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Maybe I’m Getting Old…


I began this morning the way I usually do, by opening my Bible and reading a passage, then moving on to Facebook and looking at the overnight posts from my friends. Usually, this is a great way to start the day: I get my moral gyroscope spinning with the right orientation and then lighten my mood by seeing the crazy stuff people I know were up to the night before. I especially enjoy the memes that get posted. As those of you who follow me on the Zuckerberg Express are certainly aware, I’m a pretty snarky person and love ironic humor.

But this morning…well, this morning is different. All of the Ferguson memes, styled in a way that ordinarily would at least get a chuckle from me, didn’t have that effect. Instead, they only filled me with a sense of sadness. Pictures that are repurposed to make you laugh have instead left me wanting to cry – and that’s why I now worry if, in fact, I’m getting too old.

I worry about that, because I know it’s an old-fashioned idea that senseless and needless violence simply isn’t a source of humor. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not unfamiliar with senseless violence. After all, I live in Newark, not exactly a paragon of domestic tranquility. In my decades of life, I’ve witnessed dozens of riots similar to the ones we’re seeing in Ferguson. And yet, somehow, these riots have touched me in a way that none of those others did.

Maybe it’s the circumstances that led up to them. There seems to be a sickness in our society, a malady that is on the edge of my understanding without my truly being able to grasp it. At the core, the source of the riots and the accompanying (no longer funny) memes is this: blacks in America are certain the police are gunning for them. Whites in America think that idea is a bunch of baloney. Try as I might, I cannot find a way to bridge that difference – and I don’t think anyone else has the answer, either. That very real possibility is the source of my angst, because I’ve always believed in America as the world’s best hope for a Shining City on a Hill – and if we’ve failed in that mission, we’ve failed in so much more.

If America is not the nation of our collective imagination, one where any man can rise as high (or sink as low) as he chooses based solely on his abilities and desires, then we have a serious problem. If America is not a nation where we strive to make that dream a reality, then we have a problem. If America is simply a nation where an entire class of people believes they are to be permanently impressed as nothing more than the punching bags for everyone else, then we have an even bigger problem. How do you change someone’s belief system, one they see reinforced on a daily basis in their personal experience, even if the reinforcement is only perceived?

I don’t know, but I find my mind traveling back to the time of my youth. Men like Bobby Kennedy and Ralph Abernathy provided the leadership to help guide America towards our goal of realizing Shining City on a Hill status. Of course, foremost among the men of that day was Dr. Martin Luther King and I think of the speech he gave 46 years ago in Memphis. Many remember it as the call to arms for the sanitation worker strike; others as the last speech Dr. King would ever give. I recall it for the simple sermon Dr. King gave towards the end of the speech, in which he relayed how the Parable of the Good Samaritan should infect our modern lives. He talked of the time he and his wife traveled the Jordan Road and was made aware of how the travelers could ignore the mugged man’s plight, how the dangers of that road were evident even in his day. (By the way, if you ever get a chance, you’ll see it still hasn’t changed). But most importantly, he talked about how the Good Samaritan took the element of danger and turned it on it’s head. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of, “Rather than asking ‘What is the danger to me if I stop to help, he asked what is the danger to him if I do not stop?'”

Maybe that passage still holds true today and maybe that’s where we’ve lost our way. Maybe we’ve simply stopped asking ourselves what the danger is to our nation and our society, if we stop to help the guy who’s in trouble. If instead, we’ve become so insular as to be unable to even see that question, much less answer it.

I’m not sure. But for now, I’m going to find some old Three Stooges shorts and see if some senseless violence can restore my humor.

What To Do About Obama?


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Within 16 hours of my writing this, it seems certain the Grand Exalted Emperor of North America, Barack Hussein Obama, will have used his pen-and-phone strategy to effectively legalize some 5 million illegal immigrants. The hand wringing in the countryside is palpable. What do we do with this guy?

I propose the answer is actually simple. Ignore him. Much like the adolescent throwing temper tantrums because he doesn’t get his way, what we’re witnessing today from the Great One is a spoiled brat getting his comeuppance. And as any parent will you, the most effective way to deal with a brat is to ignore him. Don’t punish him. Don’t spank him. Just…ignore him. It is the absolute thing a self-centered, pompous ass cannot stand.

As to ignoring him, that’s far easier than one might think. His party has been relegated to a bunch of political back benchers, unable to advance an agenda and much less devote energy to defending a President many dislike. When he takes to the bully pulpit, his speeches are already met with a cross of derision and disbelief. The rest of the world looks upon Team Obama with, at best, patronizing disregard.

Obama isn’t completely toothless, of course. He can convince the Iranians to go ahead and build nukes, plunging what’s left of Mideast stability down the toilet. He can sic the machinery of government on his domestic enemies – something he’s already done with seeming glee. Worst of all, he can rely on his sycophants in the MSM to provide him with more face time than he deserves.

But still, when even the pols in your party are doing their best to already ignore you in the quest to coronate Hillary, you’re already borderline irrelevant. Oh, and checking back to the beginning: go ahead and announce you won’t deport those 5 million illegals. We already know the reality was you were never going to deport them anyway. The only person you’ve fooled is the guy starting back at you in the mirror.

Honoring Homeless Veteran’s


On any given night, some 50,000 veterans end up spending the night outdoors or in a homeless shelter. Additionally, there are estimates that as many as 1.4 million veterans are at risk of becoming homeless.

In a nation where politicians trip over themselves to prove how much they care about veterans, this should be impossible. Yet the facts are what they are. Men and women who’ve sacrificed years of their lives in defense of their country often find themselves reduced to begging for scraps of food and a bit of shelter. The reasons for veteran homelessness mirror those in the general population: mental health issues, substance abuse and just plain bad luck top the list. But if any subset of the population has earned the privilege of not freezing on a winter’s night, veterans should.

The VA, for all of its shortcomings, actually does a reasonable job of trying to care for homeless veterans. But funding remains an issue. For instance, there is the VASH-HUD program, which provides homeless veterans with housing vouchers and community support (such as job assistance and counseling). It has proven to be one of the best homeless programs in the country with less than 5% of the veterans accepted returning to homelessness within 5 years.

For FY2014, VA was granted funding to assist 78 homeless veterans in New Jersey. 78. For the entire year. I can go to Military Park in Newark and find 78 homeless veterans.

But there is a solution, and one that would actually save the government money in the process. All across the United States, sequestration and other budget cuts have resulted in hundreds of military bases being closed. They sit, abandoned, awaiting a government  auction where the property will be sold for pennies on the dollar. In New Jersey, Fort Monmouth sits abandoned, falling into disrepair while the former megabase of Fort Dix/Lakehurst Naval Air Station/McGuire AFB occupies 10 1/2 square miles in the New Jersey Pinelands, struggling to find a purpose after the 1991 base closures. Today, it is used a training area for National Guard and reserve units, with a federal prison and aircraft maintenance wing. Fort Monmouth once housed 21,00 troops; Dix-McGuire 27,000. On both bases, the buildings sit, more intact than less.

The proposal is this: turn a portion of either base (and the dozens more around the country) into a Veteran’s Homeless Prevention and Community Reintegration Center. Rather than hiring outside contractors to maintain the buildings, grounds, power stations and the like, assign those jobs to the veteran population living there. That would solve two problems that are often at the heart of veteran homelessness: a lack of civilian job skills (infantryman isn’t exactly a skillset required on Main Street) and providing a sense of purpose. Rather than requiring the VA to provide follow-up care on veteran’s scattered throughout the state, they would be centrally located: a VA clinic could be opened there, proving treatment for medical and mental health issues. Finally, rather than spending up to $25,000/year in housing vouchers per veteran, the government would roll that money into a facility it already owns.

Everyone wins. Homeless veterans find shelter, camaraderie, purpose, services and the opportunity to reclaim their lives. The government honors its promise to “care for him who shall have borne the battle.” And our nation’s citizens can rest easy in their beds at night, knowing that no veteran needs to sleep on a sidewalk.

Liberals Enable an Emperor President


Tuesday was, by normal reckoning, as sound a political defeat of the liberal philosophy as has ever been given by the American people. Everyone recognizes this fact. Everyone, that is, except for the President and a liberal punditry that refuses to accept the obvious. They’ve based their argument on some rather specious logic (of course, liberals exist on specious logic, so no surprise there). The argument is this: these were midterm elections, in which the “right” people didn’t vote, and so there cannot be any sort of political mandate. In the same vein, since the “right” people didn’t show up at the polls, they cannot refute the obvious (and liberal) mandate that was imposed during the last election two years ago.

It is more than hubris that drives this view. It is a distorted world view that simply cannot comprehend the very real fact that Americans do not like socialism, do not like bloated government, do not like high taxes and few services in return. We are not Swedes. I don’t mean to demean Sweden; they’ve opted for a socialist state and are generally happy with their choice. They don’t mind the trade-off of a cradle-to-grave social state for a loss of freedom and economic mobility. It is in line with their national character. But that same model is hugely unpopular in the United States because it is at odds with our national character.

Enter Barack Obama and a very leftist Democratic Party. In 2008 they were swept into power – not because Americans wanted to give socialism a spin, but because the incumbent President had managed to screw things up completely by governing as “socialists-lite.” They expanded government into more facets of life than ever, increased spending by more than the previous three administrations combined and mismanaged crises, both domestic and foreign. The new administration misread the mood of the country and doubled-down on socialism in the most explosive manner possible. In 2010, the American electorate said “ENOUGH.” The President paid lip service to the idea of changing policy, but was quickly back to pushing an ever more expansive role for government. Yet, soon enough the very size of that government became unmanageable – but the republicans nominated a guy who was the epitome of the Republican socialism. The electorate rejected him. (In the liberal argument, the “right” people stayed home from the polls that November). Once again, the very leftist party misread the mood of the Nation and tried overreaching even further. They were perplexed when their prized policy endeavors – increased gun control, increased spending, even higher taxes – were soundly rejected by the people. They were equally confused when their preferred method of engaging foreign adversaries, essentially singing kumbaya and sticking our collective head in the sand, began to yield very undesirable results. Around the world, tin pot dictators and “JV team” terrorists aggressively pushed their agendas, at our expense. Eventually, a third European war in the last century became a very real possibility. And that JV team began chewing up huge chunks of territory in the Middle East, using weapons we had supplied against both us and our lone ally in the region. At home, the bloated bureaucracy created by the President and his cronies in the Senate all but collapsed under it’s own weight, while the financial obligations of a $17 trillion debt kept us in the most tepid post-recession recovery in American history.

So, the voters went to the polls this time around and sent another “ENOUGH” message. Only, once again, the leftist pundits are writing this off because the “wrong” people voted.

Here’s the reality they’ve deluded themselves into thinking doesn’t exist. Presidential election years do turn out a larger chunk of the population – and that larger chunk tends to be the uninformed voter. They do not know what the issues are, and often they don’t even know who they’re voting for. They are only voting for whom a precinct boss told them to vote for, or who some celebrity on TV told them was better. They don’t know the electoral process, probably have never read the Constitution  and  are voting on emotion only. It is the midterm voter who tends to be informed, be engaged in the process and understands the issues at stake. So before the President turns even further leftward, this time resorting to executive overreach to pursue policies the electorate continually rejects, he would do well to shut up, sit down and actually listen to the American people.

E-B-O-L-A In The USA


Begging pardon from John Mellencamp…

I have a few questions that were artfully dodged, or never asked, during this afternoon’s presser:

1. How many days was the patient symptomatic, and therefore contagious, before going to the hospital for the first time on September 24? I mean, seriously, how many people go to a hospital because they’re running a fever and sneezing? Not many I know of, at least not right away.

2. How many people did he come in contact with, total, before being quarantined? He’s apparently visiting from Liberia. To imagine he didn’t visit any stores, restaurants or tourist sites in the 4+ days we’re certain he was contagious prior to quarantine is ludicrous.

3. How did he get to the hospital on September 24? By private car, taxi, ambulance? Or worse – by public transit?

4. Ditto for September 29.

5. Dallas is, besides being a large city, also a major worldwide transportation hub. How many of those the patient contacted while he was walking around contagious, have since departed by plane, train, bus or automobile…and where did they go?

I’m sorry, but the CDC can tell us they have everything under control all they want. But until they can tell us with a straight face that they have the answers to the questions above, I feel as though they’re recreating this scene from “Animal House “…

The Obama Salute


There is a fair amount of outrage after video surfaced of President Obama saluting the Marine guarding Marine One with a coffee cup.
Sadly, I don’t get outraged by his highness’ failure to properly render a salute any longer. I expect nothing more from the Buffoon in Charge than a classless display of disrespect towards the Nation and the people who’ve sworn an oath to defend her. We’ve had 6 years of watching him improperly salute the flag and our troops, 6 years of his administration denigrating the very concept of service, duty and honor. 6 years of him kow-towing to foreign leaders.

But beyond the symbols of respect toward the United States that Obama and his minions routinely trample, there are the actions they’ve undertaken that demonstrate the sneering derision they have for their country. He’s complained on many occasions about being “constrained” by the Constitution. Then there are the three grievous inactions that are indicative of his attitude towards the people who believe in America.

First, there is the Benghazi debacle. Rather than order aid and assistance to a consulate under siege, Obama ordered the exact opposite. And then went off to play cards and take a nap. In the meantime, 4 honorable Americans were beaten, tortured and murdered. The administration’s attitude can neatly be summed up by Hillary’s response before Congress; “What difference does it  make?”

Second, there’s the case of Marine Sgt. Tamhooressi, held captive in a Mexican prison since this past spring. Not only has the White House failed to get him released, they haven’t even tried. Apparently, appeasing Mexican pride is preferable to a little arm-twisting.

And finally, we’ve got the mess at the VA. Despite years of promises of finally getting the VA to at least act like they care about America’s veterans, what we got was an administration that willfully turned a blind eye to the abuses. It was only when the politics became unmanageable, when the deaths of thousands of American veterans at the hands of the VA made headlines, that they at least made an appearance of honoring our service. Of course, now that the furor has subsided, the VA has merrily returned to killing veterans.

There are literally dozens of other examples. But you get the point. This guy doesn’t see anything wrong with rendering a Starbucks salute, because he doesn’t respect the men and women who’ve selected honor and duty and personal sacrifice. He doesn’t respect them because he can’t understand why anyone thinks the United States of America is worth making that kind of commitment towards. Asking him to respect something he can’t understand is asking too much.

The GOP Establishment is Full of S*it


Courtesy: Tea Party Nation (http://www.teapartynation.com)

It’s been over a week since Eric Cantor got thumped in the Virginia GOP primary. In the time since, I’ve read pieces from dozens of pundits. They typically run along one of two themes:

  1. The Tea Party is killing any chance of Republicans returning to national power.
  2. Conservatism is at war with itself.

This is because the establishment GOP – who have taken to calling themselves “Movement Conservatives”  or “Reform Conservatives” (the conservative part of the label is questionable, at the very least) – cannot imagine a political party that exists without the benefit of their favorite cronyist pals; Big Finance, Big Oil and military contractors. And they very much would like to pry away Big Tech from the Democrats. The idea of “their” party – which has been bought and paid for by those interests for two decades now – returning to the coalition built by Goldwater and Reagan and actually putting those ideals into action scares the living snot out of them.

That palpable fear was perfectly expressed by Greg Sargent:

“Almost all the internal preoccupations of the Republican Party — in primary battles, intra-movement arguments, conservative media tropes — have nothing to do with the party’s main external challenges: appealing to young people, to the middle class, to the working class and to rising demographic groups.”

For some reason, this argument is the establishment’s favorite: that a principled, conservative approach to governance can’t attract voters. The idea that those under 30, those in the middle class (or aspiring to the middle class) and legal immigrants can’t find common ground with a party that actually works towards reducing the size and scope of an overreaching government, or a party that actively works to strengthen national security is absurd on the face of it.

Don’t let anyone fool you. The GOP establishment, or movement wing, or reform wing, or whatever other hair-brained name they decide to call themselves, is not conservative. Oh, they all talk a great game about reducing the size of government, getting our debt and deficit under control, blah, blah, blah. But let’s not forget it was the Republican Party of GWB that shredded the Constitution by passing the Patriot Act, that exploded the size of the federal government by creating the Department of Homeland Security, that passed No Child Left Behind, that first proposed TARP. It was establishment figures like John McCain, Lindsay Graham and John Boehner (and yes, Eric Cantor) who first proposed legislation that would legalize criminal border crossings, and establishment, “conservative” pundits from Ann Coulter to David Brooks who told us Mitt Romney was just a s conservative as, well, Ronald Reagan. Somehow, the fact that Romney had introduced a socialist medical care system in Massachusetts* didn’t matter. For all of the evils Barack Obama has visited on American liberty, he couldn’t have implemented them as quickly and with as little backlash as he has without the Republican Party of 1993-present first laying the groundwork to make it happen.

But having spent 20 years becoming, essentially, the Democrat Party, the party bigwigs are in a tizzy with a true conservative movement afoot. Yes, you read that right: establishment Republicans are no different from establishment Democrats. The only difference is who signs their paychecks. Dems are signed by Big Labor and Big Tech. Republicans are signed by the groups I mentioned above, along with Big Religion. Neither party actually stands for the groups Sargent outlines. The difference between 2012 and 2000 is simply that the Republicans let themselves be played in the last election. How? By running a candidate that exactly fit the narrative Dems created: that conservatives are nothing more than Big Business hacks out to screw the common man.

Yet, here’s the funny thing: the common man knows he’s getting screwed by the government AND Big Business AND Big Labor. And he’s getting tired of it. Doesn’t matter if he’s 18 or 72, black or white, rich or poor – he wakes up every morning knowing that somebody in  “authority” is going to do their best to undermine his best efforts. He knows those forces arrayed against the common man are conspiring to make mere survival almost impossible, much less actually getting ahead. Those are the people that voted to turn Eric Cantor out of office.

And those are the same people that voted the last true conservative into the White House. In 1980, the political class – especially the entrenched Republican interests – thought the Reagan Revolution was suicide for the party. But Reagan captured the votes of the young. He got majorities of traditionally Democrat voting blocs, including Big Labor. He  won a majority of the Latino vote, the last Republican Presidential candidate to do so. And he did so by campaigning on a platform of conservative values. Unfortunately for the nation, Reagan made one HUGE mistake in 1980 when he accepted George Herbert Walker Bush as his running mate. The establishment had their backdoor into the seat of power. By 1988, Bush was being touted as a conservative, and the label hasn’t meant what it did for Reagan since then.

This, if anything, is the disconnect that the pundits and professional pols haven’t come to realize. The rise of the Tea Parties in 2009 was less about Republican voters who had decided to become activists. I was about conservative voters who were tired of being lied to and taken for granted becoming activists. Conservatives have found their voice. The genie is out of the bottle – and the phony conservatives populating the Republican Party are unhappy.

That’s a good thing.

 

*BTW, RomneyCare has turned into such a colossal failure the state has asked the feds to take it over.

Mark Cuban Is Right


For better or worse, race is an explosive topic in our country. A lot of that has to do with the inherent fear we have, as a society, to address the topic head-on. That’s largely because when somebody does address the topic calmly, rationally and in a non-PC way, they stand the very real chance of being slandered, vilified and demonized. Witness Mark Cuban, the often outspoken tech entrepreneur and owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks:

“I mean, we’re all prejudiced in one way or another. If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face — white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere — I’m walking back to the other side of the street. And the list goes on of stereotypes that we all live up to and are fearful of. So in my businesses, I try not to be hypocritical. I know that I’m not perfect. I know that I live in a glass house, and it’s not appropriate for me to throw stones.”

Cuban made those comments in an interview for Inc. magazine and was immediately slandered, vilified and demonized for them. He was labeled a racist for admitting that he, as with everyone else in the world, has prejudices. It was an over-reaction by people who’ve been conditioned in such a way as to confuse racism with prejudice.

Here’s the difference. A racist is not only someone who has prejudicial views, but refuses to acknowledge those prejudices – and then, by being in a position of power or authority, acts in a way that denigrates or injures the prejudiced. A racist varies from a bigot, in that a bigot allows their prejudices to form their world view but isn’t in any real position to act to perpetuate that view.

So, is Mark Cuban a racist? No. He is, in fact, the embodiment of what Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of when he pleaded with the world to judge men by their character, not their color.

Herein lies the problem with discussing race relations in this country: nobody, other than the PC, are allowed to talk about the topic. Unspoken in Cuban’s words, but certainly implied is that not only whites have prejudices – but other races, as well. And the PC brigades cannot allow for even the slightest possibility that such a truth to be uttered in public.

This is dangerous territory. The forced public misinterpretation of the relationship between prejudice and racism is more than a liberal meme – it is a lynchpin of liberal politics. For decades now, liberals have successfully blurred the distinction, so that blacks and latinos are told they cannot be prejudiced, because that would mean they’re also racists. At the same time, whites in liberal enclaves have been demonized and shamed into refusing to face their own prejudices. We’ve become a society where nobody is looking in the mirror, but everyone is yelling racism at the slightest perceived slight.

Further, by declaring that only white people with prejudicial feelings can be racists, the liberal crowd continues to prey on the “communities of color.” How? By constantly telling these people that their feelings aren’t prejudice, per se, but rather a natural reaction to centuries of being subjugated, they’re delivering a “message of empowerment.” It is, of course, a lot of hooey – and a message that consistently delivers a sizable voting bloc to the liberal cause.

But until everyone faces up to their own prejudices, the same way Mark Cuban has done – the same way very successful leader I’ve ever met has done – we will never get past the issue of race in our country. We’ll continue to be a nation of people with hyphens rather than a nation of Americans.

Getting Bergdahl Was a Waste of Time


h/t Pat Dollard

I’m of the opinion that the US was under no obligation to “rescue” Bowe Bergdahl.

Go ahead, be shocked. Most of my friends are when they first hear me say this. Regardless of the crimes he committed, they share the administration’s assertion that the US has an obligation to bring back every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine sent into combat. Guess what? So do I.

But Bergdahl was no soldier. Oh, he was at one point. But from the moment he abandoned his post in a hot CZ, he abandoned being a soldier – along with the rights and protections that come from wearing the uniform of a US soldier.

How do we know he actually deserted and didn’t simply wander off accidentally? Let’s review:

  • There is the email exchange with his parents during the week before he abandoned his post, the one in which he declared “I am ashamed to be an american <sic>. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools.”
  • He walked away from his post, leaving behind any gear that would have been useful in mounting a self-defense if attacked by enemy forces. According to eyewitness accounts from both the Afghan military and villagers he encountered on his trek, he was actually looking to meet up with the local Taliban.
  • An Army review of Bergdahl’s disappearance and subsequent abduction found that he had, in fact, deserted. It also found that Bergdahl made a habit of going AWOL.
  • There are the accounts from his platoon mates that characterize Bergdahl as a deserter and a traitor. There are even accounts that suspect Bergdahl of actively cooperating with the Taliban in raids against his former platoon.

To summarize: Bowe Bergdahl was ashamed of his citizenship, chose to walk away from his unit in a combat zone, chose to actively seek out the enemy while unarmed, and announced to his platoon his intention to leave. Further, there is evidence that not only did he seek out the Taliban, but went there with the intention of supplying them with critical intelligence that later helped them decimate the ranks of his former platoon.

These are not the actions of an American soldier. They are the actions of a turncoat. A traitor.

And under no circumstance should the United States ever work to “free” a traitor.

Was Bergdahl Addicted to Heroin? Why is he Being Sequestered? Detox?


Ray Rothfeldt:

An interesting take from an Army MD about Bowe Bergdahl’s current medical and mental state. And, it actually supports Obama’s contention that Bergdahl’s health was declining. But it doesn’t exactly make him a sympathetic figure in my eyes.

Originally posted on Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay:

While serving at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an Army Captain, and the ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, in February 2002, I was aware of a detainee we called “Wild Bill” who came to us from Afghanistan a drug addicted schizophrenic.

It took us a while to figure out what his problems were. We were distracted by his bizarre behavior: eating his flip flops, hanging objects from his genitals, making strange, random sounds, and, like many other detainees, when they got the chance, throwing urine and feces on the guards.

Once it was determined that this detainee was ill, and his story stuck, he was determined to no longer be a threat to the United States, nor of any intelligence value, so he was scheduled for release.

As it turned out, “Wild Bill,” or Abdul Razaq

View original 904 more words

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