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Wisconsin GOP: Winning hearts and minds, continued

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Mafia -style politics in Madison? This is the text of the email that went out yesterday to Wisconsin Republicans from their Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald. Stunning, isn’t it? It’s as if these people have no clue what is about to hit them.

From: Sen.Fitzgerald
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 3:52 PM
To: *Legislative Senate Republicans
Subject: Senate Democrat voting privileges in standing committees

Dear Members,

With the return of the Senate Democrats this weekend, questions have arisen regarding Democrat members’ participation in Senate standing committee public hearings and executive sessions.

Please note that all 14 Democrat senators are still in contempt of the Senate. Therefore, when taking roll call votes on amendments and bills during executive sessions, Senate Democrats’ votes will not be reflected in the Records of Committee Proceedings or the Senate Journal. They are free to attend hearings, listen to testimony, debate legislation, introduce amendments, and cast votes to signal their support/opposition, but those votes will not count, and will not be recorded.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact my office.

Thank you,

Scott Fitzgerald
Senate Majority Leader
13th Senate District

Below, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald discusses his version of democracy(!!), but look what happened when the Wisconsin 14 actually did return. Fitzgerald thinks he can have it both ways. He’s wrong. What an appalling hypocritical scumbag this man is. I will look forward to his recall and hope it’s chock full of juicy Republican schadenfreude, because Republican schadenfreude is the best kind of schadenfreude there is. (And how fucking dumb—and politically tone-deaf—would you have to be to make a statement like this with THAT racket in the background? Fitzgerald only appears slightly less stupid than Sarah Palin did when she pardoned the turkey... and that’s nothin’ to be proud of, pal.)
 

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Wisconsin union protests larger than any Tea party rally

 

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Via The Raw Story:

Police estimated that more than 100,000 people flooded the streets around the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison Saturday, making the turnout larger than any of the fledgling Tea Party’s rallies. The largest turnout for a Tea Party rally is the estimated crowd of 60,000 to 70,000 people who marked in Washington, D.C. during the group’s September 12, 2009 demonstration.

The 2009 Tea Party rally’s crowd size is also notable for the controversy that surrounded it. ABC News published a piece claiming conservative activists had told them that 1 million to 1.5 million people turned out at the rally, when the corrected number was only a fraction of that size.

Below, an amazing time lapse document of events in Madison. Comprised of 2940 photos of protesters on the square.
 

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Live from the class war in Madison, Wisconsin!

Live video feeds from the pro-labor protests in Madison, Wisconsin. Want to see history being made? Tune in, this is the most important development in American life in many decades. If you don’t understand why, you need to educate yourself and pay more attention. You can support the effort to fire Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican cronies by contributing to the official PCCC Wisconsin Recall campaign via ActBlue. Even if you can only give $3, every little bit helps.

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“MOVE YOUR MONEY!” Union firefighters shut down Wisconsin bank that supported Republicans/Walker
03.12.2011
11:41 am

Topics:
Class War
Current Events

Tags:
Wisconsin
pro labor

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Firefighters know that sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and they’re taking steps to make sure that the obscene fatcats who run Wisconsin’s Marshall & Ilsley Corp (a bank holding company) understand exactly what’s at stake in labor’s fight against an increasingly backed-against-the-wall Scott Walker and the Republicans: The survival of their own incomes. There’s no question about it, they’ve got these assholes by the balls. Why should the working people of Wisconsin entrust their hard-earned savings to the very people who are helping screw them over? Here’s more from Daily Kos:

What these pictures show are six hundred ordinary citizens descending on the M&I branch near the Wisconsin Capitol after learning of their purchase of the gubernatorial election last November. Two firefighters with old school ideas about saving had over $600,000 between the two of them and they demanded cashier’s checks on the spot.

Not everyone has the purchase price of a couple of homes sitting in the bank, but if the 60% of Wisconsin that’s sick to death of Scott Walker’s behavior simply go close their accounts the bank will crash and they’ll have stripped him of the funds he needs to fight the recall next January.

 
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M&I closed for the rest of the day, obviously hoping to avoid a run on their bank. As if that will ultimately matter! The power is—clearly—NOT in the hands of the elite this time, is it? In a sense, it never was. It’s about time the man on the street realized that.

This is a brilliant tactical move. I hope this hand is played for everything it’s worth! More from Dane101.com

When the firefighters arrived at the Capitol this morning they started the chant “MOVE YOUR MONEY!” Firefighters Local 311 President Joe Conway told the audience they should move their money out of M&I Bank. The bank was one of the leading contributors to the Walker campaign due to contributions by current and former executives and board members. Detailed contributions are available via the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. In a statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last month the bank said “Individual employees may choose, at their own discretion and based on their political beliefs, to make contributions to political campaigns.”

Following speeches by Conway and Wisconsin Professional Firefighters Association Mahlon Mitchell, the firefighters marched to the M&I Bank across the street and picketed the bank and withdrew $192,00. Video of the firefighters arriving this morning and part of Conway’s speech is posted below.

M&I Bank received $1.7 billion in bailout money via President George W. Bush’s Troubled Assets Relief Program. The bank was acquired by the Bank of Montreal in December of 2010 for $4.1 billion in stock.

 

 
Wanna get even angrier? Read more about Marshall & IlsleyI: This Bank Executive Took TARP Money, Never Paid It Back, And Now He’ll Get $18 Million If He’s Fired (Business Insider)

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Democracy trampled: Watch the working man in Wisconsin get screwed over in real time

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Boy, considering what this is—and how utterly appalling it is—not all that many views so far. Watch in horror as decades of hard-fought labor gains are done away with within a matter of minutes by some over-reaching Republican bastards politicians in Wisconsin… Did anyone actually see any of this on TV? I didn’t.
 

 
Thank you Chris Musgrave!

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Real road sign in Wisconsin?

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Contribute now to the official PCCC Wisconsin Recall campaign!

After ignoring the public and voting to attack working families, Wisconsin’s Republican state senators need to be punished. We are mobilizing volunteers and preparing new TV, radio, and online ads that urge the recall of vulnerable Republican senators—can you chip in $3 to our recall fund?

Via Mike Hudack

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Stephen King takes a stand against the class war in America
03.10.2011
01:27 pm

Topics:
Class War
Current Events
Heroes

Tags:
pro labor
Stephen King

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Millionaire author Stephen King (who came from humble beginnings) on the Tea party, union-busting Republican weenies and why rich people like him should pay at least half of their income in taxes. Taped on March 8th at the “Awake the State” rally in Sarasota, Florida.

“And remember, when these people talk to you about it, if you like your weekend, thank a union guy. If you like a 40-hour week, thank a union guy. If you like a day’s honest pay for a day’s honest work, thank a union guy!”

Good on Stephen King. He’s a stand-up guy and a good American.
 

 
Via Cynical-C

 

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Should there be a General Strike?

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There’s been a lot of talk today of how there should be a general strike to support the public unions of Wisconsin. I was raised in a union family, my father worked at the telephone company and was a member of the C.W.A. (Communications Workers of America). I’ve been a member of two unions myself, first the UFCW (I worked in a grocery store as a teen) and later I was briefly a member of IATSE in my early twenties.  None of this, of course, qualifies me to be able to offer meaningful advice on what the unions should do next, and I wouldn’t deign to try, but last night as I watched the live feed from the Wisconsin capitol building (which I was glued to for hours last night, I couldn’t take my eyes off it) I listened to the words a gentleman who did have some sage advice to offer.

I don’t know who he was, but when the interviewer asked him if he had plans to sleep in the capital that night, he said that he was thinking about it, but that he had to get up really early to do TV and radio interviews. He was super articulate and knew the history of the labor movement in America, cold. He could cite facts, figures, dates, court cases, going back over 100 years. He was an expert’s expert on the topic. Again, I have no idea who he was, but his intelligence was very impressive to me, his calm was comforting, and his logic compelling. He was probably a spokesperson for one of the unions, but until I see his face again, that’s all I can say. He had brown hair and a mustache and was in his mid-50s.

The gist of what he said, though, was that a general strike NOW was probably a very bad strategic move, at least at this still beginning stage of the game. His reasoning was as follows:

1) It was too early to be threatening a general strike because once it had occurred, if the Republicans didn’t budge—and since Walker sees himself as Reagan Jr. that seems likely as shit—the unions will have played their big card. General strikes have been historically difficult to maintain in America. He said he didn’t expect that the fight had dug in hard enough to keep it going. Yet.

He felt it was better to ratchet it up slowly, keep applying the same sorts of pressure that the crowds had been applying throughout the conflict with Republicans, begin the recall efforts targeting the weakest GOP members of the state assembly immediately and to not let anger cause any unpleasant media images that would be to the Republican advantage in a propaganda war.

2) His second reason was that the endgame of this entire episode is much more likely to be decided in a courtroom than via any other method.

Food for thought. I’m not saying he’s right, but before I heard the man speak I’d have been hellbent on seeing a general strike. And he didn’t say it was a bad idea or that a general strike wouldn’t wouldn’t ultimately be necessary, but that it wasn’t necessary YET. 

Above all he advocated keeping cool heads and he’s absolutely right about that.

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Michael Moore to Rachel Maddow on Wisconsin: ‘This Is War’

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On her Wednesday show, Rachel Maddow and filmmaker Michael Moore both agreed that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s Republicans will lose what Moore called a “class war” being waged against the working class.

The two were reacting to Wednesday’s sudden passage of a measure in the Wisconsin Senate to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights—something only accomplished through an unheard-of parliamentary maneuver.

Before bringing Moore on, Maddow said that the Wisconsin Republicans had awoken a “dragon.” And she sent a message to the Democrats as well. “When people who have to work for a living are directly attacked…they fight back,” she said. “And they are expecting the Democratic Party to stand with them.”

Moore then came on the show. He told people to go to Madison right away. “This is war,” he said. “This is a class war.”

He also expressed optimism about the outcome of the Wisconsin fight. “Everything has turned in favor of the working people,” he said.

Maddow said that the “political brittleness” of what Walker and other Republicans were attempting was working against them.“All it takes is some political pushback against that and it collapses,” she said.

Moore then echoed the speech he gave in Madison last weekend, which drew widespread attention.

“Wisconsin’s not broke,” he said. “America isn’t broke. The money’s just not in the people’s hands. It’s in the hands of the rich, the people who committed these crimes and got away with it.” He held up a pair of handcuffs and looked at the camera.

“I’d like anybody who works on Wall Street, anybody who works for the banks, just take a look at this,” he said. “This is what’s coming. This is what’s coming for you. Because the people are going to demand justice, they’re going to demand that your ass is in jail.”

 

 
Via HuffPo

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LIVE video feed from the Wisconsin class war
03.09.2011
07:27 pm

Topics:
Class War

Tags:
Wisconsin
pro labor

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History in the making!  You make us all proud!

Anne Habel, a steward with AFSCME Local 171, said Wednesday’s action will further inflame the unions, which have staged daily protests since Walker introduced his budget repair bill in mid-February. “Every time something happens, people become more militant,” Habel said.”

Ted Lewis, a union representative for Rock Valley Education Professionals, led protesters in a cheer referring to the effort to recall the governor, in office for just two tumultuous months.

“Scott you don’t remember me,” Lewis chanted, “but I can recall you.”

As Wisconsin goes, so goes the nation.
 

Watch live streaming video from theuptake at livestream.com

 

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How history will remember Gov. Scott Walker

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Look at this face, look at this ridiculously stupid, Republican-looking face, the most Republican-looking face I have ever seen.

When I look at Scott Walker’s wimpy, goofy face, he’s like an ICON of idiocy to me. He’s a GOP Alfred E. Neuman. As if his DNA was CAST by fate itself for the role of a GOP *fool* for the national stage.

Scott Walker is labor’s BEST FRIEND since Jimmy Hoffa, in a perverse sense. He’s going to go down in history as the guy who broke the glass and pulled the alarm on all out class war in America.

A war the people are going to win this time.

The Democrats should trademark his stupid face and have it etched on urinal cakes and distributed nationwide…

Look at the face of this delusional man whose misguided, strong-arm tactics will help end the Republican party in America for good this time.

Gov. Scott Walker seems intent on pouring gasoline on the class war, but it’s only going to burn his own political career to the ground, bring his political party into a fight with its own fucking citizenry—that it can’t possibly win!—and see him go down in history as one of America’s single biggest assholes…

BREAKING NEWS: Collective bargaining bill appears to be on its way to passage tonight

In a surprise move late Wednesday, Senate Republicans voted to move forward with the governor’s controversial budget repair bill, sending the measure to a Senate-Assembly conference committee, which quickly adopted a version of the bill that both houses will vote on.

It was unclear how the Senate, which has been deadlocked after the body’s 14 Democrats fled the state last month denying it the quorum needed to vote on a fiscal bill, was able to advance the legislation to this point.

Republican leaders would only say the Senate bill differed from the Assembly bill and, after voting to take up a couple of Assembly amendments, indicated it was possible that lawmakers could strip fiscal elements from the proposal and pass only measures dealing with collective bargaining.

Such a move could allow Republicans to pass the governor’s bill without the 20 Senate members needed to vote on fiscal matters. Currently 14 Democratic senators remain in Illinois, hiding out in an effort to deny the quorum and stall the vote.

If the Republicans move forward with their plans, it would be a major reversal for Gov. Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. Both have contended that the bill is fiscal in nature and thus the collective bargaining could not be stripped from the measure.

Democratic Senators on Wednesday immediately criticized the move and said there was a possibility they would come back Wednesday night to fight the bill on the floor. The senators said the Republicans maneuver proves their goal has had more to do with ending collective bargaining for public employees and less to do with balancing the budget.

“They have been saying all along that this is a fiscal item; we’ve been saying it is not,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, from Illinois. “They have been lying. Their goal is to bust up the unions.”

Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, called the maneuver undemocratic and “almost barbaric.”

“There’s going to be a public hanging of public employee unions at the Capitol tomorrow if it comes out as I expect,” he said, referring to the provisions meant to strip most collective bargaining rights from public employee unions.

Groups that have been protesting the bill for more than three weeks began issuing urgent appeals Wednesday evening for supporters to come to the Capitol to oppose the move.

It’s gonna be a party tonight in Madison!

Viva the people of Wisconsin! America is behind you!

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‘SHAME’: Angry Wisconsinites shut down GOP town hall meeting

 
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin Town Hall Meeting, 3/7/11

“State reps Jim Sensenbrenner and Leah Vukmir, of the 5th Senate District, walked out on their unhappy constituents after about 30 minutes of threatening to do so because attendees wanted to discuss the political unrest in Wisconsin.”

As Wisconsin goes so will the nation…

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Gov. Walker job approval poll

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No comment.

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Michael Moore on the Class War: Wisconsin shows America how it’s done

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Michael Moore’s speech in Wisconsin is truly a MASTERPIECE of political oratory. You have to watch it, it’s absolutely riveting. One of the most vital statements of brutal political and economic fact that an American citizen has ever said with the eyes of the world upon them (and Moore’s never been shy in that department, has he?). To Michael Moore, I say “Bravo, sir.” And to the brave working (and retired!) people of Wisconsin and the Democrats on the lam fighting these over-reaching Republican goons on our behalf, you are the very, very best amongst us in a dark time in our nation’s history.

Heroes. Citizens.

Citizens. Heroes.

Talk about speaking truth to power, this is a knock-out. Moore’s words, the crowd, the moment. It’s stunning theater.

The fight in Wisconsin makes me prouder to be an American than I have ever been in my entire life. It makes me glad to be alive right now as the scales fall from the eyes of so many people at once all over the world.

The best part is that you know damned well that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin and the rest of the gasbag rightwing punditocracy are going to pull this speech apart tomorrow. Translation: Every one of those fuckers will have to watch it. Brilliant!

I laughed, I cried and I felt REALLY REALLY HAPPY AND ENERGIZED. What a fantastic gesture for Michael Moore to make and it came at EXACTLY THE RIGHT TIME.

That speech was a profound shot of adrenaline. A part of history. A thing of great beauty.

Please watch forward his speech to everyone you know and have ever met or will meet in the future. Here’s how it starts out:

America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it’s not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer “bailout” of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we’d have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic—and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

 
A commenter on YouTube quipped “Imagine if Obama gave a speech like that!” Worth pondering. I hope that the President at least watches this speech, that would be a start in the right direction!
 

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Wisconsin class war in perspective: Walker’s false choice
03.04.2011
12:42 pm

Topics:

Tags:
Wisconsin
pro labor
Gov. Scott Walker
Richard Trumka

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I was happy to see that the following guest column by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka that appears in today’s Wall Street Journal (of all places!) had been liberated elsewhere so no one had to pay Rupert Murdoch to read it… Love this, Trumka says some important things here. If the state workers in Wisconsin—teachers, for god’s sake—were not to blame for the economic debacle, then why should they be expected to fix it?

Please forward this, FB share it and Twitter it. This needs to get out from behind the WSJ’s pay-wall:

Close to 200,000 working Wisconsinites have been given the following option by Gov. Scott Walker: If you want to keep your job, give up your rights. If you want to keep your rights, you’re going to be laid off.

This is downright un-American. The governor’s choice is a false one, manufactured for political reasons.

The real question, the one at the heart of our economic debate, is this: Do we continue down a path that delivers virtually all income growth to the richest 1% of Americans, or do we commit to rebuilding a thriving middle class?

We believe to address this question, it’s crucial that we sit down at the table together and find a way to grow without taking more away from the middle class.

The business climate couldn’t be stronger. Corporate profits reached an annualized level of $1.7 trillion in the third quarter of 2010, the highest figure since the government began keeping statistics 60 years ago.

But, as we’ve seen, high corporate profits aren’t enough to drive robust and equitable economic growth. Three years after the onset of this epic recession, unemployment is still near double digits, millions of Americans are facing home foreclosure, and wages have been stagnant. In our consumer-driven economy, that pulls down businesses as well as tax revenues. Our entire economy is weaker when we have the kind of income inequality that we have today.

The freedom of workers to come together to bargain for decent living standards, safe workplaces, and dignity on the job has been a cornerstone of building our middle class. It’s also recognized in Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This right ensures that there is sufficient spending power to drive the consumer demand, which makes up two-thirds of our GDP. And it benefits all Americans—not just those who are in unions.

It’s no secret that boosting corporate profits no longer translates into shared prosperity. Many private-sector companies have gone to extraordinary lengths in recent years to effectively eliminate the freedom of workers to come together to bargain to lift living standards. That’s one reason middle-class wages have stagnated since the 1970s, and why the U.S. is at risk of becoming an hourglass economy—one with all the income at the top and people at the bottom.

Sadly, a group of radical Republican governors is working overtime to export the most short-sighted private-sector labor practices into the public sector. Not only are they demanding steep cuts in wages and pensions for public workers, they also want to take away workplace rights, so that workers can no longer bargain for better compensation and benefits.

Their claim is that public workers have become parasites, busting state budgets with bloated wages and benefits at a terrible cost to taxpayers.

But average citizens have little interest in taking away workers’ rights. According to a CBS/New York Times survey, Americans support bargaining rights for public workers by a nearly two-to-one margin. Despite their best efforts, governors like Scott Walker haven’t convinced Americans that public workers are at fault for state budget woes.

Nor does economic research support their arguments. When adjusted for education, experience and training, the data show that public-sector workers are paid less than their private-sector counterparts. Right now, state and municipal budgets are in trouble primarily because of high unemployment, falling incomes, and losses in the stock market. Together, these lead to lower tax revenues and depleted pension funds.

It wasn’t teachers or firefighters or nurses who crashed the stock market and caused the recession that led to millions of layoffs and foreclosures. It was the so-called engine of our economy—Wall Street—which has suffered no consequence after nearly destroying the global financial system in 2008. Wall Street bonuses averaged over $128,000 per person in 2010, more than six times the average pension for a retired public-service worker in Wisconsin.

So here’s working America’s message to governors like Scott Walker and New Jersey’s Chris Christie: We believe in shared sacrifice. But we don’t believe in your version of shared sacrifice, where the wealthy and Wall Street reap all the benefits of economic growth, and working people do all the sacrificing.

We need to improve the climate for America’s middle class. We need tough rules to protect the health of workers and consumers, fair taxes on the super-rich to support decent public services, fair trade policies, and a 21st century approach to workplace rights, which recognizes that high-performance enterprises depend on making employees a part of the team.

That’s a recipe that can repair not only our budgets, but also our body politic.

AMEN TO THAT.

But I do have just one question for the esteemed Mr.Trumka: “Where’s your buddy Obama?”
 
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