tv The Dylan Ratigan Show MSNBC January 13, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm EST
himself among the poor. thanks so much for watching. dylan is here. he's ready to take us forward. i feel as if i spent most of the day with you. i was with you on alex waggoner's broadcast. i saw you after that. we're good friends of course. >> it's fine. i think this is adequate for today. >> i think so. >> have a wonderful weekend. >> same to you, sir. >> the show starts right now. good friday afternoon to you. i am dylan ratigan. thank you for joining us this afternoon. today's big story unfortunately is the war against the war. around the world today, it's a tough news day on that front. both our allies and our enemies are looking at the united states and shaking their heads with disgust. first, those appalling pictures of four u.s. marine snipers
urinating on dead afghan militants. i suggest you suspend for the moment judgment. multiple investigations are underway, but washington obviously has major pr damage control to do around the world. the backlash here at home and abroad similar to what happened after the 2004 abuse pictures surfaced. fingers at the same time being pointed at the united states government for possibly assisting the israelly musad. they are being blamed for the assassination of a iranian nuclear scientist. does that mean that covert ops and assassinations indeed are on the table? and is that really what we're witnessing? iran hinting possible revenge assassinations. washington reportedly using back channels to threaten iran to k
back down on their threat to close the streets of hormuz or face retaliation. this has all the earmarks of a saber rattling, although one never knows. we have two u.s. aircraft carriers positioned in the region and a third is on the way. why do we care so much about the rattling over the straits? 20% of the world's oil flows through it every single day. shutting it off is citizen for iran and the world. not likely a path of rational pursuit, although you never know. we start with two folks who know the region better than i and most of us. lieutenant colonel anthony schaffer and iranian american journalist roya hakaki. let's start with the picture and the outrage and the rest of it. is this sort of thing a little more than an indication that we have been there too long?
is this what happens naturally or unnaturally when the duration gets this long and gets this absurd, you end up with atrocities. >> two things. you never videotape something like that. that's stupid. beyond that, this is bad. they need to deal with it directly. part of the problem over the fact we've been in ten years is we've been allowing folks with criminal records. if you remember last year aeshl specialists were killing farmers for support. we diminished the standards. what and what you see now is kids with bad habits coming in. you'll find this was one of the cases where they should have never been in the military to begin with. >> that goes to the decision to use one-half of the 1% of american population and ask them to reenlist again and again. so my question to you is, how much of the american policy of
relying on 1% of the population for the war, reenlisting these people is a function of a policy? it's easy to sit here and point figures at some guy who did something that's horrible. it doesn't help solve the problem though. >> we have to go back to a pre9/11 military. we could have done everything we needed to. but we have to get back to the level to sustain military forces and go after our objectives. we we're a military. i agree with jim demint. we have to consider the fact, and you talk about economics, we cannot afford a sustained presence at the level we're at now. we have to take the pressure off the military. >> and speaking of pursuing missions, somebody was pursuing a mission in iran recently with the assassination of a nuclear scientist. what's your perspective on the conjecture? nobody knows what happened, but what's your perspective?
>> there's also a third narrative that i have recently come upon that strikes me as being extremely interesting and intriguing and something we ought to consider, which is that it could be the work of the iranian government itself in order to purge elements. because as you know, iran at the moment is under a great deal of pressure. there's a lot of fracturing inside the regime. fractures that need to be sorted out. this would be one way. in absence of evidence that iran has yet to present, while it points to the u.s. and israel, the third possibility that i'm presenting could be one. >> let's talk about this covert operation. you were in covert operations. let's cut to the chase. have you ridden a motorcycle and put a bomb on a car? >> no.
we have done other things. but with that said, it's clearly something up with this. i agree with her assessment. we have to look at the fact and leverage the fact that you have huge fractions in the government. i talked to an expert about this. this expert said the more pressure we put on the iranians, the more they will double down against us. so in some ways, this idea of poking them in the eye may be counterproductive to allowing these factions to go in, push the government out, and bring a reformist government to power. >> how much of iranian's political power internally is supported by maintaining the enemy as outside of the country, whether it's america or anybody else, as a vehicle to prevent having to deal with the internal issues. >> everything depends on that. there are a lot of fracturing within the regime at the moment, but all of them are united at the moment in the notion that
the ideal of war and the potential that a war could start is something that could extend the survival of the iranian regime. >> we have plenty of the rattling now around the streets of hormuz. probably increasing. more people learning about the geography of the middle east. it's a hot spot to intervene with oil supplies. that would be the spot. your perspective on the saber rattling from both sides. >> iran's economy has suffered a blow in the last few weeks in a way that it has not suffered in the last 32 years. the currency -- the iranian currency has dropped in value by 15%. and this has created a great deal of stress not only on the
ordinary people, but also on the regime. for the regime to say it would shut down the strait, it would be to shoot themselves in the foot because it would worsen an ill economy at the moment. >> and i tend to agree with that perspective. the saber rattling is easy to get people worked up. but you put yourself in the chair in iran, and i department even know about the 15% currency the past couple weeks. it would be utter suicide for iran to deprive themselves of the only flow of cash they have. and it's a massive one. >> they are doing what the north koreans have done. it's not about doing things to prompt us to action. it's backing off. they are a net importer of gas. and frankly as she just pointed out, they would lose big time in any circumstance where that strait is not open. to actually have income coming
in. they are about maintaining power. that's what the government is trying to do. and if you look at it and understand it, you'll understand everything else they are doing. >> so in that context, what would you recommend to the people and have learned their lesson that we should have a bipartisan position on the subject of iran. in the last round of elections, mccain and obama had two opposed
positions on the subject. >> what would you suggest that be? >> let us agree that negotiations have not been helpful. let us agree that we have come this far and that we should keep pressure on economically. let us also agree that war with iran is a bad idea. and that we have created this pressure which is yielding in the kind of results that we haven't seen in 32 years. and let us hope that the next administration will move forward from this point. >> i have to wrap this, but in the context of the currency, i wonder whether the stick is obvious in terms of the punishment and depravation of the sanctions. is there an opportunity for the international community to provide a carrot to iran right now while they are sweating the currency and say we will lift the sanctions and drive investment if you disarm now at a time when they are experiencing more pain and as a result may have a greater incentive.
>> the carrot i would like for them to present is up to question is free all president political prisoners that you took in after 2009. hold a free and open election in the next rond of presidential elections. >> those are demands not a carrot. if you complied with those things. >> but i think we haven't delivered enough sticks to iran to live up to our demands and iran has said a lot of the demands thus far and we have met them. let's do the reverse. let us deliver a couple more sticks before we offer them a carrot. >> thank you so much for your insight and perspective. it's unique and valuable to this conversation. tony, the same thing goes for you. i thank you both. coming up here on the dr show, we're talking about the president's big idea to combine
six agencies and departments. why it sounds a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic to us. plus thinking of ending war the same way we think ant curing cancer. the radical concept that both war and cancer are really fundamentally matters of human biology. all that and a little masterpiece theater involving sir william goois this friday afternoon. is it fast? it's got 10 speeds, my friend. ♪ is it fast? it's got a lightning bolt on it, doesn't it? ♪ is it fast? i don't even know if it's street-legal. ♪ is it safe? oh, yeah. it's a volkswagen. [ male announcer ] the security of a jetta. one of nine volkswagen models named a 2012 iihs top safety pick. ♪ got you in a stranglehold, baby ♪
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you could have it run by somebody else. >> what? someone else can take it over? i think there might be a guy. jon? [ cheers ] >> colbert super pac transfer activa activate. >> steven colbert transferring by a novel 21st century technique his super pac from himself to jon stewart last night so he could officially run for president of the united states of south carolina. he's only running for one state. just to be sure, it was on the up and up, stewart had a couple legal questions. take a listen. >> you cannot run as supporting steven colbert, who i believe in
very deeply, perhaps attacking his opponents, who i don't believe in at all. >> yes, you can. >> can i legally hire steven's current super pac staff to produce these ads that will be, in no way, coordinated with steven? >> yes. >> well, it is really that simple and just another example of the corrupting influence of money in our political system, at least the way we use it it now, which is why we need to get it out. jeffrey clemmons is the author of corporations are not people, why they have more rights than you do and what you can do about it. jeffrey, what's your elevator pitch? >> my elevator pitch is this is exactly why we need the people's rights amendment to overturned citizens united. it's why we need the reforms and
constitutional amendment you talked about so well on this show and elsewhere. it's why we the people need to take back our country. we have these absurdties like we saw colbert and jon stewart doing so well. the american people know not only is it absurd, it's dangerous. >> one thing that's been troubling me is there are two issues. new york city has some of the strongest public finance laws in the country. and michael bloomberg was able to spend $100 million, i'm generally a fan of michael bloomberg, so this is not an indictment of him. it is a point i'm making. a billionaire was able to bypass because money is speech, which
goes to another supreme court decision from 1977. here is my concern. if america musters the necessary strength of a bulgarian weight lifter to pass a 28th amendment to the constitution and does so in simply overturning citizens united, could they, will they be putting the fate of funding american elections back into the hands of nonprofits, from the coke brothers to the nra to the unions and individual billionaires? are we putting ourselves in a situation where we may get rid of corporate cash, which i'm for it and i am tremendously appreciative of it, but is it a half measure that leaves billionaires in charge of funding our elections? >> i think it's not a half measure, but we can't have it be enough either. we have two serious structural problems in our democracy right now. one is this corporate power question. the other is the money is speech
problem with unregulated spending in our elections. we can't be the kind of democracy america is if we don't solve both problems. i'm confident we can. either in one amendment or in two amendments. we have to remember, waves of reform, they did four amendments in the space of a dozen years. they didn't say we can't get senators elected. they had to do both. we need a renewal of american democracy. the two impetments are unregulated corporate power and unregulated spending in elections. if we don't solve both problems, we can't move forward as a government by the people. >> i appreciate you're indulging my own question. it's important we move to understand that citizens united is a critical breach, but it still does not get money out of
politics. in order to get money out of politics, you have to e repair both breaches. congratulations on the book. can i tell you how i know a corporation is not a person without reading your book? >> please. >> i have never seen one cheat on their spouse. >> we have seen them cheat on a few other things. >> but not on their spouse. jeffrey, thank you so much. "corporations are not people. speaking of money, the president today asking the congress to consolidate six federal agencies closing the commerce department. take a listen to what's going on. >> we could consolidate them all into one department with one website, one phone number, one mission. helping american businesses succeed. that's a big idea. [ applause ] >> let's bring in our panel.
msnbc contributor crystal ball, and we welcome the political editor from townhall.com, guy benson. what's the hazing for a new mega panelist? >> you could ask him what animal he would be if he'd be any animal. >> that's your first question. >> oh, boy. maybe an eagle with the whole american thing going. and i've always wanted to be able to fly. >> he looks a little more like a panda to me. >> i live ed seven years in hon c con. >> now i can never run for president. >> you better not be able to speak chinese. obviously, the political aspect of consolidation and size reduction, i'll start with you, guy. an appealing framing for anything.
we're going to make things more efficient. but i'm interested in your perspective when you watch this president in this context. >> i could give you the republican talking points, which i know you don't want. i read some of the reactions. it was a little disae pointing. if this were an idea going forward by the republican president, it would go forward. is it a fraction of one drop? yes. it's 1/400th. it's not really anything significant. that's what he's trying to do. but the underlying idea isn't bad. i don't see any reason to oppose it. >> two things. the office of management and budget is a serious math-driven entity that says it will save $3 billion. it's not a lot of money in the federal budget, but it's real. number two, you heard the president. one website.
this is small bore. so it's fine. but i think the scale of it is small and the larger context for that is you have a senate that won't let anything done without a super majority. we'll see more small actions. crystal, you get the last word. we're about to launch a 30 million jobs tour to establish a baseline for what the jobs problem in this country is. and as you know, i get upset when solutions come through that it claim to solve the jobs problem but ignore the size of the problem. your thoughts on this particular structure? >> i think the way that you all have framed it is right. it is political. it is window dressing. not to say there's not substance there. but this idea was originally put forward in last year's state of the union speech. the president, that's when he
said this is our sput nick moment. if this is the best we can do to address the moment, it is a sad statement on our political system. i think it's money in politics and it's the filibuster, which doesn't require a constitutional amendment. it just requires the senate to change its rules. otherwise, it doesn't matter if republicans or democrats have control of the senate. no matter who has it, if they don't have a majority, nothing is going to get done. >> a constitution amendment requires about the same as a filibuster. the panel stays. coming up, one of the biggest victories in the fight to get money out of politics. our specialist joins the panel next. [ male announcer ] drinking a smoothie with no vegetable nutrition? ♪ [ gong ]
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the new york city council passed a resolution opposing corporate personhood in support of getting money out. joining our friends, they do not believe that corporations are people despite the supreme court ruling. our specialist is one of the folks who was boots on the ground making it happen here in new york. we are privileged to welcome council member melissa riviarno. educate us. how hard is this to do? >> the success of new york city enacting this resolution was out of the grass roots movement. they were asking for an amendment.
they need to overturn it. there were those of us part of the caucus. in terms of convincing our colleagues, it was not. we are an overwhelming democratic majority. we understand the importance of getting corporations out of corporations, people, and money such that we don't end up with the unintended consequence of transferring from corporations no nonprofits like the coke brothers, nra, and independent billionaires? it would be frustrating to do this and realize you just put
somebody else's money in charge. >> the issue with regards to the legislation and the laws is that it is a voluntary program. so our campaign finance program, which e we'd want people to be part of, is voluntary. so the mayor can finance the campaign. >> only if money is speech. >> so we want to have more laws like the one in new york city to really encourage people to be part of it and be a parking lot of the program that caps the amount of money you can spend on elections. it limits the contributions you can get as well. >> guy, you have an issue with this conversation. >> the question is where do you draw the line? because citizens united benefits corporations, but also labor unions. i don't like what labor unions say and do, but my instinct isn't to say you shouldn't pay it. let's have more people pay to say they disagree. who does qualify as a person?
and why is it not a problem if there's a multibillionaire who can use his money, but a corporation can't? >> there's an issue about disclosure. re not ure. individual people. members of a union are individual people that have money deducted from their paychecks in order to sponsor and support candidates they believe in. there's a difference to me. >> so what you're arguing is that you're in favor of money in politics when it comes from nonprofits, but against it when it's corporations? >> no. it's about disclosure. it's about knowing where the money is coming from. >> i can still defund you as the banks threaten to do. we spend $600 million in health care making sure health reform wasn't health reform. >> it is not. there is an issue of pro quo, but it's about the disclosure and the transparency.
i believe in limiting the amount. that's why i participate in a campaign finance tram and i would encourage others to do the same. but it's about knowing where the money is coming from. when you don't know where it's coming from, that's where you have a major issue in pollution of politics and government in this country. >> it's wonderful to have you involved. crystal, a question. >> councilwoman, i'm one of your constituents so thank you for representing me. i wanted to know. did you coordinate with occupy wall street? and i was curious of your thoughts on government making sure the city is safe, how did you feel about the mayor's approach to dealing with occupy wall street? >> i was very concerned and continue to beç concerned. also about how the media was prevented from being there. i believe that when you talk
about this resolution, when you talk about the movement building nationally, it is tapping into that sentiment that occupy wall street exhibited. people feel there's a disconnect between government and the majority of the population in terms of the interests and needs. i represent a community of color. it is latino and african-american. the citizens united impacts negatively communities like mine. decision need to be made to take our voice into account. that's why i feel so strongly about this pressure. all the sponsors of the caucus were sponsors of the resolution. we had the support of our speaker. it was a strong message that came out of new york city. we hope others will join this movement as well. >> you're obviously a leader on this issue. people who watch this show are going to look to the local efforts that you and your colleagues and people in california have put forth to help grow this issue. but something that you said sounded a little off to me. and that was you said, well we have these democrats on the
council. it was easy to do. but barack obama is a democrat. he's good at raising small donations. what i see in conversations in liberals is small donations as equal to political strength when, as you know, for many decades people in both parties ran under the voluntary system. a lot of people thought it worked well. aren't you concerned that to the point about whether it's easy to convinces, president obama is comfortable raising half a billion dollars rather than doing voluntary funding back ç. >> i would like to see the voluntary. part of the national conversation is happening to get other municipalities to do the same. it's about getting a federal voluntary program of campaign finance reform. i think that's impairtive. new york city can serve as a model. >> that wasn't his question. the question is where is the lead democrat in america? i personally disagree with it,
that it's a partisan issue. it's for a different conversation. but to take your narrative that the democrats have a bias towards this, which we'll set that aside, where is the lead e democrat on the country in this issue? >> i hear what you're saying. there are going to be some republicans that may agree with this issue as well. i would like to hear our president speak more firmly on this matter. in new york city, we are in terms of the legislative body that we represent is made up of people that understand this issue. it was easy to convince them. it's not e reflective of all the democrats nationwide. we want to see the lead democrat take a more active stance. so clearly, i would like to see that because i am a real progressive. i'm very much a lefty as people would say. i'm not scared to say that. and we want to see much more
done on that front. i would agree with you. i would like to e see a stronger stance on that issue. >> i would like to have you come ba back. as you look at the history of amendments passed, the era attempted and doomed it. there's a risk on this undertaking that will be used as a mechanism for a power game between the left and right,ç which will guarantee it won't happen, which will be a fun conversation. thank you so much. thank you for tolerating our questions. at the same time, don't misinterpret it as anything but incredible gratitude for the work you're doing. you're advancing the most significant issue. >> i appreciate the opportunity to be here. as an msnbc junky, i welcome the invitation back. >> thank you very much. the panel goes away. we're proud to welcome guy benson to the panel. very well done today. you aced the initiation question. what kind of animal would you
be? he said, animal. crystal, always a pleasure. you're the keeper of the code of the new panelists now. whatever that means. we'll talk to you soon. straight ahead here, sir william geist of vanderbilt are doing it out to be the international spokesperson for a certain new book. copd makes it hard to breathe, so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life, but with advair, i'm breathing better
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smallest government possibly be strong enough to break the grip of the vampire industry? i don't think so. will a big corrupt bureaucracy to the changing times? i doubt it. politicia politicians, shut up about big and small. make your case about what will do the job. to whomever wins, please get down to solving problems. the word of dylan çratigan. >> yes, that was sir william geist of vanderbilt. i must say to my colleague martin bashir, sir william may soon become the ambassador for "greedy bastards." we'll be right back. [ dad ] i'm usually checking up on my kids, but last year my daughter was checking up on me. i wasn't eating well. she's a dietitian, and she suggested i try boost complete nutritional drink to help get the nutrition i was missing. now i drink it every day
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[ male announcer ] you need a more complete cold formula, like alka-seltzer plus liquid gels. it's specially formulated to fight your worst cold symptoms, plus relieve your stuffy nose. [ deep breath ] thank you! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] and to fight your allergy symptoms fast, try new alka-seltzer plus allergy. as you know, at the top of the shoi we talked about the longest war and how it still seems there's no end in sight. our next guest says it doesn't need to be this way. that war, as a matter of fact, is not inevitable among humans. he says humans are equally as prone to peace as they are towards violence. and that war should be thought of as a scientific problem or a buy logical problem. much like we would think of curing cancer. with us is science journalist john horrigan from the stevens
institution of technology in the new york area. he's the author of "the end of war." and welcome, and congratulations. >> thank you. >> you were explaining to me during the break some of the evidence that you point to that war is not a permanent state of being. can you elaborate on that? >> let me just emphasize how widespread the view is that war is a permanenuç pardon me of th human condition is. i've been surveying people over the last few years and talking my students at school about it. almost everybody i have spoken to is extremely fatalistic about war. they think war will never end. had this goes up to the highest level of of power. >> you think that fatalism is a real issue? >> absolutely. i think the more fatalistic we are, the more we are to support foreign policies that make that
belief self-per pep waiting. so barack obama while accepting the nobel peace prize said in his acceptance speech that war has been around for as long as there have been humans, which is scientific statement, and we should not expect to eradicate war. i wrote this book to show that scientific statement about human prehistory is just flat out wrong. war only started about 10,000 years ago. right around the transition of humans from no maddic hunters to settlers and agriculturalists. and it rapidly spread around the world. it emerged in several places around the world at the same time. it took hold all over the place. even then, people have shone they do have the capacity to renounce war on a dime. we have seen that happen in the
20th century with germany and imperial japan, which wasç incredib incredibly aggressive coming pacifistic overnight. they were forced because of their catastrophic losses to become pacifists, but sweden and switzerland did it voluntarily. i cite these examples to show there is hope. >> you said past the nomatic way of living is for resource hoarding or resource control because the sense of a more dynamic way of living. in the past 10,000 years, we as a people, not just around the world, have moved more toward a framing of the need to control resources, the need to control
food production and energy production. i'm interested how you reconcile the current ambition to have resource control, which is different than 10,000 years ago with your narrative that suggests we could make that transition. >> one of the reasons people are fatalistic about war is they they war is part of human nature. that's very easily refuted by looking at the variation in levels of violence. the second most popular theory is that its resource competition. that leads to conflict. the problem is if you look at the had historical record and analyze it statistically, that turns out to not be the case. there are some wars where there is competition for resources. oil, for example, or land. but there are many warsç where that is not an issue. the interesting thing it about war is it's almost an independent variable.
it can affect any society from the simplist hunters and gathers to the most complex. it comes self-perpetuate iing. if you have a violent war-like neighbor, if you want to be a peaceful tribe, they force the war-like ways on you. you either have to flee or you have to defend yourself with violence. so that's what makes war such an incredibly infectious cultural phenomenon. >> the most inspiring thing you've said in this conversation is the scientific observation that the rate of transition from a war-like state to a nonwar-like state is a rapid transition in society. >> it can happen virtually overnight. i think it's also important for people to know that in spite of all the daily headlines coming from around the world, obviously, afghanistan. there's terrorism all around the world still. the world as a whole is more
peaceful than it has been, certainly within the last few centuries, and especially compared to the first half of the 20th century when it was blood drenched. casualties from war are almost 100 times less than they were 100 years ago. that's it another reason for optimism. >> it's an absolute pressure to make the acquaintance. congratulations on the publication. "the end of çwar." the message is question the role of war in society that there are multiple paths for problem resolution in this world and war is only one of those choices. congratulations. >> thank you very much. >> coming up on "hardball," the bain attacks. piling on and signs romney's campaign is feeling the pain. first, for you lovers of real housewives, the bachelor, or pan am, the rant on why you should
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it's friday. here's the rant. >> today i'm going to take out the guilt for you from guilty pleasure television. a guilty pressure is defined is something one enjoys despite feeling guilt for discovering. but the pleasure it provides is essential. it allows us perspective and it's no coincidence that the golden age of musicals was
during world war ii. dorothy looking for oz.. over 550 musicals were produced during the 1940s. yankee dood l. tv's recent hit on both struggling sides of the pond is alaba abby. it's about the upstairs, downstairs going on in a big british house. some snobs criticize that it is just a period soapç opera. but it can be a bit farfetched, but that's not the point. it's the equivalent is a big bowl of mashed to ta toes. comfort food. it's tough times out there. watching tv is one of the few fairly cheap pick me ups available. the cost of the 1990s recession antidote recently reunited for a 20th anniversary special. the lead characters are pr women
that over the top consumption is an alternative universe we can lose ourselves in. that is the appeal of the kardashian reality shows. i admit i sometimes watch them. what? my job involves doing my homework on the world's news every day. i read and listen to dylan ratigan's rants. my iq is not less because sometimes i redegrees to watching reruns of shows i saw when my schoolteacher setting the homework. saved by the bell, beverly hills kept me sane. as does gossip girl. it means my teenage sister and i can talk chuck bass for hours. i confess i would be devastated for 10 minutes if pan am is cancelled. if you had a really bad day, an improbable race on the british top gear. the news is grim.
don't be embarrassed. be proud if you need to lose yourself in television for awhile. for somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.ç dylan. >> a proprietor of fantasy. it's a rational thing. i have some bad news for you though. >> you do? that does surprise me. not really. hit me with it. >> they are canceling "pan am." >> really? >> they will. thank you very much. have a wonderful weekend. >> you too. >> we have a big around here with the launch of "greedy bastards" and understanding the issues. this monday we're going to focus on an issue that goes beyond the esoterics of the systems of banking to the critical and tragic behavior we're seeing in
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