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MurphTheSurf3 On July - 4 - 2014

Constitution

John Adams, our 2nd President and the leader of the independence caucus in the First Continental Congress, wrote that the most important duty of a citizen is to be constitutionally literate, and an ardent student of day to day events in the civic life of his state and his nation constantly wary of the temptation to let others think for them. Citizenship requires a disciplined mind and a commitment to informed participation in the life the republic. Adams would know.

Independence Day marks the nation’s founding on July 4, 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence

The day commemorates the conclusion of a debate that spanned a ten year period when the best minds in the American colonies grappled with the great ideas expressed by Enlightenment thinkers applied to identifying an effective remedy to the “long train of abuses and usurpations” by the Brtish Parliament and its executive, the monarch.

The decision to declare independence from the most powerful empire in the world was extraordinarily risky and the outcome of the war constantly in doubt.

Independence Day was the first national holiday establish to reconnect Americans with these “truths self-evident.” But it is these same truths that we increasingly take for granted.

Jamie Chandler, a political scientist at Hunter College in NYC, wrote: “Favoring talking points, flashy rhetoric and barbed insults over equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we’ve grown too cozy with acrimony and polarization. The rain of negative campaign advertisements, the disproportionate influence of money on this year’s presidential election, the efforts to prevent certain peoples from voting, and the larger problem that half the population doesn’t vote take us far from the Founders’ intent.” http://www.ibtimes.com/4th-july-reconnecting-true-meaning-independence-day-722585

In the words of Patrick Henry, one of the Founding Fathers: we are “responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society.”

How are we doing?

33% of voters think Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II.

45% said the U.S. would be better off with Mitt Romney serving in the White House, compared to 38 percent who said the country would be in worse shape.

40% approve of the job Obama is doing, compared with 53 percent who disapprove.

54% say the Obama administration is not competent at running the government.

(http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/poll-obama-worst-president-since-wwii-108507.html#ixzz36VBa0Toh)

In the closing moments of the musical 1776, John Adams, facing the critical vote for or against separation from England and the creation of a new nation on July 2 joins with G. Washington in a time when despair was appropriate in asking “Is Anybody There? Does Anybody Care? Does Anybody See What I See?”

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive.I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA.Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

48 Responses so far.

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  1. SearingTruth says:

    Gentle friend MurphTheSurf3, I agree about Obama continuing the Bush Administrations policies.

    I was stunned. I thought he would arrest Bush, Cheney, and all their henchmen.

    But instead he joined them in their treason.

    And I can imagine a reality where we will never know why.
    ST

    “It is an old tale. Catastrophe assaults the senses of a free nation. Fear, a tyrant’s only ally, is seized. Democracy, a despot’s greatest foe, is assaulted. The people, liberties only defense, are subdued. All in accomplice of those sworn, upon death, to protect them.”
    SearingTruth

    A Future of the Brave

  2. PollyTics says:

    Painfully I must totally agree with your sentiments yet am curious just how those numbers will change once the President is out of office. Since the GOP seems to have pulled the wool over so many’s eyes, that can only last for so long. Once another (be they a Dem or Repub) takes office, I can’t help but think that opinions (hello “history”) just might shift.

  3. Don’t necessarily disagree with your sentiment, Murph. But it’s a bit more complicated. I think a lot of people didn’t feel comfortable with either presidential candidate. There is absolutely no reason for me to vote locally in most NY State elections--the Dems have locked down the elections regardless of their corruption or incompetence, and the occasional republican challenger is a Tea Party creep. The state hasn’t gone Repub on a national election in decades.

    And what do you do if BOTH parties are putting up incompetent and corrupt candidates? I don’t agree with people who say that Romney would have been better. But I can understand why large numbers of people are disappointed with Obama.

    • Pete Geller says:

      That’s the issue I have MBE. Both parties are corrupt. We need to overturn Citizens United, get corporate money out of politics, set term limits and end corruption. Wasn’t that many years ago Boehner was passing out checks from big tobacco in the Capital. When you have corrupt idiots in the House and Senate for life, Monsanto running the FDA and the rest of the mess it’s not a matter of left or right but that the political system is broken…. There are some grass root movements that may help but I fear ‘we the people’ are up against too much….

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Here is what I know— the Democrats are, as a Party, more aligned with my views, my hopes, and my needs that the GOP. Period. I really only have two choices if I want my vote to have a real impact on the election- i.e. to vote for one of the two who have a shot at filling a seat. So, I work hard to get good people nominated and then I push them to be best they can be.

      Those who are disappointed in Obama …. well, I always ask what they wold him to have done differently…and we go from there. Most think he has a lot more power and freedom to act than he does.

      They know so little of how things actually work that their opinion has very little correspondence to reality.

    • RSGmusic says:

      HI Misterbadexample.
      As for President Obama being not trusted and unpopular is because many citizens do not know how congress works.
      The USA should concentrate more on the congress having an 8 to 10 % approval rating. The supreme court approval with a rating of 5 %.
      The GOP obstruction and media against Obama is right now winning.

      The president has many accomplishments if he where a Caucasian his approval rating would be 55 or greater and he would not be question that he could run the country. This shows we have a ways to go on racial relations being equal.

      Well to say the least Obama nd the dems policies have brought the USA out of a Hugh recession.
      Bush 2 the NYSE 7000 Obama 16000 and fairly stable.
      If you did not sell and stay your course of investments you gained all the money you lost and 1/3 more.
      the gain also gave corporations revenue to invest. They have made record profits which has brought up the citizens 401 k’s and IRA , my 3 times as much.
      the military and he got Ben laden and the Benghazi guy.
      He brought back the last military guy to the US. Always we leave no one behind. Obama kept us out of wars spending only millions instead of billions. We are supposed to be broke and that saved a whole lot of spending. HE was successful with ACA in spite of all the blockage.
      YA so blame him for immigration but never got a bill to sign. Obstruction by the TP/GOP has cost the USA 500 billion in filibusters and delays. Blame the GOP!! Obama has used very little veto’s. If any expensive bills got thru the GOP filibuster proof senate the GOP approved them!! Have someone and avg citizen follow him around for 3 days and see how hard is job is. Remember you are on duty every hour 365 days of the yrs.
      Last, people want money out of politics, Obama is THE POOREST president in history. He makes a little less the a million a yr net and a total value of 12 million.
      Tiny compared to all the rest. There is a list 174 points long on what he has done. Obstructed all 5 yrs!!
      YA 41 point is not that low and if you average out over time. it is 55% or greater.
      Polls are small slices in time and NOT very accurate although they say they are. 3000 against 250 million is not even trust worthy. Also the correct questions must be asked. If you listed his accomplishment over 174 point and greater he would have a very good rating.
      Also He can not run again. IN 2014 are state elections and worth little about passing laws. If the gop pulls of the biggest fantastic dream of 51 senators the GOP still can pass a bill. IN other words all the can do is obstruct again.
      IN 2016 the GOP has such a small chance at winning there will be another democrat for at least 4 yrs to 16 yrs. The GOP is not big enough now to elect a president.
      Unless they get rid of the TP all together they will lose for 50 yrs!!

      The one good light is a tragedy to democracy, the passage of the hobby lobby law will create the GOP losing seats in 2014 and they will lose the presidency again in 2016.

      Mr Mitt Romney’s defeat should be forever be known as the worst last man of USA politics.

      It is war that drives US politics for the republicans for they have a lot of military in the red states. OF course Religion is the reason the GOP officials and Supreme Court push so much. They really want the power of their religion to rule. Religious Wacko’s The FEAR factor at work.
      Their base is fooled to say they actually know business and government.

      debt ratio 2 = doubles the debt
      ——————-
      party rank prez dollars Debt ratio

      Dem 2 JFK Johnson——- 1.22

      Dem 3 carter———— 1.42

      Dem 4 Obama ————-1.44

      Dem 5 Clinton———-- 1.48

      GOP 1 DDE—————- 1.10

      GOP 6 bush 1————- 1.73

      GOP 7 Nixon————-- 2.0

      GOP 8 bush 2————- 2.051

      GOP 9 Reagen————-- 2.86

      The GOP creates debt like eating candy. They also spend billions to keep up the right bias of media.

  4. Sabreen60 says:

    Thanks for the great article. I am wondering if the poll numbers you reference are from that Quinnipiac Poll? Many people looked at the tabs of the poll and found that the majority were older voters, southern voters who voted for Romney. The poll was discussed at length on Twitter.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I am speaking of that poll and it is deeply flawed but it reflects most polling. The President is at fault….period….so certain and so wrong.

      Arrogant ignorance reinforced by well financed propaganda and misinformation.

  5. SallyT says:

    Murph, the movie 1776 is one of my favorites. In fact, just watched it on TCM. I also have the director’s cut and his comments on disk. They did take actual statements made from those in the Continental Congress and work into those songs. Of course, not all is to fact but I still love it.

    I once had a school teacher say to me, “Sally, when you grab hold of a topic you become John Adams.” I must have looked funny at her because she next responded, “Study history and you won’t have such a sour look on your face with that comparison.” Well, I did and from that time forward John Adams has been one of my favorites. He was “obnoxious and disliked” (quoting him) but if it had not been for his commitment, well, we may have still went for independence but not as soon as we did.

    Thank you for sharing with us on this 4th of July, Murph! See you in the funnies, hopefully!

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Comparing John Adams’ ability to determinedly focus on a priority to your own approach is very enlightening. It explains, at least in part, both why and how you do the Not-So-Funnies every week.

      Are you and Ad still working on the cross-posting project for DK?

      I get regular messages over there about his- much interet.

  6. kevinbr38 says:

    This has been a reflective 4th of July for me.
    My partner and I enjoyed our cookout..
    Our canine and feline children enjoying bones of perfectly seasoned and slow-cooked spare ribs.
    However, with the Supreme Court rulings of the past couple of days, I cannot help but feel disheartened, and sad for the current state of our union.
    The republican party has succeeded in blurring the lines between the legislative and judicial branches of government.
    With the Hobby Lobby decision, it is as if businesses will be treated as religious institutions, while Citizens United has seen to it that corporations are treated as people
    In the meantime,real people are being relegated to a status of disposable, interchangeable worker drones, who’s sole task is to smooth the way for an easy life for the financial elite.
    Those who by the way, take their easily acquired wealth, and quickly remove those monies from the American economy, stashing them away in safe-havens off-shore.
    As Murph so accurately points out, the only solution to this imbalance is for ordinary citizens to educate themselves on how government actually works, and based upon that knowledge become political activists.
    We didn’t arrive at this place overnight, and it will take commitment, (and many election cycles), to finally bring the country to the place our Forefathers actually envisioned.
    Happy Fourth everyone,
    Let’s get to work.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      There is another case making it way through the court that has the potential to be even more disruptive. I have a post coming on that.

      A comment about your statement that “The republican party has succeeded in blurring the lines between the legislative and judicial branches of government.” The GOP in Congress and its member in the courts have done just that- an activist reactionary judiciary -- but let me add that they are not the prime movers. They are agents for the prime movers you identify later in your post: the mega wealthy whose interest in corporate personhood and those cause those persons represent is in the process of undoing the Republic.

    • Pete Geller says:

      We definitely need to get the money out. The path is clear and many are fighting back. Please check out http://www.wolf-pac.com and have a safe, wonderful holiday weekend!

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Many are upset, many are fighting back but to counter the power of money what will be needed is a tsunami at the ballot box and I see no signs of this coming.

        • Pete Geller says:

          I’m hopeful Murph. Not only has Wolf PAC been making good progress in several states but it looks like others are joining the fight. Here’s more info on a new PAC started by Lawrence Lessig.

          https://mayday.us/

          Hope you’re having a great weekend!

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            I will follow up on this. I hope your optimism is well place. My concern is that the structure for a constitutional so favors the status quo that citizen based calls are forced to climb a mountain without the tools and the people they need to do it.

    • VegasBabe says:

      Hey kevin! Here’s hoping you and yours are enjoying the holiday!
      Sounds a lot like the “children” certainly will! :)

      You wrote, “As Murph so accurately points out, the only solution to this imbalance is for ordinary citizens to educate themselves on how government actually works, and based upon that knowledge become political activists” and now, I’m just wondering, appreciating that I’ve only been present on this plant (this time) some 60 odd years but, when and if that ever happened? Folks, politically educating themselves and becoming activists? Even in the 60’s most folks remained abysmally uninvolved, did they not? Are we asking for to much? If and when the apathy is ever corrected, I gotta bad vibe that it won’t occur in my lifetime.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I think you are largely correct here. In the 60’s I was against the Vietnam War because…..well at 18 most of my friends were, my father and other olds were not, and the popular political culture was simple minded focused on celebrities, music, acts of defiance….BUT from high school to college I developed a fuller political philosophy as did many of my peers. As I look back it remained remarkably naive but it led me to take on the study of WHY I believed as I did.

        My generation read more, discussed serious topic more, and were more engaged in civic culture.

        That was a blip. Since then poitical literacy has declined and much like the the other holes in our knowledge and skills the impact is that we are falling further and further behind.

        Add to this that this environment of ignoranance is fed by very well financed propaganda and misinformation.

      • kevinbr38 says:

        Hi Vegas…
        Yes, we’re all sated here after a nice cookout and good wine.
        As to your observation, I suppose the catch word is “activist”….
        As opposed to simply being an observer on the sidelines, and, hopefully, going to the polls every two yrs.
        We have this wonderful tool at our disposal these days, the internet.
        It can provide people with the means to truly learn how our government works, at all levels…
        Federal, state, and local…and how one affects the other.
        We can join or organize groups for discussion, and planning activities.
        For example, while I was still in Te States, I did car pools for the elderly to get them to their polling stations.
        Here in France, I’m very active in Democrats Abroad
        It doesn’t really matter what specifically each of us does specifically, simply that each of us must do something.
        I suppose there is apathy involved, but on the other hand, it could also be that people don’t know where to start, how to get involved.
        Its crunch time.
        Anyway,
        Have a great weekend:)>

      • Nirek says:

        VB, we have to spread the word that learning about how government works is good. Knowledge is power and we the people can become knowledgeable with a little effort and a computer.

  7. AdLib says:

    Murph, it takes thoughtfulness and a sense of responsibility to be a good citizen and those traits are sadly missing in a big swath of the population.

    Being a citizen is a job, it takes work to follow what’s going on in one’s society and many just lazily listen to their favorite news shows/channels and simply suck up whatever the media pours out.

    That is what I find the polling you listed reveals. It’s not as much a negative reflection of Obama as it is a negative reflection of the lazy in the electorate. How lazy minded to think, “Well, if everything isn’t going great, I guess the other guy would’ve been a better president”?

    There is no evidence of critical thinking in such responses (I’m sure being at war with Syria and Iran right now, repealing the ACA and supporting the actions and agendas of racists, Wall Street, oil companies and billionaires would have made things much better for the same complaining Americans).

    The subtext of this poll is what matters, not the context. People are upset because there’s not a lot being done to help the majority in this nation and had they been paying attention just a little bit, they would recognize that it has nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with the Repubs in Congress.

    So the nation celebrates with barbecues and fireworks…when many should be celebrating by educating themselves as is their duty as citizens.

    Happy 4th to you, Murph and the many well informed folks who justify my optimism in this country and make up the membership of The Planet.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      You might want to take a look at my response to the excelelnt observations posted by Vegas Babe in this thread.

      Let me focus on this statement from you: “The subtext of this poll is what matters, not the context. People are upset because there’s not a lot being done to help the majority in this nation and had they been paying attention just a little bit, they would recognize that it has nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with the Repubs in Congress.” Yes- and that well financed propaganda and misinformation machine has managed to leverage ignorance so that polling like the one cited here (and similar, though less dramatic, polling elsewhere) is now commonplace.

      I believe, as I stated last night, that the right wing looking at the demographics, looking at the shift in the general populace toward more liberal (liberating) positions reflected most obviously in the Obama election and reelection triggered a coup….and it is happening at all levels of government…..with huge think tanks driving how oceans of money get used to create a Machine. Yes, some of that spending went to naught but there is much more money where that came from and they are using it to buy a government that will do their bidding.

      It has happened before- in the Gilded Age, and in the interregnum between WWI and WWII for example but I see the creation of a solid, unyielding and uncompromisable electoral base spread throughout the country but with strongholds in the old confederacy and several associated midwestern states as an element in the strategy that is mean to give the right the kind of advantage that unions used to give the left.

    • monicaangela says:

      Hear, hear !!!!!

    • kevinbr38 says:

      Great post AdLib.

  8. sillylittleme says:

    Excellent article Murph. It is a sad statement that today our general population knows less about how our government works than perhaps any other time in history. There could be several factors that account for this. I think the most important one, is that in the pursuit of the almighty dollar, many (if not most) scarcely have the time to live their life, staying informed is nearly a luxury.

    While others may not agree, perhaps we need to look back to: “(U.S.) State of Georgia in 1777 (10 years before the adoption of the federal Constitution of 1787): Every person absenting himself from an election, and shall neglect to give in his or their ballot at such election, shall be subject to a penalty not exceeding five pounds; the mode of recovery and also the appropriation thereof, to be pointed out and directed by act of the legislature: Provided, nevertheless, That a reasonable excuse shall be admitted. —Constitution of Georgia, 5 February 1777, Article XII. This provision was omitted from the revised Georgia constitution of 1789.” -- from Wikipedia.

    How ironic is it that GA had this and is now one state of many that is trying to suppress the vote. Currently there are some 20 plus countries that have mandatory voting laws, although merely half enforce it.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      That is the kind of factoid I LOVE…..you might want to read back through the thread as quite conversation has developed around the issue you identify in your comment. After you read through them you might want to weigh back in.

      • sillylittleme says:

        Thanks Murph. I actually thought there were far fewer countries that mandated voting. And there on the pages of Wikipedia I found that GA of all places had mandated voting (even if for a short period of time). I know that I didn’t learn that in any of the American History classes I took.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Mandated voting has a real downside. A study in Sweden and Norway has shown that many so resent being forced to vote that they actually choose to vote badly- for marginal and fringe parties for example.

          NOW- making voting easier -- that’s another story.

    • Nirek says:

      SLM, I remember having a class in civics. They do not teach civics any more. I think that is a mistake.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        And there used to be a requirement that every 7th grade get a 80 percent on a civic test as a pre-requisite for 8th grade graduation; with a repeat of this in Junior year….both were the result of New Deal educational reform and both were quietly eliminated in the Reagan years.

      • kesmarn says:

        Nirek, at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I have to ask: do you think the absence of classes in civics is a deliberate omission? I think that there are certain parts of the population who have a lot to gain from the ignorance of the majority of the rest of the population.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I do.

          There used to be a requirement that every 7th grade get a 80 percent on a civic test as a pre-requisite for 8th grade graduation; with a repeat of this in Junior year….both were the result of New Deal educational reform and both were quietly eliminated in the Reagan years.

          Civics classes in junior high and in high school were preps for these tests….AND they were tough.

          Multiple choice,yes. But also fill-in the blank, short answers, matching AND an essay.

        • Nirek says:

          Kes, I don’t know why they stopped teaching civics. I do know that when they teach history they leave out the harsh truths. I sometimes wonder the same though. Yes there are some parts of the country where they like to keep the people like “mushrooms” (you know , keep them in the dark and feed them horseshit).

          • kesmarn says:

            Love that mushroom analogy, Nirek! :lol:

            Too true.

            And yes — what passes for history in schools now is an incredibly “sanitized” version. The Civil War was only a difference of opinion over “states rights”? I think not. And labor history? Forget about it.

            • sillylittleme says:

              I can’t remember what union did this, but back when I was getting ready to go to college, I applied for a scholarship. It was small, I think it was around 100 dollars. That’s all you had to do to receive it was study up about unions and take a simple test. That 100 dollars sure came in handy…

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              It all exists in support of either the ideology of the controlling party OR under the rubric of “no controversy.”

  9. RSGmusic says:

    HI Murph, I happen to watching the movie as i read your article. ON this day of independence have we forgot what the nation stands for?
    Yes and no is the answer. This is the first time i have been wishy washy on a stance. OH the fire works stays a tradition and the day being a holiday.
    One of the things we have forgotten is the USA was started to free ourselves of the christian religion of England.

    the first amendment wording
    No religion can make civil law against another religion or non religion bias to their religion.

    — Thomas Jefferson

    Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of
    the common law.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper,
    February 10, 1814
    Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of
    the common law.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper,
    February 10, 1814
    Believing with you that religion is a matter
    which lies solely between man and his God,
    that he owes account to none other for his faith or
    his worship, that the legislative powers of
    government reach actions only, and not opinions,
    I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of
    the whole American people which declared that their
    legislature should ‘make no law respecting an
    establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
    free exercise thereof,’ thus building a
    wall of separation between church and State.
    ——-
    http://www.nobeliefs.com/jefferson.htm

    The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.
    — John Adams

    What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny.
    --James Madison

    The taxes without representation was also a big hurdle that sparked this new country. The only thing is that not many will actually pay the correct level of taxes especially the TPGOP.

    As for President Obama being not trusted and unpopular is because many citizens do not know how congress works.
    The USA should concentrate more on the congress having an 8 to 10 % approval rating. The supreme court approval with a rating of 5 %.
    The GOP obstruction and media against Obama is right now winning.

    The president has many accomplishments if he where a Caucasian his approval rating would be 55 or greater and he would not be question that he could run the country. This shows we have a ways to go on racial relations being equal.

    The one good light is a tragedy to democracy, the passage of the hobby lobby law will create the GOP losing seats in 2014 and they will lose the presidency again in 2016.

    Mr Mitt Romney’s defeat should be forever be known as the worst last man of USA politics.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Many good observations here: the subversion of the principle of freedom for AND from religion, tax policy that put most of the burden on the middle class, well financed campaigns aimed aimed at increasing political illiteracy…I fear that your hope that the electorate will awaken may not be a realistic one….

      Fireworks of course are non-lethal cannon fire-

      It is all about war- or the reminder that war is always on the horizon and that nations exist primarily to keep their citizens safe. But there is also the fireworks of political engagement…to keep us safe…..

      But from what, from whom?

      The country has lost its way before. In modern times, the gilded age of the 1880’s through the early 1900’s; between WWI and WWII, are two such times when BIG Money tried to “run the table” in seeking control of the electoral process and all mechanism of government.

      We are there again.

      • RSGmusic says:

        Yes Murph we are there again. It is war that drives US politics for the republicans for they have a lot of military in the red states. OF course Religion is the reason the GOP officials and Supreme Court push so much. They really want the power of their religion to rule. Religious Wacko’s The FEAR factor at work.
        Their base is fooled to say they actually know business and government.

        debt ratio 2 = doubles the debt
        ——————-
        party rank prez dollars Debt ratio

        Dem 2 JFK Johnson 1.22

        Dem 3 carter 1.42

        Dem 4 Obama 1.44

        Dem 5 Clinton 1.48

        GOP 1 DDE 1.10

        GOP 6 bush 1 1.73

        GOP 7 Nixon 2.0

        GOP 8 bush 2 2.051

        GOP 9 Reagen 2.86

        The GOP creates debt like eating candy. They also spend billions to keep up the right bias of media.

        The bright light murph?? by 2024 they will be way to small a national base to elect senators and a president. In the yr 2016 by the mortality table they will lose 4 million voters and there chances of electing a president is slim and almost Zero.


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