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AdLib On September - 24 - 2011

President Obama has just officially launched his petition page, “We The People” which allows citizens to post petitions and solicit signatures. The petitions which gather 5,000 signatures in 30 days will be officially reviewed and considered and receive an official response.

So far, PatsyT has already been involved in putting up one petition, “End Taxpayer Subsidies For Nuclear Reactors” (if you haven’t yet, you can sign that petition by clicking here)

This threshold of 5,000 signatures may increase as time goes by, making it more difficult to qualify a petition so we’d like to move forward this week with posting petitions that reflect our membership’s proposals and concerns.

Of the open petitions that are there now, a number are from people who don’t realize that The President can’t unilaterally decide issues that Congress has power over and then there are the numerous “Legalize Pot” and “Admit there are UFOs” ones. There are not many proposals that are doable solely by the Executive Branch. So with regards to the petitions PlanetPOV initiates, we would like to limit them to ones that can be acted upon and brought to fruition solely by the Executive Branch.

The first of two topics which have already been discussed at The Planet is urging the Department of Justice to investigate and where possible, take action against the plethora of voter suppression laws being put into place in a variety of states by Republican legislatures and Republican Governors.

The second topic is urging Pres. Obama to aggressively press the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a government entity that oversees Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, to implement an economic stimulus proposal that President Obama has already presented, that of having Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae revise all of the mortgages they hold to bring down their rates to the current 4% rate. This will immediately provide millions of homeowners with hundreds of dollars of extra cash each month, stem foreclosures and be a massive stimulus to the economy…all without needing Congress’ approval.

Please let us know your thoughts on supporting these two proposals and if there are any other proposals you would like to see presented to President Obama (again, which he can act upon independently, without Congress required to pass legislation…because that just won’t happen).

Once we submit our petitions, we will need your help, activism and networking to get the signatures necessary to qualify them for consideration. Ongoing use of Twitter, Facebook, emails and posts and comments on other blogs to promote these petitions during their 30 days would be very needed and appreciated.

PlanetPOV is a rather successful public think tank, the ideas and suggestions that develop here are pretty well thought out and considered. We have a unique opportunity now to have the Obama Administration actually review and consider proposals and agendas that the real people here, living in the real world, want our President to act on so let’s take advantage of this great opportunity!


Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

50 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment
  1. bito says:

    Just received a request from some one that retweeted the petition:

    Bigmaneukno GI
    @anitafrullani @PlanetPOV will you sign mine? wh.gov/4xV

    • AdLib says:

      Congressional term limits would require a Constitutional Amendment, it’s far beyond something The President could do, needing 2/3 of Congress to pass it and 3/4 of states.

      Also, though some believe that term limits that keep people in Congress to two terms reduces corporate influence, many including me see it as giving far more power to lobbyists and corporations.

      There would be a revolving door of candidates who have little experience and name recognition so being wealthy and/or bought by corporations would be more frequently the case for candidates.

      For that reason, I think the blowback from term limits is to empower the very people who term limits are trying to weaken.

      That said, I think a reasonable term could be imposed, maybe 24 years max? That way, those who wish to have a career in politics could but they’re not in office for 50 years.

      Best path really is campaign finance reform and states would have to originate and push such an Amendment through because 2/3 of Congresspeople won’t vote for term limits or campaign finance reform.

      • bito says:

        I put up the request as a courtesy, I wasn’t endorsing. AdLib, Congress already has term limits and they are enforced by what is called voting. I learned many years ago that lobbyists do not have term limits when I was a member of my county’s DEC and also did some un-paid lobbying for the Union. My mentor taught me to schmooze the staffers not the legislators, staffers never leave and have more power. . 😆

        • AdLib says:

          Gotcha Bito, definitely the considerate thing to do!

          You learned well and early, politicians come and go but the lobbyists go on forever and weild much of the power.

          Indeed, the less experienced and established politicians are easier prey for the lobbyists and easier to manipulate.

  2. AdLib says:

    Okay folks, the petition urging Pres. Obama to have the DoJ fight voter suppression laws has been published at their website! Here is the link to it:

    Short link: http://wh.gov/4gY

    Long Link: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/press-department-justice-aggressively-investigate-and-fight-state-laws-restrict-voting-rights/4gdnThDZ

    We will post an article here at The Planet on it tomorrow but we invite you to please go there now to sign up and please start getting the word out by Twitter, Facebook, email and any other way you can so we can reach the 5,000 signature level within 30 days.

    Thanks! Let’s make this happen!

  3. bito says:

    I’m all for the voter suppression petition but with some reservations. I’m unclear on exactly what the DoJ can do under law. The wording in the post seems to fit

    The Planet is urging the Department of Justice to investigate and where possible, take action…

    There are many state laws that have been passed that, such as voter photo ID’s , that while not being in the spirit of democracy are “legal.”

    “In April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld a photo-ID law in Indiana, even though state GOP officials couldn’t provide a single instance of a voter committing the type of fraud the new ID law was supposed to stop. Emboldened by the ruling, Republicans launched a nationwide effort to implement similar barriers to voting in dozens of states.”


    I do want to see this petition started and carefully worded because the DoJ hands are tied in many instances. Most states can change their voting laws and redistrict without any pre-clearance or review from the DoJ and it takes civil complaints from citizens/ACLU to challenge them to bring it to the attention to the DoJ before they can take any action.

    Suggested words/wording, from the post “to investigate and where possible, take action” and “with the spirit of democracy/one person one vote.” I would also like some mention of “equitable polling places/registration” somehow included.

    Where is our staff attorney when we need him? 😉

    (Another source to take a look at: http://www.stealingdemocracy.com/ )

    Maybe they DoJ can RICO Act ALEC for voter suppression. They are the main culprits behind all this.

    • AdLib says:

      Bito, sorry, the petition was posted before I read your comment.

      I think that as a policy though, investigating and fighting voter suppressing laws covers the issues you raise.

      There really appears to be no question that the WI law for example, forcing people to get IDs at DMVs then closing many DMVs that are coincidentally in Dem districts, whether it is proven that it is intentional or not, it sure looks to be an undue burden infringing on the Constitutional right to vote and on those grounds should be fought by the DoJ.

      As for the DoJ using RICO laws against ALEC and the Repubs in league with them, all the DoJ has to do is get some proof of pay for play and that would be very cool!

      • bito says:

        AdLib, I have no problem with the the petition’s wording and I agree with it. We crossed comments, I think. My point was while WI and other states are not within the spirit of the voting rights laws, they may be within the legality of the rulings after the decision in 2008 by the SCOTUS and it ties the DoJ’s hands somewhat.

        I like the petition, have tweeted it and will tweet it daily. I want this to make it the the WH staff! I just find some stiff limits on the DoJ.

        The RICO comment was a bit of a snark, but that would be so much fun and would not just include ALEC but the Kochs.

        • AdLib says:

          I know you were joking about RICO but hey, if Murdoch could have crossed that line, maybe ALEC did too! We can dream, can’t we?

          And fantastic job on tweeting the petition around! You rock, Bito!

          As to the 2008 SCOTUS decision affecting Pre-Clearance, it wasn’t absolute so the Obama Admin could push forward. Here’s an interesting description about that decision:

          “In its decision the Court conceded that the law does pose burdens, and it conceded that there is no recorded case of voter fraud by impersonation in Indiana. But the justices still upheld the law on a 3-3-3 vote. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the lead opinion for himself, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy.

          The three said that without concrete proof of the burden imposed and proof of the numbers of people affected, the law could not be invalidated because it represents a legitimate attempt to prevent fraud in the future and inspire voter confidence.


          So, with concrete proof gathered by the DoJ, Preclearance could indeed be re-affirmed.

          To fill in other folks about the Preclearance section in the Civil Rights Act, here’s some info from Wikipedia:

          The (Civil Rights) Act established extensive federal oversight of elections administration, providing that states with a history of discriminatory voting practices (so-called “covered jurisdictions”) could not implement any change affecting voting without first obtaining the approval of the Department of Justice, a process known as preclearance.

          [5] These enforcement provisions applied to states and political subdivisions (mostly in the South) that had used a “device” to limit voting and in which less than 50 percent of the population was registered to vote in 1964.

          [5] The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006.[6]

          The jurisdictions listed below must be precleared (see 28 C.F.R. part 51 appendix):[21]

          Georgia, except for the city of Sandy Springs
          South Carolina
          Virginia, except for fourteen counties (Amherst, Augusta, Botetourt, Essex, Frederick, Greene, Middlesex, Page, Pulaski, Roanoke, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Washington and Warren) and four independent cities (Fairfax, Harrisonburg, Salem, and Winchester)


          California: Kings, Merced, Monterey, Yuba
          Florida: Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, Monroe
          New York: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan)
          North Carolina: Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Camden, Caswell, Chowan, Cleveland (except for the city of Kings Mountain), Craven, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Jackson, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Robeson, Rockingham, Scotland, Union, Vance, Washington, Wayne, Wilson
          South Dakota: Shannon, Todd


          Michigan: Clyde Township (Allegan County), Buena Vista Township
          New Hampshire: Rindge, Millsfield, Pinkham’s Grant, Stewartstown, Stratford, Benton, Antrim, Boscawen, Newington, Unity


          It could set up a confrontation but I can’t imagine a better issue for the Obama Justice Department to be on the right side of, protecting democracy vs. harming it.

    • funksands says:

      Those are good points Bito.

      • bito says:

        funk, the state voting laws that have been passed the last couple of years has been really been ticking me off and like many I was yelling “Where is the DoJ?” With some investigation, I find that in most instances their hands are tied until a case enters the federal courts. The states need pre-approval is small



        and from what I understand all other cases have to be referred to them and the Civil Rights Division http://www.justice.gov/crt/index.php by groups of citizens.

        It is frustrating when the the average person can see the blatant reason behind the passage of these laws to suppress the vote of the voters with the least voice.
        Voting laws have been under a state’s jurisdiction for many years.

        • AdLib says:

          States do have primary control over voting rights laws and provisions in their states but they can’t infringe on federal Constitutional law.

          That’s what I think is happening in WI and elsewhere.

          As for the states that need approval from the DoJ on changing voting laws due to the Civil Rights Act, most of these are in the South and are many of the very ones infringing on the rights of minorities with such laws.

          So the DoJ does have power it can use which is why it would be great for Pres. Obama to push them to do so.

  4. funksands says:

    I may have changed my mind. I read an article in the Nation and followed it to the supporting article.

    6.3 trillion of our total debt is due to our trade policies and outsourcing to other nations?????? WTF? Is this true? And this is from 2000-2008 alone? I knew it was bad, but THIS bad?

    I’d appreciate some thoughts about this.


  5. PatsyT says:

    Hey just to be clear.
    The “End taxpayer subsidies for new nuclear reactors” petition.
    Originated from this group http://www.nirs.org/

    About NIRS

    2008 marked the 30th anniversary of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS). We were founded to be the national information and networking center for citizens and environmental activists concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation and sustainable energy issues.

    We still fulfill that core function, but have expanded both programatically and geographically. We initiate large-scale organizing and public education campaigns on specific issues, such as preventing construction of new reactors, radioactive waste transportation, deregulation of radioactive materials, and more. Our international programs and affiliation with WISE (World Information Service on Energy) means that our network spans more than a dozen offices and programs across the globe

    NIRS relies on activism and contributions from citizens across the world to support our efforts for a nuclear-free planet and a sustainable energy future.

    We hope you’ll help. Please join our e-mail Alert list and we’ll keep you informed about ways you can make a difference in our energy and climate future.

    I support this and posted it here on Friday afternoon, when it had a little over 100 signatures, now they are over 2000.

    Their statement on the petition is very effective

    End taxpayer subsidies for new nuclear reactors
    The Fukushima nuclear disaster has forever destroyed the myth that nuclear power is clean or green: clean energy plants do not explode and release toxic radiation across the globe. That this accident occurred in a highly-industrialized country using U.S.-supplied technology only underscores the inherent danger of nuclear power.

    For the past two years, you have requested that Congress increase the funds available for loans for new nuclear reactor construction by $36 Billion. Congress has not done so.

    We ask you now to end taxpayer support for new nuclear reactors. Specifically, we ask you not to request any additional funds for the Department of Energy’s nuclear loan guarantee program, nor for the research and development of new nuclear reactors, in the FY 2013 budget and future budgets.

  6. bito says:

    Latest “We the People” petition.

    Enforce all Labor Laws & Protect All Whistleblowers in Government & all other US Workplaces from Unlawful Retaliation!


  7. Emerald1943 says:

    Adlib, good morning! I’ll keep this short and sweet…voter suppression! Nothing could be more important overall! I wrote Atdnext below that we only have 400 days before the next election. That’s not much time to get this thing turned around! We need DoJ to move as quickly as possible!

  8. choicelady says:


    I think both those topics AND Patsy’s anti-nuke one that I signed are perfect. I want an obscure one -- promoting legal changes in tax and security laws empowering worker ownership and management of companies to make them financially more competitive globally, but it’s too arcane worded that way.

    However -- I would like to note for the record that churches have no special distinction from any other non-profit in terms of tax laws and rules. While I’m sure that makes all those who think churches have some special rights feel better, the fact is we’re no different from the ACLU when it comes to taxes, the ability to lobby, and other restrictions. The distinction lies not in tax LAWS but in the enforcement of those that exist. The RW churches get away with murder, IMHO, in promoting candidates etc. and now there is a group “advising” Sen. Grassley on changes needed, and every single one of the advisers is from the religious right and want to be free to use their tax deductible moolah to promote candidates from the pulpit. THAT needs to be stopped. But changing the laws? Not necessary. Otherwise every non-profit PROGRESSIVE church will be dragged down as well, and we have far less financial leeway than do the RW ones.

    Beware of unintended consequences based on not knowing the laws…

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Choice, it’s so good to see you here this morning! I knew we could count on you to keep us on the right track! :-)

      While I definitely agree with you on the “politics from the pulpit” issue, I’m hopeful the DoJ will just enforce the laws that are on the books without our having to petition them to do so. That’s certainly not to say that this is an excellent suggestion for them to consider. This is one of those subjects that simply slips through the cracks with so many other issues on the front page these days which may be the best reason to petition. Too bad they have to be reminded to uphold the law! Good suggestion!

      • choicelady says:

        Hi Em! Nice to be back though a week without email, internet, or even newspapers has its benefits!

        We don’t need DoJ to get this done -- it’s an IRS issue. Those who obey the non-profit laws are entitled to offer their donors tax deductible funds. Those who do NOT -- such as the Christian Coalition -- lose their tax deductible status AND their own tax deductions. Those of us who are moral enough to set up a 501-c-4 that does advocacy know how hard it is to raise funds -- they are NOT tax deductible so donations are fewer. But the religious right does not bother -- nooooo.

        In some instances the churches/denominations are SO large they do not have to. The Catholic Church or Mormon church do not violate the law since they spend far less than the max of 5% of their income on advocacy. However -- NO non-profit, secular or religious, is permitted to endorse candidates or be partisan in funding them. You must have a c-4 or PAC to be permitted to do that. Only the religious right violates that time and time again.

        So with enforcement of the existing laws by the IRS, we would NOT be having these problems.

        Except that the GOP are looking to change those laws and let religious groups do advocacy in the pulpit on partisan issues. THIS is what you must fight!!!! Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is having ultra RW faith leaders “counsel” him on why this is necessary. Fight this tooth and nail!!!!

        • Emerald1943 says:

          CL, absolutely! You are right! This is an IRS matter. Somehow, I don’t differentiate between them and “the government”…all the same when they’re coming after you! :-)

          We did miss you, BTW! It was damned dull without you here! :-)

  9. AlphaBitch says:

    The voter suppression issue. Having seen what truly corrupt elections in Afghanistan mean to the people, there is nothing even close, IMHO.

  10. ADONAI says:

    I made a petition to bring our troops home and close our overseas military bases.


    Signed Patsy’s petition as well.

    • bito says:

      The bases in Japan and Germany are part of the treaties signed ending WWII and both countries actually pay the US for the bases.
      H/T Kalima.

      Can the troops be vastly reduced without an act of congress, probably but to change the treaties would take an act of congress and the respective governments.

      • funksands says:

        Bito, there are several examples of the Executive Branch “unsigning” or ignoring treaties or parts of treaties.

        Carter unilaterally ended the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1954 with Taiwan without involving Congress.

        Bush unilaterally terminated the 1972 ABM treaty in 2001, also without Congress.

      • ADONAI says:

        Most of the things in these petitions can’t be done without Congress. But all troops could be removed without Congress.

        I know the bases will never be closed. Still waiting for WW3 to break out I guess.

        But these are things I’d want done.

        • bito says:

          See Kalima’s comment.

          A promise by both countries to never have a fighting army, a signed promise by the U. S. to protect them in case of an attack.

          I would love to see the DoD drastically reduced but to abrogate on a treaty would be despicable. Almost weekly Kalima posts a story on Japan/China-Japan/N.Korea skirmishes and Japan would be defenseless against them with out our treaty.

          Edit: after looking at some of the petitions, there are some/many that would take some congressional action. That is a good thing to keep in mind in the wording of our petition and I think AdLib had that in mind on his post.

          • ADONAI says:

            Really? Well that makes sense I guess. I had no idea China and N. Korea were attacking Japan.

            I guess I would want to leave some troops there too. But surely we don’t need a base in Europe.

            And in the future I will limit it to things the President can do right now without Congress.

            • Kalima says:

              As bito said, treaties are written and signed by those involved to mean something lasting, unless you are dealing with a rogue country. There has always been tension between China and Japan, N. Korea and Japan, most of N. Korea’s missiles are pointed directly at Tokyo, sometimes their test missiles either fly over, or drop into the Sea of Japan. It has been reported in your news, I know because I watched it.

              To change anything in a treaty would take participation of your congress and the governments concerned, and if your congress can’t even agree to close Gitmo, or do what is right by he American people to pass vital bills, how do you expect them to concern themselves with tackling a post war treaty which still benefits the country financially?

              BTW, if America pulled her troops from Japan, Japan would be forced to start a combat army, there would be hell to pay in Asia if that ever happened. Old wounds go deep here in Asia.

          • Kalima says:

            Also America needs strategic bases in Asia, that’s why there has been so much going on with the move in Okinawa. Moving your base to a place like Guam would have meant a long delay in case of an attack on Japan. We are a sitting target here. The troops or Self Defence Force, SDF, only participate abroad as peacekeepers, the same as Germany.

      • Kalima says:

        A promise by both countries to never have a fighting army, a signed promise by the U. S. to protect them in case of an attack.

        Good afternoon bito. :)

        • bito says:

          Morning Kalima, you are up mighty early! “>

          How did I do teach? I remember we had that discussion a while ago about the troops in Japan and Germany. I wonder if the troops in S.Korea are also there under a treaty. If not a bilateral treaty but also as the US being a signer on the UN “cease fire” agreement.

          • Kalima says:

            It’s “golf” day. 😉

            It was established after the war in 1954 as part of the Korean-American Combined Forces Command, it supports the United Nations Command (Korea), so basically a peacekeeping mission for the DMZ, yes.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Adonai, what a huge waste of money! One talking head put it best a few days ago…”What do they expect..WW2 to break out all over again?” We don’t need 700+ bases around the world, costing us billions! Great idea!

    • PatsyT says:

      Thanks ADONAI!

  11. atdnext says:

    I like the voter suppression one. IMHO that may be the best idea of all the petitions currently on there. DoJ really needs to investigate what’s going on to ensure legal voters aren’t being disenfranchised because of who they are and where they live.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Atdnext, I would agree that this is the TOP priority right now! We only have about 400 days until the next election and there is very little time left to turn this thing around. It’s been plain as the nose on your face what they are trying to do. In fact, they don’t even try to hide it!

  12. javaz says:

    Love the voter suppression initiative, but no to UFOs?
    Oh noes!

    Have you ever read William Grieder?
    We just finished a book by him called, “Come Home, America”, and he explained what’s going on in such a fashion that even I could understand.
    He laid out the differences between FDR and the Great Depression, to Obama and the Great Recession.
    And he covered all presidents in between and the policies that have led to where we are today.

    During FDR’s terms, corporations worked together with the government in the recovery, unlike today.
    It has to do with tariffs in helping the recovery.

    I can’t voice this correctly, and maybe someone can help me with this, but we keep giving corporations tax breaks in this country and some even get subsidies, yet there is no incentive for them to hire American workers.

    We keep importing goods from China and other countries and we sell them so very cheaply here.

    We need to start a high import tax, which would hopefully lead to corporations bringing jobs back home to America whereby they could avoid the import taxes.

    Does this make sense and do you know what I mean and if so, do you think that it’s possible or have the corporations won?

    • choicelady says:

      Not won -- quite, but that has been my drumbeat for nearly 20 years. The two worst breaks: giving companies accelerated depreciation on their capital goods when they go OUT of business so they get tax-free cash back from the government. It was what caused the death of industry starting in the mid 1970s -- killing the goose that laid the golden egg because the government GAVE you the golden egg when you killed the goose (you know -- like they say welfare does -- killed incentive…LOL!!!) The other was subsidizing all the costs of moving production overseas.

      End those two subsidies that are ginormous (Bethlehem Steel got nearly ONE BILLION in 1983 for closing its Lackwanna Plant south of Buffalo, NY) and you’d see a VERY different economy!!!!

      You don’t want a high import tax necessarily -- you DO want an open agreement that every nation that sells us goods buys our goods. Then you want to make outsourcing and RE-importation of US owned goods made for the US domestic market to be costly and UNsubsidized. A high import tax with real trade exchange is a tariff, and it would backfire. It is my understanding that the new trade agreements with South Korea etc. are vastly more demanding of their need to buy our stuff from the US and not make it internally and keep it. The agreements also have labor and environmental protections we’ve not had before.

      So eliminate incentives to go out of business, to ship jobs overseas for the DOMESTIC market, and you go a very long way to making it far more attractive to produce HERE with jobs HERE. Europe, BTW, gives accelerated write down for NEW capital and employement investment -- and guess what Obama did in the “lame duck” agreement -- he did the same. FIRST TIME the US subsidized investment instead of business failure and plant shut down. FIRST TIME we had tax policy equal to the flourishing economies of Europe!

      • Emerald1943 says:

        AMEN! CL, you hit the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned! You have my vote! It’s not bad enough that corporations were able to off-shore their operations, but the government has given them billions to do it! What’s wrong with this picture??? Oh, I forgot…it’s those “free market principles” that the repubs talk about so often! Snark!!

  13. funksands says:

    Ad, I think that both of your suggestions are worthy ones, and ones that I would support. I plan to sign Patsy’s petition also.

    Other than the de-annexation of Texas, I might suggest the President begin to exempt us from some of the most onerous of the provisions of NAFTA and CAFTA.

    Given how squishy and complex that might become, I’ll throw my weight behind to the two items you’ve listed above.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Hi funk! I really like your suggestion on NAFTA and CAFTA that have hurt our economy probably more than anything else. The drain of jobs and capital from our country has been going on for years. I also like Choicelady’s comments about this subject. Besides a big “re-do” on the agreements, we definitely need to stop subsidizing the outsourcing that has happened as a result of these two acts. It really is one big issue and one that has been a thorn in my side for a long time! I would definitely sign on!

      De-annexing Texas! Now there’s a million-dollar suggestion! I like it! While they’re at it, why don’t they take Oklahoma with them?? :-)

    • javaz says:

      Oh yeah.

      Ross Perot was correct about NAFTA.

      • choicelady says:

        Only partially -- that “giant sucking sound” was partly jobs being slurped up by offshore production. The other part was money being sucked up by those doing it.

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