CONTRA EL PINGALISMO CASTRISTA/ "Se que no existe el consuelo que no existe la anhelada tierrra de mis suenos ni la desgarrada vision de nuestros heroes. Pero te seguimos buscando, patria,..." - Reinaldo Arenas

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lunes, enero 06, 2014

Nearly Two Thirds of 2013 Government Waste, Fraud Came from HHS

The estimated amount of taxpayer-funded payments that the federal government doled out through fraud, waste, and errors slightly decreased in 2013 to $106 billion from $108 billion the previous year, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  

On Dec. 31, FederalTimes.com reported the estimated government-wide improper payments dollar figure for fiscal 2013, citing Frank Benenati, an OMB spokesman as the source.  
Benenati did not provide a breakdown of the 2013 payment errors by government program, saying that information would not be available for weeks, according to the FederalTimes.com article.  
However, an analysis of government financial data by Breitbart News found that the Department of U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) was the primary driving force behind all federal payments considered improper in fiscal 2013. 
On Jan. 2, Breitbart News reported that HHS made an estimated $65.3 billion in payment errors that year. 
The HHS improper payments amounted to 62 percent of all government-wide payment errors in 2013.  
HHS was also the primary contributor to the estimated government-wide improper payments in 2012.  
The $64.8 billion in mistakenly disbursed funds by HHS that year made up 60 percent of the total $108 billion in erroneous payments. 
In an official blog post published in the afternoon on Friday, Dec.20, Beth Cobert, the OMB deputy director, touted that that the the improper payment rate had "declined to 3.53 percent in FY 2013 when factoring in Department of Defense commercial payments, compared to 3.74 percent in FY 2012 under the same accounting.” 
Cobert did not report the 2013 improper payments in dollar figures that day. The $106 billion in fiscal 2013 improper payments has not been officially published by OMB. 
Instead, Cobert focused on the rate, which refers to improper payments as a percentage of all government payments. 
Cobert mentioned that “agencies recovered more than $22 billion in overpayments through payment recapture audits and other methods in FY 2013.”  
She further added that in 2013, the Obama administration slashed improper payments for numerous major programs. 
Namely, “Medicaid, Medicare Advantage (Part C), Unemployment Insurance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - Food Stamps), Pell Grants, and two Social Security programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance.”   
Again, she did not mention any related dollar figures. 
The erroneous payment rate has fallen by more than a third from 5.42 in FY 2009 to 3.53 in FY 2013, according to the figures in the OMB blog post. 
It was not until recently that OMB included Pentagon payments to contractors in its improper payment estimates, reported FederatTimes.com. 
Furthermore, the article noted that OMB Controller Danny Werfel has said that “only about one-third of improper payments are generally recoverable."  
Although OMB has not released a breakdown of 2013 improper payments by individual federal agencies and programs, Breitbart News has been running a series focusing on exposing that information.   
So far, Breitbart News has reported 2013 improper payments for the following government entities: HHS ($65 billion); U.S Department of Agriculture ($6.2 billion); and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management ($353 million).  

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sábado, noviembre 30, 2013

White House Misses HealthCare.Gov Fix Deadline

B

The Washington Post reports that the White House will announce Sunday that it has met its self-imposed deadline to fix the federal ObamaCare exchange known as HealthCare.gov. The Post also reports that, like everything else surrounding ObamaCare, this announcement is not even close to true.

The faulty $600 million site has been improved over the course of the last two months. Still, though, it can only handle 50,000 users at a time. Moreover, the site still loads slowly and the capacity for 50,000 users hasn't yet been fully tested.
Earlier this month, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration's goal was to make the site usable for 80% of users -- another moving of the goal posts since the White House announced November 30 as a target date.  
Other deadline misses include the HealthCare.gov program that allows small businesses to enroll online. This feature, known as SHOP, has been delayed until after the 2014 midterm elections. What hasn't been postponed, though, are the insurance policy cancellations already plaguing small business owners.
In order to re-insure their employees, business owners will now have to work through a broker or insurance agent. That is if the the increased costs and hassles surrounding ObamaCare don't result in small business owners deciding that insuring their employees just isn’t worth it. CBS News reported last week that this is already happening.
The Wall Street Journal reports that technical problems will still inhibit HealthCare.gov from verifying users' identities and the transmission of accurate enrollment data to insurance providers. The fallout of the latter problem won't be readily apparent until someone who has been told they are insured tries to visit a doctor or emergency room only to discover their insurer has no idea who they are.
Some crucial parts of HealthCare.gov are not even built yet, including the mechanism that pays your insurance carrier the part of your premium covered by the federal government -- the infamous subsidy.
Some reports claim that in order for ObamaCare to meet its March 30 enrollment goal of 7-plus million enrollees (this number is necessary to make the system financially viable), somewhere around 54,000 people must sign up daily. Currently, only around 7,000 enrollments are occurring daily.
Granted, this is a big improvement over last month's enrollment numbers, but two times zero is still zero. 

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domingo, noviembre 03, 2013

OBAMA'S NEW WORLD ORDER: Your Government Is Collapsing!!

19460cars


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martes, octubre 29, 2013

U.S. reports $9.7 billion loss on General Motors bailout

conservativefiringline.com
DETROIT — The U.S. government has booked a loss of $9.7 billion on the nearly $50 billion bailout of U.S. automaker General Motors Co., according to a quarterly report to Congress on Tuesday.
In 2009, the U.S. Treasury extended $49.5 billion in loans to GM in exchange for $2.1 billion in preferred stock and a 60.8 percent equity stake. 
Treasury has since whittled down its stake in GM through a series of stock sales. Those sales have all taken place below the price Treasury needed to break even on its GM investment, resulting in the loss, according to Tuesday's report from the Special Inspector General overseeing the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. 
Treasury has sold its preferred stock and reduced its equity stake to 7.3 percent. Treasury owns 101.3 million GM shares as of Sept. 26, the most recent date available. 
The U.S. government has said it plans to sell its remaining GM shares by April 2014. Some analysts said Treasury could even unwind its position by year end. 
The exit of Treasury will eliminate the stigma of government ownership that has hovered over the automaker since the bailout, which prompted some critics to dub the company "Government Motors."

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viernes, octubre 25, 2013

Berta Soler Meeting With Vice-President Biden

Menendez Comments on Vice President Biden Meeting With Cuban Human Rights Activist Berta Soler

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement about Berta Soler’s meeting with Vice President Biden.

Vice President Biden’s meeting with Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, is a truly historic act of support for human rights defenders in Cuba. Through their acts of peaceful protest, Berta and the Ladies in White have remained an unwavering beacon of hope for the restoration of justice, human rights and democracy in Cuba. I commend Vice President Biden for standing with Berta Soler and the Ladies in White, and I look forward to my meeting with her in Washington next week.”

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Ladies in White Leader Meets Senior State Department Officials

From the U.S. Department of State:

Today, Thursday, October 24th, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman met with the Damas de Blanco spokesperson Berta Soler to discuss the human rights situation in Cuba. The Under Secretary praised Ms. Soler for her leadership, and shared the Department’s deep concern over the Cuban Government’s continued suppression of peaceful activities carried out by Damas de Blanco and other independent civil society groups. The Under Secretary expressed solidarity with Damas de Blanco member Sonia Garro Alfonso, who continues to suffer reprisals for her advocacy on behalf of political prisoners and the Afro-Cuban community.



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viernes, octubre 18, 2013

O'Really: What the heck happened in the gov't funding vote?


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martes, octubre 15, 2013

The New American Center: Why our nation isn’t as divided as we think


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
“Just because Washington is polarized doesn’t mean America is,” says Robert Blizzard, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, the lead pollster for Mitt Romney in 2012. His firm co-created the survey with the Benenson Strategy Group, pollsters for President Obama, and the result is a nation in eight distinct segments: two on the far right ("The Righteous Right" and "The Talk Radio Heads"), two on the far left ("The Bleeding Hearts" and "The Gospel Left"), and four in the middle that represent nothing less than a new American center ("Minivan Moderates," "The MBA Middle," "The Pick-up Populists, and "The #WhateverMan.")
............
Pluralities believe that the political system is broken (49 percent), and the economy is bad (50 percent) and likely to stay that way a while (41 percent). Majorities fear another 9/11 or Boston-style bombing is likely (70 percent), and that their children’s lives will be more difficult than their own (62 percent), which are either stuck in place or getting worse (84 percent) — while the rich keep getting richer at the expense of everyone else (70 percent).   
The new American center has a socially progressive streak, supporting gay marriage (64 percent), the right to an abortion for any reason within the first trimester (63 percent), and legalized marijuana (52 percent). Women, workers and the marginal would also benefit if the center had its way, supporting paid sick leave (62 percent); paid maternity leave (70 percent); tax-subsidized childcare to help women return to work (57 percent); and a federal minimum wage hike to no less than $10 per hour (67 percent).
But the center leans rightward on the environment, capital punishment, and diversity programs. Majorities support offshore drilling (81 percent) and the death penalty (90 percent), and the end of affirmative action in hiring and education (57 percent). Most people in the center believe respect for minority rights has gone overboard, in general, harming the majority in the process (63 percent). And just one in four support immigration reforms that would provide a path to citizenship for those who came here illegally.
Keep reading on nbcpolitics >>
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miércoles, octubre 02, 2013

O'Reilly: United States government shutdown


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viernes, julio 26, 2013

Huma Abedin faces questions about dual jobs

powip.com
Despite her husband being the butt of late-night jokes and water-cooler ridicule, Huma Abedin is standing by Anthony Weiner, and he, by her. "I love her,” Weiner said at a press conference Thursday. “She loves me. We have a son. Nothing else matters."
But Abedin is facing her own troubles -- less salacious than her husband's, but potentially more severe.
On June 13, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote her and Secretary of State John Kerry asking why Abedin, the deputy chief of staff at the State Department under former Secretary Hillary Clinton, was granted status as a "special government employee" after the birth of her son.
That  title allowed her to work from home as a part-time consultant to State, earning $135,000 as a government employee -- while also earning  $355,000 as a consultant for Teneo, where former President Bill Clinton is a board member.
Grassley wants to know who authorized Abedin's change in status, what effect that change had on her security clearances, and whether the department interacted with the companies with which Abedin consulted. 
"I am concerned that the 'special government employee' designation blurs the line between public and private sector employees, especially when employees receive full-time salaries for what appears to be part-time work," Grassley wrote to Abedin. 
Craig Holman of Public Citizen, a government ethics watchdog group, says Abedin's dual status raises serious questions.
"If this story pans out that Huma actually had access to inside information while serving as a government official but at the same time serving as a strategic consultant to a firm that actively trades in the stock market, this could be quite a problem, " he said.
Grassley's office late Thursday gave Fox News the written responses sent to him by the State Department and Abedin.
Abedin wrote that her consultancy was approved by State Department lawyers. She added that once approved, she "was not asked, nor did I provide, insights about the Department, my work with the Secretary, or any government information to which I may have had access."
The State Department said it uses special government employees routinely "to provide services and expertise that executive agencies require..."
But Grassley found the letters unresponsive. In a statement late Thursday, he said that neither "provided a single document that I requested."
"Putting up a stone wall raises a lot more questions about how the program is being used than it answers. I intend to pursue more complete answers to my questions," he said. 

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martes, junio 04, 2013

EPA accused of singling out conservative groups, amid IRS scandal

It's not just the IRS. 
A second federal agency is facing a probe and accusations of political bias over its alleged targeting of conservative groups. 
The allegations concern the Environmental Protection Agency, which is being accused of trying to charge conservative groups fees while largely exempting liberal groups. The fees applied to Freedom of Information Act requests -- allegedly, the EPA waived them for liberal groups far more often than it did for conservative ones. 
The allegations are under investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is also holding hearings on the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups. 
"I don't think it is fair at all. It is not fair to the American taxpayer -- the American taxpayer should expect and demand that the EPA treats everyone equally in regard to these requests," said Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. "This cannot be tolerated. As we see more federal agencies with this kind of bias, it is and should be a concern for all of us." 
Research by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank, claims that the political bias is routine when it comes to deciding which groups are charged fees. Christopher Horner, senior fellow at CEI, said liberal groups have their fees for documents waived about 90 percent of the time, in contrast with conservative groups that it claims are denied fee waivers about 90 percent of the time. 
"The idea is to throw hurdles in our way," charged Horner, who says he decided to look into the fee structure after the EPA repeatedly turned down his group for waivers. 
"In 20 cases of ours, since the beginning of last year, we were expressly denied, or denied by them simply refusing to respond, in 18 out of 20 cases," said Horner, explaining that the batting percentage for fees waived in favor of liberal groups is overwhelming. 
"Earth Justice was batting 17 out of 19, the Sierra Club was the worst, at 70 percent granted, 11 out of 15. You add up some other groups and we found that 75 out of 82 groups granted, because these are the groups that the EPA has decided are the favored groups." 
The EPA has denied any favoritism. 
Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe told the House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 16 that "our policy is to treat everybody the same," and the agency is considering pursuing an investigation. 
In a statement to Fox News, the EPA said: "The Office of Inspector General received from the Environmental Protection Agency the official request to look into this matter just over a week ago, so the request is currently under review by the OIG at this early stage." 
But Horner, who has studied federal government agency practices as the author of "The Liberal War on Transparency: Confessions of a Freedom of Information 'Criminal,'" says that charging fees or denying information requests is a underhanded method that government agencies use to try and stymie the free flow of information or political dissent. 
"This is no different than denying a group that you don't agree with ... whether you are the IRS or the EPA, their tax-exempt status," said Horner. 
"You're talking about essentially making or breaking them, or at a minimum, snuffing out their ability to pursue their objectives."
Murphy said treating groups differently is simply not right. 
"We are hoping that the acting administrator of the EPA can already send a message out to his people that this will not be tolerated," Murphy said. "It is wrong. Similar with the people with the IRS who testified that, 'well some of things may not be illegal,' they can still be wrong. People expect their government to not be acting in these ways, but to be fair and just and truthful in these informational quests and in their investigations." 

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lunes, mayo 13, 2013

SCANDAL WIDENS: IRS Targeting Went Beyond Tea Party, Conservatives

Read on foxnews >>
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sábado, mayo 11, 2013

House Republicans swiftly announce hearing on IRS targeting conservative groups

Fox News
The IRS acknowledging that it targeted conservative political groups during the 2012 election season has sparked bipartisan calls for investigation -- with House Republicans already saying they will hold a hearing on the issue.
House Majority Speaker Eric Cantor said Friday the Republican-led chamber would investigate the tax-collecting agency for flagging the groups for additional review to see whether they were violating their tax-exempt status.
“The IRS cannot target or intimidate any individual or organization based on their political beliefs,” the Virginia Republican said.
Cantor’s comments were followed within minutes by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp saying he would hold a hearing.
The IRS on Friday apologized for targeting groups, but Camp, R-Mich., argued the agency had “repeatedly denied” such activity.
“The admission by the agency that it targeted American taxpayers based on politics is both shocking and disappointing,” he said.
The committee has jurisdiction over IRS, but it remains unclear whether other House committees also will investigate the issue, in which roughly 300 groups were flagged.
Republicans were joined by a leading Senate Democrat in the call for congressional investigations.
Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said members have already been looking into the IRS's failure to make sure tax-exempt groups engage only in social welfare activities -- not partisan politics.
“Today’s announcement by the IRS raises a second issue: whether the IRS, to the extent it has enforced its rules, has been impartial in doing so,” Levin said Friday. “Both issues require investigation.”
Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, said that organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status.
In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, she said.
"That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate," Lerner said. "The IRS would like to apologize for that."
Republican lawmakers appeared vindicated in part by the announcement, after complaining about the suspected harassment more than a year ago.
A dozen Republican senators wrote to the IRS in March 2012 expressing concerns about various accounts that the agency inquiries were "perceived to be excessive."
However, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told Congress in March 2012 that the agency was not targeting groups based on their political views.
"There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, he told a House Ways and Means subcommittee.
Among Capitol Hill Republicans already raising further concerns or calls for investigations are California Rep. Darrell Issa, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky; Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“The IRS’s political targeting of select groups based on their political leanings is reprehensible, and it should trouble every American to know that a federal government agency could abuse its power so outrageously,” Rubio said. “We need immediate congressional hearings.”
Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. She said no high-level IRS officials knew about the practice. She did not say when they found out.
The IRS has put out a written statement saying protocol was changed at the Cincinnati office in response to the rising number of applications for so-called 501(c)(4) groups. This classification grants tax-exempt status to social welfare groups. Unlike other charitable groups, these organizations are allowed to participate in political activities but their primary activity must be social welfare.
The agents tried to "centralize work" in response to the applications, the IRS said, leading to problems the agency claims have since been fixed.  Lerner said the number of groups filing for the tax-exempt status more than doubled from 2010 to 2012, to more than 3,400. To handle the influx, the IRS centralized its review of these applications in the office in Cincinnati. As part of the review, staffers look for signs that groups are participating in political activity. If so, IRS agents take a closer look to make sure that politics isn't the group's primary activity, Lerner said.
In all, about 300 groups were singled out for additional review, Lerner said. Of those, about one-fourth were singled out because they had "tea party" or "patriot" somewhere in their applications.

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viernes, mayo 03, 2013

'No use for them': Racial comments resurface from Obama housing pick


Racially charged comments made by President Obama's pick to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency are adding fuel to the fire of an already controversial nomination.
The president picked North Carolina Rep. Mel Watt on Wednesday to lead the agency, praising his understanding of the housing crisis which crippled the economy several years ago. If approved by the Senate, Watt would replace Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the FHFA. But getting the Senate to agree that Watt's the man for the job may be tough.
While lawmakers are raising early concerns about Watt's willingness to get tough on questionable lending practices, he also comes with a history of controversial remarks.
During an Oct. 14, 2005 hearing held by the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act, Watt reportedly said that a "substantial majority of white voters" would not vote for a black candidate under any circumstances.
Multiple attempts by FoxNews.com to obtain a transcript of the hearing from the National Commission on the Voting Rights Act were not successful. But a report at the time by CNSNews.com quoted Watt saying the Voting Rights Act should be expanded and have districts changed to factor in race-based voting and help minority candidates.
He acknowledged "some" white people would support a black candidate, but said voters who refuse should be "factored out."
"I've got no use for them in the democratic process," he reportedly said.
Watt also claimed that black voters -- unlike white voters -- don't have "an absolute commitment" to voting for a candidate based on race.
Three years later, Barack Obama would become the first black president, capturing 43 percent of the vote among white voters. That does not constitute a majority, but by comparison, 4 percent of black voters supported Sen. John McCain.
Calls to the Congressional Black Caucus, which Watt used to lead, and Watt's office were not returned.
In 2004, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader also accused Watt of "using an obscene racial epitaph" against him during a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. According to an account at the time in The Hill, Nader said Watt called him, "just another arrogant white man, telling us what we can do. It's all about your ego, another (expletive) arrogant white man."
The comments allegedly came during a tense meeting Nader had with the Caucus on his run for the White House. At the meeting, group leaders allegedly told Nader his bid would defeat the common goal of beating then-President George W. Bush. Nader claims Watt made racist comments toward him and demanded an apology in a two-and-a-half page letter he wrote to the Caucus and released to the media. He did not get one.
The comments from Watt's past are only part of the problem, some lawmakers say.
Conservatives question Watt's record on housing finance and say he's too close to the Obama administration and the banking industry to make the critical calls needed to lead the agency.
If approved, as director of the FHFA Watt would be in charge of overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages. Because there is $5 trillion at stake, Watt's decisions would carry more weight over the housing sector and in turn the broader U.S. economy than those who previously held the position.
In the five years since the housing giants were bailed out with $187 billion in taxpayer money, they have managed to show signs of recovery. Freddie was hit with $94 billion in losses from 2007 to 2011 but earned back $11 billion last year. Even though Fannie and Freddie are on the mend, industry experts caution against putting a politician in place to oversee their fiscal health.
In the past, Watt has pushed for better access to mortgages for minority and low-income borrowers, but some say his inclusive record is exactly what should exclude him from consideration.
"I could not be more disappointed in this nomination. This gives new meaning to the adage that the fox is guarding the hen house," Republican Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said in a statement Wednesday. "The debate around his nomination will illuminate for all Americans why Fannie and Freddie failed so miserably."
Corker's comments echo the calls that other conservative lawmakers have made about the administration's rush to fill the top spot at the FHFA. Mark Calabria, a director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute and a former staffer on the Senate Banking Committee during the creation of the FHFA, said there was a bipartisan push to make sure a politician would not lead the government agency and that the post was created with a banking regulator in mind.
"We went out of our way to make sure this wasn't the outcome," Calabria told FoxNews.com Thursday.
Calabria believes the ideal candidate should have strong banking credentials and be able to stand up to political pressure which could result in bad lending practices and distort free-market dynamics.
Obama strongly endorsed Watt for the job Wednesday, saying he's helped protect consumers from the "reckless risk-taking" that triggered the financial crisis while also giving more Americans in low-income areas "access to affordable housing."
"Mel understands as well as anybody what caused the housing crisis. He knows what it's going to take to help responsible homeowners fully recover," Obama said. 

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Commerce nominee tangled in massive bank collapse that cost depositors millions


By
President Obama's nominee for Commerce secretary was embroiled in a massive bank failure more than a decade ago, in a collapse that cost depositors and federal insurers millions of dollars.
The 2001 collapse of Superior Bank FSB now appears likely to re-emerge, more than a decade later, as Commerce nominee Penny Pritzker prepares for a confirmation hearing and Republicans already draw attention to the bank implosion.
Pritzker's family, which founded Hyatt and is one of the wealthiest in the country, co-owned Superior Bank at the time of its collapse. The lawyer who represented depositors in the case told FoxNews.com on Thursday that the Pritzker family enjoyed a "special deal" while the "little guys" ended up "footing the bill."
"The message of our Cabinet members should be people who do the right thing," attorney Clint Krislov said Thursday. "And it should not be a message of, if you're very wealthy you get a special deal and you get to sit on the Cabinet, too."
Uninsured depositors at the Illinois bank are still owed roughly $10 million, according to federal records -- after a court challenge was rejected in 2007, those savings may never be recovered. The collapse also cost the FDIC, which insures banks, nearly $300 million.
The failure, according to federal regulators, was triggered by a pattern of risky lending.
The Office of Thrift Supervision took the rare step of shuttering the Hinsdale, Ill., bank on July 27, 2001. The office said at the time the bank "suffered as a result of its former high-risk business strategy," including "significant volumes of subprime" mortgage and auto loans.
What happened after the collapse, though, is what triggered the lawsuit involving Krislov.
The Pritzker family, as part of a settlement to shield itself from liability, agreed to pay $460 million to the federal government. But the family was subsequently able to claim part of a separate $125 million settlement from the bank's accounting firm.
Krislov said the family was first in line for the money, followed by the depositors.
"That is what is fundamentally troubling," he said. "They got a priority ahead of depositors while depositors were still short."
An FDIC representative, though, suggested to the Chicago Tribune in 2004 that the sheer size of the $460 million settlement justified the trade-off.
"If it means $30 million is turned over to the Pritzkers, I think it's hard to dispute that it's not advantageous for creditors of that failed institution," the spokesman said.
Pritzker's involvement with the bank's questionable lending practices is unclear. She served as chairwoman of the bank from 1991 to 1994, after her uncle Jay went in with another wealthy family to buy Superior in the late '80s.
Pritzker spokeswoman Susan Anderson stressed that Pritzker was not an officer or director at the time the bank failed.
"She left its board in 1994, seven years before the bank failed. During her tenure, the bank received clean audits and regulators gave it high marks," she said in an email to FoxNews.com, calling her record as a manager "extraordinary."
She also noted that despite the losses sustained by depositors, they did get 81 percent of their savings back, in addition to the $100,000 insured amount. "This is ... typical when a bank fails," she said.
The FDIC insures depositors for up to $100,000. In the case of Superior, those with accounts above that amount were still repaid part -- but not all -- of their uninsured savings.
Krislov said he wrote to Penny Pritzker after his clients lost their suit asking her to pay the remaining $10 million to the uninsured depositors.
"I just figured it was the right thing to do," he said, adding that he never heard back.
The Pritzker family also reportedly struck a deal in 2011 that allowed them to enjoy a discount off the $460 million settlement.
The history of the bank was glossed over in Thursday's announcement at the White House, though the Republican National Committee blasted out old news clippings from the saga.
Obama, during the nomination ceremony, cited Pritzker's "extraordinary experience."
"Penny is one of our countries' most distinguished business leaders. She's got more than 25 years of management experience in industries, including real estate, finance, and hospitality. She's built companies from the ground up," Obama said.
Pritzker is on the board with Hyatt Hotels Corp., which was co-founded by her dad. She's also chairwoman of Pritzker Realty Group. She previously served on Obama's jobs council, and helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the president's 2008 and 2012 campaigns -- she held positions with both campaigns.
Pritzker is also one of the wealthiest people in the country. Forbes pegs her net worth at $1.85 billion, and lists her as the 277th wealthiest person in the U.S.
Krislov acknowledged the family has done some "very terrific things" in philanthropy, but said: "She would not be my first pick" for Commerce.
The White House did not return a request for comment. 

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viernes, abril 26, 2013

Egyptian Magazine: Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrates Obama Administration

By John Rossomando 

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miércoles, marzo 13, 2013

Former administration insider skewers Obama national security team

By
An administration riven with infighting. A commander-in-chief given to "dithering" on critical wartime decisions. A suspicious and devious White House staff erecting a "Berlin Wall" around a secluded and standoffish president, shielding him from those advisers -- particularly at the Department of State -- willing to convey unpleasant truths.
It all sounds rather like the sensational literature that proliferated in the mid-to-late 1970s to chronicle the collapsed presidency of Richard Nixon -- including the description of a White House "Berlin Wall," originally applied, with great fanfare, to those much-maligned (and eventually imprisoned) Nixon aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.
Instead, it is President Obama's turn to watch as former aides and journalists rush into print -- with a warp speed that eluded the insider memoirists of the 1970s -- their detailed and dishy accounts of the first Obama term.
A forthcoming book by former foreign policy aide Vali Nasr paints the above portrait, describing a president whose decisions "from start to finish were guided by politics."
Nasr was a rising academic star, one of the leading scholarly voices on Iran and the Mideast, when the late Richard Holbrooke tapped him, at the dawn of the Obama administration, to join Holbrooke at a newly created office of the State Department: SRAP, short for Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
'The president had a truly disturbing habit of funneling major foreign-policy decisions through a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisors whose turf was strictly politics.'
- Vali Nasr, former foreign policy aide
The voluble, outsized Holbrooke, one of the most celebrated diplomats of his age, always on the short list to become secretary of state but never chosen for the job, was expected to bring his formidable talents -- and ego -- to bear on the problem of integrating more fully the often contradictory policies applied to the two nations so central to U.S. counterterrorism and national security.
But by the time he died from a ruptured aorta, in December 2010, Holbrooke had been systematically marginalized by the Obama White House, Vasr writes. Due out next month, Vasr's book "The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat" (Doubleday) depicts Holbrooke and his boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, waging an often unsuccessful battle to pierce the "Berlin Wall" and present their views to the president. The book charges that White House aides used targeted leaks and other means to "undermine" Holbrooke -- and worked hard to cut Clinton out of critical policymaking, too.
"Those in Obama's inner circle, veterans of his election campaign, were suspicious of Clinton," Nasr writes in an excerpt published on ForeignPolicy.com. "Even after Clinton proved she was a team player, they remained concerned about her popularity and feared that she could overshadow the president. ... Had it not been for Clinton's tenacity and the respect she commanded, the State Department would have had no influence on policymaking whatsoever."
State Department spokesmen pushed back hard against Nasr's charges. "We have an excellent working relationship with our White House and interagency colleagues," Patrick Ventrell told reporters at the March 4 press briefing. "So we really stand behind the record of the progress we've made in Afghanistan."
Ventrell's boss, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, said at the March 8 briefing that she "would reject ... completely" the notion that Holbrooke had been sidelined by the National Security Council. "If you know Richard Holbrooke at all," she told reporters, "you know that he was a formidable force in that job, as he had been in all previous jobs."
Perhaps most arresting, however, is Nasr's portrayal of President Obama. The commander-in-chief is depicted here as "dithering" on key Afghan war decisions, tasking national security aides with the same questions, rephrased in minor ways, over and over. Nasr also casts Obama as quick to abandon foreign policy promises made on the campaign trail and too reliant on individuals unqualified to weigh in on foreign policy.
"The president had a truly disturbing habit," Nasr writes, "of funneling major foreign-policy decisions through a small cabal of relatively inexperienced White House advisers whose turf was strictly politics. ... His actions from start to finish were guided by politics. ... It was no surprise that our AfPak policy took one step forward and two steps back."
Donald Camp, a retired Foreign Service officer who served under three presidents, worked on AfPak policy as both the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia and as senior director for that region on the Obama National Security Council. Camp told Fox News that the excerpts from Nasr's book appear to show that the author was perhaps unduly colored by the experiences of his boss, Holbrooke.
"President Obama is very much -- was very much involved in those days in making Afghanistan and Pakistan policy," Camp said in an interview this month. "And I believe that he sought out all views; and there were differing views in the interagency (process), and he made the final decision."
Camp took specific issue with Nasr's allegation that then-National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones improperly offered Pakistan a civilian nuclear deal, similar to the kind that the U.S. negotiated with India over several years, in exchange for Islamabad escalating its counter-terrorism efforts. Camp said he traveled with Jones to Islamabad, and that the general knew better than to imagine such a deal could pass muster with the U.S. Congress. "It was just not in the cards," Camp told Fox News, "and James Jones would not have made that kind of proposal."
Jones did not respond to requests for comment.

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sábado, marzo 09, 2013

Invasion Of Privacy: Just Because Government Can, Doesn't Mean They Should

Extreme peeping Tom
Technology is moving into the culture at such a fast pace that Joe and Jane Citizen can’t even wrap their minds around it. And, no, I am not suggesting paranoia is the best response to it. But when government uses Joe’s and Jane’s money to use technology to take away their privacy and their freedoms, I think it’s time to take a hard look at what this “Brave New World” is foisting upon us. Science fiction has become reality. This is why we are looking at drone strikes on American citizens and why Rand Paul’s filibuster was such a dramatic and seminal moment.
My readers know I have been on the rabbit trail, chasing down the power grab of Councils of Governments and trying to warn our elected officials. To that end, I am going to share a few details with you from the grant application and grant that our Centralina Council of Governments took from the Federal government. The grant is based on United Nations global governance. But to hide that fact, our Federal government has obfuscated the jargon in an attempt to snooker the American public. And a good job they’ve done so far.
How do you like the idea that an unelected bureaucracy has given itself the power to assess and collect data on your personal belongings and your lifestyle? (Worse that your elected officials are letting them do it.) We know the Federal government is implementing data collection through the healthcare bill and through the public school system. So why no do it through unelected planning agencies as well? They are!
This may be too much “getting into the weeds” for some, but here is an example of what I mean:
Under the heading of “Energy Conservation” the HUD grant application sets out the budget to be spent on data collection on your home, your assets, and your activities. This bureaucratic cabal of self-important controllers. is using your tax dollars to pay people with infra-red thermal imaging equipment to come to your house and assess the greenhouse gases your house may be emitting. Is your house leaking heat or cooling emissions? Remember this CCOG has captured 14 counties and all of the towns and cities within that area….four of the counties are not even in this state.
This project provides comparable analyses of energy-savings potentials for a cross-section of neighborhood houses in the CCOG/Catawba COG represented county region. Deliverables for this project include: (1) a compilation of neighborhood housing sampling per county for the Neighborhood Energy Profile Database; (2) assessments will be made as to which neighborhoods collectively have the best potential for realizing cost-effective energy savings; (3) targeting those identified neighborhoods with messages on how households can realize these savings through proven, affordable, achievable and accessible measures.

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sábado, marzo 02, 2013

Obama, Team Struggle With Accuracy When Explaining Impact of Cuts

President Obama and top administration officials are struggling with accuracy in explaining the impact of billions in federal budget cuts known as sequester that kicked in Saturday morning  -- even getting called out by a Capitol Hill superintendent about furloughs for support staffers.
Carlos Elias, the Capitol Building superintendent, sent out a memo Friday reminding staffers that the current sequestration plan does not include “reductions in force or furloughs” and that “pay and benefit of each of our employees will not be impacted.”
Though not directly mentioning Obama by name, Elias also said in the memo that a “high-ranking official said employees that clean and maintain the U.S. Capitol will receive a cut in pay.”
Hours before the memo was released, the president, in what appears to be the administration’s attempt to maximize the potential impact of the cuts, said at a press conference: “Starting tomorrow everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol. Now that Congress has left, somebody’s going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage. They’re going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they’ve got to figure out how to manage that. That’s real.”
The cuts were proposed by the president and agree upon by Congress in 2011 after Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on a more measured way to reduce the deficit. The $85 billion in cuts in 2013 to the Defense Department and domestic program will be more like $45 billion when pro-rated this year.
Last weekend, Education Secretary Arne Duncan told CBS “there are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall." However, Duncan appeared to backpedaling Wednesday, coming up with just one example, a West Virginia county, and the disclaimer that “whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.”
Officials in the state’s Kanawha County told The Washington Post that “transfer notices” were sent to at least 104 educators and they had more to do with how West Virginia allocates federal dollars designated for poor children.
PolitiFact, the Tampa Tribune’s fact-checking operation, has also reviewed officials’ sequester claims, concluding much has been “doomsday” and “worst-case-scenario” rhetoric.
The newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning group found that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s recent warning that air travel will be delayed because of Federal Aviation Administration cuts is just mostly true.
"Flights to major cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco and others could experience delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because we have fewer (air traffic) controllers on staff,” LaHood said  last week.
Thought sequester requires across-the-board cuts with no shifting of money between agency departments, there appears to be some flexibility in make the cuts, including $600 million from the FAA, experts told PolitiFact.
Rough one-third of FAA employees are controllers, so furloughs are possible. But agency Chairman Michael Huerta recently suggested cuts might start on the midnight shifts or at smaller and low-traffic facilities, which would at least in the short term spare the major airports.   

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sábado, febrero 02, 2013

Congressional Black Caucus Member: Obama Disrespects Blacks

Congressional Black Caucus Member Alcee Hastings: Obama Disrespects Blacks
AP
theblaze


Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) accused President Barack Obama of ignoring and disrespecting black groups that were crucial to his winning re-election in November, including the Congressional Black Caucus, black newspapers and historically black colleges.
The 76-year-old lawmaker said the Congressional Black Caucus sent a number of qualified names to the White House as possible cabinet picks but was ignored. The Obama administration has been criticized, particularly in recent weeks, for a lack of diversity in key posts.
“The black caucus of Congress then sent 61 names to the White House,” Hastings told the National Newspaper Publishers Association last week. “Time went by. Not one of that 61 was selected – not one.”
Hastings said the Congressional Black Caucus also had to pressure the Obama campaign to advertise more with black newspapers. Of the $1 billion the campaign raised, just $1 million was spent on black newspapers — and that was up from the initial plan of $650,000, he said.
“If I was president of the United States, there is no way in hell that I would raise a billion dollars and don’t spend but a million dollars with people who probably had as much to do with my becoming president as anybody,” Hastings charged.
He accused Obama of not spending enough money on historically black colleges, and said it took nearly a year before he appointed a single historically black college graduate to his administration.
“It was nine months into the administration before he appointed a single person, not just at the cabinet level…none in his first nine months of his administration was from a historically black college,” Hastings said.

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"Hablame"

"EN TIEMPOS DIFÍCILES" - Heberto Padilla

A aquel hombre le pidieron su tiempo

para que lo juntara al tiempo de la Historia.

Le pidieron las manos,

porque para una época difícil

nada hay mejor que un par de buenas manos.

Le pidieron los ojos

que alguna vez tuvieron lágrimas

para que contemplara el lado claro

(especialmente el lado claro de la vida)

porque para el horror basta un ojo de asombro.

Le pidieron sus labios

resecos y cuarteados para afirmar,

para erigir, con cada afirmación, un sueño

(el-alto-sueño);

le pidieron las piernas

duras y nudosas

(sus viejas piernas andariegas),

porque en tiempos difíciles

¿algo hay mejor que un par de piernas

para la construcción o la trinchera?

Le pidieron el bosque que lo nutrió de niño,

con su árbol obediente.

Le pidieron el pecho, el corazón, los hombros.

Le dijeron

que eso era estrictamente necesario.

Le explicaron después

que toda esta donación resultaria inútil.

sin entregar la lengua,

porque en tiempos difíciles

nada es tan útil para atajar el odio o la mentira.

Y finalmente le rogaron

que, por favor, echase a andar,

porque en tiempos difíciles

esta es, sin duda, la prueba decisiva.

Los Aldeanos: "El Socialismo en Tiempos del Colera: Toda Una Nación"

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La columna de Cubanalisis

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]

NEOCASTRISMO [Hacer click en la imagen]
¨Saturno jugando con sus hijos¨/ Pedro Pablo Oliva

Seguidores

Carta desde la carcel de Fidel Castro Ruz

“…después de todo, para mí la cárcel es un buen descanso, que sólo tiene de malo el que es obligatorio. Leo mucho y estudio mucho. Parece increíble, las horas pasan como si fuesen minutos y yo, que soy de temperamento intranquilo, me paso el día leyendo, apenas sin moverme para nada. La correspondencia llega normalmente…”

“…Como soy cocinero, de vez en cuando me entretengo preparando algún pisto. Hace poco me mandó mi hermana desde Oriente un pequeño jamón y preparé un bisté con jalea de guayaba. También preparo spaghettis de vez en cuando, de distintas formas, inventadas todas por mí; o bien tortilla de queso. ¡Ah! ¡Qué bien me quedan! por supuesto, que el repertorio no se queda ahí. Cuelo también café que me queda muy sabroso”.
“…En cuanto a fumar, en estos días pasados he estado rico: una caja de tabacos H. Upman del doctor Miró Cardona, dos cajas muy buenas de mi hermano Ramón….”.
“Me voy a cenar: spaghettis con calamares, bombones italianos de postre, café acabadito de colar y después un H. Upman #4. ¿No me envidias?”.
“…Me cuidan, me cuidan un poquito entre todos. No le hacen caso a uno, siempre estoy peleando para que no me manden nada. Cuando cojo el sol por la mañana en shorts y siento el aire de mar, me parece que estoy en una playa… ¡Me van a hacer creer que estoy de vacaciones! ¿Qué diría Carlos Marx de semejantes revolucionarios?”.
¨La patria es dicha de todos, y dolor de todos, y cielo para todos, y no feudo ni capellaní­a de nadie¨ - Marti

"No temas ni a la prision, ni a la pobreza, ni a la muerte. Teme al miedo"
-
Giacomo Leopardi

¨Por eso es muy importante, Vicky, hijo mío, que recuerdes siempre para qué sirve la cabeza: para atravesar paredes¨Halvar de Flake [El vikingo]

"Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir" - Lorca

"Al final, no os preguntarán qué habéis sabido, sino qué habéis hecho" - Jean de Gerson

"Si queremos que todo siga como está, es necesario que todo cambie" - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

"Todo hombre paga su grandeza con muchas pequeñeces, su victoria con muchas derrotas, su riqueza con múltiples quiebras" - Giovanni Papini


"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" - John Lennon

"Habla bajo, lleva siempre un gran palo y llegarás lejos" - Proverbio Africano

"No hay medicina para el miedo" - Proverbio escoces

"El supremo arte de la guerra es doblegar al enemigo sin luchar"
- Sun Tzu

"You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother" - Albert Einstein

"It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office" - H. L. Menken

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" - Elie Wiesel

"Stay hungry, stay foolish" -
Steve Jobs

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert , in five years ther'ed be a shortage of sand" - Milton Friedman

"The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less" - Vaclav Havel

"No se puede controlar el resultado, pero si lo que uno haga para alcanzarlo" -
Vitor Belfort [MMA Fighter]

Liborio

Liborio
A la puerta de la gloria está San Pedro sentado y ve llegar a su lado a un hombre de cierta historia. No consigue hacer memoria y le pregunta con celo: ¿Quién eras allá en el suelo? Era Liborio mi nombre. Has sufrido mucho, hombre, entra, te has ganado el cielo.

Para Raul Castro

Cuba ocupa el penultimo lugar en el mundo en libertad economica solo superada por Corea del Norte.

Cuba ocupa el lugar 147 entre 153 paises evaluados en "Democracia, Mercado y Transparencia 2007"

Cuando vinieron

Cuando vinieron a buscar a los comunistas, Callé: yo no soy comunista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los sindicalistas, Callé: yo no soy sindicalista.
Cuando vinieron a buscar a los judíos, Callé: yo no soy judío. Cuando vinieron a buscar a los católicos, Callé: yo no soy “tan católico”.
Cuando vinieron a buscarme a mí, Callé: no había quien me escuchara.

Reverendo Martin Niemöller

Martha Colmenares

Martha Colmenares
Un sitio donde los hechos y sus huellas nos conmueven o cautivan

CUBA LLORA Y EL MUNDO Y NOSOTROS NO ESCUCHAMOS

Donde esta el Mundo, donde los Democratas, donde los Liberales? El pueblo de Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan los Green, los Socialdemocratas, los Ricos y los Pobres, los Con Voz y Sin Voz? Cuba llora y nadie escucha.
Donde estan el Jet Set, los Reyes y Principes, Patricios y Plebeyos? Cuba desesperada clama por solidaridad.
Donde Bob Dylan, donde Martin Luther King, donde Hollywood y sus estrellas? Donde la Middle Class democrata y conservadora, o acaso tambien liberal a ratos? Y Gandhi? Y el Dios de Todos?
Donde los Santos y Virgenes; los Dioses de Cristianos, Protestantes, Musulmanes, Budistas, Testigos de Jehova y Adventistas del Septimo Dia. Donde estan Ochun y todas las deidades del Panteon Yoruba que no acuden a nuestro llanto? Donde Juan Pablo II que no exige mas que Cuba se abra al Mundo y que el Mundo se abra a Cuba?
Que hacen ahora mismo Alberto de Monaco y el Principe Felipe que no los escuchamos? Donde Madonna, donde Angelina Jolie y sus adoptados around de world; o nos hara falta un Brando erguido en un Oscar por Cuba? Donde Sean Penn?
Donde esta la Aristocracia Obrera y los Obreros menos Aristocraticos, donde los Working Class que no estan junto a un pueblo que lanquidece, sufre y llora por la ignominia?
Que hacen ahora mismo Zapatero y Rajoy que no los escuchamos, y Harper y Dion, e Hillary y Obama; donde McCain que no los escuchamos? Y los muertos? Y los que estan muriendo? Y los que van a morir? Y los que se lanzan desesperados al mar?
Donde estan el minero cantabrico o el pescador de percebes gijonese? Los Canarios donde estan? A los africanos no los oimos, y a los australianos con su acento de hombres duros tampoco. Y aquellos chinos milenarios de Canton que fundaron raices eternas en la Isla? Y que de la Queen Elizabeth y los Lords y Gentlemen? Que hace ahora mismo el combativo Principe Harry que no lo escuchamos?
Donde los Rockefellers? Donde los Duponts? Donde Kate Moss? Donde el Presidente de la ONU? Y Solana donde esta? Y los Generales y Doctores? Y los Lam y los Fabelo, y los Sivio y los Fito Paez?
Y que de Canseco y Miñoso? Y de los veteranos de Bahia de Cochinos y de los balseros y de los recien llegados? Y Carlos Otero y Susana Perez? Y el Bola, y Pancho Cespedes? Y YO y TU?
Y todos nosotros que estamos aqui y alla rumiando frustaciones y resquemores, envidias y sinsabores; autoelogios y nostalgias, en tanto Louis Michel comulga con Perez Roque mientras Biscet y una NACION lanquidecen?
Donde Maceo, donde Marti; donde aquel Villena con su carga para matar bribones?
Cuba llora y clama y el Mundo NO ESCUCHA!!!

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