19 November 2005

bushit ..... 

‘In fact, George Bush lied over and over. He may have believed his lies would somehow turn out to be true. But, nonetheless, he stated as fact assertions that he had no evidence for.

He said Hussein had WMD; he didn't say Hussein might have WMD, or that it was his opinion that Hussein had WMD. He said he knew that Hussein had WMD.

That was a lie.’

Lying About Lies About Lying

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18 November 2005

We are more likely to die on the road than be killed by a terrorist 

According to the US Centres for Disease Control, the odds of an American dying in a terrorist attack are about one in 88,000. The odds of dying by falling off a ladder are one in 10,000. And, according to an article in Foreign Policy magazine, even in 2001, car crashes killed 15 times more Americans than terrorism.

The fear game, our latest sensation

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the sleeper wakes ..... 

‘Yesterday, the Senate delivered a blow to the White House and its current Iraq strategy. Seventy-nine Senators – including some of the President's closest allies – voted for a resolution requiring President Bush "to explain to Congress and the American people its strategy for the successful completion of the mission in Iraq." The resolution called for a significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty in 2006.

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) commented that "historians will look back on this day and say this was a turning point ."

The question is whether the Bush administration will tell the American people what its plan for success in Iraq is.’

A Turning Point On Iraq

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murder most foul ..... 

‘An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.
The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.
The manner of Iman's killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was "scared to death", made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.’

Not guilty - The Israeli Captain Who Put 17 Bullets Into A Palestinian Schoolgirl

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dear hillary ..... 

‘You stood with your back to the concrete wall and had the audacity to say to the Palestinians people, "This wall is not against the Palestinians. This is against the terrorists. The Palestinian people have to help to prevent terrorism. They have to change the attitudes about terrorism."

Your words proved yet again that neither you nor anyone else in our government has any grasp of reality of what is actually happening in the ground in Palestine.

The victim is once gain placed in the unenviable position of having to guarantee the security of his oppressor, while being denied his own basic human rights and security or for that matter, the freedom to of movement in his or her own town or village. Did you really believe the words that were coming out of your mouth?

Did you actually give thought to those words before uttering them or were you just going through the motions of being a politician, saying and doing anything to get elected with out the burden of a conscience or sense of justice?’

The Victim Is Required To Guarantee The Security Of His Oppressor

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dangerous ideologues at work ..... 

‘Much to the dismay of President Bush, Americans can remember all on their own, without any coaching from Democrats, that in the run up to war in Iraq, it was top official from the administration who were making the claim that Saddam was in cahoots with bin Laden and that he was secretly involved to 9/11.

The fact that the administration's disinformation campaign was entirely successful is evidenced by an October 2004, Harris Poll, taken three weeks before the last presidential election, which reported that 62% of all voters, and 84% of those planning to vote for Bush, still believed that Saddam had ''strong links" to Al Qaeda, and that 41% of all voters, and 52% of Bush backers, believed that Saddam had ''helped plan and support the hijackers" who had attacked the country on 9/11.

As we now know, the basis for these allegations were false but the saddest part of the situation is that many Americans are just now beginning to realize that Bush knew the stories were false for more than a year when he cited them as justification for taking the country to war.’

Bush Gang Swore Saddam Was Behind 9/11

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17 November 2005

trouble on the reservation ..... 

‘Whoever advised President George Bush to escape the storm of criticism he faces over Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, and the Libby CIA case by flying to Argentina for a free trade summit should be sent in chains to Guantanamo.

Bush’s venture was an embarrassing diplomatic failure and the most humiliating fiasco faced by a US president in Latin America since Vice President Richard Nixon got mobbed in 1958. Bush was left looking isolated and confused, while his nemesis, Venezuela’s boisterous merangue-marxist leader, Hugo Chavez, rallied Latinos to his side and gleefully mocked the US president.

Now, Bush has returned to Washington rent by factional warfare, growing outrage over Bush-Cheney’s defence of torture, and new polls showing a majority of Americans believe the president deceived the US into war.’

Americans Are Running Out Of Patience With Their `War President’

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a strangelove rampant ..... 

‘In this his time of troubles, Bush seems to be moving deliberately and rapidly toward new wars of aggression in an unforgivable gamble to overcome his troubles. His speech on Veterans' Day, November 11, 2005 at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania leads to this conclusion more clearly than any of his previous speeches and activities.

The new wars would be the start of a world war initiated by Bush and radical Christianity against what he calls radical Islam, but in truth the wars would be waged against all Islam.’

Evidence Mounts That Bush Wants More Wars

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hide & go secret ..... 

Mark Fiore’s

Hide & Go Secret!

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16 November 2005

on the road to damascus ..... 

‘Ninety-five bishops from President Bush's church said Thursday they repent their "complicity" in the "unjust and immoral" invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"In the face of the United States administration's rush toward military action based on misleading information, too many of us were silent," said a statement of conscience signed by more than half of the 164 retired and active United Methodist bishops worldwide.

Methodist Bishops Repent Iraq War 'Complicity'

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endangered values ..... 

‘In recent years, I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican.

These include the rudimentary American commitment to peace, economic and social justice, civil liberties, our environment and human rights.

Also endangered are our historic commitments to providing citizens with truthful information, treating dissenting voices and beliefs with respect, state and local autonomy and fiscal responsibility.

At the same time, our political leaders have declared independence from the restraints of international organizations and have disavowed long-standing global agreements - including agreements on nuclear arms, control of biological weapons and the international system of justice.

This Isn't The Real America

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foolish, dim-witted, cowardly & morally bankrupt ..... 

‘Nothing in America is what we are told it is. Whenever the president speaks—it matters little which president we are talking about - we can be reasonably certain that they do not utter truth as we know it.

During the past fifty years America has not had a socially progressive president. The Clinton presidency was under siege from day one by the power hungry ideologues fueled by Christian evangelicals. Bill Clinton certainly was no progressive, as his detractors would have us believe. At his most liberal Clinton was nothing more than Bush lite. He twice won the presidency by out righting the right. Clearly, this was no victory for progressives.

No modern era American president represents the interest of the people. They represent the rich and powerful. The same is true of Congress.’

Iron Fisted America

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dead man walking ..... 

‘MPs organising the campaign to impeach Tony Blair believe they have enough support to force a highly damaging Commons investigation into the Prime Minister’s pre-war conduct.

A renewed attempt to impeach Blair over claims he misled parliament in making his case for war against Iraq, will be made in the Commons within the next two weeks.

The impeachment process effectively stalled last year when just 23 MPs signed a Commons motion. But the scale of the government’s defeat on its anti-terror legislation last week – where 49 Labour MPs rebelled – has galvanised the momentum for proceedings to be invoked.

Organisers say they are expecting 200 cross-party signatures, including those of former government ministers, to force the Commons to set up a Privy Council investigation that would examine in detail the case for impeachment against Blair.’

Blair Faces New Inquiry Into Iraq War

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it must have been saddam ..... 

‘Baghdad - Iraq's prime minister disclosed Tuesday that more than 170 malnourished Iraqi detainees were found at an Interior Ministry detention center and that some appeared to have been tortured.

US and Iraqi forces discovered the inmates when they went into the facility suspecting that individuals there may have been mistreated, the Pentagon said.

A Sunni politician said the prisoners were Sunni Arabs and accused the Shiite-led government of long ignoring the abuse.’

Iraq Prime Minister Orders Torture Investigation

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15 November 2005

murdering justice & the rule of law ..... 

‘In blatant defiance of the Constitution's guarantees of Habeas Corpus and separation of powers, the Senate on Thursday approved the Graham Amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization Act by a vote of 49 to 42. Five Democrats joined all but 4 Republican Senators in giving the President unfettered power to hold prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for the rest of their lives, with no criminal charges, and no right to challenge their confinement by Habeas Corpus.

Last year, the Supreme Court held in Rasul v. Bush that the Guantánamo detainees are entitled to file habeas petitions in US courts to contest their detentions. The high court determined that non-US citizens held at Guantánamo, "no less than American citizens, are entitled to invoke the federal courts' authority" to hear their petitions under 28 USC § 2241, the US Habeas Corpus statute.’

Graham Amendment Invokes Constitutional Crisis

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not so funny stories ..... 

‘If it weren't tragic it would be a New Yorker cartoon. The president of the United States, in the final stop of his forlorn Latin America tour last week, told the world, "We do not torture." Even as he spoke, the administration's flagrant embrace of torture was as hard to escape as publicity for Anderson Cooper.

The vice president, not satisfied that the C.I.A. had already been implicated in four detainee deaths, was busy lobbying Congress to give the agency a green light to commit torture in the future. Dana Priest of The Washington Post, having first uncovered secret C.I.A. prisons two years ago, was uncovering new "black sites" in Eastern Europe, where ghost detainees are subjected to unknown interrogation methods redolent of the region's Stalinist past.

Before heading south, Mr. Bush had been doing his own bit for torture by threatening to cast the first veto of his presidency if Congress didn't scrap a spending bill amendment, written by John McCain and passed 90 to 9 by the Senate, banning the "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of prisoners.

So when you watch the president stand there with a straight face and say, "We do not torture" - a full year and a half after the first photos from Abu Ghraib - you have to wonder how we arrived at this ludicrous moment. The answer is not complicated.

When people in power get away with telling bigger and bigger lies, they naturally think they can keep getting away with it. And for a long time, Mr. Bush and his cronies did.

Not anymore.’

'We Do Not Torture' & Other Funny Stories

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13 November 2005

state of the union ..... 

‘George's response to 9II?

He invades Afghanistan to terminate with extreme prejudice bin Laden & punish the Taliban.

Bin who? He hasn't bin seen lately.

The Taliban? They've withdrawn a few kilometres & the warlords, whose brutality & corruption made the Taliban welcome in the first place, are now back in the saddle.

They're showing their gratitude to George by once more producing 80 per cent of the world's heroin.

Confusing Iraq with Iran (or possibly Syria) & confusing Saddam Hussein with bin Laden, George demolishes pretty much an entire nation. In further confusion, he mistakes palm trees for nuclear missiles & camels & donkeys for biological & chemical weapons.

This leads to the deaths of 100,000 innocent Iraqis, who had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

George's war also involves the deaths of 2000 young Americans & tips the Iraqis into a civil war that will go on & bloodily on for decades.

George further destabilises the world's most dangerous region & persuades a new generation to choose suicide bombing as a career.

And while his offsider Dick Cheney promises the invasion of Iraq would see oil drop to just 20 bucks a barrel, the Iraqis are now importing petrol & the price has nudged $US70.While the war makes the Bushes best friends with the Blairs & the Howards, it turns the rest of the world against him. From being surrounded with goodwill & sympathy after 911, the Americans find themselves feared & isolated. And that's for starters.

Checklist: Bush maintains Saddam's policies at the local jail, tears up the Geneva Convention at Guantanamo Bay, threatens to veto John McCain's bill condemning the US's cruel & degrading treatment of prisoners – which also forbids further use of torture in interrogation. He reverses the US's proud progress on human rights under the guise of "homeland defence" & thumbs-downs the International War Crimes Tribunal.Obedient to his allies in the coal industry, Bush refuses to sign Kyoto, demolishes legislation that gave some protection to America's air & water, ignores reports urging the urgent repair of the wetlands around New Orleans, makes a fool of the administration by buckling to Bible-belt bigotry on issues from Terri Schiavo to stem cell research, threatens UN agencies & NGOs with cessation of funding if they breathe a word about abortion or contraception to desperate women in Third World countries & agrees with the Pentecostal/Vatican lobby in opposing condoms for millions of Africans doomed by the AIDS pandemic.

Yet George has the nerve to condemn Islamic fundamentalism.

Then there are small problems such as his ongoing attacks on the American poor, combined with his endless generosity to the top 1 per cent of income earners. Bush is in the process of ending capital gains tax, which will lead to the biggest transfer of wealth to the wealthy in US history. This amounts to a bigger drain on the nation's kitty than the Iraq fiasco & it will go on every day forever.

Kindest personal regards,

Ray The Travellin' Man

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we didn't torture the nazis ..... 

‘Conservatives these days talk about the war on terror being a new kind of war that demands new tactics. They say it's nothing like any war we have ever fought and the terrorists are more vicious than any previous enemy. Really? How about the Nazis?

They seemed pretty vicious - and we never felt the need to torture them.

We won a couple of world wars without ever having to torture anyone. In fact, we treated the German soldiers so well when the war was over some of them wanted to stay (true story). Yet, I recollect us winning that war. How about Tim McVeigh? Wasn't he the "worst of the worst" as the Republicans keep calling our current detainees? Why didn't we torture him? Remember he was thought to have a second accomplice, a John Doe Number Two, who was never caught (this is not the same person as Terry Nichols and the authorities later claimed he never existed). I don't know if there ever was a John Doe Number Two, but shouldn't we have tortured McVeigh to find out just in case?

How about the Ramzi Yousef and Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the two men who were involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings? Why did we just arrest them, try them and lock them up for the rest of their lives when torture, secret detention and Eastern European jails were still an option? God, we were such softies back then.

How about Jeffrey Dahmer? Isn't he the worst of the worst? He ate people. What were we thinking when we let him off the hook by not treating him to a little good old-fashioned American "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment?"
Here's a list of other people certainly worthy of torture:

John Wayne Gacy, the Killer Clown (he raped and killed 33 people, mostly young boys, and buried them under his house). Ted Bundy. Charles Manson. Your local child molester. Someone who raped your daughter. A rapist like Mike Tyson. Someone accused of slicing the heads off of two Americans - OJ Simpson (OJ was never convicted, but neither has anyone we've detained in the war on terror). A traitor like Aldrich Ames who sold out our national secrets and endangered the lives of our secret agents. A man who exposed the identity of a CIA agent and endangered her life and the lives of her contacts, I. Lewis Libby.

We haven't even gotten to dangerous gang members, drug dealers, violent criminals, bank robbers and so many other people richly deserving of torture.

Hey, I got another idea. Why don't we just change the name of the country from the United States of America to just ... Syria? The Syrians know how to keep people in secret prisons, never report them to the Red Cross, torture them and never bring them to court. They're really good at it. There's a thing or two we could learn from them.

Wait a minute, I have an even better idea. You know who knows a lot about torture rooms - Saddam Hussein. He's in our custody right now. That's a valuable resource. We shouldn't just let that go to waste. Let's torture him so he can tell us the best ways to torture other people.

Remember when we used to believe in the American justice system?

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) says a little torture never hurt anybody because we are trying "to detain and interrogate the worst of the worst." Senator Roberts voted against an amendment to ban "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment." Inhuman treatment? Does that sound like the American way to you?

Vice President Dick Cheney says the detainees are "really bad people" who are getting "better than they deserve." The Washington Post has written an editorial called the "Vice President for Torture." They highlight the energetic efforts of Cheney to stop a bill in the Senate that would outlaw torture. This is the Vice President of the United States of America. How can we argue torture is un-American when our Vice President is lobbying for it?

And then Fox News Channel puts up this doozy of a graphic: "Why the Fuss About Torturing People Who Wants Us Dead?"

Indeed, why all the fuss? The American way of life is such a hassle. The burdensome legal system, giving people rights, trying to act like decent human beings. It can really wear a person down. Let's just scrap the whole thing.

Remember when we used to proudly say the American justice system was the best in the world?

I know the excuse a lot of people will have is that most of these detainees are not American citizens. So true. They're not like us, so let's treat them in sub-human ways. No need to be decent to people who weren't even born in this country. Were the Nazis American citizens? We still managed to treat them humanely and still win - and eventually even win over the hearts and minds of the German people so they adopted our system of government. Or the system of government we used to have.

By the way, lest you forget, Jose Padilla is still in a secret prison and has never been given any of his constitutional rights - and he is an American citizen. Though his skin is so brown, I don't know if Republicans think that counts.

And my favorite excuse - they weren't wearing the right uniforms. So, we torture people because we didn't like what they were wearing? Talk about a killer fashion statement. I love the idea that we invade a country and when people fight back in whatever clothes they happen to be wearing, we tell them we can torture them because they weren't wearing what we told them they should be wearing when we invaded them.

This administration really knows how take absurdity to a whole new level.

We have to make a decision. Do we want to change the tenor of this country? Do we want to change our principles? Do we want to become a whole new country? It's a democracy. If you keep voting for these Republicans, they can take us in that bold new direction. Maybe we can even amend the constitution, withdraw from all international treaties, and repeal our own anti-torture laws and roll back some of our pesky rights.

Or we can throw out all of these abhorrent politicians who never understood what this country is all about, who don't believe in the American justice system, and who don't believe in the American way of life. We can tell the world that they are an embarrassment to the country, they are not what America stands for, they are unpatriotic and un-American.

These cowards have let al-Qaeda accomplish one of their goals - making us change who we are. They have let us get a little uglier, a little less just, a little less decent and a little less American. And there are people who still applaud these traitors to the American cause. People who are selling out our principles from the inside.

Now, I have one question left for you - are you one of them or do you still believe in America?’

Cenk Uygur

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philosopher's stone .... 

‘Last week, a legal thunderbolt struck at the heart of the grubby conspiracy that led the United States and Britain into an illegal war of aggression against Iraq. But this searing blow didn't fall in Washington, where a media frenzy raged over a White House indictment, but in southern England, in a military courtroom, where a lone soldier stood against the full force of the great war-crime enterprise, armed only with a single, rusty, obsolete weapon: the law.

While Potomac courtiers were reading the entrails of the cooked goose of Scooter Libby - the first Bushist honcho caught in the slow-grinding gears of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation – in Wiltshire, Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith faced a court martial after declaring that the Iraq war was illegal and refusing to return for his third tour of duty there, The Guardian reports.

He has been charged with four counts of "disobeying a lawful command." But Kendall-Smith, a decorated medical officer in the Royal Air Force, says that his study of the recently revealed evidence about the lies, distortions and manipulations used to justify the invasion has convinced him that both the war and the occupation are "manifestly illegal." Thus any order arising from this criminal action is itself an "unlawful command," The Sunday Times reports. In fact, the RAF's own manual of law compels him to refuse such illegal orders, Kendall-Smith insists.

The flight lieutenant is no ordinary war protester, and no shirker of combat - unlike, say, the pair of prissy cowards at the head of the US-British "coalition." Kendall Smith, who has dual New Zealand-British citizenship - and a pair of university degrees in medicine and Kantian moral philosophy - has served three tours at the front in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is not claiming any conscientious objections against war in general, nor do religious scruples play any part in his stance. It is based solely on the law.

Central to his case are the sinister backroom legal dealings between London and Washington in the days before the invasion. Less than two weeks before the initial "shock and awe" bombings began slaughtering civilians across Iraq, Lord Goldsmith, the British attorney general, gave Prime Minister Tony Blair a detailed briefing full of doubts and equivocations about the legality of the coming war, adding that Britain's participation in an attack unsanctioned by the United Nations would "likely" lead to "close scrutiny" by the International Criminal Court for potential war crimes charges, The Observer reports.

But Blair and Goldsmith withheld this report from Parliament, the Cabinet and British military brass, who were demanding a clear-cut legal sanction for the impending action. Then, just three days before the bloodletting began, Goldsmith suddenly produced another paper, this time for public consumption: a brief, clear, unequivocal statement that the invasion would be legal. This statement was almost certainly crafted in Washington, where Goldsmith had recently been "tutored" by the Bush gang's consiglieres, including the legal advisers to Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice.

Leading this pack of war-baying legal beagles was George W. Bush's top counsel, Alberto Gonzales, who had overseen the White House's own efforts to weasel out of potential war crimes charges by declaring - without any basis in Anglo-American jurisprudence or the U.S. Constitution – that Bush was not bound by any law whatsoever in any military action he undertook: a blank check for aggression, murder and torture that Bush has gleefully cashed over and over. Alberto and the boys leaned hard on Goldsmith, who finally caved in and replicated the Americans' contorted and specious legal arguments for launching the attack.

Of course, Kendall-Smith knew none of this during his first two tours in Iraq: Goldsmith's Bush-induced backflip was only divulged in April 2005. Nor did he know then of the "Downing Street Memos," the "smoking gun" minutes that record Blair's inner circle dutifully lining up behind Bush's hell-bent drive for war - as far back as 2002 - and their conspiracy with the Bush gang to manipulate their countries into war.

The memos, which emerged in May 2005 and have never been denied or repudiated by the British government, show Blair's slavish acquiescence in Bush's criminal scheme to "fix the facts and the intelligence around the policy" of unprovoked military aggression. Confronted with this new evidence – and revelations about the mountain of doubts expressed by US intelligence before the invasion but deliberately ignored by the Bushist war party - Kendall-Smith took the only honorable course for a soldier who has been duped into serving an evil cause.

The moral rigor of his defiance has sent tremors through the British military establishment, already shaken by the strange, unexplained shooting deaths of two military inspectors investigating atrocity allegations in Iraq, The Guardian reports. British brass are panicky about the Goldsmith revelations; indeed, the leader of the British invasion force, Admiral Michael Boyce, said that he now believed his country's military did not have "the legal cover necessary to avoid prosecution for war crimes," The Observer reports. Boyce added that if he and his officers were eventually put on trial for waging aggressive war, he'd make sure that Blair and Goldsmith were in the dock beside them.

Bush, Blair and their minions have committed a monstrous crime, and they know it - hence all the convolutions, before the war and after, to inoculate themselves from prosecution. But with Kendall-Smith and Fitzgerald, the long-moribund figure of the law is re-awakening. It's weak, it's bleary, it certainly might fail. But now the conspirators will have to live cowering in its shadow for the rest of their days.’

Chris Floyd

November 3, 2005

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tortured values ..... 

"We do not torture," said our pitifully inarticulate president, straining through emphasis and repetition to erase the obvious.

A string of prisons in Eastern Europe in which suspects are held and tortured indefinitely, without trial, without lawyers, without the right to confront their accusers, without knowing the evidence or the charges against them, if any. Forever.

It's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Another secret prison in the midst of a military camp on an island run by an infamous dictator: a prisoner without a name, cell without a number.

Who are we? What have we become? The shining city on a hill, the beacon and bastion of refuge and freedom, a country born amidst the most magnificent ideals of freedom and justice, the greatest political heritage ever given to any people anywhere.

Why did we bother to beat the Soviet Union if we were just going to become it?

Shame. Shame. Shame.’

Some Kind of 'Manly'

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