Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is the press favoring Obama? Film at 11.

The McCain campaign has been complaining about the media favoring Obama, lately, following heavy press coverage of Obama's trip overseas. (Ironically, this was a trip McCain practically dared him to take, putting a sign up on his website tallying the number of days since Obama had last been in Iraq.) Their complaints seemed to be somewhat validated by studies showing that Obama gets more coverage. However, more is not always better.

The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University has a new study out that shows that Obama's coverage is less favorable than McCain's:
...when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative...

The same group, headed by Robert Lichter, did a study in 2006 that found the media were biased towards Democrats in the midterm election. This recently led to the amusing irony of Bill O'Reilly, who had praised Lichter's earlier work, bringing him on the air to complain about the new study, calling it "misleading" and an "enormous mistake."

Of course, the new study probably won't change any minds; O'Reilly is not alone in his stubbornness about his views of media bias. This topic seems to be nearly impossible for people to think about objectively; confirmation bias seems to be especially strong when it comes to how people see the press, leading people to only remember coverage that jibes with their preconceptions of media bias.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why I will never vote Libertarian

Okay, so I've established that I don't like the Libertarians' candidate for president. That I even need to explain why I would never vote for the guy who introduced the Gay People Are Second-Class Defense of Marriage Act, and still says he's proud of it, surprises me a bit.

But what of the Libertarians as a party? What do they believe? Let's look at their platform.

You're free to read the whole thing for yourself, and I encourage it in the name of an informed electorate. But I'll summarize the early bits thusly: mostly, they say they're for personal freedoms, which is laudable. My only issue with this is, they insist they're all for drug legalization, gay equality, and keeping the government out of people's sex lives, which makes their having nominated Bob Barr odd since he's tried hard to criminalize medical marijuana and presidential blowjobs, in addition to making sure gays can't get full marriage rights.

But this reinforces my general impression that, on the whole, libertarians believe rather passively in other people's freedoms, but quite actively in their freedom to pay low taxes and pack heat.

(Barr defends the Defense of Marriage Act, which basically dictates that no state has to recognize gay marriages performed in any other state, by saying that states' rights are a classic conservative principle. Awesome, Bob. Because, you know, leaving civil rights issues up to individual states has a long and noble history. Ask any black person living in the deep south in 1950.)

I think there's a reason they put all the individual rights stuff up front. That's the stuff that's popular. Liberals and conservatives alike (Christian theocracy advocates aside) believe, for the most part, in letting people live their lives the way they want.

If they put all the pro-corporate deregulation stuff up front, a lot fewer people would read all the way to the end.

Which is why the "economic freedom" bit is section 2, and that's what I really want to discuss.

2.0 Economic Liberty

A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.

Basically, what they're saying is, the market should decide absolutely everything. I'll leave the details to economists, but I've always had the impression that totally unfettered capitalism, just letting corporations do whatever maximizes their profits at all times, has a pretty dodgy history. Also, that stuff about "redistributing wealth" sounds to me like, for instance, progressive taxation is right out. I'll pass on that, thanks.

2.1 Property and Contract

Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others. We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates. We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services. We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.

As I read this, basically, they oppose any restrictions on what anybody can do with their land. So, you've bought some wetlands? Pave 'em over, to hell with the environmental impact and the public good. Whatever's profitable for you.

And no restrictions on advertising, and no zoning laws. Hey, let's put gun stores and adult bookstores in residential areas, and block every view we can find with enormous billboards. What's a little quality of life if it stands in the way of maximum freedom to make money?

It seems to me that libertarians are all about freedoms TO do things, and are utterly incapable of recognizing freedoms FROM things, like want and hunger and discrimination. Which, to me, means missing half the equation. It can be a rather delicate balance.

2.2 Environment

We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources.

Well, great! But there has to be a catch, right?

Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. We realize that our planet's climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.

Ah, there we have it.

This one compels me to ask: do Libertarians live on another planet? Possibly in another dimension?

Private businesses have a great track record for protecting the environment, unlike governments? In what universe is that true?

Our environment is as messed up as it is because corporations have every financial incentive in the world to mess it up, and it only ever get cleaned up when the government steps in and regulates. That's not debatable. It's simply historical fact.

The idea that we can clean the environment up by just letting business do everything it wants is beyond ludicrous. And you really do have to be blinded by ideology to think otherwise.

To certain people, a belief in the power of free markets is not so much a political view as a religious one.

2.4 Government Finance and Spending

All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a "Balanced Budget Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.

Translation: the government should be bankrupt and has no right to raise money. Which dovetails nicely with the belief that the government should never do anything.

Advocating less (or no) taxation is an easy sell for obvious reasons. In essentially the same way that telling kids they can eat pixie stix for dinner is an easy sell.

2.6 Monopolies and Corporations

We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. We oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets.

Translation: let's just let all the corporations fuse into one massive corporation, then let that entity run the world with no checks on its power and no accountability. What could possibly go wrong?

2.8 Education

Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children's education.

Translation: let's do away with educational standards. If people want their children taught that the earth is flat, it is not the government's job to set educational standards that say otherwise. Who cares if countries that actually teach children facts determined by, well, factuality, instead of by the marketplace, further and further surpass us economically?

2.9 Health Care

We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want, the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions.

Because, although the for-profit health care scheme we've got now has left tens of thousands uninsured and is by nearly every measure the worst in the developed world, and government-run health care programs throughout the world work far, far better by nearly every measure, we should do nothing to fix it. In fact, we should put for-profit corporations even more in charge. What's a few children dead of preventable diseases? What matters is the FREE MARKET IS GOD.

I'm sort of stunned by the way Libertarianism takes totally for granted that big corporation' interests are identical to the interests of regular individuals, while democratically elected governments, accountable to millions of voters rather than a handful of shareholders, are by definition our enemies. Health care is a great example of the opposite being self-evidently true.

2.10 Retirement and Income Security

Retirement planning is the responsibility of the individual, not the government. We favor replacing the current government-sponsored Social Security system with a private voluntary system. The proper source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.

Yes, let's scrap Social Security. Perhaps the most popular and successful government program in U.S. history. The one that saves old people who fall on hard times from having to eat cat food, because, hey, if that happens it's their just punishment for not having saved enough money.

I could keep going, but you get my point. And you're welcome to read the whole thing on your own if you want.

The point is this: I will never ever ever vote Libertarian. Because I believe the government should do stuff and because I believe massive corporations need more checks on their power, not fewer.

To everyone who has ever written me asking me if I've considered Libertarianism: does this answer your question?

I Sketched This

political cartoon

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I do think the government needs to do stuff

Recently, a number of people have written to me asking my opinion of the Libertarian Party in general and their nominee Bob Barr in particular.

Which I think is interesting. If the tone of the questions is right, I suspect these are, very generally, the same people who were asking me what I thought about Ron Paul last year.

There are a few different answers to that. I actually think this will have to be two posts. First, I'll give you my general impression, and second, I'll actually dissect the Libertarian platform.

There's a lot to like about their platform. Unfortunately, there's more to hate.

Basically, Libertarianism is a philosophy that holds that the government should do almost nothing. It should defend the borders, and then just let people and corporations do whatever the hell they want.

I suppose, for me, the question of whether the government should do nothing and just trust corporations and the "market" to fix everything, as the country unravels and people starve, should have been decisively resolved in 1932, when Franklin Roosevelt, who wanted to help people, resoundingly defeated Herbert Hoover, who didn't. And I think it mostly was resolved then, which is why right-wing attempts to do away with things like social security have gone absolutely nowhere in the 75 years since.

And which is also why the Libertarian Party is never a factor in our elections, and I kind of doubt it will be this time.

I'm all for the stuff Libertarians believe about things like abortion and homosexuality, which their platform declares are nobody's damn business the individual's.

I have to say, though, the vast majority of self-described "libertarians" I've met haven't actually been members of the Libertarian Party. Mostly they seem to vote Republican.

They pay lip service to things like abortion and gay rights, then they vote for fascists and religious zealots because those people promise to give them low taxes and unfettered access to guns. Which strikes me as, well, contemptibly selfish.

And I actually think Bob Barr underlines that point.

Barr introduced the Defense of Marriage Act, a pointless act of gay bashing, in 1996, and still defends the law. (Not to mention the "Barr amendment" against medical marijuana.) He also was the House impeachment manager in 1998 when the Republicans were trying to turn a blow job into fucking Watergate, and he still defends that, too.

Basically, Barr undermines anything I might like about libertarianism, and is apparently the nominee mostly because of his adherence to the parts I don't like (government that never, ever helps people and lets corporations run roughshod over the public).

I mean, okay, he opposes telecom immunity. Good for him. Maybe if that were the only issue in the world I might find that, by itself, an argument for his candidacy. Sadly, there are others.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday cat blogging

Gladys: I'm tired. Wake me when Barack is in charge.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's only bias when they like a Democrat

So, Barack Obama's been getting some pretty favorable press coverage recently.

I always thought the strongest argument for nominating Obama was that the Republicans would likely nominate McCain, who the press loved, and so we needed a candidate the press also liked. And Obama is that rare Democrat the press likes.

Beagle, yesterday, pointed out to me a bunch of political cartoons accusing the press of fawning over Obama.

The most worthy of mockery of the lot is that last one. It's just stunning to me that after eight years of "Bush is so manly and wonderful and we should all ignore his trashing of the constitution and the country," coming right on the heels of "Clinton is the devil and he should be run out of town on a rail for having the wrong kind of sex," that anyone could possibly still believe that old lie.

Still, the artist did portray John McCain as the longtime husband coming home to his wife, the media. On that point, the cartoonist and I are in total agreement (though somehow I doubt that was what he had in mind). Obviously I didn't really read that one carefully enough (despite having looked at it repeatedly--oops), because McCain is clearly not the "liberal media's" husband, here; instead, the "liberal media" is calling him "dad." Which...I'm at a loss, there. What the hell? So John McCain is...the liberal media's father? I suppose I didn't register that because it makes absolutely no sense. That sound you hear is an attempt at a metaphor crashing and burning.

So, the press likes a Democrat and is giving him positive coverage. This is shocking only because it's a Democrat. It's shocking only in light of the constant drumbeat that John McCain is a noble serious war hero who deserves to be president, and George W. Bush is a noble likable everyman brush-clearer who's standing up to the terrorists who want to kill us. Unlike that lying effeminate weasel Al Gore and that flaccid French eunuch John Kerry, who want to let al Qaeda win.

See, when they said that, it was perfectly fair. But, when they say positive things about a Democrat who's charismatic and running an excellent campaign, instead of saying them about his boring, confused, 71-year-old opponent, a man they've buttered up with praise for 15 years prior to this, it's proof of "bias."

As Jeffrey Toobin put it, "What I find kind of appalling is John McCain complaining about media bias. I mean, if there is one public figure in America who has gotten better press over the years than John McCain, I don't know who it is."

Shut up and stop whining, McCain people and cartoonists. Seriously. It's pathetic.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Whither Afghanistan?

Barack Obama has been meeting with the Afghan leadership, and one of the few points on which he and John McCain agree is, we have to beef up our effort there and concentrate on "winning" that conflict. (The difference between their plans, basically, is that Obama wants to redeploy troops there from Iraq, whereas McCain, as far as I can tell, wants to conjure a bunch of magical gnomes to send, or something. He's a bit vague.)

I have to say, I'm less than convinced.

I mean, yes, invading Afghanistan was a sane response to 9/11, and invading Iraq was not. At the time, I supported the Afghan invasion, reluctantly. ("Reluctantly" is the only way anyone should ever support a war. War is horrible. It should be waged only when there is no other choice. Be extremely suspicious of anyone who enthusiastically supports a war, anyone who seems to be enjoying it.)

And I did think, after an event like 9/11, we were justified in going after the perpetrators, who were being protected by a godawful repressive government that gave them safe harbor for their training camps.

And I do think we should have kept our focus on getting the people who had actually attacked us, instead of going off on some loopy tangent in an irrelevant country.

But now? What exactly are we trying to achieve there?

"We're trying to win" is not a good answer. I actually hate the terms "win" and "lose" as applied to wars. Those are terms best resevred for sporting events with unambiguous outcomes. War is not a game and the objectives (and outcomes) are much more complex.

I haven't heard anyone state a clear objective for the Afghan conflict at this point. We can't be trying to get bin Laden, because he's in Pakistan. So what are we supposed to be trying to achieve there?

And really--and I doubt I'm alone in this--I'm sick of spending all our money on wars with no clear objective while the domestic situation goes to hell.

I'm quagmired out. I say get the hell out of both countries in which we're fighting and rededicate our resources to unbreaking America.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weird Presidential standards

Maureen Dowd, not exactly the sharpest nail in the toolbox as it is, posits that Barack Obama takes himself too seriously:
Many of the late-night comics and their writers — nearly all white — now admit to The New York Times’s Bill Carter that because of race and because there is nothing “buffoonish” about Obama ...

At first blush, it would seem to be a positive for Obama that he is hard to mock. But on second thought, is it another sign that he’s trying so hard to be perfect that it’s stultifying? Or that eight years of W. and Cheney have robbed Democratic voters of their sense of humor? ...

[I]f Obama gets elected and there is nothing funny about him, it won’t be the economy that’s depressed. It will be the rest of us.
You heard it here first, folks. It is a requirement for a president to be silly in some way, otherwise he's "stultifying" in a way that will "depress" comedy writers, and, oh, the rest of us.

I'm getting a little tired of these oddball ideals that the media considers important for leaders of a nation. Awareness of the issues? The ability to delegate wisely? Keen judgment during crucial diplomatic and economic junctures? No, you gotta want to have a beer with him. You gotta be able to laugh at him. Haw! Haw!

This lackadaisical attitude can't possibly resonate with a voter faced with a horrible economy and a spiralling out-of-control war. In 2000, it was easier to be complacent and assume the President was a goofy figurehead who had no influence on the greater power of law. We know differently now. I think more and more voters are willing to skip the beer and laughs in order to point to their broken lives screaming "Fix it!" In order to inspire the confidence of a world-weary populace, you pretty much have to throw away the clown makeup.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Offshore Drilling

Bush lifted the executive order banning offshore oil drilling on Monday. This is an entirely symbolic move, since the Congressional ban remains in place, but it's clearly intended to spur public debate on the issue and set up domestic oil production as a campaign issue for John McCain.

First, a prediction: The Congressional ban will probably fall. Public opinion is behind ending the ban; according to a Rasmussen report written back in June, 67% of voters believe drilling should be allowed. It seems unlikely that Democrats will be able to maintain party unity in the face of that kind of public support, especially since they would need to specifically vote to renew the ban, which expires annually.

The oil industry is, of course, lobbying for the ban to end. But if I were them, I'd be nervous. According to Rasmussen, 64% of voters believe lifting the ban will lower gas prices, including a whopping 78% of conservatives. But any new supply from drilling won't hit the market for years, and even when it does it will only be a tiny fraction of the global oil supply. If the ban is lifted and gas prices stay high, people are going to start looking for someone to blame, and "big oil" will be in the crosshairs.

From an environmental perspective, this is a rather sad shift in public sentiment. We stand at a crossroads; we can either react to this crisis by shifting our economy to fuels that do not contribute so heavily to global climate change; or we can search for more oil as a way to temporarily lessen our short-term economic pain, at the expense of worsening a long-term environmental disaster. It seems all it took for people to switch to supporting the latter, short-sighted strategy was gasoline passing the magic $4.00/gallon mark. It's surprising how small a price we're really willing to pay to preserve the health of our planet for future generations.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Where the center is

"Lieberman Finds Middle a Tricky Path."

That's the headline on this New York Times article about Joe Lieberman.

I'm constantly amazed by the warped perception of where the "middle" is in American politics.

Joe Lieberman is not "in the center" of American politics. He has some socially moderate positions, but on his signature issue, the war and international affairs, Lieberman is about as far to the right as you can get.

He's not having trouble with the Democratic party because he's trying to walk "the middle." He's having trouble with them because 1) he's taken an extremist position that's far out of step with what most Democrats believe, and 2) he's backing the Republican candidate for president and routinely calls the Democratic nominee an extremist surrender monkey.

But as far as the media is concerned, a "centrist" is a Democrat who adopts extreme right wing positions on matters of war (Lieberman, though I'd hardly call him a Democrat anymore), or a Republican who has at least one position on something--it can be anything--that's different from George Bush's. Thus, Rudy Giuliani was allowed to be as extreme as he could possibly get on issues of war and "security," and still be called a "moderate." John McCain is regularly called a "centrist" despite the fact that, on nearly every issue, he's extremely far right--he's harshly pro-life, against both gay marriage and gay adoption, in favor (now) of more and deeper tax cuts for rich people, wants to stay in Iraq forever and mix it up with Iran and probably Syria, etc.

But, since he used to be for campaign finance reform (and also used to have non-doctrinaire positions on immigration and taxes that he's completely reversed himself on now), he's apparently a "moderate."

I suppose it goes without saying that I don't think the media, as a whole, could find the actual center of American political thought with both hands and a flashlight.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The cycle of scandal

1. Republicans get themselves involved in an actual scandal so big it winds up with a name that everyone knows.
2. Democrats get into power, and Republicans and their media enablers try and affix that name to every minor and/or wholly made-up scandal that comes along.
3. Republicans then have a license to get into as many scandals as they want, and any time the Democrats raise any objection the media will point to steps 1 and 2 and say "well, it's just politics, both sides do it."

You saw this with Watergate. The suffix "-gate" is still getting tacked onto things, but its heyday was the Clinton administration.

Just as a reminder, Watergate involved, you know, burglary, followed by breathtaking abuses of presidential power that threatened to touch off a constitutional crisis.

Which of course made it totally nonsensical to compare it to some firings in the white house travel office ("travelgate"), the unavailability of some records from an Arkansas law firm that there was no particular reason to believe contained anything askew ("filegate"), a land deal on which the Clintons lost some money in 1974 ("Whitewatergate," and boy did the press love to say that), an unfounded rumor about Bill Clinton having state troopers assist his extramarital activities ("troopergate"), or a blow job and the fact that Clinton didn't want to announce to the world that he'd gotten a blow job ("Monicagate").

But compare the media did. If Bill Clinton had stepped on someone's toe in front of a reporter, we would have been hearing breathless reporting on "toegate" for two months. And right-wingers would still be shouting about it any time the subject of Abu Ghraib came up.

And in my opinion at least, those phony scandals have given George W. Bush a lot of cover. Sure, he's authorizing torture, trashing the fourth amendment and lying the country into illegal, murderous and ruinous wars, but just look at all those Clinton scandals! See, we might as well just sit back and enjoy it 'cause, you know, both sides do bad stuff.

So, anyway, the scandal word du jour, "-gate" having run its course apparently, is "swiftboating."

You may recall four years ago, when the Democrats nominated a decorated Vietnam veteran who had been captain of a swift boat in Vietnam for the presidency. In response, people with connections to Karl Rove started a group called the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, which consisted of people who had been on similar boats but not Kerry's, and lied for months about things like having seen Kerry not doing the things he got his medals for. And the press treated this as legitimate.

After their boy George W. Bush was safely reelected, the press was free to admit that, you know, actually, those guys were full of shit. And so, "swiftboating" became a synonym for the ugliest, most dishonest kind of political smear job.

So, recently, Gen. Wesley Clark, who has streets named after him in Kosovo by the way, said that he didn't think John McCain's having been a POW was an automatic qualifier for the presidency.

And the good boys and girls of the press, whose useful memory extends to whatever happened 15 minutes ago in the green room (or whatever the last McCain operative they talked to told them to say), have repeatedly called this Clark's "swiftboating" of McCain.

One more time, kids. "Swiftboating," if it means anything, means lying. Clark was expressing an opinion, and being perfectly honest about the facts in doing so.

But you know this is only the beginning. This is going to happen a lot over the next four months. Furthermore, down the road, you are going to hear the completely reprehensible lies that sank John Kerry in 2004 compared, frequently and unapologetically, to all the people in 2008 who questioned whether we should, you know, actually look at McCain's policies and fitness for high office rather than just assuming that honorable military service makes you deserve to be president. (Funny how that argument only works if you're a Republican, too, isn't it?)

Fight the power.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday cat blogging

Drinking from Seagull's waterglass is Gladys's mission in life.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The narrow view of the "leave us aloners."

Seattle P-I columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr. writes today about Grover Norquist's new book, Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives. His column, ironically titled "America needs to get past partisan potshots," manages to unintentionally highlight the real rift between how conservatives and progressives view the world. I haven't read the book, but Jamieson describes the way it divides politicians and activists into two categories, "Takers" and "Leave Us Aloners":
The first, he [Norquist] says, is the "Taking Coalition" -- those lawyers, unions, government types and nanny-state meddlers that view the role of government as just taking stuff -- our rights, our freedoms, our hard-earned dough.
Yes, those mean ol' takers, always taking our stuff...surely no one could be in favor of that.
...there's a second group, Norquist says, that pushes back -- "The Leave Us Alone Coalition."

Folks in this group believe government works best at a minimum. If the capitalist system is given a chance to operate, economic forces will make society right. Many of these folks just want to be able to tote their guns and homeschool their children.
Isn't that nice? They just want to be left alone.

Jamieson then goes on to identify Tim Eyman, a local anti-tax activist and annual fixture in the initiative process, as a "leave us aloner." But only two years ago Eyman tried (unsuccessfully) to get an initiative on the ballot that would have made it legal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. Apparently people who want to be "left alone" in their private relationships are not as worthy of respect as people who don't want to pay taxes.

This is the kind of narrow view always espoused by conservatives like Norquist, who don't care what the government takes from others' freedoms as long as their own pocketbooks are secure and no one tries to take their guns away.

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