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Reuters’ debate analysis sounds either like a paid Trump ad or it was written by an alien from another solar system. Their article starts by saying “Even in boycotting a debate with his Republican rivals, front-runner Donald Trump managed to upstage the event on Thursday with a typical dramatic flourish.”

My initial response is “Seriously”? Wow. It gets worse from there, with Reuters’ team of reporters throwing accuracy to the wind when they wrote “Instead of attending a seventh debate, the former reality TV star held a competing event across town that he said raised $6 million for U.S. military veterans. In doing so, he cast a shadow over his rivals, who frequently tossed barbs his way.”

I watched the debate. The candidates didn’t frequently toss barbs his direction. There were a half dozen mentions of him. That’s hardly frequent in a 2-hour debate. The accurate adjective in this instance is sparse, not frequent.

Further, Trump’s absence made for the best, most substantive debate of the cycle. Sen. Cruz summed it up best when responding to Megyn Kelly’s question about the “elephant that’s not in the room” when he said “Let me say, I’m a maniac, and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly, and Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon. Now that we’ve gotten the Donald Trump portion out of the way,” he finished to laughter.”

Otherwise, Mr. Trump was an afterthought at best. This statement is just wrong:

Senator Ted Cruz from Texas and Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, the two top challengers to Trump in Iowa, engaged in squabbles over immigration and national security and did not appear to threaten Trump’s lead. He holds the edge over Cruz in polls of Iowa Republicans.

The polls actually show Trump and Cruz virtually tied. The Monmouth University poll that shows Trump with a 7-point lead is based on a turnout model that’s more fantasy than scientific. Further, let’s stipulate that Trump’s most loyal supporters aren’t going anywhere. They simply aren’t. The latest Quinnipiac poll, though, shows 39% of Republican caucusgoers might still change their minds. They aren’t likely to break in Trump’s direction.

Reuters needs to discipline these reporters because their reporting is woefully inaccurate.

Readers of LFR know that I’ve criticized the Agenda Media for almost 10 years. I especially criticized them when they didn’t do their due diligence on then-Candidate Obama. What’s happening now with GOP-leaning commentators is just as disgusting as what lefty pundits and reporters did in 2008. One of the biggest offenders this year is Andrea Tantaros, a co-host on Outnumbered.

Each time that Outnumbered talks about Trump, her eyes glaze over and she starts rattling off utter nonsense. Normally, I don’t have much use for Media Matters but I appreciate them highlighting what Ms. Tantaros said during Tuesday’s show. Particularly disgusting is Ms. Tantaros’ statement that “He has been front runner despite these controversial comments. Republicans criticizing him but again they’re saying to a problem “nope,” even though he’s coming up with a solution, even though they don’t like it.”

Tantaros said this about Trump’s ban-all-Muslims diatribe. Calling Trump’s childish diatribe a solution is insulting. The primary definition of solution is “the act of solving a problem, question, etc.” Ms. Tantaros, how does Trump’s diatribe solve the problem of stopping Middle Eastern terrorists entering the United States when it isn’t enforceable?

Trump’s statement barely qualifies as a coherent thought. (That’s still debatable.) It certainly doesn’t qualify as a solution. If Ms. Tantaros’ blather wasn’t enough, she continued with this exchange with Fox Business’s Sandra Smith:

TANTAROS: But, Sandra, from a messaging perspective, again we see Trump, though he says something that is inflammatory perhaps, right? Discriminating based on religion, right?
SANDRA SMITH (HOST): It helps him in the polls.
TANTAROS: It helps him in the polls because it’s a solution to a problem that no one will tackle.

I don’t know if Ms. Tantaros is that stupid or that dishonest. Sen. Rubio, Mrs. Fiorina and Gov. Christie have stepped forward with plans to fix the problem. Their plans include no-fly zones so displaced Syrians don’t leave the Middle East. Trump’s blather is based on isolationism that doesn’t attack the root cause of the problem.

If Ms. Tantaros can’t figure that out, she shouldn’t be on national TV.

Other repeat offenders are Charlie Gasparino and Eric Bolling. They sing Trump’s praises constantly, too. Yesterday on The Five, Bolling praised Trump before mentioning that there were hundreds of people at his campaign rally. Greg Gutfeld interrupted, saying that you don’t have to mention numbers if you’re right, the point being that Bolling tried using numbers of supporters at a campaign event to prove Trump was right.

In 2008, tens of thousands of people showed up for President Obama’s campaign events. We’ve suffered through 7 years of economic malaise and several years of apprehension about stopping terrorist attacks. Simply put, Bolling’s argument is flimsy at best.

This trio’s critical thinking abilities don’t exist when it comes to Mr. Trump. Rather than turning this post into a rant, though, let’s provide solutions to this trio of wayward souls.

Mentioning something in that day’s news isn’t a solution. Presenting a half-baked idea that’s been modified several times in the following 24 hours isn’t a proposal, either. Here’s a hint to this clueless trio: if a candidate has to constantly modify what he said, it’s safe to say that he didn’t think things through.

Here’s another hint: I’m not looking for a candidate that mentions a timely topic but doesn’t provide a thoughtful solution. Any idiot can mention things. The United States is in terrible shape because we’ve got a president who hasn’t provided a solution to the challenges facing this nation. We don’t need another narcissist who doesn’t think in terms of thoughtful, detailed solutions.

Finally, Trump’s supporters say that he’d “get things done.” I’d challenge that because it’s impossible to solve problems when the candidate can’t put a coherent sentence together, much less provide a solution.

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I’ve frequently criticized President Obama for his use of straw man arguments. Ditto with Hillary Clinton. If I want to maintain credibility, I can’t sit and listen to Rush Limbaugh’s straw man argument. During his monologue on how Trump plays the media, Rush mentioned that Harry Reid criticized Republicans after Trump’s speech. Reid said “Donald Trump is standing on the platform of hate, and, I’m sorry to say, hate that the Republican Party has built for him.”

Rush’s knee-jerk reaction was disgusting and foolish. He criticized Republicans, saying “You Republicans, you can denounce Trump all day, all week, all month, and the Democrat Party and the media are still gonna say you laid the table for it. You can condemn Trump all you want, but it is not going to buy you any love or respect or admiration from the Drive-By Media and the Democrats.”

That’s breathtaking. When I’ve criticized Trump, it’s been substantively. I’ve never done it to win a Democrat’s admiration. Period. Apparently, Rush hasn’t learned the first rule of holes because he kept digging:

Now, folks, the conventional wisdom is that Trump is scum, that Trump is a reprobate, that Trump is dangerous, that Trump is obscene, Trump’s insane, Trump’s a lunatic, Trump’s dangerous, Trump’s got to go. Why join in with that phrase? Why join that crowd? We never fall in with conventional wisdom here.

If Rush thinks that it’s “conventional wisdom” to think that Trump’s a lunatic or a reprobate or that he’s dangerous, then Rush’s brain isn’t what it used to be. The definition for lunatic is “a person whose actions and manner are marked by extreme eccentricity or recklessness.” The definition for reprobate is “a depraved, unprincipled, or wicked person.”

It wouldn’t require Einstein to defend the notion that Trump is a reprobate or a lunatic. Therefore, it isn’t conventional wisdom that Trump is a reprobate or a lunatic. It’s just the indisputable truth.

It’s time for someone to tell Limbaugh that his arguments about Mr. Trump are embarrassingly stupid. He used to be smart. While it’s possible that he’s still smart, it isn’t showing lately.

After reading the opening paragraphs of this SC Times Writers Group article, I’m disappointed that the writer bought into liberal spin.

When Mr. Larson said “Perhaps the most obvious historical acts of domestic terrorism were committed against black Americans by white lynch mobs. In a single campaign of terror in 1918, white residents of Arkansas murdered 237 of their black neighbors in an attempt to enforce Jim Crow laws and maintain segregation. Recent scholarship places the total of American-Americans killed by lynching between 1877-1950 at 3,959 and likely many more undocumented cases exist as well,” he exposed himself to criticism for buying that spin.

The reason why Larson deserves the criticism he’ll get in this post is because he opened his article by saying “The United States has a terrorism problem. Despite our new-found fear of Syrian refugees, however, the greater risk is almost certainly from domestic sources.” That’s stupidity personified.

According to Mr. Larson, domestic terrorism is the United States’ biggest terrorist problem today because “white lynch mobs” murdered black people 100 years ago. What type of idiot thinks that crimes committed a century ago constitutes a domestic terrorist threat in the 21st Century?

These paragraphs are breathtakingly painful:

News reports the past 15 years have included terrorist attacks by animal rights extremists, lone wolf snipers, a pilot angry at the IRS, religious extremists targeting Sikhs, Jews, Muslims and Christians, and, of course, multiple school shootings — at least some of which might also be described as acts of terrorism.

All of these attacks were committed by Americans against other Americans, and all with political or religious motivation to use terror to “intimidate or coerce.”

Under this definition, the word terrorism is utterly meaningless, which, I suspect, is the goal of anti-war lefties.

The latest spin from progressives is that the questions asked at the CNBC Disaster were “the most substantive” questions asked this debate season:

Cruz ticked off the insults the CNBC moderators had lobbed Wednesday night at the assembled Republicans. “Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?”

The crowd roared. Republican pollster Frank Luntz reported with some awe that his focus group gave Cruz’s riff a 98. “That’s the highest score we’ve ever measured,” Luntz tweeted. “EVER.”

Cruz’s attack on the moderators was smart politics, but it was almost precisely backwards. The questions in the CNBC debate, though relentlessly tough, were easily the most substantive of the debates so far. And the problem for Republicans is that substantive questions about their policy proposals end up sounding like hostile attacks, but that’s because the policy proposals are ridiculous, not because the questions are actually unfair.

Let me correct those deceptive statements before someone starts thinking that they’re substantive comments worthy of serious consideration. To do that, it’s important to provide context for the debate. CNBC signed a contract that said that this debate would be about economic issues.

John Harwood didn’t meet those expectations. He failed that test early and often. Early on, he asked Donald Trump a question that ended with him saying “Let’s be honest. Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?” That’s Klein’s idea of a substantive, hard-hitting question?

A couple minutes later, Becky Quick asked Dr. Carson a question about his tax plan, saying “Dr. Carson, let’s talk about taxes. You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and, I’ve looked at it, and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this.” Though this sounds like a fair question, it isn’t from the standpoint that Dr. Carson’s flat tax plan, in Dr. Carson’s words, “the rate is gonna be much closer to 15 percent.”

If these are examples of “the most substantive”, hard-hitting questions of the debate season, why are they utterly disrespectful? Why didn’t the ‘moderators’ do their homework and get the basics right? When Harwood asked Sen. Rubio about his tax plan, he got it almost entirely wrong. Here’s that exchange:

HARWOOD: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds to you. The Tax Foundation, which was alluded to earlier, scored your tax plan and concluded that you give nearly twice as much of a gain in after-tax income to the top 1 percent as to people in the middle of the income scale. Since you’re the champion of Americans living paycheck-to- paycheck, don’t you have that backward?
RUBIO: No, that’s — you’re wrong. In fact, the largest after- tax gains is for the people at the lower end of the tax spectrum under my plan. And there’s a bunch of things my tax plan does to help them.
Number one, you have people in this country that…
HARWOOD: The Tax Foundation — just to be clear, they said the…
RUBIO: …you wrote a story on it, and you had to go back and correct it.
HARWOOD: No, I did not.
RUBIO: You did. No, you did.

Sean Davis’ article settles that matter permanently by posting Harwood’s tweet saying that he “had to go back and correct it”:

John Harwood? Verified account ?
?@JohnJHarwood CORRECTING earlier tweet: Tax Foundation says Rubio benefits lowest 10% proportionally more (55.9) than top 1% (27.9%). Avg for all: 17.8%.

It’s stunning that the DNC apologists that call themselves journalists can’t even get their facts straight. They can’t even admit that they’ve made mistakes when it’s highlighted that they’ve made major mistakes. Harwood’s mistake was so bad that the Tax Foundation corrected him in a tweet…during the debate:

Scott A. Hodge ?@scottahodge
Rubio was right about his plan. Poor get larger tax benefit than the rich. #CNBCGOPdebate http://taxfoundation.org/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/FF457-Charts_4.png …

These aren’t substantive, hard-hitting questions. If I wanted to write a 3,000 word article on the flimsy, unprofessional questions asked at the CNBC I could do it without much effort. When a moderator asks whether fantasy football should be regulated, the candidates should have the right to criticize the moderators.

Normally, Kirsten Powers is one of the somewhat sane liberals in the national media. Ms. Powers’ latest USA Today article proves that there’s an exception to every rule.

The subject of Ms. Powers’ latest column is last week’s Benghazi hearing. According to Ms. Powers, who seems to have digested the Democrats’ chanting points then regurgitated them for this column, Republicans “bungling and bullying at Thursday’s hearing should count as an in-kind donation to the Clinton campaign.” Of course, Ms. Powers then said that what “happened in Benghazi matters” before saying that “investigating security failures, especially those that resulted in the deaths of Americans, is a laudable endeavor.”

Unfortunately, she then asked “does anyone really believe that’s what the Republicans were up to last week?”

The reason I suspect that this is a world-class spin job is this question:

But is it really a mystery as to why a friend of at least two decades would have her email address?

That’s spin. It isn’t surprising that Sid Blumenthal would have Hillary’s email address. It’s that Christopher Stevens didn’t have it. This emphasizes the point:

“During the hearing Michael McFaul tweeted, “As ambassador in Russia, I enjoyed multiple ways to communicate with Secretary Clinton. Email was never one of them.”

Actually, McFaul might’ve highlighted something important in that tweet. Clearly, he was able to “communicate with Secretary Clinton.” Why wasn’t Ambassador Stevens able to communicate directly with Mrs. Clinton? It’s clear that Stevens tried getting Mrs. Clinton’s attention often. According to documentation introduced at the hearing, Christopher Stevens literally made hundreds of requests for additional security.

According to Mrs. Clinton’s testimony, she never received a single request. She said that she “neither rejected or approved” any of Christopher Stevens’ security requests.

Ms. Powers says that “hate-blinded Republicans” bungled the hearing. That’s a cheap shot and then some. Republicans weren’t blinded with hate. They were determined to find out why Mrs. Clinton failed to protect Christopher Stevens, the man Mrs. Clinton called her “dear friend.” Is it typical for Mrs. Clinton to treat dear friends like that? If it is, then I’m thankful I’m not one of Hillary’s dear friends.

Does Ms. Powers think that it isn’t a big deal that Mrs. Clinton repeatedly told the American people for well over a week that a video caused the terrorist attack after telling her daughter that it was a terrorist attack? Does Ms. Powers think it isn’t a big deal that Mrs. Clinton told the Egyptian prime minister and the Libyan president that Christopher Stevens died in a terrorist attack?

If asking tough questions of Mrs. Clinton is bullying, then this nation’s best days are in its past. If trying to hold Mrs. Clinton accountable for her decisions is proof that Republicans hat Mrs. Clinton, then Ms. Powers has a dramatically different definition of hatred than I do. Does Ms. Powers think Mike Pompeo bullied Mrs. Clinton when he asked her why nobody at the State Department got fired for not approving Christopher Stevens’ requests for additional security? Does Ms. Powers think Susan Brooks bullied Mrs. Clinton when she asked Mrs. Clinton if she ever talked with Christopher Stevens after he was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Libya?

Personally, I’d call those important, thoughtful questions proof that Republicans on that committee took their jobs seriously.

Finally, I’d love hearing Ms. Powers response to whether these questions are either a) inappropriate or b) proof that I’m trying to bully Mrs. Clinton.

Poor Gov. Dayton. He got taken to the cleaners by a used car salesman named Kurt Daudt. At least, that’s the impression Doug Grow wants you to believe after reading this article:

If you want to understand the negotiations leading up to the upcoming special session, it might be helpful to remember that House Speaker Kurt Daudt once worked at a car dealership.

Daudt’s counterpart in the negotiations, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, started the process by saying he’d call the special session only after Daudt agreed to give him money for universal pre-K for 4-year-olds. “That’s my No. 1 priority,” he governor said. It was the legislative equivalent of walking into a car dealer and demanding the premium package, moon roof and all.

But then the governor said he needed a few other “must have” items, like the removal of language undermining the state auditor position, even after Dayton signed the budget bill that included that provision. In other words, the governor was now demanding leather seats — after he’d already signed a check to buy a car with cloth ones.

If you’re feeling sorry for Gov. Dayton, check this out:

The governor’s one great bargaining chip was his ability to say when a special session would be held, and doing so only after he got an agreement on what exactly will be considered there. But even if he knew exactly what he wanted from the session, Dayton had little leverage beyond the power of the bully pulpit. After all, he had made it clear from the get-go that he was going to do just about anything to avoid a government shutdown. “I have no intention to see this go to June 30th and a possible shutdown,” he said. “I’m just not going to subject people to that.”

Gov. Dayton didn’t have the power of the bully pulpit because he kept insisting on terrible policies that were rejected by Republicans and major DFL constituencies alike. (Think universal pre-K.)

Good policies make for great politicking. Gov. Dayton tried pushing a universal pre-K plan that wasn’t as popular as a heart attack.

Couple that with the DFL’s insistence on a gas tax increase and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

When it comes to literary unprofessionalism, it’s difficult to top Gail Collins. Back in February, Ms. Collins’ sloppiness led her to accuse Scott Walker’s education budget cuts led to teacher layoffs in 2010. It was proof that Ms. Collins’ research skills aren’t highly developed. Thankfully, I can rely on Ed Morrissey’s research skills, which were evidenced in this post:

There are newspaper corrections that sincerely intend to repair the record … and then there are New York Times “corrections” to columns that should never have run in the first place. On Friday, the Paper of Record published a Gail Collins essay blaming Scott Walker’s cuts to education funding in Wisconsin for teacher layoffs that took place in 2010. There were only two problems with the column: Scott Walker didn’t take office until 2011, and his public-employee union reforms actually prevented cuts that would have resulted in even more K-12 layoffs. Either of those could have been easily checked, but would have been obvious to anyone who paid the least bit of attention to the controversy in Wisconsin over the last four years.

Needless to say, I don’t take Gail Collins word on anything. That’s why I did a little reading when she issued this edict:

We’ve been wondering when a presidential candidate would say something incredibly insensitive about women and reproduction. The moment has arrived. The 2016 Todd (“Legitimate Rape”) Akin Award for Sexual Sensitivity goes to Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Maybe it was inevitable. Of all the practicing politicians in the scramble, Walker is possibly the sloppiest public speaker. Compared with him, Chris Christie can be a pinnacle of verbal discipline.

Last week, Walker was on a radio talk show, praising a law he signed requiring women who want an abortion to undergo an ultrasound. Which they’re supposed to watch, while the physician points out the features of the fetus.

An ultrasound, he said, was “just a cool thing.”

That Gail Collins describes the baby in the ultrasound as a fetus shows that she isn’t coming at this from an unbiased perspective. How many women, when they see their first ultrasound, say “Look at my fetus”? Aren’t they most likely to say “Look at my baby”?

The whole reason why Wisconsin legislators passed that bill and Gov. Walker signed it into law is because a significant number of women that see their baby when they get an ultrasound decide not to get an abortion.

There are 2 points that are essential to this article. First, it isn’t coincidental that Gail Collins’ fury is directed at Scott Walker. When she wrote about Gov. Walker in February, she couldn’t be bothered with getting the facts straight. This wasn’t a difficult project. Anyone with a memory knew that Gov. Walker wasn’t elected until November, 2010. Anyone with an ounce of professional pride would’ve gotten that right. She didn’t.

Second, it’s clear that Ms. Collins isn’t in touch with people in the heartland. Apparently, in Ms. Collins’ world, the widely held belief is that anyone who does anything that makes it more difficult to have an abortion is a Neanderthal. Anyone that can compare the stupid thing that Todd Akin said with what Scott Walker said is frightening.

Then again, I am talking about Gail Collins.

The RNC should pull the plug on the Republican presidential debate that ABC is hosting. It isn’t just that George Stephanopoulos didn’t clothe himself in glory with his nondisclosure of his donations to the Clinton Foundation. It’s that ABC is caught in another controversy that proves ABC isn’t trustworthy:

Games may have been played yesterday in connection with the week’s resounding media story. On Thursday morning, Politico media reporter Dylan Byers broke the story of George Stephanopoulos’s big-money donations to the Clinton Foundation (at first they were reported as $50,000 but grew to $75,000 by day’s end). The headline of Byers’s story: “George Stephanopoulos discloses $75,000 contribution to Clinton Foundation.”

Big deal. The Internet exploded with commentary, criticisms of Stephanopoulos, liberal-media slams and claims that the PR department of ABC News had done something untoward in handling the story.


In other words, ABC issued a statement to a newspaper that they thought would write a friendlier story about the Stephanopoulos story rather than let a real journalist write the story he’d discovered. That’s a pretty scummy thing to do. I don’t think it’s coincidence that ABC gave the Washington Free Beacon a comment … 10 minutes after the Byers Politico article broke. Here’s why:

When the Washington Free Beaconers put their heads together Thursday morning, there was still no comment from ABC News. “I say, ‘Let’s begin to move this story,’” recalls Continetti. The piece wasn’t complicated: A network news anchor had contributed to a charity run by the first family of the Democratic party and hadn’t told viewers when that charity emerged in news coverage. What was complicated was its landing. “Literally as we were about to hit ‘post,’ we are alerted to the Dylan Byers piece that just went up,” says Continetti, who moved to publish their piece without the ABC News statements. Those arrived later.

This sounds like Stephanopoulos and the ABC PR department trying to direct the story to a friendlier media outlet. They know that the Washington Free Beacon is a right-of-center newspaper. Stephanopoulos might’ve suspected that Stiles’ article would’ve been harder hitting than Byers’ spoon-fed article.

The RNC shouldn’t be in the business of fighting reporters’ fights. Still, it shouldn’t let networks host debates if they’ve shown themselves to not be trustworthy. It isn’t just that Stephanopoulos isn’t trustworthy. It’s that ABC has proven that they aren’t trustworthy. They’re more trustworthy than MSNBC but they’re far from trustworthy.

Check out the opening paragraph of the St. Cloud Times Our View editorial:

St. Cloud has acquired a jewel of a park — in need of refurbishing.

The City of St. Cloud didn’t “acquire” George Friedrich Park. They fleeced SCSU President Potter when they talked him into swapping a beautifully wooded 50-acre plot even up for 5 acres of land that can’t be developed. The St. Cloud Times said that a) the Friedrich Park land is worth $328,000 and that the land just south of the National Hockey Center is worth $294,000. According to my calculator, that means the barren wasteland south of the Hockey Center is worth $58,800/acre and that the beautifully wooded Friedrich Park is worth $6,560/acre.

Does anyone seriously think that barren wasteland is worth 9 times more per acre than a beautifully wooded lot?

At least the Times took time to indict President Potter’s mishandling of the Park:

Improvements to Friedrich Park have been talked about for years. The land swap resulted from a collaboration between Kleis and St. Cloud State University President Earl H. Potter III. Kleis has added an important chapter to his legacy. His knowledge of the history of the community and the park is exceptional. But to his credit, he turned the knowledge into action.

Let’s assume for this discussion that acquiring Friedrich Park adds “an important chapter to” Kleis’ legacy. Wouldn’t it be equally true that refurbishing and restoring Friedrich Park would’ve added to President Potter’s legacy? The same lessons about St. Cloud’s history would still be there.

It’s true, though, that the Friedrich Park fleecing will be part of President Potter’s legacy. It’ll rank right up there with his lease with the Wedum Foundation, his hiring the Earthbound Media Group to rebrand the University’s image and his paying the City of St. Cloud to police their city.

Thus far, SCSU has lost $7,700,000 on the Wedum Foundation lease. Additionally, SCSU paid EMG more than $400,000 to rebrand the University. Since the time of the rebranding, enrollment has continued its decline and SCSU’s revenues have dried up. As for President Potter paying $720,000 for 3 years of policing, the injustice is that SCSU is paying for police officers that the City should’ve paid for.

Adding Friedrich Park to those financial disasters just makes President Potter’s ‘legacy’ one of financial foolishness.

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