The Crazy World of American Politics

I can’t really talk about this subject because I know very little about it. I can only speak of my perceptions.

In theory, in the USA, there is a written constitution which must be obeyed. It is possible for amendments to be made to the articles of the constitution. For example, it is possible for the article which permits citizens to ‘bear arms’  to be amended to exclude certain types of arms, such as machine guns and atomic bombs. As I understand it, the procedure for amending the constitution is messy. For a start, two thirds of Congress have to agree, but that is not the full story. Individual States have a say, and three quarters of States have to agree (but I am very unsure about what that means and how it works).

Many commenters on blogs in the USA have been complaining that the Constitution is being ignored by various powerful ‘charities’ and by State and Federal Departments. There are various ways in which that can be done. One way which is easy to effect is simply to change the meaning of words! Thus, where the Constitution says that citizens have the right to ‘seek happiness’, it is very easy to say that a person who is ‘addicted’ cannot decide what makes him happy. He therefore needs ‘help’ (in the form of torture-by-deprivation) to enable him to ‘escape from’ the addiction and thus find ‘true’ happiness. It is also very strongly implied that the ‘escape from addiction’ itself IS happiness.

——–

It is a weird thing that the very Constitution which is supposed to guarantee individual rights can be twisted to deny those rights to large sections of the population who just happen to enjoy tobacco, on the grounds that those people are ‘addicted’, and therefore not in control of themselves. But, what is worse, is the denial of a citizen’s right to make himself happy by opening a bar with the expressed intention of catering for smokers. How can that possibly be a problem under the Constitution? How can it be a problem that people are prepared to work in such places to gain ‘happiness’ as a result of their wages?

The situation in the UK is bad enough, but in the USA, the stretching of the Constitution has gone way further. A certain ‘Judge Kessler’ has decided that Tobacco Companies must issue ‘corrective statements’ admitting that they misled Americans about the dangers of tobacco smoking. One might easily argue that the word ‘corrective’ is a new word in our language and is this meaningless to most of us. It is a bit like the misuse of the word ‘abuse’. What this ‘Judge Kessler’ has decided is that Tobacco Companies must take out TV adverts and, in effect, admit to wrong-doing by refusing to accept that tobacco smoking causes diseases. There may be reason for that judgement to be reasonable, except for the fact that this Judge has personally decided that SHS harm has been proven to be real.

Judge Kessler has now ordered the tobacco companies to make five “corrective statements,” number five being “the health effects of secondhand smoke.”

And the detail:

“A Federal Court has ruled that Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Altria deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of secondhand smoke, and has ordered those companies to make this statement.

Here is the truth:

• Secondhand smoke kills over 38,000 Americans each year.

• Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and coronary heart disease in adults who do not smoke.

• Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma, and reduced lung function.

• There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”

In the UK, (never mind in the USA with its written Constitution) we would not expect to hear a Judge demanding actions which depend upon ‘rumours’. You see, epidemiology is akin to ‘rumour’. The more extensive the study, the more likely that ‘the rumour’ is true, but even with the biggest study imaginable, the ‘rumour’ will remain a ‘rumour’ until positively and consistently ‘proven’ using the scientific method. We know from the McTear Case that no such proof has been forthcoming, even with smoking directly, nevermind SHS.

What makes thing even odder is that this Judge Kessler is a known Zealot.

——-

Which brings us to the politics of the USA. Frankly, I know little, but it seems as though there are no rules, despite (or because of) the Constitution. Thus, as I mentioned earlier, “the pursuit of happiness” can legitimise persecution and prohibition. The fact that the Zealots are using salami slicing rather than direct confrontation makes no difference. It seems as though, in the USA, ‘political correctness’ does not mean the same thing as it does in the UK, where it means “vaguely going along with the received wisdom for the time being”. In the USA, ‘political correctness’ means  “forcing people by law to accept the received wisdom as eternally true“. Thus, in the USA, politics has no principles at all. It is just a matter of what you can get away with. It is quite reasonable to suppose that a State, or a City, could approve stoning to death as a punishment for adultery.

It is incomprehensible to us in the UK that a Judge could decide that organisations must admit to ‘crimes’ which have not been proven to have taken place. Even in criminal cases, a person can be found guilty of a crime, on the evidence, even though he adamantly declares his innocence. He cannot be forced to admit guilt, even after he has been found guilty by a court. Such admissions of guilt are the reserve of Soviet and Nazi States.

Odd, is it not, that the USA Judicial System has become much the same as the Soviet and Nazi system?

 

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22 Responses to “The Crazy World of American Politics”

  1. harleyrider1978 Says:

    It goes much deeper than just a zealot Cousin. Kessler was on the committee for federal guidelines on scientific evidence 3rd edition as its in her BIO!

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    nap.edu

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”

    OSHA SAFE LEVELS

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  2. harleyrider1978 Says:

    It says exactly that in the guidelines OSHA is the dept that sets what safe levels are! Kessler broke the rules herself with the demands that BT make those statements!

    • Junican Says:

      That is, sort of, what I mean. This ‘Judge’ Kessler has ‘invented’ a ‘rule’ whereby it can dictate stoning for adultery. If the Tobacco Companies committed some sort of ‘crime’, then they should be punished according to the punishments which are decreed by the law, and not by some punishments which the Judge dreams up. ‘Restitution’ is fine, provided that damage is actually proven to have occurred. Epidemiology does not provide such proof.
      In the UK, after WW2, the growth of the import of apples coincided with the growth of divorces. Did the import of apples cause the increase in divorces or did the increase in divorces cause the increase in the import of apples? Or what it just coincidence?
      Therein lies the uncertainty of the Doctors Study. Without positive proof that smoking causes lung cancer, the results of the Doctors Study might well have merely indicated that some people should not smoke because they have genetic defects. The money being spent on prohibition be stealth would be better spent of finding out what the genetic defects are, since it might not be only smoking which is a trigger. It might just be that some people should not work in dusty conditions.

      • harleyrider1978 Says:

        Cousin YOU NAILED IT!

        Without positive proof that smoking causes lung cancer, the results of the Doctors Study might well have merely indicated that some people should not smoke because they have genetic defects. The money being spent on prohibition be stealth would be better spent of finding out what the genetic defects are, since it might not be only smoking which is a trigger. It might just be that some people should not work in dusty conditions.

  3. harleyrider1978 Says:

    The precautionary principle or the do no harm principle as its called here in the states if applied would put Kessler in the right. As no evidence is given the same latitude as actually having evidence.

    But we know why the PRE PRINCIPLE was created so the Global warming Nazis could use it to push their agenda and then they used it for pushing SHS HARM!

    How did it happen,quite simply ENVIROMENTALISM!

    Precaution as Customary Law
    The question whether the precautionary principle is a principle of customary international
    law has received a great deal of attention, particularly since the principle’s inclusion
    in the Rio Declaration.

    http://www.ejil.org/pdfs/17/2/82.pdf

    Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

    The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,

    http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?documentid=78&articleid=1163

    Having met at Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992,

    Yes indeed the precautionary principle is an intregal part of GLOBA GOVERNANCE and well taking over the world! The UN must be destroyed……….If it lives we all die.

  4. harleyrider1978 Says:

    Note the date 1992………same year as the EPA JUNK STUDY ON ETS………………agenda driven junk science and with avenues to cover up the junk science.

  5. harleyrider1978 Says:

    Yes Cousin they have been breaking federal law all the way to the state or city council meetings

    Illicit Lobbying
    Report: Local health departments illegally used federal stimulus money to lobby

    April 16, 2013 2:15 pm

    At least seven local health departments illegally used stimulus grant funds to lobby for greater taxes and restrictions on tobacco and unhealthy foods, according to a report released Tuesday by a nonprofit watchdog group.

    The stimulus-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program disbursed about $373 million intended to educate the public about tobacco use and obesity. Federal law prohibits grantees from using the funds for lobbying activities.

    According to the group Cause of Action, local health departments from Alabama to California used the funds to devise or promote legislation designed to curb tobacco use or combat obesity.

    The report detailing the allegations is the product of a 19-month investigation into the CPPW program.

    “[Cause of Action’s] investigation revealed that CPPW money went to support lobbyists and public relations companies who used taxpayer dollars to push laws and agendas that would lead to tax increases on tobacco and high calorie products,” the report said.

    The report said illicit uses of CPPW grant funds “essentially transform[ed] the CPPW program into a conduit for lobbying for higher taxes and bans on otherwise legal consumer products.”

    Federal law prohibits grant recipients from using federal grant funds to influence “an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy, or appropriation.”

    Internal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which administers the CPPW program, clarifies that the law applies “specifically to lobbying related to any proposed, pending, or future federal, state, or local tax increase, or any proposed, pending, or future requirement or restriction on any legal consumer product.”

    Cause of Action executive director Dan Epstein criticized the CDC for faulty oversight in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon. He also said specific CPPW grantees may have “committed not just violations [of lobbying prohibitions], but fraud.”

    According to internal communications from South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) obtained by Cause of Action through public records requests, DHEC officials altered meeting minutes in order to hide the involvement of officials involved in grant fund disbursements after CDC expressed concerns about the use of grant funds for lobbying activities.

    “The DHEC stated outright that the purpose of altering the minutes was to hide the fact that its CPPW program coordinator had directed illegal lobbying in the pursuit of smoke-free ordinances,” according to the Cause of Action report.

    The DHEC did not return a request for comment.

    DHEC grant activities, like those of other state health agencies examined in the report, were explicitly geared toward specific legislative goals. Its application for CPPW funding said it would use taxpayer funds to “increase the support for and adoption of comprehensive smoke-free laws.”

    While that proposal and similar ones from other states appeared to violate laws governing the use of federal grant funds, Epstein says the CDC has made no effort to effectively oversee the CPPW program.

    “It’s not just a sign of misuse of taxpayer dollars,” Epstein said. “In fact, there’s some indication that the CDC encouraged this to occur.”

    Previous investigations of the CPPW program have produced similar findings.

    According to the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CDC’s parent agency, federal guidelines for CPPW grant recipients “appear to authorize, or even encourage, grantees to use funds for impermissible lobbying.”

    Members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce cited that report and apparent violations of the lobbying prohibitions in multiple communications with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding the CPPW program. The committee’s investigative panel examined the program during a 2012 hearing.

    Annual CPPW disbursements are scheduled to grow to about $2 billion in 2015. When expenditures increase six-fold, Epstein said “we’re in a serious situation, because we’re going to undoubtedly see six times the fraud.”

    Florida’s Miami-Dade County Health Department, one of the agencies singled out in Cause of Action’s report, denied any wrongdoing in a statement emailed to the Washington Free Beacon.

    The Department “did not utilize any of the CPPW funding for lobbying activities, nor does the Department have any reason to believe that any of its contracted providers did so either,” said spokeswoman Olga Connor. “The Department of Health’s contracts specifically bar any provider from utilizing the CPPW funds for any type of lobbying activities.”

    The CDC did not return request for comment. Miami-Dade County was the only local government highlighted by Cause of Action to return a request for comment.

    http://freebeacon.com/illicit-lobbying/

    • Junican Says:

      If these groups have been breaking federal law about using funds to lobby, then the police should investigate, following a complaint, and then bring charges if there is evidence. And perhaps there is a serious difficulty – does the law work only in one direction? People who break the smoking ban are prosecuted viciously by environmental health officers backed up by the police, whereas people illegally lobbying are smiled upon.
      That is even more the case when the authorities themselves are encouraging the illegality.

  6. audreysilk Says:

    I wrote about this back in April: http://stopquestionfrisk.blogspot.com/2014/04/disagreement-with-tobacco-control-now.html

    • Junican Says:

      Thanks for that, A.
      As I said to Harley, the culprits have little to fear if the people who are supposed to uphold the actual law (such as Kessler) are themselves part of the problem. The whole business of the RICO trial smelt somewhat of a soviet style ‘show trial’. “Wrongdoings” in the past (such as collectively denying that nicotine is addictive), as judged from today’s standpoint, were dragged out of tobacco company archives and paraded for all to jeer at.
      The question that pops into my mind is, “Have Tobacco Control been racketeering for the past several decades?” It certainly looks like that to me!

  7. Samuel Handley Says:

    It is a general principle that what government exists is likely to turn to evil. That is the nature of power. Power is the means by which some may force their will onto others. No matter what the intent or what the outcome if some may, through grant or assumption of power, force obedience and servitude onto others they will. For this reason governments are restricted in the areas over which they hold sway both in geography and in social spheres, leaving most of the people within the jurisdiction of any government free in almost all their endeavors from any exercise of power by those in the government.

    This division of spheres of government and limits on the legitimate exercise of power led to the early success of the “American” system in the United States. No government held enough power to restrain the will of any person beyond what was given to ensure respect for the lives and property of others. Each City and Township and County operated with its own government which had delegated powers from the Citizen voters and elected office holders who could wield only those powers the Citizens had delegated to them in writing.

    Each State was as much an independent and sovereign Nation as the Nations of Europe and ceded only a limited portion of their sovereignty to the federal government. What was ceded was carefully limited and clearly written into the federal Constitution. That federal Constitution granted limited power to the central government and the power granted to it applied only to territories under its direct control (i.e. the District of Columbia, which is not part of the United States, possessions, such as Puerto Rico or Guam, or unorganized territories such as the former Utah Territory or New Mexico Territory) or to political areas such as international relations (relations between States within the Union or relations between States in the Union and States outside the union such as Mexico and California). Federal power does not apply to individual Citizens because they are Citizens of their Nation (State) and not citizens of the federal government.

    In 1860 the remainder of the United States went to war with the States of the Confederacy. For the purpose of prosecuting war the US suspended the operation of the federal Constitution under a declaration of general martial law. Following the conquest of the Confederacy the federal Constitution was amended (illegally) to legitimize the “Reconstruction” of the States in “rebellion”. these “reconstruction” amendments, in part, stripped State Citizenship from every individual in every State and imposed federal citizenship onto them. This action also stripped every individual of the rights and protections guaranteed them under their State Constitutions.

    You ask how a government can find a person or a company guilty without proof or how it can force a person or company to admit to guilt without proof. You ask how rights and freedoms, guaranteed under written law, can be ignored or arbitrarily denied. The above is a short explanation. In part it is through a concentration of powers that were formerly dispersed among thousands of smaller jurisdictions of government. In part it was through the reduction of rights enshrined in State Citizenship. In part it was through gradual perversion of the system of government as succeeding generations of power seekers tried out the new tools of enslavement they had acquired under “reconstruction” and, in part, it has been because the United States have been operating under martial law since 1860 and the federal government can operate, and has been operating, by decree through, for instance, Executive Orders, without restraint of any law.

    There is not now and has not been (since 1860) any lawful government in or of the United States. there are almost no lawful Citizens living in any of the States and no one holding office in the United States has been lawfully elected. The States function as administrative districts of the occupying power of the federal government and all officers of the States, though holding office through election, are serving at the pleasure of the federal government (they were placed in office by federal citizens NOT by Citizens of the States they are ruling over).

    • harleyrider1978 Says:

      9TH AMENDMENT

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people

    • Junican Says:

      I don’t have the detailed knowledge to talk about it, SH! Is it Massachusetts which still describes itself as “The Republic of M….”? Also, I understand that a couple of States have been making noises about wishing to leave The Union. It would never happen, but the noises are interesting.
      A big problem, as I see things, is that the President has been put into a position where he has far too much to handle, and, therefore, is far too easily influenced by special interest groups, especially if they describe themselves as doctors, professors or scientists.
      You said: “It is a general principle that what government exists is likely to turn to evil. That is the nature of power.” I am sure that there is a tendency for that to happen, but I think that it is also true that there is a tendency for ‘rulers’ to suffer from either intentional or unintentional mission creep.
      Our PM also suffers from that problem. At first, I thought that he was doing well since he seemed to be letting his ministers do their jobs. But, No ……. For some unfathomable reason, he had to keep sticking his oar in. I read somewhere that the reason that the Roman Empire dissolved was that it had become a bureaucratic nightmare in Rome. That is what seems to happen.

  8. J Brown Says:

    It is possibly relevant to advise that the US Constitution was written in the late 1700’s – a different world, and frankly, a different USA at the time. The entirety of the Constitution is based on interpretation and ‘intent’, whether your politics are to the left or right – is there a necessity in the 21st century to ‘bear arms’, when the USA politic is no longer concerned with outside forces like the Indian nations or other imperialist countries? Again, a matter of ‘intent. This Kessler case, from what I understand, originated 15 years ago. The current information about her 5 requirements is actually from 2012 – pre-dating the large Stanford trial and result about the results – or lack thereof – of second hand smoke. Frankly, in my opinion, the problem simply lies with the tobacco companies – still feeling the ‘guilt’ of actually hiding information 50 years ago, from the public, with regard to the possibility of a health hazard. Due to this, they roll over at every chance, and no longer raise any effective defense – even in the face of new SHS information. Even pharmaceutical companies that have been found to produce drugs that, at some point, are found to be hazardous, are not as ineffectual and meek when it comes to their own defense.
    By the way, it is interesting to note that Thomas Jefferson felt that the US Constitution should be revisited every ‘generation’, ie, 30 years, as he felt that it was impossible for any document to be relevant for long periods of time in a changing world. I do not believe that there has been a Constitutional amendment to specify the types of arms that are outlawed. However, there has been one that recognizes that blacks are not 2/3 the value of whites……Presumably, the original Constitution was not ‘perfect’ in many respects.

    • harleyrider1978 Says:

      Blacks pre-civilwar were property not citizens. Your claim of 2/3rds the value of a whiteman is misconstrued it meant that to be considered white for racial purposes you had to have at least 2/3rds white in you to be considered white!

      I myself am 1/5th Cherokee and most of us in America have some sort of Indian blood in us thru the generations.

      Point here is we are all americans. Its when you put Hyphenated American status on the subject it demeans us all!

      The constitution today is just as current as it was in the late 1700s and doesn’t need to be revisted. It needs to be enforced as written and not as some court or new congress may redefine what it actually says.

      The best time in this countries history for a constitution to be written fairly for all was at the time of the founding fathers with each devisive political sphere being represented yet they were all freshly bound together by a war against the king. It is likely the only time we will ever have found a ripe time where cohesion between bickering political agendas would ever be able to come to terms and create a constitution. Today anybody would be scared to death to call for a constitutional convention because when you do everything in the document is open to CHANGE!

      • J Brown Says:

        Excuse my typo – it is the 3/5 compromise, and indicated that, for the purposes of taxation and representation, blacks were considered 3/5 of a person. And yes, the original Constitutional Convention viewed blacks as property. I imagine this might indicate that there is much in the Constitution that is a reflection of its time, and no longer has a bearing in the 21st century.
        Sadly, many of the civil liberties that was afforded to the population back then is slowly being eroded by current terrorist ‘paranoia’ that past conservative governments have used for control, and media have used for profit. IMHO, of course.
        In any event, it is quite surprising that, in view of the conclusion of the Stanford trial regarding SHS, there has not been more publicity about it – at least remove #5 from Kessler’s list…..

      • Junican Says:

        From your discussion with Harley, JB, about blacks, it is clear that there are bound to be matters in the original constitution which are surprising today, such as regarding blacks as property. But I think that we would all agree that the ‘forefathers’ were decent people, even if some of them owned ‘slaves’. The trouble is that no one knows how the blacks felt about their lives. Most of them might well have been very happy with their lot, as compared with their expectations back in Africa. Perhaps being housed, clothed and fed in return for their labour was reward enough. Perhaps they regarded their ‘owners’ as their benefactors.
        I am, of course, not trying to defend slavery! I am using it as an example.
        Also, the ‘right to bear arms’ (in order to defend themselves, or in order to defend the Union if necessary?) would refer to the armaments prevalent in that epoch. I doubt that the forefathers would have envisioned fighter aircraft, tanks and atomic bombs. What seems to be a reasonable principle is that a person has the right to arm himself to the extent necessary to defend himself. It makes me wonder if the English King had decreed that the colonists had no such right! How do we know whether or not the agents of the King were not active in trying to confiscate weapon in the period leading up to the War of Independence?
        So, Yes, an amendment to limit the possession of certain types of arms makes sense.
        But what we are all fighting against as best we can is the sort of thing that garyk highlights – the interpretation of ‘general welfare’ to mean ‘prohibition’ rather than ‘permission’.

  9. garyk30 Says:

    Preamble:
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    These are the general guidelines, the phrase ‘promote the general welfare’ has lead to many acts of twisting the meaning of the words.

    Thus; many laws are ‘Constitutional’, because they ‘promote’ the general welfare.

    This ‘For the Good of Society’ has destroyed many individual freedoms and rights.

    The ‘General Welfare Clause’ in the Preamble has led to a lot of grief.

    • Junican Says:

      Your example is much better than mine. I should imagine that the original intention in the words ‘general welfare’ was intended to be a ‘permission’ (when taken together with the individual’s right to seek his own happiness) rather than a ‘prohibition’. ‘General Welfare’ would come from trade, cooperation, scientific discoveries, medical advances, and not from the prohibition of alcohol and tobacco, masses of regulations, etc.

  10. garyk30 Says:

    “the dangers of tobacco smoking”

    One sided nonsense, that is not supported by simple math.

    Both smokers and non-smokers have the same probability of NOT-DYING from the diseases ’caused’ by smoking.

    Since ‘not dying’ from a disease is hundreds of times more probable(in any given year) than dying, that probability is much more important.

    From Doll’s 2004 summary of the Doc Study:

    Lung Cancer death rates per 1,000 per year

    Never-smokers = 0.17 deaths = 999.83 not dying

    Current Smokers = 2.49 deaths = 997.51 not dying

    997.51/999.83 = 99.8%

    A current smoker has 99.8% of the non-smoker’s chances of NOT dying from Lung Cancer in any given year.

    999.83/997.51 = 1.002

    A non-smoker is only 1.002 times as likely as a current smoker to NOT die from lung cancer in any given year.

    There are 2.66 deaths out of 2,000 people.

    NOT dying is about 750 times more common than dying.

  11. garyk30 Says:

    “However, there has been one that recognizes that blacks are not 2/3 the value of whites.”

    Which Amendment is that?

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