open left

Farewell thought: Conservatism is still the enemy

by: Daniel De Groot

Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 16:30

Please see the end for my thanks yous and where to find me after today. I have opted to close with an attempt to describe the field of play -D

Shortly after Kerry's loss in 2004, at MyDD, Chris wrote "Conservatism is our enemy" which I think is the first time I ever encountered a direct ideological assault on conservatism itself.  Along with Phil Agre's rightly famous essay on the subject, it began me on a road and mission to better understanding this beast.  Everything I have learned to date from then continues to bolster Chris' original thesis.  Conservativism is still the primary enemy of progress, justice, fairness and widespread happiness for humanity.  It remains a destructive and corrosive force on the institutions of democracy and the single biggest obstacle to world peace.

If I have had a broad meta thesis here at Open Left, it is that the true fight is one of ideas and thus ideology.  We must reject the mushy centrist claim that ideology is necessarily an evil.  Not only is it not necessarily evil, ideology is necessary period.  The fights over parties, the media, particular policies and tactics are important, but my read on the broad sweep of history is that when the dominant ideas are bad, the parties will behave stupidly, the media will fail to correct them and the policies will be destructive.  There is a reason Canada, the UK and the US all elected right wing governments in the 80s.  There is a reason Obama's team could not even consider a new WPA or even ask for a big-enough stimulus.  Bad ideas are still dominant.  I see no refuge in any 3rd party, because I see no reason such a party would not itself be quickly co-opted by the same bad ideas upon attaining power or in order to attain power.  I want to fight bad ideas directly.

There's More... :: (16 Comments, 1283 words in story)

How to add links, italics, videos, and other cool things to your comments and diaries at OpenLeft

by: essaywhuman

Tue May 25, 2010 at 17:01

(A lot of you have been asking for this for some time, so we asked David Poms, our new intern and an OpenLefter himself, to put it together. He did a great job. If you have any useful tips to add, feel free to leave a comment.

I also added a link to this in the red header at the top of the page, next to "about & contact". If you're ever working on a new diary/comment and need some help, click on it and it will open in a new tab so you can use it as a reference without closing your diary/comment window. - promoted by Adam Bink)

You asked. We answered. A user's guide to commenting at Open Left using HTML commands!

Open Left is powered by Soapblox, a blog platform that allows community members to easily participate and publish on the site. Anyone familiar with blogs, especially of the lefty variety, should find the layout of the site fairly intuitive. However, not everyone is quite as familiar with creating content as reading it. A simple block of text is fine for getting a point across, but Soapblox provides an array of extras that allow you to communicate with highly readable posts or comments. The best way to learn how to do this is to learn basic HTML commands. To help everyone learn the basic tricks of the trade for creating excellent posts, I have provided a list of HTML commands that are commonly found in posts. If anyone can think of other commands that work in Soapblox and are useful for posting, please leave them in comments below.

Full list of useful commands in the extended entry.

There's More... :: (14 Comments, 768 words in story)

Make Me a Match Too Times Two

by: debcoop

Wed May 05, 2010 at 14:00

Update: As of 5:36 PM, $755 is in! We're almost there! Chris is continuing the updates in a thread above this one.

Update: Also, another cool metric: 48% of the 241 contributors giving an average of $41.83- or 116- are first-time contributors. That's almost half. Thanks so much!

Update: As of 3:58 PM, $345 has come in! If you've given, you can also post the ask to your friends and on Facebook/Twitter!

Update: As of 2:58 PM, $175 has come in. That's $350 with Debra's match! Every dollar you contribute will be doubled. Chip in!

As of 2:11 pm Eastern, we are at 225 contributors, with a goal of 400. Thanks to Debra for her generosity, and please chip in! -Adam

This is an adaptation of last spring's Match Appeal. This is for both Open Left and a group from my second home town, New York City known as Living Liberally which also has Drinking Liberally, Laughing Liberally, and Eating Liberally (also organically)

Actually the title should really read Make Me Match You.  And just like last year when it was celebrating my daughter's marriage to a really great guy, she and he are going to be home owners soon which of course will hopefully bring me closer to fulfilling my new obsession, baby lust.  I have stopped notincing good looking guys, my eyes are always dropping lower to espy whatever absolutely adorable toddler, baby, or child there is sauntering or wobbling or racing  on the sidewalks of New York. Children remind us  that there is a future that must be preserved, so that their gaiety and joy in every new thing can be justified.

So once again I am proposing that up to $1000.00 I will match whatever you donate to this joint appeal.

I consider Open Left an investment in the future that I want for my daughter, her new husband and the grandchildren I (and they too, really I am not just a typical, nudgy mother!) am hoping for.  

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What fake progressives helped bring us to.

by: Dude Where's My Health Care

Wed Mar 24, 2010 at 12:03

As Jane Hamsher reports


Pelosi and other Democrats are bragging about how very conservative the newly-passed health insurance mandate really is.  When the "best" that can be said about Obamacare is how conservative it is, Democratic Party hacks might want to rethink their support for it.

Quoting Glenn Greenwald

"corporate control of the Government is one of the most serious problems, if not the single most serious problem, the nation faces.... To pretend that these interests were vanquished or 'neutralized' here ... is not just deeply misleading but, worse, helps conceal what remains the greatest threat to the democratic process: a threat that is not only stronger than ever, but has been made stronger as a result of the last several months."

And PNHP lamented the bill's passage.

A bill written by industry lobbyists, effectively celebrated by Democrats as being just as conservative as anything the Republicans would have come up with (if anything), and which still leaves millions uninsured is better than passing nothing?  You who demanded that the left shut up and support this bill no matter how bad it got owe us three things: an explanation, an apology, and your complete and permanent retirement from political activism.  You are less than worthless when it comes to fighting for progressive goals.  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

We really, really need to form a Progressive Party.

by: Dude Where's My Health Care

Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 09:53

At what point do progressives stop being Democrats' whipped dogs and start acting like a movement capable of putting the Dems in their proper place as the party of the people?  David Sirota wrote today about Obama's latest call to increase war spending beyond its already ludicrous proportions.

How many of the extreme right-wing and criminal policies of Bush-Cheney has Obama adopted?  How many of those extreme right-wing policies has he exceeded?  Last month, knowledge that Obama has gone a step further than Bush, authorizing the executive branch to murder American citizens on the flimsiest of rationales.  This sh__ has GOT to end.

My political activities now are focusing on the building of a viable third party as a tool of a reinvigorated and independent progressive movement.  No efforts to reform the Democratic Party from within can succeed so long as the upper-level of the party establishment is able to crush dissent from within, as is explained here.

[T]the Democratic primaries will be where the action is ... Maybe someone like Kucinich, Feingold ... It will be a "good liberal," not a radical, advocating positions that are reasonable but declared "unrealistic." ("You'll throw the race to the Republicans, we can't have that!") The basis of the campaign will not be a sudden embrace of Bolshevism, but rather Obama's embrace of Wall Street. It will be a mix of angry rank-and-file and disgruntled party machine.

The insurgent candidate will lose. The candidate will not call for a 3rd party, will support Obama after the primaries -- will make a concession speech that would shame the Moscow Show Trials. Many of her or his followers will follow suit. The candidate will not personally work to create an independent infrastructure within the Democratic Party. Obama will probably win, not because of his impressive performance but because the foaming-at-the-mouth Republicans will be splitting. After the election, the Democratic challenger will not lead a 3rd party.

This has been the pattern for decades.  There is no one within the Democratic Party willing to lead a progressive breakoff.  The day Dennis Kucinich kisses all party support for his re-election to Congress goodbye is the day I will rejoice, but it's not going to happen.  So it's on lay progressives to take charge, organize from the ground up, and lead the way to building both the movement and the political organization that will bring it to power within the halls of our nation's capital.

This won't happen overnight; it will take decades for a fully functional progressive political organization to be built, and we will be opposed every step of the way by Democrats, Republicans, and corporations now empowered to spend as much money as their executives want to sway public opinion against us.  But we have got to start sometime, and now is as good a time as any.

Those who claim this isn't the right time will not tell us that the "right time" is never going to come -- there will always be the enxt election cycle to worry about, too much at stake to "risk throwing it to the GOP."  Never mind that all Democrats ever do is throw elections to Republicans simply by behaving like they're members of their counterpart political party.  We must ignore such admonitions and press on.  There is no such thing as perfection in politics, to be the enemy of good things that will never come to fruition so long as the existing political structure continues.  And there is nothing more to be lost by doing what is right and necessary to take back our country.

The good news is that a Progressive Party already exists in some states.  In Missouri, Vermont, and Washington, progressives began rebuilding the political party that bears their name from the ground up, and they used smart strategies and tactics to gain power first at the local level and then at the state level.  They are now starting to branch out into national-level politics by running candidates for the House of Representatives, with a Vermont Progressive having run for the House of Representatives in 2008 on a platform that included calling for Bush's impeachment.  And David Sirota has written previously about New York's Working Families Party, which has gotten results at the local and state levels.

So the foundation exists for progressives to rebuild our movement.  The will is there.  What's lacking is leadership.  If no one in the 'netroots is willing to assume vital leadership roles, then it is up to each and every one of us to take charge and lead.  Enough is enough.  Progressives must stand up to the far right, which dominates both major political parties, and end its rule.  No more excuses, no more capitulations, no more waiting.  Let's get it done.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Hypocrisy, thy name is Chris Bowers.

by: Michael Kwiatkowski

Sun Nov 01, 2009 at 11:06

It's the depth of hypocrisy to blast people for using quick hits to call out other site members only to turn around and do the exact same thing he's taken others to task for.  I mean, is it merely ego at play?  Is Bowers the only one allowed to engage in snark?  Or maybe he just needs to grow up and engage in honest discussion for a change.
Discuss :: (6 Comments)

Let's not turn into Kos-light.

by: Michael Kwiatkowski

Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 15:46

The other day I responded to an entry that pertained to the ratings-bump Obama experienced during the Sotomayor nomination.  That comment, which violated no rules, was hidden by a pair of users because they took offense with a single word used to describe the current occupant of the Oval Office.  The word is "dictator," and it is the unvarnished truth.  Unfortunately, the truth is too much for far too many alleged left-wingers to handle.

The abusers of the rating system are TValley and fbihop.  Without offering so much as one word of argument, one challenge to my description of Obama, my comment was hidden for no other reason than the two individuals who troll-rated it found the truth unpleasant.  Regardless of whether one agrees with such an assessment of the guy or not, the comment violated no terms of service and did not deserve to be hidden.  I request that the hide-rating be annulled and my comment restored to visibility within the thread.  I also request more strenuous oversight of the rating privileges so that such abuse is weeded out.  Otherwise, we risk this site turning into another Daily Kos.

Below is my comment, in full.

There's More... :: (3 Comments, 121 words in story)

Open Left venting can result in real change! ($20,000 of change!)

by: AdamGreen

Mon Apr 20, 2009 at 13:20

Score one for random venting on Open Left!

Recently, I critiqued the DSCC's "petition" asking Norm Coleman to get out -- saying there was no "theory of change" about why people taking that action would have any impact.

To be constructive, I gave a free piece of advice to the DSCC on how to organize people strategically: ask people to give $1/day until Norm goes away. If Republicans in DC saw the DSCC's warchest growing by the day, their incentives would reverse -- instead of telling Norm to keep going, they'd tell him to get lost.

The DSCC didn't take that advice. But Howard Dean's Democracy for America was all about it, and partnered with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (which I co-founded) to make it happen at Instead of raising money to help generic Democrats, we're raising it to support bold progressives in 2010.

Since Saturday, over $20,000 has been raised -- prompting news coverage in the New York Times, ABC, Politico, Huffington Post, and great support at Digby's blog, MyDD, CrooksandLiars, FDL, Senate Guru, The Seminal, The MN Progressive Project, and others blogs.

Here are some of the (truly appreciated) comments, rounded up from Huffington Post and MyDD:

A beautiful campaign. I usually don't start to donate until election season starts, but with this I'll definitely donate. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Now this is a constructive campaign program! My buck's in the mail.

I like this campaign so much that I'm in for two dollars a day.

From $5000 to over $7500 in one hour. Love it. The first time I donated again since the elections.

Up to $12,000. Wonderful pace, people. Tell your friends! This will work... send Coleman's financial backers a message they will understand.

Done! Told all my friends, family and acquaintances. This is a delicious way to counteract the deplorable legal foot dragging.

I just donated. Take note haters...this is how it's ridiculous hats with teabags hanging off...just smart thinking and smart planning.

Got some spare change in your pocket? If so, you can add to the momentum by clicking here. Then, tell some friends.

Full PCCC email this Saturday announcing the campaign is below the fold.

There's More... :: (6 Comments, 410 words in story)

OpenLeft's Crisis Moment Starts Tomorrow

by: Matt Stoller

Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 19:34

It is the end of the quarter tomorrow, and we're going to try to round up 100 new donations for our Better Democrats.  What you have to understand is that this is not a normal pitch for money for progressive Democrats, it is a CRISIS.  If you do not give, the economy will be DOOMED and the terrorists win.

Better Democrats are people who react well during times like these.  Donna Edwards is in there, and she's showing leadership in the House.  Darcy Burner and Annette Taddeo rejected the bailout, Jeff Merkley is running a populist campaign in Oregon and leading Smith, and Alan Grayson had one phrase when this all started: "String 'em up".

Throw in $5, $25, $100, or whatever you can afford.  Remember, it's far more important to do something than nothing in these moments of crisis.  Put country first.

Discuss :: (18 Comments)

To Matt Stoller et al.

by: QueenTiye

Sun Sep 21, 2008 at 22:12

I realize we got a specific pronouncement on the new rules around here, but since you guys note that you read the comments - a number of people, myself included, have asked for some clarity regarding the standards of discourse here.  Should we expect a response, or was that post the final word?


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

It Was Just a Drink With Friends

by: Living Liberally

Thu May 29, 2008 at 12:03

Drinking Liberally Shot of Truth by Justin Krebs

I didn't see it coming.  When a group of friends got together to have a drink in May, 2003, we were frustrated with our country's politics, we were convinced there was something more we could do, and we were hopeful that together we'd figure out some way to support the creative, progressive efforts we knew were out there somewhere.

But at the time, it was just a drink with friends.

Five years, 50 states and 250 chapters later, what we've learned is that gathering socially around liberal ideas wasn't only going to help generate new contributions to the political was the new contribution to the political moment.  Drinking Liberally has given lonely peace activists in conservative towns the means to find each other; has offered independent publishers and authors a natural network for their books; has welcomed insurgent candidates to a receptive crowd; and has invited a new generation of would-be activists to take their first step into political engagement.

And it's still just a drink with friends.

It was a new drinking buddy named Owen Roth who came up with the name Drinking Liberally 4 months after we started meeting.  It was our new partners David Alpert (just yesterday praised as "Blogger of the Month" in the Washington Post) and Katrina Baker, whose friendships we found at our weekly happy hours, who propelled the organization nationally.  It was over drinks in that same backyard each Thursday night, that we got to know Phillip Anderson of The Albany Project, Jessica Valenti of Feministing and the guys at Advomatic who will soon be launching the new Living Liberally website.

There's something to be said for good drinking buddies.

We've shared a pint with Atrios, who, after the '04 RNC in New York, helped make DL a national brand in the blogosphere; Markos, who has visited more chapters (during his Crashing the Gate book tour with Jerome Armstrong) than I have; the folks at Netroots Nation who have welcomed our comedians and happy hours as part of their conference's social engine; our compatriots at Young People For, who helped us hire our first fulltime staff; and Matt, Chris and Mike at OpenLeft who have offered a platform that has elevated our writers and comedians as contributors to liberal culture.

So thank you all for sharing a pint -- or a pitcher -- with us over the past 5 years...and for sharing your time, you ideas, your energy.  Around the country you've proven the importance of sharing a drink with a few friends.

And here's a special message for our 5th birthday from a champion for progressive causes, an advocate for justice and compassion:

See more congratulations videos and learn more about 5th Anniversary events at Happy Birthday, Living Liberally.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

The Final Living Liberally State: North Dakota

by: Living Liberally

Tue May 27, 2008 at 14:00

Drinking Liberally Shot of Truth

A progressive organization doesn't get to 50 states without a lot of friends along the way - and we want to take a minute to thank Open Left for being one of our most crucial friends when we were aiming for what seemed to be impossible.

As of today, North Dakota is the only state without a Living Liberally chapter. Loyal readers will know that we've spent the last month trying to spread our network of progressive groups into all 50 states, with only four standing in the way: the aforementioned North Dakota, and Hawaii, Oklahoma and West Virginia. We reached out to the Open Left community for help in plugging the holes, and largely thanks to your help, we now have chapters in 49 states - in Martinsburg and Charleston, West Virginia, in Norman, Oklahoma, and in Kahului, Hawaii.

But as much as we appreciate the OL readership's role in helping Living Liberally expand, we'd like to make a special shout-out to Chris, Matt and Mike. In the past year, we've had some amazing experiences and incredible milestones alongside this terrific trio - producing film and book reviews tailored for leftie readers, tracking the growth of the social side of the progressive movement, and, of course, completing our 50-bar strategy.

That's why we're asking two things of you this Tuesday afternoon:

1. If you know anyone in North Dakota, yourself included, who would like the honor of spreading Living Liberally to our 50th state, then contact us at info (at) livingliberally (dot) org.

2. If you haven't yet had the chance to participate in OL's fundraising drive, we humbly ask you to help out some of the progressive movement's best friends:

Donate to Open Left

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Why I just contributed

by: sTiVo

Sun May 25, 2008 at 19:37

(It's not just an advertizement for the site, it also sorta crticizes my diary from earlier today.  That's what I call "fair and balanced."

- promoted by Paul Rosenberg

I just made a donation to Open Left.  I want to take this space to explain why.  Basically, I think it is important to sustain and nourish sites that have not totally jumped the shark of partisanship to one side or the other where these sides can debate and legitimately engage one another, no matter how difficult that is.
There's More... :: (39 Comments, 629 words in story)

Subscribe To OpenLeft Authors

by: J-Ro

Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 22:36

Instead of subscribing to all OpenLeft updates in your inbox, you can subscribe to each individual author if you wish. You will receive one email a day with all the posts from that author.

To subscribe, simply click the link of the author you want to subscribe to and fill out the resulting form.

Subscribe to Jenifer Fernandez Ancona

Subscribe to Chris Bowers

Subscribe to brklyngrl

Subscribe to Mike Lux

Subscribe to Living Liberally

Subscribe to David Sirota

Subscribe to Matt Stoller

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The OpenLeft User Manual

by: J-Ro

Sun Feb 17, 2008 at 21:58

By popular demand, here is a brief guide to using OpenLeft.

New here? Sign up for an account!

You can read all you want here at OpenLeft without a free account, but if you really want to get the most out of the experience, and to do things like posting comments or writing your own diaries, you'll need to register.

Registration is easy, and even better, it's completely free. And we mean free. Not only does it cost nothing, but it's also hassle free and spam free.

To register, click on the register link in the Menu at your right. Create a username and password for yourself to complete the process. Your account will be activated immediately.

With your new account you can post comments on stories, write quick hits, and write your own diaries, all covered in detail below.

Join the discussion! Leave a comment.

The easiest way to get involved with OpenLeft is to start leaving comments. Comments are online discussions with the other members of the Open Left community. Before you dive right in, we've just got one ground rule:

Be excellent to each other!

To leave a comment, click on the title of a diary on the front page or the "There's more..." or "Discuss" hyperlink at the end of the post. This will lead you to that diary's individual page.

The comment section begins where the diary ends. Browse through what's already been said to see where the discussion has already been. To add your own thoughts, you can either:

a) Reply to a comment

To reply to someone else's comment, simply click the "Reply" link at the end of their comment. Your comment will appear indented underneath the comment you replied to.

b) Write a new comment

To write a new comment, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the "Post a Comment" link. Your comment will appear at the end of the list of comments.

Either way you choose, the process of writing a comment is the same. Fill in a subject for your comment in the "Subject" box, and fill in your comment in the "Comment" box. You can use basic HTML in the comments, and you can use the "Bold," "Italic," and "Quote" links to format your comment automatically.

When you are done, click "Preview" to preview your comment how it will look on Open Left, or click "Post" to post your comment.

Rating Comments

If you find a comment that is particularly inciteful, or you find a comment that is breaking the rules of OpenLeft, you can alternately "Recommend" the comment to others as something worth reading, or "Troll" a comment that breaks the rules.

To do so, simply use the drop down menu at the end of every comment that is originally labeled "none." Click the drop down menu, choose either the "Recommend" or "Troll" rating, and let go of your mouse button.

Writing Diaries

OpenLeft is an open community that allows users to create their own posts for everyone to read. These posts - and all posts on OpenLeft - are called diaries.

To create a new diary, simply click the "Write A Diary" link in the Menu in the left sidebar. Choose a title for your diary, and tag it with relevant keywords separated by commas.

Write your thoughts in the "Main Text" and "Extended Text" windows. Anything you write in the "Main Text" window will appear on the diary list page, and anything you write in the "Extended Text" window will only appear if a user click over to that diary's unique page.

You can use basic HTML to format your diaries, as well as the "Bold," "Italic," and "Quote" buttons below the entry windows.

You can also add a poll question to your diary if you like by filling out the poll boxes.

When you are done, click the "Preview" button to see how your post will look on OpenLeft. If you are satisfied, press the "Save" button to publish your post.

You can edit your dairy after it has been published by clicking the "edit diary" link on the diary page. You can delete a diary by checking the "delete" box at the bottom of the page when you are editing the diary.

Quick Hits

Quick hits are little tidbits of news and information - mini diaries if you will(edit by tremayne) - that OpenLeft members want to share with the community. Often quick hits are little more than a link and a sentence of text as a description.

Quick hits are listed chronologically as they are created in the right sidebar. You can view a list of all quick hits by clicking the "View all recent Quick Hits" link at the bottom of the sidebar list.

On the resulting page, you can view all quick hits and add your own. To add a quick hit, click the "add quick hit" link at the top of the page. Enter your title and the text of the quick hit, then click "Preview." If you're satisfied with how your quick hit looks, click "Save" to post it for all to see.

Users who can post Quick Hits can also delete them. We ask you not to delete Quick Hits, however.(edit by tremayne). If you see a Quick Hit that you feel should be deleted (spam, not relevant, defamatory, etc...), please notify site administrators.

Tracking Users and Comments

You can find out more information about a specific OpenLeft user by clicking on the link containing their username. The resulting page will let you view that user's diaries, comments, and public profile.

If you particularly like a post a user has written, you can add that post to your Hot List by clicking the "+" link next to the post's title. View your Hot List by clicking the "Hot List" link in the Menu in the left sidebar. Use your Hot List to keep track of good posts to remember for later, ongoing discussions, and the like.

If you like what a user has to say, you can subscribe to their diary feed. To subscribe to a user, click on one of their diaries and click the "subscribe" link underneath the diary title. To view new diaries by users you have subscribed to, click on the "Hot List" link in the left menu and click the "Subscriptions" link at the top of the resulting page. This will show you a list of new diaries by users you have subscribed to. You can edit your subscription status or clear the list from this page as well.

Advanced Navigation

There are many ways to find what you're looking for on OpenLeft. The easiest is the search function. To perform a search, simply enter the terms you are looking for in the search box in the right sidebar. Choose whether you want to search for terms in the Dairies or in the Comments, and click "Search."

You can click on the "Advanced Search" link for more options.

You can also find what you're looking for through the OpenLeft tagging system. At the end of each diary is a list of tags that identify what that post is about. Clicking on the tag will bring up other posts with the same tag. You can browse a list of the most commonly used tags in the right sidebar, under the label "Hot Tags."

You can also browse a lists of featured or new diaries right sidebar. Featured diaries are those posts identified by the authors at OpenLeft to be particularly worth reading. The "New Diaries" section is a list of posts by OpenLeft's users in chronological order, with the newest ones at the top.

To view a list of new user diaries, click the "User Diaries" link in the Menu in the left sidebar.

Subscribe to OpenLeft in your inbox

OpenLeft will email you a digest with all new front page posts for that day if you subscribe to our email newsletter. To do so, fill in your email address in the box underneath the words "OpenLeft in your inbox!" in the left sidebar. Complete the resulting form to sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time.

This is a work in progress. What major sections have I left out? Leave a comment and help make OpenLeft a better place for new users!

Discuss :: (4 Comments)
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