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Happy Birthday, America


Friday, July 4, 2014
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On July 4, we celebrate America’s birthday. We attend parties and parades.

However, let’s not forget the true meaning of this holiday. We won our independence from a tyrannical king. Our wise founding fathers left a legacy of a Constitution and a government system with three equal branches. (executive-judicial-legislative) Millions of “citizen heroes” have served, fought, and died to preserve our freedoms.

Sadly today, there are more threats to our country. There is extreme government lawlessness, disrespect for the Constitution, and an “imperial president.” (“I have a pen and a phone.”) It is time to stand up for America on her birthday.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

What about the threat to our Constitutional rights of representation, Don? Where is your outrage about our laws being written by monied interests ? While you and Diana do your chicken little act fretting about Obama, our Constitution is being hijacked by allowing the floodgates to open on sleazy corporate legal bribery. Where is your outrage on that ?

geeber (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 5:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent points (and incidentally, regarding attempts to disparage this piece, or any other, based on what the author chose not to focus on (!), or baseless conjecture that, in using the term "imperial president" the author considers only the current president imperial: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man ).

Regarding, specifically:

" 'There is extreme government lawlessness, disrespect for the Constitution, and an “imperial president.' ” :

As I suspect the author is aware, as certainly many are, the endless wars, including the sham "war on terror" increasingly directed at the population of "the Homeland" are one of the primary causes.

Among other reasons for these wars, both foreign and domestic: they provide massive welfare for huge corporations and the elite. Just two of them, Iraq and Afghanistan, have transferred $4 TRILLION from the 99.9% to the .1%.

Illegal military attacks against countries that did not attack us, and illegal domestic attacks against our civil liberties, are all driven by the USA federal government's cockamamie 9/11 conspiracy theory, a theory that, as early at 2003, polls indicated only 25% of New York City residents believe, and that dozens of foreign intelligence agencies have laughed at since its inception.

For distribution at 4th of July events, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth [ http://www.ae911truth.org/ ] just released [ http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=d... ] a powerful brochure.

From the cover ( [ ] are mine, for the purposes of this comment ):

9/11 Truth - Good for America!

• Stops Wars of Aggression
[i.e. corporate welfare: $4 trillion just for Iraq and Afghanistan]
• Restores Our Economy
[by eliminating most corporate welfare: $4 trillion just for Iraq and Afghanistan]
• Terminates the NSA's Unconstitutional Global Spying
• Restores Our Civil Liberties
• Abolishes the Torture, Extraordinary Rendition, and Assassination of U.S. Citizens
• Restores Our Country's Moral Foundation and Our Faith in Our Government

One can access the digital version of the brochure by clicking here:

http://issuu.com/larrylandon/docs/911...

(Use the left and right arrows to navigate to and from the cover, the two inside panels, and the back; click any page to enlarge.)

The brochure insert, highlighting the key evidence at *all three* collapsed buildings of the World Trade Center, can be accessed here:

http://issuu.com/larrylandon/docs/goo...

( For more on 9/11, and why unravelling the USA government conspiracy theory regarding it is essential to restoring our freedoms, see:

http://www.noozhawk.com/article/david... )

JohnTieber (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 8:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Jeez Tieberius, smoke much crack?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 9:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

who the hell gives you the warrant to warn others off commenting on this tea party piece, Tieber?! Arrogant, what? Only one comment above your balderdash.
Geo Bush '43 and Cheney are responsible for "the USA federal government's cockamamie 9/11 conspiracy theory" -- and Obama has attempted to temper that, albeit weakly.
Don, your point that "a government system with three equal branches[.]" is not even accurate in theory; not until 1804 with Marbury vs. Madison did the judicial branch and SCOTUS begin to approach the other two branches in power. Today, crazies in the House stop progress by stonewalling on immigration reform and much else.
The "imperial president" aspect started up long before Obama.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 10:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tieber, do you dare define your statement "moral foundation"?
Who's morals? Certainly honesty should be one of them and you repeatedly drop the ball on that one.
Your refusal to acknowledge Russia's brutal oppression of religious, racial/ethnic, and sexual minorities answers the question so you can save some time by not reposting links nobody clicks on.
You and the Thorns are a perfect team.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 10:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"In March 2009, about a month after President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney left office, Scott Horton declared that “[w]e may not have realized it, but in the period from late 2001-January 19, 2009, this country was a dictatorship. That was thanks to secret memos crafted deep inside the Justice Department that effectively trashed the Constitution.” Some of the most infamous of these memos were drafted by John Yoo, an Office of Legal Counsel attorney from 2001-2003. Yoo and others – most notably, Cheney’s counsel, David Addington – advanced the unitary executive theory, a theory of presidential power Cheney had personally favored for decades.

The unitary executive theory, as implemented by the Bush administration, was claimed to justify effectively unchecked presidential power over the use of military force, the detention and interrogation of prisoners, extraordinary rendition and intelligence gathering. According to the unitary executive theory, since the Constitution assigns the president all of “the executive power”, he can set aside laws that attempt to limit his power over national security. This is an enormous power: critics charge that it effectively places the president above the law. Advocates of broad presidential power argue it is necessary to defend the nation against the threat posed by terrorism."

https://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/explor...

Where was Thorn's letter about Bush's dictatorship and Cheney's promotion of the unitary executive theory ?

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 11:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"her birthday"? If America is a woman then she should get equal pay and reproductive rights!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 1:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

great post, Tabatha. The unsurprising news and confirmation that the Blackwater Security group under Eric what's-his-name was TELLING THE GOVERNMENT WHAT TO DO (in Iraq), and forcing them to give up an important investigation, supports Scott's assertion. The Bush-Cheney cabal rode roughshod over Congress and then let their minions in Blackwater stomp on Bush's own State Dept., and neither Congress nor SCOTUS knew any of this. GAWD, Thorns, your malarky about "three equal branches. (executive-judicial-legislative)" shows how totally out of touch you are.
Back in the late 60s and 70s there was plenty of incendiary commentary about "the imperial presidency" -- try reading a bit of recent history Don.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 7:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is the reference for Blackwater telling the official State Dept. investigator looking into Blackwater's illegal activities in Iraq: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/us/...
Blackwater told the investigator they could kill him if they so chose. The State Dept. halted the investigation. Within weeks - Aug 2007 - Blackwater guards murdered 17 Iraqis in a main town square in Baghdad.
So Don, this is your "three equal branches" in action? Your comment about "three equal branches" likely came from a 5th grade US history book: grow up, smell the coffee, start to think.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 7:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gotta love 'Ken_Volok' with the equal pay, equal rights thing when:

1. Women *do* earn equal pay for *equal work* when worked *equally consistently* and *equal length of time* as men. There is literally almost no difference in pay when those three conditions are met.

2. Women's reproductive rights? What reproductive rights do women NOT have? Let's review:
- women can hire someone to kill an unborn human at will anywhere in the U.S. any time they like without any say or ability for the eventual father to stop it. Sorry, what right do they not have?
- women enjoy the benefits of men they don't know being forced to pay for their contraception via health insurance premiums when contraception doesn't treat a medical condition and is the result of a freely exercised choice to prevent pregnancy while having sex.
- women have access to a dizzying array of prenatal care and post-natal care for their bodies (not to mention the babies) supported by society via taxation and government programs. What right do they not have?
- teen pregnancy is celebrated and supports by everyone from millions of the general public to middle-school and high-school on site nurseries.
- massive amounts of publicly available information on sexual expression and techniques are published daily in women's magazines, books, online, etc. Women are very informed about their rights.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 8:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is everyone on the same page here? If Bush did it, it is okay for Obama to do the same thing. Carry on.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)

gotta love realitycheckWilly88's flat wrong repetitions: according to the very highly respected Pew Research Center women today make 84% of men in counterpart occupations: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/...
TOTALLY wrong again, Willy, as also with fracking & so much else. Further, the "glass ceiling" for upper income women is still holding strong.
What massive BS, Willy, stating "teen pregnancy is celebrated and supports by everyone from millions of the general public to middle-school and high-school on site nurseries." -- This is a lie. I work in a middle school and teen pregnancy certainly is NOT "celebrated". Do some homework.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 9:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Obama, with all his failings, has NOT illegally invaded foreign countries (Iraq, Afghanistan), has NOT unleashed Blackwater/private security services to kill foreign civilians or threaten to kill members of our government, and has NOT been led around by the nose by his VP. Try something better, Jarvis. Sure, the continuation (note inception) of NSA is horrible, and so are the targeted drone killings, these are terrible and besmirch O's stature.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 9:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well DD, fixing the gender pay gap is harder to fix than you think. Even at the White House, women make 87% of what men make.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politic...

Most of of the discrepancy is due to the career choices that women and men make. Trying to legislate true pay equality is a pipe dream.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2014 at 9:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I too oppose illegal invasions of foreign countries, I say let's take over the world, make all the laws, then invade any country we want, kill the people there, but do so legally.

I'm sure the people targeted by U.S. drones and bombs will feel much better if we do.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 2:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's just annex all the other countries and make them states. Give them reps in the house and two senators each. Looking forward to the Fallujah Caucus, right after Iowa and before the Saigon Primary.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 7:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And here I thought the birthday for America was about free California Fresh cards and subsidized housing for illegal aliens.
Proof positive that the Progressives know Obama is a divisive fool is the amount of time they continue to bring up Bush; that's a hell of a defense: "Oh yea, well Bush was a very bad man and that made Obama's job sooo hard".
OBAMA EXPANDED THE PATRIOT ACT BEYOND BUSH'S WILDEST DREAMS. Hilary voted for the cockamamie war that destabilized the entire world and she had all of the information.

nomoresanity (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 8:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I do recall Obama trying to shut Guantanamo down and the GOP blocking that. How many elected reps from either Party are advocating dismantling the "Patriot" Act? I recall a rep from Oakland in '01/02 being publicly slammed and called a traitor for opposing the PA , mostly by future Tea Party types.
Both partisanal sides are conveniently amnesiac.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 8:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The GOP still prevents Guantanamo closure.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 9:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Still, even though Obama was critical of the law as a senator, Republican lawmakers suggest they will resist any move to change the Patriot Act.

"Recent terror attacks, such as those at Ft. Hood and on Christmas Day, demonstrate just how severe of a threat we are facing," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), according to the Associated Press. "This extension keeps Patriot's security measures in place and demonstrates that there is a growing recognition that these crucial provisions must be preserved." "

Sometimes, Obama's hands are tied, as he indicated in the signing statement of this extension. Thorn take note: "Republican lawmakers suggest they will resist any move to change the Patriot Act."

The contents of the Act are defined in Congress, and are often tied to other important things (e.g. defense spending) that have to pass, thus forcing the hand of the President.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics...

"The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a United States federal law specifying the budget and expenditures of the United States Department of Defense. Each year's act also includes other provisions. The U.S. Congress oversees the defense budget primarily through two yearly bills: the National Defense Authorization Act and defense appropriations bills. The authorization bill determines the agencies responsible for defense, establishes funding levels, and sets the policies under which money will be spent.[1]"

Often, there is a disconnect between what Congress authorizes and the fact that Obama has no other option but to sign, which he attempts to indicate in a signing statement. If claims of Obama extending the Patriot Act are made, it would be more truthful to say that Congress extended the Patriot Act - see Jeff Sessions' comments.

Signing statements to follow.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 11:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

December 31, 2011
Statement by the President on H.R. 1540

Today I have signed into law H.R. 1540, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012." I have signed the Act chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed. In hundreds of separate sections totaling over 500 pages, the Act also contains critical Administration initiatives to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DoD), to develop counterterrorism initiatives abroad, to build the security capacity of key partners, to modernize the force, and to boost the efficiency and effectiveness of military operations worldwide.

The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-o...

Obama then strongly debunked once and for all the notion that the NDAA detention provisions apply to American citizens, “Section 1021 affirms the executive branch’s authority to detain persons covered by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note). This section breaks no new ground and is unnecessary. The authority it describes was included in the 2001 AUMF, as recognized by the Supreme Court and confirmed through lower court decisions since then. Two critical limitations in section 1021 confirm that it solely codifies established authorities. First, under section 1021(d), the bill does not “limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.”
http://www.politicususa.com/2011/12/3...

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 11:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Congessional representatives' fear of losing re-election is why many of them try to scare their constituents (on any topic) and so the cycle continues.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Apologies for the overkill, but many do not know/understand the mechanics of these things.

"In summary and for the millionth time, the detention provisions do not apply to the NDAA. The law itself states that it does not apply to American citizens. Some people will still continue to feed their mistrust of government, but it is in black and white. It was written in the revised legislation.

The NDAA is a terrible law because it forbids the funding to close GITMO. It is a terrible law because the language of the bill contains a predisposition towards indefinite detentions. The language used is the right’s attempt to revive the policies of the war on terror. The NDAA is lousy because what it is advocating runs counter to who we are as a people and what this great nation stands for. The NDAA stinks for all of these reasons and many more, but it is NOT lousy because it allows for the detention of US citizens.

Those who believe that Obama should have vetoed the NDAA don’t seem to realize that what they are asking for is that the military go unfunded. The NDAA is a yearly funding measure, and as such could be amended when a new, and hopefully saner Congress is sworn into session to remove the war on terror language that this Congress foolishly in a bit of near election year pandering passed.

Too many Democrats went along with supporting the NDAA, and those members of Congress along with their detention and torture loving GOP colleagues must be held accountable. I know that it is easier to blame the president for everything, because he is but one man, but the truth that we need to clean out and disinfect this Congress.

Yes, Obama signed the NDAA. Even if he would have vetoed it, an override would have been likely. His veto would have been nothing more than an empty symbolic gesture that would have caused more problems than it solved."

Note
- The language used is the right’s attempt to revive the policies of the war on terror.
- Yes, Obama signed the NDAA. Even if he would have vetoed it, an override would have been likely.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 11:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Right Tabatha. Most of those in the"torture loving GOP" just can't wait to waterboard you!

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

When people reflexively support political parties, they will justify the passing of unjust laws when their party of choice supports those laws.

The NDAA and the Patriot Act were not the work of some inexorable force that left Obama, McCain, Feinstein, Capps, and so many others no choice but to vote for it, but the choice of those politicians to simple say "no, this violates peoples' rights" and defend the Constitution they are sworn to uphold.

Under the risk of invoking "Godwin's Law", this is the same mentality of "we just acted under orders" of the Nazis when they were in the dockets on Nuremberg answering for their crimes.

Obama, Romney, Christie, and the other mainline politicians are all for these laws, and those who vote for them are complicit in their being enforced.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 6:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just like some Air Force Lt. who "acts under orders" when s/he presses the button to send a drone strike into a stone-house compound that "most likely" has an Al Quaeda or Haqqani "terrorist" -- and likely others including family members and children. But hey, the Lt. is OK, except for her likely PTSD later. Moral amnesia.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 7:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My point exactly DrDan, which is why I oppose this war.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2014 at 8:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Are you kidding Botany? Waterboarding? After we push organic bamboo up her fingernails and shock her with solar acquired electrical energy she will be begging for mere (recycled)waterboarding.
I do appreciate the time Tabatha takes to absolve Obama from any culpability. Apparently the last President that was actually able to do ANYTHING on his own was Bush; Obama's hands are tied and his job is just too tough...

nomoresanity (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2014 at 8:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well of course:

Contrast the "great" presidents of the last 50 years: Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama

With the "terrible" ones:

Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2.

Looks like both sides have had their share of losers. But even if Abraham Liincoln was in that group, Tabatha would lump him in with the Nixon.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2014 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

muchlessSanity, you show your receding mental capacity with "the last President that was actually able to do ANYTHING on his own was Bush". First, he was a tool of Cheney, neo-cons, and his Dad's guys (at first, til he dumped Scowcroft)...then he DID do something on his own: invading Iraq on false pretenses, and a colossal error for which all of us and our children will fund. And he thought the water-boarding etc. was cool, so he's a war criminal. Guess why he's afraid to leave USA and his degenerate art studio there in Texas? -- they'll nab him like they got Milosevic and put him on trial at the Hague.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2014 at 8:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Even more cool: Obama is too impotent to actually accomplish any of his promises but Cheney, as VP, was omnipotent and able to do more than anyone in history.
Maybe Cheney really is Satan in the flesh as he is the most powerful presence on earth.
I agree with you about the idiotic destabilization of the entire world by invading Iraq; I also remember the Progressives like Hilary who had access to all of the information and voted along...

nomoresanity (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2014 at 9:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DavyBrown: You missed nomoresantiy's sarcasm about how Obama's hands are tied.

Nomoresanity: I disagree with you that Cheney is Satan, don't be silly, we all know it's the Koch brothers!

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2014 at 6:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Re NMS's point about Hillary Clinton: Yes, she went along with this. When I pointed this out to Hannah-Beth Jackson, she stuck by her claim that she would support Clinton in the primary of 2008 even though (despite Jackson's claims that she--Jackson--was against this war) Kucinich was against the war. The bottom line is that Kucinich has a Y-Chromosone and Jackson finally defaulted to "He can't win" as her logic.

I wonder how the mainstream Democrats will push out Elizabeth Warren?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2014 at 6:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cheneys not satan, hes just the antichrist.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2014 at 6:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

thanks, Bill: nomore, if I missed sarcasm in your comment, then I apologize for my comment back at you.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2014 at 9:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Heck, even the brain dead, partisan hack Barbara Lee from NorCal and our own stepford representative Capps were correct to vote against our incursion into the middle east.
btw davy-I never voted for Bush and I voted once, and only once, for Obama. They are both un-American, lying, POS in my book...

nomoresanity (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2014 at 5:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I apologize, then, nomore. But then, I happily voted for Obama the second time as well.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2014 at 8:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

" Yes, Obama signed the NDAA. Even if he would have vetoed it, an override would have been likely. His veto would have been nothing more than an empty symbolic gesture that would have caused more problems than it solved."

No, it would have shown a president with a backbone--assuming he actually disagreed with the measure.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2014 at 10:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

but Bill, we need a chief executive that can get things done, you have noted this Pres. hasn't done much, so how can you say he should've wasted valuable symbolic power, yes power, on a futile veto?
A better line of attack for would've been this part of his signing statement:
"My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law." --so what if a dictatorial dick like Dick Cheney became Pres.?? This final disclaimer is BS.
I know, contradictions abound.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 7, 2014 at 11:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dick Dick dictatorial disclaimer Dr Dan Dolpinpod. Too many "D"'s. Looks like one of my report cards.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2014 at 6:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, I've got to give kudos to Mr. Thorn and his patented nonsense. He gets a good discussion going!

SFGiants (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2014 at 10:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

only 8 of these 42 posts have anything remotely affirmative for Thorn's inane stuff, the Indy prints him once a month to verify they try to give space to "both sides" -- something the ever-thinner NewsSUPPress never dares to do. Kudos to the Indy.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 8, 2014 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Silly silly DrDan

The pew 84% you quote does not factor in:

1. Hours worked per week.
2. Contiguous time in an occupation without leaving workforce.

When you add those factors in its 97%.
Of course there are gender and role biases in SOCIETY and in FAMILIES that work against women in terms of who cares for the kids, elderly,etc

But that's NOT unequal pay or employer unfairness, etc.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
July 12, 2014 at 1:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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