All posts by Dee Armstrong

OPINION: We must preserve the Electoral College

By Dee Armstrong

I’ve gotten old and lazy, so I’ve decided to challenge myself and write about a complex but critical subject, one near and dear to me—the Electoral College. A recent court ruling has brought the subject to the top of my blogging subjects. Here’s a link to that recent news.

Federal court undercuts progressive efforts to nullify Electoral College, rules electors can vote freely

As many know, the Electoral College isn’t a building or institution. It’s a process. The steps in the process differ state to state. If I’d known just how complex it really is, I might have left this subject to someone much better educated than I am. Yet, I like the idea that maybe I can reach out to those like me—who want to know but find it difficult to grasp due to its complexity. The challenge isn’t my understanding the value of the Electoral College. The challenge is clearly and simply (?) communicating its value to others.

I’m going to give it a shot, my BEST shot. Hey, nothing’s perfect, so something researched is better than something just thrown to the public in the darkness of ignorance. And there’s a lot of that out there these days.

This is a useful link to the basics of the election process: https://www.usa.gov/election

In order to understand the election process, it’s best to start with the primary elections. Here’s the link I used for my research: https://votesmart.org/education/presidential-primary#.XSpIvuhKg2w

Check out the difference between plurality and majority: https://www.britannica.com/topic/plurality-system

My initial thought: It’s scary that some relatively small group of people can elect the President in contradiction of the national popular vote (they even have an initialism for that—NPV). With the 2020 election around the corner, knowing about the Electoral College is critical to me and should be critical to every voter.

I read and researched much on the subject. I hope you do too. I’ve provided links to several reliable sources and hope you care enough about our country and about your vote to do your own research. It’s obvious that some politicians who haven’t done their research are proposing the elimination of the Electoral College, either in ignorance or with a personal and dangerous agenda–they want to win at any cost, even if they must ignore the Constitution.

It’s even scarier, at least to me, if the election of a U.S. president—the most powerful person on earth—is totally left in the hands of our metropolis populations. Why should I, in Bigfork, Montana, even bother to vote if Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle and the other major cities dominate the elective power? If you don’t live in one of those heavily populated states, does your vote count? Without the Electoral College, the answer to that critical question is, “NO”—your vote wouldn’t count. You’d better become a big city dweller!

The demands of city population are different from the demands of rural America. Many city dwellers scream for “free stuff.” Many rural Americans are working hard to pay their taxes to provide that free stuff. When it comes down to “free stuff,” someone has to pay. It’s not free for everyone.

Once again, we should turn to the wisdom of our founding fathers, authors of the greatest Constitution in the world. They saw visions of future demographics in the United States, and they listened to the smaller and/or less populated states’ concerns. Lots of yelling and arguing went on at the Constitutional Convention. The Electoral College was the compromise. It’s not a perfect system—nothing is perfect in this world—but it has supported the NPV 51 out of 56 times. (Exceptions: 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016 elections).

How is the number of Electoral College votes determined for each state? “The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President.” Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators.” (Source: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html)

Let’s keep in mind that the total of the number of representatives and senators from each state determines the total number of electoral votes. The states elect the president–not the population. The voters in each state determine their electors, who, in turn determine the winner of the election.

So why does California want illegals to have the right to vote? Why does it want 16-year-olds to vote? Why does it want illegals to be included in the upcoming census? Because it believes that population dictates the number of representatives from each state. Constitutionally, it’s not the number of residents or people—it’s the number of U.S. citizens that determine the number of representatives. The Democrats want to add more representatives so they can increase the number of electoral votes. Put another way, California wants to flood the state with more bodies on the census so they can increase the number of representatives. That’s why California along with the Democratic Party wants to prohibit the “Are you a citizen?” question on the census paperwork. Think of the fact that the number of citizens should determine the number of representatives and NOT the number of residents or people.

Under NPV, the necessary plurality could be confined to a few states, or a single region of the country. Multiple regional or even favorite-son candidacies would be encouraged, and each new candidacy would increase the likelihood of one of them receiving a majority of the electoral votes (courtesy of the NPV compact) while capturing a very low percentage of the overall vote. 

Think about this: If there were four major candidates, victory could be achieved with just over 25% of the popular vote. That popular vote would NOT represent the majority of voters.

Let’s face it—democracy is simply mob rule. Some citizens just don’t vote, even though many Americans have served and died for that right. Some citizens vote for the candidate that promises them the moon, or the candidate with the best looks, or the candidate that offers them a free barbecue. Maybe their choice is based on what the candidate wears or what car they drive. Who knows why people vote these days?

Our government, our country is NOT a democracy. We are a Republic, and our Constitution protects our individual rights given by an authority other than mob rule. It all boils down to the fact that our founding fathers, while drawing up the Constitution, wanted to be sure each state was fairly represented in the election of a president and that the voting population was loyal to the Constitution. We don’t want our president elected by just the most populous states. Heavily populated states should not solely determine who gets elected any more than the majority population (mob) should determine if I can own a gun or worship in a synagogue or start a business.

Each state governs how its electors vote, but each state must remain within the constitutional authority. Just this week, a ruling supported the Electoral College process.

In a major blow to state-by-state progressive efforts to effectively replace the Electoral College with a nationwide popular vote, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that presidential electors in the Electoral College have the absolute right to vote for presidential candidates of their choice. Colorado removed an elector for doing just that.

Democrats have increasingly sought to erase the Electoral College’s influence by promoting state laws that would force electors to vote for the national popular vote winner — and those laws were now in jeopardy as a result of the court’s ruling, legal experts said.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/federal-appeals-court-undercuts-progressive-efforts-to-nullify-electoral-college-rules-electors-can-vote-freely

Our Constitution leaves much authority to the states and restricts authority of the federal government. If I don’t like the rules and regulations in one state, I have the option to move to another state. We are not only a country “united,” but also a collection of states. The Constitution protects the states from an overpowering federal government. The authority of the federal government is clearly outlined in and limited by the Constitution. All other powers and authorities default to each state’s government.

The following link not only explains why we should preserve the Electoral College, but also provides much background and explanation of the reasoning of our founding fathers.

Our founding fathers were embattled between having Congress vote and determine the president, and having the popular vote determine the winner. The Electoral College was the compromise. The Constitution was designed to protect states’ rights, and, if we don’t like how things are run in our state of residency, we can choose another state or work to change the state we’re living in.

I will close with one last thought—my humble opinion to be sure. I see the dumbing down of America spreading like the plague. If the future “masses,” legal or illegal, regardless of age or understanding, are deemed eligible voters, we’re in for big changes, and not the good kind. Our founding fathers were visionaries. They took into consideration that the population of citizens could undergo a metamorphosis and could attempt to elect a president for the wrong reasons, compromising our exceptional Republic. They wanted a safeguard against a president who supports the destruction of the Republic and bring in socialism, or worse. I fear we’re heading down that path. I hate to use the word “stupid,” but can’t find a way around it. When stupid voters who believe the empty promises of socialistic candidates become the majority, we as a Republic are doomed. They are becoming the generation of “I don’t need to work because I get free stuff.”  And many will vote for the first time because of those ridiculous promises. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone always pays.

The Electoral College was designed to preserve the Republic and prevent the election of the president by a stupid majority of voters—legal and illegal. Our founding fathers wanted voters to be American citizens, informed and loyal to the Republic and its Constitution. Without requiring legal identification to vote, the majority of voters may not have to be citizens, may not have to be here legally, may not be of legal age to vote, may not have to be informed, and may not have to be real people or even be alive! An awful lot of cartoon characters and dead people voted in the last election. And I believe that’s why we have the Electoral College. The mob must not rule in a Republic.

There’s so much more to this issue. In my 70-year-old mind, sometimes it sounds black and white and sometimes it’s very convoluted and confusing. I hope I’ve shed a bit of light on the importance of the Electoral College, or at least gotten everyone thinking and talking about it.

Please, don’t forget to vote. It will be more crucial in 2020 than ever before. Socialism is lurking around the corner.

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved

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Rebirth

By Dee Armstrong

Dee Armstrong

The tree is barren, clearly dead for many years. It still stands straight and tall on the side of the highway to Kalispell, Montana. It serves as its own headstone. At one time it was filled with leaves, color and life. Now, it is a sad and stark reminder of the circle of life.

Now, a visitor comes to bring new meaning to what’s left of the tree. The bald eagle returns daily to perch on its chosen limb, gazing on acres of surrounding fields. Just a glance and you cannot miss this great American symbol, providing a new silhouette for what was previously a monument to death. The eagle crowns this lifeless obelisk with the glorious treasure of life once again. The tree is now the proud staff for a regal display of America’s strength and survival.

I am privileged to witness this awesome twosome nearly every time we drive to Kalispell. It’s a breathtaking image that never ceases to amaze me. God bless this worthy tree, the powerful eagle and the greatest country on earth. Happy Independence Day, America!

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved

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Is American culture hanging on the rear-view mirror?

By Dee Armstrong

American culture has been in the spotlight for decades, mainly because it’s constantly changing. The bare foundation of our core values appears to be crumbling.

Lately, I’ve observed one example of this crumbling. It may be a simple and insignificant example, but I believe it may represent a much broader disintegration of society. You might even see my example as frivolous, but I see it as a warning sign of mindlessness and fading out of common sense (which is becoming more and more UNCOMMON).

I’ve seen many people driving with their “Disabled Persons Parking Identification Permit,” more commonly known as a handicap placard, hanging on their rear-view mirror. There’s only ONE instruction on the permit. It states that you should NOT drive with the permit. It’s dedicated to parking only. The instruction is only five simple words. “IMPORTANT: REMOVE BEFORE DRIVING VEHICLE.”

Driving with the permit indicates of one of three things (my opinion, of course):

First, the person doesn’t know how to read. In this case, obviously, they shouldn’t be driving at all.

Second, the person can read but has neglected to read the permit’s one and only instruction. I’m sure some will say, “I didn’t know.” Tell that to the police when they catch you going down a one-way street the wrong way or doing 55 mph in a 35 zone. How about the instruction at the gas pump that tells you not to sit in your car while the gas is pumping–oh, and to NOT SMOKE!

Third, the person has read the instructions but chooses to ignore them. These folks have no respect for instructions. Do they ignore instructions on a prescription drug or OTC medicine? Do they ignore the speed limit signs? Very likely. I bet they spewed a lot of nasty verbiage when trying to put together the barbeque grill or their kid’s bike or swing set. Ignoring instructions, just like ignoring the law, isn’t very smart. Again, in my opinion.

Regardless of the reason, these drivers are driving unsafely. The placard creates a blind spot. Where? Right in the middle of the windshield—a critical field of view, don’t you think? I’d hate to read about a driver with a permit who caused another person to become handicapped, or worse, due to that blind spot. Geez, maybe that’s why the instruction says to remove the placard before driving. Ya think?

Driving a car is like holding a loaded gun. The operator (not the gun or the car) can harm or kill if he or she is reckless or mindless. Driving deliberately with a blind spot on your windshield is both reckless and mindless. The placard acknowledges a physical handicap and the need for a parking accommodation. It doesn’t accommodate a mental handicap or a driving accommodation. Those who insist on driving with the placard on their mirror should be held accountable, particularly if it’s hanging on that mirror at the scene of an accident.

And, as an afterthought, whatever did our parents and grandparents do before the handicap placard? They found a way to get by. Today, those deemed eligible to have such a placard should be respectful of it and grateful for it. I know my husband is just that. He won’t even use the permit if he’s feeling pretty good. He figures he’ll leave that handicap parking spot for someone who’s struggling more than he is that day. He uses the permit when he’s having a bad day, and he’s grateful that all his days aren’t bad.

In the big picture, I see this disregard for others, this disrespect for rules, and this inattention to detail as the crumbling of our American culture. I hope this little example will serve as a wake-up call to those who need it and are smart enough to learn from it—without suffering consequences first. In my winter years, I’ve finally come to understand, first-hand, that learning from others’ mistakes is a lot easier than learning from my own mistakes! A whole lot less painful indeed.

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved

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OPINION: Half-Staff or Half-Baked?

By Dee Armstrong

One day this week, I pulled into the Bigfork Post Office and saw the flag at half-staff. With a Google search, I discovered the President had ordered it.

I’m sure some may not like what I’m about to write, but I’m shocked that our American flag was flying at half-staff in response to the victims of the Virginia Beach shooting.

Please, the flag at half-staff is not protocol for victims. Think about it. The flag would be at half-staff continually if that was the criteria for this special configuration. There are many victims of deadly crimes every day in this country, and not just killed by guns. Stabbings, torture, beatings, strangulation—you get the picture. How do their families feel when those victims aren’t similarly honored? It’s awful to think of all the daily and deadly killings, but it’s reality. Is there a set measurement that establishes one deadly crime’s victims to be worthy of half-staff and not another? What’s the magic number of fatalities? How many must die at one time to order the flag flown at half-staff?

Am I being disrespectful to victims and their families? How do I know how it feels to lose a loved one to a heinous crime? I know. My sister was murdered. No half-staff for her. And that’s the way it should be.

Right from the Veterans Administration:

Flying the American Flag at Half Staff

The flag is not lowered for the individual soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, as much as I’d like it that way. They die serving their country. They are heroes, not victims.  “On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation’s battle heroes.”

The protocol continues to explain that the flag is also lowered for the passing of “a member or former member of the federal, state or territorial government…” They too have served their country. I may not agree with some politicians having “honorably” served their constituents, but I’m trying to stay focused on protocol.

I understand that the Commander in Chief can and should proclaim a time of national mourning, and that’s a good thing. However, I believe he shouldn’t order the flag be flown at half-staff for such tragedies. Well-established and honored flag protocol dictates when the flag should be lowered to half-staff.

From my research, states can and have flown a lowered flag at the discretion of the governor. I can hope that decision is based on honoring individual fallen military servicemembers who are native sons. In consideration of states’ rights, flag protocol says nothing about when a governor must or must not issue the half-staff order.

The victims of heinous crimes, God bless their souls, became victims through no choice of their own. That goes for those who died on September 11th  (although some were military but were victims then) as well as many other victims of many other deadly crimes. Flying our flag at full staff for those victims should remind us that our country is at full strength, that we can recover and cope as long as we remain strong—as a country.  

Victim or hero? Our military service members choose to serve and often die for our great nation. Now and historically, they ensure our country’s strength. They are not victims. They are heroes.

As leaders, the president, governor, county commissioner, and mayor have the responsibility to bring together Americans with proclamations of grief and solemn ceremonies for such horrible tragedies.

But the flag? I believe the flag should remain full staff in times of civilian tragedy, to maintain American tradition, to respect protocol, and to honor our heroes—not our victims. By breaking protocol in response to a criminal act, applying personal discretion, and creating dynamic criteria as we go, we dilute the tribute.

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved, Email Dee: deeinmontana1949@gmail.com

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Half-staff, whole heart

By Dee Armstrong.

It’s Memorial Day, and we will pray. No parade, no party, no fun at the beach.

We raised our flag on its 20-foot pole this morning and lowered it to half-staff. That simple action brought tears to my eyes because I know just what it represents.

My fellow American Journal bloggers, Kelleigh and J.D., have said it all. This is a day for remembrance, for reflection, for prayer. I too pray for the future of this great nation, and thank God for those who lived—and died—for our Republic and its founding principles. I pray this great experiment in self-governing is sustained, with victory over all its enemies within and without.

Since Kelleigh and J.D have said it all, I’ll make this brief.

We will spend some moments at our local cemetery, walking quietly to each grave with an American flag, and thank those who have served and left this nation in our hands, to preserve what they lived for and died for.

God bless America and all who have lived and died for our freedom.

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved

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My Perspective: Friend or Foe

by Dee Armstrong

In my simple mind, I see people in three simple categories: friend, foe or acquaintance.

I have more acquaintances than I have friends or foes. Most business interactions are with acquaintances, and that’s okay, because I see no red flags with them until they give me reason to move them into the “foe” category. I’m also careful, so the “foe” list is rather short, thank goodness.

Someone once told me that we have friends for various purposes and for different lengths of time. Some are lifetime friends. Some short-lived for one reason or another. Some friends we see all the time. Others we see rarely but stay in touch. Amazingly, with today’s technology, some friends we never meet or see at all. The American Journal teammates are proof of that.

Unfortunately, there are also “foes” in life. I can’t call them enemies because any soldier who has served in combat can tell us what an enemy really is. The rest of us have people who negatively touch our lives and just don’t belong there.

You would think that, at my age, I could spot the difference between friend and foe. We made some poor but major decisions based on a false friend who turned foe.  Guess I still have a speck of naivety and gullibility left in these old bones. Not sure if that’s good or not so good. Children are naïve and gullible, and we should all hold on to a bit of “child” in us.

Over the past three years, I’ve come to some serious conclusions about relationships.

True friends sometimes hurt you, but they don’t mean to do so. They don’t pass judgment—a friend knows that judgment is ultimately left to Almighty God—and our earthly justice system.

Friends don’t LIE. They love you unconditionally, even if they might not like everything you do or say. They stay in touch but understand if communication doesn’t happen on a regular basis. In other words, they try their best to be there, regardless of the current joy or sorrow in our lives.

Friends must share my core values—conservativism; respect for life, for others and others’ property; honesty; faith; respect for nature (animals may harm us or do bad things, but not with deliberation—only with innocence, unlike humans); loyalty where it’s deserved; and a recognition of our own strengths and weaknesses. That last one falls under “honesty.” An honest look at oneself is so important to being a good person and being a good friend.

Of course, friendship works both ways. Being a friend requires reciprocal respect on all fronts

I believe there are two sacred rules to maintain a healthy and rewarding friendship. First, HONESTY. Second, communication. Those two elements are undeniably attached. Honest communication.

In my life, a friend turns into a foe when one is dishonest and/or refuses to communicate. There’s nothing more painful and frustrating than just not knowing why someone who claimed to be a “friend” turned against me with no explanation. What did I do? How hard must I try to reconnect? Or should I try at all? Can I ever trust that person again? If our friendship isn’t worth the effort to straighten things out, it wasn’t much of a friendship to being with.

My “foes” become my foes because I let them hurt me. Geez, how could I be so easily deceived? Especially after 70 years of life experience! Shame on me. And shame on me for making poor decisions based on a deceitful “friend.” We are paying the price for that misjudgment. Every day in many ways.

I only have a handful of longtime friends, and that’s okay. Ray and I moved to a new location and understand that most everyone our age here has established their friendships by now. My best friend is my husband, Ray, and always will be. Some folks I’ve met here are nice, but true friendship takes time, testing, and effort. I have little time for social stuff, and I have modest energy, so, sadly, my investment in new friends is also modest. I understand that my new friends are in that same situation. However, my few Montana friends have not just talked the talk, but also walked the walk. They have openly demonstrated their desire to befriend me. I’m grateful for them, as I am for my lifelong friends. I hope I can continue to reach out to them and prove myself a worthy friend.

I have also concluded that I really feel sorry for the foes, for those who don’t understand the word “friend.” They must be troubled and lonely. I wish them well, but I won’t stay around those who hurt me or those I don’t trust. I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted. Guess my 70 years and my Christian faith have finally blessed me with a touch of wisdom! Better late than never. Life teaches me something every day, so I’m continually learning. That’s a good thing.

Life is good, regardless of friends or foes!

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved, Email Dee:
deeinmontana1949@gmail.com

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MY OPINION: DEMOCRACY IS SIMPLY MOB RULE.

By Dee Armstrong

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”?  Thomas Jefferson, questionable attribution

 “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.” Henry L. Mencken (1880—1956)

Ah, how sweet it sounds to hear that a country has selected a democracy for its form of government. People voting for the first time. Remember the Middle Eastern voters who were so proud to show off their purple fingers? The voice of the masses finally heard. Elections, elections, elections! Freedom, freedom, freedom!

With the 2020 election just around the political corner, I am inspired to write about today’s voting pool. I believe this is more applicable today than in Menckin’s time, although I’m not sure it really is ignorance (not knowing). It may just be plain old-fashioned stupidity (choosing to remain ignorant). The result of democratic elections is some elected officials who do not respect the Constitution—or are just plain ignorant of it—and have no good intentions for preserving our Republic.

Thank goodness America is NOT a democracy!

This statement is not new to many. Unfortunately, it still raises eyebrows of those who are ignorant of the terminology. It’s always been my mantra: Democracy is MOB RULE. Sometimes, the mob (voting pool) ends up with a reasonable result—a qualified official with the best interests of his or her constituents. That’s only if the mob is NOT ignorant or stupid. We, collectively, have elected some qualified government officials—and some NOT even qualified to be a bartender!

Our Constitution clearly identifies our nation as a Republic. So does our Pledge of Allegiance. What does this mean to me? To you?

Here’s just one example that is close to my heart.

If I am the only citizen in all of America who wants to own a gun, and the rest of the entire nation’s citizens want to ban anyone from owning a gun, our Constitution protects my God-given right to defend myself, my family and anyone I choose to protect. God created humans with specific instincts, just as he created the rest of the animal kingdom with survival instincts. Humans have a more complex brain than other animals (supposedly!), with the ability to reason, to deliberate, to learn, to love. Animals may have some of these capabilities, but animals execute them without deliberation. They rely on instinct. Humans have been blessed with an elevated sense of responsibility and the power of reasoning, learning, compromising, and surviving.

According to Britannica.com, natural rights are those that people acquire inherently, from God or nature. The majority can’t control those rights in our Republic. Those rights are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government and are universal and inalienable (they cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws). Civil rights or legal rights are those that must be given and guaranteed by the power of the state. Therefore, they vary greatly over time, culture, and form of government and tend to follow societal trends that condone or abhor particular types of discrimination. They can be modified, repealed, and restrained by human laws.

In JD’s Snake Oil blog, it burned in my heart to read in black and white the reality that the American masses, through our democratic elections, are literally voting for socialism–or worse. Our election is the only element of our great experiment that is democratic.  Thank goodness for the Electoral College. Our founding fathers had great vision in knowing that the future voting mass could very well destroy the Republic, that Americans could end up so easily led and manipulated that they elect those who wish to destroy the Republic and the Constitution. In walks the Electoral College, at the very start of the United States of America.

I wandered off for a bit, so let’s get back on track. Mob rule.

James Madison was concerned with what he called “the tyranny of the majority.”  He wasn’t alone. The founders had a vision of the population changing and electing those who wish to destroy the Republic from within. How wise were they!

According to the Constitution, the states elect the President, not the populous. The citizens vote for their state’s electors. No mob rule.

I’m grateful for the wisdom and vision of our founding fathers. They could see the inherent dangers that lie with democratic elections. The Electoral College is the only protection we have from mob rule, and the only way we can non-violently preserve our individual rights and prevent the downfall of our great Republic. God bless America and the foundation on which it stands.

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved

Email Dee: deeinmontana1949@gmail.com

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