Party members get the final word (along with the electorate).

Voters in Alberta in general have been used and abused by our provincial government for quite some time now. Few have been democratically abused more though than the party members of the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party (pre-crossing) in the last 12 months.

The very essence of the party system is to facilitate organization and election of like minded people to office. At the core of this system is the nomination system where members will campaign and choose who will represent them in elections. This of course is the very area where the unprincipled in politics (alas there are many of them) choose to meddle the most.

The Wildrose Party under Danielle Smith’s leadership and with Rob Anderson’s constant interference was brutal in their efforts to manipulate nominations. Members in constituencies around the province were getting increasingly infuriated with the delay of nominations and arm twisting of potential candidates as they sought to get their chosen ones in. It is this sort of thing that led to member blowback against Danielle Smith and was a contributing factor to her callow departure from the leadership of the party.

andersonAnderson and Smith were truly delusional and lost in their own bubbles in thinking that the party membership would follow them when they organized their brutal act of treachery and joined the Prentice Progressive Conservatives.

The membership of the Wildrose Party was actually renewed and emboldened by the departure of Smith and her compatriots. While it hurt the party in the short term, the core is stronger and more dedicated than ever as the worst of it’s unprincipled members are now no longer with it.

Rob Anderson was the first to recognize that he was politically finished and he figured it out in rather short order. Having screwed the membership and supporters in Airdrie from both parties in two different floor crossings, Rob Anderson found himself utterly alone and despised by the membership in both the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party. Knowing he was politically finished, Anderson scurried off into the sunset to try and work on a new and less public career. Jason Hale and Bruce Rowe quietly fled the mess of their own making soon afterwards.

Danielle Smith maintained her delusion right up until the Progressive Conservative members got the chance to kick her out of office which they eagerly and overwhelmingly did. Smith’s treachery and abuse of the members who supported her led to the utter end of what had appeared to be one of the most promising political careers in Canada. Word is that Smith didn’t even attend the first Progressive Conservative constituency association meeting in person after having crossed the floor. Had she a clue how powerful the members are and how enraged they could be, perhaps she could have salvaged the nomination (though I doubt it). Smith will now fade into well earned obscurity as an odd footnote in Alberta political history.

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When livid party members tossed floor crossers Gary Bikman and Rod Fox out on their self-serving asses in nomination races along with Smith, Prentice panicked. It was clear that there was no way that Bruce McAllister was going to survive an open nomination race. The PC party jumped in and disqualified party loyalist Jamie Lall in hopes of maintaining at least one of their floor crossing trophies of prominence.

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A rightly enraged and motivated Lall entered the race for Chestermere-Rocky View as an independent candidate along with his considerable local support down there. The Progressive Conservative constituency association is now in utter disarray as the President and other board members resigned in disgust with the party actions under the guidance of Prentice.

With Lall pulling from the Progressive Conservative base and with most voters being repulsed by the actions of the floor-crossers, it is very likely that Bruce McAllister will be joining his unprincipled colleagues as a disgraced and unemployed political has-been on May the 5th.

Of the 9 MLAs who betrayed the membership of the party in December only perhaps a couple will still be employed a mere few months later. Perhaps none of them will make it through the election.

Will MLAs and party operatives learn from all of this? I doubt all of them will but I sure hope many of them will have learned a lesson here:

You can only fuck with the party membership for so long and so much before they lash back!

 

 

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Calgary urbanist extremists going out of bounds in their vitriol

It is no secret that Naheed Nenshi has been practicing a polarizing style of politics in order to try to get an ideological agenda through City Hall in Calgary. While creating opponents for himself and trying to pit different factions against each other in local politics, Nenshi has created an atmosphere that is becoming increasingly personal and toxic. While proving to be a terrible leader within council due to his inflated ego and petulant style, Nenshi has proven himself to be able to gather a small but very vocal and almost cult-like following among Calgary hipsters who are becoming increasingly distasteful and aggressive in responding to anybody who may critique the Mayor.

To make sense of much of this mess, one has to go all the way back to the multi-million dollar, ridiculous navel gazing exercise called “Imagine Calgary”. Nenshi was one of the creators of the Imagine Calgary document which reads like a surreal dream of some utopian world of art and density which is all strongly controlled by a central council. Sound extreme? Read it yourself. I have broken down many elements of it. The document speaks for itself.

Imagine Calgary is important in that if you look into it, you will see that nearly all of Nenshi’s initiatives tend to spring from it. He says so Himself:

Imagine Calgary serves as something of a bible to His more fervent of followers.

An element of Imagine Calgary that has been hitting council lately has been the “Pedestrian Strategy” as can be seen below.

imagine

Councillor Sean Chu is familiar with the ridiculous goals of Imagine Calgary and he sits on the Transportation Committee in City Hall. A presentation was made to push forward with this Imagine Calgary themed pedestrian strategy despite a lack of costing or substance to the plan. What we have is a recipe for a pointless boondoggle which may employ a number of bureaucrats and lead to even more traffic congestion in the city if this strategy is not carefully monitored and scrutinized. In doing his job, Sean Chu questioned elements of the strategy and ultimately voted against it.

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This was of course a form of blasphemy in the eyes of Imagine Calgary zealots and led to some brutal and outright offensive attacks upon Chu on social media.

In a tragic event last week, troubled teen Tyla Chipaway was killed after she was struck by a taxi when she was laying in the middle of 16 ave NE in Calgary at around 3:30 am. 

Perhaps we will never know why Tyla was laying in the middle of a main road like that at such an hour. It was a terrible loss of a person so young.

Not to let an opportunity to attack pass, blogger and noted Nenshi sycophant Mike Morrison tweeted and tried to imply that Chu’s opposition to the Imagine Calgary based pedestrian strategy somehow contributed to this accident or one’s like it.

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How on earth would any pedestrian strategy possibly have prevented that tragedy? What possible motive would there be in trying to connect that accident to how Sean Chu voted in a committee?

This was political opportunism of the worst and most repugnant of sort. Note that 23 others jumped on the bandwagon to retweet Morrison’s odious tweet.

Being unrepentant Morrison carried on which whipped up even more fervor on social media which led to this:

rueby retro

The urban cycle aficionado and Nenshi supporter above actually came right out and told Sean Chu to go back where he came from. What century are we living in again? Retro indeed.

Like Morrison, this @Ruebyretro character has offered no apology for this disgusting behaviour. She has simply switched her twitter account into private and is laying low.

The bottom line is that these people are so fervent in their faith in Nenshi and the goals of Imagine Calgary that they truly feel they have done nothing wrong in attacking a political opponent like this. Taking advantage of the tragic fatality of a teen to try and score political points and sinking into blatant racism are tactics considered to be fair game by these people. Rather disturbing.

Ian Robinson wrote a column in today’s Sun that excellently points out that while Nenshi has created a lot of hype, he really has not actually accomplished much to speak of in his years as Mayor. This lack of progress does explain some of the almost desperate actions of Nenshi’s frustrated followers.

I do have to differ a bit with Ian though it that Nenshi has done one thing to change the face of Calgary. Naheed Nenshi has created the most vicious and divided civic political environment seen in a generation within Calgary. A dubious honor at best but a noteworthy accomplishment all the same.

As we see noted philanthropists and council members dragged through the mud in our city by our Mayor and his following, we really have to hang our heads in shame in having re-elected that man as our Mayor. These ongoing incidents are getting embarrassing.

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On free assembly and bringing Taber into the current century.

There are no rights more critical than our individual ones. Infringements on individual rights have to be countered and exposed as soon as they crop up. The erosion of individual rights is almost always an incremental thing and when it happens on even a micro level as it is happening in Taber Alberta, it is a big and important issue.

Depiction of Taber Mayor, Council and Police Chief.

Depiction of Taber Mayor, Council and Police Chief.

The Mayor and police chief of the city of Taber appeared on numerous news sites whining about the ridicule and bad press that they have been getting over their ridiculous bylaws. Sorry but those imbeciles implemented a backwoods, hillbilly style local bylaw that is simply a gross violation of a number of individual rights. Did they really think that people would quietly let them get away with trying to set back individual rights in their town by centuries? I know that I and others who value civil liberties will not let this crackpot law go. The Mayor and his supporters would be well served to repeal this idiocy before it goes to the courts and is tossed out which will doubtless lead to even more ridicule of their community. Sadly, the Mayor and police chief of Taber appear to be suffering under a deficit of common sense so it will likely take the time of a court and judge to explain to these fools that their bylaw is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In this article we see Taber Mayor Henk De Vlieger and police chief Alf Rudd pissing and moaning (oops is that a swear?) about the backlash that their primitive bylaw has generated.

While the Mayor and Chief flaccidly try to point to other jurisdictions that have bylaws against spitting and noise, they skirt over the part where their bylaw outlaws the gathering of more than 3 people if a peace officer should make the arbitrary decision that that they may disturb the peace. This is a gross violation of free assembly and simply cannot be allowed to stand.

Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms pretty explicitly protects free assembly and association.

We are a spoiled society in that we have had these critical rights protected for a long time and many of us have forgotten how hard some people had to fight to win these rights for us. We can’t let those rights erode now.

One of the first things that any dictatorship will do is limit the right of free association and assembly. This keeps any opposition from organizing and stops visible public protest. In the days before modern communications laws banning assembly were very effective in halting things such as union organization or the organization of political movements. How could you begin to halt a dictatorship if you couldn’t gather more than three people together at any given time?

This law in Taber will be shot down. The only questions now are when and how. It is up to the sad little leadership in that backward city to determine how much more mockery they are willing to endure in protecting this legal atrocity before it is inevitably tossed out. I fully intend to be putting elements of this bylaw to the test soon if the fools in Taber won’t get rid of it soon. Do they really want me down there?

Perhaps they should ask Nenshi how much joy I can bring to a city council and Mayor when I feel they are improperly applying laws.

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A victory for accountability and transparency in Calgary!

civiccamp

Personally I think partisan politics are a good thing in general for a number of reasons.

Many people think that partisan politics is a bad thing. I think that most can agree though that what is even worse than a political party in a partisan system is a hidden political party in a system that is expected to be non partisan. That is what the initial incarnation of the now defunct CivicCamp group was.

It was recently reported that CivicCamp has disbanded. That isn’t exactly true as the legally registered CivicCamp still exists and it was formed over a year ago.

What has happened is that the group that used to run Naheed Nenshi’s personal political party that wasn’t a political party have given up on the name that they purposely refused to register in order to dodge accountability.

Nenshi and some supporters formed CivicCamp prior to the 2010 civic election in Calgary. There are many advantages to having an organization of people focused on common policy goals trying to get a person elected. Without a formal party system in municipal politics however, the ever canny Nenshi formed CivicCamp which claimed to be non-partisan when it was clearly anything but.

The organization was purposely formed without being legally registered anywhere. This meant that the key people involved and the means of funding never had to be disclosed publically. That avoided the clearly sticky questions that would have come about if folks realized that this apparently non-partisan group was almost exclusively populated by Naheed Nenshi’s supporters. Official campaign financing has some pretty strict rules as well. With a group that isn’t a group however, finance questions could be dodged.

Let’s be clear. CivicCamp was a political party. “A political party is an organization of people which seeks to achieve goals common to its members through the acquisition and exercise of political power.”

After the 2010 election CivicCamp became a useful tool in promoting Nenshi’s policy initiatives and ideals to a divided council. Again, no disclosure was given on who ran this group or who funded it despite their making formal presentations to council and providing input on committee. Rather nifty politics.

In the 2013 CivicCamp went back into campaign mode. This is where the line really was crossed as this group that wasn’t a group somehow secured financing from the Calgary Foundation and then proceeded to go into full campaign mode for Nenshi and his chosen council members (an informal council political party).

While refusing to disclose their own financing until late into the election, the CivicCamp group hypocritically, selectively and relentlessly harangued candidates who were not a part of Nenshi’s slate by demanding that these candidates disclose their finances earlier than the legally required disclosure date. In one circumstance one of the CivicCamp gang even camped outside of the campaign office of one of the candidates. They were conspicuously silent on the disclosures of the Nenshi slate however even though some of them were pretty slow in releasing their backers too.

In a political move worthy of Frank Underwood, the CivicCamp group assumed control of all of the forums for mayoral and council candidates. Organizing forums is a tough and thankless task so when a group of folks raised their hands and offered to take on the task, alas few took issue with it.

In election forums, people can usually ask questions from the floor. This allows ground level concerns and issues to be presented directly to candidates and we can watch the unvarnished responses and answers from the contenders for the electoral spots. CivicCamp would have none of this however. What they did was “crowd source” among their supporters and created a set of ranked questions that would be presented to the candidates. Unsurprisingly the questions came out looking as if Naheed Nenshi’s mother (or likely his sister) wrote them. While tax increases polled high on the list of concerns of most Calgarians, somehow it didn’t even make the list of CivicCamp softballs for Nenshi. It was simply brutal and took away the whole point of open forums.

In one of the forums, Brian Pincott (hard left councillor and part of the Nenshi slate) didn’t like the moderator and complained. The CivicCamp group quickly obliged and replaced the moderator with one to Pincott’s liking of course.

Having watched this display I simply couldn’t stomach it any longer. I did a NUANS search and then formally formed and registered CivicCamp as a non-profit society. The initial group’s careful efforts to conceal themselves left them wide open for me to do so. Had they simply spent $80 and filled out a form they could have prevented that but of course that would have meant practicing the accountability and transparency that they tried to demand of some candidates in the election.

While the disbanded group is claiming that they are simply moving along because they have accomplished so much (sounds like Danielle Smith) The reality is that they simply cant do anything any longer now that I own the name. I even offered to give them the name and registration if they wanted to make things open and formal. They refused the offer which is rather telling.

To be clear here, many if not most of the people involved in that CivicCamp group were well meaning. These were not people trying to harm the city and they were volunteers. It is not like they were pocketing funds. Despite those intentions, they still were participating in an astroturfing effort that masked what was essentially a political party. I could not abide by that any longer.

There is nothing and there was nothing stopping this group from forming and operating as a registered non profit society. They just have to embrace accountability and transparency. As long as they refuse to do so though, I can hardly feel badly that their club just cant hold itself together.

Practicing accountability and transparency is more difficult than demanding others do so. It sure ads credibility when one practices these things as well as preaches them.

I do hope that the folks behind the initial CivicCamp group have learned from this.

 

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In a future not so far away….

In light of folks from the Pope to Muslim groups in Saskatoon calling for the illegalization of religious critique this little video is well timed.

We cant let free speech be impeded even in little increments no matter who may yowl that they are offended. People really need to get over themselves.

A short video well worth a watch on what the future may indeed be like if we keep caving to the chronically offended.

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Supply management. An economic anvil on the necks of Canadians.

eggs

Supply management in agriculture is a policy in Canada that is harming consumers and producers from coast to coast. It is hard to believe that we maintain an economic policy that is so detrimental to Canadians as a whole. Part of the issue is that most Canadians don’t even know that such a policy even exists and I suspect if most people realized that they are paying hundreds of dollars a year due to this market control system that they would happily support dumping this primitive policy.

There are nothing but benefits to be seen for Canadians if we get rid of our supply management policies. People will spend less on food essentials and have more opportunity to eat healthier while Canadian producers will be able to expand our export markets and diversify our economy.

Supply management is a socialist market control policy that allows government to micromanage supplies of dairy, eggs and poultry products through a system of quotas and tariffs. This protects a small number of producers who have production quotas thus forcing higher prices on consumers. A dairy producer pays roughly $28,000 for the right to keep one dairy cow. That means a herd of 70 (not terribly large) has a quota value of $2 million. That price is of course forwarded to consumers. Quotas are restricted and it literally is illegal to produce milk, eggs or chickens over a certain number without a quota.

The waste from this system is brutal too. My wife grew up on a small dairy farm for example. Her father had a quota to sell a certain amount of cream but was not allowed to sell milk. The cows were milked and the cream separated and sold. The remaining milk that was not consumed by the household was literally dumped. It would have been illegal to sell it. Sounds rather Soviet doesn’t it? These sorts of examples abound in all supply managed industries and we are all paying dearly for it.

In dairy alone families pay an extra $276 per year due to supply management. When chicken and eggs are taken into account, families are spending nearly $500 per year for these policies. These are premiums paid on staple food items. If families paid regular (much lower) market cost for these items, they would be more encouraged to purchase them of course meaning a likelihood of less processed and unhealthy foods being in the cupboards.

In Canada we actually had organized crime participating in cheese smuggling because our cheese costs so much more in Canada than right across the border in the United States. This sounds like a comedy but it really is happening. When supply of an item in demand is restricted by government, smuggling is always soon to follow.

Some people lamely try to claim that these market controls protect the family farm which is utterly untrue. Supply management has actually wiped out small farms and led to larger factory style production as only large companies can afford to operate under our quota system. From 1971 to 2011 the number of dairy farms in Canada dropped by 91%! This trend has happened in poultry and egg industries too. So much for the family farm.

Market diversification and creative production is stifled by these horrible policies. Free range chickens are much in demand by consumers. Nobody is allowed to produce more than 300 chickens without a quota however which is not enough to live on while a quota application could take years and may never be granted. Quotas are usually in the range of 70,000 or more birds too which hardly helps a small producer. How does one get started in this foolish system? The same applies to eggs.

Small farms making specialty cheeses or types of milk are nearly impossible. I remember a story of a small ice cream producer in Ontario being shut down because the cream costs were simply too damn high. How many other small to medium sized enterprises are we missing out on because of supply management?

Our policies are costing us billions in lost exports as well according to one report. Tariffs and quotas get our producers barred from foreign markets thus costing us countless jobs and tax revenue. Our outdated policies have been a sticking point in many trade negotiations with other nations too so we are losing on import and export opportunities that range outside of supply managed products due to these disputes.

Supply management is a losing policy that costs us all and only benefits a tiny number of people who hold those precious quotas. Most nations on Earth have moved away from supply management policies and have seen nothing but benefits in doing so. New Zealand is now known as “the Saudi Arabia of milk” now that they rid themselves of their supply management and let their economy develop and expand. With the size of our nation with so much viable farmland, we really are missing out on huge opportunities here.

Rarely is a single policy ever doing so much damage. People fight back and forth about the merit of cutting taxes to put more money back in the pockets of consumers. Well, if we got rid of supply management we would put billions of dollars back in the pockets of consumers and it would not cost the government a cent.

The protected dairy, egg and cheese producers are price fixing in a way that would be illegal if any other industry tried it. They are a strong lobby and are essentially racketeers sliding under the radar of public perception. Government hides from the issue for fear of angering the producers with quotas while all consumers and most producers pay the price.

We need to inform the public of the price they are paying for these idiotic policies and then have government repeal them. There is nothing but benefit to us all in doing so. As far as I can tell only the Libertarian Party of Canada is promoting such a repeal.  We need common sense and open markets and neither Harper nor Trudeau appear prepared to give them to us.

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Religion and culture are not the same as race.

rageboy

As the world is rocked yet again by barbaric violent acts perpetuated by Islamic extremists, the Western appeasers appear like flies to wring their hands and demand that people not condemn Islam. When these timorous twits find themselves cornered in debate by the simple hard fact that Islam is the most violent, intolerant and troublesome major religion on the planet as is demonstrated by a plethora of Islamic dictatorships and theocracies that violate every human right imaginable, who are constantly at war with their neighbors (and factions within their own nations) and who spawn, train and sponsor murderous lunatics that commit acts of terror throughout the world the callow apologists will invariably scream RACIST in hopes of quelling discussion of these facts.

This concept appears so simple yet somehow is utterly lost among the politically correct. The word that clearly defines the difference between race and religion and culture is CHOICE! Anti-freedom types loathe choice of any type of course so I guess I can sort of understand how they are confused.

I cannot choose to be another race. I could aspire or wish to become another race I guess but I simply can’t change the reality of which race I was born to be. Michael Jackson proved that with almost bottomless resources, one still can’t change their race. That is why racism is so odious. How can you condemn somebody for a reality that they had and have no choice in? Racism is ridiculous, divisive and repugnant and is worthy of social condemnation.

Religion and culture are choices. I can choose and convert to any religion I like at any time. I can choose to practice any cultural thing I like as well. Because of this reality, I should be open to all and any critique of my choices in these regards and I sure as hell maintain my right to be critical and even insulting of the religious and cultural choices of others.

I am allowed to point out that the cultural practice of mutilating the genitalia of little girls and then trading them off like cattle in arranged marriages is a disgusting and unacceptable practice. I am allowed to point out that stoning women to death for their having been raped or whipping people to death for their being gay is vulgar and that the world must not accept this. I have every right to point out how forcing women to cover themselves and banning them from such simple things as driving and education is a stone-aged bullshit practice. The most important right that I have is in being able point out that all of these cultural practices and facilitated and justified by claims of being adherent to Islam.

I have no use for any religion personally. I can and will pick and choose however which ones I find to be the most destructive and repellent. I do think all races are equal, but I damn well know that not all cultures or religions are and I will point out the ones that are most egregious in the world. Today Islam is by far the most primitive and damaging religious choice on the planet and I am not a racist for saying it.

When I call out the religious or cultural choices of others, I can (and often am) called everything under the sun. I can be called intolerant, shallow, simple, stupid or simply an asshole. All of those are arguable. One thing I will not tolerate though is being called a racist as Islam is not a race.

We have a real and worldwide problem caused by radical Islam. It is hardly a minority thing when one considers that dozens of entire nations practice it. We need to discuss and address these issues. In order to do so, we must tell those who try to quell discussion by shouting “racism” to kiss our collective asses.
Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) summarized it much more concisely than I in the image below as Britain fought a battle to protect free speech from Islamic nuts and their facilitating apologists.

bean

 

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No religion is above critique or satire.

Note to stone age cultists who feel that killing the innocent serves your religion:

The more innocent people you assholes kill, the more cartoons and depictions of your vile “prophet” will be produced and the more people like me will keep spreading them around.

When the hell will Islam join the 18th century already?

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Governing by form letter.

One would think that the nine opportunistic floor crossers who betrayed their constituents would at least stand up and try to explain themselves in their own words.

In thinking that, one is in for some disappointment yet again. The “Wildrose 9″ have either sunk into cowardly hiding or at best have purchased ad space in local papers where they have cut and pasted a form letter with talking points from their new Progressive Conservative masters and then vanished.

It has been said many times how the treacherous, self-serving move by Danielle Smith and her handful of caucus mates has been an affront to democracy and that is utterly true. Look how poorly their constituents are now being served. The “Wildrose 9″ are now nothing more than a legislative joke. They hold no leverage any longer and Prentice will not expend any more political capital on them. These short sighted fools are now to be relegated to the back benches and will only speak or communicate as ordered as we can see in the lame form letters that they obediently released.

Yes, opposition MLAs have limits on their influence at times. The nine MLAs who defected in pursuit of power used to have individual voices at least and could openly speak up for their constituents.

As can be seen in their sad little letters, the “Wildrose 9″ will no longer speak for their constituents. They will bark as the trained seals that they have become and will only communicate what they have been told to by their Progressive Conservative Party superiors.

Simply sad.

haleandersonHale and Anderson changed little other than the name at the top and bottom of their assigned form letters.

Gary Bikman posted his assigned form letter on Facebook here. It is easier to read this way in the literal sense but still stomach turning in it’s callow supplication to their new communications masters.

Portions of this letter are appearing in regional papers and in digital communications from the 9 Wildrose opportunists and it gives a good indication of what to expect from these shallow MLAs in the future. They will simply follow orders.

I can’t wait to see Danielle Smith stand in the legislature to toss a scripted, puffball question to Prentice as she will be ordered to do. Will she be able to retain that standard smile of hers or will some shame be showing through?

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