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1 minute ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Considering other boobs she should be fired.

 

Allan

 


She made some pretty lamentable comments about the effect of a no deal Brexit and Irish food shortages at one point. It didn’t go down well with all that history of famines in Ireland under British rule. Apparently she retracted her comments though as being misunderstood. Good to see people learning from their mistakes eh Allan. 😀

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1 minute ago, MDM said:


She made some pretty lamentable comments about the effect of a no deal Brexit and Irish food shortages at one point. It didn’t go down well with all that history of famines in Ireland under British rule. Apparently she retracted her comments though as being misunderstood. Good to see people learning from their mistakes eh Allan. 😀

 

👍

Allan

 

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On 04/02/2021 at 13:35, MizBrown said:

 

I grew up in the US South which wasn't a democracy.  South Carolina barred atheists from running for office, didn't allow women to serve on juries, and had one of the lowest possible ages for marriage without parental consent of any of the neighboring states.   Living here in Nicaragua, I didn't see anyone as afraid of the FSLN as blacks were of whites in 1950s South Carolina until 2018 (and even then, Nicaraguans did speak out and the internet connections were never blocked through out the civil unrest).  Nicaragua is a soft authoritarian regime, but living here made me realize South Carolina for blacks was worse, and it wasn't that good for women either.  

 

What undermining the US are the same forces that were in play in the 1850s.   I first found out about Q-Anon over a year ago.  I didn't see any sign that major media was aware of it until the Presidential debates.  And some of the features of that troll are similar to the Usenet trolls who were accusing sysadmins and network security people who opposed spammers of being pedophiles, also claims that law enforcement were arresting administrators who filtered spam out of email, and doxed people.  So far, no denial of service attacks, but the rest of it is so similar. 

 

Horrifying that the same attitudes that made the South such a terrible place in the 1950's are still at play and that the overt prejudice seen in the 1950s-60s South has spread much farther afield today thanks to dog whistle politics and amplification across internet chat rooms. Now we add to this despicable racism a call to arms against all who disagree with them and a desire to burn our democracy down. And yet they consider themselves "patriots." 

 

Nowhere in the US has there ever been a true democracy in practice and systemic racism and other prejudices have always existed, in the north and the south. If you aren't a white Anglo-Saxon man, with the right family pedigree, then there are doors that have been closed to you in the past, and often still are.

 

But what I meant was that we have always striven to be a democracy, however imperfect, and until recent years could count on the checks and balances in our government to put things right. A certain party however, has decided that party loyalty is more important than democracy and honestly I find that even more frightening than the seditious mob that attacked the capitol. If we can't count on our system of government to put things right, then we are in trouble. 

 

I thought after the election I'd start to feel less badly about my country but I think the changes have come too late and the damage is too far gone. I see too many echos of the 1930's across the globe and I worry how it will all end. Democracy is not as robust as those of us in the US always believed. I lived through the Nixon years and his party put pressure on him to resign, instead of cowering in fear and joining him in his delusions. 

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32 minutes ago, Marianne said:

 

Horrifying that the same attitudes that made the South such a terrible place in the 1950's are still at play and that the overt prejudice seen in the 1950s-60s South has spread much farther afield today thanks to dog whistle politics and amplification across internet chat rooms. Now we add to this despicable racism a call to arms against all who disagree with them and a desire to burn our democracy down. And yet they consider themselves "patriots." 

 

Nowhere in the US has there ever been a true democracy in practice and systemic racism and other prejudices have always existed, in the north and the south. If you aren't a white Anglo-Saxon man, with the right family pedigree, then there are doors that have been closed to you in the past, and often still are.

 

But what I meant was that we have always striven to be a democracy, however imperfect, and until recent years could count on the checks and balances in our government to put things right. A certain party however, has decided that party loyalty is more important than democracy and honestly I find that even more frightening than the seditious mob that attacked the capitol. If we can't count on our system of government to put things right, then we are in trouble. 

 

I thought after the election I'd start to feel less badly about my country but I think the changes have come too late and the damage is too far gone. I see too many echos of the 1930's across the globe and I worry how it will all end. Democracy is not as robust as those of us in the US always believed. I lived through the Nixon years and his party put pressure on him to resign, instead of cowering in fear and joining him in his delusions. 

 

Things have changed a lot since Nixon and Watergate. It would hardly make a ripple now in comparison to the stuff that has happened. We are seeing a terrible  erosion of truth and the acceptance and propagation of completely blatant lies in the mainstream media, never mind unregulated social media. Who was it came up with the phrase alternative facts? OK I know. Literally unbelievable. 

 

I once saw Richard Nixon in the flesh. I had gone for a walk after school as a teenager into the centre of Dublin and was unaware that Nixon was in town (doing his Ireland visit like most US presidents). He was driven past in an open top car waving at the fairly thinly assembled crowds (in contrast to JFK who was incredibly popular in Ireland and who I also saw as a small kid waving my little American flag). I only saw Nixon for a few seconds but I recall he had a really powerful presence. At least he resigned in the end. Biden does offer some hope though, not just for America but for humanity and indeed life on Earth with his climate agenda - probably too little too late but let's hope.

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37 minutes ago, Marianne said:

I lived through the Nixon years and his party put pressure on him to resign, instead of cowering in fear and joining him in his delusions. 

 

I honestly think some Republicans are afraid of being murdered if they vote against Trump.  The Republican ballot to retain Liz Chaney in her position was anonymous and she kept her position. 

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35 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

 

 

Things have changed a lot since Nixon and Watergate. It would hardly make a ripple now in comparison to the stuff that has happened. We are seeing a terrible  erosion of truth and the acceptance and propagation of completely blatant lies in the mainstream media, never mind unregulated social media. Who was it came up with the phrase alternative facts? OK I know. Literally unbelievable. 

 

I once saw Richard Nixon in the flesh. I had gone for a walk after school as a teenager into the centre of Dublin and was unaware that Nixon was in town (doing his Ireland visit like most US presidents). He was driven past in an open top car waving at the fairly thinly assembled crowds (in contrast to JFK who was incredibly popular in Ireland and who I also saw as a small kid waving my little American flag). I only saw Nixon for a few seconds but I recall he had a really powerful presence. At least he resigned in the end. Biden does offer some hope though, not just for America but for humanity and indeed life on Earth with his climate agenda - probably too little too late but let's hope.

 

I saw Nixon too as a young teenager when he was passing my school in New Rochelle, NY (Ursuline nuns btw @John Mitchell). I didn't want to go but my mom said no matter how I felt, it would be memorable to see a US president. I stood there in the sparse crowd with my McGovern button, near some older girls holding anti-war & other signs in protest. She was right, it was memorable. Wish I'd brought my camera. 

 

I share your hope for Biden and the environment, but I fear that uniting our country will prove more difficult than saving the earth. Both seem incredibly daunting. 

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35 minutes ago, MizBrown said:

 

I honestly think some Republicans are afraid of being murdered if they vote against Trump.  The Republican ballot to retain Liz Chaney in her position was anonymous and she kept her position. 

 

 Congress sends people off to war, they ought to be willing to risk their own lives to save our democracy. They took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. If they don't have the guts to do their jobs, then they ought to resign. 

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2 minutes ago, Marianne said:

 

I saw Nixon too as a young teenager when he was passing my school in New Rochelle, NY (Ursuline nuns btw @John Mitchell). I didn't want to go but my mom said no matter how I felt, it would be memorable to see a US president. I stood there in the sparse crowd with my McGovern button, near some older girls holding anti-war & other signs in protest. She was right, it was memorable. Wish I'd brought my camera. 

 

I share your hope for Biden and the environment, but I fear that uniting our country will prove more difficult than saving the earth. Both seem incredibly daunting. 

 

Unite the country? I don't see how  that is possible. Democratic countries are not united by definition -- i.e. democracy is an adversarial system. It seems to me that one of the main problems in the US is the intensely polarized two-party system. Multiparty setups, like the one we have in Canada, tend to be somewhat less dangerous in that people tend not to identify so much in black and white terms -- i.e. as either outright "conservatives" or "liberals." It might be best if the Republicans split into two different parties at this point. This would give traditional -- and hopefully saner -- Republicans a place to stand. As it is, they seem to be stumbling around in the fog.

 

I'm probably being too hard on the Ursuline nuns. They did give me a pet land turtle when we left Barbados. I ended up smuggling her to England and then later to Canada.

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On 09/02/2021 at 19:18, Marianne said:

 

I saw Nixon too as a young teenager when he was passing my school in New Rochelle, NY (Ursuline nuns btw @John Mitchell). I didn't want to go but my mom said no matter how I felt, it would be memorable to see a US president. I stood there in the sparse crowd with my McGovern button, near some older girls holding anti-war & other signs in protest. She was right, it was memorable. Wish I'd brought my camera. 

 

I share your hope for Biden and the environment, but I fear that uniting our country will prove more difficult than saving the earth. Both seem incredibly daunting. 

 

I actually say Obama as well (well his car, not the man himself). I had to go to Dublin for a few days in 2011 and saw him drive past. 

 

To be honest I am rather pessimistic about climate change as one thing they have never factored into the models is human nature. It is hard to see how humanity will unite in time to stop what may well be too late already. It may be a long time yet but devastating sea level rise is on the horizon. However, human nature is such that often needs a direct slap in the face before we do anything. We will all be long gone before it gets really bad. On that cheery note, hope doesn't hurt and Biden does bring a bit of that for sure even if it is short term in the grand scheme of things. Let's enjoy it while we can. 

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I'm probably being too hard on the Ursuline nuns. They did give me a pet land turtle when we left Barbados. I ended up smuggling her to England and then later to Canada.

 

No way. I was educated by nuns (age 5-7) and then Christian Brothers for the rest of my schooling. The brothers were bad but the nuns were way worse. The lay teachers came in the middle in terms of fear factor. Scary stuff. Glad that is over. 😎

 

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25 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

No way. I was educated by nuns (age 5-7) and then Christian Brothers for the rest of my schooling. The brothers were bad but the nuns were way worse. The lay teachers came in the middle in terms of fear factor. Scary stuff. Glad that is over. 😎

 

 

When I started teaching in the 70's, one of my first jobs was in a Catholic school run by an order of nuns from Malta. Not sure how they ended up in the relatively isolated town -- where I was living at the time -- on the coast of BC. Some of the nuns were real characters. I remember one of the younger ones who used to sneak out for a smoke at recess (not sure what she was smoking). That said, I found some of the indoctrination (IMO) to be disturbing, especially since most of the kids were indigenous (First Nation). It wasn't the place for me.

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@John MitchellThe Ursuline nuns seemed tame when I started in 6th grade compared to the much stricter nuns I had encountered at a parochial school in the Bronx.  Of course, other than my class with 48 kids, they had upwards of 50 kids in each classroom (62 in my sister's class) and fear was how they kept them in line, both nuns and lay teachers, though not all of them. Of course, for kindergarten I went to a private Catholic school and with 13 kids in our class had perhaps the most terrifying nun I've ever encountered, followed by the kindest in my parochial school in first grade. My siblings had the best kindergarten teacher, a lovely woman whose personality fit her name: Mrs.Treat. 

 

Despite attending Catholic schools with their attendant indoctrination most of my life, many of my classmates still managed to believe in the religion they were taught while still being able to think for themselves. Not all Christians follow the evangelical playbook. Christianity and liberal, open-mindedness are not mutually exclusive, as I believe is exemplified by Biden and Nancy Pelosi, both observant Catholics. 

 

It's easy to see religion as the root of society's evils, and I agree that overzealous evangelicals of any religion whose emphasis is on imposing their views on others, rather than living in the secular society our founders  envisioned, where all are free to practice their religion, or not practice any at all, are a danger to our democracy. 

 

We're called the United States and our founders view was to form "a more perfect union," realizing that true democracy needed to allow for differing views, but that we should still be united by owing allegiance to the same basic democratic values.  Right now, those core values, what it means to be patriotic, no longer mean the same thing to many and yes, our two-party system may not provide the more moderate members on the right a place to feel comfortable right now. But I doubt the Republican party will split because that will be a benefit for the larger Democratic party. We don't have a Parliamentary system, Independents and members of other parties, such as the current Independents, and a Libertarian and Conservative currently in Congress must ally themselves with Democrats or Republicans since those major parties control Congress. The way both houses of Congress are structured would need to change drastically if we had 3 major parties, and the way legislative bodies in most states control access to getting on the ballot also helps keep the two major parties in place. 

 

Climate change and uniting the US both seem like daunting tasks. But they are both something to aim for. 

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Most of my teachers were not bad people- they thought they were doing the right thing as that is all they knew, although I do have fonder memories of the ones who did not use the leather strap or the cane. There were a couple of real sadists though. But nothing worse than getting slapped for the most basic things like not reciting Irish poetry word perfect or looking out the window instead of reciting the Lord’s Prayer. 

 

I bear no grudges towards any of them but I do feel sad for those who suffered vastly  more terrible emotional and physical damage than anything I experienced. There have been some truly horrific things coming out about events in Ireland that make my experiences seem like a holiday camp in comparison


However, it wasn’t the physical stuff that I found the most damaging.  The worst part for me was the psychological torture of the indoctrination and the terrifying fear it generated in me. We are all very different and some of us are a lot more sensitive than others. Reading 1984 by George Orwell when I was about 15 or so was the real catalyst for me to question absolutely everything. I was so confused I had to work it out and I did, so ultimately I got to a good place and it taught me to really think for myself. Definitely made stronger by it all and most of the scars are fully healed. 
 

So this all goes back to thinking for oneself, asking questions and ultimately freedom of speech. Democracy only works if the electorate is properly informed of the truth and people act with integrity. If the electorate is misinformed then it no longer works. Difficult question this freedom of speech thing. 
 

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Probably, a functioning multi-party system would be better, but the founding fathers hoped for something more like high school elections without parties at all, just men known to the community running for office, but that didn't last through the drafting of the Constitution.  The thing that happens is that one side started accusing the other party of being left wingers trying to sneak in socialism (by what they mean absolute state control of everything) and the other side began looking more and more like Eisenhower's nightmare of the military/industrial complex, plus some elements of theocracy (not everything that any one religion believes is sinful needs to be illegal).

 

Living in Nicaragua confirms what I suspected as a teenager -- for most people, how well the economy works is more important than most other things, and that's rarely if ever under absolute government control.  Here loosened up economically, but got a bit tighter in terms of freedom of speech and assembly.   Chaos tends to be bad for economies.  No nation state, socialist or not, wants a significant fraction of the population living in a subsistence/exchange economy though that may be the most emotionally satisfying life for most people.   Those cultures don't use money so don't have it for taxes.   The classic way to steal their land is hit them for unpaid land taxes, which happened all over.  Nicaragua had the Coffee Wars and the last skirmish was in the 1920s or 30s, which that segueing into Sandino's campaigns.  Backstrap home weaving and gathering wild cotton (I wonder if it was that wild in the day) to spin was stopped in the 1940s because the Somozas and others wanted the women working in cash agriculture and to protect the domesticated export cotton from any disease borne by the indigenous cotton.

 

Sigh.

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16 hours ago, MDM said:


One might even call it pretty pathetic. Actually a typical politician’s answer. 

With respect (which means I am going to disagree with you), as Home Secretary she could make no other response.  At THAT POINT IN TIME the tog had been arrested and charged.  Any comment by Patel would affect any potential court case and even lead to the possibility of a mistrial.  She would have had advanced knowledge of the question and the answer would have been written by a civil servant.  
 

I am not a fan of Patel, she is the cabinet member who is hardest to photograph and when she was Development Secretary she had a go at a number of togs in Downing Street, including me, asking why we had to keep taking her picture....


 

18 minutes ago, Mr Standfast said:

 

This is a puff PR piece by a company running media training.  It is “based” on a story that is a couple of years old.  All senior politicians take briefing notes in to radio interviews.  In fact cabinet ministers have media minders with them at interviews to feed them responses on occasion.  Also, and it is the same when trying to photograph them, they all know how to prevent coverage/photos they don’t want.  
 

The media/politicians relationship is symbiotic- each needs the other and a delicate balance is maintained.  
 

I am not saying don’t criticise Patel etc, there are many grounds to do so.  IMHO if one is going to criticise do so with a well reasoned argument.  
 

It appears that some good will come out of the arrest.  Allegedly, a new code for the police regarding photographers is being drawn up, although if individual forces and officers stuck to the College of Police guidelines these issues would not occur.  
 

I doubt if we will ever find out, but what is interesting to me is the process and command levels that led to the arrest.  I am guessing that it must have been the rank of Inspector or above that led to the decision on arrest  Likewise it has always been understood that memory cards cannot be sized or examined without a court order.  The NUJ has the services of a very good QC who is an expert on this area of law.  (I have been to a lecture with him) so they will be all over this.   However, I find the timing and content of the NUJ statement to press card holders, the day or days after the arrest, on the use of the card to be most odd.  It may have been coincidence or not connected.

 

Anything which improves the relationship between the police and news togs is to be applauded. 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, IanDavidson said:

At THAT POINT IN TIME the tog had been arrested and charged.  Any comment by Patel would affect any potential court case and even lead to the possibility of a mistrial.

I don't understand your timeline, the charges against Andy Aitchison were dropped on Friday February 5th, the question to Priti Patel from Damian Collins was on the Monday 8th February. I don't see why she would not have been able to address the question which was solely about his constituent Andy Aitchison. By not doing so she seemed to be condoning the police action?

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1 hour ago, IanDavidson said:

With respect (which means I am going to disagree with you), as Home Secretary she could make no other response.  At THAT POINT IN TIME the tog had been arrested and charged.  Any comment by Patel would affect any potential court case and even lead to the possibility of a mistrial.  She would have had advanced knowledge of the question and the answer would have been written by a civil servant.  
 

I am not a fan of Patel, she is the cabinet member who is hardest to photograph and when she was Development Secretary she had a go at a number of togs in Downing Street, including me, asking why we had to keep taking her picture....


 

 

 

OK Ian. "Actually a typical politician’s answer. " All I meant was that she basically said nothing much at all which appearing to say something which is what a lot of politicians do regardless of where they are coming from.  I was under the impression that the charges had already been dropped at the point she was questioned so could have been free to say a bit more. I am not going to argue about it or extend it any further. Let's move on. 

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"Vicious but dim" has form for not being that keen on the freedom of the press, but when the object of the protest was her very own asylum detention centre, one expects no better,  alas, than quick parrot on how great our, or is it her, police are.

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3 hours ago, Harry Harrison said:

I don't understand your timeline, the charges against Andy Aitchison were dropped on Friday February 5th, the question to Priti Patel from Damian Collins was on the Monday 8th February. I don't see why she would not have been able to address the question which was solely about his constituent Andy Aitchison. By not doing so she seemed to be condoning the police action?

I am sorry if I got the timeline wrong - my bad.  

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1 hour ago, IanDavidson said:

I am sorry if I got the timeline wrong - my bad.  

Thank you, your other comments regarding the question from Damian Collins MP rather depended upon your understanding of that timeline so I thought it might be important to clarify.

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20 hours ago, Marianne said:

@John MitchellThe Ursuline nuns seemed tame when I started in 6th grade compared to the much stricter nuns I had encountered at a parochial school in the Bronx.  Of course, other than my class with 48 kids, they had upwards of 50 kids in each classroom (62 in my sister's class) and fear was how they kept them in line, both nuns and lay teachers, though not all of them. Of course, for kindergarten I went to a private Catholic school and with 13 kids in our class had perhaps the most terrifying nun I've ever encountered, followed by the kindest in my parochial school in first grade. My siblings had the best kindergarten teacher, a lovely woman whose personality fit her name: Mrs.Treat. 

 

Despite attending Catholic schools with their attendant indoctrination most of my life, many of my classmates still managed to believe in the religion they were taught while still being able to think for themselves. Not all Christians follow the evangelical playbook. Christianity and liberal, open-mindedness are not mutually exclusive, as I believe is exemplified by Biden and Nancy Pelosi, both observant Catholics. 

 

It's easy to see religion as the root of society's evils, and I agree that overzealous evangelicals of any religion whose emphasis is on imposing their views on others, rather than living in the secular society our founders  envisioned, where all are free to practice their religion, or not practice any at all, are a danger to our democracy. 

 

We're called the United States and our founders view was to form "a more perfect union," realizing that true democracy needed to allow for differing views, but that we should still be united by owing allegiance to the same basic democratic values.  Right now, those core values, what it means to be patriotic, no longer mean the same thing to many and yes, our two-party system may not provide the more moderate members on the right a place to feel comfortable right now. But I doubt the Republican party will split because that will be a benefit for the larger Democratic party. We don't have a Parliamentary system, Independents and members of other parties, such as the current Independents, and a Libertarian and Conservative currently in Congress must ally themselves with Democrats or Republicans since those major parties control Congress. The way both houses of Congress are structured would need to change drastically if we had 3 major parties, and the way legislative bodies in most states control access to getting on the ballot also helps keep the two major parties in place. 

 

Climate change and uniting the US both seem like daunting tasks. But they are both something to aim for. 

 

The US constitution is a remarkable document. However, that "more perfect union" sure seems a long way off at the moment. I wish the current administration the best of luck. They're going to need it.

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18 hours ago, MDM said:

Most of my teachers were not bad people- they thought they were doing the right thing as that is all they knew, although I do have fonder memories of the ones who did not use the leather strap or the cane. There were a couple of real sadists though. But nothing worse than getting slapped for the most basic things like not reciting Irish poetry word perfect or looking out the window instead of reciting the Lord’s Prayer. 

 

I bear no grudges towards any of them but I do feel sad for those who suffered vastly  more terrible emotional and physical damage than anything I experienced. There have been some truly horrific things coming out about events in Ireland that make my experiences seem like a holiday camp in comparison


However, it wasn’t the physical stuff that I found the most damaging.  The worst part for me was the psychological torture of the indoctrination and the terrifying fear it generated in me. We are all very different and some of us are a lot more sensitive than others. Reading 1984 by George Orwell when I was about 15 or so was the real catalyst for me to question absolutely everything. I was so confused I had to work it out and I did, so ultimately I got to a good place and it taught me to really think for myself. Definitely made stronger by it all and most of the scars are fully healed. 
 

So this all goes back to thinking for oneself, asking questions and ultimately freedom of speech. Democracy only works if the electorate is properly informed of the truth and people act with integrity. If the electorate is misinformed then it no longer works. Difficult question this freedom of speech thing. 
 

 

There are too many stories like yours out there. I also have some alarming ones to tell -- a sadistic elementary teacher in a small rural school that I attended, a popular science teacher in my high school who turned out to be pedophile, to name a couple. It's amazing how we survive our school years.

Edited by John Mitchell
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