Reader Mail

That’s the Spirit

V for Churchillian Victory. The more things change. Passover and Iraq. Going down under. Letters from base to Ben Stein. Plus much more.

4.14.06

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CAN CONSERVATIVES BE MEN?
Re: Quin Hillyer's Bad News Everywhere I Look:

Quin Hillyer quoted Winston Churchill's dramatic speech made at the beginning of the Battle of Britain, when he promised blood, toil, tears and sweat. I am a long time fan of Churchill's, I have all his books and speeches and I have read the lot, save for the one bad novel he wrote when he was a young man that he himself said he did not encourage his friends to read. In that speech, Churchill said his aim was victory, he wasn't going to give up until Germany was defeated and occupied Europe was liberated from a dismal, dark tyranny made worse by perverted science. Churchill spoke unapologetically of victory, but I am always struck at how rarely Americans do this, they seemed to be positively embarrassed by the thought of turning their enemies and their execrable ideas into defeated, irrelevant historical trash, let alone saying this openly. Talking about blood, toil, tears and sweat is not enough -- it wasn't enough for Churchill -- talk but winning and overcoming and how this can be done. How do you expect to win when you don't have the nerve to even say so? No wonder conservative values are losing out across the board -- the people who are supposedly trying to protect and advance them are morally half beaten before they even start to fight.
-- Christopher Holland
Canberra, Australia

Agree with Mr. Hillyer regarding the utterly depressing state of affairs around the world.

His comments regarding France (ugh!), Spain, Italy and the rest of Europe, while true, one should also remember that these second- and third-rate "powers" have always been this way -- unreliable and teetering on the precipice of sanity.

The U.K., however, deserves more trust. While Mr. Hillyer may be dazzled by Tony Blair and his unwavering support for the war being fought in Iraq, it should be remembered that he is less trusted at home and, even, the less gullible abroad. It might well turn out that Labour's dour Mr. Brown or the opportunistic Mr. Cameron could continue this support in Iraq and not leave it high and dry as Mr. Hillyer suggests.

This time, the West has to get it right I'd like to think that this is a phase we are all going through, principally, brought about by sheer greed and dishonesty coupled with a tremendous lack of intellect by the people who govern us.

Happy Easter.
-- Alexandra Taylor

WE AREN'T ONE WORLD
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s A Cautionary Tale:

The difference is we used to charge people with treason and put them on trail, now they get praise for being a whistleblower.
-- Elaine Kyle

You lead off your fine article by recalling the cliche that "America is changed forever." Sir, may I respectfully suggest that the cliche is quite correct, and will continue to be for some unknown time to come.

The One World globalists are out of the closet and in our faces. George Soros, the U.N., the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Ted Turner -- these folks have been out of the closet for years. Now the MSM has officially and openly joined them. The socialistic academic world has seen its chance and joined the fray in an even more open and egregious manner than normal. Hollywood has long thought of itself in grandiose world terms, not just as an American film industry. A few mega-stars, like John Wayne, Charlton Heston, and a few others held the line, but with them faded from the scene, all pretenses on the point is removed.

I would suggest this to be the proper way to analyze the Hispanic agitation on immigration also. The Hispanic "leaders" are really advocating the illegality of national borders, enforcement of same, and national legal codes. Yes, America is the bogeyman of choice at the moment, but I notice that Vicente Fox has recently opened a second front against the Canadians. He argues that Canada is not doing enough to take in Mexican "guest workers."

Europe is experiencing its own version of this developing governing theory. The difference is that, in Europe, it is Muslims and Islam, instead of Hispanics. The delicious irony is that the one world mentality of the European elite and their governments is that the U.S. of A. is the big bad actor, but they get no credit among the Islamists and other Third World agitators. Instead they are told that they themselves are not doing enough.

I think that this mindset and movement can be, almost directly, traced to 1949 and the inception of the United Nations. We, however, were war weary and didn't see or believe it. Now we have a world court, an international law of the sea, a Kyoto, and on and on. There is a tremendous push from the U.N. and George Soros, et al., to enact and ratify a worldwide ban on personal weapons and the whole idea of defending oneself, ones home, and ones family. The U.S. Second Amendment is ridiculed and it is suggested that we have no "right" to have such a law or constitutional provision. Of course you may wish to suggest that the whole movement goes back to the League of Nations after WWI, and I would not strenuously dispute you on the point, but that attempt failed.

Yes, America is the bogeyman of choice for a large part of the world elite and governing classes, but I think it is distracting to think of the animus in these narrow terms, and to not ask why. What is the deep seated, real reason for our vilification in the world community? I would maintain that it is the increasing desire on the part of envious folks and elitists for a single, socialist, world government. But then what do I know? I am just a common, average American that loves his country and is proud to be a patriot.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO -- GEORGE BUSH WON'T!!!!
-- Ken Shreve
American

In regard to the difference between the press corps of today vs. that of the WWII era is that some in the press corps were aware of the pending Normandy invasion of June 6, but had the integrity to not say a word because they knew the mission would be compromised. The press corps of today, with their "people have a right to know" at any cost, would have been in France interviewing the Germans regarded their thoughts regarding the pending invasion just as they did in the '80s on Grenada. It was rather ludicrous to see the self-righteous press on the shore suddenly turning on their television lights to interview startled marines wading ashore and expected to express their views.

Now 70 years old, I remember WWII days, followed the war in the papers, had uncles in the fracas, though I was only six years old and in the first grade when Pearl Harbor was bombed on Sunday, December 7, 1941 to get things off to a roaring start. It was a time of periodic blackouts in the town of Janesville, Minnesota, where we lived at the time. It was years later that I realized that every time there was a blackout called, though neither Germany or Japan at the time had long range bombers to strike the Midwest, there would be heavy train traffic. Sneaking a peek behind the mandatory drawn shades one moonlit night, I saw numerous freight trains loaded with military equipment going through town.
-- Richard Becker

Blackwater is in the business of teaching the cold hard reality of the world we live in to those that either by their profession or passion to survive in this world have their eyes open about "that which will not be named." The ugly business or "that which will not be named" as Mr. Tyrrell has now seen is also a serious business and something far too many people don't take serious. I know. I also have friends in Afghanistan and Iraq that know as well. They will never get the recognition that those in uniform get but they are part of the overall package of "tools" being used to fight "that which will not be named" around the world. Blackwater is a serious place for serious people that take their lives, loved ones and freedoms seriously. A week there will be a sobering experience for the unenlightened.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

THE VISIBLE BODY
Re: Patrick O'Hannigan's Why I Won't Stop Going to Church:

A couple of thoughts on the Church, which so many, Catholic and Protestant, get wrong.

1. The Church is the Body of Christ. Bodies are visible and organized. Jesus was visible and "organized." The Church is visible and organized. It is not a phantasm.

2. As Mr. Harrigan points out, St. Paul in 1 Timothy 3:15 refers to the Church as the "pillar and foundation of the truth." The Church is also described by St. Paul (Ephesians 5) as the Bride of Christ. Now since Jesus refers to himself as the Bridegroom, and since the New Testament describes heaven as a wedding feast, it seems fair to argue that the Church, as Bride, is mighty important.

3. Jesus called Himself the Truth, and said He would send the Spirit of Truth to His Church. (John 14-17, passim). He also called the devil the "Father of Lies." Hmmm. It seems very likely then, that if Jesus is really God the Son, that He definitely wants to protect His Bride from the Father of Lies. Not only that, but if He is God the Son, then He most certainly *can* protect His Bride from the Father of Lies. And this is just what Catholics believe. The Church is infallible in faith and morals because Jesus has what it takes to protect His Holy Bride from the Enemy.

4. To deny this is to deny the divinity of Christ.

A Blessed Easter to all.
-- Lucy Tucker

Patrick O'Hannigan replies:
I like Lucy Tucker's letter because it has the relentless logic more commonly associated with aeronautical engineers than with postmodern theologians, but my name's "O'Hannigan," not "Harrigan," though the old song ("H-A-double R-I...") dies hard, and may well have been written in tribute to a distant cousin.

A BURST OF RESOLVE
Re: Jay D. Homnick's A Pretty Pass:

Again, thank you Jay Homnick, for giving me the words that I fail to find when I hear those remarks about our "losing" in Iraq. I am not a "cut and run" Republican but lately with the polls slagging and the populus turning against him (President Bush) I was at a loss to engage in any rhetoric on this subject. But I always felt in my heart that we are doing the right thing and history will prove it. I stand behind this President and his decision to go to that part of the world and defend democracy. Now you've given me the words to say what I feel. I can always depend on you.
-- Joan Moriarty

Thanks to Mr. Homnick for his insightful comparisons of the plight of the enslaved Israelites to our current situation. Let me try to add some additional ones:

First consider Moses and Bush, as in George, not Burning. (Mr. Homnick, one can only imagine what you could do with that.) Anyway, both were raised in privileged environments and squandered their youths only to reemerge later after periods of humbling before God as stalwart, stoic, confident leaders of men.

Both, by their own admissions, lack(ed) rhetorical skills. Bush has admitted to having "mangled a syl-la-ble or two." As for Moses, as he told God, per Exodus 4:10, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

There are other obvious comparisons: through Moses God held back the Red Sea; Bush has been used to hold back waves of pinkos. But for brevity's sake let's instead turn our attention to the peoples of ancient Israel and modern America:

Both quickly forgot the troubles of their pasts and turned to whining about their present. (For a more thorough account refer to many passages in Exodus and today's article by Mr. Tyrrell.)

For alternate leadership during a difficult time an angry delusional mob of Israelites turned to a golden heifer shill, forged of face jewelry using, perhaps, battle implements. In this country the angry delusional mob are looking to a shrill grown-olden Hillary and a mawkish horse-faced battle axe. (With apologies to both. Both Messrs. Tyrrell and Homnick, that is; lacking their abilities to turn phrases one simply does one's best or resorts to using theirs.)

And need it be said that both Israel and the U.S. have enemies with blind irrational hatred towards them? There are many other obvious comparisons to be made -- perhaps another time. Or, Mr. Homnick, perhaps another article? In the mean time, Happy Passover.
-- R. Trotter
Arlington, Virginia

DESPONDENT UNDER GOP
Re: "Good Day for Pessimists" letters in Reader Mail's Feeling Better and Quin Hillyer's Bad News Everywhere I Look:

Mike Spenser nailed it. Elaine too, as usual. But Mr. Tomlinson, Reagan's 11th Commandment probably should not apply when the GOP is so horribly run -- by a disaster of a President (borders and ILLEGAL aliens, non-vetoes and non-leadership, ugly Teddy-boy education crap, and the like) and those pandering whores in Congress.

I haven't felt so "down" about the political future since LBJ was president; not even when Bill Clinton or the ghastly Jimmy Carter occupied the White House -- we expected so much better, especially after Dubya's significant and positive splash following 9/11. My God, he's awful, and he expects us to buy his rationale on the leaky borders, calling Minutemen vigilantes? That's sick!

No, history seems to tell us that the Republican (occasionally conservative) Congress works better when there's a Democrat in the top job -- if for no other reason than spending drops and some sanity is offered in opposing the socialistic approach. Now, they're just about as bad as the Democrats -- actually worse, 'cause we expected so much better.

Gotta give the Republican National Committee bunch credit for guts, sending out that recent questionnaire. Or maybe it was masochistic? Either way, I think they're going to get one whale of an education about how badly their guys have screwed-up.

It's really sad. Very sad; such a waste!
-- Brandt

DRONE RELIGION
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge's Catechism's Comeback:

Mark Gauvreau Judge's assessment of the Second Vatican Council is rather dreary. He complains that one's catechetical instruction should be "living, conscious, and active." In turn Mr. Judge would advocate that Catholic catechetical training should be "dead, unconscious, and passive." He could practice economy of words and condense the three to "numbskull obedience." What a great Church to belong to. Mr. Editor, where do you dredge up these dreary writers? After reading this article and the title of his book about becoming a Catholic despite Georgetown prep, drenched in pity, one can only say, "poor baby."
-- Charlie Pfeiffer

THE UNACCOUNTABILITY OF TERM LIMITS
Re: Elaine Kyle's letter (under "Good Day for Pessimists") in Reader Mail's Feeling Better:

Elaine Kyle is usually as close to the bulls-eye as one can get. But I would like her and others to re-consider her recent quote: "Seems to me the problem with ethics could be helped greatly by TERM LIMITS on both houses. Two terms is good enough for the President and should be good enough for them also. Just think maybe in that short time they would do the work of the people that sent them and not have time to get into the pockets of some lobbyist."

In Michigan, we did two things. One: We voted for term limits for all elected state representatives. Two: We enacted a property tax reform bill that kept property tax increases to 5 percent a year, or the rate of inflation, or which of either was less. Local voters are NOW responsible for whether their property taxes are raised. And many benevolent folks believe the school districts every time they clamor for a higher mileage (tax rate) to run the schools for next year. Thus, the local taxpayer has, in effect replaced the "leadership" we used to expect from elected representatives to manage the state's budget and take the arrows for their poor decision making in Lansing. "Turn-out" at the polls also now determines how heavily taxed Michigan is.

Meanwhile, our elected reps in Lansing now have an easy ride. Knowing that their time there is limited, they can decide any way on anything and not face the wrath of voters for their lousy, or (if we're lucky) prudent decision making. It almost doesn't matter who holds what office, if there's no real accountability. I think it better to have an incumbent who values and loves the office and fights to stay there than the term-limited under-achiever who collects a good pension and health-insurance at the expense of taxpayers while not having to provide leadership... it all pays the same.

And I thought term limits would solve at least part or much of Michigan's problems.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

ARMED, SAFE, AND HAPPY
Re: Nathan Maskiell's letter ("That Pesky Second Amendment") in Reader Mail's Feeling Better and Jim Woodward's letter (under "In Like Flynn") in Reader Mail's Hope and Sanity

Nathan, thank you for your reply to my letter in response to "In Like Flynn."

A few points. I checked some Australian government statistics and several Australian newspaper articles on gun related violence down under. Apparently since the buy back (over 700,000) of various types of firearms in 1997, gun related crime in your country has remained statistically stable, neither increasing nor decreasing, although slightly up on those over 65.

Your government notes, as you point out, what does occur is largely gang related, most interestingly... of Middle Eastern heritage and committed with illegally obtained black-market firearms.

The vast majority of gun violence in the U.S. is also gang related, usually a byproduct of the drug trade and committed with illegally obtained firearms. Considering that we have close to 300 million citizens your figure of 30,000 works out to less than 1/10th of 1 percent of population. if I am doing my math correctly.

We also have some very stiff laws on the books, local, state and federal relating to the use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

As to that "pesky" Second Amendment, something you Aussies do not have, it would take a Constitutional amendment, ratified by three-fourths of the states to overturn. If that happens here or if Mr. Howard gets up tomorrow and decides to send the police 'round in Victoria for the rest of your rifles, pistols and shotguns, guess what? The thugs will still have theirs and be bringing in more...and you can take that to the bank!
-- Jim Woodward
Fruitland, Maryland

Mr. Maskiell, being one of our good friends from the land down under, can be forgiven for his lack of knowledge concerning the purpose of the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. It was written to specifically allow the states and the people of those states to actively resist the actions of a tyrannical central government. That those same weapons can be used for protection from criminals is a secondary benefit. Our forefathers had just spent ten years fighting their own parent government, not pirates, bandits, hostile native tribes, or foreign governments. As Mr. Maskiell noted, guns would not be necessary in a perfect world. But then, neither would police, armies or courts. Alas, we live in an imperfect world and are therefore forced to live with imperfection.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Regarding Nathan Maskiell's hissy-fit about the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Hey, mate: For the most part, our ancestors came here as free men (rather than convicted "transportees"), self-reliant, and secure in the knowledge that their rights as free men came from their Creator (rather than whatever government they might institute). This is why they included (what began as "Article the Fourth," and resulted in) the Second Amendment: not to confer any "right," but to forbid governments from infringing a pre-existing right. This notion was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1875 (some texts say 1876) when, writing in the case of U.S. v. Cruikshank (92 U.S. 542), Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite stated:

This [the carrying of arms for lawful purposes] is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that Instrument for its existence.

So the way aye sees it, cobber, even if you got your wish and "that pesky Second Amendment" went away, it would have absolutely no effect upon our individual right to arms.

Cheeky sot.
-- David Gonzalez
Wheeling, Illinois

Arguments about the U.S.'s Second Amendment aside for a moment I am always fascinated by the seeming suicidal mental response of those that watch horrific events like the slaughter of 60 million people by GOVERMENTS using guns against the unarmed, (mostly defenseless by mandate of the same murdering governments), in the late unlamented 20th century and instinctively respond (like Nathan Maskiell) by demanding to be made the next helpless victims to be slaughtered first. (Not to mention the sky ward rise of violent crime in socialist Britain and now Australia between 8 percent to 13 percent per year after disarming all citizens depending on whose numbers you like).

It's all good. Their actions will give those of use living in a rational world who understand that government protections are a lie and made only to keep said governments in power as long as possible will be waiting.

By the way: 30,000 gun related violent instances... even the socialist Brady gun confiscation campaign admits over ½ million citizen gun uses to save victims lives each year in the U.S. Thirty thousand alleged vs. nearly 300 million citizens: hmmm, odds look pretty good in the real world, try it some time.

Oh, sorry you no longer can...
-- Craig C. Sarver
Behind Enemy lines, Seattle, Washington

That Aussie dude jests, I believe, in his contention about us getting rid of one of our rights. (If he isn't, I hope he remembers it was American blood and guns that saved his nation from a Jap invasion back in the 1940s.) What the person failed to mention is how many lives are saved because we carry guns in this country. So to this Aussie, I say, stay home pal. Your diatribe against our Constitutional rights won't get you shot, but someone is liable to knock you upside the head with a boomerang if you come here.
-- Pete Chagnon

HONONARY PRIVATE BENJAMIN
Re: Ben Stein's Greetings From Rancho Mirage:

As a member of a military family (brothers, cousins, father, self, aunts, uncles, friends), I thank you.

As my son, at this minute, sits at Camp Fallujah, Iraq with his Marine brethren, I thank you.
-- Kelly Palmer
Virginia

Thanks for sending out the email with Ben Stein's letter, published 4/5/2006. It was thoughtful and touching. As a 28-year veteran, and First Sergeant in the Army Reserve with two deployments under my belt, I can attest to the fact that it is hard. It is hard on your finances, but most of all, it is hard on family. If the millionaires, billionaires, and Oprah would like to do something for us, they could pay off our mortgages (seriously, think of the P.R., that would create. Much better than a yellow ribbon around a tree). Money doesn't buy happiness, but it does make unhappy tasks more bearable.
-- 1SG Jerry Chambers
Oberlin, Kansas

I will admit to being a fan of Ben Stein's for many years. I am pleased and, I must say, somewhat flattered by his "Dear Soldiers, Sailors, et al." letter featured in your publication. (About six months ago, my ship returned from a Persian Gulf deployment... we're currently deployed in the Western Pacific/Far East.)

I can identify with his description of what "average" America is doing, since up until -- and for several months after -- September 11, 2001, that was not unlike my life. In 1996 I had met a man, an office mate (who turned out to be a very close friend to this day), who was serving in the Marine Corps Reserve. I had been casting about for ideas as to what I could do to add meaning to my existence, and ended up following his example and joining the Naval Reserve. Then, after 9/11, I was presented an opportunity to serve on active duty in the Navy... and have ended up serving four years to date (and will most likely "stay Navy" for one more two-year sea tour, at a minimum).

Prior to becoming a West Pac sailor, I had worked as an attorney, in corporate finance and ended up as a Senior Manager at one of the top accounting and consulting firms in the world; I had been a NASD arbitrator; and I'd served as an adjunct professor at three different universities. I had been an officer and director in a professional society; involved as an Eucharistic Minister and Parish Finance Council member at my church; and been involved in fundraising for my son's parochial school. Having had those various vantage points, I have seen many of my colleagues in those organizations who are deeply committed to bettering American society.

Whether it was high-net-worth clients who'd set up private foundations to channel funds to a favorite charity, or law school classmates doing pro bono work in their spare time, or those contributing time and effort to a school fair, I've known Americans to be a very generous people. We've seen it time and again, an outpouring of prayers, concern and resources -- and often-times action -- whether it be the southeast Asian tsunami in Dec '04, the Pakistan earthquake, or Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Americans are a people who are highly compassionate and rise to a challenge to help their neighbors -- at home and around the world.

I'm not suggesting that all Americans fit that bill -- certainly, there are those whose motives are not pure, or those who turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering of others. But, as one to whom Mr. Stein's letter was addressed, I'd like to return the compliment to my fellow Americans at home, whose lives are not meaningless, because you care and are committed to helping those in need: you all don't wear the cloth of our nation's defense establishment, but you wear the cloak of compassion. I salute you and urge you to continue to strive for meaning in your lives; for if you strive earnestly, you are bound to find it.
-- Lieutenant Todd A. Bloom
Supply Corps, U.S. Navy

Thank you for your letter, unfortunately the word will probably not get to see it, since most media will put it in an obscure file and not print it.

I as one of the soldiers you spoke of appreciate you as an American citizen and gladly represent and defend you.

Have a wonderful Easter season.
-- Thomas B. Murphree, LTC, TC

Thank you.
-- Peter Eikenberry LT USCG (retired)

About two weeks ago, I retired from the Army as a colonel with almost 27 years of service. That does not mean that my service ended. I now work Coast Guard International Affairs, and my specific focus in on Europe and Africa. Yes, the Coast Guard does "do" international affairs, and the size and scope of their programs are, in a word, staggering. They are another way that we can influence countries around the world to synchronize their efforts with the U.S.

I am writing to thank you sincerely for your column, "Greetings from Rancho Mirage," published April 5, 2006. Your words mean more to me and how I served than whatever platitudes the Army heaped on me through awards and decoration. I cannot begin to tell you how many of us in uniform wonder whether what we do/did, and the circumstances under which we do/did them, were ever appreciated by the public at large. Your column tells me that people do. Thanks for truly brightening my day. Its words like that make me wish I was back in uniform.
-- Jerry E. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Regional Advisor, U.S. European Command AOR
Coast Guard International Affairs

Just sending a note to say thank you for taking the time to send an email to those in uniform.
-- Steven Chavez, YNC (SW/AW), USN
OPNAV N8 Secretariat LCPO

Thank you for your kind words and caring!
-- CW5 Larry C. Bugg

I received your article via the CO from my son's Navy squadron.

I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments, and appreciate that there are others who understand the commitment my son and others are making every day.

However, I take exception to your comments about Oprah Winfrey. What is it about Oprah that triggers such animosity from you? You obviously don't know her or are not aware of her contributions to this country and others. Before you speak against her with such antagonism, you might make yourself familiar with all that she gives that provides "meaning" to so many.

Your point would not have been diluted had you not included your personal dislike of Oprah.
-- Nancy Steers

PRIVATIZE IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT
Re: Brandon Crocker's Be My Guest (Worker):

I, too, struggle with this problem both morally and legally. I live in a state that employs many "south of the border" workers. For the most part, they are among the most hard working and pleasant people to be living and working with. I too think they should be incorporated into our system legally. I, too, want our borders secure and think they should comply with our immigration laws. Both sets of my grandparents had to wait at Ellis Island to be released into society to begin their lives here. And when they were, they had a "sponsor" to help them assimilate.

Why can't we ask the employers of these people to do the same? After all, they've been employing them for years without paying their share of taxes to the government. The employers become the ones to document where all these illegals are and in return they help pay the $1,000 and get to keep a work force that is so essential to their productivity. The government gets to know where the illegals are, they get revenue from the people that employ them, we are helping the illegals become part of the system without too much hassle and everyone wins. The monies from the $1,000 (no matter which side pays it) goes to securing the borders and beefing up security. And all those hard-working people doing the jobs that Americans won't do, get to stay here legally. For the ones that can't get sponsorship, perhaps churches or non-profits can be their "sponsor."

It worked for my grandparents, why can't it work for them?
-- Joan Moriarty
Stuart, Florida

For a special Reader Mail section today on the Moussaoui trial, click here.

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