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Category Archives: freedom

A Short Note on Milo (UPDATED WITH AN INTERESTING NEW VIDEO)

There will be a longer guest post probably sometime this weekend on the subject of free speech writ large, so I debated whether to address this on the blog today. But given the gleeful crowing on both the left and the right about the so-called “fall” of Milo Yiannopoulos, I wanted to quickly address the issue from my perspective.

I see those on the left cheering Simon and Schuster’s decision not to publish Milo’s book, titled “Dangerous” after a video surfaced in which he “appeared to condone” (notice, nowhere is it written that he did so) pedophilia. The left hates Milo, because he revels in his Internet troll persona, because he ridicules social justice warriors, because he refuses to bow to the gods of political correctness, because he got on the Trump Train early, because… well, you know.

Milo also resigned from his position at Breitbart, to which I say, “Good!” He’s much too good for them.

I see those on the right gloating that the American Conservative Union disinvited Milo from CPAC this year, where he was supposed to be giving the keynote address after this video emerged, because he’s gay, because he’s flamboyant, because he’s not what a typical, nice, Christian, conservative should be. He’s *clutch pearls* GHEY!!! And he’s in a relationship with a black man! OH NOEZ!

Here’s the full video and that includes those comments. If you haven’t seen the unedited version of the video in which Milo purportedly “supports” pedophilia, you might want to take a look before screeching about how he deserved it.

 

Here’s a transcript of the part that was edited out.

Milo: “This is a controversial point of view I accept. We get hung up on this kind of child abuse stuff to the point where we’re heavily policing even relationships between consenting adults, you know grad students and professors at universities.”

The men in the joint video interview then discuss Milo’s experience at age 14.

Another man says: “The whole consent thing for me. It’s not this black and white thing that people try to paint it. Are there some 13-year-olds out there capable of giving informed consent to have sex with an adult, probably…”

The man says, “The reason these age of consent laws exist is because we have to set some kind of a barometer here, we’ve got to pick some kind of an age…”

Milo: “The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age. I think it’s probably about okay, but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age, I certainly consider myself to be one of them, people who are sexually active younger. I think it particularly happens in the gay world by the way. In many cases actually those relationships with older men…This is one reason I hate the left. This stupid one size fits all policing of culture. (People speak over each other). This sort of arbitrary and oppressive idea of consent, which totally destroys you know understanding that many of us have. The complexities and subtleties and complicated nature of many relationships. You know, people are messy and complex. In the homosexual world particularly. Some of those relationships between younger boys and older men, the sort of coming of age relationships, the relationships in which those older men help those young boys to discover who they are, and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents. Some of those relationships are the most -”

It sounds like Catholic priest molestation to me, another man says, interrupting Milo.

Milo:
“And you know what, I’m grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”

Other people talk. Oh my God, I can’t handle it, one man says. The next thing in line is going to be pedophilia…says another man.

Milo: “You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13-years-old who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet. Who have not gone through puberty. Who are too young to be able (unclear and cut off by others)…That’s not what we are talking about. You don’t understand what pedophilia is if you are saying I’m defending it because I’m certainly not.”

Another man said, “You are advocating for cross generational relationships here, can we be honest about that?”

Milo: “Yeah, I don’t mind admitting that. I think particularly in the gay world and outside the Catholic church, if that’s where some of you want to go with this, I think in the gay world, some of the most important, enriching and incredibly life affirming, important shaping relationships very often between younger boys and older men, they can be hugely positive experiences for those young boys. They can even save those young boys, from desolation, from suicide (people talk over each other)… providing they’re consensual.”

So what did Milo really say here?

He said that child abuse charges have been inflated to such a degree, that we are now even policing relationships between consenting adults, because we disapprove of them.

He said that, generally speaking, the age of consent laws in the United States are proper and right.

He admits there are some people (including himself) who reach emotional maturity at a younger age, and are capable of giving consent at a younger age and points out that relationships are generally complex and nuanced things, completely unsuited for a “one size fits all” mentality.

He said that SOME of those “coming of age” relationships can help gay men feel safe and secure.

And he correctly defined pedophilia as an attraction to pre-pubescent children and made the distinction between the discussion about cross-generational relationships, which could happen between a 17-year-old and his 40-year-old partner, and the gross attraction of a full, legal adult to a pre-pubescent child.

How many of you, screeching that Milo condoned pedophilia took the time to read and analyze what he really said before condemning him?

And how many of you denigrated and ridiculed him and cheered the cancellation of his book and his unceremonious booting from CPAC merely because you don’t like him or what he stands for?

Be honest with yourselves.

For what it’s worth, Milo never was accused of pedophilia. He never condoned kiddie diddlers. As a matter of fact, he spent a lot of time exposing and shaming them – fighting the very thing he is now accused of defending.

He exposed creepy, white nationalist gamergate critic Sarah Nyberg/Nicholas Nyberg/Sarah Butts.

Two years ago, he went after repugnant child molester Chris Leydon.

I would venture to say, Milo has done more to fight child sexual abuse than any of the critics jerks now eulogizing his silencing.

By the way, Milo’s full statement about this incident is here. I emphasize the following, and note that Milo himself was a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

I do not advocate for illegal behavior. I explicitly say on the tapes, in a section that was cut from the footage you have seen, that I think the current age of consent is “about right.” I do not believe any change in the the legal age of consent is justifiable or desirable.

I do not believe sex with 13-year-olds is okay. When I mentioned the number 13, I was talking about myself, and the age I lost my own virginity.

I shouldn’t have used the word “boy” — which gay men often do to describe young men of consenting age — instead of “young man.” That was an error. I was talking about my own relationship when I was 17 with a man who was 29. The age of consent in the UK is 16.

I did say that there are relationships between younger men and older men that can help a young gay man escape from a lack of support or understanding at home. That’s perfectly true and every gay man knows it.

I am certainly guilty of imprecise language, which I regret.

Do I think that Milo is very often over-the-top? Yes.

Oh, no! Poor Harambe! Is nothing sacred?

Oh, no! Poor Harambe! Is nothing sacred?

Do I think that his gallows humor is many times inappropriate? Yes. Vicious? Yes.

Do I agree with him on everything? Absolutely not. (I note here our differences in whom we liked for POTUS, for one.)

But am I going to cheer concerted efforts to silence him by those who disagree with what he says and how he says it? No, I’m going to slam them hard, as I would any attempts to silence dissent and opposition.

I see the glee and exhilaration with which Milo’s critics applaud his supposed “downfall,” and I’m sickened by it.

Were you upset that someone like Milo, to whom nothing is sacred enough to avoid making fun of, was gaining a huge following?

Were you irritated that someone like Milo – a flamboyant faggot in an interracial relationship, who freely talks about blow jobs – all of a sudden became someone to admire in your precious, oh-so-holier-than-thou “conservative” movement?

Did you not like that Milo essentially told Leslie Jones to man up after she got a bunch of racist Tweets in her direction, because “EVERYONE GETS HATE MAIL FFS!”

Did you hate his description of feminism as a “cancer?”

Did you think he was racist/homophobic/xenophobic, even though he’s in a relationship with a black man, has a Jewish mother, and repeatedly denied being a member of the “alt-right?”

And that’s why you’re cheering that someone finally found – AND DOCTORED – a video to silence him? How repulsively fascist of you!

You don’t care that the allegations are false.

You don’t care that the recording of Milo supposedly “advocating” child abuse was selectively edited and spliced, and you certainly won’t listen to the unedited version, because that would force you to do some introspective navel gazing to figure out why you were so anxious to believe the worst about someone with whom you disagree politically, that you’re cheering his gagging and the impact on his employment and his bottom line.

You don’t care about freedom or truth.

You’re no different than the shit snorting dick weasels who work to destroy those who do not toe their ideological line. You’re morally reprehensible, petty little tyrants who want to see your ideological adversaries silenced and, ultimately destroyed, instead of fighting them with ideas and reason.

You are gleefully cheering, because someone you don’t like has ostensibly been silenced.

And that makes you exactly the type of person people like Milo and his supporters have dedicated themselves to fighting.

You are the reason he exists.

UPDATE: And if you find Milo’s words to be a problem, but still loves you some Uncle George, you’re a repulsive hypocrite.

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About That Travel Ban

No, not that one.

This one. The one you probably have never heard of because it involves Andrew Cuomo’s (D-ipshit, NY) ban on state-sponsored travel to North Carolina because that state passed a law last year requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they were born.

A University at Buffalo pharmacy student is appealing the governor’s travel ban to North Carolina because she says it affects her ability to do rotations there.
This student hasn’t gotten any response from the governor’s office despite three months of calls, letters, and faxes to appeal her case, so Christine Piccione finally reached out 2 On Your Side as a plea for help.
Piccione is a third year pharmacy student at UB, and one of the final things these students need to do are rotations for hands-on practice.

So, this virtue signaling retard has joined celebutards and other assorted, frothing trash by trying to punish North Carolina for a bathroom law (that I have always disagreed with due to government overreach issues) he felt was discriminatory against transgender people.

Did he ban official government travel to Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by law? No. How about Iran? Can New Yorkers still travel there? Yes.

You mean, he only banned travel to a single state in the union – a state that saw it fit to dictate who uses what bathroom in a public building?

Hypocrite.

All that said, who really loses in this scenario?

Piccione was funding her trip herself – with her own money. She has been prevented by the state from studying where she believed was best for her own education, since UNC Chapel Hill is widely regarded as having one of the best – of not the best – pharmacy program in country, and certain laws in NC would allow her to do more than here in New York, according to the report.

“I definitely think it does put me at a disadvantage. I’m going to be competing against the top students in the country for jobs, and I just don’t think it’s fair that I don’t get that opportunity when we can travel anywhere else in the country, anywhere else in the world even, and I can’t travel to one state in my own country,” said Piccione.

And yes, this travel ban infringes on this student’s rights. It inserts government into her personal education decisions. It puts an unnecessary hardship on her, forcing her to waste time and resources trying to resolve the issue, which really just comes down to wanting to study her chosen profession in what is ostensibly the best pharmacy program in the country.

And the state – the ever mighty, overreaching state – has decided in all its wisdom that Piccione cannot spend her own money to study in North Carolina, because Cuomo disagrees with a law there. A student is prevented from studying at the university of her choice, because Cuomo doesn’t like that state’s law.

And let’s be clear – right now that’s all it is: Cuomo’s opinion.

The trial over this law has been postponed until the Supreme Court decides whether the Obama administration’s interpretation of federal civil rights law, that transgender students are protected under Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs, is correct. That case will be heard next month, according to press. So until that issue is decided in the nation’s courts, Cuomo is preventing a student from traveling to North Carolina to study at a highly regarded educational program, because Cuomo has an opinion.

christine-piccioneWhy is no one protesting that a U.S. citizen’s right to fund her own education and travel where she sees appropriate for her career choice has been violated?

I mean, we’re seeing snortastically ignorant nationwide boycotts in support of people who violated the law by coming here illegally – or staying here illegally. But no one is protesting the ever-intrusive state preventing a student from traveling within her own country – on her own dime. Why is that?

I guess a “privileged” blonde, white girl doesn’t elicit the same kind of sanctimonious outrage as oppressed “people of color.”

And by the way – I remember a place where you had to have government permission to travel for work or study. It was called the USSR.

Russia: Everything Old is New Again… Again

I’ve blogged previously about Russia’s flirtation with fascism, the rise in authoritarianism and nationalism, and the increased aggression in its near abroad. I don’t need to rehash the propaganda campaigns, the lies, and the efforts to destabilize eastern European nations. Seems Russia is in the news a lot ever since the 2016 election.

Lately, something else seems to be on the rise, but isn’t getting as much attention as the cyber intrusions: corruption and murder which looks very much to be linked to the Kremlin.

nemtsovYou remember the murder of Boris Nemtsov, don’t you? No?

Boris Nemtsov was a leading Russian opposition politician and former Deputy Prime Minister who was murdered in Moscow in February 2015. BBC reported at the time that an unidentified attacker shot Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin.

In a recent interview, Mr Nemtsov had said he feared Mr Putin would have him killed because of his opposition to the war in Ukraine.

Mr Nemtsov, 55, served as first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.

He had earned a reputation as an economic reformer while governor of one of Russia’s biggest cities, Nizhny Novgorod.

Falling out of favour with Yeltsin’s successor, Mr Putin, he became an outspoken opposition politician.

Five ethnic Chechens were tried for the murder, and Chechen leader thug Ramzan Kadyrov quickly proclaimed the defendants not guilty and blamed the United States.

It’s only a coincidence that the accused thugs were Chechen, and it’s only a coincidence that Nemtsov was fearless in his public accusations against Putin and his ally Kadyrov of misappropriating government funds, extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture. And it’s only a coincidence that Kadyrov is a close ally and cousin of Duma Deputy and Adam Delimkhanov.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

A British inquiry into the death of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko found that Putin had likely approved the polonium tea that killed the spy who fled to Britain after becoming an outspoken Putin critic.

But nothing to see there either.

nemtsov-karamurza-yavlinsky-kasyanov-5mar2012Another Putin critic recently wound up in the hospital. Intrepid journalist Michael Totten posted this article on his Facebook page yesterday about Russian reform advocate Vladimir Kara-Murza who wound up in the hospital for the second time in less than two years.

Vladimir is perhaps the most authentic, articulate, informed, reasoned, effective, and persistent advocate for reform and decency in Russia. He has carried his message to audiences in Washington, and across Europe and his own country. He played a key role in the passage of the Magnitsky Act which restricts travel to the US and freezes the assets of designated Russians whose violations of human rights standards have been especially pronounced. Vladimir is also courageous beyond words. After his friend and colleague Boris Nemtsov was murdered outside the Kremlin almost exactly two years ago, Vladimir chose to return to Moscow to advocate for reform in Russia. He did so at considerable personal risk and sacrifice.

Kara-Murza worked for Open Russia, founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was tossed into the Russian clink for daring to stand up to Putin.

Khodorkovsky was arrested on what appeared to be pretty spurious charges of tax evasion and fraud. He spent the next 10 years in prison, with new charges added on to his sentence, including the accusation that he stole 350 million tons of oil… from himself. His trials were, by all accounts, kangaroo tribunals. It took months just to read the initial charges against Khodorkovsky in a notoriously corrupt judicial system, in which his defense attorney now faces the Russian equivalent of disbarment for failure to defend her client effectively.

He was released in late 2013 and later started Open Russia to promote civil reforms in Russia, and Kara-Murza worked for the NGO and was a good friend of the late Boris Nemtsov. Open Russia – restarted by Khodorkovsky after being harassed by the Russian authorities, and its accounts frozen in 2006 – continued to experience… um… incidental problems, as Kara-Murza wrote in 2014.

Open Russia was revived eight years after being forcibly shut down by the Russian authorities. Its relaunch and the opening videoconference that linked civil society activists in ten cities across Russia—from Kaliningrad to Tomsk—were greeted with the typical official response. Almost all regional locations experienced difficulties with the Internet, which was mysteriously cut off minutes before the conference. In Moscow, conference participants were confronted by “journalists” from the notorious NTV channel, which specializes in slandering civil society and opposition activists (incidentally, the location of the event was never publicly announced). In Yaroslavl, someone sabotaged the door lock the night before the conference, leaving activists unable to enter, and the technical equipment blocked inside. In Nizhny Novgorod, members of a pro-Kremlin group headed by United Russia deputy Yevgeny Fedorov stormed the hall where conference participants were assembled.

Memorial to Anna Politkovskaya

Memorial to Anna Politkovskaya

But move along. Nothing to see here. Russia is innocent. It’s just a coincidence that those critical of the Kremlin and Putin’s policies are either dying or being imprisoned. Magnitsky, Navalny, Litvinenko, Nemtsov, Khodorkovsky, and Kara-Murza. And that’s just the top of the iceberg. If I wanted to go on, I’d mention the list of journalists and freelancers who were murdered, and who were reporting on corruption and human rights abuses, including Anna Politkovskaya, Anastasia Baburova, and Igor Domnikov.

Is it any wonder that the United States late last year passed the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act? The legislation augmented the Magnitsky Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2012, and ensures human rights abusers from anywhere in the world were denied entry into the United States and barred from using our financial institutions. It was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The indomitable Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) last year uncovered an army of Russian trolls attempting to influence U.S. foreign policy by using the White House’s online petition tool to demand that the Magnitsky Act be repealed.

Don’t count on it, motherfuckers.

The freedoms we so take for granted and even condemn others for exercising can have real and tragic consequences in places other than the United States. And the truth reported by journalists elsewhere, which media outlets so take for granted here in the United States, can result in violence, suppression, arrest, and murder.

Interesting aside, however. Kara-Murza in January sent a letter to Bob Corker and Ben Cardin – both on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – asking them to carefully consider the situation in Russia before voting on Rex Tillerson’s nomination.

It is also important to remember that, according to the statues [sic.] of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – of which both the United States and Russia are full members – “issues relating to human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, and the rule of law… are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States and do not belong exclusively to the internal affairs of the State concerned.”

I trust that you will take these issues into account as you consider the nomination for Secretary of State and the next steps in U.S.-Russia relations.

Here’s wishing Vladimir Kara-Murza a quick recovery and a safe escape from Moscow. Being deathly ill in a Russian hospital is no joke under the best of circumstances (see my description of my tonsil surgery when I was a kid). But when you challenge the Kremlin, survival becomes a whole different challenge.

You want to grow the surveillance state?

survaillanceIf you haven’t heard already, in light of Mexican president Pina Nieto’s big middle finger to Trump’s grandiose plan to make his country pay for a “big, beautiful wall” on the border with the United States, 45 has made another proposal: let’s levy a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico!

Some of the Republicans I know, who normally oppose more taxation, were doing a happy dance. “YEAH! Mexico will pay for the wall one way or another!”

Ummmmm… no. YOU morons will. You will buy more expensive Mexican products, and by the way, since Mexico is one of our top five sources of oil, you’ll likely be paying more to fill up your big, ole truck too! It’s a tax on U.S. consumers, not on Mexico, and I won’t even mention what that’s doing to U.S.-Mexico relations, even as Mexico becomes one of our most important partners in fighting cartels, stopping illicit funds from crossing the border, and working to freeze and block the assets of illicit financiers.

Some, who realize that a 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods =\= Mexico paying for a wall, have developed other “bright” ideas.

“Oh, I know! Let’s tax all remittances going to Mexico! That’ll be GREAT! Most of them are illegals sending money home anyway! YEAH!”

I’ve detailed previously why this is a bad idea when Trump tried to threaten Mexico with seizing remittances.

Immigrants both legal and illegal send money back home to Mexico. How the hell does one separate the “good” money from the “bad?”

Seizure of private property without due process in order to threaten Mexico with reducing the country’s GDP by an estimated less than two percent? Good plan, there, Sparky!

Stop all financial transactions from banks here to Mexico? You’ve just pissed off the financial sector and empowered bulk cash smugglers, who make billions of dollars per year carting monetary instruments across the Mexican border.

But beyond that, even if you don’t stop the remittances, you would have to examine each one to see if it would be subject to this tariff. This idiot plan would drive up compliance costs for money service businesses (MSB), such as Western Union and MoneyGram, and grow the surveillance state.

Right now, under the Bank Secrecy Act, financial institutions, including MSBs, must file a currency transaction report (CTR) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for each transaction in currency of more than $10,000. If you think the average remittance to Mexico exceeds this amount, you’re an idiot. The average remittance amount to Mexico in 2003 was $321, according to World Bank data. Even if it’s doubled or trebled in the last 15 years, it will still be far below the threshold.

So, we’d have to decrease the CTR amount. No big deal, right?

Except that MSBs and other financial institutions would have to hire extra compliance staffs to fill out the CTRs and subsequent suspicious activity reports (SAR) when a customer inevitably decides that it’s not worth having his $400 examined and probed by numerous people and declines to complete the transaction. Extra compliance personnel cost money – not just in salaries, but benefits as well. There skyrocket your costs of sending a couple of hundred bucks to your mom in Mexico! And there plunges your volume. Because, really… who the hell would want to pay an extra $10-$20 just to have mom pick up the cash in Coahila?

And then there are the compliance costs on the government side. Guess who gets to pay for those! How many new feds do you think would have to be hired to comb through the volumes of CTRs and SARs generated by the new thresholds? Considering just how many Mexicans we have sending money back home, lowering the transaction threshold would mean that thousands more feds will be combing through thousands more reports that are generated. The feds already have a lot of access to transactional data. You really want to give them more?

Additionally, as Larry Correia mentioned yesterday, “you start regulating something, the shadow economy will grow.”

I mentioned bulk cash smugglers above. Cartels already have hawala-like networks of trusted associates to conduct mirror transactions. That’s a market, I’m sure they couldn’t wait to tap, especially if there’s a mass exodus from regular MSBs! You start increasing regulations on hawalas, and aside from causing dilatory second and third order effects in countries without developed financial sectors that rely on hawala networks to move money, you’re also going to once again increase the compliance personnel required for said increased regulatory environment.

Wanna pay for more feds to snoop into everyone’s finances? Most Republicans, before 45 took office, would have screamed a vigorous “NO!” Now… not so much.

And by the way, if you think there aren’t ways to avoid the formal financial system, I encourage you to purchase a gift card. For a fee of $5.00 and a couple of stamps, you too can send a $400 Visa gift card to your mom in Mexico, which she can use to buy groceries or anything else she needs! You want to regulate that? You’ll need extra post office personnel to go through all the mail, identify the letters going to Mexico, and track the remittances that way.

Or, just start charging an extra fee for every gift card purchased, which will go directly to the feds to build that wall. In which case, once again, YOU are the ones paying for it!

That’s how you build a police state, Republicans. Enjoy!

Update on that painting

pictureJust a quick update, because I’ve been busy, and haven’t had the chance to catch up.

That painting – you know, the one Duncan Hunter removed because his tender labia got chafed at the controversial subject matter – was removed, because it apparently violated the rules of the contest it was judged to have won.

All the drama and the tug-of-war to garner the attention of the media was just so much bullshit.

“The Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity to celebrate the creativity of students in every corner of our country — and visitors from around the world see their talents on display when they walk through the halls of our Capitol,” Reichert said in a statement. “However, with any competition there are rules, and these rules exist for a reason. This painting hung in clear defiance to those rules and was a slap in the face to the countless men and women who put their lives on the line everyday on behalf of our safety and freedom.”

Ryan told the congressman that the Architect of the Capitol made the determination, Reichert’s office said.

The rules of the art competition state: “Exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed,” according to the statement from Reichert.

There was some controversy on this very blog about whether Hunter behaved vaguely Reich-like when he removed the painting, because it was offensive. I agree the painting was repugnant, but as our guest writer Dave Hardin wrote, “The wall on which that picture hangs does not belong to Hunter, and neither did the picture. That wall belongs to us – all of us – and that picture belongs to a 17 year old high school student. That wall and what hangs on it is protected by Marines who served this nation long before Duncan Hunter could read or write.”

Hunter had no right to remove the winner of an art competition from the public walls, no matter how offensive he found it.

But it appears his drama was unnecessary anyway. All he had to do was ask the Architect of the Capitol to examine rules of the contest, and make a determination about whether the painting legitimately won.

It hadn’t.

But instead, Hunter decided to use his government authority to remove something he found offensive from a public venue.

Survey says: DOUCHE!

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