Articles Wall Street Flags

Published on October 21st, 2011 | by Dr. Joel McDurmon

24

Occupy Wall Street: some thoughts

I was riding with a friend—a local business leader—after a breakfast event last Wednesday. As we passed through a perfect example of old-school, small-town America on the way to an informal meeting, she pointed to the street she lives on. Sure enough, tucked right there in the middle of that tiny town—blink and you’d miss it—was “Wall St.” I laughed: “So you really do occupy Wall Street, huh?”

Of course it was a joke. My friend is very conservative and a Christian. And there is so much leftist nonsense infused throughout the Occupy Wall Street protests that I doubt much good can be done even by the hard working “End the Fed” disciples who have joined it for the purposes of educating it.

Steve Wynn’s alleged “big rant” against Occupy Wall Street actually contains a balanced insight into the movement:

That group is quite diverse. . . . There are people in there that think that government should give them more just because they are alive. There are people who are opposing government spending. There are people there that are opposing bailouts.

This is more honest than, for example, Ann Coulter’s dismissal of the whole as a parasitic “Flea Party”—though it does have that element in it pretty thick. Her article is certainly not without a good point, and in her latest essay on the topic she exposes a real problem: ideologically-driven ignorance and hypocrisy. There are a lot of simply uninformed people in the movement who have a good idea of corporate corruption and undue influence—yet these people are unequipped (thanks largely to their government education) to express their ideas by anything but the misguided attack on “capitalism” and “greed,” and a call for socialistic remedies. It’s the informed liberals who know better and are trying to leverage this ignorance are the real enemies here. Wynn catches this, too: “But if it’s a politician that does it, or a union leader, then it represents something much more pernicious. It represents a deliberate misleading of the public.” I think it is uncritical of Coulter to ignore this distinction between the mere dupes and the real creeps.

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(If Ann Coulter wished to be genuinely helpful to society, she would take a couple of her millions and start a training institute to teach young conservatives how to research, write, and publish effectively (note to parents: most colleges don’t do this). The courses should cover rhetoric and humor, technical skills in research and composition, legal reasoning and analysis, as well as the ins and outs of the business side of publishing and journalism; plus, she should leverage her connections to provide internships as part of the program. She could turn out an army of young conservative journalists with skills and confidence similar to hers—although hopefully less wasted on cynical, national partisanship—and they would be already well placed in the system when they completed. At age 50 and unmarried with no children, this is probably the closest Coulter will get to reproducing—and this is not to be taken lightly. And with her books all mainly devoted to contemporary issues which will fade with time (in the way old politicians’ names are forgotten), something like this is her best bet for a substantial and lasting legacy. It’s certainly a better testimony than that council chair she currently holds for GOProud.)

Speaking at that breakfast Wednesday, Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA)—hardly one whose Conservative credentials could be questioned—winced at the “Flea Party” label and acknowledged something deeper is going on. I think Wynn sees the same thing, although he targets only deficits and debt and partisan politics, which is a hair off.

Former Fed official Herman Cain says things like “blame yourself,” “get a job,” and “you should be occupying the White House instead.” Of course, all of this is true in general, but not enough in this specific case. Liberal leaders like Pelosi and others, as Coulter rightly blasts, hypocritically fawn over the protesters as their extension of the TEA Party—after having spent two years labeling the TEA Party evil, racist, un-American, Astroturf, S-O-Bs, and more. Suddenly, when populist protests arise with a Marxist flavor rather than a conservative, libertarian bent, then we can talk about the “dear” protesters. No surprise here.

It was unfair of Coulter to say that the mixture couldn’t even explain why it was protesting. This may be true for many who joined later, but the movement originally focused on the inordinate influence financial institutions and big corporations have in lobbying Washington. (Steven Colbert actually did a great job showing this anti-corruption focus early on. (Caution: some language.)) This is absolutely true and a laudable reason to protest—even if carried out in a thoughtless way.

It was also, therefore, unfair of the funny but misguided critiques showing alleged hypocrisy among the crowd for using all kinds of products from big corporations while allegedly protesting them. This probably does apply to a lot of the ignorant in the group who are blaming, mindlessly, “greed,” but again, originally, the protest was not over the fact that big corporations exist and sell things, but that they are able to buy undue influence through their lobbies in Washington. Again, this absolutely true.

But of course once any protest starts even remotely on the left, all of the walking-wounded old-school Marxists crawl out from under the porch and pretend they started it. These only work to discredit what good could have been done. There was a Maoist in California, backing up a Marxist who called for violent revolution and ended shouting, “Long live socialism!” (About half of the fifteen people there clapped.) There have been people defecating on police cars, exposing themselves, picking each others’ pockets, and much more—these freak shows only cast a dark shadow over what was originally begun.

The most annoying aspect is certainly that charge against “corporate greed.” Greed is not the problem: corruption and collusion between bankers, lobbyists, and Washington is the problem. The groups meet together, regularly, spending tens of millions of dollars annually just so that they rig the system to favor bankers, lobbies, and politicians. The only real work they do is figuring out how either to sell it to the people as a good thing, or hide it from them.

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Yes, of course there is greed, and it can have genuinely negative results in business. But it is nowhere near a socially destructive as its wicked sister Envy. And Envy is what I really see in many of the protesters out there—especially the ones trying to leverage government socialism to “tax the rich” and take for themselves. It is nothing less than envy that says, “This person has more than me, I don’t have as much as I want, therefore I should take from them and give to me. And when I can’t have what I want, I will lash out and destroy.” Thus the calls for violent revolution and the defecating on police cars, etc., which are just glimpses of Envy-bred violence. When Envy grips a political system, it destroys and enslaves societies.

And, Envy is the witch at the heart of that repeated decretal against “the income gap.” Calls to political action over the claim that 1 percent of the people own 40 percent of the wealth are nothing short of Envy gone to Washington—which has always been pretty much the name of the game in Washington. Margaret Thatcher destroyed the “income gap” argument here.

The truth is, as long as wealth is obtained honestly, there can be no legitimate complaint about the income gap and who owns most of the wealth. There can be no legitimate policy for redistributing it. And while many of the OWS protesters think there should be, this is not the bright element at the origin of the movement. Rather, it is when wealth has been arrived at over decades of special government favors to certain businesses, decades of Federal Reserve favors to big banks, and decades of political favors paid and repaid amongst the same old boy network, that a movement like OWS makes sense. Of course Wall Street is out of control—not because it’s rich, but because it has so often gotten rich by illicit and fraudulent means. And because the politicians are too bought-off to do anything about it—Democrat and Republican.

This is closer to what I first heard the movement had originated as. It was not a mere whine over corporate wealth, but about corporate corruption. It was a group of kids really ticked, and righteously so, because big bank representatives used scare tactics and threats of martial law to frighten Congress into passing bailouts—bailouts to save the banks which had simply done terrible business, should have been closed and led by the nose through bankruptcy court, but instead were deemed “too big to fail.” It was a bailout for absolute failures and frauds. And as soon as the bailout money came in, these same jokers paid themselves tens of millions of dollars in bonuses for having done such great business.

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Of course they had. They conned the public out of hundreds of billions. That’s what they always have done; and they did it one more time. Why not pay themselves a handsome bonus for a job well done, once again? It’s business as usual.

If OWS would merely focus on this across the board, and drop the socialistic stuff, it would gain the support of the liberty movement and probably a lot more; and the true causes of the problems—the corrupt corporations, the lobbies, the corrupt politicians, and the Federal Reserve counterfeiters—would shake in their boots. But the message has been corrupted because it was begun by leftists, joined mostly by leftists, and can think of nothing but a leftist answer. Thus, one group amongst them that is trying to create a list of demands has arrived as something like a $1.5 Trillion New Deal package where 25 million people go to work directly for the government. Are you kidding? And how fast did you want to become like Greece? So quickly does liberalism turn justice into envy and all is lost.

I think it’s a doomed movement, but it does have a glimmer of goodness if it focuses on the corruption specifically, and not on amorphous liberal nonsense. The movement’s mortal enemies are ignorance, leftism, and envy. Like the rest of America, this is an uphill battle. I’d rather spend time at small breakfasts in small town America any day.

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About the Author

Dr. Joel McDurmon

Joel McDurmon, Ph.D. in Theology from Pretoria University, is the Director of Research for American Vision. He has authored seven books and also serves as a lecturer and regular contributor to the American Vision website. He joined American Vision's staff in the June of 2008. Joel and his wife and four sons live in Dallas, Georgia.



24 Responses to Occupy Wall Street: some thoughts

  1. vnexpress says:

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  2. James $. says:

    The following YouTube video that was taken at an “Occupy” protest appears to represent what could be termed legitimate against fraud by banks and specifically the Federal Reserve, governments, corporate interest, who are the recipients of favored treatment by the government (through lobbyists), and Wall Street operatives trading on inside information:

    http://tinyurl.com/OWSrant

    There is quite a bit of passion directed at the aforementioned fraud, and a bit of bad language. Just to let you know if you find it objectionable. But to avoid viewing it on that basis seems quite hypocritical, based on the Nixon (expletive deleted) tapes of that era.

    Note that this type of coverage of the various “Occupy” movements seems to go unnoticed by major media outlets, be they cable, TV or radio, which do their best to paint these movements with only the most negative aspects in order to invalidate all that has legitimacy within.

  3. James R. says:

    The following YouTube video that was taken at an “Occupy” protest appears to represent what could be termed legitimate against fraud by banks and specifically the Federal Reserve, governments, corporate interest, who are the recipients of favored treatment by the government (through lobbyists), and Wall Street operatives trading on inside information:

    http://tinyurl.com/OWSrant

    There is quite a bit of passion directed at the aforementioned fraud, and a bit of bad language. Just to let you know if you find it objectionable. But to avoid viewing it on that basis seems quite hypocritical, based on the Nixon (expletive deleted) tapes of that era.

    Note that this type of coverage of the various “Occupy” movements seems to go unnoticed by major media outlets, be they cable, TV or radio, which do their best to paint these movements with only the most negative aspects in order to invalidate all that occurs within.

  4. CROMWELL says:

    We had the equivalent of the Fed or “National Bank” after Andrew Jackson, that worked closely with the Government to assure stability and Prosperous growth. It was the House of Morgan, something you should all study. It acted as the Lender of Last Resort, and saved the country many times from collapse just as the Fed and First National Banks have done. Its the natural order of things, a Rothbardian anarchist system of banking is humanely impossible. There is always Order in Disorder.

    Of course, before we gained Stewardship over the world economic system and maritime order after WW1 in many ways the interest rates we paid in the 19th century were wholly dependent on Europe and especially the goings in London.

  5. CROMWELL says:

    I think TARP was Prudent, Proper and Necessary at the time with one major qualification: The 30yr long march to get to that point should’ve never happened. Over that 30yrs, “Main Street” developed a Political Mandate of “Affordable Housing” which the Left naturally latched on to under Carter, amped up under Clinton and made it a mainstream Political Mandate from the true Kings of our system(Voters) by the Bush years. Greenspans Randianism didn’t help matters. If they want to “Occupy” something, go to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac headquarters. Not to mention they could “Occupy” themselves for literally lying on Mortgage applications about their incomes to get the over priced Houses they so Coveted….Wall St. caused none of this.

    The reason I say, at the time given the extremely complex circumstances that it was “Prudent, Proper and Necessary”(though should’ve never got to that point) is simply because the entire economy was on the brink, from what I mention above and Accounting changes that were forcing institutions to be in good shape on a Friday, while filing for Bankruptcy on Monday. In short, Massive Bank Runs would’ve brought down the entire economy. We would’ve had companies unable to make payroll and total panic and Anarchy in the streets in short time.

    • CROMWELL says:

      Also, the obvious point needs to be made here. This highly Organized “Occupy” movement is being orchestrated by Leftist and Anarchist Forces. The Anarchist won’t to foment a bloody Revolution in French style.

      The Left and its political interest(Unions, Socialist, Democrats) won’t to direct the Nations attention for blame of the Economy, AWAY from Obama going into 2012 and onto “Wall St” the “Rich” and Capitalism.

      So next year, the common assumption and dialogue in the minds of voters is the Economy stinks because of Wall St., Capitalism and has nothing to do with Obama to get him re-elected.

  6. Jeani says:

    You are not a “tired old man.” You are a TROLL for the LEFT. Go back under your bridge and terrorize someone else.

  7. Mark says:

    Joel, I justed learned that you will be debating the 2nd Coming of Christ and the resurrection with Don Preston. Lol. Good luck with that. While I highly respect what you and Gary do at AV, you dont have a leg to stand on. A marathon runner runs 26.2 miles to finish the race. Is .2 such a hard thing to understand? Run the “full” race, not just “partially.” Maybe, like the rich man, you have too much to lose and avoid FF (position at AV, reputation, etc). Again, I respect your ministry and just say this in brotherly love.

    In Christ

    • Brother Les says:

      Joel, I wish you well…. but, if you do not know Don’s position to the T, and be prepared to counter that, you will get your head handed to you, as he will know your position the T-Z. Don is a very respectful gentleman, but I believe that he will rip you apart one verse at a time. I hope that Gary is sitting there with you to help steady your nerve, or would he be afraid of also being pulled to the ‘darkside’ of a “FP”. I wish I could be there to watch and learn from a debate not to be missed.
      Blessings Joel.

      Don K. Preston and Preterist Research Institute of Ardmore, Oklahoma, are very excited to announce that final agreement has been reached for a formal public debate, to be held at the Annual Preterist Pilgrim Weekend, July 19-21, 2012.
      The participants in the debate will be Joel McDurmon, (Postmillennialist), who is the Head of Research, at American Vision (President Gary DeMar), of Georgia.
      Don K. Preston, President of Preterist Research Institute of Ardmore, Ok. will be the other disputant.
      Propositions for the debate are:
      On Thursday night, July 19, Don K. Preston will affirm the following:
      Resolved: The Bible teaches that the final, end of the age coming of Christ and the attendant resurrection from the dead, occurred at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
      On Friday night, July 20, 2012, Joel McDurmon will affirm:
      Resolved: The Bible teaches a future return of Christ with an attendant resurrection of the dead.”
      On Saturday morning, July 21, there will be a two hour informal Question and Answer session in which McDurmon and Preston will answer written questions that have been submitted by the audience the previous two nights. This session should be a lot of fun, with friendly interaction between the two men.
      This debate promises to be an important, major event. There will be somewhat limited seating, so, if you plan to attend, make your reservations early!
      More specific details about the debate and how to register will be forthcoming over the next few months. If you wish to go ahead and make your reservations you can send an email to Don K. Preston now.
      You don’t want to miss this debate, so make your plans now to be with us, July 19-21, 2012, at the Preterist Pilgrim Weekend!
      For His Truth, and In His Grace,
      Don K. Preston

  8. Ray says:

    Tired Old Man

    Speaking of “intellectual parasites”, check out the retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, John Shelby Spong. Bishop Spong is a prolific writer who will set your juices flowing with rage.

    Just though I would mention him and provide that special Geritol lift you need so badly. You probably need a more challenging enemy than myself and I believe Spong fits the bill.

  9. Ray says:

    Tired Old Man,

    Just one more thing before I take another slurp of my morning coffee. I’m disappointed that you think of me as an “intellectual parasite”. Of course I like the intellectual part, so in that sense I am complimented. However, since this is basically a religious site, it might please you more to think of me as a demon-possessed agent of Satan.

    That way, you can use your rich imagination to envision me as someone you could burn at the stake for heresy and apostasy. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, and so now you can get on with the rest of your day, which I do hope is not all that sterile, boring and pedestrian.

  10. Ray says:

    Tired Old Man

    Thanks for your comments which I am sure were made in the spirit of Christian charity and kindness.

  11. aCultureWarrior says:

    “And with her [Ann Coulter's] books all mainly devoted to contemporary issues which will fade with time (in the way old politicians’ names are forgotten), something like this is her best bet for a substantial and lasting legacy. It’s certainly a better testimony than that council chair she currently holds for GOProud.)

    You’re a fine one to be lecturing pseudo-con Ann Coulter on GOProud.

    “I was thanking my lucky stars that the Ron Paul fans were there,” said Jimmy LaSalva, the executive director of GOProud, in a Saturday interview with The Independent. “The Campaign for Liberty deserves a lot of credit for setting that tone.”
    http://newmexicoindependent.com/48234/ron-paul-wins-presidential-straw-poll-at-conservative-convention

  12. aCultureWarrior says:

    “Suddenly, when populist protests arise with a Marxist flavor rather than a conservative, libertarian bent, then we can talk about the “dear” protesters. No surprise here.”

    Libertarianism (Big L or small) and Christianity aren’t compatible.

    [Libertarianism], Marxism of the Right
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/article/2005/mar/14/00017/

  13. Karen Roth says:

    Mr. McDurmon, your article did a nice job of analyzing what is truly happening with Occupy Wall Street, making the “distinction between the mere dupes and the real creeps.” I’ll be posting your article on facebook because I think it will give people a good analysis of the situation which is still more than a bunch of modern day hippies wanting to spread the wealth of the American Pie….hmmm that song “American Pie” by Don McClean just came to my mind…we are certainly far from the golden age of the 50′s aren’t we? It is interesting on that last stanza of the song it says,

    “I met a girl who sang the blues
    And I asked her for some happy news,
    But she just smiled and turned away.
    I went down to the sacred store
    Where I’d heard the music years before,
    But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.

    And in the streets: the children screamed,
    The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
    But not a word was spoken;
    The church bells all were broken.
    And the three men I admire most:
    The father, son, and the holy ghost,
    They caught the last train for the coast
    The day the music died.

    Bye, Bye Miss American Pie…”

    ….good thing I have the “three men I admire the most” in my heart and where ever they go, they carry me with them, especially in these trying times.

  14. Greggrey Cudworth says:

    Joel, liked your article; it gave me insight that I had not thought of before. Unfortunately the main stream media gives to much credibility to the OWS group and FNC gives no credibility to the group.
    thanks for setting the record straight; you are right on, we shouldn’t throw out the baby with bath water.

  15. Your Tour Guide says:

    Wonder what Occupy Wall Street would protest against if they realized that our economy is tanking due to stock fraud? I’m referring to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cooking the books. The performance related bonuses that went to the rogue’s gallery of higher ups that worked at Fannie and Freddie are sky high. Amounts varied between 28 to 40 million in bonuses. All gained by lying about the true worth of all the investments.
    Goons that cashed in on same include Franklin Raines (one of Obama’s BFF
    pre 2008), Jamie Gorelick, (Google “Mistress of Disaster” and see what all she’s been mired in). Then there’s Barney Frank, doing the role of aider and abetter. Making sure any investigations on what was really occurring were railroaded. Barney’s boyfriend at the time was a front office employee at Fannie Mae.
    It would be poetic justice if the OWS crowd started hanging out in front
    of Jamie’s house and chanted “Give us back our money, thief!” Oh, but to dream…

  16. Kim Wright says:

    Mr. McDurmon, I appreciate your articles very much and read much of what is posted by American Vision. I preface this with the fact that I don’t have much time for looking into most issues as deeply as I’d like (too busy home educating my 6 children and running them hither and yon). I read A.V. articles, listen to bits and pieces of talk radio when I’m in the car, and listen to the other side via public radio and articles liberal friends post on Facebook (no t.v. here). I am sincere in asking this….The sound-byte defense of the banks, in regards to needing bail-outs/the downturn of our economy and real estate market, that I hear so often on talk radio is that the problems originated with government regulations that forced banks to make loans to those previously unqualified for that amount of credit. In addition, I understand that investments in mortgage-backed securities became an issue because there was a lot of bundling of the more risky loans going on. When you say, ” because big bank representatives used scare tactics and threats of martial law to frighten Congress into passing bailouts—bailouts to save the banks which had simply done terrible business, should have been closed and led by the nose through bankruptcy court, but instead were deemed “too big to fail.””, I’m sensing more sympathy towards the government and less towards the banking industry from you. I guess I’ve so often heard the, perhaps unbalanced (?), opposite that I’m wondering if I’ve been believing incorrectly? Isn’t it true that at least some of the “terrible business” of the banks was forced at the hand of Congress to begin with? Didn’t the government even force bail-outs on (smaller) banks who refused them?

    I have felt as though there is *something* right about some of the OWS protestors’ complaints and I appreciate you helping bring cohesion to my thoughts on the matter. In discussing the issue with my husband, he offered that the answer to the protestors’ arguments should lie not in more government regulation of banks/corporations, but in requiring more transparency so that we can make up our own minds as to whom to support and allow the natural results of our informed choices to happen to those who continue in corrupt business practices. I thought that sounded like a good idea – even if we’ll probably never see the likes of it. Anyway, thank you for your time!

    • Joel McDurmon Joel McDurmon says:

      You are correct that the government forced banks to make bad loans. This was ramped up in 1995. I do not sympathize with the government here either: they failed in that they caved to the bank pressure, particularly from Hank Paulson. Congress overwhelming voted against the bailout the first time. After that, Paulson came in and spoke to Congress, raising the specter of martial law should they not pass it on a second try. A week later, they raised the same bill for vote again (if at first you don’t succeed…). The people were furiously opposed. One Congressman said the phone calls were coming in evenly divided between “no” and “hell no.” Paulson pushed. Despite the overwhelming public outcry, Congress caved to Paulson. The bailout passed. Then Obama came in and made it even worse. So, I blame Congress just as much as the big investment banks which lobbied them through Paulson. Congress failed to represent the people’s will, which is their main job. And yes, the whole problem has roots back to the Community Reinvestment Act of 1995, as I mentioned yesterday. http://americanvision.org/5263/how-to-return-to-honest-money-it-wont-be-easy/ But this in no way means the banks should be off the hook completely, especially the big banks which have used the crisis to swallow up smaller ones, and especially since the fractional reserve system in itself is corrupt.

      I agree with your husband: less government is the answer.

      • Joe Mudd says:

        Less Government wouldn’t even have to be pursued if the
        Federal Reserve Board didn’t exist. You simply can’t spend
        money that isn’t there.

  17. Ray says:

    Mr. McDurmon,

    You don’t like me and I don’t like you. However, you are a good writer. Not in the academic sense but in the journalistic sense. You missed your calling in the media where you could probably make some big capitalist bucks with your talents.

    Have a nice day.

    • Michael says:

      @Ray: Just about every time I have seen your posts on this site, I have been discouraged. Many internet “Philosophers/Theologians” have a reputation for being contentious and belittling, but this spirit bears no resemblance to the spirit of Christ (2 Timothy 2:24). Paul makes it clear: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). In what sense are these words of yours giving grace to those who hear them? Who is edified here? Most of the people who come to these articles come to interact with Joel’s ideas in a thoughtful and civil manner. These are, after all, his articles. You don’t have to read them, and you certainly don’t have to comment on them. If you believe that what you have to say is valuable and under-represented, perhaps start your own blog or do the work necessary to develop your readership. I say this in all sincerity, and I hope you will receive it as an earnest plea from a young man who seeks the peace and purity of the church.

      • Tired Old Man says:

        Michael, Ray and a few others (they know who they are) are intellectual parasites. They have no original thoughts and believe that the mark of intelligent intercourse is to sneer and scoff at every idea that is proposed by their intellectual betters. I sometimes think it best to view their posts as comic relief, have a good laugh and get on with the rest of my day.

      • Ray says:

        Michael,

        What you are really saying is that anyone who disagrees with Joel McDurmon’s or your opinions is a bad person. That is basically what you are saying.

        However, all I did in this post is to compliment Mr. Durmon on his literary talents. He is a good writer, but I think his style is better suited to journalism than academia.

        And of course he really does not like me, and I do not like him. That is a statement of fact and not an insult.

        Once again, you simply do not like my opinions, so you proceed to scold me with a self-righteous lecture. What a shame that you apparently can’t deal with statements and opinions other than your own.

        For that matter, I have made comments about some of Mr. Durmon’s articles that did not at all attack him in any way, but were apparently contrary to his opinions, and they were almost immediately deleted.

        What you are really saying, is that people should agree with what is posted on this website by Mr. McDurmon or others or get off the site.

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