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Tomorrow will be 20 years since George W. Bush invaded the sovereign country of Iraq under false pretenses. He thought Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction" and even got permission to look for them using a delegation led by Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat charged with finding the deadly gas. Blix kept saying they couldn't find anything even though they had full access, but on March 17th, 2003 Bush's trigger finger got too itchy so he ordered the inspection team out of the country and sent troops in 3 days later.

There were no such weapons and had Bush given Blix the time he needed to verify this, Bush wouldn't have been able to justify the invasion. They never said that one of the real reasons they wanted to go in was to take Iraq's oil. Their petroleum industry was fully nationalized before the takeover, but afterward it became almost all privatized with American firms controlling much of it. Vice President Dick Cheney, a former executive of Halliburton, made sure of that. His company made $40 billion off the war.

We had good reason to go into Afghanistan after 9/11 to catch the men who attacked us. The entire world was with us, but no, we couldn't just stop there. We got greedy and took our eye off the ball.

So what do we have to show for it? Close to a million dead people, more hatred and animosity directed toward us than ever before, a whole bunch of oil, and a lot of rich fat cats.

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The Republican Party used to abhor slavery and rallied against it for years resulting in the Civil War while the Democrats who dominated the South, owned human beings and often treated them like farm animals. Then when Richard Nixon devised his so called "Southern Strategy", pitting blacks against whites in an effort to win the presidency, the South began to shift and is now predominately Republican.

Now we see another dynamic developing. Donald Trump couldn't have said it better when he shouted at a rally in Las Vegas in 2016, "I love the poorly educated." It used to be that uneducated blue collar workers belonged to a union and voted largely Democratic, but that's changed. Thanks to Fox News, these "beer drinkers" now belong to the Republican Party while the Democrats have become known as the "wine and cheese" party, consisting of mostly college educated people, many of them suburban women.

Trump has shown how the Republicans could brainwash a large segment of dumb people (or let's be polite and say "uninformed") who don't have the critical thinking skills that would compel them to use common sense and reject the bile, vindictiveness, and animosity that now governs the right.

It's fascinating how such a large segment of the population continues to vote against its own interest, enabling the rich to get richer while they themselves become poorer through policies that I guess they are unable to comprehend.

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"The Family", also known as "The Fellowship" is a highly secretive organization of elite, powerful, and largely conservative so-called Christians who have operated mostly under the radar since the group's beginning in 1935. The politically well-connected comprise the majority of the members who describe their main mission as that of promoting Jesus' teachings throughout the United States and indeed throughout the world.

The group has a dark history. Abraham Vereide founded the organization largely to oppose Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. He called Harry Bridges, the labor organizer who was responsible for the biggest strike in American history a "Satanic and Soviet agent". One of the association's chief tenants is that power ought to be concentrated primarily in the hands of those who have achieved leadership positions. In that regard, The Family has witnessed to the former president of Uganda, Idi Amin, the former leader of Libya, Muammar al-Gaddafi, and the current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

That's all fine and good - there's nothing wrong with promoting Jesus' teachings - but there's another insidious underbelly to their activities and that is their fervent opposition to any support of the LGBTQ community. Essentially they think that Jesus would have been opposed to basic human rights. Harsh laws have been passed in countries where The Family has a presence that prohibit homosexual activity of any kind, oftentimes punishable by life in prison or even death.

Perhaps the most destructive aspect of The Family's outreach is the muddling of the line between church and state. This philosophical blending has brought down entire civilizations and will do so again. It's just a matter of time.

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