A Hard Truth on Iraq

I felt compelled to write about the situation with ISIS in Iraq. This is something that hits pretty close to home as a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I have to say that we cannot commit combat resources or any ground forces to Iraq. I know that I will come under fire for this since many people in the United States want the country to take care of them.

Do not mistake my position, I recognize that ISIS is an evil organization. Like any who read this, I have seen the videos of be headings and mass shootings. I have read the reports everyone has, but I cannot send our members of the armed forces into harms way on this.

There is a clear reason I cannot support this. Like the invasion of Iraq, there is no clear victory line. There is no direct threat to our nation. I cannot send men and women to die for a mission the government refuses to define.

I can’t bear to see more flag draped coffins come into Dover when the best the Commander in Chief can say is that ISIS will be contained.

Every nation around the world seems to expect us to be the ones to mitigate conflicts. Conflicts that wouldn’t have arisen had we stayed out to begin with. In almost every conflict I have seen in my lifetime, American involvement in past events can be tied to current situations.

There is no standard for our involvement. It doesn’t exist now and it hasn’t existed for decades. If we are going to commit the lives of men and women to intervene, we have to have clarity beyond reproach.

What is the standard? Evil? Terrorism? Mass killings? If we pick something we must have the moral footing to be involved and the measure must be universally applied. Where were we in many slaughters in Africa? Even genocide that happened within the last decade? We looked on and did not interfere.

So clearly it must not be the genocide happening that is pushing the government to enter this conflict. So what is the motivation?

I personally believe that it is pressure from the Saudis and other oil rich Arab nations that fear ISIS taking them over, and the U.S. being dependent on the oil they supply is going in to ensure prices of oil don’t go up.

It’s a hard truth to swallow, but I didn’t sign on to being involved in politics to pander. I chose this road to speak the hard truths.

So tell me America. How many more grieving mothers should receive a flag to stabilize a region that has the means to defend itself? How many more children without fathers? How many more suicidal veterans who can’t get help after the war?

The Fight Continues

Third_Parties-matterI have been fighting for a long time to expand liberty and improve the way things happen in Washington, D.C. One of my latest tasks has been running for Congress out of Utah’s 1st District. It has been challenging and rewarding. Today I want to talk to you about my experience with the Utah Debate Commission, the supposedly non-partisan group that is running the televised debates in Utah.

I knew almost immediately that there was going to be a threshold set too high for third party candidates to be able to participate. That is the way the system works with the two party monopoly, especially when you only have Democrats and Republicans staff your commission. So I took to a petition, asking people to sign if they would like to hear third parties speak.

In a matter of a few days, I had managed to garner over 600 signatures in hard copy and online using a petition website. I delivered the results to the Utah Debate Commission, only to be told that their way is how it is. They refused to listen to what the people wanted.

Well, yesterday they released their poll numbers to reveal who would be in the debates, and as figured, not one third party candidate made the cut. But there is more to the story, and something I haven’t been able to get a single news agency to cover (largely because they are part of the commission, which I will show later). In each poll, the “undecided” category marked anywhere from 20-31%! So a fifth to a third of people in Utah weren’t sure who they would vote for. They want to see their options!

Well, of course the two parties polled well enough in order to make the debates (though Democrats in Utah almost didn’t make the cut in two races). This is obvious since Democrats and Republicans have spent a couple million in this race to get their names out there, largely funded by special interest groups outside of the state and not the voters (you can verify where money comes from on Open Secret’s website).

I believed that I could appeal to the Debate Commission with this information, but was again shot down. Even though so many voters were undecided in the polls, the commission still will not allow for third parties to debate.

Now, earlier I mentioned that the press would not cover the news on this, and I want to present to you the Board of Directors for the Utah Debate Commission. Please note the media partners on the board will be in bold, emphasis added by me.

Scott Howell, Former Utah State Senator & Candidate for United States Senate, Co-Chair
Bob Bennett, Former United States Senator, Co-Chair
Ed Allen, Former Utah State Senator
Rod Arquette, Program Director, KNRS
Renai Bodley, Vice President, News Director, FOX 13
Damon Cann, Co-Director of Operations, Institute of Government & Politics, Utah State University
Irene Caso, News Anchor, Producer, Univision 32
Morgan Lyon Cotti, Hinckley Institute of Politics
Jennifer Dahl, News Director, KUTV
Richard Davis, Professor of Political Science, BYU
Jay DeSart, Associate Professor of Political Science, Utah Valley University
Paul Edwards, Editor, Deseret News
Karen Hale, Director, Community Relations, Salt Lake City and Former Utah State Senator
Corey Hodges, Lead Pastor, New Pilgrim Baptist Church
Eric Kirby, Director, Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service, Southern Utah University
Fred Lampropolous, Founder and CEO, Merit Medical
Dan Liljenquist, Former Utah State Senator and Former Candidate for United States Senate
Carol McNamara, Director, Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service
John Miller, Assistant General Manager, Mark Miller Toyota
Terry Orme, Editor, Salt Lake Tribune
George Severson, News Director, KTVX
Diena Simmons, Station Manager, KBYU
Karl Sun, CEO, Lucid Software
Tanya Vea, Executive Vice President, KSL
Ken Verdoia, Production Director, KUED
Olene Walker, Former Governor of Utah
Thomas Wright, President & Principal Broker, Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
Michele Zabriskie, President, Utah Broadcasters Association

Now, based on this evidence, it would appear that the media is complicit in blocking attempts for third parties to enter into the debates. Only two newspapers picked up a letter to the editor I wrote, and one of them isn’t part of the board. All news agencies, however, mentioned nothing of the attempts third parties were making to get into the debates.

Now, all arguments used in this fight are totally legitimate, and make sense for more freedom and choice for the people of Utah. Let me go over the whole argument used in this process so that you can make sense of what we attempted to do and the Commission ignored:

1. All the debates, except one, were being held in taxpayer funded venues. The universities and colleges are all state run and as such, even though a private entity was organizing the debates, the fact that some candidates could not speak is a violation of the first amendment.

2.Each candidate, whether independent or a party nominee, must meet a threshold requirement to even be considered for the ballot. In the case of Independents in Utah, hundreds of signatures must be collected, verified by county clerks, and turned in with filing paperwork before being ballot qualified. As a member of a party, you must be elected by voting members or delegates in a 50% or more majority in convention to be ballot qualified. If you do not meet that threshold, you cannot run as a candidate. You must be able to clearly articulate ideas and positions you want to accomplish in office.

3. Title 47 U.S. Code Sec. 315 (Communications Act) states that candidates be given equal time by broadcast news with the following exceptions:

  • bona fide news cast
  • bona fide news interview
  • bona fide news documentary (if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject or subjects covered by the news documentary)
  • on-the-spot coverage of bona fide news events (including but not limited to political conventions and activities incidental thereto)

Since the Utah Debate Commission is staffed by members of broadcast media, this does not fall under the “on the spot” coverage. They are helping plan and coordinate the news event, so free air time is being granted to two candidates not afforded others in the race. This is a violation of the law.

4. Former Senator Bob Bennett (who is one of the co-chairs) once stated that had he not been given the ability to debate, he would have lost his race since he was behind by approximately 52 points. However, he is now turning around and not affording the same opportunity to candidates who could turn the election if given the chance.

5. In order for a truly educated, voting public, candidates who will appear on the ballot should be able to express themselves to the voters.

All of these arguments are valid, but the commission will not listen to the people.

Third party candidates and supporters will be protesting at Weber State University on September 23rd, the night of the first debate. We are hoping to change the future of the debate process to reflect a more fair process that encompasses the freedom and values of the United States Constitution.

Reflections on 9/11

I wanted to take some time to reflect and write about events that transpired more than a decade ago. Thirteen years to be exact.

I was sixteen years old. I was more worried about who I was going to ask to Homecoming than anything. I was training for a JROTC competition that morning and had just finished showering the sweat from my run and walked into my English class.

Kids were glued to the TV which was on. Silence hung in the air. I turned to watch in horror as the news showed the clip of a plane striking a tower in New York City. What the hell was happening?

It wasn’t long until we realized that the United States was under attack. I was angry, sad, and I knew I had to do something.

I sat my parents down that night and told them I wanted to join the military. It took me bugging them almost every day until June before they agreed to sign the papers for me to enlist in the Marine Corps.

Again on September 11th of 2003 something happened. I was no longer a civilian. I earned the title of United States Marine. The first group of men to earn the title that day since the attack. The national anthem playing to a flag at half mast held a special significance for us that day. The feeling was somber as we reflected on just what we signed to do. We would be going to war.

Today as I write in reflection, I am wondering what did we fight for? I served almost eight years in the infantry and I look around the news and the way we live and have to wonder what I defended. Did we really wind up more free?

The short answer is no. We are not free. In some regards I even feel that those who attacked us thirteen years ago won. Before everyone starts jumping on me for being unpatriotic or an America hater, please allow me to explain.

Today, when you go through to travel, the TSA gropes you, x-rays you, and humiliates you. For what? A pretend sense of security? How many servicemen have been stripped out of uniform for this false sense? How many wheelchaired veterans? Children? This is not freedom.

Today, electronic communications are monitored and stored by the National Security Agency. What crime have we committed? Why do they feel the need to store when I ask my mom what plans are for Thanksgiving? Texting your wife or husband you love them? This is not freedom.

The Nation Defense Authorization Act has allowed for indefinite detention without trial, a lawyer, or due process if you’re suspected of any sorts of terrorism. This is not freedom.

The Department of Justice believes the President has the authority to kill you as an American citizen if you’re visiting a foreign country and suspected of terrorist related activity. This is not freedom.

Members of the United States Senate want to only allow approved journalists of their ilk as part of the press. This is not freedom.

Members of third parties running for office are still excluded from debates for offering differing views. This is not freedom.

Free speech zones are set up and in order to rally or protest you must be within those zones or be charged with a crime. This is not freedom.

Police look more and more like the military every day, and they infringe on civil liberties more and more. This is not freedom.

We need to learn lessons now before the window shifts again. These “safeguards” are not there to protect us, but control us. We are less free and no more secure. It is a false sense to keep us in line. It’s time to reject it and realize that every day we don’t challenge this is one more nail in the coffin for the great experiment America’s founders started.

So as you remember those who died that fateful day thirteen years ago, make a commitment today that you will not let our country fall down the path to oppression. Demand accountability. Demand rights be respected. Don’t let fear paralyze you into compliance for the false security offered by the comforting lies of politicians.

This is the only way we defeat those who want to enslave us. Demand freedom. Be free.

Call to Action – Let Third Parties Debate

Several third party candidates, including me, are on the ballot this November but are being excluded from participating in the debates, even though the debates are being held on tax payer funded venues like universities. Supporters feel that in order for true non-partisanship and voter education, ballot qualified candidates should be allowed to debate.

Please go to http://utahdebatecommission.org/contact-us/ to send the debate commission a message you want third party voices heard.

You can sign the petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/let-third-parties-debate

You can also join our Twitter and Facebook campaign by using hashtag #LetThemSpeak especially on their pages
@UtahDebateCom and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Utah-Debate-Commission/302816553199941

Let’s do this Utah!

Let Third Parties Debate Petition

It is time for third parties to be allowed to debate. This petition is for the Utah debates to be hosted throughout September and October. Please add your signature to be delivered to the Utah Debate Commission.


A Marine on a Mission

I’ve been trying to find the words to say about the last two days, and I hope what I say today will suffice. I had a rare opportunity to meet with one of my Marines. That in and of itself wasn’t unusual, as I try to catch up with my old buddies when I can. No, the reason he was in Utah indeed was something unique. Something special.

Jay Knight was a fellow member of 2/7 in Weapons Company. We did a tour to Iraq together, and we became friends. Yesterday he made it to Utah. It wasn’t to visit me. He wasn’t on vacation to enjoy our outdoor sporting. And he certainly didn’t fly in.

He has been riding his bike cross country to raise money for Child’s Play, an organization that helps supply games and toys for kids in children hospitals. He’s been doing this in honor of one of our fallen brothers, Johnny Strong.

He started his ride in Boston over 100 days ago. I was lucky and honored to give him a place to stay for the night.

As I talked to Jay about his experience, I couldn’t help but tear up a little as he recalled the stories of amazing people across the country who stepped up to help the cause. My heart strings were pulled as he told me about the kids he met, and the courage they displayed facing their odds of battling cancer or other terminal illnesses. Each story he told reminded me of why America is such a wonderful place.

We were all connected in helping this young man accomplish something greater than any one of us alone. Through I only played a small part in this Pax2Pax ride, I am left with the feeling that I could be doing more, and have resolved to do so.

Jay has showed the true characterization of service. He and his team are extraordinary people, and I know Johnny is smiling up in Heaven as Jay has passed each mile.

I am blessed to know such an exemplary Marine, and I am proud to call him brother. I encourage you to donate if you are able. This is a great cause to bring joy into children’s lives as they face dark times. I say we help shine a light for them.

You can read about the journey and donate at http://www.Pax2Pax.org. Even $10 helps a child with a little happiness. This is one of the best causes and I cannot thank Jay enough for helping shed some light on Child’s Play, and taking on this task.

I wish you the best brother. Godspeed. You are doing a truly great thing for others.

Open Letter to Conservative and Tea Party Organizations

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter addresses the many Tea Party groups (at the national level), Liberty groups, Conservative Leadership PACs, news organizations, radio personalities and pundits. I’m calling you out today for what you are: shills for the Republican Party. Sure, you back a few candidates who are more liberty minded, but you are more concerned with the letter attached to the name than the candidate best suited for the job.

How do I know? I’ve been in contact with all of you for the last few years, that is, until you found out I was a Libertarian candidate.

Nearly every group I’ve contacted, or known for years has given me the “you’re not Republican” excuse. Because of this, I am declaring your mission statements fraudulent, your voices now insignificant. You are part of the problem, not the solution.

You are fine with continuing the divide in America, and you seem perfectly OK with caving on the principles you profess so long as a Republican majority has power. There are a few of you I will call out by name, because your supporters deserve to know where you really stand.

Mr. Glenn Beck, you profess your libertarian values and love of freedom. You have become a useless mouth piece to me. I was sucked in because you say the right buzzwords. But, you have yet to put a Libertarian candidate on your show. I’ve heard Republican after Republican getting interviewed in your so called fight for liberty.

Where is a Libertarian, Constitution Party, or Independent with values? Ones you know won’t support the Republican Establishment because they have zero ties to it? We’ve all seen politicians fail after a few terms as their love of power consumes them. You know the chances increase by continuing to send back people that tow a line. Eventually, even Rand Paul supported establishment leadership, as evident with his support of Mitch McConnell.

Perhaps you may want to rethink your use of libertarian, because the Republican Party isn’t going to be the ones enacting true libertarian principles.

Mr. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and all the rest of “conservative” media, stop blaming only Democrats for the problems we face. Your Republicans helped right along. Your John McCains, John Boehners, Lindsey Grahams, your Mitch McConnells, your George Bush, your Mitt Romney, etc. that have helped destroy our country.

I’ll start believing you when you stop supporting only Republican candidates and pit your money where your mouth is. There are candidates far better than what most Republicans field, and some Republicans you don’t throw support behind are better than the incumbent. If you truly have the values you exclaim daily, you’d put your reputation on the line and support what’s best for America instead of supporting the two party status quo.

Keep blaming Obama and Democrats. Keep showing your true colors as talking heads for the GOP establishment. Keep perpetuating the destruction of our country with support of big government Republicans. Small government my ass.

Allen West: thanks for talking about values all the time, then rejecting a person based on the lack of an R. You claim love of country due to the uniform you wore. You talk about oaths, defending America, and how there’s no honor in DC.

Where is your honor sir? I wore the uniform. I live honor daily as a United States Marine. Honor is a way of life for us, and you kick a fellow veteran to the curb for not being the right party. I’m calling you out sir. Simply put, you don’t really care about the country. You’re mad you lost your seat and will stop at nothing to just sit and blame the president and Democrats. Accept responsibility for continuing the divide, because you’re just as culpable as the left.

FreedomWorks….you gave the guy I’m running against a 79% rating. I have been around since your site went up. I’ve attended almost all your functions, signed your petitions, garnered support from thousands for your causes, and have yet to hear back from you.

Let me guess. Not a Republican, because those are the only candidates you support. You had people talking with me right up til I won the Libertarian nomination, then went silent. Guess my values only mattered when you thought I was Republican. So I call you out as well.

The Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party.net….guess you forgot about me standing with you from the beginning. Well, at least you acknowledge I donated to you, because I still get letters and emails, not to mention phone calls asking for more. But speaking at your rallies and standing shoulder to shoulder with your leadership seems to count for nothing.

Guess being a Republican is more important than the values you claim. You’d rather capitalize on the Benghazi attack selling t-shirts. Never mind that I was there from the beginning talking in front of the nation’s capital to call for accountability.

You see, it is much more than the ability to sell bumper stickers for me. I care about Americans. Four died, and I wanted answers. I did not look at this as a way to win elections or sell merchandize. By doing so, I believe you dishonor the lives of the Benghazi Four. Holding rallies for answers are fine, but making money off their deaths disgusts me.

After seeing that, I don’t want your support or blood money. So don’t bother trying to endorse me any more. I will have nothing to do with you.

There are many more I haven’t named, including candidates and those currently elected who fall into these categories. Too many to name individually, but you know who you are. You know whether you are continuing the status quo or really fighting to save our nation. You should withdraw or resign, though most of you have already proven through actions that you lack the fortitude to do so.

I would like to end this on a high note. There are those out there who don’t follow partisan lines and look to integrity and character. You see merit in ideals. I want to highlight you and thank you for standing up for what is right, not a party.

Doc Thompson. Allowing me to be interviewed on your radio show was an honor and privilege. One I will not soon forget. Thank you for believing enough in me to give me the chance.

Mitchell Mason and Patriots4America, thank you for believing in me and what I’m trying to do. And never stop fighting. I won’t. Your endorsement means a lot, because you rejected the status quo.

Candace Salima. You have been one of the most helpful people in my campaign. You have guided me well through all this, and though we differ on our political parties, you took a chance on me. You saw me for my character and ideals, not a letter attached to my name. You are a great American and I can see through action you love this country.

David Welch. Thanks for granting me my first interview on air. You are doing a great service highlighting the underdogs and trying to shake the political party monopoly in America.

To Mark Hilgenberg. You have been a great mentor, and though we don’t always see eye to eye, you have stood with me and accepted me as a candidate for the Libertarian Party. Should I win, I hope I can do justice for the values of libertarianism we both support.

To the volunteers, supporters, and my family. You have shown me that there is hope for our country and it’s why I am fighting. Thanks for being in my corner. Each of you has been more important than you’ll ever know. Love you all.

America, be warned of who you associate with. In the words of George Washington (paraphrased): it is better to be alone than be with one of ill repute.

Craig Bowden
Utah’s Next Congressman for 1st District.

Open Letter on Iraq

526851_10153202915035381_861229594_nTo Members of Congress, political pundits, and all those who comment on the situation in Iraq:

I am a United States Marine. I served with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines from 2003-2007, deploying twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I fought in Hit, Fallujah, Haditha, and many other places in that country.

I have been plagued with doubt, wondering what I did there, and found myself asking frequently as to why we were sent to war.

I lost 23 friends in the deserts, towns, and cities of Iraq. We were told it was to stabilize the region (mind you after we didn’t turn up any chemical or bio weapons manufactured after 1996). What was the point in them losing their lives, among 4700+ other soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines?

You pundits and politicians asking us to go back….for what? There was no mission at that time as you all enjoyed commenting, from thousands of miles away. While you were trying to boost ratings or get reelected, my brothers and I were sweating , bleeding, and dying….for what!?

The WMD angle turned out to be one hell of a lie.
We obviously didn’t finish the mission of security and stability, since ISIS has taken cities my brothers died trying to route insurgents.
Is Iraq more free? Are the people better off?

What was the point of it all? How many more lives will you have wasted before you decide what the mission is?

Many of you are saying we’re losing what we gained in Iraq…please define that for me. What did we gain? As those who actually fought, we lost a lot. We lost credibility by invading another country on a false pretense. We lost support of long held allies. We lost the support of the American people. We lost countless and priceless lives. We lost our sanity as we struggle with haunting nightmares. We lost limbs. We lost struggles with addiction and alcohol as we tried to make sense of it all. We lost husbands and wives who decided we were gone too much, and they found comfort in the beds of others. We lost time with our children. And we are still losing men and women to suicide because the cost for some is too much to bear.

When is it enough? What is the mission? What is the price you’re going to have the military pay, because God as my witness, I won’t see you lacing up boots, picking up a rifle, and doing anything. No, you’ll sit and try to do some electoral spin, boost ratings, and blame everyone who opposes any action. You’ll drink your latte, enjoy air conditioning and your lofty salaries. And when more of us are maimed and killed, you’ll find excuses to not give us the care we earned with our blood.

You chicken hawks need to resign your posts. I cannot stand your eagerness for war. Your appetite for death. Our young men and women deserve better. You want war? Suit up yourself. I am not willing to fight your bullshit wars any more, and would not ask another to fight in my stead.

Try your spin on the Marine who held his best friend as he bled out, while crying for his mom. Tell it to the soldier who lost both his legs. Tell it to the corpsman who drinks every night in an attempt to momentarily forget his hands being unable to save some of his men or the innocent women and kids who were hit in the crossfire. Tell it to the gold star mother who lost her child. Tell it to the veteran who cannot find work because he “doesn’t fit in.”

We’re not buying it any more. We’re done with the chest beating and rhetoric. Either strap it on and do it yourself, or shut up.

Craig Bowden
Marine Corps Veteran,
Congressional Candidate,
Father, and Concerned Citizen

When You’re Attacked By Both Sides, You’re Probably On To Something

LeftRightLately, I have been getting attacked by both sides of the political spectrum from the more militant and defensive individuals within the two major parties.  Those in the GOP believe I am a “leftist” and the ones in the DNC believe me to be a “Right Wing Nut Job.”  I will take the fact that both parties opposing me is a good things.

Ultimately, I am seeking for a power shift from Washington, D.C. to your living room.  Giving the people more power than they have had in a long time.  Ideas like that are a threat to the power monopoly the two major parties have enjoyed for over 100 years.  Every proposal I make, whether in a civil or economic liberty issue, takes power away from them and their friends.

Most people are unaware of what libertarianism is, and that is why it can be confusing for some when I can speak out against things from both political parties.  Fundamentally, however, the majority of Americans do hold libertarian ideals, they just don’t know it.  I believe that a lot of the problem has been with communicating the ideas in a manner that people understand.

Many libertarians come off as brash.  They immediately yell “statist” and attack ideas that many people hold dear.  Challenging the status quo never goes over easy, but when you come in on the offensive, the people who hold the beliefs you challenge will clam up and become defensive.

I have been working on communicating and reaching out to a very broad group of people.  Everyone from the more socialistic, millennial generation to the older, ultra conservative.  I have made allies in both these camps, and everything in between.  The reason why is because of how I approach.

First of all, you must acknowledge the concern of the person you are talking to.  Validate their point of view.  It is paramount that the person you are talking to understands you also want the same thing.  It is just the approach you are taking differently.  Case in point, one of the libertarian ideals is to take a non-intervention approach to the military.  Many who sit in the Republican camp see this as you questioning national security.

Well, as libertarians, we also believe in strong national security.  Let them know that.  The way I have approached something like this would be to state it as such:

I know you are concerned for national security, and I support that 100%.  We need to have the ability to respond to threats to our nation.  I am just concerned about being involved in conflicts that don’t really involve interests of the United States.  We need to take a more defensive approach with our military, and not intervene with every conflict that arises around the globe.  This ensures that our troops are getting the training they need for the possibility our nation is attacked.  With how are foreign policy has been, the military is stretched thin and the men and women who serve our nation are weary with constantly being deployed abroad.  They also lose out on that vital training to defend our country when they are involved in so many events globally.

The same concepts can be given to any end of the political spectrum, and it’s important that as a candidate, volunteer, or official representative of libertarian ideas, that you approach in such a manner.  It has worked for me to the point that only the most militant and active of the two parties will oppose what I have to say.

Libertarianism is the best solution we have.  It sticks to the Constitution, limits spending, and ensures economic and civil liberty reach their maximum for all people.  It is the best chance for America’s future.  Help spread the word, and make sure you communicate efficiently!

Reduce the Pay of Congress

A new ad from Craig Bowden, running out of Utah’s 1st Congressional District addressing the need to reduce the salary, perks, and entitlements members of Congress receive.



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