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Saturday, March 3, 2018

MOTIVES #1: Why do we call him TD Snakes- the Motives of Billy Graham

The Argument= TD Jakes' Prosperity Preaching and Billy Graham's American Nationalist Teaching is one and the same. In light of today's events after Billy Graham's death it is appropriate to understand the motives of Billy Graham, and his Successor- TD Jakes.  They seemingly do not have the same motives, but at the end of the day they share the biggest motive.

THEIR DOCTRINES ARE DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU FALL AWAY.  Their Doctrines are not grounded in true hardcore faith.  The kind of faith you're going to need when the times get super rough.

Scripture, Information, and Resources below:

TD JAKES The Next 'Billy Graham'?

By Rev Texe Marrs via Rense

"For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed."-Isaiah 9:16
"Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."-Luke 16:15
The inner circle of the Illuminati has finally chosen the man who is to be successor to their faithful stooge and mouthpiece, Billy Graham. Already, the controlled media is busy exalting and publicizing to the world the man the Illuminati elite have chosen to succeed the ailing and aging evangelist, Billy Graham.
Billy Graham, of course, wanted his son, Franklin, to fill the post. But the Illuminati nixed Franklin, pointing out both his lack of charisma and his checkered past as obstacles.
Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others were also rejectedtoo old, too shop-worn, too much "excess baggage."
Bishop T.D. Jakes
The new Billy Graham is the man I have for months predicted would be the elite's new "Christian" superstar. His name is T.D. Jakes. Jakes, a Pentecostal-Charismatic pastor and self-styled "Bishop" from South Dallas, in Texas, is the perfect "fit" for the job of religious front man.
Jakes is a Feminist, a Liberal, and a Supporter of Clinton and Gore
First, he's a feminist who rattles on nonstop in his sermons about the "need to empower women." Jake's 1993 book, Woman, Thou Art Loosed!, sold over two million copies.
Second, Bishop T.D. Jakes is a liberal and a Democratic Party supporter. During the last presidential campaign, Jakes and black pastor cronies invited their preferred candidate, Democrat Al Gore, into the pulpit of Jakes' 26,000-member Potter's House megachurch. In a pompous show of religiosity, they laid hands on Gore to give him the "anointing" he would need for the presidential campaign. Evidently, their anointing didn't take hold-Gore lost to Bush in an election squeaker.
A third reason why the Illuminati elite have tagged Jakes to be spokesperson and salesman for their masonic version of "God" is that Jakes has proven loyal to their immoral cause. For example, during the impeachment hearings of former President Bill Clinton, Jakes went to the airwaves to try and bail Clinton out. On CNN's The Larry King Show, Jakes insisted that adultery wasn't a big deal and suggested that Clinton was a great President who deserved to stay in office. "Leave Clinton alone," Jakes trumpeted.
Jakes likened those who wanted Bill Clinton to be brought to justice to "a lynch mob." Using the race card, he compared the criticism of Clinton's misconduct to the "lynching of black people."
Bishop Jakes lays hands on one of his many Charismatic female (black and white) admirers.
"I Want My Stuff!"
Bishop T.D. Jakes is also acceptable because he's both ecumenical and hereticaltwo traits greatly admired by the Illuminati. Jakes is a big star on weird TV's greatest religious big-top circus, Paul and Jan Crouch's Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). He's a tongues-talker into all kinds of unscriptural doctrinal malarkey. Jakes is a popular speaker at Promise Keepers and other ecumenical meetings.
A promoter of the prosperity gospel and of "cultural diversity," Jakes dresses and acts the part as he emphasizes TBN's Word of Faith, "name it and claim it" propaganda. He tells people God wants to make them rich. He mesmerizes his female audience with emotional psychobabble. Jakes is a master con-man who can get audiences of thousands carnally chanting their demand to God, "I want my stuff! I want my stuff! I want my stuff!"
"Jesus was a Rich Man," says Jakes
The scriptures tell us that Jesus was a poor son of a carpenter who once exclaimed that he didn't even have a foxhole to call his own. But Jakes says that is not so. "Jesus," Jakes assures the greedy, "was a rich manhad servants and a mansion."
That explains for his audience why Jakes, too, is fabulously wealthy. Jakes and his wife live in a $1.7 million mansion in a ritzy neighborhood next to the estate of the late oil magnate, H. L. Hunt. He sports a giant diamond ring, wears $3,000 tailored suits, and stays in the most luxurious of hotel suites.
But it's all O.K.after all, Jesus did it, too!
"Oprah in a pulpit"
Finally, Bishop T.D. Jakes is the Illuminati's successor to Billy Graham because, well, because his skin is colored black. And that's essential in the age of high political correctness. The men of the Illuminati want a black man to replace Billy Graham; thus, T.D. Jakes is their "Egyptian archetype." "Reverend" Jesse Jackson has been pretty well discredited. "Reverend" Al Sharpton is talkative and colorful, but is a public image disaster. So, a new black "Christian" leader is desperately needed to fulfill the goals of the elite in the days ahead. Enter Bishop T.D. Jakes!
Moreover, Jakes is not only politically correct, he's an articulate black man with a popular message and style that appeals to all races, not just Afro-Americans. Time magazine describes Jakes' preaching style as "Oprah in a pulpit."
JakesThe Chosen
Confirming my prediction that Jakes is the Illuminati's chosen 21st Century preacher-icon, Time magazine pictured the Bishop on its September 17, 2001 issue, with the headline, "Is this man THE NEXT BILLY GRAHAM?"
Inside, in the feature article, Time's writers practically slobbered at the mouth in praise of the charismatic Pentecostal preacher. They pictured him symbolically holding a white dove in his hands. They said he is a "prodigy," raved about his "overwhelming gift," and touted his talent as "colossal."
Time magazine, a premier Illuminati publication, even compared Jakes' voice to the "purr of Isaac Hayes" and to "the screams of (voodoo-music man) Jay Hawkins."
Time crowed that Jakes is "anointed," that "he's got a special trust." The magazine's editor also noted the Bishop's friendship with celebrities like singer Natalie Cole and ex-pro football star, Deion Sanders. Yep, Bishop T.D. Jakes fits the Billy Graham mold to a tee!
The Time article was followed by yet another favorable CNN Larry King interview, a spot on TV's Good Morning America, and Presto!the Illuminati now has their new Billy Grahama politically correct black man they can rely on to keep both the white religious right and the black church crowd alike on the right channel and trackheading blissfully, with whoops and hollers, straight toward Revelation oblivion.
This Time magazine photo of a somber Bishop T.D. Jakes with dove is packed with symbolic significance.
An Occultic, Cabalistic Masterpiece
Oh, I forgot to mention: Time magazine's cover art of Jakes was an occultic, cabalistic masterpiece. An Illuminati jewel. Not only is Jakes shown holding a Bible, it appears he has a red horn protruding out of the top of his head (the little horn of Daniel, the antichrist?) Right above that is a square red dot, which, in occult language, indicates the four corners of the Earth, with these two words to the right of it: "Venus Rules!" Venus, of course, in the Illuminist and satanic lexicon, stands for "Mystery Babylon."
Wanted: A New Pope to Stand Beside Bishop Jakes
So, Bishop T.D. Jakes is in. We have our new Billy Graham. Now, the Illuminati are on the lookout for a replacement for their other main religious puppet, their fading Catholic servant, Pope John Paul II. And I know exactly who they've got in mind for that job, too. Stay tuned: we'll be examining The Next Pope, The Last Pope in a future issue of Power of Prophecy.

"It's the unique message that seems to come about when times are good and when money is flowing.  As a result, the music is upbeat and praise comes easy.
Many millennials don't know the struggle that their parents and grandparents went through, so people in the current generation may be very familiar with the Prosperity Gospel and the way of thinking that goes along with it: it's easy to praise God when life is good and money is easy to come by. The struggle isn't real for some of them."

Why So?

Because they have been brainwashed into believing in Jobs, Institutions, Money and Material Goods is tied into their faith in God. 

Proverbs 20:27
The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the innermost parts of his being.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.
"As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.
Colossians 3:5-6
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry
Matthew 5:8
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures
Colossians 3:17
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
1 Peter 4:11
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Matthew 6:1-18
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Psalm 51:6
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Isaiah 43:7
Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made."
Ezekiel 36:20-23
"When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD; yet they have come out of His land.'
also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

Psalm 106:8
Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known.
Exodus 9:16
"But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.

Proverbs 21:1-31
[1]The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
[2]Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
[3]To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
[4]An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
[5]The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
[6]The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.
[7]The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.
[8]The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.
[9]It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
[10]The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.
[11]When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.
[12]The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.
[13]Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.
[14]A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.
[15]It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
[16]The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
[17]He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
[18]The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.
[19]It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
[20]There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
[21]He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
[22]A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
[23]Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
[24]Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.
[25]The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.
[26]He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
[27]The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
[28]A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
[29]A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.
[30]There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
[31]The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

Ecclesiasticus 22:22-27
[22]If thou hast opened thy mouth against thy friend, fear not; for there may be a reconciliation: except for upbraiding, or pride, or disclosing of secrets, or a treacherous wound: for for these things every friend will depart.
[23]Be faithful to thy neighbour in his poverty, that thou mayest rejoice in his prosperity: abide stedfast unto him in the time of his trouble, that thou mayest be heir with him in his heritage: for a mean estate is not always to be contemned: nor the rich that is foolish to be had in admiration.
[24]As the vapour and smoke of a furnace goeth before the fire; so reviling before blood.
[25]I will not be ashamed to defend a friend; neither will I hide myself from him.
[26]And if any evil happen unto me by him, every one that heareth it will beware of him.
[27]Who shall set a watch before my mouth, and a seal of wisdom upon my lips, that I fall not suddenly by them, and that my tongue destroy me not?

Jeremiah 17:1-27
[1]The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
[2]Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.
[3]O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.
[4]And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
[5]Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
[6]For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
[7]Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
[8]For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
[9]The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
[10]I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
[11]As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.
[12]A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
[13]O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
[14]Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
[15]Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now.
[16]As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.
[17]Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.
[18]Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
[19]Thus said the LORD unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem;
[20]And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the LORD, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates:
[21]Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem;
[22]Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.
[23]But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.
[24]And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein;
[25]Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.
[26]And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD.
[27]But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.

According to Anthea Butler in the Huffington Post about Billy Graham in her article:

Billy Graham Wouldn’t Have Supported Rosa Parks

"Evangelical preacher Billy Graham was lain in honor Wednesday in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Graham is the first American religious leader to be accorded that status, and the first private citizen since civil rights icon Rosa Parks was honored in 2005.
Parks and Graham would not have seen eye to eye on many things, and that is a fact worth discussing amid the remembrances of Graham’s life.
Graham promoted a white evangelical respectability that wanted to “put the brakes” on the civil rights movement, and never really accepted women as equal to men. He may have been the country’s greatest evangelist, but he was also an apologist for the racist and sexist beliefs pervasive among white evangelical men in 20th-century America.
Since Graham’s death, much has been said about his friendships with presidents and Martin Luther King Jr. His friendships, however, belied the power he wielded because of his piety.
Graham’s Christianity was steeped not only in political friendships, but also in evangelical ethics. Graham functioned as a megaphone for conservative biblical ideas that dovetailed with conservative politics, including family, sexual morality and adherence to laws. He was not only an evangelist, he was also an enforcer: enforcing conservative white Christian social beliefs and evangelical ethical claims as “America’s Pastor.”
Graham would have told Parks that she needed to obey the law, stay at home, and be content with being a black woman with no rights.
This was apparent in how Graham spoke about the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. For his part, King attended Graham’s New York City crusade in July of 1957, and even said an opening prayer at the meeting.
But while Graham spoke often about desegregating his crusades, he placed a premium on moderation and order in the quest for civil rights. For Graham, dissent meant disobedience to both God and the laws of the land. Later, Graham would decline to take a stand on sit-ins, declaring, “No matter what the law may be — it may be an unjust law — I believe we have a Christian responsibility to obey it.”
Graham would have told Parks that she needed to obey the law, stay at home, and be content with being a black woman with no rights.
Graham, while lauded for his integrated evangelistic services in the south, would also gloss over the wounds of racism. In 1958, King would ask Graham not to appear with the then-governor of Texas, Price Daniels, because in King’s words, “It can well be interpreted as your endorsement of racial segregation and discrimination.” Graham appeared anyway, ignoring King.
After King’s “Letter From Birmingham City Jail” appeared in April of 1963, Graham told press that King “should put the brakes on a little bit.”
The following year, in preparation for Easter Sunday services six months after the Birmingham bombings in March of 1964, Graham would elide the horror of the bombings, saying they didn’t represent ”the real Birmingham.”
“This city is recovering from its bad image, by just doing things like the meeting tomorrow,” he said.
Graham may have wanted integration, but instead, he promoted gradualism, and provided absolution for racists hiding behind a Christianity attuned not only to Jesus, but also focused on regulating behavior and black bodies.  "

Billy Graham was a Religious Architect of the 'Southern Strategy'

'Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South'

Explaining the realignment of American Southern politics is often a favorite area of study among historians and scholars. A region that was once dominated by yellow dog Democrats, has for the most part continued to expand as a loyal region for the Grand Old Party. One of the earliest and most common narratives among liberal historians and writers is the belief that the realignment in the South had to do with a backlash against desegregation. Steven P. Miller in his new book Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South puts considerable emphasis on Graham’s role in desegregation, public evangelicalism, and Graham as a spiritual and political adviser to presidents. Miller argues that Graham played a formidable role in reshaping the political climate of the South.
Early on Miller describes some of the dynamics of Graham’s insistence on holding desegregated crusades in the South, and his relationship with many fellow Southern Baptist ministers who supported segregation. Miller labels Graham a “racial moderate” largely by comparing him to Dr. Martin Luther King. Graham also at various times called for Civil Rights protesters to obey federal court orders and was quick to defend the South as having better racial relations than many places north of Dixie. With quips like, “prejudice is not just a sectional problem,” and, labeling criticism of the South “one of the most popular indoor sports of some Northerners these days,” Graham became an endearing figure to many fellow Southerners. It also allowed him to take fairly progressive positions on race without losing a large part of his Southern audience.
Graham linked racism as a problem directly related to the absence of God that pointed to the need of regeneration for the individual. It was a reasoning that also made political sense when Graham would make pronouncements for more gradualism when it came to integration. He understood there were limits to solving segregation through legislation alone. Miller also notes Graham’s forward thinking when he addressed how much segregation stained America’s image abroad in relation to Cold War dynamics.
Another large portion of the book covers Graham’s relationship with political figures and presidents. Graham, a lifelong Democrat, is well known for his close relationship to President Richard Nixon and how his regional leadership in the American South helped Nixon’s “Southern Strategy.” Graham also had a very good relationship with President Lyndon Johnson and even lent his endorsement to his War on Poverty programs, citing Scripture as a basis for support. While Graham supported many of Johnson’s big government initiatives and his Vietnam policies, he also had harsh criticism for other areas of 1960s liberalism, especially related to judicial activism as it related to school prayer and criminal rights. Graham was criticized by the left for being a court prophet to Nixon, and his reputation would suffer again decades later through the release of tapes where Graham was heard agreeing with Nixon as he railed against all the Jews in the media. Defenses of Nixon late into Watergate proved to be an issue as well, as Graham often called the scandal further proof of a larger national problem that called for personal and national repentance.
An overarching point of Miller’s theme is that Graham gave considerable cover for Southerners to distance themselves from their segregated past. An evangelical understanding of the sins of racism allowed many to declare themselves healed and absolved from past guilt. Graham then criticized forced busing as a desegregation tactic, he further lauded law and order policies, and continually criticized the secularizing of America through the courts. Miller also argues that his close association to Nixon and his vocal pronouncements on many conservative positions, especially social positions and the moral breakdown in society further made the region ripe for change. This book provides a lot background on Graham’s career as an evangelist and as a force in twentieth century American politics. Miller appropriately concludes by noting that “Graham’s central theme never altered; the evangelist preached Christ crucified and resurrected, with salvation available through Him available to all who would invite Him into their hearts.” Far beyond any political statements, it is what Graham is known for and will especially be known for when he is called home.


In 2001 he questioned harsh penalties for drug dealing.
Barack Obama voted “present” (essentially a “no” vote) on an Illinois state senate bill to increase penalties for trafficking in Ecstasy and other designer drugs, questioning “whether Illinois’ drug penalties [were] appropriate considering that a person convicted of raping a woman at knifepoint would be charged with the same level of offense as someone convicted of selling 15 doses of ecstasy.”
Says he will deal with street level drug dealing as minimum wage affair.
This statement is a mischaracterized, out-of-context phrase plucked from a passage appearing in Barack Obama’s 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope

We need to tackle the nexus of unemployment and crime in the inner city. The conventional wisdom is that most unemployed inner-city men could find jobs if they really wanted to work; that they inevitably prefer drug dealing, with its attendant risks but potential profits, to the low-paying jobs that their lack of skill warrants. In fact, economists who’ve studied the issue — and the young men whose fates are at stake — will tell you that the costs and benefits of the street life don’t match the popular mythology: AT THE BOTTOM OR EVEN THE MIDDLE RANKS OF THE INDUSTRY, DRUG DEALING IS A MINIMUM-WAGE AFFAIR. For many inner-city men, what prevents gainful employment is not simply the absence of motivation to get off the streets but the absence of a job history or any marketable skills — and, increasingly, the stigma of a prison record.

We can assume that with lawful work available for young men now in the drug trade, crime in any community would drop.


Drugs, Death and Despair By Bob Paulson • January 31, 2017 •

 Topics: Death, Drug Addiction SHARE567 TWEET Home

Decision Magazine February 2017

Drugs, Death and Despair Americans are dying in record numbers from what have been called “the diseases of despair”—drug addiction, alcoholism and suicide. The stories seem endless. Rebecca Mitchell was 5 years old when her father deserted her family to pursue his heroin addiction. Without a dad in her life, Rebecca started to make bad choices. She began abusing pills as a teen and by age 21 was hooked on heroin. Subscribe to Decision Get your own subscription, or renewal, or bless someone by giving Decision Magazine as a gift.

 Gene Dooley started sneaking alcohol from his parents’ parties as a young boy. By 18 he knew he had a problem. Although he kept it mostly hidden for years, his alcoholism eventually cost him his job, his family—and nearly his life when he connected a hose to the exhaust pipe of a truck, routed it into the cab and attempted suicide. Walter Santos was only 12 or 13 when he started using hard-core drugs on the streets of New York City. He grew to be a successful musician, but his addiction took him on a downward spiral—to jail, mental health lockdown, utter hopelessness; and, like Dooley, he attempted to take his own life. But Jesus Christ can turn a story of despair into one of triumph. Mitchell, Dooley and Santos all found healing, restoration and new life through Christ, and all three now help others to overcome addictions as well. Historic Levels From 1999 to 2014, overdose deaths in the United States nearly tripled, driven largely by opioids—the class of drugs that includes commonly prescribed medicines such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, as well as heroin and the even more potent fentanyl, which was ruled to be the drug that caused the death of rock star Prince last April.

 Suicides skyrocketed during that same period to the highest levels in nearly 30 years—a 24 percent increase overall, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Some of the most alarming spikes came among girls and middle-aged women: Among non-Hispanic white females, suicides rose by 240 percent for those ages 10-14 and by 80 percent for ages 45-64. An 89 percent increase was also seen among females who are non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native. Part of the surge in suicides has been attributed to drug overdoses, which may be ruled suicide if a medical examiner or coroner believes it was intentional. The drug epidemic no longer fits the classic stereotype of inner-city youth shooting up in back alleys. It’s everywhere, from big cities to small towns to rural areas. And it can be anyone: Middle-aged women are dying in record numbers. “The depth of addiction is causing more chaos and more despair than any other time I can remember.” —Don Holder Overdose deaths continued to increase throughout 2016. Will County, Ill., in suburban Chicago, reported a 42 percent increase in heroin deaths compared to 2015. The city of Baltimore saw a 65 percent increase from January through September. In Milwaukee County, Wis., fentanyl-related deaths rose 120 percent in 2016. “The depth of addiction is causing more chaos and more despair than any other time I can remember,” says Don Holder, executive director of Hebron Colony Ministries, in Boone, N.C. “Almost on a weekly basis, a new drug hits the market, often coming out of an illegal lab somewhere.”

 And it has become clear that too many doctors have prescribed too many pills for too many ailments. People become dependent on the drug, and when they can no longer refill their prescription, they beg, buy or steal other people’s pills, or they turn to heroin, which drug dealers now commonly mix with the super-potent and often deadly fentanyl. The Real Problem Some experts have suggested that one cause of the “deaths of despair” might be the stress felt by aging baby boomers who realize they have not prepared financially for retirement. inset-drugsdd03Christian counselors point to something deeper. “We live in a fallen world,” Holder says. “All we have to do is look around to see that the moral compass in our society has gone away. We’re changing the facts. If you jump off a building, gravity tells you you’re going to hit the ground. But we jump anyway. There is no question that despair has taken over our society.” The prevalence of addiction shows how empty people are, says Rebekah Kirschke, program coordinator at StraightWay Training Center’s Restoration City, in Hungerford, Texas. “If they were already full, they wouldn’t have to turn to those things and abuse them,” she says. “Circumstances, relationships and bad choices make people feel guilt, so then they try to drown it out or escape it by doing more and more and more. We know it’s Satan that causes that despair. And of course, Jesus has provided the remedy, which is Himself. Drugs are not the problem—it’s sin.” But sin is deceptive, and it enslaves. Chasing the Dragon “There was such a void in my life,” says Walter Santos. Now 67 and a certified drug and alcohol counselor, Santos serves on the board of Calvary Ranch in San Diego. “The minute I touched that substance, it zeroed right in on that part of my life that needed to feel good. And the devil is so crafty that he just fills that with this poison, and you buy into this lie that you need it to function. And then you start chasing that dragon every day. It overcomes your life.” Ken Barun, BGEA’s chief of staff, knows firsthand what it’s like to chase the dragon, as he struggled with heroin addiction in the 1960s and ’70s. “It’s the most all-consuming drive a person could ever imagine,” Barun says.

“A power inside you takes over. And once you feel that first alluring grip of Satan, you think you can’t live without it. You soon realize you have become a slave to drugs.” —Ken Barun, BGEA chief of staff “It’s the most all-consuming drive a person could ever imagine,” Barun says. “A power inside you takes over. And once you feel that first alluring grip of Satan, you think you can’t live without it. You soon realize you have become a slave to drugs. You can’t go anywhere to escape, you can’t keep a job, and you cannot live normally. Heroin takes control, and every bit of money and energy is going to the next dose.” The addicted person is not the only one to experience despair and hopelessness, Rebecca Mitchell says. “The entire family goes through it. I know in my life, my family was absolutely in despair, and my mom even started drinking due to me.” Kirschke adds: “I think what I hate about it the most is how selfish it makes people, to the point that they don’t care about the things they should care about the most when it comes to relationships and families.” Real Hope For those who realize their need to get clean, there is hope. After going through detox to become medically stabilized, the next step is a longer-term rehabilitation program to deal with the addiction. And Bible-based, Christ-centered rehabilitation programs are some of the most effective ones, in large part because people immerse themselves in God’s Word. Seven years after entering rehab herself, Mitchell now serves as the executive director of the Walter Hoving Home in Pasadena, Calif. “Our problem isn’t addiction,” she says.

“We have a problem of not knowing God, and we have this God-shaped hole inside of us that nothing else can fill. “If you look at the success rate of secular programs, they are pretty dismal in comparison to the Christian programs. Because God is ultimately the One who transforms and changes us.” When a person commits their life to Christ, He fills the emptiness that he or she has been trying to fill with drugs and other things. “Christ is the All-Powerful One,” Kirschke notes, “and He gives you not only the strength, but He fills you with hope and love and joy and all the things that people search for.” Santos spent time in eight state hospitals for his addiction before finding healing in Christ. “There’s no hope in those programs,” he said, “because you’re taught, ‘I’m going to be like this for the rest of my life. Once an addict, always an addict.’ And let me tell you something: It doesn’t work. The Lord is so beautiful—He comes in and makes all things brand new. He starts from the heart and goes to the mind. That begins the journey to learn how to live effectively, with God on the throne.” Structured Discipleship “We offer Jesus first,” Holder says of Hebron Colony’s program. “If Jesus had thought we had a need for something other than what He taught, then I believe He would have taught it. So we only teach what He taught. That’s what He instructed us to do, and we’re not going to miss that mark.” At Calvary Ranch in San Diego, residents study the Bible, and daily devotionals come from the Book of Proverbs each morning and the Psalms each evening. “The answers are there,” Santos says. “It’s all in the Bible. The world out there is just beating around the bush.” Residents learn to maintain structured schedules, with devotional time, group discussions, chores and seminars. The Restoration City program is a discipleship program, Kirschke says. “It’s a work/study program, and they really learn. In fact, in the advanced phase of our program, they’re taking Bible college courses basically.” But why do Christian programs work so well? “The Word of the Lord says in Romans 12:1 that our transformation comes by the renewing of the mind,” Holder says. “So we are planting the mind of God—which is the Scripture—into the mind of man. That’s where the renewing comes from, and I think transformation takes place because of it.” Still, there is no quick fix for addiction, Mitchell says. “It takes time for some people. Families must not lose hope because of that. It’s not about being clean; it’s about being transformed. We believe in life transformation, and that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.” ©2017 BGEA



Is it effective and is it just?
Photo Credit: Artem Furman /
You may think the war on drugs is winding down in America, and in some ways it is, but old habits die hard. Prosecutors and politicians confronted by a new wave of prescription opiate and heroin addiction and abuse are finding new ways to punish drug dealers, especially if there is a death involved.
In recent years, a number of states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, have enacted or revised laws aimed at punishing dealers for the overdose deaths of their clients. Known under monikers such as "drug dealer liability" or "drug delivery resulting in death," the new laws satisfy punitive social impulses, but seem to accomplish little else.
"I don't want another parent to bury a child, and I don't want another child to lose a parent to heroin or prescription drug overdose," Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in a typical pronouncement about the need for such a law.
"If you sell drugs that cause someone's death in Ocean County, New Jersey, and if we track it back to you, you are going to prison," Ocean County District Attorney's office spokesman Al Della Fave told AlterNet.
The Problem Is Real
According to the Centers for Disease Control, fatal drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death across the nation, now exceeding motor vehicle deaths in the 25-to-64 age group. Prescription opiates such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as sedatives and tranquilizers, now outpace illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine.
Still, heroin use is up, and so are fatalities. According to the 2012 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of heroin users was approximately 669,000, up dramatically from the 373,000 reported in 2007. A December CDC 2014 report found that heroin-related deaths tripled between 1999 and 2012. And just last month, the DEA estimated the number of heroin overdose deaths in 2013 at 8,260, nearly doubling the number of overdose deaths from just three years earlier.
But heroin deaths are overwhelmed by prescription drug overdose deaths. According to the CDC, twice as many people (16,235) died from prescription opiate overdoses that year, with a total of more than 43,000 drug overdose deaths, well more than half of them from prescription drugs, not illegal drugs. 
Efforts to tackle fatal overdose cases coincide with many users switching from prescription opiates to heroin because of crackdowns on "pill mills" and "Dr. Feelgoods" in the face of rising levels of prescription opiate addiction and overdoses. And it strongly appears that the wave of prescription opiate use is largely driving the wave of heroin use. 
It all dates back to the late 1990s, when Purdue Pharma introduced Oxycontin to the market as a pain reliever for patients suffering chronic and severe pain. Although Purdue marketed Oxycontin as less addictive and safer than other prescription opiates, it quickly proved both addictive and lethal, with thousands of people dying from Oxycontin overdoses, according to the CDC. Federal prosecutors later went after Purdue Pharma for misstating the drug's toxicity and addiction risks and won a $680 million settlement, though not one Purdue executive ever went to prison.
Going After Street Level Dealers
It's a different story for street-level dope slingers. Prosecuting dope pushers on manslaughter charges is a booming business these days in the criminal justice system. With thousands of people dying from drug overdoses, low-level dealers are low-hanging fruit for prosecutors.
"We're going to be ruthless" in prosecuting drug overdose deaths, Ocean County, New Jersey, DA Joseph Coronato said. He pointed out that 88 people died of drug overdoses in the county in 2013 and 53 more in 2014.
In Pennsylvania, the legislature acted quickly when the state Supreme Court threw out the drug death statute as unconstitutional, in part because it failed to include primary elements to prove a person actually committed intentional murder. The decision came in the case of Gloria Highhawk, who had not sold any drugs, but who was accused of injecting Steve Wilson with heroin at his request. Highhawk was convicted of "drug delivery causing death," but the state Supreme Court held that conviction on the charge violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Following a series of legal skirmishes, Highhawk ultimately cut a deal to serve two to five years on an involuntary manslaughter charge.
In response to the high court's ruling, and realizing that its drug-delivery-resulting-in-death statute needed another tweak, the legislature quickly passed a new version of the law under which prosecutors no longer have to prove the drug seller intentionally or recklessly caused the death of the person who overdosed.
"We need only to prove drugs were knowingly delivered," said Buck County Pennsylvania Assistant DA Matt Weintraub.
In his own bid to nail dope dealers, Ohio state Rep. Jim Butler this year has proposed House Bill 508, which would make selling the drugs linked to a fatal overdose punishable by life in prison, with no parole eligibility for 20 years. The move follows a new law in neighboring Michigan that also gives prosecutors the ability to seek life sentences for dealers whose customers die of drug overdoses.
In Wisconsin, prosecutors indicted 71 people for first-degree "drug delivery reckless homicide" charges in 2013, up from 47 in 2012. At the time of the mid-2014 report from the Wisconsin Media Investigate Team, another 36 people had been indicted that year.
But the road has been bumpy at times. In one case, prosecutors' failure to elicit testimony from a toxicology expert won the defendant a new trial. Jason Vandyke had been sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted in 2011 of first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Cole Trittin, to whom Vandyke had sold heroin and who died of a drug overdose on April 13, 2011.
In Vandyke's case, prosecutors used a toxicology report to show that Trittin died of a heroin overdose, even though medical examiner Douglas Kelly testified that other drugs beside heroin were present in Trittin's body. Prosecutors also failed to present "live testimony" from the toxicologist whose report blamed Trittin's death solely on heroin, instead relying on testimony from the medical examiner about the toxicology report.
That move violated "Vandyke's constitutional right to confront and cross-examine a witness or witnesses against him," the appeals court held.
"We're pleased with the appeals court decision," Wisconsin attorney Matthew Pinix, who wrote the appeal, told AlterNet. "If the case is retried, the state will have to produce the expert who did the toxicology tests,"  Pinix added. Meanwhile, Jason Vandyke waits at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.
Virginia responded to the wave of addition and overdoses deaths in much the same way: by targeting dope dealers with stiff prisons sentences. House Bill 1638 allows prosecutors to charge dealers with second-degree murder in the event of a fatal overdose, with a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
"The goal of the bill is to save lives," state Attorney General Mark Herring explained.
The Virginia bill was largely a response to the overdose death of Kayla Lyndsee Beame, who died in November 2010 after taking ecstasy pills she bought from Timothy Woodward. In addition to convictions for ecstasy distribution and possession, Woodward was also convicted of felony murder for selling the fatal pills. But the state Supreme Court threw out his conviction in 2013, ruling that there was not sufficient "casual connection nor temporal connection between the sale of the ecstasy and Beamer's death to constitute felony murder." In other words, she didn't die because Woodward sold her the drug; there were several intermediate steps. She died two days after purchasing the pills.
Under the new bill, in fatal drug overdose cases, Virginia prosecutors no longer have to take into account any time lapse as long as a witness or witnesses can identify the dope seller who supplied the drugs to a user.
It's not just the states. Federal prosecutors have a long record of hammering drug dealers, and it's no different when it comes to drug overdose death prosecutions. Federal laws carry harsher penalties than some state laws, and federal prosecutors have been known to step in and take over state cases to achieve harsher sentences.
That's what happened to 20-year-old Stephen Martin after he sold heroin to Virginia real estate agent Brad Nichols, 42, in 2013. Nichols died of an overdose, and Virginia Beach investigators eventually rolled up 51 people whose drug sales led to overdoses or heroin-related deaths, including Martin.
He was looking at up to 20 years with parole eligibility after three to five years under state law, but Virginia prosecutors handed his case off to the feds. Instead, he got 20 years to life in the federal system, with no chance of parole.
Are These Laws Just?
Many legal experts and justice advocates argue that these drug death prosecutions are not only unfair, but probably unconstitutional. As Rutgers University law professor Douglas Husak put it: "Heroin distributors are not murderers, and they're not murderers when their customers die from an overdose."
The National Criminal Justice Reference Service agreed in its harshly critical report on the practice, Unconstitutional Fiction"Regardless of the felony committed by a drug supplier, the act of supplying the drug does not legally cause a user's overdose and death," the NCJRS found."Courts that use the rule [felony murder in drug prosecutions] violate the accused's constitutional guarantee of due process of law by failing to prove the causation of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt."
It's not only causation that is problematic, but also intent. Felony murder charges (as distinct from manslaughter) require that intent be proved, legal experts said. Critics charge that politicians and prosecutors are trying to side-step intent with the new drug dealer liability laws.
"Where's the intent to cause death?" asked former Harris County, Texas chief prosecutor Mark Vinson in an AlterNet interview. "And how can it be proved that a dealer sold the exact drugs that caused someone's death?"
"Where is the intent to cause death?" echoed Houston-based defense lawyer Craig Washington.
Advocates and defense attorneys argue that prosecuting people for murder or manslaughter is unfair because the user is ultimately responsible for ingesting the substances. They also argue that "strict liability" is essentially a tool of civil, not criminal law. They say that with the exception of vehicular manslaughter, it is rare to prosecute someone for accidentally causing death.
"We don't prosecute people in this country for accidentally killing someone, no matter how horrific," Washington said. "Strict liability is for civil court, not criminal."
CNN legal analyst Paul Callahan concurred, saying that criminal prosecutions under strict liability statures are "exceptionally rare and that most strict liability laws are in fact civil."
The use of strict liability laws in criminal prosecutions deprives the accused of a fair trial, he said.
"The laws explicitly say that in a court case, the defense cannot argue that the victim knowingly contributed to his own death by taking the lethal drug, thus removing any argument (for or against) intent to cause harm," Callahan said.
But prosecutors argue that selling illegal drugs to someone who then overdoses is similar to driving while intoxicated and then killing someone.
Washington disagreed. He said the state must prove not only that the drugs sold by the dealer caused the death, but that the dealer must also be proven to have intended for the victim to die.
"First, the state has to prove that the person died of an overdose and then be able to trace the drugs back to my client," he said, describing a hypothetical defendant. "And what if my client sold his drugs to someone else, and that person either stepped on the drugs to make them stretch or laced the drugs with something to increase their potency, and that person sells the drugs to someone else who dies? How can my client be guilty of that person's death?"
Another Wrinkle
According to the CDC, many drug overdose deaths are the result not of a single drug, but of poly-substance abuse. That introduces a whole new level of confusion over causation. If someone dies after using multiple drugs, who should be held accountable? And what if that person is a long-term addict suffering chronic disease related to drug abuse? Did the drugs kill him or did the chronic disease?
Oakland-based forensic pathologist Judy Melinek, who has done numerous autopsies of drug overdose victims and is the author of Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies and the Making of a Medical Examiner, outlined the intricacies.
"When people die who are habitual drug users, the toxicology report will show which compounds they took and what their blood, urine, or tissue levels were at the time of death," but not where the drugs came from, she told AlterNet. Nor is it always clear whether the death was actually due to drugs or to a pre-existing medical condition.
"Sometimes figuring out whether a person's death is due to natural diseases or drug use can be difficult," Melinek said. "Generally drug users die because they overdose on a particular drug and it affected them more significantly at that moment because of the underlying disease from previous chronic drug use, because they took a little more (prior to dying) or because the overdose batch was stronger or more pure than the previous hit."
But such complexities are not stopping prosecutors seeking politically popular solutions to the problem of drug overdoses.
The Role of Race
Some critics point to the role of race in motivating prosecutors to hammer low-level dealers in overdose cases. They note that newfangled drug dealer liability laws coincide with demographic shifts among drug overdose victims.
Numerous media reports have noted that the current wave of opiate abuse is centered in the Appalachians and the Midwest and is taking place in suburbs and rural areas, not minority-heavy inner cities. And the CDC reported last October that "whites had the highest death rates for both heroin and prescription opioid pain relievers." The number of whites dying of opiate overdoses had doubled in recent years, the CDC report noted.
Wisconsin attorney Robin Shellow, who has defended more than a dozen people charged in overdose death cases, believes that makes a difference in prosecutorial attitudes and behavior.
"Prosecutions have risen amid pressure from people capable of bringing power and influence to bear," she said.
Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel admitted as much in an interview with AlterNet. He said it was when suburban kids started dying of overdoses that he felt motivated to crack down on drug sellers.
"Back in 2007, I was working in a drug unit when, and we started seeing high numbers of heroin overdoses in our suburban communities," he said. "But drugs are equal opportunity killers and are killing kids everywhere."
But nobody really seemed to care when those dead drug users were non-white, inner city residents. For years, police and prosecutors treated fatal overdoses as accidents or as the inevitable fate awaiting drug addicts. Now, with white people and suburbanites doing the dying, in many states, when police arrive on the scene, officers are instructed to notify trained investigators and paramedics to treat the scene as a homicide.
A More Positive Approach 
Convicting street-level dope dealers on murder charges isn't going to bring anyone back from the dead, even if it does provide a convenient scapegoat for a tragedy.
Harm reduction measures are far more effective ways of dealing with the threat of fatal drug overdose, and fortunately, their use is spreading. There are now at least 183 public health programs around the country training more than 50,000 people, including police officers, in the use of naloxone, an opioid antagonist that reverses overdoses and saves lives. In the past couple of years, more and more states have enacted legislation allowing police officers, emergency medical responders, and even friends and family members to carry and administer the drug. More than 10,000 overdose victims have been saved by the use of naloxone.
The number saved could have been even higher. According to a study by Phillip Coffman, director of substance use research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and Dean Sullivan, director of the Pharmaceutical Outcome Research and Policy Program at the University of Washington, if naloxone had been made available to only 20% of an estimated one million heroin users, some 9,000 additional fatalities could have been prevented.
In addition to widening access to naloxone, another popular and effective harm reduction response are Good Samaritan laws, which provide limited immunity from prosecution for people who report overdoses in progress. Those laws do not provide immunity from prosecution for other offenses, such as drug sales or drugged driving, but they do give overdose victims' acquaintances an incentive to seek medical assistance instead of fleeing or abandoning the victim.
New Mexico was the first state to enact such a law just a few years ago, and now at least 20 others and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation. 
Laws that punish drug dealers with murder charges may enable police and prosecutors to say they are "tough on crime," but they do little to address underlying causes of drug use and the chronic poverty that makes dope-slinging an attractive employment option. And they are of questionable constitutionality. One of these years, the Supreme Court will have to determine the validity and constitutionality of these laws.
Drug use and abuse is as American as apple pie. But there are different ways of responding to it. Resorting to charging drug dealers with murder is a return to the harsh and punitive drug policies of the 1980s, while embracing harm reduction responses is an approach more suitable to the current century. Punishing drug dealers didn't stop drug use or drug dealing then and is unlikely to stop it now. When it comes to people's craving for dope, the urge to get high will always outweigh the risks and consequences of drug use.

"YEAH, WE PLAN TO IMPRISON TONS OF BLIKE NIGROES!" Trumpism’s goal is, at least in part, to destroy the progress achieved under the Obama administration.

By James Braxton Peterson / 

Almost immediately after Sessions was sworn in, he rescinded an Obama administration memorandum to phase out the federal justice system’s use of private prisons. Though Obama's guidance would not have ended the scourge of the Prison Industrial Complex, it was a crucial step in the reform process.
Private prisons are less efficient, provide diminished access to health care and can often be vulnerable to corruption. They operate on market principles rather than societal or community ones. Some are incentivized to warehouse human beings.
Our mass incarceration problem is compounded by overly aggressive policing. In some cities or regions, federal review of local law enforcement has been able to serve as a check when policing goes wrong. But Sessions has registered his distaste for federal oversight of local law enforcement. This may signal an end to consent decrees — a critical process developed in wake of the 1994 uprising in Los Angeles following the Rodney King trial. Consent decrees allow the federal government to enter into court-enforceable agreements with local police forces, based on DOJ reports documenting civil rights abuses.
The Obama Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson police department was among the most damning. While Sessions dismissed the data as “anecdotal,” the report noted that two-thirds of African Americans living in Ferguson accounted for more than 90 percent of the arrests between 2012 and 2014.
Sessions has also “empowered” U.S. attorneys to seek the harshest penalties possible for drug crimes. This is a direct reversal of Holder's efforts to reform draconian drug laws that systematically targeted poor people of color.
It is as if Sessions’ Justice Department is operating on a set of alternative facts. Because the statistics are well known: Whites and blacks use and sell drugs at roughly the same rates, and African Americans make up roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population. Yet law enforcement records are remarkably different for each demographic. According to Human Rights Watch: "Black adults are more than two-and-a-half times as likely as white adults to be arrested for drug possession. In 2014, Black adults accounted for just 14 percent of those who used drugs in the previous year but close to a third of those arrested for drug possession." In many states, a felony conviction also means losing the right to vote.

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