Pacific Free Press

Opinion

  • Written by Mike Whitney

Rumsfeld’s long walk into Political Oblivion

by Mike Whitney

Donald Rumsfeld never really understood the war he was fighting in Iraq. That’s why the results have been so terrible. He liked to say that “the war in Iraq is a test of wills”, but that just showsthat he had no idea what he was doing and was in way over his head.

War shouldn’t be personalized; that just makes it a battle of egoswhich inevitably clouds one’s judgment. War is a means of using organized violence to achieve political objectives. Period. Rumsfeld never really grasped that point, so it was impossible for him to prevail. His statement just shows the shortsightedness of a man who is incapable of thinking politically and therefore wasn't able to appreciate the larger strategic goals.

For people like Rumsfeld, violence and deception are the natural corollaries of their distorted views; they become an end in themselves. That is not only tragic, but it also ensures failure. According to the recently released Lancet report, over 650,000 Iraqis have been killed in the conflict so far. This proves that Rumsfeld didn’t know what he was doing so he simply ratcheted up the violence to conceal his ignorance. He had no plan for occupation, reconstruction, security, or victory. The whole thing was a sham predicated on his unflagging belief in over-whelming force. The outcome was not only predictable; it was predicted! Now, the country in a shambles, the society is irretrievably ripped apart, and the entire project is in ruins.

In his parting statement, Rumsfeld reiterated his belief that we are facing a “new kind of enemy” in a “new kind of war”. But this is just more buck-passing from a guy who wouldn’t listen to his subordinates and was thoroughly convinced of his own genius. Anyone who has seen the pictures from Abu Ghraib and Falluja are already familiar with Rumsfeld’s genius and his insatiable appetite for violence. They also know that, to great extent, he is fully responsible for the unspeakable tragedy that is currently unfolding in Iraq.

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  • Written by James Kunstler

Democrats and 'Energy Independence'

by James Kunstler

The day after the impressive Democratic election victory, Senate Majority Leader-to-Be Harry Reid declared that a top priority for the new congress would be policy leading to "energy independence" for America. The time of jubilee will certainly come, but not in the way Harry Reid thinks it will - nor in the way the rest of the country imagines this idea.

When politicians flog the term around - "energy independence" - they invariably mean that we will continue enjoying the happy motoring utopia by other means than imported oil (which makes up 70 percent of all the oil we burn). Get this: the day is not far off when, for one reason or another, the flow of imported oil to the US will cease. But when that day comes, we will not be running our shit the way we have been running it. That day will be the end of the interstate highways, Walt Disney World, and WalMart - in short, the way of life we are fond of calling "non-negotiable."

We are not going to run that shit on coal liquids or tar sand byproducts or oil shale distillates or ethanol or biodiesel, or second-hand french-fry oil. Nor on solar, wind, nuclear, or hydrogen. You can run things on that stuff, but not the biggies we run at their current scale. If the Democrats really want to get serious and act responsibly, they'd better not squander whatever is left of our credit and collective confidence in a futile campaign to keep this racket going. They'd better prepare the public to start living differently.
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  • Written by Mickey Z

Rumor Club (Gossip as Direct Action)

by Mickey Z.

"A rumor without a leg to stand on will get around some other way."

- John Tudor


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Did you know there are alligators-discarded pets flushed down urban toilets-living in the NYC subway...getting fat and edgy on a steady diet of rats and the coffee runoff from all those Starbucks franchises?
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Long before Al Gore invented the Internet, Winston Churchill declared:

"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

WMDs ... the Saddam/Osama connection ... we will be greeted as liberators ... mission accomplished...

The power of suggestion vs. reality. Gossip vs. guns. Rumors instead of demonstrations. Could this be a viable tool for dissent? Ani DiFranco sez:

"Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right" (but don't let Alberto Gonzalez hear you say that).

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Elvis is alive and well; he's sharing a summerhouse in the Hamptons with Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, and Jim Morrison.
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With Ani in mind, I thought I'd resurrect an old idea of mine: What would happen if as many people as possible - I'm talking a potential for millions - were to log onto chat rooms, comment boards, etc. and engage in a little wishful thinking? Instead of all those hoaxes about missing children, imagine a steady supply of rumors that George W. Bush is about to propose universal health care.

Picture hundreds of thousands of e-mails crisscrossing the Web claiming to know that Oregon is about secede from the U.S. and name Ralph Nader as its president.

Dick Cheney has shot another lawyer. Hillary Clinton has joined the Green Party. Henry Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld were arrested for war crimes on a visit to Paris. Michael Moore turned vegan. Bill O'Reilly has the human form of Mad Cow Disease. The Pope has come out of the closet. Pick any one you like and there could be postings at every Craig's List in every city-every minute of every day.

Performance art as protest. Gossip as direct action.

What if word flooded media outlets of a secret plan by the U.S. government to return some land to the indigenous population? It would have to reported at some point and thus, the concept of America as "occupied territory" would have its fifteen minutes...at least.

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Jack Ruby was the mastermind behind 9/11.
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The Situationists urged: "Trade your boredom for chaos." Could chaos be created if millions in America and tens of millions worldwide spread the rumor that Leonard Peltier was to be pardoned on December 31, 2006? I'm talking about relentless, hourly rumors...day after day. Letters to the editor. E-mails to CNN and the White House. Posters, stickers, fliers...billboards? Whatever means at our disposal. "From each according to his/her abilities," I believe it goes.

Hey, did you hear? Leonard Peltier will be free by the end of the year? Yeah, Bush is trying to appease all those who voted Democrat and show that he's not such a hardass. Tell everyone you know. This is amazing news. Well, that's what the Rumor Club is saying. What's the Rumor Club? Well, the first rule of Rumor Club is...well, you know.

Spread the word: a little chaos could go a long, long way.

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  • Written by Andrew Bard Schmookler

Waging Battle, Building Peace: The Paradox Confronting the Democrats

by Andrew Bard Schmookler


Confronting the Paradox
 

The goal is no less than to defeat the evil that, in recent years, has risen to ascendancy in America. Finding the optimal strategy for achieving this is no small challenge.

In part, it’s a challenge because, in matters of the spirit, the reality is always so complex and many layered that it is beyond our capabilities to understand fully. In part, it’s because when a cultural system has been so swept up into pathology as ours has lately in America, the disease is likely to have infiltrated even the thoughts and feelings of those who wish to cure the system. It behooves us, therefore, not to be driven by our impulses but to think and proceed with care.


One of the complexities of the present challenge is that we are now called upon to accomplish two things simultaneously which are in contradiction with each other. On the one hand, we must wage and win the battle against the Bushite forces, taking away their power, discrediting them in the eyes of the public, driving the evil spirit they represent back into the recesses of the American cultural system. On the other hand, we must erase the deep and destructive imprint these forces have left on America, and an important part of that imprint is the pervasiveness of conflict and division in our social and political processes.

We must, that is, both wage war and build peace.

On the one hand, there is good reason for the passion that many of us feel about going after these Bushites to bring them low. We are rightly enraged at their lies, their crimes, their arrogance, their wanton disregard of any value other than sating their lust for power and wealth without limits. It is doubtful that any holders of the highest offices of the land have ever, in the course of more than two centuries of American history, been more deserving of impeachment. And so lawless has this administration been that even impeachment may not satisfy all the rightful demands of justice.

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  • Written by Stephen Lendman

New Faces, Same Agenda

by Stephen Lendman

The political firmament shook briefly post-November 7 raising hopes change would follow the Republican's drubbing at the polls and the Democrats regaining control of both houses of Congress for the first time since the GOP sweep in 1994. Presumed new House speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped the tremors making it clear no substantive change will be on the table when when the 110th Congress convenes on January 3. Instead, she announced to those paying attention it'll be business as usual (as it always is) as she intends to work with the president in a spirit of bipartisanship and not be "obstructionist" even though Republicans for past 12 years never returned that courtesy or even made a pretense of doing it.

Pelosi made it clear the Democrat victory will be just another betrayal of the electorate that sent her and the Democrats a strong message it voted for a mandated populist anti-Bush, anti-war agenda it won't get. It's always for the same reason - because those controlling the political process in Washington owe their allegiance to the interests of wealth and power that select and fund them and of which these officials are a part. The Democrat (anti-populist) Leadership Council (DLC) made that position clear when it participated in a November 10 post-election made-for-television spectacle in the Oval Office so the whole world could watch their new congressional leadership line up in a shameless public display of partnering with a criminal enterprise in the White House posing as a legitimate government they've been complicit with all along. Should anyone understanding how things work in Washington have expected anything else?
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  • Written by Nicola Nasser

No Arab, Palestinian Cheers for U.S. Democrats

By Nicola Nasser

Arabs, at least at the non-official level, were quick to hail President George W. Bush’s mid-term electoral defeat and the humiliating downfall of his war architect Donald Rumsfeld, but cheering the Democrats’ victory has yet to wait and may not be voiced at all.

Why hailing Bush’s defeat? Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, Jim Hoagland, of The Washington Post had part of the answer:

“Bush lost more than a midterm election and a cantankerous defense secretary on Tuesday. He also abandoned any lingering chance of remaking U.S. foreign policy into a radical force for democratic change in the Middle East and elsewhere,”

... thus dumping his “new” and “greater” Middle East plans as well as regime change schemes for the region to the dust pins of history at a high cost for Arab and American lives and billions of wasted dollars of U.S. taxpayers.

Another part of the answer has a lot to do with the Arab hopes that a change in the U.S. administration may lead to ending the U.S.-British occupation of Iraq and to a more balanced policy vis-à-vis the Arab-Israeli conflict; but Washington gave Arabs no time even to hope.

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  • Written by Tom Chartier

We The People: An Open Letter to Congress

By Tom Chartier

Dear Members of the 110th Congress:

May I offer my congratulations to those of you who are newly elected.

To those of you who were re-elected or whose seat was not contested in this election, my best wishes.

Herewith, let me serve notice on behalf of the American people: you are no longer a rubber stamp.

You live and work in a world far removed from that of the American citizen. Yours is a world filled with wheel-greasing lobbyists, back-stabbing cohorts, more legal mumbo jumbo than Jarndyce v. Jarndyce And always in the background there’s that droning noise from your hard to please but easy to fool… some of the time… constituency.

Well, the rules have changed. In the legendary words of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, “I put a spell on you, because you are mine.” We The People of the United States of America are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore! And you, members of Congress, have been elected to do our bidding. We pay your wages.
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  • Written by Paul J. Balles

Nothing to celebrate - US elections bad for Arabs

by Paul J. Balles

Paul J. Balles argues that the Democrats' gains in the US mid-term elections will not lead to a change in US policy in the Middle East. He cites Democrat leaders' unconditional support for Israeli crimes and for possible aggression against Iran.

Anyone who believes that the election of a Democratic majority in Congress will make a difference in US foreign policy has either been playing ostrich or supporting the poppy fields.

The Democrats not only choose to cow-tow to the Israeli lobbies, but they fail to resist the "end-time" evangelists, eliminating any possibility of a Democratic majority making a difference in Congress.

Anyone watching the post-election speeches by the new speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, would have heard her mention that she was raised a catholic, and from that developed her moral values.

That speech sounded like an appeal for support from the larger population and not the 40 million evangelicals who support everything that Israel says and does. It also momentarily side-stepped her earlier pronouncements of support for Israel to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

That Pelosi had been lured into the snake pit became unequivocally clear when she attacked Jimmy Carter for writing a book mentioning Israeli apartheid. Jewish organizations in Washington heaped praise on her for her straight-A record on Israel.
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  • Written by Mike Whitney

Cheney’s Revenge

by Mike Whitney

When Dick Cheney woke up on Wednesday mourning, his entire world had changed. The House and Senate was in control of the Democrats, Bush Senior’s buddy Robert Gates had taken over at the Pentagon, and his most-trusted ally, Don Rumsfeld, had been thrown overboard.

Cheney knows that the story about a “Democratic sweep” is utter nonsense. He knows who operates the voting machines and how get the results he wants. The normal procedures for rigging the election were simply put on hold.

He also knows that the Justice Dept had sent out over 80 attorneys to various parts of the country where the Republicans anticipated legal challenges after the elections, but there were no legal challenges. Someone decided that there would be no fight at all, even in the close senatorial races where recounts might have made a difference.

Why?

Is anyone gullible enough to believe that Republican big-wigs have given up cheating as avital part of their strategy for winning elections?

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  • Written by Shahid Alam

Two White Sisters in Asia: Israel and Australia

by M. Shahid Alam


“Israel has not fully acknowledged the value of working together with Australia in Asia. It’s a way for us to cooperate with and enhance our position in countries neighboring Australia.”

Naftali Tami - Israeli ambassador to Australia

In a recent interview published in Haaretz, Naftali Tamir, the Israeli ambassador to Australia, articulates a perennial need for ‘white’ collaborators that has defined the Zionist project since its inception.

He speaks bluntly of an Israeli partnership with Australia, founded on racial solidarity, to “enhance” Israeli influence over East Asia. Only perhaps in the nineteenth century could a Western diplomat have spoken so plainly about race as the basis of a political alliance. Infinitely better armed against their Arab victims, the Israelis have no need for caution. They can dispense with diplomacy, with political correctness.

The Israeli ambassador feels no compunction in speaking the language of racial stereotypes. “Israel and Australia are like sisters in Asia,” he says. “We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don’t have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not – we are basically the white race. We are on the western side of Asia and they are on the southeastern side.”

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  • Written by Paul William Roberts

The Good, The Bad & the Immune from Prosecution

by Paul William Roberts

Savages we call them because their manners differ from ours.

Benjamin Franklin


Just returned from a trip to China, where he was soliciting assistance for his country’s nuclear energy program, Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak announced on November 9 that the execution of Saddam Hussein would cause further turmoil in Iraq and increase anti-American hostilities across the Arab world. With the question of his succession the number one topic of discussion among Egypt’s political elites these days, Mubarak is clearly trying to make himself look less like a US quisling in order to aid the imminent grab for power of his son, who was in Washington a few weeks ago for ‘off the record’ talks with members of the Bush administration. But the prospect of Saddam’s hanging must also make Mubarak’s silk necktie seem uncomfortably tight. After all, one false move – or a change in Washington’s ideas about Egypt’s future -- and he could well find himself vilified by US-controlled media paving the way for regime change and a show trial in Cairo.

It is a pity that Mubarak did not cite the real reasons we should all object to the trial and death sentence of Saddam Hussein --- but this would have entailed far too much criticism of his American masters. As recipient of Washington’s third-largest foreign aid hand out, Egypt is not expected even to nibble at the hand feeding it, let alone bite (Iraq, at $20 billion, gets the most, followed by Israel at some $2 billion. Egypt is close behind). And the circumstances of Saddam’s trial expose an aspect of US foreign policy no one in the West seems willing to discuss, since it reveals such transparent hypocrisy with regard to the same much-vaunted rule of law that is so frequently brandished as an ultimate authority in the pursuit of Western goals.
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  • Written by Joshua Frank

Bye-Bye Coke, Hello Pepsi - Anatomy of the Midterms

by Joshua Frank

The big losers on Election Day were of course President Bush and the Republican Party, but there was another loser too: the conspiracy theory that had it that a slick operation run out of Karl Rove’s office, and working in cahoots with the makers of the electronic voting machines increasingly being installed by voting districts around the country would steal the key elections electronically.
I always felt that this conspiracy theory was over the top, and that it moreover was having the pernicious effect of creating massive cynicism about elections that would keep many people from voting who otherwise might have.

There's no way to know how many people didn't go to the polls because they decided that it would be a waste of time, but I sure have heard plenty of people saying, over the past year, "What's the point? The Republicans are going to steal the election anyway."

Well, if they were ever going to steal an election, this would have been the one to do it to. The last thing a criminal president whose popularity is in the cellar needs is a Congress armed with subpoena power in the hands of the opposition party. Surely, if Karl Rove could have tinkered with the numbers on those voting machines in just a few dozen districts, or in states like Montana or Virginia where the margin was a few thousand votes, and where the key voter registrar officials were fellow Republicans, he would have done it.

Instead, we saw dozens of congressional races and a handful of key Senate races switch to the Democrats, and sometimes by the narrowest of margins.
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  • Written by Anwaar Hussain

Learn to say Please, Mr. President

by Anwaar Hussain

Mr. President,

Now that a thumping smack has been delivered by American voters to the backside of the Empire building hallucinations of your sponsors, leaving you presidential future effectively bowdlerized, you are well advised to start learning to say ‘please’ to lessen the pain of the remaining two years.

Learn to say Please Mr. President because with a whole bunch of Repub-mangled Congressmen let loose upon the Capitol Hill, your interaction with the Dem-dominated Congress will tend to be complicated and emotionally draining exercise for you. The ‘please’ word will act like a balm to the political sores that you are likely to get from the chafing.

Learn to say Please Mr. President because control tactics such as threatening, shaming, or fear mongering will not get you what you want from now onward. What is more, regular use of words like ‘please and ‘thank you’ might just numb the sting of being a political outcast and a sitting President.

Learn to say Please Mr. President while giving directions, making requests, or asking questions of this new Congress. Also, while you are at it, learn not to scowl, shake your finger and glare at the new house. That tends to have a goading effect on the addressees and that is not exactly what you want.
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Canada at War: You Must Remember This

Canada at War: You Must Remember This
by C. L. Cook
More than 5,000 Victorians attended American ex-president, Bill Clinton's book fair yesterday, if the Times-Colonist newspaper is to be believed. The gathered scions of the city heard the unindicted war criminal, and butt of countless lewd water-cooler comments praise Canada its rapine entanglement in Afghanistan, but urge we also further our [sic] efforts, and send more young men and women soldiers to that benighted nation to kill and die, and terrorize the too stupid to govern themselves in "our" interest locals.
 
"I know it is painful for you when you lose your soldiers there, but you are doing a good thing." - Praise for Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan from former Caesar, William Jefferson "Slick Willie" Clinton

Sadly, I couldn't afford to take the day off work, and fork out the couple hundred bucks required to witness Bill delivering his pearls before the rubes at the Save-On-Foods cultural mecca, but I was blessed with the traffic snarl that followed; a mass exodus of Lexus' and Benz's, and troops of Sunday best-dressed aspirants over-flowing sidewalks and "don't walk" blinking intersections.
 
So these, thought I, are the 28% of the populace willing to send the children of anonymous fellow citizens to their spiritual, and in at least 44 cases, physical doom in foreign adventures. They too must be among the estimated 71,763 Victorians still subscribing to the city's only daily, CanWest organ the Times-Colonist.

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  • Written by Mel Seesholtz

“Times they are a-changin’…”

By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

Pennsylvania Republican senator Rick Santorum – Golden Boy of the Christian Right, rabid homophobe, and Bush “yes-man” – was crushed in the 2006 election by a margin larger than anyone had expected.

Also on election day 2006, it was reported by the Associated Press that James Dobson, leader of the antigay Focus on the Family and close friend of disgraced Rev. Ted Haggard, “will be one of the people overseeing counseling for” Mr. Haggard. Later on November 7, Dobson bailed out: “I don’t have the time.”

And just after noon on November 8, 2006, time ran out for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in whom Bush had only recently expressed “total faith.” According to Bush, “America is safer and the world more secure” because of Donald Rumsfeld’s leadership. If that were so, why the abrupt change following the election?

The entire world knew Rumsfeld was a disaster. Did “stay the course” GWB not just realize that? No one could be that stupid, not even George W. Could he?

Clearly Bush and the GOP are scrambling given Americans’ overwhelmingly expression of dissatisfaction expressed at the ballot box. Dobson and the Christian Right are also running scared, as well they should. “Hubris” and “downfall” are inextricably bound.
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  • Written by Mike Whitney

Cheney in a Box

by Mike Whitney

It was the worst outcome imaginable.

They lost the House and the Senate in one night with one savage blow. Even the Confederate flag at Senator “Macakaw’s” house was flying at half-mast. Suddenly the Reich that was “built to last a thousand years” had been reduced to small blocks of dusty-rubble extending from sea to shining sea. At the very epicenter of the twisted-iron and smoldering wreckage; was George W. Bush, President Hologram, the celluloid executive whose smirking puss had appeared daily on every American TV and in every American newspaper spreading the “good news” of domestic repression and nonstop war. Now, here he was, once again, convening a news conference, dazed and ashen, propped up amid the scattered debris of a midterm massacre; his party left in utter ruins.

Ouch!

In a moment worthy of Shakespeare, the Fraudster-in-chief had been scuttled by his own party; knifed in the back by his own friends and family who knew that it was finally time to extract the drunken driver from behind the wheel of a Mack Truck.

The Democrats didn’t win anything; that’s all hogwash. Bush was buried beneath an avalanche of bad news which was timed to begin with the release of Bob Woodward’s book “State of Denial”, followed by the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Lancet’s Iraqi casualty report, the Mark Foley page fiasco, and a barrage of ethics-scandals, corruption investigations, and intensified coverage of the war. It was a carefully-coordinated coup intended to install “adults” (like Robert Gates) in positions of power, change the policy in Iraq, and remove Rumsfeld and Cheney from office.
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A Beacon of Hope and Unity in the Middle East

by Chris Floyd

Jews and Muslims unite against homosexuals (Daily Telegraph; plus an update below.)

Who says there is no hope for peace in the Middle East? Here's a very heartening development, as bitter enemies reach across the divide to join hands in a common cause. Surely such faith-filled cooperation between the "People of the Book," the "Children of Abraham," the "Fanatical Devotees of a Bronze Age Sky-God Cult" will be the way forward from the current hell of war and strife, leading the world into a new earthly paradise where human beings are not allowed to seek warmth, affection, contact and pleasure from one another, except in the severely restricted circumstances dictated by fanatical devotees of a Bronze-Age Sky-God cult.  (The picture at right shows some good godly folk setting fires in the streets, offering up the fragrant aroma of, er, cardboard boxes and wooden crates to pleasure the nostrils of the Most High God.)

Of course, those other People of the Bookers – the Bush-Base American Christianites who have made sexuality the great, throbbing focus of their heated, panting faith – should also be standing shoulder-to-shoulder, cheek-by-jowl, arm-in-arm, thigh-pressed-firmly-but-chastely-to-thigh with their fellow Sky-God cultists in Jerusalem. Perhaps they could send a representative to the protests, some prominent figure of great spiritual power and high political connections, to show that America stands with the rabbis and mullahs in the holy crusade against warmth, affection, contact and pleasure. Add a comment

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