The Bul****: You’ve Gotta Pivot Like There’s Nobody Watching

 

Lest we lose sight of the forest for the trees: It seems to me likely Mueller will find there was collusion between Trump associates and Putin operatives; that Trump knew about it; and that Trump sought to cover it up and obstruct its investigation. What then? Good question. — Bill Kristol, August 9, 2018

Good question, indeed. The complementary question, of course, is: what if Mueller doesn’t find that there was collusion between Trump associates and Putin operatives? What then?

We have an answer: you pivot.

What the Mueller report says, per Attorney General Barr, is this:

[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

But pop over to The Bulwark and read Kim Wehle’s piece, Mueller Report: What We Can Learn From Barr’s Initial Letter to Congressional Leaders, and you’ll discover that the Barr letter, per Ms. Wehle,

contains no facts or substantive information—nothing about what Mueller did or did not find with respect to his investigative mandate from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

I’m confused. The letter seems to clearly state that Mueller did not find evidence to establish collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, which actually was a principal objective of Mueller’s mandate. How does this clear finding become “nothing about what Mueller did or did not find?”

Read the rest of the piece and you won’t come across this seemingly important tidbit of information: that the investigation launched to find evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia did not find evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

Ms. Wehle does, however, instruct us to drop the “witch hunt” talk.

The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

That’s it. The rest of the article is about obstruction. See how the pivot works?

Oh, and Mr. Sykes also lays down the law for us: “There was no witch hunt.”

(It almost seems like a Bulwark theme, that last bit.)

As If you read the articles at The Bulwark, you’ll notice two things. First, the pivot, the effortless shift from collusion to obstruction, as if the threat to our democracy was never the intrusion of Russian influence (it wasn’t, but that was the drum they were beating), but rather the danger of the President being critical of an investigation he knew, by virtue of being its object, to be pointless.

Secondly, you’ll see a lot of whataboutism, particularly from Sykes and Last. How exactly one’s attitude about past misdeeds by prominent Democrats factors into the revelation that there was no Trump collusion with the Russians escapes me; it seems to impose a moral standard on a legal question, as if to say that anyone who thinks Hillary Clinton should probably go to jail for her supposed crimes is a hypocrite for acknowledging that there was no Trump collusion with the Russians.

In short, after having beaten the collusion narrative into the ground with the rest of the mainstream media, Sykes and Co. are doing exactly what every left-leaning media organization is going to do: overlook the negative finding on collusion, and pivot instantly to speculation about obstruction in the investigation of collusion that, we now know, didn’t occur.

I will revisit The Bulwark when someone informs me that Charles Sykes has posted a piece acknowledging his mistaken credulity, and pondering, however briefly, how so many fell for what seemed, even two years ago, a preposterous narrative.

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  1. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Charlie Sykes and a few others at The Bulwark and elsewhere are going to be like those Japanese World War II soldiers who wouldn’t surrender to reality and hid out on Pacific islands for 30 years, refusing to believe the war was over. Or at least, until there’s some new major claim against Trump, they’re going to keep beating the Russian collusion dead horse, because they’re so sure of their intellectual superiority over Trump and all his mind-numbed followers (even if there are some prominent 2016 #NeverTrump people who are laughing at them right now and/or begging them to let it go).

    • #1
  2. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Look, we both know how this works:  you decide what your position then you accept only “facts” that support your conclusion.  We may call this the Sherlock Holmes methodology.  Because that is what he did.  The thing for him, of course, was that he always had the dead body staring up at him, and “rache” written in blood on the wall.

    • #2
  3. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    It comes down to whether you find the CIA top brass credible. They are political appointees providing narratives their bosses want to hear. If you find them to be bunglers – and dangerous bunglers- and you noticed all the usual suspects were aligning on a dubious narrative, then you recognize the game and what it’s worth.

    The real question is what can be done.   I don’t know. But it needs to be figured out.

    Bulwark is just passes on the lies the CIA keeps feeding. And also part of the problem is how the intelligence services of other NATO countries were part of the process.   

    • #3
  4. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    I love irony … and analogies. I find it hilarious that today’s Bul****ers are no different than the 0bama “Birthers” that they so detest. 

    Will they still be ranting that President Trump is “unfit” in his eighth year in the Oval Office?

    • #4
  5. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Thank you for reading The Bulwark so the rest of us don’t have to.

    Well, almost the rest of us.

    • #5
  6. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration, at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

    BTW, it’s genuinely bothersome that someone like Sykes does not understand that “exoneration” has no role in this process.  It’s finally beginning to dawn on me (duh) that rising in the punditocracy has more to do with just “being there” than being intelligent enough to know what you’re talking about.

    Being There is also a terrific movie in danger of going on the forgotten list. FWIW.

    • #6
  7. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Henry,

    As usual, you do a very well reasoned job. Unfortunately, I don’t think Mr. Kristol or the likes of Max Boot are deserving of getting off with this much of their dignity intact. They should get a dressing down by the kind of voice they despise. Here’s Paul Joseph Watson in full Paul Joseph Watson gear. I think maybe Mr. Kristol should be forced to watch this. Then we’ll talk.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
  8. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration, at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

    BTW, it’s genuinely bothersome that someone like Sykes does not understand that “exoneration” has no role in this process. It’s finally beginning to dawn on me (duh) that rising in the punditocracy has more to do with just “being there” than being intelligent enough to know what you’re talking about.

    Being There is also a terrific movie in danger of going on the forgotten list.

    Sykes was called out today for suddenly being all-in on the Napoleonic Code of Justice — i.e. that Trump’s still to be presumed guilty unless he can prove his own innocence. Because Sykes wants to claim that Trump’s failure to spend the rest of his current term in office doing that is a de facto acknowledgement of guilt. There’s really no point in arguing with a mindset like that when they’re willing to see the sky in whatever color it has to be to fit their pre-determined beliefs.

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration, at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

    BTW, it’s genuinely bothersome that someone like Sykes does not understand that “exoneration” has no role in this process. It’s finally beginning to dawn on me (duh) that rising in the punditocracy has more to do with just “being there” than being intelligent enough to know what you’re talking about.

    Being There is also a terrific movie in danger of going on the forgotten list.

    Sykes was called out today for suddenly being all-in on the Napoleonic Code of Justice — i.e. that Trump’s still to be presumed guilty unless he can prove his own innocence. Because Sykes wants to claim that Trump’s failure to spend the rest of his current term in office doing that is a de facto acknowledgement of guilt. There’s really no point in arguing with a mindset like that when they’re willing to see the sky in whatever color it has to be to fit their pre-determined beliefs.

    Let me add that, to the best of my knowledge (and this is within my realm of knowledge), prosecutors do not exonerate.  If one reads that word as a critique, it’s time to put the high boots on.

    • #9
  10. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration, at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

    BTW, it’s genuinely bothersome that someone like Sykes does not understand that “exoneration” has no role in this process. It’s finally beginning to dawn on me (duh) that rising in the punditocracy has more to do with just “being there” than being intelligent enough to know what you’re talking about.

    Being There is also a terrific movie in danger of going on the forgotten list.

    Sykes was called out today for suddenly being all-in on the Napoleonic Code of Justice — i.e. that Trump’s still to be presumed guilty unless he can prove his own innocence. Because Sykes wants to claim that Trump’s failure to spend the rest of his current term in office doing that is a de facto acknowledgement of guilt. There’s really no point in arguing with a mindset like that when they’re willing to see the sky in whatever color it has to be to fit their pre-determined beliefs.

    Let me add that, to the best of my knowledge (and this is within my realm of knowledge), prosecutors do not exonerate. If one reads that as a critique, it’s time to put the high boots on.

    In fairness to Sykes, I suspect he used the word “exonerate” because the President did, and Sykes was contradicting the President’s statement.

    Of course, an absence of proof does not constitute proof of an absence. But we have peculiar, and inappropriate, standards if we demand proof of no collusion or obstruction, rather than demanding no proof of collusion or obstruction. We got the latter, and should move on.

    • #10
  11. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration, at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

    BTW, it’s genuinely bothersome that someone like Sykes does not understand that “exoneration” has no role in this process. It’s finally beginning to dawn on me (duh) that rising in the punditocracy has more to do with just “being there” than being intelligent enough to know what you’re talking about.

    Being There is also a terrific movie in danger of going on the forgotten list. FWIW.

    I agree with your last.  I like to watch . . .

    • #11
  12. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration, at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

    BTW, it’s genuinely bothersome that someone like Sykes does not understand that “exoneration” has no role in this process. It’s finally beginning to dawn on me (duh) that rising in the punditocracy has more to do with just “being there” than being intelligent enough to know what you’re talking about.

    Being There is also a terrific movie in danger of going on the forgotten list.

    Sykes was called out today for suddenly being all-in on the Napoleonic Code of Justice — i.e. that Trump’s still to be presumed guilty unless he can prove his own innocence. Because Sykes wants to claim that Trump’s failure to spend the rest of his current term in office doing that is a de facto acknowledgement of guilt. There’s really no point in arguing with a mindset like that when they’re willing to see the sky in whatever color it has to be to fit their pre-determined beliefs.

    Let me add that, to the best of my knowledge (and this is within my realm of knowledge), prosecutors do not exonerate. If one reads that as a critique, it’s time to put the high boots on.

    In fairness to Sykes, I suspect he used the word “exonerate” because the President did, and Sykes was contradicting the President’s statement.

    Of course, an absence of proof does not constitute proof of an absence. But we have peculiar, and inappropriate, standards if we demand proof of no collusion or obstruction, rather than demanding no proof of collusion or obstruction. We got the latter, and should move on.

    Thanks.  This is a worthy qualification.  But did Sykes opine that the term basically had little meaning in this context, or did he run with the idea that Trump (contrary to his claim) was not “exonerated.” ?  I think there’s a difference.

    • #12
  13. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration, at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

    BTW, it’s genuinely bothersome that someone like Sykes does not understand that “exoneration” has no role in this process. It’s finally beginning to dawn on me (duh) that rising in the punditocracy has more to do with just “being there” than being intelligent enough to know what you’re talking about.

    Being There is also a terrific movie in danger of going on the forgotten list.

    Sykes was called out today for suddenly being all-in on the Napoleonic Code of Justice — i.e. that Trump’s still to be presumed guilty unless he can prove his own innocence. Because Sykes wants to claim that Trump’s failure to spend the rest of his current term in office doing that is a de facto acknowledgement of guilt. There’s really no point in arguing with a mindset like that when they’re willing to see the sky in whatever color it has to be to fit their pre-determined beliefs.

    Let me add that, to the best of my knowledge (and this is within my realm of knowledge), prosecutors do not exonerate. If one reads that as a critique, it’s time to put the high boots on.

    In fairness to Sykes, I suspect he used the word “exonerate” because the President did, and Sykes was contradicting the President’s statement.

    Of course, an absence of proof does not constitute proof of an absence. But we have peculiar, and inappropriate, standards if we demand proof of no collusion or obstruction, rather than demanding no proof of collusion or obstruction. We got the latter, and should move on.

    Thanks. This is a worthy qualification. But did Sykes opine that the term basically had little meaning in this context, or did he run with the idea that Trump (contrary to his claim) was not “exonerated.” ? I think there’s a difference.

    You know, I skimmed the article, but didn’t read it all that closely. And I’m not going back to read it again.

    I’m sure you understand.

    • #13
  14. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry, there is one refinement here relating to standards of proof.

    According to the AG, as you quote, “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” 

    This is not the same thing as saying “that Mueller did not find evidence to establish collusion,” as you interpret the AG’s statement.  There may be some evidence, but insufficient evidence to “establish” collusion.

    • #14
  15. DonG Coolidge
    DonG
    @DonG

    Columbo (View Comment):
    Will they still be ranting that President Trump is “unfit” in his eighth year in the Oval Office?

    Yes.  That is their new business model.  NeverTrump as long as it pays.  If they get really lucky, Trump will get an exemption from the 22nd Aamendment and the Bull****ers can get a 3rd term of NeverTrumping.

    • #15
  16. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Arizona Patriot (View Comment):

    Henry, there is one refinement here relating to standards of proof.

    According to the AG, as you quote, “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    This is not the same thing as saying “that Mueller did not find evidence to establish collusion,” as you interpret the AG’s statement. There may be some evidence, but insufficient evidence to “establish” collusion.

    AZ, I understand the point you’re trying to make, but won’t go along with it. I didn’t say Mueller found no evidence. I simply said that he did not find “evidence to establish collusion.” Whether or not he found some evidence, but insufficient evidence to establish collusion, remains to be seen.

    (Given that Mueller had essentially unlimited time and resources, I think we can safely conclude that evidence sufficient to establish collusion probably does not exist.)

    • #16
  17. Joshua Bissey Inactive
    Joshua Bissey
    @TheSockMonkey

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    (Given that Mueller had essentially unlimited time and resources, I think we can safely conclude that evidence sufficient to establish collusion probably does not exist.)

    To the tune of The Rainbow Connection:

    “Someday we’ll find it,

    Evidence of collusion,

    MSNBC, The Bulwark, and me…”

    • #17
  18. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    It seems these irrelevant pieces of dung would do a much better job of being irrelevant pieces of dung if “we” would just stop talking about them.  They now get more airplay here than two thirds of the Main Feed contributors.  When will it stop?

    • #18
  19. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    Related to your post, I just posted on the new avenues of attack being formulated by the Democrats and National Security Establishment.

    • #19
  20. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    JPpod talked about obstruction on his podcast today also.

    If after an exhaustive investigation where other information not even investigated by prosecutors becomes public knowledge which further debunks the the veracity of the underlying crime, then exactly what is it that those still holding out for an obstruction crime believe was obstructed?

    How can you have obstruction without an underlying crime?

    Moreover, I sincerely believe Comey’s plan to hang onto his FBI Directors job and further keep the Trump Russia collusion narrative alive was the implicit threat that if Trump fired Comey, Trump would be obstructing the investigation.  Then, when Trump went ahead and canned Comey, Comey gleefully set the obstruction narrative (as well the Special Counsel investigation) into motion.   I say gleefully because at that point in the investigation Comey was well aware there was no underlying crime, but with obstruction now they had an actual violation  of an actual criminal statute.

    Which leads me back to point A …. how can you obstruct the investigation of a crime which is then proven to have never been committed.

    • #20
  21. rgbact Inactive
    rgbact
    @romanblichar

    That’s it. The rest of the article is about obstruction — see how the pivot works?

    Oh, and Mr. Sykes also lays down the law for us: “There was no witch hunt.”

     

    “Pivot”? Its the reality. Impeachment is a political process. If Congress thinks Trump’s firing of Comey and other obstructing rises to the level of impeachment, thats what they’ll do. Sykes is just laying out the reality.

    As for “witchhunt”, it actually wasn’t, at least by Mueller. He went thru the process. The problem was the MSM wants their daily drama, so they breathlessly hyped every nothingburger, even when it was obvious for months that Mueller had little.

    As much as I hate Trump, I always thought Russia was nothing but a liberal fantasy. Most NeverTrumpers outside of paid MSNBC contributors seem to agree, despite your attempts to paint them as Russia loons in this post.

     

     

    • #21
  22. Michael Brehm Coolidge
    Michael Brehm
    @MichaelBrehm

    Thank you, Henry, for reading The Bulwark so I don’t have to. Your sacrifice is very much appreciated.

    (looks like @hoyacon beat me to it. That will teach me for not reading all the comments before commenting)

    • #22
  23. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    rgbact (View Comment):

    That’s it. The rest of the article is about obstruction — see how the pivot works?

    Oh, and Mr. Sykes also lays down the law for us: “There was no witch hunt.”

     

    “Pivot”? Its the reality. Impeachment is a political process. If Congress thinks Trump’s firing of Comey and other obstructing rises to the level of impeachment, thats what they’ll do. Sykes is just laying out the reality.

    As for “witchhunt”, it actually wasn’t, at least by Mueller. He went thru the process. The problem was the MSM wants their daily drama, so they breathlessly hyped every nothingburger, even when it was obvious for months that Mueller had little.

    As much as I hate Trump, I always thought Russia was nothing but a liberal fantasy. Most NeverTrumpers outside of paid MSNBC contributors seem to agree, despite your attempts to paint them as Russia loons in this post.

     

     

    The pivot is to immediately drop the extraordinarily serious charge of collusion with a foreign power to swing an election, and to replace it with a dubious claim of obstruction of the investigation of a crime that didn’t occur through the firing of a man who served at the President’s pleasure.  What makes the pivot particularly tacky is that The Bulwark does it, just like every other left-leaning media company, without so much as an admission that they were wrong about collusion. They want to hang the man, and they will be content to do it on any pretext.

    This is how you lock up mob bosses, not depose duly elected presidents.

    And witch hunt is exactly right. This was an investigation triggered by a partisan hack of a fictitious crime cooked up by other partisan hacks, the goal of which was to remove a president they hate for whatever reason they could justify. With a Democrat majority in Congress, I expect it to continue until Trump finally leaves office.

    And yes, I have a low opinion of the rationality of most so-called never-Trumpers. 

    • #23
  24. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    Someday I’ll learn how to correctly delete a comment ….

    See Comment#25

    • #24
  25. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    rgbact (View Comment):

    That’s it. The rest of the article is about obstruction — see how the pivot works?

    Oh, and Mr. Sykes also lays down the law for us: “There was no witch hunt.”

    “Pivot”? Its the reality. Impeachment is a political process. If Congress thinks Trump’s firing of Comey and other obstructing rises to the level of impeachment, thats what they’ll do. Sykes is just laying out the reality.

    As for “witchhunt”, it actually wasn’t, at least by Mueller. He went thru the process. The problem was the MSM wants their daily drama, so they breathlessly hyped every nothingburger, even when it was obvious for months that Mueller had little.

    As much as I hate Trump, I always thought Russia was nothing but a liberal fantasy. Most NeverTrumpers outside of paid MSNBC contributors seem to agree, despite your attempts to paint them as Russia loons in this post.

    Evidently my comment #20 was not clear or I did not take the concept of no underlying crime far enough.

    How do we have an obstruction crime when it turns out the original crime under investigation was a fraudulent set up, and the individual fired (ie: Comey) to which the obstruction charge is predicated, has clearly proven to be one of the principle actors in perpetrating the Trump/Russia collusion fraud.

    It strikes me as obtuse that some simply want to say since Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, therefore we have an obstruction of justice crime, and simply skip over what has been learned about the fraudulent origination of underlying “crime” under investigation, as well as all that has been learned over the past two years about the actions of then FBI Director Comey to perpetrate the Trump/Russia collusion fraud.

    • #25
  26. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Aren’t there two “L”s in Bull****?

    • #26
  27. rgbact Inactive
    rgbact
    @romanblichar

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):

    How do we have an obstruction crime when it turns out the original crime under investigation was a fraudulent set up,

    Again….impeachment is political…you don’t have to have committed a crime to be impeached. I don’t think Sykes was advocating for this, just laying out the possible next steps of this farce,

    Probably theres a few people that are just sad that they’ll never get another minute on MSNBC. They went on, thinking MSNBC wanted an opposing view. But MSNBC has no use for them now. I’m not even sure what Nicole Wallace will talk about on her show. Bulwark otoh, isn’t built on Russia. They have plenty to talk about, when the Russia farce fades away.

    • #27
  28. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    prosecutors do not exonerate.

    Although dropping charges may be even worse.  cf. Kim Foxx and Jussie Smollett.

    • #28
  29. Gaius Inactive
    Gaius
    @Gaius

    Bill  Kristol’s position throughout the investigation was that Robert Mueller was above reproach. He’s maintained that position even as Mueller has come to a conclusion that he did not want or expect. That makes him a lot more constant than those who spent two years defaming Mueller and are now wrapping themselves in his credibility like an olympic runner with the flag.

    Intentionally or not the Bulwark trolls trumpsters with question-begging headlines and harping over relatively minor points, but that doesn’t make them wrong. Nor is there any virtue in being trolled, which seems to be the gist of most the now blooming sub-genre of affronted Bulwark criticism on the right. Get over it, and yourselves.

    • #29
  30. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Gaius (View Comment):

    Bill Kristol’s position throughout the investigation was that Robert Mueller was above reproach. He’s maintained that position even as Mueller has come to a conclusion that he did not want or expect. That makes him a lot more constant than those who spent two years defaming Mueller and are now wrapping themselves in his credibility like an olympic runner with the flag.

    Intentionally or not the Bulwark trolls trumpeters with question-begging headlines and harping over relatively minor points, but that doesn’t make them wrong. Nor is their any virtue in being trolled, which seems to be the gist of most the now blooming sub-genre of affronted Bulwark criticism on the right. Get over it, and yourselves.

    I suppose there’s a fine line between being trolled and being critical. I’m aiming for the latter.

    As for Kristol, all I really want from him is an acknowledgement that he was mistaken — and that his error is relevant. He thought whatever would follow a Mueller finding of collusion would be significant. This implies that a Mueller non-finding of collusion would also be significant. I want to read his acknowledgement of that — and not just a pivot to the next plausible justification for removing a President he doesn’t like.

    • #30
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