How anti-German hysteria in WWI killed U.S. national health care

Thomas V. DiBaccoGuest Columnist:

One of the great tragedies of the bitter partisan battle over keeping or repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is that it brings to the mind of the historian that America’s past afforded a lost opportunity a century ago to implement national health care. Indeed, in the early 1900s, reformers advanced prudent legislation dealing with matters of safety and health that drew bipartisan support. Only in the heat of emotion-laden foreign policies were these measures tossed aside.

The story begins with state reformers faced with pressing health issues: first, reducing on-the-job accidents that adversely affected workers and, second, promoting workers’ compensation for such accidents through the states. As early as 1902, Maryland enacted a workers’ comp law, with Montana and New York following eight years later. Although these measures were declared unconstitutional, Illinois in 1911 effected a law that passed constitutional scrutiny. Numerous states followed Illinois’ example, and workers’ comp would become an ingrained part of America’s safety and health structure.

Next, reformers used the state model to call for universal health insurance. Based mostly on German social legislation, the proposals covered all medical costs for workers and their dependents earning less than the average annual income in each state (ranging from $800 to $1,200). The measures were to be funded by a payroll tax on employers and employees, with states picking up 20 percent of the cost. In short, sick workers absent from their jobs would receive all medical care without cost, and two-thirds of wages up to a maximum of 26 weeks.

Starting in 1913, these programs were formally proposed to legislatures in 16 states. They encountered no opposition from the American Medical Association, whose members represented about half of the nation’s doctors. In fact, at its annual meeting in San Francisco, the AMA accepted a favorable report on these state schemes.

What killed universal health insurance was the hysteria over World War I — and anything relating to the prime enemy, Germany, which had the oldest and most advanced social legislation at the time. No state was more progressive about health reform than California, which, in a referendum in 1918, a year after the United States entered the war, saw health insurance soundly defeated 358,324 to 133,858.

Anti-German feeling spread in an irrational manner. German foods were declared unpatriotic, including sauerkraut, beer and pretzels, and one physician even started a campaign to get the name of German measles changed to Victory or Liberty measles.

Little wonder that in California and all other states, universal health care was associated with being pro-German. Or, as the Los Angeles Times put it on November 3, 1918, health insurance was a “device borrowed from the imperial laws of Germany.”

To be sure, in the 1920s reformers worked to restore interest in universal health care, and when Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1933, hope was restored. For FDR’s prestige within months suggested he could get anything he wanted. Thus, when Social Security legislation was proposed in 1935, which covered not only old-age insurance but unemployment compensation and aid to the disabled, widows and children, health insurance advocates urged that he add their program to the act.

Roosevelt chose not to do so, nor did he support a national health bill in 1939 that provided federal grants to states for coverage. The reason: German leader Adolf Hitler was firmly entrenched in power, and the specter of health-insurance opponents raising anti-German rhetoric once more was in his mind.

Even when another popular, get-anything-done president, Dwight Eisenhower, came into power in 1953, the quest for health insurance was doomed, with the Soviet Union’s form of government giving rise to opponents reveling in the fear of “socialized medicine” being transported to America.

Say all you want about the imperfections of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama borrowed from German models by moving in the direction of compulsory participation and a heavily regulated system. With President Trump’s “America First” orientation, it’s no wonder that Republicans look only to their own limited knowledge about health care.

Thomas V. DiBacco, a 1959 Rollins College graduate, is professor emeritus at American University in Washington, D. C.

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Eisenhower quote                                 Sorry  General, their number is not so negligible today


 How else to explain the “Tax Reform Act of 2017”?

Image result
(below courtesy of Social Security Works)

If the tax scam becomes law, those cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will be just the start. Rubio has made clear that Republican politicians will use the lost revenue from the tax scam as an excuse to end Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as we know them.

This is just one more battle — albeit a major one — in an ongoing war. Republican elites and their donors have been trying to dismantle these programs since they were enacted. As far back as 1961, Ronald Reagan (then pitchman/host of television’s General Electric Theater) gained political prominence by opposing the creation of Medicare, claiming that it would lead to “socialist dictatorship.” Decades earlier, Republican presidential contender Alf Landon ran for president promising to repeal and replace FDR’s brand new Social Security program.

Today’s Republicans are still fighting the battle. After the GOP gave their last giant tax giveaway to the wealthy, President George W. Bush attempted to privatize Social Security. He pointed to budget deficits created by his tax giveaway and claimed that our nation “couldn’t afford” Social Security — even though it doesn’t contribute a single penny to the deficit.

Just as Rubio recently revealed the true motivations and goals of the tax scam, back in 2005 a top Bush Administration staffer wrote a confidential memo explaining the real reason Republicans were pushing Social Security privatization. The memo, which was fortuitously leaked, stated, “For the first time in six decades, the Social Security battle is one we can win — and in doing so, we can help transform the political and philosophical landscape of the country.”

The truth is that Republican donors have always hated Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They simply want to be richer, the rest of the country be damned. In the past, the American people have thwarted every effort in this longstanding, ongoing war.

Republican politicians have learned from past failures. Instead of being clear about their hatred of these programs, they argue that they are simply trying to “save” them. They claim that the United States — the richest country in the world at the richest moment in its history — suddenly can’t afford these efficient and effective programs.

ROBBER BARONS” ARE BACK, DOING WHAT THEY DO BEST. Congress, as in 1887, aided and abetted as ordered by today’s equivalent of the malefactors below.


Imagine a President who had respect for citizens of the Republic, explaining issues of the day!

President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat, March 12, 1933, “On Banks” (excerpt)

We had a bad banking situation. Some of our bankers had shown themselves either incompetent or dishonest in their handling of the people’s funds. They had used the money entrusted to them in speculations and unwise loans. This was, of course, not true in the vast majority of our banks, but it was true in enough of them to shock the people for a time into a sense of insecurity and to put them into a frame of mind where they did not differentiate, but seemed to assume that the acts of a comparative few had tainted them all. It was the Government’s job to straighten out this situation and do it as quickly as possible. And the job is being performed.

I do not promise you that every bank will be reopened or that individual losses will not be suffered, but there will be no losses that possibly could be avoided; and there would have been more and greater losses had we continued to drift. I can even promise you salvation for some at least of the sorely pressed banks. We shall be engaged not merely in reopening sound banks but in the creation of sound banks through reorganization.

It has been wonderful to me to catch the note of confidence from all over the country. I can never be sufficiently grateful to the people for the loyal support they have given me in their acceptance of the judgment that has dictated our course, even though all our processes may not have seemed clear to them.

After all, there is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people. Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system; it is up to you to support and make it work. It is your problem no less than it is mine. Together we cannot fail.


Wisdom from Frederick Douglass

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is in an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” Frederick Douglass,abolitionist and statesman, Speech, April 1886



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Health Care mandate and King James I (of the Bible)



Arguments were fierce during debate over the world’s first health care mandate in the British Parliament of 1624. Eventually, the Government’s bill, requiring an assessment on the wages of all sailors to pay for the care of sick and injured seamen, was passed over all objections and signed by the King.

King James I, beset by serious health challenges throughout his life, obviously had some empathy for those engaged in probably the most dangerous occupation of the age. Signing this bill, entitled “REVISED STATUTES (for the welfare of seamen)” was one of his last official acts, as he died in 1625.  Among his other distinctions was the convening of scholars in 1604 and the resultant KING JAMES BIBLE OF 1611.  He was the only British monarch who was a published author and a renowned linguist, fluent in 5 languages, conversant in several more.

The result of superior medical care for British sailors, not available to sailors of other countries, was that the British Navy became the most powerful in the world for the succeeding 300 years.

In 1791, George Washington signed a similar law which, since the new United States of America had no actual Navy at the time, (The “Continental Navy”, active in the Revolutionary War, had been disbanded and its ships sold–the US Navy was established by the Naval Act of 1794, also signed by President Washington) applied to merchant ships calling on US ports and was paid by ship owners.  Alexander Hamilton wrote of the importance of what he called a “nursery  {its meaning at the time was “attentive care”} of seamen” (in FEDERALIST PAPERS #11), to the future commercial success of our new nation, dependent, at the time, totally on marine commerce.

The better health of our sailors made the US merchant fleet, epitomized by the sleek “Yankee Clippers”, the best in the world for the next 150 years.

The resulting Marine Hospital Service became the Public Health Service which dealt with epidemics such as Cholera, Smallpox, Typhoid fever and malaria in the general population. The National Institutes of Health was added to pioneer research into polio, cancer, vaccine and drug development. It’s no accident that these  entities were part of the Treasury Department, (until 1953 when the Department of Health, Education and Welfare was created by President Eisenhower) charged with the health of our economy.

More recently, Kaiser Shipyards, desperate to attract workers needed to build “Liberty Ships” during World War II (the extraordinary production of which was vital to the Allied victory), created the “Kaiser Plan”, the model for managed care health plans for the succeeding 70 years. It was the model for the Massachusetts Health care plan under Governor Romney and “Obamacare”.  Today’s critics of  inclusive, public health care, mindlessly repeating the same discredited arguments heard first in 1624, appear to have learned nothing from history.

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There seems to be no doubt that Repubs in Congress are motivated to destroy ObamaCare because it represents a key part of the legacy of President Barak Obama, our first mixed-race President.

Suppose we simply rename the Affordable Care Act AMABOCARE, which contains the Latin word amabo, President Obama’s surname spelled backwards?

Would that confuse Obama haters in Congress, and encourage them to attend to pressing issues facing our population? We can at least hope!

amabo in English

translation and definition “amabo”, Latin-English Dictionary  online


Type: verb, adverb;
  • please    

    { adverb }
    interjection to make a polite request
    interjection to make commands more polite
  • i will love
    Vide, amabo , num sit domi. Please see if he is at home.
    Please. (Short for amābō tē.)
    first-person singular future active indicative of amō “I shall love” Amabo te. Please. ( literally: “I shall love you.”) “I shall be fond of, I shall like” “I shall be under obligation to; I shall be obliged to” Amabo te. Please. ( literally: “I shall be obliged to you.”)
    Please. (Short for amābō tē.)
    Show declension of amabo

Automatic translation:

I will love

Similar phrases in dictionary Latin English. (2)

amabo te

Example sentences with “amabo”, translation memory

la Mariam semper amabo.

en I will always love Mary.

la Amabo te, iube eam salvere.

en Please say hello to her.

la Amabo te, iube uxorem tuam salvere.

en Please say hello to your wife.

la Tē semper amābō!

en I will love you forever!

la Vivus an extinctus te semper amabo.

en Alive or dead, I’ll always love you.

la Te usque ad extremum spiritum amabo.

en I’ll love you until the day I die.

la Semper te amabo.

en I’ll always love you.

la Te semper amabo.

en I’ll always love you.

la Te amo et semper amabo.

en I love you and always will love you.

Is there a better way to describe the intent of healthcare for those in the U.S. who need it than LOVE-CARE?
    Its opposite, being crafted by this McConnell/Ryan Congress, could best be described as HATE-CARE. Who can resist the following analysis of the “hate” syndrome in Latin:

What is the phrase “Haters will hate” translated to Latin?

inimici oderint OR inimicae oderint (if your haters only have X chromosomes)


if you want a silly word like “hater” you could substitute the made-up “oditores” for “inimici” and that’ll work whatever chromosomes they have.

Is there an antidote for “Hate” in whatever language? Post a comment below the Roman concept of “Amabo”, depicted here:
Cupid picture as JPEG
Cupid and Psyche, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
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Full speed into the abyss?

June 26, 2017

Defenseless by Choice?

Imagine being served, or having your “chef’s special” prepared by people unable to afford health care or safe, clean living environments? The wealthy clients of “Typhoid Mary,”,a typhoid carrier who decimated wealthy families which she served as a sought after cook in the early 20th century, has her counterparts everywhere that health care is inadequate or unavailable to the working poor.
Are we really so blind as to ignore the fact that disease precursors are constantly evolving new strains, which which immunizations can barely keep up today. Not only that, but are we absolutely sure that “biological warfare,” much studied and implemented, for example, on a massive scale (half a million deaths estimated) during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria and China in the ’30s and ’40s, will not emerge again, especially using willing human carriers bent on suicide for a cause?

Plans by the Republicans in Congress and allies in the administration to, in effect, withdraw health care options now available via Obamacare, Medicaid and Medicare to the working poor and disadvantaged, along with targeted dismantling of biological warfare tools mentioned below, may have toxic consequences ignored at our peril.

Trump’s proposed budget plan calls for an $8 billion reduction to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with closing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC).

These cuts could weaken U.S. preparedness for a biological attack or an emerging infectious disease. Daniel Gerstein, a former senior DHS official, recently stated that closing the NBACC could leave the nation at risk of a bioterror attack.

Recently, among records discarded by fleeing Isis fighters in Syria, was a laptop containing various future plans of the group.
Most interesting was that the laptop’s owner, identified as the holder of a degree in biological sciences from a Tunisian University, was teaching himself about the use of biological weaponry, in preparation for a potential attack that would have shocked the world.

(thanks to Homeland Security News and the Washington Post)

Dan Townsend,

New Mexico


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(courtesy of the INDEPENDENT, UK)

The bug-eating kit that may help humanity survive future global food shortages

The world’s population is set to hit nine billion by 2050, and bugs might have to be on the menu for us to survive

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Indy Lifestyle Online

If the thought of eating a witchetty grub or a scorpion makes your skin crawl then you might need to get used to the thought pretty sharpish, at least according to some experts.

By 2050, the population of the world is expected to hit 9 billion people. And that’s a lot of mouths to feed. Experts believe we will have to turn more and more to entomophagy, or using insects as food, in order to sustain humanity.

The diets in high-income countries filled with meat, which are being replicated in low and middle-income countries, doesn’t seem sustainable considering the toll it takes on the environment and on our health.

And when you consider that snails are a delicacy in nations including France, people in Thailand already happily tuck into grasshoppers and crickets, and not much separates a prawn from a scorpion, then it all seems a lot more palatable. (Sort of).

There are also health benefits to tucking into creepy crawlies. There are around 27g of protein per 100 grams, but between 35 to 48g in chapuline grasshoppers. And insects take up a lot less room than bigger livestock, like chicken, cows and pigs. In addition, most countries have access to or can import edible insects, with countries including Australia, China, and Mexico having a particularly large variety already available.

Designer Kobayashi Wataru is offering a small solution to the problem of making insects seem palatable for cultures where they aren’t yet widely eaten which his creation BugBug utensils. The range, which isn’t available in shops, includes especially designed chopsticks, a spork for picking up bugs, and a set of claws which slide over the fingers and help when eating bugs like crisps. He won UCL’s Institute of Making ‘Cutlery Design Challenge’ with his design last year.

But he says that people who have interacted with his project haven’t been entirely convinced to ditch their chicken for insects. Not yet, at least.

“I saw a girl covered her mouth while she was looking at the BUGBUG project,” he says of an incident when he was showing his work at the New Designers festival in London last year.

“Some people have said it’s interesting or that it’s scary. And other people just said ‘sorry I’m vegetarian’.”

At the same time, his work has also sparked debate. People have been surprisingly accepting, he says.

“At Designersblock as part of London Design Festival, a Mexican lady told me they eat insects in her country already. Another Italian guy told me some Italian people ate cats long time ago in Venice.”

“If Western people and those in developed countries eat bugs, it might be possible to balance food resources across the world.  Of course it wouldn’t be enough to only eat insects, as we have to reduce food wastes as well.”

Those who are keen to get stuck in, he adds, shouldn’t attempt to eat bugs without doing some research beforehand.

“If someone have an allergy for seashells, they might have the allergy from eating insects. Raw insects are also dangerous.  So insects are not perfect foods. But if people don’t have allergies, they are worth trying. They taste good and they are nutritious. They just look bad. But if they were cheap and convenient to get, I would buy and eat them in my daily life. I’ve eaten grasshopper, mealworms, buffalo worms and crickets for my project.”

He says he was inspired by ancient objects like stone axes and hand tools, as well as cutlery used to snap open crabs and scoop the flesh from snails.

“Entomophagy is one of the most difficult food plans to be adopted in society because nobody takes eating bugs seriously in daily life.”

“I’d like to change the perception people have so they accept insects as meals in the future because we don’t have a lot of time until 2050.”

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RUSSIANS have demanded the return of Alaska from the US in a fiery new memorial.Images of the stone engraving in the Crimean town of Yevpatoria have emergedin the region recently annexed from the Ukraine by Vladimir Putin.Russia has flexed its muscles in Crimea since seizing the region from neighbour Ukraine in 2014.

Carrying an image of Crimea and Alaska, an inscription on the marble slab reads: “We have returned Crimea, you are to return Alaska!”

Has Vladimir Putin set his sights on ALASKA after war-mongering Russians demanded the US state is returned to Moscow’s rule?

United States bought the icy state from Russia for just £6million back in 1876, or $7.2 million dollars. Though an enormous sum just after the Civil War, Russians in 2016 are quick to point out that our government paid with a “rubber check”, since the Senate of the day refused to back the check with actual money. This is the basis of the claim by many that the U.S. acquired Alaska through fraud.

Years passed until the Russian Ambassador summoned a number of Senators, including Daniel Webster, to a sumptuous dinner during which he provided Senators present with a “gift” of $10,000 (the equivalent of millions today) each. Soon afterward, the Senate backed the check mentioned above with actual funds.

BY DANNY COLLINS, staff writer for the London SUN newspaper

27th October 2016, 2:57 pm

It is just the latest in a series of coded warnings from newly-resurgent Moscow that it is eyeing up its former territory.

How Russia once ruled a North American empire all the way down to California

Russia first established colonies in North America back in 1733.

Eastern pioneers first established settlements in Alaska, Canada, and then later in California.

Russia also held two ports on the Pacific islands of Hawaii.

Voyages were first made across the narrows of the Bering Strait in the hunt for valuable beaver pelts.

By the mid 19th-century, intrepid explorers had established Fort Ross in California.

But Moscow was forced to abandon its American adventure by 1867, citing the high cost of war with Britain–at the time considering annexing (by force) Russian territory adjoining its own North American lands, now known as Canada.

The Russian and US mainland are separated by barely 55 miles across the Bering Strait.

Each country possesses one of the Diomede Islands, which are only two miles apart.

It means two of the world’s superpowers are barely a few thousand metres (yards, in English measure) apart at their closest point.

The USA’s largest state was later found to contain reserves of natural gas and oil.That fact has not gone unnoticed in Russia, which lies only 55 miles away from Alaska across the Bering Strait.

.On one of Vladimir Putin’s carefully monitored “call-in” programs, a caller asked whether he would like to see his country seize America’s 49th state. Yet Vlad brushed off the question, dismissing the region as a cold outpost of no interest to Moscow.

He replied: “My dear caller, why do you need Alaska?”

“Although we sold Alaska to the United States for a song, we are the northern country. “

“Seventy percent of our territory today is located in regions of the North and Far North.”

“Alaska is not in the Southern hemisphere. It is also cold there.”

“Let’s not be hot-tempered.”

lyube-russian-band-favored-by-putin      RUSSIA’S CUDDLY MUSIC MAKERS–“LYUBE”

Lead singer of the band “ Lyube”,  Nikolai Rastorguyev had sung about the need for Russia to reclaim its territories in Alaska. V. Putin is a fan of this musical group. “Mixed signals” are hallmarks of Putin’s style. Below is an example:

“Do Not Fool with Us, America!The Tsars were wrong! Russia and Alaska are two banks of the same river!”

“Give back our dear land, dear Alaska, give it back to us!”

“We should have reclaimed Alaska a long time ago!”

Only last year an inflammatory TV documentary was aired with the name “When Will Alaska become Ours?” No doubt the script was a production of the Putin homeland propaganda machine. Nothing gets on Russian TV without approval.



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Profile in Courage–in the avian world

An injured bird, possibly a victim of an attack by a hawk, figured out how to fortify himself for the winter despite his inability to fly.

The pictures below describe his gleaning the dropped finch seeds from our feeder: the second his mastering of the art of tree climbing to reach his perch and our several suet feeders: the third showing him just landing on the perch attached to the one feeder he seems to be able to “parachute” onto–amazingly negotiating the pigeon barrier above it during the drop: the fourth his squeezing through the wire to dine on the suet; the fifth celebrating his triumph after yet another trek up the tree.

Will he survive the winter? If any critter can, he certainly will. Courage in a tiny package!

Pictures appear via the “Continue Reading” button—enjoy! Continue reading

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Teapot Dome, second edition

It seems clear that the incoming Trump Administration has already figured out how to make the country “great again”. Key to its strategy is the sale or “gift” of public assets to private interests, mainly “friends” of Trump and his pals.

Certainly whatever token amount can be worked out for this fire sale of the heritage of our country will temporarily boost revenues, but in the long term (too late, of course) we will learn the consequences of the election of 2016.

The other part of this festival of greed will be what are called “usage charges” for literally everything essential to life and sustenance,  essentially the conversion of freely traveled highways to toll roads, escalating fees for privately owned frequency spectrum and both surface and subsurface water.

Actually we will see a replay of the scandals of the Harding Administration of the 1920s, such as the Teapot Dome bribery case involving the only Cabinet Officer (so far!) convicted of a crime in office, a character well known in New Mexico (and reviled by history!), Albert B. Fall.

Complicit in the Harding greed-fest was Republican lock on Congress, lasting from 1919 to 1930, during which the slide toward Depression and war was launched—another similarity to today.

Sadly, responsibility for this election result belongs with all the eligible voters who, by their indifference, failed to exercise their responsibilities by voting in the 2016 election (final total, 53.1% voted, 46.9 % stayed home). I hope they’re happy.

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Election 2016, or will Trumpriots suffice?


 May 7 2016

     Two “affluenza” sufferers occupy the world’s attention today. One is Kim Jong-un of North Korea, strutting his bulk before his “adoring masses” to orchestrated applause; the other is Donald J. Trump, basking in his reflection on stadium size video displays, buoyed by “believers” hanging on his every syllable. Neither man has any doubt that he is infallible, omniscient and omnipotent.  

       Those who can are, in effect, stocking their shelters and burying their gold while the performers play their roles to uncertain outcomes.

      With the possibility that Trump may “fire” the Republican Party (or be “fired” by party leadership) and either form a 3rd party ticket or provoke an electoral college deadlock, two little known amendments to the Constitution, the 12th and the 20th come into play.

      If both the House (tasked with selecting the President) and the Senate (tasked with selecting the Vice-President), both fail to act before the January 20th Inauguration day, the Speaker of the House becomes the President until the legislative bodies perform their mandated duties.

       Since there is no penalty in law for failure of the House and Senate to perform their electoral tasks, in effect, Paul Ryan could be the President for the full 4 year term, assuming that he is re-elected to the House.

         Speaker Ryan’s “Vice President”, in the absence of an elected VP, would be the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, presently Orrin Hatch. Succession beyond those two proceeds down the list of Cabinet Members, starting with the Secretary of State.

         I suspect that this may be a better option than others for which riot control gear are now being stockpiled, starting with the City of Cleveland tasked with hosting the Republican Convention in a few weeks.

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