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Too Good To Leave In The Comments

A certain troll rolled out the lie so popular with the Left, that 'America is in the worst mess it has ever seen'. That moronic claim was quickly and efectively rebutted by a reader who signed himself "Mark L", a response so effective that I think it deserves its own column. Mark's response is as follows:

"Worst mess that it has ever been in? What is the horizon for your claim? This country was born in a big mess. It was something called the American Revolution. It made what is now going on in Iraq look like a walk in the park.

I don't think we are in a worse mess than we were in in 1814, when, due to foolish decisions by our legislature and executive branches of government we got ourselves involved in a war that ended up with our nation's capitol being burned and large segments of Maine being occupied by a foreign power.

Certainly it is not in the worst mess it has been in since, say . . . 1863. We were in the middle of a war that divided the country and killed hundreds of thousands of American.
We are not in the worst mess we have ever been in since 1918-19. Then an influenza epidemic killed tens of thousands of Americans, combined with a sharp deep recession.

Nor are we are not in the worst mess we have been in since 1929-39. Then we were experiencing a depression so big that up to 25% of all Americans were unemployed. It was made worse by bungling government intervention. People born in that era or who grew up in that era were smaller on average than their parents or children because they did not get enough to eat due to the Depression.

And I don't think we are in the worst mess we have ever been in since December 1941. Then we were pitched, half-prepared, into a war for our survival. A war we could have lost.

Nor do I think we are in the worst mess we have ever been in since 1961 when we almost blundered into a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.

For that matter, we are hardly worse off than we were in the 1970s when the first oil shock, wage and price controls, and Keynsian economics led to staglaflation - a wicked brew of no economic growth combined with high inflation.

Certainly it is not in the worst mess it has ever been in since 1980. We had high unemployment and double digit inflation.

The late 1980s and early 1990s were pretty good, largely due to Reaganomics, despite a recession in 1991. Throughout the 1990s we had continuous and escalating terrorist attacks against the United States that culminated in the WTC attack in 2001. (We have not had any in this country since then, though.

I guess it is safe to say that we are in the worst mess we have ever been in since . . . well 2001.
If someone graduated from high school in that year, lacking any knowledge of what went on before, I guess they could conclude that in 2008 we are in the worst mess that this country has ever been in, but there is no other credible way of making that claim."

I actually disagree with Mark somewhat, in that I think in many ways we are better off now than we have been before President Bush took office, but on the whole his answer is one which deserves to be taught in History classrooms (they do still teach American History, I hope and pray), and certainly headlined here at Wizbang.


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Comments (50)

It's comical how the Left s... (Below threshold)

It's comical how the Left sees the world. They are spooked by any conceivable hardship, so easy and pointless is there life. God please save them from themselves.

Worse this, worse that. It's crying "wolf." No normal person takes them seriously. To blame the weather, the weather! from crappin' out loud, on Bush/Republicans etc is just lunacy.

It's like the witch doctor coming out of his hut and telling everyone to lie down and die, for the angry earth god just caused what we would call an earthquake. Jesus.

It could be worse, but it c... (Below threshold)

It could be worse, but it could be better, and the vast majority of people in your country think it should be.

It's amusing to watch the c... (Below threshold)

It's amusing to watch the current generation operate.

I have worked for an engineering firm over 20 years that has been in business for over 65 years. It is always amazing to me to see how our young EI's handle things. Every job is looked at as if in the previous 65+ years, we have never done anything like it before. They keep trying to reinvent the wheel. And it never occurs to them to ask someone that has been around for awhile how it has been done before. Not that we are afraid of change. Everything here is state of the art. But this "ain't our first rodeo".

It's the same way in politics and government. Nobody wants to look at what was done before. To learn from other's mistakes and successes. It is so sad that our schools don't teach history like they used to.

Who was it that said "Those that don't know history are destined to repeat it"?

Of course everyone wants th... (Below threshold)

Of course everyone wants things better. Personally I want free gas and no taxes.

When I read this left wing ... (Below threshold)

When I read this left wing stuff I keep thinking about my ancestors who came from France in 1793 because they had a date downtown with a guy with an ax. Or my ancestors who came from England and helped make this country. They had hardships. People today largely have inconviences. And if the lefties don't like it here they owe it to themselves and their descendants to seek a better life elsewhere.

Bravo!... (Below threshold)


"People today largely have ... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

"People today largely have inconviences."

AMEN, Glenn. Amen.

Compared to other countries, America is a paradise. When I built houses for poor in Mexico -- truly poor people, not American "poor" with cell phones, cars, cable TV, food stamps, decent place to live and governments services -- it was a real culture shock. Those we helped were literally dirt poor, and lived in shacks cobbled together from scrap wood and tar paper. We built decent two-room houses, but ever since doing those mission trips, I've never griped about my condition here in the States again.

Glenn, I'm going to steal your sentence and use it often: "People today largely have inconveniences." Those people in Juarez Mexico truly had -- have -- hardships.

The point of Marl L's comme... (Below threshold)

The point of Marl L's comment, and DJ's post, is the lack of an historical frame of reference among many citizens today.

Of course things could be better today; however, let's put the comments of some of those polled in HB's link in context. The price of crude oil and refined gasoline has doubled in the last twelve months. Credit markets have experienced the most severe crisis since FDR's bank holiday in the 1930's. The fifth largest investment bank in the country(Bear Stearns) for all practical purposes failed. Commercial banks have incurred historic losses. Entire portions of the worldwide credit markets have been devastated in a way not seen since the Great Depression and WWII. The price of basic commodities such as corn, wheat and soybeans have doubled in the last eighteen months.Over half of the recent increases in the trade deficit are the result of increases in the price of energy.

In spite of these problems, a person can get a home mortgage today at 5% (versus 13% in 1985) employment is still rising (as opposed to falling 1979-182), real GDP continues to grow (as opposed to shrink in 1981-1983) and more people have access to higher education, excellent healthcare and a higher standard of living than at any time in our nation's history.

Leave it to the AP to quote a prison guard on how good things were in the 1990's, as if the stain on Monica's dress was the only problem this country experienced. And leave it to the AP to let go unmentioned the numerous terrorist attacks against this country here and abroad, the gutting of defense budgets, and the failure of Congress and the Executive to promulgate ANY sort of energy policy.

"Those who fail to learn th... (Below threshold)

"Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them."---George Santayana

Maybe that quote should be updated to read: "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history will fail to grasp the gifts of today."

Only a few kids are educate... (Below threshold)

Only a few kids are educated in public schools. The rest are sent there for daycare, sex ed and free meals. ww

Liberal HistoryCha... (Below threshold)

Liberal History

Chapter 1 - "History Began On the Day I Was Born."

Chapter 2 - "The World Will End The Moment I Die."

The End

DJ, from the historic view,... (Below threshold)

DJ, from the historic view, you are of course correct that America is not in the very worst mess ever at this time. But my analysis from my background in the social sciences of psychology and sociology, tell me that Mark is only stating in broader terms the unhappiness that many voters feel at this time.

DJ, some of your columns have taken on a decisively more angry tone recently, strongly suggesting to me that maybe some things are just not going as well for you at this time as one would hope. I hope your health problems are doing well, because I do wish you the very best, as you've always been a real gentleman to me. You're always a fine writer, however you can't really read too much frustration into a broad generalization from someone like Mark who is probably representing his own frustrations into his statement about the current conditions of things.

Today, I noticed where the misery index is fast approaching the high level under Jimmy Carter that helped to elect Ronald Reagan. Mr. Buah does have until November to start to try his best to reverse this if he really wishes to help Mr. McCain. Every previous president seems to cast some huge shadow over the current election, and for Mr. McCain this is another tough administration to follow, at least based on current conditions, which of course are always subject to change based on events, much like Charlie Black seemed to say in a very clumsy manner.

What a great post. It just ... (Below threshold)

What a great post. It just goes to show the unseriousness of liberals. Or should I say college students?

Actually, Dennis Prager once made an apt observation. The reason liberals are liberals is because they never grow up. Think College Professors. These guys are in school all their life. Is it any wonder that they are as immature as they are?

The only appropriate response to these children is "Grow up!"

you can't really read... (Below threshold)

you can't really read too much frustration into a broad generalization from someone like Mark who is probably representing his own frustrations into his statement about the current conditions of things.

How shall I say this? Quit talking about yourself in the comments here.Your "background in the social sciences of psychology and sociology", your motor bike accident, your workout routine ad infinitum ad nauseum.

And stop imputing some obscure meaning to other's comments. Mark's comment, posted prominently by DJ, was succinct and to the point. You should try that sometime.

Paul H., why do you have to... (Below threshold)

Paul H., why do you have to try to portray DJ as a frustrated, angry person? And then disguise it in a faux concern. YOu should be a little ashamed. ww

When I graduated from colle... (Below threshold)
James Eager:

When I graduated from college, I needed a car to get to work, so I went to get one. I had to have a co-signer on the loan (Thanks Dad) because the interest rate was 18.77%. And a mortgage was unthinkable.

Today, I am thinking about re-financing my mortgage because it is 7.5%.

The quote by Santayana is o... (Below threshold)

The quote by Santayana is only part of the problem. There's another lesson that needs to be learned (mostly) by the left:

Identical input creates identical output.

For some reason, politicians (and not exclusively liberals) live in a fantasy world in which past formulae for success or failure are regarded as irrelevant to current situations. What's failed in the past won't work today (even if you put in more MONEY).

I hope your health probl... (Below threshold)

I hope your health problems are doing well,

Paul Hooson, you are a pompous ass for reasons that are just plain a priori to your personality.

Mark's comments were positive, you idiot. You are the one who is taking this negative. This is just so cliche with you libs, you hate that, in spite of our problems, America is still the best and brightest hope on the surface of this spinning ball. The last time I checked, we haven't locked the gates to keep people in. America is still overwhelmingly the number one destination for those who want something better! So, if it's so bad, why don't you make some room for those who would better occupy your space?

P. Hooson - Self-absorbed t... (Below threshold)

P. Hooson - Self-absorbed twit!

Good afternoon. Paul, as i... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Good afternoon. Paul, as it happens I am just fine, all things considered. I found your comments rather intriguing, given the context:

"America is not in the very worst mess ever at this time"

I'm glad you can say that, but the signal message is actually that the US is actually in very good health. Our fundamental numbers are sound, we are winning in Iraq, more and more nations are electing pro-American governments. You might want to take another look at your glass.

"Mark is only stating in broader terms the unhappiness that many voters feel at this time"

Actually, Mark was refuting the claim, pointing out the many places where things have REALLY been rough, as opposed to the whiny selfish brats we see today. Also, the purpose of this column was to note the strong and important difference between the real facts and how someone 'feels' about their condition.

"I noticed where the misery index is fast approaching the high level under Jimmy Carter that helped to elect Ronald Reagan"

Sorry, but that is not true, either. The Misery Index under Carter reached 22%, because of double-digit Unemployment at the same time as double-digit Inflation. Neither is especially high just now, especially if we compare them, say, to the Clinton Administration.

I also think you are trying - without success - to pin the 'Bush's Third Term' tag on McCain. This election is nearly unprecedented in its circumstances, with no President running for re-election, no Vice-President running to fill the slot, and both parties abandoning the positions held by their most successful Presidents in recent years.

But thanks for the kind thoughts, Paul. I do appreciate them.

DJ, did you answer Paul's c... (Below threshold)

DJ, did you answer Paul's comments calling you a frustrated, angry, person? ww

I think he's confusing me a... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

I think he's confusing me a bit with Senator McCain.

Even with 9-11 and Katrina ... (Below threshold)

Even with 9-11 and Katrina (a joke really, played out by the BDS crowd) this country has never enjoyed the good times it had from 2001 through 2006. All it took was for the democrats to take over congress and the country made a headlong dive for the sewer. Even with very little brains you can check the economy in 2006 and what has happened since. The only major change was in congress so no one else can be blamed for rising fuel prices, the housing crash, the stock market crashing, the unemployment on the rise, on and on. People who vote democrat must enjoy pain.

"The poor have been voting democrat for 50 years and they're still poor". Charles Barkley
That should say all you need to hear.

DJ, I'm happy that you're p... (Below threshold)

DJ, I'm happy that you're personally doing well. I'm very glad for that.

Aside of this, I realize that we have some differences on some political issues, just like some attend different churches or support different sports teams.

I recognize both John McCain and Barack Obama are unique and basicly decent men, yet the shadow of the Bush Administration does seem to hurt Mr. McCain more than help at this point in time and probably lifts Mr. Obama somewhat. In some better years, Mr. McCain could probably be a landslide winner. I still think that a McCain election could be likely if his campaign organization was better.

In the end, I don't really expect this election to be all that close. Probably someone will win this election by about a 55-45 margin, however the question is which one at this point. Obama is such a wild card candidate, that he has the possibility to really take off or really tank. The question for me is which one. McCain is a more gentle reform type guy by comparison. I don't know who the public will feel more comfortable with by election day myself. Gentle change or great change.

I find it remarkable that Christian conservative, Scott Elliot, who runs the excellent ELECTION PROJECTION site finds many red states like Virginia and Missouri in play this year for Obama at this point in time. Indeed wild factors like this make this election truly unique and one for the history books.

Actually my line about inco... (Below threshold)

Actually my line about inconviences is a composite from my Dad and my Grandfather. Grandad went to work in the fields when he was 9 and worked at paying jobs until he was 91. I knew him well and treasure the memories. He had a tremendous work ethic and could do anything with his hands,but he saw the future very clearly and in the 1920's sent my Mom and my Aunt to college. He used to say that the real trouble in this country would come when almost everyone was 3 generations off the farm and out of the factory. We're going to forget how to make things and grow our own food. Then we better look out.

This was an excellent post.... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

This was an excellent post... much more diplomatic than my response to lefties who wallow in the "misery" that is the country they hate: "STFU and get me my order, please."

ww: I think Paul Hooson wa... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

ww: I think Paul Hooson was calling me a frustrated, angry individual, not DJ. He is obviously projecting.

D.J.: I feel honored that you chose to make this a posting.

I will defend my statement that this is the worst it has been since 2001, since I do believe, that except for the War On Terror, things have gotten worse since January 2007, when Congress changed management. And really, 2002-2006 were better than 2007-2008. However, that is not to say that things are really bad (yet), and I should have said "could be" rather than "are." It's debatable.

Paul, Scott and I take diff... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Paul, Scott and I take differing views on polls. He generally accepts them at face value, although he is careful to note outliers. His 2004 Electoral Map was interesting, though not as a predictive tool. As I wrote last week, even a reliable opinion poll is not an indicator of future position, but rather a barometer of the moment.

It's far too early to declare what will happen in November, not least because with five months to go, all sorts of salient events in the campaign remain to occur. The party conventions, the VP nominee selections, the debates of course, late summer events in foreign and economic affairs, all are still ahead of us.

But the election is not the topic of this thread. Here, we are addressing the nation's condition and spirit, which in my humble opinion is strong and healthy. Of course, I am friends with people whose optimism is infectious, and the people whose opinions I value are also upbeat as a matter of personal identity. It always seems as though the Left is depressed and unsatisfied, though this year the Far Right also seems to have a burr up its butt.

Wildwillie, I only said tha... (Below threshold)

Wildwillie, I only said that DJ's writings have taken on a little more angry tone recently than what I've read over the years. I've been reading DJ for many years over at Polipundit, at his own website and finally here at Wizbang. DJ has always been a decent fellow, and I would never characterize him as an angry person, just that the tone of his writings compares a little differently more recently than what I've read over many years. That's all. There's nothing much to it.

My own writings have changed a little in tone in recent years as well. I've probably become a little more liberal than from a few years ago when I often sided with my Republican mother on many issues than my Democratic father. I used to be a registered Republican and I worked for President Nixon as a young 17year guy back in 1972. So I've changed a little over the years. We all do. Heck, in some past year, I would probably have voted for John McCain myself. I think both of my parents would have voted for John McCain this year if they lived because my father really liked McCain a great deal. But I think my opposition to the Iraq War has fueled some of my changes in views.

In more recent years. many of my friends have changed and became wealthy liberals, including my business friends and lawyers, and I manage real estate properties I own, so my lifestyle has changed as well. We all change.

Paul, considering the endle... (Below threshold)

Paul, considering the endless amounts of crap you get around here, I'm always impressed by your considerable restraint. I, for one, hope that I can be more like you in my interweb relations. Unfortunately some of us will never learn. You are a true gentleman.

Has Hooson EVER posted a co... (Below threshold)

Has Hooson EVER posted a comment that wasn't populated with an over abundance of "I's"?

Glenn - ah! The full contex... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Glenn - ah! The full context gives it even deeper meaning. Your dad and grandfather were absolutely correct.

Paul Hooson:I onl... (Below threshold)

Paul Hooson:
I only...what I've...I've been..and I.. what I.. My own.. I've... when I.. with my .. than my .. I used.. and I.. So I've.. I would.. I think.. of my.. because my.. But I think my...of my..of my ..including my.. and I.. I own, so my...

Are you conscious of the extent to which you reference yourself ?

You know folks, there's a t... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

You know folks, there's a topic here, and I'm pretty sure that Paul is not it. Besides which, there's not much point to harassing folks for idiomatic expressions when we have enough trouble with the flamethrowers. Which reminds me, none of our flag-burning readers (jp2, JFO, and so on) seem to be here today.

Much nicer atmosphere, isn't it?

Paul--your prediction is th... (Below threshold)

Paul--your prediction is that the election will not be close, but you wouldn't say one way or another which candidate will win. Umm... that doesn't say very much of anything.

Indiana is also in play, with Obama holding a statistically insignificant lead in a state that has traditionally been red. DJ's right, in that careful polling merely provides a snapshot, but there are various methodologies that could be applied that have proven predictive success in marketing research. Consumer markets are less prone to upheaval than the political landscape, though, and the results require complicated analysis (we have PhD statisticians who do that stuff) that takes time and thus we haven't made any attempt at pitching our predictive models for political studies. All that these polls tell us is what people think now--which should be obvious to anyone who reads them.

Having said that, there is nothing in any poll that I've read since Obama clinched the nomination, conducted by any research firm or news media organization, that ought to provide comfort to those hoping for a McCain presidency. And as far as Congress goes, registered Democrats have a lower opinion of it than registered Republicans. People are dissatisfied with Teh Eeevil Libruls in the House and Senate because they aren't doing what they said they would do, particularly bringing the war to a conclusion. A majority of Americans would trust Democrats over Republicans with economic and domestic policy, and the security gap has been closed. To reiterate: sucky year to be a Republican. Lots of time for McCain to challenge Ahmadinejad to a Greco-Roman wrestling match, though.

DJ's post (and Mark L's quo... (Below threshold)
Eric F:

DJ's post (and Mark L's quote) didn't come off as angry to me.

I call an ad hominem foul on Hooson.

Indiana will go to McCain. ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Indiana will go to McCain. That far, I am certain.

One shining aspect of our v... (Below threshold)

One shining aspect of our vibrant culture that hasn't been mentioned is the amazing scientific and technological advances that we enjoy, all invented, developed, marketed and bought by... us.

Cell phones, ipods, personal computers, web browsing, on line banking, supply chain management, lasik surgery -- every part of our lives is better than before, and that includes the homeless guy on the street who muffles his drug-addicted body in thick, warm, long wearing clothing.

Remember when Clinton was elected? There was just the vague beginnings of the world wide web. Just a year or so ago a woman with a son who'd been in a terrible accident researched spinal injuries on the Net, found the exact surgeon she needed, and saved her son from life in a wheelchair. That's just one example of the many ways our lives are better by far than they were at any other time in our history.

Yesterday I was watching Burn Notice on the DVR on my fabulous HD TV and my husband and I stopped the fast forward to watch and cheer for a Honda ad -- a fuel cell vehicle. Put on your shades, people, and leave the hippies in the dust. The future, she is bright!

BTW, excellent rebuttal by ... (Below threshold)
Eric F:

BTW, excellent rebuttal by Mark L.
Some of us have really gotten spoiled and think that anything less than that is a hardship. Our poor often have a car, cable and conditioned air. By law, no one can be turned away from a hospital ER.

Of course it could be better... but we don't live on magical thinking here. Whether it's Iraq or ANWR have no crystal ball in which to see the future. We get no do-overs if we do not like the outcome.

Of course, it's also my considered opinion that too-many in our Congress are in it strictly for power and the dollar, and that we can change.

One more thing before dinne... (Below threshold)

One more thing before dinner. In my work I've met a whole lot of recent immigrants. They love that if they work really hard here they really benefit. People who complain about how bad things are in the U.S. are in my long experience lazy slobs who don't want to work and expect others to carry their water for them. They won't make it anywhere they go. OK I'm done now. Bye all and thanks for the nice comments.

Paul H. said"Today... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Paul H. said

"Today, I noticed where the misery index is fast approaching the high level under Jimmy Carter that helped to elect Ronald Reagan."


Unemployment 10% and inflation close to that!!!

Morgage rates were around 15-17%.

We are nowhere close to the debacle of the Carter years. Geez go back and read your history books a bit more before making stupid statements.

Most of the recent inflatio... (Below threshold)

Most of the recent inflation is due to the sharp spike in fuel prices since Pelosi, Reid, and the rest of the democrats took over Congress.

In the first six years of Bush 43, the gas price rose about $0.11 a year. In a year and half of Pelosi/Reid, it has sky rocketed up by $2.

"Today, I noticed where ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

"Today, I noticed where the misery index is fast approaching the high level under Jimmy Carter that helped to elect Ronald Reagan."

Where did you notice it, in PRAVDA?

You got to be f--king joking:


High: 21.98% June 1980
Current: 9.68% May 2008
Low: 2.97% July 1953

Here is the average index based on Presidential Terms:


You will note that Clinton's average is 7.8, while GW Bush is 8.01. By any stretch of the imagination, this is not "fast approaching".

This took 5 seconds of google to refute your claim. Do better next time.

To reiterate: sucky year... (Below threshold)

To reiterate: sucky year to be a Republican.

You don't get it. We're Americans first...and that doesn't suck. Regardless of who's inaugurated in January, I'll still be a proud American. And you'll still be, well, who you are.

I remember Gordon Sinclair's broadcast of The Americans. On the morning of June 5, 1973, he was at his home in Toronto watching TV. The United States had just pulled out of Vietnam and a war that had ended in disgrace. The aftermath of that war produced a worldwide abandonment of American investments leaving the U.S. economic picture quite bleak. The war had deeply divided Americans, and at home and abroad it seemed everyone was flogging the United States. Some of the circumstances have changed, but the message that Sinclair broadcasted that evening still resonates.

No matter how many times we're knocked down - we stand up. Straight, tall, and proud.


I never really had a proble... (Below threshold)

I never really had a problem with Paul H. He is as DJ says, a decent fellow. He doesn't bring the name calling invective his liberal brothers and sisters brings. I disagree with his conclusions and I believe he is wrong in this case also. Paul, you did say angry and frustrated when referencing DJ, that was not necessary to your argument.

On the post, it is another reminder of how the demo's talk to the uneducated and they eat it up. A simple fact check will prove the lie. Here are just a few: "Reagan want to take away seniors social security", "republicans want to cut food stamps", "Bush said Iraq is an imminent threat", on and on. So, is it any wonder I doubt any liberal who brings his or her "facts" to the table? My first thought is it is based on a lie. ww

On topic...No one ov... (Below threshold)

On topic...
No one over 40 can honestly assert that things are worse now than ever before. The quality of life of the average American has improved vastly over the past 40 years.

However, there are looming threats on the horizon which could change that. The greatest threats we face are Islam and government. Islam for the hatred of and desire to destroy western civilization because of its perceived conflict with the word of Allah. Government because of the apparent acceptance of the expansion of the 'nanny' state.

The first step in the former is helping to establish a free society in the regions where the violent religion grows. The first step in the latter is getting government out of the business of running (ruining?) the education system. Notably, the cure in both cases is more freedom.

He's right. I tip my hat t... (Below threshold)

He's right. I tip my hat to the man for his historical knowledge.

Couldn't have been said bet... (Below threshold)

Couldn't have been said better, Mike.

9ARoDE Sea many in Troops o... (Below threshold)

9ARoDE Sea many in Troops ordinary that engage founded into by scouts Because Personal ordinary Patrol

madpuk udjap... (Below threshold)

madpuk udjap






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