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Politics – The Week That Was

parl house

The reality of political conservatism is now well and truly with us. A three year journey of rule by an ideology that believes in privilege over altruistic necessity has begun. It must be said however, that the conservatives won the election and are perfectly entitled to govern.

Tony Abbott once said that ‘’oppositions oppose”. A statement I found to be intellectually barren. Oppositions also have a responsibility to the people and the common good and should act in a bi partisan manner when necessary. They should also hold the government to account for its actions and policies in the stoutest way possible.

Writers of the left (particularly bloggers) also have similar responsibilities. I have wondered since the election what I will write about for the next three years. I have concluded that it is also my duty to hold the government to account. To see to it that the Government governs honestly and transparently and that the media reports news rather than opinion in the guise of propaganda.

Now a week is a long time in politics. Take this week for example we had . . . Well let’s look at them individually and in no particular order as the talent show host would say.

Guess who’s coming to dinner.

Earlier in the week we were advised that the Prime Minister was having a dinner party for those in the right wing media who had given their support in the election campaign. I wondered if there was a room large enough. We were told by Peta Credlin that it was a private function but she couldn’t say who was footing the bill. Given that Tony Abbott is the main culprit in the expenses scandal one would have thought that he would be anxious to appear beyond reproach.

I agree that he should be able to entertain whoever he likes. Just so long as he pays the bill.

The guest list was a who’s who of far right media representation. Andrew Bolt couldn’t make it but indicated he considered Mr Abbott:

”Thoughtful, modest, kind, serious, practical and well-read”.

I seem to recall there were a few things he didn’t read that led to a bit of lying. And perhaps the journalists should all consider charging for the support they give the government. It might help with their declining advertising revenues.

Some of those invited were:

Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, Alan Jones, Janet Albrechtsen, Miranda Devine, Chris Kenny, Col Allan, Paul Sheehan and Gerard Henderson.

I’m sure they all gave their undying loyalty to the conservative cause and that in due course Tony Abbott will legislate to give them all the unbridled freedom of expression they think they need.

Commission of Audit.

And of course we had the announcement of a ‘’Commission of Audit’’. It is supposedly independent but it is led by LCP supporters. One in particular who has financially benefited from his association with the party. Of course eliminated from the audit is revenue, health, education and defence. Complicating matters will be Abbott’s unaffordable Parental Leave Scheme and a commitment to removing Labor’s means test on Private Health Insurance.

And they plan to help pay for the Parental Leave scheme with the superannuation tax breaks promised to lower wage earners. Mostly women, and the elimination on the kids schools bonus.

Trust conservatives to get their priorities in order.

Why are some babies more valuable than others you might ask?

Time will tell, but I will be surprised if the audit doesn’t say that the budget is a disaster and we need cuts cuts and more cuts. Oh but there might just be some concessions for big business.

Washington Post interview.

Tony Abbott last weekend gave an interview to the Washington Post which can only be described in diplomacy terms as pathetic. As Dr Clinton Fernandes said. “Americans will see Tony Abbott as uncouth, coarse and amateurish.”

It is however typical of Abbott. He has never been able to control his tongue. Remember how he ran down the then government in the parliament in front of the American President and backed it up when the Indonesian President visited. You simply don’t bad mouth your own country to foreign journalists.

The Tasmanian Speech.

For years now neo conservatives around the world have been saying that the term “Climate Change” is but a ploy to replace socialism with environmentalism. Abbott said this.

“Let’s be under no illusions the carbon tax was socialism masquerading as environmentalism”

With this statement the Prime Minister confirmed what I have long suspected He does not believe in the science. He thinks it’s crap. The cat is out of the bag.

Then on Wednesday the Federal Government’s independent climate policy adviser declared Australia’s emissions reduction target inadequate and not credible. This is the same body Abbott plans to dump in January which only reinforces his total disregard for science.

The draft report said that Australia’s commitment to cutting emissions by 5 per cent from 2000 levels by 2020 would leave Australia lagging behind other comparable countries like the United States.

Throughout the week discussion has centred on whether Labor will drop its Carbon Tax policy. To do so would be a further capitulation on policy. They should persist with it while at the same time exposing the governments Direct Action plan for the sham it is. At the first sitting of question time every question should be directed at Abbott and Hunt on the finer points of its policy. For three years Tony Abbott has shouted about the ‘’toxic tax’” and turned people against science. It must be forced to explain how its scheme works. No one else can.

Suggesting that towns would be wiped from the map and that roast chickens would cost $100 may very well win you government but now real viable solutions are required.

First indications suggest that Hunt is intent on disregarding this report in the same manner as he has many others.

Then on Thursday the Guardian reported that One third of articles in Australia’s major newspapers rejected or cast doubt on the overwhelming findings of climate science, with climate sceptic Andrew Bolt monopolising coverage of the topic in several high-circulation News Corporation titles, according to a new analysis.

A study of 602 articles in 10 newspapers by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism found that 32% dismissed or questioned whether human activity was causing the climate to change. The articles were analysed between February and April in 2011 and again in the same period in 2012.

Significantly, newspapers based a small fraction of their coverage on peer-reviewed science, instead relying heavily on comment pieces penned by writers without a scientific background.

Isn’t it extraordinary that Australia’s largest newspaper circulation publisher chooses not to report on the findings of 97% of the world’s climate scientists?

‘The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of scientific fact, truth and reason,never ceases to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rationale explanation’

Pink Batts Witch Hunt Inquiry.

Invoking inquiries that are so obviously political sets a dangerous precedent. We have had eight enquiries thus far into Pink Bats that have revealed nothing that is not already known. When finally the judges reveal the result of the Ashbygate appeal can we also have one into it?

HECS Debt

On Q&A Monday night Christopher Pyne the minister with an opinion on everything canvassed the possibility of selling of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme debt to private enterprise. This was promoted in England and proved so unpopular that the government decided not to proceed.

There is no interest on HECS fees and some 20 per cent of the debt is never repaid. Selling the current and future debt could only result in fees becoming more expensive because interest would have to be charged. This would make a University education more expensive for those who are already battling.

I think I shall end here. There were other topics worthy of comment such as the report into the standard of high school education. Malcolm Turnbull’s backflip on his NBN promise. Joe Hockey’s abysmal hypocrisy and self interest on debt and borrowing and his downgrading of the NDIS, but I am told my writing can be a bit long.

Before I end though I must draw your attention to the best piece I read this week.

https://theaimn.com/2013/10/30/an-open-letter-to-bill-shorten/

An afterthought on Andrew Bolt.

Dan Rowden also recently wrote an article for The AIMN revealing the absurdity of Bolt’s writing. I also wrote one earlier in the month. For whatever reason the artist Picasso popped into my head. You see Picasso at the height of his popularity knew that he could produce absolute rubbish and people would believe it was good and he would be paid millions for it. Bolt also knows that he can produce rubbish, people will like it and he will be paid handsomely for it. Not a bad analogy I should think.

https://theaimn.com/2013/10/28/well-that-was-embarrassing-andrew/

https://theaimn.com/2013/10/12/bolt-protecting-abbott-my-response/

34 comments

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  1. Glenda Rowntree

    Thank you John Lord, it is reassuring to know that there is at least one journalist out there willing to write the truth of the obscenity that is the new Abbott Gov’t. I despair that no media coverage is occurring on the points you raised and which trouble me hourly, there is no scrutiny of any of the serious issues that Australia now faces due the radical right-wing and draconian path we are being led down by this dishonest and unscrupulous conga line of arseholes!

  2. Truth Seeker

    John, thanks for another week in review, love your work 😎

    Keep up the good work john, you country needs you 😀

    It’s interesting that now that the Abbott (And I use the term advisedly) government is bedded in, the other right wing nut-job (and I do mean NUT-JOB) state governments like Newman’s are feeling emboldened to introduce draconian laws that have already turned QLD into a police state, with more waiting in the wings to take the same or a similar path? 😯

    The question now is “How long till we see blood on thee streets?” 🙁

    http://truthseekersmusings.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/how-long-before-we-see-blood-on-the-streets/

    Cheers 😀

  3. DC

    Thanks for the review John. Not an easy task keeping track of all the terrible decisions being from this new gov. Also a very depressing task but someone needs to do it. Appreciated

  4. DC

    And you too Kaye Lee, always very interesting points. Do you have your own website?

  5. Kaye Lee

    One of the many things I found troubling about this week is the ever-expanding secrecy surrounding this government.

    Following on from Scott Morrison’s hide the boats policy, and Tony’s Indonesian press conference that the Indonesian press were locked out of, we had both Treasury and the PM’s office declining FOI requests to make available the blue book that Treasury provides to the incoming government. Could that be because it suggests the Coalition’s PPL and DAP are unaffordable? Could it be that there are faulty assumptions about savings? Treasury said they couldn’t release the info because it might “damage their relationship with the new PM and hinder their ability to be frank in the future”. I mean really????

    We then had journalists locked out of a “public briefing” about the TPP. FOI requests about the TPP negotiations have been repeatedly denied. Tony wants the negotiations rushed through without any scrutiny.

    Combine these with the gagging by Peta Credlin of candidates during the campaign, and MPs (including Ministers) since the election, as well as the gag clauses in NFP funding contracts, and it is shaping up to a very scary picture where this government feels they have the right to rule without informing the people who elected them of what they are doing, while sacking or gagging anyone who might speak up..

    “Without accountability and transparency, democracy falters.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/30/trans-pacific-partnership-tpp-dfat?CMP=soc_568

  6. J.Fraser

    Murdoch gave the Lowy Institute Lecture last night and I was hoping to be able to read some questions from journalists to Murdoch …. in relation to anything.

    But unfortunately it was not to be.

    Journalists were told that Murdoch would not be taking questions.

  7. Pete Hamrol

    Another slap in the face by the ABBOTT government; the banks are set to raise the interest rates by 0.3% in an attempt to stimulate the economy … Paying extra on a housing mortgage doesn’t stimulate the household budget for the average Joe … Unlike LABOR, the excuse of the LNP uses is because of the high dollar exchange rate … To me this is crap because during 2012 when the Aussie dollar was better than the US dollar banks at around AU$1.00 = US$1.05 the banks still dropped the the interest rates … So, tell me, who is the most honest government? With the government allowing the banks to now raise their interest rates, does this sound that Australia is heading for recession? I certainly hope not but don’t hold your breath; the LNP are going to disadvantage all working class and below Australians to benefit the banks and the corporate elitists …

  8. Kaye Lee

    “FIXED term interest rates have increased for the first time in three and a half years and variable rates are set to rise, with experts calling the end of the current cheap home-loan cycle.

    Bank sources and economists blamed the rise on increases in funding costs, with the big four banks quietly hiking their fixed terms by 0.3 per cent in October.”

    ANZ posted an 11 percent rise in full-year cash earnings to A$6.5 billion.

    National Australia Bank (NAB) has reported a full year profit of $5.94bn for the 2013 financial year ended September 30, an increase of 9.3% compared to 2012.

    The Commonwealth Bank’s annual profit has climbed to a new record of $7.67 billion. Australia’s biggest bank says its earnings for the 2012-13 financial year increased by 8 per cent.

    It is expected that Westpac will also announce a profits of $7.1 billion

    So much for keeping the cost of living down, but make sure you provide a good business environment for those poor struggling banks and mining companies.

  9. Melanie Crisp

    Nice article but you left out the story that’s really important and no-one is talking about.
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

  10. Joe Banks

    Instead, Abbott was given every opportunity to promulgate his defective ideas and plans for Australia as if they had some basis in logic.

  11. Joe Banks

    Thank you, John… It has always been my view that Labor’s approach to Tony Abbott and his crew was all wrong. The psychology was always wrong. When Abbott became leader, Labor should have immediately and openly treated the man and his ideas with disdain. His tantrums, his slogans, his delusions, should have been scoffed at right from the start so that they never had any credence. Right from the very begining, Abbott should have been treated like the clown he is… Labor should have developed its own three word slogans to describe Abbott and his delusional crew for exactly what they are.
    If this had been done persistently and forcefully at every opportunity it could have gathered momentum and changed the ‘general view’ of Tony Abbott.
    Instead, Abbott was given every opportunity to promulgate his defective ideas and plans for Australia as if they had some basis in logic. And here we are!

  12. John Beaumont

    The great thing about articles such as this is the clear indication that the election of an Abbott government is really giving the self righteous, born to rule fantasists of the left, the absolute shits.

  13. Angela

    excellent read! we need a good timeline of what Mr Snollygoster is doing!

    Bolt has a ‘man-crush’ on Abbott….they all act like ‘groupies’!

  14. John Beaumont

    Angela, and what about the crush that so many had for Rudd and Gillard and the ALP, not to mention the self appointed guardians of righteousness, like Mr Lord, Margot Kingston, half the Fairfax, ABC and SBS newsrooms and the various fringe left media trying to justify the corruption of various Labor figures?

  15. Kaye Lee

    Actually John Beaumont, the thing I have found is that the Coalition and its supporters have nothing at all to say. It seems to me that they can’t quite fathom that they are in government. All they ever do is criticise Labor and “fantasists of the left” or they talk about leadership challenges and disunity in the Labor Party. While the rest of us are busy analysing the new government’s policies and performance, you guys are still looking around wondering what you do when you are the decision makers. It’s quite tragic really. I have asked countless times, as have many others, what do the Coalition have to offer. Never get an answer.

  16. Abbie

    Thank you , John for keeping us up to date, and up to speed on what this Govt is doing.

    Thank you Kaye Lee for always contributing more facts than I can take in to each of John’s articles.

    It is all so depressing when you can glean the over all picture and to think no one is noticing. The ‘no one’ being the average voter is now complacent and happy not to have politics on the front pages of their rags any longer.

    And tell me, where is the Opposition? Where?

  17. John Beaumont

    Kaye, the corruption was alleged against Thompson. The evidence in support of that was there, hence the legal action. The allowances are a scam perpetrated by BOTH sides of politics on the taxpayer. Labor is no less innocent.
    “Lying” about the state of the economy? Is that like lying that there’d be a surplus in 2012-2013, over 500 times ?? Or promising there’d be no carbon tax prior to the election.
    Oh, and changing laws to keep your mates happy ? Well Keating and Hawkie did that in the late 1980s to give Rupert Murdoch control over the Herald and Weekly Times.
    Labor has been looking after their mates as long as anyone else, and you’re a fool if you think otherwise.

    I know there are problems with the Lib side of politics, and I know there are even more with Labor.

    It’s only the morally corrupt fools of the left who refuse to acknowledge the endemic failures of Labor.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Corruption like getting together a fund to send innocent people to jail? Or corruption like conspiring to destroy a man in an attempt to bring down a government? Or corruption like claiming allowances to go on a book selling tour? Or corruption like lying to the Australian people about the state of our economy and the threat from climate change? Or corruption like changing laws to keep your mates happy?

  19. TimePasser

    Thank you again John Lord for your reliable outpourings. This time, though, I confess that I don’t agree with you on one point: “….that the conservatives won the election and are perfectly entitled to govern.”

    The LNP is in power only because it lied, cheated, abused, defamed, deceived & destroyed its way into that position… aided and abetted by the Australian media. The irony is that, as a ‘sportsman’, Tony Abbott would never have achieved ‘winner’ status in any sporting event by those same tactics.

    How pathetic that sporting events are more fairly determined than an election of the Australian Parliament. Tony Abbott and his ‘team’ would have been banned for life by sporting bodies for the cheating and deception and the ‘tampering with’ and the ‘bringing into disrepute’ of the sport.

    When only one side in a sporting event is playing by the rules, referees intervene and the offenders are sent off the field; repeat offenders are banned for life. There are riots when referees are believed to be partial. If ‘cheating’ is discovered, the perpetrators are stripped of their medals and records; drug cheats are banned for life after extensive, formal enquiries before sporting panels and even courts of law BUT…..

    What happens to the cheats who are so high on the ‘lust for power drug’ that they will stop at nothing, will break any rule to attain their goal? What happens to those who defame individuals; who dip into public funds to promote their party and gain votes; who denigrate their own country to deceive and frighten its people; who would persuade the law enforcers and even abuse the Courts to gain power over the citizens of this country???? What happens?? NOTHING HAPPENS!!!

    The POLITICAL CHEATS are applauded and rewarded by a ‘SPORT-CRAZED’ population that demands fairness and transparency even in a backyard game of cricket but accepts ZERO enforcement of rules in the ELECTIONEERING of those who will lead them into the future.

    This Nation values Sport and its rules so passionately that it comes to a complete standstill for a Horse Race; exudes feverish enthusiasm at Footy Grand Finals and is glued to Olympic Games TV like limpets but it values its own way of life and future so little that it simply turns a blind eye when the rules of democratic society are broken. It even allows the media to dictate which team to barrack for!

    No John, on any fair measure, I say the conservatives DID NOT WIN the election and they are NOT ENTITLED to govern.

  20. DC

    Kaye Lee well please continue, your comments are very informative & relevant. As are many others.

    Melanie Crisp I agree, this TPP thing is very worrying. Not sure if it is a deliberate tactic but it seems Abbott & Co have overwhelmed concerned citizens with so much at once that it has taken attention from this deal. It has beeen dubbed “The Corporate Trojan Horse”

  21. John Beaumont

    Craig Thomson’s defence appears to be that he was perfectly entitled to use his union credit card to go (allegedly) whoring and (allegedly) paying for his political campaign.

    The ALP paid his legal bills (for a failed defamation action) to keep their dodgy majority in the Reps.
    Gillard’s allegations date back 17 to 20 years, but Abbotts union accusations date back further. Doesn’t stop the ALP does it.

    Face facts, the ALP are practitioners of high handed hypocrisy without equal and their failures were failures, plain and simple. Grocery watch, fuel watch, super clinics and all that shit were promises which never materialised. It wasn’t communication (other than the fact that they made promises they could never keep) it was implementation.

    What policies do the coalition have ? Well, the ability to run a competent government is a good start.

  22. TimePasser

    John Beaumont, you and I are not in total disagreement. I did not mention Labor but will argue that ANYONE who deliberately cheats on the Australian people does not deserve to represent them.

    Deceit, abuse, vilification etc. has no place in Australia and if we accept that “it is OK from one side of politics but not the other” or that “it is OK from this side because the other does it too!”… then you will agree that our political system is in serious trouble because the standards are continually dropping.

    The great value of site’s such as John Lord’s is that voters like you and I find common ground in our distaste for hypocrisy and our desire to see a change for the better. Thank you for responding to my comment.

  23. John Beaumont

    Timepasser, you dipstick, on that basis Labor did not win the 2007 election because they lied their way through the campaign, “More of the same fiscal conservatism as Howard but more sharing and caring”, and then mucked up everything they touched, leaving aside the GFC.

    The Libs certainly had the odious Murdoch media rooting for them (the same odious Murdoch media who have cheered Labor on in the past) while Labor had the Fairfax press as well as some of the commercial TV networks as well as SBS and ABC siding with Labor.

    Hey, I don’t vote Labor, but I can see where there’s deliberate and inexcusable bias towards the Libs.

    Sadly some Labor voters are too stupid or too blinded by ideology to be objective about media bias when it doesn’t go their way.

    Keep up the stupidity, it will continue to lead you to electoral irrelevance.

  24. Kaye Lee

    John Beaumont, you talk about Craig Thomson. Last I heard, Fair Work Australia were looking to settle. You are discussing alleged actions that took place before he was a MP. Likewise with the ridiculous amount of Parliamentary time wasted on the AWU slush fund which happened what, 20 years ago? Tony’s indiscretions have been recent and repeated. It does appear that some people on both sides have rorted their entitlements but the vast majority that I have heard about have been by Coalition members.

    Re the promised surplus, I agree it was silly to make definitive statements but I think you will find that Mr Hockey kept up the surplus promise for longer than Wayne Swan did, and striving for a quick surplus was a stupid aim for both of them brought about by the hysteria caused by Abbott’s ridiculous debt and “budget emergency” lie. And on the “no carbon tax” thing you are no doubt aware that the rest of that sentence said “but make no mistake, we intend putting a price on carbon and will take victory in this election as a mandate to do so.”

    Labor’s failures have been discussed at length at this site and many others. They were not policy failures, they were advertising and spin and image and communication failures. The disunity cost them an election that their policies should have won for them.

    Without name-calling or being abusive (a tough ask I know), tell me what the Coalition has to offer. What policies of theirs will make this a better country?

  25. Kaye Lee

    Care to be more specific. I know we have the “adults” in charge now but I am getting a little concerned about these so-called adults ability to do their jobs.

    They have had the Direct action policy for about 4 years now and they have to ask the public for submissions on how to make it work???? They are being very secretive about the TPP trade agreements. I hope, in their haste, that they realise and guard against the potential damage that could ensue, like an attack on the PBS because it restricts market prices and the end of generic drugs as drugs will be changed minutely and repatented. There are also concerns about copyright infringement when things are shared on the internet. We could be sued by mining companies for any environmental restrictions we may enact – we are already being sued for our plain packaging laws. It’s a potential nightmare and I think wanting to conclude secret negotiations in less than 2 months is most unwise.

    A lot was said about debt – Labor were apparently borrowing 83 million a day. Well Joe Hockey, with his very generous and unnecessary gift of a borrowed 9 billion dollars to the RBA, has been borrowing 265 million a day. He cried blue murder when Labor wanted to increase the debt ceiling by 50 billion but his first act is to raise it by a further 200 billion. The wasteful spending must be harder to find than they thought as they are projecting reaching a surplus the same year as Labor did (still doubtful if you ask me).

    John Beaumont, the adults in the Coalition started this campaign with the headless chook ad and from my point of view it’s gone downhill from there. What are Peta Credlin’s credentials in dictatorship? Who voted for her to dictate policy and restrict information? How come she sits next to Tony Abbott at important meetings with international leaders instead of someone skilled in trade negotiations or diplomacy or an expert on that country and the topics under discussion? She has overstepped her job running the office and decided to run the country.

    So what have you found so competent so far in either action or word by the Coalition?

  26. johnlord2013

    Craig Thompson is looking to settle with Fair Work. Without condoning the misuse I said to my wife 18 months ago. If there were no rules pertaining to the use of his card,he has nothing to answer. I think you will find that’s where it’s at.

  27. Bacchus

    Agree John – IF that is the case, it is irrelevant whether or not Mr Thomson spent the money (which he still denies doing btw).

  28. Kaye Lee

    The Commission of Audit is made up of 5 cronies who are being paid $1500 a day each to be a rubber stamp. How on earth can 5 people examine every aspect of government spending and report back within a few months.

    We also see Peter Reith being paid by the Victorian Government to advise on fracking when he is paid as a lobbyist by companies with fracking interests.

    And now we see the same thing happening with the supposedly independent review of the NBN. I would highly recommend that you read the article from which this excerpt is taken.

    “In an interview with The Washington Post Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the National Broadband Network (NBN) FTTP rollout as part of the “the wonderful, wacko world of the former government.”

    The Australian public has been led to believe that an open and independent review has commenced into the NBN but what we’re being told is not what is happening over at NBN Co.

    The communications minister Malcolm Turnbull’s review of the NBN is most extraordinary. He has brought in a couple of former close colleagues to oversee the review, put them to work as employees of NBN Co at significant cost, hired three consulting companies to assist them, again utilising scarce NBN Co funds, and asked anyone that had an unalterable stake in the former NBN approach to leave NBN Co.

    Whatever happened to setting up an independent review commission with a chair and panel, terms of reference and budget to carry out a diligent review that includes public hearings?

    A key aspect of an open and independent public review is to ensure that the review panel includes people or organisations with differing views – is this what we see happening at NBN Co? No.

    Where are the review terms of reference? Not available outside government and NBN Co apparently so how can the government claim the review is anything but opaque?”

    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/11/1/technology/questioning-turnbulls-open-and-independent-nbn-reviews?utm_source=exact&utm_medium=email&utm_content=495615&utm_campaign=ts_daily&modapt

  29. hannahquinn

    Reblogged this on The Kettle Press and commented:
    As far as I’m concerned, John Lord could have kept writing. There is much to say and much that needs to be said – often and loudly.

  30. Roswell

    So that’s the week that was. Buckle up, there’s more to come.

  31. lawrencewinder

    The whole shebang is more like a Surrealists dream than a Picasso… and that prat, “Ozone-Hole” Hunt just repeating over and over “Electricity Bill” to the camera beggars description. We are certainly a divided country.

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