Remember: Sequestration was Obama’s Idea

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President Obama is a full partner with the Republicans in the latest episode of the manufactured disaster saga: sequestration. “The idea was to make every popular constituency in the country scream – and accept the inevitability of massive entitlement cuts.” It’s a goal shared by corporatists in both parties.

Remember: Sequestration was Obama’s Idea

Disaster capitalism is manifesting itself as disaster governance.”

The Obama administration has been very skillful in framing itself as the good guy in the latest looming fiscal disaster, this time under the heading of “sequestration.” On Friday, across-the-board cuts of $85 billion are set to go into effect, wreaking havoc on most government operations. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and what’s left of welfare are not directly affected, but these so-called “entitlement” programs have, in fact, always been the primary targets of this cascade of manufactured crises. Disaster capitalism is manifesting itself as disaster governance, and President Obama is fully complicit in the corporate-imposed charade. Indeed, Obama is most culpable for infecting the nation with austerity fever.

It was Obama who swallowed whole the corporate argument, previously championed by Republicans, that the national debt was Crisis Number One and that entitlement programs were the root cause. From the moment in January of 2009 when Obama served notice that Social Security and all other entitlements would be put on the chopping block, he became the chief mover and shaker for so-called entitlement reform. He created the model for austerity, through his Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission. It was Simpson-Bowles that provided the basis for the massive cuts offered by President Obama in 2011. When the Republicans balked at even a modest tax increase for the rich, it was the White House National Economic Council Director, the corporate deal-maker Gene Sperling, who came up with the sequestration scheme, which was timed to explode right after the 2012 elections. The idea was to make every popular constituency in the country scream – and accept the inevitability of massive entitlement cuts.

The Republicans are his partners, not his opponents.”

Let me repeat: Sequestration was Obama’s idea. So-called entitlement reform is Obama doctrine. Austerity was embedded in the Democratic Party’s agenda under President Obama. More than any other individual, it was Barack Obama who engineered the current disaster scenario. These waves of austerity crises were not inevitable, but they are the inevitable result of President Obama’s calculated statements and actions since Election Day 2008. The Republicans are his partners, not his opponents. The closest thing he has to an opposition – at least on paper – is the Congressional Progressive Caucus, whose two co-chairs introduced a bill that would turn the austerity juggernaut on its head. It’s called the Balancing Act of 2013, and would replace all of the sequestration cuts with new revenues, and then add a $276 billion stimulus to the economy. Needless to say, the progressive bill will get nowhere, not just because of Republican opposition, but because the top Democrat, Barack Obama, wants to go down in history as the smart austerity president. Just as he said he wasn’t opposed to wars, but only to dumb wars – which is why he has built tens of thousands of the smartest drones and smartest bombs ever devised by man. He’s outsmarting what passes for a Left in the United States at every turn. They cheer him as he effectively consummates his grand bargain with the GOP, in a cacophony of manufactured crises, exhausting what little opposition remains. That’s why we at BAR call him the more effective evil.

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norske
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It's been sadly amusing watching left-wing talking heads attack Bob Woodward, [sarcasm]that paragon of conservative catechism,[/sarcasm] for speaking the truth.

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mjolnir
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Mar. 3, 2011 12:42 pm

This is the same kind of half-informative shit that the radical right uses all the time. The idea for the sequestration came from Gene Spurling and was instantly embraced by the right-wing Teaparty House of Representatives as a device that they thought they could use to put President Obama into a corner. The President, in like manner, believed that the device could be used to motivate Norske's Teaparty compatriots to face a bad no-win situation. If the President is to be faulted, it is that he has miscalculated the willingness of the House Republicans to bring the country to its knees in order to destroy the President. Remember. The President is not a dictator and cannot dictate policy all by himself.

Norske and his Utopian allies believe that the laws of our land, the laws of political reality, and the law of gravity do not apply when they find themselves disappointed in how the world is turning out. They are somewhere out in space whining that they disapprove of the way humans are managing their affairs. They see themselves as some kind of Greek Gods, who are not of this world, but feel that we humans who are, should heed their tantrums and feel sorry for them. These Gods were not Greek, and they were not Gods. They were the figments of peoples' imagination, conjured to explain why humans continue to suffer a system that ensures a continual condition of all-fucked-uptedness. As such, these people are a figment of their own imaginations. Remember. The President is not a dictator and cannot dictate policy all by himself.

That Norke, and his merry little band of disgruntled cry-babies continue to whimper and whine because they thought they were voting for all their dreams to come true, only to have their Utopian dreams crashed on the rocks of reality is the stuff that truther-style conspiracy is made of. If their President isn't in the same cadre of Lollipop Liberals that they are, then he can only be working for the fascists other side.

Remember. The President is not a dictator and cannot dictate policy all by himself. Additionally, I find these people to be a little bit disgusting.

Remember, the President is not a dictator and cannot dictate policy all by himself. All distortions of interpretations ahould be resisted.

Art's picture
Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Art: I totally disagree. I think this idea was totally embraced by Obama because they thought it was the equivalent of an atomic bomb forcing the republicans to knuckle under to the massive cuts that would happen in their favorite dept., Defense. Obama could never conceive that this thing would actually happen, and here it is. Now Obama is in full on campaign mode trying to blame the origin of this onto the Republicans so he can take the most dramatic disaster scenarios and paint them for the general public. He is even resorting to trotting out politically safe congressmen and have them get into a shouting match with conservative talk show hosts on national TV. Obama's biggest fear is the fact this sequester will happen and there is no real felt effect. A couple of years ago Minnesota had a total govt. shutdown under Gov Mark Dayton. No one noticed except everyone's commute was cut in half. It ended when the governor figured out that nobody cared.

The only problem Obama has, are the videos of him full on supporting the sequester and the fact he signed the bill. Pretty hard to dodge those facts.

Good on those that are allowing this to happen, and fire any government administrator that cannot find a way to cut 2.5% out of his/her BUDGET INCREASES next year.

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Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

It's funny that art comes out and talks of Obama and the Law -

Only to be A-Ok with the law breaking Obama has done in the application of his foreign policy. And his Justice dept is another Law Breaker who picks and chooses who to apply the law to.

Funny when people like Thom say Take back the democratic party - the party that really needs to be taken back is the republican party - at that point one could only hope republicans of old - like Art - will go Back to the repub party.

The fact is - Obama is controlled by Big Money and the Banksters - EVERY policy he supports is done with the top .01% profits and wealth in mind.

Obama can't even come out and say that Social Securitty doesn't add to the debt -

As for that 'progressive caucus' -It's just as phony as Obama is - http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/27/progressive-caucus-folds/

And just as phony as many who call themselves progressives and then accept any war crimes, giveaways to the corporate criminal class -

We get it Art - us Lollipop liberals are Out of the mainstream - while supporters of corporatism like yourself won - for now. The true problem is - when the corporate criminal class and thier toadies are in control equality, the environment, peace and jobs are replced with jailing whistleblowers, endless warfare and bankster bailouts and decreased opportunity.

But as long as it's Team Blue Its All Good! Frankly we could provide all the facts in the world and they'll simply be discarded - the very definition of Cognitive Dissonance - and that's America's main character trait - closely followed by a lack of empathy.

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Scappoose
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Mar. 30, 2012 7:49 am
I think this idea was totally embraced by Obama because they thought it was the equivalent of an atomic bomb forcing the republicans to knuckle under to the massive cuts that would happen in their favorite dept., Defense.
I think that's what i just said, only not quite so extreme. Both sides created the sequestration together, each side believing that it would put the other at a politial disadvantage. They were both right. Congress is suffering a further public relations hit in proportion to those who are against them. Likewise, the President is suffering a public relations hit in proportion to those who are against him. I think the Republicans will get the worse of it. As hard as it is to swallow, this is how politics are done in a democracy, and we live in a world where politics runs everything.

There can be no question that both sides promoted the scheme and still do today. Otherwise, the President would be calling for Congress to repeal the sequestration part of the Act. It's a public relations game with serious potential consequences. Those, like yourself, who welcome the sequestration, believe that the benefits of the cuts that will take place will render the pain insignificant. You didn't notice when the Government shut down before, so it was as if it never even happened . . . to you.

I really don't know what the consequences will be like. There will be significant loss of income for a lot of people. Lost revenue, lost purchasing power. Wall Street doesn't seem to be concerned, so maybe there won't be a Wall Street-driven recession. Perhaps the Pentagon will learn to do without the $700 toilet seats and rethink their cost-plus contracts. Maybe the pain will be worth it just for that. (I don't for a second believe that national security will be compromised).

So, I am ambiguous about my feelings about the sequestration. If there are significant net positives, then I will congratulate both sides. If we can rid ourselves of the Teaparty Congress (but at what cost), I will congratulate the President. If the Teaparty Congress parlays the results into more electoral victories, I will curse both sides for going this route. If it results in squeezing a few more pennies out of the spoiled, pampered, selfish and unAmerican 1%, then I will rejoice, depending on the cost in human suffering.

This is a politial game. Perhaps an ill-advised one.

But remember. The president is not a dictator. He cannot dictate policy all by himself.

Oh, and what the hell is the point of telling us about the President's role in creating the sequester? So what? He didn't dictate it. The Teaparty Congress jumped on the idea.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The problem with pointing out legitimate criticisms of Obama from the left is that there are some on the right who think that Obama's transgressions are something special.... It must be a gift to have such short memories regarding the crimes and evil transgressions of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush and Cheney/Bush... The system isn't broken, it is rigged and the fix is in which guarantees such behavior. No surprise that both wings of the one party oliarchy engage in the same behavior... My sense is that the worst thing about Obama's right wing behavior is that he gives the imprimatur of coming from the left, when obviously nothing could be further from the truth. Obama couldn't be further right if he tried...

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Art: The Govt. has been bloated for a long time, but it has really gotten out of control in the last 10-15 years. Both sides point their fingers at each other but they both know something has to be done to correct the situation. The problem is, the lobbyists write the bills, pay off someone in congress to introduce them, govt. regulates them, and the cycle continues.

The majority of my cuts would come from attrition, and every dept. would get a 1% cut per year in their existing budget for the next x number of years. That would sort out who can manage and who cannot. If Americans were not so dependent on the existing govt. for everything we do, this would be a breeze, which is why I would spread it out over years. The Penny Plan probably has potential.

If you want to get sick, go back and look and listen to the Obama campaign promises about going over everything line item by line item, and promising transparency in every one of his speeches.

All he has become is a fraud, a liar, and a master at giving empty speeches and blaming others for his total inability to manage people.

The man is the very definition of the character OZ.

And yes, I can explain the $70 toilet seat and the $200 hammer.

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Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

Oh, yes, now I can agree that IT IS OBAMA WHO CANNOT MANAGE PEOPLE. He is to blame for thinking that everyone would agree that a Doomsday Device was like a hanging in the morning, a way to focus the mind of Congress.

It ought to be mentioned somewhere that this whole SEQUE$TER is about Congress not being able to function. Knuckledragging ankle-biters are tough to manage. Ask the Boner. He has to front for their tantrums and pretend that Obama has not already done more cutting than he should have as he claims incalcitrance. How can he possibly work with a guy like Obama who gives him what he asks for to embarass poor John when he has to say "no." Or the Turtle. Filibuster diet on the Right, but it is Obama who cannot lead or manage people.

What Obama actually promised was to bring us together, and he foolishly thought that Republicans would act with some interest in the health of the nation and not just to get rid of him. He was wrong. It is all his fault that they were partisan dead-enders who have no understanding of what they are for in its real world effects. There is a certain political logic to allowing one's opponents to go over the cliff of their choosing. That evil Obama is letting the GOPimps commit suicide, what a loser he is!

Look, I think Obama has been wrong about trying to save the government and our reputation so we could believe in America and sing whatever song of unity comes to mind. I don't think he is evil for having tried, and if he got swallowed up by the cess pool he had to swim in, he will always be responsible for going swimming there. And, I know how wonderful the swimming was before the Black Guy joined the Club. How could one guy screw it up so badly?

Wing flapping crapola again! Sorry norske, I don't buy your Obama/sequester argument. Even if it was an idea so outrageous that "nobody" would let it happen, those who are letting it happen are the authors of this in the real world because they have taken the Doomsday Device and are doing the Slim Pickens ending to our Strangelove Re-enactment.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

You can't manage those that are unmanageable. The tea party are on a scorched earth rampage like they suffered under Sherman. It is illegal but laws don't matter to Americans

The strategy of destroying the food supply of the civilian population in an area of conflict has been banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions. The relevant passage says:

It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.[1]

10,000 section 8 housing grants in Arlington TX means a whole lot of homeless for the Cruz misslile's own state, in only one district. Arlington Municipal Airport will close, too. The ousted families with their children should just camp in Cruz's front yard. Neighbors will love him for their new guests.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Oblamer's idea of bringing "US" (whoever that is) if by that he means Congress is---It is either his way or no way, my way oir the highway.

Can somebody show me where oliar has done ANY cutting muchless more that he should have. CUTS? LOL

When it comes to cuts in spending, ospender and the lot of them are like alcoholics going into DTs or junkies needing a fix of heroin.

Why don't the sheeple demand that corruption, waste and fraud in government be addresses before we give them anymore money?

We need a sequestration of people along with funds.

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darlinedarline1...
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Aug. 29, 2012 9:27 am

drc2:

Did Obama sign into law sequestration bill?

Did he tell the American public he would say no to changes in the sequestration law?

In my opinion if Obama wants to get this country moving forward he has to do two things.

Realize he has to work with the House regardless of his opinions and arrogance, he will never win if he cannot figure a way to get this done.

and

Gain the confidence of Small Business so they have to have a clear path to allow them to plan for the future. The worst thing he could have done is press for Obamacare during a low point in economic growth. Now he is screaming for a never ending cycle of new taxes, and the small business owner can only wait it out. A couple of years ago it was known there was a couple trillion dollars offshore laying stagnant because of our country's inability to show a positive direction. Yes, the economy is sputtering along with zero interest rates robbing our children of any growth in their retirement accounts, but there is nothing off in the future that looks brighter to those that have to plan ahead.

Obama needs to check his massive ego at the door and get the job done. Clinton did it, Reagan did it, even the Bush's managed to figure it out.

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Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

Obama set the whole thing in motion starting with his Deficit Reduction Commission...chaired by right wing wackos appointed by the Pres,

"700,000 jobs are expected to be loss, while 70,000 kids are also expected to be kicked off of Head Start.

And this is just for 2013. The current plan for the austerity “sequester” cuts is $100 billion of federal cuts every year for ten years, equaling massive cuts to jobs, Medicare, education, and completely destroying federally funded social programs.

Will it actually happen this time? The New York Times reports:

“In private, Capitol Hill staff members and members of Congress have admitted that there are no viable plans on the horizon to delay or offset the cuts.”

The finger pointing in Washington, D.C. has already reached a crescendo, with the perverted logic being that, if both parties are to blame, it’s really no one’s fault. In reality Democrats and Republicans created these “sequester” cuts, and they can just as easily undo them with a snap of the finger.

Both parties are choosing not to delete the cuts. They just don’t want political responsibility for the fallout, which many economists have predicted will push the U.S. economy over the edge into official recession.

Obama has predictably blamed the Republicans for this mess, even though he personally began this process by creating the “deficit reduction commission” that helped shape the cuts" - Cooke

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/25/austerity-usa/

At some point, Americans may grasp that the two wings of the Corporate Party work towards the same end.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote mjolnir:

It's been sadly amusing watching left-wing talking heads attack Bob Woodward, [sarcasm]that paragon of conservative catechism,[/sarcasm] for speaking the truth.

Apparently Woodward had company:

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/02/28/Lanny-Davis-White-Hou...

"Lanny Davis, who served under President Bill Clinton as special counsel to the White House, told Washington, D.C.'s WMAL this morning that the Obama White House had threatened the Washington Times over his column, warning that the Times would suffer limited access to White House officials and might have its White House credentials revoked. Davis, a centrist Democrat, is sometimes critical of the Obama administration's policies."

So much for the "most transparent administration in history."

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mjolnir
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Mar. 3, 2011 12:42 pm
And yes, I can explain the $70 toilet seat and the $200 hammer. - See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2013/02/remember-sequestration-was-obama%E2%80%99s-idea#new
Can you explain the $700 toilet seat?
"Lanny Davis, who served under President Bill Clinton as special counsel to the White House, told Washington, D.C.'s WMAL this morning that the Obama White House had threatened the Washington Times over his column, warning that the Times would suffer limited access to White House officials and might have its White House credentials revoked. Davis, a centrist Democrat, is sometimes critical of the Obama administration's policies." - See more at: http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2013/02/remember-sequestration-was-obama%E2%80%99s-idea#new
Here's the actual email exchange.

From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013

Bob:

I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.

But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)

I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.

My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.

Gene

From Woodward to Sperling on Feb. 23, 2013

Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today. Best, Bob

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/exclusive-the-woodward-sperling-emails-revealed-88226.html#ixzz2MFgAh2RE

I think that Boob Woodward has gone a little bit around the bend. I would neer take a paraphrase that comes from Breitbart seriously. Why didn't he use the direct quote?

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I love you guys beating on Woodward and Davis. For God's sake there is no more of an Obama supporter than Lanny Davis. He would scream that at you all day, and he did so on Hannity's show today. But he did say they got all over his case many times for unflattering remarks he made about Obama. Are you all so dim that you think they haven't been stepped on by the WH?

I won bids from the Govt., based on their specifications. A simple claw hammer that you and I could buy in any hardware store American Made for $25 would sell to the Govt. for $250. Along with the bid came a 40 page list of specifications that that hammer had to meet every time. Forged from (steel spec), crown of face at x degrees, curve of face at x degrees, guaranteed hardness of x, four more pages, claw to be curved at xyz, handle to meet a five page list of specs, hole in handle to be x dia., packaged in, another five pages of specs, delivered no later than, etc, etc, etc.

This is typical of almost everything they did with us. Absolute uniformity costs a lot of money. They were more than willing to spend your money, believe me.

I am surprised they could buy a toilet seat for as little as $700.

Redwing's picture
Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

The toilet seat for $700 comes with no hole. Adding the hole cost extra.

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whiskeyman
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Mar. 7, 2012 6:57 pm

Once again, some privateer is making out like a bandit, so blame the Privateer Sector and stop trying to be so righteous in your faux indignation. Toilet seats v. CEO bonuses, hmmm, which costs me more?

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

In my day, govt. bids were a giant PITA. The people that were needed to enforce and make sure every part of the specification was met on every piece that went out the door cost us far more than the bid was worth. In the long run most of the time we refused to bid, or just overbid, on these projects. That in itself led to higher costs for the govt. as there were fewer and fewer bidders wanting the work.

All of which could have been eliminated if the govt sent someone down to the local hardware store and bring back a $25 American made hammer. It was all the paperwork and inspections, that added $225 to the cost, not the manufacturer.

All that was 35 years ago and I have no knowledge if that tired old process was, or has, changed.

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Redwing
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