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Thread: "Bush Era" Over

  1. #271
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    There are so many ways that Indians have been on the losing end of policies spearheaded by Norton.

    an excerpt from an article at Daily Kos:

    Colorado native Norton is of the James Watt school of pillage the environment (she entered the Reagan Administration to work for him) and her entire career has been to forward the interests of oil and gas, mining and forestry industries. And in the West, that means easy access to cheap federal land leases, hundreds of millions of acres of land rich with natural resources.

    A large chunk of those federal lands are Indian Trust Fund lands, taken into trust in the late 1800s via the Dawes Act, and leased out to industries, ranchers and farmers at cut-rate prices. The money was then to be managed by Interior and paid out to native landowners. Of course, that didn't happen - hence Cobell v. Norton.

    The courts have ordered a full accounting of the Trust. Problem is, many of the documents were destroyed, including a slew of them under Norton. So the plaintiffs decided a few years back that the only way to get a real accounting is to audit the industries' books. That's what makes everyone so nervous, as plaintiff experts, having done some sampling, estimate we're talking over $150 billion in underpayments and fraud, along with interest, of course. Yes, $150 BILLION. And the pressure would be huge for Congress to force a repayment by the guilty. If not, then it comes out of the taxpayers' pockets, as the courts have already ordered the accounts be properly audited and brought up to date. Hence, the concern of the oil/gas, mining, ranching, forestry and agriculture interests which use/abuse the land lease process.

    So Norton did what she could to subvert the case, but as the heat was turned up, and the Administration losing appeal after appeal, she started pushing for Congressional Republicans to take the case and force a settlement. A settlement for a fraction of the potential amount, but one which would prevent an audit of industry accounts. Who is the chief supporter of a Congressional settlement? None other than the puppet of the oil, gas and mining industry, Richard Pombo. Twice Pombo has written legislation ordering a settlement (both times with no settlement figures, of course), but Delay intervened. Not because he likes Indians, but because he figures that it's safer to stall than to provide even the smallest chance the industry books will be audited. (Delay and most oilmen Congressmen voted against the original Indian Trust Accountability Act back in 1994 - only 36 Reps did.) So from 2002 to 2005, Delay ordered, despite a court order, that no accounting of the trust fund occur (or at least there'd be no funding for it, which, of course, means it doesn't happen.)

    This is where Abramoff comes in. He was the slush fund operator. Indians thought they were paying Pombo and others on House Resources and Senate Indian Affairs, et al., for help with gaming issues, and Abramoff was in fact padding coffers necessary to protect the industry from auditing.

    Think this is all too far-fetched? Just last week, the NYTimes posted an article on three months' of research into federal land leases (including Indian trust lands) and found rampant fraud and underpayment. In addition, numerous whistleblowers were fired, including Norton and Griles trustee for the BIA, who refused to testify before Congress that the Trust was fine. Accountants and fund managers were fired for doing a good job and finding fraud.

    McCain and Pombo are once again pushing for a settlement, and in the increasingly hostile environment for Indians due to success in portraying Abramoff's tribal clients as villains, not victims, they'll most likely get it, at rock-bottom prices. And the industry books will remain safely closed.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/2/1/195344/1903

  2. #272
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    Nuclear Waste May Stay in Reactor Communities
    Treaty may prevent nuclear storage March 11, 2005 by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today

    LAS VEGAS - Attorney Treva Hearne, partner at Hager and Hearne in Reno and counsel to the Western Shoshone National Council, said it is time for the United States to honor its treaties with American Indians and halt its longstanding history of human rights abuses.

    The U.S. plans to entomb 77,000 tons of highly radioactive commercial, industrial and military waste at Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Although Congress and the Bush administration selected the site in 2002, a planned 2010 opening has been delayed by budget, legal and technical difficulties.

    A lawsuit filed March 4 by the Western Shoshone National Council in federal district court in Las Vegas seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to stop the plan, as the area has long been held as significant to the Western Shoshone Nation and included within the tribe's boundaries as described in Article 5 of the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley.

    The United States, U.S. Interior and U.S. Department of Energy are named as defendants, and two people are specifically named: Secretary of Interior Gayle Norton and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.

    Hearne, co-counsel filing the suit, said the treaty only allows for communities, mining, agriculture and the development of roads and a railroad. A nuclear waste dump would prevent all of this.

    ''That land would be lost,'' Hearne told Indian Country Today. ''It would be lost for 10,000 years. In other words - it would be lost forever. ''The Western Shoshone are speaking for all of the people of Nevada who do not want this land lost to humans forever.''

    Responding to the pattern of nuclear waste dumps on Indian lands, Hearne said, ''Unfortunately we have more human rights violations against Indian people in the United States than there are human rights violations against any people in any of the other countries we accuse of this.'' Hearne said toxic waste dumps on Indian lands reflect the U.S. government's lack of respect for the culture and rights of Indian people.

    Western Shoshone National Council Chairman Raymond Yowell said the fact that Indian nations are sovereign and not subject to the same U.S. environmental protection laws as the states has made Indian nations targets for deadly nuclear dumping. Indian nations have also been targeted because of their need to boost their economies, he said.

    Yowell warned against the proposal for the temporary nuclear waste dump on Goshute land in Utah. ''Our view is, once they get it there, they will never move it.''

    While Goshutes are split on the proposal, he pointed out that some Goshute accepted the U.S. government promise of dollars. ''They offered them money and bought their way in,'' Yowell said.

    ''High-level nuclear waste must not be stored in the breast of Mother Earth at Yucca Mountain,'' the Council said.

    A hearing will be scheduled by the court and could be held as early as the end of March, Western Shoshone said in a written statement.

    A federal Energy Department spokesman declined comment.


  3. #273
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Interior Secretary on Trial for Contempt

    Interior Secretary Gayle Norton went to court
    December 10 to face contempt charges. A class action
    lawsuit brought by a conglomeration of Indian tribes
    alleges mismanagement of $10 billion in tribal assets by
    the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian
    Affairs. Two years ago, after the Interior Department
    and BIA’s systems were found to be faulty, U.S. District
    Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the Interior Department to
    overhaul its accounting system and piece together how much
    the Indian beneficiaries were owed. Neither has been done. The
    system tracks $500 million a year in royalties from 54 million
    acres of Indian land held in trust since 1887. Along with sloppy
    accounting, in early December a hacker hired by a court
    investigator broke into the Department’s system and
    easily accessed funds. The action caused Lamberth to
    order the Internet systems of the Interior Department
    to be shut down to protect the Indian trust fund. The
    systems have since been ordered reopened.

  4. #274
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    I can continue to post these all night, but I have proven my point.
    I will say it again, that Norton is a walking, talking, menace; just one
    spook in an illegitimate administration that is the most corrupt in American history.

  5. #275
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy
    I can continue to post these all night, but I have proven my point.
    I will say it again, that Norton is a walking, talking, menace; just one
    spook in an illegitimate administration that is the most corrupt in American history.
    Good job, MG.


    It all comes down to this:

    GALE NORTON = CORRUPT

  6. #276
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    And from Norton's home state paper:

    Gale Norton resigns from Cabinet

    By Mike Soraghan
    Denver Post Staff Writer

    Denver Post
    March 19, 2006

    Washington - Gale Norton resigned today after serving more than five years as secretary of the Interior and overseeing a dramatic expansion of drilling, logging and development on the public lands of the West.

    But the former Colorado attorney general is to leave office at the end of the month without achieving her highest-profile political goal, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to drilling.

    “Now I feel it is time for me to leave this mountain you gave me to climb, catch my breath, then set my sights on new goals to achieve in the private sector,” Norton said in a two-page resignation letter to President Bush.

    "Gale Norton has been a strong advocate for the wise use and protection of our Nation's natural resources and a valuable member of my Administration," Bush said. "I appreciate Gale's dedicated service to our country, and I wish Gale and John all the best."

    Norton Resignation:Click here to see Norton's resignation letter.

    A source who requested anonymity said she is not leaving because of any problems, and is expected to cite water issues and her push for "cooperative conservation" among her accomplishments.

    "She wants to go home for a while," the source said.

    No successor has been named, but the confirmation hearings could give Democrats an opening to highlight their dissatisfaction with Bush on environmental issues. They could also use it as a way to highlight administration connections to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who lobbied the department on Indian casino issues.

    Norton, who was the first female Interior secretary, has served since the earliest days of the Bush administration. Her background working with polarizing former Interior Secretary James Watt for logging and mining interests made her one of Bush's most controversial cabinet nominees.

    A much more careful speaker, she proved less fiery than Watt, but achieved more in the way of opening up public lands for development. Under her watch, the department stripped protection from areas previously managed as wilderness, opened up forests to increased logging, sent snowmobiles back into Yellowstone and pressed federal land managers to speed up drilling for gas on public lands.

    While natural gas supplies increased, the environment suffered, according to environmentalists and government auditors. A report by the Government Accountability Office last year found that the focus on processing drilling permits for gas companies often left environmental monitoring undone.

    Norton, however, stressed that she was working toward "cooperative conservation," a way to achieve environmental results by partnering with landowners and developers rather than regulating them.

    Norton's tenure was also marked by repeated ethical controversies. Norton cleared her top deputy, former lobbyist J. Steven Griles, after her inspector general said his conduct showed that the department's ethics system was "a train wreck waiting to happen."

    Griles is now under investigation for allegations that he did the bidding of convicted Indian casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Norton is still supporting him.

    Abramoff also funneled more than $500,000 to one of Norton's former political aides, Italia Federici, to gain access to her department, which makes key decisions about which tribes can open casinos. Norton said she had no qualms about Federici's activities.

    Federici, president of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, quickly released a statement praising Norton.

    “The environmental benefits of her actions on behalf of Cooperative Conservation will be reaped for years to come,” Federici said in the statement.

    Norton also suffered bad publicity when the head of the National Park Service police was fired after talking to a reporter and congressional staff about budget shortfalls.

    Norton was also the first Bush cabinet official to be held in contempt, though the ruling regarding Indian trust issues was later overruled by an appeals court.

    The Indian trust case metastasized from an obscure bookkeeping mess to a drain on Norton's entire department. She once said the issue occupied her top staff more than any other issue.

    In the National Journal Political Insider's Poll last year, she was voted the second-most underrated Bush cabinet secretary by Republican operatives who credited her with pursuing Bush's pro-development agenda with a minimum of bad publicity.

    All contents Copyright 2006 The Denver Post

  7. #277
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    And they all start shoveling (but it's so deep, they'll never get it off) ...

    Dobson site denies lobbying Norton for Abramoff

    RAW STORY
    March 10, 2006

    http://rawstory.com/news/2006/Dobson..._for_0310.html

    In a message posted on his Focus on the Family website, Dr. James Dobson's group has denied lobbying outgoing Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton on behalf of fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    "There is no connection," Dobson's site says flatly.

    However, in already public e-mails and letters sent in early 2002 between former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed and Abramoff, Reed insists that he has secured Dobson's support for Abramoff's gaming interest clients in Louisiana, in opposition of allowing competing tribes to expand the state's access to legal gambling.



    Just three days after Reed's guarantee, Dobson did indeed write a letter to Norton, urging her to intervene in blocking rival casinos. (Read the letter here.) Schlafly also penned a letter.

    The Dobson-helmed Focus on the Family website explains, "Those e-mails are examples of Mr. Abramoff bragging about events that did not happen."

    However, even a cursory examination of the documents reveals that it was not Mr. Abramoff, but in fact Dobson ally Ralph Reed, who claimed to have secured Dobson's involvement.

    Focus goes on to address the contents of the e-mails, often attempting to deflect criticism away from Dobson and Reed, and on to Abramoff. In a point- by- point Q & A style list, Focus attempts to distance Dobson and Reed from Abramoff's lobby.

    "[The e-mails claim that] Dr. Dobson would record and air radio commercial advertisements against the Jena Choctaw casino opposed by one of Abramoff's Louisiana clients," the argument begins.

    In the e-mails, Abramoff and his associates discuss the budget for the "state" advertisements, which they hope to feature Dobson. At no point do they indicate that Dobson has agreed to appear. Reed is reported to have requested $150,000 for the deal, which Abramoff and his associates considered countering with a $60,000 offer.



    Reed continued to pressure for funds for the spots, while Abramoff discussed with associate Michael Scanlon offering some "chump change" or "a token" to make it happen.



    Focus on the Family concedes that VP of Public Policy Tom Minnery and host Bob Ditmer did publicly oppose the rival tribe's casino plans on a "special edition" radio broadcast aired only in the state, explaining that, "These discussions were not radio commercials." Rather, they were "'state-only' radio content geared to important issues."

    Focus goes on to identify another purported falsehood in the e-mails: Claims that, "Dr. Dobson would go on the air to 'hit Haley' Barbour, who at the time was a D.C. lobbyist who'd been hired by the Jena Choctaws, the Indian tribe whose casino project was opposed by Abramoff's clients." The group counters that, "No one from Focus mentioned Barbour on the air, let alone urged listeners to 'hit' him with phone calls or e-mails."

    Reed and Abramoff seem to be discussing an appearance by Abramoff on talk radio, most likely his own show, which has discussed the topic of legalized gambling over 200 times. However, at no point in the e-mails do Reed, Abramoff, or any of Abramoff's associates claim that Dobson plans to attack former RNC chair Barbour on the air, encouraging listeners to call the lobbyist.

    In fact, they appear to grow anxious that Dobson will not appear.



    Rather, Reed seems to indicate that Dobson's "history" with Barbour will likely impassion his opposition. Strangely, Focus goes on to verify this claim, explaining that, "Many years before, Dr. Dobson opposed Barbour's role in allowing the Republican Party to take gambling money."



    The final claim addressed by Focus, Reed's guarantee that "Dr. Dobson would privately urge Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton to oppose the Jena Choctaw casino," it concedes to be true. Dobson, along with Focus Senior VP Tom Minnery, did indeed write Norton directly to express their opposition.

    They claim this was not due to Reed's urging.

    The Q & A closes with an attempt to portray Reed, now a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, as a victim of Abramoff: "It appears Mr. Abramoff attempted to use Mr. Reed's respect among social conservatives to further the goals of his casino clients." It denies that Dobson had any knowledge of Reed's ties to the lobbyist.
    "We have only one record of a call from Mr. Reed during this time, but it was made after we had already received multiple requests to write letters to Gale Norton from our longtime Louisiana allies. It is not clear whether Reed was calling Dr. Dobson to thank him for writing to Norton, or to ask him to do so."
    In the e-mails, Reed reports to have placed his call to Dobson on February 19, 2002. Dobson penned his letter to Norton three days later, on February 22. This timeline is inconsistent with the possible explanation that Reed had placed the call to thank Dobson for the letter.

  8. #278
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Norton's replacement (for now) ...

    http://www.thestate.com/mld/mercuryn...urynews_nation
    ... Until Bush appoints a successor, Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett will take the helm of the Interior Department. A Santa Barbara resident, Scarlett is former president of the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles think tank with libertarian leanings. She has worked to promote free-market solutions to environmental problems.

    In a 1997 editorial in Reason Magazine, Scarlett wrote, "Environmentalism is a coherent ideology that rivals Marxism in its challenge to the classic liberal view of government as protector of individual rights.''
    Reason Foundation website: http://www.reason.org/

    The lowdown from sourcewatch.org: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php...son_Foundation

    Funding

    Between 1985 and 2001, the Foundation received $5,214,712 in 106 separate grants from only eleven foundations.[2] (http://www.mediatransparency.org/rec...ecipientID=286)

    * Scaife Foundations donations:
    **: ~ $1,400,000 (1985 - 2005)
    ***: ~ $350,000 (1985 - 2005): http://www.mediatransparency.org/rec...ecipientID=286


    Selected Corporate Supporters (2000)
    • 3M
    • American Forest & Paper Association
    • American Petroleum Institute
    • Bank of America
    • Bayer Corporation
    • California Association of Realtors
    • California Water Service Company
    • Ken and Colleen Butler, Capital Partnerships
    • Chevron Corporation
    • Coca-Cola Co.
    • Consulting Engineers & Land Surveyors of California
    • Council of New York State, Inc.
    • Continental Airlines
    • Corrections Corporation of America
    • DaimlerChrysler Corp.
    • Dart Container Corporation
    • Delta Air Lines
    • Dow Chemical USA
    • Eastman Chemical Company
    • Eberle & Associates, Inc.
    • Edison Electric Institute
    • ENRON
    • ExxonMobil Corporation
    • Ford Motor Company
    • Freedom Communications
    • General Motors Corporation
    • LCOR Incorporated
    • Lehman Brothers, Inc.
    • Eli Lilly and Co.
    • Microsoft Corporation
    • National Air Transportation Association
    • National Beer Wholesalers Association
    • Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliott
    • Pfizer, Inc
    • Philip Morris Companies
    • PricewaterhouseCoopers
    • Privatized Emergency Services Association
    • Procter & Gamble
    • Shell Oil Co.
    • Southern California Water
    • Techcentralstation.com
    • Union Carbide Corporation
    • Virco
    • Wackenhut Corrections Co.
    • Watson Land Company
    • Western States Petroleum Association

  9. #279
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    Another enemy of the environment heading the department. When Bush makes an appointment, clutch your purse, hold your kids close, and say goodbye to reason. If there's anything left of this country after they're gone
    it will be a miracle.
    It appears that Scarlett is another Dominionist devil. These people get up early every morning to file down their horns.

  10. #280
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy
    It appears that Scarlett is another Dominionist devil. These people get up early every morning to file down their horns.
    I think I can still see the horns ...



    http://www.abetterearth.org/article.php/647.html

  11. #281
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    How is it that these groups are all funded by the same small circle of people????

    Lynn Scarlet is listed as a member of the "Seminar Faculty" for a gorup called "The Institute for Humane Studies" : http://www.theihs.org/article.php/647.html

    Funding for IHS comes mainly from the Scaife, Koch, Bradley and Olin Foundations (same gang that funds Gale Norton's "Reason Foundation", see above): http://www.mediatransparency.org/rec...grants.php?169

  12. #282
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I'm torn about posting this because in some ways it seems to trivialize where Bush has brought us ...

    But what the Hell!!



    http://www.blogslut.com/

  13. #283

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    Talking Point


    The Bushies play fast and loose at home and abroad
    By Ed Gold

    In addition to its chaotic governance, the Bush era will be remembered for distorting history, as well as its bizarre semantics.

    On the history front, there is Bushs lecture to the Senegalese on slavery: The slaves who left here to go to America because of their steadfast and their religion and their belief in freedom, helped change America.

    O.K., so he was only a C student. But along comes Rumsfeld just recently to suggest that U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be comparable to abandoning Europe to the Nazis in World War II. Equating the Iraqi insurgency with the Nazi conquest of Europe and the slaughter of millions has made a number of noted historians wince.

    The religious right, a core Bush group, has been conspicuous in tampering with history, denigrating Darwin and attempting to insert biblical teachings into biology curriculum.

    The tragic story of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo brought out the worst in the religious right as Congress, led by Tom DeLay and Bill Frist, tried to reverse the historical role of our independent court system, and Bush got off his horse in Texas to rush back to the White House to deal with this manufactured national crisis.

    The courts had for years taken testimony from doctors who had thoroughly examined Schiavo and had found her condition irreversible. But Dr. Frist, to his shame, looked at a video clip and came up with a medical opinion that Schiavo showed promise, probably the first time in history that a licensed doctor made a diagnosis from a TV clip.

    Religion has apparently also moved conservatives from their historic position that budgets should be balanced. We are now carrying a national debt of $9 trillion and columnist/author Kevin Phillips contends that the core Bush vote no longer cares about economic policy but is just preparing for the Second Coming.

    As for maligning the English language, Bush, when unscripted, cant help himself. Five years ago at a conference in Canada he said he didnt want to be interviewed in English, French or Mexican. He has also maintained that we should maintain good relations with the Grecians. And it was a slip of the tongue, no doubt, at Bob Jones University when he declared, I dont have to accept their tenants.

    Those faux pas did no serious damage, but the Bushies have mangled words that have caused much harm and confusion. For example, Bush doctrine still speaks of Iraqi liberation, while the Iraqis and the rest of the world see it as occupation. Webster tells us that liberation is to free a country from domination by a foreign power. No wonder there were no flowers.

    Those of us who opposed the Iraq adventure pay a heavy price in Bushland. We are constantly told we are demoralizing our troops and aiding the terrorists.

    If the troops are demoralized its because they are bogged down in a near-civil war with no end in sight after we had all been told in May 2003 by the president: In the battle of Iraq the United States and our allies have prevailed. Yeah.

    As for aiding terrorists, nothing has strengthened Al Qaeda more than the preemptive strike by the worlds only superpower, which chose invasion of a Muslim nation that was no threat to our national security and had nothing to do with 9/11.

    Now the master of deception, Karl Rove, has introduced a new pejorative word, isolationism, to characterize all those against the war.

    Webster tells us that isolationism is a policy of national isolation by abstention from alliances and other international, political and economic relations.

    Today we have troops and trading partners all over the planet. Isolationism went out of business with World War II. Incapable of avoiding distortions, Cheney tells us that the destruction of a sacred Shiite shrine in Iraq proves the desperation of the insurgency, which, as he keeps telling us, gets weaker by the moment.

    Domestically, the Bush people play the same tune. They call the estate tax, which mostly hits the very rich, a death penalty. The E.P.A., whose mission is to protect the environment, loosens requirements for polluters and it takes a court of appeals to tell the Bush-run agency that they could only get away with their actions in a Humpty Dumpty world.

    Jon Stewart comes to Bushs defense on Katrina, in his own style. The president insisted that no one could have foreseen the hurricane destroying the levees that protected New Orleans. But on TV Bush is shown listening to weather experts telling him and aides that the levees were vulnerable.

    Bush has a good excuse, Stewart says. He just wasnt paying attention.

    As language and history continue to get mangled, people are beginning to catch on. A blue-collar worker is seen commenting on CNN: Thats the last time I vote for a guy just because I think Id enjoy having a beer with him.

    http://www.thevillager.com/villager_...kingpoint.html

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    Brrrr. Has anyone else besides me been re-reading Nineteen Eighty-Four?

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    I never read it. More relevant than ever?

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