“During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness and to sap its safety.” —Thomas Jefferson (1805)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Leftmedia Targets Trump With Russia/Taliban Bounty Claim
- Biden’s Authoritarian Mask Mandate
- DC Statehood? Dems Want to Stack the Deck
- Coming for Christ
- It’s NOT a ‘Police Problem’
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
The New York Times dropped yet another “bombshell” story Friday clearly intended to damage President Donald Trump, this time using U.S. military personnel. The headline read, “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.” The article cites “anonymous” U.S. intelligence officials who claim that Russia has been running a bounty program for months, paying Taliban militants to target and assassinate American troops, all while the U.S. has been engaged in peace talks with the Taliban. According to the Times, Trump was briefed about the program, yet the White House’s National Security Council has not responded to the Russian provocation. Naturally, the Times not-so-subtly insinuated that Trump and company ignored the intel report because Trump is best buddies with Vladimir Putin.
However, since the February peace agreement, the Taliban have not attacked any U.S. positions in Afghanistan. For what little it’s worth, both Russian and Taliban officials deny any such bounty agreement exists. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid states, “These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless — our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources.” Mujahid asserted of American troops, “We don’t attack them.”
Trump was quick to deny the Times report, calling it “fake news.” “Nobody briefed or told me, [Vice President Mike] Pence or Chief of Staff [Mark Meadows] about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an ‘anonymous source’ by the Fake News,” Trump asserted . “Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us.” He added, “Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than the Trump administration.” Even Leftmedia outlet NPR begrudgingly admitted back in 2018 that Trump’s regular claim “might sound like hyperbole, but in this case, there’s actually some basis for the president’s boast.”
Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who left the position last month, similarly denied any knowledge of the allegations and blasted the report as a political hit job. “I never heard this. And it’s disgusting how you continue to politicize intelligence,” Grenell stated in a pointed response to Democrat California Congressman Ted Lieu, who asked him to confirm the Times’s allegations. “You clearly don’t understand how raw intel gets verified,” Grenell added. “Leaks of partial information to reporters from anonymous sources is dangerous because people like you manipulate it for political gain.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predictably sought to resurrect the Democrats’ tired and thoroughly debunked collusion narrative by suggesting that Trump is lying. “This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score [and] denies being briefed,” Pelosi huffed. “Some of our allies who work with us in Afghanistan have been briefed and accept this report. Just as I have said to the president, with him, all roads lead to Putin.”
The problem for Pelosi and her fellow Democrats is that their loudly voiced assertions have no factual support.
Even former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who is currently in a bitter feud with the president, refused to push the Times story. Bolton rejected NBC blowhard Chuck Todd’s suggestion that Trump’s lack of response was because he was “afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election.” Bolton retorted, “Honestly, I don’t think there’s evidence for that, and I think it’s a mistake … to say the Russia-collusion theory was true, which some opponents of Trump still can’t let go of.”
While this is still a developing story, it’s clear that the sole objective is to rekindle the debunked conspiracy theory of Trump being a Russian stooge. In truth, Putin would love nothing more than to see President Trump replaced by an easily manipulated Joe Biden.
The coronavirus lockdowns and mandates weren’t severe enough, Democrats are increasingly asserting. At least that’s the fundamental idea behind their recent statements.
“The one thing we do know,” insisted Joe Biden, is that “masks make a gigantic difference. I would insist that everybody in public be wearing that mask.” Would he use the heavy hand of the federal government to mandate it? “Yes, I would from an executive standpoint,” he replied. “I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.” Nancy Pelosi heartily agrees, calling a nationwide mask mandate “long overdue.”
The debate and inconsistent messaging about masks have been roiling since the beginning of the pandemic. What’s uniquely interesting — and alarming — about Biden and Pelosi’s comments is that they reveal yet again the default for leftists on any issue is to mandate things as far up the power structure as possible. These are the people, after all, who passed a law unconstitutionally mandating that Americans buy health insurance.
While states and local governments may have the authority to mandate masks (or other such things), the federal government decidedly does not. “This is what we call federalism,” observes The Resurgent’s Tom Searl. “If you watched the Democrats the past few years this may be a foreign concept to you.”
Indeed, Democrats use every opportunity to consolidate power in Washington, DC. Ironically, this is why Donald Trump vexes them so much. Mandating masks at the federal level would be unconstitutional. It would trample the Ninth and Tenth Amendments — individual liberty and the power of the states and the people. But, because Democrats would be doing this “for your own good,” they feel obliged to do it.
“Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive,” said C.S. Lewis. “It may be better to live under robber barons than under the omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
If the government can order individuals to purchase a product (health insurance), then the government can mandate all sorts of things “for your own good.” As the late Justice Antonin Scalia said during the Supreme Court’s hearing on ObamaCare, “Everybody has to buy food sooner or later. Therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.” His remarks became symbolic of the leftist busybodies’ power grabs. Eight years later, it’s not broccoli but masks. Either way, it’s the same authoritarianism that endangers American Liberty.
Despite what Democrats would have you believe, DC isn’t going to become our 51st state — not now, not ever. But that reality didn’t keep them from trotting out and playing politics with this progressive pipe dream in a shameless effort to stack the senatorial deck with two more rubber-stamp votes.
On Friday, the House passed HR 51 on a mostly party line vote, 232-180. (One Democrat, Minnesota’s Collin Peterson, voted against it.) As USA Today reports, “The bill, which now heads to the Republican-majority Senate, would allow for the admission of a new state, called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, which would be represented by two senators and one member of Congress. The new state would be named for abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who spent the last 17 years of his life in the district.”
If only. The bill will now die in the Senate, as it should — if for no other reason than to preserve and protect the standing of that glorious children’s song Fifty Nifty United States.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why the District shouldn’t be a state, despite what DC native and Obama cover-up artist Susan Rice would have us believe is “the enduring oppression of the citizens of the District of Columbia.” Let’s start with the constitutional one spelled out in Article I, Section 8: “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”
That language alone would seem to spell doom for the measure without a constitutional amendment — such as the 23rd, which was ratified in 1961 (at the urging of both Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy) and gave citizens of the District the right to vote in presidential elections and have their number count toward the Electoral College. But the Framers, in their infinite wisdom, set an extraordinarily high bar for amendment: passage by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate, and passage by three-fourths of our state legislatures. In today’s ultra-partisan environment, an amendment banning seal clubbing would go down in flames. Good luck getting Senate Republicans to agree that their grip on power should be even more tenuous.
“They plan to make the District of Columbia a state — that’d give them two new Democratic senators,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last year. The same is true of making Puerto Rico a state, he said. “That would give them two more new Democratic senators.”
As for Susan Rice’s claims of “enduring oppression,” consider National Review’s rebuttal: “DC’s median household income varied from 95.6 percent to 107 percent of the national average between 1990 and 2007. Today, it is 136.9 percent, higher than that of any state. … D.C.‘s suburbs are now the wealthiest places in the nation, and uniquely recession-proof. The District was more than 70 percent African American as recently as 1980, and racial justice is often cited as a reason to grant it statehood. In the past decade, however, it has ceased to be majority-black.”
In short, DC statehood is shameless partisan politics. Pure and simple.
The devolution of America is reaching a critical stage, and columnist Rod Dreher asks exactly the right question. “What’s your Woke Breaking Point?” We may now have an answer. “All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down,” tweeted radical BLM activist Shaun King. “They are a gross form of white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down.”
King is not alone.“Every time you see white Jesus, you see white supremacy,” asserts Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science-fiction author Nnedi Okorafor agrees, tweeting, “Yes, 'blond blue-eyed jesus’ [sic] IS a form of white supremacy.”
Both women were quoted in an article denigrating artist Warner E. Sallman’s “Head of Christ,” a portrait of Jesus that achieved mass popularity in the mid 20th century. In the same article, author Edward J. Blum reveals the endgame the revolutionaries have in mind. “If white Jesus can’t be put to death, how could it possibly be the case that systemic racism is done?” Blum asserts. “Because this is one that just seems obvious. This one seems easy to give up.”
Obvious? Who’s kidding whom? This isn’t about white Jesus or any other religious statues that have represented Christianity for over two millennia. As columnist Andrea Peyser astutely notes, “Biblical figures have long been represented by images that resemble the artist’s own community. So in Ethiopia, Jesus has been depicted as black for more than 1,500 years. In the Far East, works showing Jesus as Asian can be found. There’s nothing to stop artists from creating new works depicting Jesus however they wish.”
That’s not good enough for a mob that does not wish to compete on the battlefield of ideas, culture, or religious sensibilities. Their agenda is about the acquisition and maintenance of absolute power — by any means necessary. Thus, attacking one of the few bastions of conservatism that hasn’t been completely defiled by capitulation to “woke” sensibilities is an absolute necessity.
And just to be clear, this is not in reference to the Christian leaders in various denominations who long ago surrendered their moral authority to the mob. This is about ordinary Americans derided by former President Barack Obama as people who bitterly “cling” to their religion because they dare to stand against an all-encompassing progressive dogma.
One that now threatens their very existence.
Thus, an army of wannabe fascist enforcers is displaying an animus that abounds in the history of totalitarian takeovers. “Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries have always hated Christianity because it elevates truth and offers a moral authority beyond politics,” columnist Lloyd Billingsley explains.
Politics is too nice a word. What religion in general and Christianity in particular represent is the antithesis of totalitarian control that seeks to literally replace God with government. Government run by those for whom the idea that there is something bigger than mankind — and thus a government of men — represents the most potent threat to their contemptible ambitions. “Our fundamental rights don’t come from the government,” former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee reminds us, “because if government gives them, government can take them. They come from God, and we created a government unlike any that’s ever been, whose sole purpose was to protect those God-given rights so that we could live in our personal, individual liberty.”
Because that immutable reality represents an existential threat to the progressive agenda, the onslaught won’t stop with white Jesus or other religious statues. In Salinas, California, evangelical Christian church New Harvest is being forced to sell its downtown property because a city ordinance bans houses of worship from occupying the first floor of downtown buildings. A federal court in the San Francisco Bay Area recently sided with the city, ruling that churches generate limited interest, do not draw tourists, and therefore detract from the city’s stated aim to “establish a pedestrian-friendly, active and vibrant Main Street.”
That the Court itself noted the church’s weekly schedule of activities “includes a Sunday morning worship service (including a worship band) and programs for children and teens/tweens; a Tuesday evening worship service, ‘Fun Club’ for children ages 3-4, and boys’ ministries (which alternate weekly between two different age groups); a Thursday evening worship band rehearsal; a Friday evening prayer meeting; and a women’s Bible study on some Saturday mornings”?
“Salinas deems churches as less deserving of equal treatment under the law than the live children’s theatre, two cinemas, and event center that share the city’s downtown corridor with New Harvest Fellowship,” said Pacific Justice Institute Chief Counsel Kevin Snider, the lead attorney who is appealing the ruling to the Ninth Circuit.
What comes after statues and churches? People. People like Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who despite a Supreme Court ruling in his favor regarding exercising his religion by refusing to bake a same-sex wedding cake was targeted yet again by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for refusing to bake a cake celebrating a “gender transition.” People like Little Sisters of the Poor who also remain under attack despite a Supreme Court ruling that said they were under no obligation to provide contraceptives and abortifacients to their employees. People like every American who believes in the nuclear family the mob now labels as “cisgender privilege.”
In a column for The Week, writer Bonnie Kristian attempts to make the distinction between depictions of a white Jesus for “devotional purposes” and one “whitened to cloak racialized oppression with a lie of divine approval.” Christianity Today columnist Christina Cleveland takes it one step further. “Not only is white Jesus inaccurate, he also can inhibit our ability to honor the image of God in people who aren’t white.”
Really? Then why is the overwhelming majority of racial arson, epitomized by the concepts of “intersectionality” and white “privilege,” coming from the secular Left? Why is the blue state of California trying to reinstitute affirmative action? Why are progressive black college students demanding segregated dorms? And why did a county in the blue state of Oregon demand that only white people wear masks?
It is absolutely critical that decent Americans understand one thing above all else: The mob is not the least bit interested in compromise or reconciliation. Every concession made by people who consider themselves reasonable and decent will be met by demands for further concessions. And until they reach the point of absolute control, the mob’s appetite will never be satisfied.
That’s not politics. It’s human nature, and as such people will be forced to take a side, even those naive enough to believe being “down with the cause” offers them exemption. There is no exemption, and in November, the electorate will be presented with one of the clearest choices in history:
One can vote for civilization, the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and freedom of religion — or one can vote for Democrats.
After the unjustified death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, leftists and their mainstream media outlets did what they do best — used one death as political fodder to support their agenda, which launched a murder, assault, burning, and looting campaign nationwide. They also launched a national movement vilifying ALL police as racists, insisting they are the frontline of what the Left errantly claims is a “systemically racist justice system.” Meanwhile, they are maintaining a deadly silence on the most lethal threat to black Americans — being murdered by other black Americans.
The latest of their absurd populist “defund the police” political charades is at the epicenter of the latest outrage, Minneapolis, where the city council unanimously passed a proposed amendment for Charter Commission consideration that would abolish the police department and replace it with the Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention (DCSVP).
According to Council President Lisa Bender, “It’s a structural change that allows us to invest in a holistic approach to safety, using evidence-based strategies using the brilliance and expertise of our staff from all different disciplines, with all different kinds of experience.” She added that the new agency “will have responsibility for public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach,” and it will be headed by somebody with “non-law-enforcement experience in community safety services, including but not limited to public health and/or restorative justice approaches.”
The plan does not abolish police completely, as it allows some “licensed police officers” (as if current police officers have no qualifications) to work under the new DCSVP bureaucracy. Memo to violent felons — the Blue Wall is coming down, so get ready for open season in Minneapolis.
For the record, who was in charge when Floyd died? The Minneapolis mayor, city council president, police chief, county prosecutor, and U.S. House district representative are all Democrats. The Minnesota governor, state attorney general, and both Senate members are all Democrats. So where exactly does the change need to begin?
As for the Democrats’ disgraceful blame-shifting of their epic urban failures by claiming it’s a “police problem,” the words of one NYPD top cop who just resigned in protest of that condemnation sum up the issue that the majority of cops experience as they put their lives on the line for fellow citizens every day. NYPD’s Deputy Inspector Richard Brea, who received a hero’s farewell last week, including an NYPD helicopter fly-by and NYPD bagpipers, declared as he departed his Bronx precinct, “[Cops’] blood is in the concrete of every street corner, but these politicians don’t want to remember that. They want to blame and vilify everyone here. I won’t have that. No sir.” Meanwhile, New York City, like many other urban centers, is spiraling into a lawless pit.
After a lifetime observing how the Left has manipulated black constituents, Walter E. Williams notes, “The true plight of black people has little or nothing to do with the police or what has been called ‘systemic racism,’” adding, “We need to look at the responsibilities of those running our big cities.”
More Great Analysis
Robin Smith considers (Gay) Pride and Persecution — when will winning be enough for the Rainbow Mafia?
Douglas Andrews warns that BLM Is Coming to a School Near You.
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Above the Fold
“New York City police officers are retiring in droves following the death of George Floyd in police custody,” the Washington Examiner reveals. “Two hundred and seventy-two uniformed officers have filed retirement papers between May 25, the day Floyd died while he was in police custody, and June 24, according to the New York Post. The number represents a 49% spike from the same time period last year, the department said.” As Sergeants Benevolent Association president Ed Mullins bluntly stated, “There is no leadership, no direction, no training for new policies. Department brass is paralyzed [and] too afraid to uphold their sworn oath in fear of losing their jobs. Sadly, the people of this city will soon experience what New York City was like in the 1980s.”
The Federalist reports: “Looting costs in America’s 20 largest metropolitan areas exceeded $400 million from the first weekend of rioting, according to a new report from the Anderson Economic Group. ‘This includes property damage, lost inventory, cleanup and reconstruction costs, and closure-related lost wages,’ the report stated. ‘[The study] did not assign any costs to peaceful protests or demonstrations.’” Not only is this estimate devoid of the damage caused in smaller cities, but it becomes inexorably higher when the numerous riots since early June are taken into account. This literally could be a billion-dollar man-made disaster.
Government & Politics
Supreme Court rightfully lifts limits on Trump’s power to fire Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director (The New York Times)
Trump signs executive order to protect American monuments, memorials, and statues (Fox News)
Joe Biden says he’ll undermine federalism by mandating masks as president (The Daily Wire)
Before “takedown” of Michael Flynn, he was planning to audit John Brennan for running billions “off the books,” attorney claims (LifeZette)
Annals of the Social-Justice Caliphate
California schools named after Washington and Jefferson hit renaming buzzsaw (The Federalist)
Woodrow Wilson’s name to be removed from Princeton (The Daily Caller)
Amazon to rename Seattle’s KeyArena “Climate Pledge Arena” (NewsBusters)
Disney to remove “Song of the South” theme from Splash Mountain rides (Forbes)
L'Oreal to drop words such as “whitening” from skin products (New York Post)
“The Simpsons” will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters (Deadline)
Culture & Heartland
Supreme Court’s faux conservative Justice John Roberts strikes down Louisiana abortion law (Axios)
Shameless: Minneapolis City Council votes to disband police — but pays $4,500 a day for private security (Hot Air)
“Preferential treatment”: Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio wrong to limit worship services while condoning mass protests, federal judge says (Fox News)
Mississippi votes to remove Confederate emblem from state flag (UPI)
Georgia governor signs “hate crimes” bill into law (CBS News)
Two young children among 16 fatally shot in weekend violence across Chicago (NBC Chicago)
1 in 5 ballots rejected as fraud — which implicates the Paterson City Council — is charged in New Jersey mail-in election (RealClearPolitics)
Change is coming: Non-whites and Hispanics make up majority of U.S. under-16 population (The Washington Times)
The Latest on COVID-19
On Friday, new U.S. cases hit 45,242 for biggest one-day increase of pandemic (Reuters)
U.S. likely to see shortage of pharmaceutical drugs if outbreak continues, intelligence report finds (ABC News)
Business & Economy
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg loses $7 billion as companies drop ads (Fox Business)
Chesapeake Energy, a pioneer in the U.S. shale revolution, files for bankruptcy protection (CNBC)
Airbus CEO confirms 40% output drop (Reuters)
Colin Kaepernick loyalist Nike suffers $790 million loss, CEO confirms layoffs (The Daily Wire)
Trump dismisses New York Times report that Russia offered bounties to Taliban forces to kill U.S. soldiers (The Daily Caller)
Appeals court rules funding for Trump border wall construction is “unlawful” (NBC News)
U.S. ordered to release children from family detention centers (The New York Times)
“This is not Seattle”: Oklahoma protesters hit with terrorism charges (Washington Examiner)
Four charged in attempt to topple Andrew Jackson Statue near the White House (Townhall)
Visa restrictions imposed on Chinese Communist Party officials over Hong Kong “security” law (The Daily Caller)
Policy: How leftists’ critical race theory poisons our discussion of racism (The Heritage Foundation)
Policy: “Flattening the curve” has become a massive bait and switch (The Federalist)
Satire: Hillary Clinton already finished writing Joe Biden’s eulogy (Genesius Times)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Video: Still No Arrests Made in Macy’s Assault Case — There still have been no arrests surrounding the violent attack on a Macy’s employee in Michigan.
Video: Retail Stores Sue to Escape From New York City — Is this the progressive justice protestors demand?
Video: Karl Marx Was a Racist — Andrew Klavan exposes the truth about Karl Marx, communism, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Humor Video: ‘In Black and White, Because We Care’ — The Media Research Center staff checks its privilege.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “In America, our origins matter less than our destination, and that is what democracy is all about.” —Ronald Reagan
Upright, Part I: “Creation groans for justice and righteousness, and those created in God’s image groan the loudest and bear the greatest burdens. Those who have hope put their trust in the Creator, who they know will return. Those who have given in to the voices of the world and abandon the Creator have abandoned hope because, as Paul says, ‘Hope that is seen is not hope.’ They put their trust in the people seen, and the people seen are sinners, just like they are. They are impatient because they have no hope of something better and have taken it upon themselves to deliver heaven on earth.” —Erick Erickson
Upright, Part II: “The struggle for churches and Christians right now is wanting to tell those groaning and those yearning for justice that they should adopt Christianity. ‘Our system,’ we say, ‘is better, because we see no color. We see neither Jew nor Greek nor male nor female nor slave nor free.’ We treat our faith as an alternative morality. But it is hard to argue with a group of sinners that a system followed by other sinners is the better alternative.” —Erick Erickson
Upright, Part III: “Tearing down statues will only give temporary catharsis, like a junkie getting a temporary fix. Christianity that only offers an alternative moral system is the same. But a Christianity that preaches with certainty a final day, an end to a struggle and the return of a savior who rights every wrong is a Christianity that speaks through the wounds and hurt to a voice we all have, which cries out, knowing there must be something better.” —Erick Erickson
Food for thought: “The Louisiana abortion case continues to support my working theory — [Justice John] Roberts is pausing conservative gains so long as Trump is in the White House. He won’t side with the left in their theories, but will in their judgments. He’s over Trump and is trying to spare damage to SCOTUS.” —Erick Erickson
Braying jackass: “Black Lives Matter is a mandate from the people. It’s time — pay us what you owe us. Our black skin is not a crime. It is the beautiful robe of nation builders.” —Rep. Ayanna Pressley
The BIG Lie: “The white race is the biggest murderer, rapist, pillager, and thief of the modern world.” —1619 Project guru Nikole Hannah-Jones back in 1995, proving she’s got a long track record of racial animosity
Friendly fire: “We sided with the U.S. in the war on terror but they came here and killed [Osama bin Laden], martyred him, and … used abusive language against us [and] did not inform us [of the raid], despite the fact that we lost 70,000 people in the war on terror.” —Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
Non compos mentis: “Don’t bothsides this pandemic. America’s epic, lethal fail was driven by the fecklessness of an anti-science party that didn’t want to face reality.” —former Enron adviser Paul Krugman
And last… “So govt is allowed to ban you from going to church, but can’t require that abortion clinics have the same hospital admitting privileges as other surgical centers? I guess we can see what the left worships.” —Liz Wheeler
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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