Does the United States have a CEO, a dictator, or a President in Donald Trump?

I woke up this morning thinking, “Trump is still a private citizen. Trump is the unofficial president elect. He isn’t the president until January 20. In fact, Trump isn’t officially even the president elect until December 19 when the Electoral College makes it official, but he’s acting as if he were already the president with powers that a president of the United States doesn’t legally have.”

Whitehouse.gov clearly defines the role of a sitting U.S. President: “The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet.”

In fact, even the U.S. Constitution, written by the Founding Fathers in the 18th century, says, “Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress. Fifteen executive departments — each led by an appointed member of the President’s Cabinet — carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government.”

Trump, as the unofficial president elect of the United States, does not have the legal authority to make deals with other countries or corporations, even to save jobs. Whatever deal Trump negotiated to keep about 1,000 jobs in the United States in Indiana with Carrier, a division of United Technologies, is not legal and binding without the consent of the state legislature.

Furthermore, from Whitehouse.gov, we learn “The Executive Branch conducts diplomacy with other nations (it doesn’t say corporations), and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which also must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws. The President also has unlimited power to extend pardons and clemencies for federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment.”

Finally, everyone should know, and that includes Trump’s supporters ignorantly cheering him at that rally in Cincinnati, the oath of office that Trump must take to become president of the United States on January 20, 2017.  Once he takes that oath, he will be risking impeachment if he does what he just did with Carrier to allegedly save about 1,000 jobs in Indiana from going to Mexico.  If Trump really wants to save jobs, he’ll have to get Congress to pass laws he can sign that limits how many human jobs in the U.S. manufacturing sector can be given to robots, because that’s where 88 percent of the lost jobs in manufacturing have gone since 1979. “The vast majority of the lost jobs — 88 percent — were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduce factories’ need for human labor.” – Why robots, not trade, are behind so many factory job losses.

From PresidentsUSA.net we learn that before Donald Trump will be allowed to become the president of the United States, he must take the following oath or affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

What Trump just did in Indiana with Carrier is a publicity stunt; it’s all for show, and when Trump acts (on one of his rally stages), it’s obvious that the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law for the United States, isn’t important to him.

If the state of Indiana, the U.S. Congress and/or the Republican Party, since they hold the majority of seats in Congress, and the courts from Indiana to the U.S. Supreme Court do nothing to stop Trump, the United States has elected its first emperor, king, or dictator, and the U.S. Constitution is now worth less than the cost of a package of toilet paper sold at Costco.

Alt-Right fascist, often misleading news sources like Brietbart, the Conservative Tribune, and Fox News are all trumpeting this as a victory for the autocratic, billionaire oligarch that’s about to become President of the United States. However, Business Insider, a valid and reputable media source, reports, “Conservatives are worried Trump’s Carrier deal could set a bad precedent.”

“This is not a precedent we want to see — American presidents aren’t supposed to interfere on behalf of individual companies,” said David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington. … He added, “Frankly, it brings to mind the term ‘banana republic.’”  But two of Trump’s billionaire appointees – Trump’s billionaire cabinet could be the wealthiest administration ever –  said, “this will be business as usual in a Trump administration.”

“BUSINESS as USUAL”

If correct, that means the U.S. will not have a president in Donald Trump. It will have a dictator, because that’s what corporate CEOs do. It’s obvious that Trump plans to rule the United States as if it were part of his business empire, and ignore the U.S. Constitution that he will swear an oath to support, but most Americans already know that lying and breaking promises comes very easy to Donald Trump.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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If elected, who will Donald tRUMP blame when he fails to bring back the jobs and “Make America Great Again”?

One of the foundations of Donald Trump’s allegations that he is the only candidate for president that can make “American Great Again” is to bring back the jobs lost to China and Mexico.

But, the AP reported on November 2, 2016, Why Robots, not trade, are behind so many factory job losses.  “Despite the Republican presidential nominee’s charge that ‘we don’t make anything anymore,’ manufacturing is still flourishing in America. Problem is, factories don’t need as many people as they used to because machines now do so much of the work.

“America has lost more than 7 million factory jobs since manufacturing employment peaked in 1979. Yet American factory production, minus raw materials and some other costs, more than doubled over the same span to $1.91 trillion last year, according to the Commerce Department …”

In addition, ABC News reports some facts that Donald Trump doesn’t want his followers, known as the deplorables, to know, “A study at Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research last year found that trade accounted for 13 percent of America’s lost factory jobs. The vast majority of lost jobs — 88 percent — were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduce factories’ need for human labor.”

“We’re making more with fewer people,” says Howard Shatz, a senior economist at Rand Corporation think tank.

In fact, the World Economic Forum predicts that another 5 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2020. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution, combined with other socio-economic and demographic changes, will transform labour markets in the next five years, leading to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies.”

Too bad this information wasn’t reported earlier. With the election on November 8, tomorrow, it’s too late to attempt to teach the “deplorables”, who earned that title, the truth, that their psycho, narcissistic, bully, fraudulent crook of a candidate, who was born with a gold spoon in his mouth and bailed out of repeated failures more than once by his wealthy/powerful daddy, either doesn’t know what he is talking about or his promise to bring those jobs back that didn’t go to China or Mexico is just another one of his endless, serial lies.

What will  tRUJMP shout from his stage when the jobs don’t come back? The answer is easy because we have 70 years of tRUMP’s life to show us what he has always done. He will not admit he failed. He will lie repeatedly and blame it on Congress, the US Supreme Court, and anyone else he can smear

The tragedy is that many of his deplorable followers will willingly swallow those lies whole and roar the vengeance of the mob.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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I agree with Hillary Clinton when it comes to closing down the dirty, dangerous coal-mining industry

I watched this disturbing interview on Yahoo News this morning that made Hillary Clinton look horrible and insensitive, because she said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

I agree with Hillary Clinton, because coal is a dangerous, polluting industry, and it’s time for that industry to fade into history. Just watch the videos in this post to learn why the United States would be better off without coal.

How many jobs are we talking about?

There are approximately 174,000 blue-collar, full-time, permeant jobs related to coal in the U.S.: mining (83,000), transportation (31,000), and power plant employment (60,000).”  – SourceWatch.org

Let’s compare the loss of those 174,000 jobs to another factor that is getting rid of human jobs. I’m not talking about China. I’m talking about automation, because VOA News.com reports “The United States lost 3.2 million jobs to China between 2001 and 2013, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Three-fourths of those jobs were in manufacturing. About 60 percent of the reshored jobs (jobs returning to the U.S. because of rising labor costs in other countries) between 2000 and 2015 came from China.”

Forbes reported that millions of jobs have been lost to automation and millions more will be lost.

CNN Money reports, “Technology could kill 5 million jobs by 2020.”

MIT Technology Review explains How Technology Is Destroying Jobs.  “Improved industrial robotics to automated translation services—are largely behind the sluggish employment growth of the last 10 to 15 years. … Job growth suddenly slowed in 2000, while productivity remained robust.”


Learn about Deadly Black Lung Disease

According to Statista.com, in September 2016, there were 124.75 million Americans working at full time jobs. Jobs in the dangerous, unhealthy, environmentally polluting coal industry in the U.S. represents about 0.14 percent of the total number of jobs in America.

What about jobs that are replacing those lost in the coal industry?

Did you know that “According to The Solar Foundation, as of November 2014, the solar energy industry provided 173,807 direct jobs. This is a 21.8 percent increase in solar jobs from November 2013. Overall, solar jobs growth accounted for 1.3 percent of all new U.S. jobs in 2014. Factoring in indirect and induced job impacts, which amount to 531,200 additional jobs, total employment in the solar energy sector exceeds 705,000 jobs.” – Environmental and Energy Study Institute

And that’s just in the solar industry. “The Ecotech Institute used the Bureau of Labor Statistics definition of a green job to calculate the number of clean job openings in 2014. The organization found a 13 percent increase in clean job openings from 2013 to 2014, from 3.6 million clean job openings in 2013 to 3.8 million openings in 2014. The institute estimates that there were 1.2 million clean job openings in the first three months of 2015.”

Instead of attacking Hillary Clinton for wanting to get rid of the dangerous, dirty coal industry, and replace that industry with jobs in green renewable energy, why aren’t we protesting jobs lost to robots and automation?

I know its scary to lose a job and start over, but how many industries and jobs vanished in the last century to be replaced with something new?

To give you an idea, here are a few from Mainstreet.com: copy boy, log driver, lamplighter, pinsetter, switchboard operator, telegraph operator, ice cutter, ice delivery, Dictaphone operator, typing pool, newspaper typesetter, elevator operator, mimeograph operator, and street sweeper. I’m sure this list is much longer if we dig deeper.

Did you know that in 1910, farmers made up 15 percent of the workforce and farm labor made up more than 15 percent (for more than a third of the jobs in the U.S.), but today that number is down to about 2 percent for both farmers and farm labor? – bls.gov

It’s time for the coal mining industry to go out of business for good. Welcome to the world of lost jobs, for humans.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Is Tim Cook, the CEO of APPLE, ignorant or a fraud?

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, was recently asked why his company moved its production to China. “It’s skill”, said Cook in response to Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes. “The U.S., over time, began to stop having as many vocational kind of skills” he said. “I mean, you can take every tool and die maker in the United States and probably put them in a room that we’re currently sitting in. In China, you would have to have multiple football fields.”

A football field is 360 feet long and 160 feet wide for a total of 57,600 square feet.

Apple’s CEO was wrong. The reason the US public schools probably stopped funding vocational programs that trained, for instance, these tool and die makers Cook mentions, is because U.S. corporations left the U.S. for cheaper labor. And when those U.S. manufacturers left, the need for more tool and die jobs dropped, and the jobs that replaced them shifted to the service sector and paid less. For instance, fast food and Walmart, a company that imports many of the products that it sells.

But what Apple’s CEO doesn’t mention is the fact that automation has also cut back on the need for many jobs—like tool and die makers—because computer programmers do that work now. They program a robot to make a part without the need of a tool or die maker.

Yes, the world has changed, but the U.S. still has a large manufacturing sector. In fact, it is the 3rd largest in the world behind China and Germany, and it wasn’t that long ago, about three years, in fact, that the U.S. was still number one.

The manufacturing institute.org reports that “in 2012, (U.S.) manufacturers generated $2.03 trillion worth of value-added.  In the 20 years ending in 2012, manufacturing output increased more than 83 percent. The U.S. manufacturing sector is so huge that if it were its own country, it would rank as the eighth-largest world economy.  The United States produces the most goods and services overall as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), and is far ahead of second-place China.  Other countries, such as Japan and Germany, showed less growth buoyancy over the past decade compared with the United States.”

According to the IMF and CIA World Factbook, in 2015, the U.S. had dropped to third place behind Germany and China. The industrial output in U.S. dollars for the top five countries in 2015 was: 1st place China at $4.92 trillion, 2nd place Germany at $4.16 trillion, 3rd place United States at $3.75 trillion, 4th place Japan at $1.16 trillion, and fifth place U.K. at $588 billion.

My question is this: how does the U.S. support such a large home-based industrial output with only a small roomful of tool and die makers? It doesn’t, because the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 75,950 tool and die makers working in the U.S.

How large? Well, according to Rental Max, it takes 8 square feet per person for what they call partial seating. That means a room to hold almost 76-thousand tool and die makers must be at least 607,600 square feet in size. Now if the tool and die makers are standing, then the room only has to be about 456,000 square feet.

How many multiple football fields would it take to hold that many tool and die makers?
8 to 11 football fields depending on if they were standing or sitting.

Anyone who is interested in discovering the big fat lie that the Apple CEO said on 60 Minutes only has to check the following page at bls.gov.  It’s very detailed and it clearly reveals how misleading the CEO of Apple really is.

During the 60 Minutes interview Tim Cook said the notion of Apple avoiding U.S. taxes was ‘political crap’. What do you think—is Apple’s CEO Tim Cook a fraud and liar, just ignorant, and/or full of the crap he’s talking about?  After all, isn’t there some truth in that old saying that it takes one to know one?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The 1.6 Ton Concrete Stairway Procrastination Project

One challenge living in a house built on a steep hillside offers is erosion. From the street to the top of the property, I’ve estimated it’s about seven stories or seventy feet of elevation gain.

The erosion I’m talking about had washed enough dirt away from the southwest foundation of the house over the decades to expose the bottom of the concrete and allow the ivy to grow under the house in addition to letting rats move in too.

The erosion, ivy and rats led to this concrete stairway project on the southwest side of the house that I started on April 10, when I cleared away the thick ivy and ended almost four months later on August 1, 2015, with a 2nd coat of stucco in those areas where there were no steps or sidewalk. To show what I’m talking about, I’ve included nine photographs after the text of this post.

There is a double explanation for adding the word procrastination to the title. One reason is that I’ve known for several years that this job had to be done, and the second was that it was a great excuse to escape Twitter—my experience is that when you spend too much time on Twitter, it squeezes all the energy out of your brain until it refuses to function—and working on the rough draft of my next novel, The Last Sorcerer.  The next image is a working cover for the first book in a planned five-part series.

Book One on July 20 - 2015

In total, I worked on the concrete stairway project for nineteen days and 63 hours for an average of about 3.3 hours on each working day. When I started, I thought I’d be able to work the long 12 to 16 hours days of hard labor I worked when I was age 30 – 40, but I quickly learned that wasn’t going to be the case. At almost 70, when you work this hard, you quickly feel the damage age contributes.

The first damage was to my elbows from swinging a pick and sledge hammer to break up the hard packed clay—clay soil is difficult to work in dry or wet. I solved this later by using a heavy duty hammer drill and a wide chisel bit.

After that first and last 6-hour work day on April 14, I took a two-week break to let both elbows recover. The damage to the right elbow was worse than the left one. On April 15, I couldn’t move that arm or hold a pen to write, and it took the next fourteen days before I felt it was safe to continue working on the project.

Eventually, on May 22, I visited Big-5 and bought two, one-piece neoprene Pro Elbow Support sleeves that dramatically helped speed up the healing process and alleviated the pain so I could get back to work more often. I still don’t know why the elbow supports worked but they did.

By the time I finished the project, I had poured 19 bags of gravel that weighed a total of 950 pounds and mixed 41-bags of concrete (2,260 pounds based on dry weight). I have no idea how much that concrete weighed once it was wet, but I carried it up the hill in buckets from the mixing pan.

The receipts for the project reveal that I made thirteen supply runs, and I did not add in the hours spent driving to Home Depot to buy the material necessary to finish the work. If each supply run took 2.5 hours (a guestimate), then that added another 32.5 hours bringing the total to almost 96 hours.

Here are the nine photographs that show several stages of the project from near the beginning to the end, and writing this post gave me another excuse to avoid working on the last chapter in the first novel of The Last Sorcerer series.

Stairway Project One

Stairway Project Two

Stairway Project Three

Stairway Project Five

Stairway Project Six

Stairway Project Seven

Stairway Project Eight

Stairway Project Nine Stairway Project Ten

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal . His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

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The Propaganda War against Labor Unions—Part 3 of 3

What about other union benefits. The AFL-CIO reports 88 percent of workers in unions participate in pension plans versus 49 percent of nonunion workers. Seventy-seven percent of union workers have guaranteed pensions, compared with 17 percent of nonunion workers. Roughly 84 percent of workers in unions have paid sick leave compared with 62 percent of nonunion workers.

Stop and imagine what life would be like for most Americans if all workers belonged to labor unions, and then answer this: Who benefits when workers are earning $200 less a month—the workers, bosses or billionaires?

Let me help you with the answer: There are 536 billionaires (0.00016% of the population) in America; 9.63 million (3%) with a net worth of $1 million or more leaving more than 138 million (almost 44% of the population) working Americans with a net worth that’s less than $1 million who rely on that weekly or monthly pay check. Note: About 23% of the population is children and 14.5% are over the age of 65.

Let’s put that another way: There are almost 123 million households in the United States. In 2010, the poverty threshold was $22,314 for a family of four.

In 2013, 12.7% (15.6 million) of households earned under $15,000; 22.3% (27.4 million) earn $15,000 – $24.999; 20.4% (25 million) earn $25,000 – $34.999; 13.6% (17.7 million) earn $25,000 – $49,999; 17.6% (21.6 million) earn $50,000 – $75,999; 11.9% (14.6 million) earn $75,000-$99,999; 12.4% ($15.2 million) earn $100,000 – $149,999; 5.3% (6.5 million) earn $150,000 – $199,999, and 4.8% (5.9 million) earn $200,000 and over. – census.gov (2013)

In addition, Mother Jones.com reported that the top 0.01% (12,300) families in the United States earn almost $25 million each on average annually compared to $29,840 for the bottom 90% (110.7 million families).

In conclusion, the evidence strongly suggests that there are NOT enough union workers in the United States to be a factor that would lead to higher unemployment rates or real estate values just because they get paid a few hundred more a month on average—no matter what the millionaires or billionaire oligarchs claim through their puppets, politicians and propaganda. Don’t forget, union workers earn more and have better benefits, because they have someone fighting for them—evidence that unions are doing their job.

Food for thought: In 1900, before there were strong labor unions and the Robber Barons ruled over most of America with corporate monopolies, 40% of Americans lived in poverty. And what about countries that have high labor union membership—for instance, three countries with the highest labor union membership in the world: Sweden and Denmark with 95% union membership and Finland with 85% membership. What do these countries have in common?

The answer: Sweden, Denmark and Finland all made the world’s 10 happiest countries list (the U.S. isn’t on this list) , according to this year’s World Happiness Report, that looks at earnings, living standards, employment, mental health and family stability. The report surveyed 158 countries

Return to  Part 2 or start with Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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The Propaganda War against Labor Unions—Part 2 of 3

If you are interesting in a detailed report on What’s Happening in Wisconsin Explained, click this link to Mother Jones.com. As for Scott Walker’s popularity in Wisconsin: in the last election, he won with 1.259 (53% of the vote) million votes versus 1.114 million (almost half of the 4.4 million eligible voters in the state actually voted)—it wasn’t a landslide.

Another argument on Writer Beat.com was that the unions must go because they are corrupt, but there was no mention of corruption in the private sector or the government. To be fair, if one must go for corruption, they all must go.

In the private sector, Transparency.org reports, “Hefty fines, damaged reputations and jail sentences – recent scandals prove that corruption in business doesn’t always bring profits. Yet bribery persists. Almost a fifth of executives surveyed by Ernst & Young claimed to have lost business to a competitor who paid bribes. More than a third felt corruption was getting worse.

“Corruption distorts markets and creates unfair competition. Companies often pay bribes or rig bids to win public procurement contracts. Many companies hide corrupt acts behind secret subsidiaries and partnerships. Or they seek to influence political decision-making illicitly. Others exploit tax laws, construct cartels or abuse legal loopholes. Private companies have huge influence in many public spheres. These are often crucial – from energy to healthcare.”

As for corruption in the government, Transparency.org says, “At the federal level, the recently completed 2014 midterm elections confirmed the ever-increasing role that wealthy individuals, corporations, and organizations play in financing political campaigns. Much of this money if funneled through and to various groups that are not obligated to publically report the sources of their funding, thereby making it impossible for the public to know who is financing various campaigns. While political corruption is a problem in all countries, it is notable that many of the countries that score higher than the US on the CPI impose donation and/or expenditure limits on political campaigns.”

The Fiscal Times.com asks, “Lying, Cheating, Stealing: How Corrupt is America? Corruption is as American as apple pie, or so it would seem. A casual survey of the political and corporate landscape in recent weeks alone provides a troubling reminder that corruption is endemic to our way of life …”

I think it also helps to take a look at the numbers to see just how many Americans belong to labor unions and if those numbers are enough to affect the economy to the degree the millionaire and billionaire oligarchs and their puppets and pet politicians like Scott Walker claim.

The Bureau of Labor Statics at the U.S. Department of Labor reports (BLS) that there are about 148.3 million civilians employed in the United States, and the BLS says that public-sector workers only had a union membership rate of 35.7 percent—more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers at 6.6 percent.

There are 22 million public sector workers in cities, counties, states and the federal government (only 2.7 million work for the feds or 12%—the lowest figure since 1966), and within the public sector, the union membership rate was highest for local government (41.9 percent), which included employees in heavily unionized occupations, such as teachers, police officers, and firefighters. That means in 2014, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belonged to unions and 14.8 million did not.

BLS also reports that of the 126.3 million private sector workers, only 7.4 million belonged to labor unions meaning almost 119 million didn’t belong to a union—sixteen times the number of workers that belong to unions.

What’s interesting is that the BLS reported, “Earnings In 2014, among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $970, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $763.”

Explain how less than 6% of the private sector work force earning about $200 more a week is responsible for any increase in unemployment or real estate prices.

Continued in Part 3 on May 10, 2015 or start with Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”