Young Turks debate

Former DEA analyst Sean Dunagan agrees with the majority of Americans who say it is time to legalize marijuana. He debates former police officer Paul Chabot, who thinks even alcohol prohibition actually worked. Sean is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

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38 Responses to Young Turks debate

  1. Servetus says:

    Wow. Paul Chabot is one piece of work. Pseudo-intellectual to the max. Publishes his own books. Assumes everyone else is dumber than he is. He should be debating Glenn Beck instead of a seasoned LEAP professional like Sean Dunagan.

    Beck, a former coke and marijuana aficionado, and an anti-prohibitionist with regard to pot, would be savvy to Chabot’s hackneyed points and debating techniques, skills which are similar to his own. It would be spectacular. Beck vs. Chabot. Non-reason vs. Non-reason in the Drug War: the Final Showdown.

  2. Ziggy says:

    I don’t want to say this, but alcohol prohibition did work. It significantly lowered the consumption of booze (hard liquor?) for a short time.

    I think it might have worked had they drawn a line in the sand at beer and wine, or lower proof liquors. I don’t know where that line was, but it was there.

    I have a problem with lines. If it is consensual, a crime isn’t really a crime and someone will profit from it. However, in a consensual act, no one has been harmed beyond their willingness to be harmed, except in cases where the state is involved.

    I shudder at what Jefferson would say about us now, and I bow my head in shame.

    • allan says:

      i guess that depends on what your definition of “did work” is.

      • Ziggy says:

        I meant in the sense that it did curtail alcohol use. It also made the government poison people, caused a huge upsurge in violence surrounding the distribution of illegal alcohol and made a general disdain for the law… I’m not saying it worked overall, only in the sense that it did lower the amount of alcohol consumed in the U.S. at the time.

        • darkcycle says:

          No, It reduced consumption for only as long as it took for people to find alternate sources. During prohibition, excessive drinking was more prevalent than after. The number of speakeasys in New York City during prohibition dwarfs the number of legal clubs and taverns even now.

        • Francis says:

          Let’s assume that alcohol prohibition did reduce total alcohol consumption. That certainly doesn’t mean that it “worked.” Reducing alcohol consumption is not an end in and of itself. It was supposed to be a means to reducing societal harm. It failed. Prohibition made alcohol more dangerous thanks to “bathtub gin” and the Iron Law of Prohibition. Prohibition increased crime and helped it to organize. The homicide rate soared (and then dropped immediately and precipitously when prohibition ended). Prohibition imposed a massive burden on our courts and prison system. Prohibition removed a significant source of tax revenue while at the same time greatly increasing government spending. And prohibition promoted a staggering level of official corruption. It was an absolute train-wreck of a policy. There’s a reason we went from the super-majority required to pass the 18th Amendment to the super-majority required to repeal it in a little less than 14 years. The people who actually experienced alcohol prohibition first-hand clearly didn’t consider it a “success.” I’m inclined to trust their opinion just a tad more than I do Paul Chabot’s.

    • TellTheTruth says:

      Want to know what a return to alcohol prohibition would look like? 

      Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance, Feb, 2010: A 13 strong, heavily armed gang of illegal alcohol “bootleggers” kidnapped two members of a rival gang, tortured them, homosexually assaulted them, and then buried them alive.

      Now add to that the problem of tainted booze:

      In just one instance alone, in 2009, more than 100 people died after drinking toxic alcohol in the Indian state of Gujarat (India’s only dry state) and another 200 victims were hospitalized. The Indian police raided 1,200 liquor dens and arrested more than 800 people as they searched for those responsible for the illegal alcohol.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        In Georgia USA bootlegging leads to the tragedy of stripper poles and the scourge of illegal buffets.
        Though the squads focus on drugs and gangs, they address a few bootlegging cases each year.

        “They pop up every now and then. People want to make a little extra money,” Ware said. “They’ll buy beers and then sell it for two or three times more.”

        In early November, three people were arrested and accused of selling alcohol illegally out of a home on Brown Street. The suspects allegedly were selling beer, wine, mixed drinks and shots of moonshine.

        There was also a buffet and a stripper pole set up at the house, Ware said.

    • TellTheTruth says:

      Here is part of the testimony of Judge Alfred J Talley, given before the Senate Hearings of 1926:

      “For the first time in our history, full faith and confidence in and respect for the hitherto sacred Constitution of the United States has been weakened and impaired because this terrifying invasion of natural rights has been engrafted upon the fundamental law of our land, and experience has shown that it is being wantonly and derisively violated in every State, city, and hamlet in the country.”

      “It has made potential drunkards of the youth of the land, not because intoxicating liquor appeals to their taste or disposition, but because it is a forbidden thing, and because it is forbidden makes an irresistible appeal to the unformed and immature. It has brought into our midst the intemperate woman, the most fearsome and menacing thing for the future of our national life.”

      “It has brought the sickening slime of corruption, dishonor, and disgrace into every group of employees and officials in city, State, and Federal departments that have been charged with the enforcement of this odious law.”

      And the following paragraphs are from WALTER E. EDGE’s testimony, a Senator from New Jersey:

      “Any law that brings in its wake such wide corruption in the public service, increased alcoholic insanity, and deaths, increased arrests for drunkenness, home barrooms, and development among young boys and young women of the use of the flask never heard of before prohibition can not be successfully defended.”

      “I unhesitatingly contend that those who recognize existing evils and sincerely endeavor to correct them are contributing more toward temperance than those who stubbornly refuse to admit the facts.”

      “The opposition always proceeds on the theory that give them time and they will stop the habit of indulging in intoxicating beverages. This can not be accomplished. We should recognize our problem is not to persist in the impossible, but to recognize a situation and bring about common-sense temperance through reason.”

      “This is not a campaign to bring back intoxicating liquor, as is so often claimed by the fanatical dry. Intoxicating liquor is with us to-day and practically as accessible as it ever was. The difference mainly because of its illegality, is its greater destructive power, as evidenced on every hand. The sincere advocates of prohibition welcome efforts for real temperance rather than a continuation of the present bluff.”

      • Hope says:

        Wow. “The intemperate woman”?

        “It has brought into our midst the intemperate woman, the most fearsome and menacing thing for the future of our national life.”

        The “Most fearsome and menacing thing”?

    • TellTheTruth says:

      And here is Julien Codman’s testimony, who was a member of the Massachusetts bar.

      “we will produce additional evidence on this point, that it is not appropriate legislation to enforce the eighteenth amendment; that it has done incredible harm instead of good; that as a temperance measure it has been a pitiable failure; that it has failed to prevent drinking; that it has failed to decrease crime; that, as a matter of fact, it has increased both; that it has promoted bootlegging and smuggling to an extent never known before”

      “We believe that the time has come for definite action, but it is impossible to lay before Congress any one bill which, while clearly within the provisions of the Constitution, will be a panacea for the evils that the Volstead Act has caused. We must not be vain enough to believe, as the prohibitionists do, that the age-old question of the regulation of alcohol can be settled forever by the passage of a single law. With the experience of the Volstead law as a warning, it behooves us to proceed with caution, one step at a time, to climb out of the legislative well into which we have been pushed.”

      “If you gentlemen are satisfied, after hearing the evidence supplemented by the broad general knowledge which each of you already possesses, that the remedy that will tend most quickly to correct the wretched social conditions that now exist, to promote temperance, find to allay the discontent and unrest that the Volstead Act has caused, is to be found in the passage of one of the proposed bills legalizing the production of beer of an alcoholic content of 4 per cent or less. We do not claim that it will do away with all the evils produced by attempted prohibition, but it would be a step in the right direction.”

    • TellTheTruth says:

      And here are the the main paragraphs from the address of His Eminence, Cardinal Dougherty, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, to the Catholic societies of the Archdiocese on New Year’s Day 1931 (the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933.):

      “Having heard the report on behalf of the members of the Total Abstinence Society, it occurs to me to say that when the law prohibiting alcoholic drink was passed, many thought that there would be no further need for our temperance or total-abstinence societies. Hence the practice of giving a pledge against intoxicating liquors to boys and girls at Confirmation was discontinued. There seemed to be no need of it.”

      “But, unfortunately. Prohibition has not performed the miracles that were expected. According to experts, such as judges, public officials, social service workers, and others, there is as much, perhaps even more, drunkenness and intemperance today than before the passage of the Volstead Act.”

      “When in the past did we see young men and women of respectable families carrying a flask of liquor when going to social events? When did we see young girls, not yet of age, drinking in public, perhaps to excess, cocktails and the strongest kind of intoxicating liquors, and perhaps being overcome by them? That, today, is not an uncommon sight.” 

    • darkcycle says:

      Well, Ziggy, it appears that prohibition of alcohol was not the roaring success it’s proponents claim. Plenty of evidence it didn’t work. Deaths from alcohol continued and increased, with the deaths from prohibition as a multiplier. I’m with Francis, the objective wasn’t to end alcohol consumption, it was to end the collateral damage to society associated with alcohol consumption. In that objective (the real objective of prohibition)it failed by any measure you care to apply. Malcolm has dutifully channeled the voices from our past, and it would behoove us to listen to them. And with the current prohibition of drugs as an example: Just look at Cannabis, and what has happened with consumption rates there.
      If Paul Chabot was right, and prohibition was such a success, how do you explain the biggest one day party in U.S. History?

      • Ziggy says:

        Look at consumption of all alcohol before and immediatley after prohibition, it did lower use. It certainly was a failure in a lot of other ways, but at the end of prohibition alcohol consumption was 1/2 of what it was before 1910.

        Look, I’m trying to point out that if your only metric is consumption, alcohol prohibition worked. I’m not saying it was a success, but in the narrow focus of consumption, which a lot of people only care about, it worked. Just because it inflicted ancillary damage, it doesn’t mean it was a complete failure in the eyes of the sadomoralist.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          …and we’re trying to point out that you’ve been sold a bill of goods.

        • TellTheTruth says:

          Alcohol consumption rose during alcohol prohibition. How else do you explain all the expert testimony and the eyewitness accounts that I posted above?

          Here again, for you to continue to ignore, are two of the main paragraphs from the address of His Eminence, Cardinal Dougherty, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, to the Catholic societies of the Archdiocese on New Year’s Day 1931 (the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933.):

          “But, unfortunately. Prohibition has not performed the miracles that were expected. According to experts, such as judges, public officials, social service workers, and others, there is as much, perhaps even more, drunkenness and intemperance today than before the passage of the Volstead Act.”

          “When in the past did we see young men and women of respectable families carrying a flask of liquor when going to social events? When did we see young girls, not yet of age, drinking in public, perhaps to excess, cocktails and the strongest kind of intoxicating liquors, and perhaps being overcome by them? That, today, is not an uncommon sight.”

          Kindly get a clue!

        • Duncan20903 says:


          Well there you go Ziggy, the long and the short explanation of why we think you’re wrong. Just because a lot of people think something true doesn’t mean it is. Kryste in 1972 more than 60% of American voters in thought that Dick Nixon was a good POTUS and Spiro Agnew a good V-POTUS. The only President and Vice President team where both were run out of town because of their criminal activities. Mr. Agnew resigned his position as V-POTUS because it was part of a plea bargain which found him guilty of graft and corruption and also got him disbarred. It was very good luck for our Country as he could have ended up the POTUS subsequent to the resignation of Tricky Dick. The CREEP* vilified Senator Eagleton (Democratic nominee for VP) in the 1972 campaign because he had engaged the services of a psychiatrist and the Country ended up getting Greeked by Mr. Agnew.

          Are you aware of how many people think that the absurd assertion that cannabis actually is a weed is true? It might not have been the first plant domesticated but it was almost certainly one of the first five.

          CREEP = Committee for the RE-Election of the President

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      It looks to me like we’ll never have really good data on this question. This site helps, tho:

      • TellTheTruth says:

        That’s where I got the testimonies I posted above from.

        This bit was interesting:

        “In making out death certificates (which are basic to Census Reports) private or family physicians commonly avoid entry of alcoholism as a cause of death whenever possible. This practice was more prevalent under the National Dry Law than it was in preprohibition time” (Tillitt, 1932: 114-115).

      • Ziggy says:

        Explain the fact that cirhossis of the liver declined dramatically durring prohibition. I haven’t been sold anything, I’ve actually read. Look at the number of saloons pre- and post-… Get a clue yourself.

        • Duncan20903 says:

          I ‘splained it 12 hours before you demanded it be ‘splained.

        • darkcycle says:

          Short answer, Ziggy is a lot of people in that era (particularly adult males) didn’t LIVE long enough to develop cirhossis. And, I’ll add, not only were a large cohort killed off in the war, many of those who might have lived to develop cirhossis instead died much younger of kidney failure, or the accumulated effects of heavy metal poisoning from unregulated stills. A friend of mine’s Grandfather, now long gone, operated a still in prohibition. He blinded himself (not completely, he wore the thickest lenses I have ever seen, and was pretty good at picking out shapes)and lived the last few weeks of his life on dialysis because he tested his product on himself before he sold it.

  3. Metabaron says:

    Thats right, the reduced consumtion resulted from reduced availability. But reduced availability wont be achieved these days. Not with any drug.

    • strayan says:

      The facts:

      Overall alcohol consumption WAS lower during prohibition.

      Alcohol consumption increased during prohibition.

      Alcohol consumption fell dramatically BEFORE National Prohibition. Grain was being stockpiled for the war effort and lots of brewers were German.

    • TellTheTruth says:

      Just like the present situation, only legal availability was reduced

      The second biggest business during alcohol prohibition in 1920s Detroit was liquor, at $215 million a year and employing an estimated 50,000 people. Authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. During just one raid, the state police arrested Detroit Mayor John Smith, Michigan Congressman Robert Clancy, and Sheriff Edward Stein.

      Alcohol related homicide, violence, wife battering and child neglect were also definitely not curtailed, nor were they even slightly ameliorated during this earlier period of national Wack-a-Mole insanity. Not only did Prohibition exacerbate all of the above problems it also increased usage while bootleggers like many of our present day drug lords became rich and powerful folk heroes as a result.

      May I refer you to the same graph strayen posted:

  4. Nunavut Tripper says:

    Holy shit, Gil says industrial hemp fibre is laced with the dreaded THC and we never knew it.!/petition/allow-industrial-hemp-be-grown-us-once-again/V2gV7rWy

    I wonder what would happen if I smoked my hemp Ha Swesh teeshirt?

  5. Francis says:

    Paul: “… but we can’t have fringe groups like LEAP who take anybody and everybody to start marching down the streets like they’re doing today on 4/20. It’s shameful for them. And this guy’s not even a cop for crying out loud, never carried a gun.”
    Cenk: “Paul, I’m gonna let Sean obviously respond to the charges against him, but I’ve gotta let you know, it’s not fringe. Now a majority of the country according to Gallup polling says that we should legalize pot period. So, you’re in the minority. Just let’s be clear on that. You’ve got a lot of great credentials and you have interesting experience, but you’re not in the majority. You’re in the minority of people.”
    Paul: “Cenk, I’ve got stats to reverse what you just told me on those numbers.”
    Cenk: “Well, you have stats. I have Gallup polling.”

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed that exchange. And it’s a point we should call the drug warriors on every chance we get.

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      I think Chabot’s tone of voice gives him away to anyone with an ear to hear. He really gets desperate and rattled easily. I wonder if he and Sabet ever smoke doobies together?

  6. CJ says:

    hahaha. first of all major kudos to tellthetruth that was awesome. that was an awesome video. i liked how cenk handled that guy. BUT HE DID kinda leave out some facts of his own that kinda pissed me off, that 8 billion dollars in taxes etc ?? i think because they referenced pot so heavily it may’ve had folks thinking that was just about pot but thats not true thats about all drugs and i am certain that the mighty opiate plays a significant part in that number as much as your sacred weed. everyday i feel more and more like there needs to be a civil freakin rights movement within drug reform. and those of you who dont know yes i am a 24 7 heroin lover for many many years i am currently in the final months of conditional release after being illegally searched at a train station havin been homeless for several months and seeking asylum in the heated train booths of metro north i had a switchblade for protection, dirty works and a ton of empty bags. i used to be ignorant and when i was ignorant i allowed the most useless voices of all to influence me, the most useless voice of all of course the aa/na/xA person and as such ive unwittingly played the rehab detox so called “substitution” treatment game (substitution treatment does actually work profoundly when followed correctly, the American model of substitution treatment is not the real model of it and in fact is a mechanism of prohibition and has been entirely manipulated and is a joke, when used properly and just look up the stats, in the uk, switzerland, berlin, denmark etc it is profoundly life changing and bar none the most successful method to help someone) until i asked myself wait a minute, no, stop, this is stupid, i love what i do and thats not bad. im not bad. what i do isnt bad. its beautiful, its wonderful, its great, i love it, its my passion, doing it, going about doing it, i love it all, i even had to learn to love the dreaded w/ds, a really small price to pay to live that way, free of the mechanisms that enslave so many and enable so many to be so selfish and judgemental. i realized, im not wrong at all, the so called system and the ignorant ones who have never done what i do and thereby have no right to even talk about it in any capacity (unless of course its a discussion about potentially doing it themselves which would thereby imo qualify them to be apart of any discussion regarding “it.”) the ones who become obsessed with money, material things those aa idiots lol, theyre wrong. its brilliantly funny when you realize it too. at any rate indeed 420 shirts exist bumper stickers etc well thats the sorta pride we opiate lovers need and yes words like addiction those concepts are hilarious and pathetic and indeed will be extinct one day. addict? lol how convenient a concept for a prohibitionist society. of course, you spend 8 hours out of the day obtaining or doing a certain thing that isnt a job or consuming things and your bad and your an addict, but far more obsessed, maddening, sick selfish people spend 8 hours a day obsessively in a cubicle or office, theyre not an addict, so, two people do something with the same amount of ferocity and obsession, one is an addict, one is a normal person who goes to work. lol. who gave anybody the right to decide that given behavior is the behavior of addiction and thereby bad in that philosophy the working man is an addict. but of course thats not convenient is it? well i respect 420 pride but in the reform world the 420 bias really needs to end it is harmful. and if you live in nyc and commute the f train 1 train m train delancey st stations or in the bx, i do have heroin lover pride and i am the dude with the white heroin bottle shirt or the black diamorphine chemistry shirt. indeed its me if you notice me and feel as i do, super d duper, let me know, i love meeting people that love the things i love.

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      Reminds me of a certain film: “Most people don’t know how they’re gonna feel from one moment to the next. But a dope fiend has a pretty good idea.”

      A lot of the anxiety about drug taking and morality comes from deep-seated cosmological notions of the relationship between spirit and matter, with matter on the decidedly negative side.

      And it’s impossible not to be affected by the stigmatization of drugs, it makes people compartmentalize, worsens any problems they may have with their consumption.

      Specifically in the case of cannabis, I think that many folks are comfortable with the “rebel” end of the stick they’re holding, and that the threat that the outlaw element of cannabis may vanish may ultimately be one of the key stumbling blocks to developing a saner policy.

      (‘Cause it’s not just a plant, it’s a weird kind of phytopolitics.)

    • Duncan20903 says:


      CJ you are literally the first fan of heroin that I’ve known that promoted political discussion of that particular drug. I’m pushing 52 years of age. My observation has been that most fans of heroin are too busy funding their next fix to worry about the law. Everyone else that supports legalization/regulation of heroin does so from either a libertarian or pragmatic point of view. BTW I’m in the latter category nowadays.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        I said, “Everyone else that supports legalization/regulation…”
        and that should have been, “Everyone else that I’ve been aware of that supports legalization/regulation…” as I’m certain that CJ isn’t the only fan of heroin to support its legalization/regulation.

  7. war vet says:

    Paul Chabot is an Iraq War Veteran . . . doesn’t he know that our 1961 U.N. Single Convention on drugs makes it easier for our enemies to be funded . . . doesn’t he know that 65% of our dead and wounded brothers in arms died from drug money supplied fightes?

    There are only three types of people in the world whom want to keep drugs illegal:
    1)those who want it illegal due to dangers associated with it, who also want civilian use of cars illegal and certain high in sodium foods and sugars illegal too . . . and alcohol and tobacco and many other things.
    2) drug dealers so they can make illegal money without paying taxes.
    3) Terrorists and gangs who want the money for power

    So, is this Vet someone who thinks Fast Foods and sodas should be outlawed due to health risks and cars as well due to injuries and deaths -is he a drug dealer or is he a terrorist?

    • darkcycle says:

      He’s a career drug warrior. He’s a salesman, and he sells death, misery, and subjugation. He makes his rent by stomping on the civil liberties supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution. And he has an easy gig, he only has to fool enough people to keep this debate open. The kicker is, and I love this part, they’re failing! Consensus will be ours, sooner rather than later.

  8. Duncan20903 says:


    The assertion that prohibition lowered consumption is baseless speculation and almost certainly hogwash. This so called fact was discovered in 1976 by an ivory tower academic historian named Norman Clark who “reviewed the literature and concluded” that estimates that placed annual absolute alcohol consumption rates at between 50 and 33 percent less than those of the pre-prohibition years were essentially correct.

    It is absurd to claim that one can quantify a clandestine activity in a market supplied by criminals who don’t keep written records or report their gross income. People made booze in their bathtubs for crying out loud. If Mr. Clark’s SWAG estimate were correct, why does a review of U.S. Census records from the years that the 18th Amendment was in force did deaths from chronic or acute alcoholism increase by up to 400%? It’s very difficult to hide a dead body, but very easy to hide a gallon of bathtub gin. Regardless, if prohibition reduced use but increased deaths directly caused by alcoholism we should be encouraging people to drink like fish.

    Some make a big deal out of the fact that deaths from cirrhosis were significantly lower during the days of drinking alcohol prohibition but please, cirrhosis is not a disease which happens overnight. It’s also reasonable speculation that the number of soldiers who died in WW1 caused a significant portion of the decline because a significant number of those casualties would have expired from cirrhosis had they not died in the war. FYI deaths from cirrhosis declined by more than 50% between 1907 and 1920.

    The claims that consumption of drinking alcohol declined because of prohibition are self serving and baseless speculation on the part of the Know Nothing prohibitionists who never let facts get in the way of disseminating an effective piece of hysterical rhetoric.

  9. Peter says:

    Just visited to look at the reviews of Chabot’s book. The first few up, with the most “helpful” tags, starting with Pete Guither’s, are all highly critical of this vanity publication and his motives. I made sure I added my own votes and encourage others here to do the same.

  10. Yuppers says:

    You forgot all of the bureaucacy, prison guard unions, private prison shareholders, police etc all whose jobs or income depends on the prosecution of the drug war.

  11. kaptinemo says:

    That the prohibs are debating us at all means they are hearing that infamous bell tolling for them. The one that says, “You’re time’s up.”

    They can’t win. If only because of that aforementioned ‘tone’. And some of the brighter ones know it.

    This is why we are getting only the bottom feeders to debate us; they’re politically expendable. The cachet of the ‘anti-drugs’ bureaucracy has always required a of kind strenuously maintained polished smoothness to it, because anything that latches onto the surface and gives it a good tug is bound to strip the hide off of the very concept of drug prohibition.

    Their leadership cannot, must not debate us, because a very large part of that hide is composed of an authoritarian attitude that just barely peeps out from under the hem of their unctuous claims of only being concerned about The Sainted Childrenâ„¢ . An authoritarian attitude that would immediately rankle any adult who values free will as opposed to being told how to live. Chabot is a perfect example. I don’t doubt the Founders would have invited him to a tar bath with a feather rinse for his support of arrogant impositions on hard-won liberties. He took the same Oath I and every other Veteran on this board did…but evidently didn’t understand it’s philosophical underpinnings.

    He and just about every prohib I’ve ever read or heard have always reminded me of an old song I heard long ago, whose lyrics went:

    “How much does it cost, I’ll buy it
    The time is all we’ve lost, I’ll try it
    But he can’t even run his own life
    I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine
    (Emphasis mine – k.)

    Prohibs in a nutshell. They don’t have any idea of how destructive they’ve been, but are bound and determined to trundle on like Juggernaut…and can’t understand why we don’t want to wind up under its’ treads. Judge Brandeis’ ‘men of zeal, without understanding’. And just like Brandeis warned, they’ve made a horrible mess of things with their insufferable self-righteousness and certainty in their own moral rectitude. The blind demanding the sighted march behind them off a cliff. I’m sure the cartels are very glad of his and their support.

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