Ambassadors of Harmony


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H/T: Maggies Farm

Sarah Palin is not a Populist

“She’s a supernova,” says Mark McKinnon. “The only parallel is Barack Obama. And look what happened to him.”
New York Magazine writer John Heileman implied  in his otherwise flattering article "2012: How Sarah Barracuda Becomes President" that Sarah is a populist.
Palin’s own brand of performance art is no less barbed and no more subtle, but still infinitely fascinating. In a deep-blue jacket and tight black skirt, she uncorks a 40-minute soliloquy that is equal parts populism, moralism, stand-up comedy, and free association, all rendered in a syntax as fractured as Joe Theismann’s tibia after Lawrence Taylor got through with him.
David Broder reported in the WaPo on her keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville that Sarah displayed "her pitch-perfect populism."  Reporting in Time, Joe Klein said of the same speech:
It was classic Palin, a brilliant line, brilliantly delivered: she does folksy far better than George W. Bush or any of the other Republican focus-group populists ever did.
Even George Will thinks she is a populist ... and because she is, she has no chance of being elected president.
Populism has had as many incarnations as it has had provocations, but its constant ingredient has been resentment, and hence whininess. Populism does not wax in tranquil times; it is a cathartic response to serious problems. But it always wanes because it never seems serious as a solution.
But George, who serves as 'token Conservative" on ABC's "This Week" every Sunday morning needs a lesson from Charles Postel, the award-winning author of  "The Populist Vision."  In an opinion piece for Politico, Professor Postel wrote:
When David Broder praised Sarah Palin’s speech at the National Tea Party Convention as “perfect-pitch populism,” real Populists were surely spinning in their graves.

In the 1890s, American farmers and other activists rocked corporate power in a populist revolt. Now, the Washington Post columnist has passed the populist mantle to Palin. If they could, the Populists would protest this misuse of their name.

But why do political analysts insist on using the word “populism” to describe conservative activism? Why should we care? Because it makes hash of both history and our current political conflicts.

The Populists were all about economic justice. They demanded government regulation of railroads, banks, telecommunications and insurance. And if that failed to curb corporate abuses, they wanted public ownership or at least a “public option.” They demanded a federal stimulus to get the economy out of the terrible depression of 1893-97.

The Populists were the ones who pushed for a progressive income tax to pay for the needs of the people, especially for better and more accessible public schools and universities. The Populist Party of the 1890s failed. But, in failure, its proposals refashioned progressive politics for generations.

George Will’s Feb. 18 Washington Post column smugly reduces populism to the whiny politics of self-defeating resentment “that never seems serious as a solution.” It may be bad history, but it makes for simple story lines about “angry” politics.
Indeed, Populism was a move away from the principles of Jeffersonian republicanism, which we know from the founder's documents, advocated individual liberties and commitment to small government.  Populism started with America's farmers and mutated to Progressivism and has now unfortunately become the activist big government Marxism that we see today.

Indiana Dems Lie About Stutzman On Social Security

Today a glossy over-sized political ad landed in my mailbox. Its headline read:

MARLIN STUTZMAN WOULD RISK YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY IN THE STOCK MARKET

If Marlin Stutzman's plan were in place, the recent stock market meltdown could could have cost seniors 40% of their Social Security. And Marlin Stutzman still thinks his plan protects seniors?
So I immediately said to myself: "Self, what Marlin Stutzman plan is that?" I was pleased to find that the ad, which was "paid for by the Indiana Democratic party and authorized by Tom Hayhurst for Congress Committee" provided me with sources for its claims.  It turns out that this unlisted Youtube video was their source. Interestingly, the video was posted on 9/7/10 (possibly by a Dem supporter) and has only only been viewed 13 times, so I suspect that they didn't expect anyone to look at it.



The video has poor sound but I listened twice to find the key question and Stutzman's answer:

Moderator: "Do you support the privatization of Social Security?"

Marlin's response: "No."


Tom Hayhurst and company also cited this Goshen News article as a source for a claim that Stutzman wants to cut Medicare. If you can find any reference to cutting Medicare in the article, please let me know.

As a Stutzman supporter and a senior, I am personally disappointed that Marlin has not considered Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan's Social Security proposal outlined in his "Roadmap for America's Future," because the bankruptcy of the Federal retirement system is indeed imminent. Ryan's proposal permits a portion of Social Security payroll contributions to be invested voluntarily in the market with the funds held in the investor's name.

Acid Rain Redux

To continue support of environmental socialism and to lay the groundwork for Obama's next attempt to pass a cap-and-tax bill, the compliant media has begun to generate propaganda.  Grist reports:

Policy makers, environmentalists -- even Republicans -- like to congratulate themselves on the "victory" over acid rain. As this American success story is usually told, acid rain's effects were addressed by a 1990 update to the Clean Air Act that created a cap-and-trade system focused on sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Since the system was implemented, sulfur dioxide emissions dropped 70 percent, and threatened forests and wildlife were saved. Hurrah!

There's only one problem with that version of history: It's not true. As Scientific American reports, acid rain is a continuing and growing problem; forests and animals all over the world (including the U.S. East Coast) are indeed facing catastrophe. But the No. 1 source of today's acid rain pollution is no longer sulfur dioxide, as it was 20 years ago. It's nitrogen oxide emissions from factory farms.
Folks, this is the same Scientific American whose editor, John Rennie, admits to intentional bias. Here is the direct quote:
There’s nothing wrong with balance in principle. Balance is a very important thing to have in stories, in the same way that you want to have fairness, and - heaven forbid - accuracy. On lots of issues, it’s very hard to know where the ultimate truth lies. So the best you can do is present lots of different views and leave it to the - your, your audience to try to piece together the truth for themselves. But on some scientific issues, that’s really not the best you can do.

You don’t want to have stories structured in such a way that, for example, you have one global warming supporter who is quoted, representing 98 percent of the scientific community and then matched up against one other person who’s a denier, who’s given effectively the same amount of space. Because then people in your audience could be left with the idea that there is a more equal balance in how seriously those ideas are taken.
Now the Boston Globe has produced an emotion-tugging piece about "a clean air revival" that cleaned a Vermont pond and solved the acid rain pollution of a Cheshire, OH coal-fired power plant by utilizing a cap-and-trade scheme invented by President George H. W. Bush in 1990.

The real story about acid rain is well researched and presented by Rob Blackstock at LewRockwell.com.
In 1990, the federal government passed the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA). Title IV of the CAAA was meant to control electric utility emissions of SO2 in order to eliminate acid rain. Acid deposition (commonly known as acid rain), "refers to a process by which certain types of pollutants chemically transform into acidic substances in the atmosphere and then fall to the earth…. Acid deposition may cause a variety of harmful effects to the ecosystems, agriculture, building materials, and possibly to human health" (Kahn, James R. 1998. The Economic Approach to Environmental and Natural Resources). This definition comes from a standard text in environmental economics.

Like the subject of air pollution itself, acid rain is not a new concept. In 1852 chemist Robert Angus Smith studied the relationship between the increasing amount of soot in Manchester, England and the increased amount of acidity in precipitation. He dubbed this phenomenon acid rain (LaBastille, Anne. 1981. "Acid Rain. How Great a Menace?" National Geographic 160, November). However, it was not until the 1980’s that journalists began to hype the accusation that electricity-producing firms were ruining nature by causing acid rain. In the lead-in to her 1981 article on the subject, Anne LaBastille writes, "Deadly Waters: In an Adirondack stream, brook trout confined in a wire cage succumb to asphyxiation – a result of the water being polluted by rain- and snow-borne sulfuric and nitric acids. Acid rain has eliminated fish in thousands of lakes in Scandinavia and hundreds in the U.S. and Canada. Scientists believe acid rain comes from the burning of fossil fuels..." (ibid.).

As reported by Anderson, "The National Academy of Sciences predicted a hundred-fold increase in acid lakes by 1990 if SO2 emissions were not severely curtailed" (Anderson, William. 1999. Facts, Fiction and the Fourth Estate. Ph.D. Dissertation, Auburn University). This statement was made in spite of the fact that SO2 emissions had decreased by 42% between 1962 and 1981 and by 33% between 1971 and 1981 (Goklany, Indur. 1999. Clearing the Air: the Real Story of the War on Air Pollution). In response to media concerns, "President Jimmy Carter commissioned the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP) to examine the damage being caused by acid rain and recommend solutions" (Anderson, 1999). Initially, Carter approved a ten million dollar yearly budget for the study. However, in 1982 President Ronald Reagan increased the annual budget to one hundred million dollars making NAPAP the most costly environmental study in United States history (thankfully, the final cost topped out at a mere $500 million).

In 1987, a report on the preliminary findings of the NAPAP study (known as the interim assessment) was presented to Congress. The initial findings showed no correlation between acid rain and increased acidity of lakes. "The reaction to the interim assessment by the environmentalists and their allies in Congress was fury and the firing of NAPAP’s director, Dr. Lawrence Kulp, and the demand that the new director of NAPAP, Dr. James R. Mahoney, ‘rewrite’ the report and produce ‘an implicit repudiation of the interim assessment’" (Brookes, Warren T. 1989. "The Continuing Mythology about Acid Rain." Human Events  2, September). According to Bast, Hill and Rue, release of the report to the general public was "delayed until after passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990" (1994. Eco-Sanity: A Common-Sense Guide to Environmentalism).

The NAPAP study reached four conclusions contrary to those presented by the environmental movement: 1) Acid rain has not injured forests in either the U.S. or Canada; 2) Acid rain has had no observable effect on human health; 3) Acid rain has not injured crops, and may even have a positive effect on some crops; and finally, 4) acid rain has acidified only a very small number of lakes, and these can be restored to health by liming (ibid.).

In spite of the good news presented by the NAPAP interim assessment:
"Congress decided to include the anti-acid rain program in the 1990 amendments without waiting for the findings of the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Project [emphasis added]. Members reasoned that: (a) scientific evidence is seldom conclusive and the project’s report would leave many questions unanswered; (b) enough information emerged between 1980 and 1990 to know the sources and destinations of acid rain; (c) an opportunity existed to pass a comprehensive clean air bill and it might not last long or occur again soon" (Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., The. 1991. The Clean Air Act Amendments: BNA’s comprehensive Analysis of the New Law).
A similar report states, "Politicians, under heavy pressure from media and the environmental lobby, also chose to ignore the NAPAP report. The U.S. Senate spent just one hour discussing the report for which it spent $500 million in taxpayers’ money. Incredibly, the report was never even presented to the House of Representatives" (Bast, Hill, Rue 1994).

Congress passed the 1990 CAAA in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. The result? Natural gas prices, in real dollars, have doubled since 1990. Very soon, I predict the same fiasco will occur again. Congress, with no semblance of debate, will pass global-warming legislation which will shackle the American economy.

Save the Light Bulb: Operative Word = "Heat"

In 2007, President Bush signed the Energy Independence Security Act (EISA 2007) into law.  In effect the law  rates the efficiency of incandescent lights based upon the ratio of energy expended to lumens produced. and essentially covers bulbs of less than 40 and more than 150 watts. The ban begins in 2012. According to the Wall Street Journal op ed  "Save the Light Bulb," traditional American legislation would have provisions to meet the aesthetic as well as the energy saving features of lighting. If energy efficiency was the only criteria, then orange colored sodium vapor lights would be far more efficient than compact fluorescents.  A survey conducted by Sylvania  last year, determined that 80 percent of Americans did not want incandescent bulbs banned.

The Duke University's Green Grok Blog gives us the basic facts about the light bulb.
Incandescent lights are the brainchild of Thomas Edison — a watershed invention that profoundly changed the world.

The problem with them is that they are energy hogs — a former colleague of mine refers to them as heaters that give off a little light. Less than 10 percent of the electricity moving through today’s incandescents is converted to light; the rest is wasted. (So, of those 100 watts needed to power that bulb in your reading lamp, only 10 watts produce the light while 90 are wasted as heat, which you know instinctively if you’ve ever touched a bulb that’s been on for a while.)
So the Green Dukies actually figured out the way around "light bulb socialism", but they certainly had no interest in circumventing the law as we tradition-loving patriots do.  In this case the answer going forward is the newest invention from two German engineers . . . or maybe we might better describe "the greatest invention since the light bulb" as a new guerrilla marketing technique . . .

Ladies and Gentlemen, now appearing in the center ring, "HEATBALLS." Gizmodo reports:
The EU banned lightbulbs that suck more than 60 watts to improve the energy efficiency of an entire continent. And responding with the proverbial “F U” are two Germans, importing high-wattage bulbs and marketing them as heating devices called “heatballs.”

But Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law aren’t just run of the mill entrepreneurs with an eye for a good loophole—the former is a mechanical engineer. Using his electrical savvy, he figured that because traditional 60 watt lightbulbs output 95% of their energy in the form of heat—only the rest is light—75 and 100 watt bulbs could be legitimately marketed and sold as little radiators.

Rotthaeuser is open about the legislative scam he’s pulling, calling the Heatballs a form of “resistance against legislation which is implemented without recourse to democratic and parliamentary processes.” He also says he’ll donate 30 cents of every Heatball sold to rainforest conservation, to assuage some of the guilt of grid inefficiency. What do you think, EU readers? Is this man a lighting hero or just a scofflaw out for a dollar? Or both? Either way, you have to admit his plan takes some serious… ah, forget it. [Reuters]

Connecticut Senate Race Turns to Cap-and-Tax

With just two weeks remaining before the election, the October 14 Quinnipiac poll has been released showing Attorney General Richard  Blumenthal now leading Republican candidate Linda McMahon by 54 - 43%.  A recent McMahon campaign video had centered on Blumenthal's support for federal cap-and-trade legislation.  The McMahon ad is based upon information compiled by the Heritage Foundation regarding the economic consequences of the Waxman-Markey bill that was not passed by Congress.



Blumenthal countered with an attack ad which ignores McMahon's points but attacks her personally-funded "$50 million campaign" and her layoff of 10% of her workforce, while taking home $46 million as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.



According to the New Haven Register, the Blumenthal campaign sent out emails claiming that McMahon distorted the effect of cap and trade.

Ty Matsdorf, a spokesman for the Blumenthal campaign, said the costs commonly attributed to the legislation don’t apply to Connecticut because the state relies mostly on natural gas, which emits less carbon than oil or coal and is more expensive than those fuels. Cap and trade would raise costs more for coal-burning states such as Kentucky, he said.

Meanwhile, wholesale electricity prices have dropped by half in New England, according to Electric Light & Power, a trade publication.

“We’re uniquely positioned because of the fuels that we use and the system of RGGI,” the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Matsdorf said.

He pointed to a report critical of cap and trade by the National Mining Association that lists Connecticut as one of 10 states that would benefit financially from the system.
Obviously, Blumenthal wants to pass on the high cost of electricity in Connecticut and the other northeastern states in RGGI to the flyover states through cap-and-tax legislation. But the Waterbury Republican-American has already published the real facts in an editorial.
Democrat Richard "Rambo" Blumenthal has been telling a lot of whoppers on the U.S. Senate campaign trail, and among the biggest was that as attorney general, he lowered electric bills in Connecticut.

The facts speak for themselves. The Energy Information Administration says the residential electric rate in Connecticut is 19.41 cents per kwh, a 74 percent premium over the U.S. average of 11.18 cents. Thanks to Mr. Blumenthal's habitual interference with power generation and delivery, electric rates in Connecticut have risen 18.1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since his election two decades ago. That's almost six times faster than the national average.

Yet he goes around saying he lowered everyone's electricity bills, and to the best of our knowledge, no one in the news media has called him out on this. In fact, they report his claim uncritically, another bit of boilerplate for their Dick-Blumenthal-has-been-good-for-Connecticut narrative. So news consumers shouldn't hold their breath waiting for "journalists" to pick up the piece Investors Business Daily published not long ago about how this champion of power customers "is working to get courts to declare 'cap and trade' regulations the law of the land."

Co-sponsored by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., the cap-and-tax bill has stalled in the Senate, despite the chamber's Democratic supermajority, because it would increase the national debt, kill millions of jobs, reduce personal income and wealth, and lop trillions off the national gross domestic product. Climatologist Paul Knappenberger said the measure's harsh requirements and catastrophic consequences would reduce global temperatures at best by no more than 0.2 F by 2100.

In addition, an MIT analysis determined cap-and-tax would raise electricity rates by an average of up to 20 cents per kwh by 2050; that would more than double today's cost in Connecticut. Other analyses predict increases of as much as 129 percent by 2030 and a 144 percent surge in gasoline prices.
Here is a Blumenthal press conference that exposes Blumenthal's complete ignorance of climate science and the bad economic effect that cap-and-tax will have on the economy.  That goes well with his lying about his military service but the land of Chris Dodd will forgive about anything.

Cancerous Cell Phones?

Dr. Bob Park, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland and media gadfly, is an arch-skeptic of the first order who writes a weekly newsletter filled with terse observations on the nonsense that often peppers our sometimes-not-so-scientific science communities. Over the years, he has had a great deal to say about the theory that microwaves emanating from cell phones can cause cancer. Lately he minces no words. Here is his biting cell phone commentary from April 2010:

Yesterday, the cell-phone controversy was taken to a new and substantially lower level. The Cohort Study on Mobile Communications (COSMOS) was launched in the UK to determine whether microwave radiation from wireless devices can induce cancer. It will track 250,000 users for 30 years to catch any slow growing cancers. Note the built-in job protection. The study will look for neurological diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers as well. Participants aged 18-69 are being recruited in Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. In Britain, COSMOS is inviting 2.4 million cell phone users to take part, and hoping 100,000 or so will accept. If they do the study really well, it will confirm Albert Einsteins 1905 explanation of the photoelectric effect, for which he was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize. Of course, the photoelectric effect is confirmed thousands of times annually by students in elementary physics lab courses. If it is done badly, this tedious and expensive study could perpetuate the public's unfounded fear of radiation below the ultraviolet threshold. This must be stopped.
So microwaves do not cause cancer, but such simplistic reasoning will not stop scientists in search of research dollars from continuing to lobby our naive government officials for more funding or for tenure-seeking academics to write books about the cell - cancer connection.  So buckle up for a roller coaster ride and hold onto your wallet.

From Providence, the One in Rhode Island


Even those among us who have forgotten more American history than is even taught in today's governmental education system, will likely be surprised to find out that the State of Rhode Island has another name.  The preamble of the state's constitution reads as follows:

We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same, unimpaired, to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution of government.
So unbeknown to most of us, the smallest state in the Union has the longest name ... but that could soon change. A ballot proposition to change the state constitution, by eliminating "and Providence Plantations" from the preamble, will be voted on in November. The heavily Democratic State Senate approved the ballot initiative last year.

One proponent thinks that everything revolves around a name and that changing the name will somehow change history.  Juliette Jennings wrote in her Providence Journal opinion piece:
Changing a name changes very little. Think of “Negro” to “Colored” to “Black” to African-American and how much fundamental change in human and civil rights each of these heralded!

Then there’s the matter of who controls Rhode Island’s history. Up until now, the Yankee elites have fostered a “self-image” of plantations in Rhode Island like those at Plymouth and Jamestown. However, the word “plantation” has evolved over time and evokes memories of slavery that existed in Rhode Island.

Roger Williams, who founded the Baptist Church in America, was a leader in justifying slavery in Rhode Island by selling Narragansett prisoners of war.

The selling of Indian slaves was used to raise funds to pay for the militias who had already killed hundreds in the Great Swamp Massacre, in 1675, and to generate money to bring more valued African slaves to provide labor for the new plantation.
Roger Williams founded Providence Plantations on what is now Providence, Rhode Island after being exiled for religious reasons from the Massachusetts' Plymouth colony in 1636.   Wikipedia describes him thus:
Roger Williams (circa 1603 – between January and March 1683) was an American Protestant theologian, and the first American proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, which provided a refuge for religious minorities.
As for Roger Williams' involvement with slavery,  professor of history emeritusr J. Stanley Lemons, who wrote "FIRST : The First Baptist Church in America," contradicts history according to Ms. Jennings:
The writer evidently knows little or nothing about Roger Williams, and quite misunderstands or misconstrues the complex history of Rhode Island during Williams’s time. She certainly misses the mark when she describes Williams as “a leader in justifying slavery in Rhode Island by selling Narragansett prisoners of war.” Williams had been an opponent of what he called “permanent slavery” all his life, and he, along with Samuel Gorton, sought to prevent slavery from taking root in the colony. He believed that no one should be enslaved for life and that the condition should not be inherited.
He was certainly a man of his time, which meant that he, along with nearly everyone else, including the Indians, accepted slavery in some form. Enslavement is what happened to losers in wars, and the Indians and Africans did this just as the Europeans did. Nobody has clean hands on this issue.

Williams had sought to prevent slavery from taking hold in his colony, but he had no control over what Newport and Portsmouth did in the 17th Century. Indeed, “Rhode Island” (which we now call “Aquidneck”) was by far the more important and powerful portion of the colony, and the “Rhode Islanders” did not accept the effort by Providence Plantations to outlaw slavery. As a result, slavery did take root, and Williams was unable to prevent it. 
So the whole brouhaha results from liberals exercising their politically correct midget minds rather than accepting bad history as just bad history. We cannot change what was nor should we try. State pride will overcome revisionism and the proposition will fail on November 2.

Attack of the Obama Nutroots

The Democrats have begun their month of dirty politics with a direct attack on the US Chamber of Commerce  which translates to a insidious attack on America's small businesses.  With nothing more than unsubstantiated innuendo provided by the Think Progress blog (a mouthpiece for the Center for American Progress and George Soros), senior political advisor David Axelrod's election strategy "to paint Republicans as the defenders of corporate special interests" was implemented.

John Podesta, (former Chief of Staff in the Clinton White House and later the head of Obama's transition team) is now the President and CEO of Obama's favorite liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress.  When the advocacy group was formed in 2003, seed money was provided by George Soros along with billionaires Herbert and Marion Sandler.  For continuing operations funds are provided by the Democracy Group, a donors collective directly linked to George Soros . . . and Podesta provides the necessary link to Obama.

George Soros is a sociopath and his background is, to say the least, sinister . . . from collaborating with the Nazis in his native Hungary to his breaking the Bank of England in 1992 to his manipulating the current world financial crisis in order to reap $3.3 billion in profits.  He has been convicted of illegal inside trading on the world markets numerous times ... but has spent nary a day in jail.

Despite a media onslaught and the oft repeated accusation that the Chamber uses dues paid by foreign companies to fund its anti-Dem ads, the national business association is fighting back:

These accusations by a George Soros-funded, anti-business blog (not a "report," as some in the media are saying) are unfounded, deceitful, and completely erroneous. They are a desperate attempt to silence those who support free enterprise, and a diversion by people upset about their grim prospects in the upcoming election.

The Chamber's 300,000 members, a relative handful are non-U.S. based companies.

The entire storyline is fallacious and indicates the sad state of journalism. Today, "Think Progress," or anyone else with an axe to grind, can create stories out of whole cloth that are then legitimized by the traditional media.

The real motivation behind Think Progress' blog is clearly to take business and its representative organizations out of the advocacy process (whether it be legislative or commenting on a member of Congress' record) -- a playing field that is not exactly level when you consider that labor unions and their allies far outspend business on election efforts.
Sadly, the chutzpah of the Dems is predictable.  As the originators of illegal foreign campaign finance back in 1996 now referred to as Chinagate, they have never looked back.  In 2008, Obama borrowed a page from Howard Dean to raise money on the internet.  Campaign finance laws covering individual contributions were trashed by the on-line credit card system that was set not to verify the name and location of the donor.  There is simply no doubt that campaign finance laws were deliberately broken by Obama's people.

Update:  Doug Ross has appropriately destroyed Axelrod's folly in his own special way.

Update II from Chris Muir:



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