[USA, Politics] Can I Vote?


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Darkwing Duck wrote:
social conservatism (i.e. keeping the government out of our private lives).

Um...that's not at all what social conservatism means.

Furthermore, the electoral college is precisely what keeps social conservatism an issue at all, since lower population states (like most of the south) have a greater say per person than higher population, more urbanized states (New York, California). Being able to manipulate a minority social conservative agenda is what brought the tea party into power 2 years ago.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
What politicians know is how to get funding. But getting funding is not the same thing as going after the popular vote.

Politicians also spend a lot of money on making sure they know the lay of the land when it comes to the issues. Please don't try to pretend this isn't true.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
You have two choices: vote, or don't vote. But don't blame the system when you choose the latter. If you choose not to vote, you have also chosen to be a non-participant in any political discussions until the next election season.
Sez who?

Says I. Why should anyone suffer the complaints of someone who had a chance to do something about it by taking a couple minutes out of their day once every two years and still did nothing?


meatrace wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
social conservatism (i.e. keeping the government out of our private lives).

Um...that's not at all what social conservatism means.

Furthermore, the electoral college is precisely what keeps social conservatism an issue at all, since lower population states (like most of the south) have a greater say per person than higher population, more urbanized states (New York, California). Being able to manipulate a minority social conservative agenda is what brought the tea party into power 2 years ago.

Not just the Electoral College, but the Senate as well. Between the current filibuster rules and the disproportionate representation of small states it only takes Senators representing less than a 3rd of the population to stop any legislation.


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meatrace wrote:
Being able to manipulate a minority social conservative agenda is what brought the tea party into power 2 years ago.

Which is especially laughable considering the whole point of the "Tea Party" message was to hearken back to a day when people had little or no representation whatsoever, and thus had a legitimate reason to be angry. Today, of course, most of those Tea Party stalwarts are over-represented in the federal government, with per-capita representation that is way better than, for instance, someone in California.

But that's okay, because the Tea Party doesn't exist to be intellectually honest.


meatrace wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
social conservatism (i.e. keeping the government out of our private lives).

Um...that's not at all what social conservatism means.

Furthermore, the electoral college is precisely what keeps social conservatism an issue at all, since lower population states (like most of the south) have a greater say per person than higher population, more urbanized states (New York, California). Being able to manipulate a minority social conservative agenda is what brought the tea party into power 2 years ago.

I was clearly comparing two kinds of conservatism; fiscal and social. My point was crystal clear. Is it true that there are people who call 'blue' 'orange'? Sure. There is a Religious Reich (and others) out there who has zero interest in conserving the power of government, yet call themselves 'conservatives'.


Scott Betts wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
What politicians know is how to get funding. But getting funding is not the same thing as going after the popular vote.
Politicians also spend a lot of money on making sure they know the lay of the land when it comes to the issues. Please don't try to pretend this isn't true.

I never insinuated that it isn't true. They -create- the issues. So, of course, they will know what they are. They -create- the issues so that they can, then, draw the battle lines. Drawing the battle lines most effectively will maximize their funding.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
I was clearly comparing two kinds of conservatism; fiscal and social. My point was crystal clear. Is it true that there are people who call 'blue' 'orange'? Sure. There is a Religious Reich (and others) out there who has zero interest in conserving the power of government, yet call themselves 'conservatives'.

Your point was clear as mud because you used a rhetorical definition of social conservatism that is the exact opposite of its textbook definition.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
I was clearly comparing two kinds of conservatism; fiscal and social. My point was crystal clear. Is it true that there are people who call 'blue' 'orange'? Sure. There is a Religious Reich (and others) out there who has zero interest in conserving the power of government, yet call themselves 'conservatives'.

"Conservatism" doesn't refer to conserving the power of government. It essentially refers to maintaining the status quo - protecting that which is established or traditional.

You are not conservative if you want the government to stay out of people's lives. You are libertarian.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
What politicians know is how to get funding. But getting funding is not the same thing as going after the popular vote.
Politicians also spend a lot of money on making sure they know the lay of the land when it comes to the issues. Please don't try to pretend this isn't true.
I never insinuated that it isn't true. They -create- the issues. So, of course, they will know what they are. They -create- the issues so that they can, then, draw the battle lines. Drawing the battle lines most effectively will maximize their funding.

Politicians do not create issues, by and large. That is a fiction. Politicians prioritize issues, and do their best to steer public discourse in a way that is favorable, but rarely do they fabricate them out of thin air. For instance, Obama did not create the issue of universal healthcare. Neither did Clinton. They merely steered discourse in a way that allowed them to take political action on those issues.

You are making the mistake of imagining political figures (including political candidates!) to be immensely powerful unilateral actors.


Scott Betts wrote:


Politicians do not create issues, by and large. That is a fiction. Politicians prioritize issues, and do their best to steer public discourse in a way that is favorable, but rarely do they fabricate them out of thin air. For instance, Obama did not create the issue of universal healthcare. Neither did Clinton. They merely steered discourse in a way that allowed them to take political action on those issues.

You are making the mistake of imagining political figures (including political candidates!) to be immensely powerful unilateral actors.

There are problems. Then there are issues. Issues are things that consume a hefty percentage of our time thinking about them. There are a whole lot of problems that never become issues. What turns them into issues is spin. Politicians make a living out of controlling spin.


meatrace wrote:

...I was confused because you labeled such people "social conservatives" which they are not.

What you meant was most people are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

This is not precisely correct, either. Social liberalism refers to a set of political policies that emphasize that ensuring the well-being of a nation's citizens is an inherent good that should be actively pursued by the state. The desire to remove or curtail government involvement is, rather, libertarianism.

Quote:
In my experience most people want the government to stop spending money (on anything that doesn't help them) and want the government out of their private lives (but have no problems with the government meddling in others' lives).

This is precisely correct. The majority of people do not have the political awareness to understand the impact that the government has or does not have on their lives. As of four years ago, if asked if they want the government out of their private lives, they would shout, "Hell yes!" If then immediately asked if the government should ensure that marriage is between a man and a woman, they would shout, "Hell yes!" They would not understand that these are inherently contradictory, and that responding as above means that we can comfortably ignore anything they have to say. If asked if they think the government should have any significant control of their finances, they would shout, "Hell no!" If then asked if Social Security should be defunded, they would shout, "Hell no!"

Our primary goal, as a society, should be to increase education levels. Nothing else. A tidal wave of funding should be made available to public education institutions. Nothing else - NOTHING ELSE - will make significant headway in solving the above issue. I will repeat: NOTHING except massive support for widespread public education will allow us to make faster-than-molasses progress on the issue of political awareness.


Scott Betts wrote:


Our primary goal, as a society, should be to increase education levels. Nothing else. A tidal wave of funding should be made available to public education institutions. Nothing else - NOTHING ELSE - will make significant headway in solving the above issue. I will repeat: NOTHING except massive support for widespread public education will allow us to make faster-than-molasses progress on the issue of political awareness.

Depends on what you mean by "education". If you mean "indoctrination" (which is what a large amount of education has become) then I disagree.

The challenge is how to keep education from becoming indoctrination. There's no easy answer to that challenge as far as I know.


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Scott, do you want government to stop spending money (on anything that doesn't help you)? Do you want government out of your private life (but have no problem with the government meddling in other's lives)?

I'm betting you don't think that statement describes you. I'm betting that meatrace doesn't think it describes him either.

The people whom it does describe are always some indescribable "other" and, wouldn't you know it? That "other" is the majority.

That's the problem. We can't work towards anything constructive as long as we're paranoid of everyone else.

Yes, there are people who fit that description. But, the majority? I see no evidence of that. What I see is a bunch of voters acting paranoid that "the majority" fits that description.


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Darkwing Duck wrote:
Depends on what you mean by "education". If you mean "indoctrination" (which is what a large amount of education has become) then I disagree.

"What you call education is just indoctrination!" is the rallying cry of religious conservatives (who, ironically, have a history of establishing education institutions that engage in actual indoctrination). Hearing that from someone raises all kinds of red flags. Indoctrination is never the goal of proper higher education. Rather, the goal is to teach students HOW to think. The ability to approach the world with a critical mind is the most important tool that an individual can possess, and it requires years of training.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:


Our primary goal, as a society, should be to increase education levels. Nothing else. A tidal wave of funding should be made available to public education institutions. Nothing else - NOTHING ELSE - will make significant headway in solving the above issue. I will repeat: NOTHING except massive support for widespread public education will allow us to make faster-than-molasses progress on the issue of political awareness.

Depends on what you mean by "education". If you mean "indoctrination" (which is what a large amount of education has become) then I disagree.

The challenge is how to keep education from becoming indoctrination. There's no easy answer to that challenge as far as I know.

Yes, I agree! Religious institutions are attempting to co-opt the public education system to push their agenda.

Except unfortunately I'm fairly sure that sort of thing doesn't bother you as much as, like, schools not "teaching the controversy" over "intelligent design".


Scott Betts wrote:
Indoctrination is never the goal of proper higher education. Rather, the goal is to teach students HOW to think. The ability to approach the world with a critical mind is the most important tool that an individual can possess, and it requires years of training.

I've been in classes in college where indoctrination was the unspoken goal. I had a sociology professor who thought that Mother Jones was a valid social research journal. I've had an anthropology professor who thought that white people in America had no culture.

You can argue as to whether this is 'proper higher education', but what you can't argue over is the fact that such things exist.

And, for the record, redefining Pi to coincide with the Bible, blocking the teaching of evolution, and ignoring the role of gays in history are -also- examples of indoctrination where there should be education.


meatrace wrote:


Except unfortunately I'm fairly sure that sort of thing doesn't bother you as much as, like, schools not "teaching the controversy" over "intelligent design".

Yes, I think that "teaching the controversy" would be an excellent idea because I think that students need to be able to look at things like 'intelligent design' and critique it for its scientific merits (which, in my opinion, are none).


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Yes, there are people who fit that description. But, the majority? I see no evidence of that. What I see is a bunch of voters acting paranoid that "the majority" fits that description.

Nobody thinks they are idiots.

That doesn't mean that, objectively, some people aren't idiots.

People have vague and uninformed stances on virtually everything! Scott gave some good examples about that type of hypocrisy. And don't say you haven't seen it everywhere.


meatrace wrote:


That doesn't mean that, objectively, some people aren't idiots.

-some-, yes. But, the majority of people aren't idiots.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Scott, do you want government to stop spending money (on anything that doesn't help you)?

I do not benefit from a significant number of major social welfare programs in any way, shape, or form. I also believe that many of them should receive increased funding.

Quote:
Do you want government out of your private life (but have no problem with the government meddling in other's lives)?

I'm not a social libertarian. I believe that government has a duty in improving the lives of its citizens, including those who are disadvantaged in some capacity. Do I believe that the government should involve itself in social programs? Yes.

Quote:

I'm betting you don't think that statement describes you. I'm betting that meatrace doesn't think it describes him either.

The people whom it does describe are always some indescribable "other" and, wouldn't you know it? That "other" is the majority.

I made it very clear who I was referring to. And the examples I cited are based on study. Until 2010, for instance, public polling showed that support for same sex marriage was in the minority.

Quote:
That's the problem. We can't work towards anything constructive as long as we're paranoid of everyone else.

I'm not paranoid of those who favor the sort of thinking I outlined above. I am disheartened by the fact that they exist in large number, and that there are those in our country who know better and yet still push the idea that it's okay to be both ignorant and arrogant at the same time.

I am not afraid of them, however, because I know that the thinking I described is losing the war.

Quote:
Yes, there are people who fit that description. But, the majority? I see no evidence of that.

I gave it to you. And, honestly, would it matter if they weren't? If 40% of the country were made up of those who held political beliefs that are inherently contradictory and used those beliefs to inform their voting, wouldn't that be a problem? Wouldn't it be a problem at 25%? Wouldn't it be a problem at 10%? In elections that are decided at margins of under 5%, isn't it a huge problem that we have that many people who are so easily manipulated, or who are so staunchly opposed to the things they claim to want?


Darkwing Duck wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Except unfortunately I'm fairly sure that sort of thing doesn't bother you as much as, like, schools not "teaching the controversy" over "intelligent design".
Yes, I think that "teaching the controversy" would be an excellent idea because I think that students need to be able to look at things like 'intelligent design' and critique it for its scientific merits (which, in my opinion, are none).

Then classrooms should teach that, just maybe, the moon is made of cheese!

They should teach that, just maybe, man never landed on the moon.
Just maybe, NaOH and HCl don't have a violent exothermic reaction.
Just maybe, eating fatty foods and getting no exercise is good for you.
Perhaps Abraham Lincoln was really a reptilian humanoid, who can say?


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Darkwing Duck wrote:


-some-, yes. But, the majority of people aren't idiots.
Darkwing Duck wrote:
My country is a nation of idiots.

hmmm...

I agree with Darkwing Duck. America is a nation of idiots. I don't know what that Darkwing Duck guy is talking about.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
I've been in classes in college where indoctrination was the unspoken goal.

Where, and which class?

Quote:
I had a sociology professor who thought that Mother Jones was a valid social research journal.

Where, and which professor?

Quote:
I've had an anthropology professor who thought that white people in America had no culture.

An interesting take, but you seem to believe that a professor having an opinion is the same as a professor engaging in indoctrination. That's false.

Quote:
You can argue as to whether this is 'proper higher education', but what you can't argue over is the fact that such things exist.

I'm sure it does. But again, professors are allowed to have opinions. Indoctrination doesn't occur until students are punished for having defensible opinions which conflict with the professor's.

Quote:
And, for the record, redefining Pi to coincide with the Bible, blocking the teaching of evolution, and ignoring the role of gays in history are -also- examples of indoctrination where there should be education.

Good.


meatrace wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Except unfortunately I'm fairly sure that sort of thing doesn't bother you as much as, like, schools not "teaching the controversy" over "intelligent design".
Yes, I think that "teaching the controversy" would be an excellent idea because I think that students need to be able to look at things like 'intelligent design' and critique it for its scientific merits (which, in my opinion, are none).

Then classrooms should teach that, just maybe, the moon is made of cheese!

They should teach that, just maybe, man never landed on the moon.
Just maybe, NaOH and HCl don't have a violent exothermic reaction.
Just maybe, eating fatty foods and getting no exercise is good for you.
Perhaps Abraham Lincoln was really a reptilian humanoid, who can say?

I think what Darking Duck was saying is that Intelligent Design could be used as a case study in how to identify arguments that are meritless. It is just as important to be able to identify defensible, valid arguments as it is to be able to identify those that cannot be defended. The skill set is the same. I would love to see Intelligent Design presented and studied as an example of religion masquerading as science, but that is, unfortunately, a political firestorm waiting to happen. There are other, less incendiary ways of learning the same lesson.


Darkwing Duck wrote:

I've been in classes in college where indoctrination was the unspoken goal. I had a sociology professor who thought that Mother Jones was a valid social research journal. I've had an anthropology professor who thought that white people in America had no culture.

You can argue as to whether this is 'proper higher education', but what you can't argue over is the fact that such things exist.

And, for the record, redefining Pi to coincide with the Bible, blocking the teaching of evolution, and ignoring the role of gays in history are -also- examples of indoctrination where there should be education.

Man, how did I miss this post?

Those things you describe? Those are individual instructors with personal opinions. All professors, especially at the college level, are encouraged to teach in their own style with their own requirements. If you take, what, 40-50 classes in a postsecondary career and maybe 5 instructors are overtly anti-American, does that make the entire university a mechanism for indoctrinating people against American values? No, it's a sampling of a variety of valid points of view.

Which is precisely what we should want. If we take it as read that any one professor can't be unbiased, then removing all bias from classes shouldn't be the goal. The goal should be a sampling of perspectives.


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meatrace wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:

I've been in classes in college where indoctrination was the unspoken goal. I had a sociology professor who thought that Mother Jones was a valid social research journal. I've had an anthropology professor who thought that white people in America had no culture.

You can argue as to whether this is 'proper higher education', but what you can't argue over is the fact that such things exist.

And, for the record, redefining Pi to coincide with the Bible, blocking the teaching of evolution, and ignoring the role of gays in history are -also- examples of indoctrination where there should be education.

Man, how did I miss this post?

Those things you describe? Those are individual instructors with personal opinions. All professors, especially at the college level, are encouraged to teach in their own style with their own requirements. If you take, what, 40-50 classes in a postsecondary career and maybe 5 instructors are overtly anti-American, does that make the entire university a mechanism for indoctrinating people against American values? No, it's a sampling of a variety of valid points of view.

Which is precisely what we should want. If we take it as read that any one professor can't be unbiased, then removing all bias from classes shouldn't be the goal. The goal should be a sampling of perspectives.

Exactly. Indoctrination would refer to a widespread, organized campaign to inculcate students with a particular set of views. That is not what is taking place.


Scott Betts wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
You have two choices: vote, or don't vote. But don't blame the system when you choose the latter. If you choose not to vote, you have also chosen to be a non-participant in any political discussions until the next election season.
Sez who?
Says I. Why should anyone suffer the complaints of someone who had a chance to do something about it by taking a couple minutes out of their day once every two years and still did nothing?

I take multiple hours out of every week peddling socialist newspapers, attending demonstrations and meetings. Not to mention my chosen career path as a steward in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Please tell me again that I do nothing.


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:


I take multiple hours out of every week peddling socialist newspapers, attending demonstrations and meetings. Not to mention my chosen career path as a steward in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Please tell me again that I do nothing.

Why do you peddle socialist newspapers if you don't think voting makes a difference? Unless you are actively, genuinely, trying to incite violent revolution, in which case that's an even better reason not to listen to you.


In order to build a Leninist vanguard party, duh.

I honestly don't care if you listen to me or not, but if you vote for proven war-mongers, budget-slashers and union-busters (not to mention stooges of the plutocracy), I'm not particularly interested in what you have to say, either.

EDIT: I take that back. I'm always interested in what you have to say, Citizen Meatrace.


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

In order to build a Leninist vanguard party, duh.

I have to admit, saying "Take your hands off my property, you vanguard leninists!" has a nice ring to it.


Quote:
I had a sociology professor who thought that Mother Jones was a valid social research journal.
Where, and which professor?

A professor who taught my "Sociology of Criminology" class at the University of Kentucky back around 1995. Admittedly, I don't remember his name.

Quote:
Quote:
I've had an anthropology professor who thought that white people in America had no culture.
An interesting take, but you seem to believe that a professor having an opinion is the same as a professor engaging in indoctrination. That's false.

Its indoctrination when the premise is built into the class - as it was - and shaped everything that was taught - which it did. The professor was Dr. Mary Anglin and the class was "Regional American Ethnography" back around 1995. To be fair, she made a single exception regarding white people having culture - Appalachia.

Quote:
I'm sure it does. But again, professors are allowed to have opinions. Indoctrination doesn't occur until students are punished for having defensible opinions which conflict with the professor's.

No. Its 'indoctrination' when a belief is taught as being beyond question - even if it is being taught tacitly.

Quote:
Quote:
And, for the record, redefining Pi to coincide with the Bible, blocking the teaching of evolution, and ignoring the role of gays in history are -also- examples of indoctrination where there should be education.
Good.

Really? So, you have no problem with my calling that indoctrination even though there was no mention of students being punished for defensible opinions?


meatrace wrote:
If you take, what, 40-50 classes in a postsecondary career and maybe 5 instructors are overtly anti-American, does that make the entire university a mechanism for indoctrinating people against American values? No, it's a sampling of a variety of valid points of view.

I never said that the entire education process is forfeit. I said that indoctrination does happen. I gave examples of it happening. The question I rose is how to reduce its occurrence.


meatrace wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Except unfortunately I'm fairly sure that sort of thing doesn't bother you as much as, like, schools not "teaching the controversy" over "intelligent design".
Yes, I think that "teaching the controversy" would be an excellent idea because I think that students need to be able to look at things like 'intelligent design' and critique it for its scientific merits (which, in my opinion, are none).

Then classrooms should teach that, just maybe, the moon is made of cheese!

They should teach that, just maybe, man never landed on the moon.
Just maybe, NaOH and HCl don't have a violent exothermic reaction.
Just maybe, eating fatty foods and getting no exercise is good for you.
Perhaps Abraham Lincoln was really a reptilian humanoid, who can say?

Sure, why not?

Science is not about memorizing/regurgitating scientific facts. It is about the scientific process.
So, why not start with the premise that the moon is made of cheese then teach students how to apply the scientific process to that hypothesis?


Darkwing Duck wrote:
meatrace wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
meatrace wrote:


Except unfortunately I'm fairly sure that sort of thing doesn't bother you as much as, like, schools not "teaching the controversy" over "intelligent design".
Yes, I think that "teaching the controversy" would be an excellent idea because I think that students need to be able to look at things like 'intelligent design' and critique it for its scientific merits (which, in my opinion, are none).

Then classrooms should teach that, just maybe, the moon is made of cheese!

They should teach that, just maybe, man never landed on the moon.
Just maybe, NaOH and HCl don't have a violent exothermic reaction.
Just maybe, eating fatty foods and getting no exercise is good for you.
Perhaps Abraham Lincoln was really a reptilian humanoid, who can say?

Sure, why not?

Science is not about memorizing/regurgitating scientific facts. It is about the scientific process.
So, why not start with the premise that the moon is made of cheese then teach students how to apply the scientific process to that hypothesis?

Science is also about refining your critical thinking to a degree that you can judge what's worthy of its application; some ideas, such as the moon being made of green cheese, aren't worthy of consideration as hypotheses because they're just nonsensical.

Anyhow, it's nice to have you back, Duck; and thanks for derailing the thread into science vs. religion and education vs. indoctrination. I'm much more comfortable here than talking about voter registration.


I have difficulty thinking of a time when education didn't contain a great big lump of indoctrination. Plato's Academy?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
meatrace wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:


-some-, yes. But, the majority of people aren't idiots.
Darkwing Duck wrote:
My country is a nation of idiots.

hmmm...

I agree with Darkwing Duck. America is a nation of idiots. I don't know what that Darkwing Duck guy is talking about.

Ouch.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
I have difficulty thinking of a time when education didn't contain a great big lump of indoctrination. Plato's Academy?

Well, modern public education (devised during the XVIII and XIX centuries mainly in Prussia as an alterntive to the previously religious system, and then extended to the rest of the world) was expressely designed with indoctrination in mind. The idea was to have an educated but controllable mass of population.

Not to say the current system is the same (my entire educational experience was Catholic, up to and including university studies, so my views are probably skewed), but it is interesting to consider nonetheless. After all, we do, as a society, put our values and codes of conduct into the educational programs, and thus we actively seek at least some level of indoctrination. I'm quite sure every western educational system points students on a positive angle regarding such things as human rights and democracy, as well as a certain number of fundamental values, such as kindness and generosity.


Meatrace wrote:
Just maybe, NaOH and HCl don't have a violent exothermic reaction.

Nah, that would indirectly be teaching natural selection.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Hey, wow, remember when this thread was a positive message encouraging people to express their democratic rights by voting? That was nice.

Shame it's turned into a shouting match over a hodgepodge of issues and semantics. Locked.

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