The Snookered Trump Base

Quote:  “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  (attrib. P.T. Barnum, mid-1800’s); “Only the little people pay taxes.”  (Leona Helmsley, 1989); “Nobody likes to be made to feel stupid.” (anon, ca. 1985)

In the news:  Why is America’s Suicide Epidemic Hitting Trump’s Baso So Hard? (Rajan Menon, Common Dreams, 6.18.19)

In context:  The Queen of Mean Leona Helmsley went to prison for telling a jury the truth.  The members of the jury were obviously not her peers.  They were the little people who paid the taxes that Leona Helmsley was shrewd and well-connected enough to evade.  Leona Helmsley wsa small peanuts compared to Donald Trump, who fights tooth and nail to keep the truth from the little people, one third of whom don’t care that he’s a crook fleecing them.

In his 50 year career, Donald Trump has gotten the best of the best whose goal was to make money.   He made his bones with a generous trust fund at the age of 5 and was a millionaire by his teens.  He brashly broke into the high-end Manhattan world of real estate with ruthless ambition backed by the certainty of his father’s financial backing, regardless of merit or begrudgement on the father’s side.  Ambitious achievement of the highest order seemed the family creed.  Donald Trump has stayed true to that legacy regardless of decency, honor, morality or constricts of law.

Trump was supercharged for success and yet he kept failing from one business venture to another.  Undaunted, he moved on to dark sources of finance and then made his mark by landing a gig on the Apprentice reality show in a genre quite the rage at the time.  There, he displayed his ruthless prowess, coming across with the trademark kiss of death to strivers, “You’re fired!”

The fantasy of such decimating power over others took hold of the disenfranchised among the US mainstream.  When interest waned and ratings faded, Trump took his skills on the road and turned his winnings into the US Presidency.

With the mighty presidential powers at his disposal, Trump continued his winning trademark creed, barking “you’re fired!” to every aspirant in his path.  Those included needy immigrants, progressives working to better the world, aides who disagreed with him or news favorites who failed to support him strongly enough.  In fact, since taking office, the Trump rage has gone haywire.

In the audience-rich rallies Trump favors,  he doesn’t speak, he spews propaganda.  His words fire a fervor that builds into hateful vocalizations in the form of crowd contagious chanting cheers.  Whether true Trump adherents, paid attendees or constrained factory workers, the voices of the crowd spill over into the outside world where angry white men express their pumped up feelings through mass shootings with assault weapons at happy public gatherings.

Rage is contagious, just as good feelings.  The difference is that rage destroys while good feeling leads to constructive action.

in line with that obvious equation, those of good will are trying too hard to unseat Trump.  They need to relax and handily remind the public of Trump’s latest antics as the basis for why he is a mistake as US president.  They can also point out ways the country could benefit from proper direction, as in progressing toward curbs on practices that destroy the environment and endanger communities.  They can turned the ugly “You’re fired” trademark into the healthy one of “You’re hired.”

That’s a simple change of one letter in the two words, but what a difference a small change makes.   That brings to mind an anonymous saying.  “When you see someone digging his own grave, stay out of the way.”

Good does win out when the opponent is a desperate, failed self-promoter who stoops ever  lower to protect his inflated sense of self.  To err is human, as the saying goes.  Trump prefers to doctor weather charts to produce faulty evidence that his authoritative prowess was right despite verifiable facts.

Those kinds of antics are spiraling out of control with Donald Trump.  He now lies about phone calls never made and rapport between people who have never met.  Born a sucker or not, and however hard to admit to having been made to feel stupid, there is relief in hitting the sweet spot of true reality, however fluid in today’s media filtered world.

The Leona Helmsley jury reached the truth stage and convicted her, proving that the little people do catch on.  As Trump unravels and slips up, he just may blurt out the truth, that he considers the little people patsies for paying the taxes he considers beneath his station to honor.

 

 

 

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Twitter Trump

Quote: A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it (Oscar Levant, Memoirs of an Amnesiac, 1965)

In the news  Trump touts economy but payroll tax discussion reveals recession fears (Kaitlan Collins, Maegan Vazquez and Donna Borak, CNN, 8.20.19)

In context:  The world today is definitely new but certainly not brave.

The US Constitution took years to formulate.  Today, US President Donald Trump rocks the global markets with a vexed tweet, then settles them with a new tweet when media feedback shows his first tweet misfired.

Twitter Trump has the world sitting on a sandbank waiting to drop into the abyss due to a global warming that the US President denies.  Perhaps he really is ignorant of the facts.  There is little time for in-depth study after golf,  tweeted personal threats and kudos to State enemies.

Even Trump supporters admit they’d like the President to curb his tweet greed.  Few others state the obvious.  Donald Trump has usurped the US Presidency and the country.  Trump’s beliefs do not constitute the official US position on issues.  But as in all his shady failed business ventures, Trump has hijacked a faulty system.  In this case, he has exploited the twilight stage of social media to create a mirage of success.

Twitter is a great avenue for self-expression.  It is a sloppy medium for official business at the level of the US Presidency.

That situation is ideal for Trump.  He tweets a declaration that is unconstitutional.  Proof of transgression comes through the Courts.  That time-consuming process gives Trump ample opportunity to tweet more directives to adjudicate.  The entire government is tied up in a knot of legal traffic jams.  As that goes on, the media loses track of Trump trick strands.  Some of those fall by the wayside.  Others slide through sight unseen thanks to threat and con tweets.

The most common adjective for the Trump presidency is “unprecedented.”  With Twitter, a more accurate description  for the Trump tenure is “unpreSIdented.”

Politicians in service for the public good may at times tell lies for political expediency.   The businessman Trump admittedly lies as a routine negotiating tactic, as he recently bragged with regard to two phone calls from China that had not been placed.

The Twitter Trump situation is not only unprecedented but downright bizarre.  Trump tweets his fleeting thoughts with no input from the established information structure regarding the country’s official position.  Then, since he lies at a record-breaking rate as  a bargaining chip to get a deal, it is impossible to unravel the winding trail of what is America’s official standing on any matter.

Even more to the point, there is no reason why America should go through such gyrations to figure out its own position relative to its leader.  By definition, a leader leads.  There is no way to follow a dizzying trail of lies tweeted in an insomniac spasm.

America’s Founding Fathers did a great job in exercising wisdom and forward-thinking to make sure that their experiment in democracy endured.  They did not, however, foresee an elected leader bereft of the most basic standards of morality.  Nor did they anticipate the worldwide web, the information superhighway and a social media network that would be exploited by the amoral person heading the country.

Still, while the Founders did not see into the present where lies could be spewed with unregulated authority from the Presidential pulpit, they did see into the human soul and declared all people to be free in the pursuit of happiness.  The question for modern America is simple, whether happiness is possible with a leader who is proud of his prowess in telling lies.

Lies serve numerous purposes, none beneficial in the long run.  An occasion lie may get a person out of an undesirable dinner date, but an inveterate liar like Donald Trump lies because the truth doesn’t matter.  Achieving a goal is all that counts and the goal of a businessman like Donald Trump is personal gain.  That is a petty ambition in which details like the truth are inconsequential.  Trump wants to amass wealth and get the best deal at the cost of another.  The US before Trump had higher ideals.  It wanted to lead the world into greater and greater prosperity.

Twitter is the perfect obfuscating tool for Trump.  The twitter feeds are short, no thinking required before airing venom to the world.  Trump can also lie and threaten to his heart’s content.  He can even delete tweets before they get to the official National Archives.

With Twitter Trump, 250 years of US constitutional norms are out the window.  There is no telling what recorded facts are real or untrue.  At present, there is no telling what comes next for Trump, the country or Twitter.

As for historians. good luck.  Remember to pop antacids before working on the Twitter Trump era.

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The Pathetic Prez

Quotes:   “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some worms” (Children’s song, 1863)

In the news:  Trump hasn’t saved coal in W. Virginia.  They don’t care (Kelsey Brugger, E&E News, 8.19.19)

In context:  You might feel sorry for Donald Trump if he wasn’t destroying the country and damaging a new generation by tearing kids from parents.  The Russians tried that during their Soviet Communist era and the experiment was a disaster.  Donald Trump may not know that bit of history.  He’s busy wreaking havoc because nobody of any consequence likes him or gives him credit for what he thinks he deserves.

Donald Trump may have friends but chances are he doesn’t have one who wouldn’t gleefully throw him under the bus if the opportunity presented.  Trump’s rage and his thirst for vengeance seem to override any need for the basic human form of bonding based on the emotions that make up the complex concept of love.  Those closest to him through family kinship seem plastic props on autopilot to boost the Trump ego when posed next to him, reacting on cue when he refers to himself or his self-touted deeds.  Family members who don’t fit the mold are unseen.  Trump is driven by some force beyond basic human needs.

Two emotions are characteristic of Trump’s expression.  One is a derisive smugness and the other is rage.  The level of genuine emotion behind those expressions is impossible to decipher.  He plays for effect through the media.  Some feeling may be masked by his trademark ploy of fanning outrage about plain old decency.  Whether real or feigned, Trump presents a picture of a ticking time bomb due to rage.

Rage can be a reaction to inconsolable pain, the worst of which is thirst for love from someone who can’t give it.  People kill over unrequited love.  Failed marriages drive spouses to wipe out entire families.  Others sublimate the pain turned into rage by turning their entire world into enemy territory.  Donald Trump seems to have taken that route.  He seems hell-bent on inflicting pain, especially by vengeful punishment of all those who don’t seem to love him like he needs in boundless measure.

Sigmund Freud dealt at length with the libido, or the life force, battling with the death instinct,  Loosely understood, that translates into and either or situation.  Either I get what I want or I will destroy what I can’t get.  That explains the Terrible Twos that all human kids pass through on their way to childhood.  Likewise, the Bible laid out the case for Lucifer’s fall, the principle archangel who challenged God and ended being rule of his own domain as god of the underworld.

In his position as the President of the United States, Donald Trump is the most powerful man for the moment in the entire world.  He could be promoting  good will and cooperation in a complex world full of challenges.  Instead, he destroys everything in his path.  He may be a white nationalist or a mere territorialist like a guard dog protecting his turf, but the level of his vehemence suggests a motive much deeper and more personal than an entrenched belief.  Someone, at some time in his life, must have wounded him fatally with the anguish of  unrequited love.

No one, probably not even Donald Trump, knows who hurt him so deeply that he must destroy all to satisfy an unquenchable rage.  Perhaps his mother didn’t give him the enormous amount of attention he needed as a child.  Maybe his father was disappointed that Donald couldn’t perform better with the enormous family bounty that was handed him.  It’s even possible that Donald was irredeemably wounded by first wife Ivanka who left him after Donald fell victim to a short-lived second wife.

Whatever deep-seated wound drives Donald Trump to destroy instead of construct as the “builder” he has sold himself to be, it’s a good chance he’s a miserable human being.    Like all others, he deserves help to find peace within himself.

That kind of help can only come through analytical help from psychiatrists.  Trump will never find relief by laying waste to the country and the world.  To prove that to himself without outside help, he may end up nuking the world with himself included,

No Dangerfield, this Don

Quote:  “I get no respect,” (tag line of insult comedian Rodney Dangerfield)

In the news:  “Man insulted at New Hampshire rally by Trump because of weight says, “I love the guy.”  (Reuters,  8.16.19)

In context:  Almost 100 years ago, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud described humor as an outlet for aggression.  About 50 years ago, the insult humor genre came into vogue along with the spread of television sets in American homes.  While the genre ran its course long ago, it has resurfaced with the rise of Donald Trump.

As a world leader, Trump himself is a joke.  By definition in ihe Cambridge English Dictionary, a leader is one who heads a group based on ability or position.  Donald Trump leads by virtue of his position but he is obviously lacking in the ability to perform the duties of his office.

Trump is ignorant about the significance of historical context.  He pulls out of accords achieved over decades that took into consideration the vastly conflicting interests of the involved parties.  He does not work well with others.  True leaders of any group readily  admit they depend on input from experts in discrete fields within the range of their concerns.  Army Generals rely on Colonels, who Sargeants, who rely on Lieutenants and so forth.  Trump increasingly goes it alone, systematically replacing experts with those he can rely on to implement his vision.

The Trump vision is hazy at best.  “Nice letters” and “nice conversations” with global tyrants are Trump’s criteria for steering US international relations.  From his conduct since taking up residence in the Oval Office, it seems clear that Donald Trump is out of his element.  He hires and fires with a zeal more apt for a TV reality show than with a confidence aimed at securing a country and with that, the world.

The scars of past failures may be haunting the President in the loftiness of his current position.  Six gargantuan bankruptcies, however, never took the wind from his sails.  He simply moved on to more easily accessible sources of funding, with attached strings that remain unknown to this day.  Moreover, in the White House he is gambling with taxpayer money, not his own.  That guarantee should build his confidence and undoubtedly does.  Except that the obstructionists foil his ploys.

The support of the Republican Senate under Moscow Mitch is indispensable to carrying out the Trump agenda even from the bureaucratically encumbered Oval Office, but now there is oversight from the democratic Congress that doggedly noses into legal and financial trails however Trump dodges them.  Ever worse is the piercing, prying eye of the pesky American Constitutionally protected right of a free press.  With all America’s mighty powers at his fingertips and yet thwarted by safeguards, Trump vents his frustration by pivoting from outright aggressive policies to insults he claims are humor.

A common feature of the 1960-70’s insult humor form of entertainment was self-deprecation.  The comic admitted a flaw in himself and then took an adversersarial position with a target in the audience.  As equals, the comic and the mark carried out a ritual of “festive abuse.”  Rodney Dangerfield made a career out of working out his aggressive tendencies that resulted from some inferiority affliction through such exchanges.  “I was so ugly when I was born that the doctor slapped my mother,” Rodney joked before he insulted anyone in the audience.

Donald Trump could never be a Rodney Dangerfield however he insults people in the outmoded Dangerfield tradition.  The Trump trademark is gasconade, an elaborate boasting about abilities he doesn’t have.

For however long Trump holds his office as President of the United States, it is better that he work out his aggressions as a pretender to the title of insult comedian than for him to sit in the Oval Office.  The country gets into trouble when Trump assumes the dignity of his office to conjure new plans for how to create moral mayhem to insure that the media spotlight stays on his antics and not on his machinations.

However odious to many and however disingenuous the claim of humor for downright offensive and incendiary comments, that is among the least of Trump outrages.  As long as the Trump rally doesn’t mind being ridiculed, it is more worthwhile to point out to the more objective audience at home that Trump is a failure, even as a stand-up insult comic.

 

 

 

Toxic Trump

Quote:  Anger is like drinking poison and expecting another to die (Buddha)

In the news:  We Can No Longer Ignore Trump’s Role in Inspiring Mass Shootings (Mehdi Hasan, Intercept, 8.04.19)

In context:  A toxic person may be hard to define but it sure is easy to spot one.  SNL has a skit about a couple who arrive late to a dinner and take over the event with wild stories of adventures that bore and drown out everyone else.  A toxic love is such an effect of one person on another, which describes the relationship between Donald Trump and his base.

The rational mind plays a minimal role in love at its best.  In toxic love the faculty of reason plays an opposing function.  The more that family and friends object to the union based on its effects, the more that the special bond is reinforced between the toxic lover and the unwitting partner.  It proves that outsiders don’t understand, they don’t speak the same unspoken language of soul to soul communication, or mind-meld as Dr. Spock of Star Trek would describe.

Parties to a toxic love enter into the arrangement as voluntarily as anyone smitten by Cupid’s arrow.  Both people gain from the companionship of togetherness.  In toxic love, however, the joys become drowned by conflict as the needs of one exert undue pressure on the one who meets them.  The bond of love deepens with every investment made when a storm is weathered together until some climatic event severs the union irreparably.  Unfortunately, this often in the form of a catastrophe.

Following such a break and premised on survival, the toxic one will either face legal consequences or go on to new conquests.  The driving needs are stronger than the ties that bind.  The healthy partner on the other hand, who is now left alone, betrayed, abandoned or simply devastated, lost and stuck with fallout, will spend years or a lifetime parsing the volley of choices that led to the current condition.  There were obvious forks in the road that led to continued loyalty instead of an earlier exit.  In chastened memory, the beloved will morph from a heroic rebel into a dizzying control freak.  Through a bruised and wounded worldview, the healthy survivor will recognize that toxic love isn’t blind, it wears 3-D kaleidoscopic goggles.

Outsiders can clearly see that Donald Trump is a toxic person who has found a willing partner in his base.  Whatever charms Trump may possess are certainly under the radar in his current media persona as US President.  His face is everywhere and it rankles as much as his message and words.

Most people like to be soothed and inspired by a leader, but a good swathe of the Trump base likes his approach to leading the country.  It’s a good chance that others grow more uneasy with every crisis weathered in which Donald Trump was not a participating partner.  After the rally, once the spewed venom has performed its function as a cathartic to the disenchanted, the base goes home alone, some to stock up on firearms and the others to question why Trump insulted and blamed and why he didn’t say he was happy to see the gathered and that he appreciated their support.

“Love me or hate me, you gotta vote for me ’cause your 401K is going down the tubes,”  Trump told supporters at a NH rally.  That is a threat, a mechanism of toxic love.  It is not a plea for mutually tackling a challenge.

Trump may not realize he’s toxic.  His gargantuan needs gobble his attention.  There is nothing left for others.  But for the lucky who escape toxic relationships, the breaking point comes in many forms. The most satisfying is the one in which a new love arrives. to remind the smitten one that healthy love simply feels good.

Speak Up, Dems, the Ruskies R Here

Quote:  Man has no more tormenting care than to find someone in whom he can hand over…freedom (Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, 1879)

in the news:   Report: US is underestimating Putin’s “Grand Strategy” for Russian Dominance (Ursula Perano, Zachary Basu, Axios, 6.30.19)

In context:  Birds of a feather flock together and America’s flighty President has a covey of friends whose status last no longer than a photo-op before he’s done with them.  Trump’s penchant for dictators is alarming enough to freedom-loving Americans, but his naivete with regard to Russia’s Vladimir PutHis sounds a death knell for democracy worldwide if left unchecked.

Russia has big plans for dominating the world and it is no better at achieving its goals than America’s current president Donald Trump.  A 1917 Russian revolution led through a violent path to a Russian take-over of neighbors and half of Europe.  That Communist experiment flopped after 40 years but not before it laid waste to countless lives and the natural resources of  others.

A massive failure like that of Soviet Communism may have daunted some but Russia recouped by regrouping into an oligarchy.  The aim was the same under both systems, to plunder the wealth of others because Russia had none of its own.

Whether ignorant of history or simply not caring about anything beyond the current moment in the media spotlight, Trump and Putin confab tete-a-tete at international affairs with no no honor of US protocols.  Russia’s version of events based on its protocols is suspect for good reason.  A recent nuclear disaster was first ignored, then hashed with conflicting reports to the public.  That is Russia’s way and Donald Trump is fine with the method, perhaps taking tips from Vladimir Putin on how to apply the principles to his own more open and scrupulously lawful society.

For sure there are huge gaps in applying the laws of the United States and Donald Trump is a master at dodging through them.  Nevertheless, the laws have been passed and they serve as a basis for redress when breached.  That’s a big difference between the US and the countries whose leaders Donald Trump considers trusted pals.  America’s laws are based on a Constitution that heavily emphasises human rights.  The Constitutions of Russia and China have no such guarantees and that’s the basis on which Vladimir Putin plans to dominate the world.

Trump seems to favor the Russian approach to treating his country’s people.  Putin may his personal advisor.   America’s police are trained to be humane.  Trump tells them to be ruthless.  The Trump crackdown on immigrants could be a page from the Russian playbook.  Millions were slaughtered in the periods around the Revolution.  Moscow Mitch who dominates the Senate may have been a Putin brainchild with an Oligarch thrown in to sweeten the deal with a factory in a relevant state.

The KGB-trained Putin may be considered a pal by Trump but Putin is certainly no friend of America if he is hell-bent on dominating the world.  The test run in Eastern Europe after the Second World War may have failed but Putin is resourceful and hasn’t given up.  After the Chernobyl disaster now comes the “Floating Chernobyl” off the coast of Alaska.  Trump dismisses the importance of all these developments.  It a signal to Putin that he has found America to be his next mark.

Putin is the big game hunter who has conned the American master con.  He has succeeded beyond his wildest expectations when he installed Trump by methods Trump convincingly sells to his base as a hoax.  To Putin, the Trump presidency might be likened to opening a set of Russian nesting dolls.  Take off the big top one, the others  fall out right in line.

A third of America makes up the smaller nesting dolls behind Trump.  They are a formidable portion of the Putin plan for Russian domination of the world.  In the freedom of America, they admire the Trump lawlessness and they find comfort in building walls to keep away outsiders.  They may even tolerate cruelty, lies and the lack of method to his madness with tyrants, but every aherent, however ardent, has a breaking point.

Part of the American democratic process is to conduct polls assessing public opinion.  As part of this survey, someone should skip a question about health care, race, favorability or electability.

The question to ask instead, is how the respondent would feel if prison were the consequence for backing a candidate other than the person currently in the White House.

Stranger Than Fiction Trump

Quote:  Truth is stranger than fiction; fiction has to make sense (Mark Twain and others w/ variations Quote Investigator, Financial Times)

In the news:  Trump’s Influence is Spreading Like a Virus (Michael D/Antonio, CNN, 8.10.19)

In context:  The truth about Donald Trump is that he doesn’t make sense.  Even science fiction has to have a plausible story line from start to finish for the situation to be believable or else it doesn’t satisfy the reader.  No such restriction holds back Trump.  Adept as he is with delivery, the barrage of his incredible whoppers leaves no room to discern that the lies defy reason.

Global chaos is the outcome of a US presidency that has turned the US topsy-turvy in  the world’s eyes.  For one thing, the world is obviously globalizing and the US has led the effort in smoothing the difficult process.  Out of nowhere, Trump turns back the clock, scuttles hard won regional agreements and inserts himself as the lone savior in America’s relations with nearly 200 other countries, most of which have learned hard lessons from centuries of conflict capped by two world wars.  Even dictators with a stranglehold on their fiefdoms rely on alliances.  North Korea counts China as a friend and Russia under Putin sends oligarchs to pick pockets.  Whirligig Trump goes it alone in the name of the US, whose people are given a Trump say-so about the outcome.  That’s a tall order for America about a leader who dances to a drummer nobody else hears and by outward signs doesn’t seem to exist.

The thought that I’m right and everybody else is wrong is one definition of insanity.  Another is to repeat an action over and over while expecting a different result.  Both those views could apply to Donald Trump but in the America he has created and with the position he holds, the notion cannot be proven and if it was, the diagnosis would not stick.  Throwing mud to roil the waters is Trump’s forte and his saving grace from a verdict of insanity is that he has an endpoint which is greed.

Avarice is extreme greed and gluttony is habitual greed.  Trump fits both those categories with a show of zeal that belongs in the Guiness Book of World Records since he became President of the US.

By numerous accounts, neither Trump nor his cohorts believed he would be elected President based on the vitriol he spewed so obscenely during the campaign.  Evidence indicates he had ample outside help and then with the mighty US powers in hand, he began to make hay. since he couldn’t know how long the bonanza would last.  He started by defying the Constitution’s emoluments clause along with the nepotism prohibition.  The oath of office to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law was out the window from the start.  Then when those outrages lost their magnetic force on the media, he turned his talents to demonizing whoever crossed his path.

Immigrant families became marauding hordes to Donald Trump, justifying in his mind a policy to tear kids from parents and display the atrocity like barbarians one hoisted the heads of the vanquished enemy on pikes to boast and warning to invaders.  Surprise raids on families were next on the menu of outrages for the media to cover. They were fodder for Trump’s insatiable greed for the media spotlight when all they wanted from him was to work in a chicken factory.

The bull in America’s china shop is the craven Donald Trump gobbling up the media airways with chaotic antics verging on sadism.  No amount of attention could satisfy a man whose hunger is greater than the mighty powers put at his disposal by the world leading United States of America.  In that position, he is bearing out the truth of the view that insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing while expecting a different result.  Trump is again destroying his latest venture, the great USA.  With any luck, America will save itself as it always has.

This time, in the case of Trump and on behalf of the world, America can make the Trump story plausible by bringing it to a satisfying conclusion.  That will mean ousting Donald Trump from office.  He simply can’t be made out to be a believable fictional character, either hero or antihero.  He doesn’t make enough sense to play a part in a work of fiction, not even in the horror genre.

 

 

 


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