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Wed Jun 12, 2013, 09:21 PM

Intruder in the Dust

“The past’s never dead. It’s not even past.”
--William Faulkner; Intruder in the Dust


No matter how one feels about recent news reports on domestic “spying,” it is worthwhile to consider past events from our nation’s not-to-distant past. These issues should be of concern to everyone, from President Obama’s strongest supporters, to his most vocal critics on the Democratic Left. For this is an issue that reaches far beyond this President and his administration. Indeed, it involves forces in government and industry that are, at best, only partially under the control of Barack Obama or Congressional oversight. And it is an issue that will certainly help define America after President Obama leaves office -- and that is equally true, no matter if the next US President is a Democrat or republican.

The president most closely associated with legal and illegal spying on citizens is, of course, Richard M. Nixon. Thus, I would like to remind older forum members of some of hell that Nixon put this nation through. More, it is my hope that this may provide younger forum members with food for thought …..and while space does not allow for in-depth detail here, any interested person can “google,” go to their local library, or both, to learn more about this series of most important chapters in US history.

Again, my goal is NOT to take sides in the current debate -- not in this essay/thread -- nor is it to in any way pretend that Barack Obama is similar to Richard Nixon. For President Obama is a good and decent man, while Nixon was a severely flawed character; the only two things they had in common would be the obvious (being President) and both were highly intelligent.

I am also hoping that forum members will post related information on America’s “spying” history, including memories of the Nixon era. Also, in fairness, I should share two points of information: (1) my property was owned, at the close of the Revolutionary War, by one of two merchant brothers, who had served as “spies” for General/President Washington; and (2) in the 1990s, a “private” corporation, that employed retired county, state, and federal police, kept “intelligence” files on Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman, myself, and others advocating for Native American rights. We had one of our spies copy these files, and I was entertained and disappointed in their quality. If they had simply asked Paul and I, we would have provided more accurate information.

Anyhow. Our national mythology pretends that domestic spying was limited to J. Edgar Hoover’s obsession with Rev. King’s sex life, until Richard Nixon began a strange domestic spy program that ended with Watergate. This, of course, is bullshit. Domestic spying had been conducted at least since the end of WW2. Much of it was done by the private investigators who were hired by corporations, usually after “retiring” from a career with a police agency, or the military. Indeed, the WW2 agency that morphed into the CIA was, in fact, primarily made up of “private” intelligent agents employed by the oil industry. I’ve documented that with uncanny accuracy on this forum in the past.

In the 1960s -- even before Nixon took office -- the military was spying on civilians who were doing nothing more than exercising their constitutional rights. It was done, of course, in the name of “national security.” This was first documented, beyond debate, by Christopher Pyle; he told congressional investigators that the US Army intelligence had 1,500 “undercover agents” who kept track of any anti-war protest that had 20 or more citizens participating.

Pyle’s testimony would play a significant role in several of the congressional investigations into the abuses of power associated with Nixon. He would work as an investigator for Senator Sam Irvin’s subcommittee on Constitutional Rights. (Pyle became a professor at Mt.Holyoke College; he has authored several articles and books of interest, including on the dangers that domestic spying pose to the Constitution since the “war on terror” began.)

It was later documented that Army Intelligence was “spying” on Martin Luther King, Jr., when he was in Memphis in April, 1968. Again, this pre-dates Nixon’s presidency. Yet Nixon was no stranger to the ways of Washington, and he soon would have a plan drawn up to coordinate local, state, and federal police agencies with domestic spying programs -- all in the name of “national security,” of course. Under Nixon, the potential threats to the nation were no longer limited to the Civil Rights and Anti-war movements. Any journalist who disagreed with Nixon, and any Democrat who might oppose him in 1972, would be included on Tricky Dick’s infamous “enemies list.”

It was documented in the Senate Watergate hearings that President Nixon would become aware that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were also spying on him. One could speculate that this may have played some role in the exposure of “Watergate” -- which is incorrectly remembered as a limited criminal event, involving the break-in at the Democratic Party Headquarters. In fact, it was a large series of felonies, that took place from the west coast to the east coast. And every part of it fell under the Huston Plan.

The Senate held the famous Watergate Hearings, led by Senator Irvin. Several congressional committees would follow with investigations of illegal and unconstitutional activities conducted by intelligence agencies. These included crimes committed both domestically and in foreign lands. Perhaps the best-known was the Senate’s Church Committee. The House of Representatives followed with a committee, which is best known as the Pike Committee, (Formerly the Nedzi Committee), named for NY Rep. Otis Pike. This committee’s final report was never officially released, due to conflicts among House members. Versions were released, and journalist Daniel Schorr was called before Congress to reveal his source; Schorr refused.

President Ford would attempt to derail attention from these two committee, by having VP Nelson Rockefeller head a “presidential investigation” into intelligence agency abuses of power. While the Rockefeller Commission’s report was of some value, it should not be confused as the most important of that era’s investigations.

Perhaps the most valuable lesson to come out of that era is that domestic spying programs take on a life of their own, even if a good and sincere President is in office. Likewise, these same programs take on an even more sinister character under a thug like Nixon.

Finally, I’d like to note that about a week ago, I posted an essay on fracking here. I wrote that the gas companies have deemed environmental advocates who oppose fracking as “potential eco-terrorists.” Further, I showed that the gas industry now has use of military intelligence experts in psychological warfare, to help prepare communities in the United States for exploitation by the gas industry.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Arrow 32 replies Author Time Post
Reply Intruder in the Dust (Original post)
H2O Man Jun 2013 OP
Autumn Jun 2013 #1
H2O Man Jun 2013 #2
Autumn Jun 2013 #3
H2O Man Jun 2013 #16
Electric Monk Jun 2013 #4
H2O Man Jun 2013 #5
scarletwoman Jun 2013 #6
H2O Man Jun 2013 #10
suffragette Jun 2013 #11
H2O Man Jun 2013 #15
suffragette Jun 2013 #21
RainDog Jun 2013 #7
RainDog Jun 2013 #8
H2O Man Jun 2013 #14
zeemike Jun 2013 #9
H2O Man Jun 2013 #17
RainDog Jun 2013 #12
ananda Jun 2013 #13
H2O Man Jun 2013 #19
reusrename Jun 2013 #18
H2O Man Jun 2013 #20
reusrename Jun 2013 #23
H2O Man Jun 2013 #27
Laelth Jun 2013 #22
reusrename Jun 2013 #24
Laelth Jun 2013 #25
Octafish Jun 2013 #26
H2O Man Jun 2013 #28
malaise Jun 2013 #29
H2O Man Jun 2013 #30
hootinholler Jun 2013 #31
Romulus Quirinus Jun 2013 #32

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 09:40 PM

1. Your last paragraph is very chilling.

Thanks for your post. It was a trip down memory lane.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 09:43 PM

2. Thanks.

I am glad that you took the time to read & respond to my OP. Ithink it is important, no matter what one's individual views are on the current issue.

And I agree that the last paragraph contains information that is chilling. Not that it stops me for even a second. Indeed, as in the past, I am always open to telling anyone -- even the opposition -- exactly what I am doing, and more importantly, why I do it.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 09:49 PM

3. I take the time to read all of your posts

they are always informative and interesting. Thank you for everything you do.

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Response to Autumn (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 01:03 PM

16. Well, thank you ......-

that means a lot to me!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 10:00 PM

4. LOL @ "potential eco-terrorists" label, unlike the "actual eco-terrorists" like BP et al

 

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #4)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 10:02 PM

5. Couldn't agree more.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 10:05 PM

6. The Security State infrastructure is self-perpetuating.

It knows no bounds. Like cancer cells it grows and reproduces in endless progression. It lives within its own bubble of self-justification. The government may direct it to chosen targets, but it cannot control it because the apparatus can just as easily turn its powers to the destruction of the agents of the government.

Since the end of WWII (at least) we've allowed this monster to grow uncontrolled in the shadows, until it has attained unimaginable powers and scope. When there is no where left to hide, what is there to do?

There is a story - to my regret I don't remember it very well, but the details probably don't matter so much - that I heard many years ago when I lived in Alaska. It was about a people, an indigenous tribe, who were being pursued by foreign invaders who would enslave them. The tribe's last hiding place was on a small island, not much more than a bit of rock with tall cliffs all around. Eventually the invaders reached the island and began to climb the cliffs. Seeing that no further escape was possible, and determined that slavery was not an option, the entire tribe - men, women, children - leaped off the cliffs to their deaths.

What will we do to resist our slavery to the military/intelligence complex?

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 09:46 AM

10. Good questions.

I wish that I had good answers to your questions, but I do not. Instead, I can only respond by saying what I do .... or at least try to do.

Way back when I was a student at a community college, there was a day when my sociology teacher told our class, "Well, we have some sort of celebrity here." He was a good man, with a social conscience, and wasn't saying this to pick on me. He explained to the class that the FBI had senta few gentlemen to our campus, to "talk" to the deans about my working with a couple "frats" to raise funds for Rubin "Hurricane" Carter's legal defense fund. Now, this was when the general public believed Rube was a vicious, racist mass-murderer. And so the deans, not aware of who Rubin really was -- much less why he was incarcerated on a triple-life sentence -- had spoken to my teachers, trying to figure out what manner of young man I was.

In my files on the work I did with Carter's defense, I have a letter that I received shortly after that day. It was from an assistant director of the FBI, and said that Carter was guilty of murder, and not a particularly good "cause" for an idealistic youngster to take up. The curious thing was that the agency had long denied having any information on Carter. That letter would help our attornies secure Rubin's file -- which, despite being largely blacked out, was interesting. Combined with the Caruso file, it indicated what had really happened that June night in 1966. And that Rubin Carter was no murderer.

I accept the fact that being involved in social/political activities draws attention. And not only the attention of the audience one attempts to communicate with. I could tell some stories about exactly this.

I've long admired Malcolm X. He told the truth. And he really couldn't be smeared, because he told the truth about where he came from. He knew that there was no shame in saying that he used to inhabit the gutter; only in saying that one still choses to stay in that gutter. I like that. And I have no problem in saying I used to be a "bad" teenager. Once again, I could tell some stories.

I do not hide what I am doing. In fact, I make a point of reaching out to the opposition. I believe that the tactics of Gandhi and King offer us our greatest opportunity to make meaningful changes in our culture. This belief frees me from any fear. I'm not foolish enough to think that I am capable of making any significant change by myself. But, by changing myself, I am able to be part of that larger effort to bring about progress. And that's all I need.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #10)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 11:03 AM

11. "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

Appreciate all you do and have done and the important historical perspective you bring to this.

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Response to suffragette (Reply #11)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 12:50 PM

15. Thank you!

Things are pretty cluttered in the gutter I find myself in lately, so I especially like the quote about looking at the stars!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #15)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 01:31 PM

21. Always loved the quote and found it helpful to keep trying

It comes from Oscar Wilde, but I first heard it from the Pretenders in Message of Love.

Here's the verse:
Now look at the people
In the streets, in the bars
We are all of us in the gutter
But some of us are looking at the stars
Look round the room
Life is unkind
We fall but we keep gettin' up
Over and over and over and over and over and over

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 10:36 PM

7. k&r n/t

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2013, 10:52 PM

8. here's my alternate reality endgame for this moment

Snowden releases documents that reveal Republicans were spying on the President and other Democrats (via Booz Allen's neocon owners at The Carlyle Group...)

Congress is forced by the public to have hearings on the issue of domestic spying.

We go into the midterms with a Congressional investigation of Republican dirty tricks.

Current members of Congress are implicated in the spying and are defeated, which gives the legislature back to the Democrats.

Well, a girl can dream...

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Response to RainDog (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 11:17 AM

14. It's safe to say

that there are cells of cheneyites in various agencies, some from the distant past, and others installed during the Bush 2 era, that are engaged in coordinated efforts to damage President Obama. And it really makes little or no difference if his policies are relatively in line with neoconservative republicans, or not. That is what these bureaucrats, well entrenched in the bowels of DC, are programmed to do.

Some of those efforts make use of the republican puppets in both houses of Congress. And they use the corporate media, as well. Likewise, they have ties with non-American entities, some in similar positions to themselves, others in the overlapping corporate world.

That's the nature of the beast.

It's interesting to look back and identify who in Washington fought the hardest to keep the Congressional committees from getting access to information on domestic spying programs, and equally hard to keep the Congress from informing the public on the extent of those programs. The single individual most closely identified with those obstructionist efforts was none other than Donald Rumsfeld.

For years, I've posted information on the "shadow government" here on this forum. I focused a lot of my attention on it, back when DU had the outstanding series of OPs/posts known as "the Plame Threads."

Hence, while I think it is fair to hold President Obama fully responsible for what he does in office -- both good and bad -- I think it is important to keep in mind that we are, at best, being provided with an image that is merely the top of a huge iceberg. I don't interpret it the same as republicans do. It's what lies beneath the surface that threatens to sink democracy.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 12:28 AM

9. yep that was a trip down memory lane.

I remember an incident from those times during Nixon....i was living in Florida at the time and there was a case where they had arrested 7 anti war protesters and put them on trial....I believe they were referred to as the Gainsvill 7...and at the trial they discovered 2 FBI agents in a closet with a tape recorder taping the Jury room.

So even the sanctity of the jury system is no barrier to spying....the end justifies the means in the eyes of the sociopath.
And my guess is that those two agents got their permotion right along...but I don;t know, because there were no more news reports on it

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Response to zeemike (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 01:07 PM

17. I remember the

introduction that Arlo Guthrie gave for his song about the FBI tracking Santa Claus. It was hilarious, because it was true.

Have you seen the documentary about the Nixon administration's war on John Lennon? That one is disturbing -- again, because it is true.

Thanks for your post!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 11:07 AM

12. ...

''This country is going so far to the right you won't recognize it,'' Nixon's AG told a reporter.

John Mitchell embarked on a series of activities that the courts would later hold to be in violation of the Constitution. At first, they were directed chiefly against foes of the Vietnam War and black militants, then against officials and journalists suspected of leaking damaging information, finally against politicians from George Wallace to George McGovern who were deemed threatening to what was seen as the precarious position of Mr. Nixon.

On Jan. 27, 1972, a project to cripple these foes by muggings, kidnapping, sabotage, blackmail and burglary was unveiled in the office of the Attorney General of the United States.

In an early sample of the ''dirty tricks'' that would later mark the 1971-72 campaign, Mr. Mitchell approved a $10,000 subsidy to employ an American Nazi faction in a bizarre effort to get Governor Wallace off the ballot in California. The move failed.

--From the NYTimes obit for Mitchell.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 11:10 AM

13. Very good analysis and info, waterman.

You should write a book ....

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Response to ananda (Reply #13)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 01:14 PM

19. I'm actually trying

to finish one on fracking etc. The agent from the publisher is getting impatient. I usually can write things quickly, but because of the combination of complex issues and writer's block, I have been struggling for the past 7 to 10 days.

I've been doing a epidemiological study in a small, upstate New York community. It is heavily polluted, primarily from a military-industrial plant that graced the town with four "super fund" sites. Rates of cancer, etc, are terribly high. By no coincidence, some of the toxins are the same ones used today in hydrofracking.

(My sister just called a few minutes ago; another friend died yesterday. I'm tired of calling hours and funerals. At the last one -- the second in a week -- a friend said, "Strange, it seems like half of the old gang isn't here today. Oh, that's right -- they're dead!"

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 01:08 PM

18. I think all of us who were around back then have been thinking about this.

 

I keep wondering how different things might have gone if Nixon had not been pardoned. It isn't so much that he didn't deserve a pardon, that can be argued on many different grounds. Here is WHY he was pardoned:

"The prospects of such trial will cause prolonged and divisive debate over the propriety of exposing to further punishment and degradation a man who has already paid the unprecedented penalty of relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States."

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Proclamation_4311



This is what seems to be fucking us right now and into the foreseeable future. This is where we slipped off the rails and began our move from being a constitutional republic (rule of law) toward embracing a system of democratic fascism (rule of the manipulated majority).

We need to somehow work our way back to basics. All men are created equal. That sort of thing.

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Response to reusrename (Reply #18)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 01:26 PM

20. Great point.

Your post raises one of the types of issues that I think makes this forum worth sticking with. It's great to see it, rather than some of the meaningless nonsense splattered about lately.

I believe that while Nixon feared criminal prosecution, he was rather confident that his defense could place numerous "national security" stumbling blocks in any prosecutor's path. His defense team would have very likely been able to derail the prosecution of the most serious charges that he might have faced. At best, it would have been similar to the Scooter Libby trial -- though Nixon, unlike Cheney, wouldn't have escaped the shame he deserved.

Last year, Lamar Waldron published an outstanding book, "Watergate: The Hidden History (Nixon, the Mafia, and the CIA)." I think it is essential reading for anyone who is interested in what really happened, why, and how it poisoned the political process in the USA. If you haven't read it yet, I'm sure you would find it worthwhile. Disturbing, but of value.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #20)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 02:40 PM

23. Thanks for the tip... it's not a book, more like a tome.

 

I did listen to a very informative interview with the author by Mike Levine on Expert Witness:




They end with a question about the Kennedy assassination. Very new to me, and I thought I was paying attention.

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Response to reusrename (Reply #23)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 03:30 PM

27. The two books

that he co-authored on the Kennedy assassination are "must reads," too. Even Vince Buglisoi has said that they are serious works ..... and they contain information that had not been released to the public before Vince published his book on Dallas.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 01:44 PM

22. Beautiful historical synopsis. Thank you.

It appears that our current spy system has re-aligned its priorities. This isn't about terrorism any more. We are now in a cyber-cold-war with China and Iran. There have been some skirmishes, but no outright war yet. Again, security will be the argument trotted out in defense of the machine of state secrecy. However, it appears that the cyber-threats from both Iran and China are quite real.

I would also add that President Obama likely has little control over the NSA. Here, I am backpedaling on what I have been saying for several days, and I regret that, but new information has come to light. General Kieth Alexander runs the NSA, and he gets whatever he wants from Congress, no matter what.

This essay explains: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/general-keith-alexander-cyberwar/all/

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #22)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 02:53 PM

24. Rachel did a segment on him last night.

 

And there's no reason to have any regrets over learning new stuff.

I have to say that I disagree about Iran. They have never been out from under our control, IMHO. I think they are just another petri dish for our own intelligence operations. Russia comes and Russia goes, but Iran, not so much.

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Response to reusrename (Reply #24)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 03:17 PM

25. Very interesting theory.

But, if that's true, how do you explain the fact that Iran launched a cyber-attack on Saudi Arabia's national oil company?

From the link I cited:

In August 2012 a devastating virus was unleashed on Saudi Aramco, the giant Saudi state-owned energy company. The malware infected 30,000 computers, erasing three-quarters of the company’s stored data, destroying everything from documents to email to spreadsheets and leaving in their place an image of a burning American flag, according to The New York Times. Just days later, another large cyberattack hit RasGas, the giant Qatari natural gas company. Then a series of denial-of-service attacks took America’s largest financial institutions offline. Experts blamed all of this activity on Iran, which had created its own cyber command in the wake of the US-led attacks.


If it wasn't Iran attacking us and our allies, who was it?



-Laelth

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 03:22 PM

26. I'm so glad you're not named 'MoneyMan.'

If the other side had even one with your gifts, we wouldn't have a chance.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #26)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 03:41 PM

28. Chief Waterman used to

make jokes about how insulting it was that no one ever tried to "buy" us. Then one day, at a meeting at a "lunch" meeting at a small place at the edge of Onondaga, just off I-81, a businessman brought a briefcase to try to bribe him with. Paul let the fool pay for everyone's meal. Ha!

Last summer, a gentleman from a large energy corporation did approach me, to inquire if I might be interested in working as their "environmental spokesperson." My answer didn't even rate him paying for my meal! I think Paul was probably looking down, saying, "At least wait until after he's paid the bill before answering!"

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 03:52 PM

29. A frightening post

Thanks Waterman

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Response to malaise (Reply #29)

Thu Jun 13, 2013, 07:57 PM

30. Thank you.

I think that it documents why everyone should question the "hows" and "whys" of any and every domestic spying program.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 10:32 AM

31. Great. What can we do?

I mean that literally. It's beyond me. Contacting Reps and Senators are ineffective.

Maybe we can get a Sanders commission out of this?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Jun 14, 2013, 11:08 AM

32. :) nt

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