Tag Archives: Wells Fargo Debit Fee Questioned As Bank Records Record Profit

Occupy My Heart: The radio Show on Best of the Left

The Play that made national headlines, changed hearts and energized a movement is now available on Best of the Left at the link below:

 
Filled with heart and truth, Occupy My Heart: A revolutionary Christmas Carol is not just a story for the holidays, but a tale of our times. You will be touched in this modern retelling of the Dickens classic.

Please share it with your friends, especially those who still think the struggle of our times is not the co-opting of our great nation by corporate and financial greed.


Art, Occupy and the Illusions of the One Percent

Achievers. The one percent. Winners. Those who are so adamant about not raising taxes on corporations the wealthiest in the nation would have us believe that there is some inherent quality, something unique and sacrosanct in this supposed talent. Set aside the responsibility to the nation fostering a nurturing environment for business(political and social stability, laws, courts, infrastructure, an educated and healthy populace) argument. Talents are for the arts, or sports, for positive intellect and in healthy and uplifting relationships. 

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe;” wrote John Donne in meditations XVII, in 1624, “every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”

Achiever is in itself an insult hurled at the rest of us by the selfish and greedy. It implies that the jobs we go to daily, the place we’ve arrived at in life is not an achievement. It screams that raising children, running a home, going to school, struggling with poverty, prevailing through an illness is somehow a lesser achievement. It presumes one person’s experience is greater than another’s. It pits one person’s struggle against another’s, which is a fool’s game.

Reverend Billy at the Occupy Chicago General Assembly Wednesday evening spoke about community and the responsibility of the 1%. One is indeed the loneliest number

The way it is used becomes an assertion of power and right and privilege. Their achievement is presumed to have value above all others. It is an assumption of rule and of a ruling class, which is antithetical to the declaration of Independence and of the Constitution.

It also betrays a lie the so-called achievers pretend to themselves. It is the ultimate lie because it ignores the very thing Donne wrote about. Life is impossible alone. A soul alone writing a novel relies upon the history making the computer usable, upon the society nurturing freedom of thought, of the luxury of not having to forage through the day for food, shelter and sustenance, and even of the craftsman who constructed the desk and chair upon which that novelist writes.

A month ago I wrote a play. I am proud of that play, but as such it is little more than a semi-interesting collection of two dimension words upon a page. In the coming weeks a passionate and talented cast will bring those words to life, moving them around in three-dimensional space, adding inflection and history and textures I would never have imagined. We will perform on a radio station, the play expanded and re-envisioned  by a producer who will add sound effects to create a new and as yet unrealized world. We will perform upon a stage built by dreamers who wished for a space that actors might create as yet unimagined works and as yet unwritten words. Those stages are maintained by electricians, lighting experts and others who make each performance possible.

Sadly, what has happened in America is that the one percent has all but convinced us that only the writer matters, and that all the rest should bow before them. The Occupy movement asserts a different reality, one consistent with the constitution, in which all citizens are imbued with a god-given dignity and that all of us have a responsibility to maintaining the greatest measure of human dignity that can be maintained. The limit placed on that dignity is a measure of the cynicism inherent in a heart.

No man is indeed an island, except in his own heart, and upon that island is loneliness and nothing more. There is an old pop song that says one is the loneliest number. If there is salvation from that loneliness, it must be among the 99%.


Halftime at the CNN GOP NSD on TV LOL LMFAO(National Security debate)

Here’s how things break down right now at the CNN National Security debates on CNN, hosted by the same Heritage Foundation that promotes Rush Limbaugh and FOX News. This of course being the 720th Republican debate since August, which some might say amounts to a media saturation to drown out the Obama Administration. Some might say that.  But we are learning some incredibly important things in this paranoid white-guy fest. For example:

1. Ron paul is amazingly lucid at moments, his positions cogent and logical up until the point he drives that car around crazy curve right into nut valley.

2. Try picturing Rick Santorum’s mother spitting on her fingers and slicking back his hair before the debate, and that his underwear is bunched at the top of his pants and he is wearing white athletic socks. “Vladimir Putin, meet the President of the United States, Ricky Santorum.”

3.We also learned from Santorum that Africa, once considered a continent by egg-headed Geographers, is in fact a country.

4. Rick Perry taught us that the Monroe Doctrine which prohibited European powers from interfering in the Americas also applies to that other great European power, Mexico.

5. Iran has lots of mountains. Thanks Herman Cain. Also, Iran has lots of mountains.

6. Amazingly we learned from Michelle Bachman that BARACK OBAMA CHANGED THE COURSE OF HISTORY. Much like superman. She will not change the course of history, but instead will allow it to meander and skip and frolic and, oh, sorry, I thought we were talking about her husband.

7. Iran has lots of mountains. All right Cain, we heard you already!

8. Newt Gingrich is an expert in history, especially the history he rewrites.

9. Mitt believes that amnesty for illegal aliens is a magnet. I agree. Now that American and multi-national corporations have left America, why would anyone want to stay in those poor corporate-raped foreign nations?

10. All of the GOP candidates believe that immigration is a national security issue. Be afraid America of all those dangerous busboys, cooks, cleaning ladies, economic refugees and gardeners.

11. Gingrich stated that “if we were a serious country” we’d drill everywhere in the US for oil. That would collapse the  global price of oil, he said. Wasn’t he  saying the oil companies had a right to their record profits and subsidies a year ago? Now he wants to collapse the industry? How many jobs would that cost?

12, Wolf Blitzer referenced the continuing violence in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. No mention that twice the protesters won, first deposing a brutal dictator, and then forcing an end to military rule in favor of freedom for Egyptians.

13. Apparently no one at the Heritage Foundation or any of the candidates look  at newspapers or anything other than FOX News. If they had, the questionwould have seemed silly regarding a pro-Islamist/Al Qaeda group in Somalia which is now under full-scale military attack from Ethiopia, is hardly a credible threat to anything beyond the sand dunes and ruins of what was once Somalia.

14. And something I never realized before, and that is that China is  a significant threat and enemy to the United States, unless we are talking about cheap Chinese-made Walmart crap, in which case China is good.

And finally, I learned that if Governor Huntsman was a Democrat I might just consider him a second choice to whoever I was actually supporting.

 


Art, Comedy and the Occupy Movement

 It seems like art would be a natural part of the Occupy movement. Certainly the signs can be creative,  as is the resilience of the movement in the face of substantial adversity-from moments with the police, press indifference or outright blackout to the weather and a broad spectrum of society represented that is inherent in any true social assertion of civil rights. Recall it was Martin Luther King jr. who said, and I paraphrase, if there is injustice anywhere there is injustice everywhere. So meeting and prevailing through all this requires no small amount of creativity. That was evident fully at last night’s General Assembly on Michigan Avenue with better than about 200 activists.

The first was the steady progress towards putting on a play within the protest. The play “Occupy My Heart: A revolutionary Christmas carol,” an Occupy take on the classic Dickens tale met with great excitement. dozens stepped forward as the effort moves towards a full outdoor reading of the play Thanksgiving weekend, with hopes to put on a full production Christmas week.

For those unfamiliar, the General Assemblies are critical to getting the message out to all the activists and supporters, but also in maintaining the spirit and morale of those involved. Interesting that the movement is becoming ever more tightly knit and focused with all the other Occupy efforts around the nation and the world. The meetings are structured with well-defined rules of order, allowing and encouraging the views of all involved, from the leadership down to the first time arrivals to the movement.

This creates one problem for the movement, but one of victimization more than a flaw in the movement itself. Critics can easily exploit that for charged audio and selective video. You see, everyone has a right to express their view at the GAs, provided they adhere to the rules of order. No one is shouted down, which can seem, in skewed video and audio to appear as acceptence. In fact, the rules dictate members show agreement or displeasure silently. Open hands up is agreement, down is disagreement.

There  are rappers, musicians and other entertainers adding their dimension and spirit to the movement. Most have now heard of The Hawaiian folk singer Makana who sang an Occupy song, “Occupy with Aloha” at a summit supper before President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. http://www.metatube.com/es/videos/cid4/Musica/86644/Singer-crashes-Obama-summit-with-Occupy-song/

Last night Occupy comedian Lee Camp performed in Chiacgo, part of a tour to entertain and fire up all of the national efforts. “We learned,” said Camp, “that we’re fighting both sides in Afghanistan. We are paying the Taliban millions to let out supply trucks through in Pakistan so we can keep fighting…the Taliban. We are losing a game of solitaire!”

Occupy comedian Lee Camp entertains the Chicago group Saturday night

He stoked the crowd, a mix of  young, old, professional, students and the unemployed with “the revolution will not be televised. It will be digitized!” The line, no doubt a reference to the virtual blackout, but for negative press, by the media, and the digital and alternative media that has overcome that blackout.

Referring to the pepperspray incident against the UC Berkley activists this week, camp drew laughs and cheers with, “Pepper spray to Occupy people is like pouring watter on gremlins. Spray us and we multiply!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_t2weBucMY


Who speaks for the average man on the Right? Sarah Palin $12 Million last year. Rush Limbaugh, $28 million. Michael Savage, $18 million. Megyn Kelley, $5 million. Michael Medved, $35 million. Neal Boortz, $800 thousand plus. Bill O’Reilly, $20 million. Glenn Beck, $32 million. Sean Hannity, $25 million. Michael Savage, $18 million net worth. Ann Coulter, $8.5 million net worth.

How do they warrant such salaries? Because of their immense popularity? Because they are better than the rest?

In 1949 the Fairness Doctrine was established. Diversity in broadcast communications and media was encouraged and valued through the 1970s. In 1970 the Radio & TV cross ownership rule prevented large media organizations from owning a TV and radio station in the same market, again to promote and protect media diversification and a broad spectrum of views. In 1975, the rule was added preventing the ownership of TV and newspaper in the same market.

In 1980, President Reagan began a push, complicit with his corporate patrons, to reverse this legislation. Under the first President Bush that effort was continued. The court case Meridith Corp vs. the FCC ruled the FCC had no power to regulate and enforce the fairness doctrine. Bill Clinton was no friend of media diversification. The effort continued until most FCC rules were eliminated through the Telecommunications Act of 1996, thanks to a Republican Congress, Clinton and their corporate donors.

America instantly saw a 1/3 decline in  diversification. Corporations continued that theft of public ownership of the airwaves.  7 corporations now own 75% of all radio and TV. the purpose from the start was to eliminate dissent, the free flow of information and unbiased discourse. Evidence the fact that no one in any corporate media in the lead up to the Iraq Invasion ever posed adequate dissent to questions over weapons of mass destruction, and criminality to trick the American public into war. Evidence the complete fabrication that poor people with bad home loans caused the financial crisis of 2008-07, without telling the true story of credit default swaps and speculation on those bad debts far in excess of the actual value of the entire US housing market. Evidence the lack of credible questions and accountability over the 9-11 atrocity. Evidence the assult against Global Warming, the effects of which, through drought and floods and severe climate anomalies we are only just beginning to suffer. Evidence the echo chamber continuation of  Obama’s birth certificate foolishness. evidence that Sarah Palin is not a diner waitress at a truck stop in Alaska. Evidence the slanted reporting on the  tiny Tea party illusion against the massive  anti-war and now Occupy movements. Evidence…


November 17, 2011 Day of Action…Occupy your freedom! Join a march. Organize. Put a sign in your car and in your window saying, “I am part of the 99%.” Call your senators, representatives. Flood radio stations with calls. Join a Credit Union. Let them know this is a country of, by and for the people, not the corporations and banks. And above all be outraged, but with love and peace and respect as your weapons and armor.


The essence of the argument. occupation as a defense

The New York judge that ruled on yesterday’s assault against the Occupy Wall Street activists in Zuccotti Park commented that the protesters, “have not demonstrated a first amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations.” Judge Stallman ruled. “Neither have the applicants shown a right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the city’s enforcement of law so as to promote public health and safety.”

The comment begs the question as to whether the judge simply refused to adequately acknowledge the basic First Amendment aspect in this case, or the legal representatives for the movement failed to properly define the unique characteristics of the movement. Based upon the judge’s statement, the latter seems the obvious choice, at which point we can only wonder if the Occupy lawyers had the opportunity to make that distinction or if the judge refused to allow it.Occupation Chicago activists at a General Assembly meeting Sunday

The protesters, “have not demonstrated a first amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators and other installations,” said Stallman. But taken at face value his opinion is fundamentally flawed, an opening the Occupy people should and need to exploit fully. Their premiere argument lies in their name: Occupy. Occupation is not defined as a brief and transient effort, but as a sustained effort whose duration is dictated, again by definition, by the occupiers. Evidence the Right who eschewed any suggestion of leaving Iraq or Afghanistan over the last decade as cutting and running, and certainly not the decision of anyone but the United States to make.

Their First Amendment right to remain is explicit in their name. otherwise we can refer to them as, sy, “Just passing through Wall Street,” or “Fed up folks visiting Wall Street, but not lingering,” or “Let’s go to Wall Street but definitely not stay.” Instead, they are “Occupy Wall Street.” The name defines the movement. It prescribes the action and the place it will occupy. The name is the First Amendment assertion of the movement.

The structures, tents, kitchens, hospitals and library are likewise equally fundamental to the movement and directly support the intent of the protest by means of maintaining safe and healthy conditions within the camp. That speaks directly to Stallman’s statement that “the applicants (have not) shown a right to a temporary restraining order that would restrict the city’s enforcement of law so as to promote public health and safety.” The protesters have not constructed a shanty town, but erected tents, explicitly to protect their members from the elements, and to facilitate an adequate presence to maintain an occupation. The hospital is staffed by registered nurses, who have donated their energies to the cause.

Truck driver Bob Hoffman donates time to serve soup for Occupy protesters

Curious that police attempts to disrupt and discourage the protest through unprovoked violence (see  https://900poundgorilla.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/attacks-and-intimidation-the-war-against-the-occupy-movement/  ) and the dumping of unsavory elements into the park were not presented in this case. The hyped and exaggerated incidence of crime, ballooned by outright falsifications and concoctions were used against the protesters and ruled on by the court, but the best defense remains in the name. By definition, Occupation is the essence of the argument.

Now the question that remains, if it is still possible to prevail on the strength of an argument or if the courts hear only their preconceptions and biases, or if they hear only what they are told to hear? More and more the courts are the tools of the wealthy, the corporations and powerful, rarely favoring indiviuals. Indeed, through the so-called financil collapse of 2007-2008 not a single person was indicted or arrested. Tens of billions were quite literally stolen by banks, financial instutions and corporations, either directly from the treasury or by draining 401K plans and pensions, all while the rich have grown obscenely wealthier. Yet, Occupying a park over outrage for those immoral and anti-American offenses by civilians demanding justice and reform is met by media indifference, partisan propaganda and riot police. Anyone see the insanity in all that?


Anger rages as Paterno fired; The misplaced fury of tribalism and hypocrisy of the Corporate media: A comment and rebuttal

  Thinker Belle commented on Anger rages as Paterno fired; The misplaced fury of tribalism and hypocrisy of the Corporate media

Americans like having it in plain old black and white-your team or mine. These students are clearly disgusted with the way the media handled this “issue.” Mostly male, like their football coaches, it would seem to be more important to win a game, stick together as a team, regardless of the injuries inflicted upon the opposing team-the children this guy raped.

The Occupy crowd has no leader-coach, per se- so there is no “big wig” or person of idolization to bring down. It would be easy to compare them to communist since they vandalize the small businesses near their encampment and terrorize those that do not provide free food and water sources for bathing and using the restroom.

It must be pretty bad when even Berkley doesn’t want them on their campus.

 Thank you for the response, but your opening paragraph precisely made my point about tribalism. Indeed, that is the very definition of tribalism. I have always acted independently, my supreme bias being a morality that defends human dignity and individual freedom, a freedom again measured by the standard of human dignity. Maybe I’m on a different track, but I have never been a follower. It has gotten me into scrapes with some of the largest corporations on the planet(against which I always prevailed), and I always go to sleep with a clear conscience. Furthermore, I am always consistent in my positions, and never have to face the possibility of flip-flopping on issues.

 As for the protests, they have resisted a leader which could co-opt their message-and there is one even if some refuse to hear it- and spin it into watered down or subverted politics. The incidence you’ve referred to are FOX-news generated, hyped or distorted. I can speak for the Chicago group, which I visit each day, especially since they are near my office. There is a culture of respect and dignity and honesty the likes of which I have never seen, and I have been a part of many protests, from pro-democracy in China rallies to anti-war and pro-Union rallies at the Madison Wisconsin statehouse.

 For those incidence that have occurred, as in the sexual assault in New York, the police bear a significant responsibility, as they were rounding up homeless people and others and depositing them among the protesters as a tactic to disrupt constitutionally rights. Taken in total, the very small number of actual incidence is still far, far lower than the society at large. Drug use and alcohol use is discouraged, but there are not security gangs patrolling the protests. It is an honor system, largely, and people are people, and the movement has attracted a broad menu of people. At a general assembly meeting last night in Chicago I met with an attorney, 2 DePaul graduate students, a grandmother and a Teamster, working three jobs but coming each Sunday to serve soup as his contribution.

 The best advice I can offer is, stop accepting the fear and siege mentality of the corporate media, which plays to niche markets and base impulses as the vehicle to sell their crap. Too many people buy the marketing tactic that the world is spiraling out of control. Maybe look a bit closer at people whose energies are spent in the defense of individual human liberty-above even capitalism and who are engaged in making it a better place for people first. Truly, wouldn’t it stand to reason that if the world values people first, business would likewise benefit. Instead, the corporate controlled media would have us believe that business is a giant benevolent and monolithic cow whose teat we all endeavor to suck from.

 And one last note. While Communism was a failed economic system which essentially devoured itself, which is what capitalism is doing right now, crime was, comparatively to American crime, almost non-existent. Having spent much time in Eastern and southern Europe just after the Berlin Wall came down, those societies were quite safe. Indeed, the so-called worst parts of cities like Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade where far safer than the best parts of Chicago, New York and Dallas.

 Finally, it is interesting the use of Berkley as a pejorative. The penchant for tribalism also promotes antipathy for intellectualism and knowledge, evidenced by the constant assault against education, attacks on professors, teachers unions and public schools by way of vouchers, the home-schooling fad and the promotion of creationism in curricula. The result is creating a dangerous malleable and disastrously gullible populace. That will work for the purveyors of fear and paranoia and hate and selfishness for a time, but is unstable and unsustainable in a society, and whose eventual collapse or backlash is potentially fatal to this also potentially great country we’d all like to see prevail.  

 


Anger rages as Paterno fired; The misplaced fury of tribalism and hypocrisy of the Corporate media

Let’s see, rioting over a football coach who help conceal the rape of a child acceptable, protesting against a banking and corporate  takeover of the American political system to the detriment of middle class and poor families, bad.

I’m sorry, where is the liberal media I’m hearing so much about? There has been no positive coverage in the media regarding the Occupy movement. On the Right it has been called everything from violent to communist and evil. In the so-called mainstream media, it is portrayed as unfocused and disorganized, despite being in every city in the nation, and despite communicating very precise grievances. That is, if it is covered at all. Focus is put on arrests-peaceful arrests( and a very small number not so peaceful) of people asserting, sacrificing and defending constitutional rights. 

Contrast this with the matter-of-fact, even ironic reporting of the Penn State riots last night over the “retirement” of Coach Joe Paterno. Near the bottom of a long and glowing article on the MSNBC site, under sports, http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/45233483/ns/sports-college_football/ about Paterno’s “heartbreaking” exit because he made a “misjudgment” not to report his child-molesting defense coordinator, after a witness reported the rape of a child by this man, was a brief mention of the tantrum by student supporters of Paterno.

Hundreds of students gathered about two blocks from the campus, with some chanting “We want Joe! We want Joe!” Some shook a lamp postand others tipped over a news van, kicking out its windows. Police fired bursts of pepper gas.”

courtesy: Michael Henninger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via Zuma Press

No arrests? A notable absense of disgust over a tribal display by so-called educated and cultured student?. They got a complete pass that the righteous Occupyactivists have been deprived of. An hypocrisy, or the predictable effort by corporate owned media outlets to extinguish any true expression by citizens to retain control of the nation and to uphold a constitution so many wave but so few truly revere.


This is why they Occupy-Government subsidies to profitable banks…Citigroup ($64.6 billion), Bank of America ($44.5 billion), JPMorgan ($39.7 billion), Morgan Stanley ($25 billion), Goldman Sachs ($21.26 billion), and Wells Fargo ($9.5 billion)

Don’t believe me. Believe the headlines…

 

Wells Fargo Advances on Record Profit, Cost-Cutting Plans

By Dakin Campbell -Jul 19, 2011 3:40 PM CT

Bloomberg

 

Wells Fargo Profit Jumps, but Revenue Falls Slightly

April 20, 2011, 8:58 am Investment Banking

By ERIC DASH

 

  Wells Fargo Profits Hit Record, But Revenue Decline Sends Stock Down 8.4%

by Alex Ferreras on October 18, 2011 in Latest Bank News

Oct. 18 (Source: By George Avalos, Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif.) –Wells Fargo’s third-quarter profit soared to a record, but the San Francisco-based bank’s revenue slumped in an economy that the company said Monday was more sluggish than experts had expected.Investors jettisoned shares of the company, the nation’s largest home lender. Wells Fargo’s stock nose-dived by 8.4 percent, falling $2.25 to finish at $24.42.

Wells Fargo earned $4.06 billion, up 21 percent from the year-ago quarter. Revenue totaled $19.63 billion, down 3.7 percent

 

Wells Fargo Debit Fee Questioned As Bank Records Record Profit

Wells Fargo, PNC Hardly Pay Taxes

By Willy Staley  Fri Nov 4, 2011

2 Comments

A new report on corporate tax rates shows that the financial services industry pays way less than its fair share.

MyBankTracker.com

Leading the pack is Wells Fargo, which paid an average federal income tax of negative 1.4% over the last few years. On $49.4 billion in profits over the last few years, Wells Fargo has paid negative $680 million dollars — taking more subsidies and tax breaks than they pay!

Indeed, Wells Fargo topped the list of all corporations by dollar amount in tax subsidies. Between 2008 and 2010, Wells Fargo received nearly $18 billion in tax subsidies!

Other Banks Benefitted Too

Close behind Wells Fargo was PNC Financial, which paid an effective rate of 1.4% over the last three years. On nearly $10 billion in profits, the bank paid only $144 million in taxes.

Other retail banks that proved successful at dodging Uncle Sam were BB&T (20.4%), Capital One (24.1%), US Bancorp (27.6%). JP Morgan Chase, by paying 30.1% looks like an upstanding corporate citizen.

 

The Subsidy That Won’t Die

Jan 12, 2010 7:00 PM EST

 

The big banks claim the government isn’t helping them anymore. Not exactly. Check out this little-known subsidy.

Newsweek

But the big American banks aren’t nearly so independent as they would have us believe. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and their peers are still benefitting hugely from significant post-crisis subsidy programs that boost their profits. I’m talking mostly about the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP). This was a program started in the wake of the Lehman Bros. collapse to deal with the fact that banks were having a tough time raising short-term capital on decent terms. Under the TLGP, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which is ultimately backed by the taxpayers, would guarantee debt in exchange for fees paid by the banks issuing debt.

The TGLP was ended to new entrants in June 2009 and thus far has gone without a loss. But the fact remains: Private companies were allowed to borrow massive amounts of money—$345 billion at the peak in May 2009—on the public’s credit. At the end of the third quarter, there was still $313 billion outstanding.

the TLGP borrowings of individual institutions as of Nov. 30 and the interest rates they’re paying. General Electric was the largest user, with nearly $88 billion. (Its GE Capital unit has prodigious borrowing needs.) But GE was followed by the big bailed-out banks: Citigroup ($64.6 billion), Bank of America ($44.5 billion), JPMorgan ($39.7 billion), Morgan Stanley ($25 billion), Goldman Sachs ($21.26 billion), and Wells Fargo ($9.5 billion).

 

…If it doesn’t make you mad, you’re one of the 1% or completely clueless.


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