Friday, July 22, 2022

Democracy Harder

 


What makes me worry today is the alarming decline in the trust in democratic institutions - political parties, parliaments, political leaders. Less and less people are going to the polls in most advanced democracies.
--Ivan Krastev, political scientist
  Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna


President Biden's polls at all time low!


Biden's approval rating falls to a new low!

Biden's support among Senate Democrats reaches new low!

The Left's disappointment with Biden is a new low!

Low, lower, lowest. Things are looking pretty grim for Biden. 

Well, I mean, you can sort of see where they're coming from, can't you?

Biden hasn't done enough, has he? 

Biden hasn't done enough when it comes to fixing the Supreme Court.

Biden hasn't done enough about codifying abortion Rights.

Biden hasn't done enough about ensuring and extending LGBT Rights.

Biden hasn't done enough to end the war in Ukraine.

Biden hasn't done enough to address Climate Change.

Biden hasn't done enough to stop gun violence in America.

Biden hasn't done enough about healthcare and what ever happened to Medicare for All anyway?

Biden hasn't done enough to stop inflation.

Biden hasn't done enough to secure our borders or fix our immigration system.

Biden hasn't done enough to stop the spread of COVID and now there's the Monkey Pox.

Biden hasn't done enough to lower gas prices.

Biden hasn't done enough to promote sustainable energy.

Biden hasn't done enough to wipe out student loans.

Biden hasn't done enough, not nearly enough, to bring the former administration to justice.

Biden hasn't... well, no point in flogging a dead horse. I could go on, but you get the idea. 

And that's only a partial list of disappointment from the Left. You don't want me to start listing the Right's complaints, you really don't. 

Left, Right, one thing we can all agree on: Joe Biden just hasn't done enough, has he? So disappointing. I mean, Biden fist-bumped a Saudi Prince for God's sake!

It's okay, you can say it. 

We're all feeling it, aren't we? 

Joe Biden, what a goddamn disappointment...

Except...

Well, funny thing...

Joe Biden is doing precisely what we elected him to do. 

That's right. 

Joe Biden is doing exactly what he was elected to do. Yes, he is. 

Joe Biden is exactly the president we all asked for. Well, most of us anyway. 

Joe Biden is exactly the guy the Left wanted. 

And Joe Biden is exactly the guy most of the Right wanted, even if they won't say it.

Joe Biden is doing exactly what we elected him to do. 


Joe Biden isn't Donald Trump.


That's it, that's the whole thing, right there. 

That's what we elected Joe Biden to be. Not Donald Trump. 

Remember? Vote Blue, no matter who? 

Remember? I'd vote for a ham sandwich with rancid mayonnaise, so long as it's not Donald Trump. 

Remember? Anyone but Trump?

Remember? That's what we said. That's what I said. That's what you said. 

We elected Joe Biden to be not Trump. 

That was the whole thing. 

We didn't elect Joe Biden to remake America. We didn't elect Joe Biden to implement some radical progressive agenda of unicorns, rainbows, and socialism. We didn't elect Joe Biden to be some icon of liberalism. We didn't elect Joe Biden to give us universal healthcare like they have in civilized countries, or to take away all the assault rifles, or to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and heal the sick. We didn't elect Joe Biden to bring about peace on earth and some miracle of universal brotherhood and understanding. 

No, Sir. 

Oh, certainly, we hoped he'd maybe do some simple things like address student debt, but that's not why we elected him. 

We elected Joe Biden to be not Donald Trump. 

That's it.

And in point of fact, Joe Biden is doing a bang up job of being not Trump. 

Now, Biden might not be the most eloquent speaker, but when he talks he makes sense, even if he stumbles over a word or two now and then. 

Biden might not be much at foreign policy, but he hasn't started any wars -- though he did finally end one after 20 years. Maybe he could have done it better, but then again maybe not, either way, the war is over for us. 

Biden hasn't screwed up any international agreements or threatened Mexico or started a trade war with China or even shoved some foreign leader out of the way so he could be on camera. 

Biden might not be all that current when it comes to science, but he hasn't suggested nuking any hurricanes either. Or nuking any countries for that matter. 

Biden might not be the world's biggest women's rights advocate, but he hasn't appointed any drunk rapists to the Supreme Court either. Or any religious nutters, for that matter. And I'll remind you that he pointedly went against his own religion in support of abortion -- something you'd never, ever, see the former guy do. 

Biden might not be the staunchest ally LGBT people ever met and maybe he came late to the party, but he is an ally and you sure won't see him trying to keep LGBT people out of the military or dismissing their contributions to America or treating them as anything less than full equals. 

Biden might not be the most accessible President we've ever had, but he isn't calling The Press the enemy of the people and daily endangering the lives of reporters -- or openly mocking disabled ones for that matter. 

Biden might not have done everything he could to welcome immigrants to this country, but he's not trying to turn America into a prison surrounded by walls and barbed wire and armed goons. 

Biden might not be any Ronald Reagan when it comes to facing down the Russians (Reagan really wasn't any Ronald Reagan either, but never mind), but Biden for goddamn sure isn't writing love letters to foreign dictators either, or greasing up old Vladimir Putin for a hotel deal in Moscow. 

Biden might fall off his bike once in a while or trip going up the stairs to Air Force One, but he has yet to spend a quarter of his presidency on the golf course at our expense. 

Biden could certainly have handled the pandemic better, no argument from me, but he's also not out there every day promoting conspiracy theories and pseudo-science and deliberately getting people killed. And yes, Biden got COVID despite being vaccinated, but he admitted it up front and because he listened to the doctors he's got a mild case and he's still working without endangering others instead of having to be airlifted to Walter Reed and then going on a I Love Me tour of the crowd while still infectious. 

But, yeah, no doubt there is a hell of a lot of things Joe Biden could be doing better. 

But the one thing that Joe Biden is doing just fine at is being NOT Donald Trump. 

Biden is doing a fucking stellar job of being not Trump. 


And that's exactly what we elected him to do. 


What's that? 

What's that you're mumbling over there?

That's a hell of a weak sauce endorsement you say? 

No. 

No it's not. 

Not at all. 

See, I never expected Joe Biden to be any great president. 

I never expected, and I certainly never told you, dear reader, that Joe Biden would be anything other than not Trump. 

Because in 2020, that was good enough.  And it still is. 

If all we ever get out of Joe Biden's presidency is not Trump, I'm okay with that. 

Hell, I'm better than okay with it and you should be too. 

Because I don't honestly know how much more of Trump this country could have taken and survived.  You've seen the testimony. You've watched the January 6th Committee. You, Left, Right, whoever you are out there reading this, you know what happened. You know what Trump is, and what he and his fascist thugs were planning to do. You heard it in their own words. 

What happened on January 6th, 2021, was a pretty good indicator of what could have happened on a much larger scale if Trump had won. 

Because if Trump was president right now, those seditionists, those insurrections, those MAGA goons who stormed the Capitol, they'd be running the damn country right now. And they'd very likely be visiting violence on us, on you and me, right now, instead of looking at prison (no matter how lame most of their sentences are). Trump would be up there, right now, egging them on instead of screaming in impotent fury and throwing his lunch at the wall in Bedford. 

If Joe Biden wasn't president right now, no matter how disappointing you think he might be, things would be one hell of a lot worse. 

So, what am I saying? 

You should be happy with mediocrity? 

You should settle? 

You should be happy with not Trump and that's good enough? 

Yes. 

That's what I'm saying and, man, I just bet that pisses you off, doesn't it? 

It's okay. Be pissed. Stay pissed, we're going to need that energy. 

But, see, we could have had the president you wanted. 

We could have had the leader you wanted. The one who would have been an order of magnitude more than just not Trump. The one who had a plan. The one who would have been more than just a lukewarm ally. The one who would have ripped Vladimir Putin a new orifice and shoved a couple of American tanks up there. The one who didn't come around to your viewpoint at some late date but who'd been there all along, loudly, out front on every issue you hold dear, all of her life. 

You could have had that president. 


But America didn't want her either. 


And so, here we are and I am reminded of 2010 like it was yesterday. 

See, back then, we had the president you claimed you want. Young. Charismatic. Eloquent. Brilliant. Educated. Honest. Hard working. And he cared deeply about all the things you say you do. He'd fought for those things his whole life. It was personal to him. He wasn't born to it, he worked his way up to it every damn day of his life. 

And just like now, the Right hated his goddamn guts. Loathed him. Despised him. To the point of utter and absolute madness. 

He just kept on, fighting for those things we all claim matter to us. Nothing ever got him down. He'd play a game of ball at lunch, and then be right back at it. You'd never catch him throwing his lunch at the wall in childish rage. He was an adult, one we could be proud of. 

But two years into his presidency, well, you were disappointed. 

After two years, he hadn't done enough

And you were disappointed. 

Just like now. 

And so, you didn't show up. 

And you handed Congress over to the fucking Tea Party. That'll teach him. Burn it all down. 

Remember? 

No? 

I do. I kept the tweets, the emails, the DMs. I remember. 

And, boy, if you were disappointed before, oh man, once Obama was hamstrung by a blood-maddened  batshit insane Congress of kooks, nuts, and conspiracy theorists who fought him over everything no matter how trivial or benign and shouted lunacy at him during every State of the Union speech like the uncivil, uncouth raging louts they are, well, yeah, talk about real disappointment. 

But it was too damn late then, wasn't it? Yeah, you sure showed him, didn't you? 

Oh sure, once the burn-it-all-down crowd got a taste of what arson actually looked like, they were scared enough to get their asses to the polls in 2012 and make sure things didn't get any worse. But, by then we were fighting a delaying action without any chance at all for that real progress you say you really want. 

I mean, we had a chance to build a better future for America, but in 2010 we threw it all away. 

Because we were disappointed and mad because the guy we elected didn't get it all done in two years. 

And goddamn if we aren't right here again

On the cusp. 

Only worse. 

Now, for sure and for certain Joe Biden isn't any Barack Obama. 

Biden isn't even a Hillary Clinton. 

But he's the guy we elected to do one job -- and he's doing that about as well as anyone could at this point. 

Should we demand more than just not Trump? Should we still hope for that better future we once believed in? Of course. Absolutely. But you're not going to get it if you don't show up come this November. You can't even hope to hold the line, hope that things will at least not get worse even if they don't get better, if you don't show up. 

If you do to Joe Biden what you did to Barack Obama, we are all of us screwed. 

And yeah, I've heard it. I've heard the sneering contempt of the "LOL, just vote harder" crowd of Lefties. 

I've read their tweets and their blog posts and their articles in the Daily Beast and their emails to me and I hear their sneering contempt. They want change. Real change. And they want it now, they're tired of waiting. They want you out knocking on doors, pounding the pavement until your feet are bloody, shaking the trees, community activism, burn the motherfucker down if needs be!

And they're not wrong. 

They're not. 

But none of that matters if we don't all show up and vote harder. 

Activism without voting is the sum of fuck all. It's really just that simple. 

Well, unless you really do decide to burn it all down, but I've been in the middle of civil war and you can keep it. 

If we once again hand Congress over to the bitter wretched dregs of miserable conservative ideology, the MAGA goons, the sorry ragged descendants of the Tea Party, the credo of swaggering proudly ignorant louts, well, then you're going be in for some serious disappointment indeed. 

Folks, one thing you learn in the military, in war, in disaster: things can always get worse. 

Things can get a lot worse, very fast. 

No matter how bad things are, the situation can always -- always -- get worse. 

Unless you stop it. 

I don't know if Joe Biden will be the guy I vote for in 2024. I don't know if he should be. Eight years is a long damn time indeed to be satisfied with just not Trump. Not fascism. Not getting any better but at least not getting any worse.

Maybe someone better will come along in the next two years. 

Someone young and charismatic, smart and educated, eloquent, someone who cares deeply about all the things you and I do and who has the courage to turn this country around. 

I don't know. 

I honestly don't know. 

Maybe the best we can ever hope for in our lives now is just not Trump. Maybe, in our disappointment and apathy, that's what we've done to ourselves. Maybe that's all there's left for us and our slowly dying Republic.

I don't know. 

I sure hope not. I hope we can turn it all around. I hope we can leave the nation in better shape than we found it for my grandkids. 

But for now, this is where we are. 

This is what you voted for, own it. And 2024 is a long way away at the moment. 

What matters right now is this moment. 

This moment right here. This election. 

And if you want a better nation, if you want to even hope for a better nation, a better world, a better future for our kids, then you have to be better citizens NOW in this moment. 

Ignore the polls. 

Put your disappointment aside.

And show the hell up. 


I haven't trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex.
-- Erma Bombeck


93 comments:

  1. Bingo. Biden has been on my shit list since 1988, and the Thomas hearings didn't help. Don't care. He beat TFG and that's enough. I voted for him in both the primary and the general election.

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    1. Remind yourself of the stupid, ugly, nasty, uncivilized things that trump did to us all, and be sure to vote for people who do NOT like trump or his agenda (himself). But vote blue.

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  2. How does "vote harder" overcome the deliberate structural rigging of elections that has been true since 1789 and only gotten worse with these anti-democratic "vote fraud" laws now being passed? This is NOT 2010 or 2012 anymore. As an intelligence analyst you should know that battlefield conditions change all the time. Voting is rigged: from who has ballot access to who is allowed to vote at all. New tactics are needed. A new STRATEGY is needed.

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    1. I wasn't an analyst. That's a different job. So long as we're telling me what I should know.

      As to the gist of your comment: Okay, forget democracy. Voting no longer matters. They're stealing the election from us! Fair enough. When you say "new strategy" what do you mean? Revolution? A coup? Seize the voting machines? Because you sound a hell of a lot like Donald Trump, who also thought democracy was no longer worth it. //Jim

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    2. Me, I like Biden…a lot. He’s hamstrung by a couple of Dems who vote like Republicans, otherwise we’d have the policies we want. He’s not the problem. He’s up against the craziest far Right knuckleheads that have ever populated Congress! Give the guy a break and get behind him!

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    3. Jim, I can't sign in with my Google account, despite having enabled all scripts. Did you change something? Anyway…

      There are state-level gerrymanders that mean that Democrats have to get supermajorities in many districts just to win state legislative seats, as well as national House seats. The new voting law that is being blocked by a coalition of Republicans and Democratic traitors might address this, but it is entirely possible that the Roberts Court, ruling by whim as usual, would overturn it, even if passed.

      US democracy has consistently failed in this situation-a combination of a deadlocked Congress and a reactionary Supreme Court defended slavery well past the time when it became unpopular, and a similar combination defended Jim Crow for nearly a century. Jefferson hated judicial review and it is hard to see that he was wrong in this; giving the courts sole authority to interpret laws has led to horrors.

      Historically, this deadlock is only broken in times of great distress-the Civil War, the Great Depression. The one exception was the time of the Warren Court. The USA is now most of the way to the kinds of conflicts that led to the civil war, with states coming into conflict over women's rights.

      I think-fight for the states. Fight for the House. And, yes, vote. But don't just vote.

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    4. Get behind him to do what? Nothing. Democrats since the late '70's consistently refuse to take real action to achieve goals. They blame GOP, media, Progressives and the "far Left" (a Fascist term!) for Democrat failures. Tiresome is a gross understatement. LEADERS DO NOT BLAME! THEY LEAD! Lecturing us does not change political reality. Insanity is doing something over and over looking for a new result.

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    5. Even if the Democrats were strictly caretakers, changing little, that would still be better than what the Republicans have planned for us. And it's not even true! Off the top of my head - the Violence Against Women Act. The Affordable Care Act. Gay marriage.

      The habitual deadlock of US politics is horribly frustrating, but I will take deadlock to active violence against women and BIPOC, all the wars the Republicans want, the selling of the country to oligarchs, and the burning of the world.

      And–it is in times of great stress that the deadlock breaks. We have a chance, just a chance, of electing great leaders instead of the usual mirrors of our fearful selves.

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    6. Well, you start a group of people who help disabled people get to the polls is what you do. You tell people it is worth staying in that line for so much longer. You tell your sister who will be 18 this year but isn’t 18 yet she can vote in the primary and the general! Register her! You convince your recently divorced mother in law who never voted before Biden that voting in the midterms is important against Trump.


      You know? Just get people to vote despite barriers.

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    7. I feel that Pres. Biden’s heart is hurting. He went to the presidency thinking he could work with all these people on the hill. He knows how to negotiate. Why did he not get things done as promised? He was blocked by Mitch and the crew! I really like Joe Biden. I believe he has a heart for all America and wants to restore us to a proud, respected land. Trump almost destroyed our name as the leader of the free world. I feel that this job is jeopardizing Biden’s life and well being and therefore I hope he does not run again.

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    8. In many states you can not help people get ID's, you can not give them rides to the poll's, many can not stand in those long lines and they won't allow chairs, those that can stand usually work and can not afford to miss, now you can't even feed or give water to those people in the line as you are buying their vote and Rep's won't do it either, they just don't want people to vote period. Usually works out better for them. Getting ridiculous that to vote you have to suffer although I know in the past that was a fact for many it should be different today. TG I live in CA. where there are so many places to vote if line is too long you go to another or my son brings me a chair, we bring water, a bar. This is why we will never live anywhere but the west coast.

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  3. You nailed it again. Joe Biden isn't perfect, but the whole damn dumpster was on fire. He is a good, decent man who did not have to sign up for the job, but he did and I am glad. And FYI, Erma Bombeck was right.

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    1. You said it. I wonder if wheelchair bound Roosevelt got the same flak. All the Bible-thumping Republicans forget that their God used stutterers and the elderly to do amazing things. Biden is a wise, weathered, experienced politician. Age outweighs youth and inexperience. Wisdom, experience and patience are necessary to get us out of this hell we are in. I liken it to our 40 years in the wilderness.

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    2. From my visit to the FDR Library in Hyde Park, NY, I can attest that the hate mail that Rooseveldt received was remarkably similar to the hate (e)mail that Obama received. So much so that if you changed the name in the salutation, the text would be almost the same.

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    3. FDR was no more wheelchair bound than I am. Are you shoebound? Carbound? Glassesbound? It’s an absurd construction and conception. We are wheelchair users. Maybe that’s off the point to you, but it matters greatly how we see others, including Disabled people.

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    4. I totally agree with you and have stated so many times. Joe could have stayed retired and lived a very happy life with a nice wife and good retirement. But he stood up to take one for the democratic team. Who the hell else was going to run against the Trump monster? Who else had close to the qualifications of Joe. Every time I see Trumps face on TV I almost get down on my knees and thank God that Biden ran for President. It is not over by a long shot and I don't think it will be until Trump dies, it will linger but his damn uglyl face will be off TV everyday, that is something I look forward to. Get behind the democrats or we are going to lose more than the Presidency!

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    5. I worry that when tRump does die, he will be canonized by his followers and all kinds of batshit crazy myths will be built around him that many people will believe.

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    6. Age outweighs youth and inexperience, they say. Except it doesn't happen that often anymore. You have kids barely out of school inexplicably getting elected to office, and then they prance through the halls of government entering articles of impeachment like little kids thinking they are kicking over hills and eating the moon.

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  4. You're exactly right, Jim. Biden is being not Trump and that's good enough for me for right now.

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  5. That's the part that they don't understand, I am content with the fact Trump abd his goons are not in power. My only expectation was that he beat Trump, anything else is moot

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  6. I really miss the "You are my god" button. Thank you, Jim. You help keep me sane.

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    1. Me too! Why did that go away?

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  7. Joe Biden even said in one of his first speeches that he's been elected to bring the presidency back to sanity. He IS doing a bang-up job. I've slept better, and I have hope for my country.
    I don't think Joe wants to run in 2024. But he will if we don't find someone who can come forward as a solid leader. AND we show up.

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  8. Biden stands between us and this Non-patriot horde of sycophants...Bannon, Cruz, Abbott, Cotton, Navarro and MAGA are NOT Constitutionalist Patriots.
    Osama bin Laden's niece defends 'Ultra MAGA movement' during appearance with Steve Bannon https://www.rawstory.com/noor-bin-laden-ultra-maga/

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    1. I hope media pundits are VERY wrong. - We need a Blue Tsunami to move America off the fascist track. - Republicans think they only have to run the clock for a few more months until they take over Congress to shut down the Jan. 6 investigation and sweep the insurrection under the rug. - After that, they will normalize sedition and accelerate the establishment of one-party rule by voter suppression, gerrymandering and election fraud. - They're counting on their billionaire donor/owners coming to the rescue with enough money to carpet bomb the election cycle and beyond with misinformation and grievance politics.

      The thing is; an insurgency isn't the same thing as an insurrection. - An insurgency is MANY insurrections of many different forms and varieties, large and small. - American style insurgency; the slow-moving, almost imperceptible and non-threatening transformation into a Christianized plutocracy goes under the cover of hypocrisy and projection. - And that is just fine with the aristocrats, oligarchs and kleptocracy; as long as the religious demand only worship and not money. - At least not THEIR money. - Democracy's flaws will be exploited for the 'deconstruction of the administrative state', to use the less offensive phrase made famous by Steve Bannon. - It's the alt-right version of outright fascism… sanitized…minimized.
      - It's akin to Mussolini re-labeling fascism as "Corporatism". - Republicans have reverse engineered a Constitution meant to protect us from big government and big business to facilitate the commoner-class enslavement our forefathers fought.

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  9. Most of that stuff you want? That stuff you complain that Biden hasn't done? Isn't really up to Biden. It's up to whoever gets voted into congress. Midterms are important.

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    1. You missed Jim's point. He was not complaining about what Biden hasn't done. He's talking about the Dems who complain about this stuff. He knows very well that it's up to us to vote on the upcoming midterms. That's the whole point of this essay.

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  10. Jim, thank you for this. Seriously. I wish this could be pounded into a lot of heads but…people bitch and carp, but what president had really been able to deliver their campaign agenda in full? I’ll take Joe over any of the field that was out there at the time.

    Hell, I’m a 67 year old man that has seen only four of his choices elected to the presidency in my life time.

    Thank you Sir for caring.

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    1. I’m a decade older, 5 of my choices were elected President. And yet somehow we all survived ‘the other guys’. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be so fortunate if Biden hadn’t won in 2020. I kept calming down progressive friends hyperventilating over details of Biden’s record reminding them that Biden was our only chance to beat trump. He was nominated to win and do exactly what he is doing now - righting the ship, patching the leaky hull, saving us from a fate WORSE than death. When we are stabilized again, when our democracy is right side up, whenever that may be, then we can lobby, debate and vote for our vision of the future.

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  11. "The buck stops here" as in us - the citizens. Running a government ("by" the people) is hard. It's not fair. All kinds of annoying things. Keeping track of *three* branches - yes, we elect the representatives who approve or disapprove the court appointments too. Lots of work. Un-fun mostly.

    I'm doing stats on the number of emails from pacs and other organizations I get. Just emails. It is numbing. Gotta be a better way but it's what we have right now and the alternative is as Jim describes.

    Some things, in addition to voting, we can do is support effective organizations - not just pacs but ACLU (in my day being referred to as a "card carrying ACLU member), SPLC and a bunch of other who can multiply our own efforts. Be informed - really. Ask ourselves why anyone would want these jobs - what does it take for a person to put themselves, and their families, in a position to be attacked constantly by everybody? How do we help the good ones and ensure that there are good ones for the future?

    The anti-old critics in particular need to heed my last - where will the new ones come from? It will probably be the same complainers who then point out the lack of experience and "gravitas" of the new candidates.

    One more question: how many of the complainers have held elected office or been responsible for any complex endeavor that requires consensus, coordination, involves conflict, and lots of other people with their own agendas?

    Thank you, Jim, for another excellent description of our situation.

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  12. Nailed it, Jim! Anyone BUT Ttump

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  13. Good one, Chief, as always, BUT, Erma Bombeck, not Emma. Please delete this comment after the fix.

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  14. It's essays like these that make me happy to support you on Patreon.

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  15. Ok, just stop. You can just stop writing right now. Nothing you will/can write hereafter will exceed this essay right here

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  16. As always you are correct sir. I 100% agree and frankly most of what everyone wants cannot be done without the full cooperation of the House and Senate. That can't happen until all the crazy repugnants and "pretend" liberals - I am looking at you Joe Manchin - are gone. I voted for Hillary and there are still people who bitch about her. Funny how they are all toxic white males.

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  17. A long and frightening read on the possible restructuring of the US Government if IQ45 wins in 2025.
    Inside Trump '25: A radical plan for Trump’s second term
    https://www.axios.com/2022/07/22/trump-2025-radical-plan-second-term?fbclid=IwAR03myCyEhAldKJOTu0uCNsgfr_jACoT8eGWLjNrf-hyY_mj01XuWG9upq4

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  18. You read my mind. Every corner of it. Even the dark ones. Truer words were never spoken. I hold out hope that progressives and liberals and independents and women and POC and LBGTQ folks and not racists finally get over themselves in November and see truth.

    We often excuse lack of perfection in a first term leader by saying things like “look at the mess he/she INHERITED”. A weak economy — the birthright of every Democrat for eons — foe example. Well, Biden inherited much more than a mess. He inherited a derelict house with empty closets and an outhouse. Here we are little children tugging at his pants legs begging for a swimming pool, a playroom, ponies, and a spouse pleading for a spread in Architectural Digest next month. Instead all we got was a house with some new plumbing and a paint job, not a trumpster fire. Contractors on the job and a new roof. Yeah, that’s “all”.

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    1. That's a seriously offensive way to describe the needs of struggling Americans. It's not bratty to want to make your own decisions about your body, (and I'm taking equally about pregnant people and trans people here), to say nothing of those barely surviving under capitalism. I voted for Biden because I had to and I'll vote for him again if I have to. But I'll do it recognizing the ways in which he's let us down.

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  19. I have always voted for the Democrats and I'm always disappointed that they don't make more progress when they hold power. But there's no way in hell that I would ever give my vote to a Republican. After eight years of GW Bush, four years of Trump and six years of Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader, who in their right mind would vote for a Republican? Republicans are a death cult.

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    1. Yep. My dad was a John Bircher, I oughta know a death cult when I see one.

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  20. Joe Biden walked into such a fecal throwing contest I'm amazed he's achieved as much as he has. The man has my gratitude

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  21. Besides being Not Trump. President Biden is doing good things. Look at unemployment, the deficit, NATO. So he fist bumped (a common COVID act) MBS. Biden didn't help him kill a journalist. (Of course, that's just being Not Trump.) Biden’s a good man doing good things while not being Trump. People need to get out and vote in November so Biden can do even better things, and Not be Trump.

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    1. He can only do so much with the current political balance in Congress. When you've got a 50/50 split in the Senate, Republicans fighting against everything you do, and two of your own party's members seem to be actively working against you, there are limits to what you can accomplish. He's done a lot more than most people realize, and the Powers That Be in the Democratic party need to do a better job of promoting everything's he's gotten done.

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  22. Real change in the US require that you get rid of the senate, get rid of gerrymandering and get rid of a politically chosen and biased justice system. And please get rid of the 2nd amendment while you are at it. That requires a lot of voting for candidates that may not be exactly what you wanted.

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  23. Jim. It could be a fly encrusted dig turd that had been sitting out in this long hot summer sun and I'd still vote for it over any...any Republicans and definitely over Trump.

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  24. Exactly; thank you.

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  25. No one can possibly be a "great" president if they do not have super-majority control of Congress... Joe Manchin comes to mind. And inflation (and high gas prices) are all over the world - not just here.

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    1. It may have been possible years ago when some members of Congress actually supported legislation that benefitted their constituents, even when it was proposed by the opposite party. Now we have Republicans in Congress who will vote against legislation that they themselves initiated or sponsored previously, just because it was finally brought to a vote by the Democrats.

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  26. Pascale VaillancourtJuly 22, 2022 at 3:28 PM

    Exactly my thoughts. You are my God.

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  27. You are so right. A journey of 1000 miles begins with 1 step and our greatest, sometimes only power is our vote. We need to use it in every single election no matter how small.

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  28. I wonder how many catch that the long list of things Biden hasn't done are almost entirely not actually in his power?

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    1. Thanks for that, Andrew. It is what goes through my mind every time I read another post whining about what BIDEN OUGHT TO BE DOING. I want to just scream, "Please get some actual information! HE isn't in charge of that at all!"

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  29. Chuck KourouklisJuly 22, 2022 at 3:55 PM

    I SURE AS HELL voted for Not-Trump in 2020 and I am f---in' deee-LIGHTED with the Not-Trump Biden has served up. Not crazy about the way we left Afghanistan, or MBS - but you don't see Biden sword-dancing around some glowing sphere either. Puling about bike-falls and the occasional stubborn trace of a stutter when TFG was all "United Shterrtzh" and "oranges of the Mueller investigation" and had to be toddler-walked down a 10-degree grade.

    How ANYONE can look at 2017-2021 and rate Biden low by comparison is utterly beyond me, but then I don't believe in unicorns.

    Yes, there are wolves at the door.

    YES, the christofascist right is whipping at our freedoms with all the blind, unreasoning viciousness of an alien facehugger.

    And so we've still got trash, lots and lots of trash, to take out at every level. I'M sure gonna be there, marking Not-Trump at every turn available on the ballot.

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  30. Thank you for the slap in the face--I'm awake. Not pissed, just disappointed in my "disappointment" of Joe. You are spot on and this should get everyone off their asses. it's a great wake up call.

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  31. I think it is like when people talk about a winning quarterback an say he isn’t great but a good manager. Well that is Biden is doing, now to make him even better we need to add better supporting members on the team in the mid term elections. There is only so much any one person can do. It is like when union members bitch that their union doesn’t get better conditions but they don’t participate or vote for their leadership

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  32. This. All of this. Step up youmlefty fucktards.

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  33. This so goddam fucking hard. Best essay yet! I will NEVER forgive that we were cheated out of Hillary's leadership. I will NEVER forgive that my rights were stolen from me and half this entire country for probably the rest of our lives. There's only two words I want to say to those who don't vote and don't show up, and one of those words is "you."

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  34. You want to know why the pools are WRONG??? I still have a land line and come late fall, I get dozens of calls for surveys on politics. (I also get, at last count 55 calls from Spectrum, six in three days.) So I LIE! I have been a 25 year old African American woman trump supporter, a 50 year old Hispanic college graduate, and a dozen other fake persons. I always consider myself the 3 % margin of error in polls. If it is a biased poll (you can often figure out from the questions) I F**K with them all the more. I can only agree with your thesis; Mr. Biden is the "Thank God he is not trump" President, bringing back sanity and dignity to the office of President. Bless you, Joe Biden!!!

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  35. Thank you both for your intelligent, insightful, on point commentary and for your sense of humor, which lightens my day every time I read your posts.

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  36. Another excellent essay and one that captures my sentiments exactly.

    The chorus of "I'm so disappointed in Biden!!! WAH!!!!!!!" started less than 6 months into his term for fuck’s sake. Given what his administration was handed when the Trump clown show left town, I'm happy that we're not fighting over the irradiated scraps of what is left of the earth. That he (and his team of competent adults) have been able to inch progress forward, even when face by irrational obstruction by the GOP, is a bonus. That I don’t wake up every morning wondering whether the President obliterated half of the planet because he was constipated that morning (or shit himself during the night) makes me supremely grateful. Such are the times in which we live.

    Do I want a better society, rebuilt/repaired infrastructure (with a maintenance plan in place), elimination of fossil fuels, rapid action on climate change, all the hungry fed, all the naked clothed, and the entire world at peace? Of course I do. But, if half a loaf is what I can get now while the rebuilding goes on, and we chase the craven, corrupt, traitorous crew that is the modern GOP from the public square, I'm OK with that. That is how adults advance progress in the actual world.

    I feel utter disdain for the "Leftier Than Thou" crowd who, rather than engaging in the work to build broad coalitions, expand the voting base, and advance change, will throw a tantrum and refuse to vote because they didn't get what they want this instant (I have even less respect for vanity candidates like Jill Stein who do NO work at the local level where significant change can happen). By refusing to vote for a "better" candidate rather than a "perfect" candidate and then working toward the incremental change that is the mark of a stable society they are willing to burn the country down (actually, to nuke the country into glass and radioactive ash). They are as civically irresponsible as the MAGA wing of the Republican party who seem to want to bring us back to 1850 (with all that implies).

    I worry when I see people wringing their hands about the 2024 election and “…what happens if Trump wins…” when, in point of fact, if the GOP takes the House and Senate in 2022, we are well and truly fucked. Selfishly, I hope that people will get off their collective asses and vote against the GOP because I can’t keep my mouth shut and will surely end up in the gulag.

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  37. Going into the mid terms boring is best. I want Republicans defending dying women and raped 10yos that can't get medical procedures. I want them defending Jan 6th. Put the Senate on blast for filibusters. Let them explain all the unintended consequences for the bass ackwards decisions the SCOTUS haha down. Let them sputter and shout impotently into r Internet took their hearts content while Uncle Joe eats ice cream and rides his bike while guiding the country smoothly past the Charlie Foxtrot that was Trump's presidentancy

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  38. I liked the Erma Bombeck quote, but I think this one is more apropos:

    Instant gratification takes too long.

    - Carrie Fisher (1956-2016)

    Maybe it's because I'm pushing 70 (stay offa my lawn!) but I feel like many people, especially young people, seem to think that Biden should wave a magic wand and kiss the boo-boo and make it all better... fully ignoring the fact that TFG had four years to make the entire country FUBAR, and not understanding that it'll take longer than that to put out the dumpster fire, let alone make things better (and this presupposes that there will be little resistance on the part of Dolt 45's zombie army... yeah, right).

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    1. I've always been skeptical of the term "ínstant gratification." The people who bandy that about are the same ones who order and expect their orders to be obeyed without question.

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  39. Excellent essay as always. I remember words you wrote in a similar essay years ago that still resonate with me today. I'm paraphrasing, but you wrote something to the effect of us doing our duty to our nation not always--rarely, in fact--involving high drama, accolades, and "greatness." Many times--most times--doing our duty is quite ordinary, and only serves to prevent the fall of night. This is one of those times.

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    1. Preventing the fall of night sounds pretty damn good to me right now.

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  40. Me again. I had to search for the quote, because I honestly can't forget about it--and I found it, in your 2018 essay, "Hunting the Unicorn--To Extinction."

    Reading your current essay today gives me echoes of your quote below:

    "Duty very often isn’t glamourous or popular or even particularly inspiring, but that is what holds civilization together. Sometimes, most times, it’s just about showing up and doing what has to be done to hold back the fall of night and for no other reason than because the alternative is disaster and ruin."

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  41. The Royal "We" screwed us in 2010. I voted straight ticket Democrat because the Tea Party was bat-shit crazy. I campaigned for friends who were running in my county and state, I ran for office myself, and I chucked money to candidates in other states.

    I tried with the small audience I have to push people to vote "Blue no matter who" in 2016 because the SCOTUS was at stake. I did it on Twitter, FaceBook, my podcast, and every podcast I was a guest on. There was nothing more I could do, but I can say that I tried to the best of my ability.

    The night I saw Trump had won I had to go back into therapy after not going for almost 30 years because he triggered my PTSD and went from being a hard sleeper to a chronic insomniac. The day of the inauguration I did more shots of Tequila that I lost count and was too drunk when I woke up to go to work. I haven't been the same since. Biden is doing what we needed him to do, and if we can gain 2-4 more Senate seats we can have nice things.

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  42. Remember when Republicans would say "It governs best that governs least?" Now they're mad that Joe isn't "running the whole show" like Trumpp did. He's not doing enough governing!! We need to stop reacting to the fake narratives they put up and start answering with answers. The GOP promised us Joe is a Raging Socialist, and now the GOP can't understand how we aren't enraged when it turns out Joe is an experienced hand at the helm who isn't controlling anything. It just turns into a word salad, doesn't it?

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  43. The way you always get to the heart of it. Just excellent. Your writing always makes me think of that Colonel Kurtz line, "like I was shot with a diamond… a diamond bullet right through my forehead.

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  44. I fear you are preaching to the choir. As Time correspondent Charlotte Alter observed, "The most pervasive bias in political coverage is not left vs. right it's 'follows politics' vs. 'doesn't follow politics.'" The politically aware left mostly votes for the lesser evil; they know the lesson of 1933 Germany. It's the low-information voters and identity ("white" is an identity) voters who have to be reached. Unfortunately, the Biden administration is utterly deficient in this. A hostile media doesn't help, but also the Biden administration simply doesn't do the necessary PR to lead, to get voters to turn out for the Democrats. The sheer amount of not-publicizing is astonishing - even when the Democrats do something overwhelmingly popular, like the infrastructure act, it doesn't get out.

    I think I'll go imitate a woodpecker and pound my beak into a tree.

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  45. One also has to remember that Biden can't unilaterally pass laws. It's up to Congress to do that. And we have two Democratic Senators more concerned with their own wealth and careers than the country. If they weren't there, we'd have seen a lot more work getting done.

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  46. I will add - I support the Democrats and I loathe what the Republican Party has become, but the Democratic leadership sure doesn't make it easy!

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  47. Biden's numbers are in the tank and that's no surprise. No republicon (sic) will give him any credit and a number of Dems are (me included) are disappointed that he wasted so much time trying to include the instransigent gop, it's like he wasn't really paying attention for the 4 years he was the VP. So if I were ever polled I'd give him negative marks. BUT, I always vote for every D, every time and am hopeful that that is a surprise that's coming. repubs have nominated and are defending a lot fo screwballs, goons and fascist and the spectre of them damn well should be enough to drive turnout in an off year election.

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  48. Preach it Brother

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  49. I suspect that pollsters are asking the MAGAts instead of those of us who like what Pres. Biden is doing. I appreciate the fact that he has returned our country to a somewhat calmer state, and the riot in Washington, DC strengthened my total dislike of the fat liar. Now if the Senators would do their jobs instead of just taking their salaries and stiffing the populace by not doing what they're supposed to do, we'd all be better off.
    Vote NO R's at all. Even Cheney

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    1. I know a lot of praise has been spoken of Liz Cheney, but as far as I'm concerned she's still Palpatine's daughter and it feels very weird to be declaring for her.

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  50. They didn't poll me. While I think President Biden is doing a fine job I'm deeply disappointed with Congress. Another thing we can do besides showing up to vote is to write to our representatives. Let them know we keep track of what they're doing and what we think of it.

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  51. Yeah, he's NotTrump. Thank goodness! I like Heather Cox Richardson's take on Biden: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/july-23-2022

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  52. Imagine being on a ship with a hole in the hull. It's filling with water, and has been for a while.

    No, bailing the water out will not fix the problem.

    But if you stop doing it in favor of focusing solely on other solutions, on just patching the hole? You're going to fucking drown.

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  53. "Someone young and charismatic, smart and educated, eloquent, someone who cares deeply about all the things you and I do and who has the courage to turn this country around." Say hello to Secretary Mayor Pete, Gov Gavin Newsom, and Senator Booker, among others, but they are the best, imo, especially Pete

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    1. I hope I get to vote for any any or all of them.

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  54. Spot on Chief!

    FYI I'm noticing a lot of anonymous posts. Somethings changed because I now have to temporarily allow 3rd party cookies in order for Blogger to recognize me. I disable them again immediately after commenting.

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  55. Electing Biden was the start of the job. Now comes the hard part, electing more Democrats and kicking the seditionists to the curb. Best of luck, everyone, and work hard.

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  56. Blocked me in twitter for offering advice on new lightroom features? Oh well, just trying to help but if you want to be a dick, see ya.

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    1. It's not a new feature. It's been a staple of Photoshop for years. I don't need you to explain photoshop to me, especially given that I obviously know a hell of a lot more about it than you do.

      I didn't ask for your critique of my work.

      I likewise didn't ask for your help or your advice, and it's not welcome.

      The fact that you feel put out that I'm not interested in hearing you mansplain something that I am very, very good at, is exactly why you're blocked. Feel free to fuck right off. // Jim

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  57. This is just what I needed! I see myself in so much of this, so I'm sufficiently chastened to get back in the game.

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  58. Thank you. I intend to vote like there's no tomorrow, cause there isn't if we don't. Keep on Keeping on! Your eloquence is amazing Jim.

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  59. Last week I got my 18 year old daughter registered to vote.

    Over the weekend we introduced her to vote411 to begin her research process.

    Today we spent some quality mother/daughter time voting and getting some lunch. The lovely people at the polling place explained the whys of each aspect of the voting process.

    Another generation of civic responsibility begun!

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  60. Change “Biden hasn’t done enough to….” to “The Right has voted against….”.

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    1. Maybe read the whole essay before commenting.

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  61. I have said all along that I would've voted for a soft, wet turd over Donald Trump.

    I stand by that statement.

    I feel like perhaps that's exactly what I did, and if that is the case I can live with that.

    My bigger fear is that this soft, wet turd will still be POTUS when all hell breaks loose in this country, as it is almost certainly about to do.

    He is not the man for that job, not in any way, shape, or form.

    IMO they (and we) cannot allow him to be the 2024 candidate. He must be a single-term POTUS. Must.

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