of both the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor, the oath to “support and maintain the Constitution and laws of the United States,” and the established legal principle of innocent until proven guilty, so one might question why 60 Minutes would have put such a thug on the air in the first place. But since they did, here is Chief Flynn’s comment, carefully aired near the very end of the segment so it would remain in viewers’ minds:

“Every year since that law was passed in 2011, every year, nonfatal shootings have gone up, gun related homicides have gone up, and the number of guns seized from the streets by our department has gone up, that’s what our cockamamie law has done here.”

Passionate stuff. What’s wrong with it?

Police chiefs, unlike sheriffs, are political appointees. Does it strike you as odd that former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke’s every utterance about firearms and crime is diametrically opposed to Police Chief Flynn’s? That’s because Sheriff Clarke was elected by the people of Milwaukee County, and was answerable only to them.

Police Chief Flynn, as a political appointee, like every other major metropolitan police chief, has a very different agenda. Every word of his, and every action he takes, is intended to reflect the wishes of the men and women (he is appointed by the Mayor and the City Council) who gave him his job. Milwaukee is a Democrat stronghold. In fact, Milwaukee has been run by Democrats for more than a century, except for a few years when it was controlled by Socialists. (I’m not making that up.) Name a Democrat in office today who is pro-gun. Now name a major metropolitan area in the United States that is not run by a Democrat government. All those Democrat-run cities appoint their chiefs of police. For a good example of how the mayoral-police chief relationship works, or not, read LA Noir, by John Buntin, a brilliant and eminently readable history of the police force of Los Angeles, CA.

But beyond the liberal leanings of the Milwaukee Mayor and the city council, and beyond Chief Flynn having to lick the hands that feed him, listen to his words again: “Every year since that law was passed in 2011, every year, nonfatal shootings have gone up, gun-related homicides have gone up, and the number of guns seized from the streets by our department has gone up, that’s what our cockamamie law has done here.”

The words may or may not be true (I haven’t done the research), but it would be just as accurate and just as meaningful if Chief Flynn had stated: “Every year since the residents of Milwaukee switched from cable to satellite TV, every year, nonfatal shootings have gone up, gun-related homicides have gone up, and the number of guns seized from the streets by our department has gone up, that’s what the switch from cable to satellite has done here.”

Two events that occur simultaneously are not necessarily related, Mr. Flynn.

What about causation? Have drug-related arrests gone up or down in that same period? Is there a greater or lesser gang/cartel presence in Milwaukee since the law was enacted? Were the nonfatal shootings committed by concealed carry license holders? Were the gun-related homicides committed by concealed carry license holders? Were the guns seized from misbehaving concealed carry license holders?

To answer the last three hypothetical questions, government studies and independent studies have both shown that, as a group, the approximately 16-million concealed carry license holders in America are more law abiding than the general public. That should hardly be surprising, seeing how thoroughly they are checked and vetted and investigated before being issued a license. Want another factoid? Studies have also shown that concealed carry license holders commit fewer violent crimes than police officers.

Chief Flynn might want to cogitate on that fact before railing against the law-abiding citizens of his city. And the senators being lobbied by Mr. Vance and Mr. O’Neill might want to cogitate on it too.

Evil, or just Stupid?

February 8th, 2018 14 Comments

 

Come. Take my hand. Let us wander down certain dusty and half-forgotten corridors of history and see if we may learn something that might protect us from ourselves today.

Do you remember Joseph McCarthy? Ah. I see a few hands. Good.

For the rest of you, Joseph McCarthy was a US Senator (1947-1957) from Wisconsin who has the dubious distinction of being possibly the single most despicable, evil, corrupt, self-serving, morally and ethically bankrupt senator in American history. That’s saying a lot. Too many of today’s crop of politicians have set a low bar indeed, but none—not even his most ardent imitator, the evil and corrupt Harry Reid—has yet surpassed him. McCarthy is remembered vaguely today as having something to do with persecuting purported Communists with the collusion and happy cooperation of the FBI—which should tell you a lot right there about how much you can trust the FBI—but he achieved so much more. He was responsible for destroying the lives of thousands of Americans without the slightest justification, due process, evidence, proof, or even moral conviction (apparently after he lost power, he once admitted to a reporter or biographer that he had no convictions about what he was doing; that it was only for the cynical and contemptible purpose of advancing his career and wielding power). The list of famous, talented, brilliant lives he destroyed is too long, literally far too long, for me to enumerate, but after ruining many of the brightest and best in the governmental and diplomatic worlds, McCarthy turned his tender mercies on the private sector, focusing primarily on the world of the arts. Writers, playwrights, screenwriters, actors, directors, composers, musicians; McCarthy was indiscriminate in his cunning and venomous attacks. To go from one ludicrous extreme of the spectrum to another, consider the alpha and the omega: Albert Einstein at one end, stripper Gypsy Rose Lee at the other. Gypsy Rose Lee. Blacklisted. Yeah, McCarthy and the FBI made America is sooooo much safer.

One of the techniques McCarthy used was to say (I’m paraphrasing): “If you don’t give us the names of people you suspect of being communists, that is proof that you are yourself a communist.” A no-win situation for many a poor and courageous American back in those black days.

And that technique brings us up to today’s bumper crop of politicians vying for the coveted McCarthy Award.

Progressive cupcakes, the delicate little collegiate flowers who demand trigger warnings and safe spaces, student and professor alike, use a truly moronic—cunning, but still moronic—tactic when they have hysterics over anyone disagreeing with them about anything, and that is to claim the act of disagreeing is ipso facto proof of some dreadful and hateful prejudice: racism, xenophobia, homophobia, whatever the topic may be, the whole panoply of ills progressives claim only they are free of.

It’s the kind of stupidity one has sadly come to expect all too often in the halls of academia, but when it pervades even the halls of congress, that changes the equation, and it harkens back to the evil of Joseph McCarthy.

I was reminded of Joseph McCarthy while watching Adam Schiff on television the other night after the Republican memo had been released. He was asked about his claims there would be a grave threat to national security if the Republican memo on the Steele dossier were to be released by President Trump; he was asked to explain what exactly in the memo constituted such a threat. Instead of answering the question, after attempting to evade it once or twice, he pulled a progressive, McCarthy-esque (or whiny sophomoric cupcake) tactic out of the bin and accused the reporter of, “…carrying water for the Kremlin.” In other words, if you disagree with me, or if you even challenge me, it is ipso facto proof you are the enemy.

I want to be very clear here: Adam Schiff is not the only politician to resort to using this completely vacuous adolescent tactic. He just happens to be one of the most obvious and loathsome—and downright creepy—but far too many, on both sides of the aisle, including all too frequently our president, rely on attack, vilification, name-calling, hateful labeling, and sometimes even simple-minded obscenities.

To have lost the tools of civilized debate—reasoned argument, logic, real evidence, hard and verifiable facts—and to be reduced to ugly smears and innuendo and sneering accusations, is bad enough among junior high school students, worse still in the halls of colleges and universities, but in the highest levels of government it reduces our elected officials to meaner and craftier—though not as courageous—versions of those benighted third world political venues where fistfights break out on the floors of parliaments.

Come on, Mr. Schiff! Be a man and just punch the reporter in the face. It will prove you have no valid argument or facts to support whatever your latest your claim is, but at least it’ll show you have the courage of your lack of convictions.

 

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