Friday, April 28, 2006

Sen Arlen Specter speaks out on Presidential power and flexes his own muscle

Sen. Specter is causing the Administration and the President "agita". This is because he has threatened to cut off all funding for the NSA's wiretapping program on domestic calls done without FISA Court approval. That a way Senator. I'll bet the rest of your Republican colleagues are now sorry they didn't have you removed as head of the Judiciary Committee for your stand on a Woman's Right to Choose. Little did they know you would act responsibly as a U.S Senator with oversight responsibility and that you would actually carry out that responsibility in keeping with your sworn oath to uphold the Constitution.

Sen. Specter is quoted as saying yesterday, "Institutionally, the presidency is walking all over Congress at the moment. If we are to maintain our institutional prerogative, that may be the only way we can do it." For more on the interview see here.
Specter was referring to cutting off funds for the National Security Agency's wire-tapping program which I have written about extensively below. See my post titled, Wiretapping by Bush IS Illegal - so says the ABA (American Bar Association).

The honorable Senator Specter is turning out to be a very rare Republican Senator with some real spunk on difficult issues. Bravo!!

If you haven't read enough on the abuse of power by this President read the newly released report titled, Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush from the Cato Institute. For those of you thinking these guys are democrats you might be interested in reading this piece, where the same authors had extensively written on Bill Clinton with the following piece titled, Dereliction of Duty: The Constitutional Record of President Clinton

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tony Snow -the Joke by Bush on Bush

This morning President Bush announced a new Press Secretary to replace Scott McClellan. That person is Tony Snow from Fox news. In his announcemnt the President acknowledged that Snow had had differences of opinions and criticism of Bush recently. Bush joked with the following, "I asked Tony about those comments he made about me and he said, you should have heard what I said about the other guy." Bush smiling must think he was talking about some Democrat but he wasn't. I assume the "other guy' referred to was VP. Cheney. :))

America: A Debtor Nation and now bankrupt citizens

I am late on reporting this, but it is worthy of posting. Sen. Joe Biden spoke on the floor of the Senate in March on the National Debt ceiling. Here is a part of what he said:

"In the 5 years he has been in office, President Bush has added more to our foreign debt that the 42 Presidents before him. It took 224 years to accumulate $1 trillion of debt to other nations. It took President Bush just 5 years to more than double it.

Over $3 trillion in debt, foreign debt and debt held by Americans, has been piled up by this administration.

When he set out on the course that brought us to this sorry state, the President was clearly and repeatedly warned that massive tax cuts would leave us vulnerable to natural disasters, economic slowdown, or threats to our national security. ``Don't worry,'' the President told us. ``I know what I am doing.''

After 9/11, in the face of what he has himself called the moral equivalent of the World War II, or the Cold War, he insisted that while everything else had changed, he would not change his economic policies.

Facts had changed. His promise to balance the budget, his promise to pay down the debt, were proved to be false.

But he refused to take responsibility for his policies. He refused to admit that a changed world demanded a change of course. His refusal has pushed us deeper and deeper into the hole.

His refusal added $450 billion to the debt in 2002; it added $984 billion in 2003; it added $800 billion in 2004. And here we are again today, adding another $781 billion. With that addition, our national debt will be $8.6 trillion at the end of this year.

The President's budget plans will bring that number to $11.8 trillion at the end of the next 5 years.

This is a record of utter disregard for our Nation's financial future. It is a record of indifference to the price our children and grandchildren will pay to redeem our debt when it comes due.

History will not judge this record kindly.

My vote against the debt limit increase cannot change the fact that we have incurred this debt already, and will no doubt incur more. It is a statement that I refuse to be associated with the policies that brought us to this point."

That speech by Sen. Biden was not covered much by the mainstream media and I was happy to post it here. And now the American people are going bankrupt with high gasoline prices and a President and Administration unwilling to take tough actions to get us off Middle Eastern oil and on to renewable energy, in a meaningful way. That's what we get having 2 Oilmen in the most powerful offices of our government. And unlike Cheney, Bush had his oil company go bankrupt and needed to be rescued by the financing of the Saudis. Think about this for a moment. The most profitable possible business in America, and this President drove it into bankrupcy in a relatively short time. This is just like America going from the leading Lender nation to the biggest Debtor nation, all in less than 5 years! Unbelieveable!

The best investment we have made in the past 5 years was in 44 Solar Panels on our roof, which made us totally independent of electricity from the Power company. We use the power we generate to heat our floors through heater coils under our marble floors and the suns rays on our floors when the sun is shining and it is cold outside. I haven't had an electricity bill now in 4-5 years, except for the power company fees to be hooked up to the Power Grid. We have sent back into the Grid excess electricity when we don't need it. Consider Solar Energy for your home. Everyone can help reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern Oil. Every bit helps.

What hit the Penatgon on 9/11? Watch the Flash Presentation

This is a must see flash presentation currently posted on "Terrorism News" Blog. Help me make sense of this. What seems to be thr truth here? Make a comment.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wiretapping by Bush IS illegal - so says the ABA

I had not seen this report and guessed many others have not as well. But the American Bar Association has determined that the President does not have the authority to conduct wiretapping without FISA Court approval and they lay out a case that is both sound and thorough as to why they believe the President has violated the law and the very Constitution he has sworn to uphold. I have summarized the resolution, which they passed, and a link here to the entire report.


February 13, 2006

RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association calls upon the President to abide by the limitations which the Constitution imposes on a president under our system of checks and balances and respect the essential roles of the Congress and the judicial branch in ensuring that our national security is protected in a manner consistent with constitutional guarantees;

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association opposes any future electronic surveillance inside the United States by any U.S. government agency for foreign intelligence purposes that does not comply with the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801 et seq. (FISA), and urges the President, if he believes that FISA is inadequate to safeguard national security, to seek appropriate amendments or new legislation rather than acting without explicit statutory authorization;

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges the Congress to affirm that the Authorization for Use of Military Force of September 18, 2001, Pub.L. No. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224 § 2(a) (2001) (AUMF), did not provide a statutory exception to the FISA requirements, and that any such exception can be authorized only through affirmative and explicit congressional action;

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges the Congress to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation to determine: (a) the nature and extent of electronic surveillance of U.S. persons conducted by any U.S. government agency for foreign intelligence purposes that does not comply with FISA; (b) what basis or bases were advanced (at the time it was initiated and subsequently) for the legality of such surveillance; (c) whether the Congress was properly informed of and consulted as to the surveillance; (d) the nature of the information obtained as a result of the surveillance and whether it was retained or shared with other agencies; and (e) whether this information was used in legal proceedings against any U.S. citizen.

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges the Congress to ensure that such proceedings are open to the public and conducted in a fashion that will provide a clear and credible account to the people of the United States, except to the extent the Congress determines that any portions of such proceedings must be closed to prevent the disclosure of classified or other protected information; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association urges the Congress to thoroughly review and make recommendations concerning the intelligence oversight process, and urges the President to ensure that the House and Senate are fully and currently informed of all intelligence operations as required by the National Security Act of 1947.

The more you are willing to investigate, the more you will uncover truth. These truths are usually felt in your gut. This information is just confirming what inherently you already know. But it is nice to have the facts, isn't it? If you can take the time look at the entire report. It's about 26 pages and quite informative.

Guantanamo Bay prisoners

The L.A Times reports today that the Penatgon plans to release "nearly a third" of its detainees in Guantanamo Bay. So here's a summary of the math. There are about 490 detainees there. Only 10 have been charged. None has been charged with a capital offense according to the Times.

According to the history of this for the past 4 years is as follows:

"390 prisoners released without charge;
34 or so charged with various crimes;
300 or so continuing to be held without charge or any effective way to challenge their imprisonment.

So we hold 750 people for years so that we can eventually charge fewer than 40. That works out to a false-imprisonment rate of about 95 percent."

I will be posting again soon. I am hopeful this is educational, and infuriating enough for you to take action and get involved in researching candidates running in the elections in November. We can't "Stay the Course" any more. In the next posting, I will outline the Treaties we signed in Geneva, called the Geneva Convention. I will show what we signed and agreed to, and let you be the judge of whether we have lived up to this document we signed so proudly in 1949, after the end of the WWII. Obviously, you can read into my comments that I don't believe we have lived up to the letter of the law but definitely not the spirit of it. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

High Crimes and Misdemeanors- Bush/Cheney?

The question that will become front and center after the November 2006 elections and Democrats win back one of the Houses of Congress, will be whether the President and/or Vice President should be impeached. To understand this debate and before all the rhetoric begins, you will first need to understand what is an impeachable defense and what does the phrase "high crimes and misdemeanors" mean. Let's start by reading C-Span's historical answer regarding the definition of these terms as stated below:
Capitol Questions:
The Constitution says a President can be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors," but it doesn't define the term. Who decides what that means?

The Congress decides the definition: by majority vote in the House for impeachment, and by 2/3 vote in the Senate for conviction. The Framers of the Constitution deliberately put impeachment into the hands of the legislative branch rather than the judicial branch, thus transforming it from strictly a matter of legal definition to a matter of political judgment. Then Representative Gerald Ford put it into practical perspective in 1970, when he said an impeachable offense is "whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."

"High crimes and misdemeanors" entered the text of the Constitution due to George Mason and James Madison. Mason had argued that the reasons given for impeachment -- treason and bribery -- were not enough. He worried that other "great and dangerous offenses" might not be covered, and suggested adding the word "maladministration." Madison argued that term was too vague, so Mason then proposed "high crimes and misdemeanors," a phrase well-known in English common law. In 18th century language, a "misdemeanor" meant "mis-demeanor,"or bad behavior (neglect of duty and corruption were given as examples), while "high crimes" was roughly equivalent to "great offenses."

Lawyers and historians are still arguing about the exact meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors," dividing into three schools of thought about the appropriate definition: (1) serious criminality evidenced by breaking existing law; (2) an abuse of office, and (3) the Alexander Hamilton standard (Federalist 65) of "violation of public trust."

In (one of) our most recent experience(s) with presidential impeachment -- Watergate in 1974 -- the House Judiciary Committee strongly argued that the case for impeachment need not be limited to actual violations of criminal law. In its report, Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment, the Committee argued the definition should go beyond actual breach of law, citing Blackstone's phrase, "an injury to the state or system of government," Justice Joseph Story's phrase, "offenses of a political character," and Edmund Burke's statement at an impeachment trial that the official on trial should be judged "not upon the niceties of a narrow jurisprudence, but upon the enlarged and solid principles of morality." The Committee further stated that historically, Congress had issued Articles of Impeachment in three broad categories: (1) exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office; (2) behaving in a manner grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office; and (3) employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.

Ok, let's examine if these offenses by our President and Vice President would warrant an impeachable offense:

1. Deliberately not enforcing Border Security with Mexico
2. Illegal wire-tapping of domestic telephone calls of Americans without authorization of the FISA Court and in deliberate evasiveness of the law imposed by Congress, even though Congress allowed for retroactive filing with the Court.
3. Review of the Torture Ban as agreed to in the Geneva Convention, looking for loopholes and authorizing the use of torture of prisoners and citizens of the United States held as "enemy combatants".
4. Authorization of the leaking of the name of a CIA operative for political reasons to stop dissent
5. Outsourcing Port Security to a Middle Eastern country
6. Failure to act with all the resources of the U.S. while being warned by the FEMA Director about a pending worse case scenario in the face hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches.
7. Cherry picking Intelligence to gain support for a planned war of choice in Iraq.
8. Giving massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while increasing the National Debt to Trillions of dollars and bankrupting this Nation.
9. Changing the Rules for Enlisted service people to rely on a small clause to keep them indefinitely in the service, while reducing benefits for their families at home. All this while not listening to the advice of the military as to number of troops needed and no planning for an insurgency and no exit strategy.
10. Windfall profits for the Oil companies and the executives that manage them ($400 Million dollar bonus packages for Exxon CEO)
11. No bid contracts in the 10's of Billions of dollars to the former company where you were CEO and still obtain financial gains based upon the company's financial performance.

Or is this next one more serious crime than those above made by President Clinton?
-Lying about an embarrassing illicit affair he had as President, so that your family wouldn't find out nor would the country and lying under oath about it.

Let me know which you see are high crimes and misdemeanors. I can't wait to hear what you think! Make a comment and remember November is only 7 months away! VOTE! :)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Global Warming - Who cares? You should!

Some very alarming evidence has been reported recently on Global Warming and the fact that we may only have less than 10 years to make some major changes in World government policies and more specifically U.S. policy's regarding the Environment. PBS's show, NOVA, had a program titled Dimming Sun, which I strongly recommend watching. Featured were a number of prominent scientists, including, but not limited to, Dr. James Hansen, Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, as well as Dr. Gerald Stanhill of the Israeli Agriculture Ministry. To get directly to the bottom line, their conclusions are that Global Warming is not only real but accelerating beyond what most experts have suggested in recent years and that, if the world does not make significant changes in the next 10 years, the damage to the planet will be permanent and irreversible. The ice will melt, oceans will rise and much of our seaside cities will experience a loss of usable property and buildings due to catastrophic flooding. I got the message loud and clear and realized because our President doubts the past claims of the reality of Global Warming created by man, we are in for at least 2 1/2 years, out of the 10 remaining ones, following the same ineffective policy and there doesn't appear that anything will be done. Talk about Crimes against Humanity, this surely is one by acts of omission and inactivity from this Administration. This Administration does not want Dr. Hansen's voice to be heard, so please make sure you watch this show! Link to PBS and program

UPDATE: Earth Day, April 22, 2006

When I posted this several days ago I didn't even know that today was Earth Day. I guess many of us think every day is Earth Day!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Regime change? Is Iran the focus or should the U.S be the focus?

According to an article in the New Yorker by Seymour Hersh, President Bush has already made up his mind to go to war with Iran and to use Tactical Nuclear Weapons. If true, we are in deep trouble and need to consider impeachment of BOTH President Bush and VP Cheney, and the sooner the better. We all knew we were going into Iraq, almost from the very beginning of this Administration, without anyone declaring it. The same is true here. We have a couple of madmen running our country to say nothing of the madman running Iran. The article in the New Yorker may be totally untrue, but in today's Washington Post, there appears some truth in the fact "contingency plans" are being developed to look at options. God help us all. But we can't wait for God, as God helps those that help themselves. Wake up America and speak out!

There still may be a nagging question for you, as to whether Seymour Hersh is accurate in what he has written in this controversial article. That question could best be answered by looking at what Hersh wrote a year ago which was equally controversial when it was written. We now have the advantage of hindsight and we can determine how accurate he was back then. Here are some excerpts from a speech on March 29, 2005 given at New Mexico State University (Las Cruces). Remember that was a full year ago and just after his new book was published, "Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib."

"Bush is as absolutely convinced he’s doing the right thing,” "just as journalists are who think of themselves as white knights think they are doing the right thing." “Even if we have another thousand body bags, it won’t deter him.” (This was when we had 1,000 of our troops dead.) “This is where he (Bush) is. He believes he won’t be measured by today, but in 5 or 10 years” “he thinks it’s going well.” "Iran is “teed up.” He (Bush) is unreachable. I can’t reach him. He’s got his own world. This is really unusual and frankly, it scares the hell out of me.” “It’s as if we’ve been taken over by a cult of 8 or 9 people who decided the road to stop international terrorism led to Baghdad,” “That 8 or 9 people can change so much...Where was the military, the Congress, the press? What has happened raises the question about the thinness of the fabric of democracy.”

Now do you still think Hersh was and is crazy? I don't!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sen. Biden on Real Time with Bill Maher

Last night we were treated by Sen. Joe Biden as a panel guest on Bill Maher's HBO Friday night show. Sen. Biden did a great job and showed why he should be seriously considered as a viable candidate for President in 2008. His clear thinking matched with no-nonsense solutions for the Iraq War gave me hope that there is a better way if we can just get new leadership. Benn Afflack was there too and fed Sen. Biden an opportunity to air his views to a large audience of similarly disposed, politically aligned and eager to see change in the White House, citizens. There was an after show video clip which brought some necessary light to the issue of Illegal immigrants that was worth watching. Go to the HBO web site and click on the post show interview on the bottom left of the page. Transcripts of the show may be available in a few days.

Sen. Biden's ideas on Iraq was that President Bush needed to make less speeches and instead needed to hold a summit with leaders in the region and tell them Civil War was not in anyone's interest. That it was in their own interest to help Iraq build a peaceful government and if they didn't, the U.S. would leave Iraq by a certain date. He said that Iran, Turkey and other nations have no interest if this fails, as the violence would spill over into their countries as well, and they have a chance to stop this here and now. Presidential Leadership is the necessary ingredient and we are lacking for such a leader now with President Bush.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gonzales: Bush Can Eavesdrop on Domestic Calls!

Over at ChargingRino, Jeremy Dibbell has summarized perfectly Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' testimony on Eavesdropping on Domestic Calls. This is must reading and one of the most important related topics of Executive abuse of power, the trashing of our freedoms and the trashing of the Constitution, by any President in history.

As if this isn't bad enough, where's the outrage by average Americans? We only deserve freedom if we are willing to stand up and be heard when those freedoms are threatened, as did our founding fathers and other patriots. Make a decision today to tell someone of your outrage that you haven't told before. It is at least one small action that can make you feel you are engaged in this democracy!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

President Bush was the source leaking classified information!

Here we go again. This CIA leak investigation has finally come full circle to now fingering President Bush as the source of the leaking of classified information. Back on July 24th, 2005 I wote, 'It doesn't make sense that Novak is free and Miller is in jail. In this one case, I wish Miller revealed her source to the media, so we could get clearer, as to what really happened. But I can understand her reasons for not divulging sources. I've come to the conclusion that the media is afraid of this Bush Administration. It's the only explanation of why there's a free pass on most things.

It turns out now that maybe Miller was working on discrediting Joseph Wilson at the behest of Cheney and his hatchet man, Scooter Libby. Can't wait to see if U.S Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald does a good job on this investigation. The country needs to believe it was done properly and that the truth has been made clear."

Well now we know President Bush was a hypocrite! So what's new. But it disgusts me anyway.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

U.N. Human Rights Council investigates and reports on the U.S.

Would you believe that the U.N. special investigative reporter on torture is now turning his attention to the United States? Manfred Nowark recieves his orders from The U.N. Human Rights Commission where his investigative authority eminates. He doesn't have an army to help him gain access to prisoners in various countries suspected of torture and must rely on those same countries to allow him access. There is no shortage of cases to investigate from China to Georgia, from Nepal to Chile, Egypt, Syria and Algeria. But what makes this year's report so unusual, is his focus on Guantanamo Bay and the prisoners held by the United States.

In an article posted by Speigel Online Nowak criticized the harsh treatment of Prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq authorized by Sec. of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, as well as the tactics used at Guantanamo Bay where suspected terrorists are held indefinitely, without access to an independent court. He believes the U.S. has overstepped the boundaries of International Law and has recommended the closure of Guantanamo. Again quoting the Speigal article, "The US State Department rejected the report, saying it was "largely without merit," pointing out that the UN experts never set foot in Guantánamo Bay and claiming that the report had been based purely on hearsay. Washington had a point: Nowak had intended to inspect the detention camp personally. But US officials refused to let him go there and the limits to the rapporteur's possibilities were exposed once more. The inspection of Guantánamo was supposed to take place under the same conditions as prison inspections elsewhere in the world. Nowak was supposed to be able to talk to prisoners without the presence of any guards, but Rumsfeld has categorically refused to permit such talks. Nowak is welcome to inspect empty cells, Rumsfeld has said, but direct contact with the detainees is out of the question.

"In the end, it's just absurd," Nowak says. "The very government that urged China to respect the usual minimum standards during my visit to Beijing is now refusing to respect those standards itself."

The pride in America as the only country in the World with moral fiber and the leading bastion for freedom, has been tarnished forever. This has been brought to you by the "compassionate conservative" President Bush, his cohort VP Cheney, and this Administration of fear mongers who prey on your fears to keep you in check. If America has one chance left, it is to get rid of this Republican government monopoly in the 2006 elections, and to warn eager Democratic replacements that they had better restore decency and honor back to this country or we will deal with them in 2008 as well. Wake up America!! Speak out especially when it's not politically correct to initiate a conversation. Use work and social settings to raise the consciousness of your friends or acquaintances. It's time to awaken the sleeping giant- YOUR CONSCIENCE!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Congressman DeLay finally gets it!

Finally at least one key player connected to this Administration gets it and will resign within 30 days. The writing has been on the walls on Congressman Delay for quite a long time. Now all we need is his puppet master, VP Cheney, and Sec. of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, to resign. Problem is they don't get it and never will. They think we don't get it. This will require President Bush to get it too. But he won't because his other puppet master, Karl Rove, doesn't get it either. (Photo from CNN)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The "Silent Majority" had better start making some noise!

We all remember the references to the "Silent majority" but do you remember who coined the phrase? Well it was President Richard Nixon in a speech on Nov. 3, 1969 and the topic was the Vietnam War. (Click here to read his speech.) Nixon said, "The American people cannot and should not be asked to support a policy which involves the overriding issues of war and peace unless they know the truth about that policy." And so he outlined how and why America got involved in Vietnam in the first place.

In that famous speech he declared, "Now, let me begin by describing the situation I found when I was inaugurated on January 20:

The war had been going on for four years. One thousand Americans had been killed in action. The training program for the South Vietnamese was behind schedule; 540,000 Americans were in Vietnam with no plans to reduce the number." Does this sound familiar. Not much has changed except the President and the Country as now it is about Iraq. We have lost more soldiers in 3 years than we did in the first 4 years of Vietnam. Just substitute "Iraq" for where you see "South Vietnam" in the speech and it will seem surreal. In his speech he also recognized he hadn't started the war and was a major critic of how the war was being conducted. Well our next President may utter the same words, as there seems no end in sight.

Near the end of Nixon's speech he used the phrase "Silent Majority" in this context: And so tonight -- to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans -- I ask for your support."

This reference was made to the "Silent Majority" because many students had been protesting in the streets over the Vietnam War and they were asking for our troops to come home. Looking back in history I think we can all agree how prophetic those cries were to bring the troops home, as we lost another 54,000 plus soldiers, which could have been prevented had we listened and become the not so "Silent Majority".

So I ask the Silent Majority now, raise your voices, become involved in the issues of the day, speak out against those that would trash the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the rule of law, before your rights to protest are gone as well. There are plenty of issues to get involved in:
• Whether the U.S. has the right to torture, as claimed by the Administration. The President & VP think they do.
• Whether the U.S. has the right to detain those at GITMO indefinetely without giving the right to determine why they are being held. The President and VP think they do.
• Whether the U.S. has the right to wire-tap without authorization of the FISA Court. The President and VP think they do.
• Whether the U.S. has a right to meddle in "Right to die" issues" like the Terry Schiavo issue. The Republican controlled Congress and Senate think they do.
• Whether the U.S. has a right to not enforce laws regarding illegal immigration and protecting our borders. The President and VP think they do.
• Whether the U.S should hand the management and security of our Ports to a Foreign Country. The President and VP think they do.
• Whether the U.S. has the right to a preemptive strike on a declared or undeclared threat. The President and VP think they do.
• Whether the U.S has the right to repeat the mistakes of 20 years ago and grant amnesty without guaranteeing our borders are secure. The President, VP and apparently Congress think they do.

Time is running out and this Administration, under President Bush and VP Cheney, have all but subverted the rule of law in the name of protecting us. I'm sorry but I think we can do a better job as a country.
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