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Old February 17, 2013, 01:28 AM   #1
BarryLee
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WSJ: Why Our Gun Debate is Off Target

The Weekend WSJ carried an article by Dan Baum titled, “Why Our Gun Debate is Off Target”. Mr. Baum has written a book based on his travels around the country meeting with average gun owners. The book titled, “Gun Guys: A Road Trip” is due out in March. He makes the point of being a liberal democrat, a gun owner, permit holder and makes no secret of his disdain for the NRA and accuses them of extremism. However, I find it sort of ironic that the statements that were considered “extreme” a few months ago are now coming true, but I digress.

In the article he states that the voice missing from the current debate on guns is that of the 100 million gun owners. He makes the point that the NRA only represents four million of them and does not speak for the majority. He also points out the anti-gun crowd often engages in insults and mischaracterizations of gun owners.

The author then points out some very positive things about gun owners and shooting sports. He also calls for gun owners to enter the debate and call for more gun safety involving gun owners themselves. He states that gun owners need to take more responsibility as a group for guns used in accidental shootings, teen suicides and the use of stolen guns in crimes. He suggests that the NRA opposes calling for an increase in gun owner safety because it would then reveal that not just criminals are responsible for gun violence.

Anyway, while I think he engages in some hyperbole the article is an interesting read.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...LEFTTopStories
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Old February 17, 2013, 01:58 AM   #2
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I was interviewed by Mr Baum several years ago and I am featured in his book.

While the man will readily admit he is a blue dog Democrat, he is pro gun. We went shooting together, and he even brought along his suppressor to shoot.

I think he makes some very good and very real points that would be unwise to ignore.
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Old February 17, 2013, 02:09 AM   #3
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I was interviewed by Mr Baum several years ago and I am featured in his book.
Ok, that’s actually kind of neat that some folks from this forum are in the book. Have you read an advance copy?
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Old February 17, 2013, 03:25 AM   #4
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Good article. I differ with him in defining 'gun violence' to include suicides. If fact, the very term 'gun violence' connotes a gun that can commit violent acts all by itself, like a killer SUV or other demonized objects.

He seems to get from an Ebay pistol safe at his bedside to mandatory storage including trigger locks for all guns in the home. I don't necessarily disagree with the concept, but as law, it's not viable. What's the penalty for leaving one out one day? Felon for life? Accessory to murder?
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Old February 17, 2013, 09:40 AM   #5
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Overall, a decent article. I disagree with his notion that someone other than criminals is to blame for "gun violence." Does "gun violence" include accidental or negligent shootings? Does it include DGUs? That seems to use an awfully broad brush for the term. Frankly, I disagree with the use of the term "gun violence" altogether, but that's beside the point for discussions of this article.

And while I must admit that the article is fairly well-balanced, I cannot escape the feeling that it is intended to subtly shame gun owners into accepting more "reasonable, common sense gun measures." I say this because of the use of the term "gun violence," for starters.

Another example from the article:
Quote:
Neither do they want to be ordered to report a stolen gun to the police. Lots of gun guys consider it tyranny to have to tell the police anything about their guns, and they have kept most jurisdictions from passing stolen-gun laws. Only seven states and the District of Columbia make reporting a stolen gun mandatory.

But if we gun guys are the paragons of civic virtue that we claim to be, why do we have to be ordered to lock up our guns or report a gun theft? Wouldn't a responsible citizen do that anyway?
So, umm, if we don't want it legally mandated that we report stolen guns, we're are not responsible citizens?
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee
Overall, a decent article. I disagree with his notion that someone other than criminals is to blame for "gun violence." Does "gun violence" include accidental or negligent shootings? Does it include DGUs? That seems to use an awfully broad brush for the term. Frankly, I disagree with the use of the term "gun violence" altogether, but that's beside the point for discussions of this article.
But the term "gun violence" applied with a broad brush fits right in with the effort to classify "gun violence" as an epidemiological problem and funnel money to the CDC to study it.

The fact is, any time a person dies or is seriously injured due to external physical impact, a "violence" is perpetrated on that person's body. So, in that vein, a batter who is struck by a knock-down pitch is a victim of "baseball violence," a pedestrian who is struck by a automobile or a person injured in a car accident is a victim of "car violence," and a person who slips while showering is a victim of "bathtub violence." But there's no political capital to be gained by declaring that cars and bathtubs are dangerous weapons and need to be further studied and heavily regulated, so the politicians don't go there.

The latest furor is to renew (and expand) the AWB. They're after the AR-15s again. Yet FBI statistics over a recent five year period show that more people were killed with hammers than were killed with rifles (of all types). So there's a bunch of people out there who were clearly victims of "hammer violence," yet there's no move to have the CDC study violence by hammers, or to enact a sweeping Federal AHB.

He who controls the terminology controls the debate.
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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WSJ: Why Our Gun Debate is Off Target

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee View Post
Another example from the article:

So, umm, if we don't want it legally mandated that we report stolen guns, we're are not responsible citizens?
Umm, no. If we don't want it legally mandated that we report stolen guns somehow we've got to come up as better citizens in the societal model. And the reason there's not much government regulation in a very dangerous industry like the diving industry is because it is self regulating.

Like it or not, we don't have the votes. Period, end of game. And as I have been pointing out and getting shouted down on gun boards for some time now, the NRA ain't PADI.

Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot let me admit that analogy falls apart pretty badly, so let me say that right up front. As a diver I have a hard time drowning more than myself, and maybe my dive buddy. While John Q. Public is "acutely aware" that a madman can steal a "dangerous gun" and "go on a murderous rampage" every day of the week and twice on Sunday whether it's true or not.

But we've done a perfectly abysmal job by offending rather than engaging the majority of the impressionable masses out there. And if you don't believe me look at where we are now. Trust me; I couldn't have gotten us here by myself.

If you don't want something externally mandated, then we better start looking more responsible.
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:38 AM   #8
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WSJ: Why Our Gun Debate is Off Target

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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
But the term "gun violence" applied with a broad brush fits right in with the effort to classify "gun violence" as an epidemiological problem and funnel money to the CDC to study it.

[...]

He who controls the terminology controls the debate.
And this is exactly why I've been ranting that LaPierre needs to be at the desks of various directors offering to secure funding. Federal agencies live and die by funding, and that's a job he does phenomenally well.

He's not helping us in front of the cameras. We need someone more facile in front of the camera.
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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no secret of his disdain for the NRA and accuses them of extremism
I find it a little worrisome that a seemingly pro-RKBA person would view the NRA defending a constitutional right as a form of extremism......but I have another question:

Putting aside for a moment whether someone regards themselves as a D, R, or I.....I am very intrigued at how some otherwise very pro-RKBA people have also stated their dislike of the NRA.

Even if very pro-2nd people find fault in the NRA, it cannot be denied that of the pro-2nd organizations out there, the NRA is by far the largest. So....I'm very curious to know if by writing very pro-RKBA, yet distancing oneself from the NRA, if this is an attempt to give some kind of legitimacy to their argument, by tapping into perceived popular sentiment.

Perhaps it is just me, but I do find it a bit contradictory, if not counterproductive. Am I to believe, that a sizable number of gun owners view the NRA is the same vein that animal rights groups view PETA and ALF as sharing the same goals but being unacceptably extreme in their methods from their standpoint?

Am I missing something, or looking too hard at it? I'm a bit confused.
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Old February 17, 2013, 10:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbatchelor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee
Another example from the article:
So, umm, if we don't want it legally mandated that we report stolen guns, we're are not responsible citizens?
Umm, no. If we don't want it legally mandated that we report stolen guns somehow we've got to come up as better citizens in the societal model. And the reason there's not much government regulation in a very dangerous industry like the diving industry is because it is self regulating.
Yet, that is exactly how the article is phrased: Wouldn't a responsible citizen (as opposed to a gun owner) report a stolen gun anyway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbatchelor
Like it or not, we don't have the votes.
The votes for what? To fend of legally mandating reporting of stolen guns?

I would agree that it is a good idea to report stolen guns. It is the responsible thing to do. Whether I would legally mandate it is a different question, though. If someone steals a car and drives through a playground of kids, would you have it legally mandated that all car thefts be reported?
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Old February 17, 2013, 11:02 AM   #11
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While the man will readily admit he is a blue dog Democrat, he is pro gun.
I have a difficult time believing someone who thinks the NRA is "too extreme" is pro gun. The more common complaint I hear among gun owners is the NRA isn't extreme enough. This guy strikes me as another "I support the Second Amendment BUT..." guys like our President and Vice-President who believe that the Second Amendment is somehow about shooting ducks and deer.
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Old February 17, 2013, 11:41 AM   #12
mrbatchelor
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WSJ: Why Our Gun Debate is Off Target

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee View Post
Yet, that is exactly how the article is phrased: Wouldn't a responsible citizen (as opposed to a gun owner) report a stolen gun anyway?
One would hope. It's certainly easier to get an insurance claim that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee View Post
The votes for what? To fend of legally mandating reporting of stolen guns?

I would agree that it is a good idea to report stolen guns. It is the responsible thing to do. Whether I would legally mandate it is a different question, though. If someone steals a car and drives through a playground of kids, would you have it legally mandated that all car thefts be reported?
Frankly if you look at NY we don't have the votes to decide what flavor ice cream we want on our own plate if they took us out to dinner.

I agree that it should not be legally mandated. I do not agree that it isn't going to be legally mandated if we don't begin changing the national direction of the conversation.

The fact that we both agree we shouldn't drive over the cliff does not mean - assuming neither of us is in the driver's seat - that we aren't going over the cliff. We need to get back in the driver's seat.

This is a lot of why I keep saying we need to engage places like the National Institute of Mental Health. That's a federal agency in Washington full of bureaucratic MDs looking for research funding. But they control a lot of the conversation. The National Institute of Health is another. (My wife has worked on grants from these places.) LaPierre needs to be a conduit to congress for them, but it needs to be through the gun owners.

We want these people to see us as funding sources. Trust me, they work just like everybody else in Washington. They protect their funding. Game over.

Yes, it's a crass political game.

But we get those agencies changing the language back to positive language, and other parts of our image change becomes easier.

This is a 50 year plan, unfortunately.

Last edited by mrbatchelor; February 17, 2013 at 11:57 AM.
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Old February 17, 2013, 01:38 PM   #13
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I have a difficult time believing someone who thinks the NRA is "too extreme" is pro gun.
While I understand how people could oppose some of the NRA’s tactics I do find it difficult to understand pro 2A folks dismissing them altogether. I always wonder why folks like Mr. Baum don’t join the NRA and seek to influence their tactics and message.

A wise person once told me to, “make decisions based on the way things are and not the way you wish they were”. Like it or not the NRA is the primary voice for gun owners right now and right now is when this battle will be fought.

While Mr. Baum makes some good points and maybe we should consider these things long term. However, I’m not sure how me shaming my friends into buying a safe is going to result in some Senator changing their minds within the next couple of months. No, short term the NRA is our best tool for fighting this battle.
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Old February 17, 2013, 02:00 PM   #14
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I have a difficult time believing someone who thinks the NRA is "too extreme" is pro gun. The more common complaint I hear among gun owners is the NRA isn't extreme enough. This guy strikes me as another "I support the Second Amendment BUT..." guys like our President and Vice-President who believe that the Second Amendment is somehow about shooting ducks and deer.
I dislike the NRA. I dislike that they will support a Republican, even if a Democrat has a better track record when it comes to guns. I dislike that my magazine about the history of firearms is packed to the brim with unsubstantiated claims that Obama is going to take our guns. I dislike that LaPierre blames another hobby of mine, video games, for violence. I was playing FPS games long before I was shooting guns. Playing those games is what got me into guns. I play those games to relieve stress by shooting virtual people in the face after a long day at work.

I am in favor of gun rights, but I do not approve of the NRA or it's methods.
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Old February 17, 2013, 02:04 PM   #15
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I dislike that they will support a Republican, even if a Democrat has a better track record when it comes to guns.
I don't recall that in recent years. In fact, supporting a D for office, based on support of the 2nd alone causes them no end of grief from some of the membership.
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Old February 17, 2013, 02:14 PM   #16
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I don't recall that in recent years. In fact, supporting a D for office, based on support of the 2nd alone causes them no end of grief from some of the membership.
I could be mistaken, but didn’t the NRA endorse Harry Reid and help him win reelection in a close race?
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Old February 17, 2013, 02:48 PM   #17
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Yes, that's true. Sir Harry has always talked out of both sides of his mouth. Being a career politician in NV means catering to EVERYBODY. I don't now, nor have I ever thought he gave one rats *** about the 2nd except as it related to his re-election. My opinion, YMMV.
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Old February 17, 2013, 04:07 PM   #18
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Re: WSJ: Why Our Gun Debate is Off Target

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryLee View Post
...I’m not sure how me shaming my friends into buying a safe is going to result in some Senator changing their minds within the next couple of months.
True!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryLee View Post
. No, short term the NRA is our best tool for fighting this battle.
And true!

The unfortunate circumstance we find ousrelves in is a two phase battle. But nearly everyone wants it to be a one stage battle.

We're like the guy with a CCw permit who left his gun home today, and now we're looking for a blunt object.

I don't even dislike the NRA. I'm an Endowment member. My wife is a life member. And I signed up three people during the current discount life member drive - one with my own money.

I think the NRA is a necessary, but insufficient, strategy for protecting the future of 2A. I seriously doubt 2A can survive without the NRA. But I'm confident 2A cannot survive with only the NRA.
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Old February 17, 2013, 04:11 PM   #19
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Divide and conquer.
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Old February 17, 2013, 04:51 PM   #20
mrbatchelor
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Re: WSJ: Why Our Gun Debate is Off Target

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Originally Posted by Fleabag View Post
Divide and conquer.
We're already divided. 100 million Gun owners. 4 million NRA members. You want to tell me how that's unified?
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Old February 17, 2013, 04:52 PM   #21
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I dislike that they will support a Republican, even if a Democrat has a better track record when it comes to guns.
They do support Democrats, it's just hard to find one that universally supports 2nd Amendment rights.

Quote:
I dislike that my magazine about the history of firearms is packed to the brim with unsubstantiated claims that Obama is going to take our guns.
It's looking more and more substantiated all the time.

Quote:
I dislike that LaPierre blames another hobby of mine, video games, for violence. I was playing FPS games long before I was shooting guns. Playing those games is what got me into guns. I play those games to relieve stress by shooting virtual people in the face after a long day at work.
I understand your frustration, but there have been several sound studies video games, movies, or music and youths desensitized to violence. I don't see how you could dispute that Hollywood doesn't affect our culture. I don't think anyone's talking about a ban or censorship, but maybe kids don't need to play these games, watch these movies or listen to this music without some limits and some parental guidance. Especially not kids who are a bubble off level to begin with.

Quote:
I am in favor of gun rights, but I do not approve of the NRA or it's methods.
How would you do it? If you don't believe the NRA can help, what's your plan?
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Old February 17, 2013, 05:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by mrbatchelor
Frankly if you look at NY we don't have the votes to decide what flavor ice cream we want on our own plate if they took us out to dinner.
Again, votes for what? I don't think a new AWB is going anywhere, so I think we have enough votes to stop that. You still haven't told me on what issue you think we lack sufficient votes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbatchelor
I agree that it should not be legally mandated. I do not agree that it isn't going to be legally mandated if we don't begin changing the national direction of the conversation.

The fact that we both agree we shouldn't drive over the cliff does not mean - assuming neither of us is in the driver's seat - that we aren't going over the cliff. We need to get back in the driver's seat.
While that all sounds good, I haven't quite figured out what is going on in this "conversation" that you think needs changing. The "conversation" has, IMO, died down somewhat, but it was never really a conversation -- it was a lecture to the gun-owning public about how we'd been bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbatchelor
This is a lot of why I keep saying we need to engage places like the National Institute of Mental Health. That's a federal agency in Washington full of bureaucratic MDs looking for research funding. But they control a lot of the conversation. The National Institute of Health is another. (My wife has worked on grants from these places.) LaPierre needs to be a conduit to congress for them, but it needs to be through the gun owners.
That's not a bad thought. I can get on board with asking LaPierre to go to these folks to deal with budget issues. Nothing talks like money.
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Old February 17, 2013, 05:36 PM   #23
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Re: WSJ: Why Our Gun Debate is Off Target

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Originally Posted by Spats McGee View Post
That's not a bad thought. I can get on board with asking LaPierre to go to these folks to deal with budget issues. Nothing talks like money.
My wife has been involved with dozens of psychiatric research projects over the years, including many done for NIMH and NIH. (Hell my name is even listed as the final author on one just for bring able pull the disorganized data together into coherent pie charts.)

I can assure you that nothing is as important as showing up at the door with money spilling out of your pockets. You can get them to find a positive spin to almost anything that's not outright unethical. Almost universally they will not cross the line. But they'll walk along it for funding. They have employees.
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Old February 17, 2013, 06:57 PM   #24
Bartholomew Roberts
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Originally Posted by Ridge Runner 5
I dislike the NRA. I dislike that they will support a Republican, even if a Democrat has a better track record when it comes to guns.
Can you give me an example of where this happened? The NRA will often support an incumbent with a verified track record over an unknown with a good questionaire; but I can't recall a case where the NRA picked a Republican over a Democrat when the Democrat had a better record - though you could certainly argue that the Dems have nobody to blame but themselves if the NRA did do that. After all in a close majority, a Dem in the Senate for example, means Charles Schumer within a breath of being the Senate Majority Leader. I can see why NRA would be concerned about that.

Quote:
I dislike that my magazine about the history of firearms is packed to the brim with unsubstantiated claims that Obama is going to take our guns.
Those claims are sure looking substantiated now, don't you think?

Quote:
I dislike that LaPierre blames another hobby of mine, video games, for violence. I was playing FPS games long before I was shooting guns. Playing those games is what got me into guns. I play those games to relieve stress by shooting virtual people in the face after a long day at work.
Yes, I agree this is sheer idiocy by the NRA. Those video games have probably created more new shooters and new gun owners than any of the NRA's dated media programs. They are foolish to try and save the Second by feeding the alligator the First.

My point however remains. You don't dislike the NRA because it is "too extreme" in its defense of the Second Amendment. You apparently dislike it because you have a perception it is partisan and shares a certain tone-deaf old white guys culture with the gun control crowd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Lee
I could be mistaken, but didn’t the NRA endorse Harry Reid and help him win reelection in a close race?
The NRA declined to endorse anyone in the 2010 Nevada Senate race. They gave Sharon Angle an A-rating based on her past votes and gave Harry Reid a B-rating (due primarily to his votes for the confirmation of Sotomayor and Kagan, which were both NRA graded votes) - however they also gave Reid a very positive article in the American Rifleman, which irritated a lot of conservatives who felt the NRA was not being fair and soft-peddling Reid's voting record.

Last edited by Bartholomew Roberts; February 17, 2013 at 07:02 PM.
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Old February 17, 2013, 08:22 PM   #25
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"We're already divided. 100 million Gun owners. 4 million NRA members. You want to tell me how that's unified?"

Point made, point taken. Still, if you can influence the would be NRA backers into disliking the NRA before the issue rises to the point where they would back the NRA and become members themselves, it would promote their agenda, and I think he has one up his sleeve.
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