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Posts Tagged ‘George Lakoff’

There’s a small enclave of roughly 1500 on Facebook that routinely refers to Hillary Clinton as “mama,” “mom,” “mother,” and other maternal terms. There is a central entity (also referred to here as ‘the source’ and ‘the account owner/s)¹ that posts using these terms. The friends and followers of that account enable (I use this term in the co-dependence sense), encourage, and repeat this terminology.

My initial reaction to the use of these terms was that it is decidedly not American. I have seen Africans (specifically sub-Saharan Africans) and some West Indians refer to female leaders in that way, but never Americans. Even the littlest Hillary supporters among us, boys who showed up in Hillary gear and girls who sported pantsuits at Hillary’s campaign events last year, called her Hillary. She related to them as citizens, and even though they were too young to vote, they all seemed to understand who she was, who they were, and that the campaign was a battle we all were in together – an exercise in democracy. So this mama meme² rang odd. Non-native. Not simply the words – the idea.

At first I questioned this usage directly on the Facebook timeline. I was met with anger, defensiveness, and misinterpretation of my words. No, I had not said African-Americans. I had said Africans. Some said they thought it was cute. To me it was anything but endearing. There was something antithetical about it that I could not quite put my finger on. It was alien somehow. I started investigating.

It turned out that some undetermined percentage of the followers of that account are not American. A similarly undetermined percentage are. The account itself is run by an eastern European source. The username on the account is also the title of a short story published independently on a blog and is the name of the main character in that story. The source is not American. (I have chatted privately with one or more – it’s unclear –  representatives of that entity.) The source stubbornly impersonates an American on Facebook notwithstanding my having discovered the true location which the source has confirmed as have I, independently. Consequently, I have been blocked, likely an effort to prevent my leaking the location. No location is cited on the Facebook profile which is minimalist in the extreme.

The source regularly begs HRC to run in 2020 when HRC insists she will do nothing of the kind. That little wrinkle will eventually iron itself out, although it is annoying that a foreign entity so easily influences the Americans who follow it and echo its calls in contradiction to Hillary’s own words.

More central to my issues with this account and this little enclave is that niggling mama meme. Something is not right about that, but what?

The Tracy Flick in me kicked in. Eureka! I know! It is the irrefutable Conservative metaphor at the basis. So I defer and bow in respect to George Lakoff³.

Conservatives r eally want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama accurately described the basis of American democracy: Empathy — citizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibility—acting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally. Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions and empowerment starts with education and infrastructure. No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one’s fellow citizens.

The conservative worldview rejects all of that.

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don’t think government should help its citizens. That is, they don’t think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have over 800** military bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.

But where does that view of individual responsibility alone come from?

The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don’t have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally. -George Lakoff

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The mama meme is in direct conflict with progressive values. No matter what sort of “mother of us all” HRC is portrayed to be, the metaphor of HRC as mother is antithetical to the ideals held by progressives, liberals, Democrats. It is an alien concept. That is what bothered me about it.

When I look at those “mama” posts, I see pleas for HRC to come and fix it all. For her somehow to transcend the possibly/probably illegitimate administration and roll back the damage. This message is counter to Hillary’s which is in perfect alignment with big ‘D’ Democratic principles as outlined by Lakoff: We all roll up our sleeves and, in whatever ways we can, move Onward Together.

I believe more fiercely than ever that citizen engagement at every level is central to a strong and vibrant democracy.

To support this wave of grassroots organizing, we’re launching Onward Together, an organization dedicated to advancing the progressive vision that earned nearly 66 million votes in the last election. Onward Together will work to build a brighter future for generations to come by supporting groups that encourage people to organize and run for office. – HRC

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The mama meme is a contradiction of this grassroots doctrine.

There is much about that odd Facebook enclave that should cause Americans, particularly Democrats, pause. The language irregularities – typical of non-native speakers. The lack of local context. A friend/follower recommended contacting the source’s congressional representative but stopped short of asking who that might be – apparently not suspecting that there is none despite no location identified on Facebook for that source. Recently, the source mistook a broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for ABC News  – the American Broadcasting Company. Americans asked which news show on ABC would carry the interview. No one called out this source for the confusion that ensued when the show did not air in the U.S. because it is an Australian show. There’s the lack of familiarity with American culture as it intersects with the language. Could I possibly be the only American who noted the unfortunate use of “mama” by an adult when “yo’ mama” is an insult most Americans would recognize?

Originally, I could not make sense of this Facebook phenomenon – essentially an eastern European Hillary troll. What would be the purpose? What could be the harm? Why collect Hillary supporters as friends? What is the agenda? But now, in the context of Lakoff’s metaphor, I perceive an effort to wrench that demographic away, philosophically, from its grassroots, small ‘d’ democratic foundation in favor of an authoritarian ideal. Not the ‘strict father’ but the ‘benevolent mother’ who heals all hurts.

In this scenario, the ‘benevolent mother’ is one and only one person. No alternatives are tolerated, and it is imperative that HRC fulfill this destiny as seen by the perpetrators of this meme. No solutions beyond restoring HRC to the rank denied her is acceptable. No candidate other than HRC is worthy. No one else can fix everything.

Where have we heard that theme before? Oh, right! From “strict dad,” Donald Trump! It is one-and-the-same dogma, a most deleterious incursion into grassroots democratic thinking and values. One that Hillary Clinton would renounce and condemn if she knew about it.

It would not be surprising for a foreign source to misunderstand our party’s ethic. But perhaps they understand it all too well and are out to undermine it. What better way than to heap praise and adoring compliments on Hillary and occasionally interject requests that she swoop in like Wonder Woman and right all wrongs? She may be getting that “Wonder Woman Award” but she knows better than anyone – in fact she is the one who keeps reminding us of this – it takes a village.

What is disconcerting is that some percentage of legitimate American Democratic Hillary voters buy into this questionable content. They have come for your hearts and minds, and you have surrendered.

 

For more on George Lakoff’s analysis of Conservative thinking, go here.>>>>


¹ If you have been following my posts about this Facebook entity, you should note that in the past I referred to it as “she” based upon the scanty Facebook profile provided. I have come to doubt that the username” accurately reflects the source since the name also appears as a character and title in a fictional piece. I am not sure this is one person. There may be several people operating this account and one who was my contact in private chats. Therefore I have generalized the identity as “the source.”

² Meme: A meme is “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Meme – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

³ For more from George Lakoff, go here >>>>

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Every year, the U.S. Department of State issues a Human Rights Report based on data collected from sources operating in U.N. member states and countries receiving U.S. assistance.  Upon the release of the 2009 Human Rights Report, Hillary Clinton announced that the United States would be added to the list of countries under review.  Republicans and conservatives did not take this news well.

Human rights are universal, but their experience is local. This is why we are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves. This year, the United States is participating in the Universal Periodic Review process in conjunction with our participation in the UN Human Rights Council. In the fall, we will present a report, based on the input of citizens and NGOs, gathered online and in face-to-face meetings across the country attended by senior government officials. Assessing opportunities for progress and soliciting citizen engagement is one way that we demonstrate our commitment in word and deed to the basic principles that guide us toward a more perfect union and a more peaceful world.

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The U.N. also reviews human rights conditions among member states.

It should be no secret to readers here that an organization exists that formulates legislation to be put forth in multiple states. If you were watching MSNBC in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s killing, you saw Karen Finney unveil ALEC.

One example of  Karen’s  effect at MSNBC was her unmasking of ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) behind the Stand Your Ground laws in many states, including Florida, in the wake of George Zimmerman’s fatal attack on Trayvon Martin.  No one, in my experience of viewing multiple hours of MSNBC,  had ever mentioned ALEC.  But after Karen filled in for Bashir that day, it seemed that not an hour went by without some anchor bringing up ALEC.

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This comes as disturbing news.

The UN Has Stepped In To Issue A Severe Warning To GOP After Their Plans To Strip Americans Of Freedoms Is Exposed

If you thought your rights are protected in the USA, think again. There are lawmakers who are working hard to under-handedly take them away. Sixteen states have proposed bills that would criminalize peaceful protests. This is a worrying trend that may result in fatal blows to our rights and freedom to peacefully protest, assemble, and express our opinions and voices.

It is so concerning, that even the United Nations has weighed in on the trend. In an unprecedented move, representatives from the UN have sent a letter to the US government offering a strong condemnation for proposed legislation in sixteen states that is meant to limit peaceful protest.

The letter, penned by David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, claims that if passed, these bills would be “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law.”

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There is a link to a PDF of the 19-page letter in the body of the article. I encourage you to take a look. At the end of the letter, there is a link to the U.N. Human Rights website.  Please also see that. Here are the letters sent regarding the U.S. in 2017 according to that page.

United States of America

  • 9 May 2017 – Intensified screening of travellers at the US border based on their religious affiliation – OL USA 6/2017

United States of America

  • 1 May 2017 – Intensified social media screening of travellers at the US border – OL USA 7/2016

United States of America

  • 27 March 2017 – Draft bills on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression – OL USA 3/2017

Those are the letters sent this year.  Further down the same page is a list of  all communications sent since 2011 divided by country. Here are the letters sent to the U.S.

United States of America

  • 30 September 2016: Proposal to request travelers’ social media information on immigration forms – USA 9/2016.
  • 20/04/2016 – Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement –USA 4/2016

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There is a danger of rapid erosion of human rights afoot. The U.N. is watching. It is not clear the degree to which such pending legislations will make their way into the State Department’s Human Right Report for 2017.  The easy out for this administration would be for DOS to exclude the U.S. from that report as it had been until Hillary Clinton included us.

The multiple pending legislations are most likely the work of ALEC. When you look at the menu bar on their website,  you see a “more” category.  There is a drop-down where you can access their “free speech” position.  The proposed curtailment of protest rights appears to be tied to recent protests against right wing speakers on university campuses.

This is going to become a matter of framing as our friend George Lakoff often reminds us. We need to make sure that protest remains framed as freedom of expression and not as the enemy or abrogation of someone else’s right to speak. That, from what I see on their page, is how they plan to frame these legislations.

While it is encouraging that the U.N. Human Rights folks are looking out for us, it also raises concerns that our own local governments are working formally to curtail our rights. The federal government, specifically the State Department, could potentially stand down on reviewing and reporting on rights violations within our borders. Lastly, and most dangerously, this administration, already inimical to the U.N. having its headquarters here, could move to exit the U.N. altogether.  I know that sounds far-fetched, but we ought to keep that in mind. Though I doubt it would ever pass, there are factions in our country that despise the U.N.  We need to be vigilant.

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Last Thursday, I mentioned the new administration’s tactic of choice, diversion.  This week, thanks to George Lakoff, we have a handy diagram for the analysis of tweets from Trump.

So it comes as no surprise that while Trump lobbed a grenade at Nordstrom’s and while we were all attending to the ninth circuit court of appeals which upheld the stay on the immigration ban and the endless confirmation hearings,  the explosions were happening elsewhere.

Last night and today, massive immigration raids were taking place in at least six states.

U.S. immigration authorities made a series of arrests in at least half a dozen states across the country on Thursday and Friday, sweeping up an unknown number of undocumented immigrants, immigration lawyers and advocates said.

The raids, which appeared to target scores of people, including those without criminal records, mark the first largescale episode of immigration enforcement inside the United States since President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally. Immigration lawyers and advocates said some of the enforcement efforts included traffic stops and checkpoints, though Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials disputed those accounts, saying the agency does not use checkpoints while engaging in targeted enforcement operations.

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These followed the very high profile deportation of an Arizona woman who had reported as required of her to a local ICE office.

Typically, while we attend to all of this, we are supposed to be distracted from the Russia story, but that one grew extra legs just this evening. It appears that U.S. investigators have been able to corroborate portions of the dossier we referred to last week as the Christopher Steele Memos.

US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier

Coupled with that one was this.

 National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador, despite denials, officials say

National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.

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This story, of course, is the elephant in the room. The Russian connection to the Trump campaign and White House impugns the integrity of the election and the intentions of the administration with regard to Russian sanctions, not only for alleged election hanky-panky but also those imposed over Russian incursions in Ukraine. It lends credence to the idea that Putin’s antipathy to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy was based on a lot more than a personality conflict and his idée-fixe that she somehow orchestrated mass demonstrations following the Russian parliamentary elections in 2011.

Deep Throat told Bob Woodward to follow the money. It is not hard to imagine that transactions involving Donald Trump might revolve around money. Alex Mohajer, late of Bros4Hillary, has constructed bulletin board worthy of Carrie Mathison from a series of interlocking documents. It is not complete, but is the best job of connecting the dots so far.

THE ROSNEFT RECEIPTS

Alex Mohajer @alexmohajer This morning

In light of Wash Post’s explosive article revealing Trump’s NSA Flynn contacted Russian officials BEFORE inauguration to discuss lifting sanctions, it’s getting harder to ignore growing evidence that Trump was involved with Russian oil deal.

See the documents >>>>

From this, we can see what entities acquired those mysterious Rosneft shares even if principals behind it remain shrouded.  it’s great detective work!  We can be relatively sure Alex will not let this opus rest here, so we can be reasonably sure that he will elaborate as he finds additional evidence. We look forward to that.

As for Hillary, she has steered clear of the Russian story which she tried to expose at the October 19 presidential debate. She did, however, register a reaction to the court decision on Thursday. Touted as ultimate shade, her tweet was concise.

Feb 9

 3-0

Ha!

09-26-16-z-24

The thing never to ignore is that Trump and the Republicans are working as a team. Wherever the fireworks go off, look elsewhere.  And watch this space.

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I have mentioned, more than once,  George Lakoff’s frustration with Democrats for failing to own the framing of issues.  I know a lot of people think he is long-winded (yes, he rants),  and that a linguist has no business commenting on politics.  Actually, in European culture,  traditional linguistic analysis began with the ancient Greeks exactly because they had a democratic political system.  How did you think the candidates figured out which speeches worked best and why?

As I was perusing the newsfeeds, I noticed that articles about this decision are using the term “marriage equality.”  This is the Democratic frame.  It would be easier for Republicans to argue against “gay marriage.”  It is a lot harder for them to “come out” against equality.  🙂

The Democrats own this one.  We finally won the framing contest!  George Lakoff, this Bud’s for you!

Hillary takes the wheel and drives this one … all the way to 1600 in ’16.

 

A proud day.

 

 

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Proud.

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Our new favorite map. RT if you live in a state where marriage equality is law.

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Our hearts are full for Dave, Dan, and Jaylah, and loving families in all 50 states.

Proud to celebrate a historic victory for marriage equality—& the courage & determination of LGBT Americans who made it possible. -H

2016_Campaign_logo

Today is one of those days we’ll tell our grandchildren about. Marriage equality is now the law in all 50 states.

From Stonewall to today’s decision, the courage and determination of the LGBT community has changed hearts, minds, and laws. Generations of advocates and activists sacrificed so much for this victory.

This is our country at its best: inclusive, open, and striving towards true equality.

But the struggle for LGBT rights doesn’t end with this triumph. Our work is not finished until every American can not only marry, but live, work, pray, learn, and raise a family free from discrimination and prejudice.

I will never stop fighting for every American who needs a champion. Are you with me?

Add your name to celebrate history:

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/history/

Thank you,

Hillary

 

Statement from Hillary Clinton on the Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality

Hillary Clinton released the following statement after the Supreme Court decision on Marriage Equality in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

Along with millions of Americans, I am celebrating today’s landmark victory for marriage equality, and the generations of advocates and activists who fought to make it possible. From Stonewall to the Supreme Court, the courage and determination of the LGBT community has changed hearts and changed laws.

This ruling is an affirmation of the commitment of couples across the country who love one another. It reflects the will of the vast and growing multitude of Americans who believe that LGBT couples deserve to be recognized under the law and treated equally in the eyes of society.  And it represents our country at its best: inclusive, open, and striving towards true equality.

But we know that the struggle for LGBT rights doesn’t end with today’s triumph. As love and joy flood our streets today, it is hard to imagine how anyone could deny the full protection of our laws to any of our fellow Americans—but there are those who would. So while we celebrate the progress won today, we must stand firm in our conviction to keep moving forward. For too many LGBT Americans who are subjected to discriminatory laws, true equality is still just out of reach. While we celebrate today, our work won’t be finished until every American can not only marry, but live, work, pray, learn and raise a family free from discrimination and prejudice. We cannot settle for anything less.
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Here is a great example of how Hillary Clinton innovates, teaches, and generates change.  A little while ago, her Twitter account tweeted this quote from her speech at Day in Blue today.

Hillary on equal pay: “This is not a women’s issue. This is a family issue. This is an American economic issue.”

For seven years I have posted remarks Hillary has made here in the U.S. and all over the world on issues that I have automatically tagged “women’s issues.”  You can search that category here and come up with pages and pages of posts with that tag.

But the truth about these issues is what Hillary said today, and I shall have to create a new, and more powerful tag:  NOT a women’s issue. 

For many years, George Lakoff, linguist and political commentator,  has been busting his suspenders over the way Democrats have allowed Republicans to control framing.  Here is a sample.  There are many.

George Lakoff: Progressives Need to Use Language That Reflects Moral Values

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 10:00 By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview

OK, so he doesn’t wear suspenders.  He just looks like the kind of guy who would.  The point is that for decades Democrats have allowed Republicans to control the language of policy-making and legislation.

In Hillary Clinton,  Democrats may have the candidate who can change all of that,  Hillary is inventive where language is concerned, so much so that when her 2008 campaign site urged us to follow her on Twitter I thought she invented brand-name.  It sounded like something she would make up, and I asked her that on Twitter after I joined.  Who had ever heard of a “townterview” before Hillary became Secretary of State?

She may not have laid out a platform yet, but Hillary has, since she began her public speaking tour in 2013, been drawing the blueprint, and it involves changing points of view by changing the way we talk about things.  Framing, in the end, is really all about how often people encounter issues ensconced in specific terms.  We can help change the frequency and the terms.

Today she made something clear.  “Pink” issues are red, white, and blue issues.  If we adopt her phrase as a tag and a hashtag we can go a long way toward establishing some of the viewpoints Hillary is going to be advocating.  In other words, we can help her reframe the issues by adopting her vocabulary.

I have never failed to learn something by listening to Hillary.  Her 1000 Days initiative taught us how providing good (and surprisingly inexpensive) maternal and child nutrition over the 1000 days from conception to age two can change the future, not just for families, but also for nations.  Her Clean Cookstoves  Initiative taught us how cooking over unsafe fuels affects the health and lives of billions of people all over the world.

When Hillary Clinton speaks, there is always something to learn.  I have learned today that I can help  her reframe how we talk about (frame) and then see things by changing how I categorize them.

P.S.  Something else I just learned.  I think the hashtag works better if you leave the apostrophe out.  #NotAWomensIssue   *sigh*

What has Hillary Clinton taught you?

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Giving Thanks

Here at Too Small to Fail, our staff’s time is usually pretty consumed by the myriad things that we’re responsible for managing on a daily basis – collaborating with individuals and partner organizations, learning about and sharing new research that we think will benefit parents and caregivers, developing creative and engaging content for our different audiences, and so on. All while finding the time to manage our own family responsibilities at home.

But of the course the last item on the list above is most important, as it is the reason why we do what we do, and the critical point of all of our weekly newsletters. Our families and our children are the things we are most grateful for, even if we don’t get to talk about them too much. And we are also grateful for you, because you care enough to join us in this work.

So amidst all of the chaos of our daily lives, we want to take the opportunity afforded to us this week to thank each and every one of you who care about early childhood, and want to know more about how we can all make a difference in young children’s lives. And on that note, we’ll share this moving post from one of our Go Mighty friends and blogger extraordinaire, Laura Mayes, who writes about the things that she’s grateful for as a parent – and how she plans on making gratitude a family affair – in this beautifully moving post.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. We hope you get to enjoy some quality time with the little ones in your life as you share good food, laughter and many memories this holiday season.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all at  Too Small to Fail.  Thank you for all you do.

I thought I would tack on these two articles.  George Lakoff explains how the work done by Too Small to Fail fits into the American value system and how we should be dealing with those who frame efforts at equalization as government intrusion.   Portions of “Evangelii Gaudium”  from Pope Francis provide a values-based rationale for such equalization efforts.   I think they fit here because equalization is what Too Small to Fail is all about.   Everyone should have a fair shot, right from the beginning.

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