Tag Archives: TEA Party

The Ugly Legacy of Election 2012 … Kid’s Stuff!

As for thinking that 2012 is so dysfunctional, try a bit of history.

The dysfunction was present even before George Washington finished his first term.

Neither Madison nor Jefferson could persuade their own home state to adopt the first 10 amendments to the Constitution — and Madison was their primary author and patron saint. No one cared.

Alexander Hamilton ‘the ultra federalist’ agreed to sell the amendments in exchange for some deals … Washington is what it always was. So while Madison was the Constitution’s primary author, and author of the first 10 Amendments, it is his philosophical rival in every way that got the deal done.

Folks that wistfully wish for the days of yore are seriously on drugs if they believe that things were better.

President Washington started his first term with $75 million in debt and it took succeeding presidents 45 years to pay it off.

There was a rebellion against taxes even then … and Ol’George didn’t hesitate to go shoot em up to prove that DC was DC and rules were to be followed. Unlike today when folks talk about ‘the next time we return our guns will be loaded’, George Washington faced an actual armed military force … and he sent a small army of 13,000 to go put the rebellion down … In the end, Washington got his national sales tax on certain items … and not a cheap tax either: 18 cents per gallon of whiskey.

The election of 1800 was total trash talk (and Jefferson became the semi-official first American anti-Christ) … while Jefferson’s vice president Aaron Burr killed the former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel just as Jefferson’s first term ended … Burr was running for governor of New York at the time since Jefferson planned to dump him as his VP.

1832 or 1834 is still considered to be the ugliest campaign year in history … although by the end of the century there were 5 Republican senators that openly declared in favor of the Democratic nominee for president. We now know those Republicans as the Mugwumps.

And let us not forget how former president Theodore Roosevelt bolted the Republican Party to run as a Moose candidate.

What we got in 2012 is pretty damn tame.

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Pragmatic Conservatives Exist? How I see 2012.

Question – a reader in a discussion group on Facebook asked: “William – just for a matter of perspective, my understanding is that you consider yourself a conservative, is that correct?”

Hmmm… could be a trap.

The author had not really identified their own perspective. Earlier in the day I had gotten a broadside from another Facebooker when I posted the picture below.

Election 2012 - Republicans for Obama

The broadside writer wanted to know: “Why do you post crap like this? There are no real “Republicans for Obama” – only pretend Republicans trying to give an extremist legitimacy.”

Maybe. Maybe not.

My purpose wasn’t to support either Obama or to support these Republicans.

There seems to be no discussion these days that isn’t a bit dangerous to one’s reputation.

+++++++++

Back to the question:

“William – just for a matter of perspective, my understanding is that you consider yourself a conservative, is that correct?”

Yes. I do consider myself a conservative.

What passes for conservatism these days is mostly a reactionary push back against a world that has changed and some folks know that their days are numbered. Their days are numbered because they have chosen to embrace a political ideology that is at the same time just as much exclusionary as it is generational. Except for Ron Paul’s fans, the Republican Party is older, overwhelmingly a party of caucasian America, and seemingly tone deaf as to how others see America.

I myself am a caucasian so the issue is not with that as a cause. The cause of the numbering of the GOP’s days is that Republicans have played so long to themes embraced by those that have enjoyed white privilege that its tone deafness just feels normal for it. What? Problems? No, the average GOPer sees the rest of the world as having problems but not it. Maybe not. Except for RINOs. RINOs see things in a multitude of colors – ergo they have got to go too. They are a cancer in the Republican Party. You either see things as black and white, good or bad, evil or our way.

Election 2012 - "The Plan"

Election 2012 - "The Plan"

Until 2009 I considered myself a Republican. I considered myself a conservative Republican.

I was active in the Tea Party at the very beginning. Met many fine people. Met many strange ones, too. Most of the strange ones are still there but the pragmatic conservatives have moved on.

The Tea Party very quickly attracted a different sort of conservative: those full of anger. There are those that say such a depiction is full of bull droppings. But it is not. Perhaps they were mad at themselves — hopefully they were because they had won almost total control of U.S. national government and they botched it. They did such  a poor job that conservatives like myself no longer wanted to be associated with the party.

Reality is that you don’t have to be Republican to be a conservative. It is a good thing too as many conservatives in the Republican Party are what I consider wingers: they’ll do and say whatever they believe it takes to get the party back into power.

There is no real home for pragmatic conservatives at this time. Most still cling to calling themselves ‘Republicans’ but I don’t think that such will survive the election of 2012.

In 2010 it appeared that the conservatives surged back to power. What I saw was that our country was still very much in the depths of economic downturn. There was no good news with Obama’s name on it, and a very angry 24/7 campaign to attack Obama and to demonize Democrats paid off. (It didn’t hurt that most Democrats jumped at seeing their own shadow. That was extremely helpful to the 2010 GOP election efforts).

However, a recent study of policy positions rated Obama THE most moderate president of any Democrat since FDR’s day. His positions (except for health care) are scarcely different that President Bush’s. There are conservatives and libertarians that realize that. (Outside of the party we conservatives don’t think in talking points.) Add in just a tad of good economic news and people will come to  stop and to think about that. People think much clearer when their homes aren’t being repossessed.

So as a pragmatic conservative I spend much of my time battling to save what little good remains of the ‘conservative’ bumper sticker.

Liberals aren’t evil. Neither are philosophical conservatives that believe that we are all in this together.

My prediction for 2012 — although it is still early in the game: Obama wins reelection courtesy of the GOP and many of the angry nutters that have the loudest voices. Democrats retain the Senate. And as for the House of Representatives … the Dems get it back by 10 seats.

Yes, I am conservative. But that doesn’t make me blind and tone deaf. Although, you just never know.

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21 reasons Newt Gingrich won’t be the Republican nominee for president … and that’s the short list

Ezra Klein of The Washington Post has put out his 21 reasons Newt Gingrich won’t be the Republican nominee for president.

Klein is a good level-headed thinker. Gingrich is a trainwreck waiting to happen. When it happens will be very important. Timing matters. If early in the process then the GOP can pick up the fumble and keep moving. If later then it may be the equivalent of scuttling the GOP’s entire candidate fleet.


A Summary of GOP Reality per Klein: Romney’s Gingrich dirt file is likely a long, long file.

In the 8 weeks between New Hampshire and Super Tuesday Gingrich might win a few primaries, but can’t survive as frontrunner. He will and should take lots of hits from fellow GOPers.


Furthermore, if the Tea Party is serious about anything it has ever said it will join the anti-Gingrich fight.

If the Tea Party does not join the anti-Gingrich fight, or remains silent, it will be the equivalent of admitting that it is now nothing more than an quarrelsome GOP faction, but a GOP support group nonetheless … not that anyone really doesn’t already believe that.  

As to the Tea Party’s independence, Tea Partyers have indeed bucked the GOP establishment to some degree. Yet there is not certainty that the Tea Party will take a stand on Gingrich. Maybe. Probably not. Almost every Tea Partyer elected in 2010 in also in danger at the polls and they must either coalesce into the party mainstream or splinter the party further. That reelection thing affects even Tea Partyers and they need every Republican win that they can muster if they want a chance at changing things to their liking.

For the GOP: Will Gingrich damage Romney badly enough that the GOP needs to find a new candidate to serve as their nominee? And would that candidate want to represent a party that is schizo.


We also should not forget how the Democrats plan to portray Gingrich.

He is his own caricature. Gingrich has a lot of explaining to do.

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We are the many not the few — or so always goes the argument

We are the many not the few – if you don’t think too hard about this song it could represent almost any political philosophy.

Makana, the singer, if he wasn’t wearing a Greek fishing cap and short goatee a la Pete Seeger, then this could be a Tea Party anthem just as well as an OWS theme.

Themes without details are always the road to chaos. Thinking about themes often does lead to great ideas. Yet at some point all of those ideas must make it into writing and the bookkeepers brought in to do a reality check.

We are the many not the few is a very good song. The graphics are relevant and appropriate.

We have been here before.

Details matter. The Tea Party flunked them, the Coffee Party often gets wrapped around the axle about the ones that they like and ignores those that it doesn’t, the Beer Party doesn’t really care because it only exists for the fun of it all (meaningful discussion is optional), and Occupy Wall Street runs great risk of repeating 1968 all over again: big thoughts drove a generation to protest and then they all became doctors, lawyers, bankers and used car salesmen within five years. (I’m thinking of you Abby Hoffman!)

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Dear America – About the 1%, 53%, 99%, Class Warfare, Occupy Wall Street and …

Dear America,

There is a war for your mind. It is a constant war with battles waged not for control of the majority but the few.

The battle for the minds of the majority was won long ago.

You may ask: If the war was won already then why aren’t we all in accord? Why don’t we have a common understanding?

A good question. A good question indeed. The challenge for victors is that wars are never truly won. Victory is usually nothing more than a period of calm when the many submit to the few and when all appears well throughout the land.

Then one day someone asks a new question … and the war begins anew.

About the 1%. They won long ago. For them to continue to win they need class warfare constantly being fought. Peace and calm do not define victory. Division and distrust and discord are the means of assuring recurring victory in the episodic battles that wage to keep the 1% in power and in control of society’s direction and wealth. Distract the many and try to manage the bothersome few.

Relative peace and civil discourse are anathema to the 1%. If we were not constantly arguing and hating one another then we would be comparing and discussing. An outcome for the greater good seldom works in the 1%’s favor. Not that the greater good works against the 1% — but the entire premise of the 1% is that more is always better than less. Even when more is so much that ‘more’ has little meaning other than the quest for more being the end game itself.

That does not make the 1% evil or bad or even ungood. Survival of the fittest, the fastest, the most cunning among us is just the way of life.

To the 99% I say: there is no such thing as the 99%. You may not be the 1% but you are certainly not the 99%. At best you are the sum of the parts of our society that cobble together some coalition. If history offers clues then the left can bring together elements of the 99% for very short periods, unlike the right which manages usually to keep its three to four allied elements generally in some form of harmony.

To the 99%, you are being driven to constant distraction. I do not wish to accuse the 1% of being unpatriotic but I would tell you that patriotism has very little meaning to them — regardless of the empty homilies that pass their lips or how many flags adorn their homes and buildings. Patriotism is constantly used to define issues for the purposes of focusing the minds of the more conservative elements of our society that do respond to symbols of family, faith and country. Much or most of the 1% are apolitical and apatriotic and embrace those concepts only when it supports their own economic objectives.

Yes, the vast majority of the 1% would trade your jobs without second thought if it meant another few cents on the dollar in their pocket. That is not patriotism.

The 1% would sell weapons and natural resources developed by our tax dollars to almost anyone in the world that would buy them if there is profit in it. The transfer of technology, resources and national knowledge accrued by the many and sold on the world’s markets — that is not patriotism.

Our illegal immigrant problem — we are daily driven to distraction and encouraged to drive out those that took our jobs and violated our laws because ‘illegal means illegal’. Yet where were the voices when laws were needed to manage our borders and to develop the skills and to protect the jobs of our own citizens? They were silent because it was profitable. That is not patriotism.

Do not hate the illegal immigrant that came to America to find a job and a better way of life. They were invited. The wealthy are wealthier because of it. You are too.

Dear 53% or 47% or whatever percentage group you belong to: America has fundamentally changed. The 1% won long ago and we are now on a path that can not be easily reversed. Talk of reversal of our economic fortunes is wasted time and energy. Our reality has fundamentally changed and there is no going back.

There are good times (for some) ahead but the good times of 10, 20, 30 years ago are gone and will not come back in our lifetimes.

America’s middle class is dying a slow protracted death and that is why we are so angry. Yet the American middle class is just as much to blame for its own demise as is the 1%.

America’s middle class will continue to shrink and to lose its vitality … and while the middle class will be encouraged to be angry at the working class … those supposed dregs of society that are incapable of pulling themselves up by their own efforts … that working class infused with a healthy dose of illegal immigrants that just want to feast off the ingrateful gratitude of the well fed and pampered middle class that supports them … and yet … and yet … DISTRACTION ZONE … and yet it seems to be the 1% that is pocketing the wealth of the middle class.

To the middle class of America: Stop allowing yourself to be distracted. Focus. Please get some perspective before it really is too late.

To the middle class of America: You exist. You have a Darwinian right to continue your existence as long as you are worthy of existence. Your existence and continued class health and wealth does not depend upon demonizing the less well off in our society. They have almost no voice. They are the future you if you do not focus!

Some perspective, please:

  • The middle class is always the most artificial of society’s three strata of wealth. You only exist in any significant numbers if you are allowed to exist because you serve a purpose. Throughout much of history you, we, have seldom made up more than 10-15% of society’s wealth.
  • America’s sizeable middle class is largely an accident of history. Your pre-World War II ancestors lived a meager existence and were almost certainly blue collar or red neck working class. Middle school would be the education level of the average household adult. Our immediate ancestors looked forward to a nice Sunday dinner. It was THE big meal of the week. Except for World War II that would still be the daily fate of most Americans today. In the past, before we died, we would often bequeath our personal clothes and small personal items to specific people … because they needed them, and generally that was also all we had. We were just as third world as the third world of today. Yes, the average American — and that defines the middle class — had very little other than what they wore or the tools that they used or the books that they left behind.
  • The accident of history that created the great American middle class is that the industrialized world was destroyed by the end of World War II and there was an opportunity to own the world at bargain prices. We could take what we wanted. We could define the laws of trade as we wanted. We could and often did take whatever we found in other people’s backyards around the world. We were economic imperialists of the highest order. The great American middle class exists today because the 1% of the day needed someone to manage and to organize the world’s wealth. As that wealth poured into America we prospered.  Managing the world required a well educated citizenry. Even today there are still families that boast of someone that is or was ‘first’ in their family to get a college degree. We did it for the red, white and blue … or so we thought.
  • Yet someone always asks why. Why is always a dangerous question. It didn’t take long for the world to ask why? For several decades we said ‘because we said so’ and that was answer enough. Why are you pumping our oil and our people are living in poverty? Why are you supporting dictatorships in our country when you speak of democracy and freedom? Why? Why? Why? By the 1970s the world had recovered enough from World War II that they really did want an answer to the question of why? Our world began unraveling at a very fast pace by 1973-1974 when our middle class stumbled as Globalization, version 1, took hold. Version 1 = failure of the U.S. to be able to dictate terms of global economic policy and wealth. The result was that our corporate wealth began to diversify via the formation of multinational corporations; the limited sharing of wealth with others of the world. Multinationalism was our attempt to coopt the economic capabilities of emerging economies.
  • Globalization, version 2, would expand and change our way of life within just 10 years (1973-1983) of version 1’s debut. Just as Nixon (1973) recognized that we can no longer dictate terms to the world, it was Reagan (1983/4) that ushered in version 2 of globalization: the elimination of national borders for purposes of economic wealth transfer. To reassure the American public that we were not giving away our national rights and economic wealth we were promised that free markets would create trickle down  to provide us the quality and quantity of wealth that our people had come to know and to enjoy. It was literally a theory thought out on the side of a dinner napkin.
  • Reagan’s promise of free markets and trickle down was an honest and well-intended promise perhaps but free trade and trickle down economics have very nasty side effects. The primary side effect of trickle down is that it divorced Americans from the actual creation of wealth by reversing and diluting their relationship to what brought them wealth to begin with: the creation of products and management of the world’s resources. Without these two key ingredients there is no reason for the existence of America’s middle class at its current size and level of wealth. Reality is that the hourly value of our work efforts has fallen almost every year since 1980 when adjusted for inflation. What has distracted us from noticing the hollowing of the great American middle class is that we were invested in our country’s wealth. We had a stake. Divestiture from that wealth has occurred at just a few percentage points per year. Magnify that point or two of annual loss by several decades and you will find that  the sheer raw numbers of Americans invested in stock markets bonds and funds has dropped to 1968 levels, and their number has dropped every year since 2004. Yes, we did notice the loss in our personal fortunes but we supplemented our loss with easy credit reforms from the Reagan years and the use of our homes as collateral to buy all the goodies in life made by the other people of the world benefitting from Globalization, version 2.  We were also lucky to keep our costs at home low through cheap food and goods made by all of those illegal aliens that we invited to come to America just so long as they did not demand benefits and an honest wage.
  • For the 99% or whatever percentage of America represents your group: Globalization version 3 is now upon us. The fate of the great American middle class is that it is no longer needed by the 1%. Money flows so freely now across borders that we no longer speak in terms of multinational corporations — such a quaint term from the 1970s and the 1980s. Wealth has few limits upon it because it has diversified. We have achieved the ultimate transfer of wealth: we own parts of the world and the world owns huge parts of us. There is no patriotism involved. ‘Patriotism’ is a distraction and diversionary concept to make you believe that ‘we’ are threatened. If you belong to the middle class, we ARE indeed threatened.  There is limited need for most of us in Globalization, version 3.

To those that want to Occupy Wall Street and to Tea Partyers and to the American middle class in general: There is a war for your mind. It is a constant war with battles waged not for control of the majority but the few. As long as our system remains in gridlock then the 1% continue to win.

The battle is for the few that ask why — those that refuse to vote the party line and to perpetuate constant gridlock. We must ask why over and over again. Why do we continue to allow our jobs to be given away for the profit of the few?

Our middle class is in a race to the bottom with the working class people of the world. Nothing against them, but as a member of the American middle class I am not ready or willing to make one of the largest wealth transfers in history. I am not willing to support the continued enrichment of the 1% or the enrichment of the world at my own expense.

We are in a race to the bottom that will only plateau once we have fallen significantly and the rest of the world has risen to where labor rates and market saturation of want over need is balanced. That could take another generation or two.

To the middle class: our best days are ahead for most of us but only if we make changes now! We must make significant changes in our personal choices of lifestyle and demand public  transparency of both government and corporate transnational financial transactions.

In our personal lifestyle and professional choices: we must eliminate debt and we need to develop a menu of skills.

Eliminating debt will be bad for our economy. It could shrink our economy 15-20%. Get over it. Get on with it. Our current economic situation is longterm. There is no positive outcome on the horizon if we live as we currently do. Eliminate debt and restructure your life to be as debt-free and self-sustaining as possible. Thirty year mortgages are the road to serfdom. Renting is not a great plan either in many cases. If you have to buy strive for less and strive for shorter term loans. Stop buying McCastles.

Income assurance: the American middle class has a significant challenge: it has few tangible skills.  Your/our entire education system is based upon managing the world around us. You need a menu of skills that are of value to others in your community. Ask yourself: if you were to lose your job today what service can you provide that others would be willing to pay for?

If you find the above question hard to answer then you are in trouble, deep, deep trouble. You not only need a skillset but a menu of skills; and each need their own hourly value. You need to start planning now for your life in the emerging American middle class — one that will be smaller, more agile, and which is our future already as of today.

To the 1%: I bear you no ill will. It is the nature of all survivable things to seek more efficient means to accumulate more value and more power. This always comes at the loss of something or someone else. You have existed always and always will.

To the 99%: Stop. Think. Avoid distractions. Do not attack the left or the right because you belong to the other. You will fail if you do. We will fail if you do.

To the 99%:  Seek to think objectively. Demand that our leaders put numbers to paper. DO NOT buy into promises of hope and change. DO NOT buy into claims that we can take our country back. It is far too late for that. Collaborating with the new owners because you believe it to be your patriotic duty to support amoral, apatriotic, anationalist accumulation of wealth only hastens the day when America is just another province of the world.

Money is power. America is just a politically defined flow of money. It was not the left or the communists or whomever you might wish to blame for America’s current economic woes. We have only ourselves to blame as we collaborate with the 1% — they will profit by it but we will not, not the majority of us. The wealth of the 1% is no longer American wealth. It is wealth that knows no country and offers no allegience to anything other than reinvestment at higher dividends. Do not be distracted by the presence of flags or invocations to protect our inherent rights as Americans. This is meaningless drivel to the 1% — which they will willingly sell to you as in ‘you too can be rich if you just try hard enough’, all the while flying as many flags as China can produce.

To those that are participating in Occupy Wall Street — you have my sympathies. To supporters of Occupy Wall Street that complain that no one is paying attention, did you notice that it was Fox News that provided you your first major coverage? And it is Fox News that continues to provide you the majority of coverage. You are the new distraction. The artificial debate created is whether you and the Tea Party are similar. It really does not matter. Your concerns are very similar. Your desire to blame someone other than yourself is the same.

Your anger is aimed in the right direction but I don’t believe that you have a plan. Your rage is just as controlled and directed and manipulated as is that of the Tea Party. Do not be useful tools.

The American middle class as we know it will die a protracted death over the next 10-20 years. Suburbia and all of its trappings will soon enough be very different. The new middle class will be much smaller. It already is. I cannot think of a practical way to stop this, or to advise you how you could stop this future from arriving. It is after all already here. America 1950 will be completely gone by 2030, and in 2030 we will be talking about the middle class that emerged from 2007.

Be slow to anger and swift to thought. Only some will win. The battle is for the few and will be won by the few that win the hearts and minds of the distracted many.


>> What the middle class of the world may look like by 2025.

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Is reelectability standing in the way of a debt deal in Washington DC?

Is reelectability standing in the way of a debt deal in Washington DC?

One network news talking head discussing the intransigence of the Tea Party members: “The only thing more dangerous than a politician seeking re-election is a politician who doesn’t care if he is re-elected.”

My perspective is that not caring about reelection is perhaps a good thing at the moment.

I appreciate the reality of the ins and the outs — you are either in power or out of power — but some hard decisions and tough stands need to be made.

Making hard decisions just isn’t happening, due probably in large part because it would affect reelectability.

Democrats especially need to really think about this. Republicans are divided but motivated and activist.

A piece by a center-left pollster in the New York Times takes the bottom line that most Americans agree more often with Democratic positions but just don’t trust Democrats.

Tea Partyers are radicals of the most subversive sort but there is a commendable method to their madness. By subversive I mean that they work very hard at undermining public confidence in the government. Twisted facts and outrageous claims are standard fare for all parts of the political spectrum. Yet the willingness to engage in this 24/7 without regard for reelectability is pure genius.

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Bow Wow — Just on principle let’s pass the buck, bankrupt the government and blame the other guy. A plan!

I am all for making cuts.

I am all for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget — but only because Congress is more often than not a bunch of gutless wonders that vote the party line and don’t have the cojones to really perform their constitutional duty.

Seldom do I criticize Democrats, other than to point out that they don’t really have a plan about anything. Why criticize folks that prove Will Rogers right almost daily: “Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans.”

However, it is the Republicans that are in disarray at the moment — and it is because raising the debt ceiling is a backwards argument.

They are making their arguments largely based upon principle. To hear them, you might think that they are saving the country by trying to block any increase in the debt ceiling and to avoid anything which takes a penny of their tax money.

They are trying to starve the beast one last time. They are trying to do it on principle. But which one?

Congress and very specifically the House of Representatives has the ability to make cuts by directly cutting specific programs.

Raising the Debt Ceiling only pays for what Congress has already approved. The money cannot be used for new stuff.

THE BEAST & THE PROBLEM

The problem is that Republicans do not want to step forward and to specifically cut Social Security, Medicare, et cetera. They do not want their fingerprints all over the crime scene, which is certainly how the American public would see it once the law of unintended consequences kicked in … which should take no more than 30 days after cuts are made.

On principle, the Republicans and the Tea Partyers want to pass the buck: we will save you and the future but only if you hold this gun to your foot and pull the trigger by yourself.

They want to force a bankruptcy and then tell the president: Hey, bud, you are running short of cash. YOU need to make cuts to programs that WE approved expenses for — whether it was this Congress or prior congresses.

On principle and as an option, we are willing to let you make these painful cuts right before a major presidential election by only agreeing to give you enough money to allow you to run out of money just about primary time — assuming that we can even come to some agreement as to how many hoops we want you to jump through so that we can rant at you for 6-8 months before November 2012.

Bottomline: I didn’t vote for President Obama. Am still not crazy about him now. He probably will not get my vote in 2012. But here is what I do know: President Obama should tell the Republicans to go to hell!

If the Republicans want to sit down and to make specific cuts then Congress should take a vote on the programs that they want to cut. The 2012 budget is in their hands. They could block a debt ceiling increase easily if THEY slashed Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, and maybe a few tanks, planes and drones.

What say ye Congress, and specifically Republicans? How about really acting on your principles?

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