Closing Thought–14Jul20

The most often used political prop is the American flag…..and that is followed closely by the veterans and their issues.

Candidates take every opportunity to make it appear that they actually care about the plight of our brave veterans. This is is a LIE….if they all cared so much then why are our vets having to beg for the benefits that were promised to them for their service to the country.

And then there are all the wasted funds and give aways to buddies of the managing teams….like the one from 2018……

The Golden Horseshoe is a weekly designation from Just the News intended to highlight egregious examples of wasteful taxpayer spending by the government. The ward is named for the horseshoe-shaped toilet seats for military airplanes that cost the Pentagon a whopping $640 each back in the 1980s. 

This week, our award is going to the Department of Veteran Affairs for awarding a $5 million contract to a company whose owners, according to a report by the department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), had a personal relationship with Peter Shelby, the VA’s then-assistant secretary for human resources and administration.The contract “resulted entirely in waste,” the OIG determined.

In February 2018, the recently appointed Shelby awarded a one-year contract to a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. The small business, which remains unnamed in the IG report, was supposed to provide leadership and development trainings, in addition to talent assessment services that could be employed for hiring and promotion decisions.

So the moral of this story is when your politician uses the local vets as a prop and promises to do miraculous thongs for them…..he is LYING!

Our veterans deserve better than this country has done dating all the way back to World War One.

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The Legion Is Our Fatherland

I was an a combat vet of the Vietnam War and when I returned to normal society I could not “fit” in… was difficult to go from intense situations of combat to the mundane crap of “normal” society.

I went through several jobs nothing was clicking for me and I then considered after talking to a friend to join the French Foreign Legion….luckily for me my wife was pregnant and I did not want to leave before my daughter was born.

The Legion is a fascinating history…..

The word “foreign” in the name French Foreign Legion does not refer to faraway battlegrounds. It refers to the Legion itself, which is a branch of the French Army commanded by French officers but built of volunteers from around the world. Last summer I came upon 20 of them on a grassy knoll on a farm in France near the Pyrenees. They were new recruits sitting back-to-back on two rows of steel chairs. They wore camouflage fatigues and face paint, and held French assault rifles. The chairs were meant to represent the benches in a helicopter flying into action—say, somewhere in Africa in the next few years to come. Two recruits who had been injured while running sat facing forward holding crutches. They were the pilots. Their job was to sit there and endure. The job of the others was to wait for the imaginary touchdown, then disembark from the imaginary helicopter and pretend to secure the imaginary landing zone. Those who charged into the imaginary tail rotor or committed some other blunder would have push-ups to do immediately, counting them off in phonetic French—uh, du, tra, katra, sank. If they ran out of vocabulary, they would have to start again. Eventually the recruits would stage a phased retreat back to their chairs, then take off, fly around for a while, and come in for another dangerous landing. The real lesson here was not about combat tactics. It was about do not ask questions, do not make suggestions, do not even think of that. Forget your civilian reflexes. War has its own logic. Be smart. For you the fighting does not require a purpose. It does not require your allegiance to France. The motto of the Legion is Legio Patria Nostra. The Legion is our fatherland. This means we will accept you. We will shelter you. We may send you out to die. Women are not admitted. Service to the Legion is about simplifying men’s lives.

The Legion can trace their history back to 1481 and the Swiss Hundred (cent suisse)…..a unit of 100 elite soldiers to King Louis XI….(but check out the history of this legendary unit)…

French Foreign Legion History

But the legion of today was the answer to a pressing problem for France…..

The legion was conceived as a provisional solution to a fleeting problem —the migration of undesirable persons into France in the wake of revolutions throughout Europe in 1830–31.

In retrospect, a military remedy to illegal immigration appears both contemporary and imaginative. The July Revolution of 1830 had resuscitated the French Revolutionary concept of a citizen army and led to disbandment of the Swiss Guards and other foreign formations that had enforced Bourbon mastery of such uprisings. To address the resulting coagulation of refugees in French cities, King Louis-Philippe on March 9, 1831, signed into law an act creating a ghetto foreign force within a citizen army. Recruiters quickly enlisted the undesirable aliens and packed them off to Algiers — et adieu, la Légion!

After reading this post (I presume that it was read) and you fancy yourself a Legionaire……I can help with that as well…..

This is a fascinating unit and their history of bravery and honor is storied…..

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Bastille Day

Today, 14 July, is when the French celebrate their revolution that overthrew the corrupt monarchy…..lead by the slogan….Liberty, Equality, Fraternity…..but was it all that equal and what about liberty……

The American attitude toward the French Revolution has been generally favorable—naturally enough for a nation itself born in revolution. But as revolutions go, the French one in 1789 was among the worst. True, in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity, it overthrew a corrupt regime. Yet what these fine ideals led to was, first, the Terror and mass murder in France, and then Napoleon and his wars, which took hundreds of thousands of lives in Europe and Russia. After this pointless slaughter came the restoration of the same corrupt regime that the Revolution overthrew. Aside from immense suffering, the upheaval achieved nothing.

Leading the betrayal of the Revolution’s initial ideals and its transformation into a murderous ideological tyranny was Maximilien Robespierre, a monster who set up a system expressly aimed at killing thousands of innocents. He knew exactly what he was doing, meant to do it, and believed he was right to do it. He is the prototype of a particularly odious kind of evildoer: the ideologue who believes that reason and morality are on the side of his butcheries. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot are of the same mold. They are the characteristic scourges of humanity in modern times, but Robespierre has a good claim to being the first. Understanding his motives and rationale deepens our understanding of the worst horrors of the recent past and those that may lurk in the future.

Historians distinguish three phases of the French Revolution. The last, the Terror, ran roughly during 1793–94. It began with the fall of the moderate Girondins and the radical Jacobins’ accession to power. As the Jacobins gained control of the Committee of Public Safety, which in turn controlled the legislature (the Convention), the disputes among their factions sharpened. After an interregnum of shared power, Robespierre became dictator, and the Terror started in earnest. It took the form of the arrest, show trial, and execution of thousands of people, including the leaders of the Girondins and the opposing Jacobin factions, who were suspected of opposing—actively or passively, actually or potentially—the policies Robespierre dictated.

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American Mind–Civics Class–Part One

This is the Series from my op-ed blog. chuq

Gulf South Free Press

In these trying times I thought that a good hard look at what can be termed as the American Mind or the American Identity or the American Experience…… choose what you think this series is about.

This series originally posted in Real Clear Public Affairs…..a good chance to renew the Civics lessons for most people especially now with an important election looming.

The 1776 Series is a collection of original essays that explain the foundational themes of the American experience. Commissioned from distinguished historians and scholars, these essays contribute to the broader goal of the American Civics project: providing an education in the principles and practices that every patriotic citizen should know.

We start with the Constitution of the United States of America….”How Democratic Is The Constitution?

It’s hard not to notice that in the United States, political arguments frequently turn on questions that, in other democracies, nobody talks about…

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Let It Go!

Closing Thought–13Jul20

The big story still is that Trump has commuted Roger Stone’s conviction…..

As the Washington Post notes, the last disclosed cognitive test for the president was in January 2018, and that was a fairly basic 10-minute exam in which people are asked to identify animals in pictures and such. It’s unclear if Trump took a more recent exam. Biden, for his part, said Thursday that he can’t wait to debate Trump, referencing Trump’s description of himself as a “stable genius,” per NBC News. At 77, Biden is three years older than Trump, and he said in response to a reporter’s question last month that he is “constantly” tested for cognitive decline, prompting Hannity and other Trump allies to wonder why Biden felt it was necessary to be tested so much, per Fox News. “Look, all you gotta do is watch me, and I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against,” Biden said at the time.

  • Mitt Romney: “Unprecedented, historic corruption: an American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president.”
  • The Washington Post editorial board: “The United States is supposed to be a place in which laws apply equally to all. And while it never has—and never will—live up to that ideal in full, no modern president before Mr. Trump has so clearly renounced it.”
  • Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg: “Clemency for a crony convicted of interfering with an investigation of presidential malfeasance is a flagrant abuse of power. President Richard Nixon wasn’t willing to pardon the Watergate criminals who broke into Democratic Party offices in the run-up to the 1972 presidential campaign because he knew how bad it would look.”
  • Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker: “Trump had not, until now, used pardons and commutations to reward defendants who possessed incriminating information against him. The Stone commutation isn’t just a gift to an old friend—it is a reward to Stone for keeping his mouth shut during the Mueller investigation.”
  • Corey Lewandowski: “Look, Roger Stone was clearly targeted by an unfair prosecution,” he told Fox News. “Look, I’m not the biggest fan of Roger Stone. … But, the way he was treated by this government should scare the hell out of every American.”
  • President Trump: “Roger Stone was targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place. It is the other side that are criminals, including Biden and Obama, who spied on my campaign—AND GOT CAUGHT!”

My thoughts is seriously?

Trump telegraphed what he was going to do….and yet the media makes it out as soon sort of surprise…..yet another story that the media will milk for every drop of analysis out of…..look at the BLM…it is still going on but it is NOT all that important to the media.

My advice….LET IT GO!

We knew what Trump is going to do….now move on to something truly important…..

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“lego ergo scribo”


Independence Declared–Now What?

The DoI was signed and presented to the people of the Colonies….and now the die was set and war was the only recourse.

With few allies the colonists had to do what they could…..that is until France showed interest in their struggle against England…..but why the interest?

After years of spiraling tensions in Britain’s American colonies, the American Revolutionary War began in 1775. The revolutionary colonists faced a war against one of the world’s major powers, one with an empire that spanned the globe. To help counter Britain’s formidable position, the Continental Congress created the “Secret Committee of Correspondence” to publicize the aims and actions of the rebels in Europe. They then drafted the “Model Treaty” to guide negotiations of alliance with foreign nations. Once the Congress had declared independence in 1776, it sent a party that included Benjamin Franklin to negotiate with Britain’s rival: France.

France initially sent agents to observe the war, organized secret supplies, and began preparations for war against Britain in support of the rebels. France might seem an odd choice for the revolutionaries to work with. The nation was ruled by an absolutist monarch who was not sympathetic to the principle of “no taxation without representation,” even if the plight of the colonists and their perceived fight against a domineering empire excited idealistic Frenchmen like the Marquis de Lafayette. In addition, France was Catholic and the colonies were Protestant, a difference that was a major and contentious issue at the time and one that had colored several centuries of foreign relations.

Americans like to think that they took on the most powerful empire in the world of 1776 and won….but that win became more possible with the assistance of France….

I know too many do not read these days so I will give them videos to watch and learn…..

Do you think you know all there is to know about the revolution?

Think again.

There is so much more to the war for independence than the sanitized versions taught in schools….

Be Smart!

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Wanna Be An Expert Poll Analyst?

It is that time in the political cycle when polls are a daily occurrence…..this is how the system makes people think about voting and the candidates…..

But how can all these polls be read and understood?

I can help you with that and at the same time I can be the FYI blog……this is the suggestions from…..

Check the pollster’s track record. Some pollsters have long-standing reputations for accuracy, and others are more error-prone. You can check which are which using the FiveThirtyEight pollster ratings, which assign (most) pollsters a letter grade based on their historical accuracy and whether they follow best practices in their methodologies. In our view, the “gold standard” of polling methodology is using live phone interviewers, calling cell phones as well as landlines, and participating in the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s Transparency Initiative or the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archive.2 These gold-standard polls tend to be the most accurate, although there are exceptions — some online pollsters, like YouGov, are quite reliable as well. If a pollster doesn’t show up in our pollster ratings, it’s probably new on the scene, which means you should treat it with more caution because it doesn’t have an established track record we can judge; at worst, it might even be fake. (If you’re not sure if a pollster is trustworthy and want us to do some investigating, feel free to email us at

  • Avoid comparisons between pollsters. Anytime you see a new poll, check to see what the pollster said previously before declaring that the race has shifted. Some pollsters consistently overestimate one candidate or party relative to what other pollsters find, a phenomenon called “house effects.” Similarly, especially for non-horse-race polls, pollsters often word the same questions in different ways — for example, asking someone’s opinion about “Obamacare” can yield different results from asking about “the Affordable Care Act” — which makes direct comparisons difficult.
  • Note who’s being polled. For elections, polls of likely voters tend to be more accurate than polls of registered voters, which in turn tend to be more accurate than polls of adults. That said, many pollsters won’t start surveying likely voters until the fall, and registered-voter polls are perfectly good substitutes until then — just be aware that the results may be a few points too Democratic. And polls of adults have their place too — such as when you want to know how the entire nation feels about something, like the coronavirus.
  • Pay attention to the margin of error. Reputable polls will always include a margin of error or confidence interval — it’ll look something like “± 3 points.” This reflects that polls can’t be exact, but they do promise to be within a certain number of percentage points (in this example, 3 points) almost all of the time (the industry standard is 95 percent of the time). In practical terms, that means that if a poll puts President Trump’s approval rating at 42 percent with a 3-point margin of error, his approval rating could be anything from 39 percent to 45 percent. Note that, in head-to-head polls, the margin of error applies to each candidate’s vote share, so if the same poll gave Trump 46 percent and gave former Vice President Joe Biden 51 percent, Trump could actually be leading 49 percent to 48 percent. (Though he could also be trailing with 43 percent to Biden’s 54, or fall anywhere in between those extremes.)
  • Consider the source. Partisan groups, or even campaigns themselves, will sometimes release their own polls, but of course, they have an ulterior motive in doing so: Make their side look good. On average, these “internal polls” tend to be about 4 or 5 percentage points too favorable to their sponsor, so don’t take them at face value. Be extra skeptical of internal polls that don’t release full methodological details, like the name of the pollster or the dates of the poll. Similarly, partisan media outlets may exaggerate their side’s standing by extensively covering good polls for their candidate while ignoring bad ones. Even mainstream news outlets can mislead, albeit in a different way: They may be tempted to overhype polls they conduct themselves (e.g., calling it a “shock poll” even if it’s not that shocking) in order to get clicks.
  • If a poll has an odd result, there might be a reason for it. Check the poll’s wording — is it accurate and unbiased? For example, some campaigns will release polls showing their candidate doing better after respondents hear a positive statement about them. Check when the poll was conducted; the survey may reflect an outdated reality or have been taken after some major event (e.g., a major military victory) that temporarily swayed public opinion. Even something as basic as the order in which questions are asked can affect the results; for example, if a poll is mostly focused on immigration but then asks about the presidential matchup, respondents may subconsciously choose the candidate they feel is best on immigration, not necessarily whom they support overall.
  • That said, don’t try to outguess or “unskew” the polls. People who pick apart a poll by claiming it has, say, too many Democrats or too few black voters in its sample are generally wasting their time (and they usually have an agenda). Polls are almost always weighted to match their target population’s demographics, such as race and age. This doesn’t mean all pollsters assign weights in the same way, though, and there are practices like weighting by education on which the industry is split. Not weighting by education likely contributed to some of the most consequential polling errors of 2016, and many pollsters have now begun to factor education into their weighting, but others are still holding out. In an era when graduating from college has a significant bearing on white people’s political preferences, we recommend putting more stock in polls that weight by education than those that don’t. (On the other hand, weighting by partisanship, an idea that’s received some attention lately, is dicey3 and not something most pollsters do. That’s because party identification, unlike many demographic traits, is fluid, so setting it as a constant risks predetermining the poll’s outcome.)
  • Heed averages, not outliers. If a poll’s result differs from every other poll, treat it with caution. Although an outlier poll can sometimes represent the beginning of a new trend (especially after a major event like a debate), they’re usually just flukes. Instead, we recommend looking at an average of the polls, which will more accurately reflect the polling consensus.
  • In the aggregate, polls are pretty accurate but not perfect. Since 2000, polls of presidential general elections taken within 21 days of Election Day have a weighted average error4 of 4.0 points. (Polls of Senate, House and gubernatorial races have slightly higher historical error.) That means you can trust the polling average to get pretty close to the final result, but it will rarely nail the election exactly. When an election is close enough that a normal-sized polling error could change who wins, prepare yourself for either outcome.
  • Polls are snapshots, not predictions. Even if a poll is a perfectly accurate measure of what would happen if the election were held today, things can always change between now and Election Day. Early general-election polls have been pretty predictive in the last few presidential elections, but with huge uncertainty surrounding major issues like the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis, we don’t know if that will hold true this year. In general, polls gradually become more accurate the closer you get to the election.

Follow these steps set up by and you too can be an expert and political analysis.

If you would like the article to check my post……

The most important one is the last one…..polls are a snapshot……not a prediction……but yet the media reads so much into the polls…..makes for good and continuous speculation.

Look at this week…Biden is winning by far in the national polls…..which is good news if you are Biden supporter….but is it all that good?

The respected stats site is out with its first batch of polling averages for the presidential election, and it’s good news for Joe Biden—at least on the surface. Biden is up 50.5% to 41.3% nationally, and he also leads in nearly all the swing states. But Nate Silver points out that Biden’s lead in many of those swing states is not as great as it is in the national polls. In Minnesota, for example, Biden is up by 6.6 points, less than his 9.2-point margin nationally. The upshot: If the polls tighten, Trump could again lose the popular vote but win via the Electoral College.

“While a Biden landslide is possible if he wins all these swing states, so is a Trump Electoral College victory, depending on which way the race moves between now and November,” writes Silver. At Politico, Steven Shepard writes about another issue that may favor Trump: the unreliability of state polls. The Trump campaign maintains that polls this year, as in 2016, are underestimating the president’s support. And the campaign “has a point,” writes Shepard. One example: People with more education are more likely to fill out these surveys, and they’re also more likely to vote Democratic. But the polls again may be undercounting others, particularly lower-income white voters who favor Trump.

You are now capable of reading polls and getting the most information out of them without the use of your favorite news media…..try it you may just like it.

Plus do not trust all the polls….do your own research and pick a candidate from knowledge and information not some popularity contest.

Think 2016 and just how badly all the polls were in predicting the outcome.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What The Hell Is The Jones Act?

That time again…the Old Professor’s Classroom… learn something does not hurt in anyway.

Before we start…..I think it might be helpful to the understanding of the question to give a little background into the Act.

The Merchant Marine act of 1920 was designed to create a safe network of merchant mariners within the U.S. after World War I, in reaction to the U.S. fleet being destroyed by the German navy. The Jones Act requires all goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported by U.S. vessels (and operated primarily by Americans).

It calls for providing the nation with a merchant marine that can transport goods between U.S. ports, increase national security during war times, and support a U.S. maritime industry. This nearly century-old law has been amended several times, most recently in 2006.

While much of the current attention on the Jones Act is focused on foreign shipping regulations, the law also contains important information about the maritime industry’s responsibilities regarding safety and well-being of crew. It safeguards the rights of sailors from being exploited, requiring compensation for injuries due to negligence by their employers. It requires employers to maintain safe environments and provide medical care, and also sets standards for vessel maintenance, safety equipment such as lifeboats, and crew qualifications, training and licensing. And, this all-encompassing law has something to say about the environment too, requiring all U.S. ships to comply with EPA regulations.

Now you have a grasp on what the Act entails….we can move onto the debate that is raging (well maybe not raging but intense)……

There is a debate raging on whether the Act has seen better days and should be revoked…..

First a more Libertarian look at the Act…..

For nearly 100 years, a federal law known as the Jones Act has restricted water transportation of cargo between U.S. ports to ships that are U.S.-owned, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-registered, and U.S.-built. Justified on national security grounds as a means to bolster the U.S. maritime industry, the unsurprising result of this law has been to impose significant costs on the U.S. economy while providing few of the promised benefits.

This paper provides an overview of the Jones Act by examining its history and the various burdens it imposes on consumers and businesses alike. While the law’s most direct consequence is to raise transportation costs, which are passed down through supply chains and ultimately reflected in higher retail prices, it generates enormous collateral damage through excessive wear and tear on the country’s infrastructure, time wasted in traffic congestion, and the accumulated health and environmental toll caused by unnecessary carbon emissions and hazardous material spills from trucks and trains. Meanwhile, closer scrutiny finds the law’s national security justification to be unmoored from modern military and technological realities

A short con video for the Jones Act…….

Ask a Founder if the Act should go……

During the first Congress in 1789, Alexander Hamilton led the passage of legislation that required trade between U.S. ports to be conducted by U.S.-flagged vessels, which mirrored the laws of most major countries at the time. This forerunner of the Jones Act nurtured the nation’s fledgling maritime industry and provided a pool of U.S. ships, crews, and shipbuilders that could support the country in a conflict. Even free market theorist Adam Smith contended that England’s own similar statutes were “the wisest of all the commercial regulations” given their vital defense role.
Hamilton’s goals still apply today. The domestic U.S. commercial fleet provides some of the ships, and 40 percent of the mariners needed to move military cargoes during a crisis. U.S.-flagged and operated ships also keep foreign vessels and crews off America’s interior waterways and lessen adversaries’ ability to gain control of commercial sea links between the Continental United States and Hawaii, Alaska, or island territories. Furthermore, the Jones Act’s U.S.-build requirement sustains shipyards the government depends on for episodic construction of military ships and ensures ship construction capacity is available in the United States to replace wartime losses.

The con has been stated… the pro…..

One hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson enacted a law that would become known as the Jones Act. Its purpose was to help the U.S. shipping industry recover after World War I. Yet few could have predicted how vital it would become to our national security and economic prosperity a full century later — especially during a pandemic.

The Jones Act requires that all vessels carrying goods between two U.S. points be American-built, -owned, -crewed and -flagged. This policy provides stability to the U.S. maritime industry and helps to sustain 650,000 American jobs, resulting in $150 billion in economic benefits each year. Most importantly, the Jones Act advances our national security by helping maintain a vibrant domestic shipbuilding industry and maritime workforce. Our shipbuilders supply the military with warships, and U.S. mariners play a key role in transporting military personnel and equipment overseas in times of crisis.

There you have both sides and I would like to hear from my readers on whether the Jones Act should stay or should it go.

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“lego ergo scribo”



FYI Sunday

These days we are washing our hands more and more and using hand sanitizers by the gallon……

Because I try to give useful info when I run across it there is something we need to know about some of the hand sanitizer out there……it could be hazardous to your health…..

Using hand sanitizer? Might be good to check that label. The Food and Drug Administration is adding more hand sanitizers to its list of products to avoid because they contain methanol—which is toxic when ingested or absorbed by the skin, USA Today reports. The FDA is telling Americans to avoid 59 different kinds of hand sanitizer, including some that have been recalled or face possible recall for containing the dangerous ingredient. The agency says it has “seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination.”

Seems all the latest hand sanitizers on the list are produced in Mexico—including over two dozen sold by 4E Global, many of which carry the Blumen label, per CNN. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that methanol is used in industrial settings as an alternative fuel source, solvent, and pesticide, and can cause a variety of ill health effects including headaches, seizures, coma, blurred vision, and permanent blindness. The CDC suggests using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 70% isopropanol and 60% ethanol.

Please if you use hand sanitizer read the label and make sure that it is safe to use….

Be Well….Be Safe…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Lee’s Dark Side

These days of news reports about statues and persons of the American Civil War and the admiration that Donald the Orange shows them I thought that a post on Robert E. Lee would be an interesting post for my followers to read….for those that missed the original post……

After it was posted on Twitter I got a reply from a person that also writes a blog and they sent me a link so that I could read more on Lee’s dark side.

Warning – we do not use euphemism or Orwellian double speak.  
In this article — torture is torture.  It’s not “discipline.”
Buying kidnapped women is buying kidnapped women. Having your own soldiers shot during battle if they ran — is just that.  Look elsewhere for euphemism.  We won’t do it.

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