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Nederlog

 Dec 1, 2016

Crisis: Greenwald, Sanders, Reich, Martin & Jay, Gabler
Sections                                                                     crisis index
Introduction

1.
Growing Far-Right Nationalistic Movements Are
     Dangerously Anti-Muslim — and Pro-Israel

2. Watch Bernie Sanders' Full Speech in Philadelphia:
     The Future of American Democracy is at Risk

3. California Versus Trumpland
4. Why Corporate-Owned News Is ‘the Biggest Fake News
     That Helped Elect Trump’

5. Who’s Really to Blame for Fake News? Look in the
     Mirror, America.
Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, December 1, 2016.

A.
This is a crisis log with 5 items and 6 dotted links and it consists (mostly) of some further deliberations on the meanings of Trump's election as president of the USA:

Item 1 is about an article by Glenn Greenwald about the new right, who at least seem to be not so much anti-Jewish as they are anti-Muslim; item 2 is about a speech by Bernie Sanders; item 3 is about an article by Robert Reich (who praises California); item 4 is about an interview with Abbie Martin by Paul Jay that is quite good; and item 5 is about an article by Neil Gabler, that is good though - in my opinion - a bit too depressed.

-- Constant part, for the moment --
B. In case you visit my Dutch site: It keeps being horrible most days. And it still does (on 11 - 17.xi.2016). 18.xi. was correct as
was 19.xi. 20.xi again was a stinking mess, as was 21.xi and 22.xi. It was correct on 25.xi. And horrible on 26.xi and 27.xi.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: This worked correctly on 11 and 12 xi.2016, but not the day before nor on 13.xi.2016. It was OK on 14.xi.2016 and on 15.xi.2016. But not on 16 and 17.xi.
18.xi. was correct as were 19, 20, 21 and 22.xi. This also was
correct on
25, 26 and 27.xi.

And I think now this happens intentionally on both my sites, for this did not happen for 20 years on the one, nor for 12 years on the other. (And this is not "automatic": it changes from day to day.)

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.

I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.
--- 

1. Growing Far-Right Nationalistic Movements Are Dangerously Anti-Muslim — and Pro-Israel

The first item today is by Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept:

This starts as follows:

The specter of a growing far-right nationalism anywhere, but particularly in Central Europe, immediately — and for good and obvious reasons — raises fears of an anti-Semitism revival. But at least thus far, the leaders of most of these nationalistic parties — increasingly inspired and fueled by one another’s success — have showcased dangerous animosity toward Muslims, accompanied by strong policy support for Israel and a rhetorical repudiation of anti-Semitism.

Whether from cynical tactical considerations or actual conviction, the most successful leaders of this emerging movement — while unrestrained with their reckless anti-Muslim fearmongering — not only repudiate anti-Semitism in words but are incorporating steadfast support for Israel as part of their policy agenda. And in many cases, the Israeli government — which itself exhibits many of the same far-right attributes as these movements — is expressing support in return.

Yes indeed - and incidentally, speaking of the term "anti-semitism": Muslims are "semites" as well. Then again, the whole notion of "semitic people" (<- Wikipedia) seems mostly nonsense, though I agree this will not deflect or stop
anti-semites, indeed whether those they protest against and seek to discriminate are Jews or Muslims.

Here is some on Norbert Hofer, who leads the right in Austria:

Today’s New York Times describes with overt concern the very real possibility that the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer (pictured above) will defeat his Green Party opponent in this weekend’s election and become Austria’s president. It quotes a prominent columnist with the liberal daily Der Standard as saying that “Austria will not be recognizable” if the Freedom Party ascends to power. The party’s leaders, quite reasonably, credit Trump’s election and the approval of Brexit with increasing their own chances of success.

Then again, he is an "anti-semite" in the sense I clarified above:

But not only does Hofer repudiate all anti-Semitism and insist it has no place in his party — he made news earlier this year by calling for the demolition of Hitler’s childhood home and his party sponsored “a New Anti-Semitism Conference” starring the Israeli spy who captured Adolf Eichmann — but the Freedom Party has, in the words of an expert cited by the NYT, “made it part of their strategy to draw closer to Israel.”

It is the same with Le Pen in France:

The same dynamic is seen even more remarkably in France, where Marine Le Pen’s National Front Party — founded by her Holocaust-minimizing father and long filled with overt Nazi sympathizers — has not only purged anti-Semites from its ranks but declared itself steadfastly pro-Israel.

There is considerably more in the article, which ends as follows:

It is always important to remain vigilant about anti-Semitism in Europe and other places and to take the threat seriously. But when it comes to these emerging “alt-right” and xenophobic movements that bear obvious similarities to their mid-20th- century predecessors, it is Muslims who are in the role previously occupied by Jews, and at least at the moment, Israel (if not Jews generally) are regarded as an ally and a faction worthy of loyal support.

Yes, that seems true. And this is a recommended article.

2. Watch Bernie Sanders' Full Speech in Philadelphia: The Future of American Democracy is at Risk

The second item is by Senator Bernie Sanders on Democracy Now!:

The reason I do not mention Amy Goodman or any of the other regulars on Democracy Now is simply that this is only the record of a speech by Bernie Sanders.

This article starts with the following brief introduction:

Prior to his interview with Amy Goodman on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gave a speech at the Free Library of Philadelphia talking about the election of Donald Trump, the Democratic Party, his new book "Our Revolution" and more.

This is from near the beginning of the speech:

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2 million votes, which is no small number. Second of all—and that tells us that Mr. Trump has got to understand that he has no mandate. He lost by 2 million votes. And we may want to talk about a little bit later about the Electoral College and how it is that you win by 2 million votes and don’t get inaugurated as president, but that’s another issue.

Yes, that seems true. And 2 million votes = (about) 1/30th of the total vote of Clinton and of Trump, and is about 3.3%.

Then there is this:

But second of all, on every major issue—and this is important to understand, for progressives to understand—on virtually every major issue facing this country, whether it’s raising the minimum wage, whether it is pay equity for women, whether it’s rebuilding our infrastructure, whether it is making public colleges and universities tuition-free, whether it is criminal justice reform, immigration reform, etc., etc., whether it’s dealing with income and wealth inequality, demanding the wealthy start paying their fair share of taxes—on all of those issues and more, the strong majority of the American people agree with us. You can go out, and you can do a poll today, go out on the street and ask people whether they think it’s a great idea to give tax breaks to billionaires, as Mr. Trump and his friends will try to do, and cut Social Security, I would say 90 percent of the American people do not think that that makes any sense at all. So, point here is that on every major issue, virtually every major issue, especially the economic ones, the American people are on our side.

Yes and no, I would say. More precisely, I think Bernie Sanders is mostly correct if "the American voters" are represented as mostly rational and mostly self- interested persons. Then again, about half of the voters did vote for Trump (anyway), which means that many of those voted against their own rational
self-interest. This is probably in considerable part due to propaganda and advertisements, but is a fact. For more on this, see item 5 below.

Then there is this on bigotry:

Third point, in Trump’s campaign, he said a whole lot of things. The ugliest things that he said, the most disturbing things that he said, were based on bigotry. And in my view, there can be a lot of discussion about a lot of issues, but there cannot be a compromise on bigotry. I don’t have to—I don’t have to tell anybody here, who has any familiarity with American history, starting from way back when the first settlers came to this country, and they lied to and cheated Native Americans, and they abrogated the treaties that they had signed, to the horrors of slavery, to the fact that a hundred years ago today women did not have the right to vote, could not get the education they wanted, to the prejudice shown against Italians, Irish, Jews, many nationalities, to the homophobia that has existed in this country—and the good news, in a sense, is that we have come a long, long way.

Hm. I dislike racism and bigotry, and in that sense I agree with Bernie Sanders, but I also think disliking racism and bigotry depends to a considerable extent on one's intelligence, one's knowledge, and also one's parents, and I suppose I am (as a European also) a bit less convinced that the USA has "come a long, long way". I wish it had, but I am less convinced of this than Bernie Sanders is.

There is this about climate change:

And there is another area, several other areas, where I think there is no compromise. During the course of his campaign, Mr. Trump told the American people that he believed that climate change is a hoax—never get this one—emanating from China. You would have thought it would be emanating from Mexico or some Muslim country, but from China. And what we have got to make clear to Mr. Trump, by the millions, by the tens of millions, because we are fighting for the future of this planet, is climate change is not a hoax, is in fact the great threat or one of the great environmental threats facing this planet.

I agree completely with Sanders, though one of the frightening things is that a climate hoaxer like Trump did win the elections.

There is this about Trump's delusions (and I think, as a psychologist also, that Trump is a mad megalomaniac [2]):

And among—and among many other areas that concern me about Mr. Trump’s stances really was highlighted literally yesterday, when he sent out a tweet saying that millions of people who voted voted illegally, that he would have won the popular vote. This is delusional, which is frightening unto itself that you have a president-elect who is delusional.

Yes indeed. And the reason Trump publicly states these delusions is a strong ground for my thesis that he really is mad (which in all probability will grow more and more important as soon as he is president).

And there is this on campaign regulations, which the rich and the right want to give up completely:

What the Republican leadership wants to do, and they’ve been public about this, is end all forms of campaign regulation, which means they want the day to come where the Koch brothers don’t have to do independent expenditures, they can give money directly to a candidate. So, in Pennsylvania, for example, they can say, "OK, we’re going to run you for the U.S. Senate. Here is a check for $100 million. Here is your campaign manager. Here is your media person. Here is your speechwriter. In essence, you work for me." Direct control over the candidate. So, add those two things together—and the Republicans are moving in those directions—we should be very nervous about the future of American democracy.

There is considerably more in the article/speech - including deserved praise for Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! - and it is recommended.

3. California Versus Trumpland

The third item is b
y Robert Reich on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

California is now the capital of liberal America. Along with its neighbors Oregon and Washington, it will be a nation within the nation starting in January when the federal government goes dark.

In sharp contrast to much of the rest of the nation, Californians preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. They also voted to extend a state tax surcharge on the wealthy, and adopt local housing and transportation measures along with a slew of local tax increases and bond proposals.

In other words, California is the opposite of Trumpland.

That seems mostly correct, although California, and Oregon and Washington, also are - as yet - part of the USA. Here is more on the differences between - in fact, or so it seems to me - the (progressive) Democrats and the Republicans:
The differences go even deeper. For years, conservatives have been saying that a healthy economy depends on low taxes, few regulations, and low wages.

Are conservatives right? At the one end of the scale are Kansas and Texas, with among the nation’s lowest taxes, least regulations, and lowest wages.

At the other end is California, with among the nation’s highest taxes, especially on the wealthy; toughest regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment; most ambitious healthcare system, that insures more than 12 million poor Californians, in partnership with Medicaid; and high wages.

So according to conservative doctrine, Kansas and Texas ought to be booming, and California ought to be in the pits.

Actually, it’s just the opposite.

For several years, Kansas’s rate of economic growth has been the worst in the nation. Last year its economy actually shrank. 

Texas hasn’t been doing all that much better. Its rate of job growth has been below the national average. Retail sales are way down. The value of Texas exports has been dropping.

But what about so-called over-taxed, over-regulated, high-wage California?

California leads the nation in the rate of economic growth — more than twice the national average. If it were a separate nation it would now be the sixth largest economy in the world. Its population has surged to 39 million (up 5 percent since 2010).

All of that is quite correct. There also are downsides and difficulties (and Reich does not even mention the water shortage in California):

California is far from perfect. A housing shortage has driven rents and home prices into the stratosphere. Roads are clogged. Its public schools used to be the best in the nation but are now among the worst – largely because of a proposition approved by voters in 1978 that’s strangled local school financing. Much more needs to be done.

But overall, the contrast is clear. Economic success depends on tax revenues that go into public investments, and regulations that protect the environment and public health. And true economic success results in high wages.

I’m not sure how Trumpland and California will coexist in coming years. I’m already hearing murmurs of secession by Golden Staters, and of federal intrusions by the incipient Trump administration.

But so far, California gives lie to the conservative dictum that low taxes, few regulations, and low wages are the keys economic success. Trumpland should take note.

This is a recommended article. And incidentally: With Trump president abd with "federal intrusions by the incipient Trump administration" I do not think it is a mad idea - for California, Oregon and Washington - to give up the United States, although I agree this may be quite difficult.

4. Why Corporate-Owned News Is ‘the Biggest Fake News That Helped Elect Trump’

The fourth item is by Emma Niles on Truthdig:

This starts as follows:

In a new segment on The Real News Network, host Paul Jay speaks with journalist Abby Martin about the consequences of Donald Trump’s election and current political turmoil.

First, the two discuss Trump’s Cabinet appointments. “It is a fire sale right now in the White House of people who are the craziest outliers of the GOP that hitched their wagons on [Trump],” Martin says. “[People] that have been completely castigated and ostracized from mainstream establishment. They’ve hitched their wagons to Trump, and they are getting lavishly rewarded as we speak.”

In fact, I like all of those involved in this - Paul Jay, The Real News Network  and Abby Martin - and the above is also quite correct, as seems this:

The two then move on to talk about Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount effort. Martin notes that while she doesn’t understand Stein’s motives, she does support a recount. “I agree with Greg Palast where he’s saying there were millions of people not that voted illegally ... but he’s saying, yes, millions of people weren’t counted. Millions of provisional ballots, millions of absentee ballots, millions of people who were purged from the GOP scam Crosscheck,” she says. “That is a fact. That happened.”

As I have said several times I don't like Jill Stein much [3], but I completely agree with her desire to recount the votes: She has the right to ask for that, and she got the money to finance it.

There is also this on the Washington Post's publishing utter - and very dangerous - bullshit:

For the remainder of the interview, Jay and Martin discuss The Washington Post piece on “Russian propaganda” that relied on the organization PropOrNot as a source.

“You have establishment media like The Washington Post and you have this anonymous propaganda finder account called PropOrNot, which is publishing this hit list—it’s essentially McCarthyism, right?—in the new era,” Martin explains. “It’s including very credible sites like Truthdig, Counterpunch, Black Agenda Report, Naked Capitalism, conflating it with fake news sites that you can say are legitimately fake or skewed or biased extremely, right? Like INROWARS or Breitbart.”

“And if you want to talk about why Trump won, and then you want to connect that to fake news, you need look no further than all—almost all—of the corporate-owned news, which is the biggest fake news that helped elect Trump,” Jay adds.
I think Abby Martin is quite right about PropOrNot, and that Paul Jay is quite right about "corporate-owned news". Finally, Abby Martin is also quite right on this:
“I understand why people are completely shutting out all of the establishment press and going to these sites. The problem is these establishment press is blaming the only solution, which is the credible, independent, grassroots journalism that is telling the truth, that isn’t fake news,” Martin concludes.
That is: I do understand it, but I keep looking at The New York Times, The Guardian and some others (and The Guardian these days is mostly pretty awful) simply because I want to know what they are saying as well. [4]

Here is the link to the whole interview of 25 minutes:

All of this is recommended.  

5. Who’s Really to Blame for Fake News? Look in the Mirror, America.

The fifth and last item today is by Neil Gabler (<-Wikipedia) on Common Dreams:

This starts as follows:

Consider for a moment the oxymoronic concept of “fake news,” which we have been hearing so much about lately. This isn’t your typical disinformation or misinformation — generated by the government, or foreign adversaries, or corporations — to advance an agenda by confusing the public. It isn’t even the familiar dystopian idea of manipulated fact designed to keep people lobotomized and malleable in some post-human autocracy. Those scenarios assume at least an underlying truth against which nefarious forces can take aim.

Fake news is different. It is an assault on the very principle of truth itself: a way to upend the reference points by which mankind has long operated. You could say, without exaggeration, that fake news is actually an attempt to reverse the Enlightenment. And because a democracy relies on truth — which is why dystopian writers have always described how future oligarchs need to undermine it — fake news is an assault on democracy as well.

I agree more or less. You can decide for yourself whether "fake news" is an oxymoron (<- Wikipedia). And I do agree that a real democracy does both rely on and depend on real truth, but I have at least one point to make about "fake news", that I will make after considering the following:

What is truly horrifying is that fake news is not the manipulation of an unsuspecting public. Quite the opposite. It is willful belief by the public. In effect, the American people are accessories in their own disinformation campaign.

That is our current situation, and it is no sure thing that either truth or democracy survives.

What I agree with is that "the American people are accessories in their own disinformation campaign", but I also think that the main components in the spreading of "fake news" are the stupidity, the ignorance and the prejudices of many Americans.

Also, while I completely agree with Gabler that "fake news" consists of  intentionally created falsehoods, I think it is spread mostly by people who are dumb or angry or prejudiced enough to believe it. In fact, this is rather the same as for the acceptance of the mainstream media: Those who accept that these are good or decent sources of information also tend to be stupid and ignorant. [5]

Then again, I agree with Gabler that "it is no sure thing that either truth or democracy survives", for the simple reason that democracy is dead if most of the people are deceived about most things and thus live in a fake reality - which is what the mainstream media also try to do, in their case by many ommissions of real news,  by coloring the news that they do relay, and by lying or deceiving, whereas "fake news" simply spreads intentional lies, if we are speaking about those who initiate it.

And my point about "fake news" is that it starts as intentionally created falsehoods, that are picked up and spread mostly by people who have been taken in because they are stupid, ignorant, prejudiced or angry.

I also think the following is a bit of an exaggeration (and I have heard for the first time that "Everybody knows there is no truth" in 1978, which is fully 38 years ago, and which was asserted with pride and received with applause by the official and public opener of the academic year in the University of Amsterdam):

Fake news is intended to slash that webbing. It is not intended to pose an alternative truth, as if there could be such a thing, but to destroy truth altogether, to set us adrift in a world of belief without facts, a world in which there is no defense against lies. That, needless to say, is a very dangerous place.

This is impossible: You can't live "in a world of belief without facts" - you need to know very many real facts (that you don't reject and do accept) to simply function in any society.

What Gabler is right about is that your political or religious ideology may be almost wholly false - but then that has been always the case: There are extremely many different political and religious ideologies, and all of which contradict each other in various often quite blatant ways, for which reason only very few are mostly correct in their beliefs about politics and religion.

Then there is this, that seems to confuse some issues:

It is, of course, no accident that the ascendancy of fake news and the ascendancy of Donald Trump coincided. They are made for each other — two nihilists in a pod. Trump’s modus operandi is to make things up, which has placed a special burden on traditional journalism. I hadn’t imagined I would ever see a headline like this one in The New York Times, much less a headline about a president-elect: TRUMP CLAIMS, WITH NO EVIDENCE, THAT “MILLIONS OF PEOPLE” VOTED ILLEGALLY.

With no evidence.

In the headline.

I agree - of course - that "Trump’s modus operandi is to make things up" as do those who design "fake news", but it seems to me that Trump is quite special, which he is because he is not sane. [6] Then again, The New York Times does report on the president-elect, and its headline is correct.

There is also this:

Like many depressed Americans, I have pretty much stopped watching or reading the news since the election. Partly, it is because I can’t face the oncoming catastrophe of a Trump presidency and the way it will undo 50 years of social progress. Part of it is because I can’t face the fact that the truth is a shambles, and with it, our democracy.

I am still following the news, both the mainstream and the non-mainstream, and my reasons are mostly that I want to know the truth, indeed also if the
truth about the mainstream media is that they lie, mislead, or deceive in various ways.

And while I agree that Trump's presidency will probably be a "catastrophe"; that "the truth is a shambles", both in the mainstream media and in "fake news"; and that American democracy is probably dying, I do like to face the - real - facts, also if some of these are intentional lies or are falsely reported. [7]

This article ends as follows:

The larger portion of the blame lies with the citizens of the nation that Donald Trump insists only he can make great again. Fake news thrives because there is a lazy, incurious, self-satisfied public that wants it to thrive; because large swaths of that public don’t want news in any traditional sense, so much as they want vindication of their preconceptions and prejudices; because in this post-modernist age, every alleged fact is supposed to be a politico-economic construct, and nothing can possibly be true; and because even rationality now is passé. Above all else, fake news is a lazy person’s news. It provides passive entertainment, demanding nothing of us. And that is a major reason we now have a fake news president.
(...)
We are a lazy people now — too lazy to hear anything we don’t want to hear, too lazy to defend the truth against those who hope to subvert it, and, finally, too lazy to protect our democracy.

I agree mostly but not wholly: There are more stupid, ignorant, lazy and prejudiced people than there are intelligent, knowledgeable, hardworking and rational people - but then this has always been the case. But it is also true
(I think) that something like 20% of the Americans is somewhat decently educated and at least fairly intelligent; it is true that there very probably are
far fewer makers of "fake news"; it is true that Trump did not win with a majority; and it is true that most Americans are probably against Trump.

So while the situation is dire, one has to battle on. And indeed if one doesn't, the very rich will first win and then destroy the earth, either by starting a nuclear war or by destroying the earth's ecosystem.

--------------------------
Notes
[1] Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2] I have explained this quite a few times, meanwhile. Here is a link to the first explanation, of March 14, 2016. (And I am a psychologist, who also asserts it is quite justified to diagnose a president-elect of the USA: Those who say it is not seems to me to assert, implicitly indeed, that psychiatrists and psychologists are quite justified in trying to guarantee their incomes from the insane and the neurotic, and also seem to insist that the probable truth about
the most powerful person on earth
is less important than keeping to the - anyway false and arbitrary and self-serving - rules of psychiatrists and psychologists.

I think the truth is more important than the incomes or the pretensions of psychiatrists and psychologists, and I think people who have a rational warning
about holders of extremely much power should be abled to say so and at least
see this rationally discussed.

[3] But I am willing to agree that at least half of this is due to my being Dutch. First, she is not a good speaker, and I think I am simply right about that. And second - and here is where my Dutchness enters - she reminds me too much of the top of the Dutch social democrats (called "PvdA" in Dutch), whom I all very much despise, because they, especially, destroyed most of the Dutch universities, and because they over 30 years ago instituted the illegal protection of illegal drugsdealers that now continues over 30 years. These illegal drugs- dealers (for they all are illegal, and dealing drugs is illegal since 1965 in Holland, and that includes all marijuana and hashish) turned over something like 50 billion dollars each year in illegal drugs while they were protected, all these 30 year, while they were all helped by Dutch politicians, by Dutch district attorneys, and by Dutch judges, which sums to 1500 billion euroos in 30 years.

Since all of this is and was thoroughly illegal, I don't think I can be faulted for saying that I believe that the Dutch politicians probably made a lot of money from percentages. But I have no proof, and have suffered for 4 years above a bunch of illegal drugsdealers who were allowed to threaten me with murder, allowed to try to gas me, allowed to keep me awake for most nights for between 3 and 4 years, and who were protected all the time by the Amsterdam city police, by the Amsterdam mayor (who did not even acknowledge receipt of my letters, ever), and the Amsterdam district attorney (who seems to be a millionaire anyway from other drugscorruptions he allowed).

In any case: From 1500 billion euroos, or a small percentage of this, you can corrupt very many.

If you read Dutch, most of my story is in ME in Amsterdam. None of this has ever been contradicted by anyone.

[4] I know that I am often lied to, also when I don't see it, but I know that for a very long time now. And besides, while I dislike their lies and their propaganda, they don't physically harm me or threaten me (and I have been physically threatened with - quite credible - murder for something like 6 years: That is really quite different from reading lies and propaganda).

[5] I am sorry if you are offended by my blaming the stupid and the ignorant. But I do, and one reason for me is that I am far from stupid and far from ignorant, while I also know for over 50 years now that it are especially the stupid and the ignorant who are my enemies.

[6] See note [2].

[7] Also, I survived far worse things than having to read lies and falsehoods, I should add (again - see [4]).

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