Was 2020 Just A Dress Rehearsal?

If you thought the chaos and violence that surrounded last year’s presidential election was bad, many speculate that what will happen in 2024 will make 2020 look like a walk in the park.  Take a look at what Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt has to say … a view that is shared by many political analysts today.


Voter suppression is bad. But this tactic is even worse.

Opinion by 

Fred Hiatt

Editorial page editor

President Donald Trump’s effort to steal the 2020 presidential election fell short. Now Republicans across the country are promoting changes to laws and personnel that could allow him — or someone like him — to succeed in 2024.

I’m not referring to the hundreds of GOP proposals in statehouses across the country that will make it harder for many people, in particular Black Democrats, to vote. Those measures are egregious and offensive. They are the strategy of a party that has given up on winning by putting forward more appealing policies and candidates and so hopes to win by keeping as many of its opponents away from the ballot box as possible.

What I’m talking about is in some ways even more insidious: an insurance policy to potentially steal the election if the vote-suppression strategy fails.

Recall Trump’s post-election campaign last fall. Having lost decisively, he thought he could pressure local and state officials to nullify the results.

He implored the Republican majority in the Pennsylvania legislature to defy their people’s will and appoint a slate of electors who would vote for him in Washington.

He urged the Georgia secretary of state to claim that Joe Biden’s victory there was fraudulent.

He pressured the Michigan Board of State Canvassers not to certify Biden’s clear victory in their state.

He failed because enough local officials had more integrity and courage than a majority of the Republican caucus in the U.S. House has mustered. The leaders of the Pennsylvania legislature said they didn’t have the authority to do what Trump was demanding. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger simply refused to go along. One of two Republicans on the Michigan board caved to the pressure, but the other, Aaron Van Langevelde, listened to his conscience, and his vote alongside the board’s two Democrats was enough to turn aside Trump’s attempted theft.

All of this was inspiring to many of us. To the anti-democracy forces ascendant in the Republican Party, it provided a challenge and a road map.

Michigan Republicans chose not to nominate Van Langevelde to another term. Raffensperger will face a primary challenge from an amplifier of Trump’s lies about election fraud, Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), who already has Trump’s endorsement.

“At the end of the day, there were good people on both sides of the aisle who were determined to protect people’s right to vote,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said in a meeting with Post reporters and editors this month. “If those people change in 2022, then you have a scenario in 2024 where the good people who protected their states in 2020 aren’t there any more.”

Nor are the anti-democracy forces focused only on top officials. Another Democratic secretary of state, Arizona’s Katie Hobbs, told us that “people around the state are very worried that they’re going to come infiltrate poll workers in the next election.” The law requires a balance of Republicans and Democrats as poll workers — but, Hobbs noted, “it’s very easy to change your affiliation from R to D.”

As they target the people and positions that stood in their way last time, they also are attempting to change the rules, so a pro-Trump legislature could more easily override the will of the people — and the objections of any honest secretary of state who stood in the way.

“In 2021, state legislatures across the country — through at least 148 bills filed in 36 states — are moving to muscle their way into election administration, as they attempt to dislodge or unsettle the executive branch and/or local election officials who, traditionally, have run our voting systems.”

That is the conclusion of a recent report, “A Democracy Crisis in the Making,” by two nonpartisan organizations, States United Democracy Center and Protect Democracy, and a nonprofit law firm in Wisconsin, Law Forward.

“Had these bills been in place in 2020,” the report found, “they would have significantly added to the turmoil that surrounded the election, and they would have raised the alarming prospect that the outcome of the presidential election could have been decided contrary to how the people voted.”

One such measure was included in Georgia’s recent electoral “reform.” While many of us paid attention to the mean-spirited ban on giving water to people waiting in line — and understandably so — the intrusion of the legislature into the counting process could have far more nefarious consequences.

This is why it matters so much that Trump continues to lie about 2020, and that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and most of his party have abjectly surrendered to the lie. It’s not just about history. The lie is being used to give cover for actions that in 2024 could turn the big lie into the big steal.

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

Our good friend David from ‘cross the pond has clearly assessed our situation here. He and other friends in the UK, Germany, Australia and elsewhere see our situation quite clearly and are sending us good vibes, hoping we can survive and overcome this madness. Thank you, David.

The BUTHIDARS

There was a time this blog would only contain posts relating to peace in the world and the value of Hugs. Of equality and of reminding the world if we have, we must not stint of sharing. We cannot accept the fate of children starving in Africa, and yet these days we cannot accept of children starving in so called civilised societies.

I needn’t go into the fact that there has been an election in the United States. The statement would normally end there and life would go on as normal until the change of one President for another and new people in all the top jobs. Things are hugely different this year since the President would not accept he results of the election claiming massive voter fraud by Joe Biden and his Democrat election team. I have no idea whether the President actually believed his own hype since he’s…

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Republican Congressman slams Trump loyalists

Won’t you all be glad when (if) the day comes that we have better things to write about than Trump? I know I will, but for today … sigh. Our friend Keith writes of yet another Republican member of Congress who has stepped off of the Trump train … now if only the rest would consider the fate of the nation rather than their own … Thanks, Keith, for keeping us informed!

musingsofanoldfart

An article entitled “GOP Lawmaker Slams Republican Trump Loyalists, Calls MAGA Base ‘Anti-American,’ Says He’s ‘Damn Sick of It'” by Christina Zhao of Newsweek reveals that more Republicans are saying the obvious about their party leader and silent colleagues. Here are the first three paragraphs:

Outgoing Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman of Virginia on Saturday unleashed a barrage of criticism againstDonald Trump, his allies and ‘anti-American’ supporters, as the president continues to cast doubt on his election loss.

Riggleman is among the few Republicans who have acknowledged President-electJoe Biden‘s victory over Trump. Most media outlets called the election for the Democrat, who has secured 306 Electoral College votes, over two weeks ago, but Trump has refused to concede.

In an interview withForbes, Riggleman condemned his fellow Republicans for remaining quiet amid Trump’s attempts to cast doubt on the election process by claiming a ‘rigged and stolen”…

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A Few Filosofian Thoughts …

Just a few thoughts bouncing around in my mind today …

In case you haven’t seen any news outside of the ongoing U.S. election, a new strain of the coronavirus has broken out in Denmark.  Kåre Mølbak, head of the State Serum Institute, the national authority for the control of infectious diseases, said the strain posed a potential threat to the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.  Additionally, he said …

“The worst-case scenario is that we would start off a new pandemic in Denmark. There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from the others that we’d have to put new things in a vaccine and therefore would slam us all in the whole world back to the start.”

Denmark has taken strict measures to attempt to isolate the virus, imposing tighter lockdown measures and closing restaurants and bars.  I’m not suggesting it’s time to worry, but we definitely need to be aware of this, and it’s very doubtful you’ll hear much about it with the election sucking all the air out of the room.  In fact, I strongly suspect news of this may be suppressed or downplayed by the White House.

And speaking of the pandemic …

The U.S. set yet another new record yesterday with 108,389 new cases, 1,201 deaths.  No, my friends, we have not ’rounded a corner’ and it is not ‘going away’.


I’m thoroughly puzzled over the calls by Trump and by Trump supporters in certain states demanding “Stop the counting!”  WTF???  Every vote is to be counted … that’s the only way to ensure a fair and honest election – or as close as we can come to one, given that the electoral college effectively diminishes some of our voices.  So … if I’m understanding this, they want to stop the counting of the absentee votes because Donald Trump realizes that the majority of those votes may be for his opponent, Joe Biden?  How utterly ridiculous is this?  In Arizona, armed Trump supporters presented at a vote-counting center, even trying to push their way into the building, until being told to leave by law enforcement.  🙄


Yesterday, the U.S. officially exited the Paris Climate Accords, becoming the first nation to exit the agreement, to fail to honour its commitment.  The news, like most other, was barely noted in the shadow of the election coverage, but in truth it was only a legality, for the U.S. has failed to honour that commitment for nearly four years now.  This is only one of the many reasons the U.S. has lost stature in the eyes of the world, but it is arguably the single most important one, for the future of every living thing on the planet relies on all nations doing their part to reduce carbon emissions, to clean up the environment, reduce the use of plastics, and preserve wildlife.  The U.S. under Trump scoffs at all of the above, taking on a “live for today and to hell with tomorrow” attitude.


And as for the election … while I’m more optimistic about Joe Biden’s chances to win than I was 36 hours ago, I’m disappointed in the Senate and House results.  The failure of democrats to win a majority in the Senate mean that if Biden is president, he will be constantly fighting an uphill battle for everything from his cabinet choices to court appointments to any legislation he might ask for.  This can only serve to further divide this nation if that’s even possible.  I am also disappointed in the behaviour of some of the people in this country who apparently believe that “might equals right”, and are waving their guns threatening violence.  And as for the incumbent who is panicking and doing all sorts of asinine things such as filing lawsuits to try to stop vote-counting in certain states, well … what did you expect, folks?  I’ll have more to say on it all later, but for now, suffice it to say that his behaviour is exactly what I expected and frankly, I’m finding it boring. 🥱  I hope that when all the votes are tallied, this nation elects a responsible man instead of a sadistic clown.


And on that note, I leave you with a bit of election humour …

toon-1toon-2toon-3

The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/22

As always, our friend TokyoSand has found the best of the best political cartoons this week. Some will bring a smile, others a growl, but they sum up the state of our nation with few or no words … such talent! Thanks again, TS!

Political⚡Charge

ByRick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

This week, editorial cartoonists captured the latest with the Post Office, as well as the Democratic Convention, Steve Bannon getting arrested, Trump trying to “cancel” Goodyear Tires in Ohio, and more.

Which one is your favorite this week?

Democratic Convention

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

ByMatt Wuerker, Politico

ByClay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

ByMike Thompson, Detroit Free Press

ByChristopher Weyant

ByBill Bramhall, New York Daily News

ByClay Jones

The Post Office

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ByMichael de Adder

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

By Dan Wasserman

By Walt Handelsman,The Advocate

By Mark Fiore, KQED News

Steve Bannon Arrested

ByMonte Wolverton

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByRick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

Trump Attacks Goodyear

By eighthourlunch

ByJack Ohman, The…

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America Needs an Election Intervention

Jeff over at On the Fence Voters, like most of us, has been giving a lot of thought to the upcoming election. He shares some of those thoughts and a possible solution to the dreaded scenarios that have played through our heads, in his post tonight. Please take a minute to read his thoughts, and let him know what you think. Thanks Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

Since the year 2000, we’ve had three presidential elections that we could easily question the final results. We know about the fiasco with George W. Bush against Al Gore and the hanging chads, not to mention the purging of African-American voters by his brother and then Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush. Oh, and of course, the Supreme Court weighing in by stopping the recount as well.

There was also the election of 2004 when John Kerry lost Ohio by roughly 118,000 votes. Still, there were questions at the time of voting irregularities and purges of Democratic voters by then Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. It didn’t matter in the long run because Kerry conceded the election and never demanded a recount.

And in 2016, with a little help from the Russians and voter suppression, the future worst president of the United States was elected. Here we are on the…

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Out of the pool

Once again, our friend Keith has been thinking and come up with some ideas that I think have a great deal of merit. Granted, they will likely never see the light of day, but … I surely wish they would. Heck, I’m all for starting a campaign to elect Keith Wilson as the next president of the United States! All in favour? Thank you, Keith, for some excellent thoughts.

musingsofanoldfart

I think it is time to fire any politician in Washington who is forgetting why they are there. We could start with the White House incumbent and then take out hundreds of members of Congress in both Houses. I understand fully Congress must investigate and provide oversight over the Executive Branch. That is part of their job and the current incumbent has given them cause to dig further.

Yet, I have this simple idea that leaders of both houses sit down with legislative liaisons from the White House and figure out some things they can pass and sign into law. I think a civilian board could list about a dozen major issues to focus on and say work these out. It should not take a civilian board, but these folks are too beholden to funders to come up with a workable list.

A key reason for not listing the problems…

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Mitch McConnell: Enemy of the People

Senator Mitch McConnell has gone too far, has far overstepped his bounds.  In fact, it would seem that there are no limits, no boundaries to what McConnell believes is within his rights.

There is hard, irrefutable, fact-based evidence that the Russians interfered in numerous ways with our 2016 election, likely the only reason we have a madman in the Oval Office today.  Set aside for the moment the issue of how involved Donald Trump’s campaign was with the Russian efforts, for while that is important, today I wish to address something else. mcconnell-2Our intelligence agencies have warned that the Russians are already up to their shenanigans in an effort to do a repeat performance in 2020.  Even Trump’s butt-kissing Attorney General Barr has said that conditions still exist that would allow this scenario to repeat in 2020.  FBI Director Christopher Wray and Robert Mueller have warned that if we do nothing, the 2020 election will be compromised.

Last year, a bill with bipartisan support in the Senate, the Secure Elections Act, that would have …

  • Promoted better information sharing about cybersecurity threats
  • Funded improvements to state election systems and processes through federal grants
  • Established a bug bounty program to uncover new vulnerabilities in election systems

Not enough, but a darn good start.  The bill was squelched just 90 minutes before it was set to be heard on August 22nd.  We now know who squelched it … Mitch McConnell.  Today, there are three bills in the Senate that address election security:

  • Protecting the Right to Independent and Democratic Elections (PRIDE) Act
  • Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act
  • Honest Ads Act, which would give online political ads the same disclosure requirements as political ads on television and other media

All three were introduced last year and re-introduced this year after the 115th Congress failed to act.  And, it looks as if the 116th will also fail to act, all because of one man:  Mitch McConnell.mcconnell-1Last week, it came to light from another senator, Roy Blunt of Missouri, that McConnell has made it quite clear that he will not allow the Senate to consider any election security bills.  Process that for a minute.  One man … one single man has the power to ensure that we will have an election, perhaps the most important election in our lifetimes, that completely lacks integrity.

His reason appears to be that any talk of the 2016 Russian interference upsets Donald Trump, and McConnell, among others, lacks the courage, the guts, to stand up to Trump and do the right thing.  How does such a wimp get elected to the Senate to begin with, let alone stay there for thirty-four years?  Mitch is 77 years of age … he’s well past his prime and is another of those old, bigoted white men that we need to purge from Congress!

This is the third time in a week that I have heard of people doing the wrong thing for the sole purpose of protecting Don Trump’s fragile ego.  Wake up, people!  Don Trump is 72 years old, not two.  If he couldn’t take the heat, he should have stayed out of the kitchen!

There is but one republican in all of Congress who I can respect, who has courage, who is not attached by puppet strings to Donald Trump, and that is Justin Amash.  But again, that is a story for another day.

I don’t know about you folks, but I am livid at the thought that an elected official, one who has been taking taxpayer money for 34 years now, would so blatantly act against the best interests of every single person in this nation in order to keep Trump happy, for everyone knows that if you make Trump angry, he will call you names.

Consider for a moment the results of the Russian interference in 2016.  We ended up with the most corrupt president the nation has ever seen.  A madman, a warmonger, a fool who acts first and thinks later, if he thinks at all.  And now, according to McConnell, we may well end up stuck with him for at least another four years, just because Mitch wishes to stay in the good graces of that same fool?  Not only that, but quite possibly the interference will filter down to congressional elections also, and it may be that he who gets the most votes … loses.

We’ve heard a lot about ‘obstruction of justice’ lately … is what McConnell is doing not also obstruction of justice?  He is, after all, keeping Congress from doing their job and denying the people of this nation, the people who pay his salary, the right to a fair and unfettered election.

The True Cost of Trumpism

I was reading a column by Max Boot in The Washington Post a day or two ago about Trump’s decisions regarding the Middle East, and the damage he is causing to our alliances, when one sentence jumped out at me:

“It’s dangerous to have a president who truly does not know what he is talking about.”

We can sugar-coat issues and say that Trump is merely playing to his base, which is partly true, but the bottom line is that Mr. Boot is right … Trump does not know what he’s talking about and it is dangerous … very dangerous.

Freedom House is a U.S.-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights.  The organization’s annual Freedom in the World report, which assesses each country’s degree of political freedoms and civil liberties, is frequently cited by political scientists, journalists, and policymakers.  The latest annual report was released on Tuesday, February 5th, and I think it’s important that we think about what it says.  The report is too long for me to replicate here, but I would urge you to read some of it, at least the section on the U.S. — The Struggle Comes Home:  Attacks on Democracy in the United States.  Meanwhile, I have included some of the most relevant points.  All highlighting is my own.

Freedom report

At the midpoint of his term, however, there remains little question that President Trump exerts an influence on American politics that is straining our core values and testing the stability of our constitutional system. No president in living memory has shown less respect for its tenets, norms, and principles. Trump has assailed essential institutions and traditions including the separation of powers, a free press, an independent judiciary, the impartial delivery of justice, safeguards against corruption, and most disturbingly, the legitimacy of elections.

So far, America’s institutions have largely honored this deeply democratic sentiment. The resilience of the judiciary, the press corps, an energetic civil society, the political opposition, and other guardrails of the constitutional system—as well as some conscientious lawmakers and officeholders from the president’s own party—have checked the chief executive’s worst impulses and mitigated the effects of his administration’s approach.

But the fact that the system has proven durable so far is no guarantee that it will continue to do so. Elsewhere in the world, in places like Hungary, Venezuela, or Turkey, Freedom House has watched as democratic institutions gradually succumbed to sustained pressure from an antidemocratic leadership, often after a halting start. Irresponsible rhetoric can be a first step toward real restrictions on freedom. The United States has already been weakened by declines in the rule of law, the conduct of elections, and safeguards against corruption. The current overall US score puts American democracy closer to struggling counterparts like Croatia than to traditional peers such as Germany or the United Kingdom.US_Democracy_Scoreboard_Resized_FIW2019.jpgWhile not without problems, the United States has enjoyed a strong tradition of respect for the rule of law. President Trump has repeatedly shown disdain for this tradition. Late in 2018, after a federal judge blocked the administration’s plan to consider asylum claims only from those who cross the border at official ports of entry, the president said, “This was an Obama judge. And I’ll tell you what, it’s not going to happen like this anymore.”

As a candidate in 2016, he questioned the impartiality of an American-born judge with a Hispanic surname who presided over a fraud suit filed against “Trump University.” Soon after taking office, he disparaged a federal judge who ruled against his travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries as “this so-called judge.”

The president has since urged the Department of Justice to prosecute his political opponents and critics. He has used his pardon power to reward political and ideological allies and encourage targets of criminal investigations to refuse cooperation with the government. He has expressed contempt for witnesses who are cooperating with law enforcement in cases that could harm his interests and praised those who remain silent.

An array of independent media organizations have continued to produce vigorous coverage of the administration. But the constant vilification of such outlets by President Trump, in an already polarized media environment, is accelerating the breakdown of public confidence in journalism as a legitimate, fact-based check on government power. We have seen in other countries how such practices paved the way to more tangible erosions of press freedom and, in extreme cases, put journalists in physical danger. It would be foolish to assume it could never happen here.

Previous presidents have criticized the press, sometimes bitterly, but none with such relentless hostility for the institution itself. Trump alone has deployed slurs like “enemy of the people,” flirted with the idea that the media are responsible for and perhaps deserving of violence, and defended his own routine falsehoods while accusing journalists of lying with malicious, even treasonous intent.

From the outset of his administration, the president has been willing to ignore obvious conflicts of interest, most prominently with his decision not to divest ownership of his businesses or place them in a blind trust. Instead, he moved them into a revocable trust, managed by his sons, of which he is the sole beneficiary. During his presidency, his businesses have accepted money from foreign lenders, including banks controlled by the Chinese government. Trump has swept aside the norm against nepotism by having his daughter and son-in-law, both seemingly saddled with their own conflicts of interest, serve as senior White House advisers. He also rejected the tradition obliging presidents to release their income tax records.

Trump properties have hosted foreign delegations, business dinners, trade association conferences, and Republican Party fund-raising events, complete with Trump-branded wines and other products, likely arranged in the hope of earning the president’s gratitude. The Washington Post revealed that a month after President Trump’s election, lobbyists representing Saudi Arabia booked hundreds of rooms at Trump International Hotel in the capital. Indeed, a number of foreign and domestic interests allegedly sought to influence the new administration by arranging donations to Trump’s inauguration festivities, which are now under investigation.

The importance of credible elections to the health of a democracy should be self-evident. If citizens believe that the polls are rigged, they will neither take part in the exercise nor accept the legitimacy of those elected.  During the 2018 midterm elections, he suggested without evidence that Democrats were stealing a Senate seat in Arizona and committing fraud in Florida’s senatorial and gubernatorial balloting. He complained that undocumented asylum seekers were invading the country so they could vote for Democrats. He suggested that Democratic voters were returning to the polls in disguise to vote more than once.

At the same time, the administration has shown little interest in addressing genuine and documented threats to the integrity of US elections, including chronic problems like partisan gerrymandering and the fact that balloting is overseen by partisan officials in the states. But the most glaring lapse is the president’s refusal to clearly acknowledge and comprehensively combat Russian and other foreign attempts to meddle in American elections since 2016.

Trump has refused to advocate for America’s democratic values, and he seems to encourage the forces that oppose them. His frequent, fulsome praise for some of the world’s worst dictators reinforces this perception. Particularly striking was his apparent willingness, at a summit in Helsinki, to accept the word of Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies in assessing Russia’s actions in the 2016 elections.

Cambodian strongman Hun Sen consolidated one-party rule in sham elections last summer after banning the main opposition party and shutting down independent media. He acknowledged that he and President Trump shared a point of view about journalists, saying, “Donald Trump understands that are an anarchic group.” Poland’s president, whose party has sought to annihilate judicial independence and assert control over the press, similarly thanked Trump for fighting “fake news.” Saudi Arabia’s crown prince almost certainly ordered the assassination of a leading journalistic critic, apparently believing that the action would not rupture relations with the president of the United States. It seems he was correct.

All of these are things we already knew, things we have written of and bemoaned for the past two years.  But, seeing them cited by a respected bipartisan watchdog group as threats to our core principles, as a weakening of our democracy, should give us all renewed reason to sit up and take notice, to keep on fighting against these injustices.  According to the President of Freedom House, Michael Abromowitz …

The grim reality is that Freedom House now ranks the United States well below other large and long-standing democracies, such as France, Germany and Britain.

As Mr. Boot said, It’s dangerous to have a president who truly does not know what he is talking about.”

Dear Republicans, Your Dark Money Days Are About To Hit A Roadblock

In 2010, with the Citizens United decision that removed limits on how much money corporations could contribute to political campaigns, we saw the beginning of an era whereby wealthy corporations are pretty much able to buy elections. The ruling was the beginning of the end of election integrity. But this week, a small step was taken that may be a start toward returning a bit of integrity to the U.S. elections, and our friend Gronda has written an excellent, informative piece explaining it. Thank you, Gronda, for keeping us informed!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of americans for prosperity

Could the Republican Party be in receipt for even more negative news? Yes, as many donors of dark monies, (monies they can donate for political purposes anonymously), will have the cloak of anonymity taken away. Again, the courts have stepped in to rule that many of these donors will have to reveal their names to the public, even before the November 2018 elections.

Here is the rest of the story… 

On September 18, 2018, Paul Blumenthal of HuffPost penned the following report, “Dark Money Groups Will Have To Disclose Their Donors In Time For The Midterms” (“A court order invalidating a rule that kept some election spending secret is going into effect.”)

Excerpts:

“There may be a whole lot less dark money in federal elections after the Supreme Court allowed a lower court decision to go into effect on Tuesday invalidating a key regulation that created a loophole for…

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