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2012 Politics



  • edited February 2012
    Wikipedia is misleading you here, failing to mention that Obama was responding to a query from a reporter who noted that he was erroneously listed on the DLC's website as a member. He certainly didn't spend the primary decrying the DLC or their influence over the party. He's always resisted being pigeonholed, and prefers to take a conciliatory approach to all factions of the party, from the blue dogs to the progressive caucus, again, focusing on consensus building. That might not be what you think the party needs right now; maybe you think it would be more efficacious for the president to tell a sizable chunk of his party that they are dangerous and evil, but that certainly is not the approach that Barack promised when he ran.

    You are correct that Clinton did take some heavy criticism in the netroots for her association with the DLC, and that some--myself included--were less inclined to vote for her for that reason. But that criticism did not come from Barack.
  • edited February 2012
    That NY Mag essay you linked was good to chew on, the conservative one as well. Found another essay by Steve Almond that seems relevant to the discussion here

    I like this exchange of ideas we have going in the thread, the big picture stuff and the nuts and bolts reference-slinging. UHX - a tiny haven of sane discourse on contentious topics. Also pizza and snoopys!
  • Next time anyone badmouths a someone just for being a Republican I'm going to mention Joe Lieberman and tell them to fuck themselves.

    Well, actually I'll probably just mention Joe Lieberman out loud. Then I'll think to myself, in the voice of Mark Corrigan, "Go fuck yourself."
  • edited February 2012
    Gosh, I like this, from Obama in 2003, part of the same interview where he made it clear he wasn't a member of the DLC.
    I do think a broader question remains on the table. What is the best strategy for building majority support for a progressive agenda, and for reversing the rightward drift of this country?

    One important part of that strategy - and on this I think we agree - is for progressives within the Democratic Party to describe our core values (e.g. racial justice, civil liberties, opportunity for the many, and not just the few) in clear, unambiguous terms.

    A second part of that strategy - and again, I think we agree here - is to stake out clear positions on issues that put those values into action (e.g. the need for universal health care), and to stand up for those values when they are under assault (e.g. opposition to the Patriot Act).

    But the third part of this part of the equation – and on this we may disagree – must be to gain converts to our positions. My job, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, isn’t to scold people for their lack of ideological purity. It’s to persuade as many people as I can, across the ideological spectrum, that my vision of the future is compatible with their values, and can make their lives a little bit better. Thus, while I may favor common-sense gun control laws, that doesn’t keep me from reaching out to NRA members who are worried about their lack of health insurance. I favor affirmative action, but I’m still going after the votes of white union members who oppose affirmative action, because I think I can convince them that it’s Bush’s economic agenda, and not affirmative action, that is eroding their job security and stagnating their wages. And while I may object to the misogyny and materialism of much of rap culture, I’m still going to spend the time reaching out to a hip-hop generation in search of a future.

    In other words, I believe that politics in any democracy is a game of addition, not subtraction. And I believe deeply enough in the decency of the American people to think that progressives can build a winning majority in this country, so long as we’re not afraid to speak the truth, and so long as we don’t write off big chunks of the electorate just because they don’t agree with us on every issue.

    All of which explains why I’m not likely to launch blanket denunciations of the DLC or any other faction within the Democratic Party. I intend to engage DLC members, just like I intend to engage everybody else that I can during the next year of campaigning, in a conversation about the direction our country needs to take to give ordinary working families a fair shake. In some instances, I may even agree with DLC positions: their insistence on the value of national service, or the need to harden domestic targets like chemical plants from potential terrorist attack, to cite a few examples I just pulled from the DLC web-site, make sense to me. Where I disagree with them – and, as we have already discussed, I disagree with them strongly on a lot of major issues - I intend to let them know, firmly and without equivocation, just why I think they are wrong.

    To some, this approach may appear naïve; to others, it may appear that I’m headed down a path of dangerous compromise. All I can tell you is that in my twenty years as an organizer, civil rights lawyer, and state senator, I’ve always trusted my moral compass, and have thus far avoided compromising my core values for the sake of ambition or expedience. Hopefully, by listening to the people I seek to serve, and with the occasional jab from friendly critics like The Black Commentator, I can stay on that course, and ultimately do some good as the next U.S. Senator from the state of Illinois.
  • I think the words of Vince Carter might be useful here.

    "For as much as he's criticized I think he's done a great job," Carter said. "That's a pressure situation to be in."
  • edited February 2012
    D. Rose likes Obama. Big plus for Obama.
  • @Mike
    if you ever need examples of shitty democrats, just name any Illinois politician you can think of. You have a pretty solid chance of being well founded.
  • I grew up in Illinois and it's like a constant, unending stream of ever more escalating shenanigans & corruption...remember the senator(?) dude who was married to Seven Of Nine actress lady and tried to force her to go to sex parties???!!! Also Blagovich. It's endless, I tell you. Lip Glossary speaks truth.
  • edited February 2012
    For the record @Kdawg, I'm not asking for Obama to attack members of his party. I'm challenging the limits of 'pragmatism' set by many of President Obama's most outspoken fans. I believe he would be more popular and would facilitate better frames for governance if his pluralism and inclusion was more inclusive of, and less antagonistic toward, skeptics of corporate, military and police power. He says he admires progressives and their values, he just seems to have a very hard time giving them any significant influence in his administration.

    My reference to the DLC was to support my contention this aversion is institutional, factional, and follows from particular historical ground, basically a reaction to the iconic social and cultural controversies of the Vietnam Era. There is a reason progressive commenters keep the anachronistic self-mocking term 'Hippie-bashing' alive to describe what happens when they press for perfectly reasonable policies that run against neoliberal pragmatism like, say, single-payer health insurance, or broad mortgage relief.

    Maybe you are right that I was foolish to read too much of a difference, or potential for difference, between the Hillary 2008/DLC faction of the Democratic Party and the many dimensions of novelty that characterized Obama's 2008 campaign.

    I once was lost, but now am found,
    Was blind but now I see.

    By the way, I heartily endorse @Kmikey's endorsement of Republicans for Obama. They should all give 'til it hurts.

  • edited February 2012

    If UHX still had polls I would offer a poll about whether people think @kdawg and I should keep arguing in this thread or not. I hope it's not like parents fighting. And I hope I'm not being too dickish. I guess I kind of thread-jacked.

    I was just excited and got swept up when Mikey said:
    With TWO exclamation points.


  • edited February 2012
    Yeah guys, totes tell me to can it when you get bored with this!

    The evidence shows that skeptics of corporate, military, and police power are in fact given tons of influence within this administration, and it's a profound failing of the progressive media that this isn't incredibly obvious to you. When you talk to career employees of the EPA, they are like "OH MY GOD IT IS LIKE NIGHT AND DAY WE ARE ACTUALLY EMPOWERED TO ENFORCE OUR REGULATIONS NOW!" Obama has been canceling weapons programs left and right, which is totally amazing as weapons programs NEVER get cancelled. And as I noted, while the federal gov doesn't have much to do with local policing, the DOJ is engaging in unprecedented efforts to clean up america's police force. Those racist assholes in Arizona? Who is taking them on? Barack and his team.

    Hippie bashing is a problem within elite media circles and in congress. It isn't a problem with the White House (especially now that Rahm is gone, good riddance!)

    I think what you are frustrated by is the reality that while many of your positions are common sense positions, many of them are still shared only by a minority of Americans, especially when you break them down to the level of actual policy. We might be the 99%, but not all 99% is aware of that yet. Blaming Barack for this is unhelpful. The solution is movement-building. I got to meet Julian Bond not long after the Troy Davis thing went down, and people were pissed that Obama didn't intervene (despite his not having jurisdiction, yada yada). Bond said roughly, when politicians disappoint us, it's because at this historical moment our movement is just not strong enough yet. It really is that simple.
  • edited February 2012
    So it's OK to complain about Rahm Emanuel? Cool!

    What about the dickwad that replaced him?
    William Michael “Bill” Daley (born August 9, 1948) is an American lawyer and former banker.[1] He served as White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama from January 2011 to January 2012. He also served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce from 1997 to 2000 under President Bill Clinton. His private-sector positions included membership on the Executive Committee of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

    I wonder who hired these people?

    O, right. Unhelpful.

    Dude, the guy is going to win.

    My position is: do other things. Look at, talk about, other races. Do like Julian Bond and build the movement. Educate people on the sidelines about what they can do this year to make a difference.

    Actually, I'm frustrated that you, whom I think of as sharing progressive values (your speaking out about global labor practices, etc.) choose to put your energy into blackballing progressive critics.

    If their polices are to serve ordinary folks, Obama and the Dems need progressive critics pushing full throttle on the Overton window of the pragmatic against the stupendous forces of the "economic royalists" Franklin Roosevelt identified in 1936 at his marvelous acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention running for his second term.

    An excerpt:
    For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor, other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

    Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.

    The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

    Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

    These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.
    Philadelphia June 27, 1936

    Source. With downloadable .mp3!
  • edited February 2012
    To be fair, Rahm did an incredible job in the campaign, he's just less well-suited to the business of actual governing which requires more bridge-building. I don't know enough about Daley's tenure, but I don't think someone's career in banking automatically makes them a bad choice for an administration job.

    On the whole, though, I love progressive critics! I think they are an important piece of the puzzle in moving a progressive agenda forward. I just think progressive critics need to be fair, honest, strategic, and refrain from the kind of character assassination that leads to suppressed turnout. Greenwald fails on all of these counts. Progressive critics need to work with progressive movement-builders, not against us.

    I'm not as confident as you about Obama winning. We're doing well on the domestic economy numbers right now, but the continued instability in europe makes me nervous, and we haven't seen the Superpacs unleashed yet. There is going to be an unprecedented amount of corporate money slamming Barack on TV for months and months.

    I also remember 2010 where a lot of the pundit-led wing of the gay movement wasted a shit ton of energy criticizing Barack over DADT, and ended up just suppressing turnout among LGBT voters, which led to the loss of the majority, which means we have no shot at ENDA until we retake the house. Total idiocy.
  • edited February 2012
    Do you think that negativity in 2010 ended up contributing to 2011's repeal of DADT? Are you saying the repeal would have come earlier if the negativity hadn't happened?

    I'm asking a totally open, honest question, here, BTW. I really don't know. I was for LGBTQ marriage when everybody was going for.... what were they called?... civil unions, but I really haven't followed queer politics closely. Just a big straight dummy, or whatever I am. ;)
  • I believe the technical term is "big straight dummy ally"

  • edited February 2012
    No, actually the DADT repeal happened on the exact timeline that Obama had mapped out from the beginning of his term. There was a lot of waiting around for the Pentagon to finish its study on impact and strategy for implementation, which was frustrating to some folks, who wanted a judicial remedy or an executive order. (This frustration was only natural, but it frequently found its expression in stupid ways, e.g. orgs like GetEqual which only picketed Obama and ignored actual homophobes, or people accusing Obama of being a secret homophobe, not a real ally, etc.) The negativity didn't slow it down nor speed it up--though it did end up slowing down and even halting progress on other fronts, such as ENDA.

    Obama was really smart on this issue, realizing that a judicial remedy would have led to backlash against "activist judges" forcing policy onto the military, and that doing anything by executive order would have allowed the next president to quickly undo it. Also, because the pentagon had fully completed its study, the military was fully prepped to implement it in a way that didn't feel like it was being forced upon them, so there was zero backlash among the troops, which would have led to political backlash.

    It's not enough just to enact good policy; you also have to build consensus around good policy, and enact good policy in a way that won't allow the hard work to be undone once a republican gets elected.
  • Thank you for the tip YT!

    Provides a random Greg Sage moment:

    Straight as an arrow
    Defect defect
    Not straight, not so straight
    Reject reject
    Towards anti-social
    Solo solo
  • There's a pretty thorough piece of analysis by James Fallows on Obama's presidency so far in the latest issue of the Atlantic:

    If you read around the dumb "chess master or pawn" story line, you get a sense of Obama's relationship to both the Bush and Clinton administrations. Basically in line with a lot of the points DrJ has been making, Fallows argues that Obama expanded and reinforced the military/executive privileges that Bush initiated, and that he surrounded himself with former Clinton people who pushed him to adopt an increasingly pragmatist, centrist line when really he should have been parlaying his insanely high approval ratings into major gains (e.g., health care reform was fine but could have been better...)
  • It is an interesting article, but the takeaway for me was more along this line
    the conjunction of right-wing hostility to his programs and to his very presence in office, with left-wing disappointment in his economic record and despair about his apparent inability to fight Republicans on their own terms, led to an underappreciation of his skills and accomplishments—an underappreciation that is as pronounced as the overestimation in those heady early days
  • Medicare for all!!!!!! Goddamnit!

    (Ooop. Sorry. Keyboard Tourette's.)

    (Won't happen again.)

    (for a while)

  • edited February 2012
    I don't know enough about Daley's tenure, but I don't think someone's career in banking automatically makes them a bad choice for an administration job.
    Leadership of Chase, Kdawg. Chief of motherflocking Staff, Kdawg. 29% of all mortgages underwater. C'mon on man, give it a break.

    And why is he the guy? Because he was tight with Rahm, (former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Jr.'s brother), tight with the Clintons (that reversed Glass-Stegall, the law that kept banking and capitalism relatively safe and crash-free for three generations), and tight with the giant pile of money on Wall Street that buys our elections for us. Thanks guys!



    (OOOps! Happened again!)

    (Seriously. Going in the other room now.)

  • Wow... really?
  • edited February 2012
    "It is an interesting article, but the takeaway for me was..."

    The passage you cited is part of what I referred to above as the "dumb 'chess master or pawn' story line." I'm aware that the "takeaway" of the article is what you cited, but don't you think the more detailed analysis of the relationship between the Obama and Bush and Clinton administrations is more interesting?
  • I thought the "chess master or pawn" framing was stupid in the same way that "Are the rolling stones awesome or shitty" is a stupid question, but i thought the exploration of "ok but really, how's he doing?!?" was still pretty substantive. In particular I liked the stuff about historical memory and symbolic mismatch.
  • edited February 2012
    He is pretty cute.


    President Barack Obama talks to Secret Service Uniformed Division officers as he walks through the magnetometer in the Northwest Gatehouse at the White House, following his visit to Blair House, Dec. 9, 2011. The President told a reporter as he exited the gatehouse, "I just wanted to see what it was like getting in here." (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
  • Have you guys heard Romney's new campaign song?

    These lyrics are amazing!
  • can you summarize/quote for those of us who don't want to throw up in our mouths
  • First two verses:

    Fast, on a rough road riding
    High, through the mountains climbing
    twisting, turning further from my home.
    Young, like a new moon rising
    Fierce, through the rain and lightning
    Wandering out into this great unknown.

    And I don't want no one to cry.
    But, tell 'em if I don't survive

    I was born free!
    I was born free
    I was born free, born free.

    Free, like a river raging
    Strong as the wind I’m facing.
    Chasing dreams and racing father time.
    Deep like the grandest canyon,
    Wild like an untamed stallion.
    If you can’t see my heart you must be blind.

    You can knock me down and watch me bleed
    But you can’t keep no chains on me.

    I was born free!
    I was born free
    I was born free, born free.
  • Actually, I can kind of imagine Irene Cara singing that.
  • It's kind of evil how much fun I know you had transcribing that @kdawg. ;)
  • No way, just copy and paste!
  • i cant help but to think that the co-opting of working class music's music by the power class says something amazing about the power of popular music
  • "Affluent White Man Enjoys, Causes The Blues"
  • edited March 2012
    So, Obama's DOJ is suing school districts that fail to protect LGBT kids now. That's my president!
  • edited March 2012
    Department of Homeland Security funds "local" New York City Police counter-terrorism activities which include infiltration of Ivy League student groups throughout the Northeast.

  • edited March 2012
    That is disturbing! but where does it say anything about the Department of Homeland Security? Also, doesn't this article appear to primarily describe things that happened under the previous administration?
  • There have been a number of articles out lately from NY Times, AP and other sources about the extravagant behavior of the NYPD, their funding sources, and ties to federal authorities including the current administration.

    Here's one from Monday:
  • edited March 2012
    This AOL article from October offers a detailed and fair-minded analysis of NYPD counter-terrorism efforts in the context of Homeland Security funding and supervision.
    "New York follows its own prescription for everything it does from a counterterrorism perspective," said Robert Riegle, the former director of the State and Local Programs Office within the DHS Intelligence and Analysis Directorate.

    Riegle, who is considered the founding father of the nationwide fusion center effort, said the DHS deliberately required all of the other 72 fusion centers around the country to produce privacy and civil liberties policies before any additional federal funding was provided. But New York City never made an effort to become part of the larger national information sharing infrastructure.

    "It never even began discussions about complying with those policies," said Riegle. "They are wholly unique and amongst themselves." And they do what they want "because nobody's challenged them. Nobody has the courage politically to make them pull back," he said.
    Despite the lack of supervision, NYC received about one quarter of the total allotment of grants under the Homeland Security Department's Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) in 2010, 2011. NYC's share for those two years totaled over $300 million, more than twice the amount for any of the 30 other urban areas receiving these grants. About one fourth of NYC's UASI grant was earmarked for Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Activities. This funding does not include the White House supervised drug interdiction programs that apparently contributed to the notorious undercover surveillance work.
  • edited March 2012
    Oh, okay. You're conflating a whole range of different reckless and ridiculous things that the NYPD has done in the name of counterterrorism regardless of whether they have anything to do with the administration.

    HITDA and UASI are federal grant programs. HITDA was a program that congress began in 1990, under Bush Sr. UASI began under Bush Jr, post 9-11.

    It'd be nice to see the administration find a way to exercise some extra oversight over these grants, but in light of the unprecedented efforts they are making to curb local law enforcement overreach, I'm not particularly inclined to blame them for the actions of the NYPD, which has been reckless and ridiculous and racist since Obama was in short pants.

    but yeah a DOJ civil rights lawsuit would be a nice 2nd term project.
  • edited March 2012
    I love the language that gets used in this kind of "connect the dots" theorizing. "Ties to the administration" is such a great phrase, because it's both indisputable and meaningless. Think of Glenn Beck with his chalkboard.
  • Sorry, in my last edit of the note about UASI, I left out the dates that the $300 million was distributed to NYC. That was during fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
  • edited March 2012
    Right, but the UASI program began as a result of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. In FY2012, they spent about $490,376,000, which is down from $746,900,000 in FY2006. (NYC's piece of this budget has remained roughly constant since 2003.) These appropriations are set by congress, but Obama should get some credit for the lower figure. If I think that much of this spending is wasteful and lacks oversight, does it make sense to blame the guy that already helped cut that spending by 35%?

    I do like that AOL article, though. In contrast to some of the spooky rabblerousing you hear about fusion centers, it makes a good point that the fusion centers' emphasis on interagency cooperation creates a practical method for the federal agencies to keep tabs on local law enforcement and prevent overreach.
  • edited March 2012
    The issue, or at least the argument I think I'm having with you, @Kdawg, is whether one may have legitimate concerns about protections for civil liberties under local police agencies bulked up by federal War on Drugs and War on Terror funding, or whether such concerns are nutty, ie "black helicopters".

    You asked how those problematic NYPD activities were funded by federal Homeland Security and I provided the evidence.

    DOJ investigations of local police practices are wonderful if they aggressively express the civil liberties protections guaranteed to individuals under the constitution. In my opinion, the current President and DOJ could do much more to demonstrate their adherence to the constitutional standards that prevailed prior to the Bush/Cheney War on Terror. It is time to declare an end to the War on Terror and an end to special executive privileges, secret abrogations of due process, secret military courts, etc. I am disappointed that the current President is not taking advantage of this precious opportunity to reverse the anomalous legal readings of his predecessor.

    Apparently you don't suffer this disappointment, or don't make it a priority among your political concerns. That's cool for you. It doesn't work for me and what I want for an american republic.
  • edited March 2012
    Actually, no, you didn't provide any evidence at all that the NYPD spying on muslim ivy league students (as detailed in the colorlines article) was done with the support of DHS. You did provide evidence of other, different problematic NYPD activities that made use of some resources (cars, shared office space, computers) that were partially subsidized by federal grant programs. You can't just conflate every idiotic thing the NYPD does and pin it on DHS. It's the NYPD! There is a LOT of idiocy!

    To be clear, concerns about the NYPD's practices are valid. It's blaming these practices on Obama, implying that they happened at his or DHS's direction that I find utterly nutty. Are you arguing that there was greater federal oversight over the NYPD pre-GW Bush, and if so, can you tell me what federal agency was responsible for ensuring compliance? Are you arguing that the NYPD displayed greater compliance with civil liberties protections pre-GW Bush?

    Obama's platform in 2008 certainly never included a promise to stop giving federal grants to local police for counterterrrorism and anti-drug trafficking efforts. I can't be disappointed in the guy for not doing something he never promised to do.
  • edited March 2012
    I thought the CIA was part of Homeland Security too. My bad!

    Wall St. Journal - Jan 27, 2012
    NEW YORK — The CIA officer working as a special assistant to the New York Police Department's top intelligence officer will leave his post in April after nine months, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday....

    Associated Press - Aug 24, 2011
    NEW YORK (Associated Press)-- Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the New York Police Department has become one of the nation's most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government, an Associated Press investigation has found.

    These operations have benefited from unprecedented help from the CIA, a partnership that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying.
    Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which has given NYPD more than $1.6 billion since 9/11, is told exactly what's going on.

    Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit.

    A veteran CIA officer, while still on the agency's payroll, was the architect of the NYPD's intelligence programs. The CIA trained a police detective at the Farm, the agency's spy school in Virginia, then returned him to New York, where he put his new espionage skills to work inside the United States.

    And just last month, the CIA sent a senior officer to work as a clandestine operative inside police headquarters.

    Here is a photo from yesterday. The AP reporters that broke the surveillance story last August just won Harvard University's Goldsmith prize for journalism.



  • The AP story is great! But it also contains absolutely nothing that connects Barack to the NYPD actions and notes that the federal gov has very limited oversight over the NYPD. In fact, Barack isn't even mentioned in the article.

    (Incidentally, the colorlines story doesn't mention the CIA either--you've offered no evidence of CIA involvement in that particular example of bad NYPD behavior.)

  • edited March 2012
    Well, here is a quote from one of the AP pieces cited in the Colorlines article with a link:
    "In recent months, the AP has revealed secret programs the NYPD built with help from the CIA to monitor Muslims at the places where they eat, shop and worship. The AP also published details about how police placed undercover officers at Muslim student associations in colleges within the city limits..."
    In other news....

    George Lakoff offers his signature advice to Democrats tempted to dismiss the long-term resonance of the Santorum candidacy. He also makes a case for engaging every local and congressional race.

    I think he is right about stuff like.... why Democrats govern weakly, often lose, and disappoint their supporters.

    Maybe someday Democrats will learn how to do it right.*

    *(I think Jefferson Smith is a good example of a Democrat who does it right. He organizes his language to explain, define, and constantly reinforce the values that drive his actions in the political arena. )

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