If you don’t want the answer, stop asking the people

There have been a number of events in the past few years where the public has had an opportunity to put forth their views of what should be changed in government and vote in some way to identify the most important ones.

In every case, some form of legalizing marijuana and/or ending the drug war statement has made it to the top (or even all of the top 10).

Turns out, it’s not just Americans…

Israel: Trajtenberg Committee asked to legalize pot

The highest ranked recommendation to the Trajtenberg Committee, according to the committee’s official website, is that “the legalization of cannabis in Israel is worth over NIS 1 billion ($270 million) a year.”

Of course, in the U.S., when similar results came forward, President Obama decided he didn’t like the answer:

… noting the huge number of questions about marijuana legalization and remarking with a chuckle, “I don’t know what that says about the online audience.”

“The answer is no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy,” he said, as the audience in the room applauded and joined him in a laugh.

On the other hand, in Israel, Knesset Member Einat Wilf had an actual coherent response

She argues that “if the Trajtenberg Committee does recommend legalizing cannabis and taxing it accordingly – as many of the readers suggested – it would solve three issues at once: It would have done what’s right from a social perspective – it is clear today following research and on the basis of a recently published international report submitted to the UN that decriminalizing the use of cannabis and making it a social welfare issue yields better results insofar as its use and will limit its harm to society; it would also create another substantial source of income for the government and can be used to implement the committee’s recommendations.

“Furthermore, it would take the money out of the hands of crime families and the enemies of the State. The funds in question are quite substantial and these days, following my request, the Knesset’s research and information center is engaged in the estimation of the figures involved.”

That’s what you do when you ask the public for their concerns and they give them to you.

The U.S. has another opportunity starting today.

The White House has just launched We the People on WhiteHouse.gov, which President Obama says is “giving Americans a direct line to the White House on the issues and concerns that matter most to them.”

The question is whether there is anyone on the other end of that line who is interested in hearing what Americans have to say.

Still, I’m all for creating a petition, and participating in my First Amendment rights and responsibilities.

Seems to me that one petition should essentially be focused on the goal of Barney Frank’s bill HR 2306 Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. In other words, simply get the federal government out of marijuana and let the states figure it out.

Another one might have to do with having a national discussion about different models of legalization and how they might work to reduce the power of the black market. (and that the head-in-the-sand approaches like “legalization is not in our vocabulary” is unacceptable in a science-based discussion.)

What are your thoughts? (And feel free to use the up and down votes in comments to rank ideas.)

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67 Responses to If you don’t want the answer, stop asking the people

  1. Pete says:

    Seems to me that one petition should essentially be focused on the goal of Barney Frank’s bill HR 2306 Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. In other words, simply get the federal government out of marijuana and let the states figure it out.

  2. Pete says:

    Another one might have to do with having a national discussion about different models of legalization and how they might work to reduce the power of the black market. (and that the head-in-the-sand approaches like “legalization is not in our vocabulary” is unacceptable in a science-based discussion.)

  3. divadab says:

    Pete – good luck getting any kind of sensible answer out of a White House entirely comprised of bought-and-paid-for corporate functionaries. Nominally headed by the guy hired to play President on TV.

    Sclerotic rule by vested interests and nary a truthteller in sight.

  4. darkcycle says:

    Oh yeah, the campaign has started, hasn’t it?
    Well, On the premise that it’s better to scream into a hurricane than be silent, I’m gonna go sign Corry’s petition from the open thread. It’s basic, overturn federal prohibition and let the States decide. Let’s go for that and see what happens. The website says duplicate petitions will hurt the overall chances.
    I’ll say the requirement to register is BULLSHIT so they can fill your inbox with re-election junk mail. But I’ll pay for the opportunity to bother them.

  5. Francis says:

    How about we start with a petition that says that when the White House creates a forum for the express purpose of soliciting petitions regarding issues that the public would like to see addressed, it actually, I don’t know, address petitions that result from that process? Particularly the ones that consistently generate the most enthusiasm and support?

  6. claygooding says:

    Muddy the water? How can a petition for medical marijuana,a petition for ending the WoD,a petition for
    ending the office of ONDCP and all the other very real
    goals of our efforts be clashing with each other?
    And we can sign them all.
    It not only gets our objectives addressed but scatters the research for each to different committees,so they can do the research into each petition.

  7. Dante says:

    I think there is another ruse in the works here. Our Government will just wait us (anti-prohibitionists) out.

    To explain, our Government keeps asking We The People what we think, and then we tell them things they don’t want to do they respond by ignoring us.

    This has happened over and over, and We The People are not known for our long attention spans. After we are repeatedly ignored, we stop participating in the Government’s sham “Ask the People” program.

    Once we stop participating, our requests are no longer presented to our Government. Other people, who remian interested in what our Government says (ie Government employees), continue to express their opinions. These opinions bear no resemblance to the will of We The People. These requests read like a right-wing, totalitarian despot’s wish list.

    And here is the key:

    The opinions of the people which happen to agree with what the Government has already decided to do are the only ones which the President will see, and promise to support. Then he will praise “The People” for, basically, raping & pillaging themselves.

  8. darkcycle says:

    Plus I’d feel better about it if I wasn’t so sure it’s all just a hollow joke.

  9. Tony Aroma says:

    May be a bad sign, but that petition page does not work. Could that be their strategy, say they’re accepting petitions, then have the petition page constantly “under construction”?

  10. dt says:

    “Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol” is already the first petition that comes up. It’s gotten hundreds of signatures in a few minutes.

  11. darkcycle says:

    It appears to be back up.

    • tensity1 says:

      Yeah, it seems to be constipated, just like our legislators. It takes a while, and may time out, but I was able to get to a sign-up page. Let’s see if I can actually create an account . . .

      • tensity1 says:

        Well, well, actually created an account, but I think snail mail would’ve been faster. The little paranoid demon in my head is yelling, “don’t sign up, idiot! They’re checking you out and putting you in a database! Why do you think it’s taking so long?!?” I told the little dude to relax, that the site is only indicative of the short-sightedness and inefficiency of government. He cackled at me.

      • tensity1 says:

        If the “user number” I saw in the url while I was changing password/trying to get to my profile is any indication, there are already about 23,000 users signed up. Who would’ve thought that many people would actually use the site in this age of Star Trek-like tablet thingies and teh interwebs? I can see the White House’s version of Scotty bitching about the servers being overloaded and that, “she can’t take anymore!”

        Freaking government can be so inefficient at times.

        • I jumped through all of the White House sites hoops only to get an error message page not found when I try to sign in.

          What a joke- like the clown who pretends to be the u.S> President.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          All the best programmers enjoy cannabis. They won’t hire people if they can’t or won’t pass the whiz quiz you know.

  12. Wade S says:

    Decided to create a petition to shed light on government obfuscation of unsound drug policy:


    Thanks for checking it out.

  13. Ned says:

    Slightly off topic but this just now arrived in my email from my congressman:

    Thank you for sharing your concerns with me about the prohibition of marijuana. As you know, lifting any sort of ban on the use of marijuana, whether recreational or even medicinal, faces an uphill battle. However, because I believe the prohibition of marijuana has done more harm than good, I am pleased to be able to tell you that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.

    Additionally, you should know that in the 107th, 108th, 109th, 110th, and 111th Congresses, I have been a cosponsor of legislation (HR 2592, HR 2233, and HR 2087, HR 5842, and HR 2835 respectively) to provide for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in those states that have laws allowing it. In addition, I have voted for and worked on amendments to bills on the House floor that would prohibit the Department of Justice from enforcing DEA raids against medical marijuana operations in states that have laws allowing the use of medical marijuana.

    In a time when we in Washington have to make hard decisions about our spending priorities, it makes no sense to continue to throw away money on the failed policies like the prohibition of marijuana. After 40 million arrests and a trillion dollars spent to fight drug use, the number of those who have used drugs is up 2,800 percent since 1970. We simply cannot afford to continue funding this kind of failed policy.

    I will continue to support the responsible use of marijuana in our state and on a national level. I appreciate you contacting my office and hope that you feel free to contact me again with any further questions or concerns.

    Member of Congress

    Yay! At least I can be glad MY congressional representative isn’t my enemy. Of course this district is about as safe as one could be for him to take this position, but still it’s great. Now we just need a few hundred more.

    • Pete says:

      Sam Farr is definitely one of the good guys. He was a co-sponsor of the Hichey-Rohrbacher amendment (to stop the feds from harassing medical marijuana patients), sponsor of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005, and co-sponsor of the Truth in Trials Act (more than once). In 2006, he was part of a House group that challenged the FDA’s statement on medical marijuana, and in 2007, he was part of a group from Congress who wrote a letter demanding that the DEA stop obstructing scientific research on marijuana.

  14. darkcycle says:

    Dang legalization advocates. Never a better analogy than herding cats. Instead of 5000 signatures on one petition, we have 5000 stinking petitions.
    Oh fer gawds sake, can’t we do anything? After forty years of that, it’s suprising we’ve got where we are. If we could learn to work together this would be over in a day.

  15. darkcycle says:

    I guess calling any group of pot heads an organization would be stretching the term past the breaking point.

  16. Erik says:

    Support NORML’s petition for marijuana legalization, already the most supported petition on the website. Just about half way to the goal of 5,000 just this morning:

  17. claygooding says:

    NORML’s petition is already at 4600+ at 16:15 central,,,it will be signed in another hour as eastern time zone stoners are just now heading or getting home.

  18. mr. wiggles says:

    Legalize dope then you have to legalize child molestion.

    • claygooding says:

      Is that what this is all about wiggles,,,you want your pedophile habits to be legal?

      • darkcycle says:

        Clay, I think mr. wiggles was only trying to bring that disgusting site he linked to to our attention.

        • tintguy says:

          “Sadly, nearly two-thirds of people in Marijuana abuse treatment report that they were physically or sexually abused as children. Child abuse is a major contributing factor to Marijuana addiction.”…. is what that site has posted. Not that cannabis contributes to pedophilia but that abused kids seek relief from their past experiences with the use of mind altering substances.

      • Mr.Wiggle says:

        whats it with you having a drug problem you need forced treatment you guys dont learn any other way mr. clay u are the reason why marijuana needs to stay illegal .cus your a evil thinking zombie wanna be humanist freak of whatever i can pull out my ass.thats the facts.

        • Dante says:


          He’s got to be pulling our chains.

          Nobody who has enough intelligence to post on this site is stupid enough to write in this “style”.

          I call BS.

        • claygooding says:

          as long as people like you think I am what you claim,,I have accomplished a lot more in life than they ever will.

          That you are still spouting prohibition garbage,after all the bared facts about our government and it’s failed drug policies tells me you are not the brightest porch light on the block.

          You want to keep prohibition in place,,with control of the supply and market in the hands of criminals,,,I want it regulated,grown by US farmers and sold in stores where ID’s can be checked,,,and I am the reason prohibition needs to stay.

          Is this a reverse psych test or what?

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Wow. Someone who can’t differentiate enjoying cannabis from kiddie diddling.

      Hey wait a second. This is a different wiggles. It was mr. wiggle that posted in the other thread. This one is mr. wiggles. It could be someone is impersonating the real wiggle. Notice how the poster calling himself mr. wiggles in the post above knows how to spell, use capitalization and punctuation, and how to make working links to dedicated propaganda web pages? The first mr. wiggle had no clue how to do any of those things.

      I think Pete needs to start a comprehensive investigation to get to the bottom of this. This could change everything. There’s a lot more stuff on the Internet to use to make fun of mr. wiggles than mr. wiggle. E.g. here’s a link to mr. wiggles’ mug shot: http://www.mrwiggleslovesyou.com/images/wigglesmugshot.gif

      You know, it just wasn’t that long ago that I said:

      It is fascinating as well as mind boggling that in factual reality there is no such thing as too stupid to be alive.


      I like having the other side of the table populated by Know Nothing nitwits.

  19. RevGMS says:

    Ding! 5,000 plus signatures.

  20. Duncan20903 says:

    Quite frankly it’s not a bad thing that Mr. Obama thinks re-legalization isn’t a good idea to stimulate the economy. It’s not like he has a clue about how to stimulate a macro-economy. I like having the other side of the table populated by Know Nothing nitwits.

  21. antifascist says:

    Furthermore, it would take the money out of the hands of crime families and the enemies of the State.

    Exactly why the criminals that run the US govt don’t care for the idea of legalization to begin with. They are the criminals making all the profits from the illegal market right now, just look at the DEAth machine.

  22. darkcycle says:

    Heh, heh, heh, thirty days. If they wanted to erect a barrier against us thirty hours would have been too much. I take back what I said about potheads needing to work together. The Bezerker-swarm approach seems to work just fine. I’ll be trading my Drills and Formations Manual for a pitchfork and I’ll be with you guys presently….

  23. Tj says:

    I started keeping track awhile ago. There are just over 11,000 signatures and the site has been active for about 55,000 seconds.

    That means that every 5 seconds someone new is signing the petition.

    I’m keeping track of it at this link


  24. seabourne says:

    We the People – Whitehouse petitions Please sign all 4
    Sign the petition to “Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.” at

    Petition to “Legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana.” at

    Petition to “Stop Interfering With State Marijuana Legalization Efforts” at
    Petition to “low Industrial Hemp to be Grown in the U.S. Once Again” at

  25. stayan says:

    Just in case they start deleting the cannabis petitions:


  26. mery peyis says:

    Please Go To:


    And Sign

    We petition the obama administration to:
    Call an Investigation into Allegations of Prosecutorial & Judicial Misconduct in the Case of Sholom Rubashkin

  27. ezrydn says:

    Seeing our idea on top of the list is nothing. We’ve been there before and we’re there all the time. They’ve not seen nor heard before. Why is this little wiggle of theirs any different? Only 405 days left and then we can try a new slant on a new group. This group is, however, useless, begging and wanting. H and I fire is all we seem to be putting out. I’m glad to see Israel taking a positive stand. The Administration of the US will have to be beaten down by other countries on this topic. It’s quite obvious that no Adminstration in the US will ever respond to the desires of the People. I wish I was wrong. I truly do. But history has a really bad habit here of repeating itself.

    We have a habit of saying “do the same thing over and over and expect some difference.” We aim it at them, yet it speaks loudly of ourselves also. We need to form new and different tactics. And not cater to the Administration’s childness pranks.

    • Hope says:

      I don’t feel like they’re pranking us, EZ. But I do think they are ignoring and making fun of us. Belittling us. Laughing at us. Acting like we’re idiots.

      This so called war on drugs has been terrifying. It has been so wrong. So obviously, blatantly wrong… and still it goes on. Against all reason. They have been killing people. They’ve been doing horrible things in the name of fighting a drug war.

      There have been victims. Many of them. http://www.drugwarrant.com/articles/drug-war-victim/

      Just some of those sacrificed to this horrible stain on humanity known as the war on drugs.

      Despicable doings… and the killers, and the persecutors, and dogs of law felt so respectable doing it. So respectable.

      One of those commenters over at The Hill said the NORML petition… as I’ve heard it being called, was “Cute”.

  28. Duncan20903 says:

    Who’da thunk it? I’ve gotta say that question is one of the best written that I’ve seen. It’s got them coming and going.

    Petition to legalize pot is first to hit White House threshold

    “The first proposal to reach that limit asks, “Isn’t it time to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol? If not, please explain why you feel that the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?”


  29. antifascist says:

    I just checked the dang thing out and i couldn’t sign it becuz I don’t have an account with the site. What good is a petition if people cannot sign it without being put on a list and having their entire life scrutinized by fascist feds?

    I hate to say it but this petition ain’t gonna do diddly squat, just like all the others.

    Btw, the page told me there were only 4,484 signatures so far. I don’t believe it for a second. It’s bogus; just another attempt to downplay the issue by the big pigs.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      There’s no point in being paranoid. You’re already on “the list” and have been for years. Take me for instance, my file consists of volume I to volume XXIII and in a few more days it will move into a second drawer in the filing cabinet.

    • darkcycle says:

      Dude, when’s the last time you signed a legal petition without having to include name, address and signature? I’ve never signed one without that basic information. In my State you can’t even sign one if you’re not a registered voter.

      • antifascist says:

        Actually I’ve signed lots of them, including many at LEAP, that do NOT require an account with the website and do NOT require such exact detailed personal info. Usually, all I have to give is my name, email, and state without having to get into details. If the issue weren’t so volatile i wouldn’t mind, I just don’t like giving out personal info to a website that i don’t trust.

        • darkcycle says:

          I’m talking about a legal, government petition. If it’s a petition to the legislature here in Wa. you need to be a registered voter and leave enough information for them to contact you and verify. It’s been that way ever since the initiative process was enacted here.

    • darkcycle says:

      Plus, dude, that petition is right up there on that website with petitions to declare National Warthog Day, and to Ban Cheese. You know it. Too much work to single out the cannabis activists from the people with nothing to do but go through the list and sign all of ’em just because they’re bored. I also know from experience that there will be a small percentage of delusional people who will believe that Obama is asking them, PERSONALLY (through a secret code, of course), their opinion on anything and everything through that website. What they do on that, oddly will be of far more interest to the Whitehouse. I have a story from another therapist about a local patient whose movements were actually tracked for a short time by the secret service during Clinton. After they figured out he was crazy, and just writing insane letters everyday, they asked the facility where he was a patient to stop mailing those letters for him, and to please let them know if he moved, just in case.

  30. Pete says:

    A couple of notes to the pessimists in the group…

    1. Yes, you have to register, and it means the Obama group will have your contact information, and their might be concern that they’ll use it to spam you with reelection stuff. First, it would be illegal for the Obama campaign to use that information. Second, they have plenty of other ways to get lists for mailing stuff. Third, even if they did break the law and political spam you, so what? We get plenty of spam. It doesn’t mean we have to do what it says or even read it.


    What good is a petition if people cannot sign it without being put on a list and having their entire life scrutinized by fascist feds?

    It’s a whole lot better than a petition with a bunch of fake names that can be artificially jacked up by a 3rd grader with some hacking skills. A petition signed by anonymous people has no value. If you can’t put your name on it, you clearly don’t care enough about it. And if you think the feds need to have you register on this site in order to know about you and scrutinize your entire life, then you’re pretty naive.

    Give me liberty, or give me death! – Anonymous

    3. Of course, this petition won’t change the mind of the government or cause them to suddenly be responsive to us. However, it will force them to respond in some way, and whatever that response is, it can be used. The famous chuckle of Obama when he responded to the question at that Town Hall ended up doing a whole lot for our side because it made him look out of touch. The media already knows that a marijuana question was the first to reach the threshold. No response from the White House would be damning PR and any response (positive or negative) will give us something to respond to, thereby increasing the national dialog.

    It’s a pain in the ass to have to work this way, and it’s sometimes depressing, but there’s nothing wrong with taking every opportunity we can get.

  31. BluOx says:

    BINGO! If it’s worth it and you know it put your name on it. One more brick in the wall ,while blowing smoke in my oppressors face. That glass really is half full.

  32. Dante says:

    “First, it would be illegal for the Obama campaign to use that information”.

    Trusting any administration to obey the law is unwise, if history is any guide. If they will sink low enough to torture/kill innocent people, they will do anything.

    We are not their constituents. We are their prey.

  33. Duncan20903 says:

    Oh my word. A Mr. Jason Linkins who fancies himself a flipping comedian wrote an article in the Huffington Post:


    which ended:

    But if the response back doesn’t meet the satisfaction of the petitioners, let me know and I will submit a petition of my own titled “IN RE: Your Response To The Earlier Petition On Marijuana Legalization: I Mean, Okay. But, Dude, Just Think About It For A Minute, Yo!”

    Of course I gave him a piece of my mind using the Howard Bealle “madder than hell” classic scene from Network. Today I wasn’t the only one, he’s getting reamed left and write. Heck, it almost looks like I’m right and that we are actually madder than hell.

    Oh well, it gave me a warm fuzzy to see that.


  34. Duncan20903 says:

    For a herd of cats it’s remarkable how many defeatists are sitting on our side of the table..

    If you don’t think it possible to change things why the heck are you wasting your time? Go buy a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, some fried pigs knuckles and some head cheese, and a subscription to 1001 channels of shit on the TV to choose from. If you’ve got good health insurance, consider getting a lobotomy instead of the TV channels. Then you won’t waste your time thinking about the permanent loss of the freedom on which this country was founded and promised us as our birthright which you’re so willing to concede without a fight.

    Myself I think it’s just pessimistic flapdoodle. We’ve got 235 years of progress in the face of entrenched authority. The United States of America’s government governs by consent of the governed. I’ve withdrawn my consent.

    To whom it may concern:

    So I guess we all should just curl up and die. What’s the point of wasting your time commenting if you believe the flapdoodle in your post? Is it your goal to make us give up as you’ve done?

    If the powers that be were so all powerful as you seem to “think” Marie Antoinette would have been buried with her head attached, the US wouldn’t have become independen­t until the British decided to allow it, we’d still have slavery, voting would still be limited to white men who own property, we’d still have huge monopolies and no workplace unions, and we’d still have involuntar­y conscripti­on into the military.

    Get out of your foxhole and help us change things, or stay inside and cower in fear of the big bad government I don’t care which. But if you choose the latter you really need to keep it to yourself. We don’t need cowards trying to undermine and sabotage our efforts to re-legaliz­e freedom. We’re not going to change anything by adopting such a pathetic point of view.

    If you want to resign yourself to defeat and guaranteed failure, well, that’s up to you. They may beat me, but I’m sure as hell going to make them work for it.


    • darkcycle says:

      Right on Duncan. I’ll second that and add that I don’t fucking waste my time.

    • Vocal Citizen says:

      You, Duncan, are delicious! I spend hours each day, blogging and commenting and posting iReports on this issue. I call my state representatives and DC representatives EACH WEEK, demanding they support the re-legalization initiative, challenging them on what they’ve done to promote the restoration of the Tenth Amendment spirit. Those who wish to hide under the covers until the war is finished may do so, but they should keep their defeatist attitudes out of our way.

      Fight on! I will never quit. I will not be silenced. I proudly display my MPP and NORML bumper stickers on my car, knowing I’ll be pulled over on “suspicion of possession”. I see those incidents as opportunities to introduce my detaining officers to L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). I keep informational flyers in my car for that very purpose. I speak to strangers in the bank line… in the supermarket line… I seek out conservatives and the elderly for conversation.

      We will accomplish this. The abolitionist movement operated from kitchens and hidden rooms for years before change occurred. We can do it, too.

  35. claygooding says:

    I never thought that any petition to legalize pot,,industrial hemp production,,,will be addressed or even answered by the clown,,I hope he doesn’t answer it.

    Every time they laugh it off,,stumble trying to explain why there is a drug war and refuse to answer our questions or justify their policies,,,another chink forms in America’s Berlin wall,,as more citizens see for themselves that the drug warriors cannot justify their policies.

    We are fighting over 80 years of lies,propaganda and bullshit spread by them and every exposure to facts awakens a few more Americans.

  36. DdC says:

    Marijuana Legalization Tops At White House’s Petition Page
    Americans are petitioning President Obama and the rest of the White House to legalize and tax marijuana.

    Weed the People: Over 35,000 Strong for Marijuana Legalization

    We the People: Petition Obama to Pardon Pot Activist Marc Emery
    The White House has launched a new website giving citizens the opportunity to electronically petition President Obama, who will respond to issues that receive more than 5,000 signatures in 30 days. Sign the petition asking Obama to pardon imprisoned Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery!

    Send Colbert a Message! Support Ed Rosenthal for President in 2012!
    Folks, the results are in.

  37. This two part plan is the only action the citizens of the US need to take to end federal marijuana prohibition:
    1) EVERYONE that sees these links sign up at both sites and weigh in on the debate
    2) Propagate those two links and ensure that everyone that sees them go to both those sites.

    Too many people are blaming the President for enforcing the federal marijuana prohibitio­n. Contact Congress (the LEGISLATIVE branch [that’s the important one when it comes to law]) via the first link. Contact Obama (the EXECUTIVE branch [until Obama vetos a passed H.R. 2306 it’s on Congress – but tell Obama anyway]) via the second link. It really is THAT easy. Participate in democracy!

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