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Welcome! "The Evening Blues" is a casual community diary (published Monday - Friday, 8:00 PM Eastern) where we hang out, share and talk about news, music, photography and other things of interest to the community.  

Just about anything goes, but attacks and pie fights are not welcome here.  This is a community diary and a friendly, peaceful, supportive place for people to interact.  

Everyone who wants to join in peaceful interaction is very welcome here.

Hey! Good Evening!

This evenings music features R&B singer and songwriter Jesse Belvin.  Enjoy!

Jesse Belvin - It Could've Been Worse

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

 -- George Orwell

News and Opinion

Editorial Comment

Aaron Swartz' story is one that can be read at many levels, from the emerging narrative about a couple of overly ambitious prosecutors eager to get their faces and names on teevee to further their careers, also as a story about inadequate legal structures being applied in a manner that does not serve society.

Underneath those narratives, though, is ample evidence that Swartz' experience is a symptom of a deeper problem - a crisis of legitimacy for government.  As the two commentaries below point out in different ways, there is a war being made on activists whose impulse is to create an open society and the sort of democracy that can only work if there is real freedom of information.  

It is part and parcel of a war being made upon not just computer activists, but anti-war activists, social activists like the Occupiers or anyone who is challenging the status quo that serves the 1%, the banksters and their lackeys in government.  

It is a war being waged against people intent on making change by peaceful means who are being met by grotesque forms of government infiltration, surveillance, manipulation and violence.

This cannot be allowed to go on as it is.  It is time to see the points of convergence where the government is using its nasty tools of anti-terrorism against the legitimate, peaceful democratic actions of the people and understand the narrative.  Surely it is evident now whom it is that is bringing the violence? Surely it is evident now who benefits from the application of this violence and whom the targets of it are?

Prosecutor in Aaron Swartz 'hacking' case comes under fire

Carmen Ortiz was being talked about last month as the next Massachusetts governor. Now she's being investigated for threatening the late Aaron Swartz with decades in prison.

 A politically ambitious Justice Department official who oversaw the criminal case against Aaron Swartz has come under fire for alleged prosecutorial abuses that led the 26-year-old online activist to take his own life.

Carmen Ortiz, 57, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts who was selected by President Obama, compared the online activist -- accused of downloading a large number of academic papers -- to a common criminal in a 2011 press release. "Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar," Ortiz said at the time. Last fall, her office slapped Swartz with 10 additional charges that carried a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison. ...

"He was being made into a highly visible lesson," says Harvey Silverglate, a Cambridge, Mass., attorney who first met Swartz in 2001 and spoke with him after his arrest. "He was enhancing the careers of a group of career prosecutors and a very ambitious -- politically-ambitious -- U.S. attorney who loves to have her name in lights." ...

 If Swartz had stolen a $100 hard drive with the JSTOR articles, it would have been a misdemeanor offense that would have yielded probation or community service. But the sweeping nature of federal computer crime laws allowed Ortiz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann, who wanted a high-profile computer crime conviction, to pursue felony charges. Heymann threatened the diminutive free culture activist with over 30 years in prison as recently as last week.

The Boston U.S. Attorney's office was looking for "some juicy looking computer crime cases and Aaron's case, sadly for Aaron, fit the bill," Elliot Peters, Swartz's attorney at the Keker & Van Nest law firm, told the Huffington Post. Heymann, Peters says, thought the Swartz case "was going to receive press and he was going to be a tough guy and read his name in the newspaper."

Imposing Real Consequences for Prosecutorial Abuse in Case of Aaron Swartz

There is, as I wrote about on Saturday when news of Swartz's suicide spread, a general effort to punish with particular harshness anyone who challenges the authority of government and corporations to maintain strict control over the internet and the information that flows on it. Swartz's persecution was clearly waged by the government as a battle in the broader war for control over the internet. As Swartz's friend, the NYU professor and Harvard researcher Danah Boyd, described in her superb analysis:

"When the federal government went after him – and MIT sheepishly played along – they weren't treating him as a person who may or may not have done something stupid. He was an example. And the reason they threw the book at him wasn't to teach him a lesson, but to make a point to the entire Cambridge hacker community that they were p0wned. It was a threat that had nothing to do with justice and everything to do with a broader battle over systemic power.

"In recent years, hackers have challenged the status quo and called into question the legitimacy of countless political actions. Their means may have been questionable, but their intentions have been valiant. The whole point of a functioning democracy is to always question the uses and abuses of power in order to prevent tyranny from emerging. Over the last few years, we've seen hackers demonized as anti-democratic even though so many of them see themselves as contemporary freedom fighters. And those in power used Aaron, reframing his information liberation project as a story of vicious hackers whose terroristic acts are meant to destroy democracy . . . .

"So much public effort has been put into controlling and harmonizing geek resistance, squashing the rebellion, and punishing whoever authorities can get their hands on. But most geeks operate in gray zones, making it hard for them to be pinned down and charged. It's in this context that Aaron's stunt gave federal agents enough evidence to bring him to trial to use him as an example. They used their power to silence him and publicly condemn him even before the trial even began."

The grotesque abuse of Bradley Manning. The dangerous efforts to criminalize WikiLeaks' journalism. The severe overkill that drives the effort to apprehend and punish minor protests by Anonymous teenagers while ignoring far more serious cyber-threats aimed at government critics. The Obama administration's unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers. And now the obscene abuse of power applied to Swartz.

This is not just prosecutorial abuse. It's broader than that. It's all part and parcel of the exploitation of law and the justice system to entrench those in power and shield themselves from meaningful dissent and challenge by making everyone petrified of the consequences of doing anything other than meekly submitting to the status quo.

Obama admin Aids French Bombing of Mali After US Trained-Forces Join Rebels in Uranium-Rich Region.

France is in its fifth day of an offensive to oust rebels that have held much of Mali’s northern region since March, an area larger than Afghanistan. The strikes have reportedly killed 11 civilians, including three children fleeing the bombardment of a camp near the central town of Konna. The United Nations estimates as many as 30,000 may have been displaced since fighting began last week. The United States has backed the offensive by helping transport French troops and making plans to send drones or other surveillance aircraft. It is aiding a fight against Malian forces that it once helped train, only to see them defect and join the Islamist rebellion.

They're at it again.  These guys want a war with Iran so badly they can taste it, and regime change in Syria is part of their grand plan to isolate Iran.  
Neocons, War Hawks Call for 'Overt Preparations' for Attack on Iran

New push in US for tougher sanctions, war threats against Iran

Four U.S. non-proliferation specialists are urging the Obama administration to impose tougher economic sanctions against Iran and issue more explicit threats to destroy its nuclear programme by military means.

In a 155-page report, the specialists, who were joined by the head of a right-wing pro-Israel lobby group, the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies (FDD), said Washington should declare its intent to institute a “de facto international embargo on all investments in, and trade with” Iran, excepting food and medicine, if it does not freeze its nuclear-related work.

The calls come amidst speculation over a critical meeting between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia – plus Germany (P5+1), which have met over the last two months in an apparent effort to unify their positions before meeting with Iran. That meeting has not yet been scheduled, but most observers believe it will take place at the end of the month.

The report, “U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East,” also said Washington should “increase Iranian isolation, including through regime change in Syria” and “undertake…overt preparations for the use of warplanes and/or missiles to destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities with high explosives”. ...

Iranian officials have suggested over the last several months that they are willing to make major concessions, including halting their enrichment of uranium up to 20 percent, transferring a substantial portion of their 20-percent enriched stockpile out of the country, and accepting enhanced IAEA inspections, provided they receive major sanctions relief in exchange. But they have also insisted that their right to enrichment of up to five percent is nonnegotiable.

Spanish city names town square after Clash singer

The Spanish city of Granada plans to name a square after the late British punk star Joe Strummer who sang of the town in one of his band The Clash’s classic tunes, an official said Wednesday.

The driving rock anthem “Spanish Bombs” on the band’s 1979 album “London Calling” recalled the Spanish civil war and Granada’s favourite son, the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, executed there by nationalist soldiers in 1936. ...

It has identified a small square to bear his name a few hundred metres from the Alhambra palace, the city’s Islamic-era landmark which is one of Spain’s biggest tourist draws. ...

Strummer sang in Spanish and English in the song, evoking “bullet holes in the cemetery walls” as the “ragged army” of the Republicans waged their doomed fight against Francisco Franco’s forces.

Bradley Manning’s Speedy Trial Motion Hearing, Day 1

Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier being prosecuted by the military for allegedly releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, is back in court at Fort Meade in Maryland. The defense will be making its case that Manning has had his speedy trial rights violated.

The defense contends the government has shown a “tremendous lack of diligence in the processing of this case violated that fundamental right.” With regards to request for delays, Court Martial Convening Authority, Carl R. Coffman, “abandoned any attempt to make an independent determination of the reasonableness of any government delay request” ...

Manning is currently scheduled to go on trial on June 3, 2013. By then, Manning will have been in pretrial confinement for 1101 days. Months ago, the defense mentioned, “The Empire State Building could have been constructed almost two-and-a-half times over in the amount of time it will have taken to bring Pfc. Manning to trial.”

Is Effective Financial Regulation Possible?

Media demands Beijing to come clean on pollution

A ray of hope for the bees? I guess we will now get to see how much the chemical corporations control the EU government when they announce their decision.
EU hints at banning insecticides over threat to bees

The European Commission hinted on Wednesday that it could ban several insecticides, some made by German chemicals giant Bayer, after scientists found disturbing evidence of harm to bees.

The EU’s food safety agency had reported “disturbing conclusions on three types of insecticides,” a spokesman for EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said.

Following the findings, the Commission would be writing to manufacturers Bayer, Syngenta and Cruiser OSR to seek their response by January 25, the spokesman said, adding that the topic would be taken up again on January 31.

In due course, the “Commission and (EU) member states will take the necessary measures,” the spokesman said, without specifying.

Why are bees under threat?

Hundreds of Sandy Survivors Call for Passage of $51 Billion Dollar Aid Package

House passes Sandy relief bill despite Republican opposition

The House of Representatives voted in favour of a $17bn Hurricane Sandy relief bill on Tuesday, 11 weeks after the superstorm struck the north-east of the US. Congress was due to vote on a second part of the package, which would add $33.7bn to recovery funds, later on Tuesday. Along with the $9bn package to fund insurance claims passed earlier this month, the total relief funding could total nearly $60bn.

The $17bn will go towards basic needs in areas that were hit hard by the storm. The money will be spent on temporary housing and other urgent measures, mostly in New York and New Jersey, which bore the brunt of the hurricane. Congress was debating an amendment to the bill on Tuesday evening which could add $33.7bn which would be spent on longer term structural issues, such as rebuilding train and subway systems and repairing flood-prevention measures.

There had been some concern that the Republican-controlled House would vote against further federal Sandy relief. Conservatives had proposed a series of amendments to the bill which would impose spending cuts elsewhere in exchange for awarding the funding. An amendment that would have offset the $17bn with a 1.63% cut on appropriations in the 2013 budget was voted down by 258-162. Of the 162 voting for the amendment, 157 were Republicans, five Democrats.

The fight over Sandy relief goes back to 1 January, when the Republican leadership in the House opted not to vote on a $60bn bill which had been passed by the Senate. That delay meant the bill had to be reintroduced in the House, causing lengthy delays at a time when federal relief funds were in danger of running out.

Blog Posts of Interest

Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.
What's Happenin'

King: I Have a Dream. Obama: I Have a Drone.

The White House Rejects Solutions to the Mess it Made. We Will Pay for it With Austerity

A Little Night Music

Jessie Belvin + his Space Riders - My Satellite

Jesse Belvin - I'll Mess You Up

Jesse Belvin - The Blues Has Got Me

Jesse Belvin/Big Jay McNeely - Don't Cry Baby

Jessie Belvin And The Cliques - I Wanna Know Why

Jessie Belvin - Beware


Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky

mood ring 1

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Team DFH.


I'd feel better if...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hey Joe, welcome back and hope you are not too (6+ / 0-)

    Freesia and Gerbera
    Freesia and Gerbera from Wendy's Bouquet

    (I sure got a lot of mileage out of this forbidden bouquet)

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:12:57 PM PST

    •  evening agathena... (4+ / 0-)

      i slept 'til the crack of noon today, took a shower, came downstairs took my pills and then took a nap on the couch.  it's going to take a little while for me to work off this sleep deficit that i've got from spending far too much time in the hospital.

      today i'm feeling ok.  some of the pain in my gut is receding a bit and coughing or laughing don't hurt as much as they did yesterday.  i was just able to get a little food down a few minutes ago, though i have about zero appetite at this point.

      how's your daughter doing?  i hope that she's doing well and her recovery is proceeding well.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:20:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds like you are on the way to recovery (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris, civil wingnut

        Extra sleep can make up for not eating up to a point. Hope your appetite will return. Can you eat soup and smoothies, things like that?

        Daughter is doing well. She went on a hike Monday and today she is fixing up her apartment. The jaundice is taking too long to go away, doctor's say it might take a month.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:27:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  On the President's Executive Orders (4+ / 0-)

    on Gun Safety, this Forbes' article has a list of the 23 EO's


    It does not appear that any of the executive orders would have any impact on the guns people currently own-or would like to purchase- and that all proposals regarding limiting the availability of assault weapons or large ammunition clips will be proposed for Congressional action. As such, any potential effort to create a constitutional crisis—or the leveling of charges that the White House has overstepped its executive authority—would hold no validity.
    The Brady Campaign is satisfied with the list and says it is the beginning.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:17:11 PM PST

    •  and these are the ideas to present to Congress (4+ / 0-)

      from Slate

      And these are the legislative ideas -- i.e., the ones the president wants to push through Congress, starting with the  more pliable Senate.

      Require criminal background checks for all gun sales. (a.k.a. closing the "gun show loophole.")

      Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.

      Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.

      Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.

      Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.

      End the freeze on gun violence research.

      Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.

      Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.

      Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:22:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  some of those are nice things... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris, civil wingnut, RWood

        like the mental health elements and i hope that they pass, but i don't see how this set of reforms really makes a dent in the larger problem.  it looks more like legislative legerdemain to me - though i'm sure that when in the not-too-distant-future another newtown happens, they'll have another list of incremental improvements that we can work to get passed for a year or so.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:38:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  frankly i wonder if any serious gun legislation... (4+ / 0-)

      could pass the congress.  i suspect that we will get a fig leaf, at best, if we get anything.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:27:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At least the Center for Disease control will be (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, joe shikspack

        able to gather stats and do research. The NRA-supported politicians have prevented that for 17 years. The anti-gun-control people didn't like to have the stats available to demonstrate then need for control.

        Almost 1,000 Americans killed by firearms in the 31 days following the Newtown massacre. They have to do something fast.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:12:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  joe - hope you're feeling better every day. (5+ / 0-)

    Still at the office.  Nice to have a little night music in the background.  That's some smooth R&B.  I wasn't online much the last few days, but I took a look at last night's EB diary and was glad to read you're home.  Hope you're not too sore.  I'll pop back in now and then between phone calls and such, and I'll check out the news when I can.  Liked your editorial - keep the faith.  Peace.

    "Differences in political opinion are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may perhaps be necessary." George Washington

    by civil wingnut on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:22:44 PM PST

    •  evening cw... (4+ / 0-)

      i'm doing ok here at home.  i've been working on my sleep deficit and waiting out the pain in my gut.  things are getting incrementally better as time goes on and i can see the likelihood that by next week sometime i could be feeling relatively normal again.  

      sorry to hear that you're still stuck at work this late, though perhaps it's not as late where you are.  hope you have a great evening anyway - enjoy the music!

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:32:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope - east coast (Florida). (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack

        Wrapping it up and heading home.  Have a great evening.  (Watch those pain pills - I had a little problem after my bypass - liked 'em too much for a while)

        "Differences in political opinion are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may perhaps be necessary." George Washington

        by civil wingnut on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:01:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  not a problem... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          civil wingnut

          i don't really enjoy the pain pills all that much.  i hate the kind of thick, dizzy feeling that they give me.  even the iv pain meds had their downside.  while it was nice to have your pain disappear virtually instantly, i hated feeling itchy all over and not being able to stay awake for long, hold a conversation, etc.

          i've only been taking the pain meds at night now so that i can sleep and probably within a day or so won't need them for that.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:14:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Nice line-up, will be back to read it thoroughly (3+ / 0-)

    have to rush out before the stores close.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:29:16 PM PST

  •  Hang in there Joe, all the best. (3+ / 0-)

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:51:27 PM PST

  •  glad to hear youre on the mend, joe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, Agathena

    and thanks for that Connecting The Dots editorial segment.

    Im just so deeply disturbed in the aftermath of Aaron's death. The way Im feeling is similar - though the circumstances of it are very different - to how I felt when Troy Davis was executed back in Sept 2011.

    The stark contrasts between Daniel Ellsberg  > Bradley Manning, and between Steve Jobs > Aaron Swartz (and Im sure plenty more examples are out there)... if you look at the facts of those situations and compare the way they were treated, the Then and Now just leaps out at you.

    Something indeed is terribly wrong here.

    Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you'll get it as soon as you like.” ~ John Lennon

    by Lady Libertine on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:17:43 PM PST

    •  or put another way... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, Agathena, tardis10


      Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you'll get it as soon as you like.” ~ John Lennon

      by Lady Libertine on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:29:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  evening ll... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, Agathena, tardis10

      thanks for stopping by.  i've found what happened to aaron swartz very disturbing for days, not because it's something new under the sun, but because i've seen this movie before.  cointelpro - the church commission revelations, those are the things that opened my eyes when i was younger and i see that now despite our best efforts we are not past all that, in fact we are far worse off than we were before.  i'm tired of this crap and i'm tired of fresh-faced politicians trying to put a nice face on it.  this crap is old and ugly and needs to be excised.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:32:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for editorial and Orwell quotation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, tardis10
    Power is not a means; it is the end.
    That sums up much of the Republican political effort over the last 30 years.

    Been far too little push back from the democrats.

    The democrats could run on the New Deal and squash the republicans.

    But the real power wants New Deal dismantled.

    •  heh, thanks for noticing that they go together... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      i've been thinking more about orwell lately and he still seems to be a candidate for a prophet of our times.

      in point of fact, the democrats could indeed support their legacy and wipe the current republicans off of the electoral map, but that's not where the power is.  the democrats could and should support the legitimate civil rights of the people to protest and organize politically, but that is not where the power is.

      the democrats are either finally becoming successful in their quest for power or they are becoming miserable failures and traitors to their traditions and their constituents.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:52:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey there,Joe. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack

    Good to know that you are feeling better. Hope every day finds you healthier.
    That Orwell quote has been copied into most every diary I've kept for more years than I want to remember. Ever apt.
    Many thanks for sharing so much. I'll add this:

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:25:36 PM PST

    •  morning tardis... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, divineorder

      nice vid.  i like the hook line, "if you tolerate this, your children will be next."  it has the ring of truth.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:27:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That hook runs through my head alot (0+ / 0-)

        these days. Wish it didn't. But I am truly thankful that folks like you get why it does.
        Namaste,my friend.

        "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

        by tardis10 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:27:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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