Sticks and Stones

I have had numerous requests lately to delete posts or block someone.

I abhor moderation. First, it’s a lot of work and there are fish to catch. Second, If I do that, there would be suspicion of bias, and it might even be valid. I’m not perfect. The resentment that having posts blocked would raise might do more harm than the incivility I would be trying to discourage.

As a result, I have never blocked a post or banned anyone. WordPress filters some posts its algorithms see as spam, but they go to a pending folder and I have always passed on valid posts. when they are brought to my attention.

So, maybe a Beer Summit would help.

But the personal insults and bickering are getting worse. Maybe it’s a function of overall hyperpartisanship of the country, but this is getting less pleasant.

So, call ideas or policies stupid, but don’t call people stupid. Or racists, unless you can back that up. Be civil, speak to each other as though we were sitting around a table face to face, and everyone is armed.

But still some people will be nasty, because it is their nature. So, try to get a thick skin and understand that when people start acting like 14 year old mean girls they have lost the intellectual argument and their nastiness is their surrender.

61 thoughts on “Sticks and Stones

  1. Then you’ve already made the decision to allow personal attacks, bullying and intimidation to go on. There is NO EXCUSE for f bombs, much less a lot of the vitriole on this channel. It will get worse because you refuse to stop it. I’ll let other Libs know they’re not welcome, nor any conservatives, since you allow it.

    I’ll make sure to pass teh word along.

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    1. I really don’t think many Libertarians or Conservatives will be scared off the piteous wailing of those who must resort to profanity and insult in their posts.

      I was told by an Alaskan girl that the Innuits had a way of dealing with miscreants. They had no jails, and could not afford to banish a member of their small communities over minor infractions, so if someone was a thief, or other petty criminal, they would laugh when that person’s name was mentioned. In their small circle, that was a fierce punishment.

      That may be the best approach here. When someone drops an F-bomb or other childish insult, perhaps the best response, from a Southern perspective, is a gentle, “Well bless your heart.”

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      1. Scared off? Or more likely sick and tired of any non progressive who doesn’t have what it takes to act like one. I’m not the only person who has grown tired of spineless folks Don. I’ll be advocating a place where people can go for discourse (which the Libertarian party of Tidewater has) that doesn’t allow non progressives that. I want to make sure others know how this shook out. Its your blog, do what you want, but fair warning to others as to how you run your blog is fair too.

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    2. “Libs not welcome”?

      Seriously? You want a site of conservative cheerleaders?

      That is why I dropped Kerry’s site.

      Debate is entertaining as well as an occasional pathway to understanding and education IF one makes the effort. Venting is a nice side effect too.

      Over the decade, I have learned a lot. I might not agree with many on the right. I might get frustrated or even angry and some posts show that. I try to attribute that to being human and to limitations of rapid, written communication.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. There is a Libertarian meeting 2x a month where folks get together and no incivility is allowed. Do a search for Robert K. Dean on Facebook and ask him about the meetings there. We’ve had leftists/progressives, other groups, and I’ve never seen any of the incivility here.

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    1. Yeah, I’ve been going to those meetings for more than 20 years. I’ve held back in the last year because too many of them decided vaccination and mask wearing were political issues.

      I don’t support mandates but I don’t go looking for COVID either. In time I’ll go again.

      But say hello to Robert for me.

      But there is just as much treachery and backstabbing among Libertarians as anyone else. Ask Robert about the Hampton Roads Libertarian Party.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Last year? Been longer than that Don because I’ve never seen you at a meeting. They are political issues. You’ve not been active in any sort of way of going to meetings, and I’ve never heard your name mentioned. I do know about that issue: Roberts’ group, with a couple of exemptions that I stay away from, are not uncivil. That’s the issue: not the backstabbing you’re talking about. Being uncivil isn’t allowed there.

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    2. BTW, part of the reason there is civility at those TLP meetings is that they are face-to-face and most of the people there ARE armed.

      The anonymity of the Internet encourages cowards to talk tough in a way they would not in person.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Again you know it and do nothing on it. The knowledge of what is allowed and not allowed shouldn’t be a problem so folks can choose their venue. I’ve never cared if someone is armed or not. Folks who do it anonymously now are not always restrained in person.

        Again, made your choice, your blog, so I’ll just let folks know of the choices in “atmosphere”. Good luck with your forum.

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        1. Another reason there is more civility there is that liberals don’t go there. It’s easy to be civil where everyone thinks the same way,

          But at some point you have to engage the opposition, which is what we do here.

          By all means, tell others about the controversy on this blog, but invite them to see it for themselves. We could use more Libertarian voices here.

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          1. …”where everyone thinks the same way,”…

            That may make for peaceful meetings, but it doesn’t make for vigorous debate of the issues. Or actual problem solving.

            Like the GOP of today, if you aren’t a Trump sucker-upper (See Governor of Alaska’s kowtowing to Trump’ demands as an example), then you are a RINO, a Commie, or some other negative nelly that refuses to ride the Trump train.and not worthy of support or even a fair hearing of your ideas. At the Libertarian meetings, if you disagree with a point being made, you could get drummed out, or shot.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. At a Libertarian meeting, if you disagree with a point, the people there will politely explain to you how you are in error.

            But people who don’t believe in the basic principles of self ownership and non-aggression don’t go there, and from those principles, policy becomes obvious.

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          3. “… if you disagree with a point, the people there will politely explain to you how you are in error.”

            The assumption apparently is that you are right and the person disagreeing is wrong. That isn’t an exchange of ideas, or even debate.

            That is elitist thinking with a sealed mind, in my opinion. No wonder everyone thinks alike in a kind of self perpetuating group think.

            Liked by 3 people

          4. The two principles on which Libertarianism is based are that you own your own life and that force can only be used in defense.

            How are those elitist?

            Where are they wrong?

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          5. “Don’t tread on me” has already been used.

            As I wrote the other day, there is a balance between social responsibility as a citizen and personal freedom.

            An example is tax evasion. The world’s wealthiest have been investigated by a group of journalists for decades and the result was the “Panama” papers reporting.

            The cost shifting to the rest of us is obvious. As US citizens we all agreed to certain taxation. You might keep as much as you want, or all, but then you deny responsibility to the society you decided to live in.

            Before you say “I didn’t agree with the taxes”, you voted which means you agreed to obey the outcomes as a citizen in a democratic republic. This is the problem we have today. Minority rule is the goal for right wingers and that is not the principle we were founded on.

            We have unprecedented freedoms here compared to most other nations. They come at a cost, however. That cost is found in obligations to the “tribe” in return for the incredible benefits of living here. Not only that, but you have a mechanism to voice your opposition and, if so motivated, sell your views to enough citizens to change the laws.

            True, complexities abound. And big money usually wins over any principle or societal obligations. And politics is messy in a very much multicultural society. Yet, even those issues can be resolved. Or at least have been for centuries.

            When you marry, you are no longer just your “own”. Not only must you learn to live with obligations morally imposed, but also legally enforced.

            In a sense we are “married” to 333 million others.

            Bottom line: you can live your own life, but you have obligations outside of your own personal ones. Short of killing all those with less intelligence, drive, strength or motivation, you are stuck with them in our family as a price for community life. As are we also obligated to the illegal immigrants doing our labor cheaply and without complaints about abusive practices. Yet they are convenient political whipping boys and girls.

            Liked by 2 people

          6. There is no cost shifting down the income ladder. Those at the top already pay far more than their share of providing for defense and the Rule of Law, and even mutually useful infrastructure.

            Every dime of taxation for the purpose of redistribution of wealth is theft.

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          7. A decade or two ago, I read that those who owned a home worth less than $225K or so in Norfolk (I don’t recall the exact amount, but the point is still valid) did not pay enough property taxes to cover their service like public safety, schools, street cleanings, etc.

            No police for you, my good man.

            In a modern industrial society, the concept of infrastructure needs to include more than roads and bridges. Healthcare, education and other services to enhance the quality of the workers are good not just for them, but also the investor classes who need skilled, healthy people to work and carry out the ideas. It should be part of the cost of doing business here rather than, say, Afghanistan or North Korea.

            It does not mean we need to socialize medicine by the government hiring doctors, but rather ensuring healthcare is universal, affordable and available.

            But that is just one example.

            If you insist taxes are confiscatory and theft except for expenses approved by you, I won’t try to change your mind.

            So, to paraphrase: “… if you disagree with a point, I will politely explain to you how you are in error.”

            And I have no gun on me.

            Liked by 2 people

          8. You could make the case that the person with a mansion owes more for fire or police protection than the person in a hovel.

            That is not redictribution of wealth.

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          9. …” if you disagree with a point, the people there will politely explain to you how you are in error.”…

            So if you disagree YOU are automatically in error? That is not debate; that is dangerous groupthink. You are basically saying that there is no room for actual discussion, just that you are wrong and the group is right.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. I’m saying people can make a logical case for a libertarian point of view that is consistent and follows the principles libertarianism is based on.

            If you do not believe your life belongs to you, you can come to a different conclusion, but with very slight differences in approach, you cannot hold that principle and support a different policy.

            If your philosophy holds your life belongs to the collective or if you believe in magic, you can come to different policies, but since magic doesn’t exist, it allows for all sorts of different unworkable policies.

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          11. “I’m saying people can make a logical case for a libertarian point of view that is consistent and follows the principles libertarianism is based on.”

            But ONLY the Libertarian point of view?

            Like I said before : Groupthink.

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          12. There is limited opportunity for non-libertarian reasoning respecting self ownership, but the question was about discussions at a Libertarian meeting.

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          13. Discussions? One way monologues. And if you disagree, you are just wrong. I will say this one more time, because you refuse to acknowledge it: GROUPTHINK!

            Even the Libertarian think tank the Cato Institute has posited on things that I agree with, but you would disagree with.

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          14. Well, if I would disagree with Cato, then it isn’t group think then, is it?

            But really, if you start with the facts, and rigidly adhere to the basic principles of self-ownership and non-aggression, then is coming to the same conclusion group think or rationality.

            If a thousand mathematicians agree that 2+2=4, is that group think too?

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          1. “… part of the reason there is civility at those TLP meetings is that they are face-to-face and most of the people there ARE armed.”

            Who are the “others” at your meetings that you need to be armed against. You said that was part of the reason for civility.

            I have a good friend who plays high stakes poker. He carries a pistol to protect himself going to and from the game with substantial cash. Is that what you really meant?

            Liked by 2 people

          2. “… no one there would shoot someone over an insult…”. Good to know. If I showed up and supported universal healthcare, according to you that would mean I supported the theft of your money.

            You are calling me a thief.

            My personal sense of civility, not a gun, would let me respond accordingly.

            And you wonder why we don’t enter your sanctum santorum. No discussion, just “you are wrong and a thief”.

            Elitism by definition. At least admit that.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. First of all, I haven’t taken anything from you.

            Second, you agreed to any and all taxes and programs by being an American and participating in the democratic process by voting.

            Third, by agreeing to abide by the Rule of Law, you agree to pay the taxes.

            Like the example of rural roads, the folks here, Richmond and NOVA have paid for the roads in the western rural districts of VA. I don’t drive them and they could certainly not afford to pay for them with local taxes alone. You would call them thieves, no?

            Or perhaps that the rural red states are soaking the blue states’ federal taxes because they are too greedy to pay their own way. Are they thieves?

            This is why I told another poster that they had Red Whine to go with Red Meat.

            The efforts by your political side to steal the next election, like they tried to do after 2020, is being cemented in place, so you can maybe get your wishes for tax abatement.

            That you feel “principled” because you don’t want to have any obligation to our nation other than to breathe is a bit, for the lack of a better word, unpatriotic in my view. Or, more likely, the claim of being good, patriotic Americans by conservatives is mostly BS. Wrapping themselves in my flag holding a cross as they march towards Putin style oligarchy.

            In my opinion, of course.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. What you don’t understand is that it is not those who flee to Galt’s Gulch who suffer, they will do just fine. It is those who are left behind.

            The discovery by 51% that they can live off the other 49% is what destroys democracies, which is why democracies are so dangerous.

            My tax burden is not a problem, but the corruption of those wo seek to live off of it will destroy them.

            “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” ― Frédéric Bastiat

            We have already reached the point that we cannot supply ourselves with doctors, we must import them.

            If you understand that, then you will understand why “free” health care is a bad idea.

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          5. I never did say free health care.

            I said universal, affordable and accessible healthcare. That could mean subsidies for low income families, but still competitive insurance rates. The Swiss and Germans I believe have that. We also have it, but the conservatives are so knee jerk opposed to anything Obama that it has problems that still need resolution.

            I could also mean better ways than fee for service.

            There are solutions. But right now a family of 4 is hovering around $24,000 per year for insurance. If employed they get a break. If self-employed, it is a burden. That is over a third of the family median incomes.

            Americans are getting screwed. Period.

            You just repeat the same blathering about thievery and that the masses are so stupid, fat and lazy they deserve to die.

            That is elitist. Galt Gulch is the clue.

            Consider getting out and away from the bumper sticker right wing politics that says every American is a cheater except you and the other “real Americans”.

            Really.

            Liked by 1 person

          6. The health care systems in Europe are paid for by a flat payroll tax and a VAT consumption tax, not by a progressive income tax. Everybody pays a proportional share. The US alone expects 10% of the population to pay for nearly everything.

            But you seem to go to great effort to avoid the point.

            If people are corrupted by becoming dependent on others, who is more harmed, those they prey upon or those who become addicted to voting for a living?

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          7. Getting healthcare to low income families is not addicting to a life of leisure. It is keeping Americans alive and well to participate in the free market economy.

            Liked by 1 person

          8. Are you missing the point or avoiding it?

            Those European systems impose a proportional cost on everyone. Sure, the wealthy pay more because they earn and spend more, but everyone pays at the same rate.

            No one gets a free ride.

            Here, half the population has no skin in the game(as Obama liked to say) and 10% of the population effectively pays for everything.

            That is a recipe for destruction of the nation.

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          9. Medicare. We all pay in. But it is limited to retirees.

            Instead families now pay about a third of median family income for coverage.

            Liked by 1 person

          10. And how is that in any way responsive to the issue?

            The European health systems you want us to emulate are paid for proportionally by everyone. In the US tax system, most would pay nothing and 10% of the population would pay for everyone.

            That is fundamentally different. When everyone is paying in, there is an incentive to control costs but when only a small number carry the burden, there are no constraints.

            So, if you want European health care, you need to support paying for it as the Europeqans do.

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          11. Medicare is similar to HOW some Europeans pay for their healthcare. A payroll tax.

            That is what Medicare for all would have been.

            We now pay about 3.5% of gross income or about 2000/year for median family incomes. M4A bumped to 10-12% would be about 6-7K for a family of 4 median income.

            Better than $20K.

            Liked by 1 person

          12. And how large a payroll tax would have been necessary for Medicare for All?

            The total cost is estimated to be $3.5 Trillion a year. I don’t think 12% will cut it. You pay that 3.5% all your life to cover health care for an average of 14 years. A cradle to grave system paid for by a payroll tax is going to be substantial.

            M4A as proposed by Sen Sanders is not paid for by a payroll tax.

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          13. “That is a recipe for destruction of the nation.”

            Similar wording was used by those opposed to Medicare, Civil Rights in the 60’s and Obamacare in the early part of the 21st Century. That is not what is destroying this nation; it is the lack of honesty by those in politics and the media, mostly form the Right.

            The “Big Lie” comes to mind.

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  3. RE: “But the personal insults and bickering are getting worse…”

    I have certainly posted insults and bickered, so I am part of the problem. I wish I weren’t but I don’t know what else to do. It is not realistic to be nice to evil.

    If the philosophy of the Forum is to be non-moderation, then I’d say the insults and bickering are like weather. Dialectic can be rough, but it remains truer than the alternative.

    If you want a different Forum, your fishing may suffer. Maybe that’s OK, if you want a different Forum.

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    1. Isn’t it nice to come across a word or term we haven’t heard in a long time? Sort of like that fun word: serendipity.

      Thanks for slapping in that term . . . HIGH FALUTIN’, Nancy_Naive.

      It immediately took me back to those quiet late nights when my mother, her 3 sisters and my grandmother would be sitting together in Chocowinity, NC, talking about what was going on everyone’s life. I was always the only cousin that was still awake, and my mother would pull me up in her lap assuming that would put me to sleep. I was probably 6 or 7, and I was totally fascinated by the chatter from these ladies.

      My eyes were shut and I knew I’d be sent to bed if I said a word, so I feigned drowsiness. Eventually, their conversation would come around to some female they knew before the sisters moved up to Norfolk, and inevitably she would be referred to as a ‘loose woman’ and ‘high falutin’ to boot. As a young kid I had no clue what a ‘loose woman’ was, but there was no mistaking the ‘high falutin’ bit. Ha. Ahh, good times.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “It is not realistic to be nice to evil.” True, that is what Don is asking. Since I am actually doing things in real life, I can spend time on those rather than dealing with it here.

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    1. I don’t think Dr. Tabor is tolerant of evil.

      The problem is disrespect for the Forum. It is not an easy problem to solve, because rule-breakers typically claim they have a right to break the rules or complain that their infractions are justified.

      The only real solution is for Forum participants to moderate themselves. Our host occasionally reminds us of this.

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  5. “It is not realistic to be nice to evil.”

    I think that phrase is pretty telling. Once the political opposition is termed evil, the conversation descends into a morass.

    Evil is a term associated with emotional appeal that truly negates any attempt at understanding shades of gray.

    Support for universal, affordable healthcare is not evil, it is a topic of disagreement among members of society. Few conservatives would agree a child should die because parents are poor.

    Support for gun ownership is not evil, it is again a point of disagreement. Few liberals agree that all guns should be confiscated.

    Once the “if you are not with us, you are against us” status is ascribed, why bother with civility. The discussions are over and the opposition is “evil” or “enemies of the people”.

    Serial killings are evil. Suicide bombers are enemies. Liberal and conservative philosophies are neither until one side or the other labels them so. And then take either one to the extremes that exclude all else as “evil”.

    That being said, we are all human and emotional subjects beget emotional responses. Also, we are not writing doctoral theses on these sites. Most of us do, however, provide some links to support positions. That is a good thing. It adds at least a source of position rather than “you suck”.

    The old curse, ascribed to the Chinese, “may you live in interesting times” seems a good description of the social media era. Let’s hope it does not get more “interesting” as in “war”.
    Often when the talking stops, the blood flows. That is what politics, legislative organizations like Congress or Parliaments, and media are all about.

    IMO, humble or not so depending on viewpoint.

    PS: I am reminded of the blind men and the elephant. Consensus would provide an accurate description of what the elephant really looks like.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RE: “I am reminded of the blind men and the elephant. Consensus would provide an accurate description of what the elephant really looks like.”

      Consensus is not that reliable. The blind men need sight, after all.

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      1. The whole of an elephant is much more than the sum of its parts.

        The same is true of any political or economic construct.

        The idea of providing health care to all equally is pretty appealing on its own, but the destruction of the dynamic progress of the free market and the inherent immorality of taking from those who make good choices to benefit the irresponsible as well as other market distortions are all part of that elephant.

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        1. How do you that the “beneficiaries’ are irresponsible. Some might be, but certainly not all unless you spend a lifetime being a Homo sapiens style Jane Goodall.

          In most of the natural world, resources are not shared. The weaker just die off. We have already broken the simplest laws of natural survival once we progressed from hunter-gatherer. Medical science ensures the survival of most who would die off with lesser intelligence, smaller size, mentally deficient or accepting of primitive social orders. So we have fiddled with Mother Nature enough that, in my opinion, survival of the fittest is harder to rationalize as the only type of economic and social orders. And in order to keep some modicum of peace among tribes, we need to accept some level of social responsibility. The key, to me, is balancing that responsibility with personal freedoms. That is, it is not a zero sum or “either/or” proposition.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Sight is better, no doubt.

        I just returned from the Galápagos Islands. I was fortunate enough in life to be able to afford both the trip and the method of island hopping on a expedition style cruise ship.

        We had access to the pristine uninhabited islands which have very tight restrictions. However, we never stopped in the small towns that held a grand total of 30,000 Galapagos residents total over 4 islands.

        I was not blind, but other than passing through, I have little idea about life and the people who live there. But the tour was about natural life, conservation, evolution and some biology. Animals in their wild habitat with so little fear of humans that we stepped around them.

        Even if someone told me that the inhabitants were all communists, libertarians, heathens, Christians, Muslims, rich, poor or in between I would be in the dark unless I stayed with a few families and other members of the islands. Staying long enough to really learn beyond the initial hospitality period. Yet, I can truthfully say I was there and those I did meet we gracious and friendly.

        A very interesting trait, however was told to us by a native tour guide. The “coasties” had derogatory terms for the “highlanders”… “yellow legs. Vice versa were the “rock lickers”. This island had only about 10 miles at the most from shore to mountains on total size of maybe a thousand square km.

        “Red necks” versus “city slickers”. Yet, I doubt either were political “enemies of the people” or “evil”.

        We learned about natural forces, however. Survival was based on food, dominance, territory and sex. Not just the fittest, either, but the most adaptable made the “cut” so to speak, over eons.

        Again, similarities that we can discuss ad infinitum.

        Blind or not, walking in other’s moccasins is better. By extension, words are better than violence.

        Political deafness is our biggest obstacle in my opinion. Blindness is a problem. But comprhension requires good listening since we cannot all travel everywhere and live all life styles.

        We can hug the elephant’s leg, blind or not, and still not hear about his ears if we so choose. And that might be the crux of modern politics.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. RE: “Sight is better, no doubt.”

          Better or not, you can’t see without it.

          The story of the blind men and the elephant is one of the oldest in all of recorded history. It is amazing what people see in it without seeing what is in it.

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    2. This BBC radio broadcast from 2012 might be of interest. The host interviews several blind people about elephants then takes them to the zoo to touch an elephant for the first time.

      Like

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