Other Middle Eastern Wars We Shouldn’t Be Involved In

Not the least of which is that Mohammed bin Salman is a brutal dictator who vivisects U.S. Journalists for his sadistic pleasure.

Yemen Has Been a Saudi Prince’s War. Now It’s His Quagmire.
By David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times
July 18, 2019

From the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, it was Prince Mohammed’s war.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, then 29 and in his third month as defense minister, was shown in official photographs surrounded by generals, poring over maps, inspecting a helicopter and even wearing a pilot’s headset while riding in the back of a military transport plane.

Four years later, the war is lodged in a stalemate and Prince Mohammed’s signature fight has become a quagmire, diplomats and analysts say. A steep pullout by his key ally, the United Arab Emirates, they say, raises questions about Saudi Arabia’s ability to lead the war on its own.

Emboldened by the hawkish comments of Trump administration officials, Prince Mohammed is now hoping Washington will help make up the difference with new American military support, according to diplomats with knowledge of the conversations.

But congressional opposition to the war makes that highly unlikely, leaving the prince with some potentially humbling choices.

“It hurts him because it injures his credibility as a successful leader,” said Kristin Smith Diwan, an analyst at the Arab Gulf States Institute. His personal investment, she said, could motivate him to search for some partial accommodation he could label a victory.

“Not many people in Saudi Arabia feel this is a wise investment for the future,” she added.

The Saudis launched the campaign in 2015 to try to roll back a takeover by the Houthis, a Yemeni faction backed by Iran. The war has killed thousands of civilians and put more than 12 million people at risk of starvation but has failed to dislodge the Houthis from control of the capital and much of the country.

While the Saudis have fought almost entirely from the air, the Emiratis, seasoned by years of combat alongside the American military in Afghanistan and elsewhere, led virtually every successful ground advance. Behind the scenes, Emirati officers, weapons and money played an equally critical role in holding together a fractious alliance of mutually hostile Yemeni militias, which have already begun jostling to fill the power vacuum left by the Emiratis.

As a result, analysts said, the Emirati exit makes the prospect of a Saudi military victory even more remote.

“Saudi Arabia can prevent peace from breaking out and can bleed the Houthis on a never-ending northern front,” Michael Knights, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued in a report this week. “But only the U.A.E. had the military potency and local allied forces to credibly threaten defeat for the Houthis.”

But the Saudis cannot easily withdraw either, partly because of the kingdom’s 1,100-mile border with Yemen.

“The Saudis don’t have the luxury of walking out of Yemen,” said Farea al-Muslimi, chairman of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, a research institute in the Yemeni capital. “There is no way to flee.”

But Prince Mohammed has now consolidated power as the crown prince and de facto ruler under his aging father, King Salman, and faces little domestic pressure to end the war, diplomats and analysts say.

The crown prince appears to have suppressed any opposition from within the royal family. The royal court controls the news media, and with Saudi forces largely in the air there have been few reports of Saudi casualties.

One reason the war has not generated more domestic opposition, he said, is that the fear of Iranian influence that motivated the intervention “is not just limited to the royal family — the Saudis just have an intense, passionate feeling that they are under threat.”

Yet the Emirati drawdown has also severely weakened the Saudis’ bargaining power, raising the potential cost to Prince Mohammed of any negotiations to end the Houthi attacks.

Boxed in, he has asked for more aid from the United States. The Americans already provide logistical support and sell weapons to the Saudis. The Saudis are hoping for at least greater sharing of American intelligence and possibly the deployment of special forces teams or military advisers, diplomats said.

But Washington, the Saudis complain, has sent mixed messages about its support for the war. To the surprise of the Saudi leaders, outrage over the Saudi killing and dismemberment last fall of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who lived in Virginia and wrote for The Washington Post, prompted American lawmakers to look more skeptically at the war in Yemen.

What?! You’re not just allowed to kill Journalists? They’re the scum of the earth (Happy Belated Stockton).

Congress passed legislation this year demanding an end to United States military support for the war, including arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Pentagon officials, meanwhile, have concluded on their own that the war has degenerated into an unwinnable quagmire and have urged the Saudis for months to try to negotiate an end to the fighting.

But President Trump has repeatedly vetoed legislation cutting off American support for the war. As tensions with Iran have heated up, other administration officials — like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser — have sounded almost as hawkish as the Saudis about the danger posed by the Iranian alliance with the Houthis.

The Saudis say statements like Mr. Pompeo’s remind them that Washington shares an interest in containing Iranian influence by rolling back the Houthis.

“Why haven’t the Americans carried out a single operation to help?” asked Mustafa Alani, a scholar at the Saudi-backed Gulf Research Center who is close to the royal court.

He recommended that the Saudis take a blunter approach to convincing Washington that the Houthis were an American problem: withdraw completely and let the United States deal with the anti-Western militants and Iranian surrogates he says would overrun Yemen.

“I would do what the Americans did in Somalia,” Mr. Alani said. “Turn off the light, shut the door, and say, ‘to hell with it.’”

Asked about Saudi plans to fill the void left by the Emirati drawdown, an official of the Saudi Embassy in Washington said last week that the kingdom would rely more on Yemeni allies.

“The coalition has implemented training programs that have enabled local partners to develop the capability to defend their country,” the official said in a written statement, issued on condition of anonymity under standard Saudi practices.

But the Yemeni militias have already started disagreeing about who will take charge in the Emiratis’ absence, underscoring the fragility of the alliance.

Last week, allies of Tareq Saleh, a maverick nephew of the former Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, floated the idea that the Saudi-led coalition had tapped him to be the new leader of the Yemeni forces previously under the Emiratis.

That did not last long. A powerful ultraconservative Islamist militia known as the Giants Brigade, also backed by the Emiratis, quickly issued a statement saying that it would never accept Mr. Saleh because he was from northern Yemen, not the south.

Then another powerful militia, composed of southern Yemeni separatists paid and armed by the Emiratis, began promoting itself as the favorite successor to Emirati leadership. A separatist television network broadcast video of a top Emirati general touring its bases.

The separatists are the sworn enemies of the Yemeni president sponsored by the Saudis, Abdu Rabbu Monsur Hadi.

“The problem for the Saudis today is that in contrast to the Emiratis, their main client is quite weak and ineffective,” said Emile Hokayem, a scholar at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, referring to Mr. Hadi.

Whatever happens now, Mr. Hokayem added, “whether they like it or not, the Saudis own that.”

Fun little War you’re having there, bombing Hospitals and civilians. Best of all you’re losing so the payouts to the Military Industrial Complex never stop.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Eugene Robinson: Trump has become the voice of insecure white Americans

When the racist chant began Wednesday night — “Send her back! Send her back!” — President Trump paused to let the white-supremacist anger he had stoked wash over him. George Wallace would have been so proud.

That moment at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina was the most chilling I’ve seen in American politics since the days of Wallace and the other die-hard segregationists. Egged on by the president of the United States, the crowd was calling for a duly elected member of Congress — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a black woman born in Somalia — to be banished from the country because Trump disapproves of her views.

This hideous display followed Trump’s weekend call for Omar and three other House Democrats, all of them women of color, to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” All of this is an unmistakable echo of the racist taunts that used to be leveled at minority groups that had the temerity to demand civil rights and the gall to achieve political and economic success — go back to Africa, go back to Mexico, go back to China.

After the election and reelection of the first African American president, one might have thought we were beyond such ugly, desperate racism. To the contrary, perhaps Barack Obama’s tenure surfaced long-buried fear and loathing that made Trump’s ascension possible.

Jamelle Bouie: Trump Voters Are Not the Only Voters

They are, in fact, in the minority — so why do the media and Democratic leaders seem so obsessed with them?

The anti-Trump vote is the single largest coalition in American politics. That was true in 2016, despite Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the Electoral College. It was true in 2017, after Democrats won major victories in Virginia and Alabama. And it was true in 2018, when the anti-Trump coalition gave Democrats a majority in the House of Representatives.

Despite their influence, however, anti-Trump voters are practically invisible in recent mainstream political coverage. Instead, the focus is the president’s most fervent supporters, as it has been since 2015, when Trump came down his escalator and announced his campaign for the White House. This past week is a prime example.

On Sunday, as nearly everyone knows by now, Trump launched a racist attack on four progressive congresswomen — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” and casting them as un-American on the basis of their racial backgrounds.

Most Americans rejected the president’s outburst. Fifty-nine percent, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, said it was “un-American,” and 65 percent said it was “racist.” A total of 68 percent said it was “offensive.”

We’ve seen this dynamic before. When the president plays with bigotry — when he defends racist protesters or disparages immigrants from predominantly nonwhite countries or casts migrants as dangerous criminals — he suffers in the polls. But the story in the press wasn’t about Trump’s decision to alienate a broad majority of voters with explicit racism. It was about the devotion of his voters and his strategy for the 2020 election.

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See No Evil, Hear No Evil

You know, like a monkey.


Canada Sesquicentennial (2017)

If you have trouble playing any of it try changing your VPN location to Canada.

Part 7 of 10

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The Breakfast Club (Higher Plains)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Women’s rights activists meet at Seneca Falls; The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy on gays in the U.S. military; Apollo 11 enters lunar orbit; Baseball’s Pete Rose gets jail time; Moscow Olympics begins.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.

George McGovern

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Six In The Morning Friday 19 July 2019


Bodies found piled on staircase as Japan’s worst mass killing in decades claims 33 lives

Updated 0811 GMT (1611 HKT) July 19, 2019

Grim details are starting to emerge from Japan’s worst mass killing in almost 20 years, as police investigate why a man torched a renowned animation studio in the city of Kyoto, killing 33 people.

The suspected arson attack on Kyoto Animation on Thursday has left anime fans world-over grieving the loss of life and a studio, which claimed to put its employees first and was a major force in the industry.
Twelve men, 20 women and another individual whose gender was unknown died in the blaze and 35 were injured.

Bangladesh prepares to move Rohingya to island at risk of floods and cyclones

Foreign minister defends controversial proposal as ‘only solution’ despite misgivings of human rights campaigners

The first Rohingya refugees could be relocated to an island in the next few months under controversial plans drawn up by the Bangladesh government, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Some of the nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar and are now living in camps in Cox’s Bazar will be relocated to the silt island of Bhasan Char in the estuary of Bangladesh’s Meghna river, accessible only by boat.

The proposal has concerned human rights groups and NGOs who are particularly worried about Bhasan Char’s isolation – the island is prone to severe flooding and cyclones and is more than a three hour boat ride from the mainland. Rohingya people living in the camps have repeatedly said they will not go out of fears for their safety.

Living SustainablyCan We Save the Planet Without Having to Do Without?

Many in Germany are trying to do their part to slow climate change. They are conscientious about the purchases they make, they ride bikes and they try to reduce their trash and carbon footprint. They can’t solve the problem on their own, but they could force politicians and businesses to act.

By , Anton Rainer,  and 

Saving the planet isn’t going to be easy. It’ll take effort. Like packing children’s lunches into recycled glass jars and wrapping them in wool socks to prevent them from shattering in kids’ backpacks. Or making homemade detergent out of curd soap, soda and water. Whatever it takes to avoid plastic packaging. The Meuser family has been living this way for half a year.

“We’re only taking small steps, but that alone feels so liberating,” says Maik Meuser, 42. “But we also have to invest time and energy,” says Nicole Kallwies-Meuser, 41.

Trump says US warship ‘destroyed’ Iranian drone in Gulf

Iranian officials deny losing any drone after Donald Trump says US naval vessel downed an unmanned Iranian aircraft.

The United States says a US Navy ship has “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the vessel, but Iran said it had no information about losing a drone.

In remarks at the White House, US President Donald Trump on Thursday said the drone had flown to within 1,000 metres of the USS Boxer and had ignored “multiple calls to stand down”.

“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The US reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests,” Trump said.

Suspected arsonist in deadly Kyoto anime studio fire says firm stole his novel

The man suspected of carrying out an arson attack on a prominent animation studio in Kyoto, killing 33 people, has told police that he started the fire because the company stole his novel, investigative sources have told the Mainichi Shimbun.

Investigators, however, have been unable to confirm the alleged theft, and Kyoto Prefectural Police suspect that the man held a grudge against the company as a result of his one-sided view.

Apart from the 33 people who died, the fire left 35 injured besides the suspected arsonist himself. Police are waiting for him to recover in hospital and plan to question him to pinpoint the motives behind the attack.

Rep. Ilhan Omar Gets Hero’s Welcome As Supporters Greet Her After Trump Attacks

“We have your back,” some of her supporters shouted in Minnesota as others chanted, “Welcome home!”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), flying home after a whirlwind week dueling with the president over a series of racist attacks, was met by a coalition of cheering supporters in Minnesota on Thursday evening.

The crowd of about 150 people gathered at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to welcome the congresswoman before she held a town hall event later that evening.

“Welcome home, Ilhan!” the group, some bearing signs and moving to shake her hand, chanted. “We have your back,” another supporter shouted.


Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Racism Comes Out of the Closet

The dog whistle days are apparently over.

In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political operative, explained to an interviewer how his party had learned to exploit racial antagonism using dog whistles. “You start out in 1954 by saying ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’” But by the late 1960s, “that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, ‘forced busing,’ ‘states’ rights,’ and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.”

Well, the dog whistle days are over. Republicans are pretty much back to saying “Nigger, nigger, nigger.

As everyone knows, on Sunday Donald Trump attacked four progressive members of Congress, saying that they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” As it happens, three of the four were born in the U.S., and the fourth is a duly naturalized citizen. All are, however, women of color.

Sorry, there’s no way to both sides this, or claim that Trump didn’t say what he said. This is racism, plain and simple — nothing abstract about it. And Trump obviously isn’t worried that it will backfire.

This should be a moment of truth for anyone who describes Trump as a “populist” or asserts that his support is based on “economic anxiety.” He’s not a populist, he’s a white supremacist. His support rests not on economic anxiety, but on racism.

Michelle Goldberg: Please, Pelosi, Fight Trump, Not the Squad

The House speaker is demoralizing people the Democratic Party needs.

For the last couple of weeks, the House Democratic leadership has been locked in an escalating battle with four left-wing freshmen congresswomen known as “the squad”: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

It started with a dispute over funding for detention facilities at the border, with the squad voting against any new allocations for locking up migrants. There were ugly fights on Twitter, with Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff comparing Democrats who voted for one funding bill to segregationist Dixiecrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi belittled the squad to my colleague Maureen Dowd, saying that despite “their public whatever and their Twitter world,” they’re only four people without a following in Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez accused Pelosi of bullying women of color. A senior House Democratic aide gave an anonymous quote to The Hill ripping Ocasio-Cortez as a “puppet” of “elitist white liberals” who is “only a woman of color when it’s convenient.” It’s been a mess.

Donald Trump may have momentarily smoothed over these divisions this weekend, uniting Democrats in condemnation of his racist Twitter rant against the squad. But the fissures remain, and Pelosi needs to heal them, because this fight is alienating and demoralizing people whom the Democratic Party needs.

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I love it when Late Night comes back.

It’s the only news I really trust.

Let’s get this straight. If you say and do Racist things, you’re a Racist. If you support Racists, you’re a Racist.

I understand why deplorables resent being called Racists because even they have some dim-bulb understanding that Racism is bad and we think they’re morons.

Sorry for your delicate Fee-Fees you thin skined snowflakes. You are Racist and we think you’re deplorable, evil, and stupid. Want to stop that? Stop being a damn Racist!

Busy, Busy, Bigot- The Game for Republicans,?b>

Republicans are Perverts too.

It makes perfect sense that a man who wants to have sex with his own daughter is friends with a convicted Sex Offender and Pedophile.

Conventional Late Night

With Co-Host Jason Jones and give it up for Granny and the Bees.


Canada Sesquicentennial (2017)

If you have trouble playing any of it try changing your VPN location to Canada.

Part 4 of 10

Part 5 of 10

Part 6 of 10

The Breakfast Club (Thin Wire)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

The Spanish Civil War begins; Sen. Ted Kennedy’s passenger dies when he drives his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island; South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and musician Ricky Skaggs born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it.

Hunter S. Thompson

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Six In The Morning Thursday 18 July 2019

Kyoto Animation fire: Thirteen dead after suspected arson attack

At least 13 people are dead and dozens injured after a suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan, local emergency officials have said.

Local media quoted police as saying a man broke into the Kyoto Animation Co studio on Thursday morning and sprayed an unidentified liquid around.

Some 30 people still remain unaccounted for, broadcaster NHK reported.

The suspect, an unidentified man, has been detained and was taken to hospital with injuries.

How did the incident unfold?

The fire broke out at the three-storey building at around 10:30 local time (01:35 GMT) on Thursday. Rescue operations are still ongoing.

Trump rally crowd chants ‘send her back’ after president attacks Ilhan Omar

Chant follows Trump’s racist tweets targeting Omar and three other Democratic congresswomen of color


Goaded on by the president, a crowd at a Donald Trump rally on Wednesday night chanted “send her back! send her back!” in reference to Ilhan Omar, a US congresswoman who arrived almost 30 years ago as a child refugee in the United States.

Trump used the 2020 campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, to attack Omar and three other Democratic congresswomen – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – calling them “hate-filled extremists”. The group, which calls itself “the Squad”, has been the focus of racist attacks by the president this week, kickstarted by tweets posted Sunday in which he said the lawmakers, all women of color, should “go back” to other countries.

Latin America confronts anti-Semitism, 25 years after deadly terrorist attack

Twenty-five years ago, the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association fell victim to a gruesome terror attack in Buenos Aires. Today, Jewish communities are concerned about growing anti-Semitism on the internet.

July 18 marks the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Buenos Aires Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building. A van loaded with explosives was detonated, killing 87 individuals and injuring over 100. It was the deadliest terror attack Argentina ever witnessed. To this day, the real perpetrators have not been identified, and it took almost 21 years until Argentina’s parliament voted to compensate the victims and their relatives.

The anniversary has revived public debate on intolerance, discrimination and anti-Semitism in Latin America. “Latin America has not seen the physically violent anti-Semitism that other parts of the world have experienced through terrorist attacks,” says Ariel Seidler of the World Jewish Congress Latin American branch. “There are anti-Semitic incidents, but in general Jewish communities can freely practice their faith.”

WHO declares DR Congo’s Ebola epidemic a ‘public health emergency of international concern’

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a “public health emergency of international concern,” a rare designation only used for the gravest epidemics.

The Ebola epidemic in DR Congo, the second deadliest on record, has largely been contained to remote areas, but this week saw a patient diagnosed with the virus in the eastern city of Goma, the first case in a major urban hub.

“It is time for the world to take notice,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement, as he accepted the advice of his advisory board to invoke the emergency provision (PHEIC), activated by the UN health agency four times previously.

Privacy concerns over viral photo apps are totally valid. But they’re also often overblown.

The panic about FaceApp’s old-person filter isn’t wrong, exactly. It’s just tinged with xenophobia and devoid of context.


If you’ve been on Twitter or Instagram recently, you may have noticed that every person you know is suddenly 80 years old. There’s been a huge spike in use of the Russian photo-editing application FaceApp, which allows a user to submit a photo of their face and be shown an elderly version of themselves.

Of course, there is a moment in every fad where someone loudly points out that the fad is bad, and that moment has come for FaceApp this week because of a heated conversation around the app’s terms of service and privacy policy.

Thousands protest at mass rally in San Juan, demanding Puerto Rico governor’s resignation

“If he does not leave now, this is going to get worse,” said reggaeton star Residente ahead of the massive protest.

By Nicole Acevedo

With chants of “Ricky, renuncia!” (“Ricky, resign!”) thousands of Puerto Ricans marched and rallied in Old San Juan on Wednesday in a massive protest calling for the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

Puerto Ricans from across the island gathered in the U.S. commonwealth’s capital, joined by high-profile stars such as Ricky Martin, reggaeton stars Bad Bunny and Residente, award-winning actor Benicio Del Toro and beloved island celebrities like Tommy Torres, Karla Monroig and PJ Sin Suela, who rallied the crowd amid a sea of Puerto Rican flags, bullhorns and signs.

Late Wednesday, protesters threw items, including bricks, glass and fireworks, at police. Police responded by firing tear gas in an attempt to clear the streets. They also shot rubber bullets into the crowd.



Only Thing Wrong With Our Corruption

We are so damn bad at it I can’t make money even when I cheat. How do you know that? I told you so, how much proof do you need?

And I have never ever minimized my Income so I could cheat on Taxes and never ever maximized it to get a Fraudulent Loan.


Cody’s Showdy

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