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Sunday opinion.

Michael Shear:

President Obama  is preparing to wage the final weeks of the midterm campaign with a theme he has been hammering for months — a plea that voters not embrace the Republican policies of the past. But the specifics of his closing argument remain in flux as the White House searches for a way to frame the message that connects with voters.

That's because you didn't blame Republicans for blocking efforts to fix things. Every obstructionist vote should have been connected to "you know who to blame if things aren't better."


[Condoleezza] Rice rolled her eyes at the notion that Obama is a closet Muslim, and she defended him from criticism - led by former vice president Richard B. Cheney  - that Obama had weakened the country. "Nothing in this president's methods suggests this president is other than a defender of America's interests," Rice told an audience that included presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Matt Taibbi:

You see, when a nice white lawyer with a GI Joe beard uses state aid to help him through tough times and get over the hump – so that he can go from having three little future Medicare-collecting Republican children to eight little future Medicare-collecting Republican children – that’s a good solid use of government aid, because what we’re doing is helping someone "transition" from dependency to economic independence.

This of course is different from the way other, less GI-Joe-looking people use government aid, i.e. as a permanent crutch that helps genetically lazy and ambitionless parasites mooch off of rich white taxpayers instead of getting real jobs.

I can’t even tell you how many people I interviewed at Tea Party events who came up with one version or another of the Joe Miller defense. Yes, I’m on Medicare, but... I needed it! It’s those other people who don’t need it who are the problem!

Frank Rich:

A week ago New Yorkers were presented with a vivid reminder of how a bat can be used as a weapon. A pack of young thugs was charged with torturing three men in the Bronx for being gay, one of whom, The Times reported, was sodomized with "a small baseball bat."

It’s probably safe to assume that no one in this lynching party has heard of [R-Gov candidate Carl] Paladino. Presumably he has heard of them, but a man of Tea Party principles will not compromise, no matter what may be happening in the real world. Don’t tread on Carl! And so last Sunday, as the city was reeling from both the Bronx bloodbath and the earlier leap of a bullied gay Rutgers freshman off the George Washington Bridge, Paladino visited a fringe Orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn to stand his ground. He attacked gays for supposedly plotting to brainwash children into accepting the validity of homosexuality.

Kathleen Parker: Why isn't Ozzie and Harriet running? Anyone else offends KP's sense of what a real American is. And here's the Village sense of false equivalence: Coons and O'Donnell in her mind are running neck and neck in DE and for the same reasons, never mind that O'Donnell brought up both images that offend Parker (witch and bearded Marxist), and Delaware prefers Coons 2:1.

Peter Berkowitz:

Highly educated people say the darndest things, these days particularly about the tea party movement. Vast numbers of other highly educated people read and hear these dubious pronouncements, smile knowingly, and nod their heads in agreement. University educations and advanced degrees notwithstanding, they lack a basic understanding of the contours of American constitutional government.

Yeah, it's those pointy headed intellectuals who insist on following the money trail from American Crossroads and Tea Party Express.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:16 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Giants beat Halliday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, annieli

    Texas beats Yanks (and win a home game, finally!).

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:16:40 AM PDT

  •  the new libertarianism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes, I’m on Medicare having sex and using my AquaBuddhaBong™, but... I needed it! It’s those other people who don’t need it who are the problem!

    "calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni),Warning-Some Snark Above

    by annieli on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:28:20 AM PDT

  •  Obama's weekly address to grow domestic business (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aaraujo, sherlyle

    In case you missed it:

    We can do more than wait for the do-nothing Senate to pass anything that reverses the millions of lost jobs.


    Easy..  Next time you need a shirt, bed clothes, tools, housewares, a belt, ect - find a domestic source and support them.  If you can, buy union.

    I've created a list to help you get started today:

    These first sites are live, active stores -- whatever you see you can order online.

    Union made products: 415-861-3373 877-992-7827  484-431-3244 503-922-1797 888-937-8009 (9am-4pm EST) (888) 661-0620 (eastern time) 484-431-3244 800-259-4580 (imprinting products)  (imprinting/promo products)

    Other sources to locate goods manufactured in America: "Union Proud"

    News sources for domestically manufactured goods:

  •  Parker (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle, CoExistNow

    K.Parker is rapidly becoming the spokesperson for the Neo-Confederate wing of the Tea Party.

    •  But what of witchcraft professors at Hogwarts? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I can't speak for an entire generation, but I had plenty of Marxist professors and was deeply moved by the economic disparities in the world, which is why I was a Democrat back in the day. But I grew up to be a happy capitalist. And never mind that we're meanwhile supposed to have equal patience with O'Donnell's youthful declaration that she had dabbled in witchcraft. It seems to me that the young Marxist and the young witch cancel each other out. But what about now? Can we hold each responsible for who and what they are and say today?

      "calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni),Warning-Some Snark Above

      by annieli on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:37:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Taibbi says they are full of shit (6+ / 0-)

    Are they stupid or hypocrites or both?

    They genuinely don’t see the contradiction, much in the same way that some Wall Street people genuinely can’t see the problem with their company, say, taking $13 billion in bonuses in the same year that they accepted $13 billion in state bailouts. You wave a pitchfork at them with little post-its of the relevant figures taped to the ends, and ask them to confess – and they can’t, because they literally don’t see your point.

    Update Posted: October 12, 2010  By Matt Taibbi
    More Tea Party Hilarity

    CLEAR Act would sell carbon shares to fuel producers and would return 75 percent of the resulting revenue in $1,100 checks to every American.

    by mrobinson on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:36:32 AM PDT

    •  Prof Taibbi offends Peter Berkowitz n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:39:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Boy, you're not kidding (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sherlyle, Egalitare

        Berkowitz is in high dudgeon that progressives aren't giving the Tea Party the recognition it deserves, dammit!
        "we're the biggest grassroots movement since evah!"

        Activists and the sizeable swath of voters who sympathize with them want to reduce the massively ballooning national debt, cut runaway federal spending, keep taxes in check, reinvigorate the economy, and block the expansion of the state into citizens' lives.

        Easy to spout off platitudes to the ignorant masses, not so easy to get Republicans to actually do those things when in the majority in Congress.

        How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

        by skohayes on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:06:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  White House searches (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LongTom, CoExistNow

    the White House searches for a way to frame the message that connects with voters.

    Yeah, I'm sure on Nov. 1 they'll have crafted a message that doesn't offend Max Baucus and will elicit yawns from everyone.

    This, my friends, is why we're going to lose the house.

    See the losers in the best bars, meet the winners in the dives -Neil Young

    by danoland on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 05:46:51 AM PDT

  •  Taibbi is right (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sherlyle, mango, CoExistNow, shaktidurga

    Tea Partiers think they are special and their circumstances are special - and everyone else are scary other people and therefore can't possibly deserve anything.  My mother talks like a tea-partier.  Its no use reasoning with - she is too far gone.  Radicalized and programmed by Fox News.  Before he died, that is all my father listened to, so he too spouted crazy Republican talking points.  I had to stick to discussing the weather or the kids with them, but sometimes even the most innocuous statement would set them off into conspiracy land.

    I think senior citizens just don't get out enough and are very insular - therefore prone to being fearful and believing the worst.  Beck and Limbaugh know exactly how to push their buttons.

  •  Berkowitz and Alex Hamilton (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Alexander Hamilton was for a li tied federal government?  This is the same Alexander Hamilton who sai "where the federal government goes it must go like Herculese" while organizing the massive military effort to put down the Whiskey Rebellion (the "intellectual" forefathers of today's TEA party).  Let's also not forget Hamilton's role in founding the first Bank of the United States and that whole well managed federal debt thing.

    •  Hamilton was for a limited government (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Red Bean, One Opinion, Egalitare

      but he drew those limits broadly enough that Berkowitz would surely call him a Marxist socialist if he were alive today.

      Princeton historian Sean Wilentz, in the New Yorker and on Terry Gross makes a strong case for the Tea Party as a reinvigorated and much more powerful version of the John Birch Society.  The Birchers, of course, were one of the phenomena (along with Joe McCarthy's jihad) that inspired Hofstadter to write "The Paranoid Style."

      Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
      ¡Boycott Arizona!

      by litho on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:17:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WH "searching for a message? How about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "we're morons and lose elections to sociopaths, perverts, reflexive liars, cheats, and thieves because we're just too fucking stupid and timid to tell people the truth."

  •  aaah, the smell of sarcasm ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with my first sunday morning cup of coffee!
    love it/thank you so much!

    "Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." Jeff Valdez

    by TULIPS4DOLPHINS on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:00:04 AM PDT


    Christ's sake! Had this idiot Obama been telling people this when the Republicans STARTED trying to block the recovery--March 2009--Democrats would be gaining seats in both Houses, not handing power back to Republicans. Obama's presidency ends Nov. 3. He might as well resign. Biden would be infinitely better at this.

    •  LOL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm sure you're praying that the Republicans will win the election so that you can come back and yell "I told you so!".
      You remind me of Republicans who openly wished for a terrorist attack after Obama was elected so that their claims that Obama was making the country "less safe" would be justified.
      "We must destroy the village to save it" mentality.
      That worked out so well in 2000.

      How come the dove gets to be the peace symbol? How about the pillow? It has more feathers than the dove and doesn't have that dangerous beak. Jack Handey

      by skohayes on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:09:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Then, I think you will be sadly disappointed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Dems aren't going to do as badly as you are projecting.  I truly, truly think Americans are smarter than this and will act accordingly.

      •  I'll be disappointed if Dems don't gain seats, (0+ / 0-)

        which is what should be happening. Americans aren't smart now, and they never have been. Do you think they were smarter when they elected Roosevelt or Clinton? Dumber when they elected Reagan or Bush? Hell, no. The intelligence of the electorate is always at the same level--zero. It's takes some cunning and guts to win elections. Obama has shown neither quality.

        •  It's a midterm. The party in power usually loses (0+ / 0-)

          seats in midterm elections.  

          •  Not after "the worst economic (0+ / 0-)

            crisis since the Great Depression" was caused by the other Party. Not after the other party started a highly unpopular, unnecessary war under demonstrably false pretences.

            This "midterm losses are normal" meme makes sense in normal times. The Dems under FDR GAINED 9 SENATE SEATS IN 1934. Their Senate majority was 71-25 after that election. They gained in the House, too, for a majority of 332 to 103. Think about that.

            That's the model for this election that Obama should have been using for the midterm after "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." [Obama] This election was a slam dunk for Dems back in early 2009. You know, if Obama had just paraphrased FDR's first year speeches, Dems would be gaining seats right now. He's a fool.

            •  Dem pols have historically over-estimated the (0+ / 0-)

              intelligence of the electorate and it's usually cost 'em with the stupid non-political Indys who decide elections.  

              I don't think it's as simple for Obama as you seem to imply.  He's blamed W and the Repubs for the economic meltdown and polls show most Americans agree with him. Blaming the minority party for its obstructionism is warranted, but it might not play politically when Repubs can argue that Obama is always pointing fingers instead of leading. "He's always blaming other people" is a meme stupid Indys would readily understand.

              And given the current state of racism in the country, Obama probably can't afford to be perceived as "an angry black man."

              •  Typical Dem-think: Don't tell people the truth (0+ / 0-)

                out of fear of what Republicans will say. Unbelievable!

                obama failed to LEAD after he had a mnadate and huge popularity. now it's way too late. FDR wasn't afraid to blame the banks and corporations and the Republicans. Jesus, when the hell are you ever going to convince other people if not when you're really popular, like Obama was in Spring 2009? He olive-branched Republicans instead of beating them up for their obstructionism. He could have effectively blamed them because THEY WERE AT FAULT. He could have effectively branded them as obstructionists BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE!

                •  You misunderstand (0+ / 0-)

                  It isn't "fear of what Republicans will say." It's an acknowledgment of the political realities and what will play politically. After blaming Repubs for the state of the economy, Obama probably didn't want to be perceived as blaming them for everything else wrong in Washington too. It's a position that's too easily demagogued.

                  Having extended the olive branch, fulfilling one of his campaign promises, he can now demonstrate that the other side wasn't willing to deal. If he'd hollered OBSTRUCTIONISM! from the get-go every time he didn't get his way, the traditional media would've savaged him for being such a rube that he didn't understand the political realities.

                  •  And how's that working for him? (0+ / 0-)

                    Here's a political reality--HE'S LOSING.

                    "he can now demonstrate that the other side wasn't willing to deal."

                    "Now" is way, way, way too late. Your thesis is that Obama cleverly tried to gain the cooperation of a completely discredited and deeply mistrusted political party, a party that the large majority of Americans were perfectly ready to abandon, IF OBAMA GAVE THEM A PLAUSIBLE REASON FOR DOING SO. Instead, he elevated their stature and importance, for no reason at all, in the eyes of...well, everybody, rather than castigating them for what they were doing...blindly obstructing the recovery.

                    Anyway, the results of his political brilliance are obvious for all to see. Gosh, it's a good thing the media aren't "savaging him for being such a rube." Instead, they and the Republicans are laughing at him for being such a fathead loser. That's MUCH better.

    •  It did take him a long time to catch on. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      One Opinion, Egalitare

      But I don't think it's because he's an idiot.

      The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:19:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  POTUS is guilty of having too much... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...respect for the theoretical legislative process, of having too much patience for "cooler heads to (eventually) prevail."

        Personally, I think that he underestimated the gravitational power of the Tea Activists, and how they and their paymasters had the ability to prevent those GOP Senators that some of us (and I plead guilty to this) assumed were at least marginal adults - Lugar, Graham, Snowe, Collins, Voinovich specifically - from any serious collaboration that came with at minimum enabling Cloture votes.

        "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

        by Egalitare on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:46:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ok, read Matt Taibbi again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and tell me again race isn't a factor in the Tea Party's rejection of Barack Obama.

    The problem of the twentieth century is the color line.  And the twentieth century still isn't quite over...

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:08:09 AM PDT

    •  heh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      litho, dotster

      go with 'tea and crackers', the all-time greatest title.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:13:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Matt is very wise. (0+ / 0-)

      To keep the focus on Medicare rather than Medicaid when it comes to what these nutty tea baggers are yelping about. Of course Medicare is age based and presumed to be based on "paying into" the system that is available to you once you reach senior citizen status. Whereas Medicaid is not age based and is certainly not "paying into" based, but rather a tremendous people powered program that allows people to achive their dreams while they seek green jobs that Rethugs try to prevent or the ultimate goal of a good paying federal minimum wage job which Rethugs are trying to repeal (the minimum wage). Our robust public health care reform should have pushed for Medicaid for all so that everyone regardless of age, could not be forced into jobs they do not want, and could instead seek to realize their dreams, be it in a green job or community organizing.
      But, I love Matt's tough style of writing. he doesn't hesitate to use fuck in his articles and he also covers professional male sports which gives him that shine of being a real man's-man, instead of the stereotypical "squishy" progressive.

  •  Teabaggers are hypocrites. (0+ / 0-)

    Big surprise.

    The last time we broke a president, we ended up with Reagan.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:17:45 AM PDT

  •  Don't understand this statement (0+ / 0-)

    That's because you didn't blame Republicans for blocking efforts to fix things. Every obstructionist vote should have been connected to "you know who to blame if things aren't better."

    ? Every one of Obama's speeches calls the Republicans out for doing just that. Drove us in the ditch, stood on the side, etc. etc.

    •  too littl,e too late (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      wasn't a concerted theme at the time from every D in Congress.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 06:28:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agree. We have a weak Dem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        messaging game from both the Senate and House.  Reid is awful at putting words together in a coherent sentence.  Good lord, he voted incorrectly twice during the health care thing (quickly corrected his vote) and Pelosi is better than Reid but not great - where she's great is the behind the scenes hard work at getting the votes together.  

        My sister and I were talking yesterday about how we don't really have any elected officials in either house who are good at the PR game.  Someone who presents well. It's pretty much Obama and Bill Clinton for us this election season. And Biden is doing great.

      •  Wait a minute. In your post you put it on Obama (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        now you add that its because every D in Congress didn't do it. Which is it? like FORUS50 said, Obama did put the blame where it belonged for a very long time. but it was heavily countered by the idiot MSM who when reporting on congress, used the words "Democrats Failed to...." or "Congress". Rarely if ever did they "Republicans blocked" - this you should know. What was even more stupid and infuriating is that liberals were shouting that the 60 vote requirement was a myth and that Obama has a mandate and that he has the most super majority evah! so NO EXCUSES!!  - yeah, that was all complete bullshit. So if Obama's own "supporters" don't recognize and accept that the GOP are obstructionists why should anyone else?

        No, not every D in Congress went around yelling obstructionist, but Obama did, and so did Dem leadership in Congress. Nobody was listening.

        •  it's both (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Obama is the head of the party, and his theme was bipartisanship. Ephemeral. A chimera. That's his fault.

          The Congressional leadership was not helpful and did not set that foundation last year that could have been used this year.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:36:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As Usual (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Matt Taibbi is spot on.    

    This Berkowitz character also knows that Taibbi is right, but prefers to spout the most intellectually dishonest statement of the week:

    Our universities have produced two generations of highly educated people who seem unable to recognize the spirited defense of fundamental American principles, even when it takes place for more than a year and a half right in front of their noses.

    What utter fucking nonsense.

  •  There goes Condi's wingnut welfare.... (0+ / 0-)

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 07:11:25 AM PDT

  •  White Hous Searches For Message? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What part of "its a choice" and we need to "move forward" do people not get?

    The WH has been doing their thing for months, so I don't why this guy is talking about the WH searches. And I don't get why anyone here thinks they are searching for a message. Watch the dang rallies and you will hear what the message is. Sorry, its not one word like SOCIALISM!!!

  •  Nimbyism (0+ / 0-)

    Its the same sentiment that drives the debate on public transportation that drives the conservative meme on government assistance of any kind. When living in the mountains of Colorado in the Aspen corridor I witnessed a fierce debate over light-rail vs cars and employee housing vs real estate inflation. Aspen being the economic driving force in the region needed workers but was unwilling to provide the DFHs with affordible housing. This forced workers to live further and further away from the source of their income. This lead to gridlock on Hwy 82, the only road into Aspen. If you owned a Lear jet or never left Aspen this was no problem, but every once in a while one of the elite, or effluent as I liked to call them,  would be inconvenienced by the congestion or even killed by the unsafe conditions. Apsenites had a problem, They didn't want to open their exclusive community to the unwashed but they wanted their business. This created a faux controversy about public transportation and how it would be implemented. To Mick Ireland's(city councilman for many years) and others efforts employee housing and a bus sytem became a reality, but it was to little too late. Hwy 82 if you don't know was euphamistcally called blood alley by the people who drove it for good reason. A narrow two lane highway that wouond its way for 40 miles from Glenwood Springs to Aspen was a challenge for most even in the best of weather. When winter brought blizzards and white out conditions it weeded out the unskilled drivers quickly. Another aspect of driving in the mountains in winter that killed many people was the shade effect. The many curves and trees that lined 82 created cold spots that were deathtraps to the unwary. A person could be driving for many miles on perfectly dry or only wet conditions only to have them turn into treacherous black ice when the sun went down or when melt water entered the shade. Driving to Aspen to work in the winter was like a 40 mile drive to the executioner for many, and they did it every day for 8 months out of the year. The outcry went up to have 82 widened into a 4 lane hwy with a median to stop the slaughter. The ivory tower people in Aspen blanched at the prospect of the hordes that would invade on 4 lanes instead of two. They had to think of a way to stop this from happening. So they began a political war of attrition by refusing to allow the 82 widening by insisting on a light rail system to reduce the pressure on 82. This tactic stalled the safety mprovements on 82 for 20 years. Oh it finally got done but not until the traffic was far beyond the capacity for hwy 82. So hundreds of thousands of terrified people had to drive this road for 20 years essentially so that a few wealthy people could preserve their fantasies about Aspen's ambiance. Light rail never happened. It was a sham that never would have worked anyway for anyone. For working people it would have taken longer than even the bus to get to Aspen. For the elite it would be crowded with icky lower classes that they might have to sit next to. It turns out that the omly reason that everyone wanted public transportation was so the traffic was lessened on 82 so that they could drive their own cars.  

  •  Democrats can't very well blame Republicans for (0+ / 0-)

    obstruction when they placed the tools for obstruction directly into the Republicans hands. They had a chance to get rid of the filibuster but they didn't, so they are responsible for everything that happened as a result.

    When politicians talk about 'political realities' they are giving themselves permission to fail.

    by cjenk415 on Sun Oct 17, 2010 at 11:45:17 AM PDT

  •  Republicans are sending our jobs overseas! (0+ / 0-)

    That should our #1 message to the stupid non-political Indy's who'll decide this election.  It's short enough not to overtax their limited attention spans and simple enough to be easily understood.

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