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Cheney in Winter

Posted on Dec 30, 2009
Dick Cheney
U.S. Navy / MC1 Denny C. Cantrell

By Eugene Robinson

It’s pathetic to break a New Year’s resolution before we even get to New Year’s Day, but here I go. I had promised myself that I would do a better job of ignoring Dick Cheney’s corrosive and nonsensical outbursts—that I would treat them, more or less, like the pearls of wisdom one hears from homeless people sitting in bus shelters.

But he is a former vice president, which gives him a big stage for his histrionic Rottweiler-in-Winter act. It is never a good idea to let widely disseminated lies and distortions go unchallenged. And the shrill screed that Cheney unloosed Wednesday is so full of outright mendacity that, well, my resolution will have to wait.

In a statement he gave to Politico, Cheney seemed to be trying to provide talking points for opponents of the Obama administration who—incredibly—would exploit the Christmas Day terrorist attack for political gain. Cheney’s broadside opens with a big lie, which he then repeats throughout. It is as if he believes that saying something over and over again, in a loud enough voice, magically makes it so.

“As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war,” Cheney begins.

Flat-out untrue.


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The fact is that Obama has said many times that we are at war against terrorists. He said it as a candidate. He said it in his inaugural address: “Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” He has said it since.

As Cheney well knows, unless he has lost even the most tenuous grip on reality, Obama’s commitment to warfare as an instrument in the fight against terrorism has won the president nothing but grief from the liberal wing of his party, with more certainly to come. Hasn’t anyone told Cheney that Obama is sharply boosting troop levels in Afghanistan in an attempt to avoid losing a war that the Bush administration started but then practically abandoned?

Cheney knows this. But he goes on to use the big lie—that Obama is “trying to pretend we are not at war”—to bludgeon the new administration on a host of specific issues. Here is the one that jumps out at me: The president, Cheney claims, “seems to think that if he closes Guantánamo and releases the hard-core al-Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war.”

Interesting that Cheney should bring that up, because it now seems clear that the man accused of trying to blow up Northwest Flight 253, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was given training—and probably the bomb itself, which involved plastic explosives sewn into his underwear—by al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. It happens that at least two men who were released from Guantánamo appear to have gone on to play major roles as al-Qaeda lieutenants in Yemen. Who let these dangerous people out of our custody? They were set free by the administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

The former vice president expresses his anger that the Obama administration is bringing Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to trial in New York. Cheney is also angry that Obama does not use the phrase “war on terror” all the time, the way the Bush administration used to. But Obama just specifies that we’re at war against a network of terrorists, on the sensible theory that it’s impossible to wage war against a tactic.

Toward the end of his two-paragraph statement, Cheney goes completely off the rails and starts fulminating about how Obama is seeking “social transformation—the restructuring of American society.” Somehow, this is supposed to be related to the president’s alleged disavowal of war—which, of course, isn’t real anyway. It makes you wonder whether Cheney is just feeding the fantasies of the paranoid right or has actually joined the tea-party fringe.

I can find reasons to criticize the administration’s response to the Christmas Day attack. Obama and his team were slow off the mark. Their initial statements were weak. Obama shouldn’t have waited three days to speak publicly, and when he did he should have shown some emotion.

But using a terrorist attack to seek political gain? I have a New Year’s resolution to suggest for Cheney: Ahead of your quest for personal vindication, put country first.
Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)
© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group

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By nodrama, December 31, 2009 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment
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From the start, Cheney’s attacks on Obama have been premediated and deliberate. What is his real purpose? To avoid prosecution.

Give the Cheney credit. When Bush was defeated, he saw that he was top on the list for prosecution. His stooge, Scooter Libby, was prosecuted and convicted. Does anybody doubt that there’s fertile grounds for prosecuting Cheney. So, Cheney went on the offensive and made it difficult to bring any prosecution against Cheney by attacking Obama.

It’s so simple, but no one seems to want to address the point.

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By Thong-girl, December 31, 2009 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

Bush, Cheney, Obama, Hillary et al are just characters in a play being put on by the Pentagon elite for the pleasure of your money.  Don’t let this shade your feelings one way or the other, they will all be hugging and singing Koombya soon enough, when they all get their $100 million like Bill got.

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By don knutsen, December 31, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you stand back to look at who has been behind the decisions over the past 30 + years that have been destructive to the average american…you will see many of the same players involved thruout. D. Cheeny is at the forfront of those individuals. He since his time as a congressman from Wyoming prior to his years with the Nixon Admin. has steadfastly voted against what was best for the average citizen in favor of industries interests every single time without exception. He has never pretended to care about the welfare of the middle calss and has been instrumentall in burying it whenever possible. He and the Bush family pop up continually thruout the past 30 years, and they have been consistant in their contempt for the average american’s needs. If there were a poster published of the most treasonous public official in america his face would be on it. If we had a functioning justice system, if our supreme court wasn’t disprortionally weighted with right wing idealogs he, along with his former boss and a slew of the enablers of the last administration would be behind bars for being the traitors they are to everything america ONCE stood for.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, December 31, 2009 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

The specter of death by heart failure hovers closely over Cheney.  He is frightened.  He is an even greater buffoon and coward than George Worthless Bush.  So he swaggers and spits, believing that his displays of poisoned bile will keep his ticker ticking.  He will show Death where to head in.  But the Big Shotgun in the face is waiting for him.

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By Thong-girl, December 31, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

The only thing that would be surprising is if Cheney and Bush were doing a jig with Obama celebrating the fact that he is also now killing children in the Middle East and he has effectively shut down the only real attempt to protest the genocide in Gaza. This more or less guarantee that our wars will encircle the world soon and Cheney’s mouth is just an act to make it look like he doesn’t agree, but I suspect, Barry O’ is playing right into the hands of Cheney and the goons who are running the show.

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By msgmi, December 31, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For 8 years the GWOT could not have been waged with more incompetence. No one got it more wrong than VP Dick Cheney and his hand picked entourage.  As likeminded world figures of the 20th century who cloaked their hubris in the name of national security, Dick struggles to ensure America’s failure.

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By bozhidar balkas, vancouver, December 31, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A war can be defensive or offensive. US warlords and feudal lords avoid to state either category. Is it also acceptable that msm journalists also avoid categorization of the US wars against iraq and afgh’n?

Even the warlords, avoid to say that the two wars i mentioned are defensive wars.
That wld have been brazen. So,euphemistic “war in iraq” and “war in afgh’n” was chosen.

This teaches the children that afghanis attacked afghanis, iraqis iraqis, koreans koreans, cubans cubans, ‘nams ‘nams, and so fourth.
And US being the best, most judicious, the greatest country in the world always trying to make peace in those lands and introduce americanism to them.

Eat ur hearts out all u second and third class contries. U’r sitting on enorm wealth, but let it rot and waste rather that have us come and develop ur countries;bringing u peace-prosperity-enlightenmet.
My devil, such countries wld even enrage me let alone all those wldbe bnaires. And they even harbor terrorists.
In afgh’n and iraq, there may have been at least 7 to 70k terorists. And curioso appears that not one of them lifted a finger against even one american as the guest soldiers landed in that land at the bequest of mns afghanis and iraqis.
All they can do is just hate US because it is so great!

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By Paolo, December 31, 2009 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Obama is now directing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. He is considering wars in Yemen, Iran, and possibly Syria.

Yet, for Dick Cheney, Obama is not pro-war enough.

The leaders of both major parties in Washington are in a constant battle to prove they are more bloodthirsty than their opponents.

I only wish Obama really were anti-war. Unfortunately, he is part of the Washington pro-war establishment, just as were G W Bush and all his predecessors, back as far (at least) as Jack Kennedy.

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By Jim Yell, December 31, 2009 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cheney is an un-punished criminal. Why at this late date do we still not know what he and the energy exec’s cooked up on public time in private. Until we know what went on at that meeting we will not know if the attack on Iraq was or was not a conspiracy. What we do know are the reasons for the attack were a lie. It was the oil or control of the oil; a big motive for chicanery from these dishonest people.

How can you tell Cheney is telling lies? His lips are moving.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 31, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

My own opinion is that Vice President Cheney should keep the lips sealed. 

It’s fascinating, however, how Mr. Robinson had for years minimized every attempted attack on the U.S. during the Bush years.  He minimized all past attacks as mere Bush cabal scare tactics.  But, today and suddenly, this one attack is very serious in his opinion.

Equally fascinating is how Mr. Robinson mentions the two “al Qaeda” operatives released from Gitmo and now in Yeman.  When each were released Mr. Robinson was one of the many on MSNBC arguing in favor of their release for a lack of evidence of being attached or associated with “al Qaeda”.


I feel foolish.  I wasted an entire 90 seconds reading this article.

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By Howie Bledsoe, December 31, 2009 at 7:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are like mushrooms, kept in the dark and raised on shit..

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By dihey, December 31, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

Sorry but Democrats/Liberals have brought Cheney’s outburst on themselves by harping on the fact that the Bush administration did ignore signals that 9/11 might happen.

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By DieDaily, December 31, 2009 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

Replace the word “Cheney” in this article with any of a number of demohawks and what’s the difference. Here are some names to use:

•Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn)
•Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
•Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
•Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner
•Attorney General Eric Holder
•Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL)
•President Barack Obama
•Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
•Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven
•Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)

Wait a minute…where are these names from? Hmmmm. Oh yeah! The top ten list of Judicial Watch most wanted corrupt politicians of the year! Runners up were Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA), Norm Dicks (D-WA.), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS.)

Wow, almost a democratic sweep! Imagine! Here’s the link:

Oh those terrible Republicans. They’re just SOOOO different from the Democrats.

Un huh. Sure. But nice try Eugene Robinson!

P.S. Barry Soetero came in seventh! LMFAO!

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By Socrates, December 31, 2009 at 5:07 am Link to this comment

“The former vice president expresses his anger that the Obama administration is bringing Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to trial in New York.”

Those of us who have studied the details of nine one one know that Cheney spearheaded the false flag black op.  He fears that many nine one one facts will slip out during the trial that point to him and his PNAC partners.

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By ardee, December 31, 2009 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

This article proves two things, in my opinion. That we have a govt completely out of control and out of touch with both reality and with the best interests of our nation. Secondly, we have an author, Mr. Robinson, who is finding unending support for our current President to be an impossible task.

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By samosamo, December 30, 2009 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

First of all, this is political BS from the major 1 party system
this country flounders over, be it called the repubocrats or the
demolicans which is always used to confound and confuse the
vegetables in the msm well fertilized garden.

Second, what is up with cheney other than he is the racist that
he is and doesn’t ‘cotton’ to the idea of a person with dark
enough skin to be black in cheney’s fog shrouded brain who
is actually carrying forward just about all of the w & dick
agendas from the previous part of the 2000 decade.

When dick dies, and I hope it is a hard dying, it will be a great
day, the air will be fresher, the sun brighter and life will be
better for a while until o gets dick’s notebooks to continue
dragging this country down.

I don’t see a nano bit of integrity and honor in a dick that
evaded service in the u.s military just to get into office and be
part of the cause of the hell on earth that rear-end ronnie
reagan did for 8 years, g.h.w bushnut did for 4 years, what
slick willie clinton did for 8 years and dwarf butt w and dick
did for 8 years for their greedy friends and fellow circle jerk

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By glider, December 30, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

Eugene, you are arguing about differences in shades of gray.  It is not possible to discern if we have gone to a darker or lighter shade.  It is a debate over different preferences in jingoistic rhteoric between our Ex-Neocon-in-Cheif and our Corportist Democrat President (Liberal Neocon?).

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By Wendell Bibby, December 30, 2009 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You should have kept your promise to yourself Mr. Robinson and kept your keyboard silent when it comes to ANYTHING that that far right-wing fascist, war criminal, genocide guilty, piece of White Trash garbage Cheney has to say.

When you, or anybody else who is in the position to be heard by many, opens their mouth to report on the blatant lies that pours from that filthy old goats’ pie hole, you give him what he wants; more eyes and ears to be subjected to his unmitigated fascist propaganda.

So…please…just STOP DOING IT! That individual needs to be ignored by anyone who still has an intelligent cell left in their brain.

Then the only ones left to listen to that foul lump will be the poor wretched human detritus that still actually believe that what he and his lapdog George W. Bush did to this country was right, proper, and necessary.

And then, maybe, that crowd would do us a favor and fade away as well.

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By stonemaster, December 30, 2009 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

Cheney is a spineless bag of atrophy
the only person he ever shot at was his hunting friend when he was drunk
during Nam he had better things to do than fight for his country
he was the boil on Rush Limbaughs ass
I’m here all week ....

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By JimM, December 30, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Comment in poor taste re wisdom of homeless. Most, if not all, are a hell of a lot
smarter than that war criminal of a bastard-head Cheney.

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By JimM, December 30, 2009 at 6:33 pm Link to this comment

He should be writing his drivel on toilet paper in his jail cell. Pity he was never
prosecuted for all of the murder and mayhem he caused.
He is the best weapon the terrorists have.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 30, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Even Gene misses the point:
Cheney doesn’t give a shit about facts or context—all he cares about is getting his gang back in power to continue the march toward fascism, a march Cheney thinks is necessary because he’s f***in’ loopy paranoid nit-wit.

To regain that power he will say ANYTHING that he thinks will get his gang traction in the next elections.  True, false, twisted, disproven—it doesn’t matter as long as it gets “the base” mobilized.

And his base LOVES these big lies, throws rocks at debunkers, and looks for a march on Washington like Mussolini’s March on Rome.

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By FreeWill, December 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

Eugene, perhaps you should start paying more attention to those “pearls of wisdom uttered by homeless people sitting in bus shelters”. Obviously they, with their street level view of life in America, have gained superior wisdom and insight to those privileged folk like yourself who constantly remain aloof to reality.

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By brewerstroupe, December 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

“And the fact that Gitmo detainees released under Bush have returned to the battlefield is an argument against its closure”

No. It is an argument that Gitmo should never have opened.

Do you really expect that people held for years without benefit of trial and subjected to torture would gain respect for America and its allies? That they would go home and tell their friends they were wrong about America?

If you wish to prevent Gitmo detainees from “returning to the battlefield” re-invigorated with disgust at America upon release, I suggest you execute them. Line them up and shoot them all, the guilty and the innocent alike - because there are only two likely reactions to further incarceration - greater resentment or insanity.

Justifying this extra-judicial killing should present no difficulty - that line has already been crossed by anyone who sanctions the suspension of Habeus Corpus and the plethora of Human Rights violations that Gitmo represents.

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By wildflower, December 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

Re: “ As I watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war, Cheney begins.”

If Cheney truly felt “WE” were at war, perhaps, he can tell us why the Bush/Cheney Administration continued giving travel visas to individuals from countries where known terrorists existed? Clearly, if the war against terror was such that it required a Patriot Act, it was worthy of a Ban Foreign Visas Act.

And what kind of leadership would place their citizenry in such a dangerous position during wartime?  Clearly, the Bush/Cheney Administration’s open door visa policy made us all easy targets for the enemy?  Was it fair or wise to place the U.S. citizenry in such a defenseless “sitting duck” position?

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By FreeWill, December 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

Eugene, once again your pissing in the wind with the obvious consequential results. Agreed, your boy Obama is just as much a war hawk as Bush/Cheney.  Is that supposed to be a good thing?  In your eagerness to condemn the other side you have missed the most important point in this whole drama. That is, that the Christmas Day terrorist attack was a staged event designed to renew the fear level of the American public.  Keep the population in a state of fear and the government can have free reign over the people with out regard to their rights or freedoms.  Worked for Bush. It works for Obama just like it worked for the Nazis.

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By TAO Walker, December 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Dick Cheney’s histrionics are exactly that….scripted lines spoken on-cue to advance The-Plot.  Eugene Robinson’s “part” here, as a member of the how-we-fool-ya chorus, is to offer spurious ad hominem criticism intended to reinforce the illusion of adversariality between the supposedly more reluctantly belligerent “New Boss,” and his lustily predatory predecessor.  This push-me, pull-you strategy is meant to make less obvious the actual hand-in-glove CONtinuity between the two latest old-boy bands to occupy the executive branch of, and the complete complimentarity between their differently-abled but identically-other-directed front-“men.”

It is sort of interesting that the former veep appears to be really relishing his role, while his own successor in the office famously “....not worth a bucket of warm spit,” can’t seem to hit his marks with any regularity.  This, too, is likely intended to foster a false sense in theamericanpeople that an actually substantive changing-of-the-guard has occurred, despite copious daily doses of tainted evidence to-the-CONtrary.

They’re all playing y’all like a two-bit tin whistle, tame Sisters and Brothers….and they couldn’t care less how many of you know it. 


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By gerard, December 30, 2009 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t this pretty much the same stuff?  War, terror, he said, what if?  terror, war, counterterror, did, didn’t, he this, he that. B.o.r.i.n.g. That old twisted face from nowhere couldn’t possibly add anything worth repeating to the current American scene of war-business-usual. We need to stop this war mania!  Who killed how many where?  Why?  Is, isn’t. Shall we?  When?  How much more?

God help us, we are a bunch of dullards if all we can find to say on the edge of a new year is more of the same.  Hello!  Where’s creativity? Where’s ingenuity?  Where’s hope, new possibility, grace and deliberation?  Where’s the confidence to simply lift a finger and TURN THE PAGE.  Next. Rejoice!  The “war on terror” is dylng a natural death.  It’s played out. Enough already! Let the go.  Time for some new ideas—like?  The arts of peace?  The businesses of peace?  The stubborness and determinatioin to find or make peace and to keep it as the prime treasure of the human spirit.  Come on, guys.  Lift! It ain’t over till it’s over and the fat lady sings.  (P.S.  Read “Three Cups of Tea.”)

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By MAB, December 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Much as I like Eugene, where the heck is Obama on challenging these Cheney lies? They will only ferment amongst the enemies of Obama.  I wonder if he is trying to form up a “bipartisan” relationship with Cheney.  Not impossible given his propensity to stay out of the fray. It should not be up to the pundits like Eugene, but up to a man, an electged president, who is being denigrated, to defend himself, yet he seems to lie back and take it all, while the opposition continues to beat him down and he lies there subjugated.  What?  Is he and those in his administration waiting around for someone else to do it so he can hide and deny responsibility.?  It looks as if he has very little sense of responsibility or the avoidance of such.  That is governing in safe mode.

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By Eric, December 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

‘like the pearls of wisdom one hears from homeless people sitting in bus shelters’

Is this funny now even on Truthdig?

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By Marshall, December 30, 2009 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

The author seems unaware of the difference between a “lie” and a “statement of
opinion”, Cheney’s claim about “Obama pretending…” being the latter.

And the fact that Gitmo detainees released under Bush have returned to the
battlefield is an argument against its closure and the Obama administration’s
decision to reclassify them as criminals, so i’m rather baffled at why the author
brings this up.  Cheney most likely would agree with this and would regret their

Obama obviously refuses the term “war on terror” in order to distance himself
from bush doctrine and administration policies, which seems strange since he’s
continued most of them unchanged so i don’t fault Cheney for calling him on
this.  It has nothing to do with semantic accuracy as the author believes; it’s
simply a marketing shift.  But since Obama’s global charm offensive has failed
to yield any results, perhaps he should consider resurrecting some of the more
no nonsense rhetoric of the past.

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By farsideofnoon, December 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

The only thing wrong with this is it’s an insult to homeless people sitting in bus shelters. Give me their hard earned logic over privileged Dick’s every time.

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