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  #181  
Old 24th November 2017, 07:09 PM
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Thanks for that. I tried all sorts of combinations of how I embed youtube videos on other forums, but nothing worked.

The father of modern linguistics vs. the father of the endlessly repeated 3 word slogan? One of the greatest living intellectuals (some say the greatest) vs. the budgie smuggler guy? I dunno, I'm leaning towards Chomsky as being someone worth listening to.

Have you spent much time listening to Chomsky, or have you been exposed to some cherry-picked (by his opponents) pieces of text or talks that he has given? I'm happy to go through and give you some start-and-finish points for particularly interesting pieces of that lecture, so that you don't have to sit through the whole thing? I know that you are actually very open-minded and balanced, otherwise I wouldn't bother.
Nah, it's cool mate, i was a fan for a while and i'm familiar with his many many books, which endlessly repeat exactly the same line - but he is an alternative voice for America and good for him and that nation probably needs him, or needed him, to some extent. It's just that he's useless now (i'm referring to his political work here, not his linguistics work). I know exactly what Chomsky will say about any given topic before he's said it. He never ever lets me down. He was the first to publish after 9/11. 6 weeks after the event! So he started writing the day after it happened. Have you read that one? Spoiler alert - it was all America's fault. He started writing before bin Laden had been identified. Lol. Who needs evidence when you have ideology.
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  #182  
Old 25th November 2017, 07:11 AM
wadaye wadaye is offline
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Thanks for that. I tried all sorts of combinations of how I embed youtube videos on other forums, but nothing worked.

The father of modern linguistics vs. the father of the endlessly repeated 3 word slogan? One of the greatest living intellectuals (some say the greatest) vs. the budgie smuggler guy? I dunno, I'm leaning towards Chomsky as being someone worth listening to.

Have you spent much time listening to Chomsky, or have you been exposed to some cherry-picked (by his opponents) pieces of text or talks that he has given? I'm happy to go through and give you some start-and-finish points for particularly interesting pieces of that lecture, so that you don't have to sit through the whole thing? I know that you are actually very open-minded and balanced, otherwise I wouldn't bother.
Nah, it's cool mate, i was a fan for a while and i'm familiar with his many many books, which endlessly repeat exactly the same line - but he is an alternative voice for America and good for him and that nation probably needs him, or needed him, to some extent. It's just that he's useless now (i'm referring to his political work here, not his linguistics work). I know exactly what Chomsky will say about any given topic before he's said it. He never ever lets me down. He was the first to publish after 9/11. 6 weeks after the event! So he started writing the day after it happened. Have you read that one? Spoiler alert - it was all America's fault. He started writing before bin Laden had been identified. Lol. Who needs evidence when you have ideology.
We live in a modern world where everyone is fooled by this veil of living in a democracy, or even for the soviets a 'socialist paradise'. In reality the world is an asset based class based world, where States act internationally not much differently than they did 2000 years ago. So for example acts of genocide are rarely called out, and one of the examples of the moment is the Rohingya genocide which the world will not call Genocide because of the requirements of international law to take action if it is called this.

Now as for the United States it is an empire in the international sense. We talk of developing nations as opposed to developed nations and so on but in reality the wealth of the world could be shared between and more importantly within nations equitably. So the nations at the top of that pecking order experience much less of the bad things of the world. As Arundhati Roy said after 9/11 to America with the greatest of sympathy, this is the real world which the rest of the world experiences all the time.
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  #183  
Old 25th November 2017, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: Why income/wealth equality is getting worse

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We live in a modern world where everyone is fooled by this veil of living in a democracy, or even for the soviets a 'socialist paradise'. In reality the world is an asset based class based world, where States act internationally not much differently than they did 2000 years ago.
Nah, we didn't have international laws 2000 years ago. We didn't have international organisations, free press. 2000 years ago you wouldn't know much of what was happening 50km from your home village and you'd care less.
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So for example acts of genocide are rarely called out, and one of the examples of the moment is the Rohingya genocide which the world will not call Genocide because of the requirements of international law to take action if it is called this.
Well, that's not true is it. Here's the UN calling out Myanmar.

Quote:
UN human rights chief points to ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.as...0#.WhiTELT1WRs
The problem i have with this kind of analysis is that it is based on comparative fantasy. Yes, we do live in a democracy, to say we are fooled into thinking we live in a democracy is demonstrably false. What's true is that we don't live in an imagined democracy where everything is perfect, a utopia of redistribution and human rights. But this is imaginary. Anything compared to this is going to be found wanting. It creates a dysfunctional analytical cynicism that is worse than pointless because no reform can ever be good enough, no improvement will ever go far enough because the fantasy world of our imaginations always casts reality in its shadow.

This type of analysis is revolutionary not reformist and personally i really reject the archaic romance of revolutions, based on their historical track record - which is kind of written in blood.

I think generally i'm in agreement with Wadaye and 142... in regard to the redistributive failure of contemporary global capitalism and the need to do something about it but i just don't see the utopian comparative analysis as anything but a hinderance to reform.
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  #184  
Old 25th November 2017, 10:01 AM
wadaye wadaye is offline
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We live in a modern world where everyone is fooled by this veil of living in a democracy, or even for the soviets a 'socialist paradise'. In reality the world is an asset based class based world, where States act internationally not much differently than they did 2000 years ago.
Nah, we didn't have international laws 2000 years ago. We didn't have international organisations, free press. 2000 years ago you wouldn't know much of what was happening 50km from your home village and you'd care less.
Quote:
So for example acts of genocide are rarely called out, and one of the examples of the moment is the Rohingya genocide which the world will not call Genocide because of the requirements of international law to take action if it is called this.
Well, that's not true is it. Here's the UN calling out Myanmar.

Quote:
UN human rights chief points to ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.as...0#.WhiTELT1WRs
There's a difference in law between ethnic cleansing and genocide, because the Genocide Convention has obligations to prevent protect, and also to punish. The obligations under the Genocide Convention are not derogable. That is why the international community bandies about with the term ethnic cleansing but won't use the word genocide unless and until its far too late in any case. For example in Rwanda after the event.

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The problem i have with this kind of analysis is that it is based on comparative fantasy. Yes, we do live in a democracy, to say we are fooled into thinking we live in a democracy is demonstrably false. What's true is that we don't live in an imagined democracy where everything is perfect, a utopia of redistribution and human rights. But this is imaginary. Anything compared to this is going to be found wanting. It creates a dysfunctional analytical cynicism that is worse than pointless because no reform can ever be good enough, no improvement will ever go far enough because the fantasy world of our imaginations always casts reality in its shadow.

This type of analysis is revolutionary not reformist and personally i really reject the archaic romance of revolutions, based on their historical track record - which is kind of written in blood.

I think generally i'm in agreement with Wadaye and 142... in regard to the redistributive failure of contemporary global capitalism and the need to do something about it but i just don't see the utopian comparative analysis as anything but a hinderance to reform.
I do kind of get where you are at with your criticism of Chomsky in that his criticism gives no quarter. However unlike for example Ralph Nader, Chomsky did not imagine that he could step into the breach and fix everything up.

However in terms of how states do act with respect to each other the notion that there are laws is only true as far as we are prepared to acknowledge reality. Yes, now in contrast to 2000 years ago, there is a Genocide Convention imposing obligations on States to intervene to prevent and punish the Crime. However this is easily bypassed by suppressing information and evidence of the crime - which is normally done by the perpetrator, and cooperation of the international community, for example through the United Nations and State Department refusal to use the word Genocide as an apt description for mass murder and mass rape. Then we have in any case the United Nations Security Council which has a veto on the implementation of any resolution requiring action, or Tribunal to deal with the perpetrators. This in effect means that the highest legal body in the world is in collusion with acts of genocide. The notion that this is somehow different to the legal situation 2000 years ago is not altogether clear to me.
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  #185  
Old 26th November 2017, 11:37 AM
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@Pip
I don't mean to sound reactionary or to trivialise the situation, but overall and attempting to see the situation from the viewpoint of those worst off in the world, it would appear to me that the changes of the international order since 2000 years ago seem to be wholly inadequate.
Most fundamentally things are the same in the specific legal category of war. Of course theoretically there are rules of war, however these are only applied in the case of victor's justice, or with the agreement of the official nuclear states (the permanent five), or theoretically if the international bodies or states have the willingness to use the word "Genocide", which carries with it specific legal obligations to prevent and punish the crime.
If states simply turn aside and don't use the word, then the legal order is roughly similar to that which held at the time of the Roman empire.
Further notwithstanding the many improvements in civilisation since the Roman times, virtually all of which occurred since the first recent attempts at the abolition of slavery, there are areas where civilisation seems to have gone backwards, for example in the area of taxation. While the Roman system suffered from the same flaw of private property, it apparently did not deify private property rights in the same way that they are now, and apparently initially taxed Citizen's property at approximately 1% per year. That is phenomenally more progressive than the modern international order which in theory protects private property in perpetuity, until the end of time.

Edit add:
Civil society generally has obviously advanced quite a bit but is still very vulnerable to eruptions of communal hatred manifesting itself as genocide, usually with the support of the nation states.
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  #186  
Old 26th November 2017, 02:09 PM
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@Pip
I don't mean to sound reactionary or to trivialise the situation, but overall and attempting to see the situation from the viewpoint of those worst off in the world, it would appear to me that the changes of the international order since 2000 years ago seem to be wholly inadequate.
From the viewpoint of the worst off that's probably true but that completely ignores the countless billions of average people who have, or had, a far better human existence than was attainable for an average person 2000 years ago (i'd offer up Pinker's 'our better angels...' as a reference here). You're judging the whole by reference to a subset. It doesnt lend itself to fair and reasonable analysis, it merely demonstrates a particular ideological perspective.

I'm not at all saying here that the poorest of our world aren't relevant to the discussion, far from it. The existence of acute poverty merely highlights the failings of the global system we seem to have developed. We should do something about that. However, the successes since the enlightenment (i don't know why we've started comparing things to year 0) cannot be fairly ignored, in my view, unless you have a very specific notion of what a perfect social order should be. And when you do, in comparison to that, of course everything will seem 'inadequate.'

Quote:
Most fundamentally things are the same in the specific legal category of war. Of course theoretically there are rules of war, however these are only applied in the case of victor's justice, or with the agreement of the official nuclear states (the permanent five), or theoretically if the international bodies or states have the willingness to use the word "Genocide", which carries with it specific legal obligations to prevent and punish the crime.
If states simply turn aside and don't use the word, then the legal order is roughly similar to that which held at the time of the Roman empire.
Really? I don't know enough about the history of the Roman empire to challenge this but from the little i do know i seem to recall it being pretty fucking brutal, the Germanic Celts of 100AD probably wished the year was 2017. But, yes, if your point is that our current global political arrangement can fail certain groups of people i of course agree.
Quote:
Further notwithstanding the many improvements in civilisation since the Roman times, virtually all of which occurred since the first recent attempts at the abolition of slavery, there are areas where civilisation seems to have gone backwards, for example in the area of taxation. While the Roman system suffered from the same flaw of private property, it apparently did not deify private property rights in the same way that they are now, and apparently initially taxed Citizen's property at approximately 1% per year. That is phenomenally more progressive than the modern international order which in theory protects private property in perpetuity, until the end of time.

Edit add:
Civil society generally has obviously advanced quite a bit but is still very vulnerable to eruptions of communal hatred manifesting itself as genocide, usually with the support of the nation states.
I am of the view that modern taxation systems need a bit of a rethink, especially in relation to corporate tax, the existence of tax havens, the super-rich etc. However, I do not know enough about the global history of taxation to make an informed comparison with the past.

I'm aware of your strong views, Wadaye, regarding asset taxation especially in relation to land and home ownership. As you know i'm pretty skeptical on this, though not entirely dismissive, but doubtful your ideas would actually improve things for the majority of people. But i do have a more philosophical question relating to this. Not including economic factors, is there anything intrinsically wrong with private ownership of land, in your view?
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  #187  
Old 26th November 2017, 03:08 PM
wadaye wadaye is offline
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@Pip
I don't mean to sound reactionary or to trivialise the situation, but overall and attempting to see the situation from the viewpoint of those worst off in the world, it would appear to me that the changes of the international order since 2000 years ago seem to be wholly inadequate.
From the viewpoint of the worst off that's probably true but that completely ignores the countless billions of average people who have, or had, a far better human existence than was attainable for an average person 2000 years ago (i'd offer up Pinker's 'our better angels...' as a reference here). You're judging the whole by reference to a subset. It doesnt lend itself to fair and reasonable analysis, it merely demonstrates a particular ideological perspective.

I'm not at all saying here that the poorest of our world aren't relevant to the discussion, far from it. The existence of acute poverty merely highlights the failings of the global system we seem to have developed. We should do something about that. However, the successes since the enlightenment (i don't know why we've started comparing things to year 0) cannot be fairly ignored, in my view, unless you have a very specific notion of what a perfect social order should be. And when you do, in comparison to that, of course everything will seem 'inadequate.'
2000 years ago is not year zero. Only in the Christian Calendar it is considered to be so, but that is an apocalyptic cult. I was thinking in the longer term with a reference which might as well be 2000 years ago since international law is supposed to build on the roman law.

Quote:
Quote:
Most fundamentally things are the same in the specific legal category of war. Of course theoretically there are rules of war, however these are only applied in the case of victor's justice, or with the agreement of the official nuclear states (the permanent five), or theoretically if the international bodies or states have the willingness to use the word "Genocide", which carries with it specific legal obligations to prevent and punish the crime.
If states simply turn aside and don't use the word, then the legal order is roughly similar to that which held at the time of the Roman empire.
Really? I don't know enough about the history of the Roman empire to challenge this but from the little i do know i seem to recall it being pretty fucking brutal, the Germanic Celts of 100AD probably wished the year was 2017. But, yes, if your point is that our current global political arrangement can fail certain groups of people i of course agree.
Yes and no. Genocide looks pretty similar whether its 100AD or 1943 in Germany, or 2017 in the Congo or Yemen or for Rohingya in Rakhine State, or 2013 in Darfur or ... and so on. Edit add: Also the consequences are usually broadly similar except to a minor degree in the very rare instance of international legal action.

Quote:
Quote:
Further notwithstanding the many improvements in civilisation since the Roman times, virtually all of which occurred since the first recent attempts at the abolition of slavery, there are areas where civilisation seems to have gone backwards, for example in the area of taxation. While the Roman system suffered from the same flaw of private property, it apparently did not deify private property rights in the same way that they are now, and apparently initially taxed Citizen's property at approximately 1% per year. That is phenomenally more progressive than the modern international order which in theory protects private property in perpetuity, until the end of time.

Edit add:
Civil society generally has obviously advanced quite a bit but is still very vulnerable to eruptions of communal hatred manifesting itself as genocide, usually with the support of the nation states.
I am of the view that modern taxation systems need a bit of a rethink, especially in relation to corporate tax, the existence of tax havens, the super-rich etc. However, I do not know enough about the global history of taxation to make an informed comparison with the past.
I don't know enough about it either but clearly the property systems have changed relatively little over the past 2000 years yet taxation has moved in the wrong direction in relation to that property.

Quote:
I'm aware of your strong views, Wadaye, regarding asset taxation especially in relation to land and home ownership. As you know i'm pretty skeptical on this, though not entirely dismissive, but doubtful your ideas would actually improve things for the majority of people. But i do have a more philosophical question relating to this. Not including economic factors, is there anything intrinsically wrong with private ownership of land, in your view?
It is not merely the ownership of land, but the claim to ownership in perpetuity which I find cataclysmically short sighted. In theory one has ownership of land for an entire lifetime and then also has the privilege to pass it on to whomever one pleases, thus reproducing and perpetuating the process. Furthermore there is no theoretical or actual limit to ownership of a single person or corporation, or government for that matter (think China or Australia purchasing land or a river for a dam in PNG). Yes, philosophically I think such an absence of limits is intrinsically evil and will lead to mass death in the long term and death of members of lower socio economic groups in the short term. It already does, internationally.
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  #188  
Old 26th November 2017, 07:47 PM
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It is not merely the ownership of land, but the claim to ownership in perpetuity which I find cataclysmically short sighted. In theory one has ownership of land for an entire lifetime and then also has the privilege to pass it on to whomever one pleases, thus reproducing and perpetuating the process.
To some extent i'm advocating for the devil here but, what is wrong with 'ownership in perpetuity,' by which you mean the land/property is passed on to family?

Quote:
Furthermore there is no theoretical or actual limit to ownership of a single person or corporation, or government for that matter (think China or Australia purchasing land or a river for a dam in PNG). Yes, philosophically I think such an absence of limits is intrinsically evil and will lead to mass death in the long term and death of members of lower socio economic groups in the short term. It already does, internationally.
You are in favour of communal ownership of all land? Or just limits on how much land one person, corporation or government can own?

I think the evils you attribute to ownership are ameliorable by way of methods that may actually work, such as changes to taxation and better redistribution of wealth. These changes are possible. Convincing the world that they can't own land anymore is not (and i'm far from convinced its even desirable).

My 12 year old daughter thinks the solution to climate change is for the whole world to stop eating meat! Well...yeah that might help but it is not going to happen! We need policies and ideas that can actually be implemented not solutions that will be utterly abhorrent to the population. It's useless fantasy, at least on a policy level (not that i put it to my daughter in those terms).
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  #189  
Old 27th November 2017, 07:56 AM
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It is not merely the ownership of land, but the claim to ownership in perpetuity which I find cataclysmically short sighted. In theory one has ownership of land for an entire lifetime and then also has the privilege to pass it on to whomever one pleases, thus reproducing and perpetuating the process.
To some extent i'm advocating for the devil here but, what is wrong with 'ownership in perpetuity,' by which you mean the land/property is passed on to family?

Quote:
Furthermore there is no theoretical or actual limit to ownership of a single person or corporation, or government for that matter (think China or Australia purchasing land or a river for a dam in PNG). Yes, philosophically I think such an absence of limits is intrinsically evil and will lead to mass death in the long term and death of members of lower socio economic groups in the short term. It already does, internationally.
You are in favour of communal ownership of all land? Or just limits on how much land one person, corporation or government can own?

I think the evils you attribute to ownership are ameliorable by way of methods that may actually work, such as changes to taxation and better redistribution of wealth. These changes are possible. Convincing the world that they can't own land anymore is not (and i'm far from convinced its even desirable).

My 12 year old daughter thinks the solution to climate change is for the whole world to stop eating meat! Well...yeah that might help but it is not going to happen! We need policies and ideas that can actually be implemented not solutions that will be utterly abhorrent to the population. It's useless fantasy, at least on a policy level (not that i put it to my daughter in those terms).
I don't know, if we all reduced our meet consumption that would be a good thing. Its a noble aspiration but must also consider alternatives to red meat such as for example eating various insects (Lobster, anybody? Its also an insect).

There's another infantile response from the community which can't get beyond the polar extremes of property is good, property is bad, etcetera. I am reminded of the fluoride debate where family members of mine think fluoride is bad, evil, a chemical. I try to remind them that everything in the wrong quantity is poison. Too much water will kill a person. Too much property will kill somebody else. The notion of being able to possess the property in perpetuity, through oneself or one's designees, is an expression of exclusionary power. It is a zero sum game and anyone who doesn't acknowledge that is kidding themselves or kidding others. Citizenship is also a zero sum game. It has power only in the sense that it is exclusionary.
The failure to have an upper limit on property, or to extend world citizenship to all human beings, necessarily involves a game of musical chairs where those who are excluded may be excluded to death and that's all part of the game. When they die it is a tragedy that they died because they are poor, but nobody accepts any blame, whereas if a person is killed because of being relatively rich, that is called terrorism and provokes the most intense international response. Of course the numbers of people who die from poverty are staggeringly greater than those who die from terrorism, but frankly the world doesn't give much more than a token fuck. We have to examine our own failings and ask the question why do the international systems not care about alleviating such death and misery, when they are geared towards protecting the property of the rich as sacrosanct? The US for example is still raging against Cuba for the loss of the hand me down property of slave owners.

Moving on, you mentioned about the issue of hereditable property. Its the same proplem. We lack the capacity to differentiate between needs and power and powerlessness. If I drink one litre of water I am satisfied. Drink twenty litres and I may die. The genius of the modern capitalist international system is that it allows a person or corporation to take the water away from of a million people and to provide a way to still enjoy it. If I take the water away from a million children and use it to fill my swimming pool and enjoy it while they die of cholera I am an asshole. If I give that to my child then I am asking them to impose the same death and destruction on others.

Wealth, is seen as a proxy for survival and in the winner takes all approach is a zero sum game. If one family, or one corporation owns certain land for generations, then all the rest of humanity is excluded from the beneficial use of that land, or even the beneficial enjoyment of it remaining wild for example. When some children are born into wealth and others are born for death and deprivation, stunting and famine, and as a world we think that is just the consequences of the natural (man made) rules, then we are not really using our thinking caps. We have the resources to deal with such problems but like stupid tropes we are so brainwashed into thinking that property is untouchable that we think we lack the resources to deal with the problems. Its staggering really.
Take for example the problems within Australia. We could afford proper drinking water to prevent Aboriginal people being poisoned en masse by their local water sources, but that would require resources, and everyone else screams if they lose any of the budget. So it doesn't happen. So therefore taxation needs to be increased. But if it increases income tax everyone screams. So nothing gets done and people die en masse because the government won't fund kidney treatment either. 'Houston we have a problem' comes to mind. Tax the fucking property I say. To each according to their needs and from each according to their ability. Think of how we deal with wartime needs. Not the Vietnam war with the lottery approach, but the WWII approach of a struggle by the whole society. That is what is needed.

Property in its present construction takes a communal resource and appropriates it to an individual or corporation in perpetuity. Its infantile and extraordinarily harmful. Its extraordinary that since the beginnings of human civilisation property has been appropriated by those who claim the top of the pecking order (eg kings and queens). The achievement of humanity in the intervening period has been to construct a legal order which establishes that as the rule of law rather than some divine right of kings, but its all the same really.

Edit add: All property is created and maintained by the community, at the very minimum through taxation to fund police and an army to protect it. As has been said in another context, there is no MacDonalds without MacDonald Douglass. All property is a communal resource. The expression of that communal resource may be to allocate it to fuckwits such as Donald Trump and his heirs, and the rest of the born to rule class, and for them to use it for their pleasure, for example in elephant slaughtering. But there is nothing inherent which requires society to continue to so allocate and maintain the current use of those resources.
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Last edited by wadaye; 27th November 2017 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 6th December 2017, 10:13 PM
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