CNN's Cuomo Challenges GOP Congressman: Why Not Investigate Police Shootings Instead Of Clinton's Emails?
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CNN And MSNBC Provided Over 15 Times As Much Coverage
A Media Matters analysis of the three cable networks’ coverage of the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, a black man, in Baton Rouge, LA, found that Fox News devoted less than 7 minutes to the shooting, while CNN and MSNBC each covered the shooting extensively and aired several related press conferences. Media Matters analyzed the cable networks’ coverage between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. on July 6, the day after the shooting.
When covering the Latino vote, media figures -- including Univision’s Jorge Ramos -- have been helping conservatives push the myth that Latinos are ready-made Republicans, but this fiction cannot be backed by data.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, with the help of media, has baselessly tried to paint himself as “number one with Hispanics” -- yet data consistently shows that’s “simply not true.” National outlets like The Wall Street Journal have allowed representatives from the right-wing, Koch-funded Libre Initiative to erroneously suggest Latinos are becoming more conservative.
On the July 3 edition of Univision’s Al Punto, anchor Jorge Ramos introduced conservative guest Lionel Sosa as a Republican “communication adviser who has better understood that Latinos share a lot of values with Republicans.” Sosa, who recently publicly renounced the Republican Party in protest of the likely presidential nomination of Donald Trump, said Latinos are people “with conservative values.” He added, after being prompted by Ramos, that Reagan had told him that “Latinos are Republicans but they just don’t know it yet,” and said that because Latinos “have conservative values” like believing strongly in family and God, they are a natural fit with the Republican Party.
JORGE RAMOS (HOST): Lionel Sosa is quite the legend. For decades he’s helped Republican presidential candidates take the White House. That’s what he did with Ronald Reagan and with both Bush presidents. He is, without exaggerating, one of the communications advisers who has best understood that Latinos share a lot of values with Republicans, but now he’s decided to not support Donald Trump. Lionel joins us via satellite from San Antonio. Lionel Sosa, thank you so much for speaking with us from San Antonio.
LIONEL SOSA: Good morning, Jorge. A pleasure to be with you.
RAMOS: Part of the story, Lionel, is it true that President Ronald Reagan told you that he knew that Hispanics are really Republican, but that they just didn’t know it -- that’s a historical phrase -- but did Ronald Reagan tell that to you?
SOSA: Ronald Reagan told me that --
RAMOS: What did he tell you?
SOSA: When I met him -- he told me, “Look, Latinos are Republican but they don’t know they are Republican.” See, and I’ll tell you why. Because Latinos have conservative values like the Republican Party. Latinos don’t want to be given stuff, they want to be placed where there is stuff. Latinos want opportunities, Latinos are smart. We don’t have to be a government that gives like this and that because we don’t know how to work. We know how to work. We believe in family, we believe in God, we believe in being responsible for the things we do. Those are conservative values and those are the values of Latinos and the Republican Party. So when he told me this, it gave me the idea to work the campaigns of other presidents under that philosophy.
This isn’t the first time Ramos has misrepresented the Latino vote -- He previously (incorrectly) suggested that if not for the single issue of immigration, Hispanics would support conservative platforms. On another occasion, he agreed with Helen Aguirre Ferré when she charged that Hispanic views on the economy and family align with Republicans. But the idea that Latinos are really Republicans is not backed up by data.
Polling from Pew shows that immigration is not the only issue keeping Latinos from voting for conservative candidates, as more than half say they would support a candidate who disagrees with them on immigration “if that candidate agrees with them on most other issues.” Pew has also found that Latino voters rank education, health care, jobs, and the economy as more important than immigration, which demonstrates that the electorate's concerns are much more complex than what the media often paints them out to be.
A majority of Latinos support marriage equality, a position that a majority of Republicans reject. And Latinos are also at odds with the GOP when it comes to supporting action on climate change and gun safety policies.
Moreover, recent data contradicts the opinion that the deeply held religious beliefs of Latinos (more than half of whom are Catholic) make them lean Republican because of “presumed conservative views on abortion,” showing that close to three-quarters of Latinas lean Democrat and 63 percent would back candidates who would “protect abortion rights”:
The National Rifle Association is promising that there will be an Islamic terrorist attack involving a mass shooting at a shopping mall, going so far as to release a video in which the NRA used a camera phone to case a real mall in Oklahoma. The video identifies where exits are “few and far between” and where there is “lots of open area,” “high ground” and “places to channelize people.”
Footage of the NRA casing a mall appears in a video released by the NRA News’ commentator series. The video opens with a re-enactment of a would-be terrorist planning his attack, then switches to the NRA’s camera phone footage of an Oklahoma mall, before returning to a video re-enactment of a planned mass shooting at a shopping mall. NRA News contributor and former Navy SEAL Dom Raso narrates the video, attempting to connect the NRA’s re-enactments with its footage of the mall, as well as news footage from the 2013 terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
The video begins by depicting a bearded man of apparent Middle Eastern descent watching a news program about a “generational problem in our Muslim community” while he plans a terrorist attack. Raso narrates, “Right now there is someone in America who wakes up in the morning and starts working, just like you. Think of the week before a huge job interview or a big presentation. Think about how much work you put into make it perfect. He is doing the same thing, except it isn’t for weeks. In some cases, it’s generations of dreaming, planning, working. … He is a radical Islamic terrorist.”
Raso then posits that the attack will occur at a mall, arguing, “He wants to be remembered for killing more innocent people than the terrorists before him. That’s exactly why he is looking for gun-free zones in states and cities where politicians have reduced our Second Amendment freedoms.” News coverage of the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack, depicting real security camera footage from the shooting, is played as Raso narrates. (In fact, the NRA’s claims about gun-free zones have been debunked: There is no evidence that mass shooters pick targets based on whether civilians can carry guns or that civilians with guns have stopped public mass shootings.)
The NRA video then switches to footage of a real mall, apparently shot on a camera phone by a member of the NRA’s video team. While video footage and freeze frames of shoppers at the mall are shown, Raso says, “As he walks through nearby shopping malls, he’s looking at the exits. He wants them to be few and far between -- hard to find in a panic, and easy to block. He wants lots of open area, high ground, and places to channelize people.”
The NRA video blurs out some faces and store signs, but not others, making the mall identifiable through its distinct characteristics. The shopping center the NRA cased appears to be Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City, OK, less than a mile from the offices of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s ad firm. The location of the mall also undercuts Raso’s argument that a terrorist would only target “gun-free zones in states and cities where politicians have reduced our Second Amendment freedoms,” given that Oklahoma has some of the loosest gun laws in the country.
After the Oklahoma mall footage, the video returns to a re-enactment of a mass shooting breaking out at a mall. Raso narrates the viewer’s impending death amid sounds of screams, saying, “You still have no idea where the shots are coming from, but you see an exit sign. Tunnel visions sets in, your heartbeat increases, and now you feel a shortening of breath. You think you’ve escaped, but then you realize the shots and screams are getting louder. You’re surrounded. He’s planned this in advance. He’s covering the exits. He is going to kill you.”
With the re-enactment over, Raso acknowledges, “The people who want to restrict your right to bear arms will call this fearmongering.”
The video closes with Raso stating that the prospect of a mall terror attack means we should be asking, “What are we and our leadership doing to prevent it?” But while the NRA’s answer to combating terrorism apparently involves pushing against legislation to reduce gun violence, the terror group Al Qaeda infamously released a video urging terrorists who wish to carry out an attack on American soil to exploit the United States’ lax gun laws.
Here is the NRA’s full transcript of its video:
Right now, there is someone in America who wakes up in the morning and starts working, just like you.
Think of the week before a huge job interview, or a big presentation. Think about how much work you put in to make it perfect. He is doing the same thing … except it isn't for weeks. In some cases, it's generations of dreaming, planning and working: 50, 60, 70 hours a week in anticipation of the moment he's been waiting for his entire life.
His job is to disrupt freedom by killing you, your family and our fellow Americans.
He knows he gets one shot, and it has to be perfect. He wants maximum chaos and maximum fear; he needs the news media to replay his work for years to come.
He is a radical Islamic terrorist.
I spent 12 years of my life hunting down people like him, and I know exactly how they think.
And I know they are looking at shopping malls. Because they've already done it.
September 21, 2013. Nairobi, Kenya. A group of heavily armed gunmen executed a pre-planned attack on Westgate Shopping Mall during a busy Saturday. Sixty-three innocent people were brutally murdered. Close to 200 more were injured.
That terrorist I mentioned earlier? His goal is to outdo the Westgate massacre. He wants to be remembered for killing more innocent people than the terrorists before him.
That's exactly why he's looking for gun-free zones in states and cities where politicians have reduced our Second Amendment freedoms. He wants to produce mass chaos, mass panic; he wants to immediately assume control over everyone in the building. So of course he is only going to consider malls that prohibit his targets from carrying firearms.
As he walks through nearby shopping malls, he's looking at the exits. He wants them to be few and far between—hard to find in a panic, and easy to block.
He wants lots of open area, high ground, and places to channelize people. Most important, he wants an unsuspecting and an unprepared crowd. In order for his plan to work, he is counting on everyone in that mall being completely and utterly unprepared.
Think about this.
You're at the mall with your kids on a busy Saturday, picking up clothes for your family's summer vacation. As you wait in a long line to checkout, you and your kids laugh and smile. You'll be at the beach in a few weeks.
Out of nowhere, you hear shots fired. A few seconds later, screams. Your mind tells you what's happening, but you still try and convince yourself it isn't real. The shots get louder, and the screams multiply.
People begin to realize what's happening. Panic spreads and chaos erupts. Kids get separated from their parents. The elderly are pushed to the ground. The teenager behind the checkout counter is frozen in fear.
You still have no idea where the shots are coming from, but you see an exit sign. Tunnel vision sets in, your heartbeat increases, and now you feel a shortening of breath. You think you've escaped, but then you realize the shots and screams are getting louder. You're surrounded. He's planned this in advance … he's covering the exits … he is going to kill you.
The people who want to restrict your right to bear arms will call this fear-mongering. They'll say it almost certainly will never to happen to you.
Maybe it won't. But it will happen to someone. And what if that someone is you? And what if it is your family?
Both as a society and as individuals, what are we doing to prepare for it? More importantly, what are we and our leadership doing to prevent it?
Deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it was … or face the consequences.
A controversial National Rifle Association ad filmed at a military cemetery in violation of government policy was shot at Alexandria National Cemetery.
On June 30, the NRA Political Victory Fund launched a $2 million ad buy in swing states. The ad features veteran Mark Geist -- a survivor of the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks -- as he walks in and stands in front of a national cemetery.
Because of the distinctive fencing and foliage, Media Matters can identify the cemetery as Alexandria National Cemetery. A Friday visit to the cemetery confirmed it as the location for the ad.
The cemetery is located in Old Town, Alexandria, which is also the headquarters for NRA News and the site of an office of Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s ad firm.
Facing questions over where it filmed the ad, the NRA previously declined to tell ABC News where it was filmed, other than to say it was not filmed at Arlington National Cemetery.
In the ad, Geist says, “A lot of people say they’re not going to vote this November because their candidate didn’t win. Well I know some other people who won’t be voting this year either.” The ad then shows footage of Alexandria National Cemetery.
The ad goes on to use the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks to criticize Clinton and ends with a graphic that says “Trump 2016.”
The area where Geist is shown walking and pausing at a gravesite is largely filled with Civil War era graves. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Alexandria National Cemetery is one of the original 14 national cemeteries established in 1862. The first burials made in the cemetery were soldiers who died during training or from disease in the numerous hospitals around Alexandria. By 1864, the cemetery was nearly filled to capacity, which eventually led to the planning, development and construction of Arlington National Cemetery.”
Geist uploaded a photo to his Instagram page in May with the caption, “Alexandria National Cemetery visiting fallenpatriots from the civil war.#13hours #benghazi #markozgeist#neverhillary.”
The ad has been criticized by veterans groups. VoteVets.org has called for the ad to be taken down, while a national spokesperson for Veterans of Foreign Wars said, "Don’t use our dead to score political points."
Veterans’ groups are criticizing the National Rifle Association for releasing a pro-Donald Trump ad that was apparently filmed at a national cemetery in violation of government policy, calling for the ad to be taken down and accusing the gun group of “using our dead to score political points.”
The ad, launched Thursday by the NRA Political Victory Fund, features veteran Mark Geist –- a survivor of the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks -- as he walks in and stands in front of a national cemetery; the graves of military personnel are featured prominently.
During the ad, Geist attacks the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, saying, “Hillary as President? No thanks. I served in Benghazi. My friends didn’t make it. They did their part. Do yours.” The ad ends with a graphic supporting Trump.
As ABC News reported, the ad is in apparent violation of Department of Veterans Affairs’ “strict prohibition of filming campaign ads on national cemetery property that contains the graves of military personnel, veterans and their spouses.”
Jessica Schiefer, public affairs officer for the National Cemetery Administration, told Media Matters the NRA did not seek permission to film at a national cemetery, and that they would have rejected the request had they received one.
“To date, the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has not received or approved any filming requests of this nature,” she said via email. “NCA did not receive a request from the NRA to film the subject advertisement. If we had received such a request, we would have denied it based on the partisan content. Partisan activities are prohibited on national cemetery grounds as they are not compatible with preserving the dignity and tranquility of the national cemeteries as national shrines."
She added, “As always, our Veterans, their families and survivors are our top priority. To maintain the sanctity and decorum of VA National Cemeteries as national shrines, our filming policy states that filming may not be used for the expression of partisan or political viewpoints, or for uses that are (or may be interpreted as) an endorsement of a commercial entity.”
NRA officials did not respond to several requests for comment, but told ABC News the ad was filmed outside of the cemetery, although they declined to reveal where exactly it was made. (The NRA’s attempt to claim the ad was filmed “outside” the cemetery makes little sense, considering Geist is shown walking among headstones.)
In addition to the apparent violation of government policy, the NRA ad has triggered outrage among some veterans groups, who contend it is improper.
“Don’t use our dead to score political points,” Joe Davis, a Veterans of Foreign Wars national spokesman and an Air Force veteran of Desert Storm, told Media Matters. “We fought for everybody’s First Amendment rights and everything, but we don’t want any candidate using our dead to score political points.”
Jon Soltz, an Iraq War Veteran and chairman of VoteVets.org, responded with a statement that said, "This ad should be taken down immediately. It is insensitive to those buried at the cemetery -- most, if not all, of whom died before Benghazi, and many of whom may not have been NRA supporters. Further, it violates Veterans Affairs policy. It should be taken down."
Despite apparently violating government policy, there is no indication the NRA plans to pull the advertisement, which is reportedly being backed by $2 million and is scheduled to run in several key battleground states over the next two weeks.
In contrast to the NRA, several previous political ads that aired images and footage from national cemeteries were either altered or removed. In 1999, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign aired an ad featuring unauthorized footage filmed at Arlington National cemetery -- the campaign apologized and recut the ad to remove the footage. More recently, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) pulled a 2014 ad that was filmed at a North Dakota veterans’ cemetery.
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Star Of Ad Previously Said He Didn’t Hold Clinton Accountable For Benghazi Attacks
The National Rifle Association’s political action committee released an ad featuring a former CIA contracter present during the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks urging viewers not to vote for Hillary Clinton because of the attacks. But the contractor previously said that Clinton is not accountable for the attacks.
USA Today reported on June 29 that the NRA Political Victory Fund was launching a $2 million ad campaign which the paper notes is “one of the larger expenditures by an outside group on behalf of the presumptive Republican nominee.” The NRA-PVF titled the ad “Mark ‘Oz’ Geist: Stop Clinton, Vote Trump.”
The ad features Mark “Oz” Geist, a former CIA contractor who responded to the September 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi that claimed four American lives, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Geist is the co-author of 13 Hours, a book chronicling how he and other contractors undertook a rescue mission during the attacks. The book was later turned into a 2016 Michael Bay film with a similar title.
In the ad, Geist, who has endorsed Trump, is shown walking through a cemetery while saying, “Hillary as President? No thanks. I served in Benghazi. My friends didn’t make it. They did their part. Do yours.”
But Geist has said in the past he does not blame Clinton for the attacks. During a January 2016 appearance on ABC’s Nightline to promote the film 13 Hours, Geist disagreed with the notion that Clinton was “accountable” for the Benghazi attacks, instead blaming the terror group that carried out the attack. According to an ABC News writeup of the interview:
But while many of Clinton's enemies use Benghazi to hold her accountable, Geist has his own perspective.
“Do I hold her accountable? No. You know who I hold accountable is al-Sharia,” he said. “That’s who attacked them. That’s who killed the ambassador.”
In addition, Geist has pushed back on the conservative media myth (which congressional investigations have also debunked) that Clinton or some other high-level Obama administration official issued a “stand down” order that delayed the attempt by him and other contractors to rescue Americans under fire during the attacks. During a September 9, 2014, appearance on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, Geist instead blamed the delay responding on the CIA station chief, while attributing no “malice” to the chief’s decisions. From a CNN transcript of the segment (emphasis added):
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: The chief of base wasn't telling the contractors to wait out of malice or unwillingness to help those under attack. There is a huge and fundamental difference between a short delay for security considerations and a stand down order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I understand that this might just be semantics. But their argument is that Bob wanted to make sure that they got Intel, wanted to make sure you had enough weapons, wanted to make sure there was enough backup. It wasn't a political decision.
GEIST: Sure, sure.
TAPPER: Your take?
PARONTO: My take on that is the first five minutes -- and I've even said this, and I even said this to the committee when we were interviewed. I said the first five minutes, I'll give you that. It is a combat situation. We do need to adjust fire and get ourselves in order. The next 20 minutes, no. Tactically, that's unsound and minutes cost lives. And they died of smoke inhalation, Sean and the ambassador. So, once that comes about in that 20 minute time frame, the decision needed to be made. And we need to go - we need to stay in. Also, we didn't have a rapport with the 17 February militia.
PARONTO: So we are calling - calling- we are relying on somebody to rescue our friends and our comrades and we didn't trust them. We didn't initially trust them. We still don't trust them.
GEIST: Well, you know, and we've never indicated that there was any malice from them. And why he made the decision. But you have six operators that have probably together almost 100 years of experience in counterinsurgency operations. The question that we have, is why wouldn't you utilize that asset that you have available to get out there and see and put eyes on to find out real true intelligence instead of depending on a local national to get that intelligence.
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In the middle of an unfolding standoff between police and a gunman at a movie theater in Germany, Fox Business host Stuart Varney repeatedly pivoted to promoting Donald Trump, calling the incident “a plus” for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
On the June 23 edition of Varney & Co., Varney dedicated two segments to the developing situation, speculating in each that the situation might benefit Trump’s campaign. First, Varney and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley, a Trump apologist, agreed that the situation -- initially reported as a “mass shooting” -- would “absolutely” benefit the GOP front-runner because he has “emphasized the need for strong national security policy.”
Next, Varney asked Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News judicial analyst, what impact the incident might have on U.S. immigration policy. Napolitano responded, “When a crisis like this happens, it should benefit Donald Trump,” because “he portrays himself as the stronger, sterner protector of our shores.” He advised Trump to “express outrage and … determination” to “one up Mrs. Clinton.” Napolitano has a history of pushing conspiracy theories and recently used the horrific mass shooting in Orlando to promote debunked right-wing media myths about gun violence. He is also reportedly a likely Supreme Court nominee, should Trump become president.
Trump foreign policy adviser Walid Phares echoed Fox’s promotion of the GOP candidate, saying that if the shooting was “politically motivated terrorism,” it will benefit Trump because it will prove that “terrorism is active in Europe.”
Varney has track record of inserting praise of Trump’s foreign policy positions into his reporting. On May 19, when an EgyptAir flight crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, the Fox Business host framed the tragedy as “a plus” and “politically good for Donald Trump.” On March 22, he also let Phares erroneously claim the United States doesn’t have a vetting process for Syrian refugees, whom Trump has incorrectly labeled as a threat to national security.
After Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced his intention to seek reelection to the Senate -- despite previously pledging he would not run -- state editorial boards criticized the senator’s “thin record” and “absenteeism” from the Senate during his first term. Several outlets also criticized Rubio’s recent votes against stronger gun laws after claiming the Orlando terror attack on a gay nightclub motivated his reentry into the Senate race.
Fox News figures condemned the House Democrats’ nearly 24 hour long sit-in to demand a vote for gun violence prevention legislation as a disrespectful “breakdown of the rule of law.”
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As civil rights hero and noted sit-in organizer Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) led a sit-in on the U.S. House of Representatives floor to demand votes on gun violence prevention measures, the host of the National Rifle Association’s radio show gave a lecture on “what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement.”
Shortly before noon on June 22, Lewis and other Democratic members of Congress sat on the House floor, refusing to return to regular order until Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) agreed to call a vote on background check legislation and legislation to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms. The sit-in lasted through the night and has continued today through posting time.
During the June 22 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show, Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards said of the sit-in, “I don’t know what to call it” and proceeded to give a lecture on what a sit-in is, referencing famous lunch counter protests during the civil rights movement, before concluding “That’s what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement.”
Lewis served as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and famously organized numerous sit-ins, including lunch counter protests, to protest racial discrimination during the 1960s.
Edwards went on to attack the Lewis-led sit-in, characterizing it as “House Democrats demanding the authority and the power to ignore the Fifth Amendment when they see fit,” a reference to the claim that Democratic legislation to prohibit gun sales to suspected terrorists violates the due process clause of the Constitution.
In fact, any gun sale denials are already subject to a due process procedure. If someone, for example, is erroneously flagged as a felon and denied the purchase of a gun, they have the ability to have the denial adjudicated by filing an appeal. Democrats have also expressed willingness to ensure that legislation to prevent sales to suspected terrorist affords due process to individuals who have sales denied.
Edwards closed out his lecture about sit-ins with a bizarre analogy that compared efforts to destroy ISIS to what he claimed Democrats are doing to the Bill of Rights, claiming, “These are House Democrats demanding the authority and the power to ignore the Fifth Amendment when they see fit, to view the Bill of Rights as an impediment to lawmakers, to treat it as such and to try to degrade. Kind of like what they say with ISIS right? Degrade and destroy. We’re kind of witnessing the degradation and the destruction of the Bill of Rights right now.”
From the June 22 broadcast of Cam & Company:
CAM EDWARDS (HOST): Again, the pro-- I don’t know what to call it, a sit-in, again, generally speaking we saw the sit-ins in the civil rights movement that were advocating for individuals being able to enjoy the same rights that other Americans enjoyed, right? That’s what the protests were, that’s what -- we’re sitting at this lunch counter and we’re not leaving until we get served. Not we’re sitting at this lunch counter and we’re not leaving until you remove this item from the menu. We’re going to sit right here and we’re not leaving until you recognize us as human beings, as Americans who have the same rights that that guy has over there and that she has over there. That’s what the sit-ins were about in the civil rights movement. This, on the other hand, this isn’t Congress demanding more rights for Americans, this isn’t Congress demanding rights for themselves, this is Congress demanding power. These are House Democrats demanding the authority and the power to ignore the Fifth Amendment when they see fit, to view the Bill of Rights as an impediment to lawmakers, to treat it as such and to try to degrade. Kind of like what they say with ISIS right? Degrade and destroy. We’re kind of witnessing the degradation and the destruction of the Bill of Rights right now. Where again you’ve got self-professed thought leaders who say it’s time to repeal the Second Amendment, the Constitution itself is outdated, and then you've got lawmakers who just want to ignore the Bill of Rights.
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