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This Is What Unbiased Looks Like

I saw one of those, “Obama accomplishments” sites posted on G+ with the following commentary:

I know, because I am a grown up who lives in a reality based world, that there is no candidate that will ever wholly satisfy me. However, Obama comes pretty darn close. I don’t like everything he has done, but there are a LOT of things he has been able to accomplish. The list is surprisingly large considering there has been a powerful group whose main goal it has been to throw up road blocks the whole time (even when it means going against values they already spoke out FOR–which is just fuckdiculous).

I just want to say that this person is an idiot. She’s the kind of idiot that will destroy the democratic party (I mean, destroy faster), the way that republicans that followed Bush into the rabbit hole destroyed the Republican party. Republicans were happy to go against every single tenet of conservatism, just to support Bush. And in exchange, they got giant government, fiscal recklessness the likes of which we’ve never seen, and the most invasive foreign policy this country has ever practiced.

Obama has done some good things, no question. There are a lot of things that Obama has been awful on. Civil liberties, for instance. It’s almost less galling to have my civil liberties gutted by an idiot, than by a freaking constitutional law professor!

He didn’t do a damned thing to reform Wall Street. Nada. Fortunately, he’s very likely going to preside over the next economic collapse, so he will get the opportunity to suffer as a result of his own inaction.

His crackdown on whistleblowers, his administration’s treatment of Bradley Manning, and his complete disregard for the promises he made regarding states rights on the medical marijuana issue are all appalling.

But the worst thing are the signature drone strikes (as opposed to targeted drone strikes). Signature strikes are when they bomb the crap out of a site that has “signatures” of terrorist activity. No intelligence. These are strikes where they target of groups of men who bear certain signatures, or defining characteristics associated with terrorist activity, but whose identities they don’t know.

I’m frankly disgusted with any democrat that is okay with this. I’m disgusted with any democrat that doesn’t talk about this atrocity every day. You can’t be disgusted with something when Bush does it, and then be okay with it when Obama does it. The person who referred to Obama as “almost wholly perfect” is a great little foot soldier for the democratic party, but she just plain sucks for liberalism.

Republicans did the same thing for Bush, and now they have no ideology left.  They believe in nothing other than hating democrats.

These loyal little foot soldiers for Obama will end up with the democratic party they deserve. Unfortunately, so will I.

Yeah, I’m voting for Obama. But I’m going to call it like I see it. I’m voting for the lesser of two evils. Obama is less evil than the alternative. And the Obama cheerleaders, they just make me fucking sick.

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Voting Third Party

I was going to write about the conventions today, but I decided to do something different. My impression of the conventions is pretty clearly spelled out on my Facebook page.

I received two questions this week alone, asking why I don’t write or comment more about third party candidates. I’m assuming these questions are rooted in recognizing that I’m not a partisan hack. I call bullshit anywhere that bullshit exists, without doing the “calling it even” crap that the main stream media does. It’s not even. One party is significantly more destructive to most Americans than the other is. Any true conservative or liberal would agree with that assessment. Real conservatives completely lost their party eleven years ago. Liberals are in the process of losing their party, as I write this.

So why don’t I talk about third party candidates? I have two main reasons. Let me start with the most insignificant, and easy to explain. I don’t like either of the two most popular third party candidates; Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. I like Gary Johnson as a person, but libertarianism is the single most childish ideology ever created by the human race. I don’t want to go on a long rant about libertarianism, so let me cut to the jugular right away. Unless you can provide an example of a single country or civilization in which libertarianism has successfully brought prosperity or growth, you’re basically advocating for the existence of unicorns. I’m not interested in your unicorn because I’m an adult. I like to form my opinions based on empirical evidence and historical precedent. On to Jill Stein. I just don’t like her, even though I agree with almost everything she says. I’ve heard a few interviews with her now, and I’ve concluded that she doesn’t listen. She’s the type of person that waits for her turn to speak, without absorbing or considering anything that is being said on the other side of the conversation. And her rebuttal to the point that voting for a third party is an exercise in futility is also childish. She thinks that even though she doesn’t have a snow balls chance in winning, that every vote for her (or any third party) diminishes any “mandate” that the victor will ultimately have. BULLSHIT. George W Bush barely got selected to be president in 2000. He didn’t have anything resembling a mandate and yet, he barreled through his presidency as if he were the imperial president.

This mandate thing is nonsense, because our representatives don’t give two shits about your opinion. I can give you a long list of examples, but let me briefly give you two. Afghanistan. We’re over it. Democrats are over it, and republicans are over it. Now that we killed Bin Laden, no one can make a cogent argument for why we’re still there. And yet our representatives, republican and democrat alike, won’t get us the fuck out because the defense companies that own them don’t want us out. My second example is social security. Three quarters of Americans (republicans and democrats combined) don’t want to see a single cut made to social security, ever. Most of those people don’t even understand that there’s an easy fix to the social security problem. If they did, that 3/4 number would go up. And yet, the vast majority of our legislators can’t fucking wait to make the “grand bargain”, which will result in significant cuts in benefits. Obama, Boehner, McConnell are all on the same page on this one. Instead of raising the cap on contributions into the fund, they want to raise the retirement age and cut benefits.

At this point you’re probably thinking that I’m making a great argument in favor of third party candidates. I’m not, and here’s where I turn it all around. Our politicians aren’t people. They’re tools. They don’t give a shit about your needs because they don’t work for you. They work for the interests that pour money into their coffers to get them elected. This is the fucked up system of governance that we must work within. We have a system in which the candidate with the most money wins their election 94% of the time. Think about that for a second. The person with the most money wins NINETY-FOUR PERCENT of the time. The ideas and the people running are irrelevant. Good guy/ bad guy, ideological purist/ pragmatist; none of that matters. The only thing that matters ninety four fucking percent of the time is the MONEY.

The irony is that I believe that a bigger percentage of third party voters know that statistic, than the rest of the population. That’s true of the third partiers I know, anyway. But when you know that fact, supporting third parties is even more inexplicable because you still have to believe that the better idea can win. That is not fucking possible, and the empirical evidence tells you that it’s not possible.

As long as we have to operate under this system, voting is an exercise in picking the less damaging, sell out candidate among the options available to you. That’s just a fact. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t call myself bitchy for nothing. You need to grow the fuck up, and realize that there is no political nirvana to be had in this system.

We have to fix the goddamned system before we can expect anything good to come out of it. Voting for a third party candidate is like flicking water off your fingers at a wildfire, and expecting to extinguish that fire. It’s actually worse because what you think is water on your fingers, is actually little tiny droplets of gasoline. The interests that control our government fucking love it when you vote third party because you’re practicing self voter suppression. You’re throwing your goddamned vote away and helping their guy win by checking out of the system. Voting third party is an exercise in futility, and it always will be.

I will be writing a lot about what we need to do to fix this monumentally fucked up election system of ours after the election, and as followers of this blog grow. It’s going to take a lot of proactive work, on the part of a lot of us. But right now, we have an election to deal with. And we have to have that election with the current system in place. We have to focus on minimizing the damage.

We can’t help to elect candidates that want to tear down our social safety nets as quickly as possible, and destroy our already pathetic education system in order to feed the corporate profits of their masters. In case you haven’t figured out yet, that would be 100% of republicans, and roughly 40% of democrats. I don’t care what a politician calls themselves. Whether they’re republican or democrat, you have to pick the one that will slow down that dismantling of our social contracts.

You have to do this until we change the system. I’m a sunny optimist. I believe that we can fix the system, and I have an idea of how to do it. But right now, we have to keep our eye on the prize and get through this election cycle.

I just don’t see how voting for a third party candidate is going to serve your best interest. I hope that answers your questions on this topic.

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Powerless

It’s a state of being that I simply don’t believe in. I fundamentally believe that the only circumstance under which a person is powerless, is one that is self imposed. Once you accept the notion that you’re powerless, you’re fucked.

As I’m watching the Occupy Wall Street movement evolve, my belief that powerless doesn’t exist is being reaffirmed. This is a group of people that weren’t deterred by the fact that the main stream media ignored them. They weren’t deterred by the abhorrent, and sometimes brutal treatment they received from the police. They weren’t deterred when the media finally decided to pay attention, only to diminish and deride. They weren’t deterred when people claimed not to understand why they’re pissed. They just kept doing what they were doing, with little regard for what the world around them was saying.

And their determination spread around the world like wildfire. People are joining the movement in droves in cities all around the world. They decided they weren’t powerless, and the world had no choice but to believe them.

We, as a country are in pretty hopeless times.

We have corporations whose imperative lies in exploiting the American worker as much as they can in order to increase their bottom line in order to sell their goods to other countries. I say other countries, because our corporations are acutely aware of the fact that Americans are running out of money. That’s why they’re not hiring. They would hire up to increase production if there was a market for their goods. They’re not not hiring because they’re “uncertain” about whether or not their taxes are going up. And frankly, you would have to have undergone at least two lobotomies in order to believe that horseshit. They’re not hiring because there’s no one to buy their shit. We’re all spending what we have at the Apple Store. There’s nothing left to spend anywhere else!

We’re in hopeless times because we no longer have a government that serves the people. They’re too preoccupied fellating their corporate masters, and there’s nothing they won’t say or do in order to get that corporate cash. And there’s very little daylight between the two parties anymore, at least not when it comes to protecting and preserving the middle class.

We have a supreme court that is hell bent on giving corporations supreme power over the people. The supreme court is where the corporations are looking for some serious deep throat action. Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas have never, ever, not once in their miserable lives ever stood up for a person that works for a living.

We’re fucked because on that rare occasion that we actually elect a good person to office, it takes them roughly ten minutes from the time they’re sworn in to realize that they have to raise $35,000 a day to keep their seat. If you know nothing about two candidates running against each other for a seat, other than how much money they raised, you can predict the winner 94% of the time if you assume that the candidate with the biggest war chest will be the winner. That is fucking disgusting, but it’s the system of governance we’ve been reduced to. It doesn’t matter who you vote for; your candidate is a whore, because the system turns them into a whore.

It’s all pretty fucking grim. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m the opposite of a partisan hack. I’ve probably used more words to describe how democrats, and specifically Obama have failed America, than I have detailing republican corruption. I do that because republicans have clearly been tools of corporate America for decades. Any thinking person can see that. But it’s democrats, our last bastion of hope, that are no longer any hope at all. Obama isn’t going to do s fucking meaningful thing to save our economy or our middle class.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how it’s possible for me not to feel powerless, while being completely cognizant of the fact that corporations, politicians, and even the courts are all determined to fuck the middle class. My sunny optimism is still alive and kicking because we still have one (yes, just the one) option available to us. It’s not an option that’s as easy to exercise as going to vote. This option entails getting the majority of Americans on the same page, which is why the ongoing theme in this blog, is to leave your partisan delusions behind.

Most people don’t realize this, but congress isn’t the only mechanism by which a constitutional amendment can be created. Both Dylan Ratigan and Cenk Uygur have started to organize a movement to call for a constitutional convention. Here’s Cenk describing what he’s doing;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg0O3OyWi5Y[/youtube]

I know that this sounds like a long shot, but it’s the only option that we have to reclaim our democracy. I truly believe that there’s no other solution.

Occupy Wall Street is a fucking brilliant lead-in to taking the next step. It’s helping people to focus in on who the real enemy actually is, rather than bickering over partisan sideshows. Up until now, our problem has been that we’ve been too busy demonizing the other party, to really focus in on the real problem. I’m not saying that there isn’t a long way to go before a constitutional convention can happen. I’m saying that we don’t have any other options. If we don’t believe that we can make this happen, then we render ourselves powerless. That’s when we’re fucked.

If you can donate time or money to the cause, please do it! Right now, Cenk is more focused on creating the organization and gathering volunteers but funding the operation will be necessary. Here’s the link to sign up to get involved;

http://www.wolf-pac.com/

If you can’t find the time or the money to get involved, then you can help to focus the conversation. Stop with the liberal versus conservative debates. They’re not getting us anywhere. Focus on the one issue that any rational American can agree on. Once we take care of this problem, we can have real debates on how to govern.

And look, most of the issues that divide us all get solved by extricating corporate money from our political system.

You want smaller government? Great! The lion’s share of pork in our federal budget is there because special interests have paid to put it there.

You want to end the wars? Awesome! We have a better shot at ending them when they should end, if defense industry lobbyists aren’t paying to keep them going.

Do you fucking hate unions? No problem! They won’t be able to influence our elections either.

Want to end Monsanto’s domination over the world’s food supply? Done!

Wanna legalize pot? Imagine how much easier it will be to do that, without pharmaceutical lobbyists putting up a road block.

Think that climate change is a hoax? Great! You’ll be more confident in the scientific findings when all of that pesky special interest money stops polluting (so to speak) it.

Are you in favor of capitalism and the American dream? So are we! But capitalism isn’t what we have right now. I’ve been making an argument lately that seems to be resonating with people that think they’re against Occupy Wall Street. I’ve started to explain how box stores have come to dominate the retail industry in America. Most people don’t realize how this all works. When Walmart or Home depot decide that they want to open a store in your community, they get the cost of building that store paid for in tax payer dollars by buying the local politicians. And once the store is built, they strike a deal in which they get to keep the sales taxes they collect for a specified period of time. How the fuck are you supposed to compete with that, if you want to open up a store of your own? The advantage that these companies have, by being to strike a better deal with suppliers because of the volume that they can commit to buying isn’t enough for them. They need to make sure that they crush any possibility of competition. That’s not fucking capitalism, and no one can make an argument that is is. Do you see my point?

No one can argue with this if you stop framing the argument on partisan terms. Change the way you speak to your friends, frenemies, whackadoodle Rush Limbaugh loving in-laws, and whoever else you talk politics or world affairs with. And if you have people that you only talk to about celebrity gossip, talk to them about this issue too.

Get involved in any way you can. We need to believe that we’re not powerless anymore! Please forward the Wolf-Pac link to your friends, frenemies, etc. 

http://www.wolf-pac.com/


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Played

Have you heard? Our president is an enemy to Israel! I’ve been listening to that bullshit for a couple of weeks now, and I feel compelled to speak up.

I don’t write about Israel very often because, while I have very clear thoughts on the topic, it’s still more emotional and visceral than US politics for me. I’m Jewish. I come from a thousand generations of Jews. As far as I can tell, there’s no infusion of gentile DNA in my ancestry. Genetically speaking, I couldn’t be more Jewey. I was born in Iran, where a branch of my family somehow ended up. None of us are still left in Iran. Most of us moved to the US around the time of the Iranian revolution. But the lion’s share of my family lives in Israel.

I give you all of that background to explain why this post may seem like it’s all over the place. I have many thoughts in the topic of Israel. I like to think that my opinions are all rooted in pragmatism and fact, but I recognize that the truth is that many are visceral and emotionally derived.

I’m not an Israeli apologist any more than I am a democratic party apologist. I believe that it is the duty of each member of any “tribe” to speak out when their tribe behaves unjustly. Group think has never turned out well for any group. That said, I want Israel to exist in peace, free of the kind of daily security concerns that erode the quality of life. I don’t believe it’s possible to prosper under the oppression that is insecurity. So when I speak out against something that the Israeli government has done, it’s because I believe that they are undermining any hope that Israel may have of being secure.

I was appalled when Ehud Olmert bombed the shit out of Lebanon for thirty-four days in 2006. He ordered the seemingly endless bombing in response to rocket attacks by Hezbollah that killed five Israeli soldiers. Let me back up for a second and tell you about Hezbollah. They’re a group of dickless anti Israel terrorists, funded mostly by Iran and Syria. I refer to them as dickless because they like to embed themselves in suburban neighborhoods so that they can use innocent civilians as shields. They’re fucking pussies. You are completely devoid of courage when you have to hide behind children to protect yourself.

Olmert responded to Hezbollah by bombing the shit out of Lebanon for thirty four days. Roughly 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed. About a million Lebanese, as well as roughly 500,000 Israelis were displaced from their homes.

Olmert made both a tactical and a moral mistake. Tactically speaking Israel bombed Lebanon for over a month and still failed to get the job done. This seriously diminished the perception of the strength of the Israeli army.

And then there’s the issue of Israel’s moral bankruptcy. Israel killed 1,200 people in response to the murder of 5 soldiers. WTF? Olmert’s complete lack of regard for the collateral damage that he was doing was appalling. Israel’s actions were so indefensible, that they came out of the whole incident with the stink of terrorists on them, even though Hezbollah started the conflict. That complete disregard for innocent human life is vile. I don’t care who you are, you’re just fucking disgusting and totally unjustified.

So Hezbollah ended up winning that one. They’re still sending rockets into Israel, despite Olmert’s determination to bomb them into oblivion, and they showed Israel to be cruel. That situation couldn’t have turned out better for Hezbollah. They turned Israel into the bad guys, whose military isn’t all that after all.

It’s not possible to fight terrorists with bombs because they have a tactical advantage in that, they don’t have a country to bomb. No, anti terrorism is best accomplished through intelligence and police work. That thirty four days of bombing Lebanon seriously undercut Israel’s ability to effectively fight Hezbollah. Does anyone think that the Lebanese people are more willing to work with Israeli intelligence in order to identify members of Hezbollah after this incident?

I’m also appalled by Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza. They’ve effectively turned Gaza into a prison. Palestinians in Gaza are basically not allowed to leave, and don’t have access to the supplies they need to build a productive society. It’s disgusting. And the idea that my own people can do what Israel is doing, despite the very long history of Jews being oppressed in the same way is both inexplicable and heartbreaking to me. And once again, it’s morally and tactically stupid. Israel needs to get the world community squarely behind it. They will never accomplish this by creating animosity over their treatment over Palestinians in Gaza.

Regardless of how egregious or foolish Israel’s actions are, the United States won’t condemn or sanction them. Why? Because of AIPAC (the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee). AIPAC is probably the strongest lobbying group in the US. Most people think that AIPAC is made up of Jews, but I’m convinced this isn’t true. I believe that AIPAC is made up (perhaps equally) of right wing Jews and Christian Zionists.

If you’re not familiar with Christian Zionists, let me explain. They’re a faction of rabidly pro-Israel Christians. Why would Christians be all pro-Israel? Well, that’s where it gets interesting. In their interpretation of the bible, Jews need to come home to Palestine (Israel). Once home, we’re supposed to destroy the Al-Aqsa and Sakhrah mosques in Jerusalem and replace them with the Great Temple. Once the temple is completed, the last holy war (Armageddon) will begin, led by America and England. You probably know the rest; Jesus comes… Christians get saved…. Jews that don’t accept Jesus die… blah, blah, blah.

Now at this point, any rational person would wonder why Jews would throw in with Christian Zionists, since the end game for each group is definitely not the same. Well, we’re not dealing with rational people. We’re talking about people that believe they know what God wants, and they’re going to be really fucking crafty about giving it to him.

Christians of the non-Zionist persuasion believe that their Zionist counterparts are being played by the Jews, in order to get support for the preservation of Israel. I think that’s probably a fair assessment of the situation. Christian Zionists believe they’re playing the Jews in order to move along their Armageddon prophecy so that they can chill out blissfully in heaven, while the rest of us get fucked. I think that’s also a fair assessment of the situation.

So who is really getting played? That’s easy; both sides are hapless rubes, but the extent of haplessness isn’t equal. Right wing Jews got what they wanted in that, the CZs (I’m getting tired of typing that out!) fully support the protection of Israel. I actually don’t believe that at this point, that the possibility of Israel not existing is a real one whether the CZs are on board or not. Now the Jews are massively getting played at this point. And they’re enthused about it.

Let’s break down the situation. The CZs ultimate goal is for Israel to be the center of the grandaddy of all holy wars. Doesn’t it stand to reason that when they support an Israeli action, they do so with that holy war goal in mind? How can anyone possibly think that every action the CZs take, isn’t taken with the goal of precipitating that war that they so desire? When they support Israel’s actions in Gaza or their excessive use of force, do they do so because they believe that peace will be achieved this way? Fuck no! They want Israel to be at war in perpetuity, so that an escalation to “the war” happens.

Why the fuck can’t the Jewish faction of AIPAC see this? For the same reason that the CZs can’t see that they’re getting played; religious certitude. Both sides believe that they know what God wants. Personally, I believe that if you are certain that you know what God wants, you have absolutely no use for God. What the fuck do you need God for? You know how it’s all supposed to turn out, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Fuck God! You’re the one that’s all knowing!

These people have become stupid because of their religious certitude. They have become morally bankrupt because of their moral certitude. On one side, you have a group of supposedly “Jesus loving” people rooting for most of us to die a horrible death so that they can land themselves in heaven. On the other side, you have a people that don’t give a shit who has to suffer in order for Israel to exist. I’m sorry, but I can’t comprehend the thought process of a Jew that is fine with the oppression, death, or imprisonment of another people. There is no race in the world that has suffered more horrors than the Jewish people have. One would think that all of the suffering of your ancestors would lead Jews to conclude that no one should ever be treated like that again. But no, some of them went the other way. Palestinians in Gaza? Fuck em! Israel needs to exist. Egyptians living under oppressive rule? Fuck em! Israel needs to exist. My question is, exactly how many people should suffer so that Israel may exist? Is there a number too high? I literally can’t comprehend that thought process. I believe it’s important to find the reasoning in the point of view that you oppose, in order to oppose it with any degree of intellectual honesty. But I can’t do it in this instance. I can’t figure out how one’s moral compass gets turned so ass backward.

But the blindness of the far right wing Jews doesn’t end with the loss of one’s moral compass. It also seems to afflict ones ability to reason things out. These people are rabid republicans. They stand squarely behind any piece of shit that has an “R” behind his/her name. Let’s examine why this is so incredibly bad for Israel in the long term.

First off, their boy Bush tilted the Sunni/Shia balance of power in a way that does not serve Israel well. That whole debacle was a big win for Iran, and everyone that knows shit about the dynamic in the middle east knows that. And yet, these fucking morons would welcome Bush back in a second, if they could get rid of Obama.

They also don’t give two shits about the US. Further proof of their inability apply reason to the situation. Here’s the deal; without the US, Israel is fucked. If we don’t protect them, half a dozen countries descend on Israel, fight a war that goes on for a few years, and then Israel loses. There are too many enemies for Israel to fight off by itself. These middle class eradication policies of the republican party have the US on a fast track to becoming loyal subjects of the Chinese. Any economist looking at the growing income inequality in the US knows that we’re on the fast track to the third world. You can’t have a consumer based economy without consumers (i.e. the middle class). History has shown us time again, that societies fall when there is no middle class. If you’re pro Israel, you need for the US to stay on top of the global food chain. Please stop being stupid because you have tunnel vision!

Barack Obama has never said anything controversial in regard to Israel. His speech referencing the 1967 borders was not only uncontroversial, but it’s been said by everyone in the US and in Israel for over twenty five years. Rabin, Olmert, Sharon, and yes, even Netanyahu have all framed peace talks around the ’67 borders as have two Bushes and a Clinton. This is not a new, radical, Israel exterminating idea. Stop acting like it is. That position just makes you willfully ignorant.

The inflammatory statement came from Netanyahu last week, when he suddenly reversed twenty five years of discussions by proclaiming that the ’67 borders are unacceptable to Israel. In my opinion, this guy is a reckless, arrogant asshole that hates Obama for having a Muslim father. Does anyone think that the Israeli and US governments didn’t review each others statements before they were made? Of course they did. Netanyahu changed his remarks in order to slap Obama in the face. He did this last year when he announced that Israel was going to renig on its promise not to build new settlements, while Joe Biden was visiting Israel. He was obviously trying to slap the Obama administration in the face. Hey, I have an idea; if you find this administration so distasteful, how about you give back all of the foreign aid money it has given you? Have the courage of your convictions, dickwad.

Netanhayu is never going to find pragmatism. He’s too far gone. He’s the Dick Cheney of Israel. AIPAC is never going to find pragmatism because religious ideology won’t allow for logic. But I believe that the rest of the world is reasonable, and genuinely wants stability in the the middle east. We just need to raise our voices in order to drown out the radicals, which is why I rambled on today.

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The B-Team

Remember my plea to sane republicans a couple of weeks ago? You know, when I begged them to speak up and drown out the crazies that are entering the republican primaries for the presidential election? Well, my sunny optimism has been extinguished.

It happened when Obama announced that Bin Laden was dead. Once that happened, Obama’s chances of not winning reelection dropped to roughly 5%. In my opinion, the only thing that will prevent Obama from getting a second term, is if the economy collapses before the election. Even this current state of painfully slow recovery won’t harm his chances of reelection. Short of a total economic meltdown, he’s going to serve four more years and republicans know it.

No republican operative with half a brain, can possibly assume otherwise. And my guess is that they won’t even bother putting forth a serious candidate because it’s a losing battle. Ronald Reagan failed to secure the republican nomination twice before he finally succeeded in 1980. Times have changed. I don’t believe it’s possible for a two time loser to take a third stab and succeed anymore. Our culture has changed. Once the stink of “loser” is on you, it’s almost impossible to wash it off. I can’t imagine that republican operatives are going to set up a serious candidate to lose.

In fact, I’d be surprised if Mitt Romney actually went through with a run this time around. He’s already lost a primary bid once. One more defeat, and his political career is done.

Sadly, this is going to be a republican primary of freaks from the fringe. They’re too stupid and ideological to realize that Obama is unbeatable. We’re going to be subjected to Michelle Bachman (I’m positive she’s going to run) and Rick Santorum’s batshit craziness for the next year. Yippee for America! It’s going to be 1995 all over again but much crazier since republican primary voters are significantly more radical than they were in 1995. They won’t all be insane, but the nonwhackos are going to be B-list players. Truthfully, I don’t know if the republican party has any A-list players left, but I know that they won’t make much of an effort to find one until 2016.

Newt is DOA. My prediction is that he’s out of the race by July. He shot himself in both feet and both knees when he prematurely attacked Paul Ryan’s plan to shit on the elderly. He should have waited ninety days to do that. But since he’s a complete idiot, his bad timing has him getting punched harder from the right than from the left. Most republicans have turned on Newt, which means that his ability to raise money is gone.

I have to say that Newt and Trump have been the biggest morons in this whole thing. Neither of them ever really expected to be president. They were going for either attention (Trump) or money (Newt). But they both damaged their brands so badly that they won’t be president, and won’t get any more money or attention.

I don’t believe that Sarah Palin is going to get into the presidential clown car. I never did. Not being in office is entirely too lucrative for her. But since Bachman is very likely to go in, we didn’t exactly dodge the “dim witted, hot but crazy” bullet.

My hypothesis won’t take long to prove or disprove. We’ll know if republicans are serious by August. If they don’t have a serious candidate in the race by then, they never will. And all you have to do is follow the money to know how it’s all going to turn out. The corporate campaign donations for the fourth quarter of this year will say it all. If the money is predominantly going to Obama, then it’s done. Don’t get me wrong, I’m positive that corporate America will generously show their love to congressional and senatorial republican candidates. But they’re going to hedge their bets by stuffing Obama’s coffers if they believe he can’t be beaten.

This republican primary season is going to be a clown parade that makes The Jim Rose Circus look like a Disney movie. But the worst part of this isn’t the assault on our dignity and intellect. The worst part is how fucking relaxed Obama is. He knows that he’s untouchable, which is historically the worst kind of president. I like my politicians scared. Scared of the repercussions that come with fucking me. Obama clearly isn’t scared, which is bad for all of us. He’s got the confidence that comes with knowing that the American people have nowhere to go.

If he were the type of president that actually had an agenda that he felt passionate about, now would be the time to flex his muscles. It’s too soon after the Bin Laden killing to tell if he’s going to go in that direction. The optimist in me hopes that he will leverage his political capitol to do some good, but the pragmatic side of me doesn’t see that happening.

I think that we’re going to get more political theater from Obama. I believe that he’s going to continue playing good cop, while perpetually being defeated by the bad cops. This debt ceiling issue is a pretty telling sign of what we can expect. Everyone knows that the debt ceiling will be raised. Republicans can’t block it because their Wall Street benefactors won’t allow it. Republicans are literally impotent to block the raising of the debt ceiling. And yet we’re going to see “concessions” in the form of billions of dollars in budget cuts that hurt the middle class  coming from democrats. It’s all going to be bullshit designed to make you think that democrats are well meaning, but impotent to stop it. Sound familiar? And if you fall for it, you’ll have the gratification of being on the “good team”, but you won’t have anything else.

The republican circus will be fun to watch, there’s no doubt about that. But if you’re a democrat that’s actually paying attention, fun is the only gratification that you’ll get out of it. If you’re like me, the negative ramifications of having a president with no fear of losing the next election will temper any glee that you may feel.

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Oddly Ambivalent

This describes my feelings (or lack thereof) about the Bin Laden killing on Sunday. On Monday I chalked up my inexplicable numbness to shock, but I find myself at a loss to explain my lack of strong emotions three days later.

I’ve been reading and watching the reactions of Americans across the country for the past three days, and I find myself reacting to the reactions more than I do to the event itself. I suppose this has helped me to discover what I know I don’t feel.

I don’t feel compelled to condemn those who celebrate. I especially don’t feel the need to condemn the celebratory mood of Americans that were directly affected on 9/11. If you lost a family member or worse (in my opinion), have to live with the memory of watching people jump out of the twin towers, I don’t feel the right to deny you the satisfaction or healing that this may give you. Who the fuck am I to judge your pain?

I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of joy either. I don’t feel compelled to celebrate Bin Laden’s death. I also don’t feel a moral superiority over anyone that is celebrating. I don’t feel the need to diminish anyone else’s feelings with a pompous tweet or Facebook update designed to display my moral or humanitarian superiority.

Here’s the really weird one; I don’t feel compelled to use this event as a political tool. I don’t feel like lashing out at W (if someone can explain that one to me, I’d be eternally grateful). He was incompetent and worthless. We already knew that because there’s a mound of evidence proving it. George W Bush is a fucking jackass that ruined everything he ever touched, but I don’t feel like piling this failure on top of a mound that’s already taller than twin towers will accomplish anything new.

Conversely, I do feel angry when I hear anyone giving Bush credit for Bin Laden’s demise. He doesn’t deserve an ounce of credit, and telling me that he does is an assault on reason and logic. And assaulting reason and logic makes me mad. I will concede that it’s inconceivable to assert that nothing that happened during Bush’s tenure, led to the events of Sunday night. That simply doesn’t make sense. Everything that led to Bin Laden’s demise couldn’t possible have started after January 20, 2009. That’s just stupid. And if you believe this to be true, you’re unspeakably stupid. But I do know that any valuable information that was collected during Bush’s tenure, was never leveraged by the Bush administration to get the job done. We’ve seen a long history of the Bush administration’s manipulation, misunderstanding, and misuse of intelligence gathering. Bush didn’t get Bin Laden because he didn’t care to, and because he was incapable of doing it. Period. The facts speak for themselves; Bush didn’t get it done. With all that said, I’m more angry over the assault on my intelligence than I am the actual fake credit being given to Bush.

I do feel angry when people try and diminish or dismiss President Obama’s accomplishment here. It really takes a special kind of asshole to do that. You really have to be a little dead inside to be wound so tightly into a partisan knot. When your “team” mentality supersedes any kind genuine, visceral emotion, you’re just fucked up beyond what I can comprehend. I honestly don’t believe that I would have negated the very same accomplishment if it were Bush that had gotten it done. I judge people on each individual accomplishment or fuck up, independent of past accomplishments and fuck ups. We like to paint with broad brushes and either lionize or demonize across the board because doing so is easier than thinking. George W Bush is as close to a complete and total fucking loser, as any president we’ve ever seen in the history of the world. I still capable of giving him credit for not fucking up the North Korea situation. I can do this because I’m not a simpleton, and I don’t need for situations to all be black or white in order for my world view to work. If you can’t give Obama the credit he’s due, then fuck you.

My feelings all seem to be centered on issues that are ancillary to the actual event, and I’m mildly disturbed by that. So I’m going to go to ground zero tomorrow, in the hope that some of what everyone else is feeling will seep into me by osmosis.

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Moral Clarity

In my experience, people that have moral clarity when it comes to politics or world affairs are ignorant, insufferable simpletons. I offer that observation in order to explain why I have not yet sorted out my thoughts in the Bin Laden situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think the world is a better place with one less lunatic extremist. But pragmatically speaking, his death is more of a emotional victory for America than anything else. It makes Americans that crave revenge feel good. It gives friends and family members of 9/11 victims closure. I’m not minimizing the value of these things, since they’re obviously important to Americans.

Personally, I wish we’d gotten him alive. I want to know what he knew.

His death doesn’t change anything in the world. It doesn’t topple the giant, superfucking scary terrorist network known as Al Qaeda because al qaeda was never what it was made out to be. I never bought into the narrative that al qaeda was this huge organization with tentacles all around the world. Not because I didn’t want to, but because common sense told me otherwise. When we learned that 100% of the 9/11 hijackers were from the same country, we should have all recognized that this was a small operation. If they were far reaching and organized, those hijackers would have been from all over the world. Shit, Cirque Du Soleil has longer tentacles than al qaeda!

The foiled terrorism attempt in the UK in 2006 confirmed my belief that al qaeda was a small operation since again, all involved were (or descendants of) from one single country; Pakistan. Again, this would have been more of a multicultural plot if al qaeda were as big as we’re supposed to believe they are.

In addition to confirming how small al qaeda really was, the UK plot told me something else; Bin Laden moved to Pakistan. When you’re a lunatic with a small number of followers, you recruit and radicalize in your own backyard because you don’t have the means to reach people that are physically very far from you. It was reported for years, that Bin Laden was in Waziristan, on the Pakistan/Afghan border. That sounded credible to me, based on the fact that the UK plotters all had ties to Pakistan. He definitely wasn’t going to hang out in Afghanistan after we went in, no matter how incompetent the Bush administration was.

So in 2007, when candidate Obama declared that he wouldn’t hesitate to go into Pakistan if he felt it was necessary, I was the only liberal on the planet that wasn’t outraged. OF COURSE we had to go into Pakistan. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s dictator at the time, wasn’t doing a fucking thing to help us get Bin Laden. I wasn’t thrilled when Obama ultimately took the drone route into Pakistan. Nothing turns people against you more effectively than if you kill one of their family members, who was just out on a slurpee run to 7-eleven, with an unarmed drone. I would have preferred he taken a more “intelligence” and policing route, you know, the way we catch serial killers and pedophiles. But this isn’t the first time this president has done something I wanted him to do in a way that I completely disagree with. I’m fairly certain it won’t be the last.

Both parties built up al qaedamania so that they could dole billions of dollars in government contracts out to their donors, in a vomitous display of exploitation. Bush was the worst of the worst, since he used this fear to do everything from invading Iraq, to stripping us of our rights to privacy, to taking away the fundamental right to habeas corpus, to a whole host of other bullshit that you’re all familiar with by now.

The one thing about Bin Laden’s death that I do have clarity about is that the GOP won’t give Obama an ounce of credit for effectively executing it. They lorded his death over our heads for eight long years in an effort to scare us into voting for them. And now that it’s finally happened, they are utterly classless. They’ve spent all morning crediting the troops that they fuck over every chance they get and the intelligence community they spent 8 years marginalizing for Bin Laden’s assassination, with no mention of Obama at all. Their minions in the right wing press are coming up with batshit crazy ways to demonstrate that Obama doesn’t deserve credit. Assertions that Bush’s wars have toughened him up, since he obviously wouldn’t have had the stomach for this type of assassination two years ago. Fantasies about how “harsh interrogation techniques helped nail Bin Laden”. Please spare me this assault on logic and reason.

Your party couldn’t get the job done. In fact, I can’t remember the last time your party got anything done for Americans. So if you show some class, then just shut the fuck up. Really, I’m sick of your bullshit.

Readers of this blog know that I hate democrats. But at least once every decade, they throw me a crumb like giving me COBRA, or repealing hateful practices like “don’t ask don’t tell”. This republican party on the other hand, does nothing but debase my country, pick my pocket to enrich their self entitled asshat donors, and crap on days like this when most Americans are proud.

Fuck you, and your “moral clarity”.


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We’re Screwed

Okay, we’ve been screwed for about thirty years now, but we got an indication of just how screwed we are this morning.

But the good news is that as we found out how very royally screwed we are, we also got an answer to a question that has confounded me for about a year and a half.

I’ve maintained for years now that our political parties are actors on the stage of political theater. We don’t have two parties that are on opposing sides. We have two parties that are beholden to precisely the same corporate interests. We have two parties that are designed to appeal to two distinctly different groups of people. We have one party that appeals to the authoritarian, “tough guy” and another party that appeals to the big thinker, “consider the big picture”. One party claims to be for the working man, while the other professes to tirelessly work to stay out of our lives. All of this is, of course theater. They’re both batting for the same team. One party is more shameless about who they’re working for, but make no mistake; democrats will take this country to precisely the same place that republicans will. They will just do it on a longer timeline. And along they way, I will give democrats credit for doing a few things for the American people, while republicans have done absolutely nothing for us for over thirty years. But at the end of the day, both parties are going to place the health and welfare of the corporations over yours every single time.

So the question with democrats is, “how big of a shill is my representative?” We already know that all republicans, with the exception of Ron Paul, are 100% shill.

Watching Obama acquiesce in perpetuity, to the point of absurdity had me wondering if it were possible for someone to be this bad at negotiation. Let’s review;

-He started off the health care debate by taking a public option off the table. Huh? Why not proclaim that anything short of a public option is a non-starter, and then back down slowly from there? But not our Obama! He starts in the middle and moves right from there. The end result was the Bob Dole plan from the 90s (subsequently the Mitt Romney plan). WooHoo! He got what republicans were willing to give eighteen years ago!

Republicans emphatically demanded that Obama cut 31B out of the 2011 budget. He releases a budget that cut 32B as his opening gambit. Was anyone surprised when republicans demanded he cut from where his budget started? He gave them more than they asked for as his opening move, and didn’t get any credit for that first 32B he cut. He then had to cut another 39B on top of that!

Be honest Obama supporters; if you were in the market for a new car, would you send Obama in to negotiate the price for you?

Honestly, he’s so fucking bad at this that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to believe that someone could suck at negotiating this much. I was honestly starting to think that he was the most wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America, that we’d ever seen in politics.

This morning, my question was finally answered. When Obama caved into the craziest among us, and released yet another form of his birth certificate, he definitively showed me that he just sucks at this. He’s the world’s most incompetent negotiator, truly.

He sent some very clear messages this morning. He told the world that there is no demand too crazy for him to acquiesce to. And there is no person too crazy for him to cave in to. He took off his shirt, and showed the world the tire marks on his back.

This weakness is about to fuck Americans like they’ve never been fucked before.Let me explain why this monumental display of weakness concerns me right at this moment in time.

Paul Ryan just came out with a budget plan that literally everyone, republican and democrat alike hates, despite the main stream media’s best efforts. Remember how they all used words like “courageous” and “bold” to describe the plan for the first week after it came out? It didn’t take long for Americans to figure out that this plan was going to fuck the old and the poor, for the sole purpose of making the rich richer. By Ryan’s own admission, his plan wasn’t going to balance the budget for forty years. Forty years? That’s at least five presidential administrations!

Republicans never intended for this preposterous plan to fly. I think they underestimated how big of a shit storm it would start, but they never really believed that they would pull it off. They made a tactical decision to open with the most draconian far right wing hand job they could, so that they could negotiate from there.

Obama had already demonstrated that he was going to start the negotiations from a right wing position when he appointed two well known social security haters to his debt commission. He was obviously planning on making cuts to social security and medicare. Given the birther cave-in this morning, I’m positive that republicans are now going to get way more out of Obama in terms of cutting those two programs than they initially imagined they could get. They would have to be in a halcyon induced coma not to seize on the spinelessness that Obama now openly wears on his sleeve.

In short, we’re fucked. We’re more fucked than we would be if Obama were merely being controlled by his corporate masters. Bill Clinton was obviously the most corporate friendly democratic president we’d ever had until now. Every subsequent democratic president was obviously going to slowly up the ante on the democratic party’s corporatism. This president predictably did, but he has no conviction. He has no conviction, and no hard deal-breakers. There’s nothing he’s not willing to compromise on. And even if he did have conviction, he doesn’t have the balls to stick to them.

He caved to the birthers. Enough said.


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Nine Most Terrifying Words

I’ve always been perplexed with politically active people that don’t believe that good government is possible. If you don’t believe that government is good, why bother to get involved?

I completely get the motivations of politicians that hate government. They want the power that comes with being in the government. It’s a great way to get really fucking rich without creating anything, or employing anyone. But the people that believe them? I find them inexplicable.

Who the fuck hears a candidate say, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help'”, and thinks “that’s who I’m voting for!“? How does that make any fucking sense? He just told you that he’s not going to help you if you elect him!

What kind of person perpetually votes for a party whose mantra is the promise of shrinking the government, despite the fact that no president in the history of that party, has ever made the government even a little bit smaller? Are these people fucking idiots?

The short answer is, yes. The longer answer lies in the inherent pessimism that fuels the belief that government’s only purpose is to fuck you.

See, republicans generally come into power and make things worse than they were before they got in. And once they’ve made things worse, they take the opportunity to leverage that crisis to make themselves (i.e the government) bigger and more powerful.

Bush ignored mounds of evidence (not to mention the emphatic warnings from his predecessor) , outlining the threat that Bin Laden poses to America. The US gets attacked, and the administration used that crisis to pursue the neocon agenda of world domination through invasion and occupation.

Ronald Reagan revived fears of a Soviet takeover of the world, at a time when no one was thinking about the Soviet Union. Iran was holding fifty-two Americans hostage, and we had an oil shortage that created long gas lines. The last thing on any American’s mind was the cold war. But Reagan gave those old fears some CPR and brought them back to life. He then leveraged the fear he resurrected, to get the American people to go along with his wild defense spending that blew up our deficit. He massively cut taxes for top income earners when he first came into office, and then had to raise taxes eleven times to offset the the shortfall that he created. In classic republican tradition, those tax hikes shifted the tax burden on the middle class.

Scott Walker turned a surplus into a deficit ten minutes after being sworn in, by cutting taxes at the top and doling out government contracts to his cronies. A minute after that, he leveraged the budget “crisis” he created to decimate collective bargaining rights for public employees.

I can give dozens of examples, but you get the idea. This is an age old tactic of the republican party. Why does it work on some people? Because if you are pessimistic enough to believe that government can never work for you, fucked up government validates your world view. It makes you right! Never mind the fact that you voted for the government. You were right, and that’s all that matters. Buying into the “nine most terrifying words” theory is purely emotional.

No rational, thinking, logical person would ever accept the idea that a human (any human) will ever relinquish power that they’ve obtained. That’s never happened in recorded history. So buying into the bullshit narrative that someone is trying to get into government so that they can turn around and give up the power that comes with the office. That’s just batshit crazy. So if you’re buying into this bullshit, you’re not doing it with your mind. You’re doing it emotionally.

That goes for you too, democrats. If you believe that a democrat will give up power that his/her predecessor secured for that office, you’re not being rational. I never, not for one second, thought that Obama was going to give up any of the expanded powers that Bush snatched up. To do so would be crazy and stupid, and I was definitely not voting for someone I thought was crazy and stupid. That’s just not how I roll. I will admit that I never saw the Bradley  Manning abuse coming under this president’s watch. I knew that Obama wasn’t going to give up the power to do anything, I just didn’t think that he would use this particular power. Don’t kid yourselves, Obama is completely aware of what’s happening with Manning. In my defense, I’m no less disgusted with Obama when he does it, than I was with Bush when he did it.

Die hards on both sides vote irrationally, but the whole foundation of republicanism is based on irrational voting and perpetuating a pessimistic world view.

We have a republican congress now, whose sole mission is to make things shittier so that they can point to Obama and tell you that government sucks. And Obama is playing into their hands by not standing up to make sure that shitty things don’t get passed.

It’s a vicious cycle, and to some degree, we’re all playing our part.

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A Shitty Deal

Not the kind from the internal Goldman Sachs emails. No, this is a shitty deal to end all shitty deals. I am of course, referring to Obama’s tax cut deal.

Has anybody looked at the details of the detail he struck? He actually went far beyond Bush’s original nation crippling tax cuts. Here are some highlights;
– The top 2% of wealthiest Americans get to stay at the 36% rate they’ve enjoyed for ten years.
– The estate tax goes down from 55% to 35%.
– Capital gains taxes get cut down to 15%

Just so that we’re clear, all of the above cuts benefit ONLY the wealthiest among us. None of these cuts benefit the middle class. The estate tax cut is even worse than it sounds. Not only did Obama cut the estate tax by 20%, but he also raised the level at which the estate tax kicks in from $1 million to $5 million. How many middle class Americans have $3 million dollar estates to hand down, do you think? Capital gains isn’t money that you earn. It’s money that your money earns. It’s stock appreciation, property appreciation, etc. The capital gains tax rate is now FAR lower than the tax rate we all pay on our paychecks.

95% of Americans don’t enjoy capital gains. WHY should any tax rate be lower than the taxes paid on earned income? That’s just crazy. Nothing should be taxed lower than your paycheck. That should be the baseline rate upon which all other tax rates are increased from.

25% of all of the tax cuts in this “compromise” benefit just the top 1% of Americans. Yeah, that’s equitable.

Did I forget to mention that this deal includes a payroll tax cut? Sounds nice, right? Here’s what it actually means; less money will be taken out of your check for your social security contribution. This will hasten the social security shortfall that wasn’t otherwise going to happen until 2037. You understand where this is going, don’t you? This is going to lead to cutting social security. This is a topic for a whole post unto itself, so I’m going to move on.

We don’t have the money to pay for these tax cuts, so we’re going to add to our already astronomical debt in order to make it happen. This growing debt significantly weakens our economy.

Now democrats will say that this deal was necessary in order to save the unemployed from running out of benefits. I say, bullshit. Unemployment benefits are a means to help people to tread water until the coast guard comes to save them. The problem with this deal is that the coast guard is never coming.

Turning this economy around requires a two pronged approach. The first part of recovery was programs like the stimulus package. The government has to step in to be the spender of last resort. When Americans have no money to spend, and corporations aren’t generating revenue because Americans are broke, that’s when the government must step in. Spending money in infrastructure projects creates jobs across a very large supply chain. The second part of an effective recovery plan is to ensure that Americans can tread water until the unemployment rate comes down. This includes programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps. These two programs not only help the recipients, but they also create exponential economic activity.

The idea is that the infrastructure projects will create jobs that cascade over a big supply chain. These jobs will in turn, generate taxable income which will ostensibly help us to pay down our debt and strengthen the federal government so that is has the resources to invest in more job creation programs. The unemployment and food stamp benefits are supposed to help people hang on until that supply chain grows enough to create jobs for the unemployed.

Obama’s deal weakens the federal government by increasing the debt twofold. We’re borrowing money to give to the rich, and we’re borrowing money to keep people on unemployment. Since there’s no further stimulus in this deal, it’s essentially all gratuitous spending with no job creation component.

Nobody is going to show up with jobs for the unemployed. The ’99ers” are going to become the “198ers”. Since I’m in the business of hiring people, let me confirm something that you already know. The longer someone is unemployed, the more unemployable they become. Hiring managers have a viscerally bad reaction to people that haven’t been able to find a job in a year. The 99ers won’t be employable until the unemployment rate dips below 5%. Once that happens, there will be a labor shortage that will make them more attractive to employers.

Nothing about this plan is going to get the unemployment rate down. Obama didn’t “save” the unemployed. He just insured that they’re going to be treading water in their current miserable state of unemployment forever. This plan just prolongs their misery. And they’re still being held hostage by republicans. I can assure you that Obama is going to have to make another appalling deal to “save” unemployment insurance by this time next year. My prediction is that the jobs report for February, when all of the seasonal retail jobs are gone, will be appalling.

This really was the grandaddy of all shitty deals.

And the worst part? Obama is now defending the bullshit republican tax policy. He’s forcing democratic house members to do the same, thereby undermining the democratic position for years to come. We’re never going to get out of this debt because there’s no one left to stand up for sound fiscal policy.

You’re burning down the house with your shitty deal, Obama. Thanks for nothing!

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