Earth to Liberals…

“Earth to Liberals,” a tdaxp Special Report by “Aaron”

Aaron is a Noted Beacon on Non-Partisan Sanity

Bush’s plan is working perfectly. His Iraq strategy is so brilliant I would say it’s flawless… It’s just not the plan he advertises.

As Barnett has quoted, “The boys are never coming home.”

I was recently reflecting on the price of security. I was thinking about all the ridiculous warnings and the Terror Alert System. I was thinking about the constant cloud of fear that the Bush Administration keeps in the air to keep people in line. About threatening to veto an Anti-Torture amendment with a straight face. I thought, “How can we possibly stand by and allow this Administration to be so openly evil?” It then occurred to me that the evil they perpetrate is far worse than that which is plainly visible to us on a day to day basis.

George W. Bush really is keeping us safe from terrorists. After my epiphany, it’s really the first time I’ve agreed with that sentiment, and it’s chilling. “How?” dear reader? Stay with me, it all comes together.

We’re waging a war of ideas. Ward Churchill may not be a popular figure, but he’s not far from correct. In this case, we’re pushing a globalization agenda that a regressively conservative Middle East doesn’t want for our own economic benefit. Not much different than the Nazi economic machine oiling their gears and creating new jobs with the blood of innocents. To the Middle Easterner with nothing slowly losing his identity in an “Americanized” world, he may as well be the persecuted Jew. His religion is being torn apart by Westernized ideas, and as we’ve seen in the backward South and the parish halls of the hypocrite Evangelists, religion is all you need. Let the Lord be your Shepherd, you shall not want… Nor think, nor accept, nor forgive. With a nod toward Friedman and not the now-foolish looking deists of yesterday, the Flat Earth is falling down around the Mohamedan’s ears. There is now only desolation and despair for the Fundamentalist Middle Easterner. He can fight the Great Satan, or be destroyed by it… And this slumbering giant needs no provocation to awaken. We have been rolling over countless cultures and faiths in our sleepy pursuit of another dollar, another cheap oil field, another sweatshop, another diamond mine.

We’re so caught up in our American way of life, we do not consider those we are destroying… But like the poor souls in the Towers, I have to admit, it’s not our fault. We’ve been raised to believe it’s manifest destiny. We ran out of West, young man, so now we’re going back East… Middle East. I’m no socialist. I’m no bleeding heart. Our way of life, minus the recent “progress” of the Right, is ideal. Yes, there will always be poor. Yes, there will always be famine. Yes, there will always be disease. There is no utopia, religious or social. We cannot strive to be any better than we were in 1998. We can make our uber-rich a few more dollars, we can defer the tax man for investments and the other workless gains of the wealthy. Or we can give away all the wealthy’s money to the poor, but we won’t be in any better position. We’ll just have more people unwilling to work for their own betterment. Yes, there’s a little libertarian in me… But not much. And it’s fading fast.

There is and always will be a war of ideas… And here is where Bush’s plan lies… This is a war which must be fought. We will no sooner give up our Starbuck’s and SUVs than Achmed will give up Allah, the burkha, or the notion of sovereignty. Bush is keeping us safe from terrorists by sacrificing the lives of American boys and girls, predominantly poor, predominantly black, and predominantly deserving of much better. They are making a sacrifice the right-wing bloggers, the aging Senators, and the distainful religious warriors w/o arms refuse to do. He has put us into a quagmire in Iraq to protect us from assaults at home. The borders of Iraq overflow with Muslim extremists looking to blow themselves up in crowds of children and American soldiers… And every time one does, there is one less A-Rab to blow himself up in an American metropolitan financial center. Bush has gotten us into war with Germany so we will not have to fight Hitler at home. If he can install a weakling democracy in Iraq, it will no doubt follow the careful guidance of its American handlers, much as the clueless President does now. They will globalize, they will privatize, they will de-socialize… Their citizens will be all that much better off for it, but they will be all that much worse off for it. They will have Nike and McDonald’s, but they will be the envy and enemy of their Muslim brothers… The carrot of wealth and happiness will lead Iraq into a period of economic growth it has never known… And its citizens will embrace it wholeheartedly. And in doing so, earn the enmity of every fundamentalist nation in the Middle East.

Bush is making Iraq our whipping boy. The culture war can take place between the Kurds, the Turks, the Iranians, the Sunni and the Shi’ite. The terrorists need not come to the borders of America to fight capitalism and Westernization. They can do it on the streets of Baghdad. In the shopping malls and soon-constructed banks and financial centers. On the Iraqi stock exchange, eventually. We are not installing a democracy. We are not giving them freedom. We are turning former brothers against each other so we need not bear the brunt of the economically and socially disadvantaged’s hatred of the West.

We are in a quagmire in Iraq, one Bush has no intention of withdrawing from, now or ever. As long as he can keep the terrorists at each others’ throats via their moneypurses and their ideals, he can keep America safe and continue to push his own regressive religious agenda at home… And as long as the proof is in the pudding, and there are no terrorist attacks in America, he can keep pointing out his success, and people will continue to vote for him and his ilk.

16 thoughts on “Earth to Liberals…”

  1. Aaron,

    Thank you for the special report. And congratulations on the John Kerry Sombrero.

    I think you are generally accurate. Your post reads a lot like Barnett, with a tad more anti-Bush enmity. Nonetheless, your analysis is generally accurate.

    I agree we are fighting increasingly regressive enemies. Barnett has written how globalization's foes have fallen progressively backwards in time, from the modern Nazis to the modernizing Soviets to declining dictators and even the near-iron-age Taliban.

    You are also write that the terrorists are fighting to protect and extend a way of life. Our goal of shrinking the Gap is antithetical to them. As Barnett has said, “The terrorists do know better.” As Jacob wrote on “John Robb': “the global guerilla slogan is “Shrink the Core!” (

    The idea of using Iraq as a honeypot for terrorists is sometimes called the Scythian Strategy ( And while American forces themselves might leave, the Virtual Empire of the Core — the global rule-sets — should never leave Iraq. This is what drives men like Zarqawi and bin Laden.

    Last, your analysis reminds me of Howard Blood's in the pre-9/11 book “The Lucifer Principle” ( Unless we can synchronize rule-sets in a manner agreeable to the vast majority of the world, we can expect violent resistance. Interesting, Chirol at Coming Anarchy has just started a serious on religious friction (

    Last, when I read “I was thinking about the constant cloud of fear that the Bush Administration keeps in the air to keep people in lin” I couldn't help but thinking of the Magic Cloud sometimes used on powerpoints ( Fear is manufactured and constructed in an ill-defined process, magic “clouds” are good metaphors (whether or not concern is justified).

  2. Yes, this is going to be a tirade. ;o)

    This must be Stupid National Socialist Analogy day in the blogosphere because I'm seeing this Nazi meme from all over the place today.

    “Not much different than the Nazi economic machine oiling their gears and creating new jobs with the blood of innocents.”

    Actually, American economic and foreign policy as it relates to globalization is 180 degrees different from Nazi economic policy. This was something recognized at the time by both German and American leaders and not just by historians.

    It was also recognized by the British and Soviets who had their own fears regarding American free-market/free-trade capitalism going global and disintegrating their respective and very different empires.

    I agree with you that Globalization is threatening to local Muslim elites – secular or Islamist – because the maximization of individual choice is not compatible with their authoritarian rule and societal dominance which requires a priori setting up and controlling the narrowest of life parameters for their citizens, keeping them as poor, ignorant and politically marginallized as possible.

    To the extent that American policy enhances Globalization's undermining of the power of these self-aggrandizing tyrants it constitutes a moral good. Do we benefit from globalization ? Yes, but we are already get the only thing the ME has to sell – Oil – and we get it regardless because these states must sell to survive. Globalizing Iraq costs us far more than we gain but the average Iraqi will someday gain the world.

    Finally, I also not that the most strident opposition to American policy today comes from the Chomskys, Churchills, DeGenovas, Sheehans, Moores, Eurocrat officials and other elitist assholes whose politics center on controlling the lives of their fellow citizens to the gretest extent possible. They are not antiwar because they fear America could lose but because they fear America might win.

    Globalization's implications threatens them as much as any imam

  3. Well, Mark, a tirade in turn: Have at you!

    There is no fear on my or any of my current contemporaries' behalves that we will win / lose. Victory is certain, but at what price? To me, giving the Iraqis their freedom was not worth 2,000+ American lives. It is not worth the lives of those children in the shopping malls and mosques. There are many lesser countries whose citizens lust for freedom and have not the means to attain it. We did not need to start in Iraq, and anyone claiming that's the reason we're there is in denial. We have liberated them from a sadistic tyrant to throw them under the heels of the next Ayatollah.

    I am no friend of Churchill and found his comments distasteful. But I don't think you followed my analogy properly. The Nazis were happy to roll over and demonize a people in order to influence their citizens. We do the same, whether we do it with free markets or Socialist or Fascist labor controls. My analogy targeted social methods, not economic theory. I think you understand that but the temptation to parrot Godwin is great 🙂 Yes, we do not engage in mass exterminations. But we have created a villain for our country to band together in distaste of, the vile Arab, who is always a terrorist and always an extremist and unworthy of respect. The Administration has used 9/11, faulty intelligence and any number of other methods to give Americans a common enemy. And while we aren't jailing Ben Affleck or the Dixie Chicks, it seems to be a desirable move to people like Coulter and O'Reilly.

    I am no opponent of globalization. I am no elitist that desires to control my fellow man. Perhaps your view of my party has been skewed by careful propoganda, but last time I checked, the Left wanted everyone to have rights, everyone to have freedom, a free and wholesome environment for everyone… We seek not to impose our religious beliefs on others, we seek not to strip the land of its natural bounty for the benefit of company owners and shareholders. I don't want to saddle my fellow man with a life of servitude in service industries that eventually will cater to the haves and will provide only a meager means for the have-nots. I am sorry that the horrible regulations hinder so many businesses from truly realizing their awesome potential to make their owners, management and investors more and more money. But I think an unregulated system would quickly spiral out of control. Unchecked capitalism would be as destructive a social force as any repressive regime.

    The Iraqis will not have their freedom. They will create democracy that will tear itself apart without the secular rule. The Iraqis are blowing up Iraqis. The Iranians are waiting patiently to install a fundamentalist regime there as soon as we pull out… Which by the way, I advocate no exit any time soon. I doubt that view would be popular with my fellow Democrats, but I'm entitled to it ( see, on my side, you don't have to fall in lockstep or risk abandonment )

    My post was ambivalent toward globalization as a movement. The point I was attempting to make and I think slipped under your radar but definitely not over your head 🙂 was what Dan pointed out as the Scythian Strategy. The terrorists are pouring into Iraq and abandoning plans in Israel, Europe and America. They perceive Iraq to be the front lines of their religious war, and Bush et al are happy to keep them at arm's length. I guess I just wasn't smart enough to come up with the idea first.

  4. Wow, that is the most cognizent thing I think I've ever heard from Aaron. It makes perfect sense. I'm fairly sure that Bush hasn't quite thought it through in all those words, since several did have more than two syllables, but while Bush might be at the top because of his family and money, alot of his administration is there because of their talent and intelligence.
    The problem that I see with this idea is that it is a war without end. In order to maintain the whipping boy status we must constantly be giving terrorists something else to aim for. I think that when this does settle down and they don't have an alternative target, the attacks on America are going to be doubled. At that point we won't be in the act of destroying their way of life, we will have destroyed it. A culture that states that you get a 100% pass to heaven if you die in the war against another culture will wage that war until every last one of them is dead. So what do we do to prevent that?

  5. Without further comment, I wanted to quickly thank Aaron, Biz, and Mark for the discussion thus far.

    Aaron has been my best friend since I met him in middle school. Today, Aaron introduced me to Ming Wah, a Sioux Falls institution which I had never entered before. It was delicious — easily the best Chinese food I have ever eaten in Sioux Falls. Aaron is also my blogfather, running a site that allows a geographically distributed community of Dakota State alumni keep in touch. He is responsible for a web presense which allows me to keep up with many good friends…

    … one of which is Biz, a rampant bibliophile. A blog of nothing but book reviews by Biz would be fascinating and continuously updated. He is also a natural horizontal thinker and a passionate citizen-midevalist of both western and eastern cultures.

    Mark Safranski runs ZenPundit (, the best blog ever. That's not an exageration. A trained historian, he is also a genius and a brilliant thinker of both systems and psychology. The sorts of people he is in regular contact with is mind-bogling.

    Because we don't physically see or hear each other online, it can be hard to tell how “serious” the other person in the conversation is. Aaron, Biz, Mark, I hold you all in very high esteem. You are all men worth emulating.

  6. Heh. A little broken china in the comment section every once in a while is a good thing, it gets the juices flowing. Thank you for the kind words Dan – and don't worry, your friend Aaron acquits himself very well.


    To continue our discussion in a less heated vein, regardless of how you view the Bush administration ( and I have my own problems with how they have screwed things up) or their case for war, Iraq was always about something far larger than just Iraq – i.e. changing the strategic dynamic of the ME to one that is not a long-term security threat to the West.

    Is that worth the lives of 2000+ American soldiers ? In the age of loose nukes and jihadist terrorism it is. These states must change because the spillover costs of their dysfunctional political culture cannot be contained or quarrantined by any measure I can see. That doesn't mean regime change across the board but it does mean pressure because we cannot tolerate the export of disorder, terror and subversion from Arab dictatorships who require a safety valve of forcing trouble-makers to emigrate.

    You discuss Iraq being what most call ” the flypaper strategy”; I think this was an unintended consequence and the Neocons would have much preferred a smooth and quick occupation of Iraq followed by a takedown in Syria. If that grinds up the terror network's resources that might otherwise be used elsewhere – and there's evidence that may be the case with the shift to female suicide bombers – that's a plus for us but given the current structure of the military keeping 150,000 troops engaged isn't feasible for us. Either we find a way to do what we are accomplishing now in Iraq in terms of stabilization with fewer ( say 50,000) or we return to a Cold War sized military with an 18 active Army divisions and 300,000 Marines.

    Nor do I think the Mullahs in Iraq will fare any better than their Iranian counterparts who have lost the allegience of their own people and are now losing the loyalty of even their own security services. You will soon see satellite dishes and internet cafes in Karbala just like you do in Teheran. Iraq to some degree is always going to reflect Islamic values because 90 % + of Iraqis are Muslims but an Iraq where the politics are as democratic as in India is an Iraq that is the Arab gateway to a long term ME liberalization.

    And with that – I'll wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving !

  7. Jeff,

    I will abstain from criticism of your own invective blog posts on a number of subjects, but I would like to hear a cogent criticism instead of a regressive elitist dismissal 🙂

  8. If you really believe that the best we can do is maintain a 1998-like lifestyle, then you may want to stay home in the next election and stay out of the way for those who vote in the HOPES of making change. Because, my dear fellow citizen, 1998 is NOT the ideal for this nation. Clinton, while overseeing a stronger economy, was not the best, be-all-you-can-be president that was possible for this nation. The Federal government, even under Democrats, is an intrusive beast, whether it is economic or social.

    And it may be inaccurate to believe that Bush is waging the war so that somehow jihadists will not wage their war in our turf. That is attaching an idealism to Bush that is completely lacking in my opinion. And that is somehow missing the nuances that are taking place with the War in Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as the War On Terrorism. The War in Iraq, just isn't about Neo-Con “adventurism,” but the manifestation of the Military-Industrial complex that Ike warned us about those many decades ago before he left office. As anyone that has been following events, tipped off by the Downing Street Memos, the Bush administration has been less-than-honest in its actions and motivations. And the belief that the war in Iraq is merely an extension of some “culture” war is inaccurate – after all, whose culture is it? Ours, or THEIRS, meaning the upper-tier elite that is responsible for controlling the finances of the World?

    In short, what I am trying to ask is this: IS the war really being fought for US, or for THEM, whoever that may be? And do we really have to believe that somehow 1998 was the highest we could attain, or do we really have much more potential as I, and many fellow idealists, really believe that we could achieve? Do we really want to believe that the Nanny State, the Corporatocracy, that existed in 1998 and is currently enlarging under Bush and the Bushoviks, is the best we can do?

    Dear God, I hope not. I think you are on the right path, but ydig a little deeper!



  9. Mark,

    I may differ from a number of Americans on this subject, but I am not worried at all about terrorism. It is simply not my priority. Much like I do not stay indoors during a thunderstorm for threat of lightning, I do not abstain from flying or large venues for fear of terrorism. I'm concerned over our disparate castes in this throbbing economy. I am concerned about racial tensions in the South and California in regards to immigration. I am concerned about pollution and global warming. I am concerned about divorce rates. I am concerned about financial sector fraud. I am concerned about casual dismissal of hard science to benefit businesses that may be gone tomorrow on a dozen signatures, at the expense of a planet that's been here for millions of years. I am concerned about religious intolerance and sexual discrimination. I am concerned about deficits and education. I am concerned about peak oil and the ocean currents shutting down. I am concerned about everything but the one thing that concerns Bush.

    You mentioned loose nukes. I watched with great interest the presidential debates. The moderator asked what the greatest threat to America was. Bush said, of course, gay marriage (sorry, couldn't resist, he said “Terrorism” ) and Kerry said “nuclear proliferation” I wanted to cheer. There are greater threats to our way of life than a dozen or a hundred or a thousand people being hurt and killed in an isolated attack. There are loose nukes out there, and there are unfriendly countries with openly acknowledged nuclear weapons programs. Some fundamentalist cavemen might hijack some planes, but they'll have a hard time getting nukes on them if we account for them all and stop the countries in development before we have to do it the hard way. Adding fuel to anti-American fire by invading a country on the pretense of punishing a single man has only worsened our position in a future utopian flat earth. I think with half the 300 billion we've spent in Iraq could've found every ounce of uranium on Earth.

    I think we could have easily accomplished our goals in Iraq by massaging the sometimes-friendly Saudis into becoming a world leader in business investment, with open processes and aggressive anti-corruption policies. And as they watched their neighbors join the modern economy, the ME's capitalist eyes would be bigger than their fundamentalist stomachs. Give them something to live and strive for and they will no longer kill each other over who Mohammed's heir should have been. Give the Israelis and Palestinians a decent living and the number of business majors over Muslim studies majors will explode, rather than cafes and buses.

    The much reviled IRA eventually lost steam and petered out because their cause became irrelevant. I think another generation of constant warfare plus the slow infiltration of westernized ideals would do more for us in the ME than a military presence has done. I applaud the decision to find bin Laden in Afghanistan. But Iraq was misguided. Ignoring Iran and North Korea is misguided. 2000 dead or a million dollar missile into a uranium enrichment facility?

    I fully expect this to be shot full of holes, as I'm typing as fast as I am thinking. This is what will prevent people like myself and Mr. Dean from ever becoming President, but I think it makes for good conversation 🙂


  10. All,

    I'm enjoying watching this conversation very much. It is rare to see such well written, intelligent comments on one site — this is how the guys from ComingAnarchy must feel everyday! 🙂

    Aaron, you may enjoy He seems to be coming from the same place as you:

    ” Whether they agree with the federal government's invasion of Iraq or not, most Americans want liberalism to spread across the globe. We want to propagate the ideals of Western culture to other nations, with the belief that if they adopt respect for human rights the world will be a far better place. It is also our belief that we will succeed.

    The success of American values has little, if anything, to do with winning military victories. The best way to expose unfree nations to freedom is through peaceful cultural exchange. Attempts at tyranny inevitably fail when the would-be subjects are exposed to a working model of liberty and freedom. “

  11. Hi Aaron,

    The six-shooter has been put away for the evening.

    I think you did a fair job in your first paragraph of illustrating a general tendency among Democrats/Liberals/Progressives of the locus of what motivates their interest in public policy and politics. It's deeply on the domestic side of things and its rooted in the culture of your party. Tip O'Neill, to cite one example, despaired of Presidents in his memoirs who like Jimmy Carter and Jerry Ford no sooner took the oath of office then they suddenly became overly concerned in O'Neill's view about what went on in Namibia.

    O'Neill was at heart a local pol gone national but the Democratic Party and Liberalism formerly and regularly produced formidible thinkers on Foreign Affairs – Lippmann, Kennan, Nitze, Acheson, McCloy, Rusk, Ball, Bundy, Jackson and others. That's not true today – your foreign policy heavyweights are few in number and some like Hamilton and Brzezinski are getting long in the tooth – rising stars in your party like Obama, Ford, Hillary
    not find it advantageous, like JFK once did, to be seen at the forefront on FP issues. Not if they want to win the primaries – all articulating coherent and forceful view of foreign policy
    will get a Democratic candidate is the loathing of half of the party as either ” Republican-lite” or a ” Can't win in November crackpot”. Better to be oblique.

    This is, in my view, quite bad for the country. It's even bad for the GOP because there's no sense of fear that the ” other guys” will come up with something better and a license to be irresponsible or cavalier has developed. But mostly, it's bad for the country because the United States is not a compartmentalized entity. We are connected to the world and it to us. It's a feedback loop.

    While we say ” terrorism” we really aren't talking about Abu Nidal or Yasser Arafat or the IRA but a transnational insurgency that is waging what we would call a guerilla war if it were happening solely within one nation's borders. Moreover, this Islamist insurgency is coinciding with the decay and collapse of the westphalian nation-state system. Every nation-state, including our own, draws its stability and legitimacy and security from the health of the system as a whole, at least to some degree.

    Rogue, failing and failed states are indicative of that system 's failure and the entropy being generated endangers the capacity of the state to engage in the redistributive and regulatory activities that are the focus of your interests because the loyalties of citizens begin shifting elsewhere – to parties, supranational bodies, tribes, religious sects, corporations, gangs, ethnic groups, mafia networks etc.

    As a result you have leaders attempting to write new rule-sets and staking moral claims – Bush to preemption and traditional conceptions of sovereignty and war – the EU and NGO
    activists to transnationalist ,maximalist and undemocratic conceptions of International Law – and Islamists like Bin Laden to Sharia universalism. Which system of though gains global preponderance is going to deeply influence the internal politics of ” law abiding” nations the way European and american conceptions of economics and government influence states today.

    So, in the long run foreign policy matters and this war is an epochal testing ground for the 21st century.

  12. I believe that we are at the beginning of a period of chaos and redefinition that will, in the distant future and assuming the jihadis don't win, be compared with the Reformation or the Enlightenment. It is not generally remembered, but those events were not bloodless intellectual debates. The Reformation was a time of war and massacre (google “wars of religion” and be amazed). The Enlightenment led to numerous wars and revolutions, and arguably began as a result of the English civil war. The intellectual products of the Reformation and the Enlightenment were results of the stresses of wars, and themselves caused wars.

    Now it's just fine to look at all of this and run screaming: it's a natural reaction and it takes great fortitude not do run screaming. Indeed, it is fair to say that at 7am on 9/11, terrorism was far, far from the average American's mind: social justice was probably more on people's minds, despite the regular attacks, increasing in scale and audacity, carried out against the US by terrorists through the 1990s. We can't go back to 1998, no matter how much we'd like to (and I personally wouldn't like to) because we have an enemy that will not go back.

    And until that changes, refusing to face up to foreign policy realities has one of two results: electoral defeat, or thousands of enemy dead.

  13. Add the Eisenhower administration to these geopolitical equations and see what shakes into place; the timing of his exit speech is key.

  14. Aaron;

    Where do you get the idea that Democrats like rights? Let's see… Guns? Nope. Prayer? Egads! Disciplinary Spanking? Abuser!!Fireworks? Nope. Boy Scouts? Nach. Landowners? Ha! Puh-lease! You're in denial. Fascists used to goose-step. Now, they jog.


  15. John,

    You obviously missed my dig at the Right when I said Democrats don't have to fall in lockstep. That's probably why our party doesn't get much done. But I digress. Our party leader is anti-abortion. Our likely candidate for presidency in '08 is pro-war. Michael Moore has an NRA card. You've let the propagana machine influence your beliefs too much. Just like I don't think every Republican is pro-torture, you shouldn't think all Democrats are anti-sanity.

    You can have guns, I just ask that you don't kill me. You can have prayer, I just ask you don't mandate it, maybe I don't believe in the same imaginary maguffin you do. Spanking? Shit, go for it, I'd let a teacher spank my kid. Fireworks? Uh, what? Boy Scouts? Former member. The scout leader can even be gay, none of my business. Landowners? I come from a famly of them. Maybe you should explain your position there… I have a lot of respect for the biggest landowner of them all, the American public, whose collective property and health are consistently threatened by people whose bank statements might not be as fat if they had to ease up on the pollution.

    We hunt, we go to church, and we hate black folks. Wait, no, that's my Republican aunt and uncle. We hunt, we go to church, we avoid my aunt and uncle, and we vote Democrat.

    If you'd care to debate, I'd be happy to. If you only care to stereotype, I can do that too… It's just that I like to be taken seriously and I have to have real things to say to get anywhere.

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