The Most Encouraging Thing I've Seen in a Week


Running tally from the Pew Research Center's "Trust in Government" poll:

NEXT: Down the Health Care Wormhole

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  1. People are waking up, it seems. I doubt we’ll see that trend head too far upward anytime in the next, oh, hundred years.

  2. I agree. Thank you for sharing this. Distrust in government is what built this country. It is the only thing that make it free again.

  3. Under my cloak I kill the king

  4. Why is everyone talking about this poll?

    It is obvious that trust has been dropping for a long time. But i see it here i hear about it on NPR and i am sure it is all over the cable channels.

    Why is today so very special that the media wants to talk about it all of a sudden?

    Note: I love this poll and its results, but i am one who always looks a gift horse in the mouth.

    1. It is very wise to look a gift horse in the mouth.

      1. Why are you guys the mascots for USC and a brand of condoms even though you lost the war? Your city must have terrific spin doctors.

        1. Of course we have a great spin doctor, you can’t get much better than Homer.

          1. Wasn’t Homer on the “other” side?

            1. Homer wrote the Illiad and the Odysy – he was Greek. Virgil Wrote the Aeneid – he was Roman.

    2. The anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing is probably the reason for everyone talking about this poll.

      1. This also happens to be the anniversary of the mass murder of innocent women and children at the Branch Dividian Compound by Janet Reno and her thugs.

        1. Don’t forget Clinton’s WORDS which helped burn those children alive.

          Clinton = retarded fetus. How about them words, you red-faced fuck?

        2. Which of course doesn’t justify the further killing of innocents to make a political point. Right?

          1. No, I never said that it did. I just find it strange that the media is commemorating people murdered by a private citizen but not commemorating people murdered by the government.

            1. You mean the child molester cult that defied a legal warrant with gunfire?

              1. You mean the child molester cult that defied a legal warrant with gunfire?

                Yeah i forgot those children were molested…may as well murder them with fire rather then arrest their molesters at the local gas station.

                1. Joshua, burning children alive is the way the government protects them. Besides, aren’t people supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty?” I guess not when Janet Reno is in charge.

                2. They had to burn the children in order to save them.

              2. Except the ATF showed up with a massively armed response to serve a warrant. WHat the fuck were they going to do if they sent a handful of ordinary cops in a regular car to knock on the door? Lynch them? How the hell would that play out in the long run. I bet the ATF fired first, and the way the handled the whole thing is an epic reminder of government incompetence. THey burned those children alive and covered it up. Fuckers.

                1. And since when is child molesting a Federal crime? That is a crime under state jurisdiction and the Feds should not be involved. If they had left this up to the local sheriff everything would probably have been resolved pretty peacefully. But the ATF boys had to dress up in their ninja/combat gear and prove what studes they are by murdering a bunch of women and children. Pathetic wannabes.

  5. Under my cloak I kill the king.

    1. Sedition!!!

    2. I am starting to study Spanish (I am not yet anywhere near fluent) and I have noticed that in Latin American Countries it is more acceptable to say things, when translated literally mean “Death to [insert name of politician]” To them, it is simply the oposite of saying “Viva [insert name of politician]. The verb “morir” can sometimes have a softer meaning in Spanish than “To die” does in English. I do not know if this was the case in Spain when Don Quixote was written or not. But it is something to think about.

      1. Another thing about Don Quixote (the book where the above quote is from). It is proof that parodies can have a lasting impact and be considered great works. Don Quixote is a parody of a type of pastoral novel that was popular at the time. I could not even name one of the novels that is in that genre of pastoral novel. Neither could most English Speaking people [maybe not most Spanish speakers either, I don’t know]. But Don Quixote, the parody of them, is world famous and compared to the great comedies of William Shakespeare in terms of its depth and impact of world literature.

        1. Never read it, always wanted to.

          1. I am reading it now. If you start it, you really should start with the “Prolog” if you read it you will know why I put that is scare quotes.

            1. Man… I had to read that book *in* Spanish. I only remember fragments now.

              1. I want to read it in Spanish – my Spanish level is just not quite there yet. I will though, that is one of my goals.

                1. I want to read it in Polish, with Stanislaw Lem and Anna Przybylska, the latter which is nude.

                  1. My understanding is that, with the exception of using a different alphabet, Polish is very similar to Russian. Do you know if this is true?

                    1. Any Lem fans out there? Isn’t Solaris about Russians? Explanations?

                    2. The Cyberiad is his best work

                    3. PIRS-I don’t know about that…

                    4. My understanding is that, with the exception of using a different alphabet, Polish is very similar to Russian. Do you know if this is true?

                      They have about the same level of similarity as German and Dutch – enough to create instances of misunderstanding and ridicule each other, but not mutually intelligible without additional learning.

                    5. I tried to learn Russian and it was just way, way too hard; so I really don’t know what I’m talking about (in English).

                      But… I think they’d be a little closer than German and Dutch — though I did learn that “You have a beautiful life” in Polish would be understood as “You have a red belly” in Russian.

                      Also, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and others are all very closely related, so it’s a little like the Iberian peninsula (minus Basque!) or Scandinavia, where the languages are more a political boundary than a linguistic one. And, there’s more than one language in each of those sets, but it’s hard to define where.

  6. You cannot kill what doesn’t die

    1. “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.”

    2. “This enemy you cannot kill. You can only drive it back damaged into the depths, and teach your children to watch the waves for its return.” –Quellcrist Falconer

    3. 1. Ghost trap.

      2. Custom-made storage facility.

  7. Two points:

    1) Some of us see this as a positive trend.

    2) Draw some colored bars over the periods of ongoing undeclared wars on that graph, and I think you might find it illuminating.

    1. That would pretty much cover the whole timeline yeah?

    2. Not really. Trust in government continued to fall during the Carter years, despite the end of the war in Vietnam, and it rose during the Gulf War.

  8. I went over to the website, and they have some nice tools to examine things in greater detail.

    One thing I found very fascination; Republicans oscillate the most between trust and distrust. Whenever there’s a Republican in the White House, they show their true colors. They LOVE the government, as long as their team is in charge.

    Even when in power, Democrats are never THAT trusting. Of course, you could claim bias. All polls are worthless, biased garbage anyway.

    1. “Even when in power, Democrats are never THAT trusting.”


      1. You doubt me? Take a look at the website.

        1. Your claims are ridiculous. The reason that Democrats don’t do the same thing as Republicans is because they have a history of beatdowns when they try to show their true colors. (’94 healthcare anyone?)

          The R team authoritarianism is based upon militarism or “strong national defense”–hence, the swings. The D team authoritarianism is about a huge government welfare state.

          The disappointment that the government doesn’t take over everything immediately “and really stick it to X,Y,Z” is why the trust is always skeptical. On welfare state issues, R’s tend to dislike that the government does too much, whereas D’s dislike that the government doesn’t do enough. Look at every poll ever showing the intensity of left-right political distribution, as well as the geographic concentration of the left, and that poll makes complete sense.

          Look at the data in the “Trust by Party” section. Notice how trust among Democrats has gone up with Obama, while the average went down. This time, they got “their guy”–despite pissing off the middle. Also notice the massive drops in support among R’s in the last two years of both Bushes.

          Also, Republicans have effectively controlled the government most of the last 40 years (see huge history of Democratic political missteps for reference), hence, why one would expect the D’s to be lower on average. Math, it’s a wonder.

          1. “Also, Republicans have effectively controlled the government most of the last 40 years”

            WTF? I think the GOP had control of the Congress for about a total of 10 years of the last 40, right?

            Math, it’s a wonder.

            1. I said “effectively”–and by their control of the executive branch, they have “effectively” done so.

              The only LBJ-style Great Society type plan passed in the last 40 years has been Medicare-D. It passed through Team R, it could not have passed through Team D.

              Because Clinton was not a progressive, he triangulated and let Team R run the show in 94-00. That was an extremely rare exception, and most likely the reason that political credence was given to Bush in 2000.

              So yes, Executive Branch = control in the new world of authoritarianism. Math still works.

              1. The left got so much of what it wanted in the Great Society that of course there have been few similar wins for them. Notice though how little of those programs were upended during your 40 years of “effective” GOP rule…

                1. You make the mistake of associating political control with ideology.

                  It’s precisely because none of those programs were upended that the GOP has held control. They wait for Team D to do something that pisses a lot of people off and then do nothing. They just kick the can down the road with added debt. Since inertia is the most powerful force in politics, they hold on to power.

                  Given that our entitlements are completely unsustainable, that will change. Either Dems will have to enact for tax increases on the middle class, or Reps will have to enact benefits cuts on the middle class. Doing either will shake up power coalitions in unpredictable ways.

          2. No, they haven’t.

            “The government” is mostly bureaucracy, which is overwhelmingly leftist even when a Republican is in the White House, or Republicans control Congress.

            And remember most Republicans are NOT conservatives.

      2. Random Dude: “Suddenly me no like this poll!”

    2. There has not been an actual Republican in the White House since Ronald Reagan.

      1. *rolls eyes* No True Scottsman fallacy. Face the music, Republicans LOVE authority.

        1. I never claimed Ronald Reagan was not a Scotsman. The last two Presidents who claimed to be Republicans were both named Bush and were father and son. Is this a coincidence? They both started worthless wars in Iraq. Is this coincidence?

          1. They ran under the Republican Party, that makes them Republicans. Yes, it is a coincidence. Reagan started worthless wars in Iran, South America, and other shitholes too. The Gipper sucked. All presidents suck.

            1. Wait. US troops fought in a war in Iran during the 80s? South America too? Missed that bit of history during my 13 years in the Navy.

            2. They ran under the Republican Party, that makes them Republicans.

              Nonsense. That would make the Larouchebags Democrats.


              1. Well, there’s the little difference that the Bush’s were actually nominated at the national level by the GOP…

                I mean what silliness. What if i maintain that the last “real” Democratic President was Grover Cleveland?

                1. MNG, some have argued that both of the two major parties have been taken over by progressives. Personally, I have no use for either party at this point (but if Ron Paul gets the Republican nod I might vote for him). But this -=-= person may be of that opinion as well.

                  1. Many would argue that neither major party was taken over progressives.

                    1. “Many would argue that neither major party was taken over progressives.”

                      Such people do not know the meaning of the word. Or, they think Progressive is just an insurance company with a reptile mascot.

                    2. Sorry, the reptile mascot is GEICO

                    3. Look at Obama’s failure to take up single payer, the progressive’s choice for hc reform. Even on such a basic issue there is no progressive option…

                    4. MNG, he is smart enough to know that if this bill is not struck down by the USSC or repealed soon it will LEAD to single payer. He as much as said so. It will drive the insurance companies out of business.

                    5. Oh stop being silly. Progressives clearly favored a srraight up single payer option, and he didnt take it.

                      “Such people do not know the meaning of the word.”

                      Oh really. So the ACTUAL group of Americans who self-identify as progressives don’t know the meaning of the word, but people like you, their political opponents know the “real” meaning. So you get to decide who is a “real” Republican or conservative and who is a “real” progressive. How nice your labeling tends to favor your worldview!

                    6. LOL. Within any political group you have variation. Within libertarism for example, you have people who say “You are only a real libertarian if you are an anarco-capitalist.” Others say, “You cannot be a libertarian if you beleive in no government at all (I used to think that in the late 1990’s). I have been within my life a limited government libertarian and an an-cap. I am now an an-cap.

                    7. Well, look, at least respect that people who actually style themselves as progressives wanted a single payer pushed. They see Obama as a tool for not doing so. They will tell you in a heart beat that there has never been a “real progressive” as President…

                    8. “Well, look, at least respect that [SOME] people who actually style themselves as progressives wanted a single payer pushed.”


                    9. “They will tell you in a heart beat that there has never been a “real progressive” as President…”

                      And there are no true scotsman.

                    10. I am now an an-cap.

                      Because you are an OCD suffering dogmatist. You must distill every econ 101 first principle into its purest form.

                      Find some evidence of successful an-cap societies and report back. That’s how you decide what to believe, not the philosophical analogue to my compulsive hand washing.

                    11. “Because you are an OCD suffering dogmatist.”

                      Nice to know you are willing to have an insult-free rational debate on the topic.

                      “You must distill every econ 101 first principle into its purest form.”

                      Do you even know what a principle is? If “Do not murder” is a principle does this mean it is sometimes OK?

                      “Find some evidence of successful an-cap societies and report back.”

                      How about medieval Iceland?

                  2. both of the two major parties have been taken over by progressives

                    Oh please. So commences the Glenn Beck sparked Republican assault on words to tarnish the term “progressive” just as his predecessors did to the word “liberal.”

                    Republicans live exactly according to their ideals, which are not progressive by any definition.

                    1. How about you read their own words:


                    2. Yaaawwwwwn.

                    3. There’s nothing good about progressivism.

                2. “What if i maintain that the last “real” Democratic President was Grover Cleveland?”

                  He was the last great democrat president

                  1. Re Cleveland:

                    “Ma, Ma, where’s my Pa?
                    Gone to the White House, ha ha ha.”

  9. All things considered, I’d rather live in a world where confidence in gov’t was higher and/or increasing, because it’d mean their policies weren’t so bad. I’d rather live in a world where confidence in everything was high and/or increasing, come to think of it.

    1. “I’d rather live in a world where confidence in everything was high and/or increasing, come to think of it.”

      Including government snooping into your personal life? Including cancer rates? Everything is about as general as you can get. Think about that statement again if you do not mind.

      1. Confidence in snooping or cancer? Nobody would ever poll on “confidence in” those things, so, yeah, confidence in anything that someone would actually call “confidence”.

        1. From our friends at the Oxford Dictionary:

          ? noun 1 the belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something. 2 self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s abilities. 3 the telling of private matters or secrets with mutual trust. 4 a secret or private matter told to someone under a condition of trust.

          What does rely mean? It can have two meanings: 1 depend on with full trust. 2 be dependent on.

          So if you trust that someone will snoop in on you or you trust that people will have cancer is that a good thing?

  10. It’s interesting to see the Obama “Hope and Change” Campaign only created a flatline instead of an uptick.

  11. At least I knew how to fiddle.

  12. The problem with any poll question this imprecise is that it does not ask why they don’t trust government. With questions like this and the “right direction/wrong direction” polls, many Americans answer in the negative for entirely opposite reasons. Some people don’t trust government because it fails to take care of them as much as they’d like.

    1. God I hate “right track / wrong track” polls.

    2. When you overlay unemployment rate over the graph and look at the major events you see that the “mistrust” in government is because the job market sucks or the government fucked up a war/national disaster.

      What I don’t get is how the biggest intel failure in the history of the US (9/11) led to increased trust in the government. How does that logic go, “Thanks for dropping the ball, now I trust you more!”

  13. I’m sorry , but you just have to be stupid to have confidence in government doing the right thing. If they flipped a coin on all policy decisions, my confidence would improve dramatically.

  14. Isn’t it interesting that during this period the average quality of life here kept going up and up and up (a point made by Posterel a few years ago). Who knew “tyranny” would look this good?

    1. Drink?

    2. ? iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli uendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.

      1. Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions ? everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.

        1. Yow ! Drive a golden spike where that kitty blew !

          Lord Buckley channeling Nero praising
          a Circus performer who _almost_ made
          it over the top of the wall, and out
          of the fangs of the lions.

          ‘She just missed the top by 6 inches’

    3. No really guys, this is why the libertarian hyperbole about growing “tyranny,” “slaver,” etc., is so rightly laughed at. If tyranny and slavery mean anything that thing is incongruent with ever increasing quality of life and expanding life choices and oppotunities….

      1. “If tyranny and slavery mean anything that thing is incongruent with ever increasing quality of life and expanding life choices and oppotunities….”

        There are some well pampered dogs who might disagree with you.

      2. Because many are slaves to their creditors and their passions. We live in the Brave New World!!!

        pic related:

        1. Good summary.

          1. Neat summary of Postman’s book. I read it for the first time about 8-9 years ago and my perspectives were indelibly altered.

            And the scary part is that he wrote it 25 years ago, waaaaay before we had 300 channels and American Idol.

      3. Many slaves did not want to leave the plantation; life was secure and the master would take care you. You only have to work hard enough or hide your sloth well enough to stay under the radar. The easiest living slaves were the best at sucking up.

        Life got better in the Soviet Union at the same time it did in the States. It usually has everywhere except for the Dark Ages. What matters is: 1) Relative improvement and long term sustainability.

        Socialist nations have about 70 years of lifespan before collapse and the more centrally controlled, the harder they fall. Even the softer version in Europe has stunted them to lower GDP and and employment than the States. Not to mention a pretty much useless and inconsequential foreign policy. In short less vitality, less progress, less contribution to the world. Less, Less, Less.

      4. Yes, it’s good to be the house negro.

      5. Soft tyranny, MNG, is just a mild, watered-down form of slavery.

    4. Isn’t it interesting that during this period the average quality of life here kept going up and up and up.


      The easy answer is that while the average American’s quality of life may have improved over the last 50 years it is primarily because of technological solutions generated by the private sector and without government interference it could have gone up much more. I think we have more choices today than ever and that gives the illusion that we are better off. We have much less freedom.

      1. And that is not meaningless. In fact, these improvements could help with the latter. Explain how we have less freedom. Books? Sources?

        You must be one of those young whippersnapper libertarians; by age, I would fit in this group. But, I have a historical perspective; try talking to people who have been in the movement for a while.

        You don’t know how unfree things used to be. Really, take a good hard look; not just at the things that confirm your limited perspective. You have no idea how free we really are.

        1. Tristan Band,

          I can provide you with a very reliable source. The U.S. Code. Every time a law is passed (unless it repeals another law, which is very rare) it decreases the number of freedoms that we have. Here is the link:

    5. The devil was God’s most beautiful creation. You aren’t tempted by ugly, repulsive things.

    6. Any increases in quality of life are in spite of government – not because of it.

    7. True, it must be because of all the foreigners we kill. Who knew human sacrifice actually works?

  15. I’m pretty sure this post qualifies as both sedition and facecrime.

  16. er, thoughtcrime.

  17. Interesting that you can’t put the blame on Watergate here, that dip starts well before it.

    One instant interpretation is this is the effect of the 1960s. That decade shook shit up.

    1. It’s interesting that the graph goes back to the 50’s. Who could have the foresight to save this stuff? It certainly isn’t SOP to have some systematic way to save data should someone in the future want to study it, right?

  18. Strange, I would have expected a bump at the beginning of the Obama administration.


    1. Why? Obama was elected because the Republican base was demoralized (McCain?) and the Dems did a really good job of bashing Bush over and over and pushing the independents towards, errr, “change”.

      The only people who REALLY wanted Obama and believed the Hopenchange bullshit were the true believers, which is, and always has been, a small constituency. Everyone else just wanted “the other team” and picked Obama because he was more novel than Hillary, and a black guy – oooh, shiny and guilt-free! – to boot.

      Then he got elected and immediately started in with the Jacobin Corporatist shit and all of those naive independents realized the mistake they had made and started backing away from him.

      So the answer to your question is that most of the people who elected him

      1. Not sure what that last sentence is. Ignore, please.

  19. great, all this poll means is increased support for Republicans because of how distorted the political spectrum in this country has become.

    1. If this concerns you I recomend getting some World’s Small POlitical Quizes for The Advocates for Self Government and distributing them as far and wide as you can.…..y_Code=WOR

      1. Sorry, bad quiz. It’s just sucks.

        1. What do you dislike about it? Just asking.

  20. Wow, we’re below Carter again?! (I see another trough in the early 90’s, which is before I started paying much attention to politics.) But this just makes me think of all the reruns of Match Game I watch where they constantly make fun of politicians, especially Congress itself. I was a kid then but I kinda remember that mood – a nation-wide political version of “Disco sucks!”. I don’t feel that mood today but maybe that’s because I live in NYC. Nevertheless, if it’s there, I wholeheartedly support it.

  21. I’m going to ask: Where the fuck did this meme that “Progressives Are in Both Parties” come from? Because, as a libertarian, it sounds fucking stupid to me. Evidence? References? Are any of them reliable?

    And no, I don’t consider Jonah Goldberg or Glenn Beck reliable. I consider them conservative tools. Obama is not really much more different than Clinton, as this seems to be following a similar pattern.

    Many people make a case for “libertarian populism”; I’ll stick to the elitism that used to define our position.

    1. How about their own words?…..amp;sr=1-1

  22. Could we not say that the upswing during Clinton was his due to his lack of interfering with the booming economy?

    We could compare government to the referees in a sporting match of some kind where you don’t really notice or care unless they are overly involved.

    I would also admit to voting for several tax increases for assorted causes during that time frame only because my salary grew every year and increased funding for this or that, although myopic, seemed “the right thing to do.”

    1. It seems to me that trust rises with personalities, but falls due to overimposition of the government in either the economy or civil liberties.

    2. Could we not say that the upswing during Clinton was his due to his lack of interfering with the booming economy?

      That is a good observation. Clinton is a much better pure politician than Obama, which is the reason why he managed to get reelected in 1996.

      He made a lot of the same mistakes that Obama has done, relatively to his “mandate” and the public’s taste for liberalism, but whereas Clinton quickly backed off and triangulated and rode the good economy, Obama – thus far – has shown an inclination to do the opposite (“I won”).

      Losing Congress just might save Obama for similar reasons, but Clinton also *could* have rammed through HillaryCare in 1994 before the election and chose not to. Obama, on the other hand, crosed the river and is busy burning the bridge taunting his opponents. My guess is that Obama doesn’t get reelected, absent a Gingrich-esque-government-shutdown blunder once the GOP gets Congress back next year.

  23. Well, it’s the morning after, and nothing happened. NOTHING HAPPENED, goddam it! Keith is beside himself and Rachel won’t come out of her room. Ed Schultz isn’t answering his phone and we can’t get Matthews off the ledge.

  24. When Americans say they distrust “the government” what they are really saying is that they distrust their fellow Americans.

    Remember, most Americans love their own representatives and keep reelecting them…

    1. Cute, Dan. Comparing lifer Congressmen to ordinary people. You’re a laugh riot.

      1. Ordinary people elected the Congressmen.

        1. Ordinary people voted for the most likely victor against the greater evil in their respective elections.

  25. The devil you know…

  26. How in the world could anyone construe this as a good thing? These polls numbers are truly awful and yet they’re treated as desired results! Trust in government is what built this country. We to to believe in our representatives to represent our view. When we trust our congressman and our Presidents that means that they are generally fulfilling the country’s wishes. How else do you think democracy in supposed to work?

    Its like you want the government to fail. That’s not a belief grounded in libertarianism or old school liberalism. That’s a death wish.

    1. Trust in the government built this country?


      1. How the hell are you supposed to build a government you cannot trust? We trust the government to not be general corrupt assholes. We trust the government to represent our view. That’s the basis of democracy. We no longer had trust in the British monarchy, so we started a new government that we could trust.

        Trust doesn’t mean 100% obedience or worship. Trust means a constitution, a promise that was made to the people of the United States. For a contract to be viable, you have to trust the other person. So my question is: Why is it a good thing to no longer have a viable government?

        1. You have to remember that when a Libertarian uses the word “government” it really isn’t a reference to actual government but rather a boogeyman that they can automatically blame all problems on.

          That’s why libertarians never discuss the quality of government, or work for better government.

          They just wish for “less” of it, at least until they need the police or fire department or medicare or disability or unemployment, etc.

          1. You have to remember that when Dan T. uses the word “libertarian” it really isn’t a reference to actual libertarians but rather a strawman that he can automatically use to mean anything he wants.

        2. We trust the government as far as we can throw it. It stands to reason that as government gets bigger, we trust it less.

  27. Wow. A 2 day-old thread.
    And Godwin’s Law hasn’t kicked in

    1. Do you know who else would be looking for Godwin’s law to kick in?

  28. Compare the beginning of Clinton’s reign with that of Obama’s. The parallel is pretty exact. Will it continue?

  29. Learning Curve ?
    The Boomers were the first generation
    to have good info on Govt. actions, and
    it still took 15-20 years to learn just how
    poor Govt. choices/?/options were;
    From ~1980 on, they have known how the
    game is played, and how to rate the

  30. Ps.146
    [3] Put not your trust in princes,
    in mortal men, who cannot help you.
    [4] When they die they are buried; and their plans are interred with them.

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