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Officials Beg Trump To Send Help After Storms Kill 20 Across The South

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      FEMA missing in action.

      In Dougherty County, Georgia, where four people were killed, county commission Chairman Chris Cohilas said Monday that he has been "begging FEMA for boots on the ground," referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

      "I'm asking President Trump to cut through the red tape and get people on the damned ground here," he said.

      http://www.nbcnews.com/news/weather/officials-beg-...

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      U.S. Judge Finds That Aetna Misled The Public About Its Reasons For Quitting Obamacare

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          THIS.

          This demonstrates insurance companies have been manipulating the ACA system for a variety of reasons.

          In Aetna's case,

          Aetna claimed this summer that it was pulling out of all but four of the 15 states where it was providing Obamacare individual insurance because of a business decision — it was simply losing too much money on the Obamacare exchanges.

          Now a federal judge has ruled that that was a rank falsehood. In fact, says Judge John D. Bates, Aetna made its decision at least partially in response to a federal antitrust lawsuit blocking its proposed $37-billion merger with Humana. Aetna threatened federal officials with the pullout before the lawsuit was filed, and followed through on its threat once it was filed. Bates made the observations in the course of a ruling he issued Monday blocking the merger.

          They tried to cover up what they planned to do:

          Aetna executives had moved heaven and earth to conceal their decision-making process from the court, in part by discussing the matter on the phone rather than in emails, and by shielding what did get put in writing with the cloak of attorney-client privilege, a practice Bates found came close to “malfeasance.”

          Here's the part that should concern every American - especially those using the Exchange and insured through ACA.

          The judge’s conclusions about Aetna’s real reasons for pulling out of Obamacare — as opposed to the rationalization the company made in public — are crucial for the debate over the fate of the Affordable Care Act. That’s because the company’s withdrawal has been exploited by Republicans to justify repealing the act. Just last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) cited Aetna’s action on the “Charlie Rose” show, saying that it proved how shaky the exchanges were.


          Trump's first Executive Order was to try to screw up ACA.

          His first act was to try and help dismantle the national health care infrastructure that currently insures 20 million more Americans than when it went into effect in 2014.

          Let that sink in.

          In the last three days, this country and the world have been subjected to some of the most blatant, irresponsible, unconscionable lies we've ever heard from any administration, much less within the first 72 hours of its existence.


          From Sean Spicer's angry claims that, in fact, Trump's inauguration WAS the most attended in history,


          to Kellyanne Conway's pathetic attempt to turn lies into "alternative facts" (really? that's the best she could do?),



          to Trump's limp, lame claims (again) just this evening that he would have won the popular vote if "illegals" hadn't voted in the election. As Lawrence O'Donnell pointed out, millions of American citizens, disenfranchised through Republican legislators and governors across the country through various voter suppression laws, were unable to vote - so how did all those "illegals" manage to pull it off? (I'm paraphrasing)



          THIS.

          THIS IS NOT 1984. I was there. It wasn't anything like this.

          And now, we see that a major insurer in this country tried throwing its weight around by threatening to pull out of the Exchange if it didn't get its way and be allowed to merge with Humana.

          Aetna actually tried to make the lie the truth. The LATimes article details how.

          Aetna isn't the only major insurer to threaten to pull out of the market.

          United Health Care announced it was leaving the Exchange, too.

          BOTH Aetna and United Health Care claimed they were losing money.

          As this article points out, Aetna was NOT losing money, as it claimed. It used 17 counties as its leverage, counties in which it WAS making money. Adding insult to injury, Aetna already had plans to start back up in these counties once the merger was completed.

          By pulling out, Aetna could say that it wasn’t competing in those counties’ exchanges anyway, rendering the government’s point moot: “The evidence provides persuasive support for the conclusion that Aetna withdrew from the on-exchange markets in the 17 complaint counties to improve its litigation position,” Bates wrote. “The Court does not credit the minimal efforts of Aetna executives to claim otherwise.”

          Thankfully, this judge has put a stop to this despicable manipulation of the market and the people.

          The Republicans, in the meantime, have been pointing to Aetna's false claims as part of their (now, provably FAKE) claims that ACA was not working.

          And if Aetna could conduct its business in face-to-face talks rather than in emails to avoid a paper trail to elude court scrutiny, it most certainly could have conducted conversations with Republican Congressmen in both houses to have alerted them to what was going on and to help garner favor for this plan and its success.

          So this lie, that Aetna has been shouting from the rooftops since last August, has now been rightly exposed by this judge. If anything, Aetna's executives should be facing whatever legal and market consequences for their actions.

          I think there should be some criminal charges for what they did. I have no idea if any laws apply, however.

          These last four days, since Friday, have been an exercise in trying not to let the tsunami of lies, coming from just about every data source there is, overwhelm my sense of what's right in the world.

          This was Trump's first official working day in office.

          The untenable amount of bullsh!t coming from the White House, its occupants, and staff, must be reined in.

          The press needs to quit giving oxygen to Kellyanne Conway's twisted little, her gaslighting, shrill, sarcastic, Washington, D.C. version of the Valley Girl act, give us all a break, and focus on people who actually intend to conduct themselves in an honest and ethical manner.

          Sean Spicer seems to have gotten the message after all the outrage surfaced after his Saturday, 'bad guy' act. Maybe he has a chance.

          Trump MUST be called out every time he lies. Every. Time. His distraction act is dangerous for this country, its economy, its security, and the "general welfare".

          The PRESS is our last bastion against this tyrant wannabe. He hasn't changed since the day he rode the escalator down and started dissing Mexicans.

          He isn't going to change.

          So we need to be on our toes. We need to demand that we are told the truth, and absent honest attempts by Trump's "administration", the PRESS has to step up, investigate, watch, question, and provide honest answers to what is going on at 1600.

          Our only other defense is going to be to clean the House in 2018. If 3-4 million women can march in snowstorms, and cold weather, and heat, then every voter needs to get to the polls in 2018 and do his or her JOB. We KNOW we have the numbers.

          Hillary won nearly 3 million more votes than Trump. So people in three states, where the combined majority total of votes for Trump were only 80,000, need to get out there and slam dunk that total to ensure we turn the House blue.


          We are going to have to get through a lot in the next two years, if Trump doesn't get impeached, and the next four, if he is and Pence becomes President. The only way we can survive this Four Horseman scenario is for the PRESS to actually BE the FOURTH ESTATE, vote the House blue, and continue to hold legislators accountable in 2020.


          In Sean Spicer's press conference on Monday, the first 3 of 7 questions were taken from lesser known, right wing reporting sources. The questions in no particular order were about dismantling ACA, defunding Planned Parenthood, and stopping any kind of abortion.

          THE PRESS CANNOT LET THAT KIND OF STAGING STAND.


          And for God's sake, we cannot let a Republican win the White House in 2020.

          In the meantime, write your current legislators and let them know you aren't prepared to sit by while a major insurance company tries to manipulate the entire system, at the expense of American citizens' health, for its 30 pieces of silver.


          http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hilt...

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-wron...


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          "1984," Revisited.

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              I read George Orwell's book, "1984," when I was in my senior year in high school.

              At that time, the USA had come through WWII as the world's economic giant, and was rejuvenating western Europe with the generosity of the Marshall Plan. The USA also had formed the military alliance, NATO, to protect western Europe from the evil empire of the day, which was the USSR.

              In Orwell's book, the evil empire was called "Oceania." It was controlled by a single political party, whose mythical head was called, "Big Brother."

              Surveillance of Oceania's citizenry was ubiquitous and oppressive. "Big Brother is watching you!" was the government's warning that you better not be doing anything the government didn't like or you would suffer consequences. And since the government was engaged in perpetual war with it's rival empire, the consequences could be fatal.

              In the USSR, dissent was brutally repressed, and if the state determined from their surveillance that you had committed a crime against the state, even if it was a "thoughtcrime," that is thinking and expressing a thought the state didn't approve of, you would be punished, and that could include execution.

              In the USA, dissent wasn't as harshly dealt with, but dissenters did suffer economic reprisals, and often were made into political pariahs (i.e., the victims of the House Un-american Activities Committee).

              In Orwell's "Oceania," this mythical state also created it's own language called, "Newspeak," which eliminated the use of certain words, which the state considered inappropriate or revolutionary. Newspeak was a way of sanitizing the language so that protestors and revolutionaries would be confounded by not being able to communicate with each other.

              And then there was "Doublespeak," which was how the government used the actual antonyms to words as their very definitions. So when the government reported about "War," they claimed they were perpetuating "Peace." Or when they spoke about people's "Freedom," they really were talking about forms of government "Repression."

              The media was of course, totally controlled by the government, and nothing was reported that the government didn't allow.

              At the time I read the book, I saw the USA as heroic and freedom loving, and the USSR as the equivalent to Oceania with the oppressive Communist Party, and its dictator leader, Kruschev as their manifestation of Big Brother.

              After graduating high school, and going to college, I more or less forgot about "1984," except for when the actual year occurred, and Ronald Reagan was president of the USA, and the USSR was still being run by a dictator.

              My fears about how intrusive the US government had become had increased during the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights struggle. I'd read reports of FBI invasions of people's privacy, if it's paranoid and criminal leader, J. Edgar Hoover, decided you were to be investigated because you protested the war or protested the white, Jim Crow, power structure in the South.

              My concerns were much alleviated by the Senate investigation of the FBI's COINTELPRO program in 1971.

              COINTELPRO was an unauthorized FBI operation that included illegal intrusions into people's lives, if they were considered to be a "dissident," whether that meant you were suspected of being a member of the Communist Party, a Black Panther, a Vietnam War or a Civil Rights protester. All such "suspects" were fair game to Hoover, and the Senate Committee revealed many violations of the US Constitution by the FBI, and ordered it to cease and desist in this oppressive operation, which begrudgingly, Hoover did.

              In today's world, the situation is in some ways better than that described in "1984," and in some ways worse.

              What is better than Orwell imagined is that we have the Internet, and social media, and many news outlets that are windows to the truth, but people have to use them or seek them out, and sadly, many don't.

              What is worse than what Orwell imagined is that a ruling party like the GOP doesn't need Newspeak to confound or confuse the people. They use the old fashioned form of Doublespeak, which is lying, relentlessly and on every communication platform possible, as the daily deceptions on Fox "News" or Hate-Talk radio or Internet sites like Breitbart and Drudge demonstrate.

              And our media as Orwell predicted, is largely controlled, including our vaunted "free press," otherwise known as the Mainstream Media (MSM). Today it is owned and operated by rich corporations, which have made "news broadcasting," a profit center. Therefore "unpopular news" or "controversial news" is avoided or usually perverted into the "false equivalencies," where a Republican Party lie or crime is compared to a Democratic Party misdemeanor such as was the case during the past election campaign, where Hillary Clinton's innocuous emails, were raised to possible "crimes against the state," while Donald Trump's relentless and incendiary whoppers about race or ethnicity, his refusal to release his tax returns, his unsavory, if not dubious ties to Putin with Putin's agent, Paul Manafort, appointed to head the Trump campaign, and his crude and vulgar sexual violations of women, which Trump was caught bragging about on videos, were all lumped into the "false equivalency" category by the MSM.

              Orwell's prediction of a "Big Brother" leadership has unfortunately been his most accurate depiction of the world today.

              In Russia they have Vladimir Putin, a ruthless and war-mongering tyrant.

              In China they have a committee that runs the government with a rotating head of state. Xi Jinping is their current version of Big Brother to issue warnings to the citizens of China, as well as other countries about the power of the state.

              In America, we have the monolithic, and depraved Republican Party controlling our Congress, and many state governments. And in Donald Trump, a minority elected Republican president, we have the personification of "Big Brother!"

              Trump tells us what is reality and what isn't, even though what he says often conflicts with the truth. The most recent example of this is Trump's denial of the massive number of people who marched against him on Saturday (The Women's March), and his inflation of the number of people who showed up in Washington, DC for his inauguration, the day before.

              We may not be living in "Oceania" in America yet, but with the perpetual wars we maintain, the government surveillance that has been going on for years, the emasculation of the media that is underway by the Trump administration, and the lies that pour out of the WH daily, we only need the rise of another COINTELPRO police state program to fulfill Orwell's most dystopian nightmare.

              "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty," we were told by Thomas Jefferson.

              In these times of one-party government, and a demonstrable authoritarian in the WH, those words need to be heeded by all Americans, like never before!!!


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              Donald Trump Signs Anti-Abortion Executive Order Surrounded By Men

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                  It begins. First shot fired from the White House was directed at the ladies. Did not Trump know who marched in D.C. and so many other cities this past Saturday? But then again, who knows best when it comes to women's issues and health better than a bunch of white males.


                  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-a...

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                  Mike Pence Disappointed In The 200,000 Husbands And Fathers Who Permitted Women To Attend March

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                      Dear VP Mike Pence: Shocking to you as this may seem, this is, as you know, the 21st century, and this is the USA, not Saudi Arabia. But perhaps you've had a Rip Van Winkle moment?

                      Poor poor VP Pence. He is feeling so crushingly disappointed in the 200,00 or so husbands and fathers who had failed so miserably in "their moral" duty and "allowed the women and girls in their charge" to attend the Women's March on Washington.


                      And what's even worse is that "many of the protesters had been granted permission to travel across the country alone and stay for several days in a faraway city with no male chaperone whatsoever to guide and look after them."

                      Well, ladies. Am I correct in assuming that this is what you think of VP Pence's disappointment and his outdated outlook on women and girls needing not only permission to travel alone but also with no male chaperones anywhere is sight to guide and look after you???


                      _________________________________________________________________________________

                      'Admonishing those responsible for failing to uphold their moral duties, Vice President Mike Pence expressed disappointment Saturday in the 200,000 husbands and fathers who had allowed the women and girls in their charge to attend the Women’s March on Washington. “I can’t tell you how let down I feel by the heads of these households who did not simply give their wives and daughters a firm, decisive ‘no’ when they asked to participate in today’s demonstration,” said Pence, noting with frustration that many of the protesters had been granted permission to travel across the country alone and stay for several days in a faraway city with no male chaperone whatsoever to guide and look after them.

                      '“There are a few men marching as well, so they must be the ones supervising this whole thing, and thank God for that. But I can’t help but feel that these ladies’ custodians—the ones who were supposed to be providing a masculine voice of reason on these sorts of matters—have really come up short today.” Pence stressed that he, for example, had told his 23-year-old eldest daughter that it was simply out of the question when she mentioned she was thinking of attending the march.'

                      http://www.sungress.com/mike-pence-disappointed-20...

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                      Personal Reflections On Women's March In Washington

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                          Since the election I have been struggling with more than a sense of disappointment. The turmoil is formed from outrage that a man so undeserving, bested the better WOMAN candidate. Outrage that even beyond the lies and relentless assault on her character, was the judgment of the men's club. Critical of Madam Secretary's shrill voice, her laugh, her ambition, her aggression, her courage, her knowledge, her accomplishments, her power, her looks, all a source of derision and resentment by many men and some women. None of these characteristics are failings in men - only in women.It was sheer joy to see thousands of fathers with their daughters and generations of families. It is our duty to hand off to them the future they deserve.


                          Anger that for years we have been bombarded with the moral failings of Hillary. Unfounded, but nonetheless a relentless assault using our own government's resources to keep her down. The outrage of seeing men get away with torturing her with endless investigations and hearings only to have them proved false, and watch as they come at her from a different angle. These paragons of morality then turned around and supported a man with so many failings one feels inadequate trying to list them all. The hypocrisy is so glaring I think anyone would be ashamed to even participate in it. Yet they did.

                          Overlying all of this turmoil is another one. One even bigger than the hypocrisy, unfairness, illegal use of our government sources to defeat an opposing candidate. The election was rigged. Not just rigged by Koch and their political machine and voter suppression, but by an outside enemy government. The man who won the presidency was conspiring with the oil and gas industry and Russia to win.

                          In my heart, I believe that the voting count is wrong and was manipulated to make Trump the winner. If we held a recount, I do not believe he would come close to winning. The propaganda portion is easy to sort out. WikiLeaks has only used its information to hurt our government and to stop the candidate they knew would keep their ambitions and greed in check. The candidate with the moral fortitude to deny greed to dictate our public policy. Russia's participation is obvious. What was not obvious was Donald Trump's and the FBI's & GOP's participation in the treason.

                          I'm mad as hell. I'm not going to get over it. I'm not going to accept the outcome. I'm not ever going to accept Trump. I'm not going to go along with the GOP's willingness to bend over for every special interest group who wants to shred our nation's safety nets, pillage our tax dollars and undermine our schools.

                          Traveling cross country was worth it because it helps knowing that I am not alone. I am not the only one who sees the struggles before us.

                          Yesterday, after the march, I visited Arlington Cemetery to remind myself that it is our duty to fight back. To not do so dishonors those who died for our way of life. No traitorous, insecure, immoral, contemptible, misogynistic, draft dodging fat toad with dyed hair and little fat hands is going to take it from us or give it away to the highest bidder.

                          It was enormously uplifting knowing how many people around the world feel the same way, and knowing we will put our resources behind making sure that the people of not just America, but of the world have a voice, and have power.

                          One of my biggest challenges is dealing with the hatred I feel towards those who have allowed this to happen, disgust with Trump's supporters who are weak and gullible and swallow the swill poured over them by the enemy day after day.

                          I'm determined to turn these strong emotions into actions to protect our children, our Democracy and against my nation's enemies and their pathetic blind minions. I'm a progressive American woman, it's what we do.

                          https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2017/01/photos-o...

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                          NOT ONE RECORDED ARREST OCCURRED FROM YESTERDAY'S PROTEST MARCH

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                              THE PEOPLE'S PROTEST MARCH, ALL OVER THE WORLD YESTERDAY, PRODUCED NOT ONE ARREST. . . NOT ONE

                              Yesterday's march was uplifting and amazing. Organized by women, and attended by men, women, and children of all ethnicities and class, people marched all over the world. In the USA it was the most attended march the country has ever seen. While we know that participation in this protest march numbered in the hundreds of thousands (many believe at least 1 million people) not one arrest was recorded as a result, anywhere in the world.

                              Prior to the march, Yabberz nay sayers (misogynists?) who were calling women "dollies," "nags," "feminazis" and "howling hyenas," insisted that there would be riots and property damage, but in an unprecedented protest, not one arrest has been announced. Not one.

                              Yesterday's protest was true grass roots. People participated because of their values and beliefs. People in other countries participated in a show of solidarity with the plight the people of the USA find themselves in.

                              This is the beginning of a true and honest people's movement that no billionaire cabinet members or bought and paid for Congress member will be able to overcome. Instead, just as Martin Luther King has said, "we shall overcome." We shall fight to make sure our government is by the people and for the people. We will not tolerate fascism.

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                              The Madness Has Begun.

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                                  I keep hoping that I'm wrong. I keep thinking that no one could be as obdurate and obtuse as Donald Trump.

                                  But then I watch his inaugural address, and it reminds me that there is no such thing as being "slightly sociopathic," just like no woman can be "slightly pregnant."

                                  His speech did not reach out to all Americans, and promise attempts to unify us as a country, instead it was like a campaign speech to his followers, saying, "Look, we won! Screw the rest of the country!"

                                  Other presidents have notably sought to pull us together as did JFK with his ringing call, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!"

                                  George W. Bush promoted himself as a "Unifier, not a divider!"

                                  And ever since the end of WWII, every American president, Democrat or Republican, has attempted to weave together an international coalition of military and trade alliances for the benefit and safety of America.

                                  We did it with the Marshall Plan under Truman, and the establishment of NATO. We did it under Reagan and both Bush presidents, and their "Coalitions of the Willing."

                                  And Barack Obama has struggled mightily to contain a brutally aggressive Vladimir Putin of Russia, with international sanctions and the strengthening of NATO.

                                  But in his speech, Trump took another radical departure from the past and promised that his policies would be to promote, "America first!"

                                  That sounds great, but how does that work out in real life? Do we abandon our trade treaties, which not only create many jobs here in the USA, but strengthen our trading partners, which helps keep them as allies? Do we abandon international agreements like the Paris Accords, and do what is best only for the USA, and expect nations like China and India to not do the same? If every nation acts selfishly and only seeks to do "what's best only for itself," the consequences will be devastating, initially for billions of people worldwide as oceans rise and wipe out their coastal habitats, but eventually for all of us.

                                  Ominously, on his first day as President, Trump closed down the government's Climate Change website. Nothing is more obvious or more dangerous than the onset of higher temperatures worldwide, and the havoc they will wreak, due to humankind's 300 year habit of burning fossil fuels.


                                  And yet, here in the 21st century, after all that science has been right about in the past, we have a president, who denies science, and shuts down the Climate Change website. He must have made the Koch brothers and all the fossil fuel companies very happy, but his act is a step in the wrong direction, and indicates far worse to come.

                                  In addition, he ordered the emasculation of the Affordable Care Act. What that means to the 20 million people who now have health insurance is frightening. What that means to the 3 million people who have jobs due to the ACA is worrisome, and what that means to all of us as the ACA put a damper on rising health insurance rates is: will we be able to afford healthcare insurance in the future?

                                  While Trump's supporters are elated and optimistic that he will "make America great again," although we still don't know what that means or how he's going to do it, since Trump is always big on promises and bereft of details. And as we know from experience, "the devil is in the details."

                                  So we will have to watch and wait and see if his actions do in fact promote the health and welfare of all Americans or if he and the GOP Congress only enrich the rich at the expense of everyone else as they have done so often in the past.

                                  I am most unsettled and perturbed, when I think of the words of an ancient Greek philosopher. His name was Heraclitus. He lived around 500 BC, and his trenchant observation was that, "Character is destiny!"

                                  If that means that Donald Trump's character is America's destiny, we are in for perilous times, because when you list the irrefutable facts about Donald Trump's character, it is a long list of fraud, failure, cheating and lies.

                                  I know Trump supporters will deny that he lies or excuse him with the canard that Hillary lied as much or as egregiously, but the fact is: he lies in the face of video evidence to the contrary, and he lies constantly. Hillary never told whoppers like Trump has.

                                  The scariest aspect of a Trump administration is that Trump is so disconnected from reality, and is sensitive to the point of being hostile to questions and criticisms. Thus, he becomes angry and defiant when challenged to produce proof of what he's saying or what he believes to be true.

                                  History has shown Heraclitus was right. Think of Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, and so many other heads of state, who led their countries to ruin, because of their deluded sense of self-grandeur. I doubt Trump can change who he is, which means that the American people will be challenged like never before.

                                  Do we rise to the occasion and demand a government of laws, instead of lies? A government that keeps our environment safe and healthy? A government that respects the civil rights of all the people, regardless of race or sex? A government free from the influence of Russia and/or the Koch brothers?

                                  In the next few years, Trump's troubling character will be tested. But far more important:

                                  The character of the American people is going to be tested, and it remains to be seen what destiny we determine for ourselves!

                                  Do we resist the GOP/Trump depravities and travesties or do we succumb, and bequeath a banana republic to our children???

                                  If you want facts (anathema to Trumpistas) go here: http://www.bombasticliar.com/


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