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Politics, Society etc.

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Offline alvarezbassist17

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P.S. thanks for the good, reasonable conversation. You're good shit, my friend :)



Offline alvarezbassist17

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a nice definition of communism i found. i just want to show some of you guys, that not every commie out there loves stalin and mao and seeks to tax the shit out of you.

i imaged that someone like alvarez could sit down at a table with a communist as described below, and then tell him, why his assumptions of capital are perverted by false capitalism.

Quote
Communism, anti-German criticism and Israel
An interview with Stephan Grigat by Jens Misera
(First published in „Israel Nachrichten“, the German daily newspaper in Tel Aviv in 2004; first published
in English at http://info.interactivist.net in 2005)

Jens Misera: You are a member of the Viennese group "Café Critique", a pool of anti-German communists.
What is your definition of communism?

Stephan Grigat: Communism is a concept which cannot be defined in terms of the established social
sciences. Strictly speaking, communism is nothing more than the movement of materialistic criticism. And
communists, who detest propaganda, should refuse to deliver too detailed descriptions of a possible
communist society. Not because one could not imagine a society beyond the utilization imperative of
capital and the domination imperative of the state, but rather because of the simple reason that people
should talk about and criticise the existing reality in the first place. People who are only interested in how
the bananas will come to Europe and who will remove the dirt from the streets in communism – questions
which appear to be rather strange, by the way, in view of the fact that approximately two thirds of humanity
live in misery – those people don’t find fault with the existing system anyway. But criticizing the existing
also basically implies, how it should be instead: Communism is not about a dictatorship of people over
people, but rather about a dictatorship of the will and the wishes of people over the objective-material
conditions of their existence. Therefore, materialistic criticism is about creating social conditions, which
enable people for the first time, to plan their lives self-confidently, that is, beyond the utilization imperative
and domination imperative of state and capital. This is not paradise on earth, where there are no problems
and contradictions any more, but a society established according to the requirements of reason, where no
one, anywhere in the world, must starve because he does not have enough means. Communism, in this
sense, has nothing to do with either traditional marxism nor with alternative renunciation ideologies. It is
neither about an equal distribution of misery, nor about consumption renunciation. “Luxury for everybody"
is much closer to Marx’s intentions. Communist criticism does not want to create pre-bourgeois
circumstances, neither concerning productivity (with all necessary criticism of a technology developed
under the capital relation), nor concerning the emancipation of the individual from the chains of archaic
communities, which had begun just then. Communist criticism does not accuse capitalism of creating
luxury goods, but rather that such things are withheld from most people, although that would be not
necessary. Withheld not through the evil will of some individuals or the conscious acting of a class
(although this may play a role), but rather through the logic of a system, that is not oriented towards
people’s needs, but towards the realization of capital. Communist criticism does not accuse bourgeois
societies of creating certain freedom rights and individual rights, but rather points out that a society that
requires such rights remains a violent society. We do not argue against the fact that the bourgeois citizen is
promised the pursuit of happiness (Glücksversprechen), but rather try to point out its ideological essence
and to clarify that this promise actually cannot be kept in a bourgeois society.

I think you're right on the money with his view of capitalism being more of a view of mercantilism and fascism (not nazi fascism, I'll explain the difference in a moment).  I'm not really sure though, is he criticizing capitalism or just the status quo system that has led to impoverished countries?  

But yeah, I do see a couple problems with it.

1.  Libertarians don't believe that individual rights are given by society, but rather by the nature of one's humanity (or by God for the religious).  In the context of the US constitution and the view of those who wrote it, writing down these rights in the Constitution was redundant because it was assumed that people had them by just being alive (aside from slaves and whatnot, but that was definitely a different time, and I like to point out that statists back then also owned slaves).  So they saw danger in writing them down was that it was though government was granting these rights to the people, but the Constitution was meant to be a set of chains on government, so they wrote them down in defense of these natural rights.  I can expound on the Libertarian view of rights if you'd like, but it'd be diverting from the current discussion.

2. I think he was kind of skirting around the economic definition of communism: that the government owns and operates the means of production (as opposed to fascism, where the means of production are owned privately, but heavily taxed and manipulated through government regulation.  This is the Mussolini style, Hitler was sort of fascist, but with a greater emphasis on racism, obviously).  The key point is that if government owns and operates the means of production and there is no profit or pricing mechanism, there is no possible way for society beyond maybe a simple town to coordinate scarce resources to where they are needed by society.  This creates a chaos, and the entire lack of organization does not allow for the greater amount of production that it takes to amply sustain individuals, much less progress as a society.

From his description, it sounds like he could be referring to Anarcho-communism, which is refuted by the great Murray Rothbard in this article.  I'd just warn, the dude is pretty blunt haha.

The Death Wish of the Anarcho-Communists
by Murray N. Rothbard

[This article first appeared in The Libertarian Forum , January 1, 1970.]

Now that the New Left has abandoned its earlier loose, flexible non-ideological stance, two ideologies have been adopted as guiding theoretical positions by New Leftists: Marxism-Stalinism, and anarcho-communism.

Marxism-Stalinism has unfortunately conquered SDS, but anarcho-communism has attracted many leftists who are looking for a way out of the bureaucratic and statist tyranny that has marked the Stalinist road.

And many libertarians, who are looking for forms of action and for allies in such actions, have become attracted by an anarchist creed which seemingly exalts the voluntary way and calls for the abolition of the coercive State.

It is fatal, however, to abandon and lose sight of one's own principles in the quest for allies in specific tactical actions.

Anarcho-communism, both in its original Bakunin-Kropotkin form and its current irrationalist and "post-scarcity" variety, is poles apart from genuine libertarian principle.

If there is one thing, for example, that anarcho-communism hates and reviles more than the State it is the rights of private property; as a matter of fact, the major reason that anarcho-communists oppose the State is because they wrongly believe that it is the creator and protector of private property, and therefore that the only route toward abolition of property is by destruction of the State apparatus.

They totally fail to realize that the State has always been the great enemy and invader of the rights of private property.

Furthermore, scorning and detesting the free-market, the profit-and-loss economy, private property, and material affluence — all of which are corollaries of each other — anarcho-communists wrongly identify anarchism with communal living, with tribal sharing, and with other aspects of our emerging drug-rock "youth culture."

The only good thing that one might say about anarcho-communism is that, in contrast to Stalinism, its form of communism would, supposedly, be voluntary. Presumably, no one would be forced to join the communes, and those who would continue to live individually, and to engage in market activities, would remain unmolested.

Or would they?

Anarcho-communists have always been extremely vague and cloudy about the lineaments of their proposed anarchist society of the future. Many of them have been propounding the profoundly anti-libertarian doctrine that the anarcho-communist revolution will have to confiscate and abolish all private property, so as to wean everyone from their psychological attachment to the property they own.

Furthermore, it is hard to forget the fact that when the Spanish Anarchists (anarcho-communists of the Bakunin-Kropotkin type) took over large sections of Spain during the Civil War of the 193Os, they confiscated and destroyed all the money in their areas and promptly decreed the death penalty for the use of money. None of this can give one confidence in the good, voluntarist intentions of anarcho-communism.

On all other grounds, anarcho-communism ranges from mischievous to absurd.

Philosophically, this creed is an all-out assault on individuality and on reason. The individual's desire for private property, his drive to better himself, to specialize, to accumulate profits and income, are reviled by all branches of communism. Instead, everyone is supposed to live in communes, sharing all his meager possessions with his fellows, and each being careful not to advance beyond his communal brothers.

At the root of all forms of communism, compulsory or voluntary, lies a profound hatred of individual excellence, a denial of the natural or intellectual superiority of some men over others, and a desire to tear down every individual to the level of a communal ant-heap. In the name of a phony "humanism", an irrational and profoundly anti-human egalitarianism is to rob every individual of his specific and precious humanity.

Furthermore, anarcho-communism scorns reason, and its corollaries long-range purpose, forethought, hard work, and individual achievement; instead, it exalts irrational feelings, whim, and caprice — all this in the name of "freedom". The "freedom" of the anarcho-communist has nothing to do with the genuine libertarian absence of interpersonal invasion or molestation; it is, instead, a "freedom" that means enslavement to unreason, to unexamined whim, and to childish caprice. Socially and philosophically, anarcho-communism is a misfortune.

Economically, anarcho-communism is an absurdity. The anarcho-communist seeks to abolish money, prices, and employment, and proposes to conduct a modern economy purely by the automatic registry of "needs" in some central data bank. No one who has the slightest understanding of economics can trifle with this theory for a single second.

Fifty years ago, Ludwig von Mises exposed the total inability of a planned, moneyless economy to operate above the most primitive level. For he showed that money-prices are indispensable for the rational allocation of all of our scarce resources — labor, land, and capital goods — to the fields and the areas where they are most desired by the consumers and where they could operate with greatest efficiency. The socialists conceded the correctness of Mises's challenge, and set about — in vain — to find a way to have a rational, market price system within the context of a socialist planned economy.

The Russians, after trying an approach to the communist moneyless economy in their "War Communism" shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, reacted in horror as they saw the Russian economy heading to disaster. Even Stalin never tried to revive it, and since World War II the East European countries have seen a total abandonment of this communist ideal and a rapid move toward free markets, a free price system, profit-and-loss tests, and a promotion of consumer affluence.

It is no accident that it was precisely the economists in the Communist countries who led the rush away from communism, socialism, and central planning, and toward free markets. It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a "dismal science." But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. Yet this sort of aggressive ignorance is inherent in the creed of anarcho-communism.

The same comment can be made on the widespread belief, held by many New Leftists and by all anarcho-communists, that there is no longer need to worry about economics or production because we are supposedly living in a "post-scarcity" world, where such problems do not arise. But while our condition of scarcity is clearly superior to that of the cave-man, we are still living in a world of pervasive economic scarcity.

How will we know when the world has achieved "post-scarcity"? Simply, when all the goods and services that we may want have become so superabundant that their prices have fallen to zero; in short, when we can acquire all goods and services as in a Garden of Eden — without effort, without work, without using any scarce resources.

The anti-rational spirit of anarcho-communism was expressed by Norman 0. Brown, one of the gurus of the new "counter-culture":

    "The great economist von Mises tried to refute socialism by demonstrating that, in abolishing exchange, socialism made economic calculation, and hence economic rationality, impossible … But if von Mises is right, then what he discovered is not a refutation but a psychoanalytical justification of socialism … It is one of the sad ironies of contemporary intellectual life that the reply of socialist economists to von Mises' arguments was to attempt to show that socialism was not incompatible with "rational economic calculation" — that is to say, that it could retain the inhuman principle of economizing." (Life Against Death, Random House, paperback, 1959, pp. 238-39.)

The fact that the abandonment of rationality and economics in behalf of "freedom" and whim will lead to the scrapping of modern production and civilization and return us to barbarism does not faze our anarcho-communists and other exponents of the new "counter-culture." But what they do not seem to realize is that the result of this return to primitivism would be starvation and death for nearly all of mankind and a grinding subsistence for the ones remaining.

If they have their way, they will find that it is difficult indeed to be jolly and "unrepressed" while starving to death. All this brings us back to the wisdom of the great Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset:

    "In the disturbances caused by scarcity of food, the mob goes in search of bread, and the means it employs is generally to wreck the bakeries. This may serve as a symbol of the attitude adopted, on a greater and more complicated scale, by the masses of today towards the civilization by which they are supported … Civilization is not "just here," it is not self-supporting.

    It is artificial … if you want to make use of the advantages of civilization, but are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization — you are done. In a trice you find yourself left without civilization. Just a slip, and when you look, everything has vanished into air. The primitive forest appears in its native state, just as if curtains covering pure Nature had been drawn back. The jungle is always primitive and vice versa, everything primitive is mere jungle." (José Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses, New York: W.W. Norton, 1932, p. 97.)


Offline alvarezbassist17

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Called the Carver County Court Administration to pay a (fucking bullshit) ticket today at 3:45 and the machine told me "we are open from 8-4:30. Please call back during normal business hours." Government efficiency at its finest.


Offline tarkil

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Nice... I'm glad to see that kind of shit doesn't only happen in France....



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Offline alvarezbassist17

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mmm I tend to doubt that that kind of shit is really country-specific.  The shitty part is that they (as I'm sure they do in France) are going to get a better pension than I could ever hope for.  For doing anti-productive activities, no less.


Offline tarkil

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Worst part is that in France, they also go on strike to defend this bullshit system...



If ignorance is bliss, then knock the smile off my face.


Offline deftones86

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Well Ron Paul is now the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology on the Financial Services. Which means he is going to be overseeing the Fed haha awesome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwDjtjEKlGs&feature=player_embedded#!
« Last Edit: Nov 14, 2010, 05:03 PM by deftones86 »


Offline alvarezbassist17

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Oh I totally fucking agree, I think that's as exciting, if not more so, than the whole Republican takeover.

Here's a really good, more explanatory interview, too:

Ron Paul "We Shouldn't Be Buying Up Bad Debt With "New" Money!"

Worst part is that in France, they also go on strike to defend this bullshit system...

Don't worry dude, we'll get our fair share of protests, too.  We have plenty of people either directly on the dole or doing jobs that they know wouldn't exist or wouldn't be as well-paid if they weren't provided by the gov't.  But it's coming, given that the day of reckoning should've been like several years ago.


Offline Variable

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This is exciting indeed.  I just kind of wonder how much power he will actually have to influence any changes onto the Fed?


Offline alvarezbassist17

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There was more to that topic, Judge Napolitano kind of expounds on it a little more.  The rest is in this clip:

Ron Paul "It's Criminal For Them To Do This!"

But it's definitely more to just get more attention paid to the issue.  Think how far we've come in the last few years, and I think he's probably gonna introduce another audit the fed bill


Offline Variable

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Offline alvarezbassist17

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Especially the part where Varney's like "can't you just sit still??" haha I love Andy Nap.


Offline Variable

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Yeah, he was pretty hyped up.  It was pretty informative though. 

So what happened with that other "audit the fed" bill?  Because I thought the last one passed?


Offline alvarezbassist17

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It passed the house, and then they watered it down in the Senate and added it into the FinReg bill.  I dunno what the final language/outcome turned out to be, but obviously nothing visible, of note.  Pretty typical.


Offline alvarezbassist17

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Hey!!  I found a free book for y'all to read.  It's called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism by Chris Horner.  READ IT FOR GOD'S SAKE!!

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming


Offline alvarezbassist17

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Also, watch this.  It's a couple years old, but I love Stossel and it's really well put together.

20/20 - Politically Incorrect Guide To Politics - Pt. 1 of 6


Offline alvarezbassist17

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The TSA's False Tradeoff
By Robert Murphy
Published 11/26/10

The national furor over the TSA's new procedures -- culminating in yesterday's "Opt Out Day" -- has elicited the typical response from the bureaucracy and its apologists. Why, these invasive scans and "enhanced pat-downs" are only for your good, in order to ensure safe flying. You don't want another attack, do you?

This is a false tradeoff. Especially in the long run, there is no tension between freedom and safety. If airport security were truly returned to the private sector, air travelers would achieve a much better balance of privacy and legitimate security measures.


The Calculation Problem

Whenever considering government versus market provision of a good or service, we should recall Ludwig von Mises's famous critique of socialism. Specifically, Mises argued that even if the central planners were angels, intending only the best for their subjects, and even if these angels were fully informed of the latest technical knowledge, nonetheless they would be groping in the dark when they tried to design a blueprint for the entire economy.

The socialist central planners would suffer from a calculation problem, meaning that they couldn't evaluate whether a given enterprise -- such as a car factory or a farm -- was making efficient use of society's scarce resources. Sure, the car factory might be cranking out vehicles that the comrades enjoyed driving. But that alone is not enough to prove that the car factory is economically efficient. For all the planners know, the resources (steel, rubber, labor hours) going into the production of the cars could be diverted into other lines, increasing the production of items that the comrades enjoy even more than the cars.

The market economy solves this problem effortlessly through market prices and the profit-and-loss test. If a car factory is using up resources that consumers would prefer go into alternate sectors, this fact manifests itself objectively when the accountant announces that the car factory is "losing money." After all, to be unprofitable simply means that the car factory cannot earn enough revenues from its customers in order to pay the prices for resources that other entrepreneurs are able to afford. That is the sense in which consumers are "voting" (through their spending decisions) that the car factory either reform or shut down.

In Mises's view, the fundamental superiority of the market economy over socialism was not that entrepreneurs happened to be bold innovators, while government bureaucrats were dull yes-men. No, the problem was an institutional one. In the market economy, the factors of production are privately owned, which allows the generation of market prices for every unit of every resource. Thus people in the private sector get immediate and constant feedback on the success or failure of their operations. There is nothing analogous in government, because its "customers" cannot withhold their purchases if they don't like the "services."


The Calculation Problem and the TSA

When it comes to the apparent tradeoff between privacy and security, the TSA suffers from the same calculation problem that plagues all socialist agencies. The proper balance of the various considerations cannot be discovered through some "objective" procedure if it doesn't involve private property and market prices.

Consider: Even if there are no further terrorist incidents on planes, that won't prove that the new patdowns and scans were the right thing to do. For one thing, it's possible that there are other security procedures, which do not humiliate large numbers of customers, that would yield the same success of zero incidents. In that case, the current TSA procedures would be inappropriate because they cause needless suffering with no offsetting benefit.

But more importantly, it's possible that the "efficient" number of terrorist incidents -- for the rest of US history -- is not zero. In fact, no matter what procedures are implemented, it's always possible that wily terrorists will still manage to beat the system. In real life, we can never guarantee safety. This is why so many pundits' discussions of airline travel miss the mark completely: they assume that there is some objective answer of "the right" amount of security, when this is a complex economic question.

To see this last point, we should switch from terrorism to something far less emotional: car crashes. If the government completely nationalized automobile production (something that may happen eventually), and insisted on making a uniform model for every driver in America, we would hear the pundits discuss various issues in the abstract.

For example, Rachel Maddow might argue that the government-issued cars should have three sets of seat belts, air bags for every passenger, and a top speed of 55 miles per hour in order to contain healthcare costs (which would also have been completely nationalized by this point). On the other hand, Sean Hannity might go ballistic over the nanny-state regulations, and point out that the Founding Fathers didn't even have mirrors on their stagecoaches.


The Market Is the Only Solution

Yet such hypothetical arguments over "the correct" amount of vehicle safety would be absurd if they conceded the premise that the government should set the standard and apply it uniformly to everyone (except for the politicians, who would get to drive vintage Ferraris). The only way to solve the conflict would be to privatize car production and allow consumers to spend their money, focusing on whatever attributes they cared about the most.

The same conclusion holds for air travel. Only in a truly free market -- where different airlines are free to try different approaches to safety -- could we approach a sensible solution to these difficult questions. Passengers who don't mind invasive scanning or sensitive inspections could patronize airlines offering these (cheap) techniques -- assuming they were really necessary to achieve adequate safety. On the other hand, passengers who objected to these techniques could pay higher ticket prices in order to fly on airlines that hired teams of bomb-sniffing dogs, or set up very secure prescreening procedures (perhaps with retinal IDing in order to board a flight), or implemented some as-yet-undreamt-of method to keep their flights safe, without resorting to methods that their customers found humiliating.


The Role of Insurance

Most people who are sympathetic to the free market would endorse the above sentiments, but with one nagging concern: How does the airline take into account the huge damages imposed on others if one of its planes is hijacked?

One possibility is that the legal system would hold airlines strictly accountable for such property damage, and that the airlines would need to purchase massive insurance policies before obtaining permission to send giant steel containers full of jet fuel hurtling over skyscrapers and shopping malls.

I spell out the mechanics of such a system here. For our purposes, let me deal with one possible objection: Someone might say, "But what happens if an airline has lax security, and terrorists use it to cause an enormous amount of damage, wiping out their insurers? That's why we ultimately need the government in charge of security."

Yet I could pose the same question: What happens if the TSA screws up, and a major terrorist incident occurs? Will John Pistole and his immediate staff be fired? Will the TSA itself have its budget gutted? And who is to say that even the US federal government could "afford" such a catastrophe?

Once we consider the incentives (and lack of consumer feedback) plaguing the TSA, we realize that not only will it err on the "invasive" side of the spectrum, but that it will do so ineffectively.
« Last Edit: Nov 28, 2010, 09:52 PM by alvarezbassist17 »


Offline deftones86

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Well it seems like Ron Paul will not be Heading up the monetary policy subcommittee. John Boehner is trying to prevent this.


Offline tarkil

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Fuck these cocks !!

Passenger cleared after TSA checkpoint stare-down
Man fought the law and the law man won

A Seattle man has been acquitted of all charges brought against him when he refused to show ID to TSA officials and videotaped the incident at an airport security checkpoint.

Prosecutors' case against Phil Mocek was so weak that he was found not guilty without testifying or calling a single witness, the Papers, Please! blog reported. The Daily Conservative said Friday's acquittal was the first time anyone has “successfully challenged the TSA’s assumed authority to question and detain travelers.”

Mocek's video, shot in November 2009 at the Albuquerque International Airport, portrays a passenger politely refusing officers' request that he show ID and stop videotaping his encounter with them.

“Is there a problem with using a camera in the airport in publicly – in publicly accessible areas?” Mocek calmly asks.

“Yes, there is,” an officer answers.

“I think you're incorrect,” the passenger replies.

As the confrontation continues, one officer tells the man: “You pushing it, OK? You're really pushing it.”

Another officer says: “Buster, you're in trouble.”

ABQ (Albuquerque International Airport) TSA checkpoint 2009-11-15 14:34:35 - 14:38:12

But as the six-woman jury in New Mexico's Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court made clear, Mocek isn't in trouble. They returned not guilty verdicts for charges that included concealing his identity, refusing to obey a lawful order, trespassing, and disorderly conduct.

Papers, Please! says the acquittal proves what TSA critics have said all along: That checkpoint staff have no police powers, that contrary to TSA claims, passengers have the right to fly without providing ID, and yes, passengers are free to video record checkpoints as long as images on screening monitors aren't captured.

“Annoying the TSA is not a crime,” the blog post states. “Photography is not a crime. You have the right to fly without ID, and to photograph, film, and record what happens.”

Here's hoping all the grunts in the blue shirts get the memo.


http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/25/passenger_acquitted/



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