Michelle Malkin

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Koch-a-geddon watch: Salon picks up slack for Harry Reid while he recovers

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 22:44

**Written by Doug Powers

Harry Reid is still functioning at some 50 percent of his normal fear-mongering, demagoguing self after a horrific Abdomenizer accident, but fortunately Salon has graciously stepped up to the Koch-derangement plate to help out:

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Planetary disaster! If that doesn’t do Harry Reid proud, nothing will.

About the level of political spending by the Koch brothers, destroyers of worlds:

Tom Steyer (a liberal) routinely outspends Charles and David Koch. This is true. pic.twitter.com/npzbfsdVn6

— Joe Perticone (@Joe_Perticone) January 28, 2015

(h/t Twitchy)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Choose to refuse: Say NO to PARCC/SBAC testing

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 10:03

no-parcc-ing

Choose to refuse: Say NO to PARCC/SBAC testing
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2015

This is National School Choice Week, but I want to talk about parents’ school testing choice. Moms and dads, you have the inherent right and responsibility to protect your children. You can choose to refuse the top-down Common Core racket of costly standardized tests of dubious academic value, reliability and validity.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I’m reminding you of your right to choose because the spring season of testing tyranny is about to hit the fan. Do you object to the time being taken away from your kids’ classroom learning? Are you alarmed by the intrusive data-sharing and data-mining enabled by assessment-driven special interests? Are you opposed to the usurpation of local control by corporate testing giants and federal lobbyists?

You are not alone, although the testing racketeers are doing everything they can to marginalize you. In Maryland, a mom of a 9-year-old special needs student is suing her Frederick County school district to assert her parental prerogative. Cindy Rose writes that her school district “says the law requires our children be tested, but could not point to a specific law or regulation” forcing her child to take Common Core-tied tests. Rose’s pre-trial conference is scheduled for Feb. 4.

The vigilant mom warns parents nationwide: “While we are being treated like serfs of the State, Pearson publishing is raking in billions off our children.” And she is not just going to lie down and surrender because some bloviating suits told her “it’s the law.”

Pearson, as I’ve reported extensively, is the multibillion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate — not to mention a chief corporate sponsor of Jeb Bush’s Fed Ed ventures — that snagged $23 million in contracts to design the first wave of so-called “PARCC” tests.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers raked in $186 million through the federal Race to the Top program to develop the nationalized tests “aligned” to the Common Core standards developed in Beltway backrooms.

As more families, administrators and teachers realized the classroom and cost burdens the guinea-pig field-testing scheme would impose, they pressured their states to withdraw. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of states actively signed up for PARCC dropped from 24 (plus the District of Columbia) to 10 (plus D.C.). Education researcher Mercedes Schneider reports that the remaining 10 are Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and Rhode Island.

State legislators and state education boards in Utah, Kansas, Alaska, Iowa, South Carolina and Alabama have withdrawn from the other federally funded testing consortium, the $180-million tax-subsidized Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which administered field tests last spring to three million students in 23 states. In New Jersey, the parental opt-out movement is “exploding,” according to activist Jean McTavish. Many superintendents have conceded that “they can’t force a student to take a test,” NJ.com reports.

Last week, Missouri [CORRECTION: Mississippi] withdrew from PARCC, while parents, administrators and the school board of the Chicago Public Schools spurned PARCC in the majority of their 600 schools.

In California, the Pacific Justice Institute offers a privacy protection opt-out form for parents to submit to school districts at pacificjustice.org. PJI head Brad Dacus advises families to send the notices as certified letters if they get ignored. Then, be prepared to go to court. PJI will help. The Thomas More Law Center in Michigan also offers a student privacy opt-out form at thomasmore.org.

Don’t let the bureaucratic smokescreens fool you. A federal No Child Left Behind mandate on states to administer assessments is not a mandate on you and your kids to submit to the testing diktats. And the absence of an opt-out law or regulation is not a prohibition on your choice to refuse.

Here in Colorado, the State Board of Education voted this month to allow districts to opt out of PARCC testing. Parents and activists continue to pressure a state task force — packed with Gates Foundation and edu-tech special interest-conflicted members — to reduce the testing burden statewide. For those who don’t live in PARCC-waivered districts, it’s important to know your rights and know the spin.

In Colorado Springs, where I have a high-schooler whose district will sacrifice a total of six full academic days for PARCC testing this spring, parents are calling the testing drones’ bluff about losing their accreditation and funding.

“The Colorado Department of Education is threatening schools to ensure that 95 percent of students take these tests,” an El Paso County parent watch group reports. “Be assured that MANY parents across Colorado — FAR ABOVE 5 percent in many schools — are refusing the tests, and not one school yet is facing the loss of accreditation, funding, etc. As long as schools can show that they gave a ‘good faith attempt to get 95 percent to test, they can appeal a loss of accreditation’ due to parental refusals to test.”

You also have the power to exercise a parental nuclear option: If edu-bullies play hardball and oppose your right to refuse, tell them you’ll have your kid take the test and intentionally answer every question wrong — and that you’ll advise every parent you know to tell their kids to do the same. How’s that for accountability?

Be prepared to push back against threats and ostracism. Find strength in numbers. And always remember: You are your kids’ primary educational providers.

***

Previous:

Revolt against the testing tyrants
Pushing back against PARCC/Achieve Inc. lobbyists
Get to know the Common Core marketing overlords
Rejecting Jeb Bush’s Fed Ed racket: Florida turns against Common Core
Look who’s data-mining your toddlers
Time To Opt Out of Creepy Fed Ed Data-Mining Racket

Related resources:

No PARCCing
Fight Common Core
Truth in American Education

Drunk gov’t worker exposes White House security flaw

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 09:57

**Written by Doug Powers

It wasn’t Joe Biden after all.

The white House drone mystery has been solved:

It was 42 degrees and raining lightly around 3 a.m. on Monday when an inebriated off-duty employee for a government intelligence agency decided it was a good time to fly his friend’s drone, a 2-foot-by-2-foot “quadcopter” that sells for hundreds of dollars and is popular among hobbyists.

But officials say the plan was foiled, perhaps by wind or a tree, when the employee — who has not been named by the Secret Service or charged with a crime — lost control of the drone as he operated it from an apartment just blocks from the White House.
[…]
In the process of what officials describe as nothing more than a drunken misadventure, the employee managed to highlight another vulnerability in the protective shield that the Secret Service erects around the White House complex.

The Chuck Yeager of toy quad-copter pilots works for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Rumor has it that he’s a former GSA party planner.

The Secret Service has responded to fence-jumping incidents by adding layers of fence horizontally, and now they’ll have to extend vertically a half mile or so.

Sen. Chuck Schumer smells a regulatory opportunity:

Drones are an impt new technology but w/ airspace & now White House incidents, FAA & OMB must get long overdue federal regs on the books.

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 26, 2015

For people like Schumer, the words “long overdo” and “regulations” are redundant.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Mayor of Bridgeport thanks Al Sharpton for ‘fighting the good fight’ against snow in January (I mean ‘climate change’)

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 22:33

**Written by Doug Powers

Have you ever been stuck in heavy snow and thought to yourself, “If only Al Sharpton had more power at the federal level!” No sane person ever has, but during an interview about the “snowmageddon” that wasn’t, Bridgeport, Conn. Mayor Bill Finch thanked Sharpton for his fight against global warming, and said he’s needed in Washington.

Whoever heard of such a thing as snow in January in the northeast? Only Sharpton can save us now.

Mayor Finch would be better served to look at it this way: How much snow plow service could Sharpton’s back taxes have paid for?

***

Also…

New York City got much less snow than was forecast, which will undoubtedly be used as evidence of “climate change,” though the reason NYC didn’t get much snow could be more politically-charged:

So even the blizzard turned its back on de Blasio?

— Doug Powers (@ThePowersThatBe) January 27, 2015

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

NBC News: Bergdahl to be charged with desertion; Obama admin scurries to protect narrative

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:19

**Written by Doug Powers

The Army is charging Bowe Bergdahl with desertion, according to NBC News:

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by enemy forces in Afghanistan for five years, will be charged with desertion, a senior defense officials tell NBC News. The officials say the charges could be referred within a week.

According to the officials, the desertion charges would be based on allegations that Bergdahl abandoned his remote outpost in June 2009 to avoid hazardous duty or important service, which are grounds for charges of desertion under the Uniform Military Code of Justice, (UCMJ). According to one senior official, Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan go well beyond the lesser offense of AWOL, absent without leave, because he allegedly abandoned his post “in the middle of a combat zone, potentially putting the lives of his fellows soldiers at risk.”

NBC News cited “senior defense officials,” but the Army is saying that no decision has been made about charging Bergdahl.

Michelle covered the story of Bergdahl’s desertion early last summer while the MSM was still lapping up the WH’s spin.

Meanwhile, the White House is trying to suppress the release of the Army’s Bergdahl report to protect the narrative they tried to establish:

At the end of May of last year, President Obama made the announcement of the release of Bergdahl while joined by his parents:

Bergdahl was returned as part of a trade for five Taliban commanders who Obama released from Gitmo.

Back when some who served in Bergdahl’s platoon were saying he deserted his post, the White House reportedly accused them of attempting to “swift boat” Bergdahl.

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“Anonymous” White House officials spent some time in the second half of last year discrediting Bergdahl’s platoon mates and calling Netanyahu a “chickenshit.” They do have their priorities.

To help sell the public on the release of five Taliban members from Gitmo for Bergdahl, in June of last year, Susan Rice said Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction”:

Jay Carney made similar remarks.

Meanwhile, because of the political narrative Team Obama worked to establish, the White House was and is trying to stonewall the release of the Army’s Bergdahl report:

Gotta love those “historic levels of transparency.”

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Flashback: The story you haven’t yet heard about Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 11:16

I am reprinting my 6/3/2014 column on Bowe Bergdahl in light of the news that he will be charged with desertion. It’s about damned time.

bergdahl soldiers

Exclusive: The story you haven’t yet heard about Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2014

Five years ago, I publicly raised questions about Bowe Bergdahl’s desertion from Blackfoot Company, 1-501 Infantry (Airborne), 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

A few weeks after his so-called “capture” in late June 2009, three conflicting accounts had surfaced: U.S. officials told the Associated Press Bergdahl had “walked off” the base with three Afghans; the Taliban claimed on its website that “a drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison” and into their arms; and Bergdahl claimed in his Taliban “hostage video” that he had “lagged behind a patrol” before being captured.

I asked on my blog: Were the AP’s sources mistaken? Or is the disturbing first account the right one? What about the “three Afghans” who Pfc. Bergdahl reportedly “just walked off” with after his shift? Who are they? What’s going on?

Five years ago, one of the brave soldiers who risked his life to search for Bergdahl answered my questions and I published his statement on July 20, 2009:

“I know the story and the accounts that he was drunk or that he was lagging behind on patrol are not true– this soldier planned this move for a long time. He walked off the post with a day’s supply of water and had written down before that he wanted to live in the mountains…he is an embarrassment to everyone who has worn the uniform.”

After news broke this weekend of President Obama’s trade of 5 high-level Taliban commanders at Gitmo for Bergdahl’s “freedom,” I heard from another soldier who served on the search team.

“Many of my brothers died because of PFC Bergdahl’s actions, and this has been a very hard day for all Geronimos,” he told me after documenting his proof of service. Other journalists ignored his attempts to get the truth out.

My source still holds a highly sensitive position, so you won’t see him all over the cable news shows. But he wants all of you to know the hell he and his comrades have been reliving:

“I was assigned to 1st Platoon of Blackfoot Company,” based out of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno in Khost, Afghanistan, he said. “Bowe’s platoon was assigned to conduct security and stability operations out of FOB Sharana and other locations in Paktika. The untold background that led to Bowe’s situation involves an article and pictures published by Guardian reporter Sean Smith.” One of the battalion leaders punished soldiers, including Bergdahl (who had been photographed snoozing in his armored vehicle), with extra guard duty assignments for conducting operations in an unprofessional manner at Outpost MEST (OP MEST).

“PFC Bergdahl was already disenchanted with the war effort,” my source said, “and I think the extra duty was the last straw for him.” On the morning of June 30, 2009, “PFC Bergdahl completed a guard shift, removed his equipment, weapon and sensitive items, and left OP MEST with several Afghan security forces personnel. He took a compass, a couple bottles of water and two knives and his journal. His exact intentions may never be known, but he willingly walked off OP MEST and was secured by enemy forces not long after.”

My source, who had been up the previous night on a separate raid, was “shaken awake” on the afternoon Bergdahl disappeared. “We were told there was a DUSTWUN (Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown), and to pack for a 3 hour assault. We received a brief that PFC Bergdahl was missing, and we were going to get him…Sometime after dark we boarded CH-47’s to assault an objective thought to contain PFC Bergdahl. We never made it to the landing zone as the helicopters took very heavy fire on approach to the objective and had to divert.”

The soldier’s Focused Targeting Force (FTF) platoon was not told that it was being diverted to OP MEST. When they landed, he said, “We thought we were in enemy territory, so I recall my friends and I screaming ‘Vehicles’ and preparing to engage with the LAW and SMAW-D rockets we carried. We soon realized the lights were from RG-31 and Maxpro MRAPs, friendly vehicles, and de-escalated the situation. The CH-47’s had dropped us off at OP MEST and did not relay that information.”

With that near-disaster over, the soldier recounted: “We averaged 18-22 kilometers a day on foot, clearing house to house, room to room looking for PFC Bergdahl…We even went as far as rappelling down wells and crawling through tunnels to look for him.” The standard procedure for re-capturing PFC Bergdahl was not “normal,” the soldier noted. “He was very good with knives, and trained to throw and fight hand-to-hand with knives. We did not know the mental state of PFC Bergdahl at the time. All we knew was he left on his own, he caused us lots of hardship, and if we entered a room and saw him we would put him down because he could attack us.”

On the morning of July 4th, 2009, the soldier recalled, “we assaulted several objectives looking for PFC Bergdahl…We executed the mission without incident, and were waiting to be exfiltrated. Our aircraft were in sight when they turned and flew in the opposite direction. At the time we did not know why, but we were stranded. The enemy took advantage of PFC Bergdahl’s capture and attacked numerous outposts that morning.”

“Combat Outpost Zerok was almost overrun, multiple soldiers were wounded and PFCs Justin Casillas and Aaron Fairbairn lost their lives fighting that day,” the soldier told me. (I wrote about their deaths in my July 8, 2009 column, not knowing they were related to the Bergdahl mess.) My source continued: “We learned later that our exfiltration aircraft were diverted to support COP Zerok, and that the situation there was so dire that at one point there were two Apache gunships on station that went winchester, meaning they expended all ordinance and ammunition, but they would not abandon the soldiers still fighting so they resorted to low level unarmed passes to distract the enemy. PFC Bergdahl’s actions undoubtedly caused these events. We spent the remainder of Independence Day walking in the desert…waiting for aircraft that did not come for many, many hours.”

He added that PFCs Casillas and Fairbairn were part of his “sister battalion, 3rd Battalion 509th Infantry (Airborne). That is an Independence Day I will never forget for sure. It is certain that enemy forces took full advantage of our vulnerabilities caused by DUSTWUN recovery operations. Combat Outpost Zerok was just one of several small outposts attacked that day while 4-25(A) was spread very thin searching for PFC Bergdahl. There is no doubt his actions led to these coordinated attacks, and without his desertion PFCs Casillas and Fairbairn would not have given their lives that day.”

The soldier continued: “A few days later we (FTF) conducted a daylight raid on some tents looking for PFC Bergdahl. We took heavy small arms and RPG fire on approach and ran off the CH-47s in contact. Our entire element engaged the enemy, who turned out to be a Taliban shadow governor and his bodyguards…Multiple people died that day…All of this happened because PFC Bergdahl got tired of playing soldier. The remainder of that deployment was focused on recovery efforts. Countless members of the brigade were wounded and we lost good friends, among them PFC Matthew Martinek and 2LT Darryn Andrews. I have no doubt these great men would be alive if PFC Bergdahl did not leave.”

In addition to 2LT Andrews and PFCs Casillas, Fairbairn, and Martinek, PFC Morris Walker and Staff Sergeants Clayton Bowen, Kurt Curtiss, and Michael Murphrey died as a result of Bergdahl’s abandonment. That’s eight dead American soldiers (not six as the rest of the media has reported) betrayed by selfish Bergdahl and reckless President Obama.

My source did not mince words: “The fact that our government negotiated with terrorists and our enemy is incomprehensible. The fact that they exchanged five war criminals for a traitor is sickening. The worst part for those of us that suffered through that time is that PFC Bergdahl is being hailed as some kind of hero. He was automatically promoted to Specialist and Sergeant, ranks he does not deserve and did not earn. I have no doubt he will receive back pay for these past five years, a substantial sum. There will be book deals, and his family are celebrities. I am glad he is safe, and happy for his family, but he should return home to face a court martial.”

Are you listening, Capitol Hill and America? The Bowe Bergdahl mess isn’t just a story about one deserter, but two. There’s the muddle-headed lowlife who left his post and brothers behind. And there’s the corrupt commander-in-chief who has jeopardized more American soldiers’ lives to “rescue” Bergdahl by bowing to the Taliban, while snubbing the surviving heroes and at least 8 dead American soldiers who lost their lives because of him.

This cannot stand.

***

Sign the petition to punish Bergdahl for his AWOL/desertion.

Related:

June 3, 2014 NYT and FNC: Bowe Bergdahl left behind desertion note; Wanted to renounce citizenship

July 8, 2009 Let’s mourn the real American heroes

July 7, 2009 Forget Michael Jackson. Meet Pvt. Justin Casillas

July 5, 2009 Thank you, Aaron: A U.S. soldier’s sacrifice on Independence Day

July 6, 2014 Thank you, Aaron: An update

July 20, 2009 Questions about the reported abduction of Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl; Update: Reports of desertion mounting

WH chief of staff narrows down identity of ‘anonymous’ staffer angry at Netanyahu

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 07:26

**Written by Doug Powers

In October, a member of the Obama administration was quoted as calling Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit.” Josh Earnest didn’t deny anybody in the WH said it — just that it didn’t represent Obama’s opinion.

Fast forward the tape to this month, when John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress (which Netanyahu accepted) without first consulting the White House. Another “anonymous” Obama administration member supposedly described it this way:

President Barack Obama is reportedly incensed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for accepting an invitation to address a joint session of Congress in March without a White House clearance.

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, that the Israeli leader had “spat” in the face of the Obama administration, and that “there will be a price” to pay at some point down the road.

In summary: 17 people killed by Muslim extremists in France, ISIS spreading in the Middle East while threatening more attacks on the West, the Iran nuke threat is growing and rebels have taken over Yemen, and “somebody” at the White House says Israel will pay a price for a speech before Congress. The other problems are nothing a re-set button can’t solve.

Yesterday, the WH chief of staff narrowed down the list of possible culprits:

Said McDonough of that quote: “I can guarantee that it’s not me, not the president, and not what we believe.”

Well that narrows it down to dozens of other people. The absence of a flat denial speaks volumes.

As usual, the White House will root out the person who made the remarks and not fire that person immediately.

Also, what are the odds that Obama schedules an “important” press conference during Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress in March?

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Fauxcahontas reminds drug companies: You didn’t pilled that!

Sun, 01/25/2015 - 16:07

**Written by Doug Powers

“Big Education” capitalist Elizabeth Warren has issued another “you didn’t build that” reminder, and this one is directed at drug companies:

“We celebrate the accomplishments of our pharmaceutical industry because these blockbuster drugs let people live longer, healthier lives,” Warren said. “But we are also mindful that these drug companies did not do it alone.

“Many drugs have generated billion-dollar profits and are used by millions of consumers that don’t just appear overnight,” Warren said. “Rarely do they appear as a result of a single giant company’s individual genius.

“Drug companies make great contributions, but so do taxpayers,” Warren said. “In other words, we built those medical innovations together.”

Dances with Identity Theft has said she’s not going to run for the Democrat nomination next year, but I kind of hope she does if only for the ensuing collectivist battle royal between Warren, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden as they have furious arguments over which candidate least built his or her own campaign.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Al Gore and Pharrell are right, we need to take action against greenhouse gases — THEIRS

Sun, 01/25/2015 - 13:26

**Written by Doug Powers

A couple days ago, National Journal asked “Who is the Next Al Gore?”

Singer/producer Pharrell Williams isn’t on the list of those who could become Gore’s successor as Godfather of Global Warming Alarmism, but he certainly should be under consideration.

First of all, Pharrell claims to care about reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

Let's unite a billion voices to take #ClimateAction now. Join @LiveEarth http://t.co/WOHKadzo3D #wef15 @AlGore

— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) January 22, 2015

Pharrell heads up “save the planet” initiatives as endorsed by Gore, the latest being announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Pharrell and Al Gore announce worldwide concert for climate change action http://t.co/tPPs18OGXQ pic.twitter.com/kyTFQR7bm5

— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) January 21, 2015

That hacking cough you hear in the background is just the Alps choking on fumes from nearly 2,000 private jets that flew in to figure out how to save the planet from greenhouse gas emissions:

On that note, the biggest reason Pharrell should be nominated to take the diesel-powered “green” torch from Gore? He enjoys the reduced carbon footprint that only a private jet can provide:

Pharrell Williams urges climate change awareness. From a private jet. Where he sits, alone: http://t.co/rCfKNy4d78 pic.twitter.com/hTbPKCwpnq

— Jerome Hudson (@JeromeEHudson) January 22, 2015

@Pharrell Williams pictured arriving at @manairport on a private jet ready for tomorrows gig at @Phones4uArena pic.twitter.com/CUKGALGcYD

— Matthew McNulty (@Picturematt) September 8, 2014

Need more convincing? Pharrell, like Al Gore, enjoys living in modest digs:

Singer @Pharrell is “Happy” to sell his #Miami condo! http://t.co/O2DJSn6jdS Check out the gorgeous views: pic.twitter.com/mXhIYheBf6

— Anna Lanfreschi (@AnnaFeasts) March 25, 2014

And you can’t save the planet from the carbon footprints of coal-loving, oil-burning lower classes classes without your own ship in the eco-navy:

@Pharrell….one day AMA have me a #floating #studio literally… pic.twitter.com/pxcuBnxvys

— Ezra (@PsalmProduction) April 7, 2014

All aboard the SS Hypocrite!

Maybe there should be a contest to decide which celeb takes over as Gore’s successor: How about Pharrell vs. Leonardo DiCaprio — whoever can burn the biggest pile of tires wins.

If Pharrell and Gore along with this guy and this guy want to prove they’re serious they’ll ground themselves permanently… in Davos (sorry Switzerland but we all need to make sacrifices for the good of the environment).

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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