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62 thoughts on “Harry Belafonte Presents A Powerful Argument On Why Obama Has Failed to Meet the Needs of the Most Oppressed People in America and Around the World

  1. Thomas Adams says:

    His comments in no way say he has failed us he is saying we have failed him.

  2. Failed him in the sense that we have failed to hold his ass to the fire and MAKE him keep the empty promises he made while running for (p)resident.

  3. Thomas Adams says:

    We gave him no support with congress we didn't vote to five him a majority we didn't support his jobs bill witch would of established thousands of good paying jobs…. and we did not hold out congress accountable

  4. When President Obama first became elected, he HAD a majority in both the Senate and the House. When you have both Houses, then is when you lead!

    But Obama chose to triangulation and bargain. Why bargain when the votes already exist? Why campaign and say "I will fight for 100%", bring the minority Republican party and lobbyists to the planning table and tell them "even though I have the power, I will only ask for 70% in exchange for your public endorsement", then when all is said and done, sign a bill that only includes 40% of what the people who voted for him wanted, and STILL have no Republican endorsement???

    Obama is as what Rev. Wright said…he is a politician only. He is not a fighter. He has no core…

  5. What does Harry want?

  6. And the rest of those whom support Harry's opinion.

  7. Its already too late. Obama's presidency is almost over.

    But he briefly summarized most of it in the video. He wanted an agenda that supported the poor and middle class and protected the regular people from the wants and power of the rich.

  8. Tyrone 'Boom' Tarver When he first took office the nation was facing a tidal wave of leftover GOP poop! He was not a miracle man. People who expected him to solve everything at once are unrealistic. First save the nation. Now he can deal with the things he wanted to…he has nothing to lose. We are the problem..always expecting perfection instead of appreciating the good. Of course the ACA is not perfect but it is better than nothing for over 9 million people. Of course, GITMO is still open but look how many have been released even in the face of opposition from our disloyal Congress. Jobs are not paying as much as they did but is that a reason not to be happy about some employment for many more people? Give the man a break. He is a black man, fighting for every inch of power to change things in a white man's world. He is smart, he is brave, he is decent. That's more than we deserve.

  9. Vic Stafford says:

    What was the real point of coming together to elect and re-elect him if not to gain something from his Presidency

  10. Belafonte is correct. Power will concede nothing without a demand. The cynical criticism levied against President Obama by Smiley and West was very similar to the same cotton mouth cynicism levied against him by the Republican/neo-Confederate Tea Party. It would turn him away from any initiative to directly do anything for the people who look like him who are the most oppressed people in America. President Obama knows this. If we don't put it before him and the American public who he represents and make him do it, it will never be done.

  11. Thomas Adams says:

    do you not remember how things were 7 years ago I do and it is a much better country today then it was then for everyone it could be better but after 2 years of a majority where alot of what we are seeing as growth was done then. We did not vote and keep the majority and in turn he lost alot of his power to make change.

  12. Just the other day I got into a serious debate with a person who still believes that the president is a Muslim. He said the Secret Service does not want to protect him and that he expects him to be assassinated. No president in modern day history or history period has had to face what he has had to. Drones landing on the White House lawn, people just walking into the White House, Shots being fired at the White House. In the same debate the guy spoke of how the president could send someone to Ferguson but not to France. He can't win not with anyone if anyone should have his back it should be the African American Community but many of us don't. His plans for the poor and middle class help everyone. That has been his approach which is actually smart. Free two year college for everyone would help raise the living standards for families of all races. People like Harry need to have his back and keep quiet. While times have changed we still need to sneak food out the back door in order to help others.

  13. Willie Mack says:

    I wish that the millions on each continent could listen to the remarks of Harry Belafonte. I was very much moved by the clarity.

  14. Wade Goodwin says:

    We came together to elect and Re-elect Obama, because there was an opportunity to knock down another door that has been Locked for a Black Man. We knew that Obama could not fix all the problems of the Black Race, no one man can. Our Problems have been in Creation over many decades, and the truth of it is We Black People in America must make Changes in the way we live, learn and Love. We must began to embrace Education more, Economics more and we must invest more time in this Nation's Politics, which we can gain more control over how our lives are Respected and to guarantee justice for out people. No my friend; Obama can't do that for us, we must uplift ourselves up into the Halls of Respectability, Knowledge and then we will see Justice and Equality from Others in the World.
    Electing Obama just gave us a Peep into the Power that we can display, when we come together…it will pay you to learn that lesson and move on to continue to support Black people; Help them establish businesses, Banks and better Communities to which we can invest out money in, as oppose to putting it in the White Banks and communities. It is only then will you see African Americans Rise to be Respected all over the world.

  15. Wade Goodwin says:

    We came together to elect and Re-elect Obama, because there was an opportunity to knock down another door that has been Locked for a Black Man. We knew that Obama could not fix all the problems of the Black Race, no one man can. Our Problems have been in Creation over many decades, and the truth of it is We Black People in America must make Changes in the way we live, learn and Love. We must began to embrace Education more, Economics more and we must invest more time in this Nation's Politics, which we can gain more control over how our lives are Respected and to guarantee justice for out people. No my friend; Obama can't do that for us, we must uplift ourselves up into the Halls of Respectability, Knowledge and then we will see Justice and Equality from Others in the World.
    Electing Obama just gave us a Peep into the Power that we can display, when we come together…it will pay you to learn that lesson and move on to continue to support Black people; Help them establish businesses, Banks and better Communities to which we can invest out money in, as oppose to putting it in the White Banks and communities. It is only then will you see African Americans Rise to be Respected all over the world.

  16. Harry Belafonte is not trying to discredit the president or to make light of the many improvements since President Obama has been in office. However, what he is saying is that the president could have made a greater impact if the American people, in particular, African Americans, had challenged him more. Are African Americans really any better off today than they were at the beginning of President Obama's administration? There has been no real challenge, or push from the African American community that would place the president in an uncomfortable position where he would be compelled to make a major change for the benefit of African Americans and other minorities.

    Here was an opportunity for the African American community to demand some changes and yet the African American community was simply content to know that a Black man was in the White House. No, President Obama is not perfect and Harry Belafonte is not suggesting that he should be. However, the African American community has not presented any real challenge to the president that would require him to make a major change in law or policy that would positively impact the lives of African Americans and other minorities. Many people are so willing to come to the defense of the president that they do not hear what is being said. President Obama has been a good president, but he has not addressed many of the challenges confronting African Americans and other minorities. Why? Because the African American community has not confronted the president with any compelling challenge. Therefore, Harry Belafonte’s description of President Obama’s administration is appropriately described as "power contained" and "power not completely engaged."

  17. We did not keep the House and Senate majority because Obama was not a good leader in his first two years at all. His message was baffling, muted and ambiguous. His accomplishments were fractions of what he asked for..and what he initially asked Congress and Lobbyists for were fractions of what he campaigned on. He lied during the summer of his first year saying he never said that the public option was what he was going to fight for. And even when the public option was in place with a "trigger", he and Reid messed that up and ended up losing that in the final bill altogether. His administration totally messed up the whole Shirley Sherrod incident. And his lack of focus on a jobs bill was glaring. All of these missteps gave the Bible Belt a lot of pause in his competency. He never fought back verbally when criticized and slandered. He didn't keep the Black community (who, it turned out, were the mathematical reason he got elected in the first place) engaged. Very, very few stops in Black communities post election, to the point of those communities being taken for granted and underappreciated and as a result not a great part of the 2010 midterm election. I remember A point in his 2008 campaign when he went back to Chicago and his advisors assumed he was going to make a stop at his headquarters to say thanks an give a word of encouragements. But he said no. His advisors had to really push him into making that stop just to give thanks to workers, advisors and people he knew who were working nonstop on his and behalf. I could go on an on…

  18. Belafonte is right to criticize Obama's presidency. As am I. Just as no one should be criticized because of their skin color, the success of a person should also not be weighted on a curve because of their skin color. Obama knew EXACTLY what he was getting into before he ran. We all knew he was going to face racism and opposition. I have faced it as a Black man. But I was taught by my family, my grandmother, and my 101yr old great-grandmother before she passed that I better not judge my success because I was the first at something. My success should be solely judged by how HARD I fight and how much I accomplish once I'm in position to do something about it. I don't see that type of resolve and fight in Obama.

    And it's not my fault that some of my friend's believe I should assume he's fighting. It's Obama's fault for not making it plainly and openly known that he's fighting hard, whether he succeeds or not. Its Obama's fault for not setting that example for other youth who are potentially the next non-white leaders in this country that come after him. I'd be prouder of him fighting hard and losing than him just being a politician and making watered down deals.

    And, contrary to popular belief, President Obama is not the only president to face this much adversity. President Lincoln had much, much more on his plate than Obama did. Considering ending slavery, a Civil War, negotiating for something righteous between overt racists in the South and self-delusioned racists in the North, was a much much harder job than what Obama has to deal with. We all know it!!! And as far as being a leader, Obama in no way has to deal with the racism and oposition that Dr. King, Rev. Abernathy, Phillip A. Randolph, and countless other Civil Rights Heroes had to deal with. And they handled their business, day_in/day_out, WITHOUT a Secret Service detail.

    So although I'm proud of him getting elected twice, and being a good father, I still give a sideways thumbs up to his resolve and will to fight as President.

  19. Dean Green says:

    The Obama Agenda Scorecard.
    Let’s see how President Obama scores on four Agendas: The Jewish Agenda, the Gay Agenda, the Hispanic/Latino Agenda and the Black Agenda. For each item the highest possible score is 10. For each item, the lowest possible score is -10. The score is based on what President Obama can do or has tried or is trying to do (effort counts) and what he has done. He’s not all powerful.

    The Jewish Agenda Score.
    1. Military Support of Israel 10.
    2. Economic Support of Israel 10.
    3. Political Support of Israel 10.
    Total score 30 of a possible 30.
    That’s outstanding.

    The Gay Agenda.
    1. Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell 10.
    2. Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act 10.
    3. Support of Gay Marriage 10.
    4. Support of laws to make society more.
    gay friendly (such as laws regarding.
    discrimination on the basis of sexual.
    orientation) 10
    Total score 40 of a possible 40.
    That’s outstanding.

    The Hispanic/Latino Agenda.
    1. Amnesty for about 10 million or more.
    illegal immigrants 10.
    2. Relaxed laws/regulations regarding.
    young illegal immigrants 10.
    Total score 20 of a possible 20.
    That’s outstanding.

    The Black Agenda.
    1. Penal-Industrial (Criminal-Justice) System.
    Reform 3
    2. Immigration reform that is not harmful.
    to Blacks -10
    3. A Presidential/Blue Ribbon Truth Commission.
    on the effects of Slavery and Jim Crow 0.
    Total score -7 of a possible 30.
    That’s terrible. That’s worse than failing.

    For Penal-Industrial (Criminal-Justice) System Reform, Obama has done a bit but he has not used the Presidential Bully Pulpit or the Presidential Power of Pardon. He has done some but not much. The score of 3 is appropriate.

    For immigration reform, his policies and practices for amnesty hurt blacks. Please see for example http://www.theroot.com/views/how-illegal-immigration-hurts-black-america?utm_medium=feed&obref=obinsite. It is estimated that illegal immigrants take from 650,000 to as many as 2,000,000 jobs from African Americans. So the score of -10 is appropriate.

    For a Presidential/Blue Ribbon Truth Commission on the effects of Slavery and Jim Crow, Obama, like all Presidents can form Presidential or “Blue Ribbon” commissions by Executive Orders and no permission of Congress is needed. Many Presidents, including Obama have formed such commissions. Please see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Commission_(United_States) Obama could also work with Congress to form such a commission. He has done neither. The score of 0 is appropriate.

  20. I disagree with your interpretation of what Belafonte said. I think he is in fact criticizing the President. I think the truth is actually the reverse of what you're saying. Yes the Black community should be engaged more. We should not settle and become complacent because a Black President is in charge. But Obama has very low marks as far as his outreach to the Black community post-election. Not enough visits. Not enough Black community town halls. I'm not talking about nonstop visits to Black cities. But if he is making rounds, multiple Black communities should be on the agenda.

    What's happened with Obama is that he has shown himself to be a politician first. Instead of being a fighter and difference maker, he is instead no more than a fulcrum. Whatever side is weighing the most on him, or whatever position is popular, he leans that way instead of being extremely vocal trying to enact change. Blacks are more than willing to follow his lead and show up on his behalf.

  21. I'm sorry, Rosemary. I wanted to read your post again before I hit reply but did not. I actually think Belafonte is saying what we both posted. That Obama should be leading more, but at the same time, we should not be content. In addition, I personally think that we should not lose hope because that leadership that we wish Obama would show on his own has not been realized. Disappointed, yes,, but not stifled in our journey.

  22. Here's another opportunity. Don't vote for Hillary! Vote Bernie Sanders or for Jill Stein. Both parties want war therefore we will never get the social reform we truly need.

  23. More eligible Black people should be politically engaged and oh yeah…VOTE!

  24. AS A BLACK FEMALE BORN IN 1960' NO ONE CAN TELL ME WHAT MY EYES HAVE SEEN, NOR WHAT MY EARS HAVE HEARD. AT THIS POINT WE HAD SOME MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENTS THAT ARE ONGOING, WE MIGHT HAVE MADE SOME PROGRESS, BUT TO BE ON POINT, THERE IS STILL BLATANT, PROFOUND, DISRESPECT FOR US AS THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION IN THE NATION! OUR PRESIDENT WAS ELECTED TO IMPROVE ON THE MESS, NOT TO ACCEPT MORE NONSENSE! WE HAVE LESS THE BEFORE AND THOSE WHO KNOW BETTER CAN UNDERSTAND THIS TO THE LETTER, HOW DID WE LET SIN IN, AND WHEN WILL HIS REAL CONSCIENCE BEGIN? AMEN!

  25. But they MUST learn to vote in STATE and LOCAL elections. This is where the laws are made that affect your daily lives…sheriffs, judges, police chiefs, attorney generals, school boards, state houses. This is where gerrymandering takes place and votes are skewed to favor white conservatives. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND HELP THIS PRESIDENT OR ANY OTHER GET A CONGRESS THAT WILL HELP AND NOT HURT HIM…DAMN IT, VOTE IN THESE ELECTIONS!

  26. Stop complaining about Obama. He is one man and neither Harry or others like him have helped where help is needed most. It's great to elect a President but a President alone can only do so much and the good that he does will take TIME…just study FDR. Nothing happened overnight (SS Medicare etc.) We have little to complain about UNTIL WE learn to vote in STATE and LOCAL elections. This is where the laws are made that affect your daily lives…sheriffs, judges, police chiefs, attorney generals, school boards, state houses. This is where gerrymandering takes place and votes are skewed to favor white conservatives. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND HELP THIS PRESIDENT OR ANY OTHER GET A CONGRESS THAT WILL HELP AND NOT HURT HIM…DAMN IT, VOTE IN THESE ELECTIONS!

  27. I agree very much with what is said here BUT as an old head we, the people, had not given him the pressure to correct many things. We seem to just sit and wait for him to do it on his own. That is and was never going to happen. We needed to take to the streets as has been done at this late date about the police and our people. Many times the president has said these same things to us and many chose to take it as scolding. When he said "take off your bedroom shoes" and on other occasions. He was trying to let us know that he couldn't, single handedly push our cause to the front burner…….we have to make him put these things on the front burner by getting out front instead of talking behind closed doors about what isn't being done for us. I sat (and I hate that I sat due to age) and watched all of the people put their cases before the government by using the very tactic that we used in the 60s to bring attention and to our plight. But it seems Black American just kept sitting and waiting for him, because he is Black, to know our cause and just step out on his own and do something about it. At long last something causes the people to take to the streets and I was so happy. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the oil and we let everyone else make their wheel squeak louder, longer and more forcefully than outs. I was there before and in my own little ways, I'm there again but not with the physical strength of younger day. We have to MAKE the president do for us….he's not just going to bring more problems on himself with no one asking for them. I can't blame him nor AG Holder, I blame us for thinking that we could wait and he'd get to us.

  28. Larry Foster says:

    All I can say to that is AMEN!!!

  29. Leon Jones says:

    Vote for someone who will advocate moral responsibility and self preservation. Don't vote for someone who is only interested in taking from the haves and giving it to the have nots. Even the Word suggests that if you have more will be given. We all start at the same place, with nothing. Gain knowledge, gain understanding, gain skills, gain connections, gain relationships. These are all things a child can begin to achieve. When you accumulate knowledge you increase your value. When you increase your value you become relevant. When you become relevant you are sought after. 1. Use the FREE education offered. 2. Take advantage of scholarships to further that education. 3. Connect with those who DON'T look like you. Become a significant part of the whole. We can't just stand in the corner and scream at the powers that be to have pity on us and give us what is physiologically needed to survive. Read Matthew 12:11. Then read Matthew 5:41. Finally read Matthew 7:7.

  30. Leon Jones says:

    Tyrone 'Boom' Tarver Surprise you didn't know from the beginning he was not working for the Negro. He was working for his (and his alone) legacy. He is a narcissist in and out. He is not for the Black, white, or any other color. He is for himself. The sooner Negros realize that the sooner we will stop looking for a man to save us.

  31. Sheila Merritt excuses, excuses. And this is why our issues don't make it to the national stage.

  32. Nick Schmidt says:

    incredibly naive,"sheila"

  33. Mr Stafford, have you , ever taken a look at the US Congress, who opposes him on everything.

  34. Black people understand that the nation was in more trouble as a whole than the needs of their own people; therefore President Obama hasn't faced critical decisions regarding improving living conditions for Black Americans at this time. He has enough trouble in saving the country from the Disaster created by the Bush/Cheney Administration. History will record the wisdom and tolerance of the Black American for The United States remaining the most powerful nation on the planet. Harry Belafonte is 1 person and he does not speak for all Black Americans. He speaks of his opinion only. Bill R. Boulware.

  35. @Leon if you believe we all start with nothing you are either naive or VERY misinformed….

  36. Sandra Brown says:

    Wade Goodwin —"Electing Obama just gave us a Peep into the Power that we…."? HA! Are you serious? You must understand–The Powers That Be", run this country & Obama, like ALL presidents–nothing but a puppet. Understand–Presidents are selected–then elected. Dems & Repubs.–2 wings on the same bird. Controlled opposition–designed to keep you bickering. Understand the control, design & the game–if not, be counted amongst the sheep.

  37. Rhonda Davis says:

    He failed blacks by not seeing what we lost and how we lost it.how we were pushed out of our jobs, communities and families, replaced, ran over, now if the s had happened in china town or small middle white america, someone would have be quickly compensated in some form or other. This President treats blacks like cattle….He has never understood the black experience. He still believes Blacks just dont work hard enough. WHCH IS A PROVEN LIE…BLACKS WORK HARDER THAN ANY MINORITY, WE MUST…PRESIDENT WAS CHOSE BUT CAUSE HE WAS A NEGRO THAT DONT MAKE WAVES OR SEE THE NEED TO ADD TO THE SAFETY AN SECURITY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN AN THEIR STANDNG In AMERICA. SAD PART IS, HE SEEMS JUST NOT TO CARE, WHILE IMMIGRANTS HAVE PREMISSION TO WALK IN AN TAKE FROM BLACKS AT WILL..

  38. He has been very dutiful as overseer….

  39. Obama is not a dictator who can enact change unilaterally! Harry's criticism is made in a vacuum and doesn't reflect the realities on the ground.

  40. Obama is not a dictator who can enact change unilaterally! Harry's criticism is made in a vacuum and doesn't reflect the realities on the ground.

  41. unfortunately, Obama was not put in office to do anything but what he has done.

  42. critizig the president'' nerve'' that's not unusual''.

  43. Goldie Yorke says:

    I agree with SHEI

  44. Sheri Watts says:

    I agree with you W W. Lew Fields! Those that criticize President Obama seem to know very little about his efforts to help PRIMARILY the AA community when he had NUMEROUS options to make six figures, including Wall Street at some of the most prestigious law firms there are. But no, what did he do? He CHOSE to volunteer his time as a Community Organizer in the worst sections of Chicago!! Black people act like they are the only oppressed people in this US! President Obama is the POTUS…not just for POTAA! Tavis Smiley has and always will be jealous of President Obama and lost many of his listeners when he showed his azz during the 2008 election by bad-mouthing President Obama! This is why every other ethnicity can stick together except us…jealousy and the crab mentality! SMH!!

  45. How long will we continue to have this conversation concerning white supremacy? How many of our African men, women and children have to die, before we understand the nature of the beast?

  46. Your criticism of Mr. Belafonte is baffling. Mr. Belafonte has contributed immensely, too better the plight of black people. This gentleman has advocated and contributed financial support to the civil rights movement. Mr. Belafonte has also lent financial support too the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and his family continuously. And his financial support of Dr. King's family continued after Dr. King's death. Mr. Belafonte, along with countless of others, deserve our profound respect for their invaluable contributions and he has earn the right voice his displeasure with any elected official.

  47. Leon Jones That might help on a personal level but if people don't actively participate in electing the officials that directly impact their lives you will end up being an educated, religious, tolerant disenfranchised, pawn.

  48. Gerald White says:

    President Obama is a elected official. You can't give him a pass. I stand with Belafonte, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West.

  49. Craig Corbin says:

    Well Said miss Sheila..

  50. Crystal Cox says:

    Obama is not the blame, the people voted in all the republicans who fight him for everything he wants to do for the people. Harry Belafonte is old now and delusional.

  51. Obama is a war criminal! Bush, Cheney, Runsfeld and Obama all need to go to prison!

  52. Obama is doing just fine….Help him instead of bitching all the….Time…it take a village 2 change a Nation not just one Man…

  53. Thats like when we get our kids report card. The kid havw all A-s n one D….we focus n fuss about the one d not the 5As…..Really?

  54. There is and never will be a president who can help black people, if we do not do it ourselves then shame on us. President Obama has been fought tooth and nail for what he has accomplished, do I agree with everything he has done no, but I was never under the illusion that he was going to be our savior. We as a people will never get anywhere until we join together as one. We first need to like the skin that we are in and stop putting ourselves down, until we do that the world will not respect us or our intelligence as a whole, except to entertain them in sports, comedy etc..

  55. Luke Sharpe says:

    For crying out loud, LISTEN TO Sheila Merrit. She appears to be the only THINKER among these commentators. Obama should be supported bu all Black Americans AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE. People like Smiley and Belafonte naively think that America could change as soon as Obama was elected. Consider the job he faced with SAVING THE AMERICAN ECONOMY, a necessary platform for any other Agenda. Then consider being faced with Mitchell's "one term president" statement which is still the Republican attitude to anything Obama. Consider the Michael Steeles , Ben Carsons and BLACK CONSERVATIVES of this world who are quite happy to be used to gain acceptance by the plantation owners.
    In my view HISTORY will judge OBAMA as one of the best Presidents in the history of the USA when a dispassionate assessment is made.

  56. Joe Pfeiffer says:

    We can blame President Obama or blame ourselves for not putting enough pressure on him!

  57. Joe Pfeiffer says:

    UNLESS WE ALL become more involved with our political system,there will be no REAL change! No one person (no matter how good they are!) can change the system wich is backed by ALL the people with money and power! We ALL need to stand-up to injustice wherever we find it!
    Whether it's a "Black lives Matter" or a "BERNIE SANDERS RALLY" or a rally against Climate Change or WHATEVER your particular cause is,we MUST REMEMBER WHO the REAL enemy is! THOSE WITH THE MONEY AND POWER! They try to divide us and have us argue and fight with one another! ONLY WHEN WE STAND TOGETHER CAN WE HOPE TO STRIKE A BLOW TO THAT WILL ACTUALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE. We can't just elect someone we think will do it for us! Read—Learn—Talk to people! Listen to OTHER viewpoints! TOGETHER is the ONLY way we can change things!

  58. Maria Hanby says:

    Michael L Webb: No, what we need to do is to speak up when we see inequality and help work out a way to resolve it….

  59. Maria Hanby says:

    Agree, with most of your post, but it also resulted in an early demise for Lincoln & Dr. King…

  60. Maria Hanby says:

    Wade Goodwin I agree with you that we all need to pull each other up… but… Pres Obama had the ability to go much farther at the start of his first presidency than he did (and that was AFTER receiving the Nobel Pease award, which seems to possibly have been a bit premature… )

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