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Middle Wisconsin News - April 2012

Middle Wisconsin News - April 2012

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A FACT-DRIVEN VOICE FOR MIDDLE WISCONSIN VIEWS

Information Technology Solutions

FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE STATE FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

Middle Wisconsin News
www.MiddleWisconsin.com April 27, 2012

IN THIS ISSUE:

APRIL 2012
April. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1972 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Working Wisconsin . . . . . 3 Citizens United . . . . . . . . . 4 Equal Pay . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 American Health . . . . . . . 6 They Know Not . . . . . . . . .7 Super Pac . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Walker’s Whereabouts . . . 9 Taxes . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . 10 Challenging the Myth . . . 11 Middle Wisconsin News welcomes letters, articles and essays on relevant topics. We ask that you limit submissions to 800 words and provide sources when appropriate. Submissions may be edited for length, clarity and taste. Emailed submissions should be sent in plain text or Microsoft Word attachments to: dave@middlewisconsin.org
© 2011Middle W is c ons in

The apple trees blossomed early in Wisconsin this spring. Record setting warm weather brought most everything to life ahead of time. But one is unlikely to see seedlings in the gardens just yet. Wisconsin frosts harbor little sympathy for the naïve. There is a time for naiveté, though - a time when it is the mark courage. We are living in a world that is doing everything in its power to make us believe in the worst of mankind - to make us cynical and tell us life is ugly. It is a world that works tirelessly to spread fear and hatred and mistrust - a world the seeks to divide us. And so we dare to be naïve. We dare to believe in our fellow man. We dare to believe in the decency and goodness of others. We dare to believe in unselfishness and shared purpose and community. We dare to believe that we are our brother’s keeper and that greed and the exploitation of others is a sickness that harms us all. We dare to care about our neighbors and their families and their kids. We dare to believe in eternal truths - in fairness and respect and honesty. We dare to believe in life. It is the mark of courage.

,

Middle Wisconsin News

April 27, 2012 Page 2

1972
By Nancy Stencil - Wausau

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
- - Eleanor

The year is 1972 and I am sitting in my Mother’s kitchen. I can vividly remember everything about that afternoon. I remember the color on the walls, and the way the sunlight streamed in, and the kitchen’s great smells. It was one of those moments that remain etched in your mind forever. It was an important day. This was the day that my Mom came home from work and announced with glee that from now on women would be paid equal to men. I was but 14 at the time, yet I knew this was huge to my Mom. She was a factory worker with a family to support. You see, my Mom was Rosie the Riveter. My Mother fought for many rights that we, until recently, have enjoyed. My Mother, along with countless other women, cleared the path for the next group of women to follow. She was instrumental in helping get the first union into Marathon Electric. Mom lost her job there for refusing to come off strike, fighting, as always, for what she believed in. Fast forward to 2012, and I find myself wondering - “what happened?” I am protesting this morning for the very same issue that she did so long ago. I watch many women walk by with indifference. I want to shout - “What don’t you understand? Can’t you see what’s going on?” Am I the only one that can remember that day back in 1972? It’s then I realize - my Mother is still with me in spirit and we are continuing the fight. We fight to make it better for the next generation, - not so much different than 1972.

Roosevelt

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News

April 27, 2012 Page 3

Working Wisconsin - Labor News and Views
The Hortonville Teacher Strike
By John Spiegelhoff - Merrill, WI

“The long memory is the most radical idea in America”
- - Utah Phillips

The Hortonville teacher strike was one of the thirty Wisconsin teacher strikes that occurred in 1972-1973 and 1973-1974. Under Wisconsin law during this time, teacher strikes were illegal and there was no lawful process to resolve disputes. The law only called for the parties to bargain “in good faith”. In contrast, private sector unions had the lawful ability to strike if they could not come to terms with their employer unlike teachers and/or public employees When the strike began, the Hortonville teachers had not had a base salary raise in three years. In 1973 the school board and the teachers began bargaining the 19731974 contract. Ten months later in January 1974, negotiations were at a stalemate. On April 2, 1974, the school board fired all of the teachers and withdrew its last contract offer. The Village of Hortonville became front page news in the fight against a flawed collective bargaining law which prohibited strikes by public employees and did not provide for a resolution of labor disputes. Many of these teachers left the profession for good and others changed careers after they applied for teaching positions in other parts of the state and were blacklisted. The mass firings and the abuse of power by an unreasonable employer mobilized public employees and contributed to a new political climate. Thus was born through political action, the 1977 Municipal Employees Relation Act (MERA). MERA provided a fair and reasonable law to provide peaceful resolution of labor disputes in the public sector. Although the law prohibited strikes, the parties could resolve differences through final and binding interest arbitration. Forty years of public sector labor peace ensued after the passage of this law. On June 29, 2011, Wisconsin Act 10 became law which eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees. This onerous law still makes it unlawful for public employees to strike and stripped MERA to the bone. This law is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Under Wisconsin Act 10, this law gave public employees the right to “bargain” base wages only, and nothing else. All other terms and conditions of employment are not issues employees can bargain with their employers-i.e. safety, vacation, sick leave, health insurance etc. The term “bargaining for base wages” is a misnomer since if the parties did not agree to what the wage increase may be, employees have no legal recourse. In essence, the employer tells you how much you get for wages if anything. That is not bargaining but rather dictating. It is hard to tell when workers will say enough is enough and begin to take action. A bad law in the 1970’s created demonstrative action in Hortonville and across Wisconsin. What will workers do in 2011 and in the upcoming years? Time will tell.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
- - George Santayana

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO “CITIZENS UNITED”
By Virginia Kirsch - Wausau

April 27, 2012 Page 4

“The future of our nation will be determined this year, not between Republicans and Democrats or blue states and red states, but between “we the people” and “they the corporations.”
--from Common Cause bulletin, Washington D.C., 2012

A little over two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court passed Citizens United allowing unlimited corporate money into our political system, which is destroying our democracy. Many people have been working together to recover our democracy. In March, the California State Assembly passed a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Voters throughout Vermont passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment. There have been strong efforts for similar measures in Maryland, Massachusetts and New York. Just recently Public Citizen activists launched Resolutions Week, to pass resolutions in hundreds of cities and towns this June. More than 1000 communities have signed up. Surveys have consistently shown that 4 of 5 Americans think Citizens United was wrongly decided. Dozens of representatives of US Congress have joined this call for amendment. Twenty-four US Senators support an amendment. President Obama recently supported the idea of an amendment to overturn Citizens United. Such is the power of the people. We have a long way to go, but are encouraged by the progress made each month! Resource: Public Citizen announcement, Washington D.C., March 2012

~~Moderate Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) is actively campaigning against Super-PACS. In her first re-election commercial, she takes a risky stance by warning her constituents "if you don’t know who’s paying for it, don’t believe a word of it.”

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions Equal Pay Enforcement
By Lee Balek and Joyce Leudke - Hayward, WI

April 27, 2012 Page 5

In 2009, the Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act was signed into law. The law was designed to provide fair penalties that also acted as incentive for employers to pay women the same as men for the same work. The law allowed victims of discrimination to seek damages in state courts. The Equal Pay Enforcement Act wasn’t just about women, it also offered protection from discrimination based on race, age, disability and other factors. Most states have passed some form of anti-discrimination laws.

" I truly believe a woman who votes for the Republican Party is like a deer joining the NRA. They have us in their sights."
Attorney Linda Roberson, in an article in the Capital Times, concerning Governor Walker repealing the Equal Pay Act

Prior to the passage of this law, Wisconsin families were losing more than $4,000 per year due to women being paid less than men for the same work. After the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, the gap was closing: Median female earnings rose by 3.0% from 2009-2010. Only four states had larger increases. Wisconsin jumped 12 spots in the earning parity ranking during that same time, from 36th to 24th of the 50 states. The law was working. Governor Walker very quietly in a private place signed SB 202 which repealed the law on Thursday, April 5th, just before Easter. Repealing the law removes the incentive of employers to make women’s pay equal to men’s and will make it more difficult and costly for an employee to prove discrimination in federal court. Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman made these statements about repealing the Equal Pay Act: “You could agree that money is more important to men.” He went on to say: “I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money conscious.” He also claimed women earn less in part because they have different goals in life. Here are other facts about working women: (National Partnership for Women and other sources) As a group, full time working women in Wisconsin lose approximately $9,237,262, 410 each year due to the wage gap. It is projected by IWPR that it will take more than 45 years to close the gender wage gap. As a rule, woman doing the same job as a man will earn 80% less. Think of the impact that has on a woman and her family over a lifetime. 69% of working mothers in Wisconsin bring in more than one quarter of the families’ income. 230,077 households in Wisconsin are headed by women. 30% of women-headed households in Wisconsin live below the poverty line. Eliminating the wage gap would provide critical income to 69,023 families living in poverty. 71% of Wisconsin with children under the age of six are working--more than the national average of 60%. We all know women who are working two jobs and quite possibly three jobs to provide for themselves and their families. I think of “Carmen,” a woman in her sixties who worked at a big box store from 10pm until 6:00am and then went to work as a waitress from 7:00am until 2:00pm. We know that money is important to women and that women have to be money conscious. According to the Milwaukee Journal, April 12, 2012: “Reducing other options that employees have to challenge discrimination could mean that discrimination against women and minorities is more likely to be tolerated in the workplace. That’s unacceptable.” The Milwaukee Journal wants this to be addressed again in the legislature. Call your senator and representative to voice your opinion.

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions

April 27, 2012 Page 6

American Health
TRUTHS ABOUT SEXUAL HEALTH
By Lon Newman – Wausau, WI Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics released this week show that the U.S. teen birth rate is at its lowest rate in more than fifty years. Although the U.S. teen birth rate is higher than other industrialized nations, we have made enormous progress. The authors of the study credited pregnancy prevention efforts – primarily increased contraceptive use among sexually active teens -- for the decline. For the three decades I have been working to bring teen birth and abortion rates down, opponents of contraception, sexual health education, and access to sexual health care have persistently and consistently distorted facts and twisted logic to suit their agenda. The CDC results give us an opportunity to celebrate our proven success. To confront the most often-repeated misrepresentations, I ask readers to consider these ten assertions about sexual health and education in the United States.

I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.
- - Margaret Mead

Ten Truths about Sexual Health
I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. The teen birth rate is down. The abortion rate is down. Access to family planning improves maternal and child health. Sex education increases knowledge and decreases risks. Condoms work. Contraception works. Emergency Contraception (Plan B- One Step ™) works by preventing pregnancy. It does not cause an abortion. Access to a full range of contraceptives decreases the risks of sexual behaviors without increasing risky sexual behavior. Abstinence works while people remain abstinent. When they’re not, it doesn’t. Family planning clinics are not in business because of the high profit margin.

These ten concepts have been supported, substantiated, replicated or demonstrated over decades. Statistical results are based on scientific and/or medical standards. For my entire career, ideologues have taken a directly opposite stance to each and every one, by any and every means – except credible evidence.
This article was originally published in The Chicago Sun Times Lon Newman, of Wausau, is executive director, Family Planning Health Services Inc.; public affairs chair, Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association and president, Wisconsin Reproductive Health Network.
© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions
They Know Not What They Do
By Josephine McKenna

April 27, 2012 Page 7

I have a fairly rare syndrome called Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome, which I was diagnosed with at five years old. It is a genetic condition, not one born out of poor choices or neglect of any kind.

“The image of an expanding heart suggests a certain kind of courage-and all of us, we believe, long to be courageous; to be heroes to ourselves. But this kind of courage has nothing to do with toughness. It is the courage of a heart that has had horrific experience but has not hardened; that has heard too much bad news but has not been numbed; that has witnessed too much suffering but has not been broken.”
--Frances Moore Lappe, HOPE’S EDGE

If the Affordable Care Act ceases to exist, I am terrified that, thanks to lifetime insurance caps, I will have to make a gamble. A gamble between getting treatments for my syndrome to prevent me from being permanently disfigured (or worse) and trying to reserve a budget for day-to-day health care so I don't hit or exceed my lifetime maximum. I am bitter that I volunteered to be a subject for the very therapies (photodynamic the primary one) that I worry my insurance provider will suddenly cease to cover because financial experts are now being allowed to make medical decisions...and when they cannot find evidence of a treatment (as in the case of rare genetic disorders) treatment is denied. If my insurer ceases to cover more modern treatments, I will no longer be able to afford photodynamic therapy. Instead, the treatments will become much more invasive, literally much more scarring. The older treatments will also force me to take time off work and rely on the Family and Medical Leave Act, which I understand is also being threatened. I spoke with a group of co-workers and friends recently and was reduced to speechlessness by the amount of uninformed and callous opposition there is to the Affordable Care Act and FMLA. Comments like "it's not my fault people have genetic conditions, accidents, or whatever, so why should I fund their care? I pay my bills." As though working 40 hours a week is some sort of company-provided vitamin against genetic disorders or accidents in general. Or, in the case of FMLA "why should you be allowed to just take time off work every time you don't feel like coming in?" To follow up, they tell me they "don’t see why they should have to work harder so I can sit at home and have a company paid 'vacation.'" When I point out I use FMLA to recuperate from surgery, not to fly to Cancun, the response is "It's still the same thing: a vacation." Yet, in the next breath, these same people insist that their opposition is tied to the fact that they're proud to be God-fearing Americans. They insist they’re the only ones left who uphold what our Founding Fathers believed in and held dear. I submit the first sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence in response: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” For millions of Americans, Affordable Health Care will give them an equal chance at health care which will help them live a better Life, help give them the Liberty, financially and psychologically, to pursue their dreams and ultimately help them pursue Happiness and better use the talents and gifts their Creator endowed them with. What could be more American, what could better honor our Founding Fathers than that?

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions SuperPac Manipulating Voters
By Bob Beck - Rothschild, WI

April 27, 2012 Page 8

“Such figures as W.C. Fields or Will Rogers have served our nation well and enabled us to laugh our way through tough times. But, sooner or later, reality requires us to confront our conditions and devise solutions or find those who can.”
- -Gary Hart

I visited a local TV station a while back because I have been frustrated about how hard it is to separate truth from lies in TV political commercials. Two senior staff told me they really could not (read: would not) do anything to change them, or even report disclaimers. That ticked me off. I used to trust that TV reporters would be responsible and that ads would be truthful. It’s been 60 years since I witnessed Joe McCarthy tell a crowd that we must believe him because it was (waving a fist-full of paper from his satchel) the absolute truth. Only later did I find out that anything can be read into the Congressional Record. Well, I’m a lot older and a lot less gullible. I’m finally able to spot (with help and persistence) some of the inconsistencies: Here’s one: “I attended UWMC”. Does that mean the person couldn’t graduate because of hardship, or was the person simply not ready for college rigor? Here’s another: He said: “During the past year, we added thousands of new jobs.” But he promised 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin and we’ve lost jobs six months in a row so far. Some folks can convince themselves and you that their mutually exclusive views are OK, such as: “Abortions should be illegal and birth control pills shouldn’t be available.” Or, “There should be a death penalty and ‘Thou shalt not kill.’” We’re told that the high price of gasoline is caused by crises and uncertainty in the East. It’s taken a while for me to get the truth about our high gas prices, since I’ve heard so many seemingly reasonable excuses. Just recently I found out that in reality we’re using less gas and the oil companies are producing more than enough. More importantly, speculators are so unregulated that they can keep boosting prices apparently indefinitely. Laws must change. As an engineer I needed to sift out truth and facts from opinions and misinformation. It’s becoming really hard though to challenge these SuperPAC ads that are a lot more sophisticated than Joe McCarthy’s arguments. I’m lucky, though. I’ve got enough time and persistence (orneriness?) to find places that help me see through the half-truth lies that we’re all seeing. In order to discover the truth I’ve resorted to channels such as MSNBC and Current, which will show side-by-side examples of inconsistency. I’ve also read a bunch of articles in small magazines such as The Nation for help. So, my friends, I’m posting this to you who haven’t given up and decided not to vote because “What’s the use?” The money folks have been building up to this point for too many years, and the only real way to stop them from taking over our country is to see through their manipulations and to vote carefully and responsibly. Don’t just react: respond!

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions Governor Walker’s Whereabouts
By Joyce Luedke - Hayward, WI

April 27, 2012 Page 9

“While witnessing widespread human folly and praying that a kind God will somehow raise up great leaders, we must laugh. But, let us late at night in the privacy of our own dwellings shed a tear for those whom Fortune has not favored, for the impoverished child who has yet to learn the cause of our laughter.”
- -Gary Hart

Where oh where can the governor be? Why, he’s in California, New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee. What’s he doing there? you ask. Raking in millions and millions in cash. He’s a “ROCK STAR” you see! As we can see, being a “Rock Star” is very lucrative. $500,000 from Texas financier, Bob Perry $750,000 from three builders in Missouri $700,000 in ads from the two billionaires, Charles and David Koch (Koch Industries, the oil company) with much, much more to come $1,000,000 by David Koch to the Republican Governors Association which is running ads against candidates Tom Barrett and Kathleen Falk $100,000 from Donald Trump to RGA for ads $100,000 from Bruce Kovner--American Enterprise Institute $100,000 or more from nine other people $40,000 from John Nau in Houston Up to $10,000 from participants to sit at a table to have their pictures taken with the governor of Wisconsin $25,000 from Michael Bidwell--president of the Arizona Cardinals 14 of Walker’s top 20 donors are from outside of Wisconsin $12.1 million to Walker between January 2011 and mid January of 2012 And this is just the beginning! Meanwhile back in Wisconsin: 23,900 jobs were lost last year. Wisconsin led the nation in job losses while all the surrounding states added jobs. 4,500 jobs lost between February and March of 2012. Another 2,400 positions cut in the school districts Community businesses are closing their doors or limiting their hours because people in Wisconsin do not have money to spend on essentials--let alone extras. Food pantries are being overwhelmed by the growing number of people requesting assistance. Scott Walker might be a rock star for the millionaires and billionaires but not for you and me.

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News

April 27, 2012 Page 10

Time For A New Tax System
By Virginia Kirsch - Wausau

Our current Tax Code Handbook has 70,000 pages and yet our current tax base is only 1/100 of potential tax transactions. There are many loopholes and many people avoid paying taxes. It is time for a new tax system covering a new tax base.

“We should revitalize democratic principles rather than compromise them. Progressivism is not liberalism. It is always for the common people. It is for equal distribution of wealth. It is optimistic.”
--Senator Robert LaFollette

A new system has been proposed by University of Wisconsin Professor of Economics Edgar L. Feige. It is the Automated Payments Transaction Tax which would replace our current system. It would be automatically collected and paid to the US Treasury. No longer would millions of trees be needed for the paper for the huge Tax Code Handbook or for the millions of tax forms. This tax would be automatically collected through the year. There would be one very low, universal rate….(0.35%) on each and every transaction in the economy. Most of the revenues would be collected from the huge volume of stock and bond trades and foreign exchange transactions, none of which are now taxed. The tax is so small that it would not stifle this economic activity. The APT is progressive. The wealthiest people do more trading than poor people. Therefore each person would pay his fair share. Every bank, brokerage, or other financial account would pay 0.35% on ALL funds moving IN OR OUT of that account. The tax would be automatically transferred to a federal government tax collection account in the same institution. The movement of funds would be taxed and collected immediately without recording who or what was the source of funds. The APT system would eliminate the need for filing tax returns, greatly reducing the government’s cost of collection and enforcement. Here is an example of how the APT would work for a family with an annual income of $60,000. Suppose they pay $20,000 in interest and mortgage payments on their house and spend $40,000 on other items. The family has total transactions of $120,000. Today that family would owe about $20,000 in total taxes. “Under the APT tax, they would pay $210 on their income receipts and $210 on their expenditures. Their employer would pay $210 on the income payment, the mortgage company would pay $70 on its receipts and the merchants receiving the family’s $40,000 of other expenses would pay another $140 in taxes. Total taxes for that family would be $840. All taxes would be automatically assessed and paid without filing tax returns.” The APT (Automated Payment Transaction) is understandable and doable, but requires a huge change in people’s perception of taxes. The electronic technology to manage such transactions already exists. To learn more, go to the Automated Payment Transaction (APT) website.

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News

April 27, 2012 Page 11

CHALLENGING THE MYTH...

“And if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed—if all records told the same tale— then the lie passed into history and became the truth.” —George Orwell, 1984 (published in 1949)

The Myth That “Government Is The Enemy”
By Dave Svetlik

You begin quietly – work behind the scenes. You control the language – develop the sound bites. You repeat endlessly. “Government isn’t the solution, government is the problem.” “Government can do nothing right.” “Government is the enemy.” You cut taxes for the wealthy. You repeat - “Trickle down,” “job creators,” “taxes kill jobs.” You grow the government debt - always you grow the debt. It is the way. You deregulate – especially the financial industry. “Regulations kill jobs, regulations kill jobs.” You buy the politicians – everyone has a price. Your “savvy businessmen” create the sucker games – “credit default swaps,” “derivatives,” “exotic financial instruments.” You bleed the public – always you bleed the public. You grow the debt - always you grow the debt. It is the way. You bring on the “housing bubble” – give the rabble loans they can never repay. You bet against them. You destroy the bubble. The “government” must bail out the banks or the world economy will collapse. You blackmail the public for trillions. You “rip their face off.” You give millions to Wall Street executives for successfully raping America. Government debt skyrockets. Your corporate media screams “runaway government spending,” “the government can do nothing right,” “privatize, privatize.” The rabble falls for the trap. You move in for the kill. Austerity must reign supreme – become a “moral” imperative. People must “sacrifice” for the “evils” of their government. The “debt” must be paid. Public services must be slashed. Schools must be privatized. Public buildings and utilities must be sold to corporations. “The government can do nothing right.” “Privatize, privatize.” Public parks and lands must be sold to the highest bidder. Public employees and teachers must be dragged down. They’ve been draining America for too long. Scapegoats must be created. The “debt” must be paid. You establish “concealed carry” and “stand your ground” and “castle doctrines.” Fear must be instilled. No one can be trusted. It’s “every man for himself.” The world is a dangerous place. People need to be armed. You wear your religion on your shirt sleeve. Your most “sacred” beliefs must be on display for all the world to see. The public must know of your “values.” You claim undying love of the fetus while legislating unending contempt for the child. You introduce a “debt reduction budget” based on the ideologies of your “Prophet,”Ayn Rand. She knew the way. Public programs are “demeaning.” Children starve because they deserve to. Helping people makes them weak. Community and the common good are for fools. You undermine social security and Medicare. You bleed the poor and give tax breaks to the rich. You claim your Catholic upbringing inspired you. The “Prince of Peace” weds the atheist Queen of Cynicism. Your brutal, Orwellian nightmare comes to life. Welcome to third world America.

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