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This letter is a stunning and heartbreaking account of our nation’s unraveling and it’s architects.

George Bush plays the wise elder statesmen today, but, he was complicit in using a tragedy to foist war and undemocratic policies on our nation.

Twenty years later we still “reap the whirlwind.”

Heather’s last sentence pierced my heart with the words “they took a vote.”

The very core of democracy is now in peril.

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I saw this same idea somewhere else--it may have been Dan Rather--who remarked that one of the last things the passengers on Flight 93 did before they consigned themselves to their own deaths was to take a vote. Even in the face of certain death, they voted. That's it right there. That's the lesson we should remember.

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And, I suspect NOT ONE Member of Congress would have had the stones . . . .

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I wonder how that vote went? But I agree: the power of the vote!

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All the media blather about elder statesman Bush painting Iraq veterans makes me ill. Scroll back and re-see and re-hear Shrub for the war criminal and tool of the truly evil Cheney machine that he was. Bush played a lot of golf while he was in the WH. Sound familiar?❤️🤍💙

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I wept when President Bush declared war. I can also be very grateful for his comments yesterday. One does not cancel the other. We need absolutely everyone who can and is willing to speak out against the attempts to dismantle Democracy in the United States.

As a side note here. I 100% support disagreement. What I cannot support is name calling. Name calling in politics became full blown during the last Administration. I had hoped it would fade away but unfortunately it has become imbedded in our American consciousness.

As we rise up to defend against tyranny I propose we restore civility to our public discourse also.

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And I remember getting mad at such a declaration of war without reason, especially knowing how we needed to especially not get involved in that region. And I thought of the college students from Iran that I had met.

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By declaring a "war on terror" and first selecting a country not even involved in the 9/11 attacks, it was quite confusing to those of us who couldn't understand the connections.

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I remember feeling, Oh no! We are going to retaliate. Shit.

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And retaliation against the wrong enemy made it worse.

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It’s why my husband and I bought a house in Nova Scotia for an escape. We were ashamed snd outraged at the Bush/ Cheney/ Rumsfeld cabal and those who blindly went along. We felt sorry for Powell while being angry that he didn’t listen to others before allowing himself to be so used (as the only trusted person) by representing the lying administration at the UN.

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"...when President Bush declared war...."

In a technical light, I don't believe Bush Jr. even declared war. I don't remember which mitigating term he used for our invasion, but presidents and congress have avoided making declarations of war since 1942 when the U.S. declared war against a few countries which then joined the Axis alliance of WWII. It's easier to get public to accept it if war is not declared when we invade and exploit another country.

I read of a press conference President Truman gave in 1951, I believe. To closely paraphrase a reporter's question:

"Mr. President, how are things going in the Korean War?"

Truman replied, "Well, first, I wouldn't call it a war exactly."

The reporter asked back, "Well, what would you call it? A police action?"

Truman replied, "Yes, a police action. That sounds about right."

Since then, our invasions of foreign countries have not been government-declared wars.

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Thanks. Yes, it's much easier to slide it past the American people if it's not called "war." Another form of deception.

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Yes.

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There are so many things that I have trouble forgiving W for, but I think the biggest overall grievance was how the Bush administration, in roughly a month or two, managed to squander every single bit of good will and solidarity we had been receiving from the rest of the world. Once the bombs started dropping in Afghanistan, and then subsequently in Iraq, I remember my Dutch colleagues were very much against these actions, because civilians were being killed as well. The group I was singing with was due to begin an American tour in early November 2001, and the week before we were to leave two colleagues refused to go, partly out of concern for their own safety (we were to sing in NYC and in Washington DC), but also because of America's bombing. I found it very hard to defend the actions, so frequently held my tongue. I remember a rather contentious meeting the group had where there were a lot of my colleagues really running down America and things got pretty heated. Our then director, an Estonian, listened to it all and after a while said, in his halting English, "I think America need our music right now. Music can heal and they need us and our music." That pretty much settled it then & there, because he was right. The tour went on and was successful, but it showed me how quickly the world's opinions changed from one of compassion for what America was going through right after 9/11, but then a 180-degree turn in a matter of days and weeks when the bombs started falling. I laid this whole sorry state of affairs at the feet of the Bush administration and that, to me, was the real beginning of the end of America's loss of stature in the eyes of the rest of the world.

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And the commonly used phrase “May God Bless America” irks me still, even when President Biden uses it. It contradicts the intent of the separation of church and state, and ignores the melting pot of religions, or non-religions, in this country.

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Yes. Much as I really like Biden and what he's doing, and that he's a sincere Christian, I cringe when even he uses that phrase. It sounds blasphemous, implying that God prefers America when we know that isn't true. God loves all peoples. It's the traditional thing to say, I understand, but maybe it's time to retire it. Instead, say something like, "God bless those who can talk us out of war." Then reward those people in a big way when they are succeed.

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As an atheist, that bothers me too. A lot.

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When Bush decided to bomb Afghanistan's training camps for al Qaeda, I felt that it was a reasonable reaction to their attack. While the Taliban wasn't a terrorist group, they were giving safe harbor to bin Laden and the terrorists. As time went on, and we discovered that Bush had intelligence that bin Laden was in Tora Bora, it was frustrating that he didn't try to go after him. By then the training camps had been decimated, and since bin Laden was in the wind, I became angry that we were still carrying on the "mission," and it soon became clear that we were actually "nation building." We know how long it took to extricate ourselves.

When we began bombing Iraq, on questionable "intelligence" of Hussein's WMD and relationship with bin Laden, I voiced displeasure of the whole operation to co-workers. One friend flatly said that I was unpatriotic. I let her know that it wasn't my patriotic duty to stay silent when I had good reason to disagree with our military ventures. a few days later, we visited Italy with friends, and when the hotel's driver picked us up at the airport in Rome, his first question was what we thought of the Iraq invasion. After saying that I was opposed to it, one of our companions said, "Well, Hussein is a bad guy." I held that although it was the truth, it is not our responsibility to remove all of the world's bad guys, and we had some of our own. Needless to say, the trip was somewhat uncomfortable from that point on, and with all of the "PACE" banners everywhere we went, it was clear that the Italians seemed to agree with me. We have been playing defense since then, and although my instincts were vindicated, George Bush and his "advisors" began our downhill slide.

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Thank you.

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Bush was no mental match for Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice.

Probably a nice guy to have a beer with at the ballpark but mentally not up to the job.

I pin the blame more on his three puppeteers.

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President Bush was their lackey, but he was the Commander-in-Chief.

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And then Dubya listened to the speech given at the UN by the world famous General Powell.

As it turns out, Powell was part of the con job that the puppeteers were pulling on him.

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Powell had also been played and had been given misleading and false information by the CIA and DoD in preparing his remarks. He clearly regrets his gullibility now.

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I don’t buy it. Many didn’t believe the “weapons of mass destruction” story. The story was suspect from the beginning. Powell went along to get along. Another useful idiot willing to look the other way.

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I don't buy it either. Powell's guilt is on a lower level than the deadly trio, but it's there. I believe he had his own agenda for taking the role he did in endorsing Bush Jr.'s rush to war.

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Everything else aside, that's what it is about: they took a vote.

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and that is what we are fighting for. Think about those Republicans rushing to take the vote away from us.

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Stunning. "...investigators believe that before the passengers of Flight 93 stormed the cockpit, throwing themselves between the terrorists and our government, and downed the plane, they all took a vote."

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The 9/11 attack did not come out of nowhere. The United States was not a randomly chosen victim, blameless, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sadly that distinction belongs to the actual people who were killed. They were absolute unfortunates going about their day who paid the price of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The convenient myth that “they hate us for our freedoms”. They hated America for its meddling, its bullying, and its endless self-aggrandizement.

Bin Laden’s attack was a success beyond his wildest dreams. 3000 Americans died that day. America has been dying in slow motion since.

Many Americans were humiliated and longed for revenge. Those of a more comprehending nature were humbled and have since sought to make your country the “shining light on the hill” again.

Time is running out. America needs a unifying, moral hero with a political voice to make the country whole again. The day has grown long and the sun is setting on the horizon.

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It is usually the innocents who die, isn’t it Eric. The politicians & generals unleash the dogs of war and then sleep in soft beds. They lie and manipulate, taking us places we don’t belong. This country that I love so dearly breaks my heart again and again. What moral hero can even survive our toxic political process? Those who do are hamstrung immediately or assonated. We the people, all of us, will either rise up and demand change or we will go the way of all empires. The sun is setting indeed.

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Beautifully put. Thanks for writing this.

You must have had many, many times of feeling morally dissociated when the people you share the country go off on some unthinking jingoistic tangent. The disconnect is so huge as to be unbearable I would think.

My wish for a hero is delusional. You let me down gently. :)

The one true *weapon* is a general strike. And that’s a fantasy as well. But if the the poseurs and Macon types were hit in the pocketbook, it would slow them down.

I also think that America needs a military draft. If there was one, it would be many, many years before a war would be supported enough to be declared and fought.

Thank God Canada refused Vietnam and Iraq. I hated that we compromised by going into Afghanistan. But sympathy was high and the pressure immense.

Still I saw lots of blather about how great our soldiers were, how we stood on moral high ground vis-vis the Taliban.

And of course most of this came from older men with soft bellies.

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That was well said, Diane.

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I would remind you that back in January and February, more people were dying EVERY DAY than died on 9/11, and they were just as innocent and just as much "in the wrong place at the wrong time". I think people forget that.

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“W” Bush never should have been handed the nomination. It was commonly acknowledged that Jeb Bush was the Bush with the brain. “W’s” brain had been wasted by drugs and alcohol when he was a young man.

However, those who make such decisions wanted someone who was more malleable than Jeb so “W” got picked.

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Jeb Bush was a gifted politician. He’s intelligent and charismatic. I met him in person 30 years ago through Republican friends. He was charming. But, make no mistake, he was a right wing ideologue even then.

It’s always interesting how wealthy, well connected people appear genteel and reasonable even as they gut you. The banality of evil can be breathtaking.

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It has been increasingly in peril since Reagan and Gingrich.

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"George Bush plays the wise elder statesmen today...."

Exactly. Bush Jr. is trying to ameliorate his image for history, but it's far too late for that.

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It's not too late for the neocon Republican base, even moderate Republicans. They lap it all up like mother's milk. For many of them, the Bush years, like the Reagan years, give them the "warm fuzzies"...ah, the good old days when "America could kick ass". They simply can't see, WON'T see, or recognise, or admit, what has happened to this country since 9/11. W will not be thought of by history as a great President, that much is certain. I think that even as more time elapses since then this will become more and more apparent. The man was a joke then AND now...we "misunderestimated" (one of my fave Bush-isms) just how bad he was.

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Here is my essay that was published in the Winston-Salem Journal yesterday. It’s behind a pay wall or I would just post a link.

“On September 11 of 2001, on the way to my studio workspace on the 92nd floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center, I witnessed a defining national tragedy. Since that day 20 years ago, I have thought a lot about those events, and the subsequent fallout from our national reaction.

There was a tidal wave of sadness that engulfed New York City in the days and weeks after the towers fell, as the colossal hole in the ground smoldered on the southern tip of Manhattan. Memorials sprung up in parks and along fences all across the city, with people posting or wearing pictures of their dead and missing loved ones. Every firehouse was shrouded in black, memorials to lost members posted at each door. There were so many funerals that the NYFD asked the public to attend so their widows wouldn’t be alone. The artists in our group gathered to absorb and commiserate as we were coming to understand what happened. The body of one of our colleagues, Michael Richards, had been found, identified by the wallet in his pocket. We were dumbstruck by all that might imply.

Yet in the midst of all the chaos and trauma, people came together to grieve and to help. Volunteers of all sorts assembled to assist in the herculean task of cleaning up Ground Zero.

Something I noticed then was the divergent ways people reacted to the catastrophe, mostly coalescing into two camps: those who asked “Why would anyone hate us so much that they would resort to such madness?”, and “They hate our freedom. Bomb them all back to the Stone Age.” The official responses boiled down to “let’s get to the bottom of this, find out who is behind it, and bring them to justice”, or “This was an act of war which cannot go unanswered in kind.” There was a brief window when our collective response might have been reasonably tempered, to treat the terrorist attacks as a criminal act, work with international allies, and prosecute the perpetrators accordingly, as we did when Islamic radicals carried out the first attack on the WTC in 1993. With the most obvious perpetrators on Sept. 11th committing suicide in the process, that outcome was distinctly unsatisfying. Even a limited war in Afghanistan, with clear objectives and a definitive end-date, seemed reasonable.

We were not to act with reason.

The profound grief over what was lost – all those who leapt to their deaths or died at their desks, brave civil servants who gave everything to save others, the loss of innocence that we could live in a country untouched and unchanged by terrorist violence – became a fissure cleaved into cultural discord. While patriotism proliferated, divisions grew. The Bush Administration, sensing the difficulties of winning in the “graveyard of nations”, opted to focus fighting where they thought they could win. Anti-war sentiment against entering Iraq was quickly subsumed by forces intent on capitalizing on our collective grief.

We once talked about “not letting the terrorists win”, by behaving as a free people. Our open society, the ease with which we entered buildings, boarded planes, welcomed strangers, communicated privately, was suddenly up for grabs. An administration that had won legitimacy by a single vote on the Supreme Court, was so eager to show it was in control after being caught flat-footed by the brazen attack, that it entered not one, but two wars. The costs were put on America’s credit card left unpaid, passed to our grandchildren in a woeful lack of critical infrastructure and essential services. The heartfelt patriotism that had joined us, has since hardened into a dangerous nationalism for some, leading to the Jan. 6th attack on our Capitol. We are reaping now what was sown then.

9/11 became a benchmark for what might move us to action against existential threats. America has since seen more large-scale tragedies; lives lost to gun violence now top 39,000/ year, the pandemic has cost us over 640,000 lives, not to mention the weather-related destruction due to the climate crisis. Still, little has caught our attention as 9/11 did.

If Osama Bin Laden’s goal was to divide America against itself, has his mission been accomplished? After 20 years, have the terrorists won after all?

It remains to be seen whether we have lost the lessons of this tragedy – that we’re better together than apart, that our government can work for all of us. The better angels of our natures are waiting to be tasked.

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Well said. We lost our minds. We had a temper tantrum of epic proportions.

In answer to your last question, did OBL accomplish his mission? Yes, but if he had not provided the match for our inferno, someone else would have. The forces of Cheney/Rumsfeld etc. were committed to the destruction of anything standing in the way of the "military industrial complex". Anything, including fiscal responsibility, the value of human life and the continued health of our planet. Oh, and democracy? Just another impediment to be trampled.

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Well stated, Bill !

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Kara Hammond, I wish you would send your OpEd piece to every major newspaper in the country and post it on your FaceBook page (if you have one). All Americans need to be exposed to these words and ideas!

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I’d just moved to the Seattle area and knew no one in town on 9/11. So I knocked on a neighbor's door and asked if we could watch the news together. He let me in.

Within days I’d joined a peace and justice coalition. The clouds of war were clearly gathering. I also placed a picture of George W on my mantle as a reminder to pray for him. To pray that his better angels would guide him.

We spoke with our representatives, negotiated with police, joined forces with unions and we marched. But, empires don’t listen, certainly not to their better angels.

We face a Herculean effort to reclaim democracy and heal the soul of our nation.

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I was headed to the school where I had worked and now volunteered to teach a small class in expository writing. We had assigned the students to explore oral history by asking people old enough about the assassination of JFK and then realizing that they did not have a similar stunning experience in their young lives, to talk about something in their family. When I arrived, they were in stunned silence and we all agreed that they had their moment that they would not forget and where they were when they heard. As an aside, I was studying as part of a experience abroad at Fourah Bay College, in Freetown, Sierra Leone when JFK was assassinated.

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Kudos to you, Diane Love !

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Thank you, Kara, for sharing these wise and deeply felt thoughts.

I hope it is not inappropriate for me to share some of mine, for the whole world was affected, near and far.

I had forebodings. On August 29th, I wrote to a friend about “sleepwalkers reasoning on the edge of the abyss…. But…. are we not already in it?”… She thought I was "exaggerating as usual"… On September 10th, writing to the same person: “The population is like a dog sleeping in the middle of the road… One doubts our survival instincts.”

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The notes that follow date back to 2017 but broadly represent my view ever since the attack on the Twin Towers. I don’t feel Americans have ever understood the full implications of this horror for them but, precisely because of that, the scars are still too raw, the wound too open and still suppurating, today is not the right moment to probe it.

Still, Leonard Cohen seems to have been touched by these words of Rumi:

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

“It is hardly surprising that the 9/11 attack on New York City should have had the immense psychological impact IT WAS INTENDED TO HAVE. What was both unnecessary and idiotic was for the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld trio, not only to fall into the trap set for America, activating even those sequences in the chain reaction they were not expected to, but to act in such a way as to multiply and perpetuate the dangers faced, not only by the US but by the whole world.

LIKE EVERY SINGLE ACTION OF AL QAIDA AND DAECH, 9/11 WAS PLAINLY DESIGNED, NOT AS AN END IN ITSELF, BUT AS THE TRIGGER TO A CHAIN-REACTION BOMB.

The aim: to spark off war between the nearly 2 billion Muslims and all other human beings. As such, it is not only an attack on those whom the terrorists label infidels, but an attack on the whole world, starting with the Muslim Umma, who will bear and already are bearing the brunt of the suffering. It is not the “shock and awe” effect of the attack on the twin towers that has made this possible but the attack on Iraq in 2003, the knock-on effects of which have already destabilized the Middle East and North Africa and spilled over into Europe.

Instead of calling in the bomb-disposal squad and leading a swift and tightly targeted counter-attack designed solely to discourage any future attempts, the Bush trio, with the help of Ashcroft and the Patriot Act, deliberately promoted an open-ended state of paranoia among the already shocked populace, as a means to maximizing executive power and using it to tighten controls and stampede America into what looks all too much like the export of a permanent state of war.”

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I know it is still hard for Americans to understand what I have written about the world’s Muslims, caught between a rock and a hard place. Victimhood is a terrible state for all concerned, especially when it becomes chronic, giving rise to all manner of new horrors that make more and more victims. It is so important to rise above victimhood as soon as possible—but who can blame those that never recover?

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Very well put, Herb. It was a made-for-tv disaster, orchestrated for maximum horrific effect. And the Bush admin. did their very best to take advantage of it for their own ends, never letting a crisis go to waste and all that Shock Doctrine stuff.

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Excellent. Thanks for sharing. Bush said the right things yesterday, but he and his puppet masters helped make the mess that we still endure.

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Kara Beautifully expressed and so true. We are the ‘angels’ who now must be tasked to craft a country that serves the great majority of Americans and of whose functional values we are proud.

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Its unavailable in Portugal for legal reasons

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Thank You.

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Thank you!

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Kara, wonderful article and beautiful photo!! Thank you.

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You are right that they were "capitalizing on our collective grief." And the operative word I think is "capitalizing," as in making $. We did not stand a chance of making a better decision as a community of citizens against the individualistic right to exploit (for $) any situation. That individualistic right is sacred in this country of ours. It always trumps the greater good.

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But their first objective was to use the human response for revenge against anyone hurting them to whip up the populace for an attack on those who they could claim were the perpetrators of the attack. Once that frenzy was converted into more Republicans in office, then they could turn the political power into tax cuts for the wealthy, defense contracts and other tax loopholes for big contributors to the Party.

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Kara Hammond thank you. I’m so glad this was published, and has the authority of the city paper behind it. Someone below included a link as well—it is accessible online so I’ll go add to the clicks it gets right away. We all should. One note though, an important one: there is literally no such thing as a “limited war.” Each war is Pandora’s box.

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Beautifully written and expressed.

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Kara, thank you: this is incredibly cogent and deeply humane.

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Wonderfully written. Thank you for this.

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Kara, thank you.

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Thank you!

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Thank You. May I share and credit you and Winston'-Salem Journal. It is so important.

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Marvelous.

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I am happy to say I was not among the 90% of Americans who supported President George W. Bush after the 9/11 terror attacks. Or ever. Not even when he gave his famous, rousing speech about "we're gonna smoke 'em out" and "if you're not with us, you're against us." My late partner and I were in a crowded New York City cafe a few days after the attacks, watching that speech on the TV in the cafe bar. When the customers in the cafe (including my partner) cheered Bush's jingoistic words, I whispered to my partner, "He is full of shit. He always has been and always will be full of shit." It was frightening to watch all those sophisticated New Yorkers, shattered and brokenhearted, eating up Bush's bluster. Later, tens of thousands of us marched in the Manhattan streets to protest Bush's invasion of Afghanistan, and again in 2003, his invasion of Iraq. Years later when the stock market crashed and our country looked as if we were days away from anarchy, poverty, and/or revolution, George W. Bush was still just a mediocre clown.(Don't get me started on how Bush wasted the massive American monetary surplus President Clinton and the American public spent eight years creating. Bush pissed it away and never looked back.) It is comforting that Bush gave a thoughtful, powerful speech today, sounding an alarm against domestic terrorism. But now — years after he helped set the stage for Trump and his followers — to shower George W. Bush with adulation, respect and honor is misplaced. To quote a line of dialogue from Robert Towne's brilliant, Oscar-winning screenplay CHINATOWN (uttered by the film's Shakespearean villain, Noah Cross): "Course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.”

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Thank you. Yes I'm thinking of the thousands who marched against the declared senseless war in Iraq. I'm thinking also of the thousands of us who are just ordinary citizens and not foreign policy geniuses could see that the GWOT was madness. That the war in Iraq was madness. I think often of what could have been. Beginning with an Al Gore Presidency. A much different world than what we are seeing today.

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That was a stolen election by the Bush Boys, Roger Stone and the Supreme Court INjustices (thank you for the latter TCinLA). We had our first terrorist attack on 11/02/2000.

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And Ted Cruz. And Amy Coney Barrett. Both on Bush’s legal team on location in Florida at that time. If I remember correctly, there was much ado about absentee ballots in Bush’s favor to find. Isn’t that just another hypocrisy … Senators like Cruz fight to stop mail in ballots now. 🙄

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And Brett Cavanaugh

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Missed that one. Geez 😒

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Thank you,Martin, for being so candid. I could not agree more. Cheney and Rumsfeld could not have been more fortunate in having the perfect mouthpiece as GW proved to be.

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Cheney picked himself to be Vice President when he realized how easily he could mold Bush. They sent my son to war based on a campaign of lies, for which no one was ever held accountable. Now look where we are!!

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Shrub was a puppet. Groomed and prepared for the role. The guys behind him were th true evil ones.

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So was Trump.

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Great essay, Martin. You and Christine left out the main marionette pulling the strings...Dick Cheney !

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As I stated, GW was the mouthpiece for Cheney and Rumsfeld. They were the master planners but GW did their bidding.

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Indeed, Cheney was orchestrating Bush's moves. When Cheney held the closed-door meeting with oil industry CEOs the war with Iraq wasn't far behind. The Iraq war was certainly assured when Saddam Hussein refused to renew oil exploration contracts with American oil companies and gave them to China, France, India, Indonesia, and Russia. All that was needed was the manufactured misinformation about WMDs to launch the war against Iraq.

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trump won’t ever… not EVER…get respectable, no matter how old he becomes.

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Well said. I agree. Thank you.

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Thank you for such a thoughtful and insightful post. I agree with everything you said.

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Thank you. Me, too. This is how I feel about Shrub. ❤️🤍💙

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Thank you.

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Yes, what a perfect quote. So damned true.

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90% supported Bush after 9/11? I’m guessing/hoping that’s hyperbole?

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Direct quote from HCR's above letter re: September 11. "In the wake of the attacks, Bush’s popularity soared to 90 percent. He and his advisers saw that popularity as a mandate to change America, and the world..."

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“While we cannot know for certain what happened on that plane on that fateful day, investigators believe that before the passengers of Flight 93 stormed the cockpit, throwing themselves between the terrorists and our government, and downed the plane, they all took a vote”

That last sentence ... powerful, and poignant.

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That sentence struck me the same way, Diana!

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George W. Bush emerging from blessed obscurity to give a stirring speech on tolerance, diversity, and the value of the lives of everyday Americans is the hight of hypocricy. Needless, I was not among the approving 90%. Hell, we were attacked on his watch!

I spent yesterday wondering if we would ever talk about why, twenty years after 9/11, we still have to go through airport security screening. Why the Taliban went from fringe radical group to running a country. Why alQaeda still exists. There was not a peep in all the remembrances about the two reasons for the 9/11 attacks, stated by Osama bin Laden on al Jazeera on the day of the attacks; US military permanently stationed in Saudi Arabia and US backing if Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Why, after twenty years, nothing has changed, some things are worse, even after expenditures in blood and trillions in treasure, much of the latter into the pockets of defense contractors? (Aha! Perhaps a hint therein!)

There is so much more; HCR touched on much of it in today's letter. Suffice it to say that 9/11 should have made us smarter, yet so much of the country has gone willfully, proudly, in the opposite direction.

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On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, President Biden paid homage with great empathy at all three sites of destruction, a Jiffy-Lubed Bush spoke movingly, and Donald Trump, who characterized our military as ‘suckers’ and ‘losers,’provided commentary at a boxing match of two over-the-hill pugilists. One president of whom we should be proud, a second who had made murmurs of repentance, and the Mafia Don.

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I wasn’t going to mention Tramp, but after your post decided to add something. Not only did he do the boxing match commentary, he visited a firehouse in New York. There he trashed President Biden and his “surrender” in Afghanistan. In addition, what got me angry is the fire chief wearing a red MAGA hat. This is totally unacceptable, full stop. But now I’m really waiting for some Democrat bulldogs to start pointing out loudly that it was Tramp that negotiated the surrender and who released 5,000 prisoners. I know President Biden can’t do it, but where are the others in the party? I’m tired and furious that they are not pushing back more forcefully. Okay, I’m done now.

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Hi Annette. The Biden administration has mentioned the Trump deal (which I think was Putin inspired from the get-go.) Trouble is, the word doesn't get down to the little guy. Only the Faux News BS and perhaps certain Sunday pulpits have their ears. They spread a much different word.

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American history shows that for every brief period of government acting for the common good, big money creates a backlash amongst regular folks, which then takes decades to repair.

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Big money, of which the fabled Military Industrial Complex is a significant factor.

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I couldn't agree more, Ralph!

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Yes. And because W, or whoever wrote this for him, chose the words so carefully, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and the rest of the 74 million scumbags who voted for Trump will be able to assume that “foul sprit” refers to Antifa, the Squad, Pelosi, and/or Biden.

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Willfully, proudly, and willingly!

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Yes. Damn.

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How do you do this, Heather? How do you manage to weave a tale of history so artfully? Wow.

I find the wrapper on the this piece to be the incredible irony that as we listen to George W. Bush say all those "right things" on this day, we are reminded that he may be regarded as one of the most destructive Presidents in our history. He attacked more than two countries. He attacked our debt, our integrity, our planet, our democracy. The damage from his eight years will ripple across this century with devastating effect. This is a man who many "would like to have a beer with". This is a man who supports immigration through art. There is a real charm about him.

Is "W" an innocent victim of Cheney and Rumsfeld's persuasion? Or has he actually been the devil himself? I guess it really doesn't matter. The millions of people needlessly displaced, maimed or killed don't care.

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You left out Karl Rove when listing Cheney and Rumsfeld. As a fellow Texan at the time, I don’t believe W had any political interest as far as running for governor of Texas. He seemed to be a man of loose ends and Rove probably saw him as a man to be molded and manipulated, first governor and then president. I never had the impression Bush’s dad saw his son as a likely candidate, but as an alcoholic who couldn’t keep a job. Sr. Bush was against the invasion of Iraq. I wonder if Jr. Bush paints the faces of the people he sent into a senseless war as balm for his guilty conscience. He had a good speech writer for yesterday and has probably upped his approval rating, but he will remain at the bottom as now second worst American president.

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"He seemed to be a man of loose ends and Rove probably saw him as a man to be molded and manipulated..." I have had those thoughts about most Republican presidential candidates since Reagan. They are showmen with the right soundbites, written by faceless spin doctors. Behind each one, there is a team of strange "Svengali" types who lie without remorse. Usually, money is the motive. It certainly isn't democracy and care for the people of America.

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Didn’t Bush used to say Karl Rove was his brain?

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Ha! Ha! Ha! And it isn’t even Halloween yet!

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Eeuuuww.

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He made the comment “That Trump didn’t make him look so bad”. W was also very flirtatious with the ladies.At a G-8,7 or 20 can’t remember which one. And yes his drinking was a problem,He ran across this huge meeting room to massage a woman’s shoulders. Rumor had it that the powers that be forced him into a De-tox with ‘Medication ‘ which was going on when 9/11 happen.I think the real issue was “ Loose Lips Sink Ships “ as to why he needed to give up the sauce. And then he took up Art.One news outlet said he would go off his rocker staggering through the White House screaming, yelling. The Secret Service would slip Laura out the back door and take her to the Watergate hotel to stay the night.He was mad at them though for keeping him away until late in the day on 9/11. Cheney,Rumsfeld and Rove stole his Spotlight.Think they moved him like 3 times if I recall ?

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I believe Bush stopped drinking at age 40 so whatever else went on during his presidency, alcohol wasn't the cause.

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Correct.

Yesterday's observances at the Fireman's Memorial in my neighborhood were solemn.

Immediately followed by heavy drinking and loud brash behavior.

Kinda' mirroring the reactions of 20 years ago.

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I didnt know. Egads, that's scary.

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Wasn’t stating it as a ‘Cause ‘. They were concerned if he got drunk ‘Who ‘ he might run his mouth off to.

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Ah, yes. Karl Rove. I remember the W. Bush/Gore election. What I saw on T.V. The Bushes we’re celebrating in a Florida restaurant when Rove entered the room and whispered in W’s ear. W looked stunned, then leaned forward to pass the tidbit on to others at the table. He then stood up, and he and Rove hurried out of the room.

What was the news? The T.V. Announcers had just announced that Gore was pulling ahead of Bush. I can’t prove it, but given the escalating use of voter manipulation as a Republican tactic, it’s easy to assume that, that night, they hadn’t expected Gore to pull ahead in Florida.

There was one other time I remember seeing Bush with a look like that passing across his face. It was when he was in a second grade classroom and was informed the the Twin Towers had been attacked. It seems sometimes that I have watched decades of dirty tricks attempted by the Republicans. Sometimes they get caught, but mostly they don’t. Perhaps we should put a second “Bill of Rights” into the constitution — a list of ethical standards that must be met —

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Do you remember the hanging chad debacle, when the ballot was deliberately misaligned so the scanner might not 'read' the right candidate for the intended vote? The woman who was the state elections officer who smugly reassured Bush she knew he had won? Several experts had to be called in to hand count the votes. Meanwhile, the SCOTUS made the decision before all the ballots could be certified. Al Gore asked for a recount of a few counties, which did go to Bush. However, independently, The Saint Petersburg Times sponsored a recount of the entire state. Several weeks later, Al Gore had won the electoral votes in Florida, and thus the presidency, but it was a moot point because the court had already made the decision.

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It doesn't matter who wrote it. He gave it and it was well written and delivered. I don't think he got pleasure from doing so or was looking to burnish his laurels. I think he is saddened that he helped create a divided nation...but that day in September we were not divided. We were all in shock, we were all in pain, we were all sad, and we were all afraid.

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I've wondered, too, if W has ever had any regrets. Wouldn't it be something if he confessed to the lies and the whole mess he has caused up till now! The whole Republican party would collapse in a day.

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Imagine him stoned in a Ted Talk…

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Yes! ❤️🤍💙

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George Bush held the power, he chose his advisers, the final decisions were his.

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"Enhanced interrogation techniques," "black sites," "rendition" (of mostly people who had nothing to do with anything), Abu Ghraib, "the black hole of Bagram."

G.W. Bush was captain of the ship, no matter unfitted he was for the position. It is ALL on him.

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Good morning friends. HCR, I was hoping you'd take the weekend off, but I am glad you didn't. This letter is absolutely the best essay I have read, even though I was screaming in my head, as I read the words you quoted from Shrubby Bush's speech, "liar! liar! liar!" I was not in NYC at the time--I was in a classroom teaching medieval history across the state, about 100 miles east of Buffalo--but my entire family and a very large number of friends and colleagues were and continue to be living in the corridor between Boston and Washington, DC. And beloved former students. One of whom was serving in the Army as honor guard at the National Cemetery and the Pentagon at the time. His job, chosen by the brass because he had, before going into the army, served in the Peace Corps in some scary places, was to pull bodies out of the rubble of the Pentagon. He told me that their reasoning was that, since he was older than many of the others in his detail (all of 28) and had seen some bad stuff, he could lead the troops who had to recover the dead. I was fairly frantic to get in touch with him that day, as I was checking up on all my "people" who might have been caught in the horror. He let me know quite quickly that he was okay. And told me, over the next few weeks, what he was doing.

Friends, my dear, kind, humane, smart, talented former student committed suicide a few years later. It wasn't that he had been unable to deal with the memories of that day. It was because of the way the army, the government, and the Powers That Be treated him in the aftermath: as if he was a nonentity, disposable, a tool. He left the army, went back into the Peace Corps for awhile, but it wasn't enough to mend the wounds. I mourn him to this day. He was a victim, not of the tragedy of the day, but of the cynical creation of "9/11" by the evildoers in the White House and in every fucking Republican-led government. And I cannot forgive them.

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So, so many of our military have had this or a very similar experience. I am so sorry for the loss of your student. His experience of being failed by the organization that promised him a brotherhood and discarded him when it was convenient for them is horrible.

My one personal event was the death of my good work buddy's stepson; an Iraq war veteran who, once out of the military, could not get either the medical or mental health help he sorely needed, and died in a single vehicle, single occupant, DUII crash full on into a fixed object. It was his only way out. I am so sorry for the loss of your student. His experience of being failed by the organization that promised him a brotherhood and discarded him when it was convenient for them is horrible.

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Kinda' disproves this:

"That day, and our memories of it, show American democracy at its best: ordinary Americans putting in the work, even at its dirtiest and most dangerous, to take care of each other.

It is this America we commemorate today."

I might add the Muslim bashing, if it has slipped anyone's mind. Memory is funny that way.

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GWB's memory of " At a time when religious bigotry might have flowed freely, I saw Americans reject prejudice and embrace people of Muslim faith…." is NOT what I saw that night (responding to a call where a man was threatening to kill a graveyard 7-11 clerk who was from the middle east and arresting that "patriot" for the crime of Intimidation 1) and to this day (just yesterday, driving about, saw one of "those" flag bedecked jacked up diesel pickups with a hand lettered poster declaring "kill the ragheads". There was no "embracing people of Muslim faith" among a vast segment of the population where I live.

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It's gaslighting in full effect because I have no recollection of that, either. I remember the hatred that spewed forth towards the 'ragheads' and anyone that even remotely looked like them, not the '... embrace people of the Muslim faith...' lies.

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Like you, we experienced no "embrace" of Muslims then, and I see almost no evidence of it now.

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Nope. 20 years later, Muslims (and those who look like them- those dark-skinned A-Rabs, you know) are still looked upon with suspicion and hatred, and treated with disdain.

Gurdeep Pandher is a Canadian Muslim who has been dancing throughout the pandemic to bring joy and peace to the world and I'd like to share a recent video of his with you guys.

https://youtu.be/9PaDnnlqOhg

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Laureen you and Gurdeep Pandher gave me fun, movement, color, nature (water, rocks, sky), positivity, the sound of the boat in the water, and the caring of you both. Thank you, Laureen and Gurdeep.

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Thank You Lauren! Heal the World through Dance!

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That looked joyful!

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Thank you, Laureen

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Oh my God, Linda. He gave his heart and soul, they robbed him of both. I am so sorry.

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I am so sorry for your loss and understand your anger.

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You touched the day, the days before and afterward -- the stoicism, the worry, the care and the children, were their parents Ok? NYC, elementary school.

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As I listened to repeated statements yesterday of "never forget," I thought of the irony of the pushback against teaching the history of race (CRT) in this country.

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"never forget" is coopted from the Holocaust survivors.

Propaganda will steal what it can and use it to deceive.

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Thank you, HCR for today's letter--the best I've read thus far.

It's interesting you bring up the 2000 election and Al Gore and highlights the difference between him and Trump. Despite seeing 100,000 mostly black voters disenfranchised, as you point out, and the fact that Gore won the popular vote, he abided by the Supreme Court's decision to hand the election to Bush because he is a man of honor, integrity and patriotism. The election in Florida was shady at best, yet he still accepted the rule of the court. Trump, on the other hand, clearly lost the 2016 election despite his claims of election fraud. He brought dishonor to his himself and his office and incited the Jan. 6 insurrection. Those are not the actions of a man of integrity; those are the actions of a whimpering child. But I no longer blame him for creating an army of the misinformed. I blame those Americans who swallowed his lies hook, line and sinker. Independent thought in this country is fading and is more dangerous than ever.

On a personal note, if you will allow me, I'd like to share my experience of 9-11. I was working on the 29th floor of an office tower in Jersey City, directly across the Hudson River from the twin towers. Everyone rushed to the windows when the first plane hit and when the second plane disappeared into the second tower the building was quickly evacuated. This was it. We're being attacked.

The subways were closed and there was no way I could get home to my wife in Brooklyn. So I went to the promenade at the river's edge. Yes, it was a spectacular pre-autumn day. The blue in the sky was deep and the humidity negligible. A group of us just stood at the railing and finally the first tower went down. We watched as the eerie smoke and debris snaked its way throughout lower Manhattan. Few people spoke as we looked on, mouths open, in astonishment.

And then I noticed the most bizarre thing. A man on the boardwalk had set up an easel and was making a painting as the scene unfolded. It's strange the things one remembers.

Later that afternoon I made it home. We stood on the roof of our 5-story loft building on the East River. It was getting dark and I thought I felt rain when we realized that tiny, burned pieces of paper from the World Trade Center site had drifted in the air and were dropping on us from above, like tears from those who were killed in the towers. The world changed that day.

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All of us who saw this happen in person, I think were affected in a way unlike the rest of America. It was a special scar that was unmediated through the lens of television, leaving each of us to process and understand it in the context of our particular circumstance. 8.5”x11” paper falling like snow is nothing anyone in Missouri is likely to get.

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Kara, many of us who experienced it in the immediacy--I was not in NYC at the time but all my family was affected directly and many, many friends and acquaintances--did, I think, have a rather different response than those, perhaps as you say "from Missouri (where I now live)" for whom "9/11" has become a mantra of hate and division. However, I would suggest that Giuliani, for all the immediacy of his experience, has been one of the leaders of the conversion of "9/11" into such a mantra. Each person takes away something different. I would also suggest that location is not necessarily the primary reason for a particular response. After all, many of those who experienced the horrors of the OK City bombing were among the most jingoistic of supporters of anti-Muslim propaganda and war against the "other." I have been to that memorial, which is beautiful and sad and poignant. The thought that people who erected that monument to the fallen would then encourage the slaughter of thousands in "retribution" for "9/11" is bewildering to me. But then, I live in a reality-based world.

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deleted and reposted after edit

Please, don't think that those of us who did not see it in person, but it on television, did not feel immediate horror and terror. I am from DC. Many of my DC family members worked for the federal government. My brother worked for the DOD and had been assigned to the Pentagon for several weeks. When I couldn't reach him for several hours, I was panicked.

Too, at the time, we lived in Eastern El Paso County, CO., not too far from Colorado Springs and several sensitive USAF sites. Night and day, for weeks, surveillance planes flew back and forth across the eastern plains, over our home, some so close to the ground I thought I might be able to reach up and touch them. What or who were they watching for? We were shaken and afraid by the thoughts of what might come next.

I don't diminish the anguish and horror of the experience you and others had in such close physical proximity to the devastation. Frankly, I can't even begin to imagine it. Please understand that each of us lives with a memory of that day and its aftermath that is no less riveting. Even those who saw it through the lens of television.

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...or escaping with thousands, all in shock and disoriented.

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In Portugal, an English neighbor called to tell us, as we didnt have tv. It was so strange to get such news from a foreigner. We horrified later, to see it on tvs in cafes for days, at the thought of all those lives lost, and wondered, “What next?!”

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That’s a rather divisive statement.

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I think that it acknowledges the greater impact of proximity to a horrific event has. We were all impacted by this. My comparison here is for the fire service in general, and NYFD in particular. Each firefighter, from the young volunteer in a small town to a seasoned fireman in any large city other than New York knows that, in theory, "it could have been me". Those surviving NYFD know that for a fact, and know that, for many of them, it was only "luck of the draw" that they were not one of the 343 who died that day.

All were impacted, some stared it in the face every day.

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Thank you for writing this.

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I want to believe that each and every one of us, as we advocate for voters rights, as we participate in our local, state and National governments, by writing our representatives, as we vote, and as we keep pushing at all levels for democracy for all Americans, are “makers of history”. We have this amazing “vehicle” that we must aggressively persistently protect. I am so grateful for your letters Professor Richardson. Sorting through all the precursors of how we got to where we are is so helpful and inspiring! Thank you!

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Thursday evening, I watched Michel Moore's documentary movie Fahrenheit 9/11. I had no idea about the Bin Laden family having ties to George Bush through his oil business. I gather while Osama Bin Laden was the black sheep of the family he still had some contact with members of the family. One of the few airplanes allowed to leave the United States was one approved by the Bush administration to get Bin Laden family members out of the country on Sept. 12. I had always wondered why there was never any criticism of Saudi Arabia. Follow the money! Interesting that DT made Saudi Arabia his first official foreign visit. We're, the People, being duped. Royally.

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The Bush family have been traitors ever since Preston Bush invested in the rise of Hitler. He became a US Senator in 1942 so they couldn't indict him under the Trading With The Enemy Act. Bush 42 was the one who pardoned all the criminals from Irangate.

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Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you TCInLA for your newsletter, too. ❤️🤍💙

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Prescott Bush?

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Suggested reading: Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years, by Russ Baker, 2009, Bloomsbury Press. It'll upset you...

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More upset, pts. What a prescription!

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Yep. Also on the subject is American Dynasty by Kevin Philips.

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Being that we’re pretty upset already … another eye opener book won’t upset the apple cart any more than it is!

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Just ordered from library…

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I watched and was surprised by some of the Saudi information. Disgusting. His family being allowed to leave!!! Confirms my despair in 2000 when the Supreme Court elected Shrub. And despair when war was declared on Iraq. Arguably the worst POTUS in our sad history. ❤️🤍💙

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According to Snopes, and supported by pdf excerpts from the 9/11 Commission report itself, it is a false but widespread rumor that members of the Bin Laden family were allowed to fly out of the U.S. on Sept. 12.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/flights-of-fancy/

Here's are a couple of links to the pdf docs I found online. The 5-page document from cdn.factcheck.org has the relevant sections highlighted. The longer document, from govinfo.library.unt.edu includes those pages and establishes the wider context.

https://cdn.factcheck.org/UploadedFiles/Commission-report-on-bin-Laden-flights.pdf

https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch10.pdf

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"when the Supreme Court elected Shrub." Yup.

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Much remains unknown. This Saudi Arabian family appears to have been supporting the 9/11 terrorist crew in Florida and hurriedly left their home.

https://tampabaytimes-fl.newsmemory.com/?publink=065897de3_1345f04

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According to Snopes, and supported by pdf excerpts from the 9/11 Commission report itself, it is a false but widespread rumor that members of the Bin Laden family were allowed to fly out of the U.S. on Sept. 12.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/flights-of-fancy/

Here's are a couple of links to the pdf docs I found online. The 5-page document from cdn.factcheck.org has the relevant sections highlighted. The longer document, from govinfo.library.unt.edu includes those pages and establishes the wider context.

https://cdn.factcheck.org/UploadedFiles/Commission-report-on-bin-Laden-flights.pdf

https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Ch10.pdf

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Thank you for checking this!

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I remembered how widespread this claim was being echoed by "everyone". Seeing it repeated here, I thought it a good idea to check it.

As for the passengers voting, I also wondered how we knew that. Searched and found an NPS page listing phone calls from the plane with brief summaries of what was said. It comes from a call by Jeremy Blick, connected at 9:37 am, in which he is quoted as having said "Jeremy then, seriously, told [his wife] that he and the other males were organizing to ‘rush’ the hijackers." and then "The 9/11 Commission report states that Glick said that “the passengers were voting on whether to storm the cockpit and retake control of the plane.” https://www.nps.gov/flni/learn/historyculture/phone-calls-from-flight-93.htm

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"We are an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." These words have haunted me for almost 20 years. If I live in the "reality-based community," where do Republicans live? They live in the world of Faux News, QAnon Shamans, the Big Lie, and Proud Boys.

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Sharon I agree that these are frightening words and reflect what like-minded ‘Americans’ have been doing domestically. While Bush-Cheney Rumsfeld were the terrible trio in the Iraq/Afghan cock up, there was previous American intervention in Iraq. In 1960 I spent 21/2 hours with Iraq’s (military) president, Abdul Qarim Kassem—not an endearing chap. He had a bloodied uniform from his first assassination attempt in a glass case. His beady eyes I found ominous. Three years later, in a coup sanctioned by JFK, he was assassinated. This paved the way for Saddam Hussein to climb the ladder of power, as he was the hit man for ‘baddies’ targeted by CIA. We should not forget that the failed states of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua were earlier raped by American businesses with the complacency of successive American governments.

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Follow the Benjamin's.

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From Wiki.

Orwell put it well. Does 2+2=5?

“The mathematically incorrect[1] phrase "two plus two equals five" (2 + 2 = 5) is best known in English for its use in the 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, as a possible statement of Ingsoc (English Socialism) philosophy, like the dogma "War is Peace", which the Party expects the citizens of Oceania to believe is true. In writing his secret diary in the year 1984, the protagonist Winston Smith ponders if the Inner Party might declare that "two plus two equals five" is a fact. Smith further ponders whether or not belief in such a consensus reality makes the lie true.[2]

About the falsity of "two plus two equals five", in Room 101, the interrogator O'Brien tells the thought criminal Smith that control over physical reality is unimportant to the Party, provided the citizens of Oceania subordinate their real-world perceptions to the political will of the Party; and that, by way of doublethink: "Sometimes, Winston. [Sometimes it is four fingers.] Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once".”

And here is the foundation for believing the Big Lie.

“Smith further ponders whether or not belief in such a consensus reality makes the lie true.”

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How Trump controls his followers.

By George Orwell.

“Nazi theory, indeed, specifically denies that such a thing as "the truth" exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as "Science". There is only "German Science", "Jewish Science", etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future, but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, "It never happened"—well, it never happened. If he says that "two and two are five"—well, two and two are five. This prospect frightens me much more than bombs—and, after our experiences of the last few years [the Blitz, 1940–41], that is not a frivolous statement.[23]

In addressing Nazi anti-intellectualism, Orwell's reference might have been Hermann Göring's hyperbolic praise of Adolf Hitler: "If the Führer wants it, two and two makes five!"[24] In the political novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), concerning the Party's philosophy of government for Oceania, Orwell said:

In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?[25]“

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And then there is the Mae West version: “One and one is two and two and two is five, if you know how to work it.” Mae’s quote is delightful and Orwell’s frighteningly chilling.

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Where they live has no semblance of reality. Period.

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Fuck George W. Bush. And the collection of fucking clucks he had around him, especially that master of evil, Dickhead Cheney. They had all the information in front of them to stop it, but Widdle Georgie was busy on the first of his many vacations, performing for the press with his brush-clearing all the month of August, while that fucking dimbulb Condoleeza Rice got briefed on it, "but nobody told us they would fly an airplane into a building! How could we know?" Just fuck all those evil fucking morons all to hell.

The bastards were planning to invade Iraq from the day they got there, and they were so gung-ho to do it, they let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora in December, then they wouldn't take the Taliban's offer of surrender, because that would prevent their great little adventure when they invaded Poland, er, I mean Iraq.

That worthless, talentless, piece of shit, who would have been a failure at living in a cardboard box under a freeway overpass but for the accident of his birth! He isn't fit to garden the lawn at that memorial. The least of those 40 was a bazillion times better a human being than George Fuckhead Bush. The man who wrecked the world, because he was a fucking MORON.

I will NEVER forgive him and that collection of draft-dodging "patriots" in his so-called "administration." Torturers, murderers, profiteers. How many billions did Cheney make from the invasion of Iraq?

You're a far better person than I am, Dr. Richardson, that you can treat that morherfucker like he's a member of the species. He'll die with the stain of 9/11 etched in whatever he's got that passes for a heart. And all the rest of those worthless scum who made America worse by the fact they ever existed.

I hope they all burn in hell for ten eternities.

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Bush and Trump, two dry drunk morons who got to power by hook and by crook. Both incapable of maintaining and expressing even two simultaneous, connected thoughts, yet ruining worlds with their pugnacious acts in service to themselves and the rich. Two boastful empty suits, trying mightily and vainly to get Daddy's approval well into their dotage, one a pathetic failure turned paintner, the other a truly evil bastard still rearing his ugly head to destroy more and more.

9/11 should have taught us one thing but didn't: it takes years to build something but only seconds to knock it down when some amoral terrorists are intent on doing so. Today those amoral terrorists, with a couple of exceptions, are our elected republicans 'officials'.

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Perfect, Carolyn. You had me at "dry drunk morons." Indeed. I'd forgotten that tidbit.

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Carolyn, I would not call Bush a 'dry drunk'. I've heard many liquor stories about W, even during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Now, I can't vouch for that day, but my understanding is that Bushie was a topsy-turvy kind of guy.

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Honestly, this is how I feel, too. But, don’t have the talent or knowledge to write. Remembering the utter anger and despair I felt in 2000 when SCOTUS elected him. Remembering the helplessness I felt when war was declared in Iraq. Can’t stand how Shrub is portrayed as a gentle elder statesman painting veterans. ❤️🤍💙

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Wasting no words on your thoughts about Bush and Co., TC. Go for it!

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I'm disappointed that you didn't give Rumsfeld the TC treatment he deserves.

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Maybe because he was a known known.

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or a known gnome

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He's included in the last sentence, but should have gotten his own cast line.

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Good morning Fern. I’m sure that has bubbled up from TC’s lava lamp of comment before and will again.

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Good morning, dear Christine. How about an expletivecomment?

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How’s this one? For all sacrificed for the green monster of greed and envy…..

🤮

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Grace explained it. :-)

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Ducking behind Grace. Ok, I like your smile.

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You got it TC. And yes way back to Preston. I hope the dynastic spell has been broken. "Would you please just clap?" - the other Bush from Floridah.

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Can we all sign our names to this and send it as a LTE to Times and Post? Oh never mind, they’ll never print how we really feel! Thank you TC for the one comment I could get thru today and feel good. 🙏 I think the GOP drags the sewers for the lowliest candidates just so they can then turn around and disparage our candidates and call it fair play. Which it’s far from.

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Is the expletives that really turned you on, Christy? Ok, I apologize. My curiosity doesn't want to kill the cat, this time.

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“In a follow up to the ice water study, for instance, the same researchers found that the pain-easing effect of uttering swear words was more acute among people who swore less. Use it all the time and you habituate; the words lose their oomph.”*

Nope! I just can’t deal. Feels good to read TC saying so eloquently what the entire country should have put in the Main Stream Media for the last decade.

* https://time.com/4602680/profanity-research-why-we-swear/

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Thank you for this info, Christy. I was friendly playing when I asked about the attraction to swearwords. I didn't read TC comments for months because the expletives were a wall. I don't know what caused me to enter his zone, but I am very glad that I have. TC's moods vary a bit and I also feel relief at times when he's on a tear. It's as though I'm on a ride that I needed to take and feel his swear words coming out of my mouth, not literally. At other times, I like where TC history takes me, and it's vivid. I will read your link in the morning. Salud!

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Okie dokie.

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The finest use of television I've ever experienced was the ABC special with Peter Jennings the Saturday morning after 9/11 Answering Children's Questions. I can remember one young boy of middle eastern decent asking if he could ever be a pilot, for example. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulYiXQSHw9M I sent Peter Jennings an email thank you ... and received a personal answer back.

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Peter Jennings was the voice I needed to hear those first terrible days. A truly good man who died too young.

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Peter Jennings was an outstanding voice of calm reason in the hours and days after the attacks. One of the Great Ones.

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"a senior adviser to Bush told journalist Ron Suskind that people like him—Suskind—were in “the reality-based community”: they believed people could find solutions based on their observations and careful study of discernible reality. But, the aide continued, such a worldview was obsolete. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.… We are an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

Well they certainly did create a reality. Just look at that reality: After at least $3 Trillion dollars and likely more like $8 Trillion, Donald Trump, a Republican, negotiated a surrender agreement with the Taliban that included releasing 5000 Taliban prisoners and the complete exit of the United States by May 1, 2021. An entirely unconditional surrender.

The very last event of that exit was a gigantic explosion killing 13 US soldiers, and, of course many, many more Afghans.

A reality that left 240,000 innocent Afghans dead for no reason at all.

A reality that left 2500 US soldiers dead for no reason at all.

A reality that everyone knew as a lie from the beginning because: Not a single attacker of the United States was from Afghanistan, not one.

A reality that even me, an engineer in a software organization with no political or historical experience knew was a mistake and its intent was entirely to enrich George W. Bush and his buddies in the military-industrial complex that HAVE won the Afghanistan "war".

America lost in Afghanistan but George W. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, with their ownership in many stocks of military contractors? Huge, huge winners.

Yes, Bush and his merry band of poor judgement good ole boys, all with silver foots in their mouths, with more hubris than brains, and more corruption than patriotism, created a reality alright.

They created an America where Americans lost....and became losers in our own eyes and the eyes of the world......in ever so many ways.

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It’s all about the overseas money for GWB, ever since he got the drilling contract in Bahrain during Desert Storm. The Carlyle Group, Bechtel, Halliburton, Black Water, etc. All benefit from chaos.

I guess those boys had a patriotic need to spend down the surplus Clinton left them.

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Not to be paranoid (they are watching me, aren't they?) but those folks are still out there picking the next target. Central Africa is a dandy place. Rife with ethnic and tribal conflict, full of natural resources, really no stable civic institutions since colonial days - hey and a great pace for the proxy war between Chyner and 'Merica. But wait there's more. They have different color skin.

Yes, this is snark but put it in a time capsule and pull it out like in 2025.

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You’re absolutely right, Charlie. For that matter, why didn’t we get a committee to investigate the screwup in Niger that cost the lives of American soldiers? I wonder… How many are still there and in CAR, etc.?

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Greed. The bane of human existence.

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After reading this piece, the statement ‘reality-based community’ and its observable solution base, in my mind, correlate with the ‘shadow docket’ solution premise of today’s Supreme Court.

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Diana King called your brilliant last sentence "Powerful and Poignant". I totally agree, but I also want to convey how reading that last sentence sent a chill down my spine and generated a feeling of great pride and respect for all Americans who are actively engaged in trying to save our democracy from the under-educated and sheepish Americans who are threatening both our health and our country.

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Yes!

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