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Whatís really behind those FAA tower closures?
Hot Air.com ^ | March 23, 2013 | JAZZ SHAW

Posted on 03/23/2013 9:08:57 AM PDT by Kaslin

Sequestration chatter isn’t going away any time soon, and one of the expected headlines is making the rounds again this week. Air traffic control towers at nearly 150 airports across the nation are going to sit empty, forcing pilots to figure out safe landing procedures by a combination of the seats of their pants and furiously cracking open fortune cookies. In other words, you’re all going to die.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday told 149 regional airports across the country it would begin closing their air traffic control towers in April, but said it would spare another 40 towers that had been on the chopping block.

The agency said the cuts are necessary to help meet $637 million in forced spending cuts.

The tower closures will begin April 7 and will be phased in over four weeks, FAA Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle said in a memo obtained by CNN.

They need to cut $637M out of their budget, but how big is that budget? And how big of a percentage would you need to slash before you just start shutting down towers? Doug Mataconis thinks there might be a little more to see here than just red and black numbers on a balance sheet. Could it be… politics?

The FAA claims that it cannot cut $600 million from its $58 billion without impacting air traffic control. Honestly, though, I can’t believe that this is true. It seems more likely to me that the Administration is phasing in cuts that are designed to have the most public impact in order to win a political battle. Take a fine tooth comb to that budget, guys, before you start risking public safety.

I’m not doubting that for a moment, but somehow I think there’s yet another layer to this onion. It’s not just the number of towers being shut down, but which specific ones. And more to the point… who works there. When you scan down the list of closures, these are all towers which are managed and staffed by private contractors. Not one of them is staffed up by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union. That’s something of a remarkable coincidence, isn’t it? Maybe not.

No FAA air-traffic facilities will be shut down for at least a year, Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union, said in an e-mailed statement.

The FAA’s union contract requires that controllers get at least a year’s notice before a facility is closed, Church said. The agency Feb. 22 issued a list of 49 FAA towers that were subject to closing in addition to the private towers.

The union workers will be forced to take off one day without pay every two weeks, which spreads the pain around a little but their jobs and their towers aren’t going away. And leave it to public sector unions to find a way to wring a silver (or green) lining out of any dark cloud. Assume there is some sort of public outcry this year after a couple of regional jets clip wings on the runways of some municipal airports. At that point, Washington gets the excuse they need to staff at least some of the towers back up. Will they go back to the private contractors, or will the unions move in with their “much more efficient” practices?

Time will tell. And we’ll be watching with great interest.


TOPICS: Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: airplane; budgetreform; faa; sequester
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1 posted on 03/23/2013 9:08:57 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Barry the Sequesterer’s fault.


2 posted on 03/23/2013 9:10:04 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Whatever happened to the land of the free, home of the brave?)
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To: Kaslin

Like the memo said: “Cancel or suspend the things that will cause the public the most pain”.


3 posted on 03/23/2013 9:15:49 AM PDT by anoldafvet
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To: Kaslin

Ground Biden and hussein from flying for a week and we should be able to save that much.


4 posted on 03/23/2013 9:16:33 AM PDT by bgill
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To: anoldafvet

Spiteful little weasel.


5 posted on 03/23/2013 9:16:48 AM PDT by CMailBag
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To: Kaslin

Worcester is the biggest airport in Massachusetts to lose its ATC tower. Last year, I brought my grandson out there to watch departures and landings. The place is ghost town. Last year it handled about 20,000 passengers, vs. 13,000,000 at Logan. That’s fewer than 60 per day.

The pilots coordinate runway usage over the radio. Except for cowboys who don’t monitor and use the radio, it should never be a problem. Most small airports don’t have any control towers. Flight plans, if used at all, are filed by dropping them in a mail slot.


6 posted on 03/23/2013 9:18:28 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (What word begins with "O" and ends in economic collapse?)
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To: Kaslin
Closing the White House to public tours (even though it is exempt from the sequestration) does not increase the odds that Americans will die, so it is not enough for Obama.

He is looking for areas that will cause the most pain and suffering, just like releasing the criminal illegal aliens. The illegal criminal aliens are not doing enough damage fast enough, so Soetoro is upping his game.

7 posted on 03/23/2013 9:18:36 AM PDT by Gabrial (The nightmare will continue as long as the nightmare is in the Whitehouse)
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To: Kaslin

As a pilot, I really don’t care.... It has relatively little impact... For example, RYY (Cobb County Airport) has a tower that only has radio and is open limited hours.... It is more of an annoyance than a help... ..
After hours, all the pilots coordinate with each other (at night).
This will now just extend to daylight hours.....
Fire them and save the money...


8 posted on 03/23/2013 9:18:55 AM PDT by nevergore ("It could be that the purpose of my life is simply to serve as a warning to others.")
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To: Kaslin

That’s about a 1% cut. I saw a lot of cuts while working in the private sector. I can’t remember any of them being only 1%.


9 posted on 03/23/2013 9:20:37 AM PDT by MulberryDraw (That which cannot be paid, won't be paid.)
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To: Kaslin
the Peoples Democratic Republic of Ithaca EVIL just got told their tower was closing since it has less than 10,000 arrivals/departures per year, that's basically 14 flights a day... most/all of which will be picked up by Elmira/Corning
10 posted on 03/23/2013 9:20:45 AM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Kaslin

It’s too dangerous for politicians if citizens are allowed to own guns. Or fly airplanes. Or drive cars...


11 posted on 03/23/2013 9:24:18 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: Kaslin

Another notch on Obama’s fail poll.


12 posted on 03/23/2013 9:25:38 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: Kaslin
I think this is at least two fold. This was designed to make the GOP look like the bad guys and raise taxes. Number 2 the faa unions will be able to save the towers and stop the layoffs of Air Traffic Controllers and gain much support and power in the FAA.
13 posted on 03/23/2013 9:27:43 AM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: Kaslin

It’s to cause the most pain, while leaving the ruling elite alone.


14 posted on 03/23/2013 9:28:21 AM PDT by I want the USA back (Pi$$ed off yet?)
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To: Kaslin

I wonder how many crashes and casualties it will take before the public has had enough of Barry’s shenanigans?


15 posted on 03/23/2013 9:30:43 AM PDT by The Sons of Liberty (It's not "GUN CONTROL"! It's "PEOPLE CONTROL"!)
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To: CMailBag

No, little barry bastard boy’s regime has its head up the unions’ ass. ALL the workers in the towers to be closed are non-union. Not one union run tower will be closed. If little barry bastard boy was not black and a democrip, he would be up on RICO charges already.


16 posted on 03/23/2013 9:38:22 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

Worcester was always a place to watch air traffic. High on a hill on a summer night away from the city heat while eating an ice cream cone was a treat. My parents took us there once in a while. I took my own little one there to see the Goodyear Blimp. I flew in and out out of Worcester
back in the day. I don’t know why the airport never did succeed. It is a gem. I don’t like using Logan. I can also remember learning to drive in St Johns Cemetery. My dad always said we cannot hurt anyone there. LOL


17 posted on 03/23/2013 9:42:20 AM PDT by oldironsides
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To: MulberryDraw
That’s about a 1% cut.

A 1.13% cut is like a John Kerry Viet Nam boo-boo, and the FAA is asking for a Purple Heart.

But the average public school graduate doesn't know that because they can't do the math.

The Democrats and Bureaucrats depend on the stupidity and ignorance of the average voter. Sadly, that appears to be a winning formula.

18 posted on 03/23/2013 9:42:52 AM PDT by Senator_Blutarski
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
This is simply a spiteful move by the supposed leader of our country. The only people who are really hurt is those private contract, non-union, folks who now lose their job.
Pilots will have to be more vigilant now, but we can do without.

“Cowboys” are few in the aviation community. Most incidents come from those who are not current with what is going on and stumble through restricted airspace and fail to read NOTAMS, “notices to airmen”.

Mail slot for flight plans? Who picks up the mail? I just call my local Flight Service Station and file with them.

19 posted on 03/23/2013 9:44:49 AM PDT by BatGuano (You don't think I'd go into combat with loose change in my pocket, do ya?)
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To: Kaslin
When you scan down the list of closures, these are all towers which are managed and staffed by private contractors. Not one of them is staffed up by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union. That’s something of a remarkable coincidence, isn’t it?

Obama - the Anti-Reagan.

20 posted on 03/23/2013 9:46:25 AM PDT by Alex Murphy ("If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all" - Isaiah 7:9)
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To: Vaduz
Another notch on Obama’s fail poll.

When people realize that the "most painful" cuts go unnoticed, this will backfire on Zippy.

It's up to conservatives to spread the word.

21 posted on 03/23/2013 9:48:43 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

The one in Frederick MD was unmanned for 50 years...manned for 1. I couldn’t believe they had a person there at all.


22 posted on 03/23/2013 9:49:24 AM PDT by perez24 (Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.)
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To: Kaslin

He probably wants a plane to crash so he can issue an EO to take more control. For the good of the children or something.


23 posted on 03/23/2013 9:50:41 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: Kaslin

What I don’t get is why conservatives are whining and gnashing about everything they do cut. These cut are insignificant. If we can’t take this and much more, then we need to quit pretending we’re trying to fix spending.

We ought to be saying YES! Cut every unnecessary thing! Small airport towers and White House tours qualify. And next week we’ll cut more.


24 posted on 03/23/2013 9:51:02 AM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Kaslin

Near here, both Yakima and Pendleton closing. I know Pendleton had a near accident back in the 80s when the tower was closed and two opposing flights on final came pretty close.


25 posted on 03/23/2013 9:51:21 AM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not Nurture¬ô)
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To: Alex Murphy

Everything Obama does is a reaction to Reagan. Reagan lives in Obama’s head rent free.


26 posted on 03/23/2013 9:52:36 AM PDT by Yardstick
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To: BatGuano

I flew with a guy out of MacArthur Field on Long Island, which had a tower. He more or less completely ignored ATC. He jumped the line to land, and we were passed by a 727 on our port side about half a mile over at the same altitude. My pilot friend was asked to leave MacArthur and he went to smaller airport, where there was a mail slot for flight plans. Mostly only useful to determine where to expect the wreckage to wash up once your wife hadn’t heard from you in a couple of days.

Foxnews Boston interviewed local pilots at Norwood, another closed ATC tower, and they seemed completely unconcerned. The only one who seemed concerned was the ATC controller.


27 posted on 03/23/2013 9:53:41 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (What word begins with "O" and ends in economic collapse?)
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To: Kaslin
Air traffic control towers at nearly 150 airports across the nation are going to sit empty, forcing pilots to figure out safe landing procedures by a combination of the seats of their pants and furiously cracking open fortune cookies. In other words, you’re all going to die.

That's all BS. Pilots at airports around the country have been creating their own traffic patterns and separation for generations without trouble. Radios, Unicom and a head on a swivel still work.

28 posted on 03/23/2013 9:53:56 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: oldironsides
I don’t know why the airport never did succeed...

Because it is at a relatively high altitude, and thus, when everywhere else is VFR... Worcester is marginal or IFR, with its runways jutting into a cloud.

The earlier comment about flight plan filing is easy, drop in the mail is correct... if by that you mean e-mail...

To enter a flight plan, its as easy as pressing one key on an IPAD. To pick up or start a flight plan is easy as well... depart VFR if possible and radio in the air.... or a 2 minute (usually) phone call.

29 posted on 03/23/2013 9:54:27 AM PDT by C210N (When people fear government there is tyranny; when government fears people there is liberty)
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To: oldironsides

There used to be a Goodyear Blimp stationed at Norwood. I can recall seeing it many times, apparently following Route 9 in Framingham. It covered most of the sporting events in the Northeast, like Giant’s games at Yankee Stadium or Redskins-Cowboys. Probably cheaper than anything in the New York area.


30 posted on 03/23/2013 9:57:12 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (What word begins with "O" and ends in economic collapse?)
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To: C210N

The only possible negative, among all the positives, of these closures is that some instrument approaches might change for the worse (ie, higher minimums). Due to being a non-tower, I’d surmise the procedures to getting a local barometric pressure might be a bit more remote, resulting in procedure changes... but this is so insignificant, compared to the savings of tax dollars.


31 posted on 03/23/2013 9:57:55 AM PDT by C210N (When people fear government there is tyranny; when government fears people there is liberty)
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To: Kaslin
Federalism.

The Feds close a tower, the State opens it right back up using local people.

Same with meat inspections. You think you have the monopoly on competent people? You think we don't have our own Department of Agriculture?

You want to close all Federal wildlife areas/parks? We have State Park personnel that can move right into those jobs the next day.

Airport security? The National Guard did that job after 9/11 before there ever was a TSA.

You think you can browbeat the public into giving you what you want? Here's a flash for you, we don't need you.

I don't like being blackmailed by my own gov't, the States should break this strike.

32 posted on 03/23/2013 10:00:08 AM PDT by ZOOKER ( Exploring the fine line between cynicism and outright depression)
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To: Kaslin

I had three aircraft and all my days of flying I always felt safer at uncontrolled fields. Pilots when left to use the prescribed communication with other pilots using the same airspace are more aware of their surroundings than relying on controllers, using radar, to keep them informed. Keep your head out of your as@ and surveying the surrounding is much safer. And all pilots realize that their safety is in their hands follow the rules for uncontrolled fields. Big airports need control, but that are few compared to the vast number of small airports. I’ve had more problems with the controllers than other pilots.


33 posted on 03/23/2013 10:08:28 AM PDT by Logical me
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To: The Sons of Liberty

Don’t fall for this BS.

I learned to fly out of DTN. At the time the tower was not staffed. Two years later it was staffed, as the FAA realized that there were more operations from DTN, than SHV.

That said, DTN is losing the tower staff, and guess what? All operations will continue, both visual and instrument. Nobody will die, no planes will fall outta the sky


34 posted on 03/23/2013 10:13:02 AM PDT by SgtBob (Freedom is not for the faint of heart. Semper Fi!)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Indeed death by a thousand cuts.


35 posted on 03/23/2013 10:15:01 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: Kaslin
It's got nothing to do with safety.
This is Obama, the ILLEGAL ALIEN IN CHIEF, throwing a temper tantrum.
I've got 5 years experience with the FAA and 26+ years military experience air traffic control.
It's about Union vs NON-Union jobs, and competition that shows Unions are a lousy way to go.
Read FAA to close 149 control towers to meet budget cuts and then go look at the FAA CONTRACT Tower Closure List document.
36 posted on 03/23/2013 10:18:53 AM PDT by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: The Sons of Liberty
I wonder how many crashes and casualties it will take before the public has had enough of Barry’s shenanigans?

I wonder what the communist agenda democrat party will do when it is discovered they are not needed everywhere?

.

37 posted on 03/23/2013 10:21:21 AM PDT by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
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To: Don Corleone
That's all BS. Pilots at airports around the country have been creating their own traffic patterns and separation for generations without trouble. Radios, Unicom and a head on a swivel still work.

EXACTLY!!!

38 posted on 03/23/2013 10:31:41 AM PDT by Fast Moving Angel (A moral wrong is not a civil right: No religious sanction of an irreligious act.)
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To: C210N

At DTN the tower is staffed 12 hours per day. The minimums remain the same; 800 MSL for Localizer and RNAV, and 600 MSL for VOR approaches.

Barometric pressure is broadcast on the ASOS. I believe some VORs broadcast such info in remote areas of the country. You can also get info from Flight Service Station.


39 posted on 03/23/2013 10:33:03 AM PDT by SgtBob (Freedom is not for the faint of heart. Semper Fi!)
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To: steve86
Near here, both Yakima and Pendleton closing. I know Pendleton had a near accident back in the 80s when the tower was closed and two opposing flights on final came pretty close.


Pendleton Airport tower is already closed from 10 pm to 6 am.

http://www.airnav.com/airport/KPDT

I bet the incident you mention was a nightime incident. There appear to be no commercial flights in and only 54 operations a day.

Aircraft operations: avg 54/day *
48% transient general aviation
28% local general aviation
17% air taxi
6% military

It sounds like a good location to permanently remove the tower. It works out to a take-off OR a landing every 20 minutes on average...:^)

40 posted on 03/23/2013 10:35:36 AM PDT by az_gila
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To: az_gila

It was a mid-afternoon operation during another “tower closure” episode.

Looking at flight operation schedules in 2013 will tell you very little about operations in the 1980s. LOL

At that time around four daily Horizon Airlines flights arrived and departed.


41 posted on 03/23/2013 10:54:00 AM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not Nurture¬ô)
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To: Kaslin

What nobody has explained in public or on the news to my satisfaction, is why are all these sequestration “cuts” happening? I understood, and it has been confirmed through several news reports I’ve seen, that the sequester was not actual cuts to existing spending but were a reduction in the increase in future spending for this year and some years forward. And they were insignificant reductions in the increases at that. It’s comparable to your boss telling you that you were up for a $200 a month raise and then right before the raise was to start, he tells you sorry, but he can’t afford $200 a month for your increase. But he can afford $198 a month. Not a real big disappointment is it?

So why all this hand-wringing over “cuts” that were not supposed to be cuts anyway? What’s going on, besides politics as usual?


42 posted on 03/23/2013 10:57:46 AM PDT by HotHunt
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To: Kaslin

Somebody needs to check.

My quick look at the airports is that they are mostly in Republican districts.


43 posted on 03/23/2013 11:21:26 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (When religions have to beg the gov't for a waiver, we are already under socialism.)
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To: Kaslin
The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday told 149 regional airports across the country it would begin closing their air traffic control towers in April, but said it would spare another 40 towers that had been on the chopping block. The agency said the cuts are necessary to help meet $637 million in forced spending cuts. The tower closures will begin April 7 and will be phased in over four weeks, FAA Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle said in a memo obtained by CNN.

The cut that the FAA has is still MORE than what they had last year!!!

44 posted on 03/23/2013 11:26:21 AM PDT by ExCTCitizen (More Republicans stayed home then the margin of victory of O's Win...)
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To: Erik Latranyi

“My quick look at the airports is that they are mostly in Republican districts.”

I had the same thought as you. The first one on the FAA’s cut list, Dothan, Alabama, is particularly costly. The city was set to announce a major new company coming to the city. This company, apparently a major aviation player, decided to hold off on the announcement (citing safety concerns) until the FAA list was finalized. I don’t know the number of new hires this company would have generated but apparently it was a considerable number. I’ve not read or heard reactions from city officials yet.


45 posted on 03/23/2013 12:20:35 PM PDT by miele man
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To: Kaslin

How many of the airports affected have traffic sufficient to warrant a manned tower??


46 posted on 03/23/2013 12:56:06 PM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

Conservatives need to lease these towers ASAP to keep them out
of the hands of the unions, if only holding a weekly cocktail party in them. If that’s possible?


47 posted on 03/23/2013 1:13:44 PM PDT by txhurl
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To: Kaslin

The purpose is to kill people so he can then point his finger at the GOP and whine that they “have blood on their hands.”


48 posted on 03/23/2013 3:52:37 PM PDT by Wordkraft (Remember who the Collaborators are.)
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To: Wordkraft

Of course


49 posted on 03/23/2013 3:56:39 PM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Wordkraft
BINGO, we have a winner!

Be sure to check out comment #36.
50 posted on 03/23/2013 9:40:20 PM PDT by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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