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More Military Bases in U.S. to Be Closed (BRAC)
AP on Yahoo ^ | 2/20/05 | Liz Sidoti - AP

Posted on 02/20/2005 8:55:28 PM PST by NormsRevenge

WASHINGTON - Safe for a decade, military bases in the United States face an uncertain future.

The Pentagon (news - web sites) plans to shut down or scale back some of the 425 facilities, the first such effort to save money in 10 years. The downsizing is part of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's long-term transformation of the Cold War-era military.

The Pentagon chief argues that closing or consolidating stateside facilities could save $7 billion annually and that the money would be better spent improving fighting capabilities amid threats from terrorists.

"The department continues to maintain more military bases and facilities than are needed, consuming and diverting valuable personnel and resources," Rumsfeld recently told lawmakers.

Shrinking the domestic network of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps bases is a certain source of savings. It also is a high-stakes political fight because it affects local economies in congressional districts.

Lawmakers have resisted efforts to shutter their bases, challenging past base closing rounds and lobbying hard to keep their installation off the final list.

"It's the perfect example of good policy and good politics not fitting in the same room together," said Christopher Hellman, an analyst with the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation in Washington.

"Conceptually, lawmakers buy the argument that base closures are important to make sure they are spending resources wisely. But they are reticent of closing bases in their cities because of job losses," Hellman said.

Rumsfeld has estimated that extra base capacity is at nearly 25 percent. But Republican lawmakers said the secretary recently told them that the cuts will not be as deep, in part because the military needs a home for 70,000 troops returning from Europe.

The Pentagon says that all domestic bases are under consideration, but clearly some are more vulnerable than others.

Topping the list are aging facilities, small bases used by only one of the four services and large installations whose missions, training, ammunition or weapons are outdated.

The Northeast is home to many bases configured to defend against the Soviet threat. They could absorb the biggest hit now that many former Soviet bloc nations are U.S. allies.

Congress authorized the fifth round of Base Realignment and Closure — commonly known as BRAC — last year. The first deadline in the yearlong process is March 15, when President Bush (news - web sites) must name a nine-member commission that will review a list of closures that Rumsfeld will propose by May.

Congressional leaders have submitted their six recommendations. Bush will make his three choices known shortly.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., selected retired Gen. John G. Coburn, a former Army deputy chief of staff, and retired Navy Adm. Harold W. Gehman Jr., a former supreme allied commander of the Atlantic.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., offered former Rep. James V. Hansen, R-Utah, and former Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada picked former Democratic Rep. James Bilbray, D-Nev. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recommended Phillip E. Coyle, a former Pentagon official and a defense researcher.

As the process gets under way, lawmakers and communities are stepping up efforts to show their bases are essential. They also are lobbying for new missions and projects for their facilities to make the bases less attractive for closure.

Congress authorized the closures last year, rejecting a delay until 2007. Still, some Republicans and Democrats continue to fight.

"I will try to stop it at any point and in any way I possibly can," said Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record), R-Miss. Closing bases while the country is at war is "the worst possible timing," Lott says.

He lobbied hard during previous rounds to keep open the Meridian Naval Air Station in Mississippi, which barely escaped closure. It could be targeted again this year.

Other lawmakers say the round will go forward.

"We had a debate. We voted. We had a majority say we're going forward. How could you possibly reverse it? It would be crazy," said Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz.

Republican Sen. John Warner (news, bio, voting record) of Virginia, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (news - web sites), said it was essential for the military to eliminate "those bases, structures, buildings, compounds that aren't on the very edge of what we need to defend ourselves."

The Pentagon estimates that previous closures in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995 eliminated 20 percent of domestic bases and saved about $16.7 billion through 2001, and roughly $7 billion annually since.

Congress has refused repeated requests by the Pentagon to close more bases since 1995. Part of the reason was lingering Republican distrust after President Clinton (news - web sites) moved to ease the economic impact from two base closings in vote-rich California and Texas just before his re-election campaign in 1996.

In 2001, with Clinton out of office, the Pentagon nearly got its wish for closures in 2003. But after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress delayed the closures until this year.

___

On the Net:

Defense Department background on base closings: http://www.defenselink.mil/brac/


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: bases; brac; closed; downsizing; johnwarner; military; militarybases; more; pentagon; unitedstates
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1 posted on 02/20/2005 8:55:28 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

Aren't there any in Old Europe that can be shut down first?


2 posted on 02/20/2005 8:57:51 PM PST by Question Liberal Authority (Dear Howard Dean: Please Protect Me From Your Righteous Followers)
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To: NormsRevenge
Rumsfeld has estimated that extra base capacity is at nearly 25 percent. But Republican lawmakers said the secretary recently told them that the cuts will not be as deep, in part because the military needs a home for 70,000 troops returning from Europe.

The Northeast is home to many bases configured to defend against the Soviet threat. They could absorb the biggest hit now that many former Soviet bloc nations are U.S. allies.

3 posted on 02/20/2005 8:58:04 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Arnold is working to try to keep the LAAFB open, but people don't think he'll succeed.


4 posted on 02/20/2005 9:00:19 PM PST by FairOpinion (It is better to light a candle, than curse the darkness.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Let the Defense Department prioritize their spending.

I know everyone doesn't want the base in their backyard to close, but at some point we need to stop being stupidly selfish in our wants for the greater good.


5 posted on 02/20/2005 9:01:34 PM PST by ConservativeMind
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To: Question Liberal Authority
There are, but they will be closed as a result of the V Corp's two heavy divisions coming home, and other elements coming home.
6 posted on 02/20/2005 9:02:14 PM PST by elhombrelibre (Liberalism is proof that intelligent people can ignore as much as the ignorant.)
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To: FairOpinion

I don't think we will lose too many bases this go around, just a hunch, we took it in the shorts pretty good last time..


7 posted on 02/20/2005 9:02:21 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Everyone hates it when bases close, but it has to be done. They also need to improve the housing at the bases they decide to keep.


8 posted on 02/20/2005 9:03:10 PM PST by McGavin999
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: NormsRevenge
"I will try to stop it at any point and in any way I possibly can," said Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record), R-Miss. Closing bases while the country is at war is "the worst possible timing," Lott says.

STFU Trent, you useless drip. The military doesn't exist solely to provide your constituents with shipyard and contracting jobs.
10 posted on 02/20/2005 9:07:52 PM PST by Belisaurius ("Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, Ted" - Joseph Kennedy 1958)
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To: NormsRevenge

They have got to get politics out of it somehow and close some bases. We have a Cold War infrastructure with new manning levels and it is a waste of money maintaining those facilities when the money could be better spent improving facilities we use.

LAAFB for instance, noone even wants to get stationed there. If you choose that as an assignment the USAF will not only gaurantee your PCS but will let you stay there for an extended tour!


11 posted on 02/20/2005 9:11:00 PM PST by USAFJeeper (USAF Retired, BRAC must move forward)
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To: Question Liberal Authority
My thoughts exactly.

This does make some sense but pulling out of Germany should be our first choice. Post cold war I'm not sure they are needed. We have 71,000 troops there. The only base worth having is the Army hospital base in Stuttgart. They handle a lot of our causalities before they are sent home.

The goods news is that a Senate hearing on pulling out started about a week ago. Lets hope they do the right thing. The bad news is we will have to do a lot of hoping.

12 posted on 02/20/2005 9:14:11 PM PST by lizma
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To: NormsRevenge
This is good, we need quick nimble forces that can react quickly to any threat. The way we're structured now is sluggish, wasteful and irresponsible.

Rumsfeld knows that we're in a different kind of world and we must evolve to meet these new threats.

However, if they're going to close the bases they should auction off the land to a private entity so it doesn't just go to pot like so many of the closed bases did in the 80's & 90's.
13 posted on 02/20/2005 9:17:19 PM PST by No phonys allowed
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To: ironpuppy
I'm not 100% positive China will ever be threat. Actually I'm pretty sure China will someday be a threat. Closing coastal bases would be a mistake.

In the mean time we have to deal with Muslim terrorist. The rules of war go out the window and we may need to have fast react times through out the US. Closing bases won't accomplish this at all.

14 posted on 02/20/2005 9:24:15 PM PST by lizma
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: lizma
The hospital is at Landsthul just outside Ramstien AB, If you were in the military,you would have known that.
16 posted on 02/20/2005 9:25:42 PM PST by noutopia (Home of the brave,not the spineless.)
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To: NormsRevenge
""I will try to stop it at any point and in any way I possibly can," said Sen. Trent Lott "

How? You don't have a Clinton impeachment to sabotage in exchange for keeping your shipyard this time.

17 posted on 02/20/2005 9:32:36 PM PST by bayourod ("It's for the children" has been replaced by "It's to fight terrorists.")
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To: ironpuppy

All it means is that the AF will have to fly to the So Cal plants for meetings instead of driving. If Hanscom AFB closes, Raytheon is not going to move its plans out of MA either.


18 posted on 02/20/2005 9:33:02 PM PST by rbg81
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: noutopia
If you were never in Europe during the 70s or 80s you have no idea what you are talking about.
20 posted on 02/20/2005 9:37:57 PM PST by noutopia (Home of the brave,not the spineless.)
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To: Question Liberal Authority
Aren't there any in Old Europe that can be shut down first?

exactly

21 posted on 02/20/2005 10:05:15 PM PST by GeronL (Bush on the PRESS "They just float sewer out there.")
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To: ConservativeMind
but at some point we need to stop being stupidly selfish in our wants for the greater good.

Thats what Hillary said about taxes

22 posted on 02/20/2005 10:05:59 PM PST by GeronL (Bush on the PRESS "They just float sewer out there.")
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To: NormsRevenge
There was a time when a number of bases and posts was essential for the actual defense of our great expanse of land. We no longer live in such an era. The whole concept of air power, highly mobile ground forces, and precision attack munitions has made that type of defense obsolete.

Nonetheless, it still makes sense to have our military capability spread about. It is a WMD age, and putting huge portions of our military in a few locations encourages, imo, especially a nuclear attack.

We must never pretend that there are no nuclear nations incapable of reaching North America.

23 posted on 02/20/2005 10:06:37 PM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of it!)
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To: NormsRevenge

If they are not needed they are pork.

Things change. But pork is still pork.

Someone will get hurt, someone always gets hurt but they
can and should go onward and upward. If not, that is their
fault.

Do you really think opportunity only happens once in a life
time?

Build up when you need it and take it down when you don't.

Not that complicated.


24 posted on 02/20/2005 10:12:35 PM PST by cleo1939
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To: NormsRevenge

Good way to knock some RATS out of office ...


25 posted on 02/20/2005 10:14:23 PM PST by John Lenin (Vampires suck your blood, liberals suck the life out of you)
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To: ironpuppy
think LAAFB has a fair chance of staying open due to the severe impact on space acquisitions if operations were to move. The Aerospace experts in this area don't want to move - will not go to Colorado or New Mexico. You'd end up slipping satellite launches and operational capability would be hurt.

LAAFB, the only Air Force Base without a runway, is involved in missile defense. The missile defense work could be moved to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, which is the home of the Army's Missile Defense Agency and the Army's Aviation and Missile Command. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, which develops rocket propulsion, is also located on Redstone. If you're looking to combine efforts, then that consolidating to Redstone would make a lot of sense.

26 posted on 02/20/2005 10:15:13 PM PST by Log
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To: lizma

You're pretty certain China will someday be a threat?
I'm absolutely certain China will be a threat. I'm so certain I'll put a date on it. 2025. Wait and see.


27 posted on 02/20/2005 10:17:29 PM PST by henderson field
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: noutopia
Opps. You're right. It's been awhile and have been to too many place. Sorry.

Anyway THAT'S the only base we should be operating in Germany. It's by far one of the coldest hospitals I've seen but it seems to be very efficient.

29 posted on 02/20/2005 10:29:30 PM PST by lizma
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To: henderson field

That's why we need West Coast ship yards ready for conversion to the Navy to be kept in place.


30 posted on 02/20/2005 10:54:35 PM PST by John Lenin (Who else is behind this ? Blozo ?)
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To: noutopia

Weisbaden is the hospital installation that I remember being the main one as a stopover for transit to the States. I remember when the hostages got released from Iran in 1981, their stop was at Weisbaden. I was in Bitburg Germany at the time (I believe it was closed some time back). I'm curious how much Germany has changed since I was there 24 years ago.....


31 posted on 02/20/2005 11:03:33 PM PST by Mustng959 (In loving memory of those that gave their all to preserve our Freedoms!)
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To: henderson field
Long ago when I was doing my internet stuff on Prodigy a women brought up the fact that the Chinese are killing off their women via abortions.

Therefore someday there would be many men without families eager or willing to go to war. I think she's right and 2025 is very possible.

They don't seem to be throwing out the shackles of communism since the tank came through and flattened their oppsition. Sad.

32 posted on 02/20/2005 11:04:49 PM PST by lizma
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To: No phonys allowed

Good Ideal... I definately make some money off of them.

I think its sad that the Navy has only two major bases for SuperHornets.... One west and one east. Dosent something thing that something is wrong with that....


33 posted on 02/20/2005 11:12:07 PM PST by Little_shoe ("For Sailor MEN in Battle fair since fighting days of old have earned the right.to the blue and gold)
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To: Question Liberal Authority
Aren't there any in Old Europe that can be shut down first?

How about blue state bases? After all, the liberals hate the military as much as they hate America, if not more.

34 posted on 02/20/2005 11:23:10 PM PST by AlaskaErik
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To: lizma
Anyway THAT'S the only base we should be operating in Germany.

...and what are you basing this thoughtful analysis on?

35 posted on 02/20/2005 11:45:24 PM PST by Getsmart64 (..)
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To: AlaskaErik

Are their that may military bases in the blue CITIES?

Most of the rural counties in the 'blue' states where actually red.


36 posted on 02/20/2005 11:54:09 PM PST by FactsMatter (If you play World of Warcraft please freepmail me. :))
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To: NormsRevenge
I think our conventional forces and their support structure are already at too low of a level.

This is very dangerous. I'm afraid we're following in the footsteps of the former world powers where we rely on our nuclear capabilities too much.

I think this is going to cause us to rely on others to help us fight a conventional war of any size.

We already know what the rest of the world thinks about us.

The first major sign of a country in decline on the world stage is the decline of it's military's conventional forces.

I don't see the world being any safer than it has been.

37 posted on 02/21/2005 12:01:46 AM PST by mississippi red-neck
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To: wingblade

Along the lines of our conversation this weekend...


38 posted on 02/21/2005 2:01:27 AM PST by hoosier_RW_conspirator ("Our inventories are steeped in capability." -- AVatian)
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To: hoosier_RW_conspirator
SANGB is around 4000 acres and was an airfield before WWI. Third oldest in the nation behind Langley and Wright-Patterson, I believe. However, it's location seems adventageous for it's re-tooling and survival. The new runway is in, the ATC tower, fire control. What a terrible waste to have been renovating operations' infrastructures these last two or three years with the possibility of closure looming overhead. If Homeland Security decides to make a regional HQ there then we'll just see another "quiet" metamorphosis.
39 posted on 02/21/2005 2:45:24 AM PST by wingblade ("There's a plane on the horizon coming in...see it?")
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To: Mustng959
I was in Bitburg Germany at the time (I believe it was closed some time back).

Bitburg was closed, along with Hahn AB, but I'm really not sure how many years ago. I'm surprised that Spangdahlem is the one of those three that's still active.

The K-Town area needs to be maintained: Ramstein, Miesau, and the various Kasernes have the infrastructure needed for combined arms operations in Europe.

I'm curious how much Germany has changed since I was there 24 years ago.....

Me, too! Haven't made it back since I left in July of '81. I loved my tour there! Of course, I was a bachelor, so I was footloose and fancy free. Never did spend much time in Bitburg, although my last two years were at 6/56 ADA at Spangdahlem.

I do remember going to that taco place in Bitburg every chance I could!

40 posted on 02/21/2005 3:33:02 AM PST by Night Hides Not
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To: Night Hides Not

Interesting...left Bitburg in June 1981. I had 1 year and 2 months left on my active duty and was really hoping to get a base "somewhere" in the southeast (home). Where did I wind up? You guessed it...the Pacific Northwest (McChord to be exact). Nothing like filling out "dream sheets".
Used to hate when the F-4's at Spang would come over and do "touch-n-go's" on our runway. Loud and oily! Nothing like the old F-15'S we had.
Were good taco's eh! And always remember to order you "pomme frites" with no mayo. Germans loved mayo on French fries...yuk!


41 posted on 02/21/2005 5:01:32 AM PST by Mustng959 (In loving memory of those that gave their all to preserve our Freedoms!)
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To: Log

"LAAFB, the only Air Force Base without a runway"

Kinda stifles your argument...check out Bolling AFB....


42 posted on 02/21/2005 5:06:00 AM PST by dakine
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To: dakine; Log

Or Onizuka AFS.


43 posted on 02/21/2005 5:28:43 AM PST by Tennessee_Bob (Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?)
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To: Mustng959

Dream sheets...LOL!

I filled mine out requesting Langley, and the Eastern seaboard. Some smarta$$ at personnel said "hmmm...Langley has an N, an E, and two L's....so does Nellis...he really wants to go there!"

On the flip side, Nellis was cool - I spent ten years there working on prototypes and "special" projects as an engine mechanic.


44 posted on 02/21/2005 5:59:09 AM PST by Tennessee_Bob (Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?)
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To: NormsRevenge

The 525 gang will whine incessantly.


45 posted on 02/21/2005 6:01:42 AM PST by verity (The Liberal Media is America's Enemy)
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To: Tennessee_Bob

~ Dream sheets...LOL! ~

Yep, Remember my very first one we filled out at Lackland said "Overseas Volunteer; yes or no"
I put "no" and my first duty station was Germany. Didn't learn did I?
On the other hand, saw alot of nice places and met people that I might not have had the chance to otherwise.


46 posted on 02/21/2005 8:49:13 AM PST by Mustng959 (In loving memory of those that gave their all to preserve our Freedoms!)
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To: USAFJeeper
They have got to get politics out of it somehow and close some bases. We have a Cold War infrastructure with new manning levels and it is a waste of money maintaining those facilities when the money could be better spent improving facilities we use.

Exactly right. Getting rid of underutilized/unused domestic real estate does not mean you are reducing troop strength, or impacting readiness. The purpose of the Department of Defense is to defend the nation. It's purpose is not to serve as a jobs program to prop up local economies.

(BTW, I work at a base in the Northeast which stands a very good chance of being closed).

47 posted on 02/21/2005 12:47:44 PM PST by GreenHornet
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To: dakine

You're correct. I stand corrected. Shame on me for relying on the LA Times for my information. It wasn't part of my argument though. I was arguing either -- merely stating an observation.


48 posted on 02/21/2005 10:19:49 PM PST by Log
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To: Tennessee_Bob

Technically not an AFB, but I get your point. Thanks.


49 posted on 02/21/2005 10:21:19 PM PST by Log
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To: Question Liberal Authority

Why do we still have troops in Bosnia and Kosovo?


50 posted on 02/21/2005 10:21:25 PM PST by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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