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Amy Goodman: This Independence Day, Thank a Protester - Truthdig

Amy Goodman: This Independence Day, Thank a Protester - Truthdig | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
More than 160 years ago, the greatest abolitionist in U.S. history, the escaped slave Frederick Douglass, addressed the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society.
- 2013/07/03
Greg Russak's insight:

"In closing his Rochester, N.Y., speech, Douglass sounded an optimistic note, saying, “Notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country.” Grass-roots justice movements are the hope, the beacon, the force that will save this country." - Amy Goodman

I agree with Frederick Douglass and with Amy Goodman. I don't despair of our country, and I believe that grass-roots justice movements will, as they have been before, continue to be the force that brings about changes for the better.

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Senators to be asked to defend tax breaks

Senators to be asked to defend tax breaks | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

(CBS Marketwatch)

 

The Senate Finance Committee’s top Democrat and top Republican will write to their 98 colleagues on Thursday and ask them to detail which tax breaks should be retained as part of an overhaul of the tax code, reports say.

 

The idea for the Finance Committee is to consider revisions to the tax code by first eliminating all tax breaks and ask lawmakers to justify restoring them, congressional aides told Bloomberg.

 

Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, chairs the committee. Orrin Hatch of Utah is its ranking Republican.

 

“For investors, this will be worth watching,” Potomac Research Group’s Greg Valliere wrote in a note on Thursday morning. “Dozens of sacred tax breaks – accelerated depreciation, the mortgage tax deduction, charitable contributions, etc. – will be on the table.”

 

He still gives chances of enactment very low odds this year or next because Democrats and Republicans differ over whether tax reform should be revenue neutral or raise revenue. But he sees better chances for far fewer deductions and a flatter tax code by the end of this decade.

Baucus has been working with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, on a tax-code overhaul. Camp has pledged to pass an overhaul bill through his committee by the end of this year.

Greg Russak's insight:

How sobering is this?
The last major tax reform was done 27 years ago in 1986. There have been 15,000 - yes, fifteen thousand - changes to the tax code since then. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/us/politics/finance-committee-asks-senators-to-start-tax-reform-process.html?_r=0)

Additional reading about 'residential' versus 'territorial' tax systems and something called a "Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich" (that you won't find on the local coffee shop lunch menu!) is at... http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=3291


Bon appetit!

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In 2016, Remember This Week at the Supreme Court | blog.pfaw.org

It's been a week of mixed emotions for those of us who care about civil rights.
Greg Russak's insight:

"Elections have real consequences. These Supreme Court decisions had less to do with evolving legal theory than with who appointed the justices. Whether historically good or disastrous, all these decisions were decided by just one vote. In 2016, let's not forget what happened this week."

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20 quotes on immigration reform - Photo Gallery

20 quotes on immigration reform - Photo Gallery | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

"Must have sweeping, generous immigration reform,make existing law- abiding Hispanics welcome. Most are hard working family people." --Rupert Murdoch


Via Michael Charney
Greg Russak's insight:

To those who think the best approach to dealing with people begins with so-called border security, I respectfully offer 2 words: Berlin Wall

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The Last Word

The Last Word | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Greg Russak's insight:

"I don't care whether it's an organization on the right or the left, they shouldn't disguise political action behind the guise of social welfare. It's not healthy, it's not right, it's not legal. We should stop it." - Rep Earl Blumenaur, D-OR, Ways & Means Committee

 

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Jack Hansen's curator insight, June 10, 2013 7:49 AM

Here's a Democrat who agrees that the issue of power taking care of power, regardless of party, feels emboldened to get what it wants despite the will of the people or the law of the land.

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Montana Republicans Launch Campaign to Ban Dark Money

Montana Republicans Launch Campaign to Ban Dark Money | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Big Sky GOPers join New York and California in pushing to pass new political money reforms.

Via Party Recon
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Party Recon's curator insight, June 7, 2013 10:17 AM

GOP joins the fight to end the influence of Dark Money.  

Party Recon's comment, June 7, 2013 10:20 AM
Dark Money, the anonymous donation of funds to campaigns is one of the most heinous affronts to democracy. The GOP in Montana says it's got to go -- just as Party Recon does!
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Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts - New York Times

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the National Security Agency has spied on hundreds of people inside the U.S.
Greg Russak's insight:

Quick reminder. 

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The Glenn Beck Review: The many reasons why the media should ignore Glenn Beck, freak of self-delusion

The Glenn Beck Review: The many reasons why the media should ignore Glenn Beck, freak of self-delusion | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

Glenn Beck has many character flaws and disturbing characteristics. One that has not been covered at length here is his tendency to come up with conspiracy theories that suit his paranoid style. Previously, Mr. Beck's Crime Inc conspiracy and his Boston bombing conspiracy have been debunked in this Review. Recently, Beck has questioned why the entire media (in a conspiracy) ignores him and ironically argues that it is because they think that he is a conspiracy theorist. (Apparently whiner Glenn Beck is out of touch with conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck. More on Beck's lack of self-awareness in video below.) That could be one reason, but more likely, it is because of Beck's sleazy and deceitful propaganda against progressives and especially against President Obama. ...

 

Read more here: http://www.sharethisurlaboutglennbeck.com/2013/06/the-many-reasons-why-media-should.html

 


Via Michael Charney
Greg Russak's insight:

"...most people on the left and the right want their beliefs reinforced by the media they consume and most everyone else is too busy to spend that much time getting the truth about a current event, scandal or policy proposal." - The Glenn Beck Review

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You Get What You Pay For: Lessons From the IRS Scandal

You Get What You Pay For: Lessons From the IRS Scandal | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
As the Internal Revenue Service scandal has prompted angry reactions from Republicans, Democrats, Congress and the Obama administration, Henry Aaron looks ahead to propose specific reforms regarding the budget of the IRS and the laws governing the...
Greg Russak's insight:

"Even with adequate staffing, however, the law governing tax exempt status for so-called ‘social welfare’ organizations is so vague that anything other than rubber stamping all applications would likely evoke complaints of politicization." - Henry J. Aaron, Senior Fellow, Brookings Instiution

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A look at the tangle of money in politics: the IRS and its tea party tempest - Washington Post

A look at the tangle of money in politics: the IRS and its tea party tempest - Washington Post | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The Internal Revenue Service is feeling the sort of heat that targeted taxpayers feel from the tax agency. It’s the sense that a powerful someone is breathing down your neck.

 

Republicans in Congress are livid with the IRS over its systematic scrutiny of conservative groups during the 2010 and 2012 elections. Democrats agree that something must be done. Likewise, President Barack Obama isn’t at all happy with the tax collectors.


Via Michael Charney
Greg Russak's insight:

"It’s all complex, squishy and in some ways subjective, so it might not come as a shock that the IRS would look for shortcuts such as political buzzwords and slogans when deciding what a group is really up to. But the record as yet known does not show that the scrutiny cut both ways."


This is the part that I think is the biggest red herring. I don't claim to be an expert, but this concept of a need for equivalent scrutiny strikes me as ridiculous. There was no tidal wave of liberal organizations flooding the IRS under the pretense of "social welfare" but with a mission to defeat their political enemies. It does, however, seem to me that there was, and still is, such a movement coming from the right and their surrogate astroturf tea party groups. They deserve extra scrutiny, and using keywords and phrases and lengthy investigations seems to me to be the IRS simply doing their job.


I wonder, but not all that much, about what the right would be saying if it had been discovered that the IRS was giving extra scrutiny to groups with the words "green" or "clean energy" or "human rights" or "single payer healthcare" in their names.

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Party Recon's comment, May 30, 2013 2:13 PM
Greg, this is where credibility on the left is lost. Why are you making excuses for and ole'ing reality? The President of the United States, who happens to have a -D after his name called it outrageous! He said, ""Because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity, and people have to have confidence that they're ... applying the laws in a non-partisan way." And the IRS fully admitted culpability and apologized for “Targeting groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names”

So those of us that aren't willing to turn a blind eye (and I AM NOT A REPUBLICAN, they stink too, in their own ways) can't help but wonder what folks like you would have said if the IRS under Bush was caught targeting groups with the word "progressive" in their application. Would you make the same shoulder shrug, saying "eh, who really cares" and "C’mon. This is no big deal". Would you have called it a red herring? No way Jose. You folks lit up the Bush administration like a Christmas tree every chance you had – and Lord knows they gave you plenty of reason. But to sit here and act as an apologist for this President who admitted wrong-doing, well, there goes any hint of fairness or intellectual honesty. And once that’s gone, meaningful conversation aimed at finding common ground is simply impossible. I hate to say it Greg; but this partisan-based “pardon” you’ve granted our Commander in Chief is straight out of the Fox News playbook. Fair and balanced my eyeball.
Greg Russak's comment, May 31, 2013 6:27 PM
Lost all credibility, huh? Lit up Bush while acting like an Obama apologist, am I? Gone is any hint of fairness and intellectual honesty, eh? And, what's wrong with your eyeball?

Well, thanks for dropping by to insult me, Party Recon, while apparently choosing to remain safe and secure in your anonymity.

You don't seem to have read my comments at all. You attribute quotes to me I never made. Your behavior is borderline troll.

Tell you what. When you're ready to muster the courage to come out from behind your nom de plume to engage me directly without insulting me then maybe we can have a civil discussion. Until then, I'd just as soon you keep your insults to yourself. Have a nice day.
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Reformish Conservatives

Reformish Conservatives | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Meet the handful of conservative writers who are suggesting, respectfully, that the GOP change its policies.
Greg Russak's insight:

"Frankly, the Republican reformists face an extremely steep climb. In the ’80s, the Democratic reform project was helped enormously by the fact that their ideas were eagerly embraced by Democratic politicians of the day from red states and swing districts who were looking for fresh ideas that would appeal to the moderate voters they needed to win. Today’s Republicans, by contrast, are mainly concerned with avoiding a primary challenge from the right in 2014 and often seem barely interested in ideas at all, fresh or otherwise. Compared to ages past, “there is a lot less entrepreneurship in the House GOP,” says Ponnuru. Too many congressional Republicans “just wait for instructions.” But if in 2016 a Republican presidential contender can break free from the death grip of conservative Know-Nothingism and still succeed electorally, the reformers whose profiles follow may well become very influential indeed." - Ryan Cooper, Washington Monthly

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Obama Keeps Distance From Torture Debate, At Least For Now : NPR

Obama Keeps Distance From Torture Debate, At Least For Now : NPR | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
President Obama banned enhanced interrogation techniques, but he's largely avoided discussing whether the tactic ever produced valuable information.
Greg Russak's insight:

Nothing can ever justify torture. Nothing. It is immoral, antithetical to all religious beliefs, and reprehensible in the extreme. It is not even a realiable means to obtain information, not that that could ever justify it. The ends do not justify the means. It's disturbing to think that a society presumably built on laws and freedoms and liberties can somehow be comfortable with and in support of government policy for torturing any human being for any reason. History will be the utlimate judge on this. It always is.

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Greg Russak's comment, June 4, 2013 11:02 PM
With all due respect, Dan, there were plenty of shots fired and people killed during the Cold War. Korea and Vietnam were nothing more than proxy wars between the U.S. and Communist Russia and China. As for torture, it is the basest of acts perpetrated by one human being on another. It saddens me to think how many Americans believe as you do that it's ok under some circumstances. It's never ok.

As for getting rid of religion as a solution for getting rid of war, I don't have any objection to trying that. I am an atheist. The sooner people stop believing in such mythologies the better our chances of survival become as a species that lives in ever more progressive and fact-based societies.

Back to war and torture. Here's a question for you: Was religion the motivation for us to invade Iraq? W's self-proclaimed status as a born again Christian does raise some suspicions relative to end times and all that stuff. Maybe he was trying to hasten something he and his religion believe will happen.

The truth about Iraq is that it had nothing to do with religion. It was about money, power, oil, and influence in the region, not to mention all the money Halliburton and myriad contractors stood to make and did make. We were told a convenient set of lies about WMDs and the supposed threat that SH posed. Neither was anywhere near being true, and right-thinking knew it then just as we all know it now. Iraq was, in point of fact, the rare secular country in the Middle East before we arrived. It was barely hanging on as a country thanks to a decade's worth of sanctions for having invaded Kuwait. SH was a bad man, yes, but there were and still are worse. He also was our ally when he gassed the Kurds in 1988, so we didn't do anything about it at the time. I'm rambling.

Wrapping this up and taking your argument to its conclusion; am I to conclude from your "compromise" on torture that you're ok with the torture of U.S. soldiers and civilians in Iraq? You have, after all, given a justification for torture that seems to fit. The trouble is that it justifies Iraqis torturing our soldiers and civilians since we attacked Iraq without provocation.

I listen to your show, Dan. You seem like a pretty smart and reasonable person. It's why I'm mystified and saddened when people like you try to justify something so heinous and so un-American as torture. At least that's how I think we used to think about it.
Party Recon's comment, June 5, 2013 12:19 PM
Gregg, I guess we'll have to simply agree to disagree on this one, although I see Vietnam and Korea as proving my point. These were conventional wars fought with conventional weapons that resulted in the most heinous result possible -- acceptable losses. I simply don't want the words "war" and "acceptable" to ever appear in the same sentence unless divided by the word "not". As for religion's part in the Iraq War, no, it wasn't the cause, but it was used as the primary fuel. Both sides used the concept of divine right to rally their troops. If you've not watched it yet, I suggest you rent the move, "The Kingdom". "God is on our side" is the punchline to a fantastic story. In any case, thanks for listening Gregg. I see you in the chat room regularly. You also seem like a very intelligent guy, so perhaps one day you will call in and we can have a live discussion. That would be awesome.
Greg Russak's comment, June 5, 2013 1:20 PM
Dan, we actually do have agreement on some level when it comes to war. Maybe someday you'll come around on torture. For our sake as a society, I certainly hope so. History will not be kind to a self-righteous and narcissistic culture like ours that touts its Constitution and its freedoms at every turn while it tortures some and incarcerates others indefinitely and without charge.

I don't consider war to be an acceptable foreign policy, either, and have never accepted phrases like "acceptable losses" as some kind of perverse calculus that justifies war. I do think you're failing or refusing to see the bigger picture about our foreign policy in the Middle East if you think religion is the "primary fuel" behind Iraq or anything else we're doing there. Religion works as a rallying cry only for people like Lt. General Boykin who uses his position of leadership and authority to publicly profess his belief that his mythological god is stronger than his enemy's mythological god. Might just as well be arguing over who's more powerful, Ra or Zeus.

As for The Kingdom, I consider fiction to be potentially entertaining but not really all that informative when it comes to reality. It's too bad the Randian crowd in the GOP doesn't understand that distinction. We might actually get somewhere if they weren't so slavishly committed to the fiction of a bad Russian author with absolutely zero economic and social credentials.
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How to Save the GOP

How to Save the GOP | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
What Republicans can learn from the Democrats’ revival
Greg Russak's insight:

Polls show that the GOP’s stance on practically every issue is a loser. But this dismal situation was, a quarter century ago, the plight of the Democrats. -  Molly Ball, The Atlantic


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How 31,385 people fund national elections

How 31,385 people fund national elections | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The one percent of the one percent gave 28 percent of all campaign donations in 2012.
Greg Russak's insight:

Money in politics is the single greatest threat to our democracy unless, of course, you're ok with one tenth of one percent of the population making all the rules.

Get involved. Add your voice. It costs nothing, and it will make a difference.

http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/ ;

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Represent.Us: The Campaign to pass the American Anti-Corruption Act

Represent.Us: The Campaign to pass the American Anti-Corruption Act | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Get money out of politics at Represent.Us, the campaign to pass the American Anti-Corruption Act - a bold new law that puts an end to business as usual in Washington.
Greg Russak's insight:

The system is broken. Our government has been corrupted by money. We need Congress to solve the nation’s problems, instead our politicians are out raising money for re-election. The country is run by lobbyists - fighting on behalf of big oil, pharmaceuticals, military contractors, labor unions, trial lawyers, insurance companies, food corporations, and on and on.

 

We may never get rid of lobbyists and big financial donors. But we all agree: citizens should come first.

 

Our government is corrupt. We need to fix it. We have a plan. We need your help.

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Wall Street's Socialists

Wall Street's Socialists | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Take a good look. These are the real Socialists in America today(1). No, not Socialism in the text-book definition of the word. I mean something more heinous:  a dystopian form of capitalism in whi...
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Ted Cruz's 12-Step Program for Citizenship

Ted Cruz's 12-Step Program for Citizenship | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Ted Cruz loves to tout how his dad, Rafael, got here the "right way." Here's the 12-step program Rafael followed. It's so simple why doesn't every immigrant simply follow it? 1. Fight alongside Com...
Greg Russak's insight:

Ted Cruz is a hateful fraud and a liar.

Anyone who sides with him on immigration needs to understand what a tortured lie his so-called “right way” story is about his father and how hypocritical he is on immigration.

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Now We're Angry About Spying?

Now We're Angry About Spying? | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
None of the revelations so far surrounding PRISM strike me as all that newsworthy. Our country's leaders have had a long love affair with spying. The real question is why the sudden outrage and wor...
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The NSA's PRISM internet snooping: By the numbers

The NSA's PRISM internet snooping: By the numbers | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

The National Security Agency's program to mine electronic data from America's biggest internet companies is mind-boggling in scope. The top-secret effort — code-named PRISM — is reportedly aimed at cross-checking emails and other information exchanged by foreign targets to head off potential threats against the U.S. (Read our helpful primer on PRISM here.) Just how much of an intelligence goldmine is PRISM to analysts trying to foil terrorist plots, and how deeply did they delve into Americans' private information? Here, a look at PRISM's reach, by the numbers:


9 Internet companies whose servers the NSA allegedly tapped, according to documents leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian. The tech giants affected are reportedly Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple.

 

7 Companies on the list whose executives say they never knowingly gave the NSA access to their servers...


Via Michael Charney
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U.S. Is Secretly Collecting Records of Verizon Calls - NYTimes.com

Started with W. Still going on. Still think it's wrong.
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Myths about Obamacare

Myths about Obamacare | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
Aaron Carroll says its opposition isn't as united as some claim; it isn't a radical reform; its premiums could be lower than predicted and it could well succeed in states that embrace it.
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50 Questions for Our Elected Officials

50 Questions for Our Elected Officials | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

"Politicians often say things so surprising that it is tempting to wonder what they might be thinking. What is the factual basis that informs each politician’s stance on the issues?  Here are some questions to pose to political candidates to assess what they know about important issues, basic facts about our world, citizenship, and the rules of logic."

Greg Russak's insight:

"What domain of knowledge do we expect politicians to be familiar with? Politicians often launch into issues and take positions ahead of establishing a grounding in basic facts about our world. Also, politicians seem to adopt positions that seem based on contradictory facts. So perhaps we can help politicians put first things first by encouraging them to research some basic facts about the world we live in, and, make public their findings."

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31 Charts That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

31 Charts That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

Some good news in data form. 

Lately, it feels like the news has been dominated by tragedies: natural disasters, evil people, and sometimes just carelessness.

But it would be a mistake to become cynical.



Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/charts-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity-2013-5#ixzz2UD8h5FZM


Via Victoria Loewengart, Michael Charney
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Victoria Loewengart's curator insight, May 24, 2013 8:04 AM

Some "happy" data analytics for a change!

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A 'Nonviolent Army of Love' Rises in North Carolina to Face Down Rightwing's Assault on Progress

A 'Nonviolent Army of Love' Rises in North Carolina to Face Down Rightwing's Assault on Progress | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it

Individuals are risking arrest to draw attention to the policies of GOP Governor Pat McCrory and the conservative-run General Assembly—including cuts to social programs, education reforms, a rejection of federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage, and changes to voting laws—which protesters call "an assault" on the state's poor and unemployed.

Greg Russak's insight:

"We’re going to continue our acts of civil disobedience because the General Assembly has made a cruel attack on the most vulnerable people in this state,” declared Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. - Lauren McCauley, staff writer, Common Dreams

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The Economics and Patriotism of Infrastructure Jobs Programs

The Economics and Patriotism of Infrastructure Jobs Programs | DidYouCheckFirst | Scoop.it
The Economics and Patriotism of Infrastructure Jobs Programs America's crumbling infrastructure is both a safety hazard and a drag on our economy that is projected to only get worse. If we're going...
Greg Russak's insight:

Is 5 months too soon to repost? 

 

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