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Reposted from Libby Shaw by Democrats Ramshield

I know I have written about this subject before but now that we are in the throes of early voting in Texas the abstraction of the strictest Voter Photo ID Law in the U.S. has become a frightening and stunning reality.  600,000 to 744,980 American citizens in Texas are not allowed to vote in November.

Let this sink in for a moment.

A federal judge in Corpus Christi had ruled the Texas Photo ID Law as intentionally discriminatory and one in which a poll tax is included.

"The Court holds that SB 14 creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose," Gonzalez Ramos stated in her lengthy ruling issued Thursday. "The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."
Of course this outcome is beyond outrageous but more mind blowing is the fact that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the John Roberts' corporations are people SCOTUS let it stand for the 2014 mid-term election.  The excuse?  Voters might be confused if changes were made to the law immediately prior to an election.

This is pure nonsense given the fact that until November 2013 Texans have not been required to produce a specific state issued photo ID in order to vote. It seems to me that the conservative justices on the 5th Circuit and the SCOTUS are more interested in protecting Republican candidates than they are the rights of the majority of American citizens.

Fortunately Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a scathing dissent to the failure of the SCOTUS to overturn the outrageously discriminatory law.  She made twelve major points.  Below are a few of them.

1. This was a dispute about facts not fears. Unlike many other voting rights lawsuits, civil rights attorneys in this case did not sue without showing that there were real victims and harm. Ginsburg noted that important distinction writing that there had been a “full trial and resting on an extensive record from which the District Court found ballot-access discrimination by the State.”

2. But the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court ignored that. That’s right, judges in the first tier in the federal appeals court process decided to ignore the factual record. “The Fifth Circuit’s refusal to home in on the facts found by the district court is precisely why this court should vacate the stay.” (This case came to the Supeme Court because the Fifth Circuit ignored the district court and ruled that the voter ID law could take effect.)

3. Texas’ previous voter ID requirements are ample. Ginsburg noted that the state would not be left without any legal means to ensure eligible voters were getting ballots at polling places. “Texas need only reinstate the voter identification procedures it employed for 10 years (from 2003 to 2013) and in five federal elections.”

4. Texas officials have not informed the public about the new law. There has been a lack of public education about the new law, which will lead to confusion at the polls as it is implemented, Ginsburg noted. “The District Court found “woefully lacking” and “grossly” underfunded the State’s efforts to familiarize the public and poll workers regarding the new identification requirements.”

5. The state is to blame for confusion at the polls. Ginsburg said the state, which claims it needs the stricter photo ID laws to protect the process’ integrity, will instead be to blame for creating chaos and confusion. “In short, any voter confusion or lack of public confidence in Texas’ electoral process is in this case largely attributable to the State itself.”

6. The law concerns only polling place voting. This is an easily overlooked point, because the stricter voter ID laws do not effect people who vote by mail—which often is the way the Republican Party tries to turn out its base—but only people who show up at polling places. “The bill requires in-person voting to present one of a limited number of government-issued photo identification documents,” she wrote, noting that this list is narrower than what is accepted in other states, citing Wisconsin.

7. Hundreds of thousands of Texans will have a hard time getting the ID. The ID law says that Texans can get a state-issued photo ID from police, but only in certain locations. “Those who lack the approved forms of identification may obtain an “election identification certificate” from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), but more than 400,000 eligible voters face round-trip travel times of three hours or more.”

This law is real and it is a travesty to our democracy.

Here are a couple of cases where American citizens in Texas will not be allowed to vote.

A World War II Purple Heart Veteran.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP don't want my 90-year-old grandfather to vote.

A World War II veteran, he still bears the shrapnel he caught as a U.S. Marine in Okinawa. This injury earned him a Purple Heart. But he doesn't drive anymore, so he doesn't have a photo ID. Until now, he didn't have reason to need one.

My grandfather lives in a tiny, rural precinct where he and the poll workers have been friends for decades and go to church together, so they don't need some little laminated card to know who he is.

Now, my grandfather's friends will be forced to turn him away from the polls and deny him the right to vote - a right he fought and bled and nearly died for nearly 70 years ago.

My grandfather knows the value of a single vote. His father, my great-grandfather, served as county commissioner of that same tiny, rural precinct nearly a century ago. He was defeated in his bid for re-election by a mere 11 votes. That next commissioner was subsequently defeated by a single vote.

Once I explained to my grandfather that the people who have known him well for many years are now bound by law to turn him away because of a cruelly effective rule, designed to deny a fundamental American right and privilege (his word) to groups of people likely to vote Democratic just like him, his face fell. It was heartbreaking. It was as if I had told him he had lost his American citizenship.

Shame on the GOP for pushing this law, and shame on Abbott for defending it.

Although this veteran qualifies to vote by mail because of his age, chances are he very likely ignored the mail ballot application he received in the mail.  Photo IDs are not required for mail in ballots.  Those who are 65 or older and/or disabled can vote by mail.  The WWII Purple Heart veteran likely prefers to vote in person and was unaware that he needed a state issued state ID.  He won't be able to vote.  

After all, this small government state hardly has a lot of robust outreach programs for voters.  The opposite is true as noted in point four of Justice Ginberg's dissent.

Two more American citizens who have been denied their right to vote by Greg Abbott's Voter ID poll tax law:

The law would have made it extremely difficult for Texas Latinos such as 18-year-old twins Nicole and Victoria Rodriguez to vote, as groups argued in 2013. The young women at the time did not have driver's licenses since their parents could not afford car insurance, yet they had valid Texas birth certificates, high school IDs and Social Security identification. Still, they would not have been allowed to vote unless they traveled to a state office to get a special photo ID issued by the Department of Public Safety. Voting experts have pointed out the long distances and restricted hours of these state offices, which make obtaining the ID difficult for lower-income residents without cars as well as older voters.
The law has made it difficult for the twins to vote.  They won't be able to vote, period.

A friend in N. Texas and a fellow political activist shared her struggle with getting her son, a college student, registered to vote. A Walk Through Hell.

Before I directly experienced the walk through hell that is required to obtain an approved voter ID, I wondered: what is the big deal? Like the majority of Americans and especially Texans, I was uninformed.

Experience is the best teacher.

My son will vote for the first time in this election. Although he has a student photo ID issued by his college, that form of photo ID is not approved for voting. To obtain his student photo ID, we had to supply the following documentation to prove his identity:

Social Security Card
Birth Certificate
Medical Shot Records
Proof of Residency
Educational Transcripts
But, that’s not good enough to vote in Texas.

We arrived at the Texas Department of Public Safety TDPS in Plano, Texas before noon late last June. The temperature was 109 degrees.

Here are several snapshots of tweets from the Texas November 2013 primary elections.
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Reposted from jpmassar by Democrats Ramshield

Almost two years ago Hannel Appel, Bay Area native and Occupy Wall Street veteran, came back to the Bay Area, came to a General Assembly of Occupy Oakland and called on people to form Strike Debt Bay Area (SDBA) in light of Strike Debt New York City's newly announced and amazing Rolling Jubilee project.

 photo Happan-on-Tavis-Smiley_zps616bd82a.jpeg

Two years later, and in the spare time she had not fighting unjust debt with SDBA, she made ere way from a post doc position at UC Berkeley to a professorship at UCLA. With other Strike Debters, she began working on a new Strike Debt project even as she took up her professorial duties. It's called the Debt Collective. It's an effort to organize student debtors so that collective action against lenders is possible. It rolled out on the wave of the latest big Rolling Jubilee announcement which abolished $4M in student debt at pennies on the dollar.

A week ago Hannah found herself being interviewed about the project on the Tavis Smiley show, a nationally syndicated PBS production.

I can't embed the interview, but it is amazing, and you must go listen to it.

Here.

I mean it. Don't be lazy and not follow the link like most people.

Click here and listen.

Really.  The exhortations will continue until you

Follow the link!.

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Reposted from ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement by Democrats Ramshield

American democracy has reached the level of the Polish liberum veto. Super-rich individuals, like the Koch Brothers or Sheldon Adelson, can block any political action they oppose. They do it by hiring (i.e., getting elected) gangsters willing to do their work, by paying for any hatchet job or smear campaign, no matter how reprehensible. The Koch's have been doing this for decades - they were early funders of ALEC.

There are an increasing number of GOP office-holders under investigation or indicted or convicted of corruption, of intimidation, of insider dealing, and so forth. There are also several GOP office holders who have been exposed as having mistresses, sometimes pushing those mistresses to have abortions. Those are the real GOP "family values". The bottom line here is there are more and more beyond sleazy, beyond nasty GOPers because the 1% funders of the GOP have been hiring crooks, sociopaths, and messianic ideologues - the political version of one-percenters.

Some outlaw motorcycle clubs can be distinguished by a 1% patch worn on the colors. This is claimed to be a reference to a comment made by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) in which they stated that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens, implying that the last one percent were outlaws.

- Wikipedia

Intended as a slur, the 1% label has become an outlaw badge of honor.
"We're the one percenters, man - the one percent that don't fit and don't care...We've punched our way out of a hundred rumbles...We're royalty among motorcycle outlaws, baby."

- a Hell's Angel quoted in Hunter S. Thompson, Hell's Angels

Below the orange bike-chain/belt we will examine how the outlaw Hell's Angels have been reincarnated as GOP politocs like Don ("The last guy who touched me ended up on the ground dead.") Young or Michael (" I will throw you off this fucking balcony...I will break you in half.") Grimm.
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Sat Nov 29, 2014 at 04:08 AM PST

Community Quilt for Yasuragi

by Sara R

Reposted from Community Quilt Project by Democrats Ramshield

IMG_2647
Meteor Blades' quilt in the quilting hoop

Our friend, Yasuragi, has had a hell of a year, and she is in chroni pain.  Onomastic is in close touch with her and kindly provided the details of what happened to Yasu:

Four years ago she was put on the antibiotic from hell, Levaquin. Do not allow anyone to prescribe Levaquin to you or anyone you know. The drug has nasty side affects, including serious tendon damage.  Levaquin did just that to Yasu's legs, from hips to ankles, leaving her barely able to walk for two years. She was left in constant pain, unable to work, and struggling for hope. Yasu is now having annual injections to moderate the pain so she can get around but the damage has left her vulnerable to falls. She fell last winter and damaged her right hand, the hand she needs most to be able to do her wood working.

Then in March she was in a horrific car accident in Vermont. If she hadn't been driving her tank of a Volvo she would have been killed. As it was she was laid up for a couple months, again, unable to work. And now a bone in her right hand has been fractured, leaving her once more unable to work. To say she is feeling like the universe is busily engaged in swinging two by fours at her with no signs of stopping is an understatement.

The last few years have taken a deep financial and emotional toll. I can't think of anything that would do her more good than to be able to wrap herself in one of yours and Ann's beautiful quilts filled with loving messages from this wonderful community.

We agree that Yasu could use the comfort of a quilt containing loving words from her online friends.  So that is why we are here tonight!  Let us lift her up and embrace her in friendship and loving support.
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Reposted from Libby Shaw by Democrats Ramshield

Of course my Governor Rick Perry would never get directly in my face to tell me to shut up and sit down like the bullying Governor Christi did to one of his protesting constituents the other day.

But my Governor does far more evil than to yell at and verbally bully and abuse a constituent.

Worse, he signs mostly ALEC/Koch endorsed bills into law that chip away at our rights and protections as Texas citizens.  

I will not stop writing about the Chief Justice John Roberts' enabled travesty to our democracy until I know that most of us are as outraged as Texas Democrats.  For it is our Party's members who are bearing the brunt of this ginned up and faux voter fraud sham.  

The voter fraud sham is a close relative of W./Cheney's WMD in Iraq.  

Over 600,000 American citizens in Texas have been robbed of their right to vote because, essentially, Greg Abbott and the Texas Republican Party is afraid of losing elections.  And their equally frightened enablers, obviously, the five SCOTUS  conservative justices (i.e. partisan and ideological hacks who hide underneath judicial robes) are allowing the Texas Republican Party to run roughshod over the rights of hundreds of thousands of American citizens.

When fascism comes to America it will come wrapped in a law that should have never been been upheld.  Or passed in the first place.  

Voter suppression is happening all around the state.  It is happening in all of the cities.  I volunteer at the Harris Co. (Houston area) Democratic Party Headquarters.  Democratic voters have filed a stack of Incident Reports  with the Party because they either could not vote or they were given some kind of grief at the polls.  

Yesterday I spoke to a man, Mr. S.  who said someone from the D.A.'s office called him and accused him of voter fraud. Mr. S. is dumbfounded because someone, supposedly at the DA's office, told him he had voted in another state. Mr. S. is more than perplexed and confused b/c he has not voted in another state.  Mr. S. recently moved from a nearby county but since moving to Houston he registered a new address with the DMV.  He said voted in Harris Co. at the last election with no problem.  

It wouldn't surprise me if the "DA" henchman who called our voter is a GOP operative. The goal would be to scare Mr. S.  so he won't vote.  Or perhaps Mr. S. is the victim of a practice called Crosscheck.

Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America. At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison. Until now, state elections officials have refused to turn over their Crosscheck lists, some on grounds that these voters are subject to criminal investigation. Now, for the first time, three states — Georgia, Virginia and Washington — have released their lists to Al Jazeera America, providing a total of just over 2 million names.The Crosscheck list of suspected double voters has been compiled by matching names from roughly 110 million voter records from participating states. Interstate Crosscheck is the pet project of Kansas’ controversial Republican secretary of state, Kris Kobach, known for his crusade against voter fraud.
Fortunately the Harris Co. Democratic Party has an experienced professional on board whose responsibility is to research every incident such as this one.

Last night, on Facebook a member of a Texas Democratic group called BACKDOORDRAFT Democrats, a member posted a video conversation he had with an election judge.  The judge informed our member, a veteran, that he did not possess the proper documentation to vote.

The judge ruled that the veteran's VA  government ID card is not acceptable. Which is not true. But the election judge did agree to have a conversation with our member outside.  

The election judge may have been confused because Rick Perry and his Party deliberately make the legal language surrounding voting as vague and confusing as possible.  

When my Battleground Texas group registered voters at a retirement facility in S.W. Houston last month several veterans asked if their VA ID would be acceptable.  Our organizer had to check with the main office.  The VA ID card is acceptable.

But it is not always included in Rick Perry's "what you need to vote" literature.  

This veteran is not the only one who could not vote in Texas.

 Earlier this week Meteor Blades reported another case.

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Reposted from tim wise by Democrats Ramshield

The following is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Culture of Cruelty: How America's Elite Demonize the Poor, Valorize the Rich and Jeopardize the Future (San Francisco: City Lights, 2015) This section explores the way that many (especially on the right) downplay or dismiss the problem of poverty and the hardship faced by the poor and unemployed. In coming weeks I will post a few more excerpts from the book, which is in the editing process currently. Note, there may be slight changes to the final text when it is released in book form. 

Join me below the break for the text...

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Reposted from slinkerwink by Democrats Ramshield
The fallout from the elections has been severe with a complete GOP takeover of the Senate, and state legislatures across the country. Our party lost, and there were many reasons, but the most glaring one is that there was a complete LACK of messaging that spoke to people's interests. When people really don't know what the Democratic Party stands for as a whole, they're not going to be invested in the party itself, and that's a fact.

Some may dispute that fact, but the reality is that we cannot trust the Democratic Party, especially the leaders in D.C., to do the messaging right. They're not there on addressing messaging around these big ticket items that surely will be on people's minds going into 2016:

  • Student loan debt
  • Lack of wage parity
  • Maternity leave
  • Family-friendly policies
  • The environment
  • Wall Street accountability
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Sat Nov 29, 2014 at 04:07 AM PST

Drop That Plate Right Now!

by jpmassar

Reposted from jpmassar by Democrats Ramshield

Who knows what evil lurks in the plates men carry?

"One of the police officers said, 'Drop that plate right now,' as if I were carrying a weapon," said Abbott, who runs a nonprofit group called Love Thy Neighbor, Inc. "It's man's inhumanity to man is all it is."
Only the Fort Launderdale police know, as they continue their fight against shadowy villians of the Sabbath...
Fort Lauderdale police charged three men -- including two pastors and a 90-year-old man -- for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday...
FPD fought vainly against such terrors of the street a decade and a half ago...
In 1999, the city tried to stop Abbott from feeding the homeless on Fort Lauderdale Beach, prompting a lawsuit from Abbott, which he won.
But now THE LAW (taken from certain Holy Scriptures suggesting starvation as suitable punishment for being homeless, no doubt) is on their side:
...a new ordinance effectively banning public food sharings took effect Friday.
Is it truely possible to legislate away breaking bread with your fellow human?
"Im going to have to go to court again and sue the city of Fort Lauderdale..." said Abbott. "These are the poorest of the poor, they have nothing, they don't have a roof over their heads. How do you turn them away?... "
Or will the ordinance be superseded by Abbott's Law?
"Any human has the right to help his fellow man."
It's something people half the age of Mr. Abbott might want to think about.
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Reposted from ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement by Democrats Ramshield

They are the same scenario: leadership screws up; they are rewarded, while the rank and file are informed they must endure all the hardship and trust the screw-ups to fix things.

When the bankers screwed us all in 2008, the corpo-Dem remedy was to make them whole while imposing austerity on the 99%. In 2014, the abject failure of the corpo-Dem leadership created a political disaster. The proposed remedy from the corpo-Dems/Blue Dogs is for the liberals, who have been right more often than wrong, to stop criticizing, rally around HRC, and move even further to the right.

With no facts at all, liberals are being blamed for the election disaster, blamed for low turnout. With no facts at all, HRC is proclaimed as "inevitable". This is political "shock doctrine". Although it might seem like progressives vs. centrists, its really about the super-rich vs everyone else. The liberal wing, reeling from an avoidable disaster, is told to swallow HRC's corporatist melding of neoliberal economic policies and neoconservative warmongering, with a vague whiff of "the Family"s creepy fundamentalism. Two of the 1%'s favorite ideologies for the price of one - neither of them of any use to the 99%.

HRC in 2016 would be Martha Coakley squared. Trust me. I just voted for Coakley, and Hillary would be deja vu all over again. A proven loser, with high negatives and a minimal connection to the electorate, plus more baggage than a 747 - what could possibly go wrong?

But Hillary is worse than Martha. At least no one demanded that Martha be given the candidacy before the primaries even started. The Third Way (a mouthpiece for corporatism) demanding that Hillary must be anointed is like Beijing demanding that they will select all the candidates for the Hong Kong elections. It is not democracy.

But wait, what's that zombie lie I'm hearing? Repeat after me: only hippies and Nader lovers would deny Hillary "her turn". Come below the fold to see if you heard right.

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 at 04:06 AM PST

Obama's Bipartisan Achievements

by joe shikspack

Reposted from joe shikspack by Democrats Ramshield

There has been a lot of talk, now that the elections are over and the legislature has fallen into the hands of Republicans about what this will mean for President Obama's agenda and the Democratic agenda generally. This election season my inbox was full of Democratic politicians begging for money to foreclose the possibility of voters choosing the wrong party at the polls, yours probably was, too.

A persistent theme in these begging emails that I was getting was that the (evil) obstructionist Republicans have gummed up our system of government and the Democrats (the good guys) can't get anything done in order to enact Obama's agenda.

Looking at the accomplishments of Obama and the governing elites, this narrative, of course, is utter rubbish. The government is working. Obama and the Republicans have been cooperating all along. Great bipartisan advances and accomplishments are indeed being made.

So, what can we expect of this new aggregation of powers? Probably more of what it created before. Hence, let us review the accomplishments that these allegedly competing forces have created together...

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Democrats Ramshield

Originally posted at Eclectablog.

Remember when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came to Michigan to visit Governor Rick Snyder in March? And when he came back again in September? At the time, everyone assumed that it was because he was fundraising as part of his role as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

It turns out that it may have been as much as fact-finding mission as anything else. This week, Christie announced that he is considering imposing an Emergency Manager on the city of Atlantic City:

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Reposted from Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse by Democrats Ramshield

This diary is written by Aji. She can't post at Daily Kos anymore because it does not download for her, so I am cross-posting for her from her blog.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.


On Friday, a member of the community at the GOS posted a diary. It was a very quiet, unassuming post, one that clearly sought not to be the center of attention even though it needed to be: So. Um. I need some help.



It reminded me of how I felt as a child, when I needed something but was afraid to say so, sitting at my schooldesk and barely raising my hand, then putting it back down again promptly and sort of hoping against hope that no one had noticed. It's a horrible feeling. It's what happens when you live in a society that doesn't take care of its own, and when circumstances combine in the worst ways to leave you hanging off the ledge by two fingertips, no safety net to break your fall a hundred stories down.


First, the important part: At the time she wrote that Rachel had admitted that she needed a good $1,900 to get her electricity back on (and keep it on). It's the middle of November, for heaven's sake; she can't head into winter with no power. I'm sitting here right now looking at four inches of snow, all dropped since 10 PM last night; tonight it's supposed to get down near zero. It's probably a bit milder where she is at the moment, but that won't last, and she certainly can't depend on the good graces of the weather to keep her warm and safe.

But yesterday, DallasDoc wrote a diary on her behalf, and it became clear that he'd wormed more of the real situation out of her. He set a goal of $4,500, which probably lowballs it a bit, based on her subsequent comments, it looks like something approaching $6,000 is closely to what she really needs to get completely caught up, forget about having any sort of breathing room. It appears that they were able to raise something over $1,300 toward that goal yesterday, but more is obviously needed.  
[UPDATE: Dallasdoc informed me this morning that total of declared contributions is now $1380! (PDNC)]


Please Help TiaRachel




If you've never used PayPal to send money to anyone, it is really simple.

  • Go to PayPal.com. You do not have to have an account to send money.
  • Click Send Money to Family and Friends.
  • Enter TiaRachel's email address (which is tiarachelgordon@gmail.com) and amount you are sending.  The sender's name is visible to the recipient
  • If you'd rather send a check in the mail, you can Kosmail TiaRachel to get her mailing address.

Here is the plea for help posted yesterday morning by TiaRachel - So. Um. I need some help.  Please help her as much as possible.  Tip/rec Aji's diary.  Republish to your Daily Kos Groups.  Link to your Facebook pages.  Tweet to your friends.  Many thanks.



If that's all you need, you're set; you've helped someone in a very real, very tangible way. But if you need to know more about why her situation is so complex, so vexedly difficult, follow me over the jump, because I think this is where I come in.

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