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April 7, 2018

April 7&8 2018

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April 8, 2018

Trump-Putin Watch: Trump's Extraordinary morning Tweetstorm (50 + comments on Daily Kos)


Trump Tweeted like the madman he is this morning. His blaming President Obama and attacking Hillary Clinton is no news. He jabs President Xi and The Washington Post in his Twitter tantrum. Nothing shocking there. However, actually naming Putin, not merely Russia, as responsible for “Animal Assad's” chemical attack, that is news. Joy Reid said it was like he said Voldemort out loud.
This is getting major coverage, at least on MSNBC. It will be interesting to see how Fox News covers the story.




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The world now awaits to see if Putin has at long last crossed a Trump red line and how the United States will respond. How far will Trump dare to go to incur the wrath of Vlad?
Read the Tweets bottom to top to see how Trump’s anger developed over the course of two hours.
  1. If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!
  2. ....to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!
  3. Many dead, including women and children, in mindlessCHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price...
  4. President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade. China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!
  5. The Washington Post is far more fiction than fact. Story after story is made up garbage - more like a poorly written novel than good reporting. Always quoting sources (not names), many of which don’t exist. Story on John Kelly isn’t true, just another hit job!
  6. “The FBI closed the case on Hillary, which was a rigged investigation. They exonerated her even before they ever interviewed her, they never even put her under oath.....” and much more. So true Jesse! @WattersWorld
      
Trump's reference to the Washington Post (the poorly written newspaper, a criticism from the grammar-challenged president) is about ‘When you lose that power’: How John Kelly faded as White House disciplinarian

Trump's reference to the Washington Post (the poorly written newspaper, a criticism from the grammar challenged president) is about ‘When you lose that power’: How John Kelly faded as White House disciplinarian

Not known to have the patience or incliation to read a long article, it's possible Trump never read beyond the photo, and he didn't have to:


EXCERPT: After White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly pressured President Trump last fall to install his top deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, atop the Department of Homeland Security, the president lost his temper when conservative allies argued that she wasn’t sufficiently hard line on immigration. “You didn’t tell me she was a [expletive] George W. Bush person,” Trump growled.

After Kelly told Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier in a January interview that Trump’s immigration views had not been “fully informed” during the campaign and had since “evolved,” the president berated Kelly in the Oval Office — his shouts so loud they could be heard through the doors.

And less than two weeks ago, Kelly grew so frustrated on the day that Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin that Nielsen and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis both tried to calm him and offered pep talks, according to three people with knowledge of the incident.

“I’m out of here, guys,” Kelly said — comments some interpreted as a resignation threat, but according to a senior administration official, he was venting his anger and leaving work an hour or two early to head home. 
The recurring and escalating clashes between the president and his chief of staff trace the downward arc of Kelly’s eight months in the White House. Both his credibility and his influence have been severely diminished, administration officials said, a clear decline for the retired four-star Marine Corps general who arrived with a reputation for integrity and a mandate to bring order to a chaotic West Wing.



Al Jazeera: Why American lives matter most

America's racism and narcissism is the reason why its foreign affairs are a mere projection of it's domestic ills.

EXCERPT: America's malignant racism and narcissism explain why President Donald Trumpcan get away with crass phrases like "America first" and "sh****le countries". Both narcissism and racism account for why the US has cared more about what happened to four Americans in Libya in 2012 than it has about Boko Haram in Nigeria or Syrian forces bombing innocent children in Eastern Ghouta. America's racism is at work when the US turns a blind eye to atrocities such as the humanitarian crisis born of Myanmar's ethnic cleansing of some 700,000 Rohingya now in Bangladesh. America's narcissism is why is there such a stark distance between America the ideal superpower, who claims to be "the leader of the free world," and America the narcissistic superpower, who only cares about herself.

Religion: A Strange Drawing Found in Sinai Could Undermine Our Entire Idea of Judaism 

Is that a 3,000-year-old picture of god, his penis and his wife depicted by early Jews at Kuntillet Ajrud?


Technological innovations promise to make the food we eat more ethical and sustainable without sacrificing taste.

April 7, 2018

US Power Will Decline Under Trump, Says Futurist Who Predicted Soviet Collapse


We talked to Nobel Prize-nominated Johan Galtung, who predicted that someone like Trump would win the US, and that it will trigger a decline in power.



From: Trump Thinks He’s Wildly Popular


Excerpt:


Accordingly, one of the more reliable polling average methodologies, at Five Thirty Eight, adjusts Rasmussen’s findings to counter-act the “house effect.” So Friday’s 47 percent Trump approval rating goes into the averages as 42 percent. Another polling average source, Real Clear Politics, does not adjust polls for “house effects,” but similarly shows Rasmussen as being off-kilter (the current RCP average for Trump’s approval ratings is 41.5 percent). In case you want to dismiss Five Thirty Eight as a “liberal” site (despite its against-the-grain predictions in 2016 that Trump had a real chance to win), it should be noted that RCP’s management is quite conservative.
Touting Rasmussen as the only “honest” poll was not enough for Trump, though. In a radio interview today, the president suggested that his job approval number should have been higher:
“A poll just came out now, Rasmussen, it’s now 51,” Trump said. “They say that it’s 51 but add another 7 or 8 points to it. … They don’t want to talk about it, but when they get into the booth they’re going to vote for Trump.”
↓ 

What we cannot really know, of course, is whether the president really believes what he’s saying, or just wants other people to believe what he’s saying. But the circular nature of his disinformation can be seductive to people who are inclined in his direction anyway. If the mainstream news about him is “fake” and so are the non-Rasmussen polls, then there’s only one source of information you can trust: the man himself. Evil as it is, it’s as good a method as any to keep his troops feeling upbeat and ready to vote.

BACK - April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018

April-6-2018

BACK April 5, 2018

Buzzfeed, the website that published the Steele dossier, just told me something else I didn’t know.


Republican SteveSchmidt said he couldn’t explain Trump’s behavior because “I’m not a psychiatrist.” Watch:





“Trump Will Once Again Skip the White House Correspondents Dinner” headlines The New York Times:
President Trump will not attend the White House Correspondents Association Dinner this year, continuing a boycott that began his first year in office, the White House announced on Friday, but the president will “actively encourage” members of his administration to go in celebration of the First Amendment.
I thought “oh yeah, he’s going to “encourage members of his administration to go” -—  like who will dare incur the wrath of Kahn and actually attend the annual fest which their volatile fake-news hating boss is boycotting? Draw the short straw, anybody?
You may recall that last year Trump became the first time a president to skip festivities since Ronald Reagan in 1981 because he was recovering from an assassination attempt.
Then I saw who he was sending as his stand-in, none other than the befuddled sycophantic Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She will sit at the head table, and most likely have a camera on her all the time so the control room directors can capture and live stream her reactions to the jokes aimed at her godfather. 


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Michelle Wolf performing at Comedians You Should Know in Brooklyn on Sept.21 2016 .  Wikipedia page
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This year of Stormy Daniels and #MeToo should be particularly interesting because a female comedian, Michelle Wolf, is the featured entertainer. She will have to address issues related to Trump's "woman problem" with the president's female surrogate sitting front and center in the audience.
Those of us who find Sarah’s press conference performances cringe-worthy will be watching to see if she manages to crack one of the trademarked crooked smiles when the boss who has expressed disdain for 80% of the reporters in the room is being mocked.
Maybe she will wear a burka.


BACK April 5, 2018

April 5, 2018

April 5, 2018

Yesterday, April 4, 2018

Thursday, April 5, 2018


A Trump administrator makes a compassionate socially responsible decision. How long will he last? By Hal Brown Comments
Scroll down to read the press release from Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams (about):
Surgeon General Releases Advisory on Naloxone, an Opioid Overdose-Reversing Drug
Urges more individuals to carry life-saving medication
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 This is being covered by the AP and is making it onto websites like The Daily Beast. Narcan (naloxone) is the life-saving overdose reversal drug the notoriously incompetent and cruel Gov. LePage of Maine didn’t want to allow paramedics to carry. 
"Naloxone does not truly save lives, it merely extends them until the next overdose," said Gov. LePage in his veto message. "Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of Naloxone in the other ... serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction."  NECN
It looks like we actually have a highly placed Trump government official making smart and empathic decisions. He pushed for needle exchanges for adicts to combat the HIV epidemic and during his Senate confirmation hearing pledged Tuesday to put science ahead of politics telling senators that while science was critical it had to be applied in a “sympathetic and empathetic way.” USA Today

How long will he keep his job?

Trump has mentioned making sure Naloxone is readily available:
Mr. Trump did address an oft-repeated request by state and local authorities by announcing that two drug manufacturers of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, Adapt Pharma and Kaleo, will be distributing some free units to high schools and universities around the country. Naloxone manufacturers have drawn scrutiny for their exorbitantly high prices. When CBS News contacted Adapt Pharma in January, they said that they had yet to hear anything from the White House months after Mr. Trump had announced the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. CBC News in an article aptly titled to show where is priorities are: Trump focuses on law enforcement side of opioid rollout , March 19, 2018.
However, empathy and compassion aren’t in Trump’s makeup. He probably is like Governor LePage in thinking that every dead addict is one less drain on respectable society. Trump has to mention funding drug treatment just for the optics of it. His answer to the opioid crisis is to fund law enforcement, institute the death penalty for dealers, and of course, build the wall which he may or may not know won’ t stop the illegal opioid trade.
I am not expecting that this announcement will be condemned by Trump or lead to his considering firing Adams. However, the next time the surgeon general makes a decision based on both good science and compassion there's no telling whether someone on Fox News will condemn him and tell Trump to fire him.
This is what it comes down to. We find one Trump administration official to admire and be glad to have running a department, and end up wondering how long such a person can last in the age of Trump.
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NEWSWEEK Jerome Adams, the Indiana state health commissioner, was nominated last week to serve as surgeon general by President Trump to succeed Vivek Murthy, who resigned in April. While Adams has not yet been confirmed to the post, the nomination is generating interest on both sides of the political aisle as well as among the public. That's because two years ago, Adams was integral to addressing an HIV outbreak in rural Indiana by convincing then-Governor Mike Pence to provide a temporary free syringe exchange in order to slow the spread of the virus. In light of the escalating opioid epidemic that is continuing to sweep across the U.S., many people are hopeful that Adams may hold similar sway in his new national post , if he is confirmed.
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PRESS RELEASEL Surgeon General Releases Advisory on Naloxone, an Opioid Overdose-Reversing Drug
Urges more individuals to carry life-saving medication
The medication, naloxone, is already carried by many first responders, such as EMTs and police officers. The Surgeon General is now recommending that more individuals, including family, friends and those who are personally at risk for an opioid overdose, also keep the drug on hand.
An estimated 2.1 million people in the U.S. struggle with an opioid use disorder. Rates of opioid overdose deaths are rapidly increasing. Since 2010, the number of opioid overdose deaths has doubled from more than 21,000 to more than 42,000 in 2016, with the sharpest increase occurring among deaths related to illicitly made fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids).
Opioids are a class of drugs that include medications, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone, which are commonly prescribed to treat pain. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. It is approved for treating severe pain, typically post-surgical or advanced cancer pain. However, most recent cases of fentanyl-related harms are a result of illicitly made fentanyl.
“Each day we lose 115 Americans to an opioid overdose – that’s one person every 12.5 minutes,” said Surgeon General Adams. “It is time to make sure more people have access to this lifesaving medication, because 77 percent of opioid overdose deaths occur outside of a medical setting and more than half occur at home.”
Naloxone, an FDA-approved medication that can be delivered via nasal mist or injection, is not a long-term solution, but it can temporarily suspend the effects of the overdose until emergency responders arrive.
“To manage opioid addiction and prevent future overdoses, increased naloxone availability must occur in conjunction with expanded access to evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder,” the Surgeon General said.
All states have passed laws to increase access to naloxone and, in most states, you can walk into a pharmacy and request naloxone even if you don’t already have a prescription. In addition, most states have laws designed to protect health care professionals for prescribing and dispensing naloxone from civil and criminal liabilities as well as Good Samaritan laws to protect people who administer naloxone or call for help during an opioid overdose emergency.
Naloxone is covered by most insurance plans and, for those without coverage, may be available at low or no cost through local public health programs or through retailer and manufacturer discounts. It is easy to use, safe to administer and widely available.
Today’s Surgeon General advisory on naloxone is part of the administration’s ongoing effort to respond to the sharp increase among drug overdose deaths. Just last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data showing a rise in emergency department visits for opioid overdoses. From July 2016 through September 2017, opioid overdoses increased 30 percent in all parts of the U.S.
Expanding the use of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone is a key part of the public health response to the opioid crisis, along with effective prevention, treatment and recovery programs for opioid use disorder. Research shows a combination of medication, counseling and behavioral therapy, also known as Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, can help people achieve long-term recovery.
For more information on how to get help, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or go to https://www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov to find a treatment center.
To learn more about how individuals can recognize and respond to an opioid overdose, visit www.surgeongeneral.gov to read more.

The first thing I read this morning was the title of an opinion piece in the New York Times. It gave me my excerpt of the day.





The Contract With Authoritarianism


By Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times

Mr. Edsall, the author of “The Age of Austerity” and four other books, contributes a weekly column on politics.


In 1994, Newt Gingrich, brandishing his Contract with America, led a Republican revolution that swept aside Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate, initiating an epoch of conservative ascendancy that lingers on. Don Sipple, a Republican campaign consultant, declared at the time that the 1994 midterms pitted a Republican Party calling for “discipline” against a Democratic Party focused on “therapy.”
Two years later, George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics at Berkeley, published “Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think,” which argued that
Deeply embedded in conservative and liberal politics are two different models of the family. Conservatism is based on a Strict Father model, while liberalism is centered on a Nurturant Parent model. These two models of the family give rise to different moral systems.
Several approaches to contemporary politics echo the insights of Sipple and Lakoff. The crucial word now, however, is authoritarianism.
The election of Donald Trump — built as it was on several long-term trends that converged in 2016 — has created an authoritarian moment. This somewhat surprising development is the subject of “Remaking Partisan Politics through Authoritarian Sorting,” a forthcoming book by the political scientists Christopher FedericoStanley Feldman and Christopher Weber, who argue that
Three trends — polarization, media change, and the rise of what many people see as threats to the traditional social order — have contributed to a growing divide within American politics. It is a divide between those who place heavy value on social order and cohesion relative to those who value personal autonomy and independence.
The three authors use a long-established authoritarian scale — based on four survey questions about which childhood traits parents would like to see in their offspring — that asks voters to choose between independence or respect for their elders; curiosity or good manners; self-reliance or obedience; and being considerate or well-behaved. Those respondents who choose respect for elders, good manners, obedience and being well-behaved are rated more authoritarian.




April 4, 2018

April 4, 2018

Back: Tuesday, April 3, 2018



\/  Frank Bruni has a good opinion piece in the New York Times, “President Trump’s Perversion of Leadership.” His first sentence got me to thinking about words. 

No president in my lifetime has made me think as much about leadership as Donald Trump has. That’s because no president in my lifetime has embodied the ideal of leadership as completely as he embodies its antonym.
The meaning of the word leadership is straightforwardly the act of leading. When describing how a person leads it is generally prefaced by adjectives: good, bad, chaotic, incompetent, or as Bruni says "ideal." 
I asked myself "what exactly is the antonym of the ideal leadership?" None came to mind.
I tried the website WordHippo and Thersaus.com and all they offered was: impotence, inability, incapacity, powerlessness, weakness, and subservience. None of these words are true opposites of what most people consider to be good leadership as opposed to bad leadership.
Bruni describes ideal leadership in a way that hits the mark.
A leader articulates a clear vision and set of principles, which become a well-lighted path that well-intentioned people can tread. 
He goes on to describe the president like this:
Trump bellows, babbles and contradicts himself, achieving an incoherence that no level-headed person can follow.
Rarely can someone deliberately coin a new phrase and have it move into general usage, though Trump has succeeded in at least one case with "fake news." There's no two or three-word phrase which adequately describes how Trump leads. 
This got me to thinking about what I learned from Rachel Maddow the other day about the origin of the word boycott. The word boycott entered the English language during the Irish "Land War" in 1880, and derives from Captain Charles Boycott, the land agent of an absentee landlord. (Wikipedia) While it takes some words years to enter general usage, boycott was used by The Times in November 1880 as a term for organized isolation, for example, and then throughout the Boycott boycott.
Bruni describes how other recent presidents led more or less competently and asks “will there be anything like that with Trump? Some memory of dignity or grace? The question, I fear, is rhetorical. While those presidents sometimes failed to lead, he doesn’t even try.”
Trump is so extraordinarily bad at leading well that there's no antonym for ideal leadership to describe how he does it. 
All I can think to call it is trumpership.

Also:
trumpology — The study of Trump
trumpian — anyone who acts like Trump
Trump-like -— someone similar to Trump
trumpified — a person or policy that is changed to be something Trump approves of, or in the future, something he would have approved of.
trumpination —  a transformation to make someone or something more Trump-like
Trump-bomb — interjecting something inflammatory and/or nonsensical into a conversation or in a Tweet, “he dropped a Trump-bomb.”
trumpism - depends on context, for example " Trumpism is modern conservatism with dementia, but the policies were less than sane all along." Charlie Pierce

Comments here

April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018

Yesterday, April 2, 2018

April 3, 2018 
This is what I use to keep my regular email private. I got to have halbrown@gmx.com as my address.







Literally and figuratively the Trump administration is polluting America. For a literal example, the EPA is letting major polluters get away with spewing poison into the ground, water, and air. Figuratively, Trump is polluting democracy.

If we stay out of a war where lives are lost most of the damage can be reversed and in time, undone, if and when the Democrats control Washingon. We have to count lives ruined by Trump's cruel draconian obsession with immigration too. That can't be undone except by inviting dreamers back and facilitating their return. 

The only Trumpian legacy that will last a generation or more is in the judiciary.

Notwithstanding the rightward swing in the third branch of government, a Democratic president can reverse Trump’s executive decisions. If the Democrats control both houses of Congress each and every piece of legislation that doesn't require a supermajority can be reversed.

If Trump survives to run again, even if 80% of the Republicans vote for him, that isn't enough to win the general election unless there is major election fraud. If Pence runs, he is a poor candidate if he's matched against a Democrat that can pull in Republican voters who have soured on four years of Republican control. He would most likely lose to a relatable candidate who isn't threatening to white non-college educated men. 

When I feel despair over the future of America, I have to remind myself that the Constitution which allows people to own assault weapons (according to the NRA), and The National Enquirer to publish pizzagate stories about Hillary also enshrines a system of checks and balances.


COMMENTS


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Yesterday the non-Fox news reported on how Sinclair owned local TV stations forced anchors to read a script lambasting fake-news. This was what I chose for my Daily Kos story on Monday.
Here's a related story:

News Anchor At Sinclair-Owned Station Hits Back At Trump  

“Actually, this isn’t funny at all. None of it,” said Mary Nam of Seattle’s KOMO.

Yesterday, April 2, 2018

April 2, 2018

April 2, 2018


Monday, April 2, 2018
Quote: On MSNBC from 

John Heilemann:

On Trump pandering to the far right: "his base is important to him, it's like his binky."

Why did TASS report this before it hit the American MSM (Agence France-Presse even had it before it the the USA)? It is about the phone call Trump made to congratulate Putin for winning the rigged election. Was this a cover-up? Was it something Trump didn't want made public? Well, tough break, now Sarah Sanders had to cobble together an answer. I expect more fallout from this as our allies weigh in. Another question is what Russia hawk John Bolton will have to say about having Putin as a White House guest.

Kremlin aide: Washington summit with Putin was Trump’s idea




More:
http://tass.com/politics/997292
I put this article on Daily Kos where it was selected to be on their recommended list. You can read the numerous comments here.

My station is KATU, channel 2, an ABC affiliate in Portland, Oregon.

FIND YOURS HERE. 

List of stations owned or operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group — From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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List of stations owned or operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sinclair Broadcast Group is the largest owner of television stations in the United States, currently owning or operating a total of 173 stations across the country (233 after all currently proposed sales are approved) in nearly 80 markets, ranging from markets as large as Washington, D.C. to as small as Steubenville, Ohio.
The stations are affiliates of various television networks, including ABCCBSNBC and Fox as well as numerous specialty channels.
Many stations are owned outright by the company, but many others are affiliated through other companies through a local marketing agreement, a concept Sinclair pioneered in Pittsburgh in 1991 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) forbid duopolies. (The stations involved in the initial deal, WPGH-TV and WPTT — now WPNT— are now both owned by Sinclair outright.) Sinclair has done this with various companies, most notably Cunningham Broadcasting and Deerfield Media.
In March 2018, Sinclair Broadcasting Group required their news anchors to read a prepared script charging a proliferation of "fake news" in the media, suggesting that attacking President Donald Trump's view of events was "extremely dangerous to our democracy." Sinclair's editorial approach leans heavily toward conservative ideals.
Each of the anchors depicted in this compilation video are reading segments of the exact same script (scroll down)




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Here’s the script:
Hi, I’m (A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…
(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our Northwest communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that _____ News produces.
(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.
(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.
(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.
(B) At ______  it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.
(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to _________  and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.
(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.
(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback.
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