It’s a Bad World

It’s a Bad World

By Dennis Prager | 4/9/2008

Here are some news items from just this past week:

In Tibet, according to an Associated Press report, “police opened fire on hundreds of Buddhist monks and lay people who had marched on local government offices to demand the release of two monks detained for possessing photographs of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader.” At least eight died.

In Iraq, the mass murder of civilians continues while American and Iraqi government forces continue to battle murderous Shiite gangs known as militias. And a 40-year-old Assyrian Orthodox priest was killed in a drive-by shooting in Baghdad in the latest attack against Iraq’s Christian minority.

In Zimbabwe, one of the world’s longest-reigning tyrants, Robert Mugabe, began to violently annul the latest elections. He has virtually destroyed a once thriving country. Unemployment is 80 percent. Inflation is over 100,000 percent. The Zimbabwean dollar has been trading at a rate of 55 million for one U.S. dollar. And life expectancy has gone from 60 to 35.

In Woodbridge, Va., moronic officials at an elementary school called in police to arrest a 6-year-old boy for slapping a 6-year-old on her bottom. He has now been labeled a sex offender for life. And he is hardly alone among elementary school students. As reported in the Washington Post: “The Virginia Department of Education reported that 255 elementary students were suspended last year for offensive sexual touching, or ‘improper physical contact against a student.’ In Maryland, 166 elementary school children were suspended last year for sexual harassment, including three preschoolers, 16 kindergartners and 22 first-graders, according to the State Department of Education.”

In Pakistan, more than 25,000 people rallied against “Fitna,” an anti-Quran film made by Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament. Speakers called on Muslims to kill themselves and others in defense of Islam’s honor.

Human Rights Watch released a report that the government of Sudan “is giving [Sudanese Arab gangs] a license to rape” black women and girls in Darfur.

In Sri Lanka, the Associated Press reported, “A suicide bomber killed 14 people at an opening ceremony for a Sri Lankan marathon. … More than 90 others were wounded.”

In Israel, Haaretz reported that an Arab woman has been shot in an attempted honor killing. She was to be the ninth female member of her family to be killed. “Eight women from this family were murdered in the past six years, all in connection with ‘family honor.’” Male relatives had murdered them all because they brought shame on their Muslim family by not marrying the men picked for them or otherwise disobeying family religious dictates.

These are only the news items of the last seven days. I purposely chose a period without dramatic headlines. And, of course, no news came out of North Korea, which continues to be the world’s largest concentration camp. Cubans continue to have no freedom. Iranians continue to be whipped and killed for sexual improprieties. Saudi women continue to be forced to be invisible in public and live a demeaned status.

The world is filled with evil. Always has been. The biggest difference today is that, thanks to communications, we are far more aware of much of it.

I am convinced that human evil is so great that most people choose either to ignore it or to focus their concerns elsewhere – like those who believe that human-created carbon dioxide emission, not human evil, poses the greatest threat to mankind. No one will ever get killed for fighting global warming. Fighting evil, on the other hand, is quite dangerous.


Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show based in Los Angeles. He is the author of four books, most recently “Happiness is a Serious Problem” (HarperCollins). His website is To find out more about Dennis Prager, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

China Loses Control of the Games

Is the Sky Falling?

Is the Sky Falling?
By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times | May 29, 2007

The suicide-murders and roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan sicken Americans. Soon-to-be nuclear Iran seems loonier than nuclear North Korea. American debt keeps piling up in China and Japan. And we think of angry Venezuela, the Middle East and Russia every time we fill up — if we can afford to fill up.

Then listen to Al Gore on global warming. Or hear Jimmy Carter on the current president. The common denominator is American “decline.”

Books by liberals assure us our “empire” is kaput. Brace for the inevitable fate of Rome. Conservatives are just as glum. For them, we are also Romans — but the more decadent variety, eaten away from the inside. In response, many bored Americans turn instead to the la-la land of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Yet American Cassandras are old stuff. Grim Charles Lindbergh in the late 1930s lectured a Depression-era America that Adolf Hitler’s New Order in Germany could only be appeased, never opposed.

After World War II, it wasn’t long before the Soviet Union ended our short-lived status as sole nuclear superpower. And when Eastern Europe and China were lost to communism, it was proof, for many, that democratic capitalism was passe. “We will bury you,” Nikita Khruschchev told us.

After the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1991, America proclaimed itself at the “end of history” — meaning the spread of our style of democratic capitalism was now inevitable. Now a mere 16 years later, some are just as sure we approach our own end. But our rivals are weaker and America is far stronger than many think.

Take oil. With oil prices at nearly $70 a barrel, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez seem invincible as they rally anti-American feeling.

But if we find alternate energy sources, or reduce slightly our oil hunger, we can defang all three rather quickly. None of their countries have a middle class or a culture of entrepreneurship to discover and disseminate new knowledge.

Russia and Europe are shrinking. China is an aging nation of only children. The only thing the hard-working Chinese fear more than their bankrupt communist dictatorship is getting rid of it.

True, the economies of China and India have made amazing progress. But both have rocky rendezvous ahead with all the social and cultural problems that we long ago addressed in the 20th century.

And European elites can’t blame their problems — a bullying Russia, Islamic terrorists, unassimilated minorities and high unemployment — all on George Bush’s swagger and accent. The recent elections of Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France suggest that Europe’s cheap anti-Americanism may be ending, and that our practices of more open markets, lower taxes and less state control are preferable to the European status quo.

In truth, a never-stronger America is being tested as never before. The world is watching to see if we win or lose in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Middle East will either reform or remain an oil-rich tribal mess that endangers the entire world.
A better way to assess our chances at maintaining our pre-eminence is simply to ask the same questions that are the historical barometers of our nation’s success or failure: Does any nation have a constitution comparable to ours? Does merit — or religion, tribe or class — mostly gauge success or failure in America? What nation is as free, stable and transparent as the United States?

Try becoming a fully accepted citizen of China or Japan if you were not born Chinese or Japanese. Try running for national office in India from the lower caste. Try writing a critical op-ed in Russia or hiring a brilliant female to run a mosque, university or hospital in most of the Middle East. Ask where MRI scans, Wal-Mart, iPods, the Internet or F-18s came from.

In the last 60 years, we have been warned in succession that new paradigms in racially pure Germany, the Soviet workers’ paradise, Japan Inc. and now 24/7 China all were about to displace the United States. None did. All have had relative moments of amazing success — but in the end none proved as resilient, flexible and adaptable as America.

That brings us to the United States’ greatest strength: radical self-critique. We Americans are worrywarts, always believing we’re on the verge of extinction. And so, to “renew,” “reinvent” or “save” America, we whip ourselves up about “wars” on poverty, drugs and cancer; space “races;” missile “gaps;” literacy “crusades;” and “campaigns” against litter, waste and smoking.

In other words, we nail-biters have always been paranoid that we must change and improve in order to survive. And thus we usually do, just in time.

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US, Chinese Military Commanders Disagree on Significance of Provocative Anti-Satellite Test


US, Chinese Military Commanders Disagree on Significance of Provocative Anti-Satellite Test

Senior US and Chinese military commanders sharply disagreed Friday on the impact of China’s provocative anti-satellite weapon test in January. The exchange came during a meeting in Beijing between the commander of US forces in the Pacific and the vice chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission. VOA Pentagon Correspondent Al Pessin attended the meeting and later interviewed the US commander, Admiral Timothy Keating about the first day of his first visit to China in his new job.

Keating told Chinese General Guo Boxiong many people do not understand why China would test an anti-satellite weapon if it truly seeks a peaceful rise to superpower status, as it claims. The admiral said the test, in which China used a missile to destroy one of its own satellites, sent a “confusing signal” to the United States and the world.

Keating said he hopes China does not pursue its anti-satellite weapon program.

“I’d hope that once demonstrated that they, ‘put it on the shelf,’” he said. “There’s little further scientific data to be derived, in my perspective. They could have done it in the laboratory, if you will. But, it’s done and the debris is there. We can’t unring the bell. And I would hope that they now understand, we all understand, the challenges attendant to introduction of large quantities of large debris into the commons of space.”

When Admiral Keating raised the anti-satellite weapon issue during his meeting with Guo, the general chuckled and said he does not understand why the world reaction to the Chinese anti-satellite missile test has been so “dramatic.” He called the test a normal scientific experiment that had no serious consequences or ulterior motives, and didn’t threaten any country. Guo disputed the view that the test left a large amount of debris in orbit.

Guo tried to change the subject to Taiwan, but Keating insisted on staying on subject for a few more minutes, saying some people in the US military, government and business community believe the test was more than a scientific experiment and that the risk to other satellites posed by the debris is “not insignificant.”

“The explanation provided, that it was a scientific endeavor, in my view is a partially complete answer,” Keating explained. “There are, in my opinion, military overtones to this, if not direct military application.”

When the two senior officers did turn to Taiwan, Guo warned Washington not to trust assurances by leaders on the island that they will not try to declare themselves an independent government, and not to encourage them to do so.

Keating said the US recognizes that there is only one China, but he also noted that the US is committed to help Taiwan defend itself against any attack. He said he is concerned that a series of misunderstandings, possibly fueled by rhetoric during the campaign for Taiwan’s coming election, could lead to a situation neither China nor the US wants.

To avoid that, Keating called for more US-China military contacts at the leadership level, and also at lower ranks. He said that will help lead to better understanding of each country’s strategic intentions, and also to more transparency in China’s defense spending and capabilities.

On Friday, Keating also met with China’s military chief of staff and the vice foreign minister responsible for North American affairs. Over lunch, he had a long discussion with a Chinese admiral about the possibility that China might develop aircraft carriers. [Editor: Why would peacefully rising China need a blue-water navy?]

As his five-day visit continues, Keating will meet with Chinese military scholars and students, and will visit the eastern military region, directly across the straits from Taiwan.

Is China Ruled by a Military Oligarchy?

Is China Ruled by a Military Oligarchy?

Who rules China?

Until recently, the answer has been obvious: the Communist Party. More specifically, a nine-member standing committee of the party’s politburo controls the country, though political power ostensibly resides in the 3,000-member National People’s Congress, which rubber-stamps politburo decisions.

But times–and opinions–change. China’s provocative anti-satellite test in January and comprehensive military expansion–the likes of which the world has not seen since the re-arming of Germany in the 1930s–has led a small number of intelligence experts to question the conventional view of Chinese elite politics. For the first time, analysts are seriously entertaining the notion that China may actually be a military dictatorship posing as a party-ruled, authoritarian (formerly totalitarian) state.

According to this intriguing theory, the People’s Liberation Army allows the party to manage domestic and foreign affairs–up to a point. Should domestic unrest or dangerously democratic tendencies ever get out of hand, analysts speculate, the PLA would intervene–under party cover. In other words, the party has allegedly become the tool of the military, and real power on the Chinese mainland (in contrast with democratic Taiwan) comes from the barrel of the PLA gun, which is no longer controlled by party leaders.

A Chinese military oligarchy. It’s an intriguing and compelling concept … which may even have the added advantage of being factual and true. We’re not sure. Whether the PLA rules, competes with, or is still ruled by the party, this much seems certain: China’s military rise constitutes a strategic threat to the United States, because China’s generals have decided that the US is China’s main adversary, even though it is also China’s principal trading partner and a key to China’s modernization. Seventeen years of double-digit “defense” spending stems from the PLA’s determination to eventually replace the US as the world’s leading military power.

More immediately, the PLA is preparing for war with the US over Taiwan. The PLA is obsessed with taking back the island and has essentially given the party a limited time-frame for achieving peaceful reunification. If there is no substantive progress by 2010–two years after the Beijing Summer Olympic Games–the military will move. Not for nothing has it amassed an arsenal of some 1,000 ballistic missiles opposite the “renegade province” and adding approximately 100 missiles a year to the ominous array. Not for nothing is the PLA blinding and blasting satellites in space….

Post Script: The PLA allows the party to appear in charge of the military, analysts speculate, through the titles held by China’s Paramount Leader, Hu Jintao. He is President of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman of the Central Military Commission and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. The Central Miilitary Commission is technically an organ of the Communist Party, not the state.

China’s Empire of Lies

China’s Empire of Lies

EDITOR’S NOTE: City Journal has published a brilliant essay about rising China. An excerpt appears below.

The Empire of Lies
By Guy Sorman

The twenty-first century will not belong to China.

The Western press is full of stories these days on China’s arrival as a superpower, some even heralding, or warning, that the future may belong to her. Western political and business delegations stream into Beijing, confident of China’s economy, which continues to grow rapidly. Investment pours in. Crowning China’s new status, Beijing will host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

But China’s success is, at least in part, a mirage. True, 200 million of her subjects, fortunate to be working for an expanding global market, increasingly enjoy a middle-class standard of living. The remaining 1 billion, however, remain among the poorest and most exploited people in the world, lacking even minimal rights and public services. Popular discontent simmers, especially in the countryside, where it often flares into violent confrontation with Communist Party authorities. China’s economic “miracle” is rotting from within.

The Party’s primary concern is not improving the lives of the downtrodden; it seeks power more than it seeks social development. It expends extraordinary energy in suppressing Chinese freedoms—the media operate under suffocating censorship, and political opposition can result in expulsion or prison—even as it tries to seduce the West, which has conferred greater legitimacy on it than do the Chinese themselves.

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China Poisoning US Food Supply

America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating if ingredients imported from China and used in recalled pet food were spiked intentionally with an industrial chemical to boost their apparent protein content.

If so, is this a case of greed–or bio-terrorism? The FDA won’t comment. Officials concede, however, that contaminated foods from China are becoming a growing problem as the Communist Party-ruled country plays a greater part in the global food chain, thanks to globalization. In China, chemical use is high and regulations are lax, or routinely violated (corruption is rampant). The FDA has the authority to inspect imports for contaminants that are in violation of US law; but the agency only has the resources to physically check a small fraction of them.

To make matters worse, China’s retail sales arm–the brutal, Main Street-busting behemoth known as Wal-Mart–plans to grow so-called organic food in China. Organic food … from a country plagued by toxic industrial pollution that taints the water and soil in which the crops are grown. Wonderful.

Back to the FDA. The agency’s food sleuths are still awaiting visas that would allow them to visit the Chinese factories where the vegetable protein ingredients were produced. While they’re waiting, they could check out the video below to get a feel for what ordinary Americans think about China’s newest threat to US national security.

China Intensifies Mideast Meddling

China Intensifies Mideast Meddling

Energy-starved China is increasingly involved in the Middle East, meddling in–and, to some extent, manipulating–the Islamist-Israeli conflict to the detriment of the Jewish state and its chief ally and supporter, the United States.

The chief stratetgist is Beijing’s top Arabic-speaking diplomat and special envoy to the region, Sun Bigan.

On Friday, he called on the Palestinians to release captured Israeli soldiers to make way for the resumption of talks and build momentum towards peace in the region. Sun made his comments following a trip to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly pushed all parties to engage in peace talks.

“We urged Palestine to make more efforts and to follow the principle of having prisoner swaps with Israel and release the captured soldiers as soon as possible,” Sun told reporters. “I expressed condolences and sympathy for the pain they have experienced and also for the suffering of these soldiers.

“We also called on Israel and other parties concerned to take further steps to ease the humanitarian crisis that is quite severely confronting the Palestinian people.”

Sun said he met relatives of the two Israeli soldiers, who were kidnapped in the cross-border Hezbollah raid in July that triggered a month-long war in which 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed.

Sun said he saw hope in the Saudi land-for-peace initiative originally floated in 2002 and relaunched at an Arab League summit in Riyadh last month, saying it was a sign of momentum towards renewed peace talks. He added that Arab countries supported the move.

“They have emphasised to me that this is their strategic choice,” Sun said.

He also denied that China’s growing interest in the region was being fuelled by its thirst for oil.

“I think those views are not well-founded and lack sufficient information,” he said, asserting that China’s role in the Middle East is active and fair and aimed at promoting peace, which is in the interest of all sides including China.

There are those who disagree with that assertion. Acknowledging that their government is keen on strengthening ties to China–for economic and political reasons–some Israeli analysts argue that escalating tensions in the Middle East actually benefit rising China, an ally and major oil customer of Islamist Iran. The Islamist-Israeli dispute and the nuclear standoff with the Iranian mullahocracy absorb US attention and resources and divert attention from China, making it easier for the country’s Communist Party rulers to maintain their dictatorship, threaten Taiwan, expand and modernize the Chinese military–including its increasingly ominous space-warfare programs–and compete with the US in terms of access to resources and markets around the world and international influence and prestige.

In short, the Middle East could be the key to further isolating and weakening the US, which China sees as a dying but still dangerous (and economically necessary) Hegemon.

Tensions in the Middle East also boost Beijing’s arms sales to the region–especially to Iran and Syria–encouraging further expansion and development of China’s defense industries.

The challenge for China, according to the above-referenced analysts, is to manage the tension. A crisis leading to full-blown conflict could disrupt oil supplies and send crude prices skyrocketing–not a good thing for the world’s second largest importer of the resource, after the US.

As Expected, Appeasement Advocates are Encouraged and Concerned by Bad News

As Expected, Appeasement Advocates are Encouraged and Concerned by Bad News

Another embarrassingly bad week for advocates of appeasing totalitarianism. Not to worry: cooler heads will pevail. And so much is happening behind the scenes. And … so it goes.

A brief roundup:

Rising China’s Stalinist/Kimist vassal, North Korea, blew off a key deadline (see story below), and the four-year-old struggle to get the rogue regime to begin dismantling its nuclear programs remained stalled Saturday.

Beijing urged patience, while America’s dumbbell diplomats said they were “concerned” but also “encouraged.” (They have yet to figure out if Pyongyang’s program is limited to plutonium bombs or includes clandestine uranium enrichment.)

So much for the Korean peninsula. Over in Iran, the nuclear-arming mullahocracy–China’s most important ally in the Muslim world–continued to defy the West with its uranium enrichment boasts.

Tehran’s turbaned tyrants also turned up the heat in Lebanon. Amid reports that Iranian proxy Hezbollah was preparing for a summer war with Israel, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made a fiery speech suggesting a determination to take power in Lebanon even if it leads to a new civil war. (Nasrallah is now a looming influence in Syria. The secular Baathist dictatorship, as part of an attempt to appease an Islamist revival sweeping the country, has promoted his beaming, bearded visage in banners, posters, and tee-shirts.)

The bloodshed in Iraq picked up at week’s end with suicide bombings in Baghdad that killed dozens of civilians. Still, Washington clings to the notion that a combination of military force and diplomacy can somehow end the war without leaving competing Iranian-backed and Al Qaeda-associated factions in charge of the fractured country.

There was one piece of good news in the region. While Iraq’s Islamist maniacs were spilling innocent blood Saturday, more than 300,000 Turks marched to try to stop the ruling AK Party from picking Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as their presidential candidate next week because of his Islamist roots. The party was spawned by rightwing political Islam. The possibility of a presidency headed by Erdogan has split secular but predominantly Muslim Turkey, which is seeking European Union membership.

“Turkey is secular and will remain secular,” protesters shouted as they waved national flags and banners of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, revered founder of the republic that separated religion and state.

Some protesters called on the government to resign and chanted: “We don’t want an imam as president.”

Erdogan has supporters and sympathizers in the US foreign policy establishment. They see him as a model, so-called moderate, “Islamist-leaning” leader.

US Asleep While China Prepares “Assassin’s Mace”

US Asleep While China Prepares “Assassin’s Mace”

No-so-peacefully rising China is actively pursuing an “Assassin’s Mace” (shashoujian) space warfare program–the elusive term refers to an astonishing array of futuristic technologies–while advocating arms control accords aimed at preventing the United States from developing and deploying defensive and offensive space-based weapons.

And the US anti-missile defense crowd is cooperating with the Chinese strategy, effectively playing into the hands of America’s enemies and paving the way for eventual Chinese military dominance of the planet.

We dare to call this perfidy by its real name–treason–for the betrayers and saboteurs of America’s defense are aware of the evidence of China’s space warfare program, but choose to deny or downplay the information.

The amazing thing is just how much of the proof of what China is up to is in the public domain, along with thorough, insightful analyses by American experts. The work of a brilliant US Defense Department consultant, Michael Pillsbury, is a prime example of the latter. He says his concerns that China may decide to develop space weapons for use against the US stem from books written by three Chinese military colonels over the past six years.

The People’s Liberation Army officers advocate the use of secret anti-satellite weapons, without warning, against the US.

“What they are doing in their books is saying that if China faces a hostile United States in the future, we Chinese may need to have some way to deter the United States from either attacking us, or coming to the defense of Taiwan,” Pillsbury tells Voice of America. “If we Chinese ever face that situation, one good way to deter the United States – they use the term “bring America to its knees” – is to have a “shock attack,” or a “shock and awe” attack, to borrow a term we [Americans] used during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, on US-based satellites.”

Pillsbury says the colonels imply that no such system exists in China today. Let’s hope he’s right.

In testimony to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (commonly called the China Commission) Thursday, Pillsbury said even a small-scale Chinese attack against US satellites could have a catastrophic effect on US military forces and the US economy. He said it is not clear how quickly, if at all, Washingtoncould launch replacement satellites for those that had been incapacitated in orbit by such an attack.

“We could be better prepared, is how I would put it,” he said.

In January, China test fired a ground-based missile that pulverized one of its own satellites. The test was believed to be the first of its kind in two decades by any nation and raised concerns about the vulnerability of US satellites and a possible arms race in space.

Pillsbury’s research is beyond chilling; it is terrifying, despite his reasoned, academic approach to a topic that natrually lends itself to popular exploitation. His in-depth report, commissioned by the China Commission and submitted in January of this year, covering such weapons as high-energy laser guns and orbiting ICBMs capable of striking targets on earth at any time, could inspire a slew of fact-based comic books, novels, movies and TV programs. If only the research would also inspire our so-called leaders to wake up to the looming threat.

Ecerpts from “An Assessment of China’s Anti-Satellite and Space Warfare Programs” appear below:

“Twenty articles and three books published during the target period were selected as significant. From these books and articles, thirty specific recommendations for strategies or specific Chinese space weapons to employ against US vulnerabilities were identified and translated…. The following conclusions may be made from this report:

“While China has publicly assumed a leadership position in international activities to ban space weapons, there is an active group within China not only advocating the weaponization of space but also putting forth specific proposals for implementation of a Chinese space based weapons program.

“The individuals authoring the source works cited herein represent the Chinese space war “hawk” group and may constitute the bulk of it, although the extent to which these proposals are being accepted sympathetically is not known.

“The recommendations cited in this report are courses of action being proposed publicly within China. Common threads of logic and approach, shared assumptions, use of similar expressions in key areas, and the scope of the work represented are indications of collusion among these individuals and possibly of organization.

“There may be covert activity in the development of space weaponry and space warfare plans which is not represented in open source literature, in fact the literature suggests that this might be so.

“Chinese development and deployment of systems and doctrines for space warfare may be partially in response to a perceived US threat, but US resistance to weaponization of space seems irrelevant in the articles cited.

“Chinese attitudes toward weaponization of space have been widely studied by the US, and several models have been proposed, based at least partially on consideration of some of the documents cited in this report. Other than common source material, these models share little and are even contradictory.

“There is an immediate opportunity for diplomatic action to forestall an inappropriate Chinese response to a perceived US threat and to engage elements of the Chinese policy forming community in productive and mutually beneficial confrontation.

“There are profound military preparedness implications associated with Chinese public advocacy of pre-emptive or deterrent attacks on specific US targets, both military and civilian, both independently and in support of theater combat operations.

“This open source literature survey found no assertion that China currently possesses any type of ASAT weapons, or that the government of China has ordered the production of any such weapons. However, an unattributed interview in October 2006 at the Zhuhai air show that appeared in a Chinese owned newspaper bluntly stated China has such weapons now….”


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