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Belmont Club

Why Can’t We See?

May 13th, 2014 - 12:26 pm

A video showing abducted Nigerian schoolgirls converting to Islam may cast doubt on narratives that Boko Haram problem is really about patriarchal fears of women’s education (“why are men scared of smart girls”) or simple “ethnic tensions” in Nigeria.

Boko is wired. Heather Murdoch of the Christian Science Monitor writes: “three weeks after hundreds of teenage girls were abducted while taking exams, it remains unclear how many girls were taken, who they are, who did it, at what time, and exactly how.”

On the same day that a man looking nearly identical to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video of 100 girls kidnapped by his group – the official Nigerian response in the nation’s capital was to claim that Mr. Shekau is dead.

Actually, the government’s position is that Shekau has been dead for some time – a position widely seen here as a form of counter-propaganda designed to dispirit Boko Haram members.

Nobody becomes that invisible without influence.  The terror group Hillary never wanted to name seems to have an influence all out of proportion to its rag-tag appearance. Maybe there’s another root cause for Boko Haram. How about oil? The left-wing Guardian actually advances this thesis, only it uses the word “climate change” in place of hydrocarbons. “Islamist militancy in Nigeria is being strengthened by western and regional fossil fuel interests.”  Boko Haram is about climate change.

Close but not quite.  Boko Haram might be about oil. The Voice of America noted in Feburary that Boko Haram had threatened to destroy oil refineries. After all, Nigeria sells about 40% of its oil to the United States, of which it is a major supplier. And Nigeria a big player on the world market. Big enough to make oil producers in the Gulf care what happens to it.

Wikipedia says “Nigeria’s proven oil reserves are estimated by the U.S. United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) at between 16 and 22 billion barrels (3.5×109 m3), but other sources claim there could be as much as 35.3 billion barrels (5.61×109 m3). Its reserves make Nigeria the tenth most petroleum-rich nation, and by the far the most affluent in Africa. In mid-2001 its crude oil production was averaging around 2.2 million barrels (350,000 m³) per day”.

So maybe it’s not about climate change. Not directly anyway. Across the Pacific China is openly moving oil rigs into the South China Sea. The Wall Street Journal’s latest article is succinctly titled: “China Answers Obama. An 80-ship flotilla plants a Chinese oil rig in Vietnamese waters.”

Less than a week after President Obama’s Asian Reassurance Tour, Beijing offered its rejoinder, sending a flotilla of 80 military and civilian ships to install China’s first oil rig in disputed South China Sea waters, well within Vietnam’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone. When some 30 Vietnamese naval vessels demanded the rig’s withdrawal on Sunday, China’s ships responded by ramming several of the Vietnamese boats and injuring six sailors. …

The truth is that this is China’s latest attempt to revise the East Asian status quo through intimidation and force. China claims sovereignty over some 90% of the 1.35-million-square-mile South China Sea, and it is staking that claim by flexing its muscle around the sea’s outer reaches. Along the eastern edge, China seized Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in 2012. Since March it has blockaded Philippine Marines on Second Thomas Shoal.

This week’s oil standoff also wasn’t begun on a whim. China developed the CNOOC 0883.HK +1.08% 981 rig so it would not depend on foreign companies to drill in contested waters. “Large deepwater drilling rigs are our mobile national territory,” explained Wang Yilin, chairman of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation, in 2012. The sea grab follows several years of gradually intensifying pressure—from Chinese tourist boats landing on disputed South China Sea islands, to Chinese fishing vessels cutting the acoustic cables of Vietnamese oil exploration ships.

As Chinese-Vietnamese relations have worsened, Hanoi has procured new military hardware—including Kilo-class submarines, guided-missile frigates, land-based antiship cruise missiles and jet fighters—and sought closer ties with India, Japan and the U.S. The Vietnamese and U.S. militaries held their first joint naval exercises in 2012, a year after a U.S. Navy ship called at Cam Ranh Bay for the first time since the Vietnam War.

It looks like China suspects what game is afoot and, like some supersized Oklahama land-man, is acquiring all the drilling acreage it can, while in the West the media prattle on about “smart girls” and “Islam being hijacked” and “climate change”.

Even the Washington Post is yelling and screaming at the Obama administration. The editorial board wrote: “A Beijing power play in the South China Sea is met with U.S. inaction”.  Not to worry. A State Department hashtag is probably being crafted as we speak.

WITH A $1 billion oil rig the size of a football field, China has literally laid down a new marker in its ambition to dominate the South China Sea — and challenged President Obama’s “rebalancing” policy in Asia, only weeks after the president’s tour of the region. The rig is about 130 miles off the coast of Vietnam, in waters that Vietnam claims as an exclusive economic zone under international law. China’s claim is more tenuous, but it is backed up with a flotilla of some 80 ships that for a week have engaged in a dangerous contest of ramming and water-hosing Vietnamese vessels.

The message of the deployment is as simple as it is provocative: The regime of Xi Jinping intends to unilaterally assert China’s sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea without regard for the competing claims of five other countries or Mr. Obama’s newly restated commitment to uphold defense agreements with two of those nations. In that sense, the rig, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is a fundamental challenge to the international order the United States has tried to preserve since the end of the Cold War.

Japan certainly gets it. Defense News reports that a Japanese commission will probably recommend revising the country’s pacifist constitution. “TOKYO — By the end of this week, a key panel will recommend Japan adopt the right to collective self-defense, a move that would fundamentally change Japan’s deterrence posture, according to a senior member of the Japanese government who requested anonymity.”

Japan can guess what’s coming and they are fixing to do something about it. Deep beneath the layers of misinformation and bumbling the senior members of the administration know what’s coming too. Joe Biden’s son is reportedly joining a Ukrainian gas company, an industry whose development his father, the vice-president endorsed earlier this year. It may have privately occurred to the Bidens that the dustup in Eastern Europe is in large part about oil and geopolitical rivalry.

But whatever people tell their stockbrokers privately, publicly it is The Narrative all the way down.  Publicly it is showtime all the way through; cancel the Keystone Pipeline to save us from Global Warming. The dissonance between reality and fantasy was never so apparent. The State Department’s top arms control officer, Rose Gottemoeller, still trots out the line that we can trust Putin enough to do an arms control deal with him.

The State Department’s top arms control official is stressing that it is in the best interests of the United States to continue doing nuclear security work in Russia — even as the Ukraine crisis rages. …

The collaboration also involves upgrading the physical security of buildings in Russia where sensitive nuclear material is stored, DOE officials have said previously.

Although language in the House bill suggested this work had already been stopped and should remain so until the resolution of the situation in Ukraine, Gottemoeller said it was her understanding it had been unaffected by the crisis. A spokesman for the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration made a similar statement to GSN earlier last week.

Gottemoller may spare a thought for Russia’s biological weapons.

A House subcommittee heard from an array of experts on the potential threat of Russian biological weapons

“It is an existential risk to society,” Dr. Christopher Davis, a biomedical weapons expert and former member of the U.K.’s Defense Intelligence staff, said of infectious diseases and the “rapid emergence of multi-drug resistant forms.”

“Some of the most vexing security problems facing the United States and the international community originate with disease,” Dr. Amy E. Smithson, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said in her opening statement. “Enter the prospect of a state or terrorist group deliberately releasing disease… and the problems for public health services multiply exponentially.”

All the more reason the world has to make a deal with Putin, she’ll probably argue. Especially concerning those unspecified experimental Russian biological weapons Time also talked about, the ones that can warp your chromosomes.  Suppose the world isn’t being wracked by issues like “smart girls” or “gay rights”. What if the world is going to pieces over oil, national rivalry, rampant political corruption and the rise of unopposed tyranny?

If you hold the newspaper at just the right angle, you’ll glimpse it.

Recently, Caroline Glick talked about the disappearance of American will.  The actual problem may be slightly different. The more precise statement is the disappearance of the public’s ability to see the truth. America’s PC elite is rewriting history at a dazzling pace. “Days before the National September 11 Memorial Museum opens in New York, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is stepping up its campaign to urge organizers to edit a video presentation on al-Qaeda, to remove terms such as ‘Islamist extremism’ and ‘jihadism.’”

Why, generations hence will think September 11 was committed by Jews. After all, who would have guessed Boko Haram had kidnapped Christian girls unless they read it on the Belmont Club or had not the group itself told the public so?

When low information voters look at the world all they see it as a collection of Narratives. In that world, Donald Sterling, Jay-Z and Kim Kardashian are the weighty issues of the day. In that universe Hillary Clinton is the smartest woman who ever lived.

It’s little wonder that Nigeria cannot even find the Boko Haram.  The West can’t see a thing outside the narrow little video feed it is provided.  It’s like a dray horse trudging along on blinkers, paying taxes, paying taxes and able to do little else.

Reason Magazine  recently described the triumph of spin over reality. Its article is titled, “Reality Show President: Inside the White House PR Machine”, which opens with a quote from Obama. “I am who the media says I am. I say what they say I say. I become who they say I’ve become.”

“The White House has effectively become a broadcast company,” says Michael Shaw, publisher of, a site dedicated to the analysis of news images. Shaw explains how strategically composed photos, taken by official White House photographers, travel from social media sites that are controlled by the administration to the front pages of newspapers around the world. …

And so, says Shaw, the public has been fed a steady diet of whatever kind of president the news cycle demands. When conspiracy theorists questioned Obama’s patriotism, we saw images of Obama the American everyman. To celebrate the anniversary of Rosa Parks’ 1955 refusal to move to the back of a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, we saw Obama reenact her famous image. Time and again, we see Obama striking poses out of John F. Kennedy’s repertoire. The official White House photographers have created a presidential identity for every conceivable occasion—as long as the image is flattering, and almost always, larger than life.

In a way Obama is like JFK. Neither had a manned space program to speak of. Kennedy because he hadn’t built it yet. Obama because he unbuilt it.

Russia is to deny the US future use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and will also bar its rocket engines from launching US military satellites as it hits back at American sanctions imposed over Ukraine crisis.

That’s OK, the White House already has a heroic pose and hashtag ready to counter that.

The West isn’t just operating on missing data. It’s operating on bad data, Reality Show data produced by Ben Rhodes. If there’s one thing worse than an information system that gives you no answers, its one that gives you the wrong answers. One day we may wake up to find the real world is out there. One which unlike the Obama Reality Show, runs on energy, security and food; a world where love, belief and country still matter. Not Black Masses, kissing NFL lovers or transgender soldiers.

It’s like being in a nightmare where you are paralyzed as some nameless fear comes closer and closer.  The West is transfixed, stunned by its own toxic cocktail of lies. That we will wake up is inevitable. The danger is that if we remain asleep too long, the world may already be burning by the time we look out the window.

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Storm Over The South China Sea

The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried-and-True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors

Amazon Gift Card – E-mail – Happy Mother’s Day (Flowers)

The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Vietnam War (The Politically Incorrect Guides)

Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway

Casio Men’s G100-1BV G-Shock Classic Ana-Digi Watch

The Smell of Kerosene: A Test Pilot’s Odyssey – NASA Research Pilot Stories, XB-70 Tragic Collision, M2-F1 Lifting Body, YF-12 Blackbird, Apollo LLRV

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres

Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.

Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific

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Top Rated Comments   
Javascript "was created in 10 days in May 1995 by Brendan Eich". It is, for good or ill, what most browsers run on. (

It was however, a magnificent achievement. Alas, Eich was destroyed in a few short hours when it was discovered he made a $1,000 donation to proposition 8. Genius is mighty, but political correctness is mightier still. We are ruled by those who write hashtags and not by those who invented such tags in the first place.

There's a tomb rises up where the fire fox strolls,
And graved there in characters clear,
Is, "Stranger, when passing, oh pray for the soul
Of those who have died by the smear."
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
This talk about oil, er, “fueled” my conspiracy theory. (Pun intended, if you were wondering!) I’ve long been of a mind that obama is squirreling away billions in kickbacks (Unions, funneled Stimulus money – where DID $787 billion go and very little accounting?!) preparatory to leaving office. (and the country) So – and I’m sure this wasn’t part of wretchard's point – I quote from above:

“Nigeria sells about 40% of its oil to the United States, of which it is a major supplier.” And, “Less than a week after President Obama’s Asian Reassurance Tour...” And, “Even the Washington Post is yelling and screaming at the Obama administration. The editorial board wrote: ‘A Beijing power play in the South China Sea is met with U.S. inaction’.”

And, I says to myself, “Reckon this has anything at all to do with his stalling on the XL Pipeline?”

MY point is, (Again, likely a digression from the central theme of this link.) I should say, my question is, “Is aitch letting the world burn while he fattens his wallet for that rainy day when he’s no longer potus? And, are union kickbacks small potatoes compared to the money he may be garnering by preventing our “oil dependency” from competing with foreign interests?”

There’s one more thing – If I’m right! Many people are saying, “No matter how much he may be skimming, it’ll be worth it just to get rid of him.” That argument may not be without merit. However, with the major players in the world at each other’s throats, terrorists killing Americans and kidnapping young girls by the hundreds, Russia practicing its own peculiar brand of “Manifest Destiny,” America being overrun with illegals and, finally, (But, NOT!) our median personal income sinking like the Costa Concordia, the question remains. “IS obama becoming filthy rich by letting the world burn?”

If someone can answer that question for me, I may not die a happy man. But at least I’ll know I’m not totally insane!
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41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wretched has captured the tenor of the times like no one else, and it looks like the decadence of 1930s Berlin, a rerun of “Cabaret” where determined evil lurks and gathers its forces in the smoky background as the frivolous homosexuals and “artists” pursue their shallow lives of indulgence.

Of course, in the 1930s there were some few thoughtful serious men in Western governments who had an inkling of what was brewing and were responding, however slowly. When the ultimate crisis came, civilization was able to rally itself for the denouement, and fatalities were limited to merely several tens of millions.

Today the moronic frivolous segments of society have penetrated to the top. They are not confined to smoky cafes sipping absinthe, and the thoughtful serious men——or “persons”——are all on the take. Today, it’s “Idocracy” meets “Godzilla.” There are three years ahead before there is any chance of competent leadership.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (78)
All Comments   (78)
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Nigeria is kinda like a reverse scenario to the Sudan. The controlling north went Islamic and the non-Islamic south Sudan with the oil said "new country."

Nigeria's oil-less Islamic north is basically being ignored the same way the new South Sudan wants to ignore Sudan. The Christian south of Nigeria doesn't even pretend to exert sovereignty in it's north cuz they really don't care.

The remark about Biden's son highlights the fact that the empire-building pirates which have marked all of human history are still there. The new East India Company has gone underground, sensitive to the new morality of colonialism that beat the Brits out of India.

Resources are still being tapped by outsiders and flowing right by the eyes of poor indigenous folks. The truth is, massive Indonesian gold-mining operations are beyond the intellectually non-aggressive who've sat on that stuff for ages, showing little inclination to take it out themselves until some European company comes and does it, and then the protests start. But there are no redcoats shooting down the protesters. It makes for better PR to have the local gov't quell the unrest.

The kings and princes back home still get their cut by wrattling the occasional saber.

The spice must flow and it always has - sometimes literally in the case of Constantinople falling and the hapless Aztecs paying the price by themselves falling to spice-hunters looking for an end-around to the East Indies and India. The Turks themselves expanded into the Middle East and Gulf States because the Mamluks in Egypt financially and militarily exhausted themselves in spice wars with the Portuguese.

It's hard to beat an organized culture with a good game plan. They'll come right into your backyard and take you lock, stock and barrel and they always have, from Alexander the Pirate to Roman pirates to British land-pirates taking diamonds out of Hyderabad to Chinese pirates taking concessions out of Africa. Ya snooze, ya lose.

Hanging out ain't where it's at, not when your potato plot can be used to grow cocaine or has oil and gold under it.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
China’s bulling of Vietnam is another test of the International Criminal Court, the UN, and the EU’s soft power. Let the Vietnamese sailors sue in the ICC, let the UN debate, let the EU boycott.

In ten or twenty years, we’ll see who wins.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you log in with certain browsers you get only an obsolete copy of the headline/dispatch pages.

Try Chrome if you've got it.

The *polite* thing to do, if PJM is really going to do this, is to replace the obsolete copy with a banner telling you to FOAD or whatever, but it may be an accident.

Apparently it's just the dispatch pages, if you paste the new threads into IE8 or whatever they work ok:
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks, I'm using Chrome, but...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Then that is weird. And now it looks like they might have fixed the front page, but not the Belmont Club front page, ...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Am I the only one w/access to the site, or has the entire Belmont Community been euthanized to protect POTUS's Legacy and Hillary's election?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Serco Scandal: "In the whole month of December, she said, she processed about six applications."

Takatz said that when she and other employees looked for applications to process, they called it fishing because they were trying to catch an application before someone at another processing center could.

Employees refreshed their pages so frequently that Serco limited them to one refresh per 10 minutes. If workers refreshed more than that, they were called into a supervisor’s office and told to stop.

Workers became so bored and hostile, Takatz claims, that Serco began providing books to read. Employees were told they could not speak to the media, even if they left the company.

“It was prison,” Takatz said. “We all referred to it as our cell blocks.”

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41 weeks ago
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Doug, did you ever go swimming in the sea at night? What's happened here is, your foot just touched something underwater.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Serco hired 790 people at a pay rate between $14 and $27 an hour with health insurance and a 401(k). According to CMS, the center now has 660 employees."
(for data entry which never occurred ! )


"The company has a one-year contract to start, with four one-year options to follow, with a total value of $1.25 billion.

Rick Stokes, president of the Wentzville Board of Aldermen, applauded the news. City officials just found out about the deal on Friday, and they met Tuesday morning with Serco to start hammering out details."

Moronic, Delusional Editorial:
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Imagine where Amazon would be now if Jeff Bezos had the same standards of excellence as the PJ Web"masters"

Oops, that makes no sense:

You would never have heard about "Amazon"
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ping. Wassup? All of PJM frozen? Have I fallen into a time warp, baby?

Let's see what this post link does ...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why can't we see? There is none so blind as he who would not see.

There is quite a tiff going on among the AGW crowd.

Shameless Climate McCarthyism on Full Display - Scientist Forced to Resign

"An early rational voice in climate skepticism, Bengtsson in 1990: ‘one cannot oversell the greenhouse effect’

I have always been sort of a climate sceptic. I do not consider this in any way as negative but in fact as a natural attitude for a scientist. I have never been overly worried to express my opinion and have not really changed my opinion or attitude to science.



Would there be no clouds, everything would be simple. ‘With a clear sky, increasing carbon dioxide or methane would lead to a reduction of heat radiation from the earth to the atmosphere. In addition, water vapor would amplify the so-called greenhouse effect. If temperatures increase, more water evaporates and water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas.’

However, clouds do exist. It is these fluffy tufts that diminish much of the commotion surrounding the climate disaster. Clouds cool because they reflect sunlight. On the ground we notice this when we’re in a shadow. At the same time clouds warm because they prevent heat radiation from directly escaping to space: ground frost nearly always occurs under cloud free conditions. The simple question as to whether clouds cool or warm the Earth was until recently unanswered, and this says a lot about the current state of meteorology.

Among climate experts the opinion that clouds cool Earth is gaining ground, Bengtsson observes. ‘There are recent satellite observations, as reported in the scientific magazine Nature, showing that clouds reduce the greenhouse effect. In particular low level clouds are efficient cooling agents.’

Theoretically, the greenhouse effect could even cause a cooling rather than a warming of Earth. ‘The cooling effect of clouds is five times as strong as the temperature increase due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2.’ There is even an amplification of this feedback. Bengtsson: ‘If it gets warmer, clouds become whiter and thereby reflect more solar radiation.’

Such feedbacks are hardly part of the computer models that predict the warming, according to Bengtsson. ‘Almost no model is capable of dealing with the behavior of clouds. The models builders claim they do, but when we redo the calculations that turns out not to be true.’

There are other problematic issues. Were climate to really warm, snow and ice would have to melt. That would result in additional warming because white surfaces reflect more sunlight. ‘This additional warming is not present.’ Maybe the largest omission in knowledge about climate are the oceans.’ In most models it is assumed that the ocean is fifty meters deep, which is an average. But there are parts of the oceans that are several kilometers deep. Those would slow any potential warming. You could hide thousand years of warming in the ocean.’

The one small meteorological detail from the enormous amount of uncertainties, ambiguities and question marks that has become better understood is that an increase of CO2 and some other gases potentially has a warming effect. And that is what politics is focusing on right now. Bengtsson: ‘What happens in the Atlantic Ocean could have bigger consequences, but nevertheless all attention is focusing on the greenhouse effect.’ "

41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many folks, for instance, many who hang-out at the Belmont Club, do not believe the narrative as it is spun out of whole cloth by much of the media. We read and hear the same information poured from the pitcher of perfidy as the gullible ones, yet we dissent. And why is that?

Even some who may be properly described as low-information-voters disagree with the viewpoints proffered by the perfidious press.
Why is that?

It's about discernment derived from something that is already in the brain. Those people have guardians at the portals of the mentality that critically analyze the outpourings, using standards of measurement that are more aligned with truth and reality.

Oh, it's not that they are necessarily conservative stalwarts. They have the good sense to detect deception and mendacity.

The point is, the only people who are being deceived are those who permit themselves to be deceived. They choose to believe the lies, having no affinity for truth. It's more palatable to believe robbing hood as long as he is lifting the purse of the wealthy to increase your own. It's soothing to the guilt complex to assail the plundering of mother gaia (has she gone transgender already?).

It's like the Bernie Madoff scam, those deceived were looking for a deal too good to be true. Those guys knew the definition of greed, They knew about ponzi schemes. The name may be new, but the concept was well documented in the novels of Charles Dickens. Yet, still people believe.

Another trait, guilt reaction, becomes the target for AGW schemes. It's the old dictum, seek and you shall find. Those who seek truth, find truth.

Belmont club is free for the reading, but who reads it? Not those who find it boring, only those who are looking for those opinions.

Want to know what Wretchard thinks - read Belmont Club. It's usually stuffed with keen insights. Want to know what God thinks, well, you know where to look for that also.

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41 weeks ago
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