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Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America - and How to Stop Him
Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America - and How to Stop Him
by Phil Kerpen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.46
76 used & new from $0.01

82 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Obama Is Bypassing Democracy, Congress and YOU, October 9, 2011
Phil Kerpen has a warning for you, America. He wants to alert you to the fact that Barack Obama is using his powers to create regulations to undermine Congress, ignore voters, and "radically transform America." But Kerpen also has some good news. There's a way to stop this left-wing assault on our country. You can find out what that something is in his new book, (...) How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America -- and How to Stop Him.

Kerpen has an uphill battle to beat back the war that has been launched against America. Why? Because the way our country is being torn down is happening in the most subtle way possible. Worse, it is all being done with such ersatz legality, a legitimacy so seemingly ironclad, that most Americans are completely unaware of what is happening. And when they are aware of it they imagine there is nothing wrong with it all.

That and the way this destruction is happening is not the sort of glamorous outrage that makes for exciting news coverage. In fact, it's quite dull. After all, the way the country is being undermined is through long-winded, legalese-filled, opaque regulatory changes. Red tape. Underhanded, jargon-heavy rules, quietly implemented without fanfare or the light of day revealing them for that matter.

Like I said, Kerpen has an uphill battle not only to alert Americans to what is happening right under their very noses, but to excite them enough to do something about it.

Through the bulk of his book Kerpen outlines the way that Americanness is being smothered in paper with the thousands of pages of new regulations that Obama is weekly churning out from his administration.

Kerpen details the way the Obama administration, guided by a hardcore, left-wing ideology, is attempting to take control of the Internet, is trying to eliminate private property rights, is destroying the business sector in favor of big labor unionization, is using the outsized fear of global warming to ramp up a socialist-styled enlargement of government control on all fronts from the EPA to our energy sector, and more. In each case, Kerpen notes that this regulatory overreach is directly contrary to our American character and our core ideals.

Kerpen also notes that this bacchanalia of regulations and the subsequent growth of the power of the president was even something that the left was exercised about during the eight years of the George W. Bush era. Unfortunately for the veracity of the left, all their concerns of an un-American growth of executive power have been wholly forgotten merely because they like the direction of the obscene overreach implemented by Obama. No end of hypocrisy there, eh?

The final chapter gives us a roadmap to pruning these obscene powers stolen from the Congress and the people by this most leftist president in American history. But, it too has a warning. Just "doing the right thing" and voting is not enough. We must not only vote for representatives that will endeavor to take back their power to legislate from an out of control executive branch, we must follow up and force these elected officials to follow through on the charge we've handed them.

Seems like a good idea to me.

If you are interested in the way the left -- and even some on the far right -- have used the presidency to steal power from we the people and our elected representatives, get this book and read it. Then go forth and make a change we really can believe in.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 26, 2014 7:30 AM PST


Lincoln/Obama Inaugural Bible Collection
Lincoln/Obama Inaugural Bible Collection
16 used & new from $20.00

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Tribute to Dear Leader, November 18, 2009
I was going to buy this exquisite faux inauguration set but in one hand I was clinging so to my old copy of the Bible that I found it hard to get my credit card out of my wallet. It didn't help that in my other hand I was clinging to my gun, either. I have become bitter for not being able to see the light of this wonderful commemorative set celebrating dear leader, too. What am I to do? I know, I'll have my children sing that wonderful ode du Obama they picked up at school. That always brings a smile, eh? Then I can fist bump my wife, apologize to the Mexican doing my lawn, and flip off a veteran. All that outta get me in the mood for the era of Obama, straight away. Ya know? I'm feeling better already.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2010 9:46 PM PDT


The Investing Revolutionaries: How the World's Greatest Investors Take on Wall Street and Win in Any Market
The Investing Revolutionaries: How the World's Greatest Investors Take on Wall Street and Win in Any Market
by James N. Whiddon
Edition: Hardcover
74 used & new from $0.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Taking the Mystery From Investing, August 4, 2009
I just got finished with a book about investing that I highly recommend. It's called "The Investing Revolutionaries" by James N. Whiddon and Nikki Knotts. The subtitle is "how the world's greatest investors take on Wall Street and win in any market" and short interviews with all sorts of high end investors that are making money even in this economic downturn are sprinkled throughout the book.

Now, I am not a money guy so when this book showed up on my table I cringed at the prospect of reading it. But I have to say that this book is no mere dry, archaic tome on investing. Instead, it is part lesson on human nature, part an American apologia, along with a guide to investing principles that everyone should know. This book has some timely advice and is written in a straight forward, understandable way and goes some way toward taking out the alchemic mysteries from the world of investing.

Each interview is uplifting and makes one optimistic about America and our economic system. For instance, author Whiddon spoke with Dinesh D'Souza whose enthusiasm for America is almost infectious:

"...I keep hearing people say 'the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer.' But when I actually looked at American living standards over the past generation -- let's say from World War II, or even 1980 -- what you see is that the rich getting richer, and the poor also get richer, although not at the same pace. So, yes, inequality does rise, but it's rising because more people from the middle class are moving up. So economically, yes. I think the optimist is always right."

Actually, just about every interview in the book is an infectious, upbeat celebration of America' system. It all amounts to an admonition against capitalism bashers and an affirmation that money, wealth, and acquisition is good because it is the tide that raises all boats.

I urge seasoned investors and novice alike to read this book.


Levittown
Levittown
4 used & new from $59.99

8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How "Levittown" Flew WAAAY Over my Head at First, August 7, 2008
This review is from: Levittown (Audio CD)
A few weeks ago, I published my first review of Tony Carey's new Planet P album titled "Levittown." In that review I made no bones about the fact that I hated it. I felt it was entirely anti-American, especially in context with today's tumultuous times. I felt the political ideology underlying the lyrics was a sad, boring holdover from 1960s hippie culture, a blast from the past that seemed to have missed everything that has happened in the last 30 some years and one that certainly ignored the war that "radical" Islam had launched against America and the west since its biggest victory on 9/11. But since I wrote that review I have had cause to doubt my initial interpretation. In fact, I have realized that my reaction was based more on my own prejudices than in a closer examination of the album on its own merits.

So, here is my mea culpa. I have to admit that the true context and purpose of the album might have flown right over my head and I allowed my prejudices take over to fill in the blanks.

First of all, I have to say that I was not very proactive in linking "Levittown" with the previous album, "1931" (from 2003). I vaguely knew they form two parts of a trilogy, but I just didn't take enough time to study the progression from one to the next. Taken together, they present a sort of history lesson of human made misery (is there any other kind?) and, of course, a warning of human stupidity. That, I did get, but what I didn't get is that Carey wasn't positing that this was only a fault found in western civilization. His is a story of human failings, not solely western ones. This trilogy was also supposed to be semi-autobiographical, so it is natural that it be set in the west of his experience. I was not aware of the semi-autobiographical intention with this project until now, though.

Before I go on with my changed impression, I feel compelled to reveal the prejudices that caused me to break bad on this one the first time 'round.

First of all, Carey is about 10 years older than I. When his first few Planet P albums came out in the 1980s I was in my early 20s and not politically interested. So, his themes (echoed in the newer works) did not resonate with me. I only considered Planet P Project (1983) and Pink World (1984) as just cool tunes. And since the 80s I never took the time to revisit the themes of the albums.

Now, since 9/11 I have been increasingly exasperated with "the world," especially our feckless "allies" in Europe. I had a low opinion of them before (due to the fetid UN) but after 9/11 my attitude about Europeans has grown even more sour. Europe seems to be in NO way a friend to America, liberty, democracy or western traditions (The recent news that England sat on her hands in Iraq because she made deals with terrorists so as not to get her soldiers hurt is a prime example, not to mention Europe's uselessness with Iran and the recent attacks in Georgia). Well, I mention Europe because, in case you didn't know, Mr. Carey lives in Germany and has for several decades -- a fact I had known previously.

Anyway, I say that because after I picked up "Levittown" the main prejudices that I came away with were these:

-Carey is a 1970s American rocker (said hippie to me)
-He's an ex-pat American living in Germany (says fled America because he hates it to me)
-The songs are all about western totalitarianism (says he sees none elsewhere to me)

With these prejudices in mind I read that into his every song on "Levittown." Being used to the shallowness of most "art" these days, I never considered for a second that it was any deeper than that.

Now, today I find the war with Islam the chief world issue -- and I do believe it is not a war with "radical" Islam, I feel it is a war with the entire concept of Islam. Islam is a political ideology, totally integrated with the religious. Our big world problem is not energy. Not global warming. Not Britney Spears. And, when I picked up "Levittown" and it seemed to me that, in this day and age, the only criticism he had was aimed solely at the west (as I perceived it, anyway),well all my above prejudices came back to me. All I could hear was a 70s hippie that fled the USA because he hated it, a guy who had a mindset that was stuck in 1968 when all that was evil in the world was spelled US and A. And since most of Europe STILL feels that way, I ascribed it all to Carey, as well.

But here is where this all went over my head. There is still a part three to come and the liner notes of part two clearly show that Carey "gets" the very same issues that motivate and worry me today. I quote from the back page of the CD liner:

"...'Levittown' was originally intended to semi-autobiographically portray that (Carey's generation). Then some other stuff happened, which changed the picture radically. All sorts of chaos, and then of course the Big One, 9/11."

Carey also pointedly carps about the "fatcats in private jets" selling the "fear" of global warming. This, folks, could be none other than our snake oil selling former VP, Al Gore. This fact alone shows me that Carey isn't taken, hook, line and sinker, with the vacuous leftist ideology popular with American academics and European elitists and their sycophantic mimics in the "art" community across the world.

Next I went back to the album with this in mind and re-read the lyrics. I had a new feeling of where Carey was coming from and it made me feel quite differently about his effort with "1931" and "Levittown." That feeling has made me change my mind about the third installment, the one I initially claimed I would not bother with. Now, I need it to complete this picture so that I can discover just how Carey's "history" completes itself. There is obvious hope that I may have misjudged this effort by only seeing it for its parts.

One more thing here. I still don't completely agree with his overly dour look at western history. Taken in totality with human history, western history is a steady and amazing drive to enlightenment, moderation, and liberty that one can too easily miss with Carey's dour lyrics. Certainly one might assume that Carey is purposefully driving his point home in the most stark way possible by highlighting all the bad the west is responsible for. But, I fear that such cynicism also too easily drives any mediation of the good by focusing so heavily on the bad.

Like I said before, I just get so sick and damn tired of west haters saying "well you guys had Hitler, so everything you've done is hypocritical." This single minded self-loathing -- the same self-loathing I now think I wrongly ascribed to Carey -- is the sort of thing that is used by too many to paper over their lack of historical perspective and their inability to understand human nature. After all, even though man's nature is basically a selfish, evil one, it is the precepts of capitalism, democracy, and Christianity as created by western culture that has mitigated toward a more enlightened attitude. I'd like to see some artist out there actually take that into consideration for a change, instead of acting as if everything we've ever done is all woe and damnation.

I am not sold that Carey isn't a bit too pessimistic for me, but having looked closer at the first two parts of his trilogy (with a little help from a friendly elf) and more closely read the liner notes, I find that my initial off handed assessment might have been too hasty. I am cautiously optimistic that the final chapter of his trilogy will show that he isn't as hateful toward western civ as I had at first assumed. So, while I am not completely sold on Carey's viewpoint, I am no longer so sure that his is the ideology of the failed, self-loathing, hippie culture of the left that so infuses most of the vapid members of the entertainment industry (Hello Dixie Chicks).

I really do agree with him that we must not forget the lessons of our own history. But, to focus solely on our faults while celebrating none of our best is, I fear, a mistake that blinds us to the dangers we face from without.

In closing here I will selectively quote Abraham Lincoln:

"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

This is a message not just for Americans, but all people striving to improve our western values. From Greece to England, France and Germany to the United States of America and to the protean democracies of Eastern Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan, we must yield to those better angels of our nature. Yes, we should not forget those historical deficits, but don't let those gremlins overshadow what makes us great, those ideals and philosophies that make our efforts sublime.

So, I will be waiting for part three of Go Out Dancing. As GOD is my witness.

(For Amazon readers, if you want to see my original review, unaltered, go to: [...])
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2013 8:21 PM PST


Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't
Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't
by Stephen R. Prothero
Edition: Hardcover
188 used & new from $0.01

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More like Religious ILLiteracy!, July 11, 2007
Stephen Prothero should be hailed as the great "setter-righter" where it concerns truly how religious Americans are or aren't. It is true, of course, that Americans are generally the more religious of the current great western nations, but the assumption that Americans know much about their religions or even how to BE religious is one that Prothero dispels quite well. He shows us that our actual knowledge of what our own religions really are, what they mean, what their history is and how they differ one from the other is being lost with time. He successfully proves that America is a religious country with little religious knowledge and that our claims at being religious ring a bit hollow.

The best thing about Prothero's revelation is that he chronicles that our loss of religious knowledge didn't just happen with the beginning of the counterculture in the 1960's, but that it began to happen well before the Civil War in the 1800's. According to Prothero, it is a result of our own democratic propensities, but regardless of why it has happened, we must take steps to stop it.

The history that Prothero brings us is illuminative and important for every American to understand.

The history of American religiosity (or irreligiousness as the case may be), though, isn't the only subject of this fine book. The last section deals with how we can rectify the slow drift into religious amnesia by bringing a sensible study of religion back into our schools. Prothero rightfully points out that neither the Constitution nor the Supreme Court has outlawed the teaching of religion in our schools, but only the proselytizing of it. He also rightfully reminds us that our literature, our politics and our history is so closely tied with Christianity that to excise that one aspect of our history gives short shrift to the education we are giving our children and makes of them students unable to truly understand our own society.

Because of the extremists of the "separation of church and state" crowd, we have made our history undecipherable to too many. Prothero is correct in that we must reintroduce the religious aspect o our own history into the classroom to produce well rounded and informed students. He is also right that teaching about religion does not equate to promulgating particular religious tenets but only sets western history in context.

This book is a must read for people wanting to know what happened to religion in America and how to redress the past errors in consideration of religion as well as how to get it back into our schools where it belongs, a goal that has important consequences for every citizen.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2011 1:11 PM PST


George Mason, Forgotten Founder
George Mason, Forgotten Founder
by Jeff Broadwater
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $31.25
50 used & new from $8.33

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We Learn of Him, But Still Don't "know" Him..., April 7, 2007
George Mason, truly an ignored Founder of whom Thomas Jefferson said was "one of our really great men", is treated in a fair and easy to read biography penned by Jeff Broadwater.

The book follows his political career touching upon the many important bills and concepts he introduced into the Revolutionary era Virginia Legislature. The book does a fine job shining a light upon what a key figure to our founding that Mason was.

In many ways, however, one gets a negative view of the man over his constant shirking of duty -- he too often arrived late or not at all to legislative sessions -- and his constant complaining over his health. Granted, if one knows much about the Founders and their era, health seems to be one thing they all constantly whined about. After all, men rarely lived past the late 30s in those days, so any pain or discomfort was feared to be death come a' knocking.

In any case, it was interesting to see the turmoil and difficulty that the state of Virginia had funding and supplying troops to the war effort. With history settled, it is always too easy to feel that the country was united with a single mind and all for the spilt with England as well as ready to sacrifice their last strengths to that effort. Reality, though, is a far different thing than the rose-colored glasses of popular sentiment.

One thing seemed missing from this book, as important as is the information contained within. Mason's voice does not come through in Broadwater's work. We never get as much of a feel for the man as we do for his end work and the times in which he lived.

It's a shame that Broadwater didn't give us more of Mason's own quotes so that we might see what his contemporaries saw in his applauded rhetoric. Perhaps not enough of his own words survive to have attempted that treatment and maybe Broadwater really only had Mason's legislative work from which to glean "the" man, but I still felt the book seemed somewhat detached from the man himself.

In any case, I recommend the book to those who are interested in a Founder who has missed out on the lionizing so many of his fellows have received.


James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights (Pivotal Moments in American History)
James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights (Pivotal Moments in American History)
by Richard E. Labunski
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.83
86 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of struggle, not much of what it was over, January 10, 2007
First of all, I do want to say that author Richard Labunski did a fine job detailing the trials and travails of the road to the first Congress travelled by James Madison, one of our most indispensable Founders. Labunski reminds us that history was, while in the making, not nearly as foregone as it seems this far removed. Madison could have lost his election to the First session of the House of Representatives after the new government was formed causing the Constitution to perhaps lose the addition of the Bill of Rights and that would have been calamitous, indeed.

I enjoyed the story of Madison's road as told by Labunski. Madison has been one of those founders who's position as a great Founder has been rocky. Up one decade and down another. Sometimes he has been considered a far lesser light than he deserves to be considered. Currently, he seems to be up which is fortunate. I think he should remain there. He is by far one of the most brilliant Founders we had and it is good that Labunski treats Madison with the respect he deserves.

Here is where I feel the book was lacking, though. Why was the Bill of Rights so important? What were the philosophies, the influences, the reasons the amendments were fought over? Labunski does not take much time to delve further under the surface to ferret out those reasons. He briefly mentions things here and there as the book moves along those lines, but I think his book would have been more complete with a bit more of it.

I found myself wondering what all the fuss was over far too much while reading the book and feel Labunski shorted the reader a fuller explanation.

Still, I give the book a pretty good rating. It is a good tale that is not often told (which is why I think he should have gone deeper, by the way).

It come recommended by me, anyway.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2013 6:35 PM PDT


Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity (Jewish Encounters)
Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity (Jewish Encounters)
by Rebecca Goldstein
Edition: Hardcover
83 used & new from $0.51

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Betraying Spinoza, One Jew's journey for us all, November 22, 2006
Rebecca Goldstein has taken an interesting angle in her discussion on the rationalist philosopher, Baruch Spinoza. She has couched his work as a result of a specific Jewish journey, that of Jews who immigrated to Amsterdam during the Spanish Inquisition.

Goldstein calls that journey a world that "had acquired its distinctive characteristics by way of centuries-long exposure to what can go so tragically wrong in our efforts to justify our beliefs." In so doing, Goldstein makes Spinoza a particularly Jewish philosopher which seems to me somewhat of a turning away from Spinoza's precepts of making man unified in his sameness.

Spinoza, as Goldstein realizes, railed against the very absurdity of his ancestor Jews' conceit that they were the "chosen people". But, Goldstein drags him right back to that world, one even his own had cast him out from in his early adulthood.

I say this, not in criticism of Goldstein's book, but more in irony. For, to tell the life of Sipnoza is to delve into that very Jewish world from which he came. This Goldstein demonstrates quite well and she does so in a very approachable way.

She gives us just enough of Spinoza's main concepts of rational thought that one "gets" it, but not so much that the book seems a mere rehash of the philosopher's work. It is a very interesting and quick reading tome that is recommended to "place" Spinoza in his times.

Goldstein sums Spinoza's philosophical quest as that which might explain the "tragedy" that was his community's experience. "Within this system he south to demonstrate that the truths of ethics have their source in the human condition and nowhere else. He sought ti prove that our common human nature revels why we must treat one another with utmost dignity, and, too, that our common human nature is itself transformed in our knowing of it, so that we become only more like one another as we think our way toward radical objectivity."

And, in a time when much of man's doing revolved around determining which religion was "right" and which nation had the right to rule, and in a time when the rights of individual men were meaningless (though the Enlightenment was just dawning), Spinoza proved a prophet for change in hopes of creating a world based on rational thought and less on emotions.

I am not sure how much Spinoza's work influenced John Locke's work, but his thought process is a precursor to the flight of freedom and liberty that was launched in 1776 as Enlightenment influenced thinkers launched the American Revolution, but his ideas were certainly in sympathy with that era of thought.

Goldstein penned a fine book that will take the reader on an interesting and very personal journey to enlightenment. And at $20, it is not an expensive ticket.


The Right Hand of Command: The Use and Disuse of Personal Staffs in the Civil War
The Right Hand of Command: The Use and Disuse of Personal Staffs in the Civil War

3.0 out of 5 stars Hard subject to research!, September 18, 2006
R. Steven Jones chose a very hard subject to write a study about; the evolution and usage of a general's personal staff during America's civil war.

Why hard to write? Because there is almost no information extent about such a subject for a writer to plum. There was no official staff organization for the US army until 43 years after the war, no president or Army commander created a formal system, no foreign systems were studied or implemented, and no real standard of usage was set out for American generals to adopt.

It was left up to the individual generals to create and implement their own conception of what a command staff should be. Some succeeded, some failed. But few of them wrote much about their staff organizations during or after the war. This left writer Jones with a dearth of source material, and little paper trail in army records.

However, Jones did an admirable job bringing together a study of his subject none-the-less. He chose the four biggest generals in the war and did his best to reveal the inner working of their respective staff work. Generals Lee, McClellan, Sherman and Grant served to show us four very different conceptions as well as proving the main point that there was no such thing as a staff organization during the war.

The most successful staff organization was Grant's and filled more pages in Jones' book than the other three (most likely because there was more info out there than there was for the other three). But Grant only arrived at his final formation after fits and starts of various failures and successes earlier in the war. Lee's staff was overworked and understaffed, Sherman's was micromanaged by a commander who's manic energy was set on high throughout the war, and McClellan's just wasn't used very effectively despite McClellan's vast experience observing foreign armies.

In any case, this is a good starting point to begin to learn about civil war staffs, a study that will have to serve as biographies of many and varied generals to be completed. Jones' efforts deserve a thank you.

Jones' work is certainly not scintillating, and might be thought of as a tad dry.... but the subject is not really one that leads to excitement, after all! Though, it is somewhat amusing that once done with the book you realize you read 219 pages expounding upon a subject that does not, in the end, exist, namely that of a system of personal command staffs of the civil war!


A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic
A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic
by John E. Ferling
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.42
100 used & new from $1.66

30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fast Paced Overview, June 26, 2006
In "A Leap In The Dark", John Ferling turns out a well paced overview of the personalities and political philosophies of the Founding Fathers and their contemporaries.

I was happy to see him start with George Washington and Ben Franklin's younger life, previous to the Revolutionary era. All too often, this formative period is ignored or imagined as unconnected with the beginning days of our Republic.

Only one thing about this book annoyed me, however. Ferling's constant denigration of James Madison revealed his obvious lack of respect for that indispensable Founder. Madison was an incredible man who outlived all the other Founders and was totally integral to every era of our early Republic. From shepherding the birth of the Constitution to becoming an early creator of our two party system, Madison was everywhere. He was even there to disavow what became the Confederate ideas of secession during the 1830s Nullification crisis.

But, Ferling treats Madison like a bumbling idiot. Of course, he is parroting much of the writing of other historians who shares his opinion and since it seems that this entire book is based on secondary research (other scholar's works) and not his own primary research, I guess his dislike of Madison might be expected. After all, Madison had gone through a phase of being unduly discounted by many current historians.

Still, this is a good overview book and should be read by anyone who might be a bit less informed about our Founding era. It most surely will spark interest in further reading.


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