Fool on the Hill is a ranting anarchist blog which attacks the lies and dissembling of all kinds and exposes the environmental destruction that threatens life on Earth

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January 31 2008

Cyber criminals targeting Valentine's Day

Cyber criminals are believed to have launched a renewed campaign to invade millions of home computers across the world with a trojan, creating an international network of infected computers which can be used to send spam or launch cyber attacks on websites - without the owner's knowledge. The campaign is likely to peak on or around St Valentine's Day, the day of the year when people are most likely to click on an anonymous email and open the link inside.

So DON'T CLICK ON ANYTHING YOU DON'T RECOGNISE! The only way these scumbags get anywhere is because people just can't force themselves to delete suspicious mail, they just have to take a peek and, wham, the infection is in and working it's evil. Of course, everyone should have anti-virus and anti-spyware protection which would ring alarm bells as soon as an attempt was made to install anything, but it seems many don't and are sitting ducks to the cyber criminals. If anyone in the UK reading this gets their electricity from E-ON or EDF, please consider switching to another supplier, preferably Ecotricity or Good Energy who both supply energy from renewable sources .

Both E-ON and EDF are promoters and developers of nuclear power stations, and are lobbying the UK government hard to stick to its insane decision to embark on a round of new building once the existing Magnox stations reach the end of their usable life; their waste will be around for thousands of years, and no solution has yet been found to deal with it safely and securely - presumably why E-ON chose their name, from the eons of time the waste will be dangerous. All suppliers are charging more or less the same, so it makes no difference in price to switch, and you'll find both Ecotricity and Good Energy much friendlier people, so you can reduce your personal carbon emissions in one small move. The burning of fossil fuels to make electricity is the single biggest cause of climate change, and the biggest thing you can do is also the easiest, simply change where your electricity comes from.


January 30 2008

My favourite recycled product

It's this beautiful wine/beer goblet hand made from a Grolsch bottle. As the glass isn't melted down, it saves 90% of the energy normally used to make recycled glass.



They are beautiful, good to hold, and extremely tough, unlike most wine glasses, and can withstand being knocked over by a dog's tail while sitting on a coffee table. Ecotopia stock them, and they can be ordered online, they have a range of recycled, planet friendly products. We were given a couple as presents, but I intend to buy more to make up a set. At £6.50 each, they aren't cheap, but they will last for much longer than the average wine glass.


January 28 2008

Zeitgeist, The Movie

I'm getting into this video thing lately, and have a treat for you now, with this one below embedded from Google Video. This is a documentary/investigative film produced by Peter Joseph. He begins by exploring the fraudulent and disasterous foundations of Christianity. With that deception as a foundation, he discusses the modern deceptions of September 11, 2001, and our modern monetary system. Of course, Christian fundies, the ones with their knuckles scraping the ground and the low foreheads, are railing against it and demanding it be banned. Nothing new there then.



January 27 2008


Having spent several hours clearing up in the garden today - being serenaded by a robin whose liquid song from a branch just above my head enchanted me as I stuffed six bags with cut up branches and other compostable matter - I was somewhat astonished to hear of the government's latest idiot wheeze; paying the obese to lose weight. Offering a carrot to the fat and lazy is inviting them to eat it, better surely to fine them, charge them extra for every service, and tax junk food. The general view of this is why should people who eat healthily and exercise pay taxes to be handed out to the fat and lazy?

Which is a fair point that Alan Johnson and Ed Balls, the pair of thickoes behind this pathetic idea, are going to have to address.It's like spring already with snowdrops blooming everywhere and daffodils already forming flower buds. Shrubs and trees are also budding, and this in late January with no sign of winter unless you can count one or two frosts and some snow in Scotland that lasted for a couple of days. The river has calmed down a bit now as we haven't had any rain for a few days, and has turned from brown to green again, so at least topsoil isn't being washed away as it was. A bunch of middle class conservationists are conducting a 'mole watch', which seems one of the daftest activities dreamed up by people with too much time on their hands.

Moles are subterranean creatures and are rarely seen, so how exactly people are going to record them is a mystery. In my walks with the dogs we see many hundreds of mole hills in the river meadows, which have been increasing over the years, suddenly erupting in a new area and covering a a large patch of previously untouched grassland, and now they have crossed the river [I wonder how, did a few intrepid mole explorers swim it, or did they tunnel underneath?] and have made inroads into the football pitches in the sports ground, an action hardly likely to endear them to anyone. My guess is we have seena mole population explosion, but I have nothing to base that on other than the number of mole hills, which could be the work of one or two hyperactive moles who've discovered a natural source of amphetamine. I think the population explosion is the more likely, but reporting disturbed earth is hardly any kind of scientific survey.

I guess it will keep some people busy at the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species, which the mole certainly ain't.Moles rarely seem to surface during daylight, but do form a part of a fox's diet, and magpies have been known to attack and eat them, so they must come up in the day some times. Owl's are probably their main predator during the night when they probably think it's safe to pop upstairs for a breath of fresh air.


January 25 2008

Get ready for Earth Hour

Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world. As a result, at 8pm on the 29 March, 2008 millions of people in some of the world’s major capital cities, including Copenhagen, Toronto, Chicago, Melbourne, Brisbane, Tel Aviv and Manila will unite and switch off for Earth Hour.Click the arrow to watch the video. More info hereI've removed the video as it was taking forever to contact the site to load.  


January 23 2008

Beauty in the eye of the beholder

Out of these three, which is likely to be objected to on the grounds of ugliness?

Coal fired Coal fired power station

Nuclear Nuclear power station

Wind Wind farm

Astonishingly, it's the bottom one every time. Now I wonder why that is.


January 22 2008

A recession is on the way

The markets are nervous in the extreme, people who care about money are starting to panic, not knowing where to stash their hoard where it will be safe. those who try to run things are reducing interest rates in the hope this will put extra money into people's bank accounts and make them want to go and spend crazily like they were doing, and all just to try to lift the world capitalist system out of the inevitable terminal illness it's got itself into. It won't work. The system has pretty much used up all the only real capital it ever had, the planet, and is now on the path to final destruction. Costs of everything are rising, from power to plastic nicknacks from China, and can only rise into the future.

I heard one woman interviewed in London say she was not going to buy things she didn't need any more! That's the spirit, why were you buying things you didn't need anyway? But capitalism isn't about satisfying needs, it's about overconsumption, and carries the seeds of its own instability; as soon as the growth of last year is not reached, it is seen as loss, despite profits being what would once have been considered excessive. If they ain't better than last year there's a problem. The real problem though is that unlimited growth is a physical impossibility, both in the natural world and in our bubble of humanity.

As our numbers increase, the share gets less, not more. But this is good news for the planet. With less consumption there will be less pollution, less devouring of raw materials, less energy wasted on producing things nobody needs. Short of the mass human die off which will come, a recession is good news for every other species and the ecosystem at large.


January 21 2008

A soggy land

Rain now means floods. There used to be an expression, it never rains but it pours, but that was applied to situations rather than rain. Now, it is rarely an hour or two of moderatre rain, but a deluge. Rivers already high, can't cope with it and overflow. Roads run with water for long after the duration of the rain, most likely because drains haven't been cleaned for years, probably part of cost cutting when putting council work out to private profiteers. It's been a long time since I saw one of those drain cleaning trucks with a tank on the back and a long tube that was poked down drains to suck up all the detritus that had flown down.

Small wonder that now roads are flooded almost immediately, and remain so until long after a deluge. But drains are only part of it. Fields too are soggy and with standing water in lakes. Any more rains has nowhere to go other than into rivers and ditches. But ditches too haven't been cleaned annually as they once were before society lost the plot and concentrated on getting rich. So overgrown ditches can't do the job they were intended to and fields flood and stay flooded for weeks. Crops are ruined and animals have to be fed from other sources. Although this is the time of year when floods are more common, the land being already waterlogged means the floods are more severe and are overtaking towns and cities as well.


January 17 2008

A golden opportunity?

NetAudioAds Pay-Per-Play (PPP) is an online media channel that plays 5 second audio advertisements on websites that place the PPP code on their web pages. It's so new most people haven't heard of it yet. But it's got millions of websites signed up, including this one, and it remains to be seen if it pays as well as it promises. Needing money, if for nothing else but my pension, I'm willing to try anything, but I'd hate to think I hadn't informed you about it if it really takes off and earns serious money, thus this piece. I don't do advertorials for money, if I like something from personal experience I may extoll its virtues.

As I know nothing more about this than anyone clicking the link below will know soon enough, I can't vouch that it will make me or you any money, but the chances are quite high that it very well might. And as there's absolutely no risk, and one can resign from the system instantly by removing the small piece of code, I don't see any harm in recommending you try it as I intend to. It's in Beta at present and everyone in at the start will benefit more than those who jump in when it starts to take off as a website funding tool. PPP audio ads will be contextually related to the text content (readable content) of any web page where the PPP code is placed, and will be only 5 seconds in length and a website visitor will only hear one 5 second advertisement per visit to any specific web page where the PPP code has been inserted. The visitor will only hear one audio ad for every 3 minutes they visit if they have already heard an audio ad on another page of the same website. If anyone still finds this ratio irritating, they should let me or any other website carrying them know so we can pass on the feedback.

Pay-Per-Play is now in huge demand by major branding advertisers all over the world. As of 12/29/2007 the Pay-Per-Play network has grown to over 6 million websites. But still time to give it a try if you have a site, you could at the very least make enough to cover all your running costs. Click here to view the signup page if you have a site.Occasional ruminations:I wonder why it is that as you grow older and less able to reach your feet, your toenails start growing really fast and need cutting much more frequently.


January 11 2008

It just doesn't add up

Nuclear is not carbon neutral; extraction, refining and transportation all cost in carbon emissions. It is therefore not part of a carbon neutral solution to climate change.

Before solving the problem of waste management, to embark on a new round of waste creation to add to what has already been amassed, is bizarre. Renewables can, and indeed must, meet all our energy requirements, and have as yet been barely investigated or developed. Fully exploited, wind alone could provide at least 20% of current demand, and with storage technology already well developed, can be available as a constant source. The simplistic idea that when the wind stops blowing in one place there is no electricity, is ignorant.

River turbines producing energy have not been mentioned by anyone, yet once rivers were major sources of energy and could be again. With increased rainfall predicted, this would be a useful byproduct of floods, but also a continuous source of power except in the case of widespread drought. There are still many unused waterwheels on rivers, these could be refurbished to make a start.

Anaerobic digestion of human and animal waste with the gas produced utilised and fed into the gas supply grid for public consumption has also yet to be explored, although it is being trialed on a few farms at present, with the local community benefiting. If all sewage plants were to have digesters and compressors added, this would not only remove a huge amount of the methane, one of the greenhouse gases, presently being emitted into the environment, but would also be supplying yet more renewable energy. This could be implemented immediately, as fast as it takes to build digesters.somewhat quicker than nuclear reactors I suspect.

A solar roofs project to retrofit as many houses as possible as fast as possible across the country with PV panels, while changing building regulations to compel builders to incorporate them into all new builds, with the purpose of making all new houses energy neutral, should be a priority. Concentration on completing all home insulation projects as soon as possible, and changes in the law to raise the energy efficiency of ALL new electrical appliances as well as light bulbs would also substantially affect the amount of energy needed. Possibly a removal of standby mode from TVs and other electronic devices would be useful, or at the very least an education campaign to persuade people not to use standby due to it using 60% of normal consumption, and is often left on for hours.

With all these measures there is no need to replace any nuclear stations with new nuclear [same as old nuclear but with added bullshit], and all coal fired stations can be replaced with biogas stations as they come to the end of their lives. Short term, any or all of these renewables are faster to implement than nuclear could ever be, many of them could be contributing energy within months.

Nuclear is a technological fantasy which can never deliver more than it presently does. The government may find much opposition to any attempt to build new nuclear stations, even if the French are panting to get stuck in and cover this country with the monstrosities like they have France.

The population, apart from a tiny but vocal loony minority, are in favour of renewables, especially those communities which have benefited directly, and with a little more government help many would jump at the chance to get involved and do something positive in their own lives. This is where vision would meet a popular response if it existed in this anodyne bunch of managers.

January 10 2008

Of shits and shit

The UK government have decided, as I knew they would, to go for nuclear in an attempt to address climate change. Despite all the arguments against which have been well rehearsed and are inescapable, this crew of idiots have gone for the allure of the supertech solution, ignored all consideration of the long term waste problems and appear to think inviting commercial firms to spend many millions on new nuclear plants means the problem is sorted. They're even planning the new builds on the sites of the old ones, despite most of them being on the coast and thus due to be under the sea by 2050. I guess it's all far too complicated for epsilon minds to fully grasp. Even the fact that none could possibly be built and come onstream for at least ten years - more if the anti nuclear campaigners make life difficult as they will - so can't provide a short term solution to plant closures, has escaped them.

Not so long ago, renewables were said by those opposed to them to be only ever capable of providing 2% of our energy needs. Now they claim renewables can only supply 20%, so we need nuclear as well. I have long argued that there is no limit to how much of our energy could be renewable, it could, and should, be 100%, the only sustainable option in the long term. Allied to reduction in demand as a result of switching to energy efficient appliances [and educating people to avoid standby mode which still uses 60% of normal power], and a concentration on insulation and cutting waste, there's no reason that renewables, fully exploited, couldn't supply all we need.

Talking about nuclear just unfocuses the mind from the task and diminishes the energy needed to tackle the problem on all fronts; loft insulation and double glazing, energy efficient appliances including light bulbs, massive expansion of onshore and offshore wind generation, a national solar roof campaign, biomass, water generation on rivers, reduction in meat production [a huge contributor of greenhouse gases], and an expansion in hemp growing - the last an unknown factor, but one which could contribute substantially in actually taking carbon out of the atmosphere and locking it away for many years in cloth, rope, board and paper. Then there's the subject of shit.We all shit just like other animals. Trouble is, our shit gets taken off into pipes and pumped into treatment works in huge quantities where it is degraded microbially in the open air until 'safe' to put into the environment - that is, rivers and the sea. Methane is the second most important gas contributing to the human-made greenhouse effect after carbon dioxide. Current concentrations are about 150% above pre-industrial levels.

But because methane is broken down relatively easily, atmospheric concentrations would return to pre-industrial levels within about a decade if the various sources of production linked to human activities could be eliminated. These include human shit as well as cattle shit.A farmer in Wales says he can create enough energy to power 500 homes in his local village - by using cow dung. Richard Tomlinson claims his 600 organic dairy cows can produce enough waste to provide renewable fuel for those living in Holt, near Wrexham. Mr Tomlinson plans to hold a meeting with villagers to explain how the energy is created by mixing cow slurry and food waste in a generator. Why isn't every livestock farm doing this instead of allowing the methane to join the atmosphere? The next step would be for the village human waste to be added to the digester. If all sewage plants had an anaerobic digester installed, connected to a gas compression facility and distribution into the gas grid, a massive amount of greenhouse gas would be removed from the equation, and an energy alternative to fossil fuels supplied as well as handy quantities of clean compost. Many local authorities already use anaerobic digesters to process waste but do not use the energy produced for fuel, instead venting it into the environment. A question of joined up thinking needed I think.


January 7 2008

Searching the site

My mate Fraser of Parallel Youniversity mentioned he would like a search engine facility on his site, so I thought I would have a look and see what was on offer. This one above is the result. It's freeware and with it you can search the Fool for any subject under the sun. It includes in its index all previous archived posts, so might even be handy for me to find something I wrote years ago and can't remember where or when, not unusual. It came from Fluid Dynamic Software Corporation who provide Perl CGI tools for webmasters, the search tool, FDSE, is an easy-to-install search engine for local and remote sites. It returns fast, accurate results from a template-driven architecture.

Freeware and shareware versions are available, and there's the choice of a manual install or an automatic install. Unless you're totally experienced with Perl and CGI I would recommend the automatic route which takes a few minutes and flawwlessly installs all necessary files on your server. You have to have the FTP login details at hand of course, but then it's pretty plain sailing. Then, once installed, you have to index the site, unchecking all those external links you don't want to be part of the index before telling it to index. Again, a few minutes and it's done, then all that's needed is copying a small bit of html and pasting it into the page where you want the search box, and it's done. I hope it's of use to my readers. Comment

January 5 2008

How much longer?

Those of us who have been using energy saving lightbulbs for the last couple of decades had assumed that the switchover would be gradual, but as people realised the benefits, not just in energy [and carbon] saving but in their pockets as well, they would be universally welcomed and once reduced in price from the £5-8 we've been paying. The government decision to phase out old incandescent bulbs [unchanged since invented by the Victorians], appears to have stirred the usual no-brainers into a spate of overreacting. Having heard that energy efficient bulbs contain mercury, they are now off on one over the 'dangers' of pollution if they break in the home. Nonsense of course, the mercury is in such tiny amounts that you'd need to absorb a few hundred bulbs worth to make yourself ill, and as they last for at least five years [I've got some which are ten years old] and as you are recommended to recycle them safely and councils have known for some time how to do that, there is little chance many will be thrown into landfill let alone broken up in the home.

That doesn't stop the right-wing tabloids' scurrilous scribblers like Ann Lesley shooting their ignorant mouths off. Her particular tabloid, the rank Daily Mail, even has a headline shouting about the dangers of them in typical ignorant fashion, thus scaring their almost illiterate readers into thinking they are all going to be poisoned in their homes, become epileptics, get migraines or even develop cancer once they have no choice. Lesley claims she's going to buy up all the stocks of old bulbs in North London, which would be more than enough to last her the rest of her useless life even though they last for only a few months. Of course the glass and tungsten put in landfill doesn't bother these people, their concern about the environment is only skin deep; it extends to any slight criticism they can level against environmental measures.

The criticism of the bulbs doesn't stop there. Allied to the mercury scare is a complaint that the light isn't 'friendly' like that from incandescent bulbs; ie. it's more blue than red, just like natural sunlight and an allegation that 'people with skin complaints will be affected' which is downright stupid. The very few people who are ultra sensitive to sunlight know how to protect themselves, and if these or other bulbs yet to be invented affect them in any way, alternatives will be available. The vast majority of humans, however, use sunlight to make vitamin D, and any light source which comes closer to natural light is likely to improve vitamin D production during winter months when the sunlight is so much less.

There's also the question of SAD [seasonal affective disorder] which some people suffer from in northern countries in the winter resulting in depression. Lighting with a bluer spectrum, closer to natural light, is likely to aid this also, and the standard treatment for chronic sufferers is specialist lighting. I recently bought a couple of special energy efficient bulbs with a spectrum close to sunlight, theiught they might be helpful for indoor growing, and we are now using them in our workrooms because of the brighter, more natural light they provide.

They may even make us more cheerful in the winter!This knee-jerk reaction to anything green; wind farms are the most obvious, but others fall into the category, comes from a small minority who appear to both lack an understanding that if we don't change our behaviour we could actually become extinct and will certainly suffer enormous traumas and loss of life, and to harbour a deep resentment of what they perceive as a 'left wing conspiracy' to limit choice and force people to behave in a particular way, one advocated for decades by people they despise, hippies. It's always right wing, it's deeply ignorant, and spouted by people who should know better, but who are addressing a hoarde of ill-educated, ignorant peasants who are easily manipulated. Some of these people are very rich [Noel Edmonds is one example who has used his money to prevent wind turbine sitings] but riches can come to the really stupid on occasions. Once a story like this has been set off, the rest of the media repeat it over and over, simplistically of course, with the result that it gains a life of its own, and some might think there must be something in it.

There isn't. Having used them for over twenty years I am still healthy and with no skin problems [in fact I appear to be much healthier than others of my generation who haven't bothered to eat healthily, and who have pursued the capitalist dream of increasing wealth]. The bottom line is; why should the rest of us have to continue destroying the planet because a few dozen non viables have skin problems aggravated by exposure to light like Dracula? Once these bulbs have been supplanted by LEDs, the next generation of even more efficient lighting, they'll find something to object to with those.


January 4 2008

I love my SatNav

Having spent a life getting lost, wasted hours studying maps, missed more road signs and turnings than I've had hot dinners, and generally, now my memory is sadly not what it once was [in the sixties I had dozens of telephone numbers just remembered by my fingers, now I have a struggle remembering my own] each journey by car over a few miles is stressful; was that where I should have turned? what road is this? how on Earth did I end up here?

But no longer. My new SatNav sits there with the road winding out in front on its screen in a reassuring fat orange line, rotating the view as I travel, removing the orange road behind me. I feel attached to my destination as never before. Without a SatNav you are always getting further from home. With one you know you will arrive where you want to. Anadded bonus is that it saves time and money. Previously, it's taken around four hours to travel to the middle of England, Milton Keynes, the route plotted out on a map beforehand, and repeated on subsequent journeys. I think I even had a print out from an AA Routemaster program on the PC which gave much the same route.

This time, it took two and a half hours, was stress free and easy. With seven satellites guiding my way, even I couldn't get lost, and next trip, now I'm confident with it, I shall try it out, go off the recommended route, try to get lost, try to fool the machine. It's the human way.Doing the right thing - Apparently, although the majority of UK citizens acknowledge that climate change is happening and human activity is responsible, few still are prepared to make any changes to their lifestyles, despite knowing that they are killing the planet. In fact, there has been an increase in car journeys and flights taken in the last few years. Those who suffer pangs of conscience about it recycle enthusiastically as if that will somehow make the nasy global warming go away. Many who were flooded out last year are aware that it could/will happen again, and that they can never sell their homes, want someone else to be held responsible and to compensate them for buying in a flood plain.

Now I hear one can write off for a free gift of four energy efficient bulbs, yet more bribes for the tardy when some of us have been using them exclusively for years. If incandesent bulbs had been made illegal back in the seventies, just think of the energy that would have been saved, probably several power station's worth. And energy efficient bulbs would have developed faster with sales pushing R&D. Comment

January 1 2008

Here we go again

With the usual profligate displays of fireworks around the planet to the detriment of the environment and a gross waste of money - the London display alone cost £100,000 a minute for 11 minutes, no one has calculated the carbon footprint - the new year arrived. Another revolution of the Earth round the sun acknowledged, though it has always been a mystery to me why anyone should get excited about it, one day being much like the last. But then I've always felt like an alian, visiting Earth and trying to make sense of the dominant lifeform's obsessions and mindset, and still failing to make much sense of any of it.We start the year with the usual several wars going on, stabbings and shootings aplenty, angry hominids disagreeing and arguing, senseless casual violence, gradual erosion of the ecosystem continuing apace. I've resolved to gather this blog into a book this year, a lot of work as it's been going since 2003 and the start of the Iraq invasion. That's the only resolution I shall make.

But first an apology. To all my American readers who must feel I'm directing my venom at them sometimes. It's not that I think all Americans are stupid, that would be absurd as well as bigoted, and there are so many bright, talented Americans that it would be silly to claim it. But America the nation winds me and so many others up so often - and must be a constant embarrassment to those many good people who just happen to have been born there but who aren't part of the moron nation which I rail against so much.

I love and admire so many Americans, but unfortunately, they don't have the upper hand, and rarely even get the government they deserve. The stupids have been breeding uncontrollably and there are just so many of the dumb fucks with their belief that America is a beacon of enlightenment, democracy and freedom, when all rational people know it's the big bully which likes to push its weight around and then justifies it with religious-patriotic claptrap to the despair of all right minded people. We all have to live with America, and sometimes that's really difficult, and the good can often be obscured by the deranged god-fearin' hordes of self-righteous christian idiots who are the equivalent of the Taliban.

With the unrest currently seething in Kenya one is tempted to compare it with the US; Kenyans are out on the streets creating mayhem because of election fraud, but where were Americans when the same thing happened to them? Watching it on their TVs I guess, while continuing to lecture the world on the benefits of democracy when their own is a shambles and barely qualifies as anything but a choice between several rich candidates, and even that tainted by fraud.



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British Isles c 2050

Time to move to higher ground

The time to move to higher ground link [above] will change from time to time, illustrating how this phrase has become more and more common of late; from New Orleans, to Fiji to East Anglia to Holland.
I moved to higher ground in 2000 when it was clear that flooding was becoming the norm and climate change was happening now.
On the journey west, we passed flooded fields right across the midlands, it felt almost apocalyptic.
Since then, floods have become common in the UK and many other countries.

Fadhel Al-Sa'd: The sun circles the Earth because it is smaller than the Earth, as is evident in Koranic verses...No verse in the Koran indicates that the Earth is round or that it rotates. Anything that has no indication in the Koran is false.

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the Fool as a young boy

The scenes from this war will create thousands maybe even millions of militants intent on inflicting damage on the only superpower. The war will be waged across America and in any American outpost and embassy. It will be brutal and messy and will continue for decades. Bush doesn't know what he has unleashed.
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