Three Things You Need to Know – February 28, 2018

Bringing a Gun to a Knife Fight

Dave watched from his window as his neighbors argued.

Expletives ripped through his thin apartment walls.

The fight escalated quickly.

Punches were thrown. Fists were flying.

Dave caught a glimmer of silver out of the corner of his eye.

One of the men had a knife and was about to use it.

Dave rushed to his bedroom and opened the bottom drawer, made his choice, and calmly walked outside.

Dave approached the men and just stood there.

His presence immediately caused the two men to forget all about their fight.

The knife-wielding man attempted to flee the scene but was caught by police moments later.

The other neighbor was rushed to the hospital for his stab wounds and is expected to make a full recovery.

All because Dave brought a gun to a knife fight.

As a certified firearms instructor, Dave had a collection of guns to choose from—but he grabbed his AR-15 because it’s just a bigger gun.

He believes that the “intimidation factor definitely played a part in stopping the fight.”

No shots were fired. That was never Dave’s intention.

He said, “The AR-15 is my weapon of choice for home protection. It's light, it's maneuverable. If you train and know how to use it properly, it's not dangerous. And this is just a perfect example of good guy with an AR-15 stopped a bad guy with a knife. And there were no lives taken, so, all in all, it was a good day."

Dave saved a life that day because he is a responsible gun owner.

There are people like Dave all over the country.

Let’s remember that the good guys with guns are the majority.

Michael Wolff Does Europe

Remember Michael Wolff? The “journalist” who hung out in the lobby of the White House until he gathered enough dirt to write “Fire and Fury”?

He’s been on an international tour to promote his book and, well, things haven’t gone quite as smoothly for him as they did here in the U.S.

During an interview with an Australian TV news show, Wolff was asked about his recent comment to Bill Maher, saying he was “absolutely sure” that President Trump is currently having an affair. Wolff was doing the interview from London and he suddenly claimed he couldn’t hear the Australian interviewer’s question because something was wrong with his audio connection. Oddly, he heard everything clearly up to that point of the interview. Later, the Australian news show posted footage from their London studio showing there were no audio problems.

When Wolff was on Bill Maher’s show, he encouraged the audience to “read between the lines” of a passage in Fire and Fury, where he includes suggestive language about Trump and U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. When a British TV interviewer tried to clarify Wolff’s innuendo about Trump, Haley, and other possible affairs, Wolff said, “I assume. I assume because this is Donald Trump and I think that’s an absolutely fair assumption.”

I’m pretty sure that’s the first thing they teach in journalism school – do not assume anything. Even when it involves Donald Trump. Wolff stands by his own journalism though, saying there’s “no difference” between the journalism in Fire and Fury and books by Bob Woodward.

What is Michael Wolff hoping to accomplish here, besides racking up book sales?

After a rough few days of being asked uncomfortable questions by European journalists, Wolff has had enough of the heat. He canceled a BBC interview yesterday, saying, “the tour has taken its toll.”

You know what else is taking its toll? Assumptions, by the Left and the Right, about each other. We’ve pulled up the anchor of reason and we’re sailing straight into the choppy waters of accusation and innuendo. We’re more capable than this. We must stop assuming the worst about each other. We must work to fix reason back firmly in her seat. Yes, question with boldness, but pursue truth, instead of just a win for your team. We need a lot less Fire and Fury, and a lot more Honor and Humility.

Jared Kushner's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Jared Kushner and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Tuesday was not kind to the President’s son in law. Kushner must have felt as if he was living out in real time the day made famous in the popular Judith Viorst children’s book. Where as Alexander “went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair,” Kushner went to sleep with a Top Secret clearance and woke up with it downgraded to Secret. That’s a pretty big deal considering he’s been tasked with “bringing peace to the Middle East” and reworking trade deals. Essentially this means that most of his high level work will now have to be put on hold.

But Kushner’s day was only just beginning to turn sour. Media reports began coming in stating that officials from four different countries had discussed ways that Jared Kushner might be manipulated. Sources told the Washington Post that these “ways of manipulation” included taking advantage of Kushner’s complex business arrangements and his family debt.

Ok, so that sounds bad. But let’s pump the brakes for a second. First of all, Kushner may STILL eventually get a Top Secret Clearance. He’s just been downgraded to Secret in the meantime. The process to obtain a Top Secret clearance can be quick or extremely long depending on how much information the investigators have to go through. The top two things that tie up a Top Secret clearance are: Meetings with foreign nationals and financial debt. Kushner has a lot of both. For anyone waving the “You see! He’s guilty!” flag, just remember that this process is normal. Waiting over a year for a Top Secret SCI clearance is not uncommon at all.

Secondly, I’m having a hard time understanding why the Washington Post ran their story that 4 countries had discussed ways that they might be able to manipulate the President’s son in law. Wait, do you mean to tell me that rival nations actually looked for ways to gain leverage over a member of the President's staff? NO WAY. I wish you could see my shocked face. This has probably happened in every presidential administration since 1776. This is not a story. Now IF, and only IF, those four countries actually tried to, or were successful, in manipulating Kushner would this be a story. But it just says they talked about it. Are you kidding me with this?

The only purpose of this story was to pile something on to the bad news of Kushner’s clearance being downgraded. It’s an irresponsible trick to manipulate people into drawing false conclusions, and it’s also a prime example for why so many people have had enough with the media. Can we stop inventing scandals? Is that too much to ask?

We may find out, eventually, that Kushner has some serious issues. I don’t know. But I know we can all empathize with his day yesterday. We’ve all had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

MORE 3 THINGS

This compromise is an abomination

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Three decades ago, "The Art of the Deal" made Donald Trump a household name. A lot has happened since then. But you can trace many of Trump's actions back to that book.

Art of the Deal:

In the end, you're measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.

People laughed when he announced that he was running for President. And I mean that literally. Remember the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner when Obama roasted Trump, viciously, mocking the very idea that Trump could ever be President. Now, he's President.

You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.

This empire-building is a mark of Trump.

RELATED: 'Arrogant fool' Jim Acosta exposed MSM's dishonest border agenda — again.

The most recent example is the border wall. Yesterday, congress reached a compromise on funding for the border wall. Weeks of tense back-and-forth built up to that moment. At times, it seemed like neither side would budge. Trump stuck to his guns, the government shut down, Trump refused to budge, then, miraculously, the lights came back on again. The result was a compromise. Or at least that's how it appeared.

But really, Trump got what he wanted -- exactly what he wanted. He used the techniques he wrote about in The Art of the Deal:

My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I'm after.

From the start, he demanded $5.7 billion for construction of a border wall. It was a months' long tug-of-war that eventually resulted in yesterday's legislation, which would dedicate $1.4 billion. It would appear that that was what he was after all along. Moments before the vote, he did some last-minute pushing. A national emergency declaration, and suddenly the number is $8 billion.

Art of the Deal:

People think I'm a gambler. I've never gambled in my life. To me, a gambler is someone who plays slot machines. I prefer to own slot machines. It's a very good business being the house.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Senate passed the legislation 83-16, and the House followed with 300-128. Today, Trump will sign the bill.

It's not even fair to call that a deal, really. A deal is what happens when you go to a car dealership, fully ready to buy a car, and the salesman says the right things. What Trump did is more like a car dealer selling an entire row of cars to someone who doesn't even have a licence. When Trump started, Democrats wouldn't even consider a wall, let alone pay for it.

Art of the Deal:

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.

He started the wall on a chant, "Build the wall!" until he got what he wanted. He maneuvered like Don Draper, selling people something that they didn't even know they wanted, and convincing them that it is exactly what they've always needed.

As the nation soaks in the victory of the recent passing of the historic First Step Act, there are Congressmen who haven't stopped working to solve additional problems with the criminal justice system. Because while the Act was impactful, leading to the well-deserved early release of many incarcerated individuals, it didn't go far enough. That's why four Congressmen have joined forces to reintroduce the Justice Safety Valve Act—legislation that would grant judges judicial discretion when determining appropriate sentencing.

There's a real need for this legislation since it's no secret that lawmakers don't always get it right. They may pass laws with good intentions, but unintended consequences often prevail. For example, there was a time when the nation believed the best way to penalize lawbreakers was to be tough on crime, leading to sweeping mandatory minimum sentencing laws implemented both nationally and statewide.

RELATED: If Trump can support criminal justice reform, so can everyone else

Only in recent years have governments learned that these sentences aren't good policy for the defendant or even the public. Mandatory minimum sentences are often overly harsh, don't act as a public deterrent for crime, and are extremely costly to taxpayers. These laws tie judges' hands, preventing them from using their knowledge and understanding of the law to make case relevant decisions.

Because legislation surrounding criminal law is often very touchy and difficult to change (especially on the federal level, where bills can take multiple years to pass) mandatory minimum sentences are far from being done away with—despite the data-driven discoveries of their downfalls. But in order to solve the problems inherent within all of the different laws imposing sentencing lengths, Congress needs to pass the Justice Safety Valve Act now. Ensuring its passing would allow judges to use discretion while sentencing, rather than forcing them to continue issuing indiscriminate sentences no matter the unique facts of the case.

Rather than take years to go back and try to fix every single mandatory minimum law that has been federally passed, moving this single piece of legislation forward is the best way to ensure judges can apply their judgment in every appropriate case.

When someone is facing numerous charges from a single incident, mandatory minimum sentencing laws stack atop one another, resulting in an extremely lengthy sentence that may not be just. Such high sentences may even be violations of an individual's eighth amendment rights, what with the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. It's exactly what happened with Weldon Angelos.

In Salt Lake City in 2002, Weldon sold half a pound of marijuana to federal agents on two separate occasions. Unbeknownst to Weldon, the police had targeted him because they suspected he was a part of a gang and trafficking operation. They were oh-so-wrong. Weldon had never sold marijuana before and only did this time because he was pressured by the agents to find marijuana for them. He figured a couple lowkey sales could help out his family's financial situation. But Weldon was caught and sentenced to a mandatory 55 years in prison. This massive sentence is clearly unjust for a first time, non-violent crime, and even the Judge, Paul Cassell, agreed. Judge Cassell did everything he could to reduce the sentence, but, due to federal law, it wasn't much.

The nation is facing an over-criminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties.

In cases like Weldon's, a safety valve for discretionary power is much needed. Judges need the ability to issue sentences below the mandatory minimums, depending on mitigating factors such as mental health, provocation, or physical illness. That's what this new bill would allow for. Critics may argue that this gives judges too much power, but under the bill, judges must first make a finding on why it's necessary to sentence below the mandatory minimum. Then, they must write a clear statement explaining their decision.

Judges are unlikely to risk their careers to allow dangerous criminals an early release. If something happens after an offender is released early, the political pressure is back on the judge who issued the shorter sentence—and no one wants that kind of negative attention. In order to avoid risky situations like this, they'd use their discretion very cautiously, upholding the oath they took to promote justice in every case.

The nation is facing an overcriminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties. Mandatory minimums have exacerbated this problem, and it's time for that to stop. Congresswomen and men have the opportunity to help solve this looming problem by passing the Justice Safety Valve Act to untie the hands of judges and restore justice in individual sentences.

Molly Davis is a policy analyst at Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. She's a writer for Young Voices, and her work has previously appeared in The Hill, TownHall.com, and The Washington Examiner.

New gadget for couples in 'the mood' lets a button do the talking

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

Just in time for Valentine's Day, there's a new romantic gadget for couples that is sure to make sparks fly. For those with their minds in the gutter, I'm not talking about those kinds of gadgets. I'm talking about a brilliant new device for the home called "LoveSync."

This is real — it's a simple pair of buttons for busy, modern couples who have plenty of time for social media and Netflix, but can't quite squeeze in time to talk about their... uh... special relationship.

Here's how it works. Each partner has their own individual LoveSync button. Whenever the mood strikes one partner, all they have to do is press their own button. That sets their button aglow for a certain period of time. If, during that time window, their partner also presses their own button, then both buttons light up in a swirling green pattern to signal that love has "synced"...and it's go time.

According to the makers of LoveSync, this device will "Take the Luck out of Getting Lucky." It brings a whole new meaning to "pushing each other's buttons." It's an ideal gift to tell your significant other "I care," without actually having to care, or talk about icky things like feelings.

If you find your significant other is already on the couch binge-watching The Bachelor, no problem! You can conveniently slink back to your button and hold it in for four seconds to cancel the desire. No harm, no foul! Live to fight another day.

Have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children.

No word yet on whether LoveSync can also order wine, light candles or play Barry White. Maybe that's in the works for LoveSync 2.0.

Of course, LoveSync does have some pitfalls. Cats and toddlers love a good button. That'll be a fun conversation — "Honey, who keeps canceling my mood submissions?" And have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children. "Yeah, kids, that button just controls the lawn sprinklers. No big deal."

If you've been dialing it in for years on Valentine's Day with flowers and those crappy boxes of chocolate, now you can literally dial it in. With a button.

Good luck with that.