Charles Negre ‘The Vampire’, Henri Le Secq stands next to Stryge grotesque, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris 1853
Man – a creature made at the end of the week’s work when God was tired.
– Mark Twain
Eisenhower’s 1953 Cross of Iron speech
I speak to the world and tell it
About a house whose lantern they broke
About an axe that killed a lily
And a fire which destroyed the world,
I speak about a goat not milked…
A mud roof that flowered.
I speak to the world and I tell it.
Samih al-Qasim #Palestine
“Not a good day for NATO & their proxies:
– EU ban on Russian oil blocked by Hungary
– NATO expansion to Finland/Sweden blocked by Turkey
– US arms shipments to Ukraine could end May 19
– Russian encirclement in northern Donbas begins
– US gasoline prices reach all time high”
• That Sinking Feeling (Kunstler)
You might ask yourself: Why is it “important” that we spend thirty, forty, fifty billion dollars pounding sand down the rat hole that is post-Maidan Ukraine, grift central for the sketchy nexus of US politicians and their sponsors in the warcraft industry? Answer: Aside from one final magnificent payday, they are producing a grand opera of distraction to direct the American public’s attention from the sinking of our own ship-of-state in the waters of Babylon. That giant wad of money, you understand, goes mainly to the likes of Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Textron, Boeing, et cetera, and a substantial portion re-circulates through the K-Street laundromat into the congressional campaign finance wishing well, while billions more get creamed off by Mr. Zelenskyy & Co. — providing self-reinforcing incentives to, how shall we say, blow more shit up on the global landscape.
It does not escape the attention, however, of some people on deck that the US ship is riding lower in the water each day, and listing at a distressing angle. Many other passengers have retreated to their staterooms, sick from the “vaccines” they were required to take to stay on-board for the voyage. Meanwhile water is streaming in below-decks, down in the stinking bilges, from many cracks in the hull. Nobody seems to know what to do, least of all the ship’s captain, who won’t come out of his quarters. (It’s whispered that he’s gone mad.) Is it time to lower the lifeboats. In the hazy realm that is reality these days, those metaphorical cracks in our ship’s hull represent grave acts of negligence and even treasonous sabotage.
Chatter over the Internet says our country, and other countries, are fixing to surrender their national sovereignty — that is, their ability to decide things for themselves — to the World Health Organization in anticipation of some as-yet-unnamed global emergency. Surrender, you say? By means of what? A vote in UN? A memo from the White House signed by the howling ghost known as “Joe Biden”? Surely not some procedure in Congresses and parliaments that would call for debate. There is further suggestion that all this mischief is at the behest of larval would-be World Fuhrer Klaus Schwab. A more preposterous idea I have not heard in all my born days. And yet what else accounts in country after country for the bizarre super-coordination of insults to the world population such as mass lockdowns and mandated vaccination with genetic cocktails which, let’s face it, don’t look so goshdarn salubrious anymore.
Ukraine population as a testing ground.
• Empire of Bioweapon Lies (Escobar)
This glimpse of “fear in a handful of dust” already ranks as one the prime breakthroughs of the young 21st century, presented this week by Chief of Russian Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Force Igor Kirillov. The provisional results of evidence being collected about the work of U.S. bioweapons in Ukraine are simply astonishing. These are the main takeaways.
• U.S. bioweapon ideologues comprise the leadership of the Democratic Party. By linking with non-governmental biotechnology organizations, using the investment funds of the Clintons, Rockefellers, Soros and Biden, they profited from additional campaign financing – all duly concealed. In parallel, they assembled the legislative basis for financing the bioweapons program directly from the federal budget.
• COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, as well as Merck and Gilead – of Donald “known unknowns” fame, and affiliated with the Pentagon – were directly involved.
• U.S. specialists tested new drugs in the Ukraine biolabs in circumvention of international safety standards. According to Kirillov, acting this way “Western companies seriously reduce the costs of research programs and gain significant competitive advantages.”
• According to Kirillov, “along with U.S. pharmaceutical companies and Pentagon contractors, Ukrainian government agencies are involved in military biotechnology activities, whose main tasks are to conceal illegal activities, conduct field and clinical trials and provide the necessary biomaterial.”
• The Pentagon, Kirillov pointed out, expanded its research potential not only in terms of producing biological weapons, but also gathering information on antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibodies to certain diseases among the population in specific regions. The testing ground in Ukraine was practically outside the control of the so-called “international community”.
“..a population of 5.5 million. The country has about the same number of reservists as Germany that has a population of 83 million..”
• Finland, Sweden Close to Joining NATO, Russia Responds (Celente)
Top officials from Helsinki issued a joint statement on Thursday that Finland will move to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting Moscow to warn that it will be forced to take retaliatory steps. President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said they believe NATO is the best option for Finland and that membership would “strengthen” its security. They said they hope Finland joins NATO “without delay” and believe the alliance would also benefit from its membership. (A parliamentary debate in Helsinki and vote were expected on Monday.) Finland has a formidable military in its own right despite a population of 5.5 million. The country has about the same number of reservists as Germany that has a population of 83 million. Finland shares an expansive, 830-mile border with Russia and was invaded by its neighbor during WWII, which resulted in a brutal confrontation that ultimately resulted in Helsinki and Moscow signing a peace treaty in 1948. The treaty included Finland’s assurances that it will not join NATO.
[..] Last month, Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and chairman of Russia’s Security Council, warned Finland and Sweden against joining NATO and said Moscow would have to beef up its military presence in the region if they joined the alliance. “In this case, it will no longer be possible to talk about any non-nuclear status of the Baltic—the balance must be restored. Until now, Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to take them,” Medvedev said. Stockholm has been more reluctant to join NATO, the Financial Times reported. The paper said Sweden only started to take NATO membership seriously after “Finland indicated it was likely to join regardless of what Sweden did, robbing Stockholm of its sole credible alternative: a defense alliance with Helsinki.” The New York Times reported that Helsinki’s move could force Stockholm’s hand. The Finns co-ordinate their defense policies closely with Sweden, The Economist reported. Both are formally neutral.
A lot of 180º turns.
• The Bizarre, Unanimous Dem Support for the $40b War Package (Greenwald)
After Joe Biden announced his extraordinary request for $33 billion more for the war in Ukraine — on top of the $14 billion the U.S. has already spent just ten weeks into this war — congressional leaders of both parties immediately decided the amount was insufficient. They arbitrarily increased the amount by $7 billion to a total of $40 billion, then fast-tracked the bill for immediate approval. As we reported on Tuesday night, the House overwhelmingly voted to approve the bill by a vote of 388-57. All fifty-seven NO votes came from Republican House members. Except for two missing members, all House Democrats — every last one, including all six members of the revolutionary, subversive Squad — voted for this gigantic war package, one of the largest the U.S. has spent at once in decades.
While a small portion of these funds will go to humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the vast majority will go into the coffers of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the usual suspects. Some of it will go to the CIA for unspecified reasons. The extreme speed with which this was all approved means there is little to no oversight over how the funds will be spent, who will profit and how much, and what the effects will be for Ukraine and the world. To put this $54 billion amount in perspective, it is (a) larger than the average annual amount that the U.S. spent on its own war in Afghanistan ($46 billion), (b) close to the overall amount Russia spends on its entire military for the year ($69 billion), (c) close to 7% of the overall U.S. military budget, by far the largest in the world ($778 billion), and (d) certain to be far, far higher — easily into the hundreds of billions of dollars and likely the trillion dollar level — given that U.S. officials insist that this war will last not months but years, and that it will stand with Ukraine until the bitter end.
What made this Democratic Party unanimity so bizarre, even surreal, is that many of these House Democrats who voted YES have spent years vehemently denouncing exactly these types of war expenditures. Some of them — very recently — even expressed specific opposition to pouring large amounts of U.S. money and weaponry into Ukraine on the grounds that doing so would be unprecedentedly dangerous, and that Americans are suffering far too severely at home to justify such massive amounts to weapons manufacturers and intelligence agencies.
I'm worried the Military-Industrial Complex doesn't want an end to the Ukraine conflict. pic.twitter.com/uJXeGHlzOS
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 12, 2022
“..provided via an EU fund for military assistance, called the European Peace Facility (EPF)..”
• EU To Increase Military Support Funding For Ukraine To €2 Billion (Pol.eu)
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced Friday that the EU will provide another €500 million in financial support to Ukraine’s military, bringing the total value of the bloc’s overall military fund for the country to €2 billion. “I will announce that we as the European Union will provide a new tranche of €500 million to support Ukraine militarily,” Borrell told reporters at a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) in Gut Weissenhaus, a luxurious seaside resort in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Borrell added that this would give “a new impetus for military support” for Ukraine.
The money is being provided via an EU fund for military assistance, called the European Peace Facility (EPF), and allows Ukraine to procure weapons and equipment for its fight against Russia’s invasion. A first package of €500 million was approved in late February and then topped up with two more packages worth the same amount. This fourth tranche of money brings the total support to €2 billion. The new payment still needs to be approved by EU countries. In a tweet, European Council President Charles Michel expressed his “full support” for Borrell’s announcement. When asked about plans to hit Russia with an oil embargo as part of a sixth EU sanctions package — which have run into difficulty due to resistance from Hungary — Borrell said he was optimistic that a deal could be reached next week.
“..the effectiveness against cases of BNT162b2 declined rapidly for children, particularly those 5-11 years. However, vaccination of children 5-11 years was protective against severe disease and is recommended.”
• Pfizer Booster Protection Against Omicron Wanes in Just Weeks (CHD)
Second and third doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine provide protection against the Omicron variant for only a few weeks, according to peer-reviewed research published today in JAMA Network Open. “Our study found a rapid decline in Omicron-specific serum neutralizing antibody titers only a few weeks after the second and third doses of [the Pfizer-BioNTech] BNT162b2,” the authors of the research letter wrote. The authors said their findings “could support rolling out additional booster shots to vulnerable people as the variant drives an uptick in new cases across the country,” Forbes reported. Danish researchers studied adults who received two or three doses of BNT162b2 between January 2021 and October 2021, or were previously infected prior to February 2021 and then vaccinated.
They found that after an initial increase in Omicron-specific antibodies after the second Pfizer shot, levels dropped rapidly, from 76.2% at week 4, to 53.3% at weeks 8 to 10, and 18.9% at weeks 12 to 14. After the third shot, neutralizing antibodies against Omicron fell 5.4-fold between week 3 and week 8. A preprint study released in February showed Pfizer’s two-dose regimen of its COVID-19 vaccine for children was only 12% effective against Omicron in children ages 9 to 11, and the effectiveness of the vaccine “declined rapidly” for children 5-11. Researchers at the New York State Department of Health and the University at Albany School of Public Health examined the effectiveness of the vaccine in children 5 to 11 and adolescents 12 to 17 from Dec. 13, 2021 to Jan. 30, 2022.
The authors of the New York study wrote: “In the Omicron era, the effectiveness against cases of BNT162b2 declined rapidly for children, particularly those 5-11 years. However, vaccination of children 5-11 years was protective against severe disease and is recommended.”
Imagine stocks doing what crypto did the past few days.
• Massive Stock Market Leverage Unwinds amid Brutal Bloodletting (WS)
The total amount of leverage in the stock market is unknown and takes many forms. The only form that is tracked and reported on a monthly basis is margin debt. The other forms, such as Securities Based Lending (SBL) and hedge funds leveraged at the institutional level are not tracked. Not even banks and brokers that fund this leverage know how much total leverage their client has from all brokers combined, which became clear when the family office Archegos imploded in March 2021 and wiped out billions of dollars in capital at the prime brokers that had provided the leverage. But margin debt – the tip of the iceberg and indicator of the direction of the overall stock market leverage – dropped by $27 billion in April from March, to $773 billion, according to Finra, which gets this data from its member brokers.
Margin debt peaked in October last year at $936 billion and started falling in November. Over those six months, it has dropped by $163 billion, or by 17%. But leverage is still massive, and the unwind has a long way to go. Not included in the margin debt data today is May. So far in May, the S&P 500, despite today’s rally, has dropped 6.2%, and the Nasdaq 8.3%, and many of the imploded stocks have gotten brutally crushed over those two weeks, including Coinbase, whose huge gigantic rally since Thursday morning didn’t amount to flyspeck compared to the devastating plunge in the prior two weeks and since its IPO and is barely visible on the stairway to heck since the IPO.
[..] When lots of investors take on leverage to buy stocks, and leverage rises, it creates buying pressure with borrowed money, fueling heat in the market. But when investors come under pressure because of their leverage and vanishing collateral values, they sell stocks, and it creates selling pressure. This is how stock prices and margin balances are linked. High leverage in the stock market is a precondition for a spike in stock prices and a precondition for a massive sell-off, which then unwinds that leverage. It takes leverage to go to these kinds of extremes.
The trick is to not get sidetracked by the absolute dollar amounts over the decades. They don’t really matter. What matters are the steep increases in margin debt before the selloffs, and the steep declines during the sell-offs. The chart shows the relationship between margin debt and “events” in the S&P 500 index. But nothing compares, neither in dollars nor in percentages nor in sheer beauty, to the near-vertical spike in margin debt from March 2020 through October 2021, during the Fed’s $4.7 trillion money-printing binge and interest rate repression mania, and all of it is now unwinding:
Scratching the surface…
• Food Riots Begin: Mass Arrests in Iran, Deaths in Sri Lanka (ZH)
[..] as food prices keep rising, the protests across poor nations keep escalating, and on Thursday protests broke out in Iran leading to at least 22 arrests, after the government cut subsidies for food, sending prices through the roof as authorities braced for more unrest in the following weeks, Fox News reports. In videos shared on social media, protesters can be seen marching through Dezful and Mahshahr in the southwestern province of Khezestan, chanting “Death to Khamenei! Death to Raisi!” referring to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to create jobs, lift sanctions, and rescue the economy. Iranian state media has not publicly addressed the protests, but they have been covered by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an opposition group.
Footage shared by the NCRI shows protesters setting fire to a Basij military base in Jooneghan, a city in the Central District of Jooneghan county. “Every so often we see these types of protests in Iran. Each time it is under a different premise – the price of eggs, the price of gas, the price of bread, but the underlining message which is supported by the slogans heard throughout the demonstrations is the same; they are protesting the entirety of a brutal regime,” Lisa Daftari, Iran expert and editor-in-chief of the Foreign Desk, said in a statement. “It is also evident in the fact that these protests are no longer just contained to Tehran, the capital city, and other urban areas. We are seeing protests throughout the country in urban and rural areas and throughout the very vast and diverse Iranian population.”
Daftari is right, and not just about Iran (and Iraq), but also Sri Lanka, where protesters angry at the soaring prices of everyday commodities including food, have burned down homes belonging to 38 politicians as the crisis-hit country plunged further into chaos, with the government ordering troops to “shoot on sight.” Police in the island nation said Tuesday that in addition to the destroyed homes, 75 others have been damaged as angry Sri Lankans continue to defy a nationwide curfew to protest against what they say is the government’s mishandling of the country’s worst economic crisis since 1948.
“This doesn’t mean that Durham can’t overcome this hurdle – just that it hasn’t been overcome yet.”
• Fusion GPS Loses Its Fight Over “Privileged” Documents (Techno Fog)
We’ve documented the ongoing battle to obtain Fusion GPS e-mails and documents in the Michael Sussmann case. At issue in the Sussmann case are 38 e-mails and attachments between and among Fusion GPS, Rodney Joffe, and Perkins Coie. These 38 e-mails and attachments are among approximately 1,500 documents that Fusion GPS withheld from production to the grand jury based on “privilege.” Today, the court in the Sussmann case made an important ruling and rejected, in large measure, Fusion’s assertion of attorney-client or work-product privilege. Fusion GPS will have to produce these documents to Special Counsel Durham by May 16, 2022. What do these e-mails and documents contain? The court’s order provides guidance, stating they relate to: “Internal Fusion GPS e-mails discussing the Alfa Bank data and e-mails circulating draft versions of the Alfa Bank white papers that were “ultimately provided to the press and the FBI.”
This leaves 16 e-mails and documents remaining. For now, Durham will not get them. These are divided into two categories: Eight of the e-mails involve internal communications among Fusion GPS employees. The court was “unable to tell from the emails or the surrounding circumstances whether they were prepared for a purpose other than assisting Perkins Coie in providing legal advice to the Clinton Campaign in anticipation of litigaiton.” Coming from the court, that’s a long way of saying that the sworn declarations of Fusion/Clinton lawyers (Levy and Elias) were sufficient to meet the “privilege” burden. This doesn’t mean that Durham can’t overcome this hurdle – just that it hasn’t been overcome yet.
The other eight e-mails and attachments include those among Fusion GPS’s Laura Seago, Sussmann, and Rodney Joffe. The court observed that the e-mails are consistent with Joffe’s assertion of privilege. With respect to the Joffe e-mails, we note that he is still a subject – perhaps a target – of the Special Counsel’s investigation. [..] Because the investigation into Joffe is ongoing, it makes sense that the Special Counsel is hesitant to disclose to the court information that could overcome this purported “privilege.” Keep in mind the crime-fraud exception, where communications are not considered privileged where they “are made in furtherance of a crime, fraud, or other misconduct” (citation omitted). In other words, the Special Counsel may still be able to get Joffe’s e-mails – assuming Joffe is charged under 18 USC 1031. He can also get them through the grand jury process, as we saw with Mueller’s investigation of Paul Manafort.
“..1,500 emails that Fusion GPS withheld after being slapped with a subpoena by Durham.”
• Judge Orders Fusion GPS To Turn Over 22 Emails To John Durham (NYP)
Special counsel John Durham scored a victory Thursday when a federal judge ordered the research firm behind the infamous “Steele dossier” to turn over nearly two dozen emails tied to its work with Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann. Fusion GPS improperly withheld the 22 emails from Durham by claiming they were protected by attorney-client privilege and “work-product” privilege, Washington, DC, federal Judge Christopher Cooper ruled. The move came at the request of Clinton’s 2016 campaign, according to the 11-page decision. But the emails, which largely consist of internal communications between Fusion employees, aren’t protected from disclosure because they “appear not to have been written in anticipation of litigation but rather as part of ordinary media-relations work,” Cooper said.
“It is clear that Fusion employees also interacted with the press as part of an affirmative media relations effort by the Clinton Campaign,” he wrote. Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that the emails must be turned over to Special counsel John Durham because they are not “entitled to attorney work-product protection.” “That effort included pitching certain stories, providing information on background, and answering reporters’ questions.” Cooper ordered Fusion GPS — which hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile reports that purportedly tied Trump to Russia, most of which have been discredited — to turn over the emails to Durham’s team on Monday, when jury selection for Sussmann’s trial is set to start.
Sussmann is charged with lying to the FBI on Sept. 19, 2016, when he claimed to not be “acting on behalf of any client” while turning over reports and data he said showed a secret back channel between a Trump Organization server and Russia’s Alfa Bank. The information was later debunked by the FBI, which found “that the email server at issue…had been administered by a mass marketing email company that sent advertisements for Trump hotels and hundreds of other clients,” according to Sussmann’s indictment. The emails that Fusion GPS has to turn over for possible use against Sussmann are among 38 that Cooper reviewed at Durham’s request, despite the objections of the company, Clinton’s campaign and tech executive Rodney Joffe, who gave Sussmann the Alfa Bank data. They’re also among around 1,500 emails that Fusion GPS withheld after being slapped with a subpoena by Durham.
Jan 6 from the MSM.
• Subpoenas Of Trump Allies By January 6 Panel Set Up High-stakes Showdown (G.)
The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack made a political and legal gambit when it issued unprecedented subpoenas that compelled five Republican members of Congress to reveal inside information about Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. The move sets into motion an extraordinary high-stakes showdown of response and counter-response for both the subpoenaed House Republicans – the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, Andy Biggs and Mo Brooks – and the panel itself. Congressman Bennie Thompson, the Democrat chair of the select committee, authorized the subpoenas on Wednesday after the panel convened for final talks about whether to proceed with subpoenas, with House investigators needing to wrap up work before June public hearings.
“We inquired to most of them via letter to come forward, and when they told us they would not come, we issued the subpoena,” Thompson said of McCarthy and his colleagues. “It’s a process. And the process was clearly one that required debate and discussion.” The decision came after a recognition that their investigation into January 6 would not have been complete if they did not at least attempt to force the cooperation of some of the House Republicans most deeply involved in Trump’s unlawful schemes to return himself to office. But the subpoenas are about deploying a political and legal power play in the crucial final moments of the investigation as much as they are about an effort to gain new information for the inquiry into efforts to stop Joe Biden’s certification in time for public hearings.
That is evident in the conundrum faced by the subpoenaed House Republicans – with the knowledge that how they respond to the orders seeking testimony about their contacts with Trump will determine the future of the investigation and of congressional subpoena power. In the days before the select committee assented to Thompson signing off on the subpoenas, the members on the panel gamed out the scenarios and reached the conclusion that subpoenas were actually a win-win situation, according to sources familiar with the discussions. If the subpoenaed House Republicans decided to comply and provide cooperation to the select committee as the subpoenas are designed to do, then the panel would obviously benefit from their testimony, the sources recounted of the panel’s discussion.
If the subpoenaed House Republicans promised retaliatory subpoenas against Democrats should they take the House majority next year then they were going to do that anyway, the select committee reasoned, and they should issue the subpoenas. If the subpoenaed House Republicans simply ignored the orders, then they would only be undercutting their ability to subpoena Democrats in partisan investigations should the GOP take the House majority next year, since they would have set a precedent for non-compliance.
Not an economist, obviously, but not bad.
• A Major Global Collapse Is Coming (Kim Dotcom)
A major global collapse is coming. It may be worse than we can imagine. Our leaders know. But what are they planning? The United States did not have a surplus or a balanced budget since 2001 and in the last 50 years it only had 4 years of profit. In fact all profit the US had in the last 50 years wouldn’t be enough to pay for 6 months of the current yearly deficit. So what do they do?
US spending and debt have spiraled out of control and the Govt can only raise the money it needs by printing it. That causes inflation. It’s like taxing you extra because you pay more for the things you need and all your assets decline in value. See the money printing frenzy:
The problem is that this has been going on for so long there’s now no way to fix it. The reality is that the US has been bankrupt for some time and what’s coming is a nightmare: Mass poverty and a new system of control. Let me explain why this isn’t just doom and gloom talk. Total US debt is at $90 trillion. US unfunded liabilities are at $169 trillion. Combined that’s $778,000 per US citizen or $2,067,000 per US tax payer. Remember, the only way the Government can operate now is by printing more money. Which means hyperinflation is inevitable. The total value of ALL companies listed on the US stock market is $53 trillion. The real value is much lower because the US has been printing trillions to provide interest free loans to investment banks to pump up the stock market. It’s a scam.
Most of the $53 trillion is air. The value of all US assets combined, every piece of land, real estate, all savings, all companies, everything that all citizens, businesses, entities and the state own is worth $193 trillion. That number is also full of air just like the US stock market. Let’s do the math: US total debt $90 trillion. US unfunded liabilities $169 trillion. Total $259 trillion. Minus all US assets $193 trillion. Balance – $66 trillion . That’s $66 trillion of debt and liabilities after every asset in the US has been sold off. Do you understand? So even if the US could sell all its assets at the current value, which is impossible, it would still be broke. The US is beyond bankrupt. This patient is already dead. This patient is now a zombie.
You probably wonder why are things still going? Why didn’t it all collapse yet. It’s all perception and denial. The perception is that the US has the largest economy and the strongest military in the world. But in reality the US is broke and can’t afford its army. The denial is that all nations depend on a strong US or else the global markets will crash. The only reason why the US zombie keeps going is because the end of the US is the end of western prosperity and an admission that capitalism failed as a model for the world. But it doesn’t change the reality. The collapse is inevitable and coming.
TIME Asia Dec 2005
Did the New York Times commit civil fraud at scale?
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) May 14, 2022
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