The “vision thing”

While Newsstand seems the first to blog about it, Philippine Politics ’04 is suitably impressed and points to the Right Wing blogosphere in the United States (led by the Drudge Report and echoed by Michelle Malkin) feasting on an ABC News story on espionage in the White House (it’s the shotgun approach, the story hurts everyone involved). The ultimate American point of view: thank God it was only the little brown brothers doing it:

“Even though it’s not for the Russians or some other government, the fact that it occurred at the White House is a matter of great concern,” said John Martin, who was the government’s lead espionage prosecutor for 26 years.

My column for today is The “Vision Thing,” the quote taken from George Bush, Senior. Even Dong Puno, it seems, is skeptical about the take-no-prisoners Palace strategy:

I’m not so sure the country’s interest is furthered by what’s actually going on. And if someone tells me the government hasn’t at all lost focus, that the work of government proceeds unimpeded by the political crisis, that the economy continues to flourish despite all the noise, well, I have a bridge across the Pasig I’d like to sell.

Ouch. Maybe that’s why Rational Sphere has suddenly gone silent?

There’s an interesting column by Tony Abaya on what military thinking seems to be like these days. The thoughts of a Col. Ricardo Morales, PA, bears close scrutiny: he asserts, for example, in a paper, that,

“…Defeat in the hands of Napoleon compelled the Prussian reformers — Clausewitz, von Stettin, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau — to reexamine and discard Frederick the Great’s outmoded methods and establish the tradition of military excellence that Germany has since been known for… Germany’s defeat during two world wars does not diminish the fact of its military excellence that remains to this day…”

Which completely ignores several things, not least the use of Frederick the Great as the inspiration for the Prussian reformers, and how, the supreme articulation of their reformism, an independent Prussian General Staff, was deliberately suppressed by both Hitler and the Allies after World War II, though the present armed forces of Germany was put together by a corps of committed WW2 veterans. Anyway, read Morale’s thoughts, because his thesis that the Philippine military lacks what Abaya says is a “defeat experience” -but then what was the defeat of the coup attempts in 1987 and 1989? In 2003? Anyway… Maybe Max Soliven has the ultimate clue as to why the armed forces remain grumpy, but in their barracks: 40 generals are due to retire next year, and, of course, that means the President gets to create 40 new generals. And that means colonels to replace those promoted to general, and so on up and down the line…

And it seems, a new blog is born: Uniffors (Union of Filipino Foreign Service Officers). Seems all isn’t quiet on the Department of Foreign Affairs front.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

36 thoughts on “The “vision thing”

  1. MLQ,

    Re: 40 retiring generals

    In theory, generals or officers for star ranks are not appointed by the president. An officer becomes eligible for a star rank when the Board of Generals approves his star-rank status (based on several criteria, performance, oral and written tests, interviews, GSC degree qualifications, citations, etc.). The Board of Generals’ approval is then sent to Malacanang through DND (which, in theory, has no say in the matter) for final approval. The President, in theory (again) cannot decline the recommendation and traditionally cannot even make a comment regarding the BoG’s recommendation.

    In practice, however, if the president, who is the commander-in-chief is not inclined to agree with the Board’s recommendation, he/she simply returns the same recommendation to the Board through the DND; the Board will then take it from there.

    It has happened that a Board’s recommendation may go back and forth because the Board refuses to make any changes in its approved list. This is where the Chairman of the BoG – a position held by the CS AFP – comes in. He will take Malacanang’s hint and will ‘instruct’ the Board to make the necessary alterations.

    The only position in the military hierarchy that is appointed directly by the President is that of Chief of Staff, AFP.

    It may be the President’s prerogative to give his/her higher approval for the Board’s recommendation but by tradition and based on military law, ‘he/she does not appoint military officers to become generals.

    Unfortunately, the Philippine military institution has been weakened these last couple of decades by a succession of Commanders in Chiefs, who have seen fit to consider the Philippine military as their private army. They are guilty of instauring indiscipline in the military leadership.

    Ironically, one of the commanders-in-chief who never interfered with the military institution was President Estrada. His non-interference, must have been viewed by the military as a sign of Erap’s weakness when they should have viewed it as a step towards the professionalization of the institution.

    The Philippine military is in an appaling state of moral decay. It’s rationale for being is amateur. Sadly, the military institution in the Philippines can only play by the rules of the oldest game in the world that it knows best – Follow the Leader.

  2. Well wheres the bridge.. Government is a very large organization. If you say it has stopped are we talking the senate (They never started work….).

    Come on look a little wider cant see the forest because of the tree your standing in front of.

    I felt my heart was ripped out when that B on ANC said to a girl wanting to be a pilot “What do you want to fly. OH they wont be when you graduate” or something to that affect.

    She loves killing peoples dreams… Even if this girl becomes a pilot and flies once she has achieved her dream which many never do…

    The piso is recovering, slowly but it is.

    I remember also the line you wrote for ANC the one on general Lim. You both did not understand what he said did you..

    The philippines does not celebrate any defeat unlike England and Australia. And the Military should keep out of politics. Maybe they have it easy there the Army Declares allegiance to One Person and Country (the Queen)…

    Maybe the British and Spanish should not have left???

    Every time you ask the military on there side they should not have one. They are here to Protect the People and its Institutions. From Physical Attacks.

    Which is what they did in EDSA 2.. Protected the Main Institutions, Senate, Congress, Supreme Court, and the People.

    Tell me exactly within a million or so how much the senate has cost in the last year, and then tell me how many laws they passed?

    I really want to know where my money went…

  3. Cory it seems does have dirty hands and now it is comming out in the wash, Diamonds anyone?

    Spy Events have escalated to the White House, this will be interesting to follow, as he had friends in the media aswell as in the opposition here.

    I think it was Korina interviewing him infornt of what looked like the White House, back when he was working there. Notice she also did a program on him and never mentioned that she had met him before.. (I may be mistaken but the back of her head and the side profile looked really like her.)

    Anyways greetings to all, have a good day, Weekend coming up, plan to do something with your loved ones.(Even eating icecream together..)

  4. yup that was korina. was just wondering why the american national newsmedia are picking up the story just now when the story is about a month old. was surprised too that drudge had it center/first headline yesterday. michelle malkin i do not read. i see her sometimes on fox and i find she has a republican “tililing” much like anne coulter. ugh!

  5. Its not that they are picking it up now they actually indicted him yesterday as i understand and the white house is now involved which is the US’s Medias Main wipping boy like here.

    They were talking at one stage that the white house was giving full cooperation with the investigators, which in the US is abnormal, as bush wants to keep everyone out if posible..

    Also the FBI had the FBI link but did not think it went back to before he became an FBI agent that is why they delayed the first hearing as he started to spill the beans on what he had been upto, as he could get the Death Penalty being a traitor, and all his direct family could lose there property as in the last big Spy case there. Where the Spy admitted to everything if the wife could keep the house and bank account..

  6. You can’t be in goverment & have clean hands, either ways you commit ommision or commision of an act.
    I once handeled a goverment project.I would have made major bucks but i would never be in peace.So I let go of the project.I was only glad to see how things work on top.I did not fool myself to think that I could change anything cause that will be being naive.
    Bill Esposo a GMA basher was ibjective that Bro. Eddie must face the charges becasue the question is he had a contract w/ another when he made a contract w/ Araneta & now he has another contract w/ GMA7.
    Bro. Eddie is a fake.He won’t be in the religion busines if there was nothing in it for him.

  7. ugh! turns out the ones trowing mud are uglier than their target. lie cheat and steal…balasubas estafa magnanakaw din pala. No wonder they hate her very much sa hirap ng buhay ngayon the supply of money is limited.

  8. Yes, joselu, Bro. Eddie is indeed in religion for the business. And he is indeed a fake. But there are suckers born every minute. That’s why Bro. Eddie, Bro. Mike and others like them make big bucks and keep on fooling their followers.

  9. emilie, that’s a good one. The thieves are fighting over a smaller pie. Mas matindi and competition.

    And the truth about Cory and her kamag-anaks will haunt her. Not only did they make a mockery out of land reform, they helped themselves to Imelda’s jewels and other Marcos loot. Now I know why they allowed Danding to come back and take over San Miguel. May areglo!

  10. I think guys if we have to look at others to find insperation, guess we can only be disapointed!
    I guess we can do better by beleaving in ourselves & stop looking at people for what they wear or what their titles are, or how loud they talk.

  11. Manolo, I have observed that that there is a makeover in Teddy Casiño’s image lately. I saw him in some talk shows and he now looks neater, with glasses and tidy hair. It’s a much softer image although, if you were familiar with the former Teddy Casiño, you would swear it was a deliberate change of image. He now looks more like the boy next door who just happened to become a radical.

    Today I read this article from Marichu Villanueva of the Philippine Star:

    “I concur with the observations of Maguindanao Congressman Simeon Datumanong, chairman of the House committee on justice, who aptly noted that Ocampo’s Bayan Muna colleague, a much younger partylist representative, Teddy Casino, acted with more maturity as a progressive political leader.

    Datumanong, who was the former Justice Secretary of the Arroyo administration, appreciated the active participation of Casino in the parliamentary debate in Congress when they deliberated and approved the House committee report on the proposed Anti-Terror bill last Tuesday.

    He cited Casino gave his inputs on how to safeguard the human rights of Filipinos in certain provisions of the proposed Anti-Terror bill that seeks to help preempt terrorism while going after foreign or local terrorists, which might be interpreted as an instrument by the State to clamp down on legitimate political dissent in the country.

    On the other hand, Datumanong deplored the latest turnaround made by his former Arroyo Cabinet colleague, Parañaque Congressman Roilo Golez, when he withdrew as one of the original principal authors of this proposed Anti-Terror bill.”

    It almost confirms my first impression that Teddy Casiño is softening his image. I mention this only because maybe he has been heeding your advice about discarding the tired, old methods and trying new avenues to get your message across.

  12. “…his thesis that the Philippine military lacks what Abaya says is a “defeat experience” -but then what was the defeat of the coup attempts in 1987 and 1989? In 2003?”

    How about the defeat of the first republic’s forces in the Philippie-American War? A defeat so total that it’s memory has been obliterated from the consciousness of most Filipinos. Even from the institutional memory of the AFP. (Ironic because the AFP claims to have originated from the army of 1898.)

  13. the indictment was done on a thursday, a day or two after story came out this week. yung nga ang weird (1) the spying discovery/arrest didnt reach natl media status; sa ny at nj lang; (2) unprecedented cooperation from the white house? nalusutan sila and they’re broadcasting it? this could have just remained a local story had the fed govt so wished; (3) why the big deal when what was stolen were about the phils anyway. they just exposed themselves voluntarily to more criticism? to what end? the fed govt doesnt need anymore criticim in katrina’s wake and their 2K death toll in iraq.

    in blitzer’s situation room, they were discussing about how embarrassing for the US to have these assessments of foreign leaders leaked (which is a necessary consequence of reporting on the story). they said it’s embarrassing for the foreign leaders (like gma) to know how low the US thinks of them which implies that that the US thinks lowly of gma.

    i must have missed something. was bro eddie convicted already? i thought they just filed the info in court. what’s the evidence? do they have a hello garci tape type of evidence?

    why is bro eddie a fake?

    what does josie trinidad lichauco say about this? i saw her with bro eddie as he was waiting to be arrested.

  14. Dong Puno is a pompous lightweight. Not the kind of person to be taking “vision” cues from.

    And speaking about “vision”, let’s consider ancient history, pre-colonial Spain, how practically every major trading country in the world was drawn here. Some woud say we coulda been a contender, a powerhouse in this region like Singapore or Hongkong. Maybe a portion of that dream, if not the whole, could still come true. We still have a lot of resources, including the people, to parlay. As always our history provides inspiration and hope.

  15. Re: Gloria’s vision

    Gloria’s vision has been blurred by that horrible illness that affects one’s appetite known as greed. Her vision therefore has been damaged so badly that she no longer sees the truth.

    Just look at what she said today which, btw, appeared as a news headline story in the Inquirer News on the net:


    See what I mean? I can hear you all say “Good God! Look who’s talking?”

    And you are right! Because Gloria’s vision “thing” is so bad, allow me to re-fresh your memory with a few questions here:

    Who plotted against President Estrada, the constitutionally-elected president of the Republic from day one of Estrada’s election as president?

    Who stole the presidency not once but twice?

    Who stole the mantle of leadership from the Commander in Chief when she organized the military mutiny against him?

    Who stole money from national treasury to finance her presidential campaign?

    Who led the toppling of the duly, constitutionally elected president of the Philippines on 20 January 2001?

    Who stole votes during the 2004 Presidential elections?

    Who led the plot to defraud more than 10 million Filipinos of their right for having voted Estrada president when she took Malacanang?

    Who toppled the already shaking foundations of the Republic by victimizing the Supreme Court?

    Who stole what’s left of Filipino dignity?

    Who toppled the foundations of Philippine democratic ambitions in January 2001?

    Who lied in December 2002 when she swore she wouldn’t run for presidency again?

    Who stole the last shred of morality left in an already morally confused Republic?

    Who is the leader of the oldest game in the world – FOLLOW THE LEADER – as practised in the Philippines today?

    Who is the biggest Catholic bigot in the country today?

    Who is the most morally inept leader the country has today?

    Who is the biggest liar, cheat and thief of them all?

    Which so-called president should be accused of coup plotting and thieving today?

    By the way, if you answer GLORIA MACAPAL – a.k.a. GLORIA MAGNANAKAW, GLORIA SINUNGALING, GLORIA, THE MORAL MIDGET – to at least 15 of the 17 questions here, then you are all some of the bravest of the brave.

    Thank you.

  16. Bro. Eddie is a fake in the sense that he is a charlatan masquerading as an evangelist. And he is consumed with hubris. Before he can be credible in his moral crusade, he should take himself out of the equation. Instead, of preaching in the sidelines, he betrays his mundane ambitions by aspiring for the highest office of the land. Furthermore, his business dealings have not been aboveboard, as seen from the estafa cases against him.

  17. The white house has so many problems about to come out they have the CIA agent disclosure case, Katrina, and others if they are seen to be blocking this case with the FBI it would be more ammo for the opposition there, they aslo have the two cases against Delay. So they have to be seen to be helping the authorities not stopping them..

    Bush is up the Creek without a paddle at the moment and he need as much focus to be pulled away as possible from him, and the spy case revolves around the vice president so releases the steam from another hole..

    Also all spy cases are really big in the news there, and with the fight on terror iran, iraq, israel, afganastan. Then they really need to tread carefully.

    Think if he stole a document which as a sideline talked about the fillpino pull out and its repucussions. He gives it to some one here, a person here makes it public the JI gets their hands on to it and passes it to the insurgency in Iraq.. Not Good, for US troops..

    So it is a big issue….

  18. a de brux,
    I think PGMA has a vision.I also think her vision can be threat to others.
    When you talk about greed.It means that there is a second person taking something from another.What we are seeing is a power grab through any means.So who is the greedy person?The one grabbing or the one being grabed?
    I think that GMA was in the right place at the right time.Something Loren has dreamed off.Nobody was complaining than.
    On the non issue of twice.Maybe it’s better to listen to the SC ruling.Normaly matters have conclussion & it’s the SC who has the last say.
    As for the second,the “partisan” stpry is not finished yet.
    If the beneficiary of the vote has passed away than who is it that wants to benifit from it?
    As to who stole from the National tresury, we still do not know.Why the rush to make conclussions?
    Since she was in the right place at the right time I think GMA was the logical benificiary of the time lead spontanously by many ectors of society.
    I think if it’s about catholic bigot.We have so many candidates compiting for the first place.Maybe better not to mention names.
    I understand your being pissed and just expressing your frustration.
    Although, I think that if we want to be winners in a game for
    big boys”.Speculations, perceptions,subjective feelings are not the best stuff to entertain.
    If we want to be credible there is so much more we must do.
    I think that althought there is nothing much we can do for the moment.
    We must not also let our feelings cloud our judgment.
    This game is not alone about rightiousness or right & wrong alone.
    It is about the ugliest side of human nature.
    It is about decades of abuesing the system.
    There is no one answer to everything.
    It is a question of doing a series of reforms & not lossing our sight on the ball.
    There are no eassy solutions.
    All of us have to do our bit.
    If we cooperate we win.
    If we don’t all of us are losers!
    And we will just continue to sail in our world of dreams & rightiousness, but always as individulas.Endlessly giving the fault to others.
    It’s not only the people on top that have to make tough dicisions.
    We too have to make tough dicisions!

  19. Spy vs Spy

    Also it has hit the SANS News Alert, They give weekly updates on international breaches in computer securtiy and the penatilies imposed on the people involved.

    This one will not go away like they hope, Notice Pimentel has gone on the defense of Cory, Jumping up and down around her, Protect the ones who you may need to protect you later?

    Estradas trying hard to get out of his house arrest? (Warning up his runners?)

  20. Sleeping, as this drama continues we will surely see who the real “bad” guys are.
    lacson is keeping quit too.
    It’s distancing time!
    So what will the people say this time?
    Uncle Sam is on PGMA’s side?!
    It seems the root of this entire drama is that PGMA was being blackmailed by certain sectors.
    I think that erap who knows what he has coming wont stop at anything at getting back at PGMA.
    Who are tose protesting in the streets?Leftist & Erap people.What legitimate grivance do they really have or are they just riding on issues?
    and Cory pretending to be some Joan of Arch!
    As if we are not contended enough to exploit democracy for our own ends.
    Now it’s using religion for selfish partisan ends!
    I guess Cory should sell herself as the “consiensa ng bayan”

  21. Re the espionage investigation. It’s not enough to identify the backers (traitors) of Agoncillo and Michael Ray here. Flush out the money trail. How were the two getting paid? Michael Ray has been tnt for the past 4 years, how was he making a living? Have the FBI track down the fund sources and seize them if possible. That’s probably plundered money.

    Interesting that the Erap camp is making a lot of noise lately.

  22. Alex, that part about how aquino has survived all this time in the states w/o a job can be interesting

  23. Okay guys, here’s the best proof that the White House spy scandal has really hit the news in the U.S. big time: Jay Leno started off his show last night with a joke about it. Jay Leno said that Dick Cheney was really embarrassed that top-secret documents were stolen from the White House and later leaked out by someone in Cheney’s employ. Leno added that Karl Rove was livid because only he was allowed to leak top-secret documents from the White House (referring to Rove’s leaking secret documents that outed a CIA employee whose husband had opposed the Bush administration’s Iraq policy).

    Although Aragoncillo and Aquino were arrested some weeks ago, it was initially on account of stealing secret documents from the FBI. The latest twist, involving stealing secret White House documents is what makes this really big news, for several reasons:

    1. It’s the first time it was discovered that top-secret documents were stolen from the White House. Apparently this has never happened before.
    2. It really hits close to home. It’s the office of the President and Vice-President of the U.S.A., no less. Although it is believed that the pilferage pertains to Philippine affairs, it could have pertained to more serious and sensitive matters. The point is that security was breached at the very top. And no less than the V.P. was compromised.
    3. Terrorism and nuclear proliferation have made the situation very tense. It’s bad enough to have Iraq and Afghanistan. When you add the Madrid and London bombings, Pakistan’s passing off secrets for a nuclear bomb, North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs, the recent New York bombing alert, etc. The fact that espionage could occur at the very top is scary for most Americans.

  24. Carl. Hahaha! I missed that Leno monologue.

    It’s interesting that reports have pointed out Aragoncillo’s stint in the White House started during Erap’s presidency. And Erap did admit meeting him during a visit in the States.

    Also, to downplay the investigation, Erap’s claiming that the documents handed to him were innocuous stuff. That’s beside the point. As long as those documents are labeled “Secret” by the US governemnt that’s spying.

  25. Alex, Max Soliven’s column today pretty much agrees with what you’ve said. Here’s what Max says:

    “Did Aragoncillo view his “fellow” Americans with the same contempt that Philippine Military Academy topnotcher and scholar at Fort Bragg did when the young officer switched price tags on a sale item in the camp’s commissary and was inevitably nabbed and kicked out of the military training course in disgrace for “shoplifting”? Had the PMA graduate, a recipient of the Presidential Sabre no less when he graduated valedictorian in 2004 never heard of surveillance cameras? And what did he “save” by this humiliating dodge, which failed and got him expelled: less than ten dollars!

    …But why blame Aragoncillo for this conceit? Many of our politicians, sadly, have the same mentality.

    The pity of it all is that, by his shameful caper, Aragoncillo has put many Filipinos in the paranoid United States under suspicion, whether immigrants, green-card holders, or TNTs.

    …In sum. Mr. Aragoncillo has done his former compatriots a disservice.

    …What’s strange is that, as he allegedly did with Senator Ping Lacson’s former aide, self-exiled and also arrested ex-PNP Col. Michael Ray Aquino, this guy Aragoncillo seems to have concentrated on low-level stuff concerning criticisms and American Embassy reports (the same thing, I guess) on President GMA and her officials in the government. In short: What the Americans were saying of damaging content about the sitting President of our Republic, et al.

    Junk stuff, but useful, obviously, to oppositionists like ex-President Erap Estrada, Nene Pimentel, and so forth. Well, Aragoncillo’s goose is royally cooked. After 9/11 and the Patriot Act, jittery Americans regard any breach of their security as a virtual rape of the Statue of Liberty.”

  26. a de brux,
    leading question cant really be answered.
    A real question leaves space for debate.
    From your question I understand that your mind is completely made up.Therefore that does not make it a question.
    You might be looking for people who will agree w/ you.
    But in a debate it will not hold.
    I still go back to my position that conclussion are not arrived to by perception,speculations,subjective feelings,hearsay,unproven facts,surveys,religious belief.
    I think if we want to be credible, we have much more homework to do.

  27. Aragoncillio must be plea bargaining very hard.A jail term will not be as bad as being strip of his U.S. citizenship and thrown back to his beloved Philippines.
    It’s anyone’s guess who he won’t implicate to save his neck!
    Those goverment officials her involved are really having sleepless night!
    If you can get away w/ anything in this country,Lacson & Co. are really screwed this time!!!!
    Erap has just added more troubles to wjhat his got comming!!!!

  28. a de brux…you seem to have spent all your time with susan roces cause you sound alike..he he..go ahead joselu answer! umpisahan mo tatapusin ng kakambal ng (siningaling o magnanakaw?) sino? di ba silang lahat magnanakaw?

  29. Emilie, yah nga, since they are all dishonest anyway, it’s not wise to take sides.I think it’s always better to reason out things as objective as possible.
    maybe we can’y fo great things directly but we can end our days w/ some peace of mind that we have remaind strong not be carried away by the tides & the winds to who knows where.

  30. what makes bro eddie a charlatan? any evidence? saying that he is one is a conclusion and does not really prove that he is.

    nice column, manolo. i agree with your take on malkin. i’ve seen her a couple of times on fox and may tililing talaga. also, i find, a lot of fil-ams are more american than the americans. to these people america can do no wrong. jeez! even a texan like ted casablanca criticizes dubya. a british-american woman i was working with told me her daughter in law was filipina, born in the phils but “migrated” when she was in 1st grade. the woman says she finds it funny that her daughter in law does not speak a word of filipino and has not gone back even once to the phils. she thinks it’s a pity that her d-in-law seems to have forgotten her heritage which is a part of her being a person. di ko lang masabi sa co-worker ko na malamang ikinahihiya nyan ang pagiging pilipino niya.

    if spying were rally a big deal then they should have picked the story up when the people involved got caught.

    i agree with manolo, karl rove as seen in the “plame game” (as jon stewart calls it) is a vindictive fellow. the policy makers of the us have never forgotten gma’s surrender to the iraqi bandits’ demands especially since support for their presence in iraq is dwindling even within their borders. they have only disdain for her. if they could do it to wilson, they sure as hell can work it vs gma. somehow i feel that the americans are focusing on this now to bring out their embarrassing aassessments of her. they dont like her and that’s a fact.

    and i find it off that gma is more offended with what aragoncillo and aquino have allegedly done rather than being offended that the americans were spying on her (the evidence of which is what the 2 were allegedly getting a hold of).

    really the moral scale of this country has gone haywire. there can be no pockets of goodness and morality in a society where the (pretend) leader is immoral herself.

    btw, letting the burnhams suffer for more than a year and botching the rescue attempt, ie, killing an american citizen, does not help gma any with the americans.

  31. a de brux,
    may i suggest that we take this discussion to a decent level and try to avoid using personal insults and such that tend to erode any credibility in your argument? something i have learned in pubic speaking courses in school is name-calling is only a sign that the arguments one brings up is very much defeatable.

    i agree with joselu and emilie, the questions you arise are rhetorical and only leads one to a corner- they are not questions open for debate or discussions. i suggest you try spouting questions as such, and not just asking questions that seem to have been ‘cut and pasted’ from some opposition propaganda site. not once but twice?! puh-leeez!

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