A Wee Bit Antsy

Pic of the day:  Sternbrucke in Weimar, by Christian Rohlfs

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I’m glad mushrooms are against the law, because I took them one time, and you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going, “My God! I love everything.” Yeah. Now, if that isn’t a hazard to our country … how are we gonna keep building nuclear weapons, you know what I mean? What’s gonna happen to the arms industry when we realize that we’re all one?!

Bill Hicks

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Is it me or does it seem like there is going to be a war in the near future with Iran?  Whether it’s the U.S. vs. Iran, or Israel vs. Iran, or the U.N. (the U.S. by other means) vs. Iran, the simple story that Iran now has enough nuclear material to build nukes, according to several stories I read.  At least two of them claimed that the Institute of Science and International Security made an analysis of data from the IAEA that Iran has enough enriched uranium for 5 nuclear weapons.

Now, I’ll give the people at ISIS the benefit of the doubt. They’re probably trying to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, always a good thing.  Let’s keep people from blowing each other to a billion fucking pieces.  Tends to ruin all the plans they had, makes evenings with the wife and kids difficult when they are nothing but dust because someone decided to nuke the countryside.  Makes it difficult you understand.

But with all the hemming and hawing about Iran and about how much of a threat they pose, when I hear and see the news that they have uranium, I don’t hear and see just that, and I think you’re all with me on this one, that what I hear isn’t just words of warning, but the drumbeats of war.  Call me crazy, but what I’m hearing is the sound of some military somewhere getting ready to pounce.

Now if the Iranians have dark intentions to use these weapons against  another nation, then I say, ya, take those weapons out.  Do what you have to do, within those confines.  Destroy the plant that makes the uranium, make it impossible for them to harm other nations.  But nothing more.  No occupation of the nation, no long term war.  It isn’t necessary, not from us, not from anyone.

Hell, personally I say we should buy the uranium from them, if it’s that much of a fucking issue.  They can’t use it on our friends or anyone if we have it, now can they?  No invasion necessary, no war necessary, no blowing shit up, no wasting money on military objectives.  Buy the uranium and… do what the fuck ever we do with this shit.  Make glow in the dark cheese or some shit.

🙂

I don’t love the Iranians.  But I don’t hate them either.  We’ve been in 2 wars started over 10 years ago in the region that has greatly destabilized the region, and made the world a worse place for it, made the world a place where terrorists can live and breed.

In Iraq, for example, our enemies thrived on hate created by us doing things like becoming unwanted occupiers.  There was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq until we showed up there.  Al-Qaeda thrived on our presence there.  In Afghanistan the Mujahadeen , the immediate forebears of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban were funded by us to fight the Russians in the 80’s, which turned and bit us in the ass a number of years later.

On 9/11/2001.

Date kinda sticks in my mind, yours too I’m betting.  I’m sure you know why.

So when I get even the smallest hint of us shoving our noses back into that region of the world, I get a bit antsy.  Makes me start to think “these assholes are at it again.”  Do I trust the Iranians? Not really, but I don’t know that there are any governments anywhere that can be trusted, especially not with nukes, potential or actual.

If it turns out that they really are just using this uranium in power plants, that is great.  Give the IAEA enough time to make sure things are on the up and up that way, let ISIS make sure that things don’t get squirrelly over there.  Don’t jump the gun on decision making.  Perhaps the one thing I can lay my hopes on at this point is that we have a president that thinks with his head and not his asshole like Dubya.  President Obama I trust to make the right judgment about the information he gets.

Just gotta hope the people getting him information give him all the information as it is.  No yellowcake.  No aluminum tubes.  No bullshit.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

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A Rant Against Improper Usage Of A Single Word

Pic of the day:  Detail of the mosaic of the Battle of Issus, showing Alexander the Great and Bucephelus.

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If a warrior is not unattached to life and death, he will be of no use whatsoever. The saying that “All abilities come from one mind” sounds as though it has to do with sentient matters, but it is in fact a matter of being unattached to life and death. With such non-attachment one can accomplish any feat.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

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A rant about one word.  War.

We like war, as a species.  All cultures practice it and all will until mankind through either evolution or death move beyond the need(or capacity) to make war.  Even when we are not actually at war, a rare enough event, it seems there is some war nearing or beginning or being fought somewhere most Americans have never heard of or been to.

There have not been very many weeks, never mind years where there has been no war in the last 2000 years.  The United States has seen little in the way of peace, and some of it created by us.  Think Iraq and Panama at the very least.  Our history of military conflict is a long one indeed.  Sometimes we are right to fight, but that is not the point of this article.

War is what we do best,  and it’s in our heads that it is what we do best, and therefore we do it a lot.  But we use the word wrong, and I’d like to make the point by showing how we use the word to show what is wrong with it and why, with a few side points.

There is the war on drugs, which in some places actually is a war but in most places is simply a police action. In Mexico there is a war on drug dealers and manufacturers.   Here?  Not so much, though it can seem like it at times. Mexico and a great many other places are a mess because drug dealers want to sell their drugs and governments and citizens simply don’t want to deal with the mess it makes of the lives of the people affected.

Not all drugs are bad,  I’d like to see marijuana legalized, and a few other drugs as well.  Make it legal, tax it, and there go your budget woes.  No more dead cops fighting a war that is at best a war on a subculture, if it can even be called that.  It takes the teeth from the people on the other side of the war, by making of them legitimate businessmen, just like the guys at Goldman Sachs.

There is what is called the war against terror, which is real war in some places and ways, but in most is more of a reason to increase government intrusiveness into our personal lives.  The people on the ground of this war are not the cops with dogs sniffing peoples bags, or faceless homeland security guards hiding behind bureaucracy and putting us in full body scanners because they are paid to treat us like our freedom isn’t real, or NSA agents tapping all of our phones (assholes.)

They are members of the intelligence community infiltrating Al-Qaeda, and soldiers getting into gun battles with members of the Taliban, and drones destroying Al-Qaeda strongholds.  The fine people dealing with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban need our support.  The group from the previous paragraph needs to be done away with.  Completely.  They are leeches on society and freedom and need to be gotten rid of.  Find them another line of work.  I hear landscaping is good for building strength and character.

Class war?  We have it.  Culture war?  We live it.

There is even war on Christmas, if you listen to some of the slower chimps in our society.

War is apparently what we are about as a species.  Every day for as long as there have been weapons and people to use them on and nations or leaders with invasive agendas there has been war of some kind on this planet.  We like killing each other, no matter the protestations to the contrary that we tell ourselves.

But truth be told much of our warlike stance is a facade, particularly when speaking of class war, culture war, and even some aspects of the war on drugs and terror.

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There is no war on drugs, at least not here in America.  There are people on drugs, people who make money from drugs, and people who don’t like it and think it makes the world a complete mess.  They are right of course, they make a mess of everything, but just because there are two sides to an issue and occasional guns involved does not mean there is an actual war going on.  If there is anything war-like involving drugs it is more a police action against drug dealers who are trying like hell not to get arrested.

There is no war on terror per se, but there is a war going on there, because there is actual war against the Taliban going on for the next 18 months or so.  Then it becomes a police action, unless we invade Yemen which is a possibility which should be considered or Saudi Arabia, which wont be considered.  And the police need to stop infringing on freedoms in the name of freedom, and the government needs to stop letting them do it.

There is no class war or culture war, there is just people bitching about the way the world works, because they don’t have enough.  That isn’t war, that’s yakking.  I understand mind you, I bitch a ton about how I’ve been screwed by being unemployed, and the lack it confers.  Doesn’t mean I’m in a war against anyone.

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There are legitimate wars, and legitimate reasons for war, but the use of the word has gotten completely out of hand. We are at war in Afghanistan with segments of the Afghani population.  We are not at war with George Soros or the Koch brothers.

To be slightly facetious, there is war going on in Syria, there is no war going on over Christmas.  I have yet to see anti-tank missiles used against Christmas, no orders given for the 7th fleet to sail to Santa’s aid, so that word war used there is pure bullshit. Syria on the other hand, there is some serious shit going on there.  Just like in South Sudan, with claims of fresh bombings there.  It’ll shake out eventually. But I don’t think either Santa or Christ were involved on a personal level in either the war in Syria or South Sudan.

War is nations (and other large conglomerations of people)shooting at one another until one of them either dies the death that nations die, or surrenders.  Nothing more.  Anything that does not meet those criterion is not war.

Just saying…

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Triumphant And Tragic

The Iraq war is over.  In truth it has been for a while, the last of the combat troops came home a fairly long time ago, over a year ago as I recall, as of last June there were no longer combat troops there, but now we no longer have a presence there.

A beautiful day, but a somber one.  Nearly 4,500 dead, over 32,000 wounded on our side of the war, estimates of up to 150,000 Iraqi civilians dead.   2 nations damaged by political intrigue and ugly partisanship and the financial costs of the war.  America scarred, as now we are a security state, rather than a democratic one. More interested in security than freedom, more interested in the concept homeland than home and hearth, and if you think there is no difference between the two, you need to learn english.

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We should salute these fine brave American warriors as they come home.  We should hold those who sent these fine young Americans into combat accountable for the deaths, wounds, and other damage inflicted.

There was no WMD, and we knew that even back then.  Congress ignored it, though they knew about Hans Blix and his Unmovic reports.

This war was improper in all ways, the only good thing we get out of it is getting these Americans out.  We never should have been there.  We should always support the troops though, they didn’t ask to go, they went, fought, and thousands died. Their courage and strength cannot be questioned.  They went through hell for politics, and because Presidents have the power to order men into combat to die.

The constitution says only congress has that power.  But this war was orchestrated by the Bush White House, and as a consequence, should we not do something about that?  Make it harder for any administration to create an atmosphere where they can push for a war they want? There must be some way.

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The term “We will pay the price but we will not count the cost.” was seemingly created for the fighters in Iraq.  They are evidence that America still has much greatness in it.  We leave Iraq with heads held high.

That we were there at all is a tragedy, that we are leaving a triumph of sense.  We are Americans, we aren’t supposed to start wars, yet we started this one.  Twas foolishness, and frankly I’m glad to see the back of it.

Let us welcome home our warriors with open arms, and the deepest of gratitude for the sacrifices they made.  The reason they were there don’t matter as much now as the simple fact that they are now coming home.

God Bless America.

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Pic of the day: Abraham Lincoln

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But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg address

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Viddy of the day:  Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

Saturday Night Idle Talk

It seems that the mainstream media has decided to start reporting on Occupy Wall Street.  And what happens?  80 people get arrested. And what were they charged with? Obstructing governmental administration.  Which is a load of crap.  These young men and women were walking down the street, and apparently following orders, staying within the orange nets meant to keep them from going where the cops didn’t want them to go.

The protesters are staying in Zuccotti park, in sleeping bags and tents.  Guess what? Camping gear and sleeping bags have now been banned as of today.

I tell you, it’s abuse by local government of the locals.  Just friggin wonderful.  Sounds like bullshit to me.  Mayor Bloomberg (who I didn’t vote for, BTW) needs to back the hell up with this and get his trained dogs off of the people’s back.

So much for government of the people, by the people and for the people.  These protesters are “the people” just as much as anyone else in that area.  Creating rules of conduct after the fact, like the no sleeping bag rule in Zuccotti park, is an improper use of government  power.

But this is what happens when civil disobedience is aimed at the powers that be.  That they react this way is not unexpected.  Can’t wait to see how stupidly the police react when these fine upstanding patriots keep standing their ground and keep the protests going despite cracking down on them.

And if you don’t think arresting 80 people for no good reason is cracking down, you have a very skewed view of reality.

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Viddy of the day:  Occupy Wall Street Police Abuse.  The viddy ends at the 2:16 mark, the last 16 seconds are just frozen image with no sound.  And no I have no idea who the Luke Richardson mentioned by the girl at the end of the viddy is, but I presume it is not the former NHL player who is a coach with the Ottawa Senators.

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I am sitting here, at 11:30 at night, with a happily full stomach, with my feet up, resting and relaxing, enjoying having a place to rest my head for the night.   I live in a small apartment on a quiet street with a great view of asphalt and other peoples apartments and cars, and I’m happy for the view.  It isn’t much but it’s mine, and my wife’s, and I’m happy just to have a place to rest my head and call home.

I have headphones on, listening to Frank Sinatra, after a very easy day.  Woke up to the alarm clock, at 8:00 am, so I could be ready to get moving early.  I went to my parents house and helped them do some work around their house, move furniture, help with moving stuff after painting last week. I did my laundry there as well.  Shouldn’t but I’m broke and if I had the money to spend, the $7 or so to do the laundry elsewhere I would.  I don’t so I didn’t.  That took a few hours.

If I had a job, I would have been able to get my stuff done for myself, but might not have been able to get down and help my parents with stuff around the house for them.  One hand washes the other is the correct term methinks, though I think I need them more than they need me, but I’m happy to help, and they seem happy to help me, so it’s all good.

So when I begin working (hopefully) next week, will that mean I won’t be there to help them?  Of course not.  My life is service, and these people gave me life, the least I could do is help them with the little stuff.

And plus, the laundromat sucks. They don’t have free coffee.  🙂

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Nasa’s UARS satellite went sploosh today, and disappeared.  So did  Rick Perry’s chances of becoming President, after losing the Florida straw poll to Herman Cain, the only black man in America who doesn’t give a shit about poor people.

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Moshe Dayan

Still unsure about the whole Palestinian statehood thing.  On it’s face it sounds like the right thing to do.  Give the Palestinians a homeland, which shuts a whole lot of anti-Israeli and anti-western Muslims up about one of the largest rifts that exist in Arab-western relations.  In the best case scenario this ends all conflict in the area.

On the other hand, since best case rarely happens, you can see this leading to one helluva war in the region happening, can’t you?  The Israelis will say the Palestinians launched missiles at them,which they do, out of sheer barbarism or hate of israel, one being as good as the other, and will invade the fledgling Palestinian state, which will lead to Syria, Jordan and Egypt invading Israel.  Which leads to everyone finding out just how effective the military in Israel is.

They won the last few times things got hairy, but as they say in the investing world, past performance is no indicator of potential future success.   The Israelis no longer have Moshe Dayan guiding the military.  One wonders how much that mans military genius protected Israel during the ’67 and ’73 wars.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

So It Goes

Well, well.  Seems that not every war in Africa gets the same press that Libya does.  Guess oil gets press coverage.

Now I won’t say that the war in Ivory Coast hasn’t been covered, it has, just not as much as the Libyan conflict, or the rest of the Arab spring revolutions.  But what is happening there is deserving of coverage. 

Thousands have fled the city of Duekoue, after over 800 people were killed in what seems to be ethnic violence that pitted the forces of the incoming president, Alassane Ouattara, the legitimate leader of that nation, and those of Laurent Gbagbo, who was voted out, but simply does not want to go.

The forces of Mr. Ouattara are moving into position to take the city of Abidjan, the nations economic hub, where Mr Gbagbo is now holed up. The Irish times reports that there are concerns that this could turn into a bloody protracted battle.

As Billy Pilgrim was wont to say ” So it goes.”

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Viddy of the day:  Ivory Coast: Rival forces battle for control of Abidjan

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Well, well.  Seems that the job market is getting better.  And yet…

The average workers pay is stagnant, and has been for a long time.  CEO pay went up 27% last year, while average workers pay is up only 2.1%.  Companies are making more money now than at any time since before the great recession of 2007/08, whose effects are still rippling through the economy.  And yet the people who make the products that make America great, the people who do the real work, get shafted.

Tis that Republican mindset, methinks, which begs a question. 

Explain to me why people elected republicans who are hell-bent on giving money to the rich and taking it from the middle class again?  All the negativity on the economic front in this nation is due directly to these conservatives and their Dollar first America second bullshit attitude.

They can’t be helped though, they are the evil endemic to the chicago school of economics that their masters adhere to. 

As Billy Pilgrim was wont to say ” So it goes.”

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A wretched soul, bruis’d with adversity,
We bid be quiet, when we hear it cry;
But, were we burden’d with like weight of pain,
As much or more we should ourselves complain.

William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, act ii, scene i

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Pic of the day:  Fall of the Damned, Jheronimous Bosch, Circa 1490

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Well, well.  Seems that my persistence has finally paid off. 

I have a job.  And yet…

It isn’t the best job in the world.  I am working again as a copy operator, again beginning on the lowest rung of the ladder, again making shit money.  $13 an hour to do work I hate.  But it is a job, and that is really what I was looking for. But there is a problem even here. 

It’s a temp gig.  Full time, but temp.  Which means two of the most important criterion for on my job hunt have not been met.  One, I want to be permanent! Two, I want health insurance for me and my wife.  Which means only one thing.

The job search continues.  As Billy Pilgrim was wont to say ” So it goes.”

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Well, well.  Seems that my inability to land a full-time permanent job has finally gotten me in hot water.

I had to write a letter to my landlord, telling him that I am unable to pay the rent now.  Told him I could write him one check now and another next week, or just wait until next week and give him the whole amount then.  I haven’t heard from him.  Yet.

I haven’t paid the electric bill, that is overdue as well.

The debt saddle is still on my back.  As Billy Pilgrim was wont to say ” So it goes.”

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That’s it from here, America. Write to ya tomorrow.

Minor edit (one sentence segue added, section 2) 4/2/11   3:25 pm. EDT

The Basics

It’s about 10:00 pm as I start up tonight’s article, with CNN playing in the background, and I am sitting with my back to it, listening to the reporters there talk to each other about what they each are hearing.  Some are hearing explosions and anti-aircraft fire, some are hearing people talk about hearing it, and asking questions about it.    This much is known

The Americans (and British) are at this point hitting C&C with tomahawk missiles, and they have 5 combat ships in the area, 2 guided missile destroyers, 2 amphibious warships and one c&c ship.  The U.S. Navy says it also has 3 submarines in the area with Tomahawk missiles.  The United States also has a number of planes and bases in the area, but it is uncertain how many of these resources will be used.  No American planes are at this point taking part in any air missions, though planes have been deployed.

Canada has one warship, the HMCS Charlottetown there, as well as aircraft, though those aircraft are not yet ready for combat, and won’t be for 24 to 48 hours.

Italy has offered much assistance.  Combat aircraft, including Tornado fighters, Eurofighters, and F-16’s, have been moved up to forward positions at the closest base to Libya, Trapani, in western Sicily, as well as a number of other bases on the island of Sicily.

France is using 20 of it’s aircraft, based on the island of Corsica.  Those aircraft, including Mirage fighters and Dassault Rafale warplanes, are going to protect the area surrounding the city of Bengazi.  There will also be a french aircraft carrier, that is on the french mediterranean, on it’s way to the area.

Great Britian has an air base on the Island of Cyprus, and additional planes have been deployed to that base for operations in Libya.  They also have two frigates on the scene.

Several other nations have added resources, including Spain, Denmark, and Norway.

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I like the fact that one of the things the United States has said it has done is take part in electronic attacks.  One wonders why they would say it, but they did.  One wonders whether there is a variant of Stuxnet, or some other computer worm has been aimed at Col. Khaddafi’s Command and Control, meant to cripple his computer infrastructure? 

It is fairly well known,  or at  the very least hinted at, that the United States had a big hand in the creation of the Stuxnet worm, along with the Israelis, which was created to damage high value infrastructure in Iran to damage their nuclear program by infecting their computer systems. It isn’t a stretch to think they would plant a similar worm in Libyan military infrastructre as well.   

I am sure electronic attacks also means the basic stuff, like radar jamming to hamper AA fire and the like.

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That’s it from here, America. Have a good night.

Impending Civil War?

Impending Civil War? One wonders…

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Viddy of the day: Should US Aid Egyptian Protestors?  Zbigneiw Brzezinski makes some valid points here.  But there are other points, other viewpoints.

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We the people have legitimate demands and we would like to tell the government what to do. Our freedom is not up for negotiation. Secondly how can you negotiate with a regime that is killing its people? When the regime tries to counter a peaceful demonstration by using thugs, some of whom are police officers in plain clothes – we’ve seen their IDs – there are few words that do justice to this villainy and I think it can only hasten that regime’s departure.

Mohamed El Baradei

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Hosni Mubarak is not going to step down.  He will hand some power to V.P. Suleiman,  and alter the Constitution, but he refuses to step down. I watched the reaction of this by the crowds at Tahrir square.  They were angryAngry as hell.  The crowd went from cheering Mubarak’s leaving, which is what was expected, to barking at him in unbridled anger. 

Part of the reason Mubarak didn’t step down was because he did not want to be seen as hearing “foreign dictations“.  For all the talk that the United States has said nothing here, they are presumably talking enough to the Egyptian power putting in O.T. working the phones and all the people they can to get things worked out smoothly that President Mubarak felt the need to call them out publicly for it.

Or do you think he was talking about Burkina-Faso? Upper Mongolia maybe?

There will be massive demonstrations tomorrow. Count on it.   The news reports also say that there may be a crackdown by the army if things don’t quiet down.  The expectation is that there’s gonna be war, and it’s gonna be a bloody mess.  There was word from AlJazeera TV that some number of the protesters actually went to an army base to make sure they knew exactly how the people felt.  No word on how that went. The commentator didn’t make any additional comment beyond that.  Dammit. 

All a freedom loving American can do is wish the protestors luck, and make one simple statement to the Mubarak regime. 

The whole world is watching.

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More later, perhaps.  I’m thinking of adding a new page, might, might not.  We’ll see.