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Snail Darters 100… Education 0

San Diego – There is no joy in being able to say, “I told you so” when the results leading to that really hurt yourself and your passions.  THat is certainly the case for us in the Photo Program at City College.

I have been writing, for several years now, that the liberal screeds on the importance of education were BS and utterly disingenuous unless that education was to indoctrinate the non-liberals in the wonders of socialist thinking and Keynesian economics.  California, the poster child for liberal policies and a main testing ground for progressive experiments, is the perfect case in point.  When the new liberal governor took over, realized to his horror that rhetoric aside, the state finally had spent all of other people’s money it could get and had to actually cut back on spending, what got cut?  Did anything negative happen to programs to protect snail darters, spotted owls, and delta smelts?  No.  Did anything positive happen in terms of allowing the state to start producing energy from its own reserves? No.

What went up? Regulations.  Resulting, last year in California being a leading state considered hostile to business and in over 650 major businesses leaving the State mostly to go to Texas and a few to Florida. Now that is brilliance beyond the call of the most progressive sense of duty.  Where does state revenue come from mostly? Income Tax.  Who pays income tax? People with jobs making an income.  And who provides the jobs?  Businesses.  So what would be the logical and anticipated result of driving away businesses? Less revenue.

Duh…

To be fair there were some spending cuts.  And just what spending did get cut?  Well first to go to the block was education.

Remember that education has been taking hits since at least 2007 when City College had to start cutting class sections.  Every semester since 2008 we have had to cut approximately 10% of our class offerings.  The district had wisely set aside a large reserve fund but even that well had, as i predicted, a bottom, and now we are reaching it.  Consequently, for Fall 2011, we received the cruelest cuts so far.  Our Academic Budget (from which we get supplies, maintenance, etc.) was cut in half.  50% across the board cuts were instituted without regard to the varying needs of the vastly different departments and programs.

You want to know what social justice really means?  What leveling the playing field really results in?  Well here, boys and girls, it is.  Typically for liberals the solution is to bring everything down rather than trying to bring the bottom up.  Some programs with little more than dry erase markers to buy are treated the same as programs, such as ours, where we live and die by our labs.  Perhaps the new math is not capable of any analysis more complex thinking…???

But then we got the really bad news.   Our hourly lab techs were cut from 72 total hours per week down to … wait for it… wait for it… 3.  That is correct, you did not misread it nor did i misrepresent it.  We are cut from 72 hours to 3.

That means we cannot staff the labs we were approved to run or are necessitated by the course curricula. That bombshell was just verified as accurate today so we have not had time, as faculty, to meet and come up with some plans.  But whatever those plans are to be, they cannot include another penny of funding from the state or district.

Nor will they allow us, as of this point, to charge lab fees.  Why not?  It’s not fair (for God knows what reason) nor is it within the guidelines because, according to some attorney completely ignorant of photographic logistics, do the students “get to keep what they paid for.”  Only in an environment inundated by liberal thinking is it better and more fair to force us to close the labs entirely than to allow students the opportunity to help defray the costs and at least keep them open a little.

To be fair, education was not the only thing our retreaded Governor Moonbeam cut.  Infrastructure was cut, state parks and rec was cut.  But how about state employees (other than teachers) such as prison guards who make up the largest group?  Well, no, their union is too strong.  How about pension reform in a state scandalized by pension abuses?  Well, no, again, the unions involved are too strong.  And no liberal can, by definition, see the unions as anything other than the saviors of mankind.

So here we are watching helplessly as liberal chickens come home to roost on the heads of education generally and students specifically.  So tell me, all you progressive teachers out there, is this what you really wanted?  I hope so; because it is the logical, predictable, and historically inevitable result of the policies you backed; so if it is not seeming like a step toward the ideals and social utopia you desire then, to be frank, you are too stupid to continue being a teacher.

And if it IS what you wanted, then don’t you dare complain in my presence about the low educational standings of California students and schools.

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Adrift and Rudderless in a Keynesian Fog

San Diego – Only 8 weeks ago, wrapped in the sacred robes of Keynesian wisdom, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke asserted proudly that from that the country, following the application of the economic policies of that paragon of financial wisdom who, in the history of the world, though he is adored by socialist and liberal thinkers, has yet to once be correct, was now vindicated by the situation where we were seeing slow but steady progress out of our economic woes.  The sentiment was echoed by White House occupants and sycophants and their heralds in the media.  If you listened to network news or to the policy parrots of the administration at MSNBC, you would have every reason but one to think we were on our way to a splendid if slow recovery.

And that one reason not to think so?  It simply was not true.  Last week, according to the AP, Ben Bernanke admitted that it was not happening and he was clueless as to why not and worse, that the troubles could continue into next year.  Well, OK, to be fair, that is not precisely what he said.  What he actually said was,

“We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting. … the weak housing market and problems in the banking system might be ‘more persistent than we thought.’”

I want to remember that phrase for my own use: “We don’t have a precise read on…”  What an elegant phrase to admit you are simply stumped.  But the class of the annunciation does not ameliorate the underlying message.  They have tried what their guru told them and when it did not work, their blinders were so tightly aimed they had no way to analyze the results because they fell outside of the paradigm they had accepted totally.

Now bear in mind this is from the same group of briliant policy wonks that insist the way to help us out of a debt crisis is by raising our credit limit.  In talking about the Democrat’s position debate over raising the debt ceiling, Sen Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders said an agreement should include some spending increases for infrastructure, clean energy and other programs to boost the economy.

Don’t you get it?  There is only one reason to want the debt ceiling to be raised and that is so you can spend more?  If you truly don’t want to spend more money and wish to actually cut some spending, why raise the debt ceiling instead of simply starting to pay down the liabilities?  And don’t try the current red herring on me that if we don’t then we will start defaulting.  Bovine Excrement!!!  This is not about any default; the Congressional Budget office declared we take in more than enough in revenue (read, “Taxes”) to pay the interest on the current indebtedness plus basic essential government operations.

Therefore the only way we would default on our debt is for our dear leader to decide to default on the interest in favor of spending elsewhere.  In other words, an abject failure of proper prioritizing.  It is perfectly analogous to the decision by a person facing bankruptcy who decides, instead of paying off existing debt with his income and cutting his spending, to spend all his money buying a new TV and then buys a new car on the credit card before it collapses.  That is exactly what King Barrack, Baron Bernanke, and Lord Geitner are telling you is the best plan for the country.

And how has it worked out so far, do you think?  Has the investments we were assured would stop the recession and put us on the road to recovery worked?  Have they worked even a little bit?  Has unemployment dropped as promised?  Has national productivity started a noticeable climb?  Have housing costs adjusted properly?  No, no, no, and no.

The argument is we need to do MORE “investment” (spending) to boost the economy.  But that is exactly the plan Greece adopted and we all know how that is working out for them,  Ditto Portugal, Ireland, Spain… and we would be different why?

Every word this gang utters about wanting to get spending under control is a bald faced lie or exhibits galactic level stupidity.  The way to get spending under control is to stop spending.  Period.  There is no other.  The way to control debt is to cut up the credit cards not to increase the limits on the ones you have or, worse, get some more.  This is about priorities in a rational spending budget.  Period.  To get us out of this via taxes would require, using CBO, IRS, Census bureau, and Government figures, about $47,000.00 (that is $47 thousand dollars) from every individual in the country including those not now paying any taxes.

The math is, again as i’ve pointed out over and over, incredibly simple.  The only way to not “get it” is to not WANT to get it and be blind to it.  And how about those rich folks including the truly rich plus those owning small business as sole proprietorships whose income is listed at over $200,000.00 (and note the missing item you are not told is that people who want this figure as a criterion do not mention this is “Before Tax” income)?  Well then since it is a smaller number, each of them would have to cough up $3.5 million in taxes.

Sure there are some that could pay it out of pocket change but the majority of people in that income bracket are small business owners and do you seriously believe it would not have a detrimental effect on the same small businesses that are the major employers in this country?  I honestly do not have a problem closing true tax loopholes, but anyone who thinks that will solve the debt problem and let our profligate  spending continue unabated is either hopelessly stupid or sim[ply does not want to face or acknowledge the reality involved.  I’m in favor of the fair flat tax approach but it will not get us out of this mess.  As noted in another post using 100% of our tax revenues will not get us out of this.

So we remain adrift.  Or… as I have suggested before, we are not adrift at all but in the hands of a Captain Ahab, purposefully setting sail after the white whale of democracy and capitalism following the compass of Keynesian/socialist ideals and willing to take us all down with the ship for his ideology which he believes will, in the end be better for us after the ship sinks and he rebuilds us a better boat from the flotsam.  And who is to stop him except us voters?

I just was sent a “civics” test from an inter-collegial studies course.  The friend who sent it to me scored an 87% and I scored a paltry 86%.  But here comes the really frightening statistic.  Of the college professors who took it, the average score was 55% and the overall score of general citizens was 49%. It terrifies me to think our education is in such hands as those professors and worse, that our future is int he hands of those average citizens.   You can take it for yourself at this URL:

http://www.isi.org/quiz.aspx?q=FE5C3B47-9675-41E0-9CF3-072BB31E2692>

Good luck to the rest of you who, along with me, is drifting on the ship of state we need to rename the Pequod!

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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A Good Week for the Prez…The Economy looks Bad.

(DATA ON THE BRISTLECONE PINES PHOTO TRIP IS ONE POST DOWN OR CLICK ON IT IN THE RIGHT HAND “RECENT POSTS” COLUMN)

San Diego — Last week was a GREAT week for the Prez, King Barrack I, all merciful and bountiful, hallowed be his name.  Moody’s is threatening to reduce our national credit rating, and the already under reported unemployment numbers went back up over 9%.  Even party loyalists are quietly uttering the forbidden thought of a “double dip” recession that was long forecast by those doom and gloom folks on the other side.  Ignoring all past rhetoric to the contrary, he told the employees at a Chrysler plant that we had to expect it to get worse before it got better because of “bumps” in the road that would stop even the famous Jeep Wrangler which that plant was building.

Some tried to paper over the remark by claiming it was simply a lame joke.  I don’t think it was a joke at all but a slip of the truth, a “Freudian” error.  It was fascinating he should choose that venue, itself sort of a shell game economically.  The company and the administration made much of the fact that they had paid back their bail out money… they did not mention that they did it with low interest government loans meaning that in terms of their liability to the government it was a wash and they owe the same as they did before the swap in books.

But that is a side show to the economic main attraction.  What I believe are the true bellwether sheep in the mix, gas and food and housing, all continued a negative slide.  Gas went slightly down then back, housing continued down, and food costs continued up while unemployment was up.  All while His Majesty told us how much better things were getting, all while catastrophe was being declared if we were not allowed to borrow even more money instead of facing reality and cutting back on our entitlement spending.

I just have a single question for those advocating this debt ceiling increase.  Would you advise a family member or close friend, someone who was in trouble due to over extending their credit cards, that a workable solution could only be found if they got another credit card and borrowed some more?  How well would you expect that to work out?  Well, that is precisely what the administration is telling us needs to happen.  And they won’t even consider trying to offset that with some spending cuts.

i even just read the comments of one partisan that claimed we were looking at it all wrong and as any banker knows liabilities are actually assets.  He was serious…  and he ignored that it was the banks which had been doing precisely that with a boatload of toxic loans that should never have been granted that was one of the critical nails in the economy’s coffin.

One of the MSNBC pundits, Rachel Maddow, asserted categorically that if we stopped the funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan then we could solve the budget crisis without having to cut other programs.  Whatever she is smoking, i have some old hippie friends that would love to get their hands on some of it. Let’s do the math.

According to the Governments own figures, total defense spending requested for FY 2012 was $881 Billion.  That number included spending on the military, Homeland Security, the Veterans Association, The Nuclear Adminsitration and several State Department Programs.  But to the point, funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan action is requested at $118 Billion, down from $159 Billion last Year.  But the national debt is now over $14 Trillion.  The money for the Iraq and Afghanistan operations won’t even pay the debt service which is $275 Billion for May through October of 2011.  In 2010 interest on our debt was $413.9 Billion and the total for 2011 will be higher.

The other common suggestion from the left is that we should raise taxes on the very wealthy and that would solve it.  OK, let’s do the math again.

According to The  Monthly Treasury Report just put out by the Treasury Department, the total worth of American Billionaires is $1.3 Trillion.  Forget just taxing them, if we took their entire worth and chucked them on the street homeless and penniless we could not even cover this year’s deficit of $1.6 Trillion, never mind the debt. And then who do we hit up for the rest?  And what do we do next year? Throwing in all of the Millionaires entire wealth still does not come even close.

In fact, for those “We can tax our way out of this” crowd, if we added up the entire Federal Tax revenues from all sources (taxes, fees, Social Security, etc.) in 2011 it adds up to $4.46 Trillion.  Does the administration think we are so stupid that we cannot go on to the government’s own web site and get these numbers to poke holes in what they are trying to tell us?  For every dollar in funding commitments we take in less than 50 cents.  Could you run your personal finances like that, unless of course you were on the public dole yourself?  Of course not.

But, you respond, the government can do something you can’t; it can simply print more money.  Yes it can and that is precisely what it is doing.  But how many years of economic study does it take to understand that more money applied to the same number of pulls on it must necessarily result in that money being worth less per unit.  But if you are paid a fixed rate that is not adjusted for inflation, then it takes more of the money from your pocket to buy the same things.  So how is that working out for you at the gas pump and the grocery store?

That is all common knowledge so the answer to the question on the table apparently is, “Yes.”  We ARE that stupid.

There was a time when you might not have heard it since the main media never talked about it and the only ones trying to sound some alarm were those wackos on the opposite side.  But now, even NPR TV finally had one of its reporters admit that some major economists were not backing the administration’s story of economic recovery.  On a Radio Talk show this week even James Carvell, virulent liberal and hardly a pawn in the conservative camp, expressed the concern that Obama, his guy, did not seem to really understand the situation and he feared that we could start seeing some serious civil unrest over it.

So why would this be good news for the Prez?  Well to ask that you would have to be very new to this blog where I have pointed out event after event where, to me, the only logical explanations that connected all of the dots and provided a complete fit to the facts were that either he was rock stupid or was purposely trying to destroy our economy so that he could then ride to the rescue and rebuild it in his own favored European socialist model.  His comment that it has to get worse before it can get better is a revelation of the real plan.  For him to succeed then it MUST get a lot worse… to the point of collapse.

Both the “rock stupid” and the “Socialist Revolutionary” theses form viable working hypotheses. But the missing part of the “stupid” thesis is compassion for the human costs and concern for the country.  Even if he were too stupid, too ignorant, or simply too incompetent to know how to fix it but actually wanted to, a positive desire for the country and real compassion for the economic suffering of so many citizens would have seen an outreach for help and a game change to try to find something that did work even if it was the final humiliation of an admission that the government cannot fix an economy, especially by ramping up the spending policies that created the problems in the first place.  But there is no sign that is about to happen and that means the “stupid” hypothesis starts to fall apart.  That only leaves the one working hypothesis to examine.

Government can certainly can ruin the economy, but only production and private industry can fix it and maintain it.  Increased tax revenues flow from increased productivity.  Duh!  But that concept is not something possible to even contemplate, much less address in his world view.  It is, for him, a complete and willful blind spot.  I think rather that while he is an unqualified and incompetent president, he is not a stupid person.  And he is certainly not without a goal and a plan to reach it.  Instead I think, and with increasing conviction, that he is an ideologue with a plan for social revolution that he is implementing brilliantly.

The obvious next question then is to what possible ends could he be aiming?  Weren’t you listening?  He already told us but no one wanted to hear it and he knew full well that the sycophants hanging on his anointed robes would hear only what they wanted to hear and then try to ignore or spin the rest.  His previous close associates and mentors have already told us.  He himself was clear he wanted to transform America and he was also clear in his vision for what that might look like.  Couched in warm fuzzy rhetoric about caring for the poor, the needy, or, best and most heart-string tugging of all, the children, he wishes to oversee a government run and enforced redistribution of wealth from those who earn it to those who do not.  He knows that those who do not, who seek to continue feeding at the government trough, are a sufficient voting block to keep him in office essentially for life.

Oh I know there is that pesky amendment limiting Presidential terms but he has already shown a major disdain for that musty old document and would have no trouble overriding it as he has other Constitutional roadblocks to his plans.

I can see the eyes rolling now; I hear the whispers that ol’ David has finally lost what little grip on reality he might ever have had.  But I simply would ask you to revisit the history of countries who have gone from some more or less popularly elected for of government (prior to rigged elections that created “Presidents for Life”) and see what the mechanisms were that set the change to a de facto dictatorship in motion.  it has, nearly always and with very, very few exceptions, been the same sequence of effects and it has started with an economic crisis followed by, as Keynes himself described it, a debauching of the currency, that is the printing of more money to stave off an out of control inflation which is then enflamed by the increased amount of money in an economic death spiral.

As in the most famous example, the Weimar Republic in Germany, the value of money declines rapidly meaning the cost of good escalates rapidly until even basics are unaffordable, people panic and in the following chaos take to the streets in protest which, given the nature of mob psychology turns sooner or later to riots and the benevolent dictator in training now has to use strong-arm means for the good of the people to bring things under control.

None of that would be possible here except slowly and surely the drug of benefits has been doled out as if for free and now has become cripplingly addictive.  We were promised “change” and we certainly got it.  From January 2009 to May 2011 Gas prices have increased 84%, Corn has increased 78%, Sugar has increased 164%, Food Stamps have increased 35%, long term unemployed has increased 146%, the national debt has increased 32%.  All of that in a little over half of a Presidential term. The rate of increase in the National Debt is stunning. In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation’s history. To put that in some perspective if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane going 27 times faster, it would be doing well over 7,000 MPH!  Is your income growing at that same rate?

No one could possibly believe that is sustainable and so the only possible explanation for the continuation, much less the acceleration of the policies that created that situation is that it is on purpose and it has as its goal the very end to which it has historically always led: an over throw of government and the institution of a de facto dictatorship “for the good of the people.”

I truly do not want to be correct in this. I keep waiting and searching for the evidence that will provide another working hypothesis to analyze but thus far i’ve not seen it.  That is why i endure the snarky administration apologists on MSNBC and read the claptrap from Huffington Post and other such sites hoping to hear the missing fact or piece of evidence to allow me to change that thinking.  I don’t have any kids so I do not worry about them and I also do not worry about the kids of those who have consistently voted to let this political monstrosity loose on the land.  If that truly reflects the values of the 21st Century American then they deserve what is coming.

What I don’t like is the closing speed which may bring about this collapse and change in my own lifetime.


 
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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Tough Times

San Diego – Things are getting really grim for education in this state and especially for the Community Colleges.  Under the best case scenario we will lose at least 200 course sections at City College by next Fall Semester.  And it could double that number if the State continues to place more emphasis on protecting prison guards and prisoners, prohibiting drilling and refining, and making sure the snail darter and delta smelt are accorded more attention and sympathy than it provides for educating its next generation.  Never mind that without the education that a college offers, individuals will only get lower paid jobs and the tax base to pay for all of those entitled victims feeding at the public trough will get smaller and smaller, or that as taxes rise the employers themselves will continue, as they have already started, to leave for better business environments and with them more contributors to that tax base will evaporate.

Of course that scenario is mirrored by the Federal government as well which seems determined to spend more, not less, and to adopt as a solution to cash needs the expedient of printing money and loaning it to itself using the wonderful euphemism of “Quantitative Easing” or QE.  Is there no one that reads history?  Are the sycophants of King Barrack or Count Bernacke so willfully blind they refuse to even consider the obvious.  They are all in thrall to the liberal economic theory of John Maynard Keynes but they are so without having actually READ Keynes’s work.  And if they did, they quickly turned the page when he wrote, “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.”  As Milton Friedman noted, only a government can take expensive paper and very good ink and turn the combination into something worthless.

The really scary thing is that maybe they DO know.  Perhaps they are all as smart as claimed and this is not slipping by them, it is being done on purpose.  How did Keynes phrase it? “…overturning the existing basis of society.”  Does that sound like “transforming” society to you?  Before you can transform or overturn a society, unless you are already starting with a generally illiterate populace or one used to autocracies, you have to seriously dumb it down and make it dependent on the authority to keep the food trough filled.   Hmmmmmm.  And what better way of doing that than to start the devaluation of both the currency and the educational system?

A growing cadre of financial advisors and economists are trying to sound the alarm bell that we are heading toward catastrophic inflation but are ignored by the mainstream press.  The government denies it absolutely and tells us instead, in a wonderful example of a magician’s trick, that we are in lessening danger of DEflation.  But gas at the pump has doubled in the past two years.  The increasing fuel costs have increased food costs (it takes fuel for farm implements, transportation, power to stores, and GETTING to the stores) to, in some cases, nearly 50% in that same period.  People may do little more than complain about gas but when they start cutting back on food it will get their undivided attention.  If we, as a society, sheepishly accept that and then accept the sure-to-follow offer of the government to step in and provide for us, then it is hard to see how something could be more transformative from a self reliant people to a dependent people.  it will be a redistribution of wealth all right, redistributed from he people who earned it to the government so they can pay down the debt and get their credit back.

Machiavelli would be proud of King Barrack if he pulls that one off.  Political “good” is achieved when an environment is created that allows citizens to be self reliant and self sufficient and enjoy the fruits of their own labor.  Political “Evil” is achieved when the citizens are made dependent upon the government or “village” to survive.  And what would we call such a system?

Using labels to demonize philosophical opponents is a scurrilous, but effective trick because it halts debate and clouds issues behind an emotional smokescreen, so I am not going to assert that our progressive thinkers are one thing or another.  I would assert however that their ideas and ideals are more closely aligned with those of William Godwin than of John Locke, more clearly flowing from Jean Jaques Rousseau than from Edmund Burke, far more consistent with the thinking of Karl Marx than of Thomas Jefferson, and would garner greater enthusiasm from Gus Hall than from John Kennedy.  And in that is a message that is both critically important and generally ignored.

The silence is deafening and i can see “deer-in-the-headlights” stares aimed at me.  What?  “Who are those people?” you ask.   If you do not know and do not know what they all stood for then I would suggest you have no business taking part in the political discourse and debate because without knowing how we got to where we are you can have no idea where it is going.  It is like mathematically trying to draw a trend line based on a single data point.  If you want to know the truth about someone’s foundational beliefs and where they are likely to lead, then you must understand the foundations of those beliefs.  And if you will do that, and God knows the web can make it far easier for you than it was in the old days of actually having to have or go to a library and, gasp, READ something, then you may be somewhat unsettled by the information and find yourself needing to rethink things a bit.  In doing so you will start, finally, to become one of those “informed citizens” Jefferson said was essential to the success of democracy.  Perhaps you will read and understand the fear the founders had when Madison, and Jefferson, philosophical opponents in may ways, agreed that the greatest danger would come when the people realized that they could, directly or indirectly, write themselves a check from the public treasury.

We are there now.  The danger is bleak and at the gates.  The only question of value at this point is are you going to man the walls to fight it off or run down and open the gates?  Or does it matter?  Have we in fact, as some economists are saying, passed the tipping point from where recovery without tumult is no longer possible?   If so it will be because too many people sat on their hands and researched no more deeply than the talking points of their chosen party, steeped themselves in the profound philosophies of bumper stickers, and blindly followed those choir masters of the chosen choir.  If this culture and country craters around our ears then those blind followers are the people to blame.

Perhaps it will be too late for California’s education system to recover and it, along with the State’s economy, will need to collapse and wait to be rebuilt until the wreckage of its current policies is utterly inescapable to anyone willing to look.  Perhaps it will be the same for the State’s economy and, for that matter, the Country.  I hope not but I must confess I am no longer optimistic.


 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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