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It’s time people started highlighting just how often progressives lie. They lie about people. They lie about events. If their lips are moving, especially during campaigns, it’s likely that they’re lying. This video provides proof of progressives’ propensity for lying:

Here’s what Robert Reich said during the campaign:

ROBERT REICH: First, you can forget about the minimum wage. They (Republicans) refuse to raise it even though most minimum wage earners are adults, breadwinners for their families and they need a raise.

It’s verifiably false that most people earning the minimum wage are “breadwinners for their families.” That’s an outright lie. Reich wasn’t done lying. Later, he said this:

Here’s the transcript:

REICH: Third, you can forget our crumbling roads and bridges and pipelines. Republicans won’t invest in what it takes to repair them, even though it would put millions back to work. And letting our infrastructure costs jobs.

The only legislation that the House took up was Bill Cassidy’s bill to force President Obama to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. That was 2 weeks ago today. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The identical bill was submitted by Sen. Landrieu, the woman Cassidy will replace in January. Every Republican senator voted for Sen. Landrieu’s bill. Unfortunately, the vote failed because three-fourths of Democrat senators voted against the bill.

Further, Republicans support building roads and bridges. It’s just that they’re opposed to pouring billions of dollars into light rail boondoggles. Democrats support light rail in sparsely populated parts of the nation, preferring them to upgrading roads and bridges.

The rest of the video is filled with lies, too, but I’ll just recommend you watch the full video rather than transcribing each lie individually:

Wednesday night, the League of Women Voters’ St. Cloud Chapter hosted a candidate forum at the St. Cloud City Council Chambers. While a number of topics were discussed, this post will focus on the empty answers of Dan Wolgamott, the DFL-endorsed candidate running against Tama Theis.

First, it’s important to mention that all of the questions were from the audience. Now that that’s addressed, let’s get to one of the patterns that emerged from Wolgamott. A half hour into the debate, it became obvious that Wolgamott was pretending to be all things to all people. In responding to a person’s question, he’d thank them for the question before telling them that the issue was a priority for him that he felt personally attached to for one reason or another.

Apparently, everything is a priority with Wolgamott. Apparently, Mr. Wolgamott hasn’t figured it out that, if everything’s a priority, nothing is a priority.

Another facet of the Wolgamott be-all-things-to-everybody strategy was how government involvement was critical to the success of everything. He criticized Tama Theis for not voting for the K-12 Education bill, something that I’ll return to in a bit. He said that businesses were important before quickly returning to advocating for more government ‘investments.’

Wolgamott said that it was a shame they didn’t build Northstar all the way to St. Cloud. He declared that he’d vote to raise taxes to fund “a comprehensive transportation system.” He’s for more money for St. Cloud schools.

In short, Wolgamott’s agenda could be described as the ‘No-DFL-Special-Interest-Group-Left-Behind’ agenda.

Tama Theis’s response to Wolgamott’s criticism about not voting for the K-12 bill was that the bill stripped out the student accountability requirements and that it stripped out the basic skills test for teachers. Theis continued, saying that she serves on the House Higher Ed Committee. She said that one of the things they struggle with on that committee is the fact that many students are accepted into college that aren’t prepared for college.

She then said that the goal shouldn’t be to graduate more students from high school but to prepare them for college.

That answer shut down Mr. Wolgamott’s trip through Wonderland in a hurry.

I’ll risk saying this but the professional political punditry needs to get start seeing things through a policy impact perspective, not through a ‘will it play politically’ perspective. During this morning’s gubernatorial debate, Gov. Dayton said that he’s long advocated for a single-payer health care system.

What was the collective reaction from the professional political punditry? Crickets. No big deal. Keep moving.

The government, whether we’re talking about the Obama administration or the Dayton administration, is incapable of handling anything that complex. In too many instances, it’s incapable of handling fundamental responsibilities.

That professional political pundits think it isn’t a big deal to advocate for a system that’s never worked anywhere because that’s been his standard answer is shameful. Style points seem to matter more than character, policy impacts and what’s best for Minnesota.

It’s time to tune out the professional political pundits because they’re too interested in election outcomes. Unfortunately, they aren’t interested enough in policy outcomes. Jeff Johnson’s policies will make life better in Minnesota. Unlike Gov. Dayton, Jeff Johnson will fight to build the Sandpiper Pipeline because that’ll free up railcar space so farmers can get their crops to market. That makes life better for hard-working Minnesota farmers. Unlike Gov. Dayton, Jeff Johnson will fight to open PolyMet because that’ll create hundreds of good-paying jobs. That’d make life significantly better for miners and mining communities.

Apparently, these things don’t matter to the professional political punditry from both sides of the aisle. Their tweets didn’t speak to what’s best for Minnesota. They just spoke to who won or lost based on game-changing moments and style points. That isn’t responsible journalism. That’s the type of partisanship that’s rotted our institutions and corrupted the political process.

If Republicans retake the House of Representatives and Gov. Dayton gets re-elected, Republicans will have a mandate because they spoke about issues. Gov. Dayton will have retained his title but he won’t have a mandate because he hasn’t spoken about what he’d do in his second term.

The DFL isn’t the party of no. They’re the party that won’t say no to their special interests that are driving Minnesota’s economy into the ground. Ask an Iron Ranger if they’re better off now than when Gov. Dayton took office. If they’re honest, they’ll say they aren’t. Their median household income has increased marginally. The percentage of people living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) grew by roughly 50%.

Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed. It’s virtually impossible to get changes made to policies to include or drop people from coverage. Still, Gov. Dayton insists that “it isn’t perfect” but that it’s getting better. Once a month, if not more often, we hear of another MNsure-related disaster.

Meanwhile, the professional political punditry insist that Gov. Dayton is winning because Jeff Johnson didn’t have that big game-changing moment. With all due respect, these political junkies are missing the point. Jeff Johnson has been solid. He’s provided sensible solutions to Minnesota’s biggest problems. Gov. Dayton has been dismissive, arrogant and utterly incompetent. He’s Minnesota’s version of Jimmy Carter.

It’s time to ignore the political junkies because they’re worried more about gamesmanship than doing what’s right for Minnesota. While we’re at it, it’d be great to get rid of the incompetent in the Governor’s Mansion, too.

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Collin Peterson’s calling card throughout the years has been that he’s an influential member on the Agriculture Committee. He’s still running on that calling card, though it’s fair to question how potent it is this time. Torrey Westrom is reminding people Peterson isn’t the only candidate in the race who knows agriculture issues:

Agriculture is another major issue for Westrom, who currently serves on the state legislative agriculture committee. He said that serving on the agriculture committee in Washington, like his opponent currently does, “sure would be” a priority for him.

“I grew up on a dairy farm, I have an agricultural background,” Westrom said. “I have been a strong proponent for agriculture and farmers in the state Legislature, and I will continue to be a strong ardent voice for agriculture in Washington.”

Torrey Westrom knows agriculture issues. Here’s an important difference between Westrom and Peterson:

Peterson has said that he supports the pipeline, but Westrom urged that his support of the project is not enough.

“We have rail car shortages because of this Obama administration’s policy supported by the Democratic leadership,” Westrom said. “You support the pipeline and then you go support leadership that’s gonna oppose it? That doesn’t make sense.”

“That’s a decision I have to make as a new congressman,” Westrom said. “Will I support Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the U.S. Congress or not? I am here to tell you I will not unlike my opponent who has.”

In prior elections, Peterson neutralized the ‘Nancy Pelosi card.’ Apparently, that streak has met its match. Westrom isn’t just mentioning Pelosi’s name. He’s tying Pelosi to Peterson on the biggest issue in the district. Westrom has done a nice job of highlighting the House Democratic leadership’s environmental fanaticism.

That won’t sit well in the 7th District.

Finally, people apparently are responding to Torrey’s positive message:

“We have been running a positive campaign, a positive message, and voters have been responding very favorably to what they see and hear coming out of our campaign,” Westrom said. “We are going to continue pushing a positive message of change.”

The thing that I’ve heard is that people appreciate Torrey Westrom’s demeanor and discipline. He isn’t afraid to highlight differences like he did in this interview. Still, he’s been respectful while highlighting policy differences he has with his opponent. That’s an admirable trait, one which says he’ll fight for his policies and principles without vilifying people he’ll need to work with.

Minnesota’s 7th District needs that type of leadership and character. A vote for Westrom is a vote for principled leadership.

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I’m going through the videotape of the Mills vs. Nolan debate. When they debated the issue of pipelines, something stunning happened. It wasn’t surprising. It was that Rick Nolan exposed himself as totally trusting government. Here’s the exchange I’m talking about:

Here’s the key part of the back-and-forth:

NOLAN: When you’re talking about Keystone, the TEA Party Republicans brought a bill before the House of Representatives that exempted Keystone, a foreign corporation, from complying with the EPA, from complying with the Army Corps of Engineers permits for installation and maintenance, for having to post financial assurances for when those accidents inevitably occur. Would you have voted for a bill like that? No. I’m for the Keystone and for Sandpiper but I want it built right. We’ve proven that we have the technology and the know-how to do it right if we have the political will. But we can’t let foreign corporations come in here willy nilly and have their way with us…
MILLS: Well, I keep getting accused of being a TEA Partier but I’m not sure if that’s entirely accurate but, nonetheless, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers has been weaponized against projects such as Keystone and, you know what, after years and years of trying to get it done, if these agencies aren’t looking for how it can be done but trying every reason to get it stopped, you know what, it’s time to get the people to take control of their government from the bureaucracies and the various agencies so we can get projects like Keystone going…

This isn’t surprising but it’s stunning. Rick Nolan’s belief that bureaucracies, especially the EPA, are honest arbiters of all that’s virtuous is stunningly naïve. What justification is there for that other-worldly opinion? Sen. Ron Johnson, (R-WI), has a mini-series on YouTube titled Victims of Government. I’d love seeing Nolan explain how the EPA’s actions in this article aren’t utterly corrupt. Let’s hear him explain how private property owners aren’t getting victimized by the zealots running the EPA. Here’s a story where the EPA showed itself to be weaponized:

[Andy Johnson] and his wife built a small pond on their rural property using the stream flowing through it. They stocked the pond with trout so that their three small children could fish. The pond is an oasis for wildlife such as ducks and geese passing through.

It is precisely the sort of industriousness that reasonable people and zealous stewards of the environment applaud. But the EPA is made up of neither reasonable people nor zealous stewards of the environment.

They are crazed hypocrites greedy for unchecked power and hell-bent on destroying the passions that connect people to the nature surrounding them. Like the Food and Drug Administration in the movie “Dallas Buyers Club,” the EPA has become the face of absolute power in the hands of blind government bureaucrats.

That is why the faceless henchmen of the EPA have come after Mr. Johnson and his family, charging them with violating federal law and threatening to bankrupt them. These EPA thugs ordered the Johnsons to destroy the pond they built and threatened to fine them $75,000 a day for being in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Stewart Mills is exactly right when he talks about the EPA being an agency that’s looking for ways to stop Keystone and Sandpiper. This is proof that the EPA isn’t interested in common sense. It’s interested in destroying private property rights.

Earlier in that segment of the debate, Nolan talked about supporting the Sandpiper Pipeline project, with this caveat. He wanted the route changed just slightly. Mills said that that’s just a way to delay the project. That would give Nolan’s allies in the environmental movement another opportunity to sabotage the project with attrition litigation. It’s time for the Iron Range to realize that Rick Nolan doesn’t support the miners’ lifestyle. He’s only come out for Keystone once it became politically imperative to say yes to the miners.

Let’s remember that Nolan’s first proposal on PolyMet was to propose a mining institute somewhere on the Range:

Northeastern Minnesota would be home to a major new national research center dedicated to the advancement of minerals research, mining technology and the environment, and is expected to generate several thousand new jobs, under a plan announced today by Rick Nolan, the DFL-endorsed candidate for Eighth District Congress.

The proposal is strongly supported by former Eighth District U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resource Research Institute, NRRI, and the UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering.

At a news conference in Duluth and with press interviews across the Iron Range, Nolan said he will immediately introduce legislation to establish the United States Technical Institute for Mining and the Environment (TIME) upon taking office in January 2013. The exact northeastern Minnesota location for the TIME Center will be selected from proposals developed by the state, municipal and county governments and their private sector partners.

Nolan’s support for the two biggest projects in northern Minnesota has been tepid at best, artificial at worst.

The Iron Range can’t afford Rick Nolan’s naïve belief that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are honest arbiters of this nation’s environmental laws. He’s standing in the way of one important project after another. He’s the believer in sentences that are always 4 words too long. He’ll never say that he supports PolyMet. Period. It’s always that he supports PolyMet…if it’s done right. He’s never said that he supports the Sandpiper Pipeline project. It’s always that he supports Sandpiper…if it’s done right.

It’s time for the Iron Range to reject Rick Nolan. If they reject his caveated support of all things mining, they will have gotten things right.

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The thing that came through when KARE11 interviewed David Schultz about the just-concluded Franken-McFadden debate was how disinterested Prof. Schultz seemed in the right policies. That’s perhaps a bit harsh but that’s what I took from the interview. Here’s what Prof. Schultz said that got me thinking:

In many ways, the debate went about exactly the way both sides wanted it to go.

Dr. Schultz, was it Sen. Franken’s goal to get his butt kicked in that debate? That isn’t what was reported but that’s what happened.

One potential game-changing moment came when Franken and McFadden debated the railcar shortage, which is a huge issue in northern and rural Minnesota, Franken said that he’d talked with the Surface Transportation Board since getting to DC and that he’d worked with David Vitter of Louisiana on making it cheaper to file a complaint with the Surface Transportation Board. When it was McFadden’s turn, he criticized Franken. Here’s what he said:

Al, with all due respect, your lack of an energy policy and the lack of an energy policy from President Obama has caused the rail car shortage. There’s not been one pipeline built. You haven’t approved any pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline has been under the review process for 6 years. That is crazy. That is too long. Pipelines are proven to be the most effective, the most efficient, the most environmentally sensitive way to transport oil. Until you start passing pipelines, we’ll have a railcar shortage. I know how to fix this economy. I know how to get us back on the road to growth and prosperity and you are putting Band-Aids as opposed to going to root causes. We need pipelines in this country. I want everyone in this room and in this state I am for pipelines. I will get them built.

Sen. Franken sounded like a typical DC politician who wanted to sound like he was doing something without really fixing anything. Sen. Franken also sounded like a politician who didn’t want to cross his special interest allies.

By comparison, McFadden sounded like a person not beholden to special interests. He also sounded like a solutions-oriented leader intent on making Minnesotans’ lives better.

Sen. Franken sounded like a politician who wanted to make it easier to file complaints. That won’t get the farmers’ grain to market or the miners’ ore to the shipping port. Schultz apparently thinks it’s more important to evaluate how politicians look rather than opine on whether that politician’s policies will solve problems or make Minnesotans’ lives better.

Admittedly, that’s a harsh indictment of Prof. Schultz. This isn’t about being gentle. It’s about getting people’s priorities right. That includes high profile professors’ priorities, too.

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This week, Forum Media endorsed GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden:

If Mike McFadden brings the enthusiasm and focus to the U.S. Senate that he has brought to his candidacy, Minnesotans will be well served. Republican McFadden is challenging first-term Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and on balance the challenger is making the case for change.

Frankly, I’ve been impressed with Mr. McFadden’s campaign. He’s raised lots of money. He’s put together a better-than-competent GOTV operation and he’s a policy heavyweight.

While Franken has raised tons of money, the thing he doesn’t have is gravitas. Honestly, Franken’s a policy lightweight.

Nonetheless, McFadden’s conservative recipe for Senate service comports well with the needs of Minnesota and the nation in the 21st century. His success in the private sector, while not necessarily a requirement for public office, is an impressive tool in his public policy kit. His dedication to education, including work in Minnesota to demonstrate what can be done if student-centered policies are implemented, can inform his Senate service.

McFadden’s grasp of public policy helped him pummel Franken during their debate Wednesday.

After Franken talked about talking to the Surface Transportation Board about Minnesota’s railcar shortage, McFadden pounced, saying that we’ll have a railcar shortage until we start building pipelines. In a single exchange, he highlighted his leadership and grasp of policy. Meanwhile, Franken sounded like a typical politician who talks about things that are somewhat related but doesn’t solve problems.

Franken’s kept his head down so long that he hasn’t figured out how to solve problems. He hasn’t voted to create more pipelines, which is causing the railcar shortage. He hasn’t pushed the EPA to accelerate the regulatory review process on PolyMet.

In other words, the thing Franken’s famous for is taking up space in the Senate. Otherwise, they could train a yellow dog to vote with President Obama 159 times out of 161 votes.

Forum is right. Mike McFadden is making a substantive case for why he should be a US senator and why Al Franken simply isn’t qualified to be a US senator. Few people can say they’re better off today than when Barack Obama and Al Franken took office. The only people who are better off are stock traders and government employees. Their lives are going gangbusters.

Small businesses and people working in heavily regulated industries are taking a beating. Mike McFadden has a plan to grow the American economy at 4-5% annual growth. Al Franken and President Obama have proposed and voted for economic policies that have led to the slowest growing recovery in modern history.

The opportunity is now. We can vote for economic vitality or we can vote for more of the same. We can vote for leadership or we can vote for an erstwhile comedian who’s kept his head down while Minnesota’s economy struggled.

That’s a pretty each choice.

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During Wednesday’s debate, one important point kept getting made. Though the DFL and Al Franken want the point to that Al Franken voted with Harry Reid and President Obama 97% of the time, that isn’t the important point. These videos highlight the truly important point:

Here’s the transcript of Sen. Franken engaging in DCSpeak:

So much of the rail use is for the Bakken crude. Now I’ve been going to the Surface Transportation Board since I got to the Senate. Captive rail is something that I’ve been very interested in. I actually worked with Sen. David Vitter, the Republican of Louisiana, to get the cost of filing a complaint with the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates the railroads, from $20,000 to $350 so people can file a complaint.

Here’s Mike McFadden talking about solving the railcar shortage crisis:


Here’s the transcript:

Al, with all due respect, your lack of an energy policy and the lack of an energy policy from President Obama has caused the rail car shortage. There’s not been one pipeline built. You haven’t approved any pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline has been under the review process for 6 years. That is crazy. That is too long. Pipelines are proven to be the most effective, the most efficient, the most environmentally sensitive way to transport oil. Until you start passing pipelines, we’ll have a railcar shortage. I know how to fix this economy. I know how to get us back on the road to growth and prosperity and you are putting Band-Aids as opposed to going to root causes. We need pipelines in this country. I want everyone in this room and in this state I am for pipelines. I will get them built.

Sen. Franken essentially told Minnesota he talked to the Surface Transportation Board to show he wasn’t ignoring people. It wasn’t that he’d solved farmers’ problems. It’s that he did something.

Meanwhile, Mike McFadden told Minnesotans that he’d find a solution to the railcar shortage that’s hurting farmers and miners. He presented himself as a solutions-oriented man and as a leader. Al Franken isn’t a leader. He’s a rubberstamp. He’s kept his head down because opening his mouth on important issues would expose him as an ideologue who does what Harry Reid tells him to do.

In the past, Minnesota’s senators have been leaders. Al Franken isn’t following in those footsteps. He’s just doing what Harry Reid and the environmental extremists have told him to do.

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Yesterday, I included a link to the Duluth News Tribune’s video of the McFadden-Franken debate. This post will include some of my favorite clips from the debate, starting with this one:

Sen. Franken’s response was typical DC bureaucratspeak:

Here’s what Sen. Franken said:

So much of the rail use is for the Bakken crude. Now I’ve been going to the Surface Transportation Board since I got to the Senate. Captive rail is something that I’ve been very interested in. I actually worked with Sen. David Vitter, the Republican of Louisiana, to get the cost of filing a complaint with the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates the railroads, from $20,000 to $350 so people can file a complaint.

Here’s McFadden’s snappy reply:

Al, with all due respect, your lack of an energy policy and the lack of an energy policy from President Obama has caused the rail car shortage. There’s not been one pipeline built. You haven’t approved any pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline has been under the review process for 6 years. That is crazy. That is too long. Pipelines are proven to be the most effective, the most efficient, the most environmentally sensitive way to transport oil. Until you start passing pipelines, we’ll have a railcar shortage. I know how to fix this economy. I know how to get us back on the road to growth and prosperity and you are putting Band-Aids as opposed to going to root causes. We need pipelines in this country. I want everyone in this room and in this state I am for pipelines. I will get them built.

The contrast in that last exchange is stunning. I hope the McFadden campaign highlights the difference between Sen. Franken’s answer and Mr. McFadden’s reply because it’s the difference between a Washingtonspeak and the voice of a leader who knows how to get things done.

Washingtonspeak is the way bureaucrats and politicians speak. Leaders talk differently because they talk like people on Main Street, Minnesota. The contrast is stark. When leaders speak, Main Street listens. When bureaucrats and politicians speak, people fall asleep or nod sleepily in approval.

Wednesday morning, Duluth saw the difference between Al Franken, the career politician who uses Washingtonspeak, and Mike McFadden, the leader from Main Street, Minnesota.

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The highest profile pipeline project in the nation is the Keystone XL Pipeline project. While Republicans have fought for the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline, that isn’t the only pipeline project being delayed by environmental activists. This article highlights the impact the anti-pipelines activists are having in outstate Minnesota:

Railroads will be the key to winter heat as propane becomes a dicier commodity to secure. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recommended pre-paying for propane supplies to eliminate the uncertainty of rising prices later this winter.

But that’s not an option for some people in Park Rapids.

“I can’t afford to take the chance,” said Steve Olafson, who owns the Skelgas service in Park Rapids and ended his “pre-buy” program this year. Last year he found his business trying to fill pre-paid orders for $1.54 per gallon at $5 per gallon.

First, this shows how little thought went into Gov. Dayton’s recommendation. Gov. Dayton automatically thought that businesses wouldn’t react to higher prices and losing money. Mr. Olafson, the businessman who would get hurt by price increases, decided he isn’t willing to lose money on the pre-paid plan. That’s why he eliminated that as an option for customers.

Gov. Dayton’s ‘plan’ was more of a gimmick aimed at hiding a problem create by his political allies in the environmental movement. Environmental activists have waged war on building pipelines, whether it’s the Keystone XL Pipeline or the proposed pipeline from the Bakken to refineries in Superior, WI.

The solution is to build the pipelines. The minute that those pipelines are built, railcar availability will improve dramatically. Those things won’t happen, though, if Gov. Dayton is Minnesota’s governor. The environmental activist wing of the DFL won’t tolerate it.

The railroad capacity issue won’t change until Minnesota has a governor who will stand up to the environmental activists. That will trigger hardships for tons of Minnesotans, including farmers who can’t get their crops to market, homeowners who will get hit with paying way too much for propane and Iron Rangers who can’t get their ore to the steelmakers in a timely fashion.

The DFL insists that they’re fighting for the little guy. That’s BS. I’ve just highlighted how they’re shafting farmers and laborers, the F and L in DFL. The truth is that the DFL is fighting tirelessly for the environmental activist wing of their party.

The DFL is fighting tirelessly for the environmental activists because that’s the dominant wing of their party. Most of the leaders of that wing of the party are plutocrats and trust fund babies who don’t give a damn about Iron Rangers and farmers.

But I digress.

The DFL created this rail capacity crisis. Now they’re pretending to look for the solution, with pretending being the key word. If the DFL was truly interested in solving this crisis, they’d start building pipelines.

Unfortunately, the DFL won’t do that because they won’t stand up to the environmental activist wing of their party.

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