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Cognitive Weppner Dissonance

The big news Tuesday afternoon was that the first case of Ebola was diagnosed Stateside, down in Texas. By the late afternoon, we knew that the afflicted man had flown from Liberia (a former American colony) to Texas to visit relatives. 

Around 4:45 pm, walking, talking insult to your intelligence Kathy Weppner tweeted and posted this to the Bookface

I enjoy the anti-vaxxer weighing in with his idiot opinion, but I actually can’t fault Weppner here. We should deal with it medically and not politicize a disease, and we should be ensuring that the disease is not spread. The CDC worked last night to remind people that you can only catch Ebola by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease. 

Yet just 30 minutes later – at 5:16 pm – Weppner asked this question on social media: 

Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute. I thought we were supposed to deal with this medically, not politically! But here we are, worrying not about containing the spread of this virus, but how much it’s going to cost and whether the person is here “illegally”.  

I’m guessing the fact that the person had traveled to a place other than Ireland, they must be – according to Klownshoes Kathy – likely illegals. Of course, when someone flies to the United States from Liberia, they need to apply for a visa, their passport is checked prior to departure and their identity transmitted to the US authorities to ensure that they’re not on any list. Upon arrival, the traveler must go through passport control at the port of entry, as well as a customs check. Just like any of the other millions of travelers who come to the U.S. annually from non-visa-waiver countries. 

But, you know, all brown people are probably illegals.

Weppner also inadvertently makes the case for Obamacare or some other universal coverage construct – who’s going to pay?! Who knows? Who the hell cares? Who paid for the American volunteers in Africa who caught Ebola and were flown on private jets back to the States to get treatment? I don’t give a crap, and neither should you.  I’m just glad they’re ok. Likewise, I hope our Liberian visitor gets the medical care he needs so that he can enjoy his family and go home healthy and safe. One Ebola Liberian isn’t going to bankrupt the Republic. 

If the person was Texan and didn’t have insurance, that means they’re either in violation of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandate, and possibly that they fell into the gap left by indictee-cum-Texas Governor Rick Perry’s refusal to expand Medicaid in the U.S. State with the lowest rate of people with health insurance. Texas refused federal money to ensure that people who make too much for Medicaid, but too much for Obamacare subsidies to render private insurance affordable for their incomes. It was a deliberate, political choice to do harm to the most vulnerable people in Texas society. Perry is the person who was feted last night by local thug Carl Paladino and the tone-deaf Erie County Republicans and fusion Conservatives. 

So, yes, Kathy – we should treat the Ebola patient with medical care, and not politicize it at all. 

It’s high time you asked Thug Paladino and the local Republicans and fusion Conservatives why they’re backing this abhorrent, repulsive candidate. 


Spitzer Unloaded, No One Exploded

“Jail” FINAL :30 from Rob Astorino on Vimeo.

Right? Wow.

This is the perfect distillation of a desperate campaign looking to get some attention. Frankly, this reboot of the Daisy ad is perfect in its utter stupidity. Now, I know that Cuomo has been hitting Astorino hard on some nonsense lawsuit down in Westchester, but I thought that the “soup is nice” ad was pretty damn effective. (Dentures are an optional Medicaid coverage that New York State offers, and that Astorino wants to eliminate). The ad resonates because it reminds people that Republicans love to cut, cut, cut things that help actual New Yorkers. True, paying for seniors’ oral care won’t benefit the extremely wealthy, like Carl Paladino and indictee Rick Perry, both of whom can feasibly pay for their own dentures and dental work, but it will do much for seniors for whom budgets are often tighter. 

Astorino’s suggestion that Cuomo could go to jail is pure hyperbole – there’s absolutely zero chance of that happening. Secondly, by bringing that up, it reminds me – hey, isn’t Astorino up to some shady shenanigans, too? Thirdly, if Cuomo went to jail, there would not be a catastrophic nuclear holocaust; there would, instead, be an orderly substitution of Kathy Hochul. Remember Spitzer? Spitzer unloaded, but no one exploded.

 


Weppner and the Parenthetical Hitler

Hey, the candidates are replying to questionnaires. Let’s take a look! 

Kathy Weppner appears to be the only candidate vain enough to list “Patriot” as a qualification-slash-experience for public office.  That’s just breathtaking. I mean, Harvard Shmarvard. Being a “Patriot” is basically a silent pre-requisite for running for any public office in the U.S., like “sentient being” or “has central nervous system” or “skeleton”. 

Let’s compare the candidates’ “community involvement”, and watch Higgins mop the floor with Weppner’s “hey, I show up when people ask me to” slacktivism. 

Well, well, well. There are so many issues that the government should be addressing, and Higgins focuses on some key ones that fit neatly within a Congressional backbencher’s wheelhouse. But Weppner – she identifies the debt as “our top challenge”, and that if interest rates – that the Fed sets – go up, we won’t make the payments? The US has never defaulted, even in the 80s under Reagan’s debt and double-digit interest rates. People like Weppner who conflate public debt with family debt don’t really understand what they’re talking about. 

First, families have to pay back their debt. Governments don’t — all they need to do is ensure that debt grows more slowly than their tax base. The debt from World War II was never repaid; it just became increasingly irrelevant as the U.S. economy grew, and with it the income subject to taxation.

Second — and this is the point almost nobody seems to get — an over-borrowed family owes money to someone else; U.S. debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves…

…It’s true that foreigners now hold large claims on the United States, including a fair amount of government debt. But every dollar’s worth of foreign claims on America is matched by 89 cents’ worth of U.S. claims on foreigners. And because foreigners tend to put their U.S. investments into safe, low-yield assets, America actually earns morefrom its assets abroad than it pays to foreign investors. If your image is of a nation that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed. Nor are we heading rapidly in that direction.

Now, the fact that federal debt isn’t at all like a mortgage on America’s future doesn’t mean that the debt is harmless. Taxes must be levied to pay the interest, and you don’t have to be a right-wing ideologue to concede that taxes impose some cost on the economy, if nothing else by causing a diversion of resources away from productive activities into tax avoidance and evasion. But these costs are a lot less dramatic than the analogy with an overindebted family might suggest.

I don’t know what Congress is going to do about “leadership” in a “dangerous world”, but whatever. She’s running a chain-email campaign

Now, on to income inequality. If you haven’t, you should read Monday’s Krugman, and then look at this: 

Every time an increase in the minimum wage is proposed, the wealthy egotists who think themselves ‘job creators” and their minions whine about how the jobs will all be lost! They do this, of course, while simultaneously denigrating the jobs and their occupants as losers, slackers, teens, or all of the above.

But the loss of jobs doesn’t happen. At all. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation over the last 40 years, it would be $10.90/hour.  Instead, the federal rate is $7.25. No one’s talking about making everyone earn the same – this isn’t some Stalinist march to the kolkhoz, but ensuring that people who work earn enough to live, and that we halt policies that disproportionately enrich the already rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. You know, to stop this

But note the rhetoric about how “immigrants…started with nothing, did anything, and ended up great! About that

So, on the one hand, immigrants do just great! But on the other hand, they’re all lawbreaking terrorist welfare queens who want to bankrupt the republic. 

See? It’s your own fault that we don’t know who’s funding campaigns. The word salad that Weppner sharts out here is utter nonsense. 

LOLWUT? First of all, I’d like someone to ask Weppner about the science of global climate change and see if she says the same thing. She completely fails to answer the question posed in any meaningful way, and just punts, adding that we like totally really need to be able to transport her phantom resources “based on science”. 

Common Core is not a federal program, isn’t administered or run from Washington, and was not a federal government initiative. Other than that, awesome!

So, on the one hand, she brings up a separation of powers issue that’s been pretty much resolved for some time – the Commander in Chief does not need a declaration of war to commit US troops. But the last time Congress declared war was World War 2, to combat, among others, Hitler – who appears here parenthetically.

We didn’t fight Hitler because of his crimes against humanity – we fought him because he declared war on the US on Pearl Harbor Day, and because the Nazis had overrun Europe and North Africa. Germany, Italy, and Japan were imposing militarist fascist totalitarian dictatorships all over the place, and we fought Nazi Germany because it had to be done. Weppner alludes to ISIS and its vicious reign of terror, but why isn’t the beheading and crucifixion of adults also a “crime against humanity” justifying American action? 

“Why do we deliver humanitarian food and shelter when humanity is threatened but we do not see the same need when life itself is threatened”.  What on Earth does that mean? We fought crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Kosovo in the last 20 years. What is she saying? 

She started her recent career as a caller to ultra-right-wing hate radio. She graduated from there to being a host on ultra-right-wing hate radio. Now, she feels entitled to a title, and in so doing is simply regurgitating nonsense she hears on ultra-right-wing hate radio. She’ll be lucky to hit 20% because the vast majority of WNY voters are not fascist idiots.


Things Worse than #LatteSalute

Eliminationist radio station WBEN spent an entire day Wednesday lamenting / concern-trolling the President’s apparently impeachable offense of saluting Marines with a coffee cup in his hand.  Of course, because he’s Obama, it was a latte. But while Tim Wenger’s obsession du jour was n0bummer’s epic disrespect of every troop and all troops everywhere, what sort of thing has WBEN (and the rest of the local media, for that matter), completely ignored? 

How about a former WBEN employee and current sponsor raising money off the severed heads of Americans slaughtered by ISIS? This isn’t the semi-informed lunatic ramblings of some online crank listener – this is an endorsed Republican candidate for Congress. Not once did anyone on WBEN spend a nanosecond condemning this. 

Or how about WBEN’s afternoon drive time shock jock dreaming – literally – of a military coup in Washington, and his idiot commenters trying to out-do each other with eliminationist wet dreams. (Helpful hint: the page is publicly viewable, so don’t whine to me about not blocking the names out. 

That’s some station Tim Wenger has molded into his own image. So, while it’s a daylong horror for Obama – a civilian – to salute Marines whilst holding a coffee cup, it’s perfectly ok to make political hay off American martyrs and to openly advocate for and dream of sedition, treason, and a coup d’etat. Clear? 


Donovan and Arnold: Out-Weppnering Weppner?

You guys, I think I might have found a current right-wing candidate even more unintentionally hilarious than Kathy Weppner. I know, Kathy “infected poors” Weppner has been highlighting the dramatic threat to our Republic by a bunch of brown-skinned teenaged economic refugees, and she’s even tried to fundraise over the bodies of dead Americans, BUT SHE NEVER SALUTED WITH A COFFEE CUP IN HER HAND IMPEACH!!1!

I’m not a huge fan of Senator Tim Kennedy’s, mostly because of his hard work sabotaging the county’s Democratic Committee and by executing a Republican coup of the Erie County Legislature in 2010

With that said, the tea party has a doozy in this Donovan character

Donovan is a registered member of the Independence Fusion Party, and lost his own party’s primary to Tim Kennedy! How hilarious is that – his own corrupt little political club voted for the money and the bennies that an actual electable candidate offers. He is, however, running on the Conservative Fusion Party line and the Republican line.  Check this out, too: 

Take a closer look at the letter that Donovan shared: 

Dude lives in Kentucky. 

How, exactly, did Governor Cuomo and Senator Kennedy or, I’m guessing, the NY SAFE Act do anything to cause a problem that a guy in Kentucky has with a Federal agency? Does this ostensibly serious candidate not understand the federal system set up by the Constitution he purports to love? Does Rick Donovan think that NY SAFE applies to federal agencies or the Commonwealth of Kentucky? 

Including, I guess, the right to enslave and be enslaved. 

UPDATE: tea partier Ricky Donovan is an employee of the great State of New York as a corrections officer at the Albion Correctional Facility – a medium security female prison. Socialism is, evidently, ok if your name rhymes with “Nicky Flonovan”. 

On another note, check out what our favorite vacillator Gia Arnold is up to up in Niagara County. She apparently didn’t have enough valid signatures to be on the Libertarian Party line in November in the race to replace George Maziarz in SD-62. She lost the Republican primary to North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt in a downright blowout, and she was taken to court over the validity of her Libertarian petitions. Specifically, signatures came from outside the district. Our ballot access laws may be too cumbersome, but as Weppner says, if we don’t enforce the laws, we become a lawless society. 

As Arnold announced that she’d not appear on any party line in November, Ortt was professional and on-point: 

While I am glad the integrity of the process was upheld, my focus remains where it has been since day one — speaking directly to voters, sharing my vision for how to create more good paying jobs for Western New Yorkers and fighting for our shared values in Albany as their next State Senator.

But Arnold? Not so much. 

If you happen to have a Rob Ortt for State Senate sign in your yard this election cycle, you are a fool to support the elite establishment that counts on your ignorance and apathy in order to continue to control our elections, state and national governments. VOTE ANTI – ESTABLISHMENT this year. Do your research.

Carl’s and Rus’ inexperienced, unqualified, naive one-issue candidate embarrassed herself throughout this process (see here, and here, and here), and lost dramatically to the established Republican elected official who is a serious person. Voting anti-establishment is great and all, but wildly aggressive fits of pique because you torpedoed your own campaign are bad form. She seems to be really bad at this whole “politics” thing, because what she’s doing is great if you want to be elected to chief rabble-rouser, bad if you want to be elected to any sort of elected statewide office. 


Carl Being Carl

Courtesy Marquil at EmpireWire.com

It was a cool evening; cool in the sense of temperature as much as atmosphere. The sun had just set and the cloudless sky was turning a lovely shade of dark blue, with a disappearing tinge of orange on the horizon. 

I pulled my car into a spot about a block down from the Dinosaur BBQ on Franklin Street to attend the City & State “welcome to Buffalo” party. The New York-based paper had just hired a Buffalo reporter, and it was hosting a celebration. 

As I walked up Franklin, I ran into County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who was rushing to get to a dinner at Bacchus with bigwigs from a local utility company. I saw Buffalo Rising’s Newell Nussbaumer and said hello. As I approached the Dinosaur, I saw Mike Desmond from WBFO speaking with City & State Editor-in-Chief Morgan Pehme and Chris Thompson – Pehme’s new Buffalo hire. 

After a while, a very slim, dapper gentleman from the statewide office of AARP came by to chat with Pehme and Desmond. He mentioned that Erie County had the 9th oldest population in the country. 

Right around that time, I caught a glimpse of a black BMW X5 across Franklin. It stopped to let out City & State President & CEO Tom Allon and G. Stephen Pigeon. Allon is a tall, bespectacled man who looks like he stepped right out of a Brooks Brothers catalogue. I introduced myself to both men. Pigeon shook my hand. Understandably, he wasn’t especially warm and friendly to me, but behaved like a gracious adult. They went inside. 

At this moment, the BMW had made a u-turn and parked, halfway in a spot, in front of the Dinosaur BBQ. Out comes Carl Paladino, and he is smiling and gesturing at me as if I was someone he was happy to see. He came around the car and was being gregarious and friendly with everyone. As we both extended hands to shake in greeting, I hesitated and said, “you don’t like me. I’m Alan Bedenko”.

At this he recoiled and inquired whether I was fucking serious. When I answered in the affirmative, he took a step or two back to tell me that I’m “a real fucking asshole, you know that?”  I replied that yes, indeed, I am, as I grinned from ear to ear.  He went on to berate me as a “disgrace” and a “fucking coward”.  I continued smiling as this old man angrily spat expletives at me on a sidewalk, in front of people, on a cool Buffalo night. He then went inside in disgust, informing the people with whom I was chatting that he would not speak to them while they were talking to an asshole like me. It was surreal. 

I continued speaking with Mr. AARP guy, Pehme and Desmond before going inside to check the event out.  I met Erie County Legislator Joe Lorigo, who is a nice fellow even if his politics are all wrong. I like that he recognizes that the legislature is – and should be – a deliberative legislative body, and the role he plays in it.  I saw his dad, too, but we didn’t get a chance to speak. I spoke with lobbyist Jack O’Donnell and met his lovely wife, Marina. It was O’Donnell’s birthday, evidently, and Pehme led the gathering in a round of “Happy Birthday”.  There was even cake. 

I spoke at some length with Camille Brandon, fresh off a primary loss in her Assembly race. While we were chatting, Paladino passed behind me and said hello to her, but indicated that he would speak to her later when “that asshole” was gone.  She later found me and said Carl had asked her why she was speaking to that “asshole”. He was entering Mean Girls territory. 

I saw Jim Heaney and Dan Telvock of Investigative Post, and Justin Sondel from the Niagara Gazette.  I spoke briefly with @HeyRaChaCha from Twitter, and we talked about all the fascinating people who were there. 

As I spoke with Sondel and Mark Cornell from Poloncarz’s office about hydrofracking and Niagara County journalism, Pehme and Allon took to the stage to thank everyone for coming to the event.  Evidently, Paladino was a sponsor of the event because he, too, took the mic.  He welcomed City & State to Buffalo, adding that it was about time Buffalo got some real journalism up in here. He added that Buffalo media had too many “worms like Alan Bedenko”, expressing surprise and dismay as to how I even got into this event, to which I had been invited. 

Of all the elected officials, journalists, and dignitaries who filled that room, only one name was mentioned – mine, spat out by Buffalo’s favorite son – a walking, talking insult billboardatorium

Oh, how delightful this all was. I don’t think you’ve really arrived in Buffalo until you’ve been viciously cursed out by Carl Paladino.

What have I done to this man, except tell the truth about him? His sordid racist emails? His failed candidacy? The horrible things that come from his mouth? This guy is the personification of dishing it out but not being able to take it. (Mr. Tea Party is hanging out with Steve Pigeon, now?) What have I done, except be one of the few not in thrall of his money or perceived power? He hides behind his money, hurling misogyny, homophobia, and invective from emails and billboards, but I’m the coward?  I mean, I never circulated anal horse pornography, but that’s just not my thing. 

What’s with the hate and anger? Here he is, a millionaire in his $70,000 truck, being feted and paid attention to by all sorts of VIPs from not just the region, but throughout the state, but he’s got to take especial time to attempt – and fail – to insult me from the stage at the Dinosaur BBQ at someone else’s event. How great is that

Almost everyone said it was “just Carl being Carl”. It was, indeed.  That is, of course, the problem, but he’s attained folk hero status and can get away with just about anything, and the list of “cowards” who are willing to call him on it is regrettably short these days. There’s a fine line between being a straight talker and the state of being “Carl”. 

As for me, it was one of the proudest nights of my life; a story to remember. I make it a point to never knowingly do business with Carl Paladino, and I didn’t touch a drop of liquid or morsel of food that he underwrote at the event. 

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you. – Matthew 5:44. 


Kathy Weppner Gets Participation Award

Now that the Erie County Democratic Committee’s biennial re-org shenanigans have devolved into Pigeon/Mazurek self-parody, let’s check up on Kathy Weppner, the very serious candidate for very serious congress

Ms. Weppner took to Twitter and Facebook to tout her 1st place award in the ArgleBargle olympics. Or something. 

She received some sort of press-release-only “award” from a school choice advocate in New Jersey.  For the uninitiated, New Jersey is quite far from here and not at all within the 26th Congressional District. Rabbi Israel Teitelbaum is the head of this “Alliance for Free Choice in Education”, which has one of the reddest, whitest, and bluest webpages in all of the world. 

Rabbi Teitelbaum’s cause is to force taxpayers to fund religious schools under the guise of “school choice”; a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Under the Supreme Court’s test in Lemon v. Kurtzman, any alleged violation of the Establishment Clause will be determined through a three-prong test: (1) whether the government’s action has a secular or a religious purpose; (2) whether the primary effect of the government’s action is to advance or endorse religion; and (3) whether the government’s policy or practice fosters an excessive entanglement between government and religion.

Handing out taxpayer money to fund religious schools violates all three prongs of the Lemon test; to be unconstitutional, in need only violate one. As Kathy Weppner points out, if we don’t enforce the law, we’ll become a lawless society

So what does western New York’s most unintentionally hilarious candidate do? She accepts an award from a ersatz Constitutionalist group that advocates violating the Constitution. 

The Alliance for Free Choice in Education is pleased and proud to congratulate Kathy Weppner, Republican & Conservative candidate for the House of Representatives from New York’s 26th District, for leading the battle to restore Constitutional Government. She joined candidates from across the country who visited the new nonpartisan website [omitted], and took the pledge to do all she can in support of the Constitution, beginning with lower taxes, individual-controlled healthcare and parental choice in education.

So, in order to get this “congratulations”, all Weppner had to do was scour the internet for some cockamamie pledge to take – a pledge not to her putative constituents, but to a particular special interest group that seeks to starve the public schools and subsidize religion with taxpayer money

The site was recently developed by the New Jersey based Alliance to provide the ways and means for citizen candidates to identify themselves as champions of the Constitution, and where voters may meet them, vet them and support them.

While the site is nonpartisan, its mission is to restore Constitutional government by identifying and supporting those who are truly committed to the Constitution and its clearly-defined limited powers. Although most Americans profess to support the Constitution, and every public official takes an oath to do so, a plain reading of the Constitution’s opening paragraph – the Preamble – does not resemble twenty-first-century America.

What’s great about that passage is that the Preamble has absolutely no legal effect.  It’s an introduction.  

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Constitution has been our founding document for over 200 years, and some obscure Rabbi in New Jersey has declared that it bears no resemblance to contemporary American society, and Weppner touts this as totally cool.  So, what the hell are these people talking about? 

One-million-four-hundred-thousand gang members roaming the streets of American [sic], and a crime rate that impacts at least three percent of Americans annually, cannot be described as “domestic tranquility.” Open borders will not lead to “the common defense,” and the “blessings of liberty” are inconsistent with government financially coercing parents to send their children to substandard schools where they are subject to government indoctrination.                                                                                                                                            

Gosh, that doesn’t sound nice at all. Gang members roaming the streets! Remember back in 1787 when there was no crime at all? Remember how we committed genocide against the American Indians? Now that’s what I call “domestic tranquility”.  Also, the War of 1812, slavery, the Alien & Sedition Acts, the Burr/Hamilton duel in New Jersey – all of these things are ostensibly better examples of “domestic tranquility” and “liberty” than what idiots call “open borders” and public schools -an idea pioneered by Horace Mann.  

The United States was a product of the Enlightenment – not the middle ages. 

One need not be a Constitutional expert to recognize that we have veered far off the Constitutional track. In an attempt to turn the tide, masses turned out to vote in the most recent midterm election of 2010, and changed more seats than in any midterm election since 1938. Yet, the distance from our founding principles continues to grow more quickly than ever. It will take informed and activated voters to drive us back on track.

I thought this was a “nonpartisan” organization? 

We can restore Constitutional government, provided we not only vote, but also vote for those who stand for the Constitution and its essential principles of liberty, limited government and equal opportunity under the law. Ideally, we need to meet the candidates and vet them, just as we would do if we were hiring an employee. Alternatively, we may rely on those who have done so. Modern technology now makes it possible for this to be facilitated online.

The ways and means to restore our nation back onto its Constitutional track are now available. It’s now up to every American to do what it takes to turn our government onto the right track. We are most grateful to Kathy Weppner, of New York’s 26thCongressional District, for her courage, fortitude and tireless efforts on behalf of us all. 

TL;DR: Phony Constitutionalist Kathy Weppner gets a “thank you” from an obscure New Jersey crank who doesn’t understand the Constitution. 


LOL GOVERNOR TRUMP ROTFL

First, let’s recall the mass fellating that local Republicans gave Donald Trump when he pretended to be interested in running for governor, and then again when he pretended to be in interested in buying the Bills. 

Shorthand: back when Donald Trump pretended to give two shits about our fair backwater. 

The Pegulas, on the other hand, have taken a billion and a half of the money they made fracking Pennsylvania and bought the Sabres, and then the Bills. In just a couple of months, the Bills went from likely departure to an indefinite Buffalo domicile. 

Trump sharted this on his Twitter machine Friday: 

Quite possibly the best response came from one of the Pegula daughters, Jessie. I’m sure being a billionaire is awesome in many ways, but here’s the difference between a sociopathic narcissist and a real human being: 

Indeed, it isn’t. Meanwhile, Trump should probably concentrate on his gaming business, which is facing its fourth (maybe fifth?) bankruptcy. Stop idolizing this guy. He’s not emblematic of how rich people should act.  Quite the opposite. 




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