Tag Archives: bullies

The Book of Trump: Continuing to Become Who He Already Is

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Raymond Reddington once said: “We become who we are. We can’t judge a book by its cover… But you can by its first few chapters, and most certainly by its last.” 

Yesterday I posted an article about President Trump’s pathological need for revenge and how it is poisoning him. In the article I quoted Reddington, the character played by James Spader in the television series The Blacklist about how how revenge is not a passion but a disease that is killing him as a person regardless of whether as some speculate that he is suffering from a mental illness or neurological condition. I also discussed how his supporters don’t seem to give a damn about him as a person, including his supporters in the clergy. If I am angry about anything it is how his supporters enable, make excuses, and never are honest with him. Maybe that wouldn’t make any difference with Trump, but they are culpable for their deeds in regard to him. They are ideologues and cowards, and I will write about them another time.

The problem with trying to place the blame for the President’s behavior on mental illness or some kind of degenerative neurological condition is that this presumes that his behavior now somehow deviates from his past. The fact is that it doesn’t. He has been this way for decades and while it is possible that the stresses of the office have made his personal defects more noticeable and that because of them he may be coming to a breaking point where he cracks up, he has always been this way as an adult.

 

Regardless of what revelations about the President are included in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, it is the daily damning comments that he makes on Twitter every day that reveal who he is and what he always has been: a petulant, emotionally stunted, childish bully.

He is like every bully I have ever known and if you look at his life, especially after graduating from college and going to work for his father as a real estate developer; enriching himself, bankrupting his companies, and leaving carnage behind him in the lives of his partners, his contractors, his employees, and his marriages. I don’t like bullies, never had, never will. I was always the new kid in town and I was not a big kid. As a result I got bullied, but I always fought back, even when the odds were against me, so even when I lost those fights, I gained a manner of grudging respect from my tormenters. I didn’t like bullies when I was a kid, and I like them even less now. Likewise, I got in fights to defend smaller and weaker friends against bullies. I have grown up but I still try to defend the weak against the powerful in whatever way I can. This has led me to become, since my tour in Iraq, a civil rights advocate for minorities, women, and LGBTQ people.

As such I have no problem dealing with bullies, but now I have to fight them from the point of love and not hate, and for me to do that with the President is a daily challenge because I am not so Christlike that I cannot hate. That being said when I struggle I have to fall back to the words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Like Reddington said, you cannot judge a book by its cover; but if you examine the first chapters of Donald Trump’s career and the chapters that he is writing for us every day on Twitter and during every interview that he grants. He simply is continuing to become who he already is, and I don’t think that he will ever change.

That being said I wake up every day that the next chapter that the President writes will be different and that maybe my prayers and hopes for the President will be realized. Unfortunately I am a skeptic when it comes to believe that people like the President can change and that the final chapter of the book will be different from the preceding chapters.

So until the next time,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under ethics, faith, News and current events, Political Commentary

Internet Trolls and Bullies Beware: I’m Not Afraid

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I am posting this rather short but pointed post today because I was verbally assaulted by a local Facebook troll, a friend of a friend yesterday afternoon. The man ignored my warning to cease and desist and continued to attack, so I decided to stand up to him and I let him keep going. I challenged him, and called him out, I even told him where I was and challenged him to tell me what he said in person. I hate bullies and unlike some I don’t feel sorry for them, maybe a bit of ity and empathy, but not so much that that I will excuse their conduct or give in to them.

In my life I have habitually stood up for the weak against the strong. When I was a kid I got in a few fights defending the little guys against bullies. In the course of that I determined that I would never let a bully get the best of me, or anyone that I know. William Tecumseh Sherman said “It’s a disagreeable thing to be whipped.” and I will never allow a bully to whip me.

The man’s comments used the typical Right Wing language of demonization to call me all kinds of things, especially “libtard” which he could not stop from using along with differing variations of the F-bomb. The sad thing is that all too often these kind of people get away with what they are doing because people don’t stand up to them. One thing I learned from my dad is not to let bullies get away with their bullshit. He never let me back down from bullies and I don’t. I didn’t like bullies anymore now than when I was eight years old and I will never back down to them. Some people might disagree with me and urge the course of least resistance, but I think that they are mistaken. If good people don’t resist and allow these bullies to run over everyone including themselves by being silent then we are doomed. I won’t let that happen on my watch.

I’ve been to combat. I’ve been shot at. I’ve made 75 boarding missions in the Persian Gulf where I was the only unarmed person on the team as well as the only member without body armor because there wasn’t enough to go around. Likewise, I’ve had the muzzle of a pistol pushed to my skull in an armed robbery when I was 19 years old. I’m not afraid of trolls and bullies.

On this site I’ve been set upon by KKK, Neo-Nazi, and Alt-Right people on this site. Some have even threatened me with physical harm or death, but I say the hell with them and all who resort to threats and violence.

Yesterday I celebrated 34 years of commissioned service with two outstanding young Navy Chaplains and officers over beer at Gordon Biersch, my treat of course. But this guy had the unmitigated gaul to try to interrupt my time with these great guys. He didn’t spoil my afternoon, but I won’t let asshats like that local troll silence me, so I called him out. I told him where I was, and dared him to come to me.

But he didn’t respond, so I kept needling him because I figured that he was a coward hiding behind social media to say things that they would never say to someone face to face. He responded later by calling me to meet him a week from now at a bar I’ve never been to while still calling me all sorts of names. He’s no better than one of Hitler’s Brownshirt thugs and I’ll be damned if I let someone like that dictate what I say, do, think, or believe. He may be used to people rolling over and not confronting him when he threatens or demeans them as he did to my friend’s wife last month by putting pornographic images on her Facebook page to demean her, but I’m not that guy.

That being said I hoped that he would show up so I could confront him in person and maybe kick his sorry fat ass if he tried to assault me. It would have been worth it, I was almost having wet dreams about ducking his attack and then decking him. That being said since the man I confronted is local and I know what he looks like from his Facebook page I’ll be observant and watch my back, after all, dad didn’t raise a fool.

So until tomorrow when I plan on writing about something really interesting,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under leadership, Loose thoughts and musings

The Omega House Rules: Mitt the Bully and Other Bullies

“You’re all worthless and weak! Now drop and give me twenty!” Doug Neidermeyer Animal House

Neidermeyer, Marmalard and Omega Bullies

I can’t stand bullies. I did’t like them when I was a kid and I don’t like them now. When I first heard about and read about Mitt Romney leading a mob chasing down, pinning and forcibly cutting the hair of a gay student at his exclusive prep school I was disgusted but not surprised. (See http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/former-romney-classmate-describes-bullying-supreme-a-pack-of-dogs-who-targeted-differentboy/ )

You may want to know why I am not surprised. I just see this action as part of a pattern. During his career as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital he specialized in buying up, parting out and for the most part destroying companies while shipping the jobs overseas.  He can boast that he helped some companies but for the most part his actions as a businessman only benefited him and his stockholders. He preyed on the weak as a businessman and was quite successful in doing so. Mitt was a Bully again during this year’s Republican Presidential primary campaign. He carpet bombed his opponents, notably Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum with a nasty, negative ad campaign that even left many conservative Republicans crying foul.  I wasn’t a big fan of either Newt or Rick but Mitt’s destruction of them was the work of a bully who obviously relished his work. I lost whatever respect I had for Mitt during those primaries.

Mitt Romney reminds me of Greg Marmalard and Doug Neidermeyer, the leaders of the elite “Omega” Fraternity in the movie Animal House. They were rich, sanctimonious and polished bullies that attempt to bully and brutalize the socially unacceptable students over at Delta House.  Mitt has  serial bully who loves to destroy those he believes might become a threat even if they are weak and underfunded.  However he seems to be afraid of the bullies of the Religious Right, but since he needs their support he is willing to let them dictate his decisions. This happened most recently when he appointed an openly gay man as his foreign policy spokesman and then tossed him under the bus after being excoriated by Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association. Fisher then mocked Mitt for buckling to him, a self described “Yokel.”

Bullies are not tough guys, they prey on the weak or those they perceive to be weak while inside they are spineless and soulless.  Maybe that’s why he is on three sides of every issue and was described as an “Etch-a-Sketch” by one of his senior campaign aides during the primaries.

Mitt sort of apologized in a non-apologetic way today saying “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.” That was a crock. He claimed not to remember the incident and I almost want to believe him, simply because I see the bullying trait as part of who he is, he probably doesn’t remember because the incidents all kind of run together.

However, if one is basically a peaceful person that does not habitually engage in physical or emotional abuse of those that you deem less than yourself you tend to remember violent acts in your life. It doesn’t matter if you participated in something that you later regretted and didn’t repeat because you knew that you were guilty of something that was wrong, immoral and against your moral code or if you were the victim of someone else. Violent and traumatic acts burn themselves into our memories.

When I was a kid I was not very big and was pretty much always the new kid in town. As a result there were some places where I got picked on or bullied. I was an easy target for some. I remember every fight that I got into, where I got hit and the emotions that I felt when bullied, the fear of wondering if someone else was going to bully me. In every case I fought back against bullies or groups. My first fight was when I went to the aid of a neighbor kid that was being beaten up by the block bully, a kid that was older and bigger than the kids on my street. I got the worst of it and the fight was broken up by adults. My new school jacket was ripped and I had a black eye and was grounded by my parents for getting into a fight. However the bully didn’t bother my neighbor or me again. I could give details of the others but it would pretty much be the same story, except I was the kid getting bullied and decided to defend myself. There was one event in 4th grade when I transferred mid year to a school in a different state and two in Junior High School.  Those in Junior High were against kids that were much taller and bigger than me, one who had bullied me for all three years before I knocked him down hard with an uppercut to the jaw.

Those incidents are burned into my memory. If Mitt was not a serial bully who whether it was the rich kid that picked on those he deemed unworthy of being in his privileged prep school, those that he destroyed as a venture capitalist or his political opponents I think that he would remember details. But then maybe he does remember and like so  many other things in his campaign he is simply trying to lie his way out of it, giving as ambiguous apology as he can without admitting any real guilt. Romney denies knowing that his victim in prep school was gay, but others say that he knew.

One thing that I learned in all four incidents was that bullies like to pick on those smaller or different than them. Those that the perceive as weak and those that they think they can dominate. They seldom feel guilty for their acts or have any empathy for their victims.

Mitt is now supported by various leaders of the “Christian right.” These men and a few women are mostly minsters or heads of para-church and allied organizations. All are associated closely with Evangelical Christian groups conservative Catholic ministries not directly connected with the Church. They include on the evangelical side Bryan Fisher, Peter LaBarbera, Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer, Franklin Graham, Bill Donohue and Randall Terry. These guys don’t seem to mind bullying those that they see as different (Moslems), inferior (Women) or believe that God particularly hates (Gays).  Of course it’s okay because they believe that the Bible or Church Tradition gives them that right. Of course they almost always ignore the parts of the Bible and Church Tradition that don’t agree with their position.

I find that bullies are bullies and always will be bullies. They prey on those different than them, they prey on those smaller and weaker than them and they will use whatever rational they need to use to justify behavior that is unjustifiable.

Why is an incident that happened nearly 50 years ago important and relevant in the election of a President? Because it demonstrates a lack of character and willingness to victimize the weak. It is important because it shows that his business practices and his treatment of his fellow Republican primary contenders. It important because he seems to think it is not important and even chuckled as he apologized. It shows that appears that to believe that different rules apply to him.

Mitt Romney seems to be an unrepentant and unabashed bully. He is a real life Greg Marmalard or Doug Neidermeyer.

The Omega’s will rule, unless the Delta’s fight back. If we don’t we’ll all be on our knees saying “Thank you sir may I have another.”

Peace

Padre Steve+

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I Don’t Like Bullies: The Troubling Trend in Conservative Politics

I don’t like bullies. I didn’t like them as a child and I certainly don’t like them any better now.  Unfortunately the bullying that I address is not the simple schoolyard type, but a kind that has infected our politics and religion to such an extent that I fear the worst for our country.

Last night there was a most troubling moment during the Republican debate.  Fox news anchor Megan Kelly aired a video from a soldier inIraqasking what candidates would do regarding the recent repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy.   What followed was shocking. First a number of people in the audience booed the soldier. Second, former Senator Rick Santorum answered Kelly’s question about DADT saying that he would reinstate the policy which he called “social experimentation” which was “detrimental” to gays and lesbians.

Sanorum also mischaracterized the repeal saying that that “I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. The fact they are making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to, and removing don’t ask don’t tell. I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military’s job is to do one thing: to defend our country….”  The repeal didn’t give gays a special privilege but merely allows them to serve as others in the military do without fear of being thrown out if someone discovered that they were gay.

Santorum also showed his ignorance by ending his comments with this “sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual.” Well that is the policy that was enacted, except we don’t throw people out because they are homosexual.  The military is built on discipline and professionalism, if heterosexual military personnel cannot do something the same applies to homosexuals. The policy actually makes the case that sexuality is not an issue. It was under DADT and it put honorable men and women that wanted to serve their country under a rule that no-one else in the military had to live with. That policy emphasized that they were different and made their sexual orientation the issue so that they could be prosecuted at any time should a person turn them in or they make any statement that they were gay.

The repeal was voted by congress and DADT has been found unconstitutional by a number of Federal Courts.  It was going to go away one way or another and the way it was done the military had a chance to get ready for it.  Because of this nothing changed on September 20th. The military still continues to do its job without any disruption, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen are being professional and perhaps the one shock will have is when they find out that men and women that they admire and that they have served in close quarters or in combat with are gay. They will adjust and realize that all the hyperbole put out by people like Santorum was politically and sometimes religiously motivated bigotry.  The same happened in 1948 when President Truman integrated the military. Military personnel adjusted over time and now compared to most of society the military stands as a beacon to the rest of the nation.

When Santorum finished his answer he was greeted with thunderous applause and not one candidate stopped during the debate to call out the people that launched the chorus of boos.  A few notably John Huntsman and a spokesman for Rick Perry commented after the debate about how “unfortunate” the incident was, later on Friday candidate Gary Johnson condemned the action. Unfortunately most of the other candidates by their silence showed that they either agreed with the hecklers or that they are too afraid of political retribution to speak out against such behavior.

I was told by a Christian friend whose opinion I value that he thought that I was over-reacting to the actions of a few people.  God how I wish it was just a few knuckleheads doing this.  However I have seen many bloggers and quite a few allegedly “conservative alternative media” sites and “Christian” ministries blasting the same message ever since Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen announced that the military was moving toward the repeal.

The fact that others in the crowd did not challenge the boo-birds and Santorum didn’t censure them was scary. Later Santorum said that he didn’t hear the people that booed but they were loud and I have a hard time believing him. In light of his many other statements on this subject.

Part of the problem is that I am a historian and my focus was on Weimar Germany and the Nazi era. I have studied that period since I was an undergraduate as well as in seminary and for my second Masters in Military History. I talk about this with my German friends and they see parallels to their history. It unnerves them to see it happening here.

The tactics being employed by these “few” are eerily reminiscent of what the Brownshirts did to their opponents. If I “over react” as my friend said it was because acts like this do breed discrimination and violence.  Those that take power after having used or tolerated such behavior from their followers tend to become tyrants and oppressors in their own right, especially religious people.  Simply look at history to see how badly these events turn out.

But this is bigger than the repeal of DADT and gays.  Last week in another debate, the same type of crowd people shouted “let them die” in relation to a debate question about an uninsured man.  The week at another Republican debate people cheered the use of the death penalty even in cases where reasonable doubt was obvious. And then Pat Robertson told a caller that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease was justified. It is about the lack of outcry from Christians or even the willing participation of Christians in brutal behavior. These are scary things and it is the totally of them that brings my reaction.  This has happened in other countries and I fear that we are going down the same path.

We have a great number of very angry people including many Evangelical Christians that feel that the left has marginalized and persecuted them.  To some extent there has been some of that.  But the answer cannot be found in vengeance.  From what I read on many “conservative” or “Christian” websites the issue is revenge.   The revenge is in that they intend to take over by the ballot and if need be by the bullet to “take dominion” over every arena of public life and rid us of those that do not agree with them or strip them of any influence in society.

The people in the “Dominionist” movement and those that preach the “7 Mountains Theology”  have said that they are intent on establishing a theocracy in this country and others. In their new society people that disagree with them are the enemy, not only of them but of God, even other Christians. Rick Joyner, one of the leaders of this movement and one of the players in Rick Perry’s “The Response” said: “On February 23rd of this year I was shown for the third time that the church was headed for a spiritual civil war … the definition of a complete victory in this war would be the complete overthrow of the accuser of the brethens’ strongholds in the church … this will in fact be one of the most cruel battles the church has ever faced. Like every civil war brother will turn against brother like we have never witnessed in the church before … this battle must be fought. It is an opportunity to drive the accuser out of the church and for the church then to come into unity that would otherwise be impossible … what is coming will be dark. At times Christians almost universally will be loath to even call themselves Christians. Believers and unbelievers alike will think it is the end of Christianity as we know it and it will be through this the very definition of Christianity will be changed for the better.”

Others of this theological bent advocate chilling police state type methods in dealing with opponents and those that dissent and justify themselves by say that they are “doing God’s work” or “ushering in the Kingdom.

So this is not just about the gays, it is about protecting the weak and those that dare to dissent from a party line. It is about the use of  Brownshirt type tactics to intimidate and silence opposition.  The combination of radial politics and radical religion never produces anything good.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote from a Nazi Prison:

“Radicalism always springs from a conscious or unconscious hatred of what is established. Christian radicalism, no matter whether it consists in withdrawing from the world or in improving the world, arises from the hatred of creation. The radical cannot forgive God his creation. He has fallen out with the created world, the Ivan Karamazov, who at the same time makes the figure of the radical Jesus in the image of the Grand Inquisitor. When evil becomes powerful in the world, it infects the Christian, too, with the poison of radicalism. It is Christ’s gift to the Christian that he should be reconciled with the world as it is, but now this reconciliation is accounted to be a betrayal and denial of Christ. It is replaced by bitterness, suspicion and contempt for men and the world. In place of the love that believes all and hopes all, in the place of the love which loves the world in its very wickedness with the love of God (John 3:16), there is now the pharisaical denial of love to evil, and the restriction of love to the closed circle of the devout. Instead of the open Church of Jesus Christ which serves the world till the end, there is now some allegedly primitive Christian ideal of a Church, which in its turn confuses the ideal of the living Jesus Christ with the realization of a Christian ideal. Thus a world which is evil succeeds in making the Christians become evil too. It is the same germ that disintegrates the world and that makes the Christians become radical. In both cases it is hatred towards the world, no matter whether the haters are the ungodly or the godly. On both sides it is a refusal of faith in the creation. But devils are not cast out through Beelzebub.” (Letters and Papers from Prison p.386)

It is time that we recognize this before it is too late because the train has left the station.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Dumb Guy Things: The Male Hormone Causes Brain Damage….I’m Proof of It

Last night my friends I violated “Shafer’s Law” which is “let’s not do dumb things.” The etymology of term goes back to my Commanding Officer while I was the Brigade Adjutant at the Academy of Health Sciences back in 1988.  Wow, that is a long time ago. Any my Brigade Commander was a good man and a man who was a common sense leader who cared for his troops. His motto was “let’s not do dumb things.” Unfortunately two months before he was to complete his command tour he with all the other senior officers on the base he attended a banquet in honor of some Chinese Generals touring the school.  I won’t go into details but he was relieved of command for an unfortunate incident where he violated his own motto, he did a very dumb thing. I leave it at that because he was a good man and cared for his troops and was human and made a grievous mistake which ended his career.

Anyway I digress but I did a dumb thing. Now there are degrees of dumb as my wife Judy sometimes known as “the Abbess” can tell you. She has witnessed me do many dumb things in our nearly 28 years of marriage and our additional 5 years of courtship and as she is apt to quite correctly say “the male hormone causes brain damage.”

What I did last night was not as dumb as other things that I have done in the past such as leaving the high pressure wand at a car wash on the ground while I put quarters in the little change slot. Of course the high pressure hose and wand got very animated at this point as she sat in our 1984 Buick Skyhawk Station Wagon watching in horror the wand reached up and smacked me square in the forehead knocking me senseless and causing her to have to rush me to the Brooke Army Medical Center ER, the first of several such trips in my tour there for treatment also for dumb things.

I could go on with incident after incident where I did dumb guy things thankfully with no lasting consequences but I know Judy’s response to each event “What the hell were you thinking?”  Of course since there was usually no good answer she would repeat her theory of male responsibility “the male hormone causes brain damage.” Of course she is correct we even see the theory demonstrated in the story of Adam and Eve when Adam who God presumed would know better than to take the apple from his voluptuous red-headed trophy wife Eve and instead took the apple, ate it and upon becoming too smart too fast, for it was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil from which it was plucked then said something like “oh shit we’re in trouble we better get dressed.” Since we all know that the Bible is true the theory must be correct.

Well last night I did a dumb thing. I had purchased some pre-sliced cantaloupe at a local grocery chain a couple of days back as I am endeavoring to lead a more healthy life.  I must add that of itself this is not a dumb thing and with my healthy diet I am losing weight and feeling great, except last night and this morning. You see I bought the cantaloupe when it was on sale, just before the no-sale date. Unfortunately I waited a day or two too long to consume the still tasty looking fruit. I took it out of the fridge after my dinner of two low fat turkey sandwiches on low-carb whole wheat and oat Pita bread covered in lettuce, Roma tomatoes and sliced Pepperonici peppers.  Yes it was a very healthy meal indeed. Heck I didn’t even slather this healthy delight in mayonnaise. I took the cantaloupe and lovingly opened it disregarding the label which said that it was dead two days before. It didn’t look too bad and it didn’t smell bad and I didn’t see any mold or anything on it so I consumed it. It didn’t taste as near as good as it looked and by early morning I was depositing it at the great white throne in my bathroom. I felt horrible and to call in sick to work as my bowels remained in a state of agitation for much of the rest of the day.  I feel better now but have received little sympathy nor should I if  prepared cantaloupe is past the expiration date you don’t eat it and I shouldn’t have, I should have eaten more Cheez-its.  Again I have done a dumb guy thing and again, although Judy didn’t say it the male hormone must cause brain damage.

Speaking of dumb guy things, with the exception of the former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi much of our current political and economic mess is caused by guys doing dumb guy things, only on a majorly huge scale. Things that I might say that most have them and their predecessors have been doing for decades, now we are in a real live crisis where we need to do something and neither side in the political debate wants to find real answers. One side just wants to avoid making hard decisions, the other wants to make those decisions and drive home their political philosophy as the law of the land at the same time.   Both are fiddling while Rome burns and since the vast majority of these people are of the male species I have to say that they are engaging in dumb guy things. Hell it’s like watching a bunch of high school bullies and wimps playing dodge ball in gym class. Of course it is the Tea Party that are the bullies and the moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats that are the wimps. Obviously the Tea Party even it’s female leaders like Michelle Bachmann are loaded with much more testosterone than their opponents. It’s embarrassing and no matter what happens even if they somehow avoid a government shutdown for now I expect more of the same from the whole lot and since the country seems to have lost its mind in the process cheering on their favorite dumb guys I expect it to continue.

As Judy so appropriately says “the male hormone causes brain damage.” Who can argue against that?

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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