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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Why Smart People Don't Trust the Press


Silverfiddle Rant!
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At a time when Americans are relying heavily on the media for information about the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election and other momentous events, the public remains largely distrustful of the mass media. Four in 10 U.S. adults say they have "a great deal" (9%) or "a fair amount" (31%) of trust and confidence in the media to report the news "fully, accurately, and fairly," while six in 10 have "not very much" trust (27%) or "none at all" (33%). (Gallup)

Kylee Zempel at The Federalist provides reasons for that well-founded mistrust:
is it because the media constantly race-bait them with false narratives? Ma’Khia Bryant? “Hands up, don’t shoot”?

In this case, the alternative is the same media that smeared Brett Kavanaugh as a gang rapist.

It’s the media that fell for the Jussie Smollett hoax and the Russia hoax

... and that cut video footage to paint a Catholic teenager as a smug racist.

It’s the media that saw the Hunter Biden laptop story and said “nothing to see here,”

...that stood in front of burning buildings and called it “peaceful protests,”

...that wrongly claimed Trump tear-gassed “peaceful protesters” in Lafayette Park for a photo op.

...wrongly insisted MAGA insurrectionists bludgeoned a Capitol Police officer to death with a fire extinguisher.

They concocted a false narrative out of thin air about Gov. Ron DeSantis and Publix pharmacies when they needed to make a successful Republican leader look bad.

They opted for comedy hour with Gov. Andrew Cuomo instead of asking him and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer real questions about their lethal nursing home policies.

They lied about Russian bounties and downplayed Fauci’s emails.
What say you?

Monday, July 26, 2021

Democrat Chickens Roosting


Silverfiddle Rant!


Its a sad commentary that a police chief has to state what was once considered obvious common sense in this nation:





Washington DC Police Chief at the scene of another violent crime

"You cannot coddle violent criminals," he said. "They might not want a job. They might not need services… They may need to be off our streets."

He also decried reductions in police personnel: "The reality is we have a shrinking workforce. I have a definitive amount of resources. 200 and some officers less this year than I had last year."





Saturday, July 24, 2021

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down) 

Enjoy the theme song from the award-winning 1983 film Terms of Endearment, theme music composed by Michael Gore (1951-present), and the beautiful images accompanying the music : 



Lately, when I need a few relaxing moments away from the herculean moving tasks of sorting and tossing, I play this piano arrangement of the above theme to relax my mind and body: 
 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Fight to Win


Silverfiddle Rant!


"Chris Rufo is doing something so spectacularly unconservative, he may need to update his political affiliation: he’s winning." (Abigail Shrier, Want to Save America? Don't Act Like a Conservative)


Abigail Shrier says Chris Rufo is showing conservatives how to fight:
And while academics and other pedants quibble over whether “Critical Race Theory” is the right term, Rufo is out there identifying the problem, alerting the public, and sounding all available alarms.
Rufo is neither a blowhard loose cannon "owning the libs" nor a milquetoast Mitt Romney trying to get on their good side. He steers a middle course "clear of the Scylla and Charybdis conservatives so often pinball against: hyper-polite fecklessness on one side of the boat and chest-thumping ignorance on the other."
How did Rufo do it? By gathering evidence and pointing out the glaring harm in clear, unapologetic (but never crass or rude) language. He speaks not to the elites, but to Americans, and he makes an intelligible argument: “Anti-Racism” is just racism in progressive clothing; it’s teaching our kids to hate themselves and each other.

Rufo engages with the culture in the straightforward manner of a gentleman soldier. He neither grovels to the intellectual class nor strains to fit his arguments into the warped mold of their lingo. And he doesn’t pick fights for their own sake.
Conservatives have an Opportunity
Conservatives were handed a political gift they did not win and do not deserve—the disaster of the Left’s ascent. The activist Left’s policy agenda is widely disliked. Its positions veer between unreasonable (Defund the Police), unlivable (indulge looters, larcenists, and vandals), unsustainable (open the borders), and untenable (transwomen are women). Almost no one actually agrees with any of this.
Shrier explains how to win this battle. Spoiler Alert! It won't be won by rightwing insults and pseudo-macho bombast, and it sure as hell won't be won by treating "Leftist ideologues like quirky out-of-town guests arriving for brunch," when actually, "the Woke are not zany guests. They are home-invasion robbers."

We can all Play a Role...

Speak up, respectfully, to those you disagree with, often in the form of questions. You are not going to win a direct confrontation, but if you can plant a seed of doubt in someone, or make one cogent counter-point and then let the whole issue go, you just might have planted a mighty oak 

Communicate to the loudmouth pundits and politicians on "your side" who enjoy playing to the peanut gallery.  Tell them you don't appreciate their clown act and that you will turn them off if they cannot learn how to argue in a way that attracts others to the cause.

Speak to those around you with clarity and charity. Keep in mind most are on the fence or afraid to commit a WrongSpeak crime. Again, you can ask questions.  Rhetorical ones appealing to common sense are often more effective because they hit home but do not put people on the spot: "Can you imagine your mother referring to herself, or to her mother as a birthing person?"

I don't want to ban the woke pogroms and neo-maoists. I want to defeat them fair and square in the marketplace of ideas.

What say you?

Monday, July 19, 2021

Understanding MAGA


Silverfiddle Rant!
The US press is a rotting shell of its former self.  It is a monoculture of self-described elitists for self-described elitists where diversity of thought is verboten.  Witness media grandees like Anderson Cooper hobnobbing with the plutocrats at the "Billionaire Summer Camp" in Idaho. They no longer investigate and report on big business and government; they are on the inside, coming out every now and then to blow their propaganda trumpets.

Meanwhile, real journalists (mostly liberal) like Abigain Schrier, Kevin Drum, Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi are no longer welcome, so they now do real reporting from Substack or other independent platforms. 

By and large, the Intellectual Dark Web and the independent journalists like those I just described have refrained from the official propaganda calling all Trump voters white supremacists who want to overthrow the government. 

Then came The Thread...
I think I've had discussions w/enough Boomer-tier Trump supporters who believe the 2020 election was fraudulent to extract a general theory about their perspective. It is also the perspective of most of the people at the Capitol on 1/6, and probably even Trump himself.

Here are the facts - actual, confirmed facts - that shape their perspective: 1) The FBI/etc spied on the 2016 Trump campaign using evidence manufactured by the Clinton campaign. We now know that all involved knew it was fake from Day 1 (see: Brennan's July 2016 memo, etc).

The intel community spying on a presidential campaign using fake evidence (incl forged documents) is a big deal to them.

Everyone involved lied about their involvement as long as they could. We only learned the DNC paid for the manufactured evidence because of a court order. Comey denied on TV knowing the DNC paid for it, when we have emails from a year earlier proving that he knew.

Trump supporters see that the Regime is not partisan. They all know that the same institutions would have taken opposite sides if it was a Tulsi Gabbard vs Jeb Bush election.

Many of them don't know for certain whether ballots were faked in November 2020, but they know for absolute certain that the press, the FBI, etc would lie to them if there was.

They watched the press behave like animals for four years. Tens of millions of people will always see Kavanaugh as a gang rapist, based on nothing, because of CNN. And CNN seems proud of that. They led a lynch mob against a high school kid. They cheered on a summer of riots.

We know as fact: a) The Steele dossier was the sole evidence used to justify spying on the Trump campaign, b) The FBI knew the Steele dossier was a DNC op, c) Steele's source told the FBI the info was unserious, d) they did not inform the court of any of this and kept spying.

Glenn Greenwald (who detests Donald Trump but who does not detest Trump voters or blame them) gave Darryl Cooper--the thread's obscure author--his substantial platform to elaborate on this observations.

Author of the Mega-Viral Thread on MAGA Voters, Darryl Cooper, Explains His Thinking

Greenwald ends his introduction with this refreshing testament to toleration and open debate:
As Cooper notes, he does not share all of the perceptions and beliefs he is conveying, although he shares many of them. Instead, based on the recognition that most media outlets are incapable of understanding let alone accurately describing the views of a group of people they view with little more than unmitigated contempt, condescension and scorn, he believes it is imperative that people understand the actual reality of what is motivating so many Trump voters in their views, perceptions and beliefs — regardless of whether each particular belief is accurate or not.

We also believe this understanding is vital, which is why we are happy to publish Cooper’s essay. It should go without saying that, as it true of all of our articles published on Outside Voices -- which we treat as an op-ed page -- our publishing of this article does not signify agreement with all of its claims, but only our belief that it is a viewpoint worth airing.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Where I've Been

(For politics, please scroll down)
On top of continuing The Big Clean Out (someone in my family has lived on this property since 1947), I'm in the throes of selling my residence here in Virginia and buying another home in Indiana.  This move is a truly daunting task: I've never moved before, and I'm tackling a long-distance move.

The first deal fell through on both ends!  Never mind that, after hours upon hours on the phone, I had everything coordinated with movers, including kitty boarding for about two weeks.  

I've had to start over!

Meanwhile, along came my local government, effective July 1, lopping off 1600 square feet of my property, thus making my "buildable" lot worthless on its own.  No prior notification, no warning whatsoever.

So much for the lifetimes of investment here.

I'll be back to my usual blogging in the fall after I get settled.  

Thanks to my good friend Silverfiddle for keeping this blog going in my absence.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Critical Race Theory is Illiberal


Silverfiddle Rant!


Andrew Sullivan makes the best argument yet contra Critical Race Theory (not the narrow academic theory but all the Ibram Kendi/Robin DiAngelo pop-psychology pseudo-science racial dogma that has sprung up like stink weeds around it).  The Crux of Sullivan's unassailable argument?  

Critical Race Theory is incompatible with the classical liberalism upon which our Western civilization is founded.

He starts by listing some characteristics of classic Western liberalism:
Fallibilism, the belief that anyone, especially you, can always be wrong; 
Objectivity, a rejection of any theory that cannot be proven or disproven by reality; 
Accountability, the openness to conceding and correcting error; 
Pluralism, the maintenance of intellectual diversity so we maximize our chances of finding the truth.

No ultimate authority; just inquiry and provisional truth. No final answer: an endless conversation. No single power, but many in competition.

In this open-ended conversation, all can participate, conservatives and liberals, and will have successes and failures in their turn. What matters, both conservatives and liberals agree, is not the end result, but the liberal democratic, open-ended means. That shift — from specifying a single end to insisting only on playing by the rules — is the key origin of modern freedom.

My central problem with critical theory is that it takes precise aim at these very core principles and rejects them. By rejecting them, in the otherwise noble cause of helping the marginalized, it is a very seductive and potent threat to liberal civilization.
CRT Rejects Western Liberalism
This is what makes CRT different. When it began, critical theory was one school of thought among many. But the logic of it — it denies the core liberal premises of all the other schools and renders them all forms of oppression — means that it cannot long tolerate those other schools. It must always attack them.

Critical theory is therefore always the cuckoo in the academic nest. Over time, it throws out its competitors — and not in open free debate. It does so by ending that debate, by insisting that the liberal “reasonable person” standard of debate is, in fact, rigged in favor of the oppressors, that speech is a form of harm, even violent harm, rather than a way to seek the truth. It insists that what matters is the identity of the participants in a debate, not the arguments themselves

This debate is not about whether you are a racist or an antiracist. The debate is about whether, in your deepest heart and soul, you are a liberal or an anti-liberal. And of those two options, I have no doubt where I stand. Do you?
Read Andrew Sullivan's excellent essay here: Removing the Bedrock of Liberalism

See also:  Political Tea Leaves - Andrew Sullivan, "White Supremacist!"?

Monday, July 12, 2021

Pushback


Silverfiddle Rant!
Is it too much for a woman to ask to not see penises in a women's only section of a spa?

What part of Andy Ngo's reporting do you object to, and why?

If it bullies people on the street like a fascist, screams at people like a fascist, then it must be antifa fascism. 

A naked man walked through a women-only dressing room at a Korean spa, a women complained:


But it's California, so it all good! 

People protested, and Andy Ngo provided raw, on-the-ground reporting supported by mainstream news outlets



Drooling leftwing sub-morons pushed back at Andy Ngo's reporting.  They really "roasted" him with this!
The group SoCal Antifa had promoted a counter-protest beforehand and footage shows people who wore items associated with the Antifa movement at the scene. However, officials have not attributed the violence to any particular group, despite Ngo’s assertions.
What say you?

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Musical Interlude

(For politics, please scroll down) 

We live in a time of turmoil. Turmoil everywhere! People of all stripes have their hair on fire. 

Relax for a few moments by turning down the turmoil and the temperature by enjoying this harp arrangement of Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706):
 

Read details about the above piece HERE.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

A Win for the Good Guys


Silverfiddle Rant!
Its a depressing reality:  Someone makes a sincere comment regarding race, gender or some controversial subject, and the person is dogpiled and cancelled for her irresponsible outburst of WrongSpeak.  Reasonable people who value their jobs and their social standing lapse into repeating approved phrases from the Little Red Book, or more depressingly, self-censor or completely remove themselves from the increasingly unhinged "dialog."

Fortunately, there are good people out there fighting against this neo-Maoist crap, and some of them are winning!

Britian's Royal Academy of Arts featured the works of German-born textile artist Jess de Wahls, until the digital Red Guard dug up an old post of hers...
 "in which de Wahls wrote that “a woman is an adult human female (not an identity or feeling),” and that trans women are “biological males [who] choose to live as a woman, or believe they actually are women.”
The Royal Academy removed her items and fired off an Instagram repudiation of the German ogre. Sometime after that, the Royal Academy pulled a 180:
“We have apologised to Jess de Wahls for the way we have treated her and do so again publicly now,” read the RA communiquĂ©. “We had no right to judge her views … This betrayed our most important core value—the protection of free speech.”
You can read the whole story here:  Quillette - Standing up to the Gender Ideologues

After reading this, it occurs to me the band Mumford and Sons missed a golden opportunity.  If the whole band had stood up for the right of one man to comment on a book, they could have dealt a major blow to the Outrage Tyranny gripping the west.  

What say you?

Monday, July 5, 2021

Anti-Racists: In Their Own Words


Silverfiddle Rant!
This is Marjory Tailor Greene on the left, cloaked in academic robes:

“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” - Dr. Kendi

We discussed CRT last week, and I am learning along with all of you.  I now think that what is being taught in schools, corporations and government bureaucracies is not textbook CRT, but rather CRT's pop psychology crack baby.  Whatever you call it, an increasing number of Americans don't like it.  Having said that, I still think CRT is a good handle.
"Critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law." (Critical Race Theory - An Introduction)
Followed up by their nods to Gramsci and Derrida, it is clear the Critical Race theorists are all about tearing down a system where in the span of 160 years, black people have gone from the chains of slavery to university graduates, professors, doctors, decorated soldiers, generals, CEOs of major corporations, etc. 

In this society they want to tear down, POC students sit equally beside "white" students, POC enjoy equal status, and supervision over, "white" people in workplaces all over America, and POC are fully embedded in our military, and most importantly in our de-segregated neighborhoods. "White" people and people of color enjoy parties in each others homes, school functions, BBQs and sporting events together.

This is the system the carnival barkers, grifters, charlatans, latte leftists and Che Guevara wannabes want to tear down. Fie on them all.

CRT Critic and hate totem of the left, Chris Rufo sums it up best: 
"The game is that they want to create an essentialized racial category ("whiteness"), load it with negative connotations, then impose it on individuals through guilt, shame, and school indoctrination. This approach is reductive, manipulative, and malicious. Don't fall for it."
Chris Rufo has a website that features his Critical Race Theory Briefing Book.  Here are a few quotations:
“All whites are racist … because we benefit from systemic white privilege. -- Wildman and Davis, Readings for Diversity and Social Justice

“All white people are racist or complicit by virtue of benefiting from privileges that are not something they can voluntarily renounce.” -- Barbara Applebaum, Being White, Being Good

“Whiteness by its very definition and operation as a key element of white supremacy kills; it is mental and physical terrorism. To end the white terrorism that is directed at racially oppressed people here and in other nations, it is essential that self-identified whites and their whiteness collaborators among the racially oppressed confront their white problem head-on, unencumbered by racial comfort.” -- Johnny Williams in the Hartford Courant

“White people raised in Western society are conditioned into a white supremacist worldview because it is the bedrock of our society and its institutions … Entering the conversation with this understanding is freeing because it allows us to focus on how—rather than if—our racism is manifest.” -- Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility
I do not want anyone to silence, ban, censor, cancel or deny tenure to Robin DiAngelo, Ibram Kendi, Nikole Hannah Jones or the rest of their fellow travelers.  I want those people to come down from their gilded pulpits and debate: State their thesis and submit their ideas to academic examination and debate with those who oppose their half-baked hokum.  

Saturday, July 3, 2021

October 19th, 1781


Silverfiddle Rant!
The United States of America: Founded in Optimism

Should Independence Day be celebrated on a different day?  History buffs like to point out the Continental Congress voted for independence from Britain on July 2nd.  Some argue that July 2nd should be the day to celebrate, but I used to have a totally different date in mind.  

Somewhere in my young life, can't remember when, I was shocked when I realized the United States did not gain sovereignty on July 4th 1776: That was when the war started, not when it ended in our victory (I was a poor student).
America declared its independence in 1776, but it took another five years to win freedom from the British. That day came on October 19, 1781, when the British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered his troops in Yorktown, Virginia. (America's Library)
That we recognize the declaration rather than the eventual achievement says much about our national character: We are an optimistic people.  God grants all humans the gift of liberty.  It does not flow from a king or government.  We declared ourselves free on July 4th 1776, and that is what we celebrate.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

What is Critical Race Theory?


Silverfiddle Rant!

I have a very-limited understanding based on cursory perusal of some CRT articles and one book. This post won't explain it to you.  I will provide here a few links to things written by CRT partisans and some quotations from those sources. 



First up, a 'Splainer from the splainiest splainers of the progressive left, Vox.  They lament the fact that CRT has morphed into a catchall category, one used by Republicans who want to ban anti-racist teachings and trainings in classrooms and workplaces across the country.

Critical race theory emerged in law schools in the 1970s and ’80s as an alternative to the mainstream discourse and classes on civil rights law, many of which held that the best way to fight racial discrimination was to enact legal reforms.

Critical race theorists...posited that racism is endemic and institutionalized in the United States.

The group was skeptical of legal theories that supported colorblindness, objectivity, and neutrality

Every analysis of the law should be grounded in historical context, arguing that “racism has contributed to all contemporary manifestations of group advantage and disadvantage along racial lines, including differences in income, imprisonment, health, housing, education, political representation, and military service.”

Critical race theory acknowledges, values, and centers the knowledge of people of color who experience racism daily.

Critical race theory is “interdisciplinary and eclectic,” meaning it borrowed from a number of traditions like feminism, Marxism, and critical legal theory.

“The interests of all people of color necessarily require not just adjustments within the established hierarchies, but a challenge to hierarchy itself.
The Vox article tracks with the book, Critical Race Theory, An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic.  From the book:
The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power.

Unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.

It also draws from certain European philosophers and theorists, such as Antonio Gramsci and Jacques Derrida, as well as from the American radical tradition exemplified by such figures as Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Power and Chicano movements of the sixties and early seventies.
The book's introduction lists several CRT propositions:
Racism is ordinary, not aberrational—“normal science,” the usual way society does business, the common, everyday experience of most people of color in this country.

Most would agree that our system of white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material.

Race and races are products of social thought and relations. Not objective, inherent, or fixed, they correspond to no biological or genetic reality; rather, races are categories that society invents, manipulates, or retires when convenient.

Intersectionality

The voice-of-color thesis holds that because of their different histories and experiences with oppression, black, Indian, Asian, and Latino/a writers and thinkers may be able to communicate to their white counterparts matters that the whites are unlikely to know. Minority status, in other words, brings with it a presumed competence to speak about race and racism.
You can search and read the entire book on-line here.

What say you?

Monday, June 28, 2021

CRT Sematical Jiggery Pokery


Silverfiddle Rant!
Critical Race Theory is under sustained attack by grass roots Americans all across the ideological spectrum.  

The CRT grifters are fighting back with one of the pseudo-intellectual left's favorite tactics:  Semantical Jiggery Pokery.  Like when a good American scorns a progressive policy by calling it socialist, and a thousand sneering pedants emerge to tie you up in dorm room sophistries involving the differences between communism, marxism, socialism, etc and mock you as ignorant for not knowing all the terms.  

Common sense people lose patience with this.  It's like pornography.  I don't need to be steeped in the theories and history of porn to know it when I see it.  

Leftists are shouting down the burgeoning CRT rebellion by saying the WrongThinkers don't even know what Critical Race Theory is, or they misunderstand its terms, they are applying it to phenomena that are not CRT.  My favorite:  Imperiously stating one cannot argue against CRT until one has slogged through thousands of pages of turgid CRT "theory," which is at best a hodge-podge of writings with no foundation of facts, data or quantitative analysis one can use to judge the validity of its many claims.

One of the tenured high lords of Anti-Racism compares his science-free area of study to astrophysics. He has built his career on either-or fallacies like this...
The cause of racial inequity is either racist policy or racial hierarchy. The racial problem is the result of bad policies or bad people.
Either Black and Latino people are the least likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because there’s something wrong with them—or the inequity stems from racist policy. Either Black girls are six times as likely to be expelled from school as white girls because they misbehave more—or the inequity is caused by racist policy. To believe in racial hierarchy, to say that something is wrong with a racial group, is to express racist ideas.
Leftwing partisans like Joy Reid (why are the two crabbiest, most joyless women on TV ironically both named Joy?) respond by using their control of the medium and microphone to shout down anyone making sense.  See:  RCP - Joy Reid v Chris Rufo

So is it really CRT that has parents all across the US in revolt?  

Technically, probably not, based on my limited study, but that is irrelevant. In order to freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it, you first have to name it.

The National Review editors provide the best defense for calling this crap CRT, even if that doesn't technically fit what is going on in classrooms, government employee seminars and corporate training sessions:
The intellectual roots of CRT can be found in Marxist-influenced critical theory, which began in the academia of Weimar Germany. It developed into an “intersectional” ideology at Harvard Law School in the late 1980s, through KimberlĂ© Crenshaw and other supporters of Professor Derrick Bell. In recent years, however, it has metastasized into the pop psychology of bestsellers such as Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility as well as pseudohistory such as the New York Times’ 1619 Project.
What say you?



Saturday, June 26, 2021

Music & Solzhenitsyn


Silverfiddle Rant!
“Rub your eyes and purify your heart — and prize above all else in the world those who love you and who wish you well.” — Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

Winston Marshall is leaving Mumford & Sons.  He made the mistake of praising Andy Ngo's new book, and the torrent of sewage spewing at him from the rabid left is affecting the band.

He explains it all here.  I neither praise nor condemn him.  He's been walking a thin line, and it appears he now sees what a futile effort that is.  Ideologues want all of you: Heart and soul, body and mind, and you must recite all the right words. No nuance.

He includes this quote from Aleksander Solzhenitsyn:
“And he who is not sufficiently courageous to defend his soul — don’t let him be proud of his ‘progressive’ views, and don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a distinguished figure or a general. Let him say to himself: I am a part of the herd and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and kept warm.”
I leave you with an appropriate Mumford & Sons song:  Hopeless Wanderer.  Apologies for not picking a classical selection for this weekend, but I am fairly ignorant of that genre...




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