10 Worst of 2013

Because it’s the end of the year, it’s compulsory to do a nostalgia listicle, right? This is culled from my own posts here at Artvoice daily, and not intended to be comprehensive.  Everything chosen essentially at random.  

10. Dennis Gabryszak

Oh, look. Another entitled do-nothing superfluous, self-important Albany hack who sexually harasses female staffers. If it was one staffer, it’d be worth a listen. Two staffers, and it’s going to raise eyebrows. Three staffers? Now it’s a thing. Four, and the fourth is still working there? Cringeworthy. The fact that Gabryszak has said nothing is thanks to some fantastic legal advice, but equally horrible political advice. 

9. Donn Esmonde

Donn Esmonde proved himself to be an ass throughout 2013.

It started when this retired suburban Long Island native decided that he is against quality education for children in suburban districts. One with questionable ethics, to boot. I look forward to more Tielman quotes, self-congratubation, and cheery, irony-free invocations of “lighter, quicker, cheaper”. 

8. The Conservative Party

To paraphrase Linda Richman, the Conservative Party is neither conservative nor a party. Discuss.

Ralph Lorigo’s personal fiefdom proves that political feudalism is alive and well in the 21st century. While the deceptively named Independence Party is now running all its endorsements through its statewide committee (and the NYGOP), Lorigo’s faction will endorse the occasional Democrat, but the criteria are always murky. This year, the CPWNY went out of its way to defame Republican Buffalo mayoral candidate Sergio Rodriguez

7. Tim Kennedy

See Number 6, below.

This guy came up with over $80,000 – much of it from inactive campaign accounts with no money in them, and none of which was properly disclosed – to sabotage Democrats in 2013. 

6.  Pigeon, Max, Mazurek & the AwfulPAC

It’s like a shit-stained comet, coming back to streak across our pleasant skies every few election seasons.

Yet again, former Erie County Democratic chairman G. Steven Pigeon assembled a horrible band du jour to sabotage the county committee’s election year efforts. Cheektowaga town Democratic chairman Frank Max believes himself entitled to the office of county chairman, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that he’s the only one who thinks so. (He’s been rather silent on the whole Gabryszak thing, don’t you think?) Pigeon and Max, their EmoDems, along with Kristy Mazurek, whose elbows are as sharp as her tongue, got AwfulPAC going just in time for the September primaries. Add in some dubiously sourced campaign cash from various entities, as well as $80k+ from state Senator Tim Kennedy, who owes Pigeon one for maneuvering him into that office, and you’ve got this year’s comet’s skidmarks. 

What did they accomplish? Wes Moore lost, but viciously sabotaged Democrat Wynnie Fisher. Rick Zydel lost, and Pat Burke came out of nowhere to beat everybody. Dick Dobson defeated the politically tone-deaf Bert Dunn, but AwfulPAC abandoned Dobson in October, proving that they were really just Democrats for Tim Howard all along. They tried to take credit for a win in Rochester with which they had nothing to do. Oh, and they returned the queen of transactional politics, Barbara Miller Williams, to the county legislature. But because it’s easier to cast it all as a big loss for Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner, that was the narrative we were all fed

5. Donald Trump

Everyone’s favorite birther started out the year by releasing a forgery of a birth certificate. Why won’t Donald Trump address the allegations that he is the spawn of an orangutan? 

Oh, and now he’s “considering” a run for Governor of the state of New York.

4. The WNY Voter

Byron Brown coasts? Barbara Miller Williams elected again? Carl Paladino elected to the Buffalo school board? Horrible turnout numbers for elections? Can’t we do better than this? 

3. Tim Howard

The elected Erie County Sheriff decided to also appoint himself to a Supreme Court judgeship, but elevated himself to the New York Court of Appeals – maybe even the Supreme Court! 

He unilaterally decided that he wasn’t going to enforce the NY SAFE Act (see #1, below), thus completely misunderstanding how the constitution works and what roles the various governmental branches play. 

2. Chris Collins

Seriously, take your pick – whether it’s his criticism of an historic deal with Iran, Collins’ vigorous support of a government shutdown in a hopeless effort to get the President to ditch Obamacare – and then claiming he didn’t support it at all, or his jejune “poll” of his constituents, Chris Collins proved time and again that he is the worst Congressman WNY has sent to Washington in perhaps forever. No amount of Buffalo News rehabilitation will change this. 

1. Concern-trolling and the NY SAFE Act

If you really think that limiting magazine capacity and requiring more stringent background checks in order to purchase a firearm is a tyrannical usurpation of your 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, in a state that already has among the strictest gun laws in the country, you’re having a bit of an overreaction.

I liken it to the kid in class who craves attention, so he casts himself in the role of victim in order to feed the craving. We see you, and your Gadsen flag. However, society has a similar compulsion to balance the right of people to, e.g., send their kids to school and not have them come home in the box because an unhinged lunatic had an arsenal versus your right to own an arsenal

Dishonorable mention:

The same collection of Buffalo plutocrats who gave us such hits as “Dr. James Williams” are now agitating to pay off Buffalo School superintendent Pamela Brown in an effort to be rid of her. Forget that there have been incremental improvements in results under her tenure; forget that Williams was a trainwreck of a disaster, bought and paid for by M&T Bank’s Robert Wilmers; and forget that Brown has been in her current position since June 2012. The bottomless pit of racist, sexist, misogynist invective that some are hurling at her for not adequately herding all her myriad feline coalitions has been appalling. I don’t know why the likes of Paladino don’t just come right out and say what they mean – that she and the board members who appointed her are a sordid collection of incompetent negresses. Brown isn’t perfect, but relentlessly sabotaging her, dehumanizing her, and delegitimizing her isn’t going to fix much. At least give her a chance to succeed or fail. 

Coming soon: best of 2013. If you have a nomination, email me here

Dennis the Assemblyman


(Sung (more or less) to the tune of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

You know Cole and Fossella, Lopez, and Chris Lee,

Spitzer and Massa and Weiner – those three!

But can you believe,

the skeeziest claims come to be

 

Dennis

Dennis the Cheektowagan,

has a very cushy job.

He hires pretty women,

and jokes around about his knob. 

 

Dennis’ young accusers,

say that he’s a pre-da-tor.

One says his office camera,

stored photos that he took of whores!

 

He told one girl that he likes butts, 

and asked her to sleep over. 

Invited one for a “massage”,

as per the court disclosure.

 

All of the Cheektowagans

used to throw their votes to him.

Now they won’t vote for Dennis,

everything is pretty grim

 

Three twenty-somethings lawyered up,

their claims will make you groan.

One was sent a video 

showing Dennis getting blown!

 

Dennis the Cheektowagan, 

said to one girl, “may I please fuck you”? 

Now he’s a statewide story,

his Albany career is through!

Target and Chip-and-PIN

On Friday, my wife and I canceled two debit cards and two credit cards, all four linked to two accounts which may have been compromised thanks to a point-of-sale hack that took place at all Target stores since Black Friday. Chances were that at least two – possibly three – of the cards had been swiped during the relevant time period, and especially with respect to the debit cards, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my checking account to some thief, regardless of so-called “consumer protections” and anti-fraud measures that may exist. The hassle of reversing fraudulent charges – especially from a debit card – is exponentially higher than the hassle of canceling the cards and waiting for new ones. 

But it’s all a hassle, nonetheless. 

One debit card will be mailed in 1 – 2 weeks. The other one was issued on-the-spot at a branch in Clarence, but has yet to be activated because it takes at least 1 – 2 business days to hit the system.  The credit cards will be here in a week or so. 

Small #firstworldproblem aside, it was a fun adventure trying to pay for some last-minute Christmas gifts with a personal check. At Swarovski, it was a half-hour long process, and although we had explained why we had no debit card, the flummoxed clerks insisted on pleading with us to maybe use a credit card, or perhaps a debit card for our transaction. Or would we like to perhaps use our non-existent debit card to withdraw cash from the ATM just there? Our check was rejected at Ann Taylor. I called the bank, and they said it wasn’t they who declared the check suspect, and confirmed an ample available balance to cover $140. Old Navy simply doesn’t take checks. But they’d be happy to open up a charge account for us! JC Penney was surprisingly swift. Premier Liquor on Maple takes no checks without going through a pre-approval process. We paid cash at other places.

It was, all in all, an eye-opening experience. Until I didn’t have one handy, I hadn’t realized how reliant I had become on my Master Card branded debit card. 

In the United States, merchant points-of-sale and ATMs rely almost exclusively on the magnetic strips that we’ve been using since the 1970s. Not so in other countries, including our neighbor, Canada. Many countries now rely on what’s called a chip-and-pin system, which uses an added level of encyption and is safer than a magnetic strip (although nothing is foolproof).  It’s known in the industry as “EMV“. 

It is exceedingly easy for a resourceful and motivated thief to buy and install a cloning system, whereby a swipe of your card records every single detail contained on that card – including the security code – and produce clones of the card using any piece of plastic with a magnetic strip, including a hotel room key. The chips on chip-and-pin cards is much more expensive and difficult to duplicate. 

The Wall Street Journal reports EMV is expected to become the standard in the US in 2015, but what’s the holdup? This is not a new technology, and most of the stores that you and I frequent already have chip-and-pin capabilities (it’s the slot in the front of the reader at Wegmans). 

When we traveled to the UK in 2005, chip-and-pin was already in almost exclusive use, and when we dined in some restaurants, they would bring the credit card terminal to you at your table for payment – your card never left your possession and could not be swiped through a cloning device. This system is now commonplace in Canada. I haven’t had it happen even once in the United States. Ever

In the US, implementation will take place between 2015 and 2017 through a “liability shift” – if a merchant has not yet switched his POS system to accept EMV by a given date, he will be liable for fraudulent charges on the legacy swipe system. 

This Target fiasco, involving 40 million possible cards, has inconvenienced me to a certain degree, and in at least one instance made a potential sale not happen. It doesn’t mean I won’t go to Target anymore, or that EMV is a 100% secure alternative, but if there is a marginally more secure alternative available, we should implement it as soon as possible. 

Here is a list of American credit card issuers that offer (as of May 2013) chip-and-pin or chip-and-signature cards. Merry Christmas.

It’s a Duck Dynasty Christmas

Liberal Alec Baldwin had a show on MSNBC for a very short time. He called a paparazzo who was harassing him and his family a “cocksucking fag”. Baldwin was swiftly suspended, then fired, from MSNBC. The right sort of shrugged, torn between its animus for Alec Baldwin on the one hand, and gays on the other. 

Liberal Martin Bashir had a show on MSNBC. He criticized Sarah Palin for likening the national debt to “slavery” by explaining what, precisely, slavery was. Specifically, he explained how the complete control of the master led oftentimes to unspeakably horrific treatment of his chattel labor – in one case, scatalogically so. Bashir said Palin should see what slavery really was before making such ignorant comparisons, and that a slavemaster should shit in her mouth. There was an outcry from Palin and the right. Bashir was suspended from MSNBC. He apologized. Palin accepted the apology. He left the network anyway. The right wing was outraged and demanded Bashir’s removal from TV. 

Some bearded person on a so-called “reality” show about very wealthy redneck manufacturers of duck calls has said some hateful and ignorant things about gay people and black people. A&E has suspended him. The right wing have gone ballistic, calling this a PC witch hunt and otherwise bemoaning the degradation of Biblical values, apple pie, Chevrolet, bearded freaks, and hate speech. Duck Dynasty guy equated homosexuality with bestiality and terrorism. He said the blacks had it better under Jim Crow, when they didn’t bitch to him (a white guy) about anything. 

Pretty base, ignorant stuff there. Well within the same wheelhouse as Bashir’s and Baldwin’s misdeeds. (I will note for consistency-lovers that I have not defended Bashir or Baldwin in any way, in any forum, and that I had no complaint of any sort when either of them were fired. To me, talking-head cable shows are a huge part of what is killing American discourse and thought, and I’d just as soon see them all gone.)

But we live in a nation that is sick beyond help – not because of the infiltration of the “gay lifestyle”, but because ignorant bullshit has gone mainstream

Never one to miss a chance for publicity, Sarah Palin posted on Facebook: “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on theDuck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.” (Only Palin could claim that a person who has just voiced intolerant comments like Robertson is being attacked by “intolerants.”)  

Of course, when Martin Bashir made despicable comments about Palin, she didn’t defend him by saying, “Free speech is an endangered species.” Nope, instead she slammed Bashir’s comments as being “vile” and “evil.” And officials at Palin’s political action committee demanded that MSNBC punish Bashir.

First of all, the First Amendment right to free speech was not invoked in any of these cases. The Constitution limits the government’s power – not MSNBC’s, and not A&E’s. Bashir, Baldwin, and Duck Person are all entitled to think and say exactly everything they want. The networks on which they appear are likewise entitled to air, praise, condemn, or remove anything they see fit. 

Secondly, if you believe that Baldwin and Bashir should have been fired, consistency and fairness begs you to think the same of Duck Dynasty guy. If you think that Baldwin and Bashir should both be on MSNBC, then A&E should be boycotted. 

I have seen arguments defending Duck Dynasty guy because he was just repeating what the Bible has to say about, e.g., gay people suffering eternal damnation for their heinous crimes against God. That’s nice. But just because your holy book or religion says a thing doesn’t make it right, does it? Are we to excuse every ignorant and hateful thing that any religion has to say? Like I said, you can believe whatever you want – but when you equate homosexuality to terrorism, you have every right to be accountable for your words – to suffer consequences. Like when you call a photographer a “cocksucking fag”. Like when you suggest that a public figure should have someone shit in her mouth. 

The right wing didn’t have much to say about Alec Baldwin, after all. The only thing they brought up was that GLAAD were hypocrites because they didn’t condemn him (they did). It’s ok to defame gay people if you’re conservative, after all. Not just ok – encouraged. When Duck Dynasty guy defames gay people (and blacks), and gets suspended, they are outraged. When it’s Alec Baldwin, they shrug. To me, defaming gay people is wrong, full stop. 

A few months ago, “cook” Paula Deen was effectively drummed out of show business because her long history of racist thoughts and words came to light. Now, there is a miniature store selling her cookbooks and spatulas in a largely empty plaza in right-wing Clarence. She became a hero to the right because, evidently, saying ignorantly anachronistic things about black people is ok, because “free speech”. Similarly, Duck Dynasty  guy is cheered on the right for saying ignorantly anachronistic things about gays and blacks. 

I don’t see how – and it’s the Christmas season, incidentally – a time of love and cheer – nominal Christians and “conservatives” can go around defending people who have so much hatred in their hearts, thoughts, and words. If conservatism means preserving age-old hatreds, jealousies, and slanders then I don’t quite get why so many people would call themselves that. 

If Duck Dynasty guy is smart, he’ll apologize, A&E will reinstate him, and he can cash out what remains of his 15 minutes of fame. From the looks of it, he and his kin are digging in, standing firm, and telling those “cocksucking fags” and liberals to piss off and, literally, go to hell. 

Merry Christmas. 

 

The AV Daily Christmas Special

It’s the Thursday before Christmas. Let’s watch TV. 

Here’s Mitt Romney the moment he lost the 2012 election. To quote Peggy Noonan, “savor“. 

I Ken Lee if living is without you. 

This trailer is simply incredible. 

In some countries, they applaud when the plane lands because it landed. We in the first world are far too jaded for that, but once in a while it’s completely justified. 

In Russia, the roads are often lawless hellholes populated by aggressive and reckless drivers. In order to help them prove their lack of fault in the event of an accident, most drivers have mounted an automatic digital dashcam to record every second of their drive. If there’s an accident, you’ll have video proof of how it happened, assuming it happened up ahead. Usually, Russian dashcam videos show horrible crashes or dreadfully violent exchanges. So, here is a compilation of dashcam videos showing the brighter side of motoring in Mother Russia. 

The Nurburgring Nordschliefe is a wondrous place where you can pay a toll and take your car on one of the most famous racing roads in the world. Some people fare better than others. 

Oh, and here are some of the bad Russian dashcam videos: 

Merry Christmas, everybody!

The Big Losers are Grammar and Logic

From the Buffalo News, here is the Buffalo Paladinoist Tea Party’s whimper of a “demonstration” that took place the other night: 

Seven or eight people with nothing better to do at 5pm on a weeknight than stand out in the cold and show pictures of guns and grammatically incorrect declarations to people. 

By contrast, the opening of a Popeye’s restaurant on Delaware Avenue yesterday saw a traffic nightmare and 2 hour-long waits. 

Of particular hilarity aren’t the gun huggers whining about the NY SAFE Act, bravely fighting off jihad and communism in the cold outside a Buffalo museum, but Carl Paladino himself holding up a sign reading, “no funding for dems”.  Here it is a bit closer, also via the Buffalo News

As I reminded you yesterday, Carl Paladino was until 2005 a lifelong Democrat. He gave the Erie County Democratic Committee $9,000 in just the past 12 months. He has donated hundreds of thousands to Democrats over the years, either directly or through his various business entities. He attended a fundraiser for Democratic Mayor Byron Brown in the last year.

Who’s the RINO now? 

Carl the RINO and Donny’s Shovel

1. Tea Party Champion Carl Paladino: 

Who better to lead a protest than a perpetually incensed, elderly millionaire? What better thing to protest than “socializing” America? Who better to “send a message that RINO’s [sic] who support an elected Democrat…have no place in the…Republican Party”? How about the developer millionaire who was a registered Democrat for 31 years, until 2005, and who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to convenient Democrats who were positioned to help his business goals? He attended a Democrat’s fundraiser just this year. Oh, and this from the Buffalo News

Speaking of Paladino, several of the 2010 Republican candidate for governor’s companies recently dropped $9,000 on Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner’s housekeeping account, according to campaign finance records. This occurs even after Zellner moved Democratic Headquarters out of Paladino’s Ellicott Square.

“I’m supportive of Jeremy’s efforts,” Paladino said last week. “When it comes to good government, it’s what we do. We support both parties’ central operations to do the right thing.”

Who better to lecture Patrick Lee and Anthony Gioia on who is and isn’t a “RINO” than a self-anointed tea party hero who has given thousands of dollars to Democrats in just the past year? 

2. Buffalo News Columnist Donn Esmonde: 

It’s called “objectophilia“. 

As I grasped your handle and cupped your lean, strong shaft of a body in my left hand, I silently celebrated all of the times, over all of the years, we had done this together.

Donn Esmonde, to his snow shovel. I think the shovel swore out an order of protection. 

3. Bonus thing to Read

From the Harvard Business Review, “It’s Not OK That Your Employees Can’t Afford to Eat“. 

It wasn’t that long ago that in most companies, especially large ones, a fair amount of time was spent worrying about whether the company’s practices towards employees were fair. One of the functions of human resource departments was to advocate for the interests of employees.

The motivation wasn’t entirely altruistic. Since WWI, employers figured they could keep unions out by giving employees virtually all of the wage and benefits they would have gotten from joining unions. Even without that concern, though, the leadership of the company considered it part of their job to strike a balance between the other demands on the business and the needs of employees.  They were one of the important stakeholders in the business, along with customers, shareholders, and the community around them…

…A family of four with one breadwinner is eligible for food stamps if they earn less than $2500 per month. That is the equivalent of a $15 per hour job and a 40 hour work week.  The government has determined that full-time workers earning less than that do not have enough money to feed their families on their own. If that breadwinner earns less than $16 per hour, they are also eligible for Medicaid assistance to provide healthcare. Depending on where they live, that breadwinner is also eligible for subsidies to help pay for housing.

Pre-haunting Scrooge is no way to go through life, and no way to run a country. 

With Apologies to Ludwig Bemelmans

In an old house in Buffalo, covered with snow

lived a grumpy old man, with buckets of dough. 

With buckets of dough, he sent his notes

called the press, and shilled for votes. 

He smiled at the right and RINOs he mourned

and sometimes he’d forward equestrian porn. 

He left the house at half past nine in an X-5

in rain or snow – the angry one is Paladino. 

He likes dollars, euros, escudos – 

he shows up on Fox with Neil Cavuto. 

To the rhino in the zoo,

Carl just says, “fuck you!”

And no one knew so well 

how to scream or how to yell. 

One day Carl stood at the door

of the former Maltese ambassador

He had helped a man named Brian

whom he had defamed on a sign. 

Everybody had to snarl. 

Everyone was pissed at Carl. 

To Astorino and to Trump, 

Carl would not be such a grump.

Carl had threatened, cajoled, and whined, 

he’d run on the Conservative line. 

But Skelos and Kolb were the big priority, 

for his microscopic tea party minority. 

Good night, all you teabaggers, 

and thanks for your drama! 

Now go back to hating

that Kenyan n0bama!

Now, let’s turn out the light

and close the door. 

That’s all there is, 

there isn’t any more. 

 

 

Wear the Right Shoes

Get yourself some snow tires. 

Your pickup or SUV? Its 4 or all wheel drive will help you get un-stuck, and it’ll help you get going on some slippery stuff. Its ground clearance may occasionally help you ford a river or drive over a big snowball. But its mass is such that it makes it especially difficult to stop. 

Your anti-lock brakes? They’ll help you avoid a skid by automatically applying and releasing the brakes in quick succession, but they won’t help you avoid an accident if you’re going too fast. 

Or if your tires suck. 

Last night’s commute in Buffalo was your typical afternoon first-snow crawl. Just about every route was packed in or going at a reasonably safe, slow speed. This is good. But if you have crap tires, or even decent all-weather tires, you might as well put skates on the bottom of your car, because they won’t cut it in this weather.

The best of all possible worlds? AWD or 4WD with snow tires. If you have a Subaru or AWD Audi with a good set of snows, your car will be bulletproof in the ice and snow. But the big secret is that you don’t need the extra cost, heft, and maintenance that comes with powering all four wheels, not in WNY, where the roads generally get cleared pretty well (unless you’re unlucky enough to try to drive on a secondary road in the city of Buffalo up to a week after a major storm. For some reason, the city itself is unwilling or unable to plow all of its streets within a reasonable time).

Get yourself some snow tires, instead.

For instance, some local tire stores will store your summer tires in the winter, and vice-versa. For free. Go in, pay about $100, and they’ll do the switchover, usually installing snows in November and summers in April. You extend the lives of both sets of tires, and you’ll have the appropriate shoes on your car.

You don’t wear flip-flops in 6″ of snow. You don’t wear snowboots when it’s 80 degrees out. Why do that to your car?

In some countries, snow tires are mandated. This is a smart idea and something that snowy climates should seriously consider. Driving is no joke, and if you’re hurtling a 2-ton piece of rubber and metal down the street in a snowstorm, other drivers should have some semblance of assurance that you’re appropriately equipped. Snow tires are different from summer or all-weather tires in that they use a softer rubber compound, and feature deep sipes that literally help the car dig into the snow and ice. The best set I ever owned were Finnish-made Hakkapeliitta 2s, which rendered a car that had no traction control into a snow tank.  I always had to get them online, which is a hassle, but I haven’t not put snow tires on a car since my second winter here. You can get a set of Blizzaks, which are very good, or whatever your local tire shop offers, which will be fine, too. 

You can’t leave them on all year, because the rubber compound only works well in the cold weather. But if you, for instance, go from no snow tires on a slippery day to snow tires, you’ll be astonished by the difference in traction you have. Not just start and stop traction, but especially lateral traction, when you’re turning. Traction / stability control will help, too. 

We’re known for snow. We get snow. You drive in it. If you enjoy having control over your car in the snow, ice, and slush – the ability to start, stop, turn, and drive with some modicum of safety – pay your local tire guy, car dealer, or mechanic a visit. Maybe go to Tirerack.com or some other online retailer.

But whatever you do, get yourself some snow tires. 

Read Dasani’s Story

Dickensian Squalor in Contemporary New York

There was a lot of jokey-snark Sunday night as Twitter was trying to guess what the New York Times’ big blockbuster story was going to be on Monday morning. A Times editor had Tweeted that a game-changing story was coming, but offered no hints. 

The story itself is a heartbreaking one about a bright and energetic 11 year-old girl who lives in poverty and squalor with her family in a dilapidated, uninhabitable city shelter.  We follow her to school, we examine her home, we look at her parents and their obvious problems in such a way that eschews cheap judgment and instead gives us a window into the crushing poverty, desperate need for help, jobs, and education that families like this need. 

It also describes the insane class divide where homes within spitting distance of the shelter and adjacent projects now go for a million dollars; where a fancy new wine shop offers tastings across the street from a liquor store where the clerk sits behind bullet-proof plexiglass. 

Please read all five parts of the story, which will take you on an emotional roller coaster, and consider whether, in our zeal for austerity, we’re causing more problems than we’re solving. 

Some “richest country in the world” superpower we are. 

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