The Blame Train

The blame train continues its journey. First the democrats blamed racist angry whites for Clinton’s loss. But it turns out white’s preference for the R over the D candidate was statistically no different in this election than in those of recent memory. Indeed Clinton lost ground among blacks and Hispanics against the putatively “racist” Trump. Next came the “fake news” canard which suggested that overtly absurd “news” stories with limited ideological appeal somehow swayed the decision making process of those completely unplugged from the inside baseball of politics. Now the latest attempt at diverting blame for Hillary’s historic loss is the narrative that Russia tried to influence the outcome of the election by “helping” Trump by exposing to the public the sordid underbelly of the DNC and their candidate. The source of this narrative? None other than the CIA. You know, the folks that brought us “trust us, there really are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” The agency with a decades long history of interfering in the internal affairs of other nations (see Iran coup of 1953), whose sole purpose is to manipulate foreign nationals into doing their bidding so as to gain a political outcome favorable to US interests, they are now the ones crying foul that the US was the victim of the exact same shenanigan they routinely engage in. Well sort of. The Washington Post article citing this revelation only refers to anonymous sources indirectly briefed by the agency. Yep, sounds ironclad to me.

What evidence that has been released is laughable at best. It is the real world equivalent of citing as proof of an Indian attack the fact that the attackers wore headdress and threw tomahawks. Because no one ever has ever thought to cast a false appearance in order to shift blame. In other words, if Russia actually did decide to engage in such a hack they would not be stupid enough to actually use tools with a clear Russian fingerprint. That alone basically tells you it was NOT Russia.

Then again it doesn’t really matter if Russia was involved. They aren’t being accused of actually physically hacking vote tallies. They are being accused of playing a role in the release of truthful information. It is indeed a crazy world where the former heart of the Soviet empire is the vanguard of truth while the American government seeks to bury it. Notice none of those on the left deny the information that was released. They can’t, because it’s all true. The best they can hope for is some sort of Cold War era McCarthy-esque ties-to-Russia smear campaign against Trump in order to undermine or delegitimize his presidency. But it won’t work because at the end of the day the people only care about the information, not how it was obtained. To wit, even with all of the recent revelations of Russian “hacking” a Pew Research poll shows 99% of Trump voters and 97% of Clinton voters would cast the exact same vote today as they did on November 8.

December 30 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
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Is this fake news?

The Democratic Party is a peddler of envy. It’s not fair your neighbor has more than you. Elect us and we’ll right this injustice by taking from them and giving to you. But don’t feel bad about it; it’s not your fault you couldn’t achieve on your own. Forces beyond your control (racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, bigotry, white privilege, male privilege, etc.) are conspiring to keep you down. You are the victim so there is no need to reflect on the results of your choices.

So it should come as no surprise that the party itself is practicing this mantra in their own affairs. Hillary Clinton’s loss is not her fault. No, it’s (now) the fault of “fake news,” the Russians, or misogynistic women. Apparently “fake news” is the latest epidemic to sweep the nation, although oddly enough it was on no one’s radar until after the election. Funny that. This grand great epidemic that didn’t warrant so much as a peep out of anyone on the left until AFTER Hillary lost. Interesting. Hillary Clinton spoke last week on the subject of “fake news” calling it an “epidemic” with “real world consequences.” She called for “bipartisan legislation” that would allow Congress to respond to such “propaganda.” Whoa-whoa there! So Trump was a monster when he spoke of “looking into” libel laws after getting upset about his coverage in the news media but Clinton calls for tossing out the 1st amendment (Congress “responding to” such speech would be just that) and no one in the media bats an eye?

Let’s define a few terms here first. True fake news is supposed to be satirically fake. It is commonly found on sites like The Onion, where tongue in cheek satire makes the comedic intent clear. Then there are soft-fake sites that try to (poorly) emulate the Onion but do so with click-baity semi-legitimate sounding headlines; but, once the story is read it becomes clear it is not real – but too late – you clicked on the link and their ad revenue just went up! What people are upset about is pseudo-fake news, that is, they are Onion-like stories that purport to be real. Lastly there are a number of sites that have been labeled as “fake news” because someone disagrees with their opinion based content. If people like Clinton got her way we would have a Department of Truth that would be tasked with reviewing all internet content and empowered to ‘take down’ any content that did not conform to officially sanctioned opinion. Want to run a blog? Just apply for your speech license comrade. You laugh – but it’s coming.

In the end a two second analysis would reveal that actual fake stories did not influence the election one bit. Social media has become an echo chamber on both sides. The only people dumb enough to think “cbsnewslo.com.co” is a real news site are those already living in the social media echo chamber. Opinions are not changed by such sites, only reinforced.

December 23 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
Comments 2 Comments

The Carrier Deal

Donald Trump is an enigma. On the one hand he is not even President yet and he’s already using his legendary (according to him) negotiating skills to make good on his promise of keeping jobs in America. On the other hand this feat was accomplished through a combination of crony-capitalist carrots and sticks whose effectiveness was largely a consequence of Carrier’s parent company (United Technologies) being a cog in the military-industrial fascist apparatus. Dependency fosters control and United Technologies is highly dependent on the federal government for much of its business, therefore this was somewhat of a low-hanging fruit “win” for Trump.

The reaction to this deal has predictably fallen along party lines although there is a bit of cognitive dissonance on both sides as they try to come to terms with balancing fairness with pragmatism. People appreciate that Trump saved those jobs but are troubled by how he did it. Is it fair to bestow tax “giveaways” on one company but not others? Is it fair to reward only those that threaten to leave? Is it fair to invoke a punitive 35% tariff on goods imported from US overseas firms? The answer depends on the framework in which the question is asked. Within the framework of natural rights and individual liberty none of these are legitimate. The actions of any entity that initiates violence (taxation, tariffs) to achieve its ends are illegitimate. But we don’t live in that world. We live in a world literally run by the very warlords we are told would arise absent the state. Every state (i.e. country) is a plantation; some are far worse than others, but a gilded cage is still a cage. So given our condition of servitude to the state is it fair if the master decides to treat one slave more favorably than the others? Should we tell the master “You have no right to lift our brother out of the mud, please, cast him back down here with us!” Thus we have both sides of the political spectrum opposing this but for opposite reasons. The left opposes it because they enjoy being in the mud and believe this is the only way we can all be equal, therefore it is “wrong” for anyone to get out of the mud. The right opposes it for purity reasons. They believe ALL should escape the mud but that it is an either-or proposition; either all escape or none escape. Libertarians will argue for the moral solution but (grudgingly) accept the pragmatic one as a stepping-stone. Better for some to escape than none. Since wholesale emancipation seems to be off the table, then let’s create so many loopholes and deals that all can escape.

So do I wish I could get the kind of tax incentives Carrier got? Sure. It is absolutely unfair that they get them and other businesses like mine do not. However I’ll still applaud their small victory if it means it moves the needle even a bit toward the direction of universal tax relief.

December 15 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
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Calexit

The vote counting continues. Thus far Clinton has accrued approximately 2.5 million more popular votes than Trump. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues – “how can this be? Democracy!?” The democracy game depends in large part on how one slices the pie. Democracy is fundamentally arbitrary insofar as the rules for inclusion are based on imaginary invisible lines in the dirt. Just take a look at a map of gerrymandered congressional districts; those distended and warped puzzle pieces forensically betray the party of their author. We could easily redraw state boundaries that would give Clinton a win; likewise we could draw new state boundaries that would give Trump an even larger electoral college win. But let’s play this game: if we look solely at popular vote within two distinct geographical areas we find a stark contrast. The first region is California and the second region is every other state except California. In California, Clinton handily won by 4 million votes. But in the other not-California region Trump won by 1.5 million. If direct democracy popular voting is going to be the new gold standard, then would it not be a crime to force the entirety of not-California to suffer under a Clinton presidency merely because one state, California, wished it to be so? Indeed, remove just one more state from that mix, New York, and the differential climbs to a 3 million more for Trump in the new country known as not-California-or-New-York.

Oh but you argue that’s disingenuous, we are “one country.” But are we? Borders are arbitrary, there is no physical law of nature that dictates biological entities living at these coordinates on a sphere must be irreversibly bound into a political union. Unions exist only so long as the parties wish it. Indeed, union dissolution is the last vestige of the people’s right to counter federal overreach. Yes, we’re talking about the “s” word: secession, an end to that “indivisible” union. Before November 7, 2016 such talk was ridiculed by the left (in straw man like fashion) to be the bailiwick of racists. However, now that the left no longer holds the reins of power they have suddenly discovered the merits of federalism, states rights, and even (gasp) secession. There is currently a movement for “Calexit”, that is the idea that California should leave the union and becomes it’s own country. A Calexit success would finally sever that peculiar linkage of secession to slavery in the American psyche. Normalization of secession would release a long neglected cudgel against expanding federal power.

The mere fact that secession is on the table as an option is further proof of the failure of the constitution (or rather the failure of men to be bound by it). The principals of federalism embodied in that document gave most power to the states with only a narrow set of enumerated powers granted to the federal government. Were that still the case no one would even care who the president was.

December 07 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
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Whitewash

So Fidel Castro is dead – well it’s about time. His “revolution” plunged the island nation of Cuba into a 50-year nightmare. Cuban citizens were stripped of all rights (speech, assembly, movement, property, etc.) and reborn as slaves on Fidel’s Cuban plantation. His lapdog, brother Raúl, was his remorseless enforcer (so do not expect much to change until Raúl is dead as well.) To those with the audacity to oppose either, cold-blooded murder was the response. To those that attempted escape, death on the high seas was the prevailing fate. To those that remained, a life of poverty and servitude to the state was the best one could hope for. Castro’s crimes against humanity are on par with those of Pol Pot, Pinochet, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and every other petty dictator who believes the path to unanimity and consent is to kill all those that disagree.

But while those dictators are (mostly) vilified by the popular media, for some grotesque reason Castro is nearly universally held in high regard by today’s ruling class and ivory tower academics. Then again perhaps it should be unsurprising; they are all cut from the same statist cloth. They differ only in degree, not kind. Would that they could get away with Castro’s methods they’d do so in a heartbeat. Those darn pesky constitutions keep getting in their way. But the people aren’t stupid. We the common folk know what kind of monster Castro was.

If you are still struggling to understand why Trump won, look no further than the difference between his response to Castro’s death and Obama’s. Obama wrote the following: “At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Talk about whitewashed apologia for a dictator! Obama turns ambiguity into an art form. Assuming you knew nothing about Castro would the reader take away from this that he was a murderous dictator that executed thousands of his own people (yes I suppose murdering someone would alter the course of their life)? Or that he put homosexuals in slave labor camps to “cure” them? Or that he forbade his citizens to leave the country, turning into a Caribbean Alcatraz? This insipid portrayal insults the memory of those that gave their lives opposing him as much as portraying Hitler as an “important figure in unifying Europe and whose aspirations eventually propelled the founding of the state of Israel” would insult the memory of those that died in his concentration camps.

Now, here’s what Donald Trump said: “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”

Any questions?

November 29 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
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#NoPresidentNeeded

Donald Trump may turn out to be the best thing ever for this country. In less than a week after the election he has managed to rouse the question-authority left from their deep slumber. Apparently Obama’s actual abuses of presidential power (secret kill lists) and continued prosecution of the morally bankrupt war on drugs and futilely destructive war on terror were A-Okay, but straw-men based fears of what Trump could do (even though having never uttered a word on such subjects e.g. gay marriage) is more than sufficient to goad them into action once again. Sorry if I have no sympathy for their outrage if droning children in foreign lands strikes no passion in their heart but a 0.0001% risk of not getting to use the bathroom of their choice does. As they say, first world problems.

Trump’s big-league greatness will come from his capacity to get growing numbers of people to see the presidency and by extension much of government for what it is: a joke. People bizarrely hold the office of the presidency (and by extension all of government) on a pedestal. Wise, somber, erudite, self-sacrificing statesmen lead the country forward upon their trusty stead. Like nationalized parents they comfort the country with their solemn words in times of tribulation. Oh, all bow down before our wise leaders. All nonsense. Adults need neither leaders nor caretakers. This religious-like fervor infects so many minds when thinking of the Presidency. Trump has shattered this illusion. “Trump, why he’s a joke, he’s not a real leader! We want the officially sanctioned model, not some cheap knock off!” Sorry folks, but you got McDowell’s, not McDonalds. Ultimately this will be beneficial when it instigates a national introspection that leads all to realize McDonald’s is no different than McDowell’s.

Once this insight is achieved there will be a real possibility for expansion of freedom and liberty in this country that follows in the wake of greater rejection of state power. Thankfully it seems to be starting. All those #notmypresident types are finally getting it! No one should ever be #mypresident. The fact that some people are finally coming to realize that if Trump is not their president, and so by extension no one is their president, they have no need for a President.

To be clear, Trump is no more or less qualified to be in office than any one else. They are ALL just regular folks like you and me. No one possesses magical qualities that make them qualified to run the lives of 300 million people. All they do is decide who gets to be left alone and who gets to suffer state interference. Apparently “good” presidents interfere in the most lives (FDR), while “bad” ones do little (Coolidge). It remains to be seen where Trump will fall on that spectrum, but any increase in the number that regard the Presidency as irrelevant will be a step in the right direction.

November 22 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
Comments 1 Comment

Phantom Menace

I voted for Johnson. Trump was not my guy, but… moving past the initial shock of his win, I am both cautiously optimistic and filled with schadenfreude. The schadenfreude is directed at Hillary supporters. Donald Trump is the perfect vessel for wiping that conceited smugness from their soul. As the saying goes, if you live by the sword, don’t act all shocked when someone uses the sword to vanquish you. That sword is democracy and she is indeed a fickle mistress. If you abuse her power she will flee you and indeed that is exactly what happened to the left. For 8 long years they crammed tax increases, Obamacare, pro-Union rules, and a tidal wave of new regulations down our throats. They thought it would improve our lives. I’m sure they meant well. But they were wrong (economic ignorance will do that n.b. Bernie supporters).

People ultimately vote their pocket book, which is why it was not a wave of “white racism” that elected Trump (indeed he carried less of the white vote than Romney and the same as Bush) but rather economic self-interest. Yes, Trump is a boorish loudmouth, but people don’t care as long as they think he’s the most likely to improve their lot. Do you poll your plumber about his relationships with women or do you just want him to fix your toilet? I’m not hiring Donald Trump to teach manners or to babysit my kids. People voted for Trump not because of the things he said, but in spite of them. That takes real courage.

But you wouldn’t know it to witness the outpouring of apocalyptic hyperbole from the left on social media and the airwaves. The hypocrisy is astounding. Not two weeks ago after the third debate the liberal media was all a twitter about Trump’s unprecedented remarks about reserving his acceptance of the results until after the election and what this would mean for our democracy. Gasp! The liberal media predicted possible violence and turmoil from trigger-happy right wing nut-jobs. Well guess what? The left lost and then behaved exactly as they had predicted the right would! Indeed, it is their behavior that is unprecedented. Never before have elections results in the US been openly and violently contested. Then right on cue (see we were right!) the prophecies came true. Stories started coming in of pro-Trump violence against minorities. But this boy has cried wolf one too many times. The left has a track record of such false flags. Thanks to Wikileaks we learned the Clinton campaign paid people to incite violence at Trump rallies. Likewise we soon found that most if not all of these stories were either fabricated from whole cloth or were grossly misrepresented. https://goo.gl/Q269bv

But so far these protests aren’t about anything Trump has done, merely their fear of what he might do. He is today but a phantom menace. I suppose that fear is understandable given the mantle of unchallenged executive authority he is inheriting from Obama. Perhaps if the left had not been so indifferent to the pleas of libertarians and constitutional conservatives about executive abuses of power they would have less to fear now. But, I guess when it’s your guy doing stuff you approve of it’s no big deal. I don’t know what you’re afraid of though, it’s not like Trump is going to round up all the Muslims or Mexicans and put them in internment camps. Only a Democrat (FDR) would do something like that.

November 15 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
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Trust, but Verify

By the time you read this the election will have been decided. No matter who won, the Earth will continue to rotate on its axis and life will go on without nary a concern over the grand egoists in Washington (or Atlanta) who would presume to be our guardians. And that is as it should be. Children require guardians; adults do not.

But, if you are desirous of returning to the womb and feeling comforted in the knowledge that selfless and wise public servants will protect you from all harms, then by all means you have the right, nay, the obligation to demand they prove beyond a reasonable doubt their wisdom and selflessness. In the past all we had as evidence of their competency was their word, or the word of a B-list celebrity on their behalf. If the race was important enough, there might actually be some investigative journalism (back when journalists actually took pride in their work and fully vetted their facts and sources). Whoever was most capable at marketing themselves – apropos in a market driven economy – would ultimately be the winner.

But this election cycle has seen a sea change in terms of trust. As old Russian proverb say, “trust, but verify.” Surely Trump’s puppet master Putin has taught him that one. The Internet has conferred power to the powerless. It has democratized information distribution as the citizen journalist plies his wares in the form of blogs, YouTube videos, and social media memes; a million different opinions and viewpoints all vying to be heard. Some good, some bad, but the for the first time in history everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard (even if fewer today listen as each wrestles for control of the podium). It is the anonymizing power of the Internet that made such platforms as Wikileaks and Anonymous possible. Were they printed media sources they would have been instantly squashed by those in power seeking to silence the Truth they disburse.

History shows that wherever technology ignites the flames that will clear the old ways for the new, there is resistance; the obsolete rarely goes gently into that good night. From the likely apocryphal tale of Dutch workers whose jobs were threatened by industrialization throwing their “sabot” into machinery to undermine its efficiency, to today’s taxi unions pushing to outlaw or undermine crowd-sourced systems such as Uber or Lyft we see the similar desperate grabs at retaining power in journalism. CNN’s Chris Cuomo (wrongly) asserted that only they, the anointed acolytes in The Media could read and interpret the contents of WikiLeaks email dumps. I believe Martin Luther took similar issue with the Pope over proper authority to interpret the Written Word. The Protestant Reformation ensued.

If we are to be ruled like children, then we the People have the right to learn all we can about those who would presume to rule us, by any and all means necessary. Those who would attack the truth because they find its means of delivery distasteful are undeserving of our trust or obedience.

November 09 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
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Party of Choice?

There was a moment in the recent third presidential debate where Hillary Clinton sounded downright libertarian in her rhetoric. She said: “I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that [people] make … And I will stand up for that right.” The original quote referenced “women” rather than “people” but I think it’s safe to assume Hillary would consider women to be people. The “decision” under discussion here is abortion. Oddly this seems to be the only individual right the left is willing to defend against government intrusion. Indeed, the refrain of “my body, my choice” is reserved exclusively to abortion but not to say prostitution or recreational drugs. Why is that? Because Democrats (like Republicans) are crass opportunists who will do or say anything to get elected. Recall how Hillary was against gay marriage when it was unpopular but is now for it since public opinion has shifted. Prostitution and illicit drugs don’t garner votes but abortion does. What an odd world we live in where paying for sex is frowned upon, but paying to undo the results of sex is not.

The Democrats claim they are the party of “choice,” unless it’s an activity where they think you’ll make the “wrong” choice. Can I choose where I send my children to school? No. Can I choose to not join a union? No. Can an employer and employee choose a mutually agreeable wage? No. Can I choose to not participate in an inter-generational Ponzi scheme (Social Security)? No. Can I choose to put into my body whatever I want? No. Can I buy (or sell) any good or service? No. Can I choose to start a business without first asking, “mother may I” of the state? No. Can I keep my health plan if I like my plan? I think you get the idea. Now it is true that Republicans are also backers of many of these same prohibitions, but, Republicans have never held themselves up as the “party of choice.” It is for this core hypocrisy I skewer Democrats today. Being for “choice” means supporting it in ALL arenas, not just the politically expedient ones.

Briefly, to return to the topic that started this column, it should be pointed out third trimester abortions could be eliminated without making them illegal. Medical technology is now at the point where just about any child delivered between 7-9 months can survive outside the womb. Groups fighting abortion should shift their resources from sticks (more laws) to carrots. Use those resources to pay the full medical costs of any child that would otherwise have been aborted in the third trimester in exchange for a transfer of guardianship rights from the mother. Perhaps such an arrangement is “illegal” today. I do not know. But if so, hopefully the Party of Choice will lead the way in restoring the right for people to make such mutually beneficial arrangements, turning former foes (abortion opponents) into allies in the process.

November 01 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
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Just vote “NO”

Georgia residents will see four ballot initiatives in the upcoming November 8 election. When in doubt you should almost always vote “NO” on any constitution changing ballot initiative. The overwhelming tendency is for government power to expand as personal freedom declines – and ballot initiatives generally reflect this reality. I invite the reader to review the exact wording of the initiatives as well as a more comprehensive overview of the true motivations behind them here. In brief though they follow a formulaic pattern that goes something like this: “Shall bad or disreputable thing, children, children, be fixed by implementing innocuous sounding program?” The new program is invariably a Trojan horse designed to expand the state’s purview of unaccountable authority.

Ballot Question 1 proposes to “fix” “failing” schools by allowing the state to take them over. Sounds good, right? Who could be for failing schools? What is omitted is that the entity proposing to take them over would also sets the standard of what constitutes “failing.” All it takes is a legislative tweak to the standard and suddenly all schools in the state are “failing” and require a takeover. Also omitted is that the state turns control over to private companies in a classic cronyist-fascist-public-private “partnership” model. While there is nothing wrong with private entities running schools, they should do so on their own without help from the government to gain clientele.

Ballot Question 2 is even sneakier. It tries to capitalize on widespread distaste for the sex-industry (prostitution, strip clubs, etc.) to sneak in a new layer of government. It proposes new fines and penalties (there are already fines that are quite high) for illegal activity but then slyly adds a new tax on a legal business type (strip clubs) for the express purpose of establishing yet another program to help supposed “victims” of these consensual activities. Even if you find the sex-industry distasteful, please realize they are using that distaste as a pretext to sneak in constitutional permission to impose a tax on ANY type of business to fund ANY new program (strip clubs are merely the “random” example chosen). That’s picking winners and losers. Legislators don’t like Uber? Ok, new “fee” assessed on it to fund a program to retrain cabbies that lost their job or perhaps subsidize cab companies to “help” them compete with Uber et al. That’s what this is about. It’s not about the sex trade. They just know most people will unthinkingly vote for anything that sounds like it might punish that industry.

Ballot Question 3 just gets even worse. What they don’t tell you speaks mountains. Restating without the omissions, “Shall the independent and not accountable to any branch of government Judicial Qualifications Committee (that is, can’t be influenced by those in government) be abolished and a new one be created that is populated with political appointees who owe allegiance to the very entity they are supposedly overseeing (that is, the government)” Yeah, the foxes are tired of the dog guarding the henhouse – they want a fox to guard the henhouse.

Ballot Question 4 sounds the most reasonable and straightforward; no flowery language here. The deception relies on the fact that most people have no idea how the General Assembly funds programs in Georgia. So they are duped into voting for a less efficient system than the one we already have. And as usual that deception is based on tapping into fear; fear that fireworks are harming untold thousands. So we must DO something! The thing is we already fund the programs they cite. Earmarking funds this way sounds good but in reality is less effective because there is no direct correlation between fireworks sales and public safety services. Creating a special fund means those services could be either over or under funded depending on the vagaries of such sales or the random distribution of injuries

So, to sum up, vote “NO” on all four proposals. Each is nothing more than a deceptive attempt to expand the power and influence of individuals within the state government at the expense of all the citizens.

October 28 / 2016
Author Greg Morin
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