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December 6, 2017

The signer claimed they never signed the Deed

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:18 am

If you went to someone’s house to notarize a letter that says that little Tommy cannot go to school today and also notarize a Deed for the same person — most Notaries put the two documents in the same journal entry. If the signer only signs once, you don’t know which document they signed for and you cannot prove which document they signed for in court with any probability.

The signer could say, “I never had that notarized, I must have been forged.” or “I signed the document, but I never requested to have it Notarized. The Notary must have seen it on the table and attached an Acknowledgment without my knowing — after all, I didn’t sign for it in the journal.”

I have only heard of a case like this once where the signer claimed not to have signed anything and the Notary had to go to court. But, a signer or borrower could claim not to have signed more than one of the documents if you keep your journal using the multiple documents per journal entry system.

Additionally, the Lender could be accused of adding extra documents with extra terms to a loan signing that were added after the signing to the journal. Using the multiple documents per journal entry system of journal filling it looks very suspicious. Eventually you could get nailed.

So, play it safe and do one journal entry per person per document. Two signers each signing twelve notarized documents = 24 journal entries and yes, you will have to buy a new journal every several weeks and no, it is not that expensive and yes it is necessary.

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December 5, 2017

If you’re named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost you $20,000 in legal fees

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:19 am

If you are named as a conspirator in an identity theft ring or identity theft case, you might be looking at some serious legal costs. Being a Notary is not safe, especially when you refuse to keep your books correctly (oh, but my state doesn’t require me to.) Excuses will not get you off the hook when you are a suspect in an identity theft case and when your journal doesn’t has a fake ID documents and no thumbprint (oh, but my state doesn’t require me to). Your state’s shoddy lack of requirements could cost you $20,000, but only if you choose not to keep proper records. Your state is not forbidding you from keeping good records. They just don’t require good records. It might be fun to just stamp things without keeping a record of what you did. But, the fun will go away when you are named in a law suit.

Legal costs might only be a few thousand, but could be as high as $20,000 in a worst case scenario.

Keeping a journal properly with:
1. One entry per person per document… i.e. if two signers each sign five documents that is ten journal entries.
2. Keep journal thumbprints as that is the only way the FBI can catch frauds if a fake ID is used (in many cases.)
3. Keeping additional notes about the signers might help in court such as mentioning tattoos, a nervous twitch, or anything else noteworthy.

Keeping good records is your responsibility as a good Notary whether required by law or not. Your refusal is pure obstinance and I won’t tolerate it for a minute. If you don’t understand good record keeping, the NNA teaches journal filling procedure quite well. So, consult them or risk possible legal consequences! Keeping your journal correctly doesn’t keep you out of court — it just normally shortens your time dealing with investigators and the court system to a few minutes instead of a few months. Take your pick!

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November 28, 2017

Five things a Notary must do

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 3:46 am

This article is sort of like — how to be a notary in a nutshell. But, if you were a Notary in a nutshell, would your seal fit in the nutshell? Notaries are a bunch of nuts anyway, so they probably were inside a nutshell at some point in their evolution. In any case, what does a Notary do?

1. Identify
2. Journals
3. Filling out certificates
4. Giving Oaths
5. Understaning the difference between a legal and illegal request.

The most important thing a Notary does is to identify the signer and make sure they are the one who is intended to sign the document. Many Notaries take liberties identifying people which is dangerous and could come back to them. There are fake ID’s and people who impersonate others with the same name or variation of the same or similar name. If you think this will never happen to you, guess again and then you will understand the reason why the Notary profession exists — to deter fraud and safeguard transactions. If you are not safeguarding transactions through proper identification, you might as well not be a Notary.

Not all states require a journal, but if you are in front of a judge or FBI agent and don’t have a journal, you will be in a ton of trouble. So, there is more than just your sec of state to be accountable to. You need a journal in case there is an investigation and if you don’t keep on, you should not be a Notary. Period!

Filling out certificates seems easy enough. But, what if there is a snag? What if the certificate was filled out by the lender and one of the signers cannot show up or what if the state is wrong? Then, you have to make a change. But, what if you don’t know who initials the change, or forget to initial altogether? Then, you will be in huge trouble and will deserve it. What if you don’t know how to add a loose certificate with a staple to a document and fill out the “additional information” section. If you don’t know, then you are taking a huge risk being a Notary. That is mandatory knowledge.

Giving Oaths is something Notaries are generally legally required to know, however, no state audits people’s Oath giving abilities. The result is that 70% or more of Notaries do not know how to give an Oath. Some rely on their cheat sheets, but not knowing how to give an Oath off the top of your head is as ignorant as needing to consult a manual every time you tie your shoe. A real notary would not need a cheat sheet.

Knowing what is legal and not is a must. Different states have different laws. By rejecting legal requests, you are no longer a Notary Public, because a Notary Public accepts all legal requests from the public. Most Notaries reject legal requests on the basis that they don’t feel personally comfortable with the fact that someone already signed a document to be acknolweged or that the document is in a foreign language. In California, the document can be in Slobudian. You are notarizing the signature not the language. Then, the very same notary who declined a legal request will stand in line to do something completely reckless and illegal out of carelessness or stupidity like mailing a loose certificate in the mail simply because — it’s okay because the Lender told me it was okay or, it’s okay because I always do that. Always doing something doesn’t make it legal or safe! The law decides what is legal and acceptable — not you!

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November 21, 2017

13 ways to get sued as a Notary

Filed under: Notary Mistakes,Technical & Legal — admin @ 3:59 am

Many people become Notaries to make a few extra bucks and don’t realize there are liabilities in this profession. Here are some ways you can get into trouble as a Notary.

1. You name your business a particular name, advertise with that name, but the name is not registered with your county clerk. Someone could sue you for using their business name.

2. You notarize loans in an Attorney state and the local bar association sues you. This has happened to a few Notaries in Massachusetts, and in Georgia the bar association antagonizes Notaries from time to time.

3. You make a mistake on a signing and your E&O doesn’t cover you. E&O is for NOTARY MISTAKES and not for business mistakes you make with loan signing. If a document is not notarized, your E&O will not cover your mistake. For example if you sign the note wrong, that is not a Notary mistake, that is a document signing mistake.

4. You return documents back late and the Lender sues you because the borrower lost their lock.

5. You make a comment to the borrower about their loan, they cancel, and then the Lender blames you and sues.

6. You decline to Notarize someone whose name on the ID does not match or prove the name on the document. One Notary did exacty this and got sued and lost because her communication skills were so bad, but judge could not understand her side of the story.

7. You get in a car accident on the way to a signing and get sued as a result of the accident.

8. You make a mistake in a loan signing and then don’t answer your phone or email for days after. The Lender is pulling his hair out and sues you for his bill with Bosley hair transplants.

9. You don’t follow directions on an assignment. You don’t show the documents in the order the client asked you to. As a result, the client changes their mind about signing the document that will get the client their commission. The client loses $5000 because of you, sues you, and wins.

10. You forget to administer an Oath and your state fines you for malpractice. In California there is a $750 fine for each Oath you forget. Fining and suing are different, but the end is the same — you lose. Or should I say, I swear you will lose!

11. You give legal advice or something that can be construed, misconstrued as legal advice. Then, you get sued for UPL. If you give legal advice to a courier company you could get sued for UPL by UPS.

12. You put the wrong date on the Right to Cancel, the borrower thinks they have an additional day, and find out after the fact that they don’t. Good luck. You would be surprised how many Notaries do not know how to date a Right to Cancel.

13. You misrepresent yourself as an immigration expert and defraud some poor and helpless immigrants. Or you advertise as a Notario. You will be cracked down upon by many state governments for this.

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November 16, 2017

Goofing on the RTC

Filed under: Notary Mistakes,Technical & Legal — admin @ 3:58 am

To be Notary, you need to be a cautious and meticulous person. The problem is, that most Notaries are amazingly careless and go into this profession because anyone can get in. This is a problem. You would not believe how many people goof on the RTC when I ask over the phone.

If a Refinance is signed on a Friday, and Monday is a Federal Holiday, when is the last day to cancel?
The answer is Wednesday night at 11:59pm.

30% of people goof on this ridiculously easy question and say Tuesday and a few say Thursday. What is the problem here? Many Notaries have poor listening comprehension. They are not really paying attention or listening when they are supposed to be listening — even during a test that determines their future. Many others do not concentrate on what they are thinking about. Sometimes it is good to review the situation two or three times in your head before giving an answer.

The Notary profession involves a lot of phone conversation, a few emails and texts as well. If you cannot think and be cooperative over the phone, you will not make it in this profession. It is easy to date a right to cancel. That is kid stuff, yet many Notaries cannot do this.

You can get SUED if you date an RTC wrong.

I signed 4000 loans in my career and did not goof a RTC even once. I made about six technical errors in my career which is not bad. I made more than six social blunders, but as you know, I am not the most socially smooth person in the world.

So, practice the RTC. This is called studying. Remember the basic principles.

The day of the signing doesn’t count as a day to rescind.
Sundays and Federal holidays don’t count as days to rescind.
Friday after Thanksgiving does count unless the Lender says it doesn’t count.
Saturdays are business days or rescission days and do count.

A borrower in a Refinances has three calendar days to rescind not including the day of the signing, Sundays or Federal Holidays.

It’s not rocket science. Learn it correctly so you don’t get fired or sued.

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November 14, 2017

That will never happen to me!

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 3:49 am

There was a Notary who generally did a good job, but didn’t understand that the Notary profession isn’t completely safe. He knew that other people went to court from time to time but thought — that will never happen to me. He did his job faithfully day after day. One day he did a routine job for Annette Rockafeller. Little did he know that the ID was fake. Since his state law did not require thumbprints, he notarized Annette based on her fake ID which looked real. Several months later, our Notary friend had to appear in court. He was in court for a month because he did not have incriminating evidence to nail the suspect in the case who had committed identity fraud and robbed someone of half a million dollars.

The judge finally figured out what happened and convicted someone names Judy who was pretending to be Annette. My only question is that if Judy was pretending to be Annette, then who was pretending to be Judy? In any case, the Notary lost half his loyal clients because he was tied up in court for a month with no pay. He was frustrated and upset that this had happened. After all, his state didn’t require thumbprints so he had done nothing wrong.

The judge sat his down and explained that India does not require seat belts but you can still get killed if you don’t wear one. The law allows people to drink alcohol, but you can still die if you drink too much. There is nobody forcing you to take a thumbprint and nobody forcing you not to. But, next time YOU could be named as a suspect as a conspirator in an identity theft ring if this happens again. Guess what the Notary said to the judge?

That will never happen to me!

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November 13, 2017

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 1:08 am

When I was a Notary and was handed some other Notary’s work, I normally saw that the he/she/they and capacity(ies) that needed cross outs did not have cross outs. By omitting the cross outs you cannot know if the signer is a single man, woman, or multiple people. California no longer allows Notaries to verify capacity which leaves one less thing to cross out.

If you as a Notary omit to cross out the she/they on an Acknowledgment for a single man, someone could add another name to the certificate and get away with it undetected. Notaries can be extremely negligent and don’t get caught — usually. But, I catch them by the dozen every day and penalize them on my site. I throw hundreds of Notaries off my site for failing my over the phone Notary quizzes. And others stay on the site but I deduct points from their point algorithm results which makes it very hard for them to upgrade. You might not take doing your job correctly seriously, but I do.

And then the Notaries who take their job seriously, but have been doing it wrong for 20 years and think that their work is flawless. I will catch you. I will expose many things you are not doing or are doing incorrectly. Better that I catch you rather than ending up in court with legal fees for not filling out forms correctly. Being a Notary is not rocket science. There is no reason for such negligence!

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November 1, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Real Life Notary Scenarios

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 4:37 am

Return to the table of contents of Notary Public 101

Knowing how to be a good notary is all fine and good. But, if you don’t know how to handle scenarios, you might get into some sticky situations.

1. The name on the ID says John Smith
Q. The name on the ID is shorter or not matching the name on the document? What do you do?
A. Ask for other ID. If they don’t have it, if your state allows credible witnesses, use them to identify the signer. You can always notarize the signer based on his name on the ID regardless of the typed name on the document. The Lender might not like that, but your main job is to please the law.

Example.
If the ID says John Smith, but the typed name in the document says John W Smith…
You can have him sign John Smith and notarize him as John Smith. Might not wash with the Lender but legal.
Or, have him sign John W Smith, but put only John Smith in the Acknowledgment. That way you are ONLY certifying the name he proved to you was really his.

2. What is the cleanest way to rectify the situation involving the certificate?
Most Notaries like to cross out and initial changes in certificates. Keep in mind that these are legal documents affecting million dollar properties. Cross outs look like tampering. It is CLEANER to take a fresh acknowledgment form from your Notary bag, fill it out thoroughly including the additional information section with the name of the document, number of pages, etc., And then staple it on to the document.

3. The Lender wants you to use the original certificate form.
If there is a cross out for the name that is quite seriously legally. It could lead to complications should you ever go to court. It is your right to decide to use a fresh acknowledgment form and staple it on the document even if the Lender doesn’t want it that way. Lenders sometimes prefer to use the original form because it is inscribed within the document. But, also because a new form will be charged extra money from the county recorder. Lenders sometimes lose loose acknowledgment forms which is yet another reason many Lenders prefer to fix the original.

4. You have a wrong state in an acknowledgment.
Assuming the form is acceptable in all other ways other than the state, just cross out the state, write in the new state, initial, and you are done. Do NOT let the borrower initial Notary certificate forms — that is exclusively the jurisdiction of the Notary.

5. The signer would not sign the flood disclosure.
If you go to a signing at 11am and the signer signs everything except the flood disclosure, what do you do? You call the contact person or people in title or lending. If they do not call you back, you cannot stay at the borrower’s house all day long. Let’s say you leave the signing at noon with everything signed except the flood disclosure. How fast do you drop the package?

Most Notaries will hold on to the package for dear life until the messiah comes. However, the Lender needs those documents. The borrower can take care of the flood disclosure on his own as it is not notarized. Here are some realistic scenarios about this situation.

(a) You drop the package too early, and you have to immediately go back to sign the disclosure. The Lender loses $50 on Fedex. A small loss that is completely his fault for not calling you back.
(b) You hold on to the package for several hours thinking you will drop it half an hour before pick up. Then, you either get busy with other things and forget to drop it. Or, you are at home cooking and forget all about your package. Or, better yet, you get in a bad accident and are in the hospital and cannot drop it. If you forget to drop it, don’t have time, or can’t, you could get sued when the borrower loses their lock. Don’t let them lose their lock, rather, drop it like it’s hot!

6. The green pen scenario
You go to a signing, open the package and the instructions read:
Sign in GREEN, don’t call unless it is an emergency, get it to Fedex on time or you are fired.
It is 5:30, last pick up is at 6:00pm. Nobody has a green pen. There is a stationary store in the same complex as the Fedex station ten minutes from where you are. What do you do?

(a) Sign in black or blue, whatever is legal in your state.
(b) Call your contact person and let them know you are having a situation.
(c) Go to the store.

Most Notaries carry a portable time machine with them and decide to go back into time, read the directions BEFORE going to the signing. Unfortunately, the time machine is not one of the multiple choice options and we do require picking options that are available rather than creating your own convoluted answer. If you want to sign in a legal color, then sign in black or blue, but you will get fired, because that is not what the directions say. If you call, they are going to say, “what did the directions say?” You will say, “Sign in green.” And then they will say, “So what are you asking us for, go and get a green pen dummy.” The correct answer is to have the borrower follow you to the store, get a pen, sign the document and then drop it next door at Fedex, and then go to Starbucks for an iced Jurataccino (optional.) Otherwise you won’t have time to drive back and forth and drop the package.

7. Confirming the signing
When you call the borrowers, go over the:
Date, Time, People Signing, Location, if there is a check or wired funds, if they have 90 minutes to complete a signing, and any fees that seem critical in the CD or HUD. Additionally, you should have them read the names in their ID to make sure they match, otherwise you will have a long signing.

8. Ten grant deeds.
If you have one signer signing ten grant deeds, you need to do the following:
Create ten journal entries, one per person per document.
Put thorough information about each Grant Deed such as document date, APN number, escrow number, property address, who the grantor and grantee is, and anything else.
Thumbprint as well in the journal.

9. The FBI is at your door.
What piece of information will they want from you if someone gave you a fake ID?
A journal thumbprint. If you don’t keep one, start now.

10. What types of pads of forms should a Notary keep in his/her bag?
Acknowledgments, Jurats, Copy Certifications. Skip the POA forms. Have them consult an Attorney. I carried permission for minors to travel. I created my own very thorough form with room for thumbprints. The Mexican authorities loved my form!

11. Chad assigns a job to you. He says if there is a problem, call him and only him. If you can’t reach him, then email him. You get to the signing, the signer signs half the documents and then has a question. What do you do? Call Chad and if he doesn’t answer then email him. Many Notaries just don’t follow directions. I don’t know how to teach following directions, just try to practice doing so.

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October 31, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Review Quick Pointers

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: — admin @ 4:34 am

Return to the table of contents page of Notary Public 101

Here are some review pointers. Rather than teaching in index format like I usually do, these are quick facts you need to know. Besides those other facts your embarrassed parents thought you didn’t need to know.

An Affiant is someone who signs an Affidavit and swears under Oath. A Harvey Weinstein is someone who signs a check to a woman to hush her up and swears under his breath.

An Attorney in Fact is another way of saying Agent or Grantee for a power of attorney. An Attorney in Fiction is another way of saying Perry Mason.

A certificate is a form a Notary uses for executing Acknowledgments, Jurats, and other Notary acts that require a certificate. Florida and Texas use certificates for Oaths while most other states do not. You can buy certificates in pad format from the NNA and other vendors. You should keep these in your notary bag at all times because you WILL be using them.

A Principal is the main person who signs an Power of Attorney or who is signing a document that is notarized using the Proof of Execution procedure. It just means the main person who signs a document. Consider it your Notary bag of tricks. The other kind of principal is the person you’re sent to when you’re caught chewing gum in class. Memories!

The Venue is the part of the certificate where you document the state and county where the notarization is taking place. It is also the physical location where you might be at any point in time, especially during a notarization. On the other hand, if you pick up a Notary in a bar, the venue could be your place or mine.

In an Acknowledgment, the signer must acknowledge having signed a document in the physical presence of the Notary Public, but does not need to sign in front of the Notary (although Lenders prefer that they do.) Some lenders I know also prefer that the well-known phrase, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” NOT be acknowledged, because it would mean they no longer be!

In a Jurat, the affiant or signer must sign and swear to the truthfulness of the written statement or document in the presence of the Notary which is evident based on the Jurat wording, “Subscribed and Sworn to BEFORE ME.” Note that acknowledgments do not include the before me part when referring to signing. They also don’t include any swear words, so the “sworn to me” part is confusing.

Your Seal must be clear, complete and not smudgy and not have light or missing corners or you will be hearing from the county recorder and might have to redo your work. Seals may look smudgy even if they aren’t, if you forgot to wear your contacts.

It is illegal to omit an Oath or Affirmation when executing a Jurat. Many Notaries say that they never have to administer Oaths in their state. I’m not sure whether or not to believe them. But, you need to know how to do an Oath if you see the words, “Subscribed and SWORN to before me.”

Oaths begin with the verbiage, “Do you solemnly swear…” If you omit the term swear, then the proceding is not an Oath. Oaths are made under God while Affirmations are made on your personal honor. If you’re Harvey Weinstein, the personal honor part doesn’t apply. I affirm that will be my last Harvey Weinstein joke.

Affirmations use the verb “affirm” or “state” but not swear. If you swear it is not an Affirmation and if you affirm it is not an Oath.

Oral statements do not get the same Oath as a written document or statement. Do you solemnly swear that the statement you are about to make is true and correct is a good Oath verbiage for an oral statement, but would be completely wrong for a document Oath for obvious reasons. Don’t let the fact that oral hygiene is good and documented hygiene is also good confuse you.

In your Notary Journal create one entry per person per document. If there are two signers each signing three notarized documents, then enter six entries. Each one signed by the corresponding signer. And keep journal thumbprints just in case someone gives you a fake ID. (If you’re a liquor store owner and someone gives you a fake ID, give them your thumbprint down!) Keep additional notes if there is more than one document with the same name such as escrow numbers, addresses, or anything to distinguish the documents.

The purpose in keeping a journal is not so much to please your state although many states require this, it is to please the FBI & Judges as they will be the ones inspecting your journal if something goes wrong. (However there’s no pleasing some people, like my old girlfriend who complained when I had the toilet paper roll under, not over, and also when I had it over, not under.) California audits journals from time to time too and they will suspend you if you keep a bad journal or no journal.

If the identification does not prove a person’s identity then that is a questionable and possibly illegal notarization. Think of all the trouble you could get yourself into taking liberties notarizing. You could end up in court as a defendant. The ID does not have to exactly match the signature, but the name in the signature must be provable based on the ID. i.e. the ID says John William Smith and the signature on the document says, John W Smith — then it is provable and you should be okay. If your ID says “John Doe” and you’re checking into a hotel with a harlot, it isn’t provable but you should be okay if you wear protection.

Identification for the purposes of notarization should be government issued photo ID’s and be current (some states have exceptions to the current part.) A Social Security card or AKA statement is NOT acceptable for a Notary to use to identify a signer or verify a middle initial. If Social Security runs out in 30 years, you can use that to identify millennials’ middle fingers.

A thumbprint is the most unique and reliable way of identifying someone as a supplemental form of identification. Use a photo ID as a primary ID and thumbprint in your journal. That way if you are ever investigated you will have hard bio-metric data to find dangerous criminals. If the criminal had his thumb blown off, you’re on your own.

When doing a POA signing with an Attorney in Fact, there are multiple ways an AIF can sign. John, as attorney in fact for Sue. Sue, by John her POA, etc. To choose the right variation is NOT YOUR JOB. There are perhaps eight legally acceptable ways of doing the verbiage. It is up to the LENDER to decide which variation they want. Rely exclusively on them for this as choosing a variation is a matter of preference, and the loan will not go through if you goof on this. If you goof on your younger siblings, it’s perfectly normal.

Do NOT send loose certificates in the mail. You could end up in jail as it could be attached to anything. Certificates must be stapled to the document they correspond to — period! Do not send loose women in the mail unless she’s going to Harvey Weinstein. Darn! Okay, I promise, that’s the last Weinstein joke!

Do not ask Lenders or title people for notary advice. They will tell you what they want you to do which is often illegal and for their short term benefit. Rely on your state government and NNA’s hotline for reliable Notary knowledge. Other people are NOT experts at Notary law and might lead you astray by accident or for their convenience. Don’t trust anybody except Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. They don’t exist? Okay, don’t even trust them!

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October 29, 2017

Multiple title companies told notaries NOT to thumbprint?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:00 am

When I ask Notaries to thumbprint, they tell me that title companies don’t want them to. I don’t want anyone to get fired. However, I don’t want the Notary to be named as a conspirator defendant in an identity theft case either. Most Notaries don’t want to do anything they are not forced to do, especially if the people who pay them do not want them to. The only solution is for 123notary to contact Title companies and explain why it is so critical to take thumbprints.

Thumbprints are the only way to catch identity thieves. And Lenders can lose thousands of dollars should an identity thief slip through the cracks and they do from time to time on loans. So, why would a title company want to prevent the FBI from catching the bad guys.

Should 123notary write to title companies and explain why this is so important? Maybe that is the only way they will listen. The Notary industry is screwed up, so it is up to us to turn it around, right?

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