May 24th, 2014

The president and the enablers

Chuck Schumer warns Republicans in Congress that if they don’t give the Democrats what they want regarding immigration reform, President Obama will take it anyway.

Excuse me, did I say “will take it anyway”? What Schumer actually said was [emphasis mine]:

If [House Republicans] don’t pass immigration reform [by the August recess], the president will have no choice but to act on his own.

Obama doesn’t want to do it, you see. But he may have to do it, because those darned Republicans will have forced his hand by not cooperating to present him with what he wants. Hey, isn’t that how presidents always operate?

Maybe Schumer thinks Congress should pass an Enabling Act next, although it seems that Obama doesn’t even need one de jure, he has one de facto.

I’m assuming everyone knows what the Enabling Act was, or at least will follow the link if they don’t. But just in case, I thought I’d add this explanation [emphasis mine]:

After being appointed chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933, Hitler asked President von Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag. A general election was scheduled for 5 March 1933.

The burning of the Reichstag six days before the election, depicted by the Nazis as the beginning of a communist revolution, resulted in the Reichstag Fire Decree, which (among other things) suspended civil liberties and habeas corpus rights. Hitler used the decree to have the Communist Party’s offices raided and its representatives arrested, effectively eliminating them as a political force.

Although receiving five million more votes than in the previous election, the Nazis had failed to gain an absolute majority in parliament, depending on the 52 seats won by their coalition partner, the German National People’s Party, for a slim majority.

To free himself from this dependency, Hitler had the cabinet, in its first post-election meeting on 15 March, draw up plans for an Enabling Act which would give the cabinet legislative power for four years. The Nazis devised the Enabling Act to gain complete political power without the need of the support of a majority in the Reichstag and without the need to bargain with their coalition partners.

Note the fact that Hitler never had a majority during his rise to power and his consolidation of power. Note also how he systematically eliminated his opposition through canny use of the law and certain crises (and possibly manufactured crises, at that) to justify his usurpation of power. Note also when you read the next passage how Hitler managed to use a combination of intimidation of and false promises to his opponents, and parliamentary jockeying and procedural rule-changing, in order to get his way. Hitler was both utterly ruthless and politically brilliant at this point in his life:

…[T]he Social Democrats initially planned to hinder the passage of the Act by boycotting the Reichstag session, rendering that body short of the quorum (two thirds) needed to vote on a constitutional amendment. The Reichstag, however, led by its President, Hermann Göring, changed its rules of procedure, allowing the President to declare that any deputy who was “absent without excuse” was to be considered as present, in order to overcome obstructions. Because of this procedural change, the Social Democrats were obliged to attend the session, and committed to voting against the Act. Leaving nothing to chance, the Nazis used the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to detain several SPD deputies. A few others saw the writing on the wall and fled into exile.

Later that day, the Reichstag assembled under intimidating circumstances, with SA men swarming inside and outside the chamber. Hitler’s speech, which emphasised the importance of Christianity in German culture, was aimed particularly at appeasing the Centre Party’s sensibilities…

In the end…the non-socialist parties all voted for the bill, except for two deputies who weren’t present. With the KPD banned and 26 SPD deputies arrested or in hiding, the final tally was 444 in favour of Enabling Act against 84 (all Social Democrats) opposed. The Reichstag had adopted the Enabling Act with the support of 83% of the deputies. However, the atmosphere of that session was so intimidating that even if all SPD deputies had been present, it would have still passed with 78.7% support…

Under the Act, the government had acquired the authority to pass laws without either parliamentary consent or control. These laws could (with certain exceptions) even deviate from the Constitution. The Act effectively eliminated the Reichstag as active players in German politics. While its existence was protected by the Enabling Act, for all intents and purposes it reduced the Reichstag to a mere stage for Hitler’s speeches. It only met sporadically until the end of World War II, held no debates and enacted only a few laws. Within three months after the passage of the Enabling Act, all parties except the Nazi Party were banned or pressured into dissolving themselves, followed on 14 July by a law that made the Nazi Party the only legally permitted party in the country…

Due to the great care that Hitler took to give his dictatorship an appearance of legality, the Enabling Act was renewed twice, in 1937 and 1941. However, its renewal was practically assured since all other parties were banned. Voters were presented with a single list of Nazis and Nazi-approved “guest” candidates under far-from secret conditions.

I challenge anyone to read that without getting a chill up the spine. It unfolds like a Greek tragedy, no less horrible for knowing the plot.

Coming back to the present day, it’s long been clear that President Obama considers that the Constitution, with its checks and balances, offers no real constraint to his usurpation of power. Actually, it never really was the Constitution that prevented previous presidents from doing the same thing—it was their own respect for it, plus the checks and balances offered by integrity-driven members of those presidents’ own parties who would pressure them to do the right thing, and/or a press that would call them on their excesses, and/or voters who would reject them if they violated constitutional constraints. Obama doesn’t have to deal with such things, and that emboldens him.

[ADDENDUM: To the very valid criticism of posts such as this which draw some sort of comparison with Hitler, I offered this response in the comments section, but I thought I'd highlight it here as well.

I know what people mean when they say it is counterproductive to ever use historical analogies to Hitler or Stalin or other tyrants of history when we speak about Obama et.al. My response is that I considered that when I wrote this post, and I consider it whenever I make such analogies, which I have done in the past.

But sometimes there is no other way to make a point about tyranny other than to compare it to other tyrannies. They are not the same, but there are similarities (especially in terms of process), and those similarities heighten the point. If we don’t make such comparisons we trivialize what’s happening. If we do make them we run the risk of sounding crazy.

That's the dilemma---there seem to be no other choices. Tyranny usually looks fairly innocuous at its beginning. It's only later on that people realize what they've lost. Cassandras are bound to be disbelieved by most people at the outset. That's just the nature of the thing.]

57 Responses to “The president and the enablers”

  1. dbp Says:

    ““They have about a six-week window, from June 10 after the last Republican primary until the August recess. If they don’t pass immigration reform them, the president will have no choice but to act on his own,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.)”

    It is a bluff and a trap. Obama will not act before the November election, but he would love for the Republican establishment to screw their rank and file by passing “immigration reform”. That is about the only thing that will keep the Senate in play for the Democrats.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    I bet if I went into the past, 2007, with this info, people would look at me as if I was crazy.

  3. DonS Says:

    Constitutions don’t enforce themselves. They require a culture of virtue to work. And that is not the culture that elects a man like Obama.

  4. DonS Says:

    I, for one, welcome Obama “working on his own” for this. Let’s see how the American people deal with that. Do it. Before November.

  5. Cornhead Says:

    Neo:

    I think Nazi and Hitler analogies and references – no matter how appropriate and well-intentioned – are a huge mistake.

    Too easy to be misunderstood.

    Kind of like the birth certificate thing, but on a way bigger scale.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Cornhead:

    I know what you mean, and I considered that when I wrote this post, and whenever I make such analogies (which I have in the past).

    But I think that such an attitude is wrong. There is sometimes no other way to make a point about tyranny other than to compare to other tyrannies. They are not the same, but there are similarities (especially in terms of process), and the similarities heighten the point. If we don’t make such comparisons we trivialize what’s happening. If we do make them we run the risk of sounding crazy.

    So be it.

  7. GrannyAesop Says:

    Cornhead: When the actions of a politician and his party lend themselves to analogy with the most despicable political chicanery in modern memory, then the analogy is fully appropriate.
    If it is misunderstood, that is done deliberately, for purposes of distracting from the appropriateness of the analogy.

    I don’t think America or Congress is yet at the point of becoming the Reichstag of the Nazi era, but if we ignore the signs pointing to a cliff ahead we only guarantee that we will eventually fall off of it.

  8. Cornhead Says:

    Limbs then say you are equating Hitler to Obama.
    Ergo, 6m Jews are to be killed. Or something.

    Obama is no Hitler. Obama just talks.

    The federal judiciary, Congress and the media are supposed to check unbridled executive actions. So far no entity has shown any courage.

    Maybe King George references are better.

    I am hopeful the new John Dean shows up in the IRS, VA or Bengazhi matters.

  9. Cornhead Says:

    Libs. Not Limbs.

    Hate autocorrect.

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Let me just add that my analogy is about process. I’ve added an addendum to the post to expand a bit on why I make such analogies.

  11. Geoff C. The Saltine Says:

    Well said. This needs to be said over and over. The left would like nothing more than complete control over everything in our lives and will do anything to get it. Commie bastards.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    The same people that think Nazis are evil and Staln good, are Obamacans. Case closed.

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    The idea that Hussein just talks by pushing buttons that kill Americans, is an intellectual weakness.

  14. Cornhead Says:

    Obama will work his will by stealth and incrementalism.

    Again, I hope the scandals weaken him too much.

    And he really is lazy.

  15. George Pal Says:

    The analogies and references, Hitler, Obama, tyranny, the American political zeitgeist, are not only appropriate but vital. One may make analogies, as in the case of tyranny, as being what they are, essentially, without respecting the details. The declaration that two things are both disasters does not depend on their being identical. The Johnstown Flood and the Peshtigo Fires were both disasters. Hitler and Obama were/are also both disasters – not identically but essentially – to their respective countries and times.

    Call a thing what it is and put on notice the demolishers, that you are aware of treachery in all its forms – and the nuances be damned.

  16. Rick Caird Says:

    All Obama can do is ignore the law. Little Chuckie Schumer knows that. Anything Obama does by EO can be undone by the next President of legislatively. This is an empty threat.

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    The optimists think there will be another President, that Hussein isn’t the Last President of the United States of America.

    People delude themselves into thinking Fast and Furious makes Hussein weak. That nobody died there and even if they did, Hussein didn’t know about it.

    Hussein didn’t do anything but talk. Nobody on our side died in Libya. Nobody died when AQ took back Fallujah. Nobody is dying in Afghanistan because Hussein can only talk. What a pleasant fantasy the human intellect likes to live in.

  18. Oldflyer Says:

    I completely agree with Neo and George Pal. For one reason, or another, most Americans do not have a clue about the process Hitler and the Nazis used to gain control of Germany.

    We do not know Obama’s ultimate goal, just as people in the 1930s did not know Hitler’s. It is vital that people recognize the process, however, and understand where it can lead if unchecked. Obama is using the process, and we are foolish if we simply trust that his goals are self-limiting.

    Incremental steps along this historically defined path cannot go unremarked, and unopposed.

    The apparent turning away from the Constitution is tragic. The founders and drafters, as well as the people who approved the governing document, understood too well the nature of tyranny; and they understood that even benign Despotism can morph into tyranny in a generation, or less. They incorporated the safeguards to prevent this from happening. We hear often these days that the Constitution should be a “living document”. That it should, but not in the sense that they argue. It should live through our adherence to its principles.

  19. Barry Meislin Says:

    Anybody notice that Obama “negotiates” like the Palestinians “negotiate”?

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    Mein Kampf sounds like a manual for

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/05/23/survivor-is-the-most-morally-contemptible-show-on-tv/

    Although the author had to be told by his wife something he didn’t realize. And that’s for a tv watcher, someone who contributes to the problem and isn’t the solution.

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    If sane society sounds like Corn and the Leftist alliance, I’d rather be considered crazy. Society can go to hell.

  22. vanderleun Says:

    “Sic semper tyrannis!”

  23. kaba Says:

    The Usurper In Chief has spoken, albeit through a ventriloquist dummy in this instance.

    Two things of note here:
    Boehner, McConnell and company are not only disinclined to stop Obama; they seem to be eager to serve as co-conspirators.

    And: We lowly beings who are mere citizens apparently have no standing to challenge these things through the courts.

  24. kit Says:

    Excellent post and you made the correct comparisons and it needs to be said because the process is the same. All evil has a lot in common.

    something’s got to give. It’s us or them

  25. parker Says:

    The analogy stands and like all analogies its not a perfect fit. So although BHO obviously wants to be a dictator in the image of Castro/Chavez/Mao/etc., his rabid, adoring followers are a cult doomed to cannablism, though there will be much suffering for all as the snake consumes its self. The bottom line is that America is not Germany 1932. Too many rednecks, cowboys, libertarians, and anarchists unwilling to go quietly.

    “something’s got to give. It’s us or them” I’m not going to give and I have an extended family that will not give. Its important to remember that all they can do is kill you and yours. They can’t ‘brainwash’ us into believing their twisted BS. There is a lot of country beyond DC, NY, Chicago, LA, Seattle, and the other bastions of ‘progressivism’. There may be more many more people in NYC than all of Wyoming but if they all invade Wyoming not a single one of them will survive to tell the tale of their slaughter.

  26. Tamquam Says:

    As for analogies, something unpleasant can only be compared to something similarly unpleasant, which is unpleasant. The argument that the process is OK because Obama hasn’t done anything bad is invalid. Hitler had not done anything really heinous while he was setting himself up, it was only afterward that he did so. This does not mean that Obama will necessarily do something heinous, only that he has arranged things so that it would be easy for him to do so as there would be nothing to hinder him.

    Obama doesn’t have the vision and drive to set himself up as dictator; he doesn’t have the vision and drive to become President either. That fact that he is speaks to a coalition that set him up as front man, sustains him in that position and drives the agenda he is implementing. The principles which underlie this coalition and the goals for which they clearly aim are uncannily similar to others in the historical record. Which brings us back to unpleasant analogies.

  27. Paul A'Barge Says:

    Ed Schumer?

    Who the heck is Ed Schumer?

    It’s Chuck Schumer.

  28. blert Says:

    To show you how history is being distorted right in the here and now:

    It’s brutally difficult to FIND any evidence of Hitler’s MASSIVE Ja! campaign — a plebiscite that bypassed ALL of the Weimar norms to ratify Hitler’s de facto seizure of power. (1934)

    It’s almost as if it didn’t ever happen.

    Hitler had a plebiscite held on 19 August 1934, in which the German people were asked if they approved of Hitler merging the two offices. The Ja (Yes) vote amounted to 90% of the vote.

    “In taking this action, Hitler technically violated the provisions of the Enabling Act. While the Enabling Act allowed Hitler to pass laws that contravened the Weimar Constitution, it specifically forbade him from interfering with the powers of the president. Hitler had a plebiscite held on 19 August 1934, in which the German people were asked if they approved of Hitler merging the two offices. The Ja (Yes) vote amounted to 90% of the vote.

    In taking this action, Hitler technically violated the provisions of the Enabling Act. While the Enabling Act allowed Hitler to pass laws that contravened the Weimar Constitution, it specifically forbade him from interfering with the powers of the president. ”

    http://worldhistoryproject.org/1934/8/2/death-of-paul-von-hindenburg

    The Ja! plebiscite was BY FAR the bigger political event. It put the public seal on his prior machinations.

    By using propaganda, Hitler had bypassed ALL of the social controls/ lesser politicians.

    After the Ja! plebiscite it was emotionally impossible for the average Shultz to speak out against Hitler.

    %%%

    With Barry we have something new — Digital Political Reality.

    Google (& Bing) is making unwanted history disappear. You’d have to already know where to look to find details on even epic events out of the past.

    Hitler’s machinations to absolutism are being Winston’d.

    Hitler was the first epic Radio Tyrant.

    Barry is the first epic Digital Tyrant.

    His support springs forth from GOOGLE.

    It’s not a coincidence that Google was hyper-active — contributing digital storm-troopers to Barry’s 2012 re-selection.

    Read the Atlantic. They did quite a work-up on those hacktivists.

    Savant idiots, every last one.

  29. parker Says:

    “digital storm-troopers”

    How well will digital anything stand up to subcutaneous injections of lead in the real world?

  30. Ymarsakar Says:

    Hussein said he was good at killing people.

  31. TmjUtah Says:

    Nothing but net, Neo.

    Tyranny needs to be called out, and if the proper analogy exists to make it recognizable to the unknowing, that comparison must me made.

    Truth hurts.

  32. Gringo Says:

    Hugo Chavez was also big on Enabling Acts.

  33. waitforit Says:

    Hitler so set the example that progressives, bless their hearts, have to hide it and make any comparison to his socialism and tyranny a faux shit, oops, an obvious error by a bumkis uneducated stupido.

  34. neo-neocon Says:

    Paul A’Barge:

    Excellent question.

    Who is Ed Schumer? Well, there’s a dentist, a basketball referee, an orthopedic surgeon, and probably a few others. But none of them are Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer, the subject of this post. His middle initial is “e,” but it stand for Ellis.

    Thanks–I made the correction.

  35. Matt_SE Says:

    When a madman threatens a greater evil unless you commit a lesser evil, the proper response is to refuse.
    If you refuse, the onus is all on the madman. If you accept, you are now complicit in evil.

    I agree that this is bluster. Let Obama use his pen and see how the people like it. If his other programs are any indication, the answer will be “not very well.”

    We do not cooperate with evil or lawlessness.

  36. njartist49 Says:

    Question then:
    If what Hitler did was unconstitutional and illegal, why are laws passed during his rule still in effect; the most recent example being the homeschooling ban?

  37. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove Says:

    […] neo-neocon covers Obama and his enablers […]

  38. Artfldgr Says:

    as to avoiding hitler in commentary. you cant. and thats the point of making that ‘rule’ which really isnt a rule, but one communist/fascists logical play to put nice people into a bind…

    ie.
    make up a rule
    pretend the rule is real
    get your people to then scream like pod people when the rule is broken and so apply the rule and give it pseudo consequences
    watch good people try to obey the rule at their folly

    rinse
    repeat
    watch idiots

  39. SteveH Says:

    “”Obama is no Hitler. Obama just talks.”"
    Cornhead

    Hitler would have been no Hitler either had he stayed in the talking stage.

  40. Ymarsakar Says:

    Corn’s not good any more. They don’t want ethanol compared to corn, because ethanol isn’t corn.

    If they did compare it, people might start thinking. Can’t allow the slaves to think about such things.

  41. Bob From Virginia Says:

    File this post under coming attractions, turning the US into a dictatorship I mean.
    One observant poster noticed the president that most resembles Obama is Juan Peron. Michelle’s “Obama will force to give up your cynicism” speech was probably ripped from something Evita Peron said. And we know his preferences seem to be for a Hugo Chavez type government takeover because of what he tried to do in Honduras.
    I suspect the method for turning the US into a dictatorship will be thus:
    1) establish a dictatorship of the bureaucracy like they have in Europe.
    2) De-legitimize by education all opposition as uncaring of the poor or racist, under Koch brothers conspiracy or some such sh*t. Make opposition unfashionable and inconvenient (IRS audits, etc.).
    3) Use amnesty to establish a one party system.
    4) Use government stipends to make livelihoods dependent on a single party being in power.
    5) Use an Obama like frenzy to eliminate term limits for President.
    6) end of story.

    The good news is that history shows that if there is a sizable, unafraid and active minority in opposition a dictatorship can be obstructed. Bad news, the majority of people prefer being cool, i.e. self-esteem to be being free so popular anti-democratic Obama is god movements are here to stay.

  42. blert Says:

    Question then:
    If what Hitler did was unconstitutional and illegal, why are laws passed during his rule still in effect; the most recent example being the homeschooling ban?

    This ban is of post-war construction. It’s purpose was to frustrate Nazi indoctrination of the next generation by die-hard fanatics.

    Modern Germany (and Austria, et. al.) have a slew of anti-Nazi statutes on the books that would be deemed flatly un-Constitutional in America.

    FYI: it’s illegal to own and wear Nazi era uniforms, generally.

  43. Cornhead Says:

    The best actual example was the fake “deeming” used to pass Obamacare.

    There is a case pending in the federal courts attacking the deeming BS. The gist of it is that all revenue bills must originate in the House and the ACA didn’t.

    The better case is the one which relies on the actual language of the law that only permits premium subsidies if the insurance is purchased on a state – and not the federal – exchange.

  44. Ymarsakar Says:

    There was no laws after US Civil War I preventing Democrats from regaining power or funding the KKK.

    Sherman was supposed to be a total war general, but he wasn’t total enough.

  45. Eric Says:

    As long as you show your work, a Hitler analogy is fine.

    The point is about the methodical, incremental corruption of a mature modern democratic state that had built-in political safeguards.

    What you might do next is jump off the Hitler analogy by expanding the lesson to other nations that have experienced similar sophisticated takeovers. Make it a series lighting the issue from different directions.

    Activist and politician are 2 different animals, but charismatic hybrids of the 2, like Hitler, are powerful and dangerous animals.

  46. Cornhead Says:

    The real danger is with Obama’s third term via Hillary.

    She’s not lazy, smarter, more ruthless and experienced.

  47. Ymarsakar Says:

    The real danger is if the Left kills Hussein O and blames it on us, using it for emergency rule under the Left.

  48. blert Says:

    Y

    You missed it: the Presidency of Biden.

    All hope would be lost.

  49. Beverly Says:

    Monica Crowley would agree with you, Neo. She’s been sounding the alarm about Hussein’s threat to “fundamentally transform” America: Fundamentally, note.

    She’s also warning that the fundamental transformation is well underway, and has picked up a great deal of speed under Hussein.

    As far as comparing Hussein to Hitler goes, as Groucho Marx might say, “Well, it’s early yet.” (“I’ve never been so insulted in my life!” –”Well, it’s early yet.”)

    This is the problem as I see it: when all our protections have been dismantled — our civic virtue and our rule of law — then we stand in the bitter wind of a fool’s hope, the hope that our Insect Overlords will be nice to us. We will be, and in fact already are (see IRS scandals), at the mercy of the merciless.

  50. Beverly Says:

    I don’t know about y’all, but thinking of Hussein and Upchuck Schumer in the same paragraph leaves me with a bad taste in my brain.

    So here’s a little palate cleanser, courtesy of the Great Julius Henry Marx: enjoy your Memorial Day, and spare a thought for those who fought.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSsUoxlSADk

  51. Very late Sunday night round-up and Open Thread Says:

    […] caught Chuck Schumer saying that, if Republicans don’t vote for amnesty, Obama “will have no choice” but to grant immigrants amnesty. Neo finds in this language scary echoes of the Enabling Act by which the Nazis managed to give […]

  52. Cornhead Says:

    I have always wondered why Biden didn’t get mocked like Quayle. Biden has made way more mistakes.

  53. Don Carlos Says:

    Quayle was actually a long time ago. The bad stuff was all there already, entrenched and holding the high ground. Quayle didn’t make mistakes except to spell “potato” incorrectly. He spoke truth. Remember Murphy Brown? This network TV character legitimized out of wedlock motherhood for middle class whites.
    We had the signals. We ignored them and thundered down the Clinton Road. You really expect that Clueless Joe will be mocked??
    Ahh, Gramsci and Alinsky! Only a few see what’s going on, even today. It is us who should be mocked, us the straight players in the human comedy, us who think postmodernism can be neutered.

  54. Ymarsakar Says:

    There’s nothing that Death cannot end. Not even stars are immortal.

    I seriously doubt the divinity of the Left’s messiahs and deus ex machinas.

  55. Kathy from Kansas Says:

    Obama shared office space (and a foundation directorship) for 3 years with Bill Ayers, co-founder of the Weather Underground. They crossed paths daily. Not to mention the infamous campaign launch from Ayers’ living room.

    Ayers is the guy whose war council once said they would eventually have to kill up to 25 million Americans for not going along with their communist takeover.

    Ayers is the guy whose wife, Bernardine Dohrn, once praised Charles Manson’s group for the Tate-LaBianca murders, and shared Manson’s dream of igniting an all-out race war all over America, with blood in the streets.

    BILL AYERS. That is all you really need to know about Obama. If you think this guy is too “lazy” or “mellow” or “timid” to kill off all us pesky conservatives, then you don’t know the guy. I knew a number of communists back when I was an idiot peacenik — and believe me, they all have fantasies of exterminating their political opponents once and for all.

  56. Ymarsakar Says:

    they all have fantasies of exterminating their political opponents once and for all.

    These days, they’ll have to get in line, no matter what their pedigree is.

  57. Ymarsakar Says:

    I consider Hussein Ayers’ discipline. The one and only, perhaps. When people consider the LEft, they think it’s just a bunch of anarchists with no future. After all, nobody followed Ayers when Ayers got chicken about the revolution, eh?

    Well… that didn’t turn out to be true.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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