The Weekly Watch

Media Hypocrisy in Taxing Times

I don't know why I'm amazed that the tax bill passed...but I am. What a blatant grab for ever more money by the capitalist ruling class. Are we so blind? Or is it apathy and acceptance of our corporate overlords? I don't know. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it is all about misinformation and distraction. Just as the media hyped ole “tiny hands” allowing him to call in interviews with soft ball questions (especially before his nomination), they are silent about the tax cuts which benefit the owners of big media. Meanwhile corporate media continues their silence as RT has to register as a foreign agent and has lost their congressional passes so they can't cover Capital Hill. Then more silence about Yemen, Israel's regular bombing in Syria, and the election fraud in Honduras. Perhaps Rex T.'s departure from the State department spells an impending war with Iran. Oh my, these are taxing times.

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We are so screwed. The corporate take over is complete as evidenced by this tax disaster...
The secretive Senate Republican tax bill is one of the largest wealth transfers to elites in US history, and economist James Henry says its damage to lower-income earners will likely be even worse than thought once its full contents are known (11 min video or text)
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20620:GOP-Tax-Bill-is-Even-Worse-Than-We...
The Tax Policy Center estimated that about 80 percent of the benefit of the tax plan will go to the top 1 percent https://theintercept.com/2017/12/01/the-gop-plan-is-the-biggest-tax-incr...
Stiglitz was on Democracy Now this week. Here's his take (video and text)
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11/30/nobel_prize_winning_economist_jo...
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11/30/anti_globalization_in_the_era_of
First drive up the deficit with tax cuts and then screw the poor slashing social services
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/01/gop-tax-scam-two-step-explo...
The Tax Two Step https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGQv7xfIi1E (2 min)

And look at the folks that support the tax bill
https://theintercept.com/2017/12/01/gops-list-of-economists-backing-tax-...
and of course look at who benefits
https://theintercept.com/2017/12/01/special-giveaways-in-tax-cut-bill-be...

I've got to give Bernie credit for trying to stop this disaster as he explains what is next...cutting social security, more cuts to medicare, and so on to pay for these immoral tax cuts for the 1%
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XryPTtGpg1Q (11 min from the Senate floor)

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We know the deal

[T]he best evidence indicates that the wishes of ordinary Americans actually have had little or no impact on the making of federal government policy. Wealthy individuals and organized interest groups—especially business corporations—have had much more political clout. When they are taken into account, it becomes apparent that the general public has been virtually powerless. … The will of majorities is often thwarted by the affluent and the well-organized, who block popular policy proposals and enact special favors for themselves. …
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/u-s-elections-poor-substitute-democracy/

Keeping people uninformed....

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They want the citizens to be ignorant and easy to manipulate, so can you believe corporate media isn't covering the impending disappearance of net neutrality?
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/28/study-shows-corporate-cable...

The Tax Scam also decimates education funding. States and local districts are following suit.
http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/gop-war-on-learning-continues-in-...
School funding still hasn't caught up from the 2008 collapse
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2017/11/states_k-12_spendin...
And the decimation of our public schools has been bipartisan effort
https://thebaffler.com/latest/ed-reform-ate-the-democrats-berkshire
All based on the false myth that private sector schools will out perform public schools....WRONG!
See how successful the New Orleans privatization has worked....
http://www.theneworleanstribune.com/main/faking-the-grade/
Not only is academic progress throttled but so is the financial side
https://www.indystar.com/story/news/education/2017/11/21/two-indiana-sch...

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Can we bring democracy to the work place with worker coops?
Richard Wolff thinks so in part 3 of his interview with Jimmy Dore (30 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-45IV5QV_9Y
part 1 on inequality (15 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHZIVrwOS7Y
part 2 on world wide movement (11 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3_rPX97FiU
part 4 on Trump (11 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D402PxiXUmc
for more on coops see: https://usworker.coop/home/
http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/pdf/What%20is%20WC.pdf
https://community-wealth.org/content/worker-cooperatives

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Foreign policy
Larry Wilkerson describes his view of a rational policy with Paul Jay in part 11 of a great interview series (all of which appear in the side panel on this site) 9 min video or text
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20590:What-Would-a-More-Rational-Adminis...

Does the exit of Rex T. mean a war with Iran is next? (13 min or text)
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20607:If-Tillerson%27s-Out%2C-is-Iran-Wa...
Robert Scheer gives his view of Tillerson leaving (3 min)
https://www.truthdig.com/videos/scheer-outrage-dumping-tillerson-remove-...

Chris Hedges looks at genocide and lessons learn (or not)
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/enabling-genocide/

The shuffle doesn't look good with Cotton going to the CIA
https://theintercept.com/2017/12/01/tom-cotton-cia-family-terrorist-trump/

Michael Flynn's guilty plea to lying to the FBI falls short on Russia "collusion" but points to the Trump administration acting on Israel's behalf, says author and journalist Max Blumenthal (18 min)
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20622:Flynn-Plea-Shows-Collusion-With......

Is T-rump totally unhindged? Ralph spends a whole hour with Dr. Bandy X. Lee, psychiatrist from the Yale School of Medicine and editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” on his podcast.
https://ralphnaderradiohour.com/the-dangerous-case-of-donald-trump/

wall street drowning workers.jpg

Around the World

The Intercepted podcast this week features
Jeremy tearing apart Thomas Friedman’s gross love letter to the Saudi crown prince and talks about the bi-partisan war against journalism from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump. As more women come forward to name their sexual assaulters and harassers, Intercept Editor-in-Chief Betsy Reed and BuzzFeed’s Katie Baker analyze this unprecedented moment. Robert Mugabe was removed in a military coup, but his successor is a brutal thug from the same party... analysis from Harare, Zimbabwe. (1.5 hr or text)
https://theintercept.com/2017/11/29/very-bad-men-trump-the-saudi-crown-p...
Jeremy also discusses the sanctions against RT early in the podcast
https://www.rt.com/usa/411456-rt-us-congress-accreditation/

Max and Ben spend their hour podcast talking with Joseph Massad about Israel and zionism.
http://moderaterebelsradio.com/episode-9-show-notes-zionism-anti-semitis...
(with partial transcript)

Max Blumenthal was also on the Real News discussing the relationship between Israel and Flynn.
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20622:Flynn-Plea-Shows-Collusion-With......

Israel continues to bomb Syria with no US media coverage.
http://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2017/12/missiles-hit-military-position...

Is Saudi's Lebanon interference gamble paying off?
http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/473-james-m-dorsey/3...

President Trump has caused outrage for retweeting three anti-Muslim videos from the fringe right-wing group Britain First. Aymann Ismail explores Muslim identity and Islamophobia (video and text)
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20609:Trump-Takes-Post-911-Islamophobia-...

Nearer to home....
Hondoras elections look rigged. It wasn't that long ago that Obama suported a coup there. (13 min or text) http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20618:Honduras-Election%3A-One-of-the-Wo...
It's nothing new, another round of US backed elections.
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/honduran-election-stolen-eight-years-u...
Protests are a natural result (14 min or text)
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20611:Protests-Erupt-as-Honduras-Preside...

In an unprecedented move that violates World Trade Organization rules, Argentina revoked accreditations of representatives of 20 NGOs, preventing them from attending the 11th WTO Meeting in Buenos Aires next week. Deborah James of CEPR explains the significance of this decision
http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20619:Argentine-Government-Bars-Major-NG...

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The environment
Kathleen White's nomination for the top White House environment post is headed for a Senate confirmation vote. She repeated her claim to senators that CO2 is not a pollutant. "As an atmospheric gas, it is a plant nutrient."
http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/716-inside-climate-s...

More subterfuge as the GOP quietly opens the arctic to drilling
https://www.democracynow.org/2017/12/1/gop_quietly_moves_to_open_arctic

Contributing author to the report for the US Congress, Columbia University climate scientist, Dr. Radley Horton says more extreme weather events will be more common if we don't curb use of fossil fuel (video and text)
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=767&...

something for the middle class.jpg

So we've got mass disinformation misleading citizens. In a couple of weeks my state is likely to vote in a pedophile as senator. Around places like “Trade Day” I hear statements like, “The estate tax is a bad idea. Those people have a right to keep their money”. It will be a long slog to enlightenment here in the buckle of the Bible Belt where churches fight to keep poor people from having health care and inadvertently seek to enrich the wealthy.

What to do? I like Richard Wolff's ideas about creating worker coops. I like Jermemy Corbyn standing up to the big banks in his country: “When they say we’re a threat, they’re right. We’re a threat to a damaging and failing system that’s rigged for the few.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-30/labour-s-corbyn-says-...
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/27/corbyn-becoming-pm-is-w...
Maybe the UK will led the way to a socialist future...well we can hope.

Perhaps we should find the joy and power of poetry in the digital age...
Gerald Stern, Poet and Author, discusses with Chris Hedges how poets and their poetry have lost the voice to “speak truth to power” in this digital society. (26 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R38rR-QP4fk

OPOL posted a poem from the Prophet this week. It reminded me of this passage as well....

Freedom XIV - Poem by Khalil Gibran

And an orator said, "Speak to us of Freedom."

And he answered:

At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,

Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

Ay, in the grove of the temple and in the shadow of the citadel I have seen the freest among you wear their freedom as a yoke and a handcuff.

And my heart bled within me; for you can only be free when even the desire of seeking freedom becomes a harness to you, and when you cease to speak of freedom as a goal and a fulfillment.

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,

But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.

And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?

In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle the eyes.

And what is it but fragments of your own self you would discard that you may become free?

If it is an unjust law you would abolish, that law was written with your own hand upon your own forehead.

You cannot erase it by burning your law books nor by washing the foreheads of your judges, though you pour the sea upon them.

And if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.

For how can a tyrant rule the free and the proud, but for a tyranny in their own freedom and a shame in their won pride?

And if it is a care you would cast off, that care has been chosen by you rather than imposed upon you.

And if it is a fear you would dispel, the seat of that fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.

Verily all things move within your being in constant half embrace, the desired and the dreaded, the repugnant and the cherished, the pursued and that which you would escape.

These things move within you as lights and shadows in pairs that cling.

And when the shadow fades and is no more, the light that lingers becomes a shadow to another light.

And thus your freedom when it loses its fetters becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

be free.jpg

Here's hoping your day is a good one filled with peace and contentment and you feel free to pursue your dreams. I look forward to your thoughts and comments below.

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Comments

GreyWolf's picture



US empire ‘too fragile’ for a free press – analyst

RT’s Capitol Hill press credentials have been revoked after the network was forced to register as a foreign agent. This handicapping of RT journalists’ ability to report on US politics doesn’t surprise Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, who says the neocons find RT’s arguments too compelling to allow people to hear.

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Lookout's picture

@GreyWolf

RT broadcasts Chris Hedges, Lee Camp, and other progressive voices.

They feature whistle-blowers like Bill Binney and Ray McGovern (11 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1BZD6UX3wU

They tell about Israel illegally bombing Syria (1.5 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KyfAunQj04

Obviously they are foreign agents...cause our corporate news won't whisper a word about those events.

Thanks for dropping by!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

The Aspie Corner's picture

And they don't give a fuck. They think all they've stolen will save them.

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Lookout's picture

@The Aspie Corner

Paul Mason explains in less than 4 min
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2015/aug/12/paul-mason-c...

I've been wondering about the ramification of the death of the petro-dollar. We think it is bad now....just wait.

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9 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Azazello's picture

Remember the snipers at the Maidan protests in Kiev back in 2014 ?
An Italian journalist uncovered what many of us suspected at the time: Oriental Review
The videos are also at YouTube, here: Part 1 (11 min.) & Part 2 (10 min.)
Jesse Ventura & John Kiriakou on the new Red Scare here: RT (28min.)
Have a nice day.

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Lookout's picture

@Azazello

Did you see Oliver Stone's "Ukraine on Fire"?
2 min trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVdvp188rk4
He provides overwhelming evidence we perpetrated the coup
Netflix countered with a film about Ukraine called "winter on Fire" to confuse people and sideline Oliver's clear work. Oliver's original is difficult to find, but perhaps one of these sources is still working...https://www.quora.com/Where-can-I-find-Oliver-Stones-Ukraine-on-Fire

Netflix is carrying Stone's excellent series "The Untold history of the US".

Thanks for the sources. Glad you dropped in!

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10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Azazello's picture

@Lookout
I watched his interview with Putin too.

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Big Al's picture

work to elect more and better republicans also.

Just a thought. I don't see any difference than wanting to elect more and better democrats.

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Lookout's picture

@Big Al

the corporate coin has two faces...one rethuglican and the other democrap. If you are against these absurd wars, neither party is on your side. So politics ain't the answer.

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13 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Granma's picture

They don't know there is one. Seems incredible to me but I guess the sexual harassment and Flynn/Russia headlines have taken up the air.
The other interesting thing I learned yesterday was from a relative with political views opposite mine. I was informed that All the media tells lies and half-truths, in a tone that implied if I didn't know that, I was beyond stupid.

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Lookout's picture

@Granma

where we all pick the "fake news" we want. Yesterday I was talking with a friend - great musician and retired programmer - tell me RT was fake news.
I asked, "What makes you say that?"
"I went to their site and their news was obviously fake."
"Oh, what show did you watch? You know Ed Schultz is their anchor?"
"I read an article that was obviously fake, and I never heard of Ed Schultz."

It's like trying to change someone's religion...people self identify with their news source.

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12 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Granma's picture

@Lookout not listening or watching, just ignoring it. I can see why, but think that a poor choice.

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Big Al's picture

@Granma a Trump supporter. He had originally told me that he made about 65K per year. He started railing on local property taxes and I said the Trump tax plan would make things worse. He strongly disagreed and said Trump had done more in 10 months than Obama did in 8 years. I said, you must read Breitbart and Infowars and he readily agreed that he did.

So yesterday I went to Breitbart and SHTF, another conservative right wing site to see what their coverage of the tax bill was. There was one article on Breitbart saying it would open up Arctic drilling and reduce the U.S. energy dependence on foreign oil, like that was some kind of victory. Nothing else. They don't even want to know.

But it's no different with the democrats.

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Granma's picture

@Big Al Some people's lack of interest can be put down to the fact that they are busy trying to just survive.
I don't have answers. I alternate between feeling despair, outrage, and a Pollyanna optimism. The one constant is thinking there are a lot of people who want changes but see no way of making any of those changes happen.

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Big Al's picture

@Granma

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@Granma @Granma @Granma

in agreement with your relative. Massive troves of disinformation and misinformation abounds on all/both sides of the political spectrum. Which is why I read very little opinion journalism, period. Exceptions (for me) are those handful of leftist writers who are not associated with either legacy party--Hedges, Street, and to a lesser extent, Dave Lindorff.

Lindorff (rightly) wrote a scathing screed about the Dem budget which included legislation to cheat couples, and divorced individuals--including Mr M and I who will miss the benefit by less than two years--of up to about $60,000 in Social Security benefits. I'll post it at EB, sometime. What blew me away was that this was done without so much as a collective sigh by most members of the greater 'progressive' community. Go figure.

An recent example of 'news manipulation' is the omission that it's the "Chained CPI"--which was championed and sought by 'O' for almost eight years--which will (mostly) cause federal income taxes to rise somewhere between 2023 and 2025.

The 'good news' is that, for now, this 'reform' doesn't apply to federal transfer programs such as Social Security, which 'O' sought to accomplish. But, I wouldn't put it past the PtB to pull a switch, and apply it to all of the social insurance programs down the line.

As much as possible, we need to remain vigilant. But, I would never rely on the corporatist MSM for helping us with that!

Pleasantry

Hey, excellent job, as usual, Lookout! Thank you.

Ok

[Edited: Correction to emoticon.]

Mollie


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."--Lao Tzu
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7 users have voted.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

Lookout's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

We'll have to wait till the dust settles to see how badly screwed we are by it all.

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6 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Unabashed Liberal It's like drinking from a fire hose.

The one thing that struck me about the tax bill was, I could see the democrats pretty much writing the same bill. Some tinkers around the edge to give them some legitimacy, and use bipartisanship to bring in the republicans to do the heavy lifting, and spin, spin, spin. Then the "see, we did the best we could" and claim victory. On the inevitable attack on SS and social programs that would follow I would expect the democrats to partially agree the deficit is a grave problem that needs to be addressed by cuts disguised as improvements.

Plus war, waffling and donor stroking while pandering to each fragment that makes up the democratic party.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

Well, they've pulled it off. I'm wary of the suffering that will ensue for us all. My biggest concern is for my grandchildren. Of course I have concern for myself as well because I don't trust the crooks to let me keep my pension or to keep my SS intact. It will be all my income, so I could end up homeless with the millions.

I detest the season upon us. I've decided to return the salutation "Merry Christmas!" with "Merry "Consumermas!"

Have a beautiful day in spite of tptb, everyone! Pleasantry

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11 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Lookout's picture

@Raggedy Ann

...and the light will grow. Hold to your hopeful nature.

We will build community where we can. I sure felt the sense of community here in response to native's hospice scene. Caring for each other makes for the good feeling, and I think is the answer in these times.

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14 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Granma's picture

@Lookout our best hope is helping each other and working together for the change we need.
One of the things that stuck with me from Zinn's People's History is what people were doing during the Depression before Roosevelt was elected. When people were evicted from their home, dozens of people moved their belongings right back in from the street where the sheriff had put them.

There were many neighborhood groups formed that were cooperating to meet basic needs. Socialism was gaining strength rapidly. Zinn said Roosevelt saved capitalism in this country. I think the oligarchs have forgotten that, or else are as ignorant of real US history as most people are.

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GreyWolf's picture

@Granma Yes, FDR himself was somewhat baffled by business owner’s anger, and of him being portrayed as betraying his class, as business profits had greatly increased, and, as Zinn said, FDR saved capitalism, and FDR basically fought back against the socialists, he was not a socialist at all. As you said, "Socialism was gaining strength rapidly." At the time, much of the Congress was to the left of FDR, and as FDR was tossing money around, he was tossing it at the corporations, it was much like TARP, the relief money filtered thru the big banks, or big agriculture. Roosevelt was barely left-of center, much like Bernie. (The biography, "Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox," by James MacGregor Burns, detailed all that quite well.)

I like Bernie, but he's just the best of a bad bunch, and his cries of "More jobs" is the same as FDR, more jobs in reality just means more exploited workers creating greater profits for the corporations.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

@Lookout

Lookout ~ I believe we are going to hit a deep ravine, but there will be improved roads to traverse on the other side. Surviving the treacherousness of the ravine will serve to defeat them.

We're planting our garlic today. There's some of my hope showing. Wink

Enjoy your day!

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9 users have voted.

"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Lookout's picture

@Raggedy Ann

I hope your garlic grows well!

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8 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

riverlover's picture

@Lookout that has a threat of abandonment. Taking candy from a baby. I must scan in some staged pix relating to an ice cream cone in the gutter. Sibling rivalry. Got it all.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

QMS's picture

to get workers involved in their busy-ness.

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“Free speech means the right to shout 'theatre' in a crowded fire.”
― Abbie Hoffman