US News Section

Connecticut Man1
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 1:21pm

It only took a few paragraphs in to Salon's critique of the NY Times' handling of revelations - more specifically, the NY Times' exclusion of revelations - in wikileak's #cablegate  to begin to wonder about Obama's action, as well, and the meaning of it:

Reports of Iran-North Korea cooperation may be flawed

One of the first revelations in the WikiLeaks cables archive, first reported in a big story by the New York Times, is that U.S. intelligence has concluded that Iran obtained 19 medium-range missiles from North Korea. The Times story warned in its third paragraph that the "missiles could for the first time give Iran the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe or easily reach Moscow."

But the Times did not print the full December 2009 cable for its readers, complying with a request from the Obama Administration, the reasons for which are not clear. WikiLeaks did publish the cable, which you can read here.

And the thing that jumps out about the cable, which describes a U.S.-Russian meeting on Iran, is that the Russians expressed intense doubts about whether Iran had actually acquired so-called BM-25 missiles from North Korea. But these dobuts were inexplicably left out of the Times story that set the international narrative on the issue. Neoconservatives in the U.S. have seized on the report to trumpet claims that Iran is a threat and to retroactively justifiy George W. Bush's 2002 "axis of evil" speech.

You would fully expect the neocons to be blowing this non-nuclear story on missiles' sales bunk up American's nether-regions like smoke stovepiped through the ashes of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Forever war propaganda is what the neocons and the GOP campaign on.

But what should be surprising is to see that the Obama administration is replicating the Bush administration in their Judy Miller like attempts to control the media message, unleashing what is essentially illegal propaganda and directed at the American people, if the reports are true. And if it could be any worse... Doing it in a manner that inexcusably re-enforces the failed neoconservative world view and narrative.

And, for future reference, we should all be taking any material produced by these newly defrocked Judy Miller wannabes - William J. Broad, James Glanz and David E. Sanger - with a full shakers worth of grains of salt concerning anything they write in the future and any of their editors that let this piece of craptacularly biased journalmalistic propaganda out into the print world ought to be shown the same disdain and watched with the same skeptical eye.

I mean, this was sourced material propaganda fail... Just imagine what these propagandists would be willing to do off the record?

I shudder at the thought.

It is efforts like these that leave me with near zero regret for the oncoming end of the NY Times' print edition - what used to be a paper of record is clearly now just fodder for the birdcage - and an equal amount of hope that this President would and will be different.

It was not right when the Bush adminstration did it then, and it is not right if the Obama administration is doing the same type of things now.

Connecticut Man1
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 7:04pm

In case you think Body Scanners are going away anytime soon... It ain't just Michael Chertoff on the lobbyist gravy train for this:

Airport body-scanner manufacturers armed for K Street battle

Companies like L-3 Communications, the defense contractor, are providing several of the scanners under a nearly $165 million TSA contract won earlier this year, are well-prepared for the fight.

Linda Hall Daschle, a former administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration and wife of ex-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), is one of L-3’s best-connected lobbyists.

The president of LHD Associates, Daschle has earned $100,000 in lobbying fees so far this year working on “matters related to advanced imaging technology” — body scanners — among other air-travel issues, according to lobbying disclosure documents.

...snip...

Rapiscan attracted attention earlier this year when it was revealed that former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, a vocal proponent of body scanners, had consulted for the company. Peter Kant, Rapsican’s executive vice president, said Chertoff was no longer working for the company.

The only time there is real bipartisanship is when there is a buck to be made...  And they will do anything to keep their money flowing.  More Below...

If government sanctioned groping is not enough to keep their scanner sales going you can be certain that there will be a truly bipartisan effort to enorce full cavity searches - can you hear that snapping sound? It is the sound of K steet issued rubber gloves being donned by TSA agents everywhere - to keep the herd of ignorant Americans from ever thinking about any backlashes against their radiated assault of your private body.

And, yes, they even have little problem with groping and abusing your kids, as well:

Fear wins the day!

posted by CT Bob

We've officially lost the "War on Terror", since we now have to basically strip-search children.

The goal of terrorism is to create such fear in a nation that they can't continue to operate normally. The terrorists have won!

Let's just all give up and learn how to speak Muslim.

Because, it ain't bombs that's doing it...we're doing it to ourselves.

Gosh. And here I thought that strip searching kids was how a pedophile might enjoy his or her time with a child?

Anyways...  It is all just security theater.

Despite what their proponents would have us believe, body scanners are not some magical tool to find all weapons and explosives that can be hidden on the human body. Yes, the scanners work against high-density objects such as guns and knives — but so do traditional magnetometers.

And the scanners fare poorly against low-density materials such as thin plastics, gels and liquids. Care to guess what Abdulmutallab's bomb was made of? The Government Accountability Office reported in March that it's not clear that a scanner would've detected that device.

Even if the scanners did work against low-density materials, the same group linked to the Christmas bomb, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has already found another way to defeat the technology: hiding bombs inside the human body: A would-be AQAP assassin tried to kill a senior Saudi counterterrorism official with a bomb hidden where only a proctologist would find it.

Security theater to keep you so pissed about the groping (some would liken it to rape ) and shame you into accepting giving glowing reports of their nudie photography as an acceptable level of stripping of your dignity and liberty.

Get ready to vomit: TSA in action

While TSA under pressure turned off an unknown but substantial number of nude imaging machines, and backed off the groping, the reports are starting to come in about the full nature of what has been going on.  

Don't believe any builshit about this is being a "pat-down".  From some of the reports gathered by the ACLU:

I was with two strangers, one of whom now had both of her open palms moving slowly across virtually every part of my body. She barely moved them as she groped both of my breasts. And most disturbingly, her hands karate-chopped their way a full two inches up into my vagina through my slacks. She performed this maneuver not once, but twice: once from behind me, and then once again, standing/bending in front of me

The pat down was so invasive that the woman doing it stuck her thumb through my jeans into my vagina, significantly more than simple resistance. She cupped each of my breasts, and ran her hand inside the waistband of my jeans.... I am upset, humilated, degraded and feel abused and criminal, when I am guilty of nothing.

In the 4 times she explored the area where my inner thigh met my crotch, she touched my labia each time, and one pass made contact with my clitoris, through 2 layers of clothing. I told her I felt humiliated, assaulted and abused.... In my work as a nurse, if I did what the TSA did against a patient's will it would be considered assault and battery, and I did not see how the TSA should have different rules.

This was, by far, the second most humiliating, and personally violating event in my life - the first being a date-rape in college

I was the only female in a crowd of men. Even though I was not next in line, I was called over to the body scanner. As I got closer to the scanner, I could clearly hear him say "got a cute one, some DD's." ... I was appalled and decided at that point to "opt out" of the scanner.... I was then put through the pat down procedure which I only can only describe as sexual assault.

In my other diaries on this topic, I have seen these atrocities belittled as "reichwing" bellyaching, etc.  Oh, sure some rightist have tried to use it as an excuse to abolish TSA, etc.  I don't know or care about any of their motives.  

Various Oh So Important lickspittles (for example WaPO's astounding ignorant Ruth Marcus and TSA's own Baghdad Bob) have claimed that only Luddites, libertarians, prudes and puritans who opt out of the nude scan will be groped.  

Don't believe them.  Many people were groped despite going through the scan (there are at least two reports of menstruating women being groped up because they were wearing a "foreign object".).  Other people asked to use the scan but were refused.  People have been assaulted when there was no goddamn machine in place to "opt out" of:

[T]he Dayton airport does not have the new body scanners. I was not given any other search options. It was enhanced patdown, or nothing. (And I would have opted for the body scanner, if I were going to be subject to a sexual assault.)

What they appear be doing, as near as I can reckon, is to get you so mad about the groping that you will be begging them to buy enough of these scanners and install them everywhere.

And K street's clients, the one's that are producing and profiting off of  this mega-million dollar porno production, will be laughing at you, the tax payer, all the way to the bank.

GreyHawk
Saturday, November 20, 2010 - 4:52am

Hat-tip Lordrag of DelphiForums.

So, not all of the rich elite are against letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest of Americans:

__________

"For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled," their website states. "We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more."

__________

Source

That right there is million dollar patriotism, brought to you by your fellow concerned citizens out of concern for the economy and who have a good sense of what will help the economy the most.

Taxes. Specifically, taxing those who can most afford it.

GreyHawk
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - 5:14am

Sometimes, someone says what needs to be said -- there's more to the truth than the objective idealism of "fair and balanced" which Fox News has turned into a catch-phrase for "partisanship" and propaganda.

In the Special Comment delivered on 15 November 2010, Keith Olbermann talks about the News Media and it's abhorrent record.

Give it a listen.

Comments are open, and welcome.

Connecticut Man1
Friday, November 12, 2010 - 1:04pm

And brain bleach to remove that image in my future:

Arizona Sheriff used hidden database to misspend up to $80 million, officials claim

www.rawstory.com

A hidden computer database recently discovered in the course of a racial profiling investigation shows Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio misspent up to $80 million in funds intended for jail operations, according to Maricopa County supervisors and budget officials.

Anything, preferably non-brain bleach related, Open Thread worthy pass through your mind lately?

Connecticut Man1
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 10:13am

Digging Into polling numbers - From ctblogger at MLN, a little bit on Connecticut's version of The Drudge Report and the biased polls they paid for:

New York Times FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver offers his take on Merriman River Group's congressional polling for that site that inflates it's stats.

Nate_Silver

...that's putting it mildly. Hopefully, in the future the statewide media will take future polling from CTCapitolReport with a grain of salt.

Dig in below the fold for more Open Thread dirt...

Take away their shovels before the money pit gets any deeper - From Think Progress:

At a conference organized by the financial services industry’s lobby group, Wall Street executives “begged regulators” to “cushion the blow” from the Wall Street reform bill that President Obama signed into law earlier this year. “The financial system nearly shut down. It’s only two years on,” pleaded Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. “You need a little bit of patience to rebuild.”

I thought we buried these turds already - From Crooks and Liars:

Why in the hell does MSNBC keep giving this petulant liar a format? And yeah, I'm talking to you, Ed Schultz, as well. Chris Matthews brought on Cheney sycophant Ron Christie, who proceeded to do what he always does when he appears on MSNBC -- lie, feign outrage and talk over the other guests. I feel your pain, Joan Walsh.

Christie of course spent the segment making excuses for the Bush administration and the outing of Valerie Plame and our invasion of Iraq. Christie looked like he was going to pop a gasket when Joan Walsh dared to point out that she like most of us have some trouble figuring out where George Bush's "moral" and "psychological compass" were at after we watched him yucking it up with his "have mores" making jokes about not being able to find and WMD's in Iraq.

Worms are the bomb - Sniffers, that is... From Popular Science:

Microscopic Worms Could Sniff Out Explosives

Popular Science - Rose Eveleth - 23 hours ago


But soon they may find a new tool in their quest to find the bad guys and their bombs: microscopic worms. In a paper published last month, researchers at ...

Bomb Sniffing Worms Could Put Dogs out of Work- Gather.com

Pen
Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - 4:18am

So far, it looks like nearly half the Blue Dog Dems have been kicked out of office. That’s a much higher percentage of Dems than the Progressive Caucus lost tonight. I think it speaks loudly to why the Dems got their butts kicked today. This wasn’t Americans turning to the Republicans, which polls show Americans hate worse than Dems. This was Americans turning away from the Blue Dogs. The ones who sold us out to the corporatists.

This opens up some serious opportunities for progressives if we can capitalize on them two years from now. Without incumbency to aid them, the Dem Machine – which will be bringing more Blue Dogs to the table to replace the ones they lost – will have to win primaries against progressive alternatives in every Blue Dog seat.

Two years from now, progressives can make huge gains at the cost of the corporatists. Provided, of course, that we can insure the elections aren’t rigged and we can come up with actual progressives to run fopr those Blue Dog seats.

Then, when we take back Congress, we won’t have the Blue Dogs aiding and abetting Republican obstructionism.

This is more than just a silver lining in a dark cloud. It's an opportunity to rebuild the Democratic Party. It's a chance to take it back.

---------------

[ed note and update - CM1] Silver lining promoted and well said Pen, as, in the House and by a rough count, more than half of them sick Blue Puppies - 28 of 54 - have been sent to the vet to be neutered by the voters not buying their brand of Republican-light. The Progressive Caucus lost 4 BUT... May have gained a new one.

Puppy Ciao furnished by Meteor Blades:

As for the departed Blue Dogs, we can do without their sabotage which did so much to deliver House Democrats into the minority. Only seven of the defeated 22 had served more than two terms in the House. Rep. Gene Taylor (MI-04), the longest serving defeated member, was first elected in 1988. So was John Tanner, who opted out of running this year. But 16 of them were first elected in 2006 or 2008. Here they all are, with the year they were first elected.  

Mike Arcuri (NY-24) 2006; R. Marion Berry (AR-01)
 (Retired) 1996; Allen Boyd (FL-02) 1996; Bobby 
Bright (AL-02) 2008; Christopher Carney (PA-10)
 2006; Travis Childers (MS-01)
 2008; Jim Costa (CA-20) 2004; Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03) 2008; 
Lincoln Davis (TN-04)
 2002; Brad Ellsworth (IN-08)
 (Ran for Senate) 2006; Bart Gordon (TN-06)
 (Retired) 1984; Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (SD)
 2004; Baron Hill (IN-09)
 1998 through 2004, 2006;Frank  Kratovil, Jr. (MD-01)
 2008; Betsey Markey (CO-04) 2008; Jim Marshall (GA-08) 2002; Charlie Melancon (LA-03)
 (Ran for Senate) 2004; Walt Minnick (ID-01) 2008; Harry 
Mitchell (AZ-05)
 2006; Dennis Moore (KS-03)
 (Retired) 1998; Patrick Murphy (PA-08) 2006; Scott Murphy (NY-20) 2008; 
Glenn Nye (VA-02) 2008; Earl Pomeroy (ND)
1992; John Salazar (CO-03)
 2004; Zack Space  (OH-18)
 2006; John Tanner (TN-08) (Retired) 1988; Gene Taylor (MS-04)
 1988; Charles Wilson (OH-06) 2006.

The four members of the Progressive Caucus who lost: Alan Grayson (FL-08) 2008; Phil Hare (IL-17) 2006; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI-13) (defeated in primary) 1996; and John Hall (NY-24) 2006.

[end update from CM1]

---------------

MichaelCollins
Monday, October 25, 2010 - 10:19pm

Michael Collins

The corporate takeover of California is on hold according to the latest polls out of the nation’s largest state. Just nine days before the election, the Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California poll shows a nearly impossible uphill battle for the big business ticket of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

Among likely voters in the governor’s race, Brown leads Whitman 50% to 38%. In the race for United States Senator, two term Senator Barbara Boxer maintained an 8% lead. The leads by Democrats come from a brand new constituency, those who "never" go to church. More on that later.

The Corporate Duo versus Old Style Liberals

California’s 2010 governor and senate races present a dramatic contrast between corporate power and wealth versus traditional liberal politics in opposition to that power. Republican Meg Whitman decided she’d move on from her job as eBay CEO to the governor’s mansion. She committed to spend as much of her $1.2 billion estimated net worth as needed in order to win. To date, she’s poured in $119 million.

Whitman is a purebred member of The Money Party. While at eBay, Whitman took a seat on the Goldman Sachs board of directors. She had to leave the board when her name came up in a congressional probe on spinning -- "a financial maneuver, now banned, in which Goldman and other firms allegedly traded access to hot IPOs for bond business." Whitman has even inspired her own broadside, Wall Street Whitman, which chronicles her corporate career which includes a $200,000 settlement for allegedly cursing at and shoving a subordinate.

Carly Fiorina's corporate career is a trail of sorrows for investors and employees. Fortune Magazine debunked her official biography which claims she became a corporate star as CEO of Lucent (formerly Bell Labs) after it spun off from ATT. Fiorina's idea of sales involved loaning customers the money to buy Lucent's equipment. When she left with $65 million in bonuses, Lucent had $7 billion in shaky loans. Contrary to her lofty self portrait, Fiorina started practicing the "growth agenda" of outsized revenue growth in return for big bonuses and favored treatment of the company by Wall Street.

Fiorina's next stop was Hewlett Packard. She immediately began acquiring companies including Compaq, a giant PC manufacturer. Her timing couldn't have been worse. When then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan burst the tech bubble, Fiorina was left with her ill-advised acquisitions. She began massive layoffs to compensate for her poor timing and strategy. That led to her famous remarks in 2004: "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore. We have to compete for jobs as a nation." By 2005, the HP board had enough and showed Fiorina the door. HP stock went up between 7% and 10% on the announcement.

Whitman and Fiorina don't stand for much more than lower taxes and dumping regulations, the mantra of the current era of greed. They like education, but don't want to pay for it, and dislike illegal immigration, unless, in Whitman's case, the immigrants are working for her.

Opposing Whitman and Fiorina are two of the most liberal politicians in the United States. Jerry Brown is California's Attorney General. He served two terms as governor from1975 through 1983 and was twice elected mayor of Oakland. His platform stresses job creation, education, and prompt action on California's chaotic budget and finances. Barbara Boxer has established a record that is well to the left of her Senate colleagues. Her campaign stresses key liberal issues and constituencies. Boxer even got an endorsement from the normally Republican VFW PAC for her work with veterans.

How did this happen?

Late campaign leads like those in the LA Times poll are generally insurmountable short of massive election fraud or a candidate violating the Edwards Law. The former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards said of his 1983 opponent, "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."

California's economic depression is the key campaign issue. The official state unemployment rate is 12.4%. When you add those who've simply given up looking for a job plus the marginally employed, the figure for the state is over 20%. Official unemployment in the San Joaquin Valley, a huge agribusiness region, ranges from 15% to 19%. Long the economic engine for the nation, the state is not accustomed to hard times.

The unemployed need work not promises, foreclosure relief not political rhetoric, and look to someone who shares their concerns. The LA Times/USC poll asked respondents to name the candidate who, "Understands the problems and concerns of people like me." Brown was named by 48% with Whitman at 30%; Boxer by 43%, while Fiorina does somewhat better than Whitman at 34%. Whitman's self funding of over $100 million to her campaign and Fiorina's callous disregard for American workers are hardly endearing traits to the electorate.

The growing Latino community is playing a pivotal role in this process. In 2006, millions of California Latinos showed up to protest federal legislation that would have made it a felony to simply know of and fail to report an illegal alien. The focus of the demonstrations and crowd size had not been seen in this country for decades.

In September, Meg Whitman's former housekeeper, Nicky Diaz, an undocumented immigrant, surfaced to tell the story of her employment and termination by Ms. Whitman. Diaz said of the termination, "I felt like she was throwing me away like a piece of garbage." By the current survey, Whitman's favorability rating among Latinos is a meager 22%. Her unfavorable rating climbed to 52%. Fiorina is upside down on this Latino rating as well with 21% favorable and 34% unfavorable.

President Obama's popularity in California is another factor to consider. This chart of survey results shows the president with a net 5 points positive approval rating among whites and 50 points positive among the critical Latino community. This can only help the Democrats, who like their opponents, have negative net approval ratings among whites. (Data from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Oct 13-20, 2010)

In addition, independents are strongly in favor of both Democratic candidates. Brown comes in at 61% to Whitman's 24%. Boxer beats Fiorina by 58% to 26%.

But none of these explanations fit nearly as well numerically as the heathen hypothesis.

People who "never attend church" will elect the next Governor and Senator

There are 1501 respondents in the sample for this variable - "How often do you attend church?" If you take the sample and create a running total starting with "More than once a week", by the time you get "Monthly or less", total of all church goers are split as follows. Brown is up only 27.75% to 27.05% over Whitman, a virtual dead heat. Boxer trails Fiorina by 2.5 points, 29% to 31.5%.

Data from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Oct 10-20, 2010 pages 274-5

But when those who "Never" attend church are added to the running total, a miracle of sorts takes place. Brown ends up pulling ahead with a sizable 12% lead and Boxer surges to an 8% advantage. These margins are the same as those cited by the LA Times article on the poll.

We had to go 274 pages into the details of the poll to find out who the new powerbrokers are in California politics. Let's assume that those who "Never" go to church are secular humanists and who are sick and tired of little to nothing accomplished to relieve the depression-like conditions. I may be wrong, but regardless of the accuracy of the heathen hypothesis, there's a certain poetic justice, a conceit, so to speak, commenting on the tedium of religion in politics over the last few decades.

END

New University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times Poll Downloads

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

GreyHawk
Thursday, October 7, 2010 - 8:47am

It's that time of the year, folks -- a swarm of emails have been coming out from spoofed addresses, claiming to be from the customer service section of Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (eftps.gov).

NOTE: The IRS never sends emails to taxpayers. Pass that tidbit on, and help take a bite out of cybercrime...

It starts off with the following:

__________
From: EFTPS Tax Payment [mailto:customers@eftps.gov]
Sent: today, this month, real recent time
To: yourbusinessname@yourbusinessurl.com
Subject: Your Federal Tax Payment has been rejected. Report ID: xxxxxxxx (some numbers, sometimes sequential if from the same spammer/phisher/cyber-criminal/needle-dicked bugfvcker)

Your Federal Tax Payment ID: 012345678 has been rejected.

Return Reason Code R21 - The identification number used in the Company Identification Field is not valid.

Please, check the information and refer to Code R21 to get details about your company payment in transaction contacts section: http://eftps.gov/R21

In other way forward information to your accountant adviser.

EFTPS: The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System
PLEASE NOTE: Your tax payment is due regardless of EFTPS online
availability. In case of an emergency, you can always make your tax payment by calling the EFTPS.
__________

What changes, slightly, is the subject (sometimes the message has "URGENT" at the start of the subject, sometimes not), the content (sometimes the line "In other way forward information to your accountant adviser" is present, sometimes not). The URL "eftps.gov/R21" is not the actual URL that the message redirects you to -- that's just the URL label. The actual URL differs, usually directing people to a server in Russia through a variant of the domain name "eftpsxxxxx.com" where the "xxxx" is a series of numbers. A traceroute on the various URLs comes back with different domain hosts / admin information, but the email headers from any message you receive usually include an ip address (and sometimes a source node) for where the message may actually be from -- or at least one of the potential zombie machines it was sent from.

Should you receive any such emails (I've received about 12 so far over the past few days), there's a quick and easy way to report them to the IRS (see below). In general, any time you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the Treasury or US government, you can go to the US Treasury's website for contact information about how to report the phishing attempt, or -- if you've been a victim of a cybercrime, particularly if you've lost money or property -- you can go straight to the IC3 site and file a complaint (or 2, or 3 -- or 12 -- as the case may be).

For this particular email scam and for cases specifically involving the IRS and tax scams, go to the IRS page for more information. The IRS is already aware of this particular scam, but you should still report it and provide the details of the email source to help their cybercrime investigators track the perpetrators. Usually, a great and simple method to do this as well as report these types of fraud involves the following:

  1. View and copy the full header information of the email,
  2. Forward the email message to phishing@irs.gov, with a copy of the full header information pasted within

Easy-peasy.

Whatever you do, do not click on the links of any suspicious emails, even those purporting to be from the IRS or US Government, unless you can be sure that the link goes to where it says it is going.

More information is available about this at the IRS site on fraud/phishing/abuse (same IRS link as provided a few sentences ago).

Be careful out there, and remain ever-vigilant for those cyber-criminals who'll try to steal you blind almost as fast as the Bush/Cheney Administration and their Republican Congressional majority gutted the national treasury and destabilized our entire economy and infrastructure.

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