Political Critic Archives - February 2007


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Wednesday, February 28, 2007 - 1:15pm

Don't Ask, But Do Tell

Massachusetts Congressman Marty Meehan (D) is set to introduce a bill to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military and eliminate the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.  To date, over 11,000 American soldiers have been dismissed as a result of the policy.  Meehan introduced the legislation last session under the Republican-led Congress and received support from over 120 members.


 Clearly, support from 120 is not enough to pass the legislation.  However, there are many more Democrats in the House of Representatives this time around.  Also, the military is in dire need of more personnel, so more lawmakers may sign onto the bill.  Some of the soldiers that have been discharged are fluent in Arabic and hundreds of others are in critical positions. 


All things considered, it would be a very good idea to get rid of this discriminatory policy and allow everyone to serve.  The U.S. military is fighting two wars and could be involved in another (Iran) in the not too distant future.  They need all the help they can get.  They should not even consider the sexual preference of the person.  It is irrelevant.


Monday, February 26, 2007 - 8:45am

Al Gore and His Global Warming Oscar

Former Vice President Al Gore took home the Academy Award last night for his documentary about global warming called An Inconvenient Truth.  The man who was almost the President of the United States 6+ years ago has transformed himself into one of the most successful ex-politicians ever.  The Hollywood elite gushed over Gore like he was a rock star gracing them with his presence.


 Al Gore has spent much of his career trying to shed a light on the issue of global warming.  When he arrived on stage to accept the award, he took the opportunity to address everyone by saying "People all over the world , we need to solve the climate crisis."


I have yet to see Gore's slideshow documentary, but I must admit to being somewhat skeptical as to the whole "crisis."  When I researched the issue back in college, which was, eh-um, a good dozen years ago, I found that the issue of global warming was completely overblown by scientists.  They had originally forecast rapid rises in temperatures over the next hundred years, but were forced to drastically reduce those predictions down to almost nothing when more information became available.


When Hurricane Katrina and a slew of other tropical storms hit the United States in 2005, everybody pointed to global warming as the cause.  While it was true that an increase in temperatures in the Gulf caused stronger storms that year, it was also true that more moderated temperatures in 2006 resulted in virtually no hurricanes.  Rising water temperatures will create stronger hurricanes, but to say those hurricanes were caused by global warming is, at best, a guess. 


As one of their main arguments, scientists point to increased strength in tropical storms since 1970 and not just the last few years.  However, that argument can also be countered relatively easily.  Hurricanes strength ebbs and flows over the course of history and the last few decades could very well be part of a normal cycle.


This isn't to say global warming doesn't exist in some form.  However, there is not a lot of evidence to prove that it is man-made.  When climatologists were surveyed back in 1997, only 17% of them considered global warming to be man-made, while 44% of them believed it to be a natural phenomenon.  So if it is a natural occurrence, there may not be a whole lot we can do about it.


That survey was ten years ago and, supposedly, a lot has changed in the last decade.  Now, scientists are again saying that temperatures will rise from 3.2 - 7.2 degrees by the end of the century. There are also projections much higher than that.  These are the same types of projections scientists made twenty years ago, only to reduce them to miniscule fractions only a few years later.


In the end, you can't take a hundred years of temperatures on a planet that has existed for billions of years and make an accurate assessment of what will happen in the next hundred.  For a planet, a hundred years is a split second. 


Al Gore's movie paints a frightening tale of what could happen to the earth.  He says the next ten years are critical.  Maybe he is right, but I'm not ready just yet to buy everything he's selling.  He is a politician after all.


Friday, February 23, 2007 - 10:15am

Democrats Look to Limit Bush's War Powers

Senate Democrats continued on their offensive against George Bush and his war in Iraq.  Last week they pushed to vote against the troop surge, but fell just short of the 60 votes needed to debate the issue.  This week they are looking to introduce legislation that will limit the mission of American soldiers in Iraq.  There are a few versions being discussed, but one would restrict U.S. troops to only fighting al-Qaeda elements.


It would be difficult for the Democrats to get enough votes to restrict the President from running the war the way he wants to.  Nonetheless, they continue to show that they will do everything they can to end this war.  Politically, the Democrats are winning big time.  The American public does not want this war and it appears that the only ones trying to stop it are the Democrats.  While some Republicans are siding with the left, most are following party leadership and the White House.


If this strategy by the Dems keeps up, the Republicans will be a shell of what they once were when the 2008 elections roll around.  George Bush is bringing the entire Republican party down with him and if other Republicans don't jump ship soon, they won't have jobs in two years.


This war will not be stopped by the Democrats alone.  A number of Republicans must vote against this president if this is to end.  We are only now starting to see cracks in the GOP foundation.  In six months, when they realize that the surge didn't work and that the public has turned even further against them, we will start to see a major shift. 


By the end of the summer, enough Republicans will break with the White House and join forces with the Democrats.  Only then will we see a significant change in Iraq.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 12:30pm

The British are Leaving, the British are Leaving!

It looks like Tony Blair is no longer willing to be George Bush's lapdog any longer.  In a startling announcement, Blair declared that he is withdrawing 1,600 British troops from Iraq in the next few months.  The British only have 7,100 troops in the country to begin with, but this move will reduce them to 5,500.  Blair hopes to draw down another 500 in the summer and remove all of them in 2008.


This is a sharp blow to the Bush administration and their futile goal of stabilizing Iraq.  While President Bush is increasing troop levels, other coalition countries are reducing them.  The U.K. had over 40,000 troops in Iraq at the start of the war, but have gradually withdrawn their soldiers over the last few years.  Despite the decrease, the British would still have the second most troops in Iraq. 


Unfortunately, this has become an American war.  Prime Minister Blair has discovered what everyone else in the world (except W) has figured out; that the war in Iraq is not winnable with the current strategy.  The only way to win this war is with at least 400,000 coalition soldiers, and that has become impossible.  With everyone bailing, the U.S. cannot come up to that level. 


The United States now accounts for 90% of the troops in Iraq.  They do not have the resources to put enough soldiers in the country to make a significant difference.  The current political fight is about a 21,500 troop surge, but that is a drop in the bucket against what is necessary.


With the British leaving, it is time for the Americans to consider leaving as well.  The Iraqis need to take care of their own country.  Perhaps the United States could focus on their own country as well.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 8:55am

Hillary Denies Paying for Powerful Endorsement

Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) received an endorsement last week from South Carolina state Senator Darrell Jackson, a highly influential black politician.  Endorsements are hard to come by this early in the 2008 Presidential race, so to receive one from a leader in the black community in a state that holds an early primary is very important.


Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton paid Darrell Jackson a lot of money to receive the endorsement.  See, Mr. Jackson owns a media consulting firm and Senator Clinton agreed to pay him $10,000 per month for the support.  Technically, it wasn't a direct payment for the endorsement, but we all know that it was.  Of course, Hillary defended hiring Jackson for the consulting contract and denied that it was just for the endorsement.  That defense simply made her look even more phony than she already does.


If that isn't outrageous enough, Jackson stated that he received higher offers from other candidates.  He wouldn't say which candidates (plural) gave him higher offers, but with that much money being thrown around, we can presume it was the top-tier Democratic candidates.  My guess for one of the others would be John Edwards.  Jackson endorsed Edwards in 2004, but said he wanted to support someone that could win in 2008.


What Hillary Clinton did isn't illegal, but it should be.  Paying people off so that they give you phony support is just wrong.  I suppose it's typical of politics in America.  I wonder who's going to get paid next to endorse one of these say-anything, presidential candidates.


Friday, February 16, 2007 - 8:15am

Senator Reid Calls for Saturday Iraq Vote

In what looks to be a shrewd move, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) scheduled a Saturday vote on the Bush troop surge in Iraq.  The Senate was set to go on recess after today, but Reid is expected to take the simpler House Iraq resolution and call for a vote.  This would force the Republicans that favor the surge to remain in Washington an extra day.


The House measure is not as detailed as the resolutions originally before the Senate, so by adopting this resolution, Senator Reid is making it easier for Republicans to sign on.  He'll need 60 votes to begin debating the war in Iraq.  He was not close to 60 votes the first time around, but public opinion has turned negative in the last week, primarily against Republican Senators, for not debating the issue.  In a poll about the non-debate in the Senate, 51% blamed Republicans, while only 19% blamed the Democrats.


Politicians, both left and right, are fixated on polls and the GOP knows that they lost the last round by avoiding a debate.  On Saturday, the dozen or so Republicans that have publicly opposed the President may now vote with the Democrats. 


The people want this issue debated, one way or another.  If it takes a watered down resolution to get the issue to the floor, then so be it.  We need to know where all these politicians stand on Iraq.  If they continue to duck and dodge, we could have American soldiers in Iraq indefinitely with no solution.


Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 8:40am

More Debate on the House Floor

I wouldn't normally subject you to another C-SPAN video, but it is important to see where the Republican leadership stands on the Iraq war and what the argument is to vote against the resolution criticizing the troop surge.


 House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) gave the opening speech on the floor.  He stated the resolution is "criticizing the latest efforts by American forces to win in Iraq."  He goes on to say that the war in Iraq is about fighting radical Islamic terrorists.  Boehner also argues that the resolution is the first step in cutting off funding for the troops.


Apparently, the good Congressman from Ohio is not aware that the military leaders on the ground do not want more troops.  Perhaps he is also not aware of who we are fighting in Iraq.  The U.S. is currently playing referee to a civil war in Iraq.  It is a fight against Sunni and Shiites with the American military in the middle.


Boehner's statement about cutting off funds is also very misleading.  It is true that a handful of Democrats would like to remove the funding for the war, but it is reportedly a very small number.  Furthermore, a move to cut off the money does not actually leave our troops stranded in Iraq without support.  It brings them home.  Politically, it looks extremely bad to remove the funding.  In reality, it ends the war.


It is important to note that others in the Republican party do not agree with Congressman Boehner's assessment.  While most of them will not speak about it openly on the House floor, many will vote against the troop surge.  The vote is tomorrow.  We will then see where everybody stands.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 9:45am

House to Vote on Iraq Resolution

The House of Representatives are doing what the Senate could not.  The debate over the Iraq war raged on yesterday on the House floor, with Republicans imploring their members to stay on Bush's side and support the troop surge.  Many GOP members are expected to stand with the Democrats when the vote comes to the floor on Friday. 


 Each House member was allowed five minutes to make their case.  I chose to include the speech by Representative Patrick Murphy (D-PA), a veteran of the Iraq war.  He is one of the few to have served in Iraq.  Even though he is a freshman Congressman, he speaks eloquently about this issue.


Unfortunately, some Republicans don't even want to debate the most important issue of our time.  Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) stated "If we let the Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose."  What a sad comment by Mr. Hoekstra.  He's so worried about himself and his party, that he won't even discuss the war.  Whatever happened to putting the troops first?


The Republican leadership was pulling out all sorts of tricks to avoid a debate, even trotting out prisoners of the Vietnam war to defend their cause.  Former POW and Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) painted the anti-war left as anti-American, apparently forgetting that whole freedom of speech thing he used to defend.


Disagreement is a good and healthy thing.  It helps keep the strong democracy we have here in the United States.  If conservatives want to fight for democracy in Iraq, they need to stop fighting so hard against it at home.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007 - 9:30am

Wild Speculation Against Iran

More supposed evidence has been leaked by White House officials that seemingly bolsters the case against the Iran.  Officials specifically sought out journalists to show them fragments of weapons that they claim to be of Iranian origin.  They could not provide any direct evidence of Iranian involvement, but they made the claim, so it must be true.  White House officials would never, ever lie to the public to boost support for a war in the Middle East, right?


 If Iran is so involved in the attacks against American forces, why are we just learning about it in the last few months?  This war has been raging for nearly four years and Iran has been barely mentioned until recently.  The timing is very suspicious.  Could it be that the White House is simply trying to get the American public and the world on their side when they bomb Iran back to the Stone Age?  They are using the exact same script in the build-up to war with Iran that they did before the Iraq invasion.


The administration has made a similar argument in Iraq in the past.  First they attempted to link Iraq to 9/11, despite the fact that they were completely unrelated.  Eventually, they admitted the truth; that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.  Then the White House argued that the majority of insurgents were Al-Qaeda members and not Iraqis.  After overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they backed off that lie.


Now they are presenting bogus claims that Iran is responsible for all their trouble in Iraq.  Never mind that the majority of attacks on U.S. forces are from Sunnis, while Iran is Shia.  Forget the fact that they cannot present any hard facts of Iranian involvement.  With a naive public, the administration is betting they'll accept rampant speculation as fact.


There is much skepticism about the link to Iran, even among the military.  British officers have already stopped making the assertion, stating that the technology used in attacks in Iraq is the same as used in other countries.


I hope Congress doesn't buy into this bogus argument perpetrated by the White House.  They fell for it once already, so I'm not holding my breath.


Monday, February 12, 2007 - 9:20am

Vindication for the Dixie Chicks

The Dixie Chicks were the star attraction last night at the Grammys, taking home five awards including song of the year, "Not Ready to Make Nice", and album of the year, "Taking the Long Way."  The group that was ostracized by the country music industry three years ago achieved sweet redemption over their critics.  They won in every category they were nominated.


 The Chicks received death threats and boycotts after they made a disparaging remark about George Bush on stage in London on the eve of the Iraq war.  Their first song back, "Not Ready to Make Nice" was specifically about the backlash they endured.  The lead singer, Natalie Maines, was humbled by the awards and said as much at the podium.


The Country Music Awards were held a few months ago and the Dixie Chicks were shut out completely.  The people that vote on the CMA's are all tied to the Nashville establishment, so it was not shocking.  The Grammys, however, are voted on by a much broader group.  The members of the Recording Academy are spread around the country and have representation in every type of music.


Perhaps the elitists in the red-state, country establishment will learn something from this, but I highly doubt it.  You may not agree with someone's political views, but their music should not be boycotted as a result.


Friday, February 9, 2007 - 9:20am

Bigot Bill Donahue Fails in Attempt to Fire Bloggers

The President of the Catholic League, William Donahue, attempted to get John Edwards to fire two bloggers that he hired for comments they made on their websites about the church.  Bill Donahue described these two female bloggers as "foul-mouthed, anti-Catholic, bigots."  These bloggers criticized the church's stance on homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.


 What's most striking in this attack by William Donahue is that he is the true bigot.  Donahue appeared on Scarborough Country in December 2004 and declared that "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.  It's not a secret, OK?"  He also is quoted as saying that "Hollywood likes anal sex." and that some actors would "sodomize their own mother in a movie...and would do so with a smile on their face."  He has also stated in later appearances on the show that he's "pretty good about picking out who queers are" in movies. 


When referring to the sexual abuse scandal in his own Catholic church, William Donahue dismissed it as a homosexual scandal and not a pedophilia scandal.  He also has made a multitude of disparaging remarks about gay people. 


If Bill Donahue were somebody insignificant, his bigoted comments would have no effect.  However, this is the President of the Catholic League, the largest civil rights organization in the country.  People actually listen to this evil man and give him a forum to speak. 


In William Donahue's world, everything bad in the world is a result of gay people, Hollywood, and Jewish folks.  Apparently, the Catholic church preaches love and acceptance of all people, so long as you're not in one of those groups.


With regard to the bloggers Donahue wanted fired from the Edwards campaign, perhaps he should look in the mirror and fire himself.  Unfortunately, he's too arrogant to do that. 


Therefore, I call on the Catholic League to fire William Donahue immediately.  He is a hate-filled bigot who disparages many classes of people.  The Catholic League deserves someone more accepting of others to run their organization.  I also call on MSNBC and Joe Scarborough to deny Donahue the chance to speak on their broadcasts ever again.  His bigoted messages have no place in this world.


Thursday, February 8, 2007 - 9:30am

Bill Richardson Pushes for Troops in Darfur

I guess you have to be running for something before you lift a finger to take any action in the world.  Presidential candidate and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson declared that the Darfur region of Sudan needs United Nations troops to control the violence and bloodshed.  Richardson went to Sudan earlier this year and was able to free an American journalist.  He also tried to broker a cease-fire.  Richardson was promised a ceasefire from three warring factions, but one group reneged on the deal the next day.


 Give Bill Richardson credit for going to Sudan and making an effort.  It is more than President Bush has ever done.  However, what did Richardson do with regard to Darfur before he decided to run for President?  My guess is not a whole lot.  He does have a long history of peace efforts, but I have not seen many people going out of their way to help in Darfur until now.


Darfur has seen over 200,000 people die for no other reason than they are not the same race as the government.  Another 2.5 million people have been left homeless.  The government of Sudan is exterminating people, yet the American government does nothing.  The United Nations wants to place 17,000 troops into the country to protect Darfur, but nobody has pressured the Sudanese government to allow them.


If George Bush is so intent on bombing someone, why not drop a couple on the home of Sudanese President Omar Bashir?  I'm betting Bashir or his successor would allow United Nations troops into Sudan immediately thereafter.  If we bomb Iran, we face the distinct possibility of a regional war that could last a decade.  If we bomb the Sudanese government, we could save hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur.  The answer seems pretty clear to me.


Wednesday, February 7, 2007 - 9:45am

Will the Real Rudy Giuliani Please Stand Up

The former Mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani has put his name in the ring to run for President in 2008.  Despite being a liberal, Rudy wants to be the Republican nominee.  Giuliani is best known for being the mayor during the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centers.  He has received much attention and praise for how he handled that situation, but what did he really do?


 Despite being commended for his actions from the September 11th attack, Rudy Giuliani made many mistakes in how he handled the situation.  For starters, he specifically located the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in the World Trade Centers before the attack.  The World Trade Centers had already been a target for terrorists and the OEM was vital to handle emergencies.  Rudy has been openly criticized by 9/11 family members, firefighters, unions, and police for failing miserably with regard to communication issues and health concerns.  Giuliani gave preferential treatment to his cronies in City Hall that led to the communication issues.  Corruption was rampant during his tenure as mayor.  He also did not get the firefighters and police the right protective equipment to deal with the air quality at Ground Zero. 


Rudy did not bring the people of New York together as he seems to be credited for.  As Al Sharpton once said about the New Yorkers in the aftermath of 9/11, "We would have come together if Bozo was the mayor."


Giuliani's inactions before and after September 11th are not nearly the worst thing in his character.  When it comes to his marriage, Rudy Giuliani makes Bill Clinton look like a saint.  Rudy was married to Donna Hanover and they had two children together.  However, he was having an affair with another woman, Judith Nathan.  When the press found out about his tawdry affair, Giuliani called a press conference to admit his affair and to dump his wife.  Of course, he never actually told his wife, so she had to find out on television that her husband was separating from her.  Giuliani did not stop at Judith Nathan either.  He was also allegedly having an affair with Cristyne Lategano, his communications director, for years.


The way Rudolph Giuliani handles his personal life and his questionable record as Mayor of New York make him a horrible candidate for the President of the United States.  Political commentators don't want to talk about his personal life, but it is very important in determining character.  We do not need another Bill Clinton in the White House.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007 - 8:45am

Senator Warner Votes Against His Own Resolution

Republican Senator John Warner (VA) introduced a non-binding resolution on the Senate floor that disagreed with President Bush's plan to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq.  Yesterday, when the votes were cast to proceed with the debate, Senator Warner voted not to continue.  That's right.  He introduced a resolution and then decided to oppose it.  Only in American politics!


Sen. John WarnerDespite a dozen Republicans publicly coming out against the troop surge in the last two weeks, only two of them, Norm Coleman (MN) and Susan Collins (ME), voted to debate the surge and the war in Iraq.  The rest of the cowards, especially John Warner and Chuck Hagel (NE), buckled to pressure exerted by the party leadership. 


I single out Senators Hagel and Warner because they were the most public about their opposition to the troop surge.  All week long you heard about how they didn't want to put more soldiers in harm's way.  They were vehemently against the surge, but when push came to shove and they had to vote, they went the other way.


Unfortunately, it looks like the Republicans have zero interest in fixing the situation in Iraq.  They are interested in two things and two things only:  protecting the president and protecting their career.  The last thing on their minds is the lives of American soldiers.


It doesn't matter what side you're on, but to not even talk about the biggest issue in a generation is pathetic. 


Monday, February 5, 2007 - 7:30am

A Vote of No Confidence

It doesn't really mean anything, but you wouldn't know it with all the Senators scrambling around this weekend trying to gain support for their side in the Iraq resolution vote.  Senator John Warner's (R-VA) resolution against the troop surge is expected to be voted on today, but other Republicans are vowing to prevent the debate and block the vote.


 Warner's proposal protects the funding for the combat troops, but criticizes the plan to send another 21,500 troops into Iraq.  Since adding the provision to protect the funds, Warner may garner more Republican support.  Thus far, he has the support of all the Democrats (Lieberman excluded) and a handful of Republicans.


A number of GOP Senators are waffling on the language of the resolution and are trying to water it down as much as possible before signing on.  So even though it will be a vote of no confidence in the president, it will not be as harsh as the Democrats would have liked and is not likely to change any decisions in Iraq.


Bush is expected to carry on with his troop surge no matter what Congress has to say.  As of today, there are not enough Republicans willing to stop him.  In six months, when other Republicans realize that the troop surge was a mistake, they may decide to march up to the White House and tell Bush that it's over.  However, they are not ready to do that now.  They would rather take political cover.


Friday, February 2, 2007 - 10:30am

Framing the War with Iran

If you're paying attention, you can already see the signs.  Much like the lead-up to the war in Iraq, the future war with Iran is being framed for the American public.  The Bush administration wants to get the people on their side when they bomb Iran, so they are leaking false information to bolster the case.


 Take the attacks within Iraq.  The administration will imply that Iran is responsible for the majority of the violence in Iraq.  However, that is not nearly the case.  Iran is predominantly Shia, yet 90% of the attacks on U.S. forces come from Sunnis and Al-Qaeda elements.  Only ten percent of attacks are committed by Shia.


President Bush also recently appeared on the government-run Fox News channel to make his case against Iran.  Even though Iran is many years, if not decades away from obtaining nuclear weapons, he talked as if they were acquiring them tomorrow. 


Bush is selling us a fictional story about Iran.  The Congress needs to wise up, because this is the exact same crap that the administration used to sell us on the war in Iraq four years ago.  Start talking about mushroom clouds and nuclear weapons, strike fear into the heart of the American people, then attack a sovereign nation and endanger the lives of our soldiers.  That is the Bush/Cheney plan.  It worked once already and they're hoping there are enough suckers the second time around too.


Thursday, February 1, 2007 - 12:45am

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Attacks Boston!

This is how terrorism works I suppose.  Get the people to start chasing shadows out of fear and you've done your job.  That's apparently what happened in Boston yesterday as the FBI and local law enforcement shut down everything under the sun to investigate a cartoon.  That's right, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force cartoon invaded Boston and sent the city into a frenzy the likes of which haven't been seen since the Yanks/Sox playoff series


Turner Broadcasting created an advertising campaign in ten major cities around the country to promote the Adult Swim cartoon "Aqua Teen Hunger Force."  The campaign involved placing dozens of electronic light board devices around town that depicted the ATHF moon man character flipping you off.  This Mooninite character is an outer space delinquent.  He is seen here in the picture.  He's wicked scary, I know.


These devices have been in all these cities for over two weeks now.  There are 38 of these devices in Boston alone.  Nobody had a problem with them until some Massholes got scared and shut down the city.  It didn't help any that the vultures known as the mainstream media sensationalized the entire non-story.


The City of Boston shut down major roadways, bridges, and subways so they could track down Mr. Mooninite and blow him up.  In all, they shut down over a dozen locations, tied up traffic for hours, and causes a major nightmare.  To make matters worse, the Boston police arrested the man hired by Turner Broadcasting to install the signs after they realized it was a cartoon ad.  That's what we call trying to save face.


Sometimes a little common sense can go a long way.  Not everyone is trying to blow us up.  The more fear you instill in a community, the more the terrorists win.


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