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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/28/19

The Mass Media Is Poisoning Us With Hate

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In "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media," published in 1988, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky exposed the techniques that the commercial media used to promote and defend the economic, social and political agendas of the ruling elites. These techniques included portraying victims as either worthy or unworthy of sympathy. A Catholic priest such as Jerzy Popiełuszko, for example, murdered by the communist regime in Poland in 1984, was deified, but four Catholic missionaries who were raped and murdered in 1980 in El Salvador by U.S.-backed death squads were slandered as fellow travelers of the "Marxist" rebel movement. The techniques also included both narrowing the debate in a way that buttressed the elite consensus and intentionally failing to challenge the intentions of the ruling elites or the actual structures of power.

"Manufacturing Consent" was published on the eve of three revolutions that have dramatically transformed the news industry: the rise of right-wing radio and Fox-style TV news that abandon the media's faux objectivity, the introduction of 24-hour cable news stations, and the creation of internet platforms -- owned by a handful of corporations -- that control the distribution of news and information and mine our personal data on behalf of advertisers, political campaigns and the government. The sins of the old media, bad though they were, are nothing compared with the sins of the new media. Mass media has degenerated into not only a purveyor of gossip, conspiracy theories and salacious entertainment but, most ominously, a purveyor of hate. Matt Taibbi, the author of "Hate Inc.: How, and Why, the Media Makes Us Hate One Another," has dissected modern media platforms in much the same way that Herman and Chomsky did the old media.

The new media, Taibbi points out, still manufactures consent, but it does so by setting group against group, a consumer version of what George Orwell in his novel "1984" called the "Two Minutes Hate." Our opinions and prejudices are skillfully catered to and reinforced, with the aid of a detailed digital analysis of our proclivities and habits, and then sold back to us. The result, Taibbi writes, is "packaged anger just for you." The public is unable to speak across the manufactured divide. It is mesmerized by the fake dissent of the culture wars and competing conspiracy theories. Politics, under the assault, has atrophied into a tawdry reality show centered on political personalities. Civic discourse is defined by invective and insulting remarks on the internet. Power, meanwhile, is left unexamined and unchallenged. The result is political impotence among the populace. The moral swamp is not only a fertile place for demagogues such as Donald Trump -- a creation of this media burlesque -- but channels misplaced rage, intolerance and animosity toward those defined as internal enemies.

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The old media sold itself as objective, although as Taibbi points out, this was more a reflection of tone rather than content. This vaunted objectivity and impartiality was, at its core, an element of a commercial tactic designed to reach the largest numbers of viewers or readers.

"Objectivity was when I was told I couldn't write with voice," Taibbi told me when I interviewed him on my television show, "On Contact." [Part one of the interview; part two.] "I couldn't write with a point of view. Objectivity was to write in a dull, flat, third-person perspective. Don't express yourself. Don't be too colorful. This actually was, if you pick up The New York Times today, that same writing style. The original idea behind it is you didn't want to turn off people on the start because they're trying to reach the widest possible audience. This also infected radio, television. That's why you have this Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather-style delivery, which was monotonal, flat, unopinionated. A lot of people thought this was some kind of an ethical decision that news organizations were making. In fact, what they were trying to do is reach the greatest number of people to sell the greatest number of ads. That's how we developed that idea."

The old media rigidly held to the fiction that there were only two kinds of political opinions -- those expressed by Democrats and those expressed by Republicans. These two positions swiftly devolved into caricatures on radio and television. The classic example was the show "Crossfire," in which two antagonists, the stereotypical liberal and the stereotypical conservative, could never agree. The liberal, Taibbi pointed out, "was always cast as the person who couldn't punch back. He was always in retreat. The conservative was always in attack mode. A personality like Tucker Carlson." These staged and choreographed confrontations were, in essence, sporting events.

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"If you watch a ['Sunday NFL] Countdown' you'll see the sets are designed exactly the same" as that of "Crossfire." "The anchor on one side. There's usually four commentators -- two that represent each team. They have graphics that tell you what the score is, who is ahead, who is behind. We want people to perceive politics as something they have a rooting interest in. There's no possibility of any gray area in any of this. Your political identity can't possibly bleed into any other political identity. You are on one team or another. That's it. We don't even acknowledge the existence of people who have different types of ideas. For instance, anti-abortion but also pro-union. Whatever it is. That doesn't exist in the media."

The fact that on most big issues the two major political parties are in agreement is ignored. The deregulation of the financial industry, the militarization of police, the explosion in the prison population, deindustrialization, austerity, the endless wars in the Middle East, the bloated military budget, the control of elections and mass media by corporations and the wholesale surveillance of the population by the government all have bipartisan support. For this reason, they are almost never discussed.

"It's always presented as two parties that are always in disagreement about everything," Taibbi said, "which is not true."

"We [members of the press] are not focusing on the timeless, permanent nature of how the system works," he said. "We don't think about the central bank. We don't think about the security state. We don't think about any of that stuff. We focus on personalities. Donald Trump versus Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That simplifies everything and allows us to not look at the bigger picture."

Once the old media model imploded with the arrival of 24-hour news networks, Fox-style news and the internet, the monopoly of a few dominant newspapers and networks ended. In the new setting, media organizations tailor their content to focus on specific demographics.

"MSNBC, which has gone through some interesting changes over the years, markets itself as a left-leaning network," Taibbi said. "But it was so intensely pro-war in 2002 that it had to uninvite Jesse Ventura and Phil Donahue from the network. This latest thing was 'Russia-gate' and the constant hyping of the narrative 'If you watch, you might learn any minute that we, along with Robert Mueller, are going to take down the president.' "

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The media model not only sets demographic against demographic, it mutes and destroys investigations into corporate systems of oppression and genuine dissent.

"You don't have to make the news up for these people," Taibbi said of the process of carving up the public. "You can just pick stories that they're going to like. You start feeding them content that is going to ratify their belief systems. Fox did it first. They did it well. They started to make money. They were No. 1 for a long time. But this started to bleed into the rest of the business. Pretty soon, everybody was doing the same thing. It didn't matter whether you were the food channel tailoring content for people who liked food or MSNBC who tailored content for people who leaned in a certain political direction, you were giving people stuff they wanted to hear."

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Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

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Don Smith

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This is old news about bad news, and the solution is to have publicly funded news media, just as we have publicly funded courts and police. To avoid political interference in the news, there must be a wall of separation prohibiting such interference. In Europe there is a lot more publicly funded news than in the U.S., which is an outlier in this and so many other areas.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 12:56:26 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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If you think the solution is publicly funded media, you haven't been watching PBS's imperialist programming like Frontline. And for that matter, how are the pubilcally funded courts and police working out in the maintenance of a just society? The "solution" will require an overhaul of american culture, ethics and perspective. Doubtful that public media will have any effect, considering how easily it can be manipulated in its struggle for financing. It's too bad really, but it is what it is.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 2:01:12 AM

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Don Smith

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content

Reporting by PBS has been compromised by political interference by the GOP, and also by under-funding. You are correct that PBS, as well as the police and the courts, have been compromised to some extent. I still think public funding is a better model than the market-based approach. Are you in favor of corporations delivering news?

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 2:59:56 AM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Of course not. Niether will succeed as long as MIC holds all power. Though, if I had to bet, a corporation that would be more profitable if the war economy was retired might actually be a more effective ally in exposing MIC's agendas.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:15:54 AM

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The mass media is poisoning us with lies. Its prime interest is to obstruct the truth. The explanation published in OEN: The conspiracy of the world explained

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 1:55:29 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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The leading dispenser of propaganda goes on to ensure the brain number public that Iran does, in fact, have an ongoing program of developing nuclear weapons even though evidence does not back them up. Of course, evidence means little to the New York Times or to other cheerleaders for war.

President Trump is making the appearance that he does not want a military conflict with Iran, but his actions belie his words as he continues with sanctions which have the same effect as bombs in thwarting a sovereign nation's ability to function, but the most telling thing that belies his words is he retains John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Mike Pence who are all working toward war, with Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and who knows where else. This trio of psychopaths must be extinguished or the world will be paying a heavy price.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 2:05:34 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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It is bad enough that our governments and our expert institutions deceive and lie to us. But it is even worse that we have a corporate media addicted, at the most charitable interpretation, to its own incompetence. The evidence demonstrating that grows stronger by the day.

Just how long does the entire mainstream media (MSM) think they will get away with participating in the coverup of the 9/11 Crime Of The Millennium?

The crimes reported here involve 'bombings of places of public use and government facilities', in this case, WTC1, WTC2, and WTC7, by the use of pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries - #FederalCrimes.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 6:43:02 PM

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The conspiracy 9/11 was very successful in making people believe the US government did it. If that was true you would never find one voice accusing the US government. That is how conspiracies work. People never understand the truth behind conspiracies and this is the reason they work.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 12:09:04 AM

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I started to read your "My Investigation of 9/11", but couldn't get past this line, "... I cannot even imagine how the government would find one person in the darkest corner of the CIA willing to kill thousands of fellow citizens." This either shows a huge lack of imagination on your part or a very naive view of humanity. I imagine it would be relatively easy to find someone in the CIA that would do that and I doubt you'd have to go anywhere near the darkest corner of the CIA. Our government cannot and must not be trusted...

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 1:10:45 AM

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I disagree. CIA hire ordinary people, and they would never kill anybody. OK some of them might contact people from underground for some dirty job but never to kill thousands of fellow citizens. And guess what, for planting explosives in the Twin towers hundreds of people would be needed and this is impossible to find anywhere. Also, somebody must have seen them planting it, and the explosives could not be invisible. I have plenty of arguments which deny the government involvement in it and not one that would confirm the explosives were planted. People, you watch too many action movies which prevent you from critical thinking.


Clinton was blackmailed into attacking Yugoslavia. This was the conspiracy, and then nobody recognized it. When everybody sees a conspiracy, it is a prank and not a conspiracy. THose people who make them are much smarter than you can imagine. If you accept this simple rule, you would be closer to the truth.

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 10:44:41 PM

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Devil's Advocate

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"The conspiracy 9/11 was very successful in making people believe the US government did it. If that was true you would never find one voice accusing the US government. That is how conspiracies work. People never understand the truth behind conspiracies and this is the reason they work. "

Possibly the most clueless thing anyone could say on this topic.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:53:29 AM

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That' what I thought too, indeed clueless, never mind not making any sense.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 11:49:56 AM

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If you people believe that you are smarter than the conspirators you are clueless. They are perfectly capable and possess the power to play with you as they wish all the time. And they are doing it and you do not have an idea what they are doing.


Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:01:42 PM

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Of course, the underlying truth, which has been completely missed throughout the controversy is that the public still doesn't know exactly "who" did something on 9/11 and "what" that something was - "some people did something on 9/11"- Rep Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

#FBI - "failed" to conduct a proper 9/11 investigation.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 7:04:15 PM

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I wrote everything about 9/11 here My Investigation of 911

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:05:23 PM

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Michael Gillespie

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A pretty darn good critique of mass media, if you overlook the fact that it fails to metion that broadcast media is largely reflexively pro-Israel in what it broadcasts and what it doesn't broadcast. The word Israel does not appear in the article.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 12:57:27 AM

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"There is a rapid, dirty river of information coursing through us all day. If you're in the news business, or a consumer of the news business, your reaction to events has to be instant or it is outdated. If you're on social media, there are these swarming mobs who rise out of nowhere, leave people broken and do not stick around to perform the patient Kintsugi act of gluing them back together.Probably like you, I've felt a great need to take a break from this pace every once in a while and step into a slower dimension of time".don't know about you, but I feel a great hunger right now for timeless pieces like these. The internet has accelerated our experience of time, and Donald Trump."

Wish I said that buthe did .

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:03:15 AM

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The article by David Brooks is a good one.

Longing for an Internet Cleanse

"A small rebellion against the quickening of time."

What would it mean to live generationally once in a while, in a world that now finds the daily newspaper too slow?


Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 1:51:10 PM

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The author wrote, "The inability of society to agree on a common set of facts means the media has failed already. It means we're just not reaching people. [In this atmosphere] we will never be able to work things out in a civil way."

Is he referring to the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together for the good of the country? Or is he referring to the main stream media (CNN, MSNBC, etc) are totally controlled by the corporate industrial complex (the military does not have national media coverage)?

It is stupidity at its best when the Democratic party wants open borders and confronts the Republican party to control the influx of immigrants with sensible guidelines.

It is stupidty at its best when the Democratic party cannot get over the fact that they lost the 2016 election even though they got the support from top FBI and CIA leaders to overthrow Trump from office.

It is stupidity at its best when half the country voted for Hillary Clinton even though she clearly obstructed justice by deleting 30,000 emails and destroying her private server and I-phones.

Now, a lot of stupid Democrates look to get rid of Bill Barr investing who are ultimately responsible for the FBI and CIA failures to be honest and achieve fair justice.

One could go on, but it is really a shame that the national media is in the tank with the Democrats and large corporation financing. The U.S. News Media is no longer trusted by common Americans. How can they retain trust?

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 6:37:32 AM

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This is a great article. The topic of our polarizing politics has been growing in awareness among the general public and in truth, the revelation of the "trick" being played on all of us is the only thing that may possibly save us from the ultimate destruction it will bring to us. These news profiteers are like the Wizard in Oz whose power is deflated by its exposure. I do agree that the addictive nature is an element that didn't exist in other deceptions and I am concerned that some people are so indoctrinated that they are exhibiting cult style behavior and the fake news mantra makes it extremely difficult to talk to certain people. They are being conditioned to fear and mistrust and even see any other source of information as a threat. As those interested in saving society we will have to maintain our own balance and guard against these constant attempts to turn us against each other AND we have to look for oportunities even with some Trump supporters to initiate dialogue. We have to realize that the heavy lifting will be on the shoulders of those who are resisting this mass brain washing. We will be trying to reach people who don't want to be reached. We have to not give the media who propagate these divisions our support and work to separate those being victimized by this system our help and understanding. We should push our politicians to behave like statesmen not like wrestlers. Lastly thank you for including all the book references and links to add to my reading list. Take care, Michele

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 11:45:22 AM

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Thank you Chris Hedges for your time and efforts in writing articles.

Media has controlled public opinions for many years. It is unfortunate that the truth comes out fifty years later when most culprits are not live.

I am for people controlled and monitored media. I do not trust governments and private enterprises.

Good comments are posted under this article. Thanks to good American people.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 3:37:31 PM

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Great response Michelle, It is reprehensible that intelligent people voted to represent America cannot work together for the citizens of this country. The division between the Democrats and Republicans has been created by the fake news media psid for by large corporations who, for the most part, owns or supports them. Still, what kind of people are we turning out of our colleges and universities for they seem to lack honest, integrity, and disrespect their country. What the hell is ging on.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 6:20:28 PM

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Nicholas Ginex

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Great response Michelle, It is reprehensible that intelligent people voted to represent America cannot work together for the citizens of this country. The division between the Democrats and Republicans has been created by the fake news media psid for by large corporations who, for the most part, owns or supports them. Still, what kind of people are we turning out of our colleges and universities for they seem to lack honest, integrity, and disrespect their country. What the hell is going on.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 6:21:20 PM

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Michele Goddard

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Thank you Nicholas. As for your question, I have a two pronged answer as to what I think is happening with our college students but I am curious as to what incidents or experiences have led you to feel that they are disrespectful to the country? When you give me some more details as to what experiences have led you to that perception perhaps I could answer more accurately. In my own personal opinion one half of it is due to the fact that neo liberalism has taken over in the instruction nd curriculum. So that is a large part of it. The other part is what I like to call the truth counter culture (if someone else has already used this term my apologies) I think access to the internet has given people the ability to find out information which is not part of the government/MSM propaganda. They don't have to take the Pro USA, America-centric, white washed version of history. They have access to the raw documents released over the years through various means, and they can read about Operation Northwoods, Operation Mockingbird, etc. They know that the CIA has overthrown democracies and installed dictators who were probusiness. They know that the United States is not above lying or killing its own people in wars based on lies. So how should they feel about our government. I have respect for the principles and ideals outlined in the Declaration of Independence, but as for the organized tyranny that exists to serve the corporate master I have zero reapect.


Thanks for the conversation,


Take care,


Michele

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 9:54:10 PM

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Nicholas Ginex

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Hello Michelle,

Thank you for your lucid response. The only reason I choose to pick on our colleges and universities for the lack of integrity, honesty and truth by the national news media is because their graduates are the ones that enter into the news writing arena. I am not a die hard nationlist but I repect our country and the many Americans that have died to preserve the freedons we enjoy today.

Like you, I do get entra info with Internet searches and surprising enough I do get information that has been hidden by the national-corporate media. Some people refer to this media control as the military industrial complex (MIC). I don't believe the military is as much involved in media fake news as the Corporate Industrial Complex (CIC)-my term.

However, yes, the military has kept secret much of the information on UFOs and Extraterrestrials. Did you know that we have Extraterrestrials on our moon? I recently wrote an article that provides factual information about this finding and it can be viewed via the link:

click here

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 11:06:00 PM

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Michele Goddard

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Thanks for the link. I haven't heard that about the moon. Although I thought it was interesting how the discussions about sending a man back to the moon were being discussed aa if we had nevee done it before saying that it was years and years in the future before such a thing would be possible. I have seen some reports of high level government officials making trips to Antarctica. As for the military I've learned too much history to not believe that the government and the military have forever been beholdeb to the ruling elites and 90 percent of out engagements have a profit motive and have absolutely nothing to do with protecting our freedoms. The media makes us believe that but a vlose examination of the evidence reveals that we have often subverted freedom and democracy around the world in the name of profit. This makes America despised and makes us less safe. I cling only to those values which are represented in the oroginal concepts but like religion do not trust those values to be upheld in the hearts of all men, and least of all by the powerful elite. We have to hold them sacred in out hearts as individuals and protect them ourselves. Maybe if we teach this to our children and pay homage to these ideas by first trying our best to be virtuous examples in our ouwn lives we can regain the respect and inspire the same in our youth.


Thanks again for the great conversation,


Take care,


Michele

Submitted on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 1:17:11 PM

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Nicholas Ginex

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Dear Michelle, I agree with you wholeheartedly that it is the parents that have a great influence in teaching to their children the virtues of honesty, truth and integrity.

But it is all of our educational institutions from elementary to our universities that such virtues be emphasized. This is why we have religious organizations but sadly, they are not uniform in teaching the greatest command given by a man of God - Love one another.

My books and articles focus on providing the truth to people. I do not like to be made a fool of and is why I write to inform and educate others of what I have learned in life.

Glad to have you as a new friend. OpEd readers may go to to the following link to access books and articles. .nicholasginex.com

Submitted on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 6:18:51 PM

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