News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Sunday, January 20, 2019

The South Dakota Legislature: idiot(s) full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

          In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash


The Displaced Plainsman points out another one of the absurdly pointless exercises of the South Dakota legislature with the introduction of Senate Bill 55.  It requires that all public schools display the motto "In God We Trust" where it can be inescapably seen: "The display shall be located in a prominent location within each public school. The display may take the form of a mounted plaque, student artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal."

This is the legislature that so inspired a high school student who went to Pierre on a civics class trip and wrote this account on The Dakota Free Press:

"My 9th grade civics teacher is the reason I became passionate about politics. His class made me so fascinated with how our government worked. Then, we took a trip to Pierre to see the legislature in action. I was so excited and ultimately, so disappointed. Half the members were not there. The half that remained were sleeping at their desk or reading the paper. Not one member even acknowledged our presence. A wide-eyed, idealistic 15 year old got a real education about politics that day."
This is the legislature that proposes Senate Bill 52, which requires a half credit of civics as a high school graduation requirement.   The bill's authors did not bother to check on the fact that civics receives a heavy emphasis in the state's Social Studies Content Standards, or how civics and citizenship has content throughout the curricula.



SB 55 authors did not bother to review actual curricula to see where and how the application of civics is applied in other courses.  Below are the Aberdeen high school curriculum requirements, which show courses in the Social Studies requirement, in addition to the .5 credit in U.S. Government which would obviously contain content in Civics.


Four units of Language Arts:
  1. 1.5 units of Writing
  2. 1.5 units of
    Literature; must include .5 unit of American Literature
  3. .5 unit of Speech or Debate
  4. .5 unit of other Language Arts
Three units of Mathematics:
  1. 1.0 unit of Algebra I
  2. 1.0 unit of Algebra
    II*
  3. 1.0 unit of
    Geometry*
Three units of Lab Science:
  1. 1.0 unit of Biology
  2. 1.0 unit of any
    physical science
  3. 1.0 unit of
    Chemistry* or Physics*
Three and one-half (3.5) units of Social Studies:
  1. 1.0 unit of U.S. History
  2. .5 unit of U.S. Government
  3. .5 unit of World History
  4. .5 unit of Geography
  5. .5 unit of Personal
    Finance or
    Economics
  6. .5 unit elective
One unit of the following in any combination:
  1. approved Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  2. Capstone Experience
  3. World Language
1.0 unit of Fine Arts
1.0 unit of Laboratory Computer Studies
1.0 unit of Physical Education** 1.0 unit of Health
6.5 units of elective credits

This is the legislature whose House Speaker banned a lobbyist for the South Dakota Municipal League and the state's chiefs of police, Yvonne Taylor, because in her organization's publication she noted, as did the high school student on the field trip, that the South Dakota legislature contained a number of dolts who demonstrated a lack of mental capacity. She called them "wackies," which is a very mild term for the level of meanness and stupidity that  is constantly put on a display when democracy does not work.  Here is Ms. Taylor's explanation, courtesy of the Dakota Free Press, of how the legislature sinks far below the level of competence and integrity expected of a "normal" such body:

“Normal” doesn’t mean we always agree – but The Normals are usually willing to look at issues one by one, listen to facts, and make rational decisions. Wackies, on the other hand, have come in opposed to government in general and all forms of taxation; seem to firmly believe the state and local governments are ripping them off; and often have their own particular nit to pick on some other topic. They think facts they don’t like are lies and they blanket vote based on a preconceived mindset, not on the issue at hand [Yvonne Taylor, “Director’s Notes,” South Dakota Municipalities, May 2018, p. 4].

The House Speaker said he banned Ms. Taylor because she made the legislature look like a bunch of buffoons.  It is well documented by many people who observe the legislature and by the kind of legislation with which they are obsessed, such as SB 55, that they are not merely acting like buffoons.  They try to emulate their hero Donald Trump in reveling like warped juveniles in their  diminished intellectual and moral capacity.  In unabashed defiance of the separation of church and state, they try to cover their depravity by forcing the schools to display a theistic motto that they deny by their their own doltish behavior.

As for the display of mottos and their effect on kids, it was demonstrated by my son when he was in elementary school. His school had an annual program on Veterans Day to which all parents and grandparents who were veterans were invited to be recognized.  The kids were rehearsing a song for the occasion. and my son was going around singing, "I love the USA, cause that's where the toilets are made."  We wondered where he picked up those lyrics.  Then at the Veterans Day program, I ducked into the boys restroom to use the urinal, and in very large blue lettering across the back of it was "Made in the USA."   My son made the association.

If "In God We Trust" is to be given prominent display, it could receive no more notice than emblazened on the restroom plumbing. Let the kids make their own associations,

The South Dakota legislature is dominated by the very people conservative icon Barry Goldwater thought could destroy the country.  Victorian British author Thomas Carlyle explored the possible successes and failures of democracy.  When he examined the potential for failure, he seemed to have examples like the South Dakota legislature in mind.  His remarks were prescient:


  • If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it.  

  • Democracy will prevail when men believe the vote of Judas as good as that of Jesus Christ. 

  • Democracy is, by the nature of it, a self-canceling business: and gives in the long run a net result of zero. 

  • I  do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

 When it comes to whom the legislature emulates and passes resolutions to support, here is Carlyle's observation:
  • Show me the man you honor, and I will know what kind of man you are.

That revelation says much about the voters of South Dakota and who they "honor" with the offices of governance.  Various agencies are attempting to attract businesses and workers to South Dakota and to stop the out migration of talent, but the people chosen to hold office in South Dakota reflect the kind of people who live here.  Who wants the Trumps of the world as their constituency?  

Our schools are staffed for the most part by people devoted to the building of intellect and character.  For years, school boards have been infiltrated by interests who want schools to create a workforce of groveling servants.  South Dakota has earned a reputation for corrupt government, low wages, underfunded education, and little opportunity.  Students whose talents and character have developed leave in the realization that they are not what the dominant mentality in South Dakota respects or wants.

"In God We Trust" is the motto on our currency.  If the legislature truly was concerned about the souls in their state, it would provide the schools with adequate amounts of the currency that bears the motto they so cherish.

There a some intelligent and discerning people in the legislature.  Their names are not on SB 55.  They do not prevail, but they are reminders that all of humanity need not be wackies.



Friday, January 18, 2019

The relevance of Barry Goldwater

In 1964, Barry Goldwater lost the presidential election to Lyndon Johnson by a landslide.  Republicans were split back then between the conservatives led by Goldwater and moderates led by Nelson Rockefeller.  There were many factors behind the rejection of Goldwater.  He had been endorsed by the KKK, although he stridently disavowed their support.  Still, many voters feared that some of his policies would pave the way for overt racial discrimination.

The biggest fear of Goldwater was that his fierce anti-communist stance and his belligerent threats for possible military action would result in a nuclear war.  The Johnson campaign exploited his attitude to great effect.  That historical  memory obscures other aspects of Goldwater's conservatism as measures of how drastically the Republican Party has changed.  Goldwater warned the country exactly what those changes would be.  Here are some statements he made:


  • Small men, seeking great wealth or power, have too often and too long turned even the highest levels of public service into mere personal opportunity. 



  • Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.



  • Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives.


  • Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.

  • I am a conservative Republican, but I believe in democracy and the separation of church and state. The conservative movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as they please as long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process.


  • A woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right.






Friday, January 11, 2019

Those feckless f***ers

I am a bit of an expert on the f-word.  I can read and speak, haltingly, Old and Middle English, and can trace the fondness of English- speaking people for the fricative-plosive sound of that word through the ages.  Many non-English speaking people have appropriated the word even if they speak no other word in English because of the satisfactions of pronouncing that sound.  Many languages have close relatives, such as fycken in Swedish, but they lack the robustness of the English enunciation.  

 The word also has a myriad of meanings which are defined by their contexts.  The word obviously names the act of copulation.  And yes, in grammar we have copulative verbs, or linking verbs.  Technically, f**k is not a linking verb, until you've tried to explain it to a student who says "I don't care what grammarians say, it's a f**king verb."  We will let that rest, but the word evokes many other meanings than sexual intercourse, most of which deal the concept of foolish and pointless diddling around.

I received my advanced training in the use of word in the U.S. Army, which could never have operated without the use of the word.  As an instructor in a missile launching area, I sometimes had to act as a drill instructor.  We were supposed to march the men from task to task in order to emphasize order and discipline in the ranks.  When a man fell out of step, you could say something like, "Get in step, Smithers."  But that would not be nearly as effective as saying, "Smithers, I said forward march, not f**k the dog."  Smithers might not get in step, but the other men would smile, so that you could halt the detail and say, "What the f**k are you smiling at?"  And some wise ass would mutter, "At you trying to be a f**king drill instructor."  The word, as you can see, is essential to communication among the troops.

But the word has important imagery in portraying deficiencies and errors in performing the tasks of life.  Some such phrases are:

  • f**k up, as in screw up
  • f**k over, when oppressing and cheating people
  • f**king the dog, often translated as screwing the pooch
  • fiddle f**king
  • f**king the air
  • cluster f**k
  • f**k it, to convey "the hell with it"
  • f**king, the adjective, as in "who left the f**king Legos all over the f**king floor?
  • mother-f**ker, designating something really demeaned and demented
New Yorkers evaluate Trump
That gets us to those feckless f**kers. I speak of U.S. Senator John Thune and former Rep. and now Gov., Kristi Noem.  Congressional staff members refer to them that way because they have earned reputations as people who don't do much but diddle around.  Both of them have two attributes:  they aren't terribly ugly and they can recite the party line as written for them or repeat it as they've heard others say it.  They are decorative items often used to pose in party leaders' photo opportunities.  And they never take issue with those leaders. Beyond that they don't do much.

In 2012, Thune was mentioned by a few people as a potential presidential candidate.  Erick Erickson, an editor of the conservative RedState.com said this about Thune:

"But the only reason people talk about him for President is because he’s a good looking guy in a city full of lesser looking people, is tall, and has an attractive wife. Other than that his greatest accomplishments are doing nothing." 

Kristi Noem does things, but mostly makes up defamatory lies about her opponents and obsesses over hate objects.  A lie that she got caught in involves the death of her father in a farm accident.  She claims that the death tax on the estate he left impoverished the family.  It turns out that he was covered by a $1 million insurance policy and the death tax was a figment of her mendacious imagination, not a reality that existed in the nation's tax laws. 

Her congressional record looks more busy than Thune's because she signs on as the co-sponsor of legislation advanced by other congress people.  But in the fact-check  department, Noem has earned a humongous Pinocchio nose.  Her lies about her opponents earn major points for their malice and explosive destruction of the facts.  She portrayed Nancy Pelosi as the evil witch of the universe and the characterized opponent Strephanie Herseth Sandlin as her hand maiden.  In fact, Herseth Sandlin was a Blue Dog Democrat that was often in disagreement with the Pelosi main stream.  In the primary for governor, she maligned GOP Attorney General Jackley with many false representations--although there was plenty factual points she could have made against him.  Then in the governor campaign against Billie Sutton, she continued her penchant for falsehoods.  Noem's rule seems to be that making stuff up or copying from someone else as you go along takes less work than trying to address facts. She prefers to lollygag.

Her state of the state speech was cobbled together from passages of Trump's repeated lies and other far right-wing sources.  It follows the outline of legislative issues posted by ALEC, the right-wing organization that dictates and provides ready-made far-right-wing propaganda to conservative state legislators.  She misdirects attention from South Dakota's problems by focusing on the financial problems in Illinois and Connecticut.  When she tackles the meth problem in South Dakota, she uses a case from Iowa to illustrate its effects.  Admittedly, like Thune, Noem is very adept at delivering the lines provided her.  While she claims to be in contact with the people of the state in forming her proposals, her conclusions come from the ultraconservative sources that promote fascism over democracy.  We know Noem's feckless performance from her dilatory record in Congress.  In her first speech to the state, she screwed the pooch before our very ears and eyes.

The most insidious part of her speech concerns economic development.  She commits to reducing regulations, creating an obedient workforce, and enhancing the ability of grifters to exercise their fraud.  In other words, she proposes steps that would make scams like the EB-5 and Gear Up scandals easier to pull off while reducing the chances of getting caught.

Her vow to increase the transparency of government is another vague one.  She says she will make government meetings more available to the people through broadcast technology.  And she wants a "commonsense" law that will shield reporters.  "Commonsense" most likely means specific loopholes that prevent reporters from obtaining embarrassing facts.  The transparency problem in South Dakota is in the loopholes in the state legal code that gives officials the power to withhold information.  When reporter Bob Mercer tried to obtain the investigative record into the death of Richard Benda during the EB-5 scandal, the State Supreme Court ruled that " state law is clear in denying public access to law enforcement investigations."  If anyone wants to increase transparency, they need to address the state legal code first.

The majority of South Dakota voters like the likes of Thune and Noem.  They don't want to hear about the facts of life that so many people turn to meth to deal with.  They don't want to face the corruption that pervades state government in South Dakota and puts it among the top three most corrupt states in the union.  The majority of voters want to see the legislature in an annual clusterf**k, feel important when they can f**k over their neighbors, and have all their fears assuaged by watching their elected leaders fiddle**k  and screw the pooch.  That's what they voted for.

Those who have schemes for getting rich by fleecing the taxpayers can rest happy that they have representatives in Pierre and Washington, D.C., protecting them.



Thursday, January 10, 2019

The last gasps of fraternity

Today's newspaper announced the closing of the Eagle's club in Aberdeen.   When a large farm and fleet-type store closed and left a large building empty, the Eagles took it over and for years operated a facility much used by the community for various kinds of gatherings.  Over time, the membership of the Eagles declined and the facility was not used enough for community activities to cover its operating expenses.  The building will be put up for sale with the intention of finding a smaller facility.

The Eagles club is following a well established pattern for fraternal-type organizations in Aberdeen and across the nation.  At one time, the Elks operated a facility that was a popular gathering place,  It included a ballroom, a swimming pool, and an upscale restaurant .  The pool provided a place for the establishment of a swim club.  Declining membership make its operation untenable, and it abandoned the building for a smaller place.  The building is now used to sell used items for a non-profit organization.


The American Legion went through the same process.  It maintained  a hall in the downtown area, where it featured weekend dances and 1-pound hamburgers.  A decline in membership and fewer people attending its weekend activities, it sold the building and combined its activities with the VFW.  But then the VFW gave up its facility, and Legion moved what was left of its operation to the Eagles.  After a time, the Legion disappeared from that venue, and now the Eagles is closing.


It many smaller towns, the Legion has operated the last standing meeting place for the communities.  But old soldiers do die and fade away and take the Legion with them.


In Aberdeen, of the fraternal organizations the Moose club is still operating and the Elks still maintains its smaller facility.


The decline of fraternal organizations is a nationwide trend.  As younger people matured to the ages at which their parents joined clubs, they did not have those kind of social interests. Society is much more fragmented, and as sociologists have noted, people expend more effort trying to avoid each other than seek out any kind of brotherhood.  A sense of community is not important to them.  Churches have also noted and been affected by this trend.


The atrophy of social organizations is just one symptom of a dying community.  It is endemic throughout the nation, but is particularly lethal to smaller communities.  South Dakota has a multitude of small towns whose main streets are lined with boarded up buildings that once housed Legion halls and commercial buildings.  A few have converted a building to a senior center, but they, too, are closing.  There are many abandoned sites of towns that used to be,  places where lives were once lived, but no more.  


Concurrent with the dying out of social organizations is the ending of commercial activities.  Those abandoned buildings along the once-main streets were occupied by grocery stores, drug stores, farm implement and automobile dealers. and other retail stores serving the communities.  The competition from big box retailers and shopping malls made it impossible for small-scale merchants to compete.  Now the shopping malls are closing down, largely because customers are lost to internet commerce.  


Aberdeen is experiencing this loss of large retailers, also.  This past year, Aberdeen lost Kmart and Herberger's department store in the Aberdeen Mall.  Before that, it lost the J.C. Penney store, whose space is now occupied by Kohl"s department store.  Half of the Aberdeen Mall is empty.  The major retail centers are now Walmart, Target, and 
Shopko.  Shopko recently announced store closings, which included its Hometown stores in Redfield and Webster.   The Aberdeen Mall seems destined to join the many that are being abandoned.

Economists can trace the movement of retail business from Main Street to the malls and big box stores and then to the Internet.  Sociologists have noted the dying out of fraternal organizations and the decline of community gathering places in general, but the reasons for that decline have not been studied with any concerted effort.  Communities are dying, and they have lost their will to live.  Few people have observed that the factors that have caused the widening political gap in the nation began decades ago in the small communities.  People do not wish to fraternize.

The French tout their democracy as characterized by liberty, equality, and fraternity.  In America, the fraternity part is all but gone.  Try to find it in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  If you get tired of looking for places where fraternity is practiced, try shopping.

Good luck in your quest.  You are facing the future, and democracy in decline.





 


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Vichy America

A few nights ago, I watched--again-- the film Casablanca on a movie channel.  It recalled for me a time when I avoided anything European.  After serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, and people asked about the experience and travel in Europe, I said I had no interest in ever visiting Europe again.  (I have relented somewhat since then.)

I went to Germany in a specially trained group labeled O(ver)S(eas)P(ackage)5.  We were sent there to emplace air defense guided missiles to guard against  Soviet air attacks, which seemed a big possibility during the Cold War.  We were met at the Frankfort air base by protesters carrying signs that said "Sputnik, go home!"  The Germans feared that  the emplacement of guided missiles on their soil would entice the Soviets to involve Germany in more rocket warfare rather than discourage it.  Members of OSP 5, and its sister units, were constantly indoctrinated in the importance of being nice to the Germans and how to do it, as part of a public relations campaign to assuage their fears about the guided missiles.

We were instructed not to ask Germans about their sympathies and alliances during World War II.  The official stance was that most Germans were unwilling subjects of the Nazi regime and welcomed liberation by the Allied Forces.  That was partially true, but our interactions with the Germans made us skeptical.  We encountered situations in which the belief in a superior race was still evident.

Similarly, we had doubts about the alliances of people in neighboring France.  The Vichy French regime was set up as a puppet government controlled by the Nazis when German forces invaded and took over parts of France.  The Vichy  regime was purported at the time to be under involuntary control by the Nazis.  Over time a dire fact has emerged.  Many people in Germany aggressively supported and participated in the anti-semitic activities that led to and were part of the Holocaust.  Similarly, Vichy French were engaging in anti-semitic activities long before the Germans invaded.  The claim that people were involuntarily subjected to Naziism by outside force is not true.  Although there was resistance to it, there were plenty of people in both Germany and France who desired the Nazi way and actively pursued it.  Their preference prevailed.  For a time.  And now it has been revived in France's Yellow Vest Movement.

Casablanca is strikingly relevant to our present situation in the U.S. because it is about some people emigrating to escape oppressive regimes and the choices other people make in regard to those regimes.  The film is set in Morocco during World War II when it was a French colony.  The Germans had invaded it and were issuing the orders for the French administrators to carry out.   The major character in the film, Rick Blaine played by Humphrey Bogart, and the French captain in charge of Casablanca, Louie Renault played by Claude Rains, are both cynics interested in exploiting the town for their own interests.  

At one point Captain Renault sums up the attitude:  "I don't have any scruples if that's what you mean. I blow with the wind. And the prevailing wind is from Vichy."   

The night club owned by Rick is a gathering place for all types of people, including  German occupiers,  Vichy French, and refugees trying to flee the expanding Nazi world, and the people who would prey on them.   In the film, refugees needed "letters of transit" to travel in the Nazi-occupied parts of the world in order to reach places from which they could embark for America.  Those letters were a fiction created for the film, but they represent the material effort of the resistance to Naziism to support refugees in their quest to escape persecution and genocide.  Such letters, referred to as "paroles" in American history, were provided to slaves in the South when they were sent on errands for their masters, because black people traveling in the South were stopped and questioned and needed the paroles in order to go about their masters' business.

Casablanca is a film created to portray the insidious spread of Naziism and the way that it could be confronted.  Rick has had a love affair with Ilsa, who is married to Victor, a leader in the French resistance. Rick and Ilsa would like to use some letters of transit to run off together, but Rick is conflicted by the growing Nazi menace.  He manipulates and convinces Ilsa to stay with her husband Victor and support his work with the resistance.

In the end of the film, Ilsa and Victor are on a plane fleeing Casablanca, and Rick and Captain Renault are have created  an anti-Nazi bond.  The character of Captain Renault is used in the film to portray the resolve to join the resistance.  He is present when as Ilsa and Victor are boarding the airplane, the German officer in charge of Casablanca pulls up in a car to prevent the couple from leaving.  Rick shoots the officer, and Captain Renault, who witnessed the killing, responds to it by ordering "Round up the usual suspects,"  as he joins Rick in the resistance.

His conversion to the resistance is seen in a scene with Rick when he pours himself a glass of sparking water.  He glances at the water bottle, notes that it bears the brand "Vichy Water," grimaces, and drops it in a trash can, signifying that he who has accommodated Vichy France is now rejecting it.  It is a subtle but pivotal scene in the film.  Rick has made the statement to Ilsa, "If we stop breathing, we’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die."  Captain Renault has decided to opt with Rick to fight for the world.

That scene embraces the experience facing Americans.  Places such as South Dakota are Vichy states.  They are
dominated by people with racist and class attitudes as the foundation of their political agendas.  Racism, like all malevolent prejudices, is grounded upon the belief in inequality.  Although most people living in a democracy profess a belief in equality, many people betray that belief in their words and actions.  They cling to the social order of the dog pack and the chicken flock as the paradigm according which society operates.  They adhere to the feudal notion of a chain being in which people have ranks of inferiority and superiority.  And these people always place themselves in the higher ranks, which give them license to demean and persecute those they deem in the lower ranks.

Americans are faced with the options of going along with the corruption and racial-based treachery of the Trump regime, a head-in-the-sand tolerance, or an all-out resistance.  Those of us in South Dakota have already had the choice made for us by a majority that has expressed its preference for corruption, administrations of nepotism and cronyism.  South Dakotans elected Kristi Noem, a woman with a political record of fecklessness, nepotism, lying, and playing politics for her personal benefit, much in the line of Trump, to be their governor.  Many others have taken the head-in-the-sand  option.  They seem to adhere to the notion that their malice-harboring neighbors are just people with different political opinions and tend to ignore the ill-will displayed in the political campaigns and the corruption engendered by the dominant party.  And then there are those who see the corruption and the dishonesty as something that must be resisted.  

There is a remote hope in South Dakota that enough people will pull their heads out of the sand and see the lethal effects of drinking the South Dakota version of Vichy water--a belief that their corruption-loving neighbors are fundamentally nice. That hope is that the political process of the ballot box can be a corrective.  But that hope is the depth of foolery in a state where the people have passed an initiative to address the corruption and the legislature successfully dismissed it.  In a democracy, as we found out in the Viet Nam War era, sometimes politics doesn't work.  Politics as a means of change and the rule of honesty and decency has been disabled in South Dakota.

On the national level the relentless dishonesty and corruption of Donald Trump and his mendacious minions has the dedicated support of about a third of the nation.  Although there has been a highly visible and vocal resistance, it has had little effect on stemming the massive onslaught of untruths or the intensity of the malice within his administration and supporters.  As dramatized in Casablanca with Captain Louie Renault, it takes a recognition of where the prevailing political winds are driving us and the resolve to throw the source of our Vichy water into the trash.  Accommodating those who show their hatred for a democracy that strives for liberty, equality, and justice is subversion.  Effective resistance to the malignant that has invaded America will take strong action and cooperative effort of the kind that forges "beautiful friendships," to use Rick's closing words in Casablanca.  

America has to openly recognize its internal enemies and that "If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die."

Vichy America is here.

 

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