ACCUSATION MEETS INCOMPETENCE: Professor Hirshman says she believes!

THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2020

But could Reade "have problems?"
In her column in Sunday's New York Times, Maureen Dowd was trying to figure whether it actually happened.

Just for the record, there's no way that Dowd can possibly know that it actually happened. Also, there's no way Dowd can possibly know that it didn't happen.

On balance, it maybe doesn't seem likely to Dowd that it actually happened. But then, she added a pair of wrinkles to her discussion:
DOWD (5/3/20): I’ve covered Biden my entire political career, and he is known for being sometimes warmly, sometimes inappropriately, hands-on with men and women. What Reade accuses him of is a crime and seems completely out of character.

But that is how my brother
, who coached Kavanaugh in basketball at Georgetown Prep and stayed friends with him after, felt about [Christine Blasey Ford's] allegations.

In the end, these moments highlight the hypocrisy of both parties. Each case has to stand or fall on its own facts, patterns, corroborations, investigations—not on viewing it only through partisan goggles.
Based upon her knowledge of Biden, Tara Reade's accusation seems a bit unlikely to Dowd.

Of course, that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Meanwhile, Dowd's brother, who knows Brett Kavanaugh, had the same reaction to the allegations of Christine Blasey-Ford!

Can we talk? As a matter of simple logic, it could be that both accusations are true. It's also possible, of course, that both accusations are false.

To her credit, Dowd doesn't claim to know if it actually happened.. But then, the scribe adds this:
"Each case has to stand or fall on its own facts, patterns, corroborations, investigations."
That statement seems to suggest that there could be some "investigation" which could settle this matter.

Almost surely, that isn't true. But such fantastical musings are widely found among journalistic reviews of this high-profile matter.

(In last Saturday's editorial, the Times editorial board offered a somewhat similar thought. Claims against President Trump should also be investigated, the board somewhat comically said, four years later.)

Almost surely, nothing will ever prove the truth of Reade's accusation. Also, nothing will ever prove that her accusation is false.

That said, we humans are poorly equipped to deal with uncertainty, especially in high-impact matters. Our faltering brains aren't wired for that task.

Our brains aren't wired for that task. Along comes Professor Hirshman.

According to the leading authority
, Linda Hirshman "is a retired distinguished professor of philosophy and women's studies at Brandeis." This fact may go to a wider case we've been advancing about the faulty functioning of our intellectual elites.

We say that because of the column Hirshman has written for the New York Times. Mercifully, it hasn't appeared in print editions, but the column was featured yesterday near the top of the front page of the New York Times website.

Hirshman may not be one for uncertainty. Her column starts like this:
HIRSHMAN (5/6/20): Let’s be clear: I believe Tara Reade. I believed Anita Hill, too. Remember the buttons? I wore one. What’s the constant here? Joe Biden, then the bumbling head of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Long before Ms. Reade, before the reports of the rubbing and the sniffing, I interviewed an adviser to Ms. Hill, who said she’d tried to warn Mr. Biden of what was happening in the Thomas hearings—how unchecked Republicans were smearing an upright woman’s character. But “the United States Senate was still very much a boys’ club” back then, the adviser told me, and there was no getting through to him. Democratic primary voters knew all about Mr. Biden’s membership in that boys’ club when there was still time to pick someone else. Alas.
Professor Hirshman "believes" Tara Reade. She wants that to be clear.

In other words, she believes that Joe Biden committed a sexual assault in 1993, as Tara Reade has charged. In these first two paragraphs, she seems to believe that accusation based on the way Biden "bumbled" during the Thomas hearings.

The bulk of what she says in that passage is based on a second-hand report. But could that really be all she has? Biden handled the hearings poorly, so she believes he committed a sexual assault?

As she continues, Hirshman outlines a fuller basis for her clear belief. Her assessment could be right, of course. But could her assessment be wrong?
HIRSHMAN (continuing directly): So what’s a girl to do now? Discounting Ms. Reade’s accusation and, one after another, denigrating her corroborating witnesses, calling for endless new evidence, avowing that you “hear” her, is nonsense. We are now up to four corroborating witnesses—including one contemporary corroborating witness, unearthed by Rich McHugh, who was Ronan Farrow’s producer at NBC News during the Harvey Weinstein #MeToo reporting and one “Larry King Live” tape.

So stop playing gotcha with the female supporters of Mr. Biden or the #MeToo movement, making them lie to the camera—or perhaps to themselves—about doubting her to justify their votes.

I’ll take one for the team. I believe Ms. Reade, and I’ll vote for Mr. Biden this fall.
"What a girl to do now?" Hirshman asks. (Hirshman is 76.) As she continues, she seems to say it's "nonsense" to disbelieve, or even to doubt, what Tara Reade has said.

(Explicitly, she says it's nonsense to "discount" it? Do you know what that means?)

Hirshman seems to say that female supporters of Biden have been lying about what they believe. (Needless to say, they've been forced.) Eventually, she bases her claim on evidence which she severely glosses.

She glosses that phone call to Larry King Live, which she doesn't even describe. She glosses the apparent strength of the "corroborating witnesses."

Her assessment may be right, of course—but then too, it might be wrong. Despite this, she states a clear belief? Should wise people do that?

Concerning those corroborating witnesses, several of whom are rather shaky, they're only as good as what they were told. And what they were told is only as good as the person who told it.

It's certainly possible that Hirshman's assessment is correct. Dowd says that doesn't seem like Biden, but Dowd's sense could be wrong.

For better or worse, it's also possible that Hirshman's "belief" is wrong. Last week, at Slate, Emily Bazelon suggested a different possibility—the possibility that Reade may be lying, or that she may "have problems."

We're now in the 33rd year of this era of White House campaign sex claims. To the credit our our journalists, they've largely transitioned from firestorms about consensual sex to accusations of criminal assault.

Here's the problem. During this era, it has turned out that some of the most heralded accusers did in fact seem to "have problems."

Kathleen Willey was one such accuser; Gennifer Flowers seems to have been another. Tomorrow, we'll review the "problems" they seem to have had, and we'll finally get to the material which Bazelon seemed to be citing when she said that she doesn't consider Reade to be hugely credible.

For today, Professor Hirshman stands as the latest member of a malfunctioning intellectual class. With 50 cents and an upscale professor's bruited "belief," you're halfway to owning a dollar.

The professors at Duke stampeded to say that they believed the accusation in the Duke lacrosse case.

As it turned out, the claim was false. But then, the professors at UVa staged a similar stampede. Nothing seems to convince these people to proceed with traditional good sense in these matters, to proceed with caution.

The accusers in each of those cases did turn out to "have problems." We'd list them among William Styron's "beaten children of the earth."

(On Saturday, we expect to take you through the tragic story of the accuser in the Duke case. Journalistically, we're allowed to discuss mental illness in such cases, though not in the constantly-devolving case of President Trump.)

Many people "have problems!" Few things could be more clear in this crackpot age of Trump, unless you're one of our high-end professors, imbued with a type of tribal belief and with a willingness to gloss some rather imperfect evidence.

Many people "have problems." Our professors sometimes forget such facts, and our mainstream journalists have covered for people like Willey and Flowers for roughly the past thirty years.

Professor Hirshman is just one part of this unimpressive, perhaps incompetent class. It's at the Times that you're most likely to find the work of this floundering group.

Hirshman's assessment could be right, but then too it could be wrong. That said, she wants her "belief" to be clear, and the Times was there to oblige.

Tomorrow: A whole lot of people "have problems"

36 comments:

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    Whoa. Thank you for this beautiful, beautiful deep thought, dear Bob.

    He-he. Squirm, squirm, dear zombies. Keep twisting yourselves into a pretzel.

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  2. "That statement seems to suggest that there could be some "investigation" which could settle this matter.

    Almost surely, that isn't true. "

    So, Somerby thinks it is impossible to investigate alleged crimes and determine whether someone is guilty or not. Yet that is what police, prosecutors and juries do routinely. Yes, they make an occasional mistake, but it is more than possible to reach a fair result in many cases.

    When it comes to sexual allegations, we have a legacy of a time when women were not allowed to testify, were not permitted to be jurors, much less prosecutors or judges or police officers. Women could not vote and they were not believed when they gave testimony, being considered illogical and emotional, biased and too "soft" to convict or to even consider evidence. Women were excluded from the justice system as a matter of law. Yes, that has gradually changed, but attitudes toward women's truthfulness, ability to observe and report, ability to weigh evidence has not changed to the point that women are considered as reliable as men. That has historically resulted in a situation where prosecutors are hesitant to charge men with crimes alleged by women, and judges are hesitant to convict them on the basis of women's testimony. It is time that our society caught up to the truth, that women are human beings with the same faculties and mental abilities as men. Because that is necessary in order to address the allegations that Somerby considers impossible to assess.

    Dowd wrote a column in which she encouraged him to consider his dying son's wishes and run against Hillary for the nomination. Down likes Biden. Her brother liked Kavanaugh. They wouldn't be allowed on any jury because of their preexisting bias in favor of these men. But that doesn't mean there isn't evidence that could be collected that would enable an impartial jury of people who didn't know such men, to make a judgment about the truth or falseness of the claims against them. That's what would happen if the women accusers had brought their cases to the police.

    Women don't trust the police and D.A.s to do anything about their claims. There's that legacy of inequality again. But there is no reason to treat a sexual assault as any different from any other crime. Some get solved, some don't, but when the perpetrator is known, police investigate, and a jury reaches a decision. Always under uncertainty. Always without have been present at the crime. Always with some possibility they are wrong, but a greater likelihood they are right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Reade had called the police immediately after Biden's assault, there is a chance her DNA would still be on his fingers. There is a chance someone nearby might have heard him say "You're dead to me." (Why would he say something odd like that?) There might be cameras, since this allegedly occurred in a public building, many of which have security. Biden might have said something to one of his staff members, which might be revealed if they were questioned under oath (by subpoena). There is lots that an immediate investigation could reveal. Not so much 27 years later. But that would be true for most crimes, so there is not anything special about a #MeToo crime, if women were taken seriously when they report such crimes. That big bunch of rape kits that go unprocessed in most places around the US, attests to the lack of willingness of a male-dominated justice system to take women's reported crimes seriously.

      And Somerby is right on board with that, saying that it is impossible to determine whether a crime was committed or not.

      Delete
    2. How would you investigate Tara Reade's claim? She filed a criminal complaint but didn't name Biden, and (to my knowledge) hasn't been pushing the DC Police Department to investigate charges. She's not bringing a civil suit against Biden. Biden isn't up for confirmation and not a member of the Senate...who would you have investigate Biden>

      Delete
    3. Biden has been "vetted" by many investigations in the past 27 years, by the FBI, by the DNC, by committees, as he was chosen VP, ran for senate, ran for president previously. Neither this allegation nor any others came up during that process. A politician needs to be free of compromising situations in order to get a high security clearance, which Biden held as VP, because otherwise he might be blackmailed.

      This event happened 27 years ago, not yesterday. Any of the previous investigations might have been expected to turn up info relevant to this accusation, or others (because guys who assault women don't do it to just one woman).

      But I am suggesting that Tara Reade should have complained to the police when the assault happened, immediately, as she would do if she were burglarized, mugged, had her car stolen, or any other crime against her. All crimes feel invasive. There is no reason why a sexual assault should be treated as so uniquely traumatizing that women cannot report it as a crime. That she did not report it and is not prosecuting Biden undermines the credibility of her accusation, in my opinion.

      Delete
    4. If she filed a criminal complaint but didn't name her attacker, is she claiming she didn't know who did it? That opens the door to the possibility that someone else attacked her. It also makes it sound pretty weird.

      Delete
    5. Why is Reade bringing this up now, 28 years after the fact, just when Biden has sewed up the nomination, and is running against Trump? She deserves to be attacked. It's not just about her. Didn't she a few months ago, while the nomination was up for grabs, publicly claim that Biden's sin was to have rubbed her shoulders? Now it's radically changed, with his alleged sticking his hand under her dress and "penetrating" her. Her credibility is shot. And her motives are relevant; they always are when assessing credibility. She shouldn't be treated like a fragile China doll.

      Delete
    6. Right, she changed her story when Biden became the nominee. If reporters were to follow the money, I wonder what they would find. This is what Republican slush funds are for, except now it is also PACs and the NRA funding dirty tricks.

      Somerby won't come right out and call Reade a liar. He instead suggests that all women are liars, that this is part of sexual politics, that the women's movement is disassembling our nation, and that skanks should never be trusted. Whatta guy!

      Delete
    7. And Somerby is right on board with that, saying that it is impossible to determine whether a crime was committed or not.

      Try, try to read for comprehension. He's saying that it's impossible to determine whether this alleged crime was committed. Not any crime; this supposed one.

      Delete
    8. Try using words "I think" before you tell us what Somerby is really saying. The words "in my opinion" are helpful too. You are not the Somerby whisperer and you have no special insight into what Somerby means.

      It is clear from context that the author is referring to Reade's allegations and not every crime or any crime. You don't pull a quote out of context and then try to persuade people that it is more general than it was. That's not how you read for comprehension.

      Delete
    9. Try using words "I think" before you tell us what Somerby is really saying.

      I don’t tell you what TDH is “really” saying. I’m telling you what TDH actually writes.

      You are not the Somerby whisperer and you have no special insight into what Somerby means.

      Damn straight I’m not the Somerby whisperer. I’d have to stand in line to do that around here. My special insight into what Somerby means is the fact that I’m a native speaker of English.

      It is clear from context that the author is referring to Reade's allegations and not every crime or any crime.

      Yeah, who are you now? The Anonymous Ignoramus whisperer?

      Spare me the “quote out of context” whine. The original post is no more than a few screens away. And the quote is the closing to a flight of “mights”: there might be cameras or witnesses or eavesdroppers, just like all those other evidence-free “#MeToo” crimes that aren’t any different from “most crimes.”

      If the Anonymous Ignoramus @11:46A wants to step behind the cloak of anonymity, adopt a nym, take credit for the post, and tell me I got it wrong, I’ll issue a retraction and apology.

      Otherwise Anonymous Ignoramus @11:46A should resolve to write more clearly.

      Delete
  3. "Professor Hirshman is just one part of this unimpressive, perhaps incompetent class. "

    Hirshman is entitled to her opinion, the more so because Somerby keeps saying she could be right and that it is impossible to determine what really happened.

    In the various situations where women have turned out to be false accusers, mentally ill (Somerby claims), it is because of investigation and evidence that we know them to be false. Somerby doesn't believe that investigation helps or that evidence can bear on such accusations. Yet he knows that many women are false accusers.

    He can't have this all ways at once.

    No professor speaks for the professoriate. It is wrong for Somerby to condemn Hirshman because some Duke professors got something wrong. At any university, there will be some outspoken faculty who get interviewed by the press and there will be the majority who may or may not disagree but whose opinions are their own and not shared with the public.

    Somerby doesn't like what Hirshman says, because she chooses to believe women rather than to condemn them all as liars (Somerby's choice), so Somerby maligns Hirshman and ALL OTHER PROFESSORS, lumping them all in one basket and calling them incompetent. What an asshole Somerby is.

    ReplyDelete
  4. “Almost surely, nothing will ever prove the truth of Reade's accusation. Also, nothing will ever prove that her accusation is false.”

    And the takeaway is...what? That therefore no one should form an opinion about what might have happened?

    The reality is that anyone voting for Biden or planning to vote for Biden has to go through some sort of thought process to deal with the accusations. Even if you say “I don’t know whether they are true”, you still have to consider the possibility that they might be true, or you might determine that they are highly unlikely based on all the facts that we currently know from news reporting, or maybe you deem them false. You can’t simply ignore the accusations; they are there, and you have to make some sort of calculation about them when casting your vote.

    That is what Hirshman is doing. She believes Reade. You may find that misguided or unfair, but it is what it is. The most important thing about her column is that she recommends voting for Biden despite believing Reade’s accusations, because Trump is so much worse. And that may convince others who tend to believe Reade to make the same calculation Hirshman is making.

    This may be important, given that 26% of Democratic voters want a different nominee, according to data I shared yesterday from Morning Consult:

    https://morningconsult.com/2020/05/04/after-watching-biden-deny-reades-claims-1-in-4-democrats-want-a-different-nominee/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here is Hirshman's credential:

    "Ms. Hirshman is the author, most recently, of “Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment.”"

    She is also an attorney and an activist in the women's movement. She is not a professor. Somerby calls her professor, but that is not her job title. She is an author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Instead of vaguely suggesting the wrongness of Hirshman’s beliefs and mocking her as a typical “liberal elite professor”, Somerby could meticulously lay out the evidence that we have so far about the Reade allegations. As it stands, Somerby’s argument, that “we just can’t know”, does no one any favors, least of all Biden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "As it stands" TDH's argument is correct, barring the discovery of some heretofore unknown source of reliable information.

      It doesn't matter if does anyone any favors. It just is.

      Delete
    2. Somerby calls Hirshman a professor when she is not one. How can he be correct?

      We don't have to "know" whether Reade's accusation is true or not. We just have to decide whether to vote for Biden or not. That decision is a slam dunk.

      Delete
  7. Things are going to turn out very, very badly for Trump.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The truth about what happened barely matters. What matters is what the public believes and remembers. So, the spin is what counts, both for now and in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What matters is what the public believes and remembers."

      I thought the public wasn't there. Isn't that the problem? No witnesses.

      When David says "spin" he means propaganda. The right doesn't have to have a victim in order to accuse the Democratic candidate. Remember Hillary and the pedophilia ring? Who was the victim there -- did any child tell a convincing story? See, no victim necessary. But that's because convincing Trump supporters of things is easy -- just tell them what to believe. On the left, there is a cry for evidence and investigation. That's because Democrats don't believe any old story. They want facts and won't accept spin without substantiation. So, the truth does matter for Democrats and that's why Reade is being discussed at all.

      But when you weigh, which is worse, an incompetent during a pandemic or a philandering old guy with a proven track record of good governing? We have to take the handsy old guy over the doddering old fool.

      How did it come to this? People caught on to the Russia intrigue too late and they didn't go to the polls in three key states because they were unwilling to vote for Hillary. I wonder how many are sorry now? Not Somerby.

      Delete
  9. This should inform your decision about Reade's claims:

    https://www.rawstory.com/2020/05/woman-who-accused-fauci-of-sex-assault-now-says-trump-supporters-paid-her-to-lie/

    ReplyDelete
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    My name is Mary Hamel, i want to share this great testimony of my life to every one. I was married to my husband Antonio Harmel, i love him so much we have been married for 8 years now with two kids.He went on vacation to Cyprus were he met a lady called Cylee, he told me that he is no longer interested in our marriage any more. i became so confused and started seeking for help, all effort to bring him back failed until i met an old friend called Jane and i told her about my problem. She then introduce me to a man called Dr Keke Odin who caste a spell for her that brought her ex back to her within 2 days. I contacted Dr Keke Odin to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry that the gods of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by 48 hours he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two days my husband called and told me he is coming back home to me and the kids.  I was surprise when I saw him and he started begging for forgiveness...we are one happy family now. all thanks to great dr. keke Odin. if you need his help you can contact him via:  greatkekespelltemple@gmail.com  or call +1 561-463-4056


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  13. I want to share a testimony of how Dr OSAGIE herbal mixture cream saved me from shame and disgrace, my penis was a big problem to me as the size was really so embarrassing ,and i was also having weak erection problem i had so many relationship called off because of my situation,m i have used so many product which i found online but none could offer me the help i searched for Which was very painful and then i saw some few testimonies about this herbal specialist called Dr OSAGIE and decided to email him on so I gave his herbal product a try. i emailed him and he got back to me and we discussed, he gave me some comforting words and encouraged me also ans then gave me his herbal pills and cream for Penis Enlargement Within 1 week of it, i began to feel the enlargement of my penis, " and now it just 2 weeks of using his products my penis is about 9.7 inches longer and am so happy contact Dr OSAGIE via drosagiesolutionhome5 @ gmail. com Via whatapp +2348034778129.















    I want to share a testimony of how Dr OSAGIE herbal mixture cream saved me from shame and disgrace, my penis was a big problem to me as the size was really so embarrassing ,and i was also having weak erection problem i had so many relationship called off because of my situation,m i have used so many product which i found online but none could offer me the help i searched for Which was very painful and then i saw some few testimonies about this herbal specialist called Dr OSAGIE and decided to email him on so I gave his herbal product a try. i emailed him and he got back to me and we discussed, he gave me some comforting words and encouraged me also ans then gave me his herbal pills and cream for Penis Enlargement Within 1 week of it, i began to feel the enlargement of my penis, " and now it just 2 weeks of using his products my penis is about 9.7 inches longer and am so happy contact Dr OSAGIE via drosagiesolutionhome5 @ gmail. com Via whatapp +2348034778129.

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  14. God bless Dr. USELU for his marvelous work in my life, I was diagnosed of HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS since 2018 and I was taking my medications, I wasn't satisfied i needed to get the HERPES out of my system, I searched about some possible cure for HERPES i saw a comment about Dr. USELU , how he cured HERPES with his herbal medicine, I contacted him and he guided me. I asked for solutions, he started the remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine within 3 days. I took the medicine as prescribed by him and 2weeks later i was cured from HERPES contact him via email (dr.uselucaregiver@gmail.com) once again thanks to you Dr. USELU cure the flowing virus, contact his email or add him on whatsapp (+2349019328641) cancer cure
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  15. Hello everyone i am happy to say that i was cure from HIV/AIDS by Dr Padman with his herbal medications after i tested positive july 2016 and ever since then i have been on medications to extend my living on earth. One faithful day i was searching on line if i could get some tips on how to cure my illness and i saw a comment on how Dr Padman cure HIV with herbs,i was surprise and i contact him on the email they provided on the comment and i explain my problem to him and he also prepare the herbs and send to me which i use for one week as i was instructed by him and after 2weeks i went to hospital for checkup and i tested Negative and i am fully cured from the disease and i am so greatful to Dr Padman.You can also reach Dr Padman on his padmanlovespell@yahoo.com , https://twitter.com/padman_dr. https://padmanspell.com WhatsApp +19492293867

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  16. My Name is Dr AZIBA, Herbal Remedy Product is 100% guarantee for Penis Enlargement growth and Thickness you can Contact Me via Email: Priestazibasolutioncenter@gmail.com For Best natural male enhancement Product with 100% guaranteed results. I prepare top Herbal selling male enhancement product with herbal formula and no side-effects And also for other Disease or virus such as HPV,HSV,HERPES,HEPATITIS, DIABETES,CANCER and lots More, Contact Me Via Email :Priestazibasolutioncenter@gmail.com and WhatsApp +2348100368288 Or website https://naturalherbsmedicine.webs.com/ FACEBOOK PAGE: @DOCTOR AZIBA

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  17. I want to thank Dr Emu a very powerful spell caster who help me to bring my husband back to me, few month ago i have a serious problem with my husband, to the extend that he left the house, and he started dating another woman and he stayed with the woman, i tried all i can to bring him back, but all my effort was useless until the day my friend came to my house and i told her every thing that had happened between me and my husband, then she told me of a powerful spell caster who help her when she was in the same problem I then contact Dr Emu and told him every thing and he told me not to worry my self again that my husband will come back to me after he has cast a spell on him, i thought it was a joke, after he had finish casting the spell, he told me that he had just finish casting the spell, to my greatest surprise within 48 hours, my husband really came back begging me to forgive him, if you need his help you can contact him with via email: Emutemple@gmail.com or add him up on his whatsapp +2347012841542 is willing to help any body that need his help.
    Website: http://emutemple.website2.me/

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