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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, May 4, 2016
MO GOP State Sen. on His Bill to End Touch-Screen Voting: 'BradCast' 5/3/16
State Sen. Bob Onder (R) explains legislation to end 100% unverifiable elections in the Show-Me State and the opposition he faces...
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Also: ACORN not dead yet!...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2010 6:32pm PT  
(ED NOTE 4/9/10: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis was my guest on Wednesday night while I was guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show. My interview with her can now be heard here. - Brad)

Yesterday, Peter Hart, of the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), flagged the New York Times' latest ACORN-related report for us and notes "how far the Times is from where it started on this story."

Yes, after a full six months of out-and-out misleading the public on the now-infamous ACORN "Pimp" Hoax by repeatedly misreporting that disgraced rightwing prankster and activist James O'Keefe had dressed as a 70's-era blaxploitation pimp while scamming low-level workers in ACORN offices --- and even as the Times finally conceded it was wrong on at least that point just two weeks ago --- the paper has still been standing by the misleading assertion that O'Keefe "clearly presented himself as" a pimp in those offices.

But the NYTimes' latest story is decidedly "pimp"-less and seems to tacitly serve as an admission that even that false narrative was previously misreported. Of course, they've yet to issue a public acknowledgment --- much less a correction, retraction, apology, or explanation --- for having gotten that point so wrong, for so long.

Last week's finding by the CA Attorney General, that ACORN committed "no violations of criminal law" in any of the illicitly and likely-illegally taped videos that O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles created in CA offices, may finally have convinced the people running the paper they had it wrong. At least if one notices the glaring absence of what wasn't reported this time around by the Times in its most recent story...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




A long-overdue indictment of the unabated, GOP-created, media-enabled, incalculably-damaging 'unmooring of politics from facts'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2010 8:05am PT  

On Friday night, responding to the CA AG's finding that the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos --- as created and published by righwing con-artists James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart --- were precisely the hoax we'd long described them as, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow hit it out of the park, detailing precisely the reason we've been focused on this point for so long: "The triumph of fake politics...The unmooring of politics from facts," and the unforgivable truth that you've heard far more about the partisan-driven hoax/politics agenda in the media, than about the fact that that these things were all hoaxes.

Maddow takes the opportunity to highlight not only the "triumph" of the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, but of other successful GOP-played/MSM-enabled scams such as "ClimateGate" (also near and dear to our hearts as we've covered that scam in great depth in our Green News Reports for months, most recently on Thursday), faked GOP outrage about recess appointments, health insurance reform, Miranda rights and civilian trials for accused terrorists, the stimulus bill, "death panels," Obama's birth certificate, supposed threats to the Second Amendment, armed IRS agents coming to get you, abuse of the census, Obama's "plans" to ban sport fishing, et al.

These things are, as she declares in no uncertain terms, "all bull." Yet, she adds, "there’s more bang for the political buck to make stuff up like this than to try to debate real problems in the real world. So just go with the bull"...


Our only complaint is that her indictment comes a month or two (at least) too late for victims of the GOP's ACORN scam, and that, other than Fox "News," she fails to call out the still-respected-but-shouldn't-be enablers of the scams in the first place --- in this case, for example, the still-misreporting New York Times.

If you can't watch the video above, or would just like to savor it and/or quote any of the exceedingly-quotable text to your erstwhile inexorably-brainwashed, fully-hoaxed, teabagging wingnut friends and family members, the text transcript is posted here...




UPDATED: SacBee corrects their story. (That wasn't so hard now, was it, NYT?!)...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2010 12:03pm PT  

Is it really this hard for anybody in the corporate media --- the folks who actually get paid to do this job --- to get this story right??

From McClatchy/Sacramento Bee's much-linked coverage on yesterday's finding by the CA AG that ACORN workers in California, as seen in James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart's "severely edited" pimp hoax videos, "committed no violation of criminal law":

But while McClatchy/SacBee misreports "O'Keefe...claimed he was a pimp," the report [PDF] released by CA AG Jerry Brown yesterday afternoon --- the very one that is being reported on in the article(!) --- notes quite specifically: "He never claimed he was a pimp."

Yeesh. Yet I'm the one who doesn't get paid to do this, so has to beg for donations every month! (Hint.)

The McClatchy/SacBee misreport was filed on their website last night. I notified the paper's editors, along with the article's reporter Jack Chang, about the error via email last night. As well last night, I called the paper, left a polite voice mail for their corrections editor, and then spoke personally to their City Desk editor who kindly thanked me for letting him know about the error. Today, via email, Chang kindly sent a thanks as well. As of 11:51am, however --- and dozens of dozens of misinformed readers having left comments on the article --- no correction has been made to the article on the SacBee's website.

Is it really this hard? Only took two-months for the New York Times to post its partial correction. Let's hope McClatchy/SacBee do the right thing a bit sooner.

* * *

UPDATE 2:40pm: Well, that was much easier. SacBee has now issued a correction which gets the story much closer to the actual facts...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Unreleased raw footage reviewed by AG Jerry Brown's investigation was obtained from Rightwing activists O'Keefe and Giles in exchange for immunity from prosecution
Contradicting MSM coverage, O'Keefe 'never claimed he was a pimp,' 'did not act as a journalist'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2010 10:36pm PT  

Echoing the recent report of the Kings County, NY, District Attorney who completed a five-month probe finding "no criminality" seen in video tapes secretly taken of low-level ACORN and ACORN Housing workers last year in New York, California's Attorney General has now reached a similar conclusion regarding videos recorded in three different cities in the Golden State last Summer, according to a report released today which finds the workers "committed no violation of criminal law."

While describing "highly inappropriate behavior" by some of the workers caught on secret video tapes made by Rightwing activists, CA AG Jerry Brown's report finds that "the evidence does not show that the ACORN employees in California violated state criminal laws in connection with their conversations" with activists posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend.

In a press release announcing his 28-page report [PDF] (and accompanying 55 pages of attachments and exhibits [PDF] with it), the AG's office says the publicly released videos taken in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino were "severely edited."

Brown's statement in the announcement is highly critical of Rightwing activists James O'Keefe III and Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute and her law school boyfriend in the videos posted on Rightwing media mogul Andrew Breitbart's "Big Government" website last year and played extensively on Fox News, as well as other non-partisan media outlets.

"The evidence illustrates that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality," says Brown in the statement. "Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."

His report notes that the office's "investigation has involved attorneys from all three legal divisions – Criminal Law, Public Rights, and Civil Law – as well as Special Agents from the Department’s Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence" and included a review of "the unedited recordings made by O’Keefe and Giles."

In exchange for "immunity from prosecution," O'Keefe and Giles provided "the full, unedited videotapes" to Brown's office who, therefore, "did not determine if they violated California's Invasion of Privacy Act" when secretly recording the ACORN workers. Those workers, he notes in his report, may still "be able to bring a private suit against O'Keefe and Giles for recording a confidential conversation without consent."

O'Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart have previously refused to release the unedited footage of their videos publicly. Brown's report details why they likely did not wish to, as important, often exculpatory details from each encounter were not included in the edited versions, released to much partisan fanfare last year.

The unedited California videos have now been posted on the CA Attorney General's website. (They are also linked at the end of this article.) The press release also notes that the AG has unedited tapes from other cities outside of California as well. The BRAD BLOG has made a request for those videos from the office of the Attorney General.

'Severely Edited'

The description of the videos as "severely edited" also echoes the Brooklyn D.A.'s office, which was quoted as describing them as a "heavily edited splice job" when his report was released several weeks ago.

Brown's report also echoes an independent investigation [PDF] released by former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger early last December, but unreported in the New York Times and many others. That report was commissioned by ACORN as an external review. In it, Harshbarger found serious organizational concerns with the four-decade old community organizing group, but "no pattern of criminality" as seen in any of the highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed video tape releases.

Despite repeated official investigations finding a complete lack of criminality in any of the O'Keefe/Giles/Breitbart tapes --- other than by the filmmakers themselves, who may have broken the law in at least two different states by secretly taping workers --- ACORN recently announced that the publicity from the hoax videos had succeeded in drying up their private funding, and forced them to shutter their doors as of today.

Of the four ACORN employees O'Keefe and Giles met with in three different California cities, none "committed, solicited or conspired to commit any criminal acts," says Brown in his report. "There is no evidence that any of the ACORN employees had the intent to aid and abet such criminal conduct or agreed to join in [O'Keefe and Giles purported] illegal conduct."

The Attorney General also confirms that O'Keefe never appeared in any of the offices "dressed as a 1970s Superfly pimp," as he had been edited to appear at the beginning and end of each of the videos. Neither did O' Keefe ever claim to be a pimp to any of the workers whose good natures, AG Brown says, O'Keefe and Giles preyed upon...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2010 3:13pm PT  

Sorry this took a few days to get posted. Have been busy. As noted last week, on Saturday I made my third appearance in as many years at the annual "L.A. Media Reform Summit" sponsored by CA Common Cause. It was again held at Occidental College, and I was honored to serve as their keynote speaker for the first time this year.

Below is the video of my full speech, in which I discussed the serious crisis we now face as our corporate mainstream media hit full fail mode. That point, as I argued, is exemplified by 1) the massive failures of the old "dead tree" media to meet their constitutional responsibilities to help protect the public from bad guys (as illustrated by the NYTime's months of damaging and flagrant misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for months), and 2) the full, rightwing take-over of nearly every inch of the public's broadcast spectrum by a handful of corporations that do not meet their FCC license obligations to manage those airwaves in the public's interest (as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for years).

I also discussed your responsibility in doing something about both of those serious problems!

The video is posted below the fold, since it's about 40 minutes in all, and might otherwise get interupted by the main page's auto-refresh routines. Enjoy. And get to work!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2010 1:42pm PT  

Via Sahil Kapur at RAW STORY:

The ends justify the means, say The Yes Men, but only as long as you're going after the right people.
...
"For O'Keefe and Breitbart to be targeting ACORN is incredibly sad and pathetic," [Yes Men co-founder Mike] Bonanno told Raw Story. "Most of its members are lower-income home owners, so these are model Americans --- pull themselves up by their bootstraps type of people --- people who are often very poor."

In a videotaped conversation with blogger Mike Stark at last month's CPAC convention, Breitbart, probed about the morality of O'Keefe's actions, pointed to The Yes Men as an example of progressive activists using similarly questionable means to attain their goals.

But it's not his and O'Keefe's tactics that The Yes Men take issue with; it's whom they're taking aim at, and the now-extinct community group didn't deserve the treatment, Bonanno alleged.

"It's why you're lying and who's gaining and who's losing as a result," he said. "There are liars and there are assholes. What James O'Keefe is doing is making a lot of lower-income people lose, unfortunately. And it's supported by a bunch of very nasty, mean-spirited people."

Here again is the video referred to above, which The BRAD BLOG originally published on March 1, where Andrew Breitbart invokes The Yes Men near the very end after he's already been forced, by journalist Mike Stark, to toss his own employee, James O'Keefe under the bus for having duped him --- or so Breitbart, an accomplished and acknowledged liar, is now claiming...





By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2010 2:40pm PT  

Just a quick note to mention I'll be presenting Saturday's (3/27) keynote address at the "Media Reform Summit" sponsored by CA Common Cause here in Los Angeles at Occidental College @ 11am. The theme of this year's conference is, appropriately enough, "Preserving Democracy."

After appearing on panels at each of the past two year's conferences, I'm honored to have been invited back to offer this year's keynote and am much looking forward to it. (Here's some video/text-transcript from my first appearance two years ago, on a panel alongside then-Congresswoman, now-Sec. of Labor Hilda Solis.)

If you're in the 'hood and can drop by, please do! I'll work to make it worth your time! More details, including directions, other speakers/panels, etc. are all available here...

* * *

POST-CONFERENCE UPDATE:

Video of keynote address is now posted here...




Mixing it up with, and calling out the mainstream media...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2010 2:10pm PT  

I had the pleasure to appear on San Francisco public radio's "Friday Media Roundtable" on their Your Call program today (heard on KALW in San Francisco and KUSP in Santa Cruz).

Along with the NYT's massive ACORN "Pimp" Hoax fail, we also discussed and critiqued media coverage of healthcare insurance reform, the latest in the U.S./Israel diplomacy theatrics, and even a bit on the guilty verdict for Kentucky election officials yesterday. Joining me on today's panel, along with host Sandip Roy, were Alex Wayne of Congressional Quarterly and Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera English.

The audio is posted below, and I believe it's well-worth giving a listen to --- particularly in regard the direct disagreement that Wayne and I got into over the media's failure (as I see it, though he didn't), to have covered the substance of healthcare insurance legislation, while devoting an inordinate amount of coverage to the politics of that debate instead.

(Continue reading below for more on that, more on how the NYT's Public Editor Clark Hoyt illustrated the very crux of the media's failure on so many stories of importance to the public, and for the audio of the show itself)...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Delay suggests 'prejudice, bias' by 'paper of record' in favor of Rightwingers...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2010 1:29pm PT  

Read the text transcript here...

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter "BlueHawk"]




By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2010 3:28pm PT  

I appeared earlier this afternoon on RT (formerly "Russia Today"), an English-language Russian news service seen in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Despite yesterday's six-months-late admission from the New York Times that they were repeatedly bamboozled by the Rightwing con-artists who produced deceptively edited hit videos in order to take down ACORN (which they successfully did), U.S. television --- including those so-called "liberal" bastions like CNN and MSNBC --- don't seem to much care that the entire thing was a hoax from the jump. At least they've yet to cover it, while RT has done so with at least three live hits over the past 24 hours.

Once again, RT seems to have more interest in issues that actually effect Americans than American broadcast news outlets do. Here's my choppy web-cam appearance earlier today.


Yesterday, my colleague and friend David Swanson was also a guest on RT to discuss the ACORN issue, as was nationally syndicated radio host Thom Hartmann. Both of those short segments are posted below and well worth watching...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Yet more evidence that O'Keefe did not 'represent himself' as the NYTimes and its Public Editor continue to claim...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2010 8:41pm PT  

Last night, the New York Times issued a pathetic "correction" in which the paper finally admitted it had gotten one very important element of the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax story wrong by reporting on at least four occasions that Rightwing activist James O'Keefe had dressed in his ridiculous 70s-era blaxploitation "pimp" get-up while secretly video-taping low-level ACORN and ACORN Housing workers last Summer. He didn't. That was a lie by O'Keefe and his publisher Andrew Breitbart, and it was forwarded uncritically by the New York Times over and over again.

After two months of my badgering the paper's Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock and its Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt about it --- and after each offered all sorts of extraordinary excuses (see here and here for just a start) as to why they stood by the paper's demonstrably inaccurate reporting --- the "paper of record" was finally, and begrudgingly, forced to admit it was wrong on that one element, and has issued a correction to it.

The "correction" came six months after the Times first damagingly misreported the story, and was followed by repeated similar misreports. It also came on the same day that the four-decade-old community organization announced it had been forced to close shop in the wake of the phony scandal, which was helped along by the gross misreporting by the Times and many others that followed suit.

But the Times' correction still made it a point to include the false notion that, while O'Keefe didn't dress as a pimp in ACORN offices, he still "represented himself" as one, by "posing" as a pimp.

Well, no, as we've shown time and again, he didn't do that either. He posed as the law school student (or sometimes a banker or politician) boyfriend to Hannah Giles who was dressed similarly to a prostitute. During the secretly-taped interviews, they both told the low-level ACORN and ACORN Housing workers they were trying to save her from an abusive pimp who had attempted to stalk and kill her.

Yet, the Times is still standing by its inaccurate reporting.

So, to help them out, here are just a few more examples of O'Keefe "posing as a pimp," as the New York Times, the "paper of record," would have you believe, as taken from O'Keefe's own unauthenticated text transcripts...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




In addition to being wrong, no apology nor explanation offered
Errors already repeated in separate story for tomorrow's paper...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 10:31pm PT  

The once-great New York Times has now become the new shame of this nation. Tonight they have run a "correction" concerning their repeated misreporting of the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax for tomorrow's papers. And, as you'll see below, it's pathetic --- simply pathetic --- and still inaccurate.

It has been...

  • ...six months after the New York Times ran their first incorrect story on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax;

  • ...five months since their ombudsman and reader's representative Public Editor Clark Hoyt (Public@NYTimes.com) chided the paper for waiting "nearly a week" before reporting on the phony videos, and announcing the assignment of a new editor to specifically follow "the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio";
  • ...almost four months since the former MA Attorney General correctly reported [PDF] what had really gone on in those ACORN offices (though his report was entirely ignored by the NYT until last weekend);
  • ...two months after their Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock (SeniorEditor@NYTimes.com) wrote via email that James O'Keefe "appeared on a live Fox show wearing what HE said was the same exact costume he wore to ACORN's offices...We believe him. Therefore there is nothing for us to correct";
  • ...two months after Hoyt (Public@NYTimes.com) wrote via email to back up the editors and the paper's reporting to say that "The story says O'Keefe dressed up as a pimp and trained his hidden camera on Acorn counselors. It does not say he did those two things at the same time";
  • ...two days after Hoyt finally admitted in his column that "The Times was wrong…and I have been wrong in defending the paper's phrasing" and that "Editors say they are considering a correction";
  • ...and on the very same day that ACORN announced they were shutting their doors on April 1 following a lack of funding, in light of the damage done by the highly-doctored, falsely promoted and inaccurately reported hit videos released by known Rightwing partisan propagandists and liars...

...the "paper of record" has issued a correction for tomorrow's papers, in which they repeat the falsehood that James O'Keefe "posed as a pimp" in ACORN offices. He didn't. He posed as the fake prostitute's law school boyfriend trying to help save her from a pimp who had stalked and threatened to kill her, as a review of even O'Keefe's own unauthenticated text-transcripts show.

Here is the absolutely shameful squib published tonight on the web, and running in tomorrow's paper, along with just the shortest explanation of how they are still getting it completely wrong, but don't seem to care...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 8:08pm PT  

In case you were wondering if ACORN's announcement today that they will soon be closing their doors will have any effect on my campaign to demand accountability from the people and institutions (e.g., the NYTimes, but many others as well) culpable in their demise, rest assured it will not --- other than to serve as yet another reminder of why such accountability remains an imperative here at The BRAD BLOG.

As I have long tried to impart, it's not about ACORN or even the liars, cretins, partisan scam artists, and democracy haters who schemed to take down the group. It's about those whose responsibility it was (and still is) to keep the cretins from being able to do so. About those whose responsibility it is to protect our democracy from all enemies, foreign and domestic. On those particular points, after I cool down a bit, I will have much more to say tomorrow --- and the day after, and the day after, and the day after...

* * *

This seems like a good moment to remind those who haven't seen this, or have forgotten about it, to once again run the short video (just 40 seconds) of Paul Weyrich, the still-revered founding father of the modern day "Conservative" Movement and the godfather of the GOP's modern-day voter-suppression movement. This is from his 1980 speech to 15,000 preachers at a Dallas convention where he shared the podium with both Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan.


This is what the GOP's campaign against ACORN --- and democracy --- was always about...

"Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome - good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Weyrich passed away in December of 2008. His dream lives on.




'Mission Accomplished' for anti-democracy GOP scam artists...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 12:43pm PT  

Just one day after the New York Time's Public Editor Clark Hoyt finally admitted that both he and his paper were "wrong" in the way, for the last six months, they unskeptically and inaccurately covered the Rightwing hoaxsters who released doctored-up, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped hit videos targeting the national community organization ACORN, largely for their work in legally registering hundreds of thousands of low-income voters so they could have their voice heard in their own democracy, the group is announcing that it will be "bringing its operations to a close".

We should take the time to note here, since the corporate mainstream media likely will not, that there is no evidence that any vote has ever been cast illegally in any election vis a vis an improper registration by an ACORN worker. Of the very few ACORN workers found to have submitted illegal registrations, almost every one of them was turned in to officials by ACORN themselves. Again: no voter ever registered improperly by an ACORN worker has ever cast a single vote in any election.

The following statement has just been sent to The BRAD BLOG by ACORN spokesperson Kevin Whelan concerning the group's plan to shut down:

In a organizational statement released today, ACORN said:

The ACORN Association Board met on Sunday March 21 and approved a set of steps to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months. These include:

  • Closing ACORN's remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1st; and
  • Developing a plan to resolve all outstanding debts, obligations and other issues.

ACORN's members have a great deal to be proud of--from promoting to homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation --- ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation.

Neither Andrew Breitbart nor James O'Keefe, the partisan propagandists who created and published the scam videos which ultimately helped to destroy the valuable community group, could be reached for comment to learn whether or not they planned to target widows' and orphans' groups next.

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, however, issued the following statement over the weekend as a reminder of the group's successes, in light of the now-successful years-long Rightwing hit job intended to cripple the organization for having the temerity to be one of those thousand points of light you've heard about, helping the neglected and the poor in our society --- more than 400,000 low-income families in 75 cities --- the folks who need such help the most...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




UPDATE: Rightwing thinktank fires Frum following column...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 12:31pm PT  

And the far-too-rarely bestowed BRAD BLOG "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award" goes today to David Frum, former speech writer for George W. Bush, for his article last night on "Waterloo". Here are a few money quotes:

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.
...
This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.
...
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
...
So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

UPDATE 3/26/10: Frum is fired by rightwing American Enterprise Institute, where he's been employed since 2003, after having the temerity to pen the above. Guess the Right isn't into that whole "liberty" and "free speech" thing as much as they pretend to be. Who knew? Details...




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