Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 17, 2010
POLITICS: Posting Up

I have a column in the NY Post this morning on the great missed opportunity that is 2010's Republican Party in New York (it's on p. 25 of the print paper).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:58 AM | Politics 2010 | Comments (41) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Nice job Crank. Similar to your point, which in many ways, is how a party with no vitality can't energize anyone, is Jimmy Carter, who suddenly, years after one of the great failed presidencies (I put him in the bottom 5, but then, I put W there too), suddenly decides to blame a dead guy for making him mediocre. What a pathetic loser.

It says lots that, when HW left office, he couldn't like much what Clinton did, but kept quiet; Clinton didn't like what W did, but kept quiet (Senator Hillary has no such constraints, and shouldn't); W can't like what Obama is doing, but is quiet. Carter, ah yes, Carter, IMHO, a bigoted little "nukular enguhneah," can't keep his big mouth shut, and has managed to isolate every other ex-president, as well as when they were in office, current ones.

Say what you want about Ford, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton and now Bush 43. As ex-presidents, they all have something Carter never had: class.

You see what your article connected me to Crank?

Posted by: daryl at September 17, 2010 2:26 PM

Agreed. For a long time after he left office, I thought of Carter as mainly a well-meaning incompetent (like Oz, a good man but a very bad Wizard) who'd tried to redeem his disastrous presidency by doing good deeds. We've given money a bunch of times to Habitat, which is still a good organization. But the man himself is a weasel (and an anti-Semite, to boot), that's been clear for 10, maybe 20 years now.

That late hit on Ted K, who after all was a big, live target for decades, should be borne in mind when Carter passes.

Posted by: Crank at September 17, 2010 2:33 PM

Speaking of Carter having no class, that Playboy interview with the "I have lusted after other women" quote is a great example. There isn't a red-blooded hetero male alive who hasn't thought WOW at times when viewing a fine woman, but real men keep it in their mind and don't run around drooling about it.

Posted by: maddirishman at September 17, 2010 4:24 PM

Nice article Crank. NY reminds me of MO where we have Roy Blunt running for the R's against another Carnahan. Blunt carries the stench of TARP and the establishment and if Carnahan did not have such a liberal background I would be tempted to vote for her. At this point I would welcome a 3rd party, but we are having trouble even gettting that right.

Posted by: maddirishman at September 17, 2010 4:32 PM

the NYS republican party is a complete joke. Spitzer and Hevesi have to resign in shame. Patterson is a joke. Silver is a criminal. Monseratte and Espada, Charlie Rangel, and incompetent named Gillbrand and all the baggage that Cuomo has and they still can't get their act together. UFB

Posted by: dch at September 17, 2010 4:55 PM

Blunt's lucky that Steelman dropped out...Blunt's a conservative guy and seems to have generally gotten the Tea Party message (kinda like Portman and Rick Perry), but he's definitely a traditional DC establishment pol who's been part of the problem in the past.

I didn't even have room to cover Hevesi, Espada & Monseratte. And ran out of room to mention Bloomberg making robo-calls for Charlie Rangel.

I expect Bloomberg to be in the Obama Administration by the spring, probably taking Geithner's job.

Posted by: Crank at September 17, 2010 4:59 PM

I am enjoying watching the GOP taking over what is usually the exclusive property of the Democrats -- the circular firing squad.

Jimmy Carter was a bad president who did not deserve to be re-elected. I voted for John Anderson. He is a self-important, arrogant and small man.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 17, 2010 10:48 PM

What firing squad?The dead wood is being cleared out and new faces and most importantantly, energy is coming in.

Posted by: dch at September 18, 2010 11:46 AM

Honest question about the direction (new direction?) of the GOP. Clearly this new collection of people (Tea Partiers-which seems a silly thing to name yourself but that may be just my view on it) are not old school GOP style folk. Even with the "neo-con" influence there still seemed to be folk in there (and especially amongst older rock-ribbed GOP voters) that viewed their party as being cut from the Eisenhower, Goldwater, etc. cloth. Clearly those guys would not cut it with this new crowd and likely Nixon, Reagan and even Bush 41 would be moderate/left/wrong on specific issues. Perhaps this insurgance is of a temporary-ish nature and things settle into what things settle into. Perhaps not. So (with that long entry) the quesiton is: Is this new-fangled GOP really what you want?

Asking in all seriousness. The guy that is my business' best customer, personal advisor and single most successful guy I know personally is a 75 year old conservative guy and I don't think that a lot of this sits super-well with him. I doubt he would ever vote for a Democrat but I know that there is a lot of stuff that passes for new-GOP thought that runs counter to how he lives his life and runs his businesses. I would guess he gives to political candidates and maybe the GOP in general but I am certain he would never vote for the likes of Christine O'Donnell, etc. Is he on outlyer? Too old an guy to be relevant?

Posted by: jim at September 18, 2010 6:14 PM

Jim, you've made my point. Just as the Democrats shot themselves in the foot over and over by fielding unwinnable candidates, so now it's the Republican's turn. Yes, the Whigs turned themselves into the Republican Party, but they did so with a guy named Lincoln moving things along. Lincoln, you know, a man with loads of brains and a willingness to compromise. And he surrounded himself with people who didn't necessarily agree with him, but that was OK. They were smart. Smart and intelligent (they can be different traits, like say, Adlai Stevenson). If you have the slightest smidgen of difference, then the conservatives don't want you. They compare everyone to Hitler, but they seem to lead the league in book burning (no pun with our loony bin in Florida intended).

Posted by: Daryl at September 19, 2010 10:55 AM

Guys- there is nothing wrong with Republicans in various states deciding they don't want people representing them who vote against the Republican side on many big issues or in the case of Mike Castle almost 45% of the time in his career. BTW-what does it tell you about Murkowski, Specter, Crist and Castles's core beliefs when you examine their actions after losing primaries or knowing they are going to lose?

The Republicans are going to gain 40-65 seats in the House. At least 7 or 8 Senate seats maybe as many as 12 or 13 and have 31 or 32 governorships and you guys are complaining. You have an enthused base, with lots of energy and desire to end politcs as usual-this is great news for the Republican party and the country.

Posted by: dch at September 19, 2010 8:47 PM

dch,

Please answer the phone. Reality is calling you.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 19, 2010 9:26 PM

I will put money on all of the above.

40-65 House seats
minimum of 8 Senate seats
31 Governorships

Posted by: dch at September 19, 2010 11:26 PM

Congrats on the article, Crank.

The GOP will do well this fall, and will get my vote in some races, but this is not because millions of voters have suddenly embraced the conservative agenda.

Posted by: MVH at September 20, 2010 9:22 AM

The Teapartiers are the GOP. They think calling themselves a new name will make us forget their ideology is an abject failure in practice.
-----------
MVH,
The GOP will get your votes in some races? Would love to hear what the American public did to you to deserve such ire.

Posted by: Berto at September 20, 2010 1:22 PM

When you have candidates who run as conservatives and more imoprtantly when in office act like conservatives you win majorities. When you run RINOs or people who run as conservatives and when in office act like Dems -you have legislative minorities. Every Presidential race we have lost for the lost since 1976 has been a moderate republican as the nomine. Bush in 1988, pretended to be Reagan's heir. For decades the Republicans had mostly moderates in the leadership and being the minority party was the result. When they ran as conservatives and acted as conservatives they became the majority party and when they acted like Dems(earmarks, K street, etc) and did not promote conservative policies they became the minority party again. Its almost like there is a message in all of that.

Posted by: dch at September 20, 2010 3:35 PM

jim - Parties change over time, always have, always will; some issues recede, others come to the fore, and voters at the margin realign based on the hot issue of the day.

Like it or not, the GOP from 1980-2008 sold itself as the party of low taxes, low spending, less government, strong national defense, the rule of law and traditional values like the right to life (not necessarily in that order). Voters eventually noticed that the low spending/smaller government part was only sporadically successful under divided government in the 1980s and 1990s, and even less so under united GOP government from 2002-06. What's happening now most of all is that the Tea Party movement is trying to replace the prior generation of Republicans with people who are actually serious about less spending and smaller government. It is, as much as anything, a battle about truth in advertising.

Daryl - If your league leader in book burning is a guy who did not end up actually burning the book in question, perhaps book burning is not a pressing issue.

Posted by: Crank at September 20, 2010 3:43 PM

dch,

"Every Presidential race we have lost for the lost since 1976 has been a moderate republican as the nominee."

I've seen this kind of argument repeated over and over, especially on redstate. It's like an article of faith, and it's really wishful thinking. Generally speaking, conservative republicans cannot win an election without help - they are too small a minority. They get the help they need from moderates and independents when you have a charasmatic leader like Reagan and certain national issues are at the forefront. At other times, you will lose.

What's helping conservatives and republicans these days is the state of the economy, which is being blamed, fairly or not, on the all the incumbents, the majority of which are democrats. Also, debt/GDP is getting to the point where it bothers everyone. You don't need to be ideologically commited to small government to realize that the debt/GDP ratio has gotten out-of-hand.

It wouldn't shock me to see a conservative president get elected in the next term if these issues continue to be hot, but I can see why the Republican Party elites are skeptical about running conservatives all the time.

Posted by: MVH at September 21, 2010 9:36 AM

Crank, I was speaking metaphorically. Book burning has, and always been, just another form of censorship. I will grant you that just about everyone thought it was a stupid idea, but for different reasons.

I think it's really important to realize the difference between conservative and radical thinking. This country tends to swing too radically either way. We saw those swings in the 1920s and 1960s. For different reasons demographically, but the results were the same. Some pretty bad results for a society at large. The far right radicals gave us prohibition, and an enormous crime problem, not the least of which was a generic philosophy that flouting laws was OK--plus a lack of understanding that the Constitution is not a book of laws on what people can't do (you CAN'T have alcohol) but what the government CAN'T do, and this is the reason our nation exists.

The 60s gave us, well me (my generation of Boomers). An enormous young population of people with too much excess money and time (in a world where the US thrived and the rest had to rebuild and repopulate), led us to drugs, and Prohibition II. (this is the real issue of Radical Islam: they have a large population of teenagers and people in their 20s with energy, and no way to channel it. That's how we got some crusades 800 or so years ago)

Fiscally and militarily, we did best probably under Bill Clinton than anyone. First, Clinton did enjoy the residue of good feelings Reagan had to reload us with. But he helped restore fiscal sanity, like it or not you righties, leaving W with a budget surplus, and a military well stocked and trained enough to go through Afghanistan and Iraq in weeks. And don't think that's the Reagan army, the armaments were all too new for that.

You conservatives are now so obsessed with FEELINGS, you are losing sight of practicalities. When a demagogue like Sarah Palin, who invokes the Ten Commandments like it's the badge a US official should wear (and James Madison would not be happy about that), you have a problem. Because pendulums swing. When you worry about your FEELINGS, and that your core principals are subject to no negotiation whatsover, you get the Democrats of the 1970s and 80s. A core group of people that are a sizable lot, and it makes you feel great together. But it's not representing a sizable share of the nation as a whole.

Posted by: Daryl at September 21, 2010 9:54 AM

I understand that parties change, albeit much, much more slowly these days than in the past. My question is if this is what y'all are interested in your party changing into. O'Donnell, Angle, etc. don't strike me as people who are actually capable of doing any sort of budget balancing or are actually really interested in doing so. I almost hate to say it but the folks Perot had going for him seemed much more focused on spending, jobs and the American economy as an entity than the "Tea Party" folk.

I think both parties are the party of "Who can give me the most money?" which is a huge problem in and of itself. And while I would never vote for the Tea Party movementers to replace those running our flawed system I would similarly be disinclined to hand the government over to anti-government types on the left. Do you want a party where the icons of the party you want representing you would not be welcome?

Posted by: jim at September 21, 2010 10:04 AM

MVH - At the presidential level, it's simply true that since 1976, generally moderate Republicans have a 1-4 record (the one victory being Bush in 1988 running on the Reagan record), while the two most conservative candidates each won two terms. I'd agree that Bush and even at times Reagan compromised; Bush in particular on spending/size of govt issues like the prescription drug bill. But at least they had principles to compromise.

Daryl - First, the most important thing the Constitution does is say what the federal govt can do, and the great Constitutional argument of the moment is about the Democrats' disregard of the fact that its powers (including the power of the federal courts over the elected branches and the states) are limited to those granted by the document.

Second, as to Clinton, we only got spending restraint after the GOP took Congress; I think there's a fairly persuasive argument that Congress rather than the White House has the greater control over spending. But taxes reached their all-time high as a percentage of GDP by the end of the Clinton years.

The unifying issue of the Tea Party movement isn't feelings, it's unsustainable govt spending, and we have plenty of empirical evidence the world over that the overall level of govt spending is a drag on economic growth. While I agree that populist revolts are a blunt instrument, the end goal here is the practical, adult one of restoring a sustainable level of govt expenditures for the future.

Posted by: Crank at September 21, 2010 10:06 AM

Jim - An army can't win without foot soldiers. No, Angle and O'Donnell are not people I'd want as the GOP leadership. But when guys like Jim DeMint go to war on spending issues, they'll need votes to back them up. And having a few people who are basically ordinary Americans at the table in the Senate ... we've done worse.

Posted by: Crank at September 21, 2010 10:09 AM

Crank,

"At the presidential level, it's simply true that since 1976, generally moderate Republicans have a 1-4 record"

Of course that is true, but it doesn't logically follow that Republicans would have been more successful with more conservative candidates. It's wishful thinking in my book.

Also, keep in mind, when you talk about spending, conservative Republicans like Reagan -do- like military spending quite a bit. So saying that conservative republicans are more willing to cut spending than moderate republicans isn't saying a great deal, and moderates and independents are aware of that.

Posted by: MVH at September 21, 2010 10:50 AM

"What's happening now most of all is that the Tea Party movement is trying to replace the prior generation of Republicans with people who are actually serious about less spending and smaller government. "
-------------------
Really, Crank? NONE of the current Tea Party candidates has a platform to reduce the exorbitant and wasteful Defense Department spending Yet they do want the government to monitor every pregnancy to assure it ends in a live birth, even for 14-year old incest victims.
Serious about less spending and smaller government my ass.
The Tea Party is the Republican Party with a name change only.

Posted by: Berto at September 21, 2010 11:18 AM

I think you are fooling yourself if you think the Tea folk are really first and foremost about wasteful government spending and that they are going to line-up to be fodder for GOP business as usual foot soldiers. As the saying goes, "An angry mob is an angry mob."

Posted by: jim at September 21, 2010 11:51 AM

MVH- I am not saying you run conservative candidates you automatically win. What I am saying is when you have people that stand for something and act in accordance with conservative principles people will support you. You give people a choice between a Dem and a moderate Republican-the lines blur.

Posted by: dch at September 21, 2010 12:30 PM

dch,

If that's what you meant, it's just a different variation of the same type of argument: "if the republicans we elected acted like real conservatives, we'd get more votes." And maybe they would get more votes from conservatives who would otherwise stay at home, but not from moderates and independents.

Many conservatives seem to have an ideological blind spot in this regard. They project the reasons they don't like moderate republicans onto the rest of the non-affiliated voters and assume that must be why conservatives aren't getting votes. Does it ever occur to conservatives that moderates and independents do notice a substantial difference between a democrat and a moderate republican?

Also, does it ever occur to conservatives that many voters just don't buy into the entire set of policy positions they espouse or that they notice the glaring contradiction of being anti-spending and small government yet wanting to spend a lot of money on the military??

If conservatives want to stick to their platform, that's fine, but don't be shocked if many don't follow in lock-step.

Posted by: MVH at September 21, 2010 2:08 PM

MVH - I think the relevant point is, moderate Republicans as a general rule - at least at the presidential level - are rarely if ever able to win races conservatives could not, often because of the problems inherent in being a moderate - flip-flopping, failure to draw clear distinctions on the issues, problems laying out a coherent agenda and message and energizing the base.

jim - You mean the voters, or the elected officials?

Berto - It's been two decades since we've spent as much as 5% of GDP on the military. The defense budget last topped 40% of the budget in 1970, 30% of the budget in 1973, 25% of the budget in 1989, and 20% of the budget in 2008. The White House's projections have it dropping to 15.6% of the federal budget by 2015. I'm not saying there's no waste in the defense budget, but relatively speaking it's been a shrinking share of the pie for decades, even though it's the one federal function more than any other that can't be taken up by the states or the private sector.

Posted by: Crank at September 21, 2010 2:20 PM

Crank,

I'll agree with you on the energizing the base problem, but again, your base is small. I disagree with your general proposition about moderate GOP POTUS candidates vs conservative POTUS candidates. Unfortunately, it's difficult to test that proposition with any kind of confidence.

Posted by: MVH at September 21, 2010 2:47 PM

Crank,
Again I'll ask. Why can't the magic fairies who are paying for our wars (war costs are outside the budget) pay for things like helalthcare?

Posted by: Berto at September 21, 2010 2:48 PM

Crank, I'll admit in a way that yes, the Constitution proscribes only what the government can do, but the reverse is true too: if it ain't there you can't do it. And it's pretty clear in the First Amendment what you can't do, and Sarah Palin, and the fine folks at Fox News don't seem to realize this. Of course, Fox News is only enjoying the same amendment priviledges in spouting such lies. Palin actually has sworn oaths she clearly had no intent on upholding, or didn't understand, as long as she says her bilge. But I digress.

The 800 pound gorilla in the room is our parents, and we Boomers. And while I do consider W among the worst presidents in the history of our nation, his one shining moment came when he wanted to reform social security. Because social security and pensions are the great destructors of our economy. They are as damaging, in fact more so, than any terrorist threat. When FDR signed social security into law, declaring the age of eligibility to be 65, it's because you were supposed to be dead at 66. I for one, even as a moderate democrat, do NOT want to fund either lazy ass teachers who think it's their right to retire at 55, because they think they are overworked (try picking grapes for 40 years before you really complain), or that we have to pay out to people just because they paid in.

We have to:
1. Mandate that social security is not a pension scheme, and you don't start drawing out until you simply can't work anymore. Add a year to the payout every third year, until we hit 77 (or whatever the actuaries say is dead minus a year, and it's different for men and women).

2. Change Federal law regarding pensions (which otherwise can't be touched) and figure out how to get out of this mess. Unless you are a retiring soldier, you can't draw a pension for life from a government sector job, and you can't draw one if you are working another job, and you can't draw it based on your last year or ten of your job. This is going to take massive (and unpassable legislation).


And Crank, I don't much like wrongheaded court decisions well. Such as a small group of predictable voters deciding, 5-4 who should be president. But I'm not a lawyer. I can't be out sick the day they taught law at law school (thank you Aaron Sorkin), when it's their job, and has been for a long time, to decide just what Mr. Madison intended. If you don't like court decisions ruling on if a law can work within our system, then become a judge yourself.

Maybe it's because in many cases, conservative judges, or those thought of as conservative, become more liberal, like Earl Warren, Harry Blackmun, David Souter and even Sandra Day O'Connor. They don't seem to move left to right, only right to left. Maybe the court proceedings should be held in Hebrew (feel free to groan, it's not a bad pun you know).

Posted by: Daryl at September 21, 2010 3:10 PM

"Because social security and pensions are the great destructors of our economy. "
---------------------------
Daryl,
Beware of distractions.
The fraud perpetrated in the financial industry, which led the world's economy to the brink of collapse before being stabilized with over one trillion tax-dollars might just be a bit more of an economic destructor, don't you think?

Posted by: Berto at September 21, 2010 3:45 PM

When you look at the ideological break down of the country-Liberal get 18-20% and Conservative gets 36-40%. So if you are conservative and when in office act conservative your starting off 80% towards a majority. All you need to do is pick up some moderate votes. If you are a moderate republican, all the democrat has to do is come off as a moderate and he will get the lib vote and most of the moderate vote, coupled with the conservatives apathy for having to choose between 2 similar candidates and the dem wins.

Posted by: dch at September 21, 2010 4:07 PM

Not in this case Berto. The population in the US is growing, and in a way, not aging. 70 just isn't old anymore, nor is 80. So really, any long term financial planning done, even as recently as 25 years ago, has little meaning now. The Great Recession was a combination of fraud and stupidity (you start treating your home like a tulip, you deserve what you get IMHO), but the non-aging of an aging population is a different kind of thing. Something we have no history of, therefore no way to try and figure out what comes next.

And, to change the subject, I went to my first game at the new Yankee Stadium. Being a Met fan, this was hard. Surrounded on all sides by a load of cursing, drunken louts (and these were field seats), who for some reason, kept insulting the Mets (I kept my mouth shut). Well, they are both pretty places, but I would rather take my kids to Citifield. The food is better, the fans kinder and more sober. But Fenway remains the best place to see a game.

Posted by: Daryl at September 21, 2010 11:20 PM

"But Fenway remains the best place to see a game."

It's a very good place lately, given the Sox are toast You could have an entire section to yourself.

Haven't been to the new Yankee Stadium, but you'll never get this Yankee fan to concede that Fenway is better place to see a game. :) That being said, it's safer to be a Yanks fan at Fenway than a Sox fan in NY.

Posted by: MVH at September 22, 2010 6:47 AM

Dan,
you wrote
The Conservative Party, which ought to act as a check on the establishment, has too often instead split the electorate and retarded the growth of an internal momentum for reform that characterizes the two-party system in most states.

You couldn't be more right. Mike Long and even alas George Marlin are delusional. Senator James Buckley was elected in 1970 what the hell has the conservative party done since then? Get in the way. I look forward to them not getting the 50,000 votes they need so that they go the way of the defunct liberal party. Even though I'm more a conservative than a republican, the conservative party is a distraction and counter productive in a state where dems outnumber all others by far.

Posted by: Eric at September 22, 2010 10:45 AM

Your readers are getting smarter, Crank. None would make even a feeble attempt to refute the obvious truth that the Tea Party is nothing but a name change for the GOP.
---------------
Daryl,
So what's the problem? The Social Security issue can easily be fixed by taking the cap off the FiCA tax (you can even lower the rate by a half-point, if you'd like). "Problem" solved.
Public pensions seems like a problem only because the private sector has been under-compensating workers for years.

Posted by: Berto at September 22, 2010 10:54 AM

Sign of the readers getting smarter is not bothering responding to Berto. But hell, I'll point out the obvious: if the Tea Party is just the GOP under a new name, that's news to Bob Bennett, Arlen Specter, Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Crist, and Mike Castle. The GOP establishment put a lot of money and effort into propping up these long-serving Republicans, as well as pushing establishment figures like Rick Lazio, Jane Norton, Sue Lowden, Trey Grayson, and Bill McCollum. The voters, with heavy influence of Tea Partiers, rejected them all.

Posted by: Crank at September 22, 2010 11:00 AM

Gee, Crank. That we live in a community is news to Bob Bennett, Arlen Specter, Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Crist, and Mike Castle. Which makes them different from the Tea Party in what way?
The Tea Party says they're serious about cutting spending (without saying where, or how to deal with the outcomes of doing so). Yeah. That's a world of difference between them and the GOP establishment. (SNARK).

And Crank, I notice you never respond when I have you pinned. How about fielding this one:
Why can't the same magic fairies who are paying for our wars pay for healthcare for the citizenry?

Either way, I'd like to thank you for allowing me to come here and take apart arguments like your phony 9/11 victimization schtick or pointing out that you really have no problem with deficits or spending (as long as it goes to the connected and rich, not the citizenry).
Cheers.

Posted by: Berto at September 22, 2010 12:47 PM

MVH, the issue I have with Yankee Stadium is 1. Their fans are all miserable, almost as bad as Cowboy fans, and 2. the stadium, beautiful though it is, has a football stadium feel to it.

Berto, it's not as simple as raise the FICA and there you go. Because it's against our national character to say we are France or the way Sweden was and just raise taxes to pay for what is going to be an actuarial nightmare. You see, I'm a moderate democrat, not a liberal one. I belong to the common sense party in the very Monty Python sense of the word. I think you are the semi silly party, and the Tea Baggers are all Whim Bim Lim Ftang Tang Raindrops are Falling on my Head Party (and if you don't know Monty Python anyone, shame on you).

I think we are at an interesting juncture in politics. The biggest problem with the far right, of all things wrong, is an insane, almost intense feeling that you cannot ever ever ever admit being wrong. That you simply say one thing on Monday, another on Tuesday and say on Wednesday that you never said anything on Monday. It's just incredibly immature.

Posted by: Daryl at September 22, 2010 3:42 PM

Daryl,
We don't have to raise the FiCA (we can actually lower the rate by a half-point). Taxing all income at the lower rate will solve the problem.
"our national character"= ignorant douchebaggery.

Posted by: Berto at September 23, 2010 10:20 AM
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