Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Political Digest February 23, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Happy Birthday
To President George W.

I’m Tired
I wrote and posted this piece in February, 09, and it’s still circulating and getting posted on new blogs. The net continues to amaze me.

The Mount Vernon statement

John Murtha forgot Semper Fi
This link may have been bad yesterday—trying again.

Brit union misused Iwo image
I hope their strike is crushed. Not one of them is fit to lick dust from the boots of an Iwo vet.

Stimulus attacks help Dems gain traction after playing defense on the economy
Excerpt: Congressional Democrats are celebrating what they say was their best week politically since Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts on Jan. 19. After playing defense on the economy, the stimulus and healthcare for much of the past year, Democrats went on the offensive this week. Democrats took advantage of the one-year anniversary of the passage of the economic stimulus package and a slow news week to blast Republicans for claiming credit for stimulus funds they opposed. “It’s a pretty easy case to make that there’s a lot of crocodile tears and a lot of hypocrisy,” Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, speaking of the points Democrats scored. “This gets [Democrats] more on offensive while they’ve been on the defensive.” Darrell West, director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, said Democrats have found a more effective line of argument the “Party of No” label they’ve tried to fix on the GOP for much of the past year. “The Republicans complain about the stimulus, but take the money and go home and claim credit,” West said. “You can’t have your hand in the cookie jar while complaining about cookie consumption.” (Exactly. Republicans can’t complain about pork and then use it to buy votes in their districts like Democrats. People want an alternative, not Democrat-lite.)

Democratic senatorial candidates vie to be seen as outsiders
Excerpt: To be sure, the party is desperate for a winning formula. The landscape is so volatile that the Democrats' 59 to 41 Senate majority may be at stake. But Republicans may be providing an assist to Democratic candidates in key seats where senators are retiring, by fielding challengers who have strong Washington connections and who will have trouble making the case that they are outsiders.

Obama proposal targets insurance-rate increases
Price controls always fail—see Richard Nixon. But they are popular with the economically ignorant, though they have little chance here. A recent AP report said that the insurance industry was earning about a 2% profit, down from 6% and ranked 35th among industries in profitability. Of course, they could bring down the cost of healthcare by passing tort reform and allowing competition across state lines without mandates. But bringing down the cost of healthcare isn’t the goal. Driving private insurers out of business so the government has to take it over, creating legions of unionized government workers who will live at our expense, vote Democrat and pay union dues to support Democrats—that’s the goal! Oh, by the way, if you have a 401k or IRA with mutual funds, chances are those funds have insurance stocks, so it’s your retirement he’s going after. Excerpt: President Obama will call for new government power to regulate insurance-rate increases as part of comprehensive changes to the health-care system that the White House will unveil on its Web site Monday, senior officials said. The proposal -- part of a package that a top official said will serve as a "starting point" for the bipartisan health summit Thursday -- comes as Obama has pointed to recent rate increases as evidence that his proposed changes are necessary.

Republican presidential candidates line up for 2012 race
Excerpt: If you're a political junkie craving the start of the 2012 presidential race, your time has come! A series of developments over the past week signaled the kickoff of the long road to the nomination, with a number of Republican aspirants taking their ambitions (semi-) public. (Best line: "If there is anything to think about after the election is over, then I'll start to think about it then," Barbour said in a classic bit of leaving-the-door-ajar-ism. "If you see me lose 40 pounds, you will see I am either running or have cancer.")

The Fix: Republicans, White House draw battle lines in advance of health care summit
Excerpt: The political positioning for Thursday's televised health care showdown -- er, summit -- began in earnest on the Sunday talk shows as Republicans sought to stake out their rhetorical ground and set expectations for what is surely the most anticipated health care event in modern memory. (Post columnist E.J. Dionne -- a Fix favorite -- wrote in a piece today that the summit "will determine the shape of American politics for the next three years." WOW.) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), appearing on "Fox News Sunday", said that he would attend the session in "good faith" but also noted that the best solution would be to scrap the current health care bill, citing a January NPR poll that, he insisted, showed the American people "really want to us to shelve this bill and start over." The White House meanwhile, largely stayed off the Sunday chat circuit -- Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell appeared on "This Week" but he is far from a top administration surrogate -- choosing instead to focus their energies today. In advance of the release (at 10 a.m.) of the president's health care proposal, administration officials will brief reporters on its contents -- an attempt to frame the day (and week) around the notion that the White House is offering solutions while Republicans are simply roadblocking progress for political gain. Looming over the run-up to the proceedings -- and the summit itself -- is an increasing pile of evidence that voters believe the federal government is failing them. In a new CNN poll, 86 percent of those tested said the system of government is broken -- a remarkably high number that speaks to the dissatisfaction with Washington coursing through the country right now. Both Republicans and Democrats want -- and need -- to get out in front of that anger for fear that if they don't they'll find themselves on the business end of it. ALSO READ: The takes of Time magazine and the Economist on what's wrong with Washington (and how to Fix it.)

Obama puts forward last-ditch health care plan
Excerpt: Making a last-ditch effort to save his health care overhaul, President Barack Obama on Monday put forward a nearly $1 trillion, 10-year compromise that would allow the government to deny or roll back egregious insurance premium increases that infuriate consumers. The White House immediately demanded an up-or-down vote in Congress on the plan, or something close to it. But it's highly uncertain that such sweeping legislation can pass. Republicans are virtually unanimous in opposing it, and some Democrats who previously supported a health care remake are having second thoughts in an election year. After a year in pursuit, Obama may have to settle for a modest fallback version of what once was his top domestic priority. (Wants an immediate vote. Like before anyone can look at it too closely or run the numbers.)

Financial Crisis: Lessons Learned
Excerpt: The federal government responded aggressively -- at a huge cost -- to the financial crisis that began in the fall of 2008, says Laurence J. Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University and a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. But nearly two years later little progress has been seen in the country's economic health. In his forthcoming book, "Jimmy Stewart Is Dead: Ending the World's Ongoing Financial Plague with Limited Purpose Banking," Kotlikoff discusses the problems with the explicit and implicit guarantees the federal government has made: Around $12.5 trillion has been pledged by the federal government ($2.5 trillion in direct expenditures and roughly $10 trillion in contingent commitments) to keep the financial sector afloat. The fiscal gap in the United States (the difference between the government's official debt plus its discretionary spending and the amount of taxes current and future citizens will pay) is currently estimated by Jagadeesh Gokhale of the Cato Institute and Kent Smetters of the University of Pennsylvania at $77 trillion. This is more than five times the United States' present gross domestic product.

The Real Danger of Debt
The United States is deep in the red -- and doesn't have the political tools to get out.
Excerpt: In 2000, the United States had a balanced federal budget. Today, America has a deficit problem that threatens the country's future. It is compounded by former President George W. Bush's fiscal recklessness, the economic crisis that began with September 2008's financial collapse, President Barack Obama's spending ambitions, and the mysterious ability of the weakened Republican Party to create political deadlock in Congress. Under Bush, spending was increased, taxes were cut, and the result was huge deficits financed by borrowing. Then came the "Great Recession," as it is being called (I call it a depression because of its probable long-term economic and political consequences). The public debt (the important component of the national debt -- the part that is more than an accounting entity -- that is really owed), which the Bush administration's deficits had caused to double, soared further. It soared because of falling tax revenues, rising unemployment benefits, and rising government expenditures to fight the depression (such as Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan). The public debt reached $7.5 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2009 (Sept. 30, 2009) and is expected to increase another $1.6 trillion this fiscal year and another $1.3 trillion next year. That means it may exceed $10 trillion by Sept. 30, 2011. Almost half the debt is owned by foreigners, and the interest payments to them are a drain on American wealth. Interest rates on the debt will rise as the world economy recovers, increasing competition for capital. The United States has a deeply wounded economy. At this writing, transfer payments by the government to individuals and families (Social Security, unemployment benefits, tax credits, etc.) exceed the taxes being collected from the household sector. At the same time, private investment net of depreciation is negative. This means that private savings are being borrowed by the government, combined with the government's foreign borrowing, and then transferred to households to enable them to maintain their accustomed level of consumption. People are saving more, but government borrowing overwhelms their saving, with the result that aggregate saving -- public plus private -- is negative. So: negative savings, negative private investment, an incredible ratio of household debt to disposable income (1.25 to 1, though down from 1.39 to 1 in 2007), massive government borrowing to finance private consumption -- not a nice combination.

Unions Are Crippling Obama--Exhibit A
Because BO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the unions. Excerpt: Unions vs. stimulation: The home "weatherization" jobs in the stimulus bill were subjected to Davis-Bacon wage regulations--a favorite of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department--under which federal Labor Department officials establish "prevailing wage" rates that must be paid. Why do unions like this system? Because the "prevailing wages" are determined in a way that guarantees they are usually more than the actual market wage, sometimes by large margins. All that finagling takes a certain amount of bureaucracy, however--and time.

Party Like It's 1773?
Excerpt: Are this year's "tea parties" really tea parties? What could today's protesters have in common with the "Indians" who dumped 90,000 pounds of tea in Boston harbor in 1773? Quite a bit, actually. What do today's tea partiers want? According to the Christian Science Monitor, the movement "is about safeguarding individual liberty, cutting taxes, and ending bailouts for business while the American taxpayer gets burdened with more public debt. It is fueled by concern that the United States under Mr. Obama is becoming a European-style social democracy where individual initiative is sapped by the needs of the collective." Broadly speaking, the tea parties reflect a growing anger in America that the government seems to be a closed circle, run by an elite in both parties. These elites, combined with a class of bureaucrats, lawyers, journalists and businessmen, use government power to serve their own ends, and not the public good. 9but according to the rest of the media, they are about a guy who hated George Bush and capitalism flying an airplane into a federal building. Good thing the Tea Parties weren’t around on 9/11.)

The Leader
Many, many reporters have asked me who the leader of the conservative movement is right now or who the leader of the tea party movement is. They rarely report the answer, though they should be paying attention to it. In the CPAC straw poll, one name dominated the pack. With the highest favorable ratings (73%) and lowest unfavorable ratings (8%), Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina led the field — scoring higher popularity than Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mike Pence, John Beohner, Mitch McConnell, or Michael Steel. It’d be easy to dismiss the polling except that, unlike the Ron Paul vote for winner, DeMint’s popular scores across the field from young to old, conservative to libertarian oriented.

Why the jobs aren’t coming back
Excerpt: It is not, however, just Toyota. Lots of businesses and industries are feeling the same way. In large part, this is why the jobs are not coming back. Businesses are deeply, deeply worried about the activist bent of the Obama administration and the anti-free market stance it has repeatedly taken on issues. The uncertainty and antagonism are causing businesses to keep money on the sidelines. Last night I talked to a friend of mine. He said a business in his state has put a major new business development on hold because of the Obama Administration’s stance on carbon emissions. The company could move everything to another country and be perfectly happy with less environmental restraints, or it could keep everything in the U.S., comply with existing environmental laws, and create American jobs. But because Obama and the EPA are headed in the direction of even more regulation and expense, the jobs might go overseas

Time to Turn Up the Heat on the Warmists
Excerpt: At one time some would call them "deniers." The more generous called them "skeptics." But now, increasingly, it appears that they can be called something else: sane. Yes, the climate has certainly changed. Even in the mainstream media, the less liberal organs are waking up. There is now a never-ending barrage of articles on the climate scam, with The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post firing some recent salvos. And these inconvenient truths are just adding to a case against the Climateers that has become dizzying. Really, those issuing Chicken Little warnings had a tough sell from the get-go. We're told that our world has seen at least five major ice ages, but, then again, I've also heard four. It has experienced numerous minor ones, although I'm not sure anyone knows precisely how many. In fact, we hear that the pattern is to have 100,000-year glacial periods followed by 12,000-year interglacials, with1500-year cycles of warming and cooling embedded within them. We're told that during part of the Cryogenian Period -- otherwise known as "Snowball Earth" -- the world was completely blanketed with snow and ice and that during another period, glaciers were almost or completely gone. Furthermore, we're informed that during the latter there was still, believe it or not, dry land and creatures to tread upon it.

The Multi-Billion Dollar Global Warming Fraud
Suggested subtitle: How Al Gore joined the ranks of the super-rich. Excerpt: As the massive global warming fraud implodes, the one aspect of it that has not been explored in depth is the equally massive waste of billions of dollars spent by the United States and nations around the world, we were told, to avoid global warming. Whole industries such as automobile manufacture had demands and limits put on them. Some states required utilities to buy “carbon credits” to offset their use of “fossil fuels.” The list of things attributed to global warming expanded to the point of total absurdity.The codification of the fraud into law began with the Kyoto Protocol, an element of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change whose purpose was to fight a global warming that we now know was not happening. The data to support the fraud came out of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that specialized in distorting climate data in every way possible to emphasize a normal warming cycle and then to minimize any indication of a new cooling cycle dating to around 1998 or earlier.

Book recommendation from a Vietnam Marine Company CO
In my humble opinion, tell your readers to take a few minutes and read one of the most savvy books on democracy ever written, "Thidwick, the Big Hearted Mouse", by Dr. Seuss. It's a great analogy to the present----I believe----------and Dr Seuss may not have realized how prophetic his little children’s book would be.

Republicans weigh the political implications of the Bush legacy
Excerpt: The (un)official kickoff of the 2012 Republican presidential primary fight over the past week has brought one major issue in the campaign to come to the fore: what to do about former President George W. Bush? The two candidates running the most aggressively (and obviously) for the presidential nod -- former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota -- had very different answers to that question in comments made over the past week.

Greece and the welfare state in ruins
Excerpt: It would be possible in other circumstances to disregard the ongoing story of Greece and its debts as a tedious tale of financial markets. But there's much more to it than that. What's happening in Greece speaks to two larger issues affecting hundreds of millions of people everywhere: the future of the welfare state and the fate of Europe's single currency -- the euro. The meaning of Greece transcends high finance. Every advanced society, including the United States, has a welfare state. Though details differ, their purposes are similar: to support the unemployed, poor, disabled and aged. All welfare states face similar problems: burgeoning costs as populations age; an over-reliance on debt financing; and pressures to reduce borrowing that create pressures to cut welfare spending. High debt and the welfare state are at odds. It's an open question whether the collision will cause social and economic turmoil. Greece is the opening act in this drama; already, its budget problems have spawned street protests. By the numbers, Greece's plight is acute. In 2009, its government debt -- basically, the sum of past annual deficits -- was 113 percent of its economy (gross domestic product, or GDP). The budget deficit for 2009 was 12.7 percent of GDP. Two-thirds of the debt is owed to foreigners, reports the Institute of International Finance.

Remembering George Washington
Yeah, I know. Dead white guys are politically incorrect.

Imprisoned for Saving American Lives
It’s hard to know the rights and wrongs in these cases, due to the “fog of war,” despite the politicians and media willingness to pass judgment absent facts. But if we had fought WWII this way, Hitler and Tojo would have been most grateful. Excerpt: Former U.S. Army Master Sergeant John Hatley is now serving a forty year sentence in Leavenworth prison. He was convicted by a 2009 Court Martial of murdering four Iraqi insurgent arrestees in Baghdad following a 2007 ambush and firefight, and dumping the bodies into a Baghdad canal. Two other Sergeants with the Alpha Company 1-18 1st Infantry were also convicted and sent to prison. Hatley’s wife, Kim Hatley, is leading a crusade to win clemency for her husband. I recently spoke with her by telephone. A veteran of six years as an Intel-analyst and Crypto-analyst with the U.S. Army 18th Airborne Corps, Mrs. Hatley has a nineteen-year-old son in the United States Marine Corps in Iraq. She related some details of events that led up to the firefight, the shootings and the investigation that sent her husband to prison:

Alas, it has always been so
Field Marshal the Viscount Slim, writing on his thoughts after ordering his men to fire on rioters in an Indian city, sometime between the World Wars: "Then for the first time sine I left the Kotwali I had a moment to run over in my mind the action I had taken during the last half-hour. The soldier always knows that everything he does on such an occasion will be scrutinized by two classes of critics - by the Government which employs him and by the enemies of that Government....Lucky the soldier if, as in Jellicoe's case (Battle of Jutland), the tactical experts decide after twenty years' profound consideration that what he did in three minutes was right. As for the enemies of the Government, it does not much matter what he has done. They will twist, misinterpret, falsify or invent any fact as evidence that he is an inhuman monster wallowing in innocent blood." Unofficial History, David McKay, Co., New York, (1959) p. 85. (See also Murtha, John on Iraq.)

The Saudi Pedophile Chronicles
Excerpt: The Saudis really need to get an infomercial out there — and the Nation magazine and other leftist sites that apologize for Islamic gender apartheid can feature it on their webpages. It would go something like this: A Saudi sheikh dressed slickly in Saudi garb would be sitting confidently in a chair, looking into the camera with an excited smile. He would then begin asking, with earnestness and an encouraging tone: Are you a pedophile? Do you like underage girls? Would you like to rape one of them — or several? And get away with it? Even have it legally sanctioned? Then Saudi Arabia is for you.

Arizona: Father who murdered daughter in honor killing will not face death penalty so that "there is no appearance that a Christian is seeking to execute a Muslim"
Excerpt: Faleh Almaleki murdered his daughter, but we wouldn't want to appear Islamophobic. Would a non-Muslim who ran down his daughter in a car would be spared the death penalty? Do you wonder about the answer?

Three Sikhs beheaded by Taliban in Pak
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo—or the one about the Qur’an saying “there is no compulsion in religion.” Excerpt: In what threatens to cast a shadow on the upcoming Indo-Pakistan talks scheduled for February 25, three Sikh youths were beheaded by the Taliban in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) region after they allegedly refused to convert to Islam. Their severed heads were dumped at a gurudwara in Peshawar. The Sikh youths -- identified as Jaspal Singh, Sarabjit Singh and Baronat Singh -- had gone to realise the money owed to them by some people in the FATA region adjoining Afghanistan, when they were abducted by the Taliban militia. They were allegedly told by the Taliban to embrace Islam or face death. When the Sikh youth refused, their heads were chopped and sent to the Bhai Joga Singh Gurudwara in Peshawar.

Jews leave Swedish city after sharp rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes
Gee, are Swedes suddenly intolerant? Not if you read down the article. Excerpt: Sweden's reputation as a tolerant, liberal nation is being threatened by a steep rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the city of Malmo. When she first arrived in Sweden after her rescue from a Nazi concentration camp, Judith Popinski was treated with great kindness. She raised a family in the city of Malmo, and for the next six decades lived happily in her adopted homeland - until last year. In 2009, a chapel serving the city's 700-strong Jewish community was set ablaze. Jewish cemeteries were repeatedly desecrated, worshippers were abused on their way home from prayer, and "Hitler" was mockingly chanted in the streets by masked men. "I never thought I would see this hatred again in my lifetime, not in Sweden anyway," Mrs Popinski told The Sunday Telegraph. "This new hatred comes from Muslim immigrants. The Jewish people are afraid now." (Surprise!)

Obama selects a voice of radical Islam
Excerpt: President Obama has made some terrible appointments during his first year in the White House, including now-former White House environmental adviser Van Jones, who once signed a petition accusing President George W. Bush of allowing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as a pretext for going to war. Jones also defended a radical Marxist group in San Francisco known as Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement. But, as Examiner columnist Cal Thomas wrote recently, Obama's selection of Rashad Hussain, his deputy associate White House counsel, as U.S. special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, "should be of concern to Congress and the American people." Comprising 57 member states, the OIC's charter makes clear its purpose is to "defend" and "disseminate" the Muslim faith. Whenever human rights collide with Islam, the OIC sides with the latter. In announcing Hussain's selection as a U.S. diplomat, Obama first cited the fact that the Texas-born Yale Law School graduate is a Hafiz, a person who has memorized the Arabic language version of the Quran. Put aside the uproar that would have ensued had Bush enthused that his hypothetical selection for the Court of St. James was mainly qualified because he had memorized the Anglican Church's Book of Common Prayer. Hussain's Muslim beliefs appear to go quite beyond merely knowing Quranic verses. As Thomas points out, Hussain has a long history of participating in activities connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, a major organizational and theological wellspring for radical Jihadists who seek to impose Shariah law on America and the rest of the world.

Obama's fellow Dems are cannon fodder in his plan
Excerpt: No one believes that the president's health care summit with Republicans is about bipartisanship. Republicans fear that it is a trap intended to hold them and their ideas up to ridicule. And though the president and his party certainly want to shift the blame to Republicans after months of unilateral failure by Democrats, that's not the real purpose of the health gabfest.
This summit is all about Barack Obama. You see, the president has a big problem: He may be our chatterer in chief, but Americans have stopped listening to him. Consider the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Though 46 percent of Americans still approved of the job he was doing, only 39 percent had a favorable personal opinion of Obama. That's an 11-point drop since July and a 20-point drop since inauguration. For a politician whose success was predicated on a personal brand, that's a catastrophic fall.

Holder admits nine Obama Dept. of Justice officials worked for terrorist detainees, offers no details
Only nine? Not BO himself? Excerpt: Attorney General Eric Holder says nine Obama appointees in the Justice Department have represented or advocated for terrorist detainees before joining the Justice Department. But he does not reveal any names beyond the two officials whose work has already been publicly reported. And all the lawyers, according to Holder, are eligible to work on general detainee matters, even if there are specific parts of some cases they cannot be involved in. Holder's admission comes in the form of an answer to a question posed last November by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. Noting that one Obama appointee, Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, formerly represented Osama bin Laden's driver, and another appointee, Jennifer Daskal, previously advocated for detainees at Human Rights Watch, Grassley asked Holder to give the Senate Judiciary Committee "the names of political appointees in your department who represent detainees or who work for organizations advocating on their behalf…the cases or projects that these appointees work with respect to detainee prior to joining the Justice Department…and the cases or projects relating to detainees that have worked on since joining the Justice Department."

The Making of a Marine
Excerpt: I made the decision to join the U.S. Marine Corps at the start of my senior year at Princeton, turning down an acceptance to medical school in the process. I kept the decision to myself until I broke the news to my shocked parents over Christmas Break. I ran through the litany of justifications for them: I wanted to serve my country. I wanted the camaraderie and the pride of being in the Marine Corps brotherhood. I needed the challenge to test my true capabilities and strength. I would receive the best leadership training on the planet, which would help me in any future career I chose. I wanted adventure and the chance to be a part of history in Iraq or Afghanistan. I wanted to exude that same confidence that I saw in every Marine officer I have met. Whether I convinced them or not, in the end, none of these “reasons” alleviated my parents’ understandable anxiety. When I told my plans to anyone else, I felt as though I were talking to a brick wall – the Military, especially the Marine Corps, was simply outside their reality. My closer friends would nod their heads and say something to the effect of “Wow, that’s cool;” but since I was the perennial flake of the group, most did not take my decision very seriously. And to be honest, even I was not quite sure that I would follow through with the choice. In the comfort of my college dorm, the decision to become a Marine Corps officer seemed glamorously abstract. However, on October 1, 2009 my decision suddenly became very real when I arrived at the Marine Corps’ Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, VA. Ultimately, I joined the US Marine Corps because I believe that officers bear the most solemn responsibility in our nation, and that was a duty I could not, and should not, leave for others to assume. To say that I wanted that responsibility is not quite right, because being a Marine officer is not about one’s self, wants or needs; it is about guiding the young 18 and 19 year-old Marines fighting this country’s wars on our behalf. I decided that serving them was the highest honor and responsibility I could have at this point in my life. As one speaker at my commissioning ceremony explained: “As second lieutenants, you must have a strong sense of the great responsibility of your office; the resources which you will expend in war are human lives. This is not about you anymore. This is about the young Marines who will place their lives in your hands. It is your job to take care of them, even when that means placing them in mortal danger. That awesome responsibility – the weight which now rests on you – is reflected in those gold bars which you will soon place on your shoulders.” (Indeed.)

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