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  #251  
Old 03-02-2020, 07:01 AM
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Repent, Harlequin!



FTR, I never thought Ellison was much of a writer in units longer than a tiitle, but his titles can't be beat.
Speak of coincidences!!

In another thread I mention that I have 139 Firefox tabs currently open. One of them is an on-line readable of "REPENT, HARLEQUIN!" CRIED THE TICKTOCKMAN by Harlan Ellison, which I'd never heard of until it was mentioned last month here at SDMB.

Thanks for reminding me. I'll try to speed-read it right now and come down to 138 tabs!
  #252  
Old 03-02-2020, 07:55 AM
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Trump is not a typical President by any standard. In 2020 our primary goal should be getting Donald Trump out of office. We should be choosing the nominee who has the best chance of defeating Trump - and that means we should be choosing a nominee who can win over swing voters. I don't feel Sanders is that candidate.
I'm not even sure Sanders is the candidate to accomplish anything progressive. He's not really a member of the party; he appears to have few allies in Congress, he is a remarkably ineffective and unproductive Senator, and he demonstrates little ability to compromise with his colleagues.

If you want to pass, say, Medicare for All, yelling and riling up the Berniebros isn't gonna get it done because they can't vote in Congress. Republicans aren't going to help any Democratic President do anything good; they're a lost cause right now. I am unconvinced that Sanders could even get DEMOCRATS to do anything.
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  #253  
Old 03-02-2020, 08:33 AM
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I'm not even sure Sanders is the candidate to accomplish anything progressive. He's not really a member of the party; he appears to have few allies in Congress, he is a remarkably ineffective and unproductive Senator, and he demonstrates little ability to compromise with his colleagues.

If you want to pass, say, Medicare for All, yelling and riling up the Berniebros isn't gonna get it done because they can't vote in Congress. Republicans aren't going to help any Democratic President do anything good; they're a lost cause right now. I am unconvinced that Sanders could even get DEMOCRATS to do anything.
Heck, someone could argue that this means there's nothing to fear from him. And that as is by now traditional, his party would get clobbered in the midterm and then he really will be unable to move us towards dreaded socialism.

Sure that means you count on the established Dems to be unlike the established Reps and actually resist their Prez, but that too seems supported by history...
  #254  
Old 03-02-2020, 08:49 AM
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I understand why people keep saying things like "yelling and riling up the Bernie Bros." I get what is meant by that. But I don't understand why people keep acting like it's a poor reflection on Sanders that the (hypothetical) Democratic Congress during a Sanders presidency wouldn't work with him on ideas that these same people seem to acknowledge are good ideas.

Like, yeah, it's true that they're fighting and smearing him on Medicare for All. It's true that Medicare for All hasn't happened yet. Why is it a good point against him that he's the only one in the room on the right side of that issue? Warren just made this point explicit a couple days ago -- he tries to stop things that happen anyway (like disastrous wars) and he tries to sell people on good ideas that get killed by the failure of others to buy in.

And what this amounts to is, he sucks?
  #255  
Old 03-02-2020, 09:01 AM
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Heck, someone could argue that this means there's nothing to fear from him. And that as is by now traditional, his party would get clobbered in the midterm and then he really will be unable to move us towards dreaded socialism.

Sure that means you count on the established Dems to be unlike the established Reps and actually resist their Prez, but that too seems supported by history...
Yes that's one common defense of Sanders: 'don't worry, his proposals as stated are too unpopular to get through even a Democratic majority Congress, they'll never happen'.

Not a powerful argument in a vacuum. But I agree it has some merit though in political reality because one reason to not deny Sanders the nomination is to avoid demotivating his base. There isn't a comparable base of 'make Biden [Bloomberg, etc a specific other candidate] the nominee or I won't vote in November' people. Although that's separate from the issue Democratic-leaning people outside the Democratic base who might show up to vote for any Democrat but 'the Socialist', and the small but potentially important sliver of the electorate that might vote for Trump instead of Sanders but other Democrats instead of Trump. And also the 'wholly new voters Sanders (and nobody else) would bring out in November' theory. But IMO the last one is a little less of an unknown, being less plausible. Whereas the theories of Democrats losing enthusiasm by rejecting Sanders and thus his personal base, or losing non-base voters (to either non-turnout or to Trump) because of Sanders perceived radicalism, are both very real risks IMO. It's just hard to tell the relative size of each.

I don't think polls this far out tell you much about any of those theories unfortunately. Base voters say and think things in primary season they'll take back later. Low/medium engagement voters aren't paying attention. Some November polls taken now don't even try to identify likely voters. IOW if somebody links a poll saying Sanders does around the same v Trump as any other Democrat I don't think it means much. The GOP campaign would have more to throw at Sanders. And it seems even politically aware people who support Sanders aren't always aware some of Sanders' proposals like up to 8% pa wealth tax or 77% estate tax are, unlike a generally more socialized health system, not 'just what other rich countries do'. No other rich democracy has taxes anything like that. You can argue it's what should be done, that's a matter of opinion. But you can't argue it isn't radical or a leap into the unknown in terms of unintended consequences, because it would be. So maybe back to 'well but those things aren't really going to happen even under Sanders', I guess.

Last edited by Corry El; 03-02-2020 at 09:04 AM.
  #256  
Old 03-02-2020, 09:20 AM
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I'm not even sure Sanders is the candidate to accomplish anything progressive. He's not really a member of the party; he appears to have few allies in Congress, he is a remarkably ineffective and unproductive Senator, and he demonstrates little ability to compromise with his colleagues.

If you want to pass, say, Medicare for All, yelling and riling up the Berniebros isn't gonna get it done because they can't vote in Congress. Republicans aren't going to help any Democratic President do anything good; they're a lost cause right now. I am unconvinced that Sanders could even get DEMOCRATS to do anything.
Yeah, that's pretty much my take as well. If he's nominated, I'll vote for him to get Trump out, but he won't get shit done, and the 2022 midterm would be a GOP landslide.

Of course, that's likely true of Biden and Klobuchar (what, she hasn't dropped out yet?) as well, because Mitch McConnell. But they'd likely get more done with the powers that the President has to act independently of Congress. Which SCOTUS seems to have expanded a bit under Trump.
  #257  
Old 03-02-2020, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Chitwood View Post
I understand why people keep saying things like "yelling and riling up the Bernie Bros." I get what is meant by that. But I don't understand why people keep acting like it's a poor reflection on Sanders that the (hypothetical) Democratic Congress during a Sanders presidency wouldn't work with him on ideas that these same people seem to acknowledge are good ideas.
Other than M4A, which is DOA any which way, I think Warren's demonstrated the ability to work with her fellow Democrats to get stuff done, and Sanders hasn't. That's why it's a poor reflection on Sanders specifically.
  #258  
Old 03-02-2020, 09:41 AM
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Well, we agree that Elizabeth Warren's proven historically much more able to compromise on certain values, but that wasn't what I asked.

I asked why the fact that Democrats won't work with him is a poor reflection on him, and not them, where the people making the comparison agree with Sanders' position on the issue.

Last edited by Jimmy Chitwood; 03-02-2020 at 09:41 AM.
  #259  
Old 03-02-2020, 10:03 AM
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Well, we agree that Elizabeth Warren's proven historically much more able to compromise on certain values, but that wasn't what I asked.

I asked why the fact that Democrats won't work with him is a poor reflection on him, and not them, where the people making the comparison agree with Sanders' position on the issue.
Yeah, just because nobody likes him why is that his fault?
  #260  
Old 03-02-2020, 10:08 AM
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OK, cool. Good one.
  #261  
Old 03-02-2020, 10:32 AM
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... Sanders' proposals like up to 8% pa wealth tax ...
Sanders' proposal is good for family values. A bachelor worth $10 billion will be able to reduce his annual wealth tax by $96.7 million simply by getting married.
  #262  
Old 03-02-2020, 07:11 PM
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We haven't had the big prize of an endorsement from Obama himself, but there has been an impressive slate of prominent establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden over the past few days. I would not be at all surprised if the Big O has privately urged many of them to do this while he remains nominally neutral. Whatever the reason, it's great to see (as is the steady decline in Bernie's chances on the 538 tracker, mwahahaha).
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  #263  
Old 03-02-2020, 11:19 PM
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An analyst on MSNBC said Obama has been giving what they called “smoke signals” in support of Joe Biden. One of the most important was that today his close associate Susan Rice endorsed Biden. So he’s kind of trying to have it both ways, but it is better than nothing.
  #264  
Old 03-03-2020, 09:15 AM
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We haven't had the big prize of an endorsement from Obama himself, but there has been an impressive slate of prominent establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden over the past few days. I would not be at all surprised if the Big O has privately urged many of them to do this while he remains nominally neutral. Whatever the reason, it's great to see (as is the steady decline in Bernie's chances on the 538 tracker, mwahahaha).
I've been expecting the nonsanders vote to coalesce around "whomever is leading except Bernie" as people drop out. It's happening faster than I expected, though. I didn't see Buttigieg dropping this quickly.

Sanders would make a terrible President. The thing is, even if you're a hardcore democratic socialist, Sanders is a much worse choice than Biden. Biden, however centrist he might be, has the political skills, allies and favors to get something progressive done. Sanders doesn't; his list of Congressional accomplishments and alliances is astoundingly short.
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  #265  
Old 03-03-2020, 11:23 AM
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An analyst on MSNBC said Obama has been giving what they called “smoke signals” in support of Joe Biden. One of the most important was that today his close associate Susan Rice endorsed Biden. So he’s kind of trying to have it both ways, but it is better than nothing.
I think Obama is keeping his powder dry in case of a brokered convention. The Democrats will need someone well respected by the entire party to help them to reach a compromise nominee and unite behind them going into the general. Obama is the obvious choice for this. If he comes out hard for Biden now, he's going to be viewed by the Sanders camp as a biased stooge of the establishment, and so lose any effectiveness.

They may view him that way anyway, but it will be worse if he comes out now.
  #266  
Old 03-03-2020, 11:37 AM
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There is some chatter that Obama called Buttigieg to encourage him to drop out in favor of Biden. I'm sure Obama is as terrified of a Sanders nomination as I am, I can see him doing this. I would not be terribly surprised if Biden overtakes Sanders in delegates tonight and goes on to gain a plurality by June, at which time Obama should go ahead and endorse.
  #267  
Old 03-03-2020, 11:47 AM
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If I were an engaged voter that had decided on Buttigieg or Klobuchar, I’d be really pissed off about now.

Not about Buttigieg and Klobuchar dropping out, but about the timing. For months now, voters have been watching debates, reading OpEds, researching policy positions and making a choice. And I feel that the timing of these dropouts was arranged in order NOT to give these voters time to carefully pick a new candidate. If I had picked Klobuchar or Buttigieg I’d stay home. Or vote for Sanders or Bloomberg.

I actually do not expect great turnout in the primaries. Because I don’t know many people IRL that are enthused about anyone. In general, the sentiment I’m hearing is “I don’t like any of them but just pick someone and I’ll vote for them in November”.
  #268  
Old 03-03-2020, 01:42 PM
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I can’t cosign that whole post, but it is kind of dumb that so many candidates are gone before people get a chance to vote (and it’s especially dumb to have early voting in this scenario). I really think they need to go to a nationwide primary, with ranked choice voting.
  #269  
Old 03-04-2020, 03:10 AM
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NBC News posted the following late Monday afternoon:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/202...biden-n1147471
Quote:
WASHINGTON — As Democrats begin to coalesce around Joe Biden as the moderate alternative to Bernie Sanders, there appears to be a quiet hand behind the rapid movement: former President Barack Obama.
Obama spoke with his former vice president after he handily won the South Carolina primary on Saturday, and with Pete Buttigieg on Sunday when he dropped out of the Democratic race, according to people familiar with the calls.[...]

People close to Obama said the former president has been keeping close tabs on the race. They said the signal has been sent in the past 36 hours that he sees Biden as the candidate to back...
  #270  
Old 03-04-2020, 06:15 AM
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he's going to be viewed by the Sanders camp as a biased stooge of the establishment, and so lose any effectiveness.



They may view him that way anyway, but it will be worse if he comes out now.
Thank you for that last bit, I WAS about to ask if there was anyone who’d assume such a role that they would NOT view as “a biased stooge of the establishment”.
  #271  
Old 03-04-2020, 08:11 AM
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Obama: Well, my work is done here.

Democrats: You didn't do anything!

Obama: [chuckles] Didn't I?

[Beams out]
  #272  
Old 03-04-2020, 08:12 AM
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  #273  
Old 03-04-2020, 11:51 AM
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I see it as the smart move, and the correct move. "Correct" in the sense of my idealism for democratic egalitarianism...let the Democratic voters decide, and then get on their agenda rather than try to move them towards his. Smart, in the sense that he avoided "putting a thumb on the scales". There will be malcontents complaining about the "Establishment DNC" regardless, but no good reason to give them a good reason.

I like Bernie's politics, but don't like him as a candidate. Stakes are just too damn high. Not even "Us against Them", its Not Them against Them. I'm on the conservative wing of the extreme left, but at least Biden isn't stupid and evil. That counts.
  #274  
Old 03-04-2020, 12:13 PM
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Assuming Obama has been masterminding the path of the campaign, how exactly is he doing it? The big shift this week was the primary results. Did Obama personally show up at each polling place and whisper to voters that they should vote for Biden?
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Old 03-04-2020, 08:03 PM
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Srsly? He let it be known that Amy and Pete needed to get out of the race and endorse Joe. He probably also talked to Beto, Harry Reid, Jim Clyburn, etc. He doesn't need to talk personally to each voter--why say something silly like that?
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  #276  
Old 03-04-2020, 09:22 PM
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"He let it be known..."? How does one shout in the passive voice? And how, exactly? Was it a stunning suggestion. catching experts and observers off-guard with the out-of-the-ballot box thinking?

"Today, Obama insinuated a hint that maybe the lesser candidates should move to an early resolution for the sake of unity!"

"Whoa, Biff, once again he shows us what a wild and crazy guy he is! Where does he get these far-out ideas?"
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  #277  
Old 03-04-2020, 10:20 PM
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He will endorse Biden.

He owes him.

He is just waiting sure Sanders is beaten first.
  #278  
Old 03-04-2020, 10:53 PM
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"He let it be known..."? How does one shout in the passive voice?

Why would he need to shout? When you're Barack Obama, Democrats listen intently to your whispers. See post #269 for the deets.
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  #279  
Old 03-04-2020, 11:25 PM
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Srsly? He let it be known that Amy and Pete needed to get out of the race and endorse Joe. He probably also talked to Beto, Harry Reid, Jim Clyburn, etc. He doesn't need to talk personally to each voter--why say something silly like that?
And what did they do?

Sanders' campaign took a major downturn this week. But it wasn't some backroom deal. It was because primary voters all over the country voted for a different candidate.

How exactly did Obama or anyone else influence the way those people voted? And keep it a secret?

It seems to me that the only way Obama could have influenced the outcome of the primaries was by very publicly endorsing Biden (or denouncing Sanders) and asking people to vote in a particular way. Which he did not do.
  #280  
Old 03-05-2020, 12:14 AM
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Duuude.

I'll try one more time, but then I give up if you don't, or won't, get it.

There were a number of "anti-Bernie" or "center-lane" candidates. Voters who didn't want Bernie were scattered, spread thin, not sure who to unite behind. And some of them just liked Pete or Amy better than Joe, but if it was down to Joe or Bernie, they definitely weren't picking Bernie. So by urging those other candidates to get out of the race, and by urging influential Democrats like Clyburn, Reid, and Beto to endorse Biden, Obama back-channeled additional support behind Biden to make him the guy.
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  #281  
Old 03-05-2020, 12:48 AM
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Duuude.

I'll try one more time, but then I give up if you don't, or won't, get it.

There were a number of "anti-Bernie" or "center-lane" candidates. Voters who didn't want Bernie were scattered, spread thin, not sure who to unite behind. And some of them just liked Pete or Amy better than Joe, but if it was down to Joe or Bernie, they definitely weren't picking Bernie. So by urging those other candidates to get out of the race, and by urging influential Democrats like Clyburn, Reid, and Beto to endorse Biden, Obama back-channeled additional support behind Biden to make him the guy.
You weren't addressing me, but this seems quite thin to me. Pete, Amy saw no path forward and bowed out. You see a conspiracy I guess? I'm not seeing it. Warren seems like someone who has no path who hasn't bowed out (yet) and to me she's the oddball, not Amy or Pete. And Amy and Pete endorsing Biden after bowing out is even less of a conspiracy -- they're moderates, so is Biden. Your view may have merit, but I'm not seeing it.
  #282  
Old 03-05-2020, 01:40 AM
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So there's been this Sanders ad editing and splicing together things Obama has said about him in the past to give an impression of Obama giving Sanders high praise.
Quote:
Fact check: Bernie Sanders ad featuring praise from Obama leaves out important context
Bloomberg's ad that showed past Obama nice things said about him were somewhat misleading, but this sort of creative editing is a few steps worse beyond that.

I was thinking that Obama would stay out of it until the nominee was decided, but I wonder if this disinformation play will push him to an actual Biden endorsement.

And not sure why he's trying to take on Bloomberg's tactics but slimier when they failed for Bloomberg?
  #283  
Old 03-05-2020, 02:21 AM
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You see a conspiracy I guess? I'm not seeing it.

I wouldn't use the word "conspiracy", because it has a negative connotation. For Obama to exert some influence behind the scenes is a very positive use of his influence IMO. But your post also implies that I'm just reading tea leaves or guessing. I am going by what legitimate journalists are reporting. Do you believe they are making it up, that they don't actually have well-placed sources as they say they do? Again, from the NBC News report I posted upthread:

Quote:
People close to Obama said the former president has been keeping close tabs on the race. They said the signal has been sent in the past 36 hours that he sees Biden as the candidate to back
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  #284  
Old 03-05-2020, 02:29 AM
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Duuude.

I'll try one more time, but then I give up if you don't, or won't, get it.

There were a number of "anti-Bernie" or "center-lane" candidates. Voters who didn't want Bernie were scattered, spread thin, not sure who to unite behind. And some of them just liked Pete or Amy better than Joe, but if it was down to Joe or Bernie, they definitely weren't picking Bernie. So by urging those other candidates to get out of the race, and by urging influential Democrats like Clyburn, Reid, and Beto to endorse Biden, Obama back-channeled additional support behind Biden to make him the guy.
It seems thin to me as well. Nobody needed to push Buttigieg or Klobuchar or Steyer out of the running; they were already pretty much dead. As recently as this weekend, Bloomberg was seen as Biden's strongest competition for the mainstream Democratic vote. If there was secret maneuvering to help Biden, it would have involved getting Bloomberg to drop out before Tuesday. And as it turned out, that wasn't necessary.
  #285  
Old 03-05-2020, 04:00 PM
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This isn't about Bloomberg. Obama's clout is with core Democrats: Bloomberg isn't looking for a future role inside the party (and neither is Bernie for that matter).

ETA: But why do people keep saying "it seems thin" as though it's just speculation? NBC News is citing actual sources close to Obama! This is reporting, not just a theory.
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  #286  
Old 03-05-2020, 05:48 PM
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Wow, MI’s governor endorsed Biden. That is a DAGGER into Bernie’s heart. The party decides!
  #287  
Old 03-10-2020, 09:07 PM
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Tim Miller, whose advice was linked in the OP, wrote a followup piece tonight:

https://thebulwark.com/democrats-are-better-at-this/

Quote:
Democrats Are Better at This
Four years ago the Republican party rolled over for a populist charlatan. This year, the Democratic party fought back against their own populist—and won

Seventeen days ago I sent up a flare to mainstream Democrats. Based on my experience trying and failing to stop Donald Trump in 2016, I warned that “barring a drastic change in the race, Bernie Sanders is going to be the presumptive Democratic nominee 11 days from now.”
Well, drastic change has come and Democratic primary voters were the change that they sought.
With his victories tonight in Michigan, Missouri, and Mississippi, Joe Biden is set to be the nominee of the Democratic party—barring some unfathomable turn of events far more drastic than what was required 17 days ago.
How did it happen? How did the Democratic mainstream achieve what Republicans could not in 2016?
What were the antibodies, strategic choices, and circumstances that made them more able to defeat a populist insurgency?
Here’s how.
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