Tag Archives: racism

Trump: Making Racists Comfortable Since 2015

Okay, there’s not a “racist bone in Trump’s body,” but there appears to be plenty in his muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, and other soft tissue to make up for any deficit.

AND, he’s very good at making other such beings comfortable with their white supremacist perspectives.  The first way garden variety racists make themselves feel comfortable is to define their way out of the category.  How am I a racist if I don’t don the contents of my linen closet, join the circle around a burning cross, and wave my confederate battle flag? See, I’m not a racist…I’m not like those people!

However, it isn’t necessary to jump on the nativist bandwagon in order to hold obviously racist views.  How about dressing up in blackface for a Halloween event? Or, dressing up a youngster in blackface to perform country dance steps? Just good fun? Here’s a hint. If the activity would not be done in front of a predominantly ethnic minority audience of color, then it’s probably racist.

That the white person didn’t mean for the action or comment to be racist isn’t relevant. If it was racist it was racist. It isn’t the “other person’s fault” for “misinterpreting” the action or comment.  The responses range from outright defensiveness to attempts to deflect to the reaction as overblown or hyper-sensitive.  Another hint: It’s okay to apologize.

There are innumerable lists of items we could add to the Things Better Left Unsaid category.  Attach any of the following to the opening “I’m not a racist, but…” tag —

They just don’t fit in with regular people.

They just don’t learn English.

They don’t assimilate.

They drive up to get their food bank stuff in a better car than mine.

They always seem to have money for pizza and beer.

They sit around getting free stuff and services while there are jobs that go begging all over this country.

If they just act more like white people…

If they’d stop having kids they can’t afford…

AND, we could add another thousand variations on these themes, all to the same end.  The point is that the and related sentiments make those harboring racist ideas comfortable with themselves. Those, like the President, who reinforce and reassure the practitioners make the racists feel justified, less guilty, and more socially acceptable.  These are the people Trump feels he can add to his base.  If he can provide rationalization and justification to those who need to suppress their episodic pangs of conscience then his electoral strategy might be successful.

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Stop Being Surprised, He’s A Racist

The erstwhile president of the United States of  America managed a good trick. Combine 1950s racism with 1950s white supremacist sentiments.  Not bad for one Twitter storm.

He blended the “Go back to Africa” taunt with “those outside agitators are Commies,” (abetted by his little minion Sen. Lindsey Graham). This harkens back to one of the old Redemptionist themes, “all our darkies were happy until those Yankee abolitionist agitators came along.” The updated version was all our N-words were happy before those outside agitators from the north started meddling in our state’s rights.  The current version generalizes opposition to white supremacist views…those outside agitators are Commies and un-American.  Repetition doesn’t improve the sentiment.

But why does anyone pretend to be shocked? He espoused the blatantly racist birtherism plague. He came down the escalator to tell us about “those” drug dealers and rapists, and said he couldn’t get a fair trial before that Mexican judge (a native of Indiana.)  He said there were some “very fine people” among those chanting the Nazi slogans in Charlottesville.  And to put some icing on the cake, his supporters are whining that it’s racist to call out his racism. (See Brit Hume)

He didn’t so much respond to reporters questions today about his racist tweets, as he talked past them, and over the reporters who pressed on.  His isn’t the most powerful voice on the lawn or in the room as it is the most rude and persistent. There’s a distinction. A distinction lost on him.

Senator Angus King recalled lawyer Robert Welch, “have you no decency…at long last have you no decency.” Perhaps it is telling that Senator McCarthy tried the same interruptive, rude, response during that infamous hearing. It was the beginning of his end.

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Filed under Congress, House of Representatives, Immigration, Politics, racism

Make America Good Again: The Day After the Day After

MAGA blue good again

I am having trouble finding the words to express what I’m feeling this morning.  Is it disappointment in the response from the President to the bombs sent to prominent Democrats?  Not really, after his performance in the wake of the Charlottesville violence I can’t say I find his jab at the media this morning disappointing in the sense that I wouldn’t have expected it.

Am I frustrated by the Both Siders who persist in remarking how Both Sides Do whatever it is that everyone finds appalling?  Yes.  Let’s be fact-based for the moment.  Indeed, a left leaning whackadoodle shot up a GOP baseball practice severely injuring Congressman Steve Scalise; however, if we’re playing “balancing act” here then the scales are heavily weighted toward right wing terrorists who shot up a Unitarian church in Tennessee, who took a gun into the Holocaust Museum, who shot up a Bible study class in Charleston, SC, who drove into a crowded street in Charlottesville, VA, who terrorized a wildlife refuge in Oregon.   In fact, there’s a study out there showing that of 65 terrorist attacks in the US in one year 2/3rds of them were “tied to racist, anti-Muslim, homophobic, anti-Semitic, fascist, anti-government or xenophobic motivations.” [SPLC]  So, spare me the Both Sides Do It business.  I’m not in the mood for more obfuscation this morning.

I might also say I’m a little agitated by the calls for “civility.”  This form of advocacy seems perilously close to Both Side-ism, and I’m not really buying into it.  First, someone needs to tell the President that politics is a contact sport — like basketball as it is played in the paint.  If he can’t take the heat, then President Harry Truman had some advice: “Get out of the kitchen.”   If every criticism is taken as a personal insult, if every objection is perceived as an attack, then I suppose the President may feel assailed on all sides. Welcome to the office.  Is he thinking President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama loved all the press they got?  Did either of them continually whine about “fake news?”  Not that I recall.  I remember both arguing for broader perspectives or more focused information and articles, but Lord have mercy I don’t remember all the whingeing and whining that’s coming out of the White House now.

Secondly,  civility shouldn’t be subject to a double standard.  Is it civil to lie about Democratic positions on taxation, health care insurance programs, and veterans’ benefits?  — and then squeal like a stuck pig when this is challenged?  Is it mutually “civil” to lambaste one’s opponent for items real and imagined and then scream bloody murder when the lambasting is returned?  There’s too much loaded language involved in this element.  My side is “challenging” your side is “attacking.”  My side is “passionate,” your side is “unhinged.”  My side is activated, your side is an angry mob.  I’m tried of framing games.

Tone down, or dial down, the rhetoric?  Excuse me? Which side has a crowd chanting “Lock Her Up?”  “CNN sucks?”  Which side has advocated “2nd Amendment Solutions?” Which side has told voters to go to the 2018 polls armed because the Democrats may be an “angry mob?”  Which side equates harassment in a restaurant with driving a car into protesters and bomb threats?

A bit further along this line, don’t try to convince me this morning the President is completely unblemished, untarnished, untouched by the actions of whomever is sending and delivering the bombs.  I’m sure I understand the general notion of proximate causation.  I know full well the President didn’t directly inspire the actions of the whack-job who’s sending the bombs for whatever reason. I get that.  I also get that he’s not helping.

The President doesn’t get to lead chants, grin at the racist/misogynist antics of the crowd, and then wash his hands (or have them washed for him by his apologists) of the whole mess by saying, “I wasn’t directly involved.”

Teachers often refer to “classroom management,”  meaning that the tone in their classroom is set by the teacher who by instruction and example lets it be known that misbehavior is not tolerated — and 90% of the students will behave themselves accordingly.  Business owners often refer to “climate,” and mean that by instruction or example employees will follow standards of ethics and behavior associated with good management and customer/client relations practices.  90% of employees will conform, the other 10% will be looking for other employment.   This White House doesn’t appear to understand that management, climate, or whatever we want to call it, is a function of leadership. Real leadership. Hands on management and the establishment of a positive corporate culture and climate.  Leadership with real accountability.  Or, there’s the old cliché: fish rots from the head.

I want an America that’s good again.  I want an America which is seen worldwide as opposed to the killing of journalists from any newspaper from any country.  I want an America that doesn’t lock children in cages and call it a deterrent for asylum seekers. I want an America where the 99% can expect the same deference to their economic needs as the top 1%.  I want an America where children don’t have live fire drills in elementary and secondary schools. I want an America where parents don’t wait to take a child to a physician because they can’t afford a medical bill that month.  I want an America where everyone is encouraged to vote. I want an America where no one thinks sending bombs to prominent politicians is excusable, and that a President can be excused for his un-empathetic response to the incidents.

I want an America that’s good again.

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Make America Good Again: Trump plays the race deck

MAGA blue good again

I’d rather not hear anyone from the right side of the political aisle make accusatory noises about “playing the race card.”  The Oval Office oaf is playing the whole deck, including during his performance in Las Vegas.  The GOP motto of the moment appears to be “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.”   There’s a …. caravan coming.  This isn’t a dog whistle to the white nationalists among us, it’s a bull horn announcement for all to hear.

The image: Thousands of brown skinned people approaching our southern border; brown people who are likely rapists, drug dealers, gang members, and now “middle eastern” potential terrorists.   “Patriots” grab your Second Amendment Solutions, protect your women and children; face down this onslaught of brown peril!  He who is President hasn’t yet used the term “brown peril,” but it can’t be too long before he does. He has already let us know he’s a “nationalist.”  All he has to do now is add “white” to make the statement completely true.

Demonize these migrants often enough and perhaps people will forget he put children in cages, separated from their parents at the southern border, and some 136 of them have yet to be reunited with parents his administration admits it cannot locate. Demonize them stridently enough and perhaps people will come to the conclusion that whatever might happen to them in detention camps is warranted?  Demonize them vitriolically enough and his “base” will applaud indefinite detention of families and children in an increasingly cruel and uncivilized application of immigration policy?

Demonize them, and by extension demonize those immigrants who came before, and those who have long since become U.S. citizens, and castigate the Democrats as the party of “others.”  “Others” who are not like “real Americans” and therefore must be unintelligent, obsequious, corrupt and capable of being corrupted, illegal and thus easily tempted to do illegal acts (like voting); “Others” who must be eliminated from our body politic before despoiling the white purity of our republic.

This kind of rhetoric from the White House isn’t discriminatory, it’s eliminationist.  Democrats are an “angry mob.”  While the anger of the Proud Boys spills out from the Republican Club in NYC and protesters are beaten; while the anger of the White Nationalists surges in Charlottesville bearing tiki torches and driving a vehicle into a crowd, killing one person and injuring several others; while these incidents are publicized for all to see, Trump and his minions project their own anger, their own frustration, their own bigotry onto the others.  It isn’t too far from the mentality of the mobs which gathered to watch, and to applaud, the lynching of African American men, or who took part in the lynching of  Michael Donald in 1981.

If Trump can’t find any examples of terrorists in the crowd of migrant refugees, he can use two of his favorite tricks.  Trick OneReverse the burden of proof.  When asked about whether there were gang members and middle eastern terrorists in the crowds, Trump replied that the news organizations should be the ones to investigate the matter. He is telling us that he believes this mythology (or finds it useful) and that it is up to everyone else to fact check him. He conveniently places the burden of proof on the media to debunk his lies, while he keeps lying.

Trick Two: Never admit a mistake.  If an independent investigation demonstrates no connection between immigrants and Democrats, then it must be that the news media didn’t look hard enough, didn’t look in the right places, didn’t debunk all the possible permutations of his preferred conspiracy theory of the day.  There’s a variation on this theme:  Move the goal posts.  It’s not enough to release a birth certificate, it has to be the long form.  It’s not enough to release the long form, the long form has to be verified by original sources. And so it goes. If this doesn’t work there’s always the dismissive “it’s not important anymore” comment.  We’ve seen this before.  He simple doesn’t want to talk about those instances when he has been emphatically, demonstrably, totally, dead wrong. So, he doesn’t.  He moves on to his next lie.

Flood the zone:  More lies, more often, and more work for the fact checkers.  This past week has been instructive if we’re looking for big lies, little lies, and a preponderance of lies.  We’re going to have a 10% tax cut for the middle class!  Not while Congress isn’t in session.  Well, maybe when Congress meets after the mid-terms…. maybe never because his first round of tax cuts has blown up the deficit.

He’d rather say anything than admit his Senate Majority Leaders has let the cat out of the burlap bag when McConnell openly stated programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would have to be cut to pay for Trump’s tax bonus to the top 1%.

Mexico is never paying for his wall.  But, we have to have a wall. We have to have a wall. There’s a caravan, so there has to be a wall.  That there is precious little public land in Texas on which to put this wall and buying up private land (and using the dreaded eminent domain) will be prohibitively expensive, doesn’t matter.  It’s the symbolism of the wall, the idea of a physical barrier between the hordes of women and children and the border which is important to the imagery.

Perhaps we should listen to the “survivors” of the “Bowling Green Massacre?”  There are “riots in California.”  Interesting.  I haven’t seen any sign of this on my television set, and I live in an area in which California news is quite common.  There are more lies about how many jobs are related to arms deals with Saudi Arabia — and more about the size of the deals themselves. [VanFair]

His White House will not respond to inquiries about those “terrorists” in the caravan of migrants, nor does he answer too many questions about specifics of the Saudi arms deals; he will, however, change his tune concerning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to fit the Saudi attempt at explication of the moment. [BBC]

There are two weeks until the U.S. mid-term elections.  Two weeks.  This is the checkpoint.  This is the place where the road forks and the lies, the demonization, and the obfuscation continue or it can take the other route and the guard rails gradually move back into place.  No one else can do this for us. We have to do it for ourselves. Vote.

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Filed under Heller, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

Fire hosed, Gas lit, and Overlooked

Sometimes there’s more to be observed than will fit in a short Tweet.  For example, there’s Senator Dean Heller’s ad on my TV machine telling me that his opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen, is “soft on MS 13.”  It might be said the ad says more about Senator Dean Heller than it does about his opponent.  Right off the bat there’s that conflation between immigrants and gang members.  “Mexicans are rapists, drug dealers, and some, I suppose are nice people.”  Exactly why Senator Heller thinks running ads with negative inferences concerning Hispanic individuals will play well in a state wherein 27.3% of the population is of Hispanic or Latino heritage remains a mystery.  Secondly,  it’s also confounding why Senator Heller’s campaign is replicating Trump’s ’16 talking points as if repetition is the sincerest way to victory.  Trump did not carry Nevada.  If the talking points didn’t work then, why are they supposed to work now? And this with Trump’s August approval rating in Nevada dropping by 4 points, and a disapproval rating of 50%.  Finally, about 75% of the state’s population lives in Clark County (Las Vegas metro area).  If the rules of arithmetic still hold that means the rest of Nevada’s miles and miles and miles of miles and miles and miles account for only 25% of the population — and the votes.  Or, some 460,587 people live in Washoe County, and then it’s mostly wide open spaces. Acreage doesn’t vote.  The Inyo National Forest area of Esmeralda County is beautiful, but if a candidate for statewide office spends more than eight minutes there going after the support of all 850 residents, he or she is quite likely to lose a statewide election.  Likewise, if candidate A is talking about immigration and B is talking about health care; and the voters care more about health care… the results are obvious.

Frankly speaking the Senate race in Nevada is closer than it should be.  Heller is an incumbent, well financed, and reasonably well organized.  His opponent is a relative new face, a newly minted Congressional Representative, but also well financed and reasonably well organized.  The incumbency factor should be well in Heller’s favor.  However, the more he adheres to the Trumpian base with its attendant racism, anti-immigration policies, and pie in the sky economics of deregulation, the less he connects with Nevada voters.  He’ll be very popular in White Pine County (9,811 population) but risks it all in Clark County (2.115 million population.)

While most eyes are watching the Kavanaugh debacle unfold on cable news and on Saturday Night Live, there’s that immigration policy story from the White House that just won’t go away.  A federal district judge in California might be poised to do for the protected status changes the Trump Administration wants what a previous judge did for Muslim bans numbers one and two.   There’s also the “public charge” rule change the administration wants that is set to make major steps in the Make America White Again policy, and these proposals merit more attention.  [See more on this topic here.]  Administration policies have also been especially harsh on women — why are we not surprised?  At least one commentator has noticed Trumpian rhetoric sounds similar to KKK hypernationalism of the 1920s.   White House advisers seem to come and go with revolving door regularity — but Stephen Miller remains forever.  Wonder why that is?

Are we looking at the wrong analogy?  Yes, Thomas Jefferson did his very best to be rid of Samuel Chase on the US Supreme Court.  Chase remained on the Court, Jefferson remained annoyed.  However, in modern terms should we be looking more carefully at the example of Abe Fortas, Johnson ally and a man who lasted on the Supreme Court from 1965 to 1969?   Remember, there are some serious questions about Kavanaugh’s finances which, to date, have not been thoroughly answered.  Someone is going to do a bit of investigative research and publish more information.  The “bombshell” may be the charges of sexual misconduct leveled by women against Judge Kavanaugh; the larger delayed-action bomb (think of the aerial bombs dropped by British, American, and German bombers during World War II) may well lie in the more quotidian category of Kavanaugh’s personal debts and finances?  Stay tuned.

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Get Grampy Out Of The TV Room, or at least don’t give him the remote!

Some wise wiseacre on Twitter the other day commented that if someone’s seanathair (grandfather) were behaving like Dolt 45 it would be high time to get him out of the assisted living facility TV room.  I couldn’t agree more.

I am tired of getting my news from a fire hose of misinformation, disinformation, and downright lies. Grampy is up to about 7.5 lies per day. [WaPo] That’s closer to 7.6 if we want to be more precise, but at this level who cares?  It’s embarrassing.   It’s Grampy telling a story about how he met Grammy at Cambridge — that would be Cambridge, Idaho.  Or, Grampy chattering on about his exploits during his motorcycle riding days. No, he didn’t own a Harley, it was more like a Honda Super Cub. Only when it’s the president of the United States it matters.

I make no pretense of being the most original thinker in the flock, but I can recognize when someone is being led — by the nose if not by some other body part — toward policy positions which make absolutely NO sense whatsoever unless someone else is calling the shots.  Why else would we have tariffs on aluminum products from our friends but refuse to impose such import taxation on the Russian firm Rusal? [NYT]  Why are we imposing tariffs on the Chinese such that they’ve moved their purchasing of agricultural products like soybeans from American farmers to the Russians and Brazilians?  Why? It’s not like we’ve  spent years developing markets for American agricultural products and then want to see those same markets frivolously dribbled away in a ridiculous trade war.

It’s not like we welcome divisive rhetoric of the kind on full display as Dolt 45 fulminates against yet another African American, offering yet one more example of his proclivity to call African Americans “low IQ,” or “stupid.”  There’s a pattern here.  [LATimes]  African Americans and women are the usual subject of Dolt 45’s derision, and to be both African American and a woman will get a person the treatment he reserves for Congresswoman Maxine Waters.  He might want to give this another “think.” A quick click into the Google-verse shows 11,700,000 results in less than one second for t-shirts and other stuff imprinted with “Don’t Test The Waters.”

Grampy seems pleased to continue his performance for a steadily contracting audience of hangers-on and sycophants.  Analogous to seeing the little elder ladies thin out to go play another hand of canasta in a quieter location, and some of the men retire to a quiet session counting golf tees.  Pretty soon Grampy is down to the nodding few whose addled pates (complete with male pattern baldness) aren’t really registering what he’s saying, just parroting his rants and encouraging his repetitions for their entertainment value.  The problem is that he’s attracting and thereby promoting the fringe.  These aren’t the people who can still recite their own grandparents’ recipes for marmalade and barbecue sauce; instead they’re the ones who maintain the moon landing was a hoax, UFOs are real, and chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Thus we have former Bush Administration ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, twittering away, sounding like the kid in the back seat of the family wagon: “Are we there yet?” Only Painter is talking about the 25th Amendment.   This isn’t normal.  None of this is normal.

Most of the reporting on the subject of Grampy’s wildly varying, disassociation laden, rants seems to be on target — it’s usually the headline writing that misses the point.  The Dolt 45 is “not forthright.”  Or, “not accurate.”  Or, “not informed,” Or, “at odds with other administration sources.”  Gee, we can’t say he’s lying because we can’t determine his motive ?  OK, then go ahead and say he’s being untruthful.  The motive may not matter so much, especially as it becomes ever more situational; and what comes out in the end is simply a good old fashioned bit of the southbound product of a northbound bull.  There are enough fact-checkers on the case to set most records straight. What Grampy seems to want on the record is his version of his story — his courtship of Grammy, his motorcycle, his feats on the barbecue grill, his conquests in business, his “whatever” — out there in the TV room for his audience to applaud.  The story changes.  Cambridge becomes Oxford (Oxford, Mississippi) and the cycle becomes a vintage ’57 Harley Sportster, and he started out with even less money from his father to start his business than he said two months ago.  We can call it cognitive decline. We can call it situational obfuscation. We can call it anything, any euphemism we’d like. We just can’t call it normal.

Nor can we allow Grampy the luxury of pontificating in the TV room to his ever declining audience, about his ever expanding range of complaints and grievances, while we try to rationalize the irrational.  At least someone needs to retake control of the Remote.

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Waffles Heller, Heller Waffles

Heller spine poster.jpgThere are non-apology apologies (see Orange Blossom’s clumsy Hostage Video) and then there are non-disavowal disavowals (see Senator Dean ‘Clutching Papa’s Pants Leg’ Heller).

“Heller has been slow to criticize Trump as he looks to defend one of the most coveted GOP Senate seats in the country, and stopped well short of criticizing the president in a statementreleased late Monday afternoon.

“While I am not opposed to a dialogue between the two leaders, I trust our intelligence community’s assessment on Russian interference, not Vladimir Putin’s,” Heller said throu spokeswoman. “He is no friend of the United States and I don’t trust him.”  [RGJ]

Oh please!  I’ve tried to stretch the effect of a limited number of tea bags in a jar of sun tea and come out with less tepid ,,results.  Perhaps if the last line had directly pertained to the Orange Blossom, “He is no friend of the United States, and I don’t trust him,”  I’d have accepted this statement with more enthusiasm?

In the wake of the Charlottesville debacle there was a photo floating about of Senator Dean Heller and Peter Cvjetanovic, one of the Tiki Torch Nazis and a UNR student.  Heller responded in Trumpian fashion on Twitter: “I don’t know this person & condemn the outrageous racism, hatred and violence. It’s unacceptable & shameful. No room for it in this country.” [SacBee]  And Senator Heller said of the Orange Blossom?  Orange Blossom read one of his specially prepared on-paper ‘clarifications’ and promptly went right back off the rails with his Very Fine People.

Senator Heller’s spine made a brief reappearance in mid-June during the height of the Trump manufactured immigrant family crisis.  Thirteen Senators, among them Senator Dean Heller, wrote to the Mis-administration saying, in part:

“We support the administration’s efforts to enforce our immigration laws, but we cannot support implementation of a policy that results in the categorical forced separation of minor children from their parents,” the Republican senators wrote.

“We therefore ask you to halt implementation of the Department’s zero tolerance policy while Congress works out a solution that enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally without requiring the forced, inhumane separation of children from their parents,” the senators continued. [TheHill]

Good. Now insert the following search terms into Google: “Nevada Senator Visits Border.” Who shows up in the search results?  Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV).  During a June fundraiser with the *president, who got the crowd to chant “Build The Wall,” Senator Heller, “by contrast, spoke for under three minutes and didn’t mention immigration or the separation of children from parents at the border.” [LATimes]  Senator Cortez-Masto and Representative Jacky Rosen visited the border, Senator Heller’s spine went missing yet again.

This is the third instance, in a third major issue, in which Senator Heller has demonstrated his reluctance to take a firm stand — and we might note there’s a tendency on his part to take flexible positions on many other issues —  and to stick to it, even when there is an obvious and palpable reason to STAND for a crucial American attribute.  Charlottesville, Immigration, and now the Helsinki Debacle…strike one, strike two, strike three.

This might explain the following tidbit from the RJ? “Since announcing her candidacy in July 2017, Rosen has outraised Heller $8.3 million to $5.3 million.”  Granted Heller has a cash-on-hand advantage, but fundraising is often a measure of enthusiasm, and it’s hard to get enthusiastic about waffles. They are nice, you can serve them for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, put just about anything on them and they’ll soak it up; it’s just hard to get all that thrilled about them.

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