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Boeing 787 Dreamliner photo by craezer

Yesterday, the House passed a bill that would prevent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from telling Boeing, America’s largest exporter, that it couldn’t build a factory in South Carolina, a Right-To-Work state. Boeing built a $750 million factory (with their own money, not yours) and hired 1,500 workers, before the NLRB stepped in and called this union retaliation. But no jobs are being eliminated back in Washington state, in fact, Boeing has added  2,000 jobs.

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Obama: He’s Just Not That Into Us

by Bill O'Connell on August 25, 2011

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Photo by reinvented

The stock market is bouncing up and down like Fatty Arbuckle on a bungee cord. The job numbers are just as dismal as they were last week. The CBO says we can expect unemployment to continue north of eight percent until 2016. Is it just me or is the honeymoon over?

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Dictators vs. Democracy in the Labor Wars

by Bill O'Connell on February 25, 2011

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When the unions and their progressive supporters hit the streets in Madison, Wisconsin the news cameras didn’t have to look high and low to find the Hitler posters, they could probably spot them from a hundred yards off, but honestly, who didn’t think there would be Hitler posters at a left wing rally? But in a effort to modernize, somebody found a newspaper and saw there was some unrest in the Middle East and voila, we had comparisons to Hosni Mubarak and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. So Governor Scott Walker, we are to believe, is acting like a dictator not a democratically elected governor working through a democratically elected legislature? Hmmm, I wonder how the public sector unions got the “rights” they ferociously cling to?

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The Progressive Assault on the Electoral College

by Bill O'Connell on December 10, 2010

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Comments submitted in response to a previous post, “The Progressive War on Federalism,” focused on the Electoral College and a movement called the National Popular Vote ( bill.  Rather than argue against my point it only seemed to reinforce it.  The objective of this movement, which before this commenter’s contribution I was unaware of, is to abolish, or should I say neuter, the Electoral College and replace it with the direct election of the president.  This movement looks to further weaken the states and move us away from federalism and toward a strong monolithic central government.  Here is my analysis.

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The Progressive War on Federalism

by Bill O'Connell on December 6, 2010

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I still find myself in awe of our Founding Fathers who created our form of government.  The competing ideas that they sifted through to come up with our Constitution and the safeguards in it is wondrous.  The designs upon it by the progressives is by equal measure disturbing.


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Control of Congress and the Economy

by Bill O'Connell on July 25, 2010

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The Democrats like to point to the Clinton presidency as proof of their fiscal responsibility.  It was a period of strong growth, balanced budgets, and prosperity.  They then point to the Bush presidency, all eight years of it, and deride it for deficits, and ultimately a very severe financial crisis.  But it is worth taking a moment to recall that the federal government is made up of three co-equal branches of government with built in checks and balances.  The Congress is not subordinate to the president and it does not work for him.  It is an equal branch of government that checks and balances the power of the presidency.  For the purpose of this discussion, I will leave out the third branch, the judiciary.

Despite the famous 1992 Clinton campaign slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid,” the recession had already ended in March 1991.  When Clinton took office he had a Democratic Congress and he pushed through a massive tax increase in 1993 without a single Republican vote.  We know what happened to Congress in 1994, the Republicans took over for the first time in 40 years.  Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tried to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which was included in the Republicans’ Contract with America.  It passed in the House but failed by one vote in the Senate.  After losing this round, Gingrich met with the Republican leadership and put forth  the idea of acting as if the amendment had passed and just start submitting balanced budgets.  They succeeded in the last three years of the Clinton presidency to produce budget surpluses and decrease the national debt.  This included a tax cut by the Republican Congress in 1997, and the economy grew much stronger after the Republican takeover of Congress than under an all Democratic government.

In the 1996 election, the Democrats regained control of the Congress under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  Up until that point the economy had grown steadily under President Bush despite two wars.  With Bush in the White House and the Republicans in control of Congress we had tax cuts and seven years of economic growth.  In December of 2007  the economy went into recession, almost one year after the Democrats regained control.  Now with a Democrat in the White House, and the Democrats in control of Congress we are looking at massive growth in government, a whopping tax increase bearing down on us that will hit on January 1, 2011, and a growing debt that may eventually bankrupt us.

So what is all this talk about eight years of failed Republican policy?  Under Clinton and a Democrat Congress it was two years of a tax increase and modest growth.  Under Clinton and a Republican Congress it was six years of tax cuts, budget surpluses and strong economic growth.  Hmmm….same president, different parties controlling Congress.  Under Bush we had seven years of growth and tax cuts with a Republican Congress.  Under Bush and a Democratic Congress, recession, fiscal crisis.  Hmmm…same president, different parties controlling Congress.

But don’t expect honesty on the campaign trail from the Democrats.  It’s just not the Chicago way.

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Alinsky Threatens Democrats

by Bill O'Connell on March 25, 2010

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“What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

So reads the opening paragraph of Saul Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals.”  Barack Obama is a follower of Saul Alinsky taking his first job out of Columbia as a community organizer in Chicago and tutored by a man named Mike Kruglik.  Kruglig described Obama this way:

“He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better.” — “Obama’s Alinsky Jujitsu,” American Thinker, January 8, 2008 

Democrats Facing Threats After Passage of Health Care Reform

While wading through a crowd of protesters carrying a massive gavel, Nancy Pelosi was joined by several prominent black Democrats.  A racial epithet was called out from the crowd evoking a reaction from Pelosi’s companions.  The cameras caught the reaction, but not the provocateur.  Neither the police or any news organization caught the individual, but the “main stream media” immediately started linking Tea Party protesters with racism.

In the following days, CNN and others reported threats to Democrats who voted for the health care bill, including a graphic voicemail to Bart Stupak; an anonymous fax picturing a noose was sent to a black Democratic Congressman James Clyburn; Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter reports a brick being thrown through the window of her district office in Niagara Falls, NY.  Very troubling indeed.

Having walked down Pennsylvania Avenue with thousands of Tea Party protesters last year, I can say they were the most orderly, principled, polite, helpful gathering of people you could imagine.  Naturally the “main stream media” reported nothing of this demonstration other than a sign or two that linked this administration to the Nazis.  So was I surprised to see this vitriol suddenly sprout up?  While I could understand the frustration with this arrogant Congress and President ignore the overwhelming will of the people, I still couldn’t grasp them going that far.

When I heard about the broken window in Congresswoman Slaughter’s district office, I thought of other protests with broken glass.  Protesters smashing windows in Seattle at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in 1999.  The G20 summit in Scotland in 2009 had protesters smashing windows.  These violent protesters represent the left, not the right. Hmmm…

Last night in Ottawa, the police cancelled a speech by Ann Coulter at the University of Ottawa, because the threat of violence became too great:

After Tuesday night, the hatred incited by Francois’ letter is no longer theoretical. The police called off my speech when the auditorium was surrounded by thousands of rioting liberals—screaming, blocking the entrance, throwing tables, demanding that my books be burned, and finally setting off the fire alarm.  

Ms. Coulter received a letter, before her speech, from the provost of the University that she could potentially be criminally liable for hate speech in Canada.  Who else spoke at the University without such admonishment?  How about Communist Angela Davis?  Hmmm…

Rules for Radicals

So what are Saul Alinsky’s instructions to radicals?  Here he outlines the purpose:

In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace…. “Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.’ This means revolution.” p.3                               

“Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing.” p.6

“A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage — the political paradise of communism.” p.10

“An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth — truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing…. To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations….”

Everything is relative and changing.  Doesn’t that sound like the left’s view of a “living and breathing” Constitution?  The Constitution is not what the Founding Fathers intended when the wrote it, but what the words mean in today’s context.  In other words, there really is no Constitution, because the Constitution means whatever you say it means today.

“The tenth rule… is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.… It involves sifting the multiple factors which combine in creating the circumstances at any given time… Who, and how many will support the action?… If weapons are needed, then are appropriated weapons available? Availability of means determines whether you will be underground or above ground; whether you will move quickly or slowly…” p.36

Clothe it with moral garments.  Did the Democrats argue the merits of health care or did they continually fall back to stories of, for example, “a woman who had to wear her dead sister’s dentures,” said Louise Slaughter.  Or, they said that when people were asked about the details of ObamaCare, the public overwhelmingly supported it, so they are not opposed to the whole package.  Really?  I’m sure that if you picked through the programs of Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and Mao you could get similar reactions: lower unemployment, self-respect, prosperity, etc., but the full package doesn’t work, it’s a lie.

Rules for Radicals: Tactics

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

Can you say racism?  How many times has this trump card been played?  The epithet hurled from the crowd immediately sparked cries of racism and the “main stream media” tied them to the Tea Party protesters.

13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

The Democrats squeaked through an ugly health care bill.  The next hurdle is to get this far behind them and try to salvage the 2010 election before they are thrown from office.  Recent polls show a significant uptick in Obama’s approval, but it is all coming from Democrats.  Republicans haven’t budget and Independents are even worse.  Hmmm… what do Democrats do now?  Read Rule 13.

Pick the target: The Tea Party protesters are the most energized potent force in politics today.  They must be stopped.  Freeze it:  Have some left wing radicals, maybe some SEIU members mingle among the Tea Party protesters and shout the racial epithets and melt away.    Pelosi’s parade route was known among the Democrats.  They staged it to look like a Civil Rights march from the 1960s.  They knew the media would be there and they could see, once on site, where to stand to be heard by Pelosi & co., but not be caught on camera.  The lap dog media would immediately launch into grave concerns of the Tea Party turning ugly, “as we knew they would.”  Freeze them.

Personalize it.  What is more personal than racism?  How do you defend against a charge of racism?  Polarize it:  Paint the Tea Party as a bunch of hateful, racist, violent rednecks with guns and fair minded people will not want to associate with them.  They will drift away from the Tea Party and in the absence of another group to organize them, they hope these folks will become dejected and not turn out in November, and Nancy Pelosi can dodge a bullet and tighten her grip on the Speaker’s gavel.

Battle Back

The executive branch is responsible for enforcing the laws.  Press them to find out who did these things.  Put forth the theory that it is the left trying to discredit the Tea Party people.  After all, which is the more plausible explanation, radicals being radicals or law abiding citizens becoming crazed and dangerous?  Make them disprove the case.

This appears more dangerous and grave every day.  It’s eight months to November.  Stay vigilant and don’t let up.

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Terrorism Follies

by Bill O'Connell on January 10, 2010

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Do you remember the scene in the movie “Saving Private Ryan” where after storming a machine gun nest and losing their medic, the Americans have to deal with how to handle a prisoner they captured?  Some say shoot him on the spot others disagree.  They know they can’t take him with them as he will slow them down.  After much vigorous debate Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) decides to untie him, point him toward the American line and tell him to keep walking, with the hope that he will be captured by the advancing American forces. 

Later in the movie as Miller’s unit is in a pitched battle to the last man, the released German prisoner is among those killing Miller’s men.  After reinforcements arrive to turn the battle in the Americans favor and the remaining Germans surrender, the former prisoner smiles and nods to the soldier in Miller’s unit that acted as translator and argued for sparing him as if to say, “Hey, how’s it goin’ pal?”  The soldier lowers his rifle and kills the German.

I am reminded of this by the current situation with Yemen.  Started under President Bush was the insane idea of releasing enemy combatants where they can find their way back to the battlefield.  This stupid policy was, until recently, going to be accelerated under President Obama.  Either we are at war or we are not.  You can’t fight a war with half measures.  Either you fight it to win or let the enemy have their way.  If we are in a war and we capture the enemy they stay captured until the war is over.  We don’t need a bunch of lawyers standing on the sidelines tapping their foot and their watches and saying, “how much longer are you going to hold these people without charging them?”  Answer: until the war ends or hell freezes over, whichever comes first.

 Is It a War Yet Mr. President?

 Backed into a corner, on his fifth (?) try to explain what his administration is doing on the War on Terror (am I allowed to call it that?), he actually called it a war, at least against Al Qaida.  He has spent the better part of his first year in office giving the back of his hand to the Bush administration.  But after seven years of Bush keeping us safe and two terrorist attacks on our soil this year with Obama at the helm and his poll numbers sinking, he has come to the realization that he owns this now.

The tough Harry Truman talk is nice (“The Buck Stops Here”), but it is just words until you actually do something with the buck that just stopped on your desk.  Why is the spectacularly incompetent Janet Napolitano still drawing a salary?  In Obama’s world it seems to be that what he means when he says the buck stops here is that he is the only one subject to firing and since we can’t fire him, everyone under him keeps on keeping on.  But who appointed these people?  It was Obama.  So he should recognize that he blundered and if the underlings don’t have enough sense to fall on their swords and resign, he should flat out fire them.

 Vacations are Important.  Anti-terrorism, Not So Much

 After the terror attack at Fort Hood, you would think that perhaps President Obama would be a little more responsive to another attempted attack, but hey, he was on an Hawaiian vacation.  Nobel Prize?  Chicago trying to win a bid for the Olympics?  President Obama will travel across the sea for that.  But an attempted attack on America?  Chill, baby, chill.  How about his director of National Counterterrorism, Michael Leiter, taking a ski vacation?  Just because stopping such an attack might be considered counterterrorism and just because that organization just failed miserably at stopping such an attack, and just because we didn’t know why it failed or if another attack might be on the way, why interrupt time with the family over that?  Family time is important, so said his boss. Don’t worry, Mike, we’ll wait.

Behind the Curve

It seems that with each attempt the enemy is one step ahead of us.  So discussions heated up about these new body scanners that can find anything, so it is claimed.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a big advocate of technology, but I guess the real problem is best summed up by one pundit comparing our methods to the Israelis:

“The Israelis look for terrorists, we look for tweezers.”

Instead of reading body scanners, perhaps we should be training the TSA agents in reading body language.  That’s what the Israelis do.  If you are a Palestinian, sorry, but you go in a different line and you get more closely screened and questioned.  You may pass, but you are going to be thoroughly checked out. We should do the same.  Where is your passport from?  What visa stamps do you have in your passport indicating where you have been?  Why don’t you have any luggage Mr. Abdulmutallab?  Why did you buy a one way ticket?  Who are you staying with in Detroit?  I see you paid cash for your ticket, how much cash do you have left for your trip after you land in Detroit?  Do you have a credit card?  No?  Hmmm…maybe you should wait over there, while we check further.

 No technology is foolproof.  Having worked in technology for over thirty years I can say that with some degree of confidence.  It only takes one failure of the technology for a disaster to strike.  But if we spend less time trying to find that box cutter, shampoo bottle, tweezers, jar of honey, etc., and spend more time spotting someone who doesn’t look like they are on a nice business trip or a visit to relatives or who otherwise fit the profile of a terrorist, that’s right I said it: profile, we could probably become a lot safer without having to lock the bathrooms for the last hour of the flight.  If we had pulled the young Abdulmutallab aside and questioned him, he probably would have cracked like an egg.  Does anyone think for a minute that this kid would have given off no body language signals if questioned by a trained professional?  The right combination of skilled human observers and questioners along with technology, is what we need to be safer.   Rather than this:  We”re the TSA and You Can Count on Us!

Intelligence Sprawl

We also need to collapse the intelligence arms of our government back into one and shut the others down.  Roll back Homeland Security into the Department of Defense, put the myriad intelligence gathering arms back into the CIA, make people accountable and lessen the need for a coordinating center to gather intelligence from a dozen agencies correlate it and send it back out to the dozen agencies.  All that does is create more fiefdoms that don’t want to talk to the dummies in that other agency who aren’t as smart as we are.  As the old saying goes, “When everyone’s responsible, no one is responsible.”  Government is neither nimble nor overly cooperative.  The fewer handoffs between agencies necessary to connect the dots, the better off we will all be.

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Chickens Coming Home to Roost

by Bill O'Connell on December 28, 2009

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I am sure you all recall the video played ad nauseum starring the Reverend Wright railing against America defending itself.  It now seems to accurately describe the results of the new hope and change administration.  After his worldwide apology tour, and banning the term “War on Terror,” replacing it with the limp “Overseas Contingency Operation,” so that, like his presidential campaign, no one would know what he actually meant or stood for, his own chickens are coming home to roost.

Actions Have Consequences

The left used to attack the Bush administration’s approach because being tough on terrorists only served to aid them in their recruiting.  Maybe so, but I am less concerned about lines of recruits in Afghanistan than crazed terrorists in New York.  Obama’s apology tour shows his weakness and as the terrorist mindset abhors weakness, it encourages attacks.  So what would you prefer, attacks on American soil, or an uptick in recruiting on the other side of the world?

War vs. Law and Order

Bush recognized the War on Terror for what it was, a direct attack on the United States and our way of life.  In a war, you go after the enemy, you don’t wait for him to come to you.  You take prisoners and hold them, until the conflict is over.  You dismantle their ability to wage war.  It is aggressive and proactive.  It is the way America has prevailed in wartime.

The Obama approach is Law an Order.  Each act is seen as separate an isolated and as a crime to be investigated and prosecuted after the fact.  First responders are more important than the first wave of Marines.  To quote today’s Wall Street Journal:

Brian Jenkins, who studies terrorism for the Rand Corporation, says there were more terror incidents (12), including thwarted plots, on U.S. soil in 2009 than in any year since 2001. The jihadists don’t seem to like Americans any better because we’re closing down Guantanamo.

But the Obama Administration is currently considering releasing prisoners held in Guantanamo to Yemen.  How long do you think it will be before they are back on the front lines trying to kill us?

Add to the mix the Obama administration’s, or should I say Eric Holder’s, decision to try the 9/11 terrorists in a civilian court.  Holder’s testimony before Congress justifying his decision was painful to watch how he had no credible justification.  Don’t forget to give  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, his Miranda rights and get him a good lawyer. Let’s pretend his claims to be associated with al Qaeda is just tough talk and braggadocio.

The reality is that whenever America fought a war and politicians pulled punches (e.g., Viet Nam) we lost.

Things are Working Swell

Janet Napolitano, Obama’s head of Homeland Security had this to say, according to the New York Times

“The system has worked really very, very smoothly over the course of the past several days,” Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary said, in an interview on “This Week” on ABC. Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, used nearly the same language on “Face the Nation” on CBS, saying that “in many ways, this system has worked.”

How chilling is that?  What exactly does she mean by the system worked?  She refers to the number of organizations that were alerted after the fact.  How about notifications before the fact?  How about listening to the terrorist’s own father who reported him to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria.  How about denying him a visa?  Or is Napolitano too busy adding funeral homes to her list of organizations to notify after the fact?

Where’s Obama?

If there’s a chance Chicago might get the Olympics, don’t worry, Obama’s on a plane to give it the old presidential push!  If there’s a Nobel Prize to pick up, Obama is your man!  If there is a terrorist attack on our country, hey, don’t bother me I’m on vacation in Hawaii.

Some pundits on the news pointed out that President Bush didn’t speak out against the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, for several days, so cut Obama some slack.  The problem is that no one doubted for a minute that Bush was engaged in the War on Terror, some even saying he was obsessed.  Well that obsession kept us safe for seven years.  In less than one year we have had Fort Hood and now this airline bombing.

Furthermore, why is Eric Holder making such a monumental decision regarding trying the 9/11 terrorists in New York?  Why isn’t this Obama’s decision?  Just like so much in this administration, Obama campaigns and gives speeches, and Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Eric Holder make policy decisions on their own.

Here’s to the Heroes

The heroes in this case were a Dutch citizen and the flight attendants, who subdued the terrorist and extinguished the fire.  To quote again from the Wall Street Journal:

The lesson here is the same as Flight 93 on 9/11 and shoe-bomber Richard Reid, which is that civilians willing to act in their own self-defense are a crucial part of “homeland security.”

May I suggest that the statists drop their efforts to weaken the 2ndAmendment?  As part of  “homeland security” we may need to bear arms like at no time since the Civil War.

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Olympic Smackdown

by Bill O'Connell on October 2, 2009

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The Obama international charm offensive seems to be wearing thin.  As the first U.S. President to ever lobby to win an Olympic Games, President Obama failed in his effort as Chicago was eliminated in the first round.  The Olympic ideal was to divorce sports and politics and by doing so, promote peace by having athletes from around the world meet on a one-to-one basis and see each other as individuals rather than as the countries they represented.

Although Hitler used the 1936 Olympic Games to showcase the revitalized Germany, it was Jimmy Carter who was the first to directly use the Games for political purposes when he pulled the U.S. team from competing in Moscow in 1980, to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.  There’s nothing like punishing your own young athletes who perhaps worked a lifetime for the opportunity to compete in an Olympic Games and perhaps never get another chance.  The Soviet’s returned the favor four years later by boycotting the Games in Los Angeles in 1984.

Let’s go back to the ideal of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who help found the modern Olympic Games:

May joy and good fellowship reign, and in this manner, may the Olympic Torch pursue its way through ages, increasing friendly understanding among nations, for the good of a humanity always more enthusiastic, more courageous and more pure.

So let’s leave the Olympic Games to the athletes and perhaps now, President Obama can get back to work.

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