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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #100 on: February 06, 2008, 10:46:40 AM »

"And whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way. My fondest hope for each one of you — and especially for young people — is that you will love your country, not for her power or wealth, but for her selflessness and her idealism. May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will make the world a little better for your having been here. May all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never lose your natural, God-given optimism. And finally, my fellow Americans, may every dawn be a great new beginning for America and every evening bring us closer to that shining city upon a hill." —Ronald Reagan

“We, the members of the New Republican Party, believe that the preservation and enhancement of the values that strengthen and protect individual freedom, family life, communities and neighborhoods and the liberty of our beloved nation should be at the heart of any legislative or political program presented to the American people.”

“We believe that liberty can be measured by how much freedom Americans have to make their own decisions, even their own mistakes.”

“Families must continue to be the foundation of our nation. Families—not government programs—are the best way to make sure our children are properly nurtured, our elderly are cared for, our cultural and spiritual heritages are perpetuated, our laws are observed and our values are preserved... We fear the government may be powerful enough to destroy our families; we know that it is not powerful enough to replace them.”

“Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business... frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite.”

“We must be ever willing to negotiate differences, but equally mindful that there are American ideals that cannot be compromised. Given that there are other nations with potentially hostile design, we recognize that we can reach our goals only while maintaining a superior national defense, second to none.”

“Our party must be based on the kind of leadership that grows and takes its strength from the people... And our cause must be to rediscover, reassert and reapply America’s spiritual heritage to our national affairs. Then with God’s help we shall indeed be as a city upon a hill with the eyes of all people upon us."
« Last Edit: February 06, 2008, 11:03:35 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #101 on: February 07, 2008, 08:55:33 AM »


"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this
consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more
glorious the triumph."

-- Thomas Paine (American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)

Reference: Thomas Paine: Collected Writings , Foner ed., Library
of America (91)
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« Reply #102 on: February 09, 2008, 07:46:22 AM »


"Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their
attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim
them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the
public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges,
and Governors, shall all become wolves."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Edward Carrington, 16 January 1787)

Reference: The Learning of Liberty, Prangle, 111.
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« Reply #103 on: February 11, 2008, 11:23:49 AM »

"Experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual
sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for
any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can;
when we cannot do all we would wish."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Randolph, 1 December 1803)
-------------------
“[A] wise and frugal government... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” —Thomas Jefferson

 ----------------

“We must remove government’s smothering hand from where it does harm; we must seek to revitalize the proper functions of government. We do these things to set loose again the energy and the ingenuity of the American people. We do these things to reinvigorate those social and economic institutions which serve as a buffer and a bridge between the individual and the state—and which remain the real source of our progress as a people.” —Ronald Reagan
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« Reply #104 on: February 12, 2008, 10:47:00 AM »

"It is a wise rule and should be fundamental in a government
disposed to cherish its credit, and at the same time to restrain
the use of it within the limits of its faculties, "never to
borrow a dollar without laying a tax in the same instant for
paying the interest annually, and the principal within a given
term; and to consider that tax as pledged to the creditors on
the public faith.""

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Wayles Eppes, 24 June 1813)
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« Reply #105 on: February 13, 2008, 08:15:34 AM »

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only
as are injurious to others.  But it does me no injury for my
neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god.  It neither
picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

-- Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17,
1782)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(285)
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« Reply #106 on: February 14, 2008, 06:00:52 AM »

"Here sir, the people govern."

-- Alexander Hamilton (speech in the New York ratifying convention,
17 June 1788)

Reference: The Debates of the Several State..., Elliot, vol. 2
(348)
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« Reply #107 on: February 18, 2008, 09:53:30 AM »

"His Example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue
to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age,
but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read."

-- John Adams (message to the U.S. Senate, 19 December 1799)

Reference: Life of Washington, John Marshal, vol. 5
=======================================

NY Times

Our Founding Lame Duck
By WILLIAM HOGELAND
Published: February 18, 2008
HISTORIANS have often noted that George Washington not only began but also did much to define the American presidency. He imprinted on the office a sense of competence and integrity that can make later presidents, even successful ones, seem to fall short. Then to top it off, he left the job voluntarily. No law required him to step down, and running against him would have been impossible. Retiring after two terms, Washington enabled the transfer of executive power by electoral process.


That crowning achievement also made George Washington our first lame-duck president. Here again he set the standard, albeit one less celebrated by history. His last year in office was, in his estimation, lame indeed. He was just waiting for it all to be over.

Not that Washington was ever exactly chipper about being president. He’d fervently hoped to resign at the end of his first term. By then, his hearing and memory had started to fail. He complained of the burden of endless duty. His cultural status as a demigod made it impossible for anyone to criticize him publicly, but he interpreted every attack on a subordinate as meant for him. According to Thomas Jefferson, then secretary of state, Washington bitterly disbelieved the gushing reverence the press accorded him. Yet feeling that he was needed to referee the battles between Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the Treasury, and to shore up national unity, he agreed to serve a second term.

By 1796, Washington might reasonably have felt proud, relieved, even optimistic. The skeletal American Army had beaten a powerful confederation of Great Lakes Indians, and the president himself had led a force to suppress an insurgency of Western settlers known as whiskey rebels. These victories established national sovereignty and federal law, discouraged Spanish and British designs on American lands and helped renew the country’s patriotism.

Still, Washington’s spirits that year were lower than ever. He was exhausted. He suffered from a disabling back injury. He had to sit for hours for the portraitist Gilbert Stuart, a hard-drinking hustler. Among his second- and third-string cabinet members — some of whom were founding the job of executive-branch hack — were cronies of Hamilton, who was trying to run the presidency from outside. Meanwhile, at Monticello, Jefferson was excoriating the president and mounting open opposition. Partisan politics had arrived, and to Washington, that was a miserable failure.

The only significant order of business for 1796 was getting through Congress a treaty with England. The press and public loudly criticized Washington for negotiating it — he was no longer off limits to direct attack — and the House of Representatives threatened to withhold financing. In the end, Congress ratified the treaty, but Washington thought the House had crossed a line separating federal powers and struck at the Constitution itself. “Charity would lead one to hope that the motives to it have been pure,” he reflected to allies. “Suspicions, however, speak a different language.”

The hopelessness with which Washington ended his presidency was obvious in the way he described to Hamilton his plan to retire. He wrote that he had “a disinclination to be longer buffeted in the public prints by a set of infamous scribblers.” He needed retirement, he told another correspondent, just to make bearable what he predicted would be a short trip to his death.

In the last few months of his term, as the first vicious presidential election contest (between Jefferson and John Adams) geared up, the president did little but hold ceremonial meetings with Indian leaders, accept visits of congratulation and write farewell letters. His annual address to Congress that year was as insistent a goodbye as his much-praised farewell speech. But he himself seemed, one observer thought, “morose.” Today we might call it depressed.

Two-term presidents nowadays typically celebrate their accomplishments, hand out grants and pardons, and talk excitedly about beginning a new career of public service. They may be happier than Washington was, but he may have set the pattern that condemns them to a period of impotence while we wait for the next leader to come along.

William Hogeland is the author of “The Whiskey Rebellion.”
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« Reply #108 on: February 18, 2008, 01:25:34 PM »

Second post of the morning, from the LA Times:
=======

A tussle over the founding fathers' words
BEN THERE: A portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Wright. Scholars are transcribing and annotating the writings of Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.
It will take decades for historians to finish editing the volumes. But some scholars want them online now.
By Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 18, 2008
WASHINGTON -- The names and public acts of the founding fathers are familiar to many Americans, but their thoughts have remained largely a mystery.

"People think it would be difficult to touch them as who they were," historian David McCullough told a recent Senate hearing. "And it is, except in what they wrote."

For 65 years, scholars have been compiling, transcribing and annotating the writings of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. By the time the work is completed in 2049, the letters, diaries, official papers and other writings of the historical figures will be chronicled in 341 volumes, each 600 to 800 pages.

On Feb. 7, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from scholars, librarians and others seeking to improve public access to the papers while the bound volumes are finished over the next 41 years. The consensus was that the papers should be available online, but there was little agreement on how -- and how rapidly -- that should be accomplished.

Brian Lee, a spokesman for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which provides financial support for the project, said in an interview that it was crucial to get the papers online quickly, and the fastest way to do that was "in the form of nonedited papers."

Such a move concerns historians, who gain as much from the editors' annotations of each detail as from the original words. "The footnotes are pure gold," McCullough told the panel. "Many are masterpieces of close scholarship."

Editing the documents is not a process that can be rushed, scholars said.

First, the documents are gathered from archives, libraries, private homes and other depositories. Then an editor transcribes each page, which may be blurred, faded or damaged.

After that, the transcription is annotated to identify each significant person, event and place mentioned in the text.

Editors then compare it with all other known texts of the document and note any variations.

Such close study is costly and time-consuming. So far, nearly $60 million in private and public money has been spent on the project. Rebecca W. Rimel, president and chief executive of the Pew Charitable Trusts, which has contributed more than $7.5 million, told the Senate panel that about one volume per founding father is completed each year.

The bound, annotated copies will be most beneficial to scholars, said Stanley N. Katz, a professor of public affairs at Princeton University and chairman of Papers of the Founding Fathers Inc., an umbrella group that raises money for the project.

But he acknowledged that the public would have easier access to the documents if they were online.

About two-thirds of the volumes have been published. Because Hamilton was only 49 when he was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, he left fewer papers than the other five. The collection of his writings is the only one to be completed. One volume of the Hamilton papers costs $180; the complete set of 27 volumes is $2,600.

"We don't imagine any individual is going to buy these series," Katz said last week.

There is a split over where to put the online versions. Papers of the Founding Fathers supports digitization of "fully verified, scrupulously accurate texts" on a fee-based website at the University of Virginia Press. The Pew Charitable Trusts supports placing unannotated documents, along with digitized versions of the volumes as they are produced, "on a single, easily accessible and searchable website, such as that of the Library of Congress."

"It ought to be free to everyone," Rimel told the panel. "These are the founders' words."

In a September 2006 letter to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the editors of the five ongoing projects -- based at the University of Virginia, Princeton and Yale universities, the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation -- said that if they were given $13 million, all of the papers could be searchable online through a single database within five years.

The editors' plan would digitize the papers of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison and make them available through Rotunda, an online publication service of the University of Virginia Press.

Franklin's and Hamilton's would be added online later. The plan calls for increasing staff and office space, as well as improving coordination among the five projects, which work independently.


=======

Rotunda began digitizing the published volumes of the Washington papers in 2004, paid for by Mount Vernon and the University of Virginia. Even without a secure source of funding, the online project is moving forward, with Adams' papers due next month and Jefferson's and Madison's expected in the next year.

The price for access to all four presidents' papers has not been set. It is expected to be a sliding scale. For example, to gain access to the Washington papers already on the Rotunda site, individuals and high schools pay a one-time fee of $663, with prices increasing to $6,630 for large research universities.

"Once a library buys it, they have it forever," said Penelope J. Kaiserlian, director of the University of Virginia Press.

But the cost could prevent the public from getting the papers, said Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for library services at the Library of Congress.

She urged the senators to support placing an online version, including unannotated papers, at her institution, which she said already had digitized copies of the presidential papers of Washington, Jefferson and Madison.

"The scholarly editions in their current form are serving the scholarly community well, but we serve a different audience," she said.

Historians emphasized that placing the information online or speeding the process should not be allowed to affect the quality of the work.

The papers' editors, McCullough told the committee, "are the best in the business, and the high quality of the work they do need not [and] must not be jeopardized or vitiated in order to speed up the rate of production. There really should be no argument about that."

McCullough, who said he supported increased funding so that additional staff could be hired, noted that he had relied extensively on the founding fathers' papers for two of his bestselling books, "1776" and the Pulitzer-winning "John Adams."

"Their value is unassailable, immeasurable. They are superbly edited. They are thorough. They are accurate," he said, adding: "I know how essential the papers are to our understanding those great Americans and their time."

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« Reply #109 on: February 19, 2008, 06:09:02 AM »

"It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should
be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge
of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American
youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them
with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable
attachment to their own country."

-- Noah Webster (On Education of Youth in America, 1790)

Reference: The Learning of Liberty, Prangle and Prangle (126);
original Noah Webster: Schoolmaster to America, Harry Warfel (42)
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« Reply #110 on: February 20, 2008, 05:07:16 AM »

"I am not a Virginian, but an American."

-- Patrick Henry (speech in the First Continental Congress,
6 September 1774)

Reference: Patrick Henry: Life Corerespondence and Speeches, Wirt,
ed., vol. 1 (220); original Life and Works of John Adams, vol. 2
(365)
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« Reply #111 on: February 21, 2008, 08:24:10 AM »

"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in
its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an
intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same
miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country
without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that
we furnish the means by which we suffer."

-- Thomas Paine (Common Sense, 1776)

Reference: Thomas Paine: Collected Writings , Foner ed., Library
of America (6)
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« Reply #112 on: February 22, 2008, 08:14:25 AM »

"His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one
would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble."

-- Thomas Jefferson (on George Washington in a letter to Dr. Walter
Jones, 2 January 1814)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(1319)
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« Reply #113 on: February 25, 2008, 12:36:30 PM »


"In a general sense, all contributions imposed by the government
upon individuals for the service of the state, are called taxes,
by whatever name they may be known, whether by the name of tribute,
tythe, tallage, impost, duty, gabel, custom, subsidy, aid, supply,
excise, or other name."

-- Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 337.
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« Reply #114 on: February 26, 2008, 11:55:07 AM »

"The true test is, whether the object be of a local character, and
local use; or, whether it be of general benefit to the states. If
it be purely local, congress cannot constitutionally appropriate
money for the object. But, if the benefit be general, it matters
not, whether in point of locality it be in one state, or several;
whether it be of large, or of small extent."

-- Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 453.
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« Reply #115 on: February 29, 2008, 10:28:26 AM »


"Harmony, liberal intercourse with all Nations, are recommended
by policy, humanity and interest. But even our Commercial policy
should hold an equal and impartial hand: neither seeking nor
granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural
course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the
streams of Commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with Powers
so disposed; in order to give trade a stable course."

-- George Washington (Farewell Address, 19 September 1796)

Reference: Maxims of George Washington, Schroeder, ed. (71)
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« Reply #116 on: March 04, 2008, 10:24:29 AM »

"What signify a few lives lost in a century or two?  The tree
of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of
patriots and tyrants.  It is its natural manure."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to William Stephens Smith, 1787)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial Edition),
Lipscomb and Bergh, eds., 6:373.
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« Reply #117 on: March 05, 2008, 07:22:35 AM »


"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more
surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force
of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot
be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be
ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or
internal invader."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 12 February 1779)

Reference: The Writings of Samuel Adams, Cushing, ed., vol. 4 (124)
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« Reply #118 on: March 06, 2008, 10:58:25 AM »

"I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and
hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust,
oppressive and impolitic - it is also a truth, that if industry
and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally
be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and
this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the
most enlightened legislature could point out."

-- James Madison (speech to the Congress, 9 April 1789)
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« Reply #119 on: March 07, 2008, 08:55:49 AM »

"The great desiderata are a free representation and mutual
checks. When these are obtained, all our apprehensions of the
extent of powers are unjust and imaginary."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Speech to the New York Ratifying Convention,
June 1788)

Reference: The Works of Alexander Hamilton, Henry Cabot Lodge,
ed., II, 60.
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« Reply #120 on: March 10, 2008, 11:26:37 AM »

f industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out.” —James Madison

"Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as
a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be
bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the
new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a
NATIONAL constitution."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 39, 1788)

Reference: The Federalist

“How can limited government and fiscal restraint be equated with lack of compassion for the poor? How can a tax break that puts a little more money in the weekly paychecks of working people be seen as an attack on the needy? Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes—one rich, one poor—both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?” —Ronald Reagan


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« Reply #121 on: March 11, 2008, 08:19:42 AM »


"In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound
by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of
the Creator."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to the Legislature of Massachusetts,
17 January 1794)

Reference: Original Intent, Barton (224); original The Writings
of Samuel Adams, Cushing, ed., vol. 4 (356)
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« Reply #122 on: March 11, 2008, 07:29:42 PM »

A friend writes:

I'm halfway through the book John Adams, by David McCullough. This is the second time I've read it, I picked it back up when I heard HBO was doing a series based on the book. This book is a must read for anyone that wants to feel and breathe in the nature of the times of the American Revolution, as well as get inside the head of one of our Founding Fathers. It's hard to imagine the extremes of the times and the circumstances that shaped the mind, that shaped a nation. It received a very much deserved Pulitzer when it came out in 2001. You folks in Europe will be interested as well, Adams, spent much of the war in Europe trying to get assistance in supporting the effort to break from England.
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« Reply #123 on: March 13, 2008, 05:15:22 PM »

"If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its
authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people,
whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have
formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the
Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 33, 3 January 1788)
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« Reply #124 on: March 13, 2008, 11:25:15 PM »

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/jan-june08/adams_03-12.html
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« Reply #125 on: March 17, 2008, 05:14:12 AM »

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang
separately."

-- Benjamin Franklin (at the signing of the Declaration of
Independence, 4 July 1776)

Reference: Our Sacred Honor, Bennett (29) and Respectfully Quoted
===================
"To restore... harmony,... to render us again one people acting
as one nation should be the object of every man really a patriot."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Thomas McKean, 1801)

Reference: 63 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Ford Edition, 8:78
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« Reply #126 on: March 18, 2008, 01:52:54 PM »

"Strive to be the greatest man in your country, and you may
be disappointed.  Strive to be the best and you may succeed:
he may well win the race that runs by himself."

-- Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanack, 1747)

Reference: Bartlett's Quotations (177)
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« Reply #127 on: March 19, 2008, 10:40:41 AM »

"Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public
liberty and happiness."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to John Trumbull, 16 October 1778)

Reference: Original Intent, Barton (320); original The Writings
of Samuel Adams, Cushing, ed., vol. 4 (74)
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« Reply #128 on: March 20, 2008, 10:25:49 AM »

"If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain
our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the
path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those
who can now barely hold us in check."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to William Duane, 1811)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition,
13:29
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« Reply #129 on: March 21, 2008, 09:57:11 AM »

"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness,
upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful
here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy. "

-- George Washington (letter to the  Hebrew Congregation in
Newport, August  1790)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (548)
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« Reply #130 on: March 24, 2008, 10:35:37 AM »

"If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if
without it?"

-- Benjamin Franklin (to Thomas Paine, Date Unknown)

Reference: Original Intent, Barton (297); original The Works of
Benjamin Franklin, Sparks, ed., vol. 10 (281-282)
====================================

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” —Patrick Henry, 23 March 1775
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« Reply #131 on: March 24, 2008, 02:43:16 PM »

Not exactly on point with the subject matter of this thread, but pertinent enough I think to merit its placement here.
=======================

The Democrats' Super Disaster
By JOHN YOO
March 24, 2008; Page A15
WSJ

Until recent weeks, one of the least understood aspects of the Democrats' primary contest was the role of superdelegates. These are Democratic Party insiders, members of Congress, and other officials who can cast ballots at the party's national convention this summer.

But now these unelected delegates are coming in for a close inspection, because neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama can win their party's nomination without superdelegate support. The big Pennsylvania primary on April 22, for example, has only 158 delegates at stake (each of them will be pledged to support one of the candidates). By comparison, there are a total of 795 superdelegates, none of whom are required to honor the will of the voters of their state at the party's convention.

 
Sound undemocratic? It is. That the 2008 Democratic nominee for president will be chosen by individuals no one voted for in the primaries flew for too long under the commentariat's radar. This from the party that litigated to "make every vote count" in the 2000 Florida recount, reviled the institution of the Electoral College for letting the loser of the national popular election win the presidency, and has called the Bush administration illegitimate ever since.

Democratic Party reforms in 1982 gave super-delegates about 20% of convention votes -- so that party greybeards can stop a popular, but politically extreme, candidate from seizing the nomination. The Democrats deliberately rejiggered their party's rules to head off insurgent candidates, like a George McGovern or a Jimmy Carter, who might be crushed in the general election. Unelected delegates thus have more than twice the votes of the richest state prize, California.

So much for unfiltered democracy. In truth, the Democratic Party runs by rules that are the epitome of the smoke-filled room and ensure, in essence, that congressional incumbents exercise a veto power over the nomination.

This delegate dissonance wasn't anything the Framers of the U.S. Constitution dreamed up. They believed that letting Congress choose the president was a dreadful idea. Without direct election by the people, the Framers said that the executive would lose its independence and vigor and become a mere servant of the legislature. They had the record of revolutionary America to go on. All but one of America's first state constitutions gave state assemblies the power to choose the governor. James Madison commented that this structure allowed legislatures to turn governors into "little more than ciphers."

That's why, during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the Framers rejected early proposals to follow any such model. New York delegate Gouverneur Morris explained that if Congress picked the president, he "will not be independent of it; and if not independent, usurpation and tyranny on the part of the Legislature will be the consequence." Choosing the president would result from the "work of intrigue, of cabal, and of faction." After weeks of debate, the Framers vested the presidency with its own base of popular support by establishing a national election, saying that the president should represent the views of the entire people, not the wishes of Congress.

They kept the same rule when considering what should happen when the president ran for re-election. Alexander Hamilton wrote, while ratification of the Constitution was being debated, "that the executive should be independent for his continuance in office on all, but the people themselves," for otherwise, the president might "be tempted to sacrifice his duty to his complaisance for those whose favor was necessary to the duration of his official consequence."

The Framers were deeply concerned that a president chosen by Congress would keep his eye only on the happiness of legislators, turning our government into a parliamentary system like those which prevail in Europe today, in which the nation's leader is merely a prime minister.

Press reports indicate that the Framers were right to worry. The Clinton and Obama campaigns are now competing hard to win superdelegates. Members of Congress no doubt will cut deals for themselves and their constituents. A water project here, some pet legislation there -- surely such details are worth the nomination. Lose, and the candidate pays nothing. Win, and a presidency is gained. Like shareholders deciding whether to sell in a tender offer, superdelegates will bargain ferociously until the moment that the nominee secures a delegate majority. As we close in on the Democratic convention, the demand for superdelegates will escalate, with the choice of the nominee becoming increasingly the work of political intrigue, inside deals, and power struggles among special interest groups -- just as the Framers feared.

A nominee who survives this process will come to the presidency weighed down by dozens, if not hundreds, of commitments. Little hope there for a fresh start, or any break from a politics-as-usual Congress. Some may welcome such a development. Some students of American politics argue that the president and Congress should work more closely together. Critics of the Bush administration may well prefer a President Clinton or Obama who obeys congressional wishes.

But the historical record on this is not heartening. During the reign of the Jeffersonians, the progenitors of today's Democrats, the congressional caucus chose the party's nominee. It was a system that yielded mediocrity, even danger. Congressional hawks pushed James Madison into the War of 1812 by demanding ever more aggressive trade restrictions against Great Britain and ultimately declaring war -- all because they wanted to absorb Canada. It ended with a stalemate in the north, the torching of the U.S. capital, and Gen. Andrew Jackson winning a victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

"King Caucus" finally broke down when the system reached a peak of "cabal, intrigue, and faction." Jackson received the plurality of the popular vote in the election of 1824, but with no Electoral College majority the choice went to the House of Representatives. In what became known as the "corrupt bargain," House Speaker Henry Clay, who had come in fourth, threw his electors behind John Quincy Adams in exchange for being appointed Secretary of State. Jackson spent the next four years successfully attacking the legitimacy of the Adams administration and won his revenge in the election of 1828.

It is unlikely that a candidate today would trade a cabinet post for a superdelegate's vote. Sen. Harry Reid is unlikely to be the next Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, or Speaker Nancy Pelosi the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. But the election of 1824 ought to serve as a caution about what may happen again today, if we let Congress play a large role in choosing the next president. Our Framers designed the Constitution to prevent just this from happening. The Democrats have created an electoral system that echoes failed models from the American past, and threatens to sap the presidency of its independence and authority by turning it into the handmaiden of Congress instead of the choice of the American people.

Mr. Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He was an official in the Justice Department from 2001-03.
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« Reply #132 on: March 25, 2008, 07:42:48 AM »


"[T]here is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do,
to see a plan adopted for the abolition of [slavery]."

-- George Washington (letter to Robert Morris, 12 April 1786)

Reference: Washington's Maxims, 157.
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« Reply #133 on: March 25, 2008, 05:22:16 PM »

A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
Thomas Jefferson

A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit.
Thomas Jefferson

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
Thomas Jefferson

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.
Thomas Jefferson

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
Thomas Jefferson

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Thomas Jefferson

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.
Thomas Jefferson

Always take hold of things by the smooth handle.
Thomas Jefferson

An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.
Thomas Jefferson

An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.
Thomas Jefferson

An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.
Thomas Jefferson

As our enemies have found we can reason like men, so now let us show them we can fight like men also.
Thomas Jefferson

Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.
Thomas Jefferson

Be polite to all, but intimate with few.
Thomas Jefferson

Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human contemplations the most abhorrent is body without mind.
Thomas Jefferson

Books constitute capital. A library book lasts as long as a house, for hundreds of years. It is not, then, an article of mere consumption but fairly of capital, and often in the case of professional men, setting out in life, it is their only capital.
Thomas Jefferson

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.
Thomas Jefferson

Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.
Thomas Jefferson

Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.
Thomas Jefferson

Delay is preferable to error.
Thomas Jefferson

Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.
Thomas Jefferson

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.
Thomas Jefferson

Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor - over each other.
Thomas Jefferson

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.
Thomas Jefferson

Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
Thomas Jefferson

Don't talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.
Thomas Jefferson

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
Thomas Jefferson

Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
Thomas Jefferson

Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.
Thomas Jefferson

Every generation needs a new revolution.
Thomas Jefferson

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.
Thomas Jefferson

Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
Thomas Jefferson

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
Thomas Jefferson

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
Thomas Jefferson

For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.
Thomas Jefferson

Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism.
Thomas Jefferson

Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies and the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another?
Thomas Jefferson

Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.
Thomas Jefferson

He who knows best knows how little he knows.
Thomas Jefferson

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
Thomas Jefferson

History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.
Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #134 on: March 26, 2008, 12:11:42 PM »

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for
one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected
them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth,
the separate and equal station to which the Law of Nature and
Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of
mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel
them to the separation."

The Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776
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« Reply #135 on: March 27, 2008, 10:49:31 AM »

"It is an unquestionable truth, that the body of the people in
every country desire sincerely its prosperity. But it is equally
unquestionable that they do not possess the discernment and
stability necessary for systematic government. To deny that they
are frequently led into the grossest of errors, by misinformation
and passion, would be a flattery which their own good sense
must despise."

-- Alexander Hamilton (speech to the Ratifying Convention of New
York, June 1788)

Reference: The Works of Alexander Hamilton, Henry Cabot Lodge,
ed., II, 42.
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« Reply #136 on: March 28, 2008, 02:17:21 PM »

"For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy
among men.  The grounds of this are virtue and talents."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Adams, 28 October 1813)

Reference: Jefferson Writings, Lemay, ed., 1305.
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« Reply #137 on: March 31, 2008, 11:12:13 AM »

"Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin
sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences
run into each other. The divine law, as discovered by reason and
the moral sense, forms an essential part of both."

-- James Wilson ()

Reference: The Works of James Wilson, McCloskey, ed., 125.
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« Reply #138 on: April 05, 2008, 02:17:10 AM »

http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis.asp
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« Reply #139 on: April 07, 2008, 09:25:23 AM »

Woof All:

I've fallen a bit behind here with the run-up to our just completed "3 Day Gathering of the Pack", so here are several days worth of posts:

Marc
===================================



f industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out.” —James Madison

“How can limited government and fiscal restraint be equated with lack of compassion for the poor? How can a tax break that puts a little more money in the weekly paychecks of working people be seen as an attack on the needy? Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes—one rich, one poor—both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?” —Ronald Reagan

"Stability in government is essential to national character and
to the advantages annexed to it, as well as to that repose and
confidence in the minds of the people, which are among the chief
blessings of civil society."

-- James Madison (Federalist No. 37, 11 January 1788)

Reference: The Federalist

“The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.” —Samuel Adams

“Facts are stubborn things.” —John Adams

"The regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the
introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution
of courts composed of judges holding their offices during good
behavior; the representation of the people in the legislature by
deputies of their own election... They are means, and powerful
means, by which the excellences of republican govenrment may be
retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist  No. 9, 1787)

"The convention have done well, therefore, in so disposing of
the power of making treaties, that although the President must,
in forming them, act by the advice and consent of the Senate,
yet he will be able to manage the business of intelligence in
such a manner as prudence may suggest."

-- John Jay (Federalist No. 64, 7 March 1788)

Reference: The Federalist

“Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and rather more personal abuse than there used to be.” —John Adams


"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a
noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and
blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and
faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity
all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of
liberty, property, religion, and independence."

-- Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)

Reference: Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 718.

"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles
of freedom."

-- John Adams (Defense of the Constitutions, 1787)

Reference: The Learning of Liberty, Prangle and Prangle (96);
original The Works of John Adams, C.F. Adams, ed., vol. 6 (168)

“I own myself the friend to a very free system of commerce, and hold it as a truth, that commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic.” —James Madison

"If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it
be otherwise in a body to which the people send 150 lawyers,
whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, & talk
by the hour? That 150 lawyers should do business together ought
not to be expected."

-- Thomas Jefferson (Autobiography, 1821)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(53)




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« Reply #140 on: April 10, 2008, 08:46:25 AM »


"The Declaration of Independence...[is the] declaratory charter
of our rights, and the rights of man."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Samuel Adams Wells, 12 May 1821)

Reference: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Memorial Edition,
Lipscomb and Bergh, eds., vol. 15 (200)


----------

"That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular
arrangements of the powers of society, or, in other words, that
form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial
and exact execution of the laws, is the best of republics."

-- John Adams (Thoughts on Government, 1776)

Reference: The Works of John Adams, Charles Adams, ed., 194
-------------

“Remember, that Time is Money.” —Benjamin Franklin
---------------

"Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions
of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice
without constraint."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 15)

Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 15.
------------------

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« Reply #141 on: April 14, 2008, 08:52:08 AM »

"[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general
government our foreign ones.  I wish, therefore...never to see
all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn
from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought
and sold at market."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Judge William Johnson, 12 June 1823)

Reference: Original Intent, Barton (261); original Memoir,
Correspondence, and Miscellanies, From the Papers of Thomas
Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #142 on: April 16, 2008, 11:43:52 AM »


"The value of liberty was thus enhanced in our estimation by
the difficulty of its attainment, and the worth of characters
appreciated by the trial of adversity."

-- George Washington (letter to the people of South Carolina,
Circa 1790)

Reference: Maxims of George Washington, Schroeder, ed. (16);
original The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Fitzpatrick, ed.,
vol. 31 (67)
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« Reply #143 on: April 18, 2008, 10:32:37 AM »


"'Tis done.  We have become a nation."

-- Benjamin Rush (on the ratification of the Constitution, letter
to Boudinot, 9 July 1788)

===========

"A dying man can do nothing easy."

-- Benjamin Franklin (after his daughter asked him to move,
17 April 1790)

Reference: The Life of Franklin, Sparks, vol. 1 (531)

=============


"What a glorious morning this is!"

-- Samuel Adams (to John Hancock at the Battle of Lexington,
Massachusetts, 19 April 1775)

Reference: American Statesman: Samuel Adams, Hosmer (297)

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« Reply #144 on: April 21, 2008, 09:34:15 AM »

"My construction of the constitution is very different from that
you quote. It is that each department is truly independent of the
others, and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the
meaning of the constitution in the cases submitted to its action;
and especially, where it is to act ultimately and without appeal."

-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Samuel Adams Wells, 12 May 1819)

Reference: Jefferson Writings, Peterson, ed., 1426
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« Reply #145 on: April 22, 2008, 11:06:18 AM »

"He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing."

-- Benjamin Franklin (from his writings, 1758)

Reference: Franklin: Writings, Lemay, ed., Library of America
(1300)
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« Reply #146 on: April 23, 2008, 07:28:27 AM »


"It seems to have been reserved to the people of this country,
by their conduct and example, to decide the important question,
whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing
good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are
forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on
accident and force. If there be any truth in the remark, the
crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded
as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a wrong
election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve to
be considered as the general misfortune of mankind."

-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 1, 27 October 1787)

Reference: Hamilton, Federalist No. 1.
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« Reply #147 on: April 24, 2008, 07:23:56 AM »


"Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state."
                                           
                               -Thomas Jefferson

"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain
these blessings than United America.  Wondrously strange, then,
and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect
the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed
us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."

-- George Washington (letter to Benjamin Lincoln, 29 June 1788)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (403)
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« Reply #148 on: April 25, 2008, 10:15:23 AM »


"The citizens of the United States of America have the right to
applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an
enlarged and liberal policy worthy of imitation. All possess
alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It
is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were by
the indulgence of one class of citizens that another enjoyed
the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for happily
the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no
sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they
who live under its protection should demean themselves as good
citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."

-- George Washington (letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport,
Rhode Island, 9 September 1790)

Reference: Our Sacred Honor, Bennett (330)
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« Reply #149 on: April 28, 2008, 09:21:43 AM »

"Illustrious examples are displayed to our view, that we may
imitate as well as admire. Before we can be distinguished by the
same honors, we must be distinguished by the same virtues. What
are those virtues?  They are chiefly the same virtues, which we
have already seen to be descriptive of the American character --
the love of liberty, and the love of law."

-- James Wilson (Of the Study of the Law in the United States,
Circa 1790)

Reference: The Learning of Liberty, Prangle and Prangle (207);
original Selected Political Essays of James Wilson, McCloskey,
ed. (189)
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