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President Obama will talk jobs tonight. Good. That's what we should have been talking about all year. Here's all thirty-four words of our suggested script for the speech:


"Good evening. To get American working again, we must cut our massive war budget and find better ways to spend that money. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."

This would be by far the shortest presidential speech on jobs ever given, and one of the most effective plans given in years to get people back to work.

The simple truth is that, beyond war industry hype, military spending costs us jobs. According to the Political Economy Research Institute's (PERI) 2009 study, when you compare it to other ways of spending the money, every $1 billion spent for military purposes costs us, at minimum, 3,222 jobs. At the upper end, war spending costs us 17,500 or more jobs per billion dollars. Military spending creates fewer jobs, both directly and indirectly, than every other kind of spending studied by PERI. So, given that we spend well in excess of $700 billion every year on war in this country, it's fair to say that our obsession with war spending is sucking the life right out of our economy.

War spending is good at making a few corporations very rich at the expense of the rest of us, however. Take Lockheed Martin, for example. Lockheed is the top contractor for both the Pentagon (.pdf) and the U.S. government in general (.xls), having made $35.8 billion off the taxpayer in 2010. Just to put that in perspective, if they were an "official" arm of the U.S. government, their taxpayer-funded budget, ironically, would be roughly three times the size of the Department of Labor (.pdf). Their CEO, Robert J. Stevens, made $21.9 million dollars last year, or $10,527.80 per hour. That's a pretty sweet deal for the head of a company whose two marquee products, the F-22 and the F-35, have yet to see action in a war-zone because they aren't safe or don't work.

While Lockheed Martin and their buddies in the war industry are rolling in the taxpayers' dough, the rest of us are choking on the ashes of the economy. The unemployment rate in this country as usually quoted in the press exceeds 9 percent. But, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, real unemployment exceeds 16 percent and has remained relatively flat for at least a year. Last month, the economy created zero jobs. Given this very nasty employment picture, there's absolutely no justification for maintaining what's essentially a job-killing corporate welfare program for war profiteers.

By coincidence, President Obama's jobs speech takes place on the same day as the first meeting of the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. If the members of the committee are serious about doing what's best for this country, they'll focus on changes to the budget that have a chance of getting people back to work. Serious cuts to the war budget should be at the top of their list.

War industry corporations like Lockheed Martin know that if Congress does zero in on job creation, their days of living high-on-the-hog may be over. They've banded together under the banner of a front group, "Second To None," to pressure the committee and other influentials on the Hill to protect their profits. [See Nick Turse's excellent piece on AlterNet today detailing just who is behind the Second To None effort.] They plan to stage a "march to the Hill" on Tuesday, and with members of the so-called "Super Committee" having taken well over a million dollars in campaign and PAC contributions from these war profiteers, there's a real danger that Second To None could "cash in," corrupting the process to shield their job-killing profits.

Brave New Foundation's War Costs campaign is working to put Second To None on the defensive. That's why we're running a full-page ad in Politico on Monday to call out Second To None's deceptive spin on jobs and to tell Congress we need jobs, not war industry profits that are killing our economy. Please consider joining our effort.

Follow the War Costs campaign on Facebook, and follow Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe on Twitter to stay updated about War Costs' latest actions to expose the true costs of our nation's obsession with war spending.

Originally posted to RobertGreenwald on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Amateur Left, Military Community Members of Daily Kos, Group W: Resisting War, Progressive Policy Zone, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Jobs Wages and Community Investment Working Group, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

    •  There's Been One of Those Infomercials for 60's (12+ / 0-)

      TV show video collections, either entirely or including Laugh-In. I saw it a lot off hours on cable TV channels during the Bush Admin.

      It featured a clip of Rowan and Martin awarding the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award to the War Department for spending more than our poverty programs.

      As FSM is my witness!

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:53:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Someone did answer that question (4+ / 0-)

      with the book How Stupid Are We?  I made the mistake of reading it.  Since then, I have viewed public discussion and poll results through a much more jaded different lens.

      The expression "dumb as a post" just became a lot more insulting.

      by geomoo on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:29:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But the deficit doesn't matter, right? (0+ / 0-)

      But it does if its caused by war spending? Or is "we can have better outcomes with that money" what you meant?

      "Organized Labor....keeping (unemployed) people from (poverty-wage) jobs since the 19th Century"

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:50:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, gee, I wonder what the answer to that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jts327

        question is?

        It's not just the money: The military industrialists are warping not only our society, turning us into "non-autonomous dollar generating robots" (the ones who still have jobs) to fund an enormous parallel, parasitic monster, one that is busily trying to develop "autonomous battle robots" to go trash each other as part of some endless tail-chase of destruction. A monster that is busily redefining the entire planet into nothing but a set of present and potential conflicts, in a "Networked Battlespace" that these fuckers are all about "managing," and getting important and rich off of. It's devolving into a gladiatorial contest, where the combatants are all armed and owned by the same set of "capitalists."

        Fer Crissakes, our generals actually PAY the people they choose to call "Taliban" not to attack the convoys that are delivering $440-a-gallon fuel to the locales where the gladiators are currently pretending to do something effective in the way of "furthering US national interests," on the way to a miasmic "successful winning victory." And hundreds of billions of dollars in cold, hard, non-sequential, used, $100 bills are disappearing, whole pallet-loads at a time, into the "fog of war," and I get sick of repeating and thinking about all the other sicknesses of the War is a Racket crowd.

        And as with so much else that's wrong with out culture, this set of maybe 10-12 million of us who are "invested" and enlisted and related by contract to this gigantic cluster-bomb-fuck , have sold the rest of us a total bill of goods, sold us down a dead-end road at the end of which are "really cool" and "really lethal" weapons that stand, far as I can tell, a pretty good chance of killing off the whole species. One might also think that somebody or something put these folks up to it -- some misanthropic Milo Minderbinder, happy to bomb his own troops for cost plus 15%.

        Yes, a whole lot of other, healthier, kinder stuff, that would induce some more stability and sustainability in the human-occupied parts of the planet, could indeed be done with that approximately $1.5 trillion a year that's getting dumped into the belly of Moloch the War God.

        And cutting those Imperial Star Trooper costs will keep the zombies who live on planning and executing "conflict" in every conceivable corner of the planet, using every artifice of "doctrine" and every kind of destructive device to "project their power," from sucking the rest of the planet into some extended playout of "Call of Duty" leading to something that is likely to look more like the world that sends back a "Terminator" to ensure the end of humanity.

        Instead, we have the MICbastards circling their battle wagons, telling us that even the tiniest reduction in the RATE OF GROWTH OF THE "DEFENSE BUDGET," the curtailing or ending of even the most obscure and obscene weapon system or program, will cause the Union to crumble into dust before the onslaught of 18th century tribesmen armed with AKs and RPGs. Or with F-16s and F-22s, and anti-aircraft missiles, and fuel-air explosives and hosts of other weapons sold to them via the grand US "WE'RE NUMBER ONE" weapons bazaar. Telling us that even if the F-22 and F-35 and V-22 and four more carrier groups and all the rest are economically dysfunctional and tactically and strategically meaningless relative to any real "threats," that they are in fact "jobs programs." Here's a brief discussion, with an internal link to Lockheed-Martin's own petition to Obama to Save The Plane, http://www.wired.com/... , and a slightly different take from the "never met a weapons system we couldn't make a huge profit off of whether it 'works' or not" Defense industry Daily: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/...

        But hey, we have mostly bought into their version of the Game of RISK!, and are stuck here at the game board until it's played out, and all the world's wealth is transformed into scrap metal and decomposed bodies...

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:51:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can make diaries, too. nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ItsaMathJoke

          "Organized Labor....keeping (unemployed) people from (poverty-wage) jobs since the 19th Century"

          by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:08:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  wow (0+ / 0-)

          the best comment i have read in years of lurking and finally figuring out what url meant to join, our deficit our third world becoming country is because of inflated, ridiculous, scare us to death, salute or be a terrorist sympathizer, and i am glad i am old and unhealthy and will not live to see the neo fascist america that the formerly reasonable republican party has become. and when you, if you, pray, please pray to the old testament God, Jesus has become a talking point for todays republican party.  wwjd after he wrecked the for profit churches, the millionaire pastors who berate the poor,  the hypocritical politicians who suck the corporate tit.  as a nonbeliever i really want to believe in the fire next time.  2 peter 3:7-12

          ...sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without a passport,whereas Virtue, if a pauper is stopped at all frontiers. from The Sermon, Moby Dick

          by jts327 on Fri Sep 09, 2011 at 08:46:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  tipped and recc'd! (10+ / 0-)

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:34:25 AM PDT

  •  Destroying vs Building (8+ / 0-)

    at least Huntsman made that point last night -- to end the wars and start 'nation building at home' --  hard to argue with that ...

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:37:20 AM PDT

  •  34 words that will have me applauding wildly. (7+ / 0-)

    "If I can't dance, then I don't want to be in your revolution"--Emma Goldman

    by ehrenfeucht games on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:43:13 AM PDT

  •  Oh, if only the world were as simple as you (3+ / 0-)

    portray it to be.

    So, given that we spend well in excess of $700 billion every year on war in this country, it's fair to say that our obsession with war spending is sucking the life right out of our economy.

    The defense budget does not = "war spending".

    Our actual war spending is set for a stark downward trajectory with nearly all the 180k troops that were in Iraq in 2008 being withdrawn and a troop reduction by 1/3 kicking in over the next year in Afghanistan.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan did, indeed, increase the deficit alot, but not nearly as much as the Bush tax cuts did.

    Furthermore, some of our war spending does actually directly create jobs.

    The equipment being provided to the Afghan National Army has, for example, created and/or saved jobs in New Orleans and the Midwest.

    That being said, I hpe to see both the defense budget and war spending reduced more in the future.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:48:01 AM PDT

    •  Uhhh, War Spending = Jobs (7+ / 0-)

      I get it, but where's the real upside to weapons being our Number One export to the world?

      The equipment being provided to the Afghan National Army has, for example, created and/or saved jobs in New Orleans and the Midwest.

      Couldn't we just as easily/readily assist Afghanistan with solar/wind power? sanitation and water supply infrastructure? schools? universities?

      Why does it have to be All War, All the Time with the freaks running the Circus in the U.S.??

      "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

      by Superpole on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:53:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See Gooserock's comment below. -eom- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GoGoGoEverton, divineorder

        We reach for the stars with shaking hands in bare-knuckle times.

        by TheOrchid on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:55:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, we could and we do: (0+ / 0-)
        Couldn't we just as easily/readily assist Afghanistan with solar/wind power? sanitation and water supply infrastructure? schools? universities?

        And we could, indeed, do more.

        There is that pesky problem of so many regions in Afghanistan not having had a sufficient level of security for development aid, though.  You can't provide schools, water sanitation, and infrastructure if it keeps getting blown up by fanatics who feel threatened by it because they know that it will loosen their grip on control.

        If the Afghan National Army is going to have a chance of providing that, then they're going to need the up-armoured humvees and armoured security vehicles that we are providing.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:06:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Come on, it's Afghanistan. We want to combat (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GoGoGoEverton, llbear, joe shikspack

          the religious radicals we'd be better off dumping millions of TVs and pumping American Idol through their airwaves 24/7/365.

          Military equipment requires expensive maintenance. Are we going to be footing that bill, or are we going to be OK with having strapped their economy with a crazy military budget like ours?

          •  The international community will likely be footing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            flight2q

            the bill for quite some time.

            The TV's won't work when there's no electricity.

            To get electricity everywhere, you need security.

            That's just the way it is.

            Afghans already have a version of American Idol, btw.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:52:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, won't that be like...forever. (0+ / 0-)

              Footing the bill that is, given there's a potentially endless supply of religious radicals right across the border in Pakistan?

              Was it really our intention all along to turn Afghanistan into a fledgling democracy?

              •  There's no reason for it to be "forever". (0+ / 0-)

                Afghanistan has some pretty good mineral resources.

                As security improves and they continue to unlock those revenue sources, they'll increasingly be able to foot the bill themselves.

                They'd actually be much further down the road with this already if Bush/Cheney hadn't done such a hatchet job of it all.

                "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                by Lawrence on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:21:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't, but that doesn't make you right. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't want to see defense spending to the extent it is, but to say it doesn't help the economy is crazy.

        "Organized Labor....keeping (unemployed) people from (poverty-wage) jobs since the 19th Century"

        by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:52:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Disagree Strongly. Cut Not a Single Penny -- (16+ / 0-)
    "Good evening. To get American working again, we must redirect our massive war budget and invest about 2/3 of that spending in developing alternative energy independence and ending the existential threat to our way of life caused by climate change. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."

    Retask most of the MIC to alt energy and climate change. Don't cut it, just change it from mayhem to genuinely defending our country.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:50:05 AM PDT

  •  Would be nice and one thing to look for will be (8+ / 0-)

    IF the Iraq and Afghanistan wars wind down, will there be a corresponding reduction in the defense and national security budget.  The neocon plan was to build up the defense budget and the military to unprecedented and unchallenged levels for the global supremacy agenda.  We're not getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan completely and there are many other problems spots for "american interests" around the earth, so it doesn't appear likely defense and national security budgets will be reduced significantly, if at all.  The most we'll get is a bone to make it look like something is being done.  

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:02:38 AM PDT

  •  A demostration chant I like (8+ / 0-)

                           HOW TO FIX THE DEFICIT
                     STOP THE WARS AND TAX THE RICH

  •  Pass The War Is Making You Poor Act. (5+ / 0-)

    Oh, wait...that's right...much of our government is completely irrational. Never mind.

    "This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it." -- Keith Olbermann

    by allergywoman on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:19:35 AM PDT

  •  Notice the language Second to None is using, (6+ / 0-)

    "force us to cede global leadership in a time of increasing threats,” reads a breathless explanation on the group’s website. “Even as we balance budgets, the United States must do what it takes to remain Second to None.”

    That's straight from the neocon playbook.  PNAC used the exact same language and threats in the runup to the Iraq war and for setting the foreign policy and national security agenda for the U.S.  The whole idea is to rule the earth with the massive military.  PNAC's successor organization, Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) also uses the same language.  Obviously the neocons and the giant defense contractors are working hand in hand on this.  The question is, how much has Obama and his admin bought into the global supremacy agenda, as well as our political representatives.  

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:24:01 AM PDT

  •  Republished to Group W. We need one of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss

    these per day until it begins to sink in.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:47:39 AM PDT

  •  Psssst: The POTUS is Not Actually in Charge (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, llbear

    of the rogue Pentagon.

    n/t.

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:48:44 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the Diary RG (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, flight2q

    We are being bled dry.  The War Department is a massive vacuum cleaner that sucks money out of the economy and diverts it to itself.

    I've always said that as we destroy other countries, we ourselves will be destroyed.  This was back in 2003 when we started the 'Shock & Awe' campaign of dropping bombs on top of houses in Baghdad.  People who were not a threat to this country.

    The thing to remember is, the people who are running the Pentagon, they're fanatics and have only one goal in mind: to make more money.

  •  Not to mention the deadly results. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, Cliss, flight2q

    Humans are definitely not civilized enough to resist applying violence when doing so will result in profits.

    The expression "dumb as a post" just became a lot more insulting.

    by geomoo on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:27:22 AM PDT

  •  Wasn't that the point? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, flight2q

    The wars - especially the Iraq War - were designed to be so over-the-top, out-of-control expensive that they would suck all up all the money available. They were sold as completly necessary. Anyone who didn't want to spend all that money fighting "terrorism" was probably a terrorist sympathizer! But the point of them was to destroy all the social programs of the New Deal,  and get rich doing it.

    Bush was able to get by on deficit spending and borrowing. But the GOP knew that if a Democrat ever managed to get into the Oval Office again, they had a ready-made way to destroy him or her and all his or her programs: bitch and moan and scream about deficit spending. Since you could get rid of ALL discretionary spending and still run deficits with a Defense budget as high as it is, the only place left to cut would be SSI and Medicare.

    This is exactly the play that we've been seeing. The GOP will continue to suck tax dollars out of the American people and funnel them to their own interests in Defense and fossil fuels until the entire country is bankrupt. Then they will pack up and move to Singapore, or wherever they are building their gated communities these days.

    But it's not like this wasn't clear from the beginning. Why else would the Republicans insist that cutting the Defense budget - just like raising taxes - is completely verboten?

    They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

    by Louise on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:43:06 AM PDT

  •  Here's an idea, end the wars (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    llbear, Cliss

    Medicare for all.

    No better "stimulus" and job creation program out there.

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:48:20 AM PDT

  •  Not in a vacuum it's not. (0+ / 0-)

    You're arguing that we should be spending all the money we're currently spending on two+ wars/occupations/garrisons, which is different than saying pouring money into defense contracting isn't keeping people employed in those industries and pumping money into the economy.

    "Organized Labor....keeping (unemployed) people from (poverty-wage) jobs since the 19th Century"

    by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:49:24 AM PDT

    •  Sure it keeps people employed and affects the (0+ / 0-)

      economy but the point is there are much better ways to create many more jobs than thru the MIC and the global military agenda.  

      S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:02:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, it's not really burning down our economy (0+ / 0-)

        but our economy needs those expenditures domestically in order to help strengthen it, right?

        Sorry, I'm having a bad few days with people titling diaries one thing and then saying "well that's not really the point".

        "Organized Labor....keeping (unemployed) people from (poverty-wage) jobs since the 19th Century"

        by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:14:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It could be said it is hurting the economy (0+ / 0-)

          compared to other options.  It definitely is a major contributor to the budget deficit and the national debt which is going to force unfortunate decisions on domestic programs (assuming defense and national security remain basically untouched).  Those decisions could have a further snowball effect on employment and the economy.  Changing something as big as the MIC is now will definitely require a balanced transition.  

          S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

          by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:25:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  of course it is, so what is new??? (0+ / 0-)

    it will change....

    http://october2011.org/...

    Please do not tell me you are involved by being a member of DK4.... really get involved...... http://october2011.org/frontpage.... The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:53:02 AM PDT

  •  My signature is one that I want to lose (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, Cliss

    The Commander in Chief must end both wars immediately, to both save money and - most importantly - save lives[not just our guys, but Afghanis and Iraqis].

    If, after 10 years and trillions of dollars we don't have a list of accomplishments, these ventures have been failures.
    The soldiers have been heroic - their senior officers not so much.

    President Obama has never been able to take command, implement his own policies, and conduct his own vision of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In spite of his stated desire to leave both countries, Petraeus independently negotiated another 2  years in Afghanistan. This has been a tail wagging the dog administration from day one.

    Bring them all home NOW. There is no longer any excuse.

    by llbear on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:53:43 AM PDT

  •  good diary, thanks for bringing this up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    it's a hard topic to talk about in polite company...at least that is my experience.  Conversation today with two co-workers was pretty typical, I listened to them knock food-stamp recipients who had the gall to also by beer and cigarettes with their available cash, discuss drug-testing welfare recipients, etc. but could I bring up the topic of empire...no, I could not.

    Shame on this coward...if we can't speak what we percieve as truth we will not move forward.

    "He's a walking contradicion, partly truth and partly fiction, taking every misdirection on his lonely way back home" Kris Kristofferson, "The Pilgrim"

    by Wonton Tom on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 05:11:29 PM PDT

    •  I know what you mean. (0+ / 0-)

      Defense spending is welfare for engineers. Just don't say that around where I work... as an engineer... for a defense contractor.

      Reality has a well-known liberal bias -- Stephen Colbert

      by ItsaMathJoke on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:18:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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