Tag Archives: Cindy Sheehan

Partial book review: ‘Wingnuts’

This book sucks ass, as does its author. I did my best, but I was able to get only to page 18.

Trying to buck the criticism that those of us on the left never expose ourselves to views on the right (and vice-versa), I recently bought a copy of John Avlon’s Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America.

I like and I often use the term “wingnut” myself, and I bought Avlon’s book even though he (incorrectly) redefines the term “wingnut” to include those on either far side of the political ideology spectrum. (Actually, the commonly accepted meaning of the term “wingnut” is an individual who is to the far right, and the term “moonbat” would be applied to one on the far left.)

Despite the fact that I disagree with Avlon’s retooling of the vernacular to suit his own purposes, and despite the fact that his book puts Keith Olbermann on its cover with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin — a strikingly false equivalency — I bought his book at full cover price.

Can you say “buyer’s remorse”?

After several pages of reading Avlon’s false equivalencies — for instance, he implies that what he calls “Bush Derangement Syndrome” was/is anything like what he calls “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” which we have been witnessing for some time now* — I finally had to literally toss Avlon’s book aside when, on page 18, I read Avlon refer to the democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as “Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.”

I mean, as U.S. Sen. Al Franken has put it, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

Hugo Chavez has been elected and re-elected by a strong majority of Venezuela’s voters and he has the support of a strong majority of the people of Venezuela.

Chavez has been clamping down on his right-wing political opposition (who did, after all, illegally and treasonously attempt to overthrow him in 2002),  and Venezuela needs to be monitored for human rights abuses (just as every nation does, and nothing has gone on in Venezuela under Chavez’s watch that has even approached what happened at the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors or at the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp during the eight long nightmarish years of rule by the unelected Bush regime).

But Hugo Chavez is far away from having earned the title of “dictator.” To call Chavez a “dictator” isn’t just against my belief that a nation’s government should work for the benefit of the most number of the nation’s people instead of for the benefit of the minority plutocrats and corporatocrats, as Chavez believes, but it is blatantly factually incorrect, and I can’t handle “non-fiction” books containing such glaring factual errors.

Nor does Avlon bother to explain why he uses the term “dictator” — he just throws it out there for no other apparent reason than that the members of the Bush regime (and George W. Bush, never having been legitimately elected, having started a bogus war that has cost thousands upon thousands of lives and billions upon billions of dollars, having shit and pissed all over the U.S. Constitution, and having left the nation in much, much worse shape than he got it, certainly comes closer to the dictionary definition of “dictator” than does Chavez ) and their allies at FOX “News” falsely called Chavez a “dictator” for several years. (To the right wing you are a “dictator,” you see, if you refuse to kiss U.S. corporate ass and refuse to surrender your nation’s natural resources and other wealth to U.S. corporations; that you have been democratically elected by your people is irrelevant to the democracy-hating, election-stealing right wing.)

But Avlon already demonstrates, before he calls Hugo Chavez a “dictator,” that he’s no more than a smug pretty boy who is posing as an expert on politics.

About all that he points to, in the 18 pages that I was able to stomach, in order to exemplify the far left or the far right are some examples of some political figure, usually George W. Bush or Barack Obama, being compared to Adolf Hitler. Ooooo! Insightful!

However, while skimming through his book, I noted that apparently anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is a “wingnut”** for having stood up against the Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War that killed her son — a war that the majority of Americans now acknowledge, fucking finally, was a bogus war.

Hmmm… A woman’s young son is killed for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton profits obscenely in that bogus war (as do the BushCheneyCorp’s other oily subsidiaries), and because she has the gall to protest her son’s pointless death, that makes Sheehan a “wingnut,” according to Avlon, who, I take it, hasn’t had a loved one killed in the Vietraq War or ever even been in harm’s way himself. 

Overall, Avlon reminds me of a lazy, mediocre parent or teacher who witnesses two children fighting, and, because he doesn’t want to bother to try to figure out what they’re fighting about — and whether one child might actually be in the right and the other child might actually be in the wrong — he labels both fighting children as equally guilty. There. Done with it. Why bother to unravel the facts? And why take sides?

Except that the real world is so much more complex than that, and our crumbling democracy didn’t really need another book put out there to tell people that instead of closely examining the facts and taking a principled stand on important issues based upon the facts, they need to just join the mushy middle, because obviously there’s no difference between the impassioned right and the impassioned left (or, as Avlon calls everyone who isn’t a milquetoast, apolitical, apathetic sleepwalker, the “wingnuts”).

To give just one of many possible demonstrations of how Avlon shills a false equivalency between the right and the left, right now, as I type this sentence, a book incredibly titled The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists incredibly is No. 13 — thirteen — on amazon.com’s top 100-selling books list.

When does a moonbat title like that ever get that far on any of the mainstream best-selling books lists?

Further, I know that many of us on the left had at least some fear of possible retribution for our outspokenness against the unelected, mass-murdering Bush regime — the Bush regime was, after all, engaging in the illegal surveillance of American citizens in the name of “national security,” and the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors and the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp certainly demonstrated for us where the Bush regime stood on human rights — yet here is a book out calling President Obama a “Manchurian president,” and I don’t sense that the wingnuts (the right-wing kind) have any real fear of retribution from the Obama administration for their publishing, promoting or purchasing a book thus titled.

And that’s because historically, dictators and tyrants — the kind who, unlike Hugo Chavez, actually steal elections, rule against the wishes of the majority of the ruled, and who actually torture and murder their political opponents — predominantly have been right-wingers, not left-wingers. (The right-wing Chilean Augusto Pinochet, for example, was a dictator.)

The wingnuts (my definition of the term, not Avlon’s) attack Obama unreservedly because they know that those on the left only rarely use what I might call, a la Dick Cheney, the “enhanced” tactics used by those on the right against their political opponents. Paradoxically, if Obama truly were the tyrant the wingnuts say he is, they probably wouldn’t be calling him a “tyrant” or a “Manchurian president” or the like — because if he truly were that, he just might retaliate against them.

As far as “Obama Derangement Syndrome” is concerned, it’s far more virulent and widespread than “Bush Derangement Syndrome” ever was. Not only did anti-Bush books not sell nearly as well as anti-Obama books sell today, but there was no “tea-party”-like “movement” formed by the left in response to Bush. The closest thing to the left’s “tea party” that I can think of is MoveOn.org, which, compared to the den of vipers that comprise the tea party, is a den of garter snakes.  

And while the minimum that we factually can say about the 2000 presidential election is that George W. Bush was made president in late 2000 under circumstances that were shady at best, and that in November 2000 he captured only 47.9 percent of the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore’s 48.4 percent, and that he was “re”-elected by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004, Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in November 2008, a better showing at the polls than “President” Bush ever had, yet far more people have questioned Obama’s presidential legitimacy than questioned Bush’s, even though Bush’s presidential legitimacy was much, much more questionable than Obama’s ever has been.

If you are a right-wing white guy from an oily, rich family, you can “win” the White House without having won the most number of votes (by “winning” the pivotal state of which your brother conveniently is governor, with a little help from that state’s top elections official who also sat on that state’s committee to elect you, and with a lot of help from the recount-quashing U.S. Supreme Court). And that kind of shit is perfectly OK.

But if you’re a black guy, you’re considered illegitimate even if you did better in your presidential election than the last white guy did in his two presidential elections. (But nooooo, racism is dead in the United States of Amnesia!)

For Avlon to make the false equivalency between the far left and the far right — to lump everyone who feels strongly about politics together as “wingnuts” — isn’t only grossly inaccurate, but it’s dangerous to our already endangered, dumbed-down democracy.

If you want to read a real book that’s worth your money, read Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason, now available in paperback.

Pay close attention to her chapter on “junk thought” — a term that describes John Avlon’s book to a “T”.

*Avlon defines “Obama Derangement Syndrome” as “Pathological hatred of President Obama, posing as patriotism,” and “Bush Derangement Syndrome” more or less as a visceral aversion to George W. Bush, of which I myself have been afflicted.

**On page 189, Avlon quotes Sheehan as — gasp! — having called George W. Bush a “bigger terrorist than Osama bin Laden.” Actually, it’s a fucking fact that Bush is reponsible for the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and more than 4,000 of our troops, in his bogus Vietraq War — which is far more people than Osama bin Laden is responsible for having slaughtered on September 11, 2001, which was fewer than 3,000 people. And if we can call bin Laden a terrorist for having masterminded the slaughter of so many innocents, why can’t we call Bush & Co. terrorists for having masterminded the slaughter of so many more innocents? Why the fucking double standard?

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Internet revolution the ONE good thing about the dog shit of a decade that was

The last 10 years really have sucked ass.

First there was the blatantly stolen presidential election of late 2000.

Hey, what harm to the nation could a band of thieves possibly do in the White House for four or eight years? George W. Bush & Co. are whining more loudly for the White House, so let’s just let them have it! In late 2000 that was the mentality of Americans, who, fat and lazy from the prosperous Clinton years, didn’t give a shit that their democracy had been dangerously subverted by Team Bush. Hey, they had things to buy and things to consume!

Bush had lost the popular vote by “only” more than a half-million votes. Close enough! And that his brother was the governor of Florida, the pivotal state that Bush “won” — and that Florida’s top elections official, Repugnican Katherine Harris, also had sat on the state’s committee to elect Gee Dubya — and that the Repugnican-tilted U.S. Supreme Court voted to stop the whole silly recount nonsense; none of that was a problem. Democrat Al Gore was just being a “sore loserman.”

I saw the decade coming. In early 2001 I attended a “Not My President Day” rally at the California State Capitol here in Sacramento to voice my dissent to the Universe. In November 2000 I’d voted for Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, but it was obvious that Al Gore had won the too-close election.

Then there was Sept. 11, 2001, and the months of post-9/11 hysteria. 9/11 was the unelected Bush regime’s Reichstag fire.

Speaking of which, then there was the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust launching of its Vietraq War in March 2003. (In February 2003 I was at the state Capitol again, this time protesting the coming Vietraq War, which the Bush regime might have called “Operation Iraqi Liberation,” except that that spells O-I-L, so they called it “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”) On May 1, 2003, “President” Bush declared “mission accomplished,” but thus far the Vietraq War has claimed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives (these Iraqis were permanently “liberated,” you see) and the lives of more than 4,300 U.S. military personnel. And hundreds of billions of American taxpayers’ dollars that the Repugnicans are perfectly OK handing over to the war profiteers, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, via bogus wars – but not to things that Americans need, such as health care. Because that would be socialism! Better dead than red, but, of course, with the for-profit wealth care — er, health care — system, you’re going to be dead anyway.

Then there was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 to blow away and wash away any and all doubt that it was a big fuckin’ mistake to have just allowed Team Bush to steal the White House in late 2000.

Both Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 killed more than 2,000 Americans each, yet the Repugnicans now are lambasting President Barack Obama — who, if nothing else, actually fucking won the presidential election — because some lonely young dude from Nigeria tried to blow up an airliner but only succeeded in burning himself.

We just can’t trust Obama to keep us safe!, except that thus far he has, and it was George W. Bush who couldn’t keep us safe. But facts have become a matter of opinion in the United States of Amnesia.

But I digress.

After Hurricane Katrina, it was just waiting it out until President Bozo and Vice President Penguin were termed out of the White House.

Barack Obama and Billary Clinton duked it out for months on end during the interminable 2008 Democratic presidential primary season.

Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination and the general election based upon his promises of “hope” and “change.”

Keep on hoping for that big change! That was the theme of 2009.

So yeah, the last 10 years have been a big, steaming pile of dog shit.

But it was an article via AlterNet titled “This Decade Mostly Sucked — Except for the Huge Expansion of the Internet” that made me realize that yeah, there was one good thing about the past decade.

The author of the piece notes:

The Internet is a disruptive technology for our entire species, even if it has a long way to go before it spreads to all humans. The exponential decline in the cost of information brought about by the Internet and mobile phone technology will be, in all likelihood, the top cultural and technological development of our lifetimes. The way this has changed, and will continue to change, our economic, social and mental structures puts it on par with the printing press as an agent of change….

I agree with all of that. Unfortunately, the author then goes on to discuss Net neutrality, which is an important issue, but he misses what I think is the biggest achievement of the Internet: the Internet has been an end-run around the baby boomers, who have been hell-bent upon destroying the nation that they inherited from their spoiling parents (the so-called “greatest generation”) in a fat and juicy state but have sucked bone dry during their too-long lifetimes.

The Internet wasn’t around during most of their lives, so to the boomers the Internet wasn’t that important. It was a mildly useful and/or amusing tool or toy – you can buy stuff on it, you can save money by sending some e-mails instead of stamped letters or instead of making long-distance phone calls, you can look at porn (but you probably shouldn’t, because while they enjoyed wild, uninhibited sex when they were young, the boomers don’t want the generations that follow them to enjoy sex, and since the boomers’ sexual excess brought us AIDS, we can’t).

But the boomers never appreciated the potential power of the Internet.

Until it was too late.

“Inspired” by the multiple rapings to our democracy, starting with late 2000’s theft of the White House, and also “inspired” by the inevitable Vietraq War, which it was clear that the unelected Bush regime was going to start no matter fucking what, I started blogging in late 2002, and millions of others also have been using the power of the Internet this decade to do an end-run around the traditional power structure.

Information is power, and so the informational system is the power system, and we sneaky Generation X’ers (and Gen Y’ers [and yes, a handful of non-evil boomers]) have used the Internet to get around the blockages that the power-hungry boomers placed before us.

Not to get too geeky here, but the human body, when a large blood vessel is blocked or otherwise not functioning, will form a network of smaller, more numerous blood vessels in order to compensate for the lost circulation.

That’s what we progressives have done: gone around the boomers’ blockages in smaller, more numerous ways, such as with blogs and many other new ways of sharing information electronically.

The invention of the printing press indeed made it harder for the powers that be to maintain their power by withholding information from us peasants, and the Internet has expanded upon the success of the printing press exponentially, because while printing presses cost a lot of money, almost everyone has access to the Internet. (Indeed, don’t even get me started on how hard it is to get noticed as a blogger, even if you’re an excellent fucking writer, as I am, because of the crushing number of blogs out there.)

As I said, before the boomers realized how powerful the Internet could be as a tool for the downtrodden to politically organize and to share information that the powers that be would try to keep from us peasants, it was too late; the world had changed irreversibly because of the Internet. The “solid” foundation that the boomers thought they were standing upon had been quietly eaten from beneath them by millions of busy termites.

It’s too late for the boomers who never bothered to join the Internet revolution. The world has changed around these dinosaurs while they’ve remained stuck in the past. (Fuck, I have had boomer “managers” who can’t even fucking touch-type in this, the Information Age!)

So anyway, we end 2009 and the decade with President Obama. Let me remind you that he never was the superhero that many made him out to be, with a big “O” on his chest. Obama simply rode the wave that Howard Dean created in his campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Speaking of which, the 2004 election also was a big event of the past decade to me; I’d never been that politically involved before or since, and it was the felons and the traitors of the unelected Bush regime who induced me to become so politically aware and active* — an unintended side effect of their treason and their felonies, I’m sure.

Anyway, even though I always supported John Kerry over Dean, figuring that there was no way that Dean could win the White House in 2004, not with the Repugnicans still rabidly milking the TERROR! cow, I credit Team Dean with having changed forever the way that presidential politics are played, including the phenomenon of individuals’ political donations (including mine) becoming as important if not more important than the fat cats’ political donations.

As 2009 and as the decade come to a close, it’s clear that we progressives — those of us for whom “hope” and “change” aren’t just slogans that you cynically slap on campaign merchandise — have a long way to go, but we start the new year and the new decade with the advantage of having seriously undercut, quietly but surely over the past decade, the biggest threat to our nation and our democracy: the baby boomers.

We did it legally and democratically and, luckily for them, bloodlessly.

So far.

*I became so politically active that, among other things, at one point I got to shake John Kerry’s hand during one of his visits to California (too bad that he didn’t become president), and I also met Cindy Sheehan before she became nationally (in)famous for having camped outside of Gee Dubya’s ranch in Texas in August 2005 in protest of the Vietraq War, in which her young son Casey had been killed. (I will brag that I blogged about Sheehan a full six months before she became nationally known.)

I have to say that Sheehan might be my most-admired person of the decade. I can think of no one else who so courageously stood up against the Bush regime — too bad that Al Gore didn’t in late 2000, or the decade might have turned out quite differently — and she took so much bile and venom for her incredibly brave patriotism.

The war that Sheehan opposed but took so much shit for having opposed is now considered by the majority of Americans to have been a bullshit war. (I doubt that anyone has apologized to her, though, because being an American means never having to say that you’re sorry…)

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Palin-Prejean 2012!

Carrie Prejean starts to leave Larry King’s show because he asked her a question that he wasn’t supposed to. Prejean, like Sarah Palin, represents a faux victimization that only harms, not helps, women. (You know that Prejean is a good Christian, by the way, because she wears that cross.)

So Carrie Prejean and Sarah Palin are what’s left of the Repugnican Party — well, except for Glenn Beck.

What do Prejean and Palin have in common? A lot, with the exception that no Palin sex videos have yet to be discovered. (And I’m really, really hoping that there won’t be any Beck sex videos…)

Both Prejean and Palin have books out (as does Beck…), only Palin’s book is doing much better than is Prejean’s: Amazon.com has Palin’s book at No. 1 and Prejean’s at No. 6,712 — yes, at No. 6,712 — as I compose this sentence.

(Porn star Jenna Jameson’s book How to Make Love Like a Porn Star is at No. 56 on amazon.com right now — I swear – so what I’m thinking is that Prejean needs to follow the logical course of her “career,” which is to do professional porn, since she’s already done amateur porn. Then, perhaps, after she has had success as a professional porn “actress,” for which she’s already had her tits artificially enlarged, she finally can sell some books!)

If you think I’m awful for comparing Palin and Prejean, Prejean makes the comparison herself. This is from her pathetic recent interview with Larry King:

KING: You characterize yourself as being “Palinized.” What do you mean?

PREJEAN: Well, you look at Sarah Palin and Congresswoman, you know, Michele Bachmann, they are relentlessly, you know, torn down by the liberal media. I mean, they’re wonderful women. They’re intelligent. They’re great mothers. They’re brilliant. And yet there’s this double standard that conservative women are fair game to be attacked. And it’s not right. And it needs to stop.

KING: Doesn’t the conservative media tear down liberal politicians?

PREJEAN: Not to the extent that liberals do to conservative women. I think that they get away with it. If you look at Keith Olbermann, for instance, I talk about it in my book, some of the things that he says on his show about conservatives, if Sean Hannity or if Bill O’Reilly said anything like that about a liberal woman, like Sonia Sotomayor or Michelle Obama, he would be off the air. And there is this double standards and Americans are now exposed to it.

KING: But the conservative media commentators denounced Sonia Sotomayor as a racist, Hillary Clinton as a bitch and a liar. Laura Ingraham recently accused Nancy Pelosi of having do everything but sell her own body to get the health bill passed. You must condemn things like that.

PREJEAN: Look at the things that they said about Sarah Palin and her children. I mean, it’s unbelievable. The attacks are still coming. And, you know, when they’re not happy with the message, Larry, what do they do? They attack the messenger.

KING: Well, you don’t see that it happens on both sides?

PREJEAN: I think that it’s important for women to stick together. I think that’s the biggest thing. And I think that there definitely is this bias against conservative women. It’s fair game. And if they don’t like what you have to say, they have to attack your personal life. And that’s what we’ve been seeing. It’s very consistent.

Oh, puhhhfuckinglease. If you put yourself in the public spotlight, like both Prejean and Palin have done, you can’t complain that the public spotlight shines on those parts of your life that you wish it wouldn’t.

Especially when you claim to be such a great fucking upstanding “Christian” (which includes hating fags and dykes, just like Jesus did/does, of course!), as Prejean does, you can’t expect your hypocrisy (such as breast implants and amateur sex videos) not to be exposed.

When I watched the Prejean-Larry King clip with Prejean ostentatiously wearing her Christian cross pendant, as though she actually exemplifies what Jesus Christ taught, I wanted to vomit.

All that Palin and Prejean do is cry “victim.” How, exactly, does this victim mentality empower women? And is their incessant whining about the “liberal media” enough to elect the likes of Palin to positions of power? Aren’t you supposed to have actual accomplishments, not just bogus claims of victimhood? 

Prejean is full of shit when she claims that women on the right are given worse treatment than are progressive women. And women on the right usually are attacked because they are fucktarded and mean-spirited, not because they are women.

Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are “brilliant”? Well, consider the source of that assertion. No doubt Prejean considers herself to be “brilliant” as well.

I recall the incredibly vicious attacks on Cindy Sheehan by the right. (The majority of Americans now agree with Sheehan, of course, that the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War was dead wrong.)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and my only truly Democratic U.S. senator, Barbara Boxer, constantly are villified by the right, as was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (primarily because she isn’t a conservative white man), yet here is Prejean whining about what supposedly horribly unfair treatment she and Palin have received. She’s even coined a verb for it: “Palinized.”  

What Palin and Prejean and their ilk really want is for progressive women to be crucified while wingnut dingbats like Palin and Prejean get a free pass — lest they scream “sexism.”

Why won’t Palin and Prejean just go the fuck away, even though the McCainosaurus-Palin-Quayle ticket tanked at the ballot box a year ago this month and even though Palin and Prejean both, to my knowledge, are unemployed, except to peddle their books?

Because of Americans’ love affair with white trash, that’s why. We haven’t seen Palin’s nasty bits, as we have Prejean’s, but we are promised that soon we’ll see Palin’s grandkid’s baby daddy’s pee-pee on playgirl.com.

That’s why Palin and Prejean endure: because Americans just can’t get enough of stupid.

I don’t expect Prejean to be around much longer, and I don’t see that Palin-Quayle ever will make it to the White House. Still, I believe that it’s a mistake to misunderestimate, as our last “brilliant” “president” would put it, how popular stupid is in the United States of America.

Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean appeal to the fantasy of millions of fucktarded Americans that they, too, can become famous one day, even though they have attained absofuckinglutely nothing. It’s the American dream, to attain to heights that you never earned and don’t deserve. (It was, I think, the “brilliant” “President” George W. Bush who started that trend.)

Still, though, Palin and Prejean (and Glenn Beck) do represent an ever-shrinking segment of the U.S. population: the misogynist/pro-patriarchal, white supremacist, “Christo”fascist, xenophobic, homophobic, pro-bogus-war, anti-social-program, anti-environmental (not necessarily in that order) set. They are vocal, but they are going extinct like the dinosaurs they don’t believe in.

The Repugnicans think that just because they can front a she-Nazi or two, the majority of the American voters won’t see that a Nazi is still a Nazi, male or female, Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin.

“I think that it’s important for women to stick together,” Carrie Prejean proclaimed on Larry King.

Because getting breast implants in order to compete in the Miss USA pageant is what feminism is all about! As is the anti-abortion stance of both Prejean and Palin! Yes, women of the United States of America, these brilliant women are on your side!

Prejean already is dead in the water, so she might as well go ahead and make that pro porn, and Palin is riding high right now only because of her book. She’ll fade. You betcha.

And even if she didn’t, she and her ilk just don’t have the numbers anymore. It’s not even close enough for the Repugnicans to be able to steal presidential elections anymore, like they did in 2000 and again in 2004.

The demographics are their death.

But it doesn’t hurt to help the demographics along.

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