It’s the WAR, stupid!

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A friend of mine pointed out the IEDs in New York and asked me “NOW do you see the truth behind the ‘Religion of Peace’? How many Americans have to die before you accept Islam is a violent, savage religion? How much longer do we have to live in terror before we take the fight back to them!?” How can my tiny, liberal mind possibly comprehend the evil and hateful nature of Muslims?

Okay, Slappy, listen up.

You do know we are at war, right? Have been for just about fifteen years. Fifteen years at war.

And considering we don’t count civilian bodies on foreign shores we don’t have a firm count of how many Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani, or Syrian civilians have been killed.  We have a better idea of how many combatants have been killed and a trophy case full of the militants who really needed to be killed or captured.

And just over 56 thousand American military casualties.

So a few explosions end up making it across the ocean in the last fifteen years. Imagine that. Sadly, it is only the beginning.

We are at war. With a big theater of battle that bleeds across two oceans. And it is a stupid war using a half-assed battle plan resulting from a poorly planned and hastily enacted retaliation for the attacks on 9/11.

We have been at war so long but it hasn’t bothered us here on the home front.

We have been at war so long that the general public cannot distinguish it from peacetime.

This fifteen years at war, the shared responsibility of a two-term President who blundered into it and another two-term president unable to extricate us, a moronic blood-thirsty Congress, and a pathetic American public that converts the sickness of human suffering and death into patriotic songs and stickers.

Yes, Slappy, WE are to blame for this. We let this war go on slow burn for so long without any accountability. Children have grown up on the battlefront knowing ONLY war. And here at home, with what Roger Waters called “the bravery of being out of range” we can cheer on the deaths of anonymous combatants, the taking of another city, and shed a tear for the brave men and women who died or came home irrevocably changed by two, three, or five tours of duty.

Congress and the Military-Industrial Complex know that we will bleat like sheep and feel sad for Gold Star families and stand up when the anthem is played, but we refuse to get ANGRY over the fact that people keep dying and the war is no closer to being won.

Slappy asks what this has to do with the evil Islamic boogeyman setting off pressure cookers in major US cities.

Again – WE. ARE. AT. WAR. Somehow, at some point, people took up the idea that the United States homeland doesn’t have to get its hands bloody in war. We have an entire military underclass we send to do all that while we wrap our yellow ribbons and thank everyone in a uniform for their service. How DARE the combatants bring the war to us? On our soil? No no: we OUTSOURCE war to other countries. Suffering in war is what other, small, savage brown people do. How DARE they interrupt the dance of first world commerce, stall the bus lines, and give the 24/7 news entities a war porn erection? Bombs can go off in a Baghdad market killing enough people to paint the streets red for blocks and no one gets outraged. Risk one American life in wartime and the hometown crowd goes bugfuck.

But it changes nothing. The outrage of a bomb on American soil should wake people up. SOME people should be asking “HEY! When is this war going to end?” Somehow, we’re just happy throwing blame at one another while clearly no one has a clue how to fix it. Shutting the borders, keeping out Muslims, making people take loyalty tests…that’s imbecilic nonsense.

This isn’t about an “-ism”, Slappy. This is about a war making its way to our shores after fifteen years of laying out towns and cities far away.

We are an Eloi society reliant upon a Morlock underclass and willing to go deeper into debt to buy more arms while our infrastructure fails and our veterans get shitty care stateside and we veto 9/11 responder health care, and waste millions in taxpayer money pursuing another Benghazi conspiracy or overturning Obamacare. Our keepers know we aren’t angry enough to actually do anything about anything so long as we can get our new iPhones and Organic produce and have a Starbucks on every fucking corner.

We’re only angry when a man sits down for the national anthem and only because we need to prove how more fucking patriotic we are. Fuck you, football man! YOU don’t love America more than me. I love it so much, JESUS gets jealous! I ejaculate red, white, and blue, citizen.

Want to be a REAL patriot?

Stop the fucking war.

Demand victory or an exit strategy. Bring our kids home.

And none of this “we’re getting out but we’re not getting out” bullshit. Admit it’s a quagmire and come up with a plan. Run the truth about this war past the American people and see how many mothers and sons will be willing to sacrifice for a full-scale war like the ones MacArthur used to make. When bodies are rolling off of planes in Dover by the hundreds and thousands, when we take this bloody war prime time, reinstate the draft, and sweep across the sands to wipe out the enemy all the while asking people to buy bonds and conserve plastic and energy and – GASP – GO WITHOUT to pay for it all.

It’s a war. But it ain’t a Holy War. We can’t afford it and the only way to win a Holy War is to outlaw the faith and kill all who resist you (aka Martyrs). And that’s really against our Constitution. So, fuck it. Figure something else out, Slappy, and stop blaming Islam. Blame the bloodthirsty human bore worms who happen to be Muslim just like the American bomber pilot and soldier who happen to be Christian.

Fifteen years is a slow burn designed to fatten the warmakers and chickenhawks while avoiding Vietnam level body counts and economy-crushing war expenditures. Until we end the war expect more pressure cookers and pipe bombs. Expect more guerilla attacks on American soil that will only service to strip more of our liberties for the illusion of safety.

Stop confusing this with a war about faith and recognize this is a war without purpose, without a plan, and without an end.

A Polite Conversation Heats Up (a little)

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Will returns and is a little out of sorts about the Mel Brooks banner in the previous post which he took as my comparing him to Hitler or mocking him.  In retrospect, I see how it could be taken a number of different ways.  I explain my use of it below.  As a result, this exchange gets a little heated and personal.

Really, Jay? Well, I suppose if you wanted to shut down conversation, that’s a good way to start. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, that maybe your inability to approach any conversation without snark was getting away with you, but in the end it has to end with this–a prefaced image which implies you are poking fun at a fascist (or just Hitler, modified). Perhaps we should have started this whole conversation with, “Well, I’m going to pretend to discuss this with you, but really all I want to do is call you out and grandstand your failure to right-think.” I mean, that would have been more intellectually honest, dontcha think? The Hitler reference is really the icing, though.

You’re stuck on the Mel Brooks banner?  That was just for levity, dude.  You’re way too sensitive.  The Carly Simon song ain’t about you.

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A Polite Discussion Continues

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Continuing my discussion with William R. Herr.

This took a bit to put together and then put down. 

There is no moral equivalency. Not even close, even though I am constantly hit with ‘well, Christians do it too.” arguments. Yes, there are Christians who have committed atrocities in the name of their faith and moral superiority, but let’s be real, for a moment.

Before moving forward, I want to remind you that you asked for examples of radical Christianity and I gave them.  The examples weren’t offered to create the illusion of a 1:1 comparison between religious extremists but in response to your challenge to “name one” that suggested there was no comparable violence by Christians at all.  Clearly there are and continue to be.

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A Polite Conversation About Politics – Part 3

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William R. Herr and I used to sit around the newspaper office at The Fourth Estate, the student paper for Harrisburg Area Community College and talk politics while waiting for stories to come in or after a long day of laying up column strips and half-tone photos (this was, after all, the 1990s back when “Adobe InDesign” was Aldus PageMaker 4.2).  This was around 1992 and the first Clinton was running for office.  Will, being a conservative thinking, often provided a much-needed counterpoint to our generally progressive staff.  This continues our discussions from Part One and Part Two and begins with his response to those parts…

I will, instead of parsing each line, respond to the general thoughts that jumped out at me. First, please list for me the terrorist acts which have specifically been committed in the name of Christ, or ascribed to him afterward by the responsible party. You brought it up.

Are you asking for an equivalency measurement?  Does there have to be a declaration?  If a military officers says something like “God willing, we will prevail!” does that count?  Does having a cross tattooed to a soldier’s arm count?  How about if a soldier just prays before he loads his weapon or before he shuts his eyes in the barracks?

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A Polite Conversation About Politics (Pt 1)

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PART ONE – Introduction and Gary Johnson and the Libertarians

[Over on the Book of Face, I engaged in a spirited…then awkward…and finally blisteringly hostile discussion of politics.  Specifically, the topic was how Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson could possibly win The White House in this election.  The conversation left a fucking crater.  It ended friendships and ruined a perfectly good night out with my wife.  In the course of that discussion, I compared the tactics of one of my posters negatively against my friend and fellow author William Herr.  Will, always ready to throw out a thousand insightful words about something to pass the time,  posted to his own account the following day. Here is my response.]

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A Citadel Birthday Visit.

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Meanwhile in the Citadel…
 
Me: Howard! Happy Birthday.
HPL: Thank you. What is that you’re holding? And why is it on fire?
Me: It’s a cupcake and that’s a candle. Jesus, you’ve been dead long time and you are still one of the most sheltered people I know. It’s chocolate.
HPL: I hate chocolate.
Zevon: That’s no surprise at all.
Me: Warren! I thought you were in heaven!
Zevon: Got bored. I needed to break something. Everybody smiles and is so fucking polite and well-dressed and condescending…it was like a constant A&R meeting. I left. Hi.
Me: Welcome back. Did you know it was Howard’s birthday?
Zevon: Yeah, because he’s been reading everything on Facebook about him for the last week telling us everybody thinks he’s a racist creep.
HPL: I am not a racist. I a student of the species and…
Me: Whoah. I’m just going to stop you right there.
HPL: Why?
Me: Because nothing that could follow will contradict anything bad said about you. BTW, where’s Edgar?
HPL: (low) On a date with Miss Dickinson.
Zevon: Your ex?
HPL: Yes, they are attending a poetry slam together somewhere in the more fashionable rings of Hell. They have new material, they said.
Me: How do you feel about that?
HPL: Mutual enablers, I say. They’ll spend eternity shooting each other up with drugs and scribbling insipid little sonnets about one another. They’ve already had Leonard Bruce and that other obnoxious Jew…
Me: HEY!
HPL: …that “Ginsberg” fellow…I am not a fan of Mr. Poe’s decidedly progressive friends and ideas. We are no longer chess mates, he and I.
Me: Who do you play with now?
HPL: Every so often this somber, sleepy-eyed minion of Dagon stops in for a drink and plays with me while nursing a drink. We don’t speak, but he grunts a lot, especially when I make a move he does not like. We’ve never finished a match before he finishes his drink, so I don’t know that’s really … a thing.
Me: I honestly expected this place to be a lot busier.
Zevon: Did you see the big, bright, purple nightclub on the hill?
Me: Yeah. Prince, right?
Zevon: And everybody else. Douglas is there now. He’s playing with Vanity, Bowie and Lemmie and Natalie Cole and… fuck, man…half the people who died so far this year. Otis, Glen, Ric, Kantner, Bain… You put that up in a marquee and that’s why Rickman and everyone else is sitting around listening to the All Night Angels Band play. George Martin is on the boards for it. Live Aid? Woodstock? We Are the Afterworld? What the fuck were they? This is like the fucking Musical Rapture, man.
Me: So who’s here to celebrate with Howard?
HPL: Well, there was this lovely fellow – a Ronnie Corbett – but turns out he thought he was at the writer’s club. Did you know we had a writer’s club?
Zevon: Dude, I’m not even a writer and I know there’s a Writer’s Club.
HPL: Must be an oversight.  Perhaps I will visit them and weigh in on whatever pedantic discussion they’re having.
Me:  Sure!  Get out.  Do things.
Zevon:  Yeah.  That’ll be great.  Meanwhile, I’m heading over the Purple Church, Jay. Want to join me?
Me:  Hey, why not.

The Heart Purple

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The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed. Specific examples of services which warrant the Purple Heart include any action against an enemy of the United States; any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged; while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party; as a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces; or as the result of an act of any hostile foreign force. After 28 March 1973, it may be awarded as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack. After 28 March 1973, it may be awarded as a result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force. – Army Regulation 600–8–22. Army Publishing Directorate.

Shame on you, Donald Trump.

That might actually be helpful to you as you have no shame left, so let me rephrase this delicately.

Fuck you, Donald Trump.

I don’t care if you win in November or not because you have cemented your character for all time as an ignorant, screeching meat cartoon.  Your antics as a would-be Sid & Marty Krofft villain might have been amusing on Saturday mornings back in the bucolic 70s and 80s, but now you are after the role of Commander-in-Chief in a time of war and you’re acting like every cliched home video antagonist ever scripted.  You, sir, are straight out of a fucking Golan-Globus production.

You know something very nice just happened to me. A man came up to me and he handed me his purple heart. Now I said to him is that a real one or is that a copy. And he said that’s my real purple heart. I have such confidence in you and I said, man that’s like big stuff. I’ve always wanted to have a purple heart. This was much easier. – Scheiße Gesicht von Drumph, Il Douche of 2016.

Let’s first touch on the man who gifted you this prize.  Lieutenant Colonel Louis Edward Dorfman III,wounded in Iraq in 2007.  He should be thanked for his service, his sacrifice and respected.  Unlike you, Puffy McUpchuck, and me – Lt. Col. Dorfman earned something no one should ever “want” in life.  And, frankly, he has earned to right to do whatever he wants with the medal.  He could be buried with it, sell it for crystal meth, use it as a teaching tool for kids in school, return it in protest of an unjust war, or give it away to a wretched bag of failure and scrapple farts like you, Donald J. Trump.

In light of your recent Technicolor clusterfuck of bad choices, you failed to capitalize on a golden moment of redemption.  A sincere and presumably decent man came to you and offered up the symbol of his personal sacrifice for his country.  It is, as you say, “big stuff”. But instead of using the moment to show how much you love our armed forces, you decided to pin that medal right on the head of your massive ego-dick.

“I’ve always wanted to have a purple heart,” you said in a way that did not suggest you wanted it in place of a blackened one.

In that moment, you could have been that reality star we all  (well, okay, a lot of people) loved.  You could have taken the award up on stage and made the moment about Lt. Colonel Dorfman.  You could have owned the moment where the man offered you the award because he believed in you and turned it into a moment where you professed your belief, your support, your commitment, and your LOVE for all the troops.  You could have offered a condition that you were only borrowing it to remind you of your obligation to fix the outdated and overloaded VA system and to bring our troops home, close Gitmo, win “peace in our time” or some such shit and promise to return the medal to him personally when your work was done.

You could have made it a moment that showed people you had a soul.  Even if you had to fake like the extras you hired to attend your early rallies.

But, no.  You turned it into a moment with slightly more dignity than an impulse buy at a pawn shop.

“Oh, I’ve always wanted one of these!”

Look, bubbles.  I have had a lifelong fascination with badges.  Recently I was looking for old west badges, replicas of the ones worn by lawmen like Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp, Pinkerton Agents and Texas Rangers.  I never earned one of them and I’d never claim to.  Owning one didn’t make me a law enforcement officer any more than your face makes you a replica of the planet Mercury with a giant alien haystack on top of it.  But you seemed to equate this award with what you’ve been through on this campaign.

I look at these badges as reminders of what greater men and women earned and accomplished.  I am surrounded by books and images and sounds and symbols of greater men and women than I’ll EVER be.  That’s the lesson of when a good man comes to you with his heart.  In moments of doubt, you have more than just a 1990s TGI Friday’s around you to take your mind off the layoffs and losses you have to excuse to your investors.  That’s the point of having a crucifix on the wall for a Christian.  It isn’t – “ooh! I’ve always wanted one of these on my wall” – but a reminder of someone else’s sacrifice to keep you trying hard to be better than you were.  Had you made any gesture in that direction, said anything to indicate that this was something more than just a token to slip into your pocket, I think it would have been an astonishing moment for your campaign.

But, as everyone on the planet expected, you fucked that up.  Well done.

What put you over the top?  Was it the crying baby?  Tell the truth.  You were annoyed as fuck by that kid to the point you couldn’t even excrete from your mouth properly.  That baby fucked up your shit so bad that the look of your face is now in Kim Jong Un’s permanent spank bank as another sign of America’s weakness.  You had to humiliate a child’s mother because you couldn’t handle another loud, screeching titty leech vying for control of YOUR room.

Fuck you, Donald.  Clinton might be a criminal on the level of a decent Bond villain, but you’re just an incompetent henchman.  You’re the fucking un-named thug who got his neck slit or his dick punched because he didn’t bother to keep his eye on the task at hand.

And YOU want to be C-in-C.  My guess is that’s because you owe so many people in the private sector and public that the only way you won’t end up like Hoffa or John Bobbitt after 2016 is to find a way to hand out cabinet, ambassador, and Supreme Court seats to every sleazebag who ever cleared away the bureaucracy for your or got you out of a financial or legal mess.

You clearly don’t understand the job.  You seem to not WANT the job.  And I’ll lay my beer budget for a year that if you went on a game show with Jeff Foxworthy, a half dozen 10-11 year olds would stomp your ass at history and civics like some of your supporters would love to act at a #BLM rally.

But I digress because there is so much wrong with you that I risk going after the GOP machine that allowed you to exist in the first place.  By the way: FUCK YOU, GOP.  Once again, your pony in the race is lame and, this time, rabid as fuck.  Well done.

We are at war, puddin’head.  It’s been so long that few people remember a time when that wasn’t true.  Even the tender wounds of 9/11 seem inflicted so long ago.  But it is true.  Every day, our volunteer military goes to work against the people who want to do us harm.  And you’ve claimed to have military training on par with the men and women who actually serve. You’ve compared your history as a celebrity and a businessman to a tour of duty.

You’ve spent the last week establishing clearly and firmly that you have no fucking clue about the job you’re after. There is not one critic your ego can allow to go unpunished by your singular-syllable vocabulary and non-existent wit.

And then you said MY TOWN was a war zone.

A “war zone”?   Snitch, please.

There are many reasons President Obama looks 80 years old these days.  And the people he has to deal with on a daily basis present far greater a challenge than a crying baby and the grieving parents of a heroic soldier.  You’re not fooling anyone that you’ll do better than the so-called “Worst President in the History of Ever”.

Give the medal back.  You don’t deserve it any more than I do.  And you should know better than me.

 

 

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Of Heroes and the Lateness of the Hour.

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Something to keep in mind as you size up the third-party candidates.
Back in 1992, a weird, engaging firecracker of a man captured the hearts and minds of a lot of Americans who were sick to death of the two-party system. He had a lot of great ideas, some controversial ones, and some bad ones, too. Whatever magic this man had, it appealed to a significant number of Democrat and Republican voters. He appealed to many independent voters as well. For most of 1992 this man created a third-party alternative that got people excited. Even the media took his campaign seriously. At one point, in June of 1992 he was the actual front runner in the polls. He had more support as a third party presidential candidate than anyone since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912.
Despite some setbacks and a bit of a meltdown toward the end, H Ross Perot managed to earn 19.7 million votes representing just shy of 19 percent of the popular vote. It was the largest third party grab since George Wallace in 1968.
He won several counties.
But no states.
No states meant no electoral votes.
Keep in mind that George Wallace won less than half the number of votes Perot earned in 1992. Wallace ran on a platform of racism and hate. It earned him five states (all southern, naturally) and 46 electoral votes out of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
Before that, the most impressive outing came from the Bull Moose Party.  88 Electoral votes and second in the year that Woodrow Wilson won in a landslide.  That candidate was bad-ass Teddy-fucking-Roosevelt.
After ten months of campaigning and $64 million dollars, H Ross Perot ended his 1992 campaign no closer to the White House than you or me. He was the last third party candidate to campaign on an equal playing field with the major parties. His 1996 campaign didn’t have the same shine.  He was damaged goods and little more than a footnote.
The next time a third party candidate had such a significant impact on a Presidential race was 2000. In Florida. And you know damn well how that turned out. The popular vote nationwide was clear. The electoral votes based on one state determined the fate of the world. After Ralph Nader’s never-had-a-chance campaign, we were left with a split vote and a Supreme Court decision.
It’s all about the electoral college, folks.
Now does this mean that a third party candidate victory is impossible? Well… No. You might actually be struck by a meteor on your way to the bathroom today, too. It is possible. Likely? I can’t think of a competent mathematician or student of probability who would tell you to bet your life on it. Or our country’s future.
In 1972, the Libertarian candidate for President received ONE electoral vote from Virginia. ONE. And it was from an faithless delegate in a state where the Libertarian wasn’t even on the ballot. Since then, the third party candidates for President earned, collectively, ZERO electoral votes.
Whose fault is that?  Well, yours of course. If you waited until this moment to suddenly decide to go to war against the establishment, you’ve already lost. You have 100 days to change the world. What the living fuck took you so long? If I were a Green or a Libertarian, that’s the first question I would have for you if you showed up to volunteer tomorrow.
We’ve all known with a growing certainty over the past several months that Donald Trump was going to be the GOP’s train wreck nominee. He was the most entertaining exhibit in a macabre sideshow of freaks. And while Bernie Sanders had a great ride, the corruption of the DNC made his downfall a simple matter of when they wanted to pull the rug out.
Ross Perot began his ’92 journey at the end of 1991, testing the waters and getting himself in front of cameras, crafting a message and a strategy to gain voter confidence. He announced when he found a foothold. And he fought a hard campaign.
But here we are. Just over 100 days until the election. Trump was a lock almost three months ago. Clinton was a high probability for a longer period. I haven’t heard a lot of love for “Plan B” candidates except from the faithful.  I mean, I’ve heard a lot of “I’ll jump to a third party” but that third party savior might as well have been an actual Bond villain for all we’ve heard about them.  Sure, I’ve read up on them but I haven’t read people speak with the same enthusiasm FOR them as I’ve heard AGAINST Trump or Clinton.
Don’t get me wrong. They will LOVE to have you and your money. They need it. In 2012, when Mitt Romney ran against the so called “worst President in the history of ever” Obama won by 122 electoral votes and over 5 million actual votes. Third parties? Libertarians had 1 percent of the popular vote. The Greens? Just over a third of one percent. That represents a huge jump for both parties from the 2008 election.  And still no electoral votes.
Elections aren’t won by being there to catch the disenfranchised voters. Elections are won by strong candidates with messages that resonate and capture the hearts of the people. Just voting isn’t going to do anything. If you really want someone else, you’re going to have to fight for them. You are going to have to spend the majority of your next 100 days getting out a message of hope and opportunity. You are going to need to start a movement that ignites the passion of Millennials and mainstream Red/Blue voters. You will have the responsibility of building – in under four months – the kind of campaign Bernie Sanders built over fifteen months.
I’m not saying it is impossible. I’m saying you can’t just dedicate your vote and expect change. You have to change the American political landscape. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that. I’m saying that if you’re not prepared to go the distance, you’re just looking for a way to tell people that nothing is your fault because you voted for someone other than the eventual winner.
The liberal idealist in me wants you to go out and change the world.  GO.  Find that political Messiah.  Fix this bad situation.  That’s the voice that nearly died after the 2000 election when Bush 2.0 won.  Like the GOP, you, sweet voter, had four years to find and court a viable candidate.  Now here we are.  Vote your conscience.  But remember that just because you lodged a protest vote doesn’t absolve you of your role in the outcome of this very important crossroads in American history.

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