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The exoneration of Lyndon Johnson?


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Recently Ben asked:  "If you sought out exonerating material on LBJ, how would you do that?"  He is to be presumed innocent of the murder until proven guilty.
 
I have not been shy about asserting that Lyndon Johnson must have been involved in planning the murder, beyond his obviously crucial role in the coverup.  As the new president he was of such importance the murder would not have been attempted without his involvement.
 
Vince Salandria has said Kennedy was murdered by the "top echelons" of his own government.  Does that include Johnson?  In a 1971 article, "A Model for Explanation" of the JFKA, Salandria  dismissed the idea of Johnson's involvement, saying he could find no such evidence.  I don't think he ever changed his mind.  I disagree.
 
Start by adopting Salandria's analytical framework:  What would an innocent Johnson do when confronted with the murder by forces unknown to him at the time.  Was it the opening salvo by Soviet Union to confront the US, indicating a preemptive first strike?  Was it Castro?  Disgruntled Cubans furious with JFK?  The mafia out for revenge?  The war machine finishing off their policy battles with Kennedy?
 
If he is innocent, i.,e., he didn't know beforehand what was going to happen, Johnson needed to gather as much information as possible, and quickly.  From the moment Kennedy was pronounced dead, he was in charge with virtually unlimited resources to find out what happened.
 
David Lifton was right in the sense that the dead body can be the best evidence about what happened.  An autopsy by the local coroner (murder was not a federal crime back then) should begin forthwith while Johnson is hustled back to Washington.  The local coroner was already at the hospital and ready to take possession of the body.
 
Five years later, after the RFK murder, Thomas Naguchi had asked several well respected autopsy experts to oversee the job he did on RFK so that mistakes could be minimized and the public could have confidence in the results.  Cyril Wecht was a couple of hours away in Pittsburgh when Kennedy was murdered and has said he was available.  Given the importance of the case, a through autopsy was a must.
 
You know what was done instead. 
 
Before the local coroner could do anything, the body was snatched at gunpoint and flown to DC where an autopsy could be controlled. Using incompetent doctors under strict orders about what to do and not do.  Apparently directed at the scene by the very military who had been at loggerheads with Kennedy.  Among other things, sectioning of the brain to reveal basic information about the fatal head shot(s) was prohibited. The actual brain was discarded, replaced by a fully intact one that now resides in the Archives.
 
An autopsy was necessary but the idea of this one, it is clear, was *not* to understand what happened, but something very different.  The autopsy was designed, as much as was possible, to conceal much of the basic information and fit, or at least not contradict, the already worked out story by the killers.
 
An innocent Johnson also had a personal stake in finding out who killed Kennedy.  As a vice president who became president because of the murder, Johnson was logically a prime suspect.  An investigation was needed that was completely independent of his influence. 
 
That is not what happened. 
 
The Texas AG, Waggoner Carr, quickly announced he would investigate and began gathering information; it was his jurisdiction.  Congressional committees were thinking about inquiries too.  Johnson killed both ideas that first weekend. There would only be one federal inquiry and he would control who ran it and how the inquiry was done.
 
He appointed 7 great Americans, each with other important jobs, as figureheads to the WC.  Except for a putatively retired Allen Dulles, who was there to make sure the inquiry stayed away from looking at any role the CIA might have had. 
 
Most importantly, no professional investigators were hired for the WC "investigation".  Tink Thompson has talked about his transition from a college philosophy professor to a private investigator and all that he had to learn to do the job properly.
 
Instead the WC hired a bunch of lawyers to gather information to frame the designated patsy, Oswald. The litany of WC malfeasance and misfeasance is now well known.  The WR was a fraud.
 
Johnson's actions failed each of the important first tests of what an innocent president would do.  We could go on.
 
But there is a much simpler, perhaps more compelling, way to think about Johnson's possible role.
 
Coup planners have two major objectives: (1) to get rid of the current office holder and (2) replace him with someone more congenial to their needs. Both are essential.  In the typical coup, the planners get to choose the replacement.  E.g., the Shah replaced Mossadegh in Iran and Pinochet replaced Allende in Chile. 
 
But in the US, the successor to a president is already determined by the Constitution.  The planners had no choice of a successor, short of a military takeover of the federal government.  If they got rid of Kennedy, Johnson would replace him.  In that sense the other planners were stuck with Johnson.
 
He would run the coverup which the group, Johnson included, had devised before the murder, as indicated by the speed with which they fingered Oswald and asserted he was alone assassin. For example, the call to Air Force One that afternoon on the way back from Dallas in which the White House Situation Room asserted the killer had already been captured and he had acted alone.  In case anyone who actually witnessed the murder started having different ideas about what they saw.
 
Johnson almost certainly made clear to the others that there would be nothing done after the murder when he was in charge that could lead to a war with the Soviet Union.  He had lusted too long after the presidency to see it go up in flames like that.
 
But the others got plenty of things they wanted, besides the elimination of Kennedy.  Johnson stood by as the war machine and its allies decimated the domestic opposition on the Left in order to solidify the plotters' control of policy.
 
They had a Gulf of Tonkin-like incident ready to go once Kennedy was gone.  But Johnson delayed it until after the election in '64.  He wanted to run as the peace candidate while painting Goldwater as an unstable  warmonger.  It is reputed that at one point Johnson said, get me reelected and you can have your war in Vietnam.  
 
They did get the full war in Vietnam they wanted, which paved the way for almost continuous war since.
 
The murder was done by one Washington power center, the war machine and its allies, working with another, Lyndon Johnson as president, to achieve each's goal.
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Roger,

        Phillip F. Nelson has written about LBJ's putative involvement in the JFK assassination and cover up, in encyclopedic detail, in his books, LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination, and LBJ-- From Mastermind to "The Colossus."

LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK... by Nelson, Phillip F. (amazon.com)

        Mr. Nelson, who occasionally posts on this forum, cites as critical evidence of LBJ's foreknowledge of the assassination plot the fact that LBJ was stooping down in his limo, out of sight, before JFK was shot in Dealey Plaza.

        I think that author Joseph McBride has also written about LBJ's odd Dealey Plaza behavior in the limo, based on McBride's interviews with Senator Ralph Yarborough, who was riding in the limo with Lyndon.

        Even more suspicious, IMO, was LBJ's appointment of Allen Dulles to the Warren Commission, and LBJ's reversal of NSAM 263, in conformity with the agenda of the Cold War hawks who had so bitterly opposed JFK's efforts to de-escalate the Cold War and disengage from military action against Castro and Ho Chi Minh.

         I don't recall the source, but LBJ reportedly told the Joint Chiefs in December of 1963, "O.K., gentlemen, you can have your war, (in Vietnam) but just make sure I get elected next year."

Edited by W. Niederhut
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According to his mistress Madeline Brown, LBJ was informed of the hit the night before it occurred. She says he came out of a meeting and told her something like, "After tomorrow, the damn Kennedys will never embarass me again".

Yes, LBJ's conduct in the limo is damning evidence of foreknowledge. 

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William:

The 2 key pieces of evidence Nelson uses to incriminate Johnson are wrong.

As Groden showed in Absolute Proof, he did not duck down before the shots were fired.

And Joan Mellen demonstrated that the fingerprint that was recovered from the sixth floor was not Mac Wallace's and he was not in Texas on that day.

Does this mean that LBJ was not part of the plot or that he was not cognizant of it or was not in on the cover up?

No, it just means that those two pieces which are meant to directly implicate him will not stand up to scrutiny. 

Let me add, if you do not know, the book that started all this stuff about LBJ was something called A Texan Looks at Lyndon.  That book was brought out by the John Birch Society in order to help Goldwater get elected. It obviously failed in that attempt but it succeeded in becoming a huge bestseller, and many researchers used it as a source.  I always thought it was written at a decibel level that was over the top, as a John Birch Society book would be.

 

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3 hours ago, Roger Odisio said:
Recently Ben asked:  "If you sought out exonerating material on LBJ, how would you do that?"  He is to be presumed innocent of the murder until proven guilty.
 
I have not been shy about asserting that Lyndon Johnson must have been involved in planning the murder, beyond his obviously crucial role in the coverup.  As the new president he was of such importance the murder would not have been attempted without his involvement.
 
Vince Salandria has said Kennedy was murdered by the "top echelons" of his own government.  Does that include Johnson?  In a 1971 article, "A Model for Explanation" of the JFKA, Salandria  dismissed the idea of Johnson's involvement, saying he could find no such evidence.  I don't think he ever changed his mind.  I disagree.
 
Start by adopting Salandria's analytical framework:  What would an innocent Johnson do when confronted with the murder by forces unknown to him at the time.  Was it the opening salvo by Soviet Union to confront the US, indicating a preemptive first strike?  Was it Castro?  Disgruntled Cubans furious with JFK?  The mafia out for revenge?  The war machine finishing off their policy battles with Kennedy?
 
If he is innocent, i.,e., he didn't know beforehand what was going to happen, Johnson needed to gather as much information as possible, and quickly.  From the moment Kennedy was pronounced dead, he was in charge with virtually unlimited resources to find out what happened.
 
David Lifton was right in the sense that the dead body can be the best evidence about what happened.  An autopsy by the local coroner (murder was not a federal crime back then) should begin forthwith while Johnson is hustled back to Washington.  The local coroner was already at the hospital and ready to take possession of the body.
 
Five years later, after the RFK murder, Thomas Naguchi had asked several well respected autopsy experts to oversee the job he did on RFK so that mistakes could be minimized and the public could have confidence in the results.  Cyril Wecht was a couple of hours away in Pittsburgh when Kennedy was murdered and has said he was available.  Given the importance of the case, a through autopsy was a must.
 
You know what was done instead. 
 
Before the local coroner could do anything, the body was snatched at gunpoint and flown to DC where an autopsy could be controlled. Using incompetent doctors under strict orders about what to do and not do.  Apparently directed at the scene by the very military who had been at loggerheads with Kennedy.  Among other things, sectioning of the brain to reveal basic information about the fatal head shot(s) was prohibited. The actual brain was discarded, replaced by a fully intact one that now resides in the Archives.
 
An autopsy was necessary but the idea of this one, it is clear, was *not* to understand what happened, but something very different.  The autopsy was designed, as much as was possible, to conceal much of the basic information and fit, or at least not contradict, the already worked out story by the killers.
 
An innocent Johnson also had a personal stake in finding out who killed Kennedy.  As a vice president who became president because of the murder, Johnson was logically a prime suspect.  An investigation was needed that was completely independent of his influence. 
 
That is not what happened. 
 
The Texas AG, Waggoner Carr, quickly announced he would investigate and began gathering information; it was his jurisdiction.  Congressional committees were thinking about inquiries too.  Johnson killed both ideas that first weekend. There would only be one federal inquiry and he would control who ran it and how the inquiry was done.
 
He appointed 7 great Americans, each with other important jobs, as figureheads to the WC.  Except for a putatively retired Allen Dulles, who was there to make sure the inquiry stayed away from looking at any role the CIA might have had. 
 
Most importantly, no professional investigators were hired for the WC "investigation".  Tink Thompson has talked about his transition from a college philosophy professor to a private investigator and all that he had to learn to do the job properly.
 
Instead the WC hired a bunch of lawyers to gather information to frame the designated patsy, Oswald. The litany of WC malfeasance and misfeasance is now well known.  The WR was a fraud.
 
Johnson's actions failed each of the important first tests of what an innocent president would do.  We could go on.
 
But there is a much simpler, perhaps more compelling, way to think about Johnson's possible role.
 
Coup planners have two major objectives: (1) to get rid of the current office holder and (2) replace him with someone more congenial to their needs. Both are essential.  In the typical coup, the planners get to choose the replacement.  E.g., the Shah replaced Mossadegh in Iran and Pinochet replaced Allende in Chile. 
 
But in the US, the successor to a president is already determined by the Constitution.  The planners had no choice of a successor, short of a military takeover of the federal government.  If they got rid of Kennedy, Johnson would replace him.  In that sense the other planners were stuck with Johnson.
 
He would run the coverup which the group, Johnson included, had devised before the murder, as indicated by the speed with which they fingered Oswald and asserted he was alone assassin. For example, the call to Air Force One that afternoon on the way back from Dallas in which the White House Situation Room asserted the killer had already been captured and he had acted alone.  In case anyone who actually witnessed the murder started having different ideas about what they saw.
 
Johnson almost certainly made clear to the others that there would be nothing done after the murder when he was in charge that could lead to a war with the Soviet Union.  He had lusted too long after the presidency to see it go up in flames like that.
 
But the others got plenty of things they wanted, besides the elimination of Kennedy.  Johnson stood by as the war machine and its allies decimated the domestic opposition on the Left in order to solidify the plotters' control of policy.
 
They had a Gulf of Tonkin-like incident ready to go once Kennedy was gone.  But Johnson delayed it until after the election in '64.  He wanted to run as the peace candidate while painting Goldwater as an unstable  warmonger.  It is reputed that at one point Johnson said, get me reelected and you can have your war in Vietnam.  
 
They did get the full war in Vietnam they wanted, which paved the way for almost continuous war since.
 
The murder was done by one Washington power center, the war machine and its allies, working with another, Lyndon Johnson as president, to achieve each's goal.

RO--

You have written a thoughtful essay. 

Recently, I have been thinking about "beyond reasonable doubt" and "the preponderance of evidence." 

Did Landis find a slug in the limo? I now say there was a "preponderance of evidence" that he did (I hope lawyers will excuse me. I think that is a term from the civil court system). 

Was LBJ part of the JFKA plot, or at least clued in?

You have provided a lot of motives. I could go further, and say, "unless LBJ becomes President, he becomes defrocked by the LIFE magazine expose and other investigations into his financial affairs." It was do or die, for LBJ. 

Let us not forget that people in LBJ's orbit were murdered before, such as Henry Marshall. That case sure appears to have LBJ's fingerprints on it. 

JFKA researcher Newman contends LBJ was getting real briefings on the Vietnam War, that JFK was not getting. LBJ was being prepped to take over. 

Still, what evidence have you provided that LBJ was in on the JFKA, or even had concrete advance knowledge?

We have no texts, recorded phone calls, memos, etc. No credible, or even possibly credible person, has come forward and said, "Yeah, I worked with LBJ on the JFKA." No one remembers conversations with LBJ, in which the pending JFKA was discussed. 

In Larry Hancock's SWHT, there were Cuban exiles dropping hints about the pending JFKA, but none said "we are working with LBJ."

Post-JFKA, the CIA scared LBJ with WWIII talk, due to the LHO-Kostikov connection. I think the CIA arranged for the meeting, that happened curiously on a Saturday, with the Russian embassy was closed.  Then they could smear LHO, or freeze a real investigation. 

Nearly the entire US government wanted the "LHO was a leftie, loner, loser" narrative. On Nov. 23, the State Dept was issuing releases there was no foreign involvement in the JFKA. Yes, on Nov. 23. 

We have the same problem with Allen Dulles, in determining guilt. And any other high-ranking figure you care to mention. 

If I was on a jury, and I had to vote to send LBJ to the gas chamber for the murder of JFK, I could not.

I have reasonable doubts he was involved. 

 

 

 

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If Castro or even the Russians were behind the JFKA and our top military leaders, intelligence agencies and certain elected officials knew they were ...

Do you really think they wouldn't have carried out an equally brutal retaliation upon them?

If it was Castro and we knew it...he wouldn't have had a good night's sleep the rest of his long life. 

Can't imagine leaving the Russians relatively unpunished as well, if we knew it was them.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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6 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Let me add, if you do not know, the book that started all this stuff about LBJ was something called A Texan Looks at Lyndon.  That book was brought out by the John Birch Society in order to help Goldwater get elected. It obviously failed in that attempt but it succeeded in becoming a huge bestseller, and many researchers used it as a source.  I always thought it was written at a decibel level that was over the top, as a John Birch Society book would be.

 

I have 2 copies of this, priced at $1 when sold.  Years since I read it.  Thumbing through it a scathing take on LBJ from a conservative Texas panhandle rancher, also a respected historian at West Texas University, now WTA&M.  Author of several West Texas history books including the classic Charles Goodnight, Cowman, Plainsman, based on personal interviews.  I think he ran for governor in 1956 as a republican in at that time all democratic Texas at the time.  

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I personally don't believe LBJ was brought on board by the plotters until the last week, maybe two at the most.  Out of fear of trust, that he might leak it to his inner circle.  Then given a choice he could not refuse.  

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Here is an article that K and K printed years ago to  scrutinize that piece of crap book by Barr McCellan which the moron Nigel Turner and the demagogue Alex Jones endorsed.  BTW the only thing in McClellan's book of genuine evidentiary value was the alleged Wallace fingerprint, which ended up being false. 

It is also a counter to Roger's statement above.

https://www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/evaluating-the-case-against-lyndon-johnson

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51 minutes ago, James DiEugenio said:

Here is an article that K and K printed years ago to  scrutinize that piece of crap book by Barr McCellan which the moron Nigel Turner and the demagogue Alex Jones endorsed.  BTW the only thing in McClellan's book of genuine evidentiary value was the alleged Wallace fingerprint, which ended up being false. 

It is also a counter to Roger's statement above.

https://www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/evaluating-the-case-against-lyndon-johnson

BTW, Roger Stone is in the "LBJ did it" crowd. 

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10 hours ago, Ron Bulman said:

Thumbing through it a scathing take on LBJ from a conservative Texas panhandle rancher, also a respected historian at West Texas University, now WTA&M. 

RB, could you please list the most scathing things this rancher said about LBJ?

Did he say anything about LBJ that would suggest he thought LBJ was capable of ordering murders?

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8 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Here is an article that K and K printed years ago to  scrutinize that piece of crap book by Barr McCellan ...

Sometimes in considering the integrity of books about the JFKA I have to always ask myself...why did this person write this book?

Many times you can easily see that the main ( and only ) reason was to make money.

Modern era JFKA writers like Bill O'Reilly, Roger Stone and others made "a lot" of money from their JFK tomes.

Have to believe earlier writers like Vincent Bugliosi and Gerald Posner did as well. Norman Mailer?

However, most of the JFKA theory books made their writers very little money. Some hardly anything.

With Barr McClellan I am curious if his JFKA book made him anything more than expense money?

If BM didn't write his book for money only...why would he do so?

What would be the reward and gain?

Fame?

It seems to me that BM exposed the true level of power, influence and corruption in the highest rungs of Texas government and specifically Ed Clark more thoroughly than any writer before by far. And how that power was implemented through and protected by his law firm. 

To me BM's book is important in revealing the true level of power and corruption in the state of Texas during LBJ's entire political career. How such corruption and power remained in place in those highest levels for decades.

The more we learn about the true level of corruption in Texas all during that time, the more rational it seems to not dismiss "anything" that is suggested about what those extremely corrupt men were capable of doing...and did.

The murder of Henry Marshall is one of the most brutally graphic and exposing keystones of that corruption.

The suspension of a jury reached conviction of "murder with malice" regards LBJ protege Mac Wallace is another.

I think the huge majority of those who have seriously studied the Marshall "suicide" believe it was Wallace who did the deed. Who could owe LBJ more than convicted murderer Mac Wallace? LBJ made him a free man! Unbelievable corruption of justice there.

So, like LBJ told Walter Cronkite in a 1969 interview...I don't think anyone can be absolutely sure others were not involved with Oswald ( not the exact quote but close ) I don't think anyone can be "absolutely sure" that the kings of Texas corruption at that time had nothing to do with at least some aspect of the JFKA.

Barr McClellan's expose of the true level of Texas corruption and power and the closeness of it's head ( Ed Clark ) and LBJ has been verified in credible accountings yes?

Just in that context alone I value the book's importance more than others who seem to just trash it. 

McClellan was right there in Clark's enabling law firm. I found much of his observations about the inner workings there intriguingly interesting. 

It gives one an insight how such unbridled corruption can be acquired and maintain it's hold on some of our highest levels of government institutions. IMO anyways.

 

Edited by Joe Bauer
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Joe,

      If I recall correctly, Phillip F. Nelson discusses LBJ's suspected involvement in multiple murders in Texas, prior to 1963. (op.cit.)

      (I think Douglas Caddy has direct knowledge of this subject, based on his work with Billy Sol Estes.)

      Another book on the subject that I read several years ago is Joachim Joesten's 1968 opus, The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson.*

      I need to study the K&K references on this subject, but I have, thus far, been underwhelmed by claims that LBJ was not involved in the JFK assassination plot.

     Joesten and Nelson present convincing evidence of LBJ's psychopathy.   As for Roger Stone, he was a low quality copy cat on the subject.

* https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Side-Lyndon-Baines-Johnson/dp/1771520094/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2TDH1H0Z701IP&keywords=joachim+joesten&qid=1702048347&sprefix=Joachim+Joesten%2Caps%2C101&sr=8-2 

Edited by W. Niederhut
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18 minutes ago, W. Niederhut said:

 

     Joesten and Nelson present convincing evidence of LBJ's psychopathy. 

There are so many testimonials as to LBJ's devious, demented and even sadistic psychopathy and his unbridled lust for power, money and sexual indulgence ( on  levels that are way, way beyond the sanitized academic history books) that it is sadly negligent that we allow such a perversity of truth to still be propagated and even promoted decades after LBJ's life doings.

Is it an axiom of secondary level history class instruction that our young men and women not be told the real truth about LBJ? 

That they could not handle the truth of his corruption?

That instead they can only handle a Pollyannish version of LBJ?

LBJ...the benevolent father of the "Great Society" programs that lifted black Americans into an equal opportunity standing regards education, jobs, voting rights and other areas of the American dream?

Powerfully corrupt men throughout history have given away much material gain to others. Brutal dictators can kill thousands and yet at the same time share some of their wealth to those under their rule to gain their tacit support.

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11 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Here is an article that K and K printed years ago to  scrutinize that piece of crap book by Barr McCellan which the moron Nigel Turner and the demagogue Alex Jones endorsed.  BTW the only thing in McClellan's book of genuine evidentiary value was the alleged Wallace fingerprint, which ended up being false. 

It is also a counter to Roger's statement above.

https://www.kennedysandking.com/john-f-kennedy-articles/evaluating-the-case-against-lyndon-johnson

I'm writing a more detailed response to Ben but I saw your note and quickly looked up the article you say counters what I wrote.  It doesn't. 

Here is the key passage right up front.  "We are not saying that Johnson had no role in the assassination or cover up. *The evidence for the latter is clear*. But for some writers to say, as Barr McClellan and Phil Nelson do, that Johnson was the prime force behind the conspiracy, this simply has not been demonstrated to any convincing degree" (emphasis added).

That is consistent with what I wrote.

Johnson ran the cover up. But the cover up had to be in place before the murder.  The murder plan and cover up had to have been of one piece. You can't really believe that the murder plan went ahead without a plan in place to cover the planners' tracks and blame someone else, can you?

The killers knew they would need Johnson's support--their protection being foremost-- and he had to have been on board before the murder.

As I said before, Jim, I dismissed Haley's book when it came out as Goldwater propaganda.  And I haven't read Nelson, tho I may at some point. What they wrote has nothing to do with my note.

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