Pravda is a most welcome addition to the new world of inter-net news. As an American fed on a well managed diet of selective news, there is much in this shrinking world which affects our lives and our destinies. Our supposedly democratic system of society with its cherished principles of freedom and individual rights has become a carnival of sunshine, flag-waving patriots, caught up in a sense of righteous rebellion against a world of which they little about and understand even less. Democracy is more than simply a noun - its survival depends on those who enjoy it and for Americans, sadly to say, less than half even bother to vote and customarily, vote against something rather than for it - which explains an historic inability to elect only the most mediocre of politicians. The Afghan affair is only another in a series of deplorable exercises in gun-boat diplomacy which aside from a crushing defense budget, has gained America the acrimony of much of the world. Its crusade for a democratic and benevolent forms governments throughout the world stands in ugly contrast to the oppressive regimes of Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and others which it has steadfastly supported. Freedom is not for free - something some Americans may reflect on in light of the just enacted National Security Bill which Bush will undoubtedly sign. Some of the those freedoms that we had have gone up in smoke - unless we pay more attention to what our government is doing, we stand to lose even more.