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Thursday, May 21, 2015

House party for Hillary 2016 in Brunswick Maine

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Although this iPhone picture is a little dark, the fact is Dick (seated) and I enjoyed our visit to the Brunswick, Maine house party for Hillary Clinton 2016. We listened to plans for organizing supporters to elect our nation's first woman president.


Well, I finally had a chance to vent my frustration with the inability of Democrats to push back on vitriolic Republican rhetoric on social networking.  

We must learn to use social networking to our advantage!

Let's take the example of a tweet I received after posting a message about the #House_Party_Hillary_2016.  So, what happened is, a troll for right wing media instantly flooded my twitter feed with incoherent messages about conspiracy theories related to unsubstantiated hate about the world leader and humanitarian Mrs. Clinton.  

This is how I responded to the tweet, always in 140 characters. What I did was to hash tag: #Hillary_Clinton_humanitarian_world_leader and then posted this as a response to the vitriolic right winger tweet.  BUT, I knew the right wing tweeter was a troll for anything about Hillary Clinton. Therefore, as soon as I posted my # comment, I went to the tweeter's feed and blocked him.  Believe me, readers, absolutely nothing makes a right winger angrier than to be blocked by a liberal tweeter!  

Obviously, social networking and push back with the right wing trolls on twitter are not the world for the faint of heart. These right wing people are strange and angry.  But, Democratic push back must be done.  Let's learn how to deal with these social networking predators and fight them in real time, before they use their negative energy to take control of populist thinking. 

In my opinion, as a social networking guru, the right wing has decades of advantage on controlling our negative thinking. They have taken over our abilities to reason.  So, we Democrats must learn how to push back or we will loose our opportunity to elect a qualified woman to lead America.  

Let's elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 and begin by getting involved in social networking to support her campaign. Learn it and do it!

#Hillary_Clinton_2016!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Syria and all dangerous conflicts - what we know and what we don't know

"...congratulate those who carried it out. It sounds like it was a very successful mission." Senator Mitch McConnell (R)

"...courage showed by those who carried out the mission is immeasurable,..."

Yup. It's hard for those #Fox_and_Friends righties to admit, the recent brazen raid by US Special Forces into Syria, where they successfully killed the evil-ISIS chief finance officer (CFO) Abu Sayyaf and took his wife hostage,  was a "boots on the ground" success.

Nevertheless, even though the righties choke when they agree on the amazing efficiency of the invasion, kill and capture, the danger faced by the Special Forces on this raid were overwhwelming.

Obviously, I've never been to Dier Az Zor, in Syria, where the invasion occured, it seems to me the location must be difficult to enter and just as challenging to arrange an escape.  

Salute to those Special Forces who accomplished this mission.

Even in the midst of the extraordinary success, it's important for military strategists to remember how success cannot raise the expectation of unlimited captures. 

There's an unlikely premise for my cautionary words.

In fact, I recall only too well how we were warned, when we lived in the Philippines, to be very aware of how smart monkeys would use their own babies to lure humans into traps.  When kind humans tried to rescue a baby monkey, the tribe would descend on the attepted rescuier and literally tear them apart, just because it was a game.  I'm not saying the evil-ISIS would do what conniving monkeys would do, given the opportunity. Oh no.  Instead, I believe the evil-ISIS would do worse without compulsion.  

My unqualified advice to military strategists is to be aware of the potential for evil ISIS traps, using hostages as bait.  Similar to how the monkeys threw their babies into harms way, the  evil ISIS is highly capable to doing the same and who knows what else?Interesting to know how the evil wife of the now dead Sayyaf was, in fact, in charge of the ISIS hostages.  Hmmmmm, surely, she'll have key intelligent information about plots, traps and the keys to how to locate hostages.  What we don't know is how many more of these clandestine raids are in the planning.

Meanwhile....here's the scoop on how the right wing is having a tough time with President Obama's successful strategy to capture and kill a high level evil ISIS leader.

US special forces kill ISIL's Abu Sayyaf in Syria raid

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter says Abu Sayyaf's wife was captured during the operation.

16 May 2015 14:14 GMT | Middle East, ISIL, Syria


US special forces soldiers have killed a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group during a raid carried out in eastern Syria, the US secretary of defence said.

Pentagon chief Ash Carter said in a statement on Saturday that the raid in al-Amr had killed Abu Sayyaf when he "engaged US forces".

Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from the Bekaa valley in neighbouring Lebanon, said two US helicopters had taken part in the operation at an oil field east of the city of Deir Az Zor.

"Activists from the area say at least six people from ISIL were killed, including at least two of Arab nationalities; a Saudi and an Iraqi," Saleh said.

"We believe the operation may have taken place overnight or early Saturday."

The US put the number of ISIL deaths at about a dozen, and said no US soldiers were killed during the incident.


Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have been forced to admit on the Sunday shows that the Obama approved raid on ISIS in Syria has been successful.

On ABC’s This Week, Sen. McConnell said, “Well, the president has done a good job with these special operations type missions. Where I think the administration has fallen down is they tend not to favor, generally speaking, capture and interrogation. Although it’s good that the wife of this terrorist was captured and will be interrogated. I’ve been distressed, for example, about the willingness to release prisoners at Guantanamo. Look, this is not a criminal type matter. 


This is a defense matter. What you want to do is you want to capture people, you want to interrogate them, and you want to try to prevent the next atrocity. I wish we’d had, you know, frankly, more emphasis on capturing, detaining and interrogation than on strikes. Although the strikes are important, and I congratulate those who carried it out. It sounds like it was a very successful mission.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on Fox News Sunday, “For now, let’s just say it was a successful raid, and it’s good news. Obviously, anytime you can take away and degrade top leadership of an organization it’s a positive step forward….It remains a risk, but obviously we want to congratulate the men and women in uniform who carried it out and the President for undertaking the mission.”

McConnell and Rubio are two of the Republicans who tried to sabotage President Obama’s foreign policy with their letter to Iran, so for Republicans to not only admit the mission was a success, but also praise the president is something that has been virtually unseen during the Obama presidency.

Reports are that the US raid in Syria has killed 32 ISIS members including four leaders. The symbolic message that the raid sends is that terrorists are not safe anywhere on this Earth. It takes an unspeakable amount of leadership for the President to authorize a mission where special operations forces are going into a territory where they have no allies on the ground.

The courage showed by those who carried out the mission is immeasurable, but they wouldn’t have been there if Obama would not have approved the mission. As much as it must drive Republicans crazy, even they are admitting that President Obama has been successful.


Julie's P.S. And the next time Congress says "thank you for your service" they must also remember the bravery of these and others who are taking enormous risks to protect the world from growing more terrorism....

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dangerous Ukrainians and Russians at War

"United Nations says at least 6,000 people have been killed since fighting started in eastern Ukraine in April 2014." BBCNews

Presidential Czar Vlidimir Putin is determined to carve a road through the Ukraine to get to the annexed, and now isolated Crimea, and thereby to a warm water port.  By taking terrirotry from the Ukraine to reach the Crimea, the Russians would finally have the power to acess a warm water port for the purposes of developing its defense and to promote trade.

Tragically, the war between the Ukraine and Russia, over control of the Eastern Ukraine, is escalating.  Putin is driven to push his way through to the Crimea via the Ukraine, regardless of the consequences or how Europe feels about his relentless ambitions.  

Obviously, Putin has taken an approach similar to how Adolph Hitler handled strategies. It's evident that Putin will not retreat, regardless of the consequences.  Meanwhile, the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine is accelerating with no end in sight.

In fact, the acrimony between Russia and the Ukraine is centuries old. Therefore, this recent aggression by Putin is painfully recreating old feuds, like eviscerating surgical wounds. 

In fact, Putin's ambitions will become his undoing. He simply can't outlive his ambitious agenda, because (hello President Putin?) you are mortal.

BBCNews Reports:
Ukraine crisis: President Poroshenko talks of 'real war' with Russia

Ukraine's president has told the BBC his country is now in a "real war" with Russia - and that Ukrainians should prepare for a Russian offensive.

President Petro Poroshenko told the BBC's Fergal Keane he did not trust his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

However he said he had no option but to negotiate with Mr Putin.

Russia denies Western accusations that it has sent regular troops and armour to help the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The United Nations says at least 6,000 people have been killed since fighting started in eastern Ukraine in April 2014.

Pro-Russian rebels made significant gains in the region, including, most recently, the rail hub of Debaltseve. They, and Russia, have denied they are receiving Moscow's support.

But Russia's role has again come into question, after the capture on Saturday of two men Ukraine said were elite Russian soldiers working in eastern Ukraine.

In a video, the men confirmed they were active Russian servicemen, but Moscow said they were no longer employed by the state when they were caught.  (Julie's note: Isn't this absolutely disgusting? How long will it take for this kind of abandonment to infect the Russian military?  I suspect this statement is part of Putin's toxic cocktail.)

In fact, the Ukrainian and Russian war is a tinder box surrounded by a ring of fire.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Finally people are asking real questions about the failed Iraq War


Iraq War failures are too numerous to report. In fact, it's difficult to grasp how so many US defense failures could continue, even compounded, without demanding accountability from Congressional committees.

As a result of these failures, the body counts in the casualities of the Iraq War are reported in numerous websites.

Estimates of the casualties from the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (beginning with the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and the ensuing occupation and insurgency) have come in many forms, and the accuracy of the information available on different types of Iraq War casualties varies greatly.

Scientific surveys of Iraqi deaths resulting from the first four years of the Iraq War found that between 151,000 to over one million Iraqis died as a result of conflict during this time. A later study, published in 2011, found that approximately 500,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the conflict since the invasion. Counts of deaths reported in newspapers collated by projects like the Iraq Body Count project found 174,000 Iraqis reported killed between 2003 and 2013, with between 112,000-123,000 of those killed being civilian noncombatants.


Now, it's possible the voters will finally asks the questions that our US media and the Congress were simply too afraid to ask.

1. Why did President George Bush 41 disregard the advice of Norman Schwarzkopf and invade Baghdad,  when he had an open road into the city and the citizens were hailing the Americans as conquering heroes?

2.  Why did President George Bush 43 create a myth about Iraq harboring weapons of mass destruction as a premise to invade a sovereign nation?

3.  Why did the Americans allow the Iraqi Kurds to be massacred after they revolted against President Saddam Hussein?

4.  Why is it the American tax payers have funded untold billions of dollars to build the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan, while our Congress defunds our public schools, universities, health  care and ignore the crumbling state of our national infrastructure?

And the list could continue.....but four questions in one blog is really all any questioner would need to determine clear and convincing evidence of the Iraq failures.

Meanwhile, American voters are finally asking the questions that were, for too long, ignored by the US media and our Congress.

The Iraq War was a failure. Americans lost this war. Indeed, we're even loosing what was gained by US military treasure, because the coward Iraqi army are incompetent when challenged to defend their own nation against the take over by evil-ISIS extremists.

It was George Bush 41 and his son George Bush 43 who created the synergistic Iraq failures. There's no point in creating a trifecta of failures regarding this international fiasco.  

Let's let the American voters ask Jeb Bush to account for his father's and his brother's failures. Obviously, American doesn't want yet another failed Bush administration policy to lead our nation.  Voters will have the courage to demand accountability for the Iraqi War failures. 

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Texas imploding - Republican leadership must demonstrate intelligence

"..it's just another Tuesday in the lunatic asylum of American politics..."

It makes no sense, whatsoever, to believe an invasion of Texas is planned. This premise is as preposterous as believing Unidentified Flying Objects are infiltrating the human genus. 

No doubt, people afflicted with mental illness can be deluded into believing any conspiracy theories. 

Nevertheless, Texas political leadership, especially Rick Perry, have an ethical responsibility to rise above the ridiculous conspiracy about an overt invasion of the Lone Star State by the federal government. 

In comic book strips, this outrageous scenario would be among the "Believe it or Not" pages.  Mostly, "not". Except, unbelievably, many who live in Texas are among those who believe it.

In my opinion, this over the top story is more evidence of how Republicans have become "the stupid and stupider party".  

People who subscribe to these "invasion" conspiracies are even "stupider" than I could ever imagine.  

What's dangerous is how these stupider than dirt people most likely, also, vote.  

Oh My God.Please spare us from the stupid and stupider party!


In July, dozens of Black Hawk helicopters will swoop down on southeastern America, depositing special forces troops in Texas and six other sates, said Amy Davidson in NewYorker.com.

For the U.S. military, the event marks the beginning of Jade Helm 15, a routine training exercise.  But, for a growing number of paranoid conservatives in the Lone Star State, it signifies something much more terrifying. For them, the exercise, is a U.S. military takeover of Texas and beyond.  

Incredulously, the conspiracy theorists believe President Obama is secretly plotting to seize Texas and other Republican dominated states.  "They're moving logistics in place for martial law", Texas Bob Wells told a newspaper reporter.  

"It's the same thing that happened to Nazi Germany".  Unfortunately, this crackpot theorizing isn't confined to the furthest corner of the conspiratorial fever swamps, " said Heather Digby Parton, in Salon.com.  Instead, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott upped the hysteria by ordering the state guard to monitor the U.S. Troops, citing his concern for Texans "constitutional rights".

Okay, okay!  President Obama isn't going to invade Texas, said David French in NationalReview.com.  But, you can't blame conservatives for feeling a little paranoid, not when they've been bullied, slandered and investigated under this administration.  

Apparently, Obama's Justice Department has repeatedly called conservative activists groups "potential domestic terrorists", and his administration turned one of its most powerful bureaucracies, the IRS, into a weapon (OMG!)

In this conspiracy, the IRS has targeted Tea Party groups with systematic audits. Moreover, the Constitutions is being repeatedly upstaged by presidential executive orders.  

In this atmosphere of earned distrust, it's no wonder that conservative citizens felt targeted and maligned.  The levels of paranoia in Texas go far beyond rational boundaries, said Leslie Savan in TheNation.com. This week, Walmart felt obliged to deny a wieespread rumor that all its Texas stores were closing so federal officials could use them as internment camps.  

Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Louie Gohmert joined Governor Abbott in validating the conspiracy theories about Jade Helm with Gohmert saying, "Patriotic Americans have reason to be concerned,"  Sadly, it's no longer shocking to hear Republicans talk this way, said Leonard Pitts in the Miami Herald.  Today, when a Republican governor calls out guardsmen to ensure that the president doesn't stage a military coup, "we shrug because it's just another Tuesday in the lunatic asylum of American politics".

Julie's note, just when we believe the Republican "stupid party" can't go any lower into stupidity, these stories confirm just exactly "how stupid is as stupid does". 

There must be somebody in Texas who is not stupid?  If so, please demonstrate intelligent leadership and provide a reality check to this crazy conspiracy fantasy.


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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Syria - boots on the ground directed by Commander in Chief

"We have warned [Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's] regime not to interfere with our ongoing efforts against [IS] inside of Syria," said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.
(So, where's Fox News on this story? ....Absent.)

Abu Sayyaf, a high level evil-ISIS leader, is dead. He was killed by US Special forces.

Although this Special Operations assassination in Syria appears to be a success, it is proof of the obvious. Indeed, American troops are "boots on the ground" in Syria and most probably elsewhere, too.


It's curious, but US media has not developed this story. 
Here's the BBC report:

Islamic State crisis: US special forces in Syria raid

The US says its special forces have killed a senior Islamic State (IS) member and captured his wife in a rare ground raid in eastern Syria.

Abu Sayyaf helped direct oil, gas and financial operations for IS, as well as holding a military role, said a US Department of Defense statement.

It said forces tried to capture him, but he was killed after engaging them.

It is the first time the US is known to have carried out a ground operation to attack IS within Syria.

The operation was authorised by President Barack Obama and was carried out by forces based in Iraq.

US officials said Abu Sayyaf was Tunisian, with one official telling CNN he was the chief financial officer "of all of [IS]" and that the US had seized "reams of data on how ISIS operates, communicates and earns its money".

On Arabic social media, however, Abu Sayyaf was not being spoken of as a known public figure.

Oil and gas have been an important source of revenue for IS, which gained swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq last year.

On Saturday, the group took control of the northern part of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, which it has been advancing on for three days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - a UK-based network that uses activists within Syria.

In other developments
More civilians were killed in Syrian government air raids in Idlib province, the Observatory reported.

Turkey said it had shot down a Syrian helicopter after it crossed into Turkish airspace, though Syrian state media indicated that the aircraft was a drone.

The US said the operation in Syria was conducted "with the full consent of Iraqi authorities", though it did not inform the Syrian government in advance.

"We have warned [President Bashar al-Assad's] regime not to interfere with our ongoing efforts against [IS] inside of Syria," said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan, adding that "the Assad regime is not and cannot be a partner in the fight" against (evil) IS.

(Julie's note:  This raid has to have been as dangerous as the "No Easy Day" reported raid to kill the now dead Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan!)

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Vaccines - first person testimony from eloquent polio survivor

Ann Lee Hussey is the Past District Governor for the Rotary International District 7780, she lives in South Berwick, Maine.  

I was honored to sit beside Ann during the May 11, 2015 public hearing in Augusta at the State House, as we waited to present our testimonies in support of vaccines. An impressive line up of health care givers, nurses, physicians and the public testified before Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services, a proven public health prevention to injuries and mortality in children. Thanks Ann!

Ann Lee Hussey 
in support of LD 471 An Act to Improve Childhood Vaccination Rates in Maine
"I am a polio survivor, having contracted polio 3 months after the announcement that the Salk vaccine was effective and before the vaccine was widely distributed."


TESTIMONY OF ANN LEE HUSSEY
IN SUPPORT OF
L.D. 471, AN ACT TO IMPROVE CHILDHOOD VACCINATION RATES IN MAINE

Joint Standing Committee on Health & Human Services
Room 209, Cross State Office Building, Augusta, Maine
Monday, May 11, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

Good Morning Senator Brakey, Representative Gattine, and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Health & Human Services.  I am Ann Lee Hussey and I am a resident of South Berwick.  I am here today to speak in support of L.D. 471, An Act to Improve Childhood Vaccination Rates in Maine and in opposition to L.D. 1076, An Act to Enact the Vaccine Consumer Protection Program.

It is apropos that we should be having this discussion just two weeks following World Immunization Week, April 24-30, a week focused on the global platform to bolster efforts to ensure vaccination coverage for every child and even seniors, no matter where they live.  1 in 5 children are still missing out on routine life-saving immunizations that could prevent 1.5 million deaths each year from preventable diseases.   Today we are a international society – what we do locally ultimately affects others, nationally and globally.

It is also apropos to be here just 4 weeks after celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.  On April 12, 1955 when the news came out of Ann Arbor, Michigan that Dr. Salk’s vaccine was effective, everyone celebrated.  People flooded the streets, tears of joy streaming down their cheeks, sirens and church bells were heard everywhere as parents felt relief that the crippling poliovirus would be stopped.  It was the height of America’s faith in research and science.  Vaccines became a routine part of pediatric care.

This vaccine was one of the largest medical advances in American history and it led to a rapid decline in polio cases primarily in the developed world.  We owe much to Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was instrumental in establishing what we know best as the March of Dimes.  Millions of dimes collected by none other than thousands of mothers funded the research and development of Dr. Salk’s injectable polio vaccine. 
The March of Dimes also funded Dr. Sabin’s oral polio vaccine, introduced in 1963, and used globally in the polio eradication efforts.

Fast-forward to today, where in America resistance to vaccines is growing for no sound scientific reason.  We have become a victim of our own success, with a generation who has never witnessed the rampage of diseases known to previous generations, a generation that has enjoyed the benefits and safety of immunizations and now wish to deny this safety net to others.  Out of sight, out of mind seems to rule the day.  Disheartening that as one of the most advanced nations of the world, we are sliding backwards in our basic preventative medicine. 

I am here to remind everyone that these preventable diseases are still prevalent in other parts of the world, opportunistic viruses that are finding their way back to America, seeking all unprotected children. 

I have worked extensively with Rotary International and our partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) for the last 14 years, traveling multiple times to developing countries in Africa and Asia.  This is the largest public-private health initiative in history whose partners are highly educated and experienced and all are working towards stronger health care infrastructure worldwide.  I have seen active outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, meningitis and polio. 

I have witnessed first hand the power of herd immunity, defined as the protection offered to everyone in a community when vaccination rates are high. When enough people are immunized against a given disease, it’s difficult for the disease to gain traction in the community. This herd or community immunity offers some protection to those unable to receive vaccinations for various reasons—including newborns, individuals with chronic illnesses and those with immunosuppressed systems  —by reducing the possibility of an outbreak that could expose them to the disease.  It is this herd immunity that is working so effectively in our efforts to eradicate the poliovirus from the face of the earth and that was instrumental in the eradication of the only human disease thus far to be eradicated, smallpox. 

I am talking about the protection offered to a single person, by the power of millions of others, a power that is the responsibility of all of us.  It’s what we, here in Maine, are especially known for, Mainers helping each other. 

Our polio campaigns will often include other immunizations such as Measles and Pertussis. I have seen mothers run to be sure their child will receive these vaccines and have watched older siblings bringing younger siblings.  Why?  Because they see children suffer from serious complications or children that die from the diseases they so desperately want to prevent in their own children.  Among these are the poorest of the poor, where vaccine accessibility is not always present, unlike the advantages of mothers for their children here in Maine. 

Some of the most deadly childhood diseases, such as measles, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, Pertussis and others for which vaccines are available and can protect children from illness and death.  Measles remains one of the leading causes of deaths in young children.

From the 2014 Global Immunization Data compiled by the World Health Organization, the total number of children who died from diseases preventable by vaccines is 1.5 million.  About 29% of deaths in children 1-59 months of age are vaccine preventable.

I am a polio survivor, having contracted polio 3 months after the announcement that the Salk vaccine was effective and before the vaccine was widely distributed.  I was originally paralyzed from the waist down and I feel blessed to stand before you today after many surgeries and countless hours of physical therapy throughout my life.  I do not have time to cover my personal story but know that once you have polio, it lives with you forever and continues to provide challenges daily.   I refer you to the article I submitted with my testimony titled, Polio’s Second Act”. 

Every step I take is my reminder to finish the job of polio eradication and drives my passion to have healthy children everywhere; it is also my reminder of why vaccines are so essential.  Every child you know, every child you see should be your reminder.  There is no room for complacency.

I fear for the day that a child in Maine dies from a preventable disease.  If we follow our current path, the needless loss of children’s lives will undoubtedly occur.  I ask you all, what will a mother say to a child who becomes permanently deaf due to measles infection or to a child whose sibling loses his/her life to a vaccine preventable disease when they ask the question, “Why was this allowed to happen?”  What will your answer be?  

Polio and other viruses are but a plane ride away. 

Thank you for listening to me today and for considering my views on these bills.  I will try to respond to any questions you may have.

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