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Belmont Club

Quo Vadis?

March 5th, 2014 - 3:37 pm

A lot of stuff happening the world today. Lerner takes the 5th. The Congressional investigation ends in a shambles.

Debo Adegbile is rejected. Obama calls Senate rejection of his civil rights nominee ‘a travesty’

Senators from both parties on Wednesday rejected President Obama’s nominee for head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, following a discussion on the Senate floor that repeatedly returned to the nominee’s association with a notorious “cop-killer” case.

Debo Adegbile, a former director at the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, was briefly involved in the defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner some 32 years ago. Mr. Adegbile joined the case 25 years after Mr. Abu-Jamal’s conviction, when the NAACP handled an appeal to overturn Abu-Jamal’s death sentence.

It was the first time that the Senate has blocked one of Mr. Obama’s nominees since Democrats amended filibuster rules in November. The rule change allows a simple majority to confirm the president’s picks instead of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

Hillary steps into it. Clinton Walks Back Putin Nazi Comparison

Speaking at an event at UCLA Wednesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied she drew a parallel between Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine and Nazi Germany at a fundraiser Tuesday.

“I’m not making a comparison, certainly,” Clinton said. “But I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.” She also called Putin “a tough guy with a thin skin.”

Clinton’s comments Tuesday raised eyebrows after a Long Beach Press Telegram reporter at the $1,500 a plate fundraiser in California wrote that Clinton had spoken of similarities between the Nazi policy of offering protection to ethnic Germans outside of Germany in the run up to World War II and Vladimir Putin’s policy of offering passports to ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea region.

What difference does it make, Hillary?

The atmospherics of the last few days have changed. It’s like the Teflon, though not quite worn out, is beginning to catch and snag at edges.

Open thread.


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Top Rated Comments   
RE: Lois Lerner

At risk of becoming the caricature that the progressive left paints of all conservatives, my first thought about those hearings with the smug, arrogant Ms. Lerner defying all comers, probably because she has a letter signed by the President in her pocket: "Time for some vigilante justice."

Of course, I don't mean quite what the left would read into that statement. I don't want anyone lynched or tarred and feathered - yet. I'm just thinking to myself "what if's". Such as:

* What if Lois Lerner disappeared off the street one day, because some right-wing-MilitaryVeteran-radical-terrorist-probably-Republican-but-certainly-Nazi-Tea-Party-thug group picked her up and removed her to a secluded destination?

* What if that group announced to the world that the very humane interrogation had begun, and that Ms. Lerner had found it in her best interest to cooperate fully?

* What if such a group indicated that other "arrests" and "interviews" were pending, subject to verification of Ms. Lerner's "testimony", and that she would not be released until all the facts were known, validated, and published?

* What would be the reaction of certain interested parties if this group stressed that "arrests and interviews would be deemed unnecessary if suspects identified by Ms. Lerner publicly testified (in the appropriate Congressional committees or Fox News), and their statements matched known and discovered facts in "this investigation"?

The White House would simply go berserk. What might she be revealing and about who? The manhunt would have the highest priority using all resources, Posse Comitatus be damned. It would be highly interesting to see who suddenly received Secret Service or US Marshal's protection, who ran into hiding, and in particular, who ran to their nearest Fox News reporter begging to "tell all".

Well, one can dream, can't he not? In fact, Obama, Holder, and the Treasury Department are sort of running their own "vigilante justice op", i.e. completely biased and/or obstructing justice, the only difference being that they have the color of authority behind them.

When the government operates lawlessly, someone inevitably always fills the gap. That's not my preference - I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. This is how the Latin American and South American "death squads" developed. I would maintain that the anti-communists weren't out to kill their enemies, but after some "tit for tat" engagements, mortal retaliation seemed all that was left.

This country has a President who said he saw "not even a smidgen of corruption" in the IRS favoring progressive groups and punitively harassing conservative groups under the color of law. That means that Obama feels fully entitled to use the Departments of Justice and Treasury for partisan means, regardless of what the Constitution and Bill of Right guarantees to Americans. There can be no other interpretation.

What if Richard Nixon had said, after the Watergate break-in details were public, that he saw "not even a smidgen of corruption" in that action, and that he would as the Attorney General to investigate Journalists who were trying to link that break-in to anyone in his Administration? What would have been the reaction?

I see "not even a smidgen of corruption" in Americans whose Constitutional rights were violated under color of authority seeking a "smidgen of justice" against those perpetrators.

The DHS had better buy more guns, more bullets, more MRAP's, and hire a whole lot more people, because the President they serve is admittedly an outlaw, and will continue to attack American's who he considers political enemies. At some near point, someone's going to fight back - guaranteed. Why not start with Lois Lerner?

But then again, this is all just an old man's speculative ramblings; nothing to see here, move along. As every progressive knows, all of us constitutional conservative types are just harmless, inbred, ignorant idiots, anyway.

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Regarding the mask coming off the inner brutality and arrogance of this administration and all those in emotional rapport with them. Things are going to get worse. We may not ever be in a shooting Civil War but as the pie shrinks the world will be more a zero sum game. For those who can only take and redistribute and bully, and especially given that they are so invested in proclaiming a moral superiority, the consequences will be devastating. They will have to demonize and destroy any who could appear to be a rival. For those such as myself now facing a loss of income it will be hard. We can expect them to only escalate as the path of personal destruction to preserve for themselves and their friends is all they can do.

Some parts of the economy, retail and tourism, have been buoyed by money and people from areas under pressure. This is very true in New York and may resemble the tide pulling back before the tsunami. My expectation is that the supply of middle class Israelis Brazilians Argentinians Italians Germans Russians and French able to come and spend a few thousand in New York will dwindle in this bitter Spring.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I guess these Israel visas are part of the smart diplomacy thing.

Obama kept his word. He has changed things in fundamental ways. The thing that bothered me about Lerner and Adegbile was how anyone could have the effrontery to try their stunts. Then I realized I was looking at the real inner set of attitudes of the administration.

So Obama's changed the character of internal political relations to one of fascism. He's also changed the America's relationship to world. Shrunk it to a remarkable degree. He's changed alliances fundamentally. In some way he really is on the other side, and sincerely too.

But he's also changed the way the world and other political players look at him. Removed the deference as it were that were formerly due to him. He's spent his bankroll and he doesn't know it yet. The thing about Lerner and Adegbile is they are genuinely outraged at the lese majeste with which they and their liege lord have been treated. That they should think that, that says it all.

Everything is different now. The old civiliities, loyalties and certainties swept away. And he doesn't see they're gone. His ego was so large that it blocked out the view.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (133)
All Comments   (133)
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BC Alexis said "There is a big difference between a truncated (western) Ukraine joining NATO and all of Ukraine joining NATO. If Crimea, even under a temporary region run by United Nations peacekeepers, still decides to join Russia, what then? Should NATO become a gendarme to compel Russians in Crimea to stay in Ukraine? Defending Kiev is one thing, Sevastopol quite another."

I still suggest a neo-Finland approach. All the people living in the Ukraine, regardless of ethnic origin, should be allowed to live under their own authority. Definitely not under Putin's authority. That does not mean they have to either love or hate Russians. Like the Finns, they just need to "trust, but verify" because of their well founded concerns about what Stalin did to their nations.

I repeat a theme I made before. What we see here should be regarded as Mother Russia going through a separation anxiety as her child reaches adulthood. Mother is acting in a neurotic manner. You do not force the child to remain a child forever and thereby forgo its potential. You put the reins on Mommie Dearest.

There is no need to suggest including the Ukraine in NATO, if it can have a freedom of its own from Russia.



19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congressional oversight is meaningless if those being monitored can simply refuse to answer any questions. Federal employees should have to agree to waive that right to work in public service.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
More bad news: Obamacare Blocks Patients from Spending Their OWN Money on Medical Care:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/mb5tfhp

IOW, you can buy a more expensive policy, but the Dictatorship will limit what they are ALLOWED to reimburse you for: and there are limits in the law even to paying out of your own pocket.

Unreal.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
X-Files:

You do seem to have an excellent understanding of Russian intentions, particularly what Mr. Putin would or would not regard as a provocation. I trust that Mr. Putin is motivated by good intentions, for the road to the present crisis in the Ukraine seems to be paved with them.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm an American, I lived there. If I were a Russian Lubyanka plant trolling this site, well hell I've been at it since 2008 haven't I? And somehow I know where the the's go, which is rare for a Russian not raised in the West. I have also visited Israel and enjoyed it very much, including the Golan Heights. Yet I'm an anti-Semite for attacking non-Gentiles who shill or cover up for real anti-Semites and Salafist jihadists who hate Israel! It's hilarious.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ok Belmont Clubbers, hence forth I will not use the term neocon, since apparently anyone who uses it at all is some sort of raving anti-Semite, regardless of me pointing out that if Michael D. Weiss was not bringing money or favorable media coverage to his jihadi buddies in Syria they probably would've beheaded him for being Jewish. Ditto for Jamie Kirchick putting on his rainbow suspenders and going to interview the new deputy Ukrainian national security minister.

Lest ya'll think I'm exagerrating Weiss as a Trotyskite, here's his tweet referring to the archives of the Trotskyist Partisan Review posted online -- the same bunch David Horowitz broke with.

http://inagist.com/all/441290299139059712/

From now on, I will simply refer to advocates of unlimited surveillance and hegemony over every square centimeter of the planet, an eternal Cold War with Russia and China, and the exhaustion of our military in foolish national building as Trotskyites or empire builders. Nor will I accept the Left Right paradigm fraud by referring to neo-Nazis as 'ultra right', even while quoting the UK Guardian. Deal?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good. Neocon is really a useless term. Literally it means anyone who is newly conservative, formerly having bought into the statist, totalitarian point of view. But practically, it seems to be used mostly as a euphemism for "Jew." Using it produces a lot of heat and no light.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ahh that's great EquisFiles.

While you're at it, could you stop with the Fedtroll stuff too?

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Fedtroll.

Yours, AG Holder.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since the fedtrolls keep asking me 'which neocons' I'm referring to who are happy to hold hands with neo-Nazis as partners in their jihad against Vlad the Bad's Eternal Evil Empire, I've cross posted the following from Spengler's blog comments:

Start by looking into Jamie Kirchick of the so-called 'Foundation for the Defense of Democracies'. Who funds the FDD? Why is Jamie in Berlin? Why has he essentially been trolling the German political elites for the past few months over being annoyed about the NSA spying on them? Isn't it Jamie's job and that of other Deep State front groups like the FDD to hector the Germans into shutting up about the NSA and Washington treating them like either vassals or enemies rather than allies?

http://jaypinho.com/2014/03/06/propaganda-or-the-other-side-of-the-story/

Also look into Michael D. Weiss of the Interpreter Mag in New York City who was aggressively advocating for US direct intervention in Syria, and blamed his failure to convince not only a majority of polled Americans but more importantly the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and much of the U.S. military that it was a good idea -- on Alex Jones and Mother Agnes Miriam. I am not making this stuff up.

So yes, Whitehall there's a clear pattern here. First it's 'let's hug Syrian jihadists because of course the people we're supporting are moderates who will make peace with Israel after they overthrow Assad'. Now it's 'there are no neo-Nazis in Ukraine, and even if there are, they have no power in parliament or positions in government or street militias of their own that Yatsenyuk who's suddenly claiming to be Jewish after denying his heritage for years can't disarm'. I think if Josef Goebbels himself came back to life and proclaimed he was fighting Putin and Russian untermenschen Jamie Kirchick would have to at least put in a good word for him. Ditto for Weiss, who I suspect is an unregistered foreign agent of the government of Qatar. Mikhail Khodorkovsky's son Pavel is just a front for Interpreter Mag's true source of funds.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
These neocon hacks quite simply hate Russia with a burning flame of a thousand suns so that they could give a damn what happens to Ukraine's dwindling Jewish population after Dmitry Yarosh and the Svoboda boys decide they have the muscle and the guns, why the hell shouldn't they overthrow an unpopular IMF puppet who's imposing austerity measures and who happens to be Jewish to boot? I predict within two years the neo-fascists will be saying Yats was an agent of the 'Moscow Jewish Mafia' Tyahnybok has ranted against before he was 'rehabilitated' by McCain and Nuland. The same Kirchick and Weiss couldn't give a damn if the Syrian jihadists after overthrowing Assad made good on their threats to attack Israel and started lobbing rockets at the Golan Heights (where I've been, incidentally!)

As the once reliably anti-Kremlin Guardian newspaper is reporting, Dmitry Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector movement, is deputy national security leader. This would be like appointing a David Duke-style militia leader the deputy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FBI rolled into one.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/04/who-governing-ukraine-olexander-turchynov?commentpage=1
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Quo Vadis? Didn't I date his sister Velma?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
In the long run, NASA or any successor agency needs the protection of a cabinet official. It would make sense for NASA (along with NOAA) to be put into the Department of Interior. Alternatively, NASA, NOAA, and the USGS could be put under a “Department of Planetary Affairs” with its own cabinet secretary.

Without a cabinet secretary to defend its interests, NASA will continue to twist in the wind, dependent upon the whims of the latest residents of the White House – not good. It is easier for a governmental agency to acquire a backbone when it has a cabinet secretary to defend the agency's interests to the President. Within the present administrative flow chart, NASA's position is amazingly weak.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
NASA is too small to rate a cabinet official. NASA's entire budget does not rate even a tiny sliver in the total budget pie chart. I might add that this situation is profoundly stupid. The human race should be spending at least 1% Gross World Product on colonizing space (In 2012, the GWP was approximately US$84.97 trillion). There are so many single planet catastrophe scenarios that could wipe us out. To not immunize ourselves against that possibility is insanity.

Also if one talks to people outside of NASA receiving federal science funding, the story is almost always the same, i.e. everyone is getting bled white. There should be a cabinet position in charge of rational science policy. However there is such a position (the Presidential science adviser). Typically the Presidential science adviser is some trained poodle who spouts the party line and does not make waves. Ultimately the President himself needs to take an interest. The last President who was genuinely interested in the Space Program was Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson was actually the driving force behind Kennedy in getting the Apollo Program up and running.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
People within the Space Program are wising up to the obvious fact that we are in deep manure concerning the International Space Station (ISS).

The United States spent almost $100 billion on the ISS and now our access to it is controlled by the Russians. People from the beginning were saying that trusting the Russians was a very bad idea. Now we are having our noses collectively rubbed in this obvious stupidity.

"The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions" is a saying that should be NASA's agency motto. The guys who run NASA are for the most part very intelligent people. It staggers me that they can make such poor decisions.

Of course the snappy come back is that these poor decisions were forced upon NASA by the President and Congress. NASA needs to learn to say "No!". When the political process demands suicidal stupidity, NASA should refuse to cooperate even if it means taking a funding hit.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Man-rate Dragon / Falcon 9 and you have 2-way commercial transportation to ISS. Orbital Sciences Cygnus / Antares is not a long way behind. ESA's Albert Einstein cannot successfully reenter, but it can deliver one-way up.

Obama screwed up by allowing Lori Garver et all break the 40+ year long monopoly on manned space flight by NASA. The commercial boys are poised to provide that service.

I think the Russians know this because if they held a monopoly on travel up and down, they would have pulled the plug immediately. Cheers -
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
A man-rated Dragon on a Falcon-9 is the obvious solution. If the system was rational, there would be crash program started today for Space-X to develop that technology within 6 months.

Unfortunately, the harsh truth is that Obama does not care. The ISS could crash into the ocean with its astronauts sill on board and Obama would be indifferent. A sophisticated socialist-elite like Obama can not be bothered with something so mundane as the Space Program.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Eggplant, you know the Leftists think that space exploration, particularly with a patriotic flavor, is just an obsession of those damn plaid-pants Republican chauvinists.

And, of course, it interferes with NASA's #1 priority, Moslem Outreach[TM]. (gag)
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
To me the funny part is that he thought he had destroyed it. Instead he opened the door. Cheers -
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
What NASA would face from defying Obama is probably worse the a funding hit. The fact is, President Obama made a strategic decision to cancel any manned mission to the Moon and to make the the United States dependent upon Russian rockets. It's his decision, it's his fault, and our space program is screwed – and Buzz Aldrin gave him political cover to do it. And Putin knows that.

According to the Obama administration, the principal reason for NASA's existence is outreach to the Muslim world. That's it. Forget about the whole antiquated notion that the United States ought to be a world power or even a power to be taken seriously. That's so twentieth century. No, we have a president with supreme awesomeness who can send a thrill up the leg of a television pundit.

We've got rhythm
We've got music
We've got Obama
Who could ask for anything more?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I mostly agree with BC Alexis. It is my opinion that Obama does not give a diddly damn about the Space Program. If anything, Obama resents having to spend any time at all concerning policy about the Space Program.

Buzz Aldrin holds enormous honor. The guy is practically incandescent. He was the second man to walk on the Moon, a Gemini astronaut, has a Ph.D. from MIT in aerospace, has two MiG-15 kills from the Korean War and was the son of a pioneer aviator (Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Sr.) who also had a Ph.D. from MIT.

The word on the street is that Buzz Aldrin was suckered by Obama.

Supposedly, Obama invited Dr. Aldrin to ride with him on Air Force One to the Kennedy Space Center where Obama was going to make a speech on Space Program policy. There was the implication that Obama would discuss Space Program policy with Dr Aldrin during the flight. Supposedly, Dr. Aldrin sat in the back of Air Force One during the entire flight and there was no conversation between him and Obama. During Obama's speech, Dr. Aldrin was used as a stage backdrop to give credibility to Obama's speech. Supposedly Dr. Aldrin was against most of the stuff that Obama presented in his speech.

Again, Buzz Aldrin, arguably America's greatest living hero was played as a fool and a sucker by Obama.

Also, while on this topic: In my opinion it is a disgrace that Buzz Aldrin was not awarded the Space Medal of Honor. Lesser astronauts were given that distinction.
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19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Henry Kissinger has chimed in on the Ukrainian thing, refer to:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/henry-kissinger-to-settle-the-ukraine-crisis-start-at-the-end/2014/03/05/46dad868-a496-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

As one would expect, Kissinger showed intelligence and insight. However I disagree with some of his main conclusions, e.g.

"2. Ukraine should not join NATO, a position I took seven years ago, when it last came up.
3. ... Wise Ukrainian leaders would then opt for a policy of reconciliation between the various parts of their country. ...
4. It is incompatible with the rules of the existing world order for Russia to annex Crimea.... "

His #2 conclusion is simply wrong. The Ukraine will be in peril of Russian aggression until the Ukraine joins NATO. I understand why Kissinger believes this, i.e. he is concerned about entangling alliances such as those that lead directly to WW-I. However the former Soviet Block is a special case. Those nations can not go forward politically until they have been immunized against Russian aggression. To do that, they have to be part of some form of military and economic alliance. Joining NATO and the EU are part of that process.

His #3 conclusion ignores the Soviet policy of displacing the original ethnic population of conquered territory to the Russian hinterland (Siberia) and replacing them with ethnic Russians. That was standard operating procedure in the Baltic states. The Eastern Ukraine has had much of its original Ukrainian population displaced by Russians. That region is a dead loss for the Ukraine and should be ceded to Russia.

His #4 conclusion is nonsense. "The existing world order" is the sort of rubbish that Obama and moonbats like him would spew. Political power flows from the barrel of a gun. The right to occupy land ultimately comes from military conquest and being able to hold the land afterwards. "The existing world order" is a politically correct sugar coating that came from centuries of warfare.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a straight line Belmont Clubbers between Ukraine joining NATO and the eastern part of the country seceding violently with Russian support if not troops before that guarantee is finalized. Count on it. Not to mention the other predictable blowback after effects like Moscow and Beijing's soft alliance becoming a hard one complete with Russian and Chinese Navy steaming through that new Chinese-built Panamax alternative canal in Lake Nicaragua in the mid 2020s, and probably establishing a Pacific coast base well before that. Because there are no spheres of influence anymore, right NATO expansion up to the Kremlin walls advocates? The Chinese are already buying the Pireaus, what makes you all think they won't lease out a chunk of it to the Russian Black Sea Fleet as a refueling station? The real soft underbelly of NATO isn't Germany but the Greeks.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Chinese and Putin are going to do whatever they think best advances their political interests independent of the games that Obama plays in the Ukraine. If Obama pulls his punches in the Ukraine then that allows Putin more of his finite resources for activity somewhere else on the planet. It's probably best to keep Putin busy in his own backyard.

It's news to me that the Chinese have interests in the Pireaus. I can't really imagine what the Chinese could do there. I'd be more concerned if the Chinese were doing something foxy in Singapore.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a big difference between a truncated (western) Ukraine joining NATO and all of Ukraine joining NATO. If Crimea, even under a temporary region run by United Nations peacekeepers, still decides to join Russia, what then? Should NATO become a gendarme to compel Russians in Crimea to stay in Ukraine? Defending Kiev is one thing, Sevastopol quite another.

Of course the standard Soviet policy was to displace the indigenous inhabitants of conquered territory and replace them with Russians, which is exactly the same policy the United States used to settle the American interior. The Russian occupation of Crimea is no more illegal than the Kosovo War, and furthermore enjoys the legitimacy of backing from the Crimean Parliament. Putin has at least as much right to invade Ukraine and NATO did to bomb Serbia.

If the United States recognizes the “Republic of Kosovo” and refuses to recognize Serb sovereignty over Kosovo, why should Russia recognize Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea? Vladimir Putin is acting toward Ukraine the way Theodore Roosevelt acted toward Columbia in 1903. If Mr. Putin is a thug, he is no more of a thug than Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, or James K. Polk.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Galicia and all points west of Kiev joining NATO would be an escalation, but probably wouldn't lead to WW3 just tit for tat basing in the Western Hemisphere that McCainiacs and any neocons still willing to show their faces after the dollar collapse within this decade will rail against.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's likely that the US$ will collapse independent of politics with Russia. The US economy is currently being kept alive through money printing by the Federal Reserve. The economic collapse in September 2008 was equivalent to a massive heart attack. We're now recovering after open-heart surgery but still on a heart-lung machine. if they take us off the heart-lung machine but our real heart does not restart then we're dead meat.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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