Dr. Doom’s Warning on What Putin’s Actions Could Mean for ChinaPosted March 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm by Becket Adams
Noted investor Marc Faber warned this week that Russia’s recent actions in Crimea could be the excuse the Chinese have been waiting for to “seize some territory that they perceive that belongs to them.”
“Crimea is strategically most important for Russia. It has practically no meaning strategically to the United States or to Europe. But for Russia it’s very important. I don’t think that Russia will move further into Ukraine unless there is serious provocation,” Faber, known more famously as “Dr. Doom,” said Monday during a Bloomberg TV interview. “But I doubt it will happen. But I think the wider implication is that we have now border lines.”
He said China, like the U.S., will intervene if its access to resources is threatened by a foreign power.
“This is very important because the occupation or say the referendum in Crimea and Crimea moving to Russia gives essentially a signal to China that one day they can also move and seize some territory that they perceive that belongs to them,” he said.
Here’s Faber discussing a few of the other economic issues facing China:
Before explaining how the Russian excursion into Ukraine could affect China, Faber discussed why Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent actions regarding Crimea have been “the right thing to do.”
“I think as an international server, Mr. Putin did the right thing from his perspective. We have to look – put ourselves into his shoes. He did absolutely the right thing at the right time. I don’t think he –” Faber started.
“I’m sorry. He did the right thing at the right time. What do you mean by that, Marc?” Bloomberg TV’s Trish Regan interjected.
“By that I mean that there was interference by foreign powers in Ukrainian politics that were unfavorably from the perspective of Russia. And –”
“So he – he needed to save his warm water ports? He went in and took over this region, which you see as a logical political move. I guess the big question is — is he going to do more?” Regan asked.
It was at that moment that Faber launched into his warning about China.
(H/T: Business Insider)
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Hot List: Famous Lies Told By PoliticiansPosted March 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm by Amy Holmes
Amy Holmes takes a look at some of the most memorable political lies:
Owner of S.C. Pub Insults Gun Owners Across America With This Outrageous SignPosted March 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm by Jason Howerton
“NO CONCEALED WEAPONS ALLOWED. If you are such a loser that you feel a need to carry a gun with you when you go out, I do not want your business. Douchebag.”
That’s the message Backstreets Pub & Deli recently sent to gun owners with a sign posted in its store window. The backlash against the establishment, located in Clemson, S.C., was swift after the conservative website Twitchy posted several photos of the sign from Twitter.
The Washington Times reports that the pub has a one-star rating out of five on Yelp.com, “with pages upon pages of negative comments and reviews by Second Amendment supporters.”
— Jeff Howe (@jlhowe) March 18, 2014
The owner of the pub, who identified to himself only as Pete, is already backpedaling. He said the sign was only temporary and that he regrets using the rude language.
“It just came out wrong because I was frustrated,” he said.
The Times has some of the reactions:
Terri, on Yelp, gave the pub a one-star rating.
“Not allowing law abiding permit holding background checked conceal carry permit holders into your establishment is begging for criminals to come in and make an easy target out of you,” she said.
“So, you would even insult the soldiers that fought for your freedom and right to post that offensive sign?” asked Tim, who also gave one star. “Would you say the same thing to a police officer? I guess you have the right to be an idiot as well. God bless America, the Constitution and the Second Amendment.”
Pete, who describes himself as a “conservative Democrat,” claims he has been a concealed carry permit holder since 2001, but guns don’t belong in public in a college town.
He explained why he feels that way: “There are cops everywhere. Cameras everywhere. Guns have no place here in a college town.”
Meanwhile, he has had to take the phone at the pub off the hook because of the national outrage.
Chris Christie Doesn’t Back Down During Tense Exchange With Obamacare Advocate: ‘You’re Simply Wrong’Posted March 18, 2014 at 3:48 pm by Jason Howerton
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie engaged in a tense debate with an Obamacare advocate during a town hall in South River, N.J., on Tuesday, telling her the state won’t invest taxpayer in a “failed federal program.”
Maura Collinsgru, of New Jersey Citizen Action, accused Christie of failing to facilitate Medicaid expansion, thus getting in the way of people getting the coverage they need. She also accused the governor’s administration of responding with “silence” when her group has attempted to contact them.
“That’s not part of the silence you’ve been met with when I expanded the Medicaid program? Let me ask you this: When I expanded the Medicaid program, is that silence?” Christie asked.
“You’re simply wrong,” he added, explaining that New Jersey is spending more federal and state dollars on Medicaid than when he took office.
Christie also made it clear that he does not support Obamacare, which he called a “failed federal program.” The crowd responded with applause when he took a swipe at President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Because New Jersey missed a deadline to submit a plan to the Department of Health and Human Services last month to show how it would use a $7.6 million federal grant to help insure the uninsured, the state had to return the money. New Jersey did not set up its own online insurance exchange, instead directing residents to use the federal exchange.
Watch the tense exchange via CNN here:
This Is How Joe Biden Reassures NATO AlliesPosted March 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm by Fred Lucas
Making a financial argument, Vice President Joe Biden stressed America’s wherewithal to stick by NATO allies in the face of an emboldened Russia moving forward with the annexation of Crimea.
“You have an ally whose budget is larger than the next 10 nations in the world combined, so don’t worry about where we are,” Biden said Tuesday during his visit with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowsk in Warsaw.
Biden, who is traveling through Europe to meet with leaders of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, of course didn’t mention that the bigger U.S. budget is based on borrowed money with a $17 trillion national debt.
Komorowski said that Russia’s aggression is no surprise because Russian President Vladimir Putin increased the country’s defense budget by 400 percent over the last eight years. The Polish leader said some NATO members had decreased their budgets over that same time period.
Asked about the Polish leader’s comments, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that this is no reason to reconsider the proposal for scaling back the U.S. military budget.
“I can certainly understand the concern and suspicion on the party of Polish officials with what Russia is doing in Ukraine,” Carney said. “I would say if you look at overall military spending for this country from 10 years ago, you would see dramatic increases even as we now rationalize our military spending, having ended one war and being in the process of ending another.”
Voters in Crimea on Sunday approved by an overwhelmingly large margin a referendum to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Putin, who has already moved military into the area, moved almost immediately on Monday to annex the region.
As a result, the United States imposed sanctions on seven individuals, including close advisers to Putin, but there are no sanctions on Russian banks or energy firms. The European Union imposed its own sanctions on 21 people.
Noting Poland’s historical role in the Cold War, Komorowski spoke about the country’s resistances of Soviet aggression in the 1980s.
“What happened in those days that was helpful was a change in Russian oil and gas prices, combined with arms race,” Komorowski said.
Citing Poland’s success, Biden said countries such as Ukraine that support self determination and democracy are “bound to succeed.”
“Those that bet instead on aggression and fear-mongering are bound to fail,” Biden said.
During his next stop, military spending was also an issue. When visiting the Estonian President Toomas Ilves, Biden said, “Estonia is one of the few countries that has committed 2 percent of its GDP to defense, year after year.”
Ilves said, “the Ukrainian crisis is something that causes concern for all people.” He added, “the kind of behavior we’ve seen is dangerous for the world.”
How Sanctions Against Russia Could Signal the Beginning of ‘World War III’Posted March 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm by Sara Carter
Russia is preparing to fight World War III against the United States, not with conventional weapons but with the American dollar, a financial analyst told TheBlaze.
Kevin Freeman, a global financial analyst with expertise in financial warfare and terrorism, warned that Russia, along with allies like China, could cripple the U.S. financial system.
It’s not a theory but a “very real reality” that should not be ignored, he said.
“The real risk is if we go after them with economic weapons, they come back after us and this creates World War III,” said Freeman, who has consulted for the Pentagon, CIA and FBI. ”This is a very tough game of chicken that we’re playing, and Putin is serious.”
“If we go after them with economic weapons, they come back after us and this creates World War III.”
On Wednesday, The Blaze TV’s For The Record investigative news magazine show will examine the global impact of the Ukraine crisis in “Resistance” (8 p.m. ET). For The Record will take viewers into Ukraine and reveal firsthand accounts of the deadly violence that has gripped the country, and explain how the international tug of war over Crimea could change the world.
The threat of economic warfare is nothing new. Freeman, who was hired by the Pentagon as a contractor to investigate the 2008 stock market crash, believes the economic crisis was the result of a purposeful attack on the U.S. financial market by a state actor or by financial terrorists. Last September, For The Record revealed how hostile nations such as China and Russia may have been the instigators of the 2008 crash and how a system with substantial growing debt is vulnerable to such attacks.
Following Sunday’s vote in Crimea to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia, the Obama administration announced a number of sanctions against Russia as both U.S. and European Union officials said they would not recognize the referendum’s results — an overwhelming and questionable 97 percent win.
The crisis began in November, when then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych reversed course and failed to sign an economic agreement with the EU and instead chose to accept a $15 billion loan from Russia, sparking an uprising by protesters who wanted closer alignment with the rest of Europe, not Russia. After Yanukovych was ousted, Russian forces marched into Ukraine’s Crimea region, home to mostly ethnic Russians and territory that was once part of Russia.
“Russia is playing a very good game of Chess and there’s every reason to believe that Russia has thought this out in advance,” said Vitaly Chernetsky, a Ukraine expert at the University of Kansas. It’s up to the rest of the world to decide what will be needed to stop Putin’s momentum, he said.
Putin on Tuesday vowed not to bow to the international community, saying,”in our hearts we know Crimea has always been an inalienable part of Russia.”
U.S. analysts told TheBlaze that the sanctions announced Monday against seven of Russia’s wealthiest oligarchs and politicians may not be enough to stop Putin. Some Russian leaders have even joked that these are insignificant measures from a weak U.S. administration.
“There is no doubt that Russia has been thinking long and hard about how to disrupt U.S. power and the value of the dollar in the global market,” a U.S. defense official said. “We’re mindful but I don’t think we’re mindful enough. One thing is certain the greatest threat to our stability is not a conventional war but the destabilization of our economy by an enemy.”
For the past five years, Putin has promised that he would take America’s role as the leading global financial mammoth away, vowing to create alternatives to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In 2011, he criticized the U.S. debt load, saying the “U.S. is living way beyond their means and shifting a part of their weight of their problems to the world economy.”
“To some extent [the U.S. is] living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar,” Putin said.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported a significant drop in foreign central banks’ Treasury bond holdings at the Federal Reserve. Analysts said they believed the drop was a result of Russia shifting Treasury bond holdings out of the Fed and into offshore accounts so it would be able to buy or sell its portfolio if the U.S. and its European allies imposed economic sanctions over Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Kremlin economic aide Sergei Glazyev made Russia’s intentions for economic warfare very clear, saying, “an attempt to announce sanctions would end in a crash for the financial system of the United States, which would cause the end of domination of the United States in the global financial system.”
Glazyvev said Russia could stop using the dollar, creating its own payment system with “our partners in the East and South.”
Freeman, who concluded in a 2009 report for the Pentagon that subversive elements were likely involved in the 2008 stock market crash, said that during the Summer Olympics in Beijing, Russia was already attempting to further disrupt the U.S. financial system with the help of China.
In 2011, the Washington Times obtained Freeman’s 2009 unclassified report, which outlined that “a three-phased attack was planned and is in the process against the United States economy.”
Despite a final report from the federal government’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that blamed the crash on such economic factors as high-risk mortgage lending practices and poor federal regulation and supervision, Freeman noted that evidence suggesting that “outside forces” likely played a role, a factor the commission did not examine.
Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson described the scenario Freeman investigated for the Pentagon in quotes published Monday in the BBC.
“I’m not going to name the senior person, but I was meeting with someone … this person told me that the Chinese had received a message from the Russians which was, ‘Hey let’s join together and sell Fannie and Freddie securities on the market,’ Paulson told the BBC. “The Chinese weren’t going to do that but again, it just drove home to me how vulnerable I felt until we had put Fannie and Freddie into conservatorship [the rescue plan for them, that was eventually put in place].”
Freeman told TheBlaze that if the Chinese would have become involved it “would have worsened our financial crisis.”
“We might still be digging out, and we are still digging out to a certain degree, but it would have been far worse. But, what if they dumped all their holdings; not just the Fannie and Freddie debt, but all of their Treasury debt and they got the Chinese and others to do it? Oh, my goodness.”
You can follow Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) on Twitter
Frightening? New Revelation About NSA Spy Program and What It Actually Can DoPosted March 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm by Liz Klimas
The National Security Agency has a program capable of collecting 100 percent of phone calls from an entire country, according to documents viewed by the Washington Post.
The program called MYSTIC, which can only maintain phone calls in foreign countries for a maximum of 30 days, collects “every single” call without needing to inform people that they might be targets beforehand, while RETRO allows analysts to retrieve this information. Other intelligence agencies, in addition to the NSA, have access to RETRO, the Post reported.
Of these calls, only a small fraction are listened to, but the actual numbers and the amount they’re clipping for long-term storage is still high.
The program allows analysts to “retrieve audio of interest that was not tasked at the time of the original call,” a senior manager who is involved but remained unnamed in the Post’s story said.
According to the Post, this program targeted its first nation in 2011 and planning documents indicated that other operations were anticipated for other countries as well. The Post is not naming targeted countries at the request of officials.
The tools’ use is regulated by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but privacy experts voiced concern that this should not be used as a cover-all for surveillance. Timothy Edgar, the former director of privacy and civil liberties in the Obama administration’s national security staff, told the Post that surveillance cannot be conducted just for its own sake.
Edgar said it leaves “gap for activities that otherwise basically aren’t regulated by law because they’re not covered by FISA.”
“This further exposes the NSA’s capacity and willingness to monitor the private lives of American citizens and innocent people around the world with shockingly limited restraint,” Greg Nojeim, Director of Freedom, Security and Technology for the Center for Democracy and Technology, said in an emailed statement. “It’s clear that U.S. law is not up to the task of controlling the NSA’s surveillance programs, especially those directed at people abroad.”
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, some officials told the Post that Americans in countries where RETRO operates could have their phone calls collected.
Though Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, did not comment about the “alleged intelligence activities” specifically, she told the Post threats are “often hidden within the large and complex system of modern global communications, and the United States must consequently collect signals intelligence in bulk in certain circumstances in order to identify these threats.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to answer questions Tuesday about the program, saying he hadn’t seen the report.
“We don’t, as a general rule, comment on every specific allegation or report,” he added but noted steps the president presented in January to “significantly reform our activity.”
Watch his response:
Information about this program was revealed from the cache of documents leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden.
Watch Tuesday’s BlazeCast Rewind: White House in HidingPosted March 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm by Scott Baker
This broadcast with TheBlaze Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker will begin at 3pm ET.
To join the chat — there is a button on the top right of the player window or you can hover your cursor over the player window for options.
To ask a question — click the button at the bottom. We’ll be able to display your question or comment in the player window!
And as always you can leave other comments in the regular comment section below!
Obama White House Quietly Amended Rules Regarding the Freedom of Information Act: ReportPosted March 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm by Becket Adams
In a move that went little noticed in 2009, the White House quietly amended portions of the Freedom of Information Act, making it more difficult for Americans to request public documents for review.
The FOIA change came in an April 15, 2009, memo from then-White House Counsel Greg Craig, according to the Washington Examiner, citing a new report from Washington-based watchdog group Cause of Action.
In the memo, Craig instructed the executive branch to let Obama administration officials review all documents sought under FOIA requests to determine if said documents involved “White House equities.”
However, nowhere in the FOIA does it say that White House officials can withhold certain documents for further review, meaning that the Obama administration effectively altered the law to justify burying public documents, the Washington Examiner notes.
The Craig “equities” exception is remarkably broad, covering everything from congressional committee requests, to GAO requests, to judicial subpoenas.
The memo noted that the exception “applies to all documents and records, whether in oral, paper, or electronic form, that relate to communications to and from the White House, including preparations for such communications.”
Under normal FOIA guidelines, government agencies are required to respond to requests within 20 days. But the White House “equities” exemption had made that nearly impossible in at least a few cases.
Take, for example, a case where an L.A. Times reporter requested that the Department of the Interior provide “communications between the White House and high-ranking Interior officials on various politically sensitive topics.”
That request was delayed by nearly two years.
“Cause of Action is still waiting for documents from 16 federal agencies, with the Department of Treasury having the longest pending request of 202 business days,” the watchdog group’s report said.
“The Department of Energy is a close second at 169 business days. The requests to the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services have been pending for 138 business days,” the report added.
Although the Craig memo is from 2009, it has only recently come to light thanks to Cause of Action’s report.
The group, which monitors government transparency issues, argues that the White House’s tampering of FOIA is a major deal.
“FOIA is designed to inform the public on government behavior; White House equities allow the government to withhold information from the media, and therefore the public, by having media requests forwarded for review. This not only politicizes federal agencies, it impairs fundamental First Amendment liberties,” Cause of Action said in its report.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Which Gov’t Agency Is Becoming an ‘Organ to Play the Music of Karl Marx’?Posted March 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm by Erica Ritz
Glenn Beck slammed NASA on his radio program Tuesday, saying it should be “defunded right now” and is being fitted into an “organ to play the music of Karl Marx.”
Beck’s ire centered around a study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center claiming industrialized nations have created an unsustainable model doomed to implode, and the solution is to dramatically reduce resource consumption and income inequality.
“Do you see what this is?” Beck asked. “This is nothing more than our government spending money on bogus science … being washed through [the Elsevier Journal's Ecological Economics].”
Beck said the purpose of the study is “to tell you that you have to have a global structural change away from capitalism,” and for the government to be able to say “we told you” down the road.
“Collapse is coming, guys, but it has nothing to do with the world’s resources,” Beck warned. “It has everything to do with being unhinged from reality. It also has everything to do with the coming technological storm.”
Beck referenced a graph of the U.S. stock market compared to GDP, noting that while the latter “falls off a cliff,” stocks continue to go up.
“This is NASA,” Beck said. “When we saw that NASA’s main mission was changed from exploration to telling the Muslim world how great they are, we should have called for [the dissolving] of NASA. That’s not something I call for lightly, but shut it down. Shut it down. What the hell are they doing?”
Back in July of 2010, Charles Bolden said Barack Obama charged him with three things when he became NASA administrator, the third and “perhaps foremost” of which was finding a “way to reach out to the Muslim world and … help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”
Beck added that enterprises like Virgin Galactic are making remarkable advances in the field of space travel, and said we simply “don’t need” NASA anymore.
“[It's] a complete waste of resources,” Beck said. “This is taking NASA, and trying to fit them into an organ to play the music of Karl Marx. That’s all this is. NASA should be defunded right now.”
The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Get it all with a FREE TRIAL.
White House ‘Recalibrating’ After Backlash Against Obama’s Pro-Gun Control Surgeon General PickPosted March 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm by Fred Lucas
The White House is “recalibrating,” but not abandoning, President Barack Obama’s pick to be the next surgeon general after his high-profile views favoring gun control.
Dr. Vivek Murthy is the president and founder of Doctors for America, which grew from the campaign organization Doctors for Obama that started in 2008. The organization has advocated for a number of liberal initiatives, including expanding gun control, and regards guns as a public health threat.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Obama has opted to “tap the brakes” on the Murthy nomination for now, after it passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee by a 13-9 vote, but has has many as 10 Democrats ready to join Republicans in opposing it on the floor.
A Senate Democratic aide told the Wall Street Journal that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was unlikely to bring the nomination to the floor since it was unlikely to pass and could cause problems for Democrats in an election year.
Despite changing the Senate rules for the sole purpose of making it easier to push for quicker confirmations of Obama nominees, Democratic senators already assisted Republicans earlier this month in defeating the nomination of Debo Adegbile, a former attorney for a convicted cop killer, to run the Justice Department’s civil-rights division.
Asked Monday if the administration was abandoning the surgeon general nomination, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “we’re recalibrating our approach, but in answer to your question, no.”
“Dr. Murthy is a dynamic, entrepreneurial practitioner who had dedicated a lot of time, energy and passion to health and wellness,” Carney said. “As surgeon general, he will be a powerful messenger on these issues in each of the tenets of health, nutrition, activity and resilience. Dr. Murthy, as you know, was approved out of committee with bipartisan support.”
Carney reiterated that the White House is “recalibrating the strategy around Dr. Murthy’s floor vote” in the wake of the vote on Adegbile, but expects him to ultimately be confirmed.
“They want to hold it over until after the election,” Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, told TheBlaze Tuesday. “We are talking about President Obama … he is not aware of any other opinions. He will want another run at this. That might change if the elections don’t go well.”
The surgeon general’s office oversees the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which includes the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.
“If he is in this role, he will be in a position to dole out taxpayer money to other like-minded organizations that don’t like the Second Amendment,” Pratt said.
The Doctors for America organization advocated for the Obama administration’s failed push for expanding gun control laws last year and successfully fought a proposed Florida law that would have prevented doctors from including in a person’s medical file whether they are a gun owner. The organization circulated a petition to pressure Congress to pass stricter gun laws. Even before Obama began advocating for more gun control laws in early 2013, Doctors for America touted its “Docs vs. Glocks Campaign” in summer 2011 in Florida.
The National Rifle Association has said it will score the Murthy vote, and takes particular exception to a letter from the organization on Jan. 14, 2013 supporting licensing of guns, limits on ammunition purchase, and a mandatory 48-hour waiting period. The letter also asked for removing a “provision in the Affordable Care Act and other federal policies that prohibit physicians from documenting gun ownership.”
During the Senate confirmation hearing in February, Murthy said he didn’t intend to use the job as a bully pulpit to talk about gun control.
“My concerns with regards to issues like gun violence have to do with my experience as a physician, seeing patients in emergency rooms who have come in with acute injuries; but also seeing many patients over the years who are dealing with spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other chronic complications from gun violence,” Murthy told the Senate committee.
Terrifying Moment 60 MPH Winds Nearly Throw a Semi Off a BridgePosted March 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm by Liz Klimas
Winds in Twin Falls, Idaho, were so strong Monday that four semitrucks were knocked over all in separate incidents.
With gusts reaching up to 60 mph, KEZJ-TV reported that the accidents occurred on the Perrine Bridge and Hansen Bridge over the Snake River. Both bridges were at some points during the day shut down due to accidents — one which was caught on camera, showing how fortunate the driver was to avoid falling hundreds of feet into the water.
Watch the tense moment when the wind overpowered the semi:
“I was sure we were dying,” Thierry Barthez, a truck driver in one of the four accidents, told the Twins Falls Times-News. His colleague, Pierre Ollivier, was sleeping in the bunk at the time when they were passing through the state to pick up oranges in California.
“I guess those oranges are gonna have to wait,” Ollivier told the newspaper.
Both of the men, talking with emergency crews afterward, watched as wind caused another semi to roll.
This video includes semitruck drivers describing what it was like to live through these harrowing accidents:
Of the four truck accidents, only one merited a trip to the hospital. The News-Times reported that the driver was released by Monday evening.
Idaho State Police Capt. Rob Storm told KMVT-TV that the department was “working with the transportation department to warn truckers through the use of social media to stay away, stop your trucks and stay away until this wind advisory passes.”
Watch KMVT’s report:
“Weather like this is really trying for everybody, travelers, and highways workers on the roadway, trying to keep our roadways open, snow, high winds, the rough conditions we see in southern Idaho,” Nathan Jerke with the Idaho Transportation Department told the news station.
Famed Christian Pastor Reportedly Quits Social MediaPosted March 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm by Billy Hallowell
An open letter attributed to Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., quotes the preacher as pledging to quit social media for the remainder of the year, while also apologizing to parishioners and admitting he has made mistakes in his ministry.
A version of the letter has been circulating online, though a church spokesperson would not confirm in an email to TheBlaze whether the text is an exact copy of a note Driscoll sent to his church community. Mars Hill has also declined to release the pastor’s official letter.
In a supposed copy of the text that was posted by Renue Magazine, the pastor is quoted as saying he will refrain from social media in an effort to “reset” his life.
“To reset my life, I will not be on social media for at least the remainder of the year. The distractions it can cause for my family and our church family are not fruitful or helpful at this time,” the letter attributed to Driscoll states. “At the end of the year, I will consider if and when to reappear on social media, and I will seek the counsel of my pastors on this matter.”
While Driscoll plans to step away from platforms like Twitter, where he has more than 466,000 followers, and Facebook, where he has attracted 253,000 “likes,” the letter says that the Mars Hill and Resurgence websites will continue to post sermons, blogs and podcasts.
Much of the lengthy letter focuses on the pastor’s purported admission that he has made past mistakes and that both he and the church needed to “mature.”
The text goes on to say that Driscoll has met one-on-one over the past year with individuals whom he has hurt in an effort to apologize and reach reconciliation.
“In the last year or two, I have been deeply convicted by God that my angry-young-prophet days are over, to be replaced by a helpful, Bible-teaching spiritual father,” the letter states. “Those closest to me have said they recognize a deep change, which has been encouraging because I hope to continually be sanctified by God’s grace.”
The note also addressed the book-buying controversy that recently landed Driscoll in the headlines — one that Mars Hill also officially addressed earlier this month.
“My understanding of the ResultSource marketing strategy was to maximize book sales, so that we could reach more people with the message and help grow our church. In retrospect, I no longer see it that way,” it reads. “Instead, I now see it as manipulating a book sales reporting system, which is wrong. I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again.”
Read the note in its entirety here.
‘We Are Being Stormed’: One Dead After Russian Forces Attack Ukrainian Troops In CrimeaPosted March 18, 2014 at 11:54 am by Oliver Darcy
Ukraine said that one serviceman had died and others were injured after a Simferopol base was attacked by Russian forces Tuesday, marking the first death in Crimea from a military clash since Russian forces moved into the region weeks ago.
The Ukrainian government said a junior officer inside the base died and at least two others were injured, with one being beaten with iron bars, according to the BBC.
At the time of the attack, automatic gunfire could be heard ringing around the base, with a Ukrainian military spokesman telling the Interfax news service that they had barricaded themselves inside on the second floor.
“One Ukrainian serviceman has been wounded in the neck and collarbone. Now we have barricaded ourselves on the second floor. The headquarters has been taken and the commander has been taken. They want us to put down our arms but we do not intend to surrender,” a military spokesperson reportedly said, according to Reuters.
“We are being stormed. We have about 20 people here and about 10 to 15 others, including women,” an unidentified serviceman told Fifth Channel television, according to Reuters.
During the attack, the BBC also reported that Russian forces had pushed back the press.
— Ben Brown (@BenBrownBBC) March 18, 2014
The attack came after the Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the conflict had morphed to a “military stage.”
“The conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage,” he said, adding “Russian soldiers have started shooting at Ukrainian military servicemen and that is a war crime.”
This post has been updated.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter
Hilarious Fake Movie Trailer Featuring Cap’N Crunch as an Action Hero Seemingly Mocks Sugary-Cereal HystericsPosted March 18, 2014 at 11:54 am by Mike Opelka
You’ve probably heard something like this: The Quaker Oats guy and the Trix rabbit were found murdered. Both bodies were covered with Lucky Charms…police speculate that a cereal killer may be on the loose.
The “cereal killer” pun is not a new one. However, the short film attached to this story may be the funniest take that we have seen on the very old joke.
In the early days of TheBlaze, we asked the question, “Is Michelle Obama After Cap’n Crunch?” That story was all about the first lady’s efforts to bring attention to the amount of sugar in the diets of America’s children. Thanks to the sugar content of many popular cereals, this is one area that’s drawn a considerable amount of heat from the government and some health experts.
We can’t be sure if the YouTube clip — called “Cereal Killers” — is mocking the pushback against sugary cereals, but we have our suspicions.
Created by the YouTube-based comedy troupe, Awesomeness TV, the 3:20 clip masquerading as a trailer for a full-length film shows popular cereal characters uniting to take on an attack by health nuts who would have the sugary cereals eliminated.
In the opening, after learning that the country’s largest cereal plant was blown up by terrorists, “General Mills” calls “Cap’n Crunch.” The general is enlisting the icons behind sugary cereals to fight off the push by the “Quaker Oats Guy” to usher in a “new era of high fiber cereals.”
Of course, the Cap’n gathers a few of the other icons from the breakfast aisle: “Lucky” the leprechaun from Lucky Charms and the Trix rabbit to take on their enemy.
What follows looks more like a trailer for a big-budget action film, complete with explosions, gun fire and stereotypical, action movie catch-phrases.
You might be tempted to believe (or hope) that this is really a film coming to theaters this summer. That’s not the case. The clip was uploaded just a few days ago, and ends with a plug for “Cereal Killers, Summer 2013.”
Watch the entire “trailer”:
Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter – @Stuntbrain
‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson Did Something Awesome for a Christian Fan Who Drove 20 Hours to Meet HimPosted March 18, 2014 at 11:40 am by Billy Hallowell
A New Jersey man drove at least 20 hours earlier this month to see “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, arguably one of television’s most popular reality stars. But that’s not the story. The story is why he made the lengthy journey: to have the Robertson family member baptize him.
“From New Jersey, I can count on one hand the people I met from New Jersey,” Robertson quipped, before telling the congregation about Richards’ long journey to the house of worship.
Watch the video of this introduction below:
A second clip shows Robertson and Richards in the church’s baptismal pool. The “Duck Dynasty” star explains the Christian salvation message and describes the significance of baptism before dunking Richards under the water.
“You are now going to die to sin,” Robertson told Richards beforehand. “You’re going to be buried — the old you — and the new one will come forth. God will seal you with his spirit and you will be guaranteed to be raised from the dead one day and live forever. Good news, you know?”
Watch the baptism below:
(H/T: Breathe Cast)
Featured image via Brian Richards’ YouTube Account
Professor Surprised With News About His Life’s Work, But It’s His Wife’s Reaction That Makes This Video Worth WatchingPosted March 18, 2014 at 11:19 am by Liz Klimas
Imagine being met with the news that an important aspect of your life’s work was validated. That’s what a Stanford University professor recently experienced — and the surprise moment was caught on camera.
Professor Andrei Linde is described in the video as the “founding father” of cosmic inflation, a theory that is the “bang of the Big Bang,” as Stanford Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo put it. This theory was supported Monday when a new study announced evidence of these gravitational waves, found as part of the BICEP2 collaborative experiment.
“It explains why we have all this stuff,” Kuo said.
Kuo approached Linde’s front door and was greeted by the professor and his wife.
“So, I have a surprise for you,” he said, briefly explaining the findings in technical lingo.
It was Linde’s wife who pipped up first.
“Discovery?” Renata Kallosh, also a physics professor, said.
Upon confirmation, Kallosh stepped right up and gave Kuo a hug, a reaction to the news that she as a scientist herself and the spouse of a researcher who has spent years researching this theory could appreciate.
Linde on the other hand had to hear the news again — and again.
Then, out came the bubbly.
“We didn’t expect anybody. We thought it was probably some kind of delivery. ‘Did you order anything,’” Linde said.
“Yeah, I ordered it 30 years ago,” he continued with a laugh. “Finally, it arrived.”
“If this is true, it is a moment of such a moment of understanding of nature of such a magnitude that it just overwhelms,” Linde said. “Let us hope that it is not a trick.”
Watch the surprise announcement:
Scientists were looking for a specific pattern in light waves within the faint microwave glow left over from the Big Bang. The pattern has long been considered evidence of the rapid growth spurt, known as inflation.
The scientists say the light-wave pattern was caused by gravitational waves, which are ripples in the interweaving of space and time that sprawls through the universe. If confirmed, the new work would be the first detection of such waves from the birth of the universe, which have been called the first tremors of the Big Bang. The study has not yet been published in a scientific journal but will be submitted for consideration this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Putin Dismisses U.S. Sanctions, Financial Markets SurgePosted March 18, 2014 at 11:04 am by Becket Adams
Financial markets surged Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed U.S. sanctions against his country and said he has no plans to take over other parts of Ukraine, the effective annexation of Crimea already complete.
Putin’s address comes just days after a large majority of Crimean Parliament voted in favor of joining Russia. The United States and the European Union responded to Sunday’s referendum vote by announcing sanctions against a number of Russian officials believed to be involved in what the West has called an “illegitimate” referendum.
He said Western attempts to intimidate Russia with sanctions “would be viewed as an act of aggression, and that Moscow would retaliate,” Reuters reported.
Putin assured Russia’s parliament that there would be no further action taken involving Ukraine.
“We don’t need the division of Ukraine,” he said, prompting what appears to be a market turnaround that suggests financial markets are listening more to the Russian president than they are to Western powers.
Moscow’s RTS index is trading higher, showing a noticeable bump following Monday’s surge of nearly 5 percent.
Several Russian companies moved quickly before the sanctions were announced to withdraw billions of dollars from Western banks, rescuing their assets from possibly being frozen by foreign powers.
Russian officials even responded to the sanctions with mockery and scorn.
“It’s a big honor for me,” top Putin aide Vladislav Surkov reportedly told a Russian newspaper. “I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”
A few analysts have suggested that Tuesday’s market turnaround reflects investors breathing a sigh of on a possible de-escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
“Putin further soothed investor concerns,” said technical analyst Fawad Razaqzada, according to the Associated Press.
Then again, it is worth noting that President Barack Obama just invited the leaders from the G-7 nations to meet in the Netherlands next week to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The G-7 is comprised of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, but not Russia, which is part of the G-8.
This would seem to imply that the relationship between the United States and Russia is still tense.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
News Helicopter Crashes Near Space Needle In Seattle (UPDATE: Two Killed, One Injured)Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:02 am by Oliver Darcy
A KOMO-TV news helicopter crashed early Tuesday near Seattle’s iconic Space Needle. According to the Seattle Fire Department, the crash killed two people and injured one.
KOMO-TV reporter Kelly Koopmans live tweeted the series of events:
— Kelly Koopmans (@KellyKOMO4) March 18, 2014
— Kelly Koopmans (@KellyKOMO4) March 18, 2014
We heard the chopper swirling down to the ground. Rushed out to see the unbelievable, our @komonews chopper crashing into at least 2 cars
— Kelly Koopmans (@KellyKOMO4) March 18, 2014
Flames now out, told by a witness one person on fire when crawled out of a cars. 1 responders working on that person pic.twitter.com/zHeFzV0qzJ
— Kelly Koopmans (@KellyKOMO4) March 18, 2014
Chopper tail visible amid the smoke & car wreckage pic.twitter.com/uZ57DibreU
— Kelly Koopmans (@KellyKOMO4) March 18, 2014
This is a breaking news story. Updates will be added.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter
Video Captures the Moment a Cop Appears to Break Student’s Arm (and You Can Even Hear What Sounds Like It Snap)Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:40 am by Liz Klimas
An incident at a Texas high school is under investigation after a cellphone video appears to show the moment when a student’s arm was broken after he was brought to the ground by police during a fight. And the audio is as much a part of the story as the video.
The video picks up with the fight already in progress.
Two officers wrestled the male student onto the ground, one of them bringing the student’s arm behind his back. At one point, you can hear the sound of what might be a breaking bone and the student crying out in pain a second later.
“My arm broke,” the young man said in between screams.
Watch the footage (Content warning: this video might be considered disturbing to some):
A parent of the student from West Brook High School told KBMT-TV the fight broke out on March 7 after students were released for spring break. The parent, who remained unnamed in the report, filed a complaint with the Beaumont Independent School District and alleging that the video shows the officer breaking her son’s arm.
“The district is reviewing the complaint,” BISD spokesperson Nakisha Myles told KBMT.
Some on Reddit defended the cop saying they think if the arm was broken that it “was an honest mistake.”
“I don’t think it was deliberate,” the Redditor going by the name I_suck_at_mostthings wrote. “First, let’s remember that every person involved in that situation probably had a huge rush of adrenaline. This is obvious for both the officers and the guy being arrested. With that amount of resistance, and even trying to resist once the officer grabs hold of his arm, I think what happened is the guy finally decided ‘Okay, I’ll stop now and let him take my arm’ but unfortunately the officer was still putting as much force as possible into trying to get the arm to cooperate.”
Israeli Defense Minister: U.S. Is Projecting ‘Weakness’Posted March 18, 2014 at 10:09 am by Sharona Schwartz
Israel’s defense minister said the U.S. is projecting “weakness” on issues ranging from Iran to China to Russia and Ukraine, so Israel must rely on itself to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Hinting at possible action against Iran, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said, “We have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves.”
“We had thought the ones who should lead the campaign against Iran is the United States,” Yaalon said in quotes published Tuesday in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “But at some stage the United States entered into negotiations with them, and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better.”
Yaalon likened America’s image overseas to one of “feebleness” and said he hopes the U.S. will come “to its senses.”
The defense minister said that if the Obama administration continues showing weakness internationally, its own national security will suffer.
“If you sit and wait at home, the terrorism will come again,” Yaalon said. “Even if you hunker down, it will come. This is a war of civilizations. If your image is feebleness, it doesn’t pay in the world. Nobody will replace the United States as global policeman. I hope the United States comes to its senses. If it doesn’t, it will challenge the world order, and the United States is the one that will suffer.”
Yaalon slammed the Obama administration’s Middle East policy, accusing it of abandoning traditional moderate Sunni allies.
“The moderate Sunni camp in the area expected the United States to support it, and to be firm, like Russia’s support for the Shiite axis,” Yaalon said. “I heard voices of disappointment in the region. I was in Singapore and heard disappointment about China getting stronger and the U.S. getting weaker. Look what’s happening in Ukraine, where the United States is demonstrating weakness, unfortunately.”
Haaretz reported that Yaalon suggested that Obama would prefer to pass the Iranian challenge onto his successor.
“People know that Iran cheats,” Yaalon said. “But comfortable Westerners prefer to put off confrontation. If possible, to next year, or the next president. But in the end, it will blow up.”
A senior State Department official told Reuters on Sunday that Iran has continued to use front companies to illicitly purchase banned items for nuclear and missile production even after coming to an interim agreement with western nations over its controversial nuclear program.
“They still continue very actively trying to procure items for their nuclear program and missile program and other programs,” said Vann Van Diepen, the State Department’s principal deputy for nonproliferation issues
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week slammed Western nations for believing that Iran has abandoned its nuclear weapons ambitions.
The Israel Defense Forces earlier this month intercepted a shipment of what it said were Iranian conventional weapons headed to terrorist groups in Gaza which included 40 long-range rockets, 181 mortars and 400,000 bullets.
“They want to delude themselves that Iran abandoned its goal of obtaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said of western nations last week.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Yaalon’s office confirmed his remarks as quoted in Haaretz, “but refused to comment whether the defense minister was advocating an Israeli strike on Iran.”
Yaalon caused a diplomatic stir in January when he characterized Secretary of State John Kerry as “messianic” and acting out of “incomprehensible obsession” over his single-minded pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace framework, comments for which he later apologized.
Negotiators are holding a new round of talks this week in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program, which the Islamic Republic insists is for peaceful purposes.
See Awesome Behind-the-Scenes Video of a Marine Corps Fly-By Photo ShootPosted March 18, 2014 at 9:45 am by Elizabeth Kreft
The Marine Corps Silent Drill team showcases the precision and professionalism of the Corps, but they don’t typically perform on runways with planes flying just a few feet overhead.
This video shows the behind-the-scenes footage from a marketing photo shoot March 4, with the Marines’ showcase unit and Blue Angels, Marine Corps’ C-130 Hercules, affectionately known as “Fat Albert.”
The silent drill team is a 24-man rifle platoon that performs a “unique precision drill exhibition,” according to the team’s website. “This highly disciplined platoon exemplifies the professionalism associated with the United States Marine Corps.”
The Blue Angels and the Marine Corps Silent Drill team attract thousands of onlookers each year, especially during summertime air shows across the nation and parade performances at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, D.C.
Though budget cuts have limited performances in recent years, the Blue Angels have announced more than 30 shows for the 2014 season. After you watch the video — by Staff Sgt. Oscar L Olive IV from “The Commandant’s Own” and posted by Airboyd, you can check here to see if one will be near you soon.
The Air Force’s “premier jet demonstration squadron” is also airborne again this year, and has several dozen scheduled shows in 2014.
(H/T: All Things Aero)
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter
Study’s Surprise Find About Fats and Heart HealthPosted March 18, 2014 at 9:12 am by Liz Klimas
For years, government agencies and health organizations have encouraged people to limit their intake of saturated fats — the kinds found in some dairy and meat products — in favor of unsaturated fats instead, but a new study calls into question the actual benefits of such recommendations.
A review led by the University of Cambridge found that “current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.” In short, the review of dozens of studies evaluating fat consumption does not necessarily point to better heart health if saturated fats are avoided.
“The pattern of findings from this review did not support the current cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of total long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and suggest reduced consumption of total saturated fatty acids,” the study’s lead author Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury told Reuters.
But does this mean people are now at liberty to start slathering more butter on their bread? Other experts say not so fast.
“People need to eat as has been recommended — this paper changes nothing about the adverse impact of saturated fat,” Linda Van Horn, from Northwestern University who chaired the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, told Reuters. ”People like their burgers and their hot dogs, but this study still doesn’t make them nutritious.”
Watch this video from the New York Times, which includes some information about this study’s findings:
The study authors acknowledged that in some cases, people self-reporting their dietary fat intake might have skewed the findings if they weren’t fully aware of what kind of fat they were consuming.
The review was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Featured image via Shutterstock.
‘I Would Love to Join Allah’s Army’: California Man Accused of Planning to Fight With Islamic Extremists in SyriaPosted March 18, 2014 at 9:02 am by Sharona Schwartz
A 20-year-old California student and outgoing National Guard member was arrested and charged with supporting a terrorist group after allegedly planning to join Islamic extremists in Syria, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Nicholas Teausant of Acampo, Calif., who prosecutors said had also spoken of a desire to bomb the Los Angeles subway system, was arrested in Washington state on a northbound Amrak bus near the Canadian border, the Associated Press eported.
According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Sacramento, Teausant wanted to join the Al Qaeda-affiliated group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
The AP reported that the criminal complaint said that starting last spring, Teausant began expressing a desire to see America’s downfall, writing on a social media account: “I would love to join Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start.”
Teausant is a student at San Joaquin Delta Community College in Stockton, Calif., and a member of the National Guard. In December, he began the process of being discharged because he did not meet the minimum academic requirements.
He described himself as a convert to Islam, a development also noted by fellow students who know him.
California’s KGO-TV reported that Teausant posted a video online in which he said: “Allah is great and the most wonderful planner. He’s the best of planners.”
A YouTube account registered under his name includes multiple videos about Islamist fighters in Syria. There are also several videos about Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-cleric and key Al Qaeda figure who was killed by an American drone strike in 2011.
Prosecutors asserted that Teausant planned to engage in jihad in Syria alongside other hardline Islamist rebels.
“My designs have me staying there and being on every news station in the world,” Teausant told an FBI informant last month, according to the complaint.
“I’m going to be a commander and I’m going to be on the front of every single newspaper in the country,” he said. “Like I want my face on FBI’s top 12 most wanted. Because that means I’m doing something right.”
As part of his contribution to the jihadi cause, Teausant planned to appear in videos for the group without the traditional head covering to mask his identity, to be “the one white devil that leaves their face wide open to the camera,” he said according to the complaint.
Teausant told the informant that he was planning to target the Los Angeles subway on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, but halted the plot after he believed it had been uncovered.
“The complaint said he had discussed numerous other ideas for terrorist activity that never came to fruition, including a plot supposedly hatched during a camping trip with seven other people to bomb the Los Angeles subway system last New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day,” the AP reported. “Investigators never corroborated that such a camping trip actually occurred. When an informant questioned Teausant on Jan. 4 about what happened to his plan, Teausant responded that it was canceled because ‘they’ had been ‘tipped off,’ the complaint said.”
Just last week, Teausant was interviewed by a local television reporter about the man wearing a military uniform at the same college who was accused of not really serving in the military, an incident which devolved into a tense shouting match on campus.
Delta College student Sean Reily told KGO-TV of Teausant, “It’s really shocking someone at Delta would be known as probably a terrorist.”
Other classmates said he was quiet and liked to play chess.
“He was a newly converted Muslim, but he never really pushed it onto anybody. He never said anything, he was just normal,” fellow student Yonathan Admassu said.
Teausant was charged with a single count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, the maximum penalty he could face is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Watch this report from KGO-TV:
Woman Angry at Her Husband for ‘Worshipping’ NASCAR Allegedly Stabbed Him in the Chest After Crashing Her Car Into a ChurchPosted March 18, 2014 at 8:52 am by Billy Hallowell
A Tennessee woman allegedly crashed a car into a church and stabbed her husband in the chest before police apprehended her Sunday night.
Stephanie Hamman, 23, reportedly drove her vehicle through the front doors of Providence Church and after her husband Steven Hamman went to the church to check on her, she attacked him.
Hamman said he found his wife laying in front of the church altar before she told him “the devil is in me” and stabbed him in the chest with a large kitchen knife, WFSA-TV reported.
When police found Stephanie Hamman 20 minutes later at a local hospital, she reportedly told them that she was mad at her husband for “worshiping the NASCAR race at Bristol,” though it is unclear if this was the reason behind her alleged actions.
Stephanie Hamman reportedly told police said she smokes a lot of marijuana and that God told her to enter the church. She also indicated that she believed the devil put thoughts in her head, according to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
“So God told me He wanted me in there, so I drove my car through the front doors,” read a press release from the Church Hill Police Department.
As for the stabbing, she reportedly told police that the devil told her to bring the knife with her to the church, according to WFSA-TV.
“I laid down in front of the altar until he got there,” she said. “I prayed I would not have to use it on him, but I did.”
Hamman, who is being held without bond, was charged with attempted first-degree murder and felony vandalism. She will appear in court Wednesday.
Steven Hamman survived the stabbing and was in fair condition as of Monday afternoon.
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