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Liberator Online: Congress considers re-legalizing marijuana
Volume 18, No. 3                                                                                                         February 8, 2013

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In This Issue

PRESIDENT'S CORNER
* 10 YAL Libertarian Conventions Coming Up!
* International SFL Conference

INTELLECTUAL AMMUNITION
* Congressmen Introduce Bills to Re-Legalize Marijuana
* Penalty Flag: Taxpayers Sacked by Government on Super Bowl Sunday
* Ron Paul: Abolish the Income Tax
* CORRECTION and Resources: Founding Fathers Gun Quotes
 
THEY SAID IT: 
Congresswoman explains why gun bans will work (yeah, just like the bans on alcohol and drugs worked so well)…. Washington State legalizes marijuana -- and gets “green jobs” Obama didn’t plan on…. Fight obesity by limiting government, not junk food, says Jay Leno… Craig Ferguson on the latest government mail monopoly fiasco…. Former police commissioner says police routinely lie about drugs in court…. Glenn Greenwald identifies the biggest extremist in American politics….

PERSUASION POWER POINT #341
* One Question Every Libertarian Should Ask

ASK DR. RUWART
* Who owns my land -- me, or the government?

ONE-MINUTE LIBERTY TIP
* A Libertarian Approach to Black History Month

WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ADVOCATES
* Sharon Harris Column in Freedom News Daily
* 2013 Freedom Cruises
* FREE OPH KITS for libertarian student groups!
* Join the Advocates on Twitter
* Join the Advocates on Facebook

President's Corner

by Sharon Harris




TEN Great YAL Libertarian Conventions Coming Up! 

Dear friend, 

Mark your calendar!

Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) -- an outstanding national libertarian student organization -- is holding 10 exciting state conventions across the country. 

It's happening this spring. Dates are just below. 

PLEASE NOTE: All of these events are open to the public. That includes NON-STUDENTS.

If you like the t-shirts, click here.I'm proud that the Advocates is a Gold Sponsor of these conventions, joining other leading libertarian organizations including Campaign for Liberty, the Institute for Humane Studies, Students for Liberty, and others. 

The Advocates is planning to be at each convention with booths and speakers.

These conventions are one-day campus events designed to build stronger state campus networks, advance activists' knowledge and skills, and inspire attendees to their best activism yet.

Attendees will be introduced to top-notch training and networking opportunities. You will discover new ideas, connect with local leaders, and just have a good time advancing the youth movement for liberty. 

Each convention will feature exciting keynote speakers -- including top names in the liberty movement.

We are excited to be a part of this event. In the past few years we've supplied over 700 campus libertarian organizations with our acclaimed Operation Politically Homeless booth kit. We've also had the pleasure of speaking to many YAL gatherings, and we are looking forward to this opportunity. 

We see the emerging student liberty movement as America's great hope for the future, and we are proud to be playing a vital part in helping it grow. 

The cost is a bargain: just $10 for dues-paying YAL members and $25 for non-members. You can register here

Here's the schedule: 
                         
  • Saturday, February 23 -- North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
  • Saturday, March 2  -- University of Texas-Arlington, Arlington, TX
  • Saturday, March 9 -- University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN
  • Saturday, March 23 -- Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis IN
  • Saturday, April 6 -- Auburn University, Auburn AL
  • Saturday, April 13 -- California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
  • Saturday, April 13 -- University of Colorado-Boulder / Independence Institute, Denver, CO
  • Saturday, April 20 -- Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
  • Saturday, April 27 -- Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
  • Saturday, May 4 -- University of Central Florida/ Florida Liberty Summit (TBA)

Hope to see you there! 

* * *
Speaking of great libertarian conventions...

February 15-17 is the date for the 2013 International Students for Liberty Conference, Washington DC. Saturday February 9 is the last day to register. Speakers include libertarian journalist John Stossel and Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey. The Advocates will have a booth where we will demonstrate extraordinary outreach tools and techniques to help student libertarian groups grow their campus chapters. If you attend, be sure to come by our booth and say hello! Learn more here

* * *
The purpose of the Liberator Online is to build a stronger movement for liberty. We do this by providing information about the libertarian movement and how to best communicate the ideas of liberty. Thank you for being a part of this!

Learn more about the Advocates and our work for liberty.

Learn more about libertarianism -- the philosophy of liberty.

Intellectual Ammunition

by James W. Harris




Congressmen Introduce Bills to Re-Legalize Marijuana

Following the lead of Ron Paul, Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have introduced two pieces of legislation to "de-federalize" marijuana policy. 

Together, the two bills -- the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act and the Marijuana Tax Equity Act -- provide a system of regulation and taxation for marijuana in states that declare it legal. States would then be free to choose whether to re-legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. 

The legislation is based on bills previously introduced by libertarian Ron Paul (R-TX) and former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA). 

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act will remove the Drug Enforcement Agency's authority over marijuana. 

The Marijuana Tax Equity Act will create a federal occupation tax for marijuana producers, importers and manufacturers similar to those imposed on alcohol and tobacco. It also ensures that federal law distinguishes between individuals who grow marijuana for personal use and individuals who are involved in commercial sale and distribution. 

"This legislation doesn't force any state to legalize marijuana, but Colorado and the 18 other jurisdictions that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use deserve the certainty of knowing that federal agents won't raid state-legal businesses," said Congressman Polis. "Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war."

"Just over 106 million people live in a state or local jurisdiction that has decided that some aspect of marijuana use should be legally permitted," Congressmen Blumenauer said as he introduced his bill in the House of Representatives. "This represents a unique opportunity to save ruined lives, wasted enforcement and prison costs, while simultaneously helping to create a new industry, with new jobs and revenues that will improve the federal budget outlook."

The Congressmen have co-authored a new report, "The Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy." The document reviews the history of marijuana prohibition in the US, current conflicts between state and federal law, and outlines ways to reform and clarify marijuana law at the federal level.

The Congressmen have also established the Sensible Drug Policy Working Group, a forum for members of Congress who are working on related issues and hope to advance legislation. As Reason magazine has noted, there is growing support on these issues in Congress. In May, for example, over 160 House members voted to defund federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.

"We're looking at antiquated and sometimes nonsensical federal laws and policies to try to get us on a path that is less expensive, more productive, more fair, and more in tune with where America is going," Blumenauer told StopTheDrugWar.org. "We arrested two-thirds of a million people in 2011 for a substance most people think should be legal. The president said he has bigger fish to fry, but there are still people further down the federal food chain frying those fish."

Penalty Flag: Taxpayers Sacked by Government on Super Bowl Sunday

Almost everyone has been talking about the Super Bowl this week. Now that the Monday (and Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.) morning quarterbacking is easing, here's another angle on the game that you can share with friends, family and fellow fans, written by Americans for Tax Reform.

Nielsen TV Ratings estimated that a stunning 108.4 million total viewers watched this year's game. 

But… they all had to move over to make room on the couch for an uninvited guest: Uncle Sam.

For every aspect of the time-honored football tradition, viewers shelled out more money, thanks to government taxes and fees. From team gear to beer, taxpayers were getting sacked, again and again. Ouch! 

Here's an instant playback of some of Super Bowl Sunday's red-flag tax penalties:

False Start (5 yards): Sipping soft drinks? Almost a third of the cost of your soda comes from taxes and fees -- a full 28 percent.

Offside (5 yards): Don't think you can escape Big Brother's watchful eye by heading to the bar. The government adds on a sobering 31 percent when dining out.

Delay of Game (5 yards): If you're savoring a California wine to cheer on the 49ers, you're not off the hook; 33 percent of the price of wine comes from government.

Intentional Grounding (10 yards): According to the National Retail Federation, 7.5 million households purchased a new TV for the big game, but the cable package that comes with that new flat screen isn't cheap. Before you've even had a chance to change the channel to watch the Puppy Bowl, government bites off 43 percent of your cable bill.

Pass Interference (10 yards): Of the $1 billion in beer sales in the two weeks surrounding last year's Super Bowl, a full 44 percent of the cost was due to government taxation.

Helmet-to-Helmet Contact (15 yards): Were you one of the 17 million fans who purchased team apparel and accessories in advance of the game? Taxes and tariffs ran up the cost of your new jersey by 46 percent.

Roughing the Passer (15 yards): Did you take shots each time your team scored? Government guzzles up a whopping 56 percent of the price of spirits.

Personal "Fowl" (15 yards or automatic first down): The National Chicken Council estimated that 1.23 billion chicken wings would be eaten on Sunday -- a number that is actually 12.3 million fewer than the previous Super Bowl. Why? Thank Big Brother again: Corn prices are driven skyward by the costly and destructive federal ethanol mandate, also known as the Renewable Fuel Standard. During last year's drought this ate up the country's corn crop and drove up prices, leaving little for chicken farmers. So government was the only one getting its fill this Super Bowl Season.

Maybe it's time we stopped playing ball with the government? Maybe it's time for liberty activists to get off the sidelines?

Ron Paul: Abolish the Income Tax

February 3rd marked a black day in U.S. history. It was the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 16th Amendment, which enabled the creation of the U.S. federal income tax.

The income tax originally applied only to the very richest Americans. Since then, it has exploded, ensnaring millions of struggling families and empowering an intrusive, invasive, global welfare-warfare state. 

One hundred years later, some are asking: Can the income tax be repealed -- and replaced with… nothing? 

Ron Paul, for one, thinks so. He's said so for years, and he made income tax repeal a centerpiece of his historic 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. 

On November 20, 2008 Ron Paul said in a New York Times / Freakonomics interview:

"I want to abolish the income tax, but I don't want to replace it with anything. About 45 percent of all federal revenue comes from the personal income tax. That means that about 55 percent -- over half of all revenue -- comes from other sources, like excise taxes, fees, and corporate taxes.

"We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990's. We don't need to 'replace' the income tax at all. I see a consumption tax as being a little better than the personal income tax, and I would vote for the Fair Tax if it came up in the House of Representatives, but it is not my goal. We can do better."

Here's a 2007 video of Paul further explaining income tax repeal. 



And here's a 2012 video of Judge Andrew Napolitano and Wall Street Journal editorial board director Stephen Moore discussing the political possibilities, and enormous potential benefits, of income tax repeal. It's exciting to see this bold proposal discussed on national TV! 

Ron Paul did the liberty movement a great service by injecting this idea into America's political debate. Now it's up to us to carry the idea further. 

For more on how to argue effectively for ending the income tax, see this series of articles by Advocates President Sharon Harris: 

Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 1.
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 2.
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 3.
Making the Case for Ending the Income Tax: Part 4.

CORRECTION and Resources: Founding Fathers Gun Quotes

Last issue we featured a list of quotes from the Founding Fathers on guns. A few of those quotes turned out to be false or unreliable rephrasings. Our thanks to reader Stephen Adams, who writes at the lively and informative liberty blog No Consent, for being the first to point this out. We apologize for the error, and will correct this on our archived copies of the article. 

GunCite.com offers a sizeable collection of quotes from the Founders and from other important figures, with citations to original sources. 

In addition, GunCite also offers a selection of common quotes falsely attributed to the Founders, quotes from constitutional commentators, and a tremendous wealth of other useful information. Check it out!

* * * * * * * *
Intellectual Ammunition is written by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he has been a Finalist for the Mencken Awards, given by the Free Press Association for "Outstanding Journalism in Support of Liberty."


They Said It...

YEAH, JUST LIKE THE BANS ON ALCOHOL AND DRUGS WORKED SO WELL: "Some people will say this bill [the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013] won't work. Let me tell you why it will work. Because if you don't have these guns and the large magazines on the shelves, those who have done these horrific killings wouldn't be able to go into a gun store and just buy them. They don't have the background to go and look where the black market is and buy these magazines and guns. They go to the simplest place. If they aren't in the stores, they can't be bought. Think of the lives that can be saved. " -- New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, House sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, introducing that bill, Jan. 24, 2013.

GREEN JOBS -- DESPITE OBAMA: "I love this story: the state of Washington is now looking for a marijuana consultant now that marijuana is legal up there. I think this is one of those green jobs President Obama is always talking about." -- Jay Leno Feb. 1, 2013.

BAN GOV'T, NOT JUNK FOOD: "According to reports from a journal called Psychological Science, people eat more junk food and gain weight during tough economic times. How ironic is that? The biggest obstacle to Michele Obama's war on obesity is President Obama's economic policy." -- Jay Leno, Jan. 29, 2013.

GOV'T MAIL: "The price of a stamp goes up a penny today, to 46 cents. To make sure everyone received the news promptly, the U.S. Postal Service announced it by email." -- Craig Ferguson, Jan. 26, 2013.

POLICE COMMISSIONER: POLICE LIE IN COURT ABOUT DRUGS: "Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America." -- former San Francisco Police commissioner Peter Keane, quoted in "Why Police Lie Under Oath," New York Times, Feb. 2, 2013. Keane's quote is from his March 2011 San Francisco Chronicle op-ed "Why cops lie."

THE EXTREMIST: "The most extremist power any political leader can assert is the power to target his own citizens for execution without any charges or due process, far from any battlefield. The Obama administration has not only asserted exactly that power in theory, but has exercised it in practice. In September 2011, it killed US citizen Anwar Awlaki in a drone strike in Yemen, along with US citizen Samir Khan, and then, in circumstances that are still unexplained, two weeks later killed Awlaki's 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman with a separate drone strike in Yemen. … The power of accuser, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner are all consolidated in this one man, and those powers are exercised in the dark. … If you believe the president has the power to order US citizens executed far from any battlefield with no charges or trial, then it's truly hard to conceive of any asserted power you would find objectionable." -- liberal civil liberties columnist Glenn Greenwald, " Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens," The Guardian, Feb. 5, 2013.

* * * * * * * * * *
"They Said It..." is compiled by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris.


Persuasion
Power Point
#341

by Michael Cloud

One Question Every Libertarian Should Ask

Ask a dozen NON-libertarian acquaintances this question:

"Do you believe that Americans have too little freedom, about the right amount, or too much freedom?"

Write down their responses.

Then ask yourself: What's going on? WHY do so many of them believe this?

NEXT ISSUE... Eye-opening answers -- and what we can do about it.
 
* * * * * * * *
Michael Cloud's brand-new book Unlocking More Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion is available exclusively from the Advocates, along with his acclaimed earlier book Secrets of Libertarian Persuasion.

In 2000, Michael was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the Most Persuasive Libertarian Communicator in America.




Ask Dr. Ruwart

Dr. Mary Ruwart is a leading expert in libertarian communication. In this column she offers short answers to real questions about libertarianism. To submit questions to Dr. Ruwart, see end of column.

Who owns my land -- me, or the government? 

QUESTION: I own about 9 acres. In the past it has been used for growing crops. Now I want to put a few horses and a small shed on it, but the county won't allow me. Who owns my land? Where are my rights?

MY SHORT ANSWER: You have a conflict between what you want to do with your land and what the zoning authorities permit -- an all-too-common problem these days.

Today, while you own your own land -- in theory -- in practice, it can be taken from you and given to another private party through eminent domain, if the local government believes it will receive more taxes that way.

The local zoning board can tell you what you may or may not do on your land. Even if you own the land "free and clear," the government can take it from you if you don't pay property taxes. And property taxes amount to, in practice, a kind of "rent" you have to pay the government each year to be allowed to keep living on your own property! 

In a libertarian society, government couldn't take your land by eminent domain. There would be no zoning boards. Deed restrictions, which you would be aware of when you bought the property, would be the only limitations on what you could do with your property. Deed restrictions would protect your property rights, and also protect your neighbor's property rights, far more fairly and effectively than zoning laws. 

Finally, a truly libertarian society would have no taxes, so the government couldn't take your land for not paying the "rent" of annual property taxes. 

If you like the idea of having the freedom to do any peaceful thing you wish on your own property, you just might be a libertarian. If so, join us and help make real freedom ring!

LEARN MORE: Suggestions by Liberator Online editor James W. Harris for further reading on this topic: 

"Zoning, Privatization, and Liberty" by the free-market Mackinac Center. Excerpt: "As zoning rules become more onerous, citizen resistance is creating pressure for an alternative. ... Deed restrictions and common-law dispute resolution offer two ways this idea can be applied to zoning and solve a problem that has plagued villages, townships, and cities for far too long."

* * * * * * * * * *
Got questions?  Dr. Ruwart has answers! If you'd like answers to YOUR "tough questions" on libertarian issues, email Dr. Ruwart at: ruwart@theAdvocates.org
 
Due to volume, Dr. Ruwart can't personally acknowledge all emails. But we'll run the best questions and answers in upcoming issues.

Dr. Ruwart's previous Liberator Online answers are archived in searchable form.
 
Dr. Ruwart's brand new book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Expanded Edition is available from the Advocates, as is her acclaimed classic Healing Our World.


One-Minute Liberty Tip 

By Sharon Harris


A Libertarian Approach to Black History Month

Holidays and annual observances offer a great opportunity to present the ideas of liberty to new and receptive audiences. Every libertarian should collect a selection of facts and stories to share on those occasions. (We offer them frequently in the Liberator Online.)
 
February is Black History Month. Each year this observance offers an opportunity to discuss key libertarian issues. 

If anyone should be receptive to the message of libertarianism, it should be black Americans, who as a group have suffered from government oppression more than any other ethnic group in America, and whose historical and ongoing struggle for freedom is arguably the most dramatic one in our history. 

That story -- the story of a people savagely oppressed by government power for centuries and bravely fighting to overcome that oppression -- is one that Americans of all races would benefit from pondering. Libertarians have a unique angle to bring to that discussion. 
 
As a start, I highly recommend "The Law Perverted: A Libertarian Approach to Black History Month" by James Padilioni, Jr. of Students for Liberty. It will stimulate your thinking on this issue and provide a good historical and theoretical background. 

At the 2013 International Students for Liberty Annual Conference (Feb. 15-17, Washington D.C.) there will be a presentation entitled "Death or Liberty: A Libertarian Revisionist View of Black History" by the above-mentioned James Padilioni and Eugene Craig. 

SFL notes that the phrase Death or Liberty "is taken from the motto scrawled across the banners used in Gabriel Prosser's 1800 slave rebellion in Virginia, phraseology that echoes both Patrick Henry's famous declaration and the rhetoric of the slave-led Haitian Revolution."

Just reading the description of the SFL event should inspire thinking on ways to effectively use Black History Month to make powerful libertarian points. 

Another excellent short article by James Padilioni is "Don't Just Bake, Strike the Root!" It briefly examines the role of government in creating slavery, and the weakness of affirmative action as a means of addressing the consequences. Excerpt: "The historical record is clear in showing that the state had a proactive role in the creation of the slave system and racism. … [W]hile the motivation of affirmative action from this historical perspective may be in the right place morally, the means to accomplishing that goal cannot come through the arm of the state, when the state was the very institution that gave spark to this entire tragedy initially. As Robert LeFevre wisely stated, 'government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.'"

In his provocative article "Still Just Three-Fifths of a Man" Steve Cobb points out that in many fundamental ways, blacks remain slaves to government -- as do whites: "[D]espite Emancipation and the civil rights movement, I remain but three-fifths of a man, and it gives no consolation that so many whites have joined me in slavery."
 
Black History Month is an excellent time to show how government coercion was and is the chief engine of the oppression of black people, as well as being harmful to Americans in general. An obvious example is the War on Drugs, which harms Americans of all backgrounds, but from which blacks suffer disproportionately. 
 
Here are some resources: 
 
* "How the War on Drugs is Destroying Black America," John McWhorter, Cato Institute.

* "Race and Prison," drugwarfacts.org

Excerpt: "Mass arrests and incarceration of people of color -- largely due to drug law violations -- have hobbled families and communities by stigmatizing and removing substantial numbers of men and women. In the late 1990s, nearly one in three African-American men aged 20-29 were under criminal justice supervision, while more than two out of five had been incarcerated…orders of magnitudes higher than that for the general population. … In some areas, a large majority of African-American men -- 55 percent in Chicago, for example, -- are labeled felons for life…"

Another topic is state-created unemployment for black Americans. 

* In "Race and Economics" economist Walter Williams examines this.

* In "Minimum Wage's Discriminatory Effects" Williams looks at the devastating racist outcomes of minimum wage laws. Excerpt: "Minimum wage laws have massive political support, including that of black politicians. That means that many young black males will remain a part of America's permanent underclass with crime, drugs and prison as their future."

* In "The War on Poverty Revisited" economist Thomas Sowell argues that the 1960s Great Society / War on Poverty programs helped destroy black families. Excerpt: "The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life."

* Here's a source for some great videos of black libertarians, past and present, speaking on liberty. They're suitable for any time of year, of course, but Black History Month is a great time to share them.

Finally, check out these two Facebook groups (thanks to Garry Reed's Libertarian News Examiner for the suggestions): Black Libertarians and African American Libertarians.

* * * * * *
Sharon Harris is president of the Advocates for Self-Government.  


What's Happening with the Advocates


SHARON HARRIS COLUMN FEATURED: Thanks to Freedom News Daily for picking Sharon Harris’s Liberty Minute column “Guns: Reframing the Debate” as the lead-off piece in the Freedom Commentary section of their newsletter. We highly recommend Freedom News Daily, an excellent and invigorating free daily source of news and opinion of interest to libertarians. Subscribe here.

2013 FREEDOM CRUISES: Advocates Board Secretary and long-time libertarian leader Dr. Ken Bisson invites you to join him for a Freedom Cruise in May 2013 and/or January 26, 2014. Enjoy a wonderful trip on a luxury cruiser -- at a bargain rate! Great food and fine company. Non-libertarians welcome! There's just one stateroom left for the May 2013 "Castles Along the Rhine" cruise -- so hurry if you're interested! On January 26, 2014 the 17th Annual Freedom Cruise embarks: a 7-day Holland America voyage to excellent snorkeling destinations Grand Cayman and Cozumel, with visits to Key West and Half Moon Cay as well, all on Holland America's newest cruise ship! (These aren't Advocates events, but libertarians who have been on past cruises rave about them.) Ken offers two other February 2014 cruises as well. For photos and more details -- or to sign up for free, no-pressure, no-commitment email updates -- visit Freedom Cruises.

FREE OPH KITS FOR LIBERTARIAN STUDENT GROUPS: Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we're giving our acclaimed OPH (Operation Political Homeless) outreach kits to libertarian student groups FREE -- if they simply promise to use them a minimum of three times a year and send us photos documenting their OPH activity. OPH -- praised as the best recruiting tool in the libertarian movement -- normally sells for $50.00.
If you're in a student libertarian group, click here for more information on getting your free OPH kit.

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Joining the conversation is easy. If you don't already have a Twitter account, it only takes a few moments to sign up for one.

Then go to the Advocates Twitter account and click the "follow" button below our picture.  

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