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August 06, 2008

Comments

opposing gay marriage

My recollection was that Obama voiced support of the recent California decision -- unlike McCain. I'm curious if I missed something...

Cleek: " I don't have any polls (do you?), but i'm not sure people are actually hungry for progressive government as much as they are simply sick and tired of Republicanism and all that it's brought us."

That may be true, but then I don't think the general populace really knows what progressives and/or liberals really stand for. The Republicans have done a great job of defining those terms (in a way that is so inaccurate that it is almost laughable).

Thus when many opeople hear the word liberal they think "higher taxes, redistribution of wealth, government handouts, soft on crime, treasonous bastards, etc." None of these are accurate, but starting with Dukakis, Democrats, progressives and liberals have allowed the lies to continue.

I use Dukakis because the elder Bush constantl mentioned "the L word" as if it were something akin to dog poop and Dukakis never once talked about what being aliberal meant and how he was proud of that label.

Adam, Obama, on a personal level, believes marriage is between a man and a woman. However, he also feels that this is something that the government should not dictate.

He has supported the decision and has spoken against the refendum. McCain the opposite on both counts.

I’m not in the position to demand much.

Obviously you need a union. [makes "call me" signal with thumb and pinky]

And when Obama speaks about a residual force of up to 50.000 designed to protect bases and conduct counter-terrorism strikes, that is not an imaginary concern.

I suspect that when most people talk about a complete withdrawal, they imagine a situation like Germany, Japan, or Korea. In that context, the notion of a residual force is not a deal breaker, it is the SOP. Discussion of the notion of a withdrawal had, a few years ago, a number of blogs discuss the mechanics of a complete withdrawal, with the possibility of a fighting withdrawal. I specifically remember Steve Gillard detailing logistics and routes. When viewed from this angle, it doesn't look like a reversal but an acceptance of facts on the ground. I'd also add that the right has made hay, raising spectres of helicopters taking people off the Saigon roof, when the complete in complete withdrawal is emphasized. That the US electorate has settled into a centrist location on this and we haven't had Obama crucified over this is less because of people are overlooking the flip, but because they don't perceive it as a flip. At least that is my view of the question.

And when Obama speaks about a residual force of up to 50.000

Where exactly did he speak about that? The only reference I can find is to a Robert Novak column that claims the number was leaked by Obama advisers. Do we actually have the 50,000 claim from a source besides Novak? I mean, Novak has such an upstanding character and all...

designed to protect bases and conduct counter-terrorism strikes

The policy document on his website says no permanent bases, so I'm not sure what these 50,000 soldiers would be protecting.

that is not an imaginary concern.

It might be. Can a force of only 50,000 even defend itself and secure its supply lines? If not, then the concern seems imaginary to me.

His currently stated policy would allow Obama to prolong the occupation of Iraq forever. He might just pull out a couple of thousand combat troops and replenish those forces with contractors and his residual force.

In his speeches and in his stated policy, he repeats over and over that he will end the war in Iraq. It seems that continuing the occupation with 50,000 soldiers indefinitely would open him up to massive political attacks. Americans may be stupid, but I think they can tell the difference between "end the war" and "remove 10% but leave 250,000 soldiers fighting in Iraq", especially if they have nice Republican advertisements to explain it to them for the 2010 elections.

Also, regardless of what Obama wants, he can't afford to keep 50,000 - 250,000 soldiers in Iraq indefinitely. His agenda is expensive and there's no way we can pay for it if we're bleeding $10 billion per month.

Has there been an attack of mass amnesia? Why is the blogosphere suddenly rediscovering the McCain Action Center and its points for trolling, when we already talked about it months ago when it first appeared?

What all this "I'm your huckleberry" talk has spawned among pals with way too much time on their hands:

And then there is the lesser-known expression: "I'm your Halle Berry", indicative of ones willingness to simulate sex with Billy Bob Thornton.

And "I'm your Duesenberry", before you trot the correspondent down the highway while snorting gasoline fumes,

or the very similar-sounding:

"I'm your Doonesbury", while checking out the Sunday comics.

(Please stop me.)

"I'm your Queensbury" while breaking up the fisticuffs of a gay marriage gone sour.

"I'm your Canterbury" while re-arranging your Prioressities.

(Really - shoot me now.)

"I'm your Mayberry", when you're feeling not-so-Andy.

"I'm your Knots Berry" when you're in a jam.

And of course "I'm your Dave Barry" when impersonating a syndicated Florida humorist...

Or the old standby: "I'm your Chuck Berry" when only a duckwalk across the stage will do.


And then there is the lesser-known expression: "I'm your Halle Berry", indicative of ones willingness to simulate sex with Billy Bob Thornton.

And here, I thought it was a willingness to dress up in racy cat costume and make people forget you won an Academy Award.

Where exactly did he speak about that?

He gave an interviews in Newsweek:

Q: You've been talking about those limited missions for a long time. Having gone there and talked to both diplomatic and military folks, do you have a clearer idea of how big a force you'd need to leave behind to fulfill all those functions?

O: I do think that's entirely conditions-based. It's hard to anticipate where we may be six months from now, or a year from now, or a year and a half from now.

That can mean anything: 5000, 50.000, 100.000. Also, contractors are running a significant part of the show already and presumably will be in the future.

The policy document on his website says no permanent bases, so I'm not sure what these 50,000 soldiers would be protecting.

The policy document says:

He will not build permanent bases in Iraq (...)

The problem is: the bases don't need to be built - they're already there. And protecting them means they are there to stay, which makes them, well, permanent. Just to protect them you will need a significant number of troops and/or contractors.

Obama on Larry King:

we'll leave a residual force there to engage in counterterrorism activities inside of Iraq, as well, to protect our bases and our diplomats and civilian workers there.

Also, what does "engage in counterterrorism activities" actually mean for Iraqi sovereignty? There have been a large number of US troops in Germany for decades and in the 70s there was a significant terrorist threat, parts of which directly targeting US personnel and installations. Yet, the US left it entirely to the German police and security services to deal with it there would have been a major uproar had US forces engaged this threat on German soil. What will the Iraqi SOFA look like under Obama? If US forces are allowed to conduct countertterrorist operations on Iraqi soil, how would it not be an occupation in all but name?


regardless of what Obama wants, he can't afford to keep 50,000 - 250,000 soldiers in Iraq indefinitely.

Wouldn't it be nice to hear directly from Obama what he envisions for Iraq, instead of just guessing what he wants and what he can and cannot do?

As I said earlier, I can imagine that it might be necessary to keep US forces in Iraq for longer and I am not necessarily a proponent of a complete withdrawal. However, that depends on how it is done and what the goal is. If the aim is to stabilize Iraq and there is a feasible plan to do so - fine. If the aim is to protect "US interests" (bases, access to resources) in the region under the mantle of the "war on terror" - then I say: get out now. The same goes for Afghanistan and Africom.

hilzoy: Thanks for the response. That helps me understand where you are coming from and I’ll keep that in mind. You seem to be focused on what matters to you personally, and of course that’s not only the normal perspective but the right perspective. I’m just looking through a different lens. Having given up on much of what matters to me personally, I’m focused purely on electability. My lens is “how is that going to play with independents and fence sitters” – the folks who I believe will decide this election. I admit it’s a different place than I’ve ever been in before, and certainly I’m feeling my way as I go.


LJ: I do appreciate you starting conversations but I'm wondering where you draw the line between bringing these points up and concern trolling. And where you think the line is between 'this is a problem I think Obama has' and 'I don't have a problem with this, but I think other Republicans will'

First, I don’t care what Republicans will have a problem with. Their vote is set in stone for the most part. No matter how much they may detest McCain, they will hold their nose and vote for him.

My concern with Republicans is simple: Don’t feed the animals (in this case, the noise machine). Yes, they are going to make stuff up and unfortunately some of that will stick. That’s bad enough – so don’t give them valid material to work with. They are not targeting Republicans – they are targeting Independents and fence-sitters in the middle. They are targeting the relatively small group that will decide the election in the end. And it’s much easier to sour them on Obama than it is to sell McCain as the best candidate IMO. So just stop giving them material to work with. Force them to make crap up out of whole cloth. Give them a kernel of truth and they can turn it into a mountain of doubt.

Put Republicans aside and I still see missteps on the left. It’s been two months – and he still hasn’t managed to mend fences with the Clinton camp. She was out there 2 days ago still talking about putting her name on the ballet at the convention, or getting the VP slot. And this:

Clinton is also annoyed that Obama has yet to deliver on his end of an informal bargain, reached as part of their truce, that each would raise $500,000 for the other. "Hillary has done her part in that regard," says an adviser. "Obama has not."

Really? He wants to p*ss her off over $500k? Really? Republicans are going to vote for McCain no matter what, but it looks to me like there are Clinton supporters who will actually sit this out or even vote for McCain. I’m concerned about the middle and he can’t even get all the Democrats solidly behind him!

So if that’s concern trolling, well I’m just going to stop it anyway. I’ve said that before and then fell off the wagon a bit here. But I’m really going to make the effort now to just stop it. I think that a lot of folks here are wearing blinders, but they seem happiest that way. Or at least, they seem pretty unhappy with me bringing these things up. So enough already.

OCSteve: "You seem to be focused on what matters to you personally". -- Well, yes; but it's also hard for me to *see* what doesn't matter to me, and also, when I do see it, to get over a sense of 'huh?' that (I think) makes it hard for me to write about it well.

The 'global citizen' thing, for instance: iirc, he said 'as a citizen of the United States and a citizen of the world', so I couldn't even see that he had somehow omitted the US part; and while I could have written something scathing about the mindset in which saying that is a big issue, and in which, e.g., Reagan's similar statements are OK, I found it very hard to write anything substantive about the statement itself, and that's precisely because I genuinely do not see what's supposed to be so objectionable about it.

I suppose this might have been different if there were only a very few things that would set off Republicans, and Obama had contrived to say one of them. But my sense is that there are so very many that no human being could possibly avoid managing to say any of them. (I imagine how I would do if someone were to follow me around for months, recording everything I said, looking for something that could be taken out of context and used in an attack ad, and shudder.)

Many thanks OCSteve and apologies if I keep drag you back into this. As far as the Clinton-Obama rift, it is difficult for me to know what is really there and what is an invention of the media. There was clearly bad blood there, but the whole PUMA thing seems really astroturf-y to me. And if the Time article is talking about this, I agree with John Cole that this is just bovine manure.

Anyway, something very bizarre happened when I first pasted the url into the code, so I'm going to stop there, but again, thanks for taking the time to answer, I really appreciate it.

"My recollection was that Obama voiced support of the recent California decision -- unlike McCain."

Obama rejects proposed California gay marriage ban:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who previously said the issue of gay marriage should be left up to each state, has announced his opposition to a California ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriages.

In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club read Sunday at the group's annual Pride Breakfast in San Francisco, the Illinois senator said he supports extending "fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law."

"And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," Obama wrote.

Obama had previously said he opposes same-sex marriage but that each state should make its own decision.

John Miller: "and Dukakis never once talked about what being aliberal meant and how he was proud of that label."

Au contraire (criticize him for being too late, instead; the election was quite lost by October 31, 1988, although Dukakis was gaining in the last days):

Michael S. Dukakis dropped his resistance today and accepted the label that Republicans have been trying to pin on him for months. But he defined it in his own terms, declaring, ''I'm a liberal in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and John Kennedy.''

He also challenged Vice President Bush to a one-hour debate on the night before the election. Noting that both he and Mr. Bush have bought 30 minutes of television time for that night, Mr. Dukakis suggested that the two candidates set aside their prepared specials and instead ''have a good, solid discussion of which one of us has what it takes to lead this country and unite this country.''

The Bush campaign immediately rejected the proposal. Reverses Old Course

Mr. Dukakis's embrace of the label ''liberal'' reverses a long effort to avoid it. Two weeks ago, he chided Mr. Bush for the frequency with which the Vice President has used the word liberal to describe him, saying in their second debate, ''If I had a dollar, George, for every time you used that label, I'd qualify for one of those tax breaks for the rich that you want to give away.''

Kirk O'Donnell, a senior adviser to the Dukakis campaign, said Mr. Dukakis's declaration today was a reminder to Democrats of the rich tradition of their party. ''We think the Democrats are coming home,'' Mr. O'Donnell said, ''and this may make it a little easier.''

With his statement today, Mr. Dukakis seemed to be acceding to the advice of many Democrats who have argued that the party needed to reclaim its liberal tradition and not leave the term to be defined by the Republicans.

The declaration, and the challenge to a third debate, was emblematic of the spirited mood of the Dukakis campaign this weekend. On a whistle stop tour today through the Central Valley of California, the state with the most electoral votes, 47, Mr. Dukakis campaigned with political punch and a full-throated declaration of Democratic pride.

Three months after he accepted his party's nomination with the assertion that the election was about competence, not ideology, he told a succession of cheering rallies today that he was, in fact, a liberal.

But this liberal, he said, was a very different species from the one George Bush has been portraying.

''You know, I got to laugh,'' Mr. Dukakis said in Bakersfield. ''Mr. Bush talks about who's liberal, who's conservative.'' Recites Names From Past

''Yes, I'm a liberal in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and John Kennedy,'' he said, as the audience roared him on.

''But if my father taught me anything it was that genuine conservatives pay their bills, don't they? We've had the most liberal borrowing and spending spree in American history in the past eight years, and we're going to change that.''

Before another chanting crowd that greeted his train in Hanford, Mr. Dukakis declared, ''We need a President in the tradition - yes, the liberal tradition - of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and John Kennedy, Presidents who were on the side of average families.''

His self-characterization puts Mr. Dukakis among a growing group of voters who, polls show, see him as a liberal. New York Times/CBS News polls show that 27 percent of registered voters said in May that they considered him a liberal, while 42 percent said so in October. A Times/CBS News Poll in early September showed that most voters would feel no differently about a public figure described as a liberal, but that of those to whom it would make a difference, 28 percent said if would make them feel less favorable about the person while 11 percent said it would make them feel more favorable.

Although public national polls still show Mr. Bush with a wide lead, Mr. Dukakis's spirits have soared as polls done for his campaign show him making some gains in a few critical states. He was full of ebullient predictions today. He reminded his audiences that Kennedy had whistle-stopped through the Central Valley 28 years ago, and declared, ''This train, like Jack Kennedy's, is ticketed all the way to the Oval Office.'' 'Bush Is Coasting'

[...]

The same messages from the Bush campaign that sought to identify Mr. Dukakis with allegedly negative aspects of liberalism may also have had some effect on how Americans talk about their own political views. In early September The Times/CBS News Poll found that the proportion of adult Americans calling themselves liberal had dipped to the lowest level, 15 percent, since Times/CBS News polls began tracking the trend in 1976.

Mr. Dukakis's proud declaration of liberal identity comes after months in which he tried to run a determinedly non-ideological campaign. From one end of the country to another, he touted his managerial expertise and campaigned as a cool, high-tech chief executive. When pressed on his political philosophy, Mr. Dukakis' standard answer was that labels were meaningless. For all of that, the Bush campaign portrayed the Massachusetts Governor as a liberal who was far out of the political mainstream, accusing him of being soft on crime and weak on national security.

Today, at a news conference in Fresno, Mr. Dukakis said he came out of a tradition of liberalism that believes in ''standing up for average Americans'' but also ''balancing budgets.''

Mr. Dukakis added, ''I'm not going to let the Republican Party pervert that word or give it a meaning that it doesn't have.''

He said ''it was time to set the record straight'' after President Reagan's assertion last week that if Truman were alive today he would support Mr. Bush.

Mr. Dukakis also asserted that he was making progress in the polls, in part, because, ''I think I'm doing a better job of explaining who the real Mike Dukakis is, what he believes, the political tradition he comes out of, which is the mainstream political tradition in this country.''

I remember those last two weeks very well. I broke up with a girlfriend to a large degree because it was really important to me that I go out in that last week to do some campaign work, doomed though it was, and she totally couldn't understand why, being completely oblivious to politics beyond some lip service, and insisted that I spend the time with her, intead, and I did, and then decided this wasn't going to work if she so completely didn't get how important politics was to me.

"That’s bad enough – so don’t give them valid material to work with."

You seem to believe that a lot more stuff is valid than a lot of us do. I'm not saying who is right or wrong; just observing that there often seems to be considerable difference of perspective there.

"So just stop giving them material to work with."

That's not possible, so long as he's breathing.

"It’s been two months – and he still hasn’t managed to mend fences with the Clinton camp."

So far as I can see, the problem there is simply that the core of Clinton's support was women with little political knowledge or prior activity who were led to believe by Clinton and her campaign that her chances after Super Tuesday were vastly higher than they were -- that she was on the verge of winning, or was winning, and that thereafter she was consistently having the win stolen from her by a sexist Obama campaign, leading them to hate the Obama campaign as The Enemy, and conflating the sexist press and sexist attacks on Clinton with the Obama campaign, and thus leading to a situation where they see themselves with a Dolchstoßlegende of the Democratic Party that many find unforgiveable, with Obama as the focus, leading many to sit on their hands and say they won't vote.

There's little or nothing that Obama or the campaign can do about this. When Clinton says "For so many of my supporters, just like so many of Barack's supporters, this was a first-time investment of heart and soul and money and effort and sleepless nights and miles of travel," Clinton said. "You just don't turn it off like that," I believe her. And I think that even she has a pretty limited ability to do much, as at this point I doubt many of these supporters of her would even hear her, being so politically disconnected. They just know that The Woman Got Stabbed In The Back And It Can Never Be Forgiven. And for many of them, that's all she wrote, and all there will be.

It's a big problem, but I don't see much that can be done about it, I'm afraid. I really don't believe her supporters sincerely care about $500k here, or a million there, or any specific little grievance; lots of them just are angry and see it as one lump of homogenous sexism in a sexist society, and don't follow the political news beyond the what-you-hear-at-work-from-about-the-Daily Show level, anyway.

"And if the Time article is talking about this"

What Time article?

Sorry, Gary, the link in OCSteve's 6:29 comment is to a article in Time.

Where exactly did he speak about that?

He gave an interviews in Newsweek:

O: I do think that's entirely conditions-based. It's hard to anticipate where we may be six months from now, or a year from now, or a year and a half from now.

That can mean anything: 5000, 50.000, 100.000. Also, contractors are running a significant part of the show already and presumably will be in the future.

Um, no. He never said anything about 50,000 if we ignore the claim that comes solely from credibility-free Mr. Novak. When I asked you where exactly Obama said that, you point me to an interview where he does not say that at all. You've completely failed to support your assertion that "Obama speaks about a residual force of up to 50.000"...would you like to withdraw it now?

The policy document on his website says no permanent bases, so I'm not sure what these 50,000 soldiers would be protecting.

The policy document says:

He will not build permanent bases in Iraq (...)

The problem is: the bases don't need to be built - they're already there. And protecting them means they are there to stay, which makes them, well, permanent. Just to protect them you will need a significant number of troops and/or contractors.

Given that the document actually says "The Bush administration must make absolutely clear that the U.S. will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq" and "Obama believes any Status of Forces Agreement, or any strategic framework agreement, should be negotiated in the context of a broader commitment by the U.S. to begin withdrawing its troops and forswearing permanent bases", I don't think your reading is a fair one.

regardless of what Obama wants, he can't afford to keep 50,000 - 250,000 soldiers in Iraq indefinitely.

Wouldn't it be nice to hear directly from Obama what he envisions for Iraq, instead of just guessing what he wants and what he can and cannot do?

Of course it would. But in the real world, events in Iraq are not terribly predictable and Obama has to preserve some freedom of action to deal with contingencies. Such freedom of action isn't really compatible with an absolute statement that not a single US soldier will be in Iraq by 2010, no matter what, and in any case, there are electoral consequences to saying that.

In some ways, I'm more interested in hearing about what constraints a politician is operating under than what they "envision"...capabilities matter more than intentions.

Time's Joe Klein, who has been doing a good job of holding John McCain's feet to the fire, does a good job of putting the current state of the presidential race into perspective and gives Barack Obama some sound advice here.

OCSteve:
THere is nothing more Obama could do to raise 500k for Clinton than he has already, unless he wants to piss off even more of his supporters.

Of course Clinton "got" her supporters to give to Obama - some of them aren't batshit crazy and want the democratic nominee to win. They would have contributed anyway. But Obama supporters are being asked to give money - money on top of what they've given to Obama already, and possibly instead of money they'd rather give to Obama now if they had it - to retire the campaign debt of a multi-millionaire who racked up that debt trying to hurt their guy when she had no chance of winning herself.

So it's insanely galling, and, as Gary says, it's not even going to work. When Obama first floated this idea the PUMAs were all, "We can't be bought!" Seriously, he would have to make her vp and then they'd vote for him so they could kill him, or in the hopes that some racist out there will. These people are a tiny and crazy minority, and my money is much better spent giving it to Obama than giving it to them, if I want Obama to win.

Speaking as one of Obama's supporters (financial and otherwise): I have precisely no desire to give any of my perfectly nice money to Hillary Clinton. She stayed in the race for a couple of months after the writing was on the wall, and in the process (a) hurt our party and (b) ran up a lot of debt. Since I tend to think that actions should have consequences, I have zero desire to help her avoid the consequences of her actions. The only thing that could persuade me to do it is if it were needed to preserve the peace, but if she held that sort of gun to our collective heads, I'd have to fight even more reluctance than I presently have.

Fwiw, I think that a lot of the current Clinton stuff is media-driven: they're looking for a story, and what with the convention coming up, 'Clinton, Obama, and the Convention' is leaping to their minds. If you look hard enough, you can find disgruntled supporters of anyone. The polls don't show that there are appreciable numbers of them, though.

I think that a lot of the current Clinton stuff is media-driven

And always was. The only difference is that back then, the anti-Clinton Democratic mob was out in force doing the right-wing's work for them: now even the bloggers who were part of the anti-Clinton mob can see that negative stories about Clinton, that once they would have taken up and run with no matter how pointless they were, are just intended to hurt the Democratic party - part of the usual media-driven anti-Clinton fest that's been going on for so many years.

would you like to withdraw it now?

No. Such numbers have been reported by multiple sources and they all go back to policy papers by Obama's top Iraq adviser Colin Kahl (CNAS), who recommended a troop strength of 60-80,000 by the end of 2010. Now, the Obama campaign was quick to distance itself from Kahl's specific proposal, but refused to specify any number or timeline - the size of the residual force will be "entirely conditions-based" after all. And that is the problem, Obama hasn't committed himself to anything in this regard: it might be 10.000 or 75.000, nobody knows, and things get even more murky when you add to that an unspecified number of contractors.

Jes: if you mean me, just say so, and tell me which story you thought was pointless, and why. I will then note that you think I have no independent judgment, but can be led around by the nose by ay enterprising spinmeister who sets his or her mind to it, and form my own views of your judgment in turn.

It would be easier for others to judge who's right if we knew whether you thought that, say, Clinton's saying that Obama was not qualified to be commander in chief was somehow not worth talking about, or whether you're thinking of some other story entirely.

Morat20: Because I looked into that, and it amounts to -- at the moment -- complete rumor mongering in the face of a great deal of counter evidence.

I waited to respond to this b/c I expected this any day.

Edwards Admits Sexual Affair; Lied as Presidential Candidate

Like I said - at least ya'll didn't nominate him! I’d have to say though that it was extremely irresponsible of him to even run with that lurking in his closet.

I waited to respond to this b/c I expected this any day.

Edwards Admits Sexual Affair; Lied as Presidential Candidate

Like I said - at least ya'll didn't nominate him! I’d have to say though that it was extremely irresponsible of him to even run with that lurking in his closet.

Doesn't change my point. You were believing a story based on the National Enquirer, a photo more blurry than Bigfoot's, against the word of the mother AND a claimed father (one whose incentives would have been to deny it).

Edwards had no record of infidelity, no historical behavior to augment the rumor. It was gossip, and you apparently believed it despite quite a bit of evidence that one point (the paternity) was false.

Why? "Because it was true" isn't really a defense. He hadn't admitted it then. Based on PURELY the story as reported when I asked the question -- why would you believe it?

Why would anyone?

Why? "Because it was true" isn't really a defense. He hadn't admitted it then. Based on PURELY the story as reported when I asked the question -- why would you believe it?

Why would anyone?

More to the point, OCSteve, do you believe all stories published in the National Enquirer that are denied by participants?

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