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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 27 April 2012
Andrew Bolt, Anders Behring Breivik art mash up
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: big media

 

Do Bolt's views echo those of Norway's mass murderer, without actually doing the deed? Certainly there seems to be some common beliefs against multiculturalism.

If there are common traits, we wonder if Bolt possibly inherited aryan dutch intolerance from the colonial East Indies network in south east Asia of past centuries? Apparently some of these white colonialists arrived in Australia after the collapse of the Netherlands empire in now Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

And it seems more than a coincidence that high profile Bolt attacks renewable energy initiatives which most thinking people understand to be addressing the science of climate change. One thing is clear - the institution Bolt writes for - the Murdoch press in Victoria and NSW - is raking in big advertising dollars from the mining industry via a sister newspaper broadsheet as pictured here in today's edition.

 


 


Posted by editor at 12:19 PM NZT
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Is Tony Abbott too small to be PM of Australia?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

We hear shadow AG George Brandis wax lyrical on abc radio about distinctions, arguably without a difference, on why both major parties endorsed Slipper MP in a world of trouble now. Certainly Slipper is hog tied for at least a while by legalistic smart alecs helping Opposition leader Tony Abbott. And the mechanism of choice of the Coalition is revealing of their own character.

Like the worthy Scribe in the Media section of the wicked Limited/News broadsheet, all this recent Slipper imbroglio has got me thinking.

Let me explain. But first note on page 4 of the Murdoch broadsheet today where we see the marginal issue of private sexual matters and petty cab charge misdemeanours.

We submit suing Peter Slipper for sexual harrassment of a 33 year old in a civil suit, in order to unravel a government in a hung parliament is just too small. It is small minded, and legalistic, nonsense with scant regard for the democratic process.

We note in the same press that legally trained Abbott staffer Peta Credlin is negotiating a deal with cross bencher Andrew Wilkie. No doubt Credlin was a chef in the kitchen cooking up this smallness when Abbott was incapable of winning an election fair and square in 2010.

This Peter Slipper affair remind of an episode of the West Wing (Season 2) where Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman must weigh up whether to sue the white supremacists who put a bullet in him. He decides against, according to the script, because the political strategy is “too small”. He doesn’t want gun crime to be defined, to paraphrase, by the 'civil suit equivalent of slipping in the driveway'. Taking government by such a small pretext, in contrast to a national election, is like that. Too small.

Tony Abbott has form on legalistic, albeit financially expensive, games as a weak substitute for good faith motives.

In one of our first forays in this SAM blog some 5 years old now, was a first hand account of bruiser Tony Abbott in action in Sydney University student politics. The story is here:

Why did student activist now minister Tony Abbott punch Peter Woof?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007

 with postscript here

The common element in the current rumble is the reliance of Abbott on heavy weight legal support. Back then it was to avoid suit for assault in then Glebe local magistrates’ court. Not for our Tony the George Washington declaration 'that it was I who cut down the apple tree', being the honest good faith response. To own up to mistakes.

Abbott similarly is also implicated in tricky legalistic devilry to attack the One Nation virus that was nurtured ironically in his own electorate office. That all ended in the false imprisonment of Pauline Hanson in Qld.

Not for Abbott the full blooded repudiation of racists and white supremacists which again would have been the George Washington option. To take that overt and honest moral political position would have cleaved the red neck rump on the Coalition right.

Bob Brown, retiring Green MP and leader, came close to the essence of good faith last night on Q & A when challenged on his position 30 years ago in the Franklin River campaign for his support for a coal fired power station alternative. BB announced something like ‘it’s in the newspaper, and I was wrong’ with grace and a winning smile, as if to say, yes I am human and fallible. That folks was the George Washington response, for real. No wonder folks love Brown.

We doubt folks love Tony Abbott that way, or ever will. And the reason is that he is too small, and more practically speaking, too small to be a good PM or maybe even PM at all.


Last night we also saw Abbott interviewed by Uhlmann on 7.30. It was a workmanlike but clunky affair, as the cogs turned over slowly and descended into legalistic distinctions over Slipper then and now, ours then now theirs, and a traverse of other broad policy concerns. Abbott looked very much like a man with trainers on, and painfully under done. And we feel this is really his default position. We think the public, business and conservative alike, ought not expect more if he ever gets in the big chair.

We’ve seen this before. The smart arse charm, with a habit for the cheap joke - note the comic insert on Meet The Press on Sunday catching Abbott’s low brow comment about 'spicy workplaces', as if he would know(?). In my experience such personality types have less than meets the eye in the gravitas department when actually in harness. By distinction some other types grow in the job and rise to the occasion. My conclusion is we are witnessing Abbott at his clunky zenith.

Another serious clue to Abbott's nature is his ideological support for the Iraq War despite estimates of 100,000 to 600,000 deaths on the pretext of presence of weapons of mass destruction which didn't exist. Even after the expose' of this mistaken or falsified WMD claim Abbott remains loyal to the project.

In this Abbott is loyal to a fault to the old man, ex PM John Howard. Arguably Abbott having been mentored by Howard is also his cipher. Howard famously wanted the country to be relaxed and comfortable which is ridiculous when faced by global terrorism, ripples from GFC Mark I, expected Mark II, the war in Afghanistan and grim climate change science (as distinct from geologist and oil industry fiction).

Perhaps the churchy people amongst us by definition are small people who embrace the history and grandeur of a world religion to fill up a vacuum in their own persona? They need a bolt on moral substance that others install internally? Whatever the reason, to quote the West Wing opening season, Abbott is not the real deal.

The answer to Uhlmann’s penetrating question “Are you ready to govern?” in truth should have been “No, and I never will be. It‘s not in my DNA.”


Posted by editor at 12:02 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 April 2012 1:20 PM NZT
Monday, 16 April 2012
Some comments on the next chapter of the Green Party
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: aust govt

We posted this on our private Facebook page, which deserves some wider distribution:

#1

It seems to me [Christine Milne] is far more mainstream than Bob in relation to her biography sent out on the Greens email list. Just saying. Also it is jarring to read Cheryl Kernot comment in the press today. Can't see CM getting into bed literally with the bastards. Talk about HUGE error of judgement by Kernot, given she was supposed to be making independent critique on same lover (Gareth Evans). I mean, talk about no credibility. One well remembers the Stott euphemistically referring to the news of Kernot's defection to the ALP as "very interesting" with quite a deal of acid in her tone, presumably sourced to the inside knowledge of the affair, that the Australian public were not deemed important enough to be informed of until Laurie Oakes broke the unofficial embargo of the insiders. Absolutely hopeless self awareness of concepts of duty and independence from Kernot.

 

#2

Some more distilled thinking on the transition - errors in big media coverage -

First BB as admirable and indeed lovable as he is, is not really historically "the father" of the environment movement. Arguably that might go to say Miles Dunphy and some degree son Milo Dunphy (?) back to the bushwalking days of the depression and cheap rail links to the Blue Mtns. Noting BB lived in Dundas as a young medical student not far from me here in Eastwood.

Second - As great as the Franklin River issue and victory was - my vote for Hawke as an 18 year old was because of the Franklin issue while a student at ANU law school - more arrests and protest numbers occurred in the late 80ies and 90ies in the South East Forests of NSW. Thus SE Forests were arguably the biggest green issue of our time politically (?).

Thirdly - the malicious wedging pursued by the anti greens in the validly described hate press is flawed in relation to NSW Greens regardless of genuine tensions or debate. Note
(i) green in Green history of SE Forests which drew me to join and be jointly a first Green Party local councillor in NSW in 1995-1999 at Waverley (which was Rhiannon's home branch by the way, though I lapsed from 2000).
(ii) the wedgers always ignore Lee was effectively brought in by Geof Ash her boyfriend, who is fairly described as the founder and architect of the NSW Greens (I shared a group house in 1992 at Bondi - Geof worked delivering organic vegetables, was famoulsy a refugee from the ALP Left of the 80ies).
(iii) I suspect Lee's ambition as I understand has always been to achieve what her mother failed to do - be elected to the Senate. That is, arguably she has achieved her life goal, which was not it appears to annexe The Greens to the CPA (or renamed variant).
(iv) Regarding BDS - it's a bit trite and naive for those who do not live in the core centres of Jewish diaspora and who are not well informed on a very real streak of ultra right fascism in the Israeli Right - here and there - to seek a quiet life with the powerful Jewish lobby. People of good will MUST address the exemplar of Yigal Amir as Jewish assassin of Israel's PM, given Amir's crime has significant support amongt the diaspora then and now. Think about that in a nuclear armed world power of gifted people. Truly only love will overcome the racism against Jewish folks but that's no recommendation for willful blindness about terra nullius policies on the West Bank and Gaza.

#3
...... the denial of the role of sick capitalism in GFC mark I, and expected mark II, by such as The Australian rherorticians owned by ...... Rupert Murdoch. Inconveniently for them the rusted on socialists like Lee Rhiannon have quite a deal more credibility in their life long contempt for capitalism. Although I don't personally feel that contempt or ideological hatred, I believe an honest appraisal of the GFC and those who warned constantly of the sickness within capitalism (see for instance doco The Corporation, or Smartest Guys in the Room re Enron collapse) should be given due credit and acknowledgment. It's easy in Australia which dodged the recession to ignore that some estimate the cost of the GFC was comparable to the sum of the cost of the Great Depression, WW2, Vietnam War and The Space Race. That's a very very very big price paid and why the valid aspects of socialism and central regulatory government should be honestly appraised. Not for ideological reasons - practical ones.

#4


Also a personal note. Milo Dunphy was a mentor of mine 1993-96. Probably a bigger influence than BB here in NSW. I understand Milo ran as a candidate in Tasmania during the Lake Pedder campaign for something called the United Tasmania Group (?) - Indeed I note this quote: "1972 United Tasmania Group (UTG) set up with Bob Brown and Milo Dunphy as co-directors, largely to campaign against damming of Lake Pedder. Regarded as the world’s first “green” political party." at http://www.ecodirectory.com.au/index.php/green-history

*******

We note this blast from the past too, involving hand delivery of 4,000 by the author to the Bondi Basin residences prior to the Waverley Council election in September 1999, that we would like to think resulted in 3 new Greens being elected to that council. Though the authorisation is in editor's name it was in fact co-written with Geoff Ash in the printing shop of Colin Chartlon at Waterloo, Sydney.
 

 

 

 


 


 

Posted by editor at 2:57 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 16 April 2012 3:26 PM NZT
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
SAM blog stats for early 2012 - OMG an upward trend!
Mood:  surprised
Topic: independent media

 

 

 

This community news blog has been fairly quiet for 2 years as its editor worked full time as a solicitor in the private sector (and pro bono), while noting the blog was established in January 2007 (5 years - woo hoo!). Judging from the hit rate it appears less is more, because on the occasions we have posted in the last 2 years responding to something so outrageous in the big media that it demanded a reply, it seems our hit rate continued to trend upward, especially now in months Feb and March 2012. How ironic.


Posted by editor at 3:06 PM NZT
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Sydney Daily Smog left naked by false skyline front page image?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: big media

 

Pictures above and below taken by the author today 27 March 2012 at about 8.00 am from Eastwood looking south over Parramatta River to Strathfield and beyond.

 

Mmm, funny how the front page today of the Murdoch owned Sydney Daily Telegraph has sanitised the Sydney skyline by airbrushing the typical brown smudge of smog.

 


 

Could it be the smog is an inconvenient truth about promoting more motorways and hence more traffic on said tarmac? The fact that literally 1/4 to 1/3 of the Sydney landscape is already dedicated to motorised transport whether it be roads, garages, carparks, and probably other land tenure doesn't seem to rate. But the truth is that's alot of valuable real estate quarantined for cars and trucks and arguably quite excessive already.

 

 

Indeed we recently went to NSW Dept of Health website and noticed  their figure up to about 2009 or so that premature deaths from smog in Sydney is now running at 640 to 1,400 people a year. Putting aside the rather large statistical spread of those figures, it is clear that smog is a killer "right here, right now" as one federal politician Greg Hunt is prone to say.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph articles today are prominent in their support for the M4 East and M5 road expansions, but NO ONE believes they won't just choke up like Parramatta Road in a few years unless there is substitution off the roads. 

 

 

We understand Australians buy 1 million cars a year, and a great many of them are in Sydney right here, right now. 

There is token reference to the North West rail line in the SDT package of stories but it's a left over really. It seems the package is all about building the next road. And given head of infrastructure Nick Greiner is a road builder one doesn't have to be a genius to know who the Coalition aligned newspaper is barracking for.

No wonder the public are cynical about the Murdoch media, not just politicians. How about addressing the smog Mr Editor? Like supporting conversion to bicycle based transport for short trips? 

It seems to us fundamental change to transport in Sydney is just too big an ideological problem for an editor who is prone to bashing the current Mayor of Sydney who actually supports bicycle based infrastructure. 


Posted by editor at 12:00 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2012 12:05 PM NZT
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Thoughtlines on those shallow big media reviews of Bob Carr
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: big media

 

 Picture: [Above] The author in tie and scruffy beard alongside then MP Richard Jones and others in 1994 in a spirited campaign for change in government policy away from high impact woodchipping of natural forests.The speaker on the tray truck is Karenne Jurd then director of The Wilderness Society removed soon after in a Keaing PM inspired coup in the TWS. [Below] is a massive banner on the cliff line opposite the Sydney Opera House - again involving the author as it snagged part way down and required some cliff hanging to release back in our rock climbing days. Alot of work went into electing Bob Carr on 25 March 1995 to save forests but the results were disappointing.

First the good before the ugly. We did enjoy this article about Carr's contradictory postures and indeed cunning by the ABC's Jim Middleton:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-05/middleton-carr-foreign-policy-commentary/3868252?section=nsw

We note this text from our own web archive on Carr's time at the helm of NSW as the public went back to the polls in 1999:

Apart from deliberately and dishonestly conflating the notion of "forest protection" with "new national park", the other variation on Carr's boasting was that his government had created one million hectares of reservations in NSW and this was a "world record". The Wilderness Society as quoted in Parliament by Ian Cohen MLC has shown convincingly using World Conservation Monitoring Centre figures that NSW as a unit is still behind 74 other countries in terms of terrestrial protected areas, and just below the 6. 29% of land area conserved on average per country. For the 4 year term of office Carr has made less significant conservation decisions than

  • Brazil (3.5 million ha in 1990, 6 million ha in 1979-82),
  • Indonesia (3 million ha in 1978-81, 2.5 million ha in 1980-82),
  • Columbia (2 million ha, 1977).
  • Even in Queensland in one year 1977 a million hectares of national park was created, and in NT nearly a million hectares in 1990.

There is not space here to list other protection decisions in China, USA (4 different states) or Venezuela that outstrip or equal Bob Carr's "world record" fantasy.

We also note that Carr was a gifted thespian on the floor of NSW Parliament - that is, he was acting, and relying on comedy to avoid substance. The general message is therefore - cross check Bob Carr before you believe his stentorian voice.

We note Carr stated on live abc radio in about 2006 that the internet was irrelevant to mainstream politics just before Obama used the web to fundraise his way to the presidency of the United States. Gore Vidal on a visit here, in the studio with Carr almost choked when he heard Carr's ignorant pronouncement more to do, perhaps, with Carr's edict banning government press releases being archived on the web for the public to access.

Here is more on the grim statistics of green Bob Carr on the environment:

  • Carr ALP dodges 1999-2003
  • Carr ALP dodges 1995-99
  • and also here:

    NSW forests & woodland natural heritage

    Our understanding is that Carr sold out 50% of the unprotected publicly owned forest to private logging interests, that is forest that wasn't already in national park that he couldn't get his hands on. To avoid accountability on that Carr hoodwinked the public and the media with expensive tv advertising about 'trees and jobs living together'.This is the factual context of the huge price paid for Carr's PR boast of 300 odd new national parks patchworked across the eastern division of NSW. In our view way too high a price being paid every day now in 2012.

    (Consider this - risk of bushfire, as wildfire, as megafire, can only increase with destruction of natural forest canopy with it's naturally wet micro climate  and high humidity - that is, bushfire resistant. A logged landsape by comparison soon returns as dry schlerophyll regrowth and a dusty dry  flammable landscape. A landscape of kindling for megafire is one potential outcome of Bob Carr's 20 years of woodchipper resource security.)

    In addition to forests proper east of the dividing range, our understanding is that Carr presided over between one and 1.5 million hectares of woodlands in agricultural areas west of the ranges being cleared over about 10 years. (Stephanie Peatling of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote several stories with the official figures which were horrifying when extrapolated over years.) These woodlands would be crucial to moderating record floods today. But at that time in 1995 to 2005 we in NSW were at the end of a 20 year period of mostly drought - the huge loss of nature was arguably even more devastating.

    Given NSW is mostly arid (or was until the most recent ephemeral floods) and a total of 80 million hectares in size with a humble fringe of coastal green, the loss of nature under Carr was grim. The sensible elements of the green movement today mostly refer to that period of alliance with Bob Carr as delusional.

    The significance for modern politics is that it is the Carr political PR strategy on the morality of environmentally sustainable forests that is being applied by the federal ALP on climate. It's all tactics for the ALP rather than conviction, to wedge the liberal national party, which admittedly are even more evil on conservation of the environment and therefore easy to wedge. Compare say the Tories in the UK who actually have a strong climate protection policy in unison with their opponents - presumably out of a conviction their little island in the North Sea will be doomed by climate change - which it may well be. 

    Such are the contradictions of Bob Carr, thespian and gifted comic of NSW politics, quite well expressed by Jim Middleton in his article referenced above.  

    koalacartoons3.jpg

     


    Posted by editor at 9:30 AM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2012 11:33 PM EADT
    Sunday, 29 January 2012
    Collective big media amnesia of 2003 fire attack on Aboriginal tent embassy
    Mood:  d'oh
    Topic: indigenous

    Interesting to read Laurie Oakes in a News Corp lead opinion piece this weekend with a comment that only a twisted mind would view Tony Abbott's recent words as suggesting a tear down of  Aboriginal tent embassy.

    Oh really?

    Wikipedia carries this entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboriginal_Tent_Embassy

    "There have been a number of suspicious fires at the site, with the most devastating being the loss of 31 years of records when the container burnt down in June 2003.[8]"

    Reference: "^ Yaxley, Louise (19 June 2003). "Aboriginal Tent Embassy burnt out". The World Today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 31 May 2010.

    We say Oakes is suffering amnesia, and not just about suspicious fires during the halcyon days of the Howard regime served by Tony Abbott. We note David Oldfield nurtured his bigoted One Nation party in Tony Abbott's electorate office.

    Fact is Tony Abbott is sitting on the fence on constitutional reform in favour of the Indigenous and is part of the former racist regime on native title.

    We say Piers Akerman gave the true version of Tony Abbott's views on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy today in the Sunday News Corp tabloid - an honest form of racism, if you like. To quote the bloated one:

    "The 40th anniversary of this monstrosity should be it's last."

     Or in colloquial terms - tear it down.

    13 years ago Tony Abbott's current mentor, then PM John Howard, delivered bucket loads of extinguishment of native title.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Including the lazy big media giving a shallow view of political reality.


    Posted by editor at 6:46 PM EADT
    Updated: Sunday, 29 January 2012 6:55 PM EADT
    Tuesday, 20 December 2011
    Moral clarity and hypocrisy on refugees - reply to GH
    Mood:  d'oh
    Topic: human rights

     

    The Greens and the Left in effect believe people have the right to die trying to be free in Australia. And not persecuted when they succeed in their marathon trek.

    The Right in effect, like Gerard Henderson today, and some others who should know better, prefer people die in silence in a theoretical queue in the country of persecution, or a living death in a hostile intermediate country, away from the Australian public eye - in equal or greater numbers.

    These folks from the Right are the ones who read down say 650,000 deaths in the Iraq war, to "tens of thousands" or "over one hundred thousand" deaths in the news reports last week. Raw numbers of death of innocents is a very slippery concept for these types - like Henderson.

    There is alot of talk about derisorily low numbers of boat people swamping the 13,500 annual refugee intake figure. But the treaty on status of refugees doesn't refer to arbitrary limits, it refers to "fear of persecution".

    Fact is Australia is lazy. Henderson is lazy. The ALP and the Coalition are lazy.

    And dishonest - boat people are a scapegoat for the 250-300,000 economic immigrants that apparently Australia has no trouble accomodating every year not least for cheap labour for big business. I don't remember Henderson, Morrison or George Pell for that matter saying we should hypothecate economic immigration to refugee lives? That is less of the former and more of the latter.

    When they start talking about that we might start listening to the alleged moral analysis of the authority figures. Until then we will do our refugee duty in the legal sector.

     


    Posted by editor at 7:27 AM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 21 December 2011 2:01 PM EADT
    Sunday, 11 December 2011
    Julian Moti's complexion
    Mood:  quizzical
    Topic: aust govt

    Julian was a student for several years at the Australian National University in the 1980ies.

    He was noticeable by his coloured heritage and his attractive long time law student girlfriend, also a person of colour.

    This writer's direct observation of him over those years as law student peer was that he evidenced no vices or personality flaws, was a competent student and in control of himself. No drug issues. No conflicts. No crash outs.

    As regards university days, Moti does not present like the recollections on the public record of disgraced de-registered (?) Dr Suresh Nair.

    We might not say that about all the peers from those days if pressed, which we are not. Nor are we so innocent of a toke, a stolen bottle of wine and other games of greater and lesser seriousness in our youth.  

    As a legal colleague noted there is always the private versus the public side to every personality.  We've not had any contact with Julian for 20 years. 

    As another legal colleague noted late last week, how reliable is the testimony of a 13 year old, vulnerable to manipulation, in a toxic political context, with signifcant money changing hands in a criminal prosecution/persecution (your choice dear reader)?

    We simply say, uni days are contrary indications of the reputational damage to Julian, this last many years. And we don't pretend to understand the truth of all this grim allegations.

    We do say this - if Moti has been done wrong, which is a real question, it's going to be a huge compensation claim - and maybe that's just the way it has to be, if only for surviving so long against such odds. For a traditionally chubby guy he runs quite a marathon.

    Yes we are concerned about protection of minors as a public policy. And also mindful of slum politics where western (suburban Australian) moral norms in reality don't fly. In that context we even wonder about Shakespeare's time when 13 year olds were of marrying age and life was short and often cruel.  Or who might exploit that millieu. All quite vexed. Talk about Doubt - which ran as a movie on free to air last night in Sydney.

    If Julian reads this we are not adverse to hearing his side of things or just talking off the record, not least given our transition into the world of politics and community media, with a fierce commitment to independence.

     

     

     


    Posted by editor at 10:55 AM EADT
    Saturday, 10 December 2011
    Au contraire LO
    Mood:  caffeinated
    Topic: aust govt

    SAM Editor's view of the withdrawn Australia Network tender:

     1. Rudd was keen either when PM or after to trade support for the government for Murdoch's greed, with the price being sell down of ABC turf. A logical if amoral bargain. 

     2. Now post NOTW scandal cabinet make a very different political calculation that they can buck the Murdoch regime, and maybe they can too (no disrespect to the Sphere who writes for the Daily Liberal Party tabloid).

    3. The sabotaged tender keeping Aunty in the "soft diplomacy" business, charter of independence notwithstanding, suggests to this punter and probably quite a few more in the beltway and general public land (?) that the ALP are masters at the fix, same as it ever was.

    4. Item 3 above is inconsistent with Laurie Oakes' theory that the sabotaged tender will evidence incompetence to the public as the resonating message. Au contraire - that's not our experience, in NSW where funny things happen too often to be random.

    5. Rather all this evidences the jaded reality of national politics where good process and good policy outcomes are disconnected from political economy and careerism. Same as it ever was (refer Giuseppe De Lampedusa's awesome novel The Leopard for a beautiful case study in the context of the Sicilian aristocracy).


    Posted by editor at 12:07 PM EADT
    Updated: Sunday, 11 December 2011 10:34 AM EADT

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