w/ Brad & Desi
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
During testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 1999, after the mass shooting at Columbine, the National Rifle Association's CEO Wayne LaPierre stated plainly:
The NRA even went as far as to take out an ad [PDF] that included LaPierre's full testimony from his U.S. House Judiciary Committee appearance that day.
But that was then.
Today, testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in the wake of the mass shooting at Newtown, LaPierre has completely reversed his position on background checks, as highlighted during this exchange with the Committee Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)...
In short, despite tens of thousands of criminals prevented from buying guns at licensed dealers and pawn shops, thanks to instant background checks --- LaPierre pegged the number at 76,000 people who "have been denied under the present law" --- the NRA mouthpiece is now against closing the loophole that allows unlimited gun sales at trade shows with no background checks whatsoever, even though 40% of weapons in the country are purchased at such shows.
Once again, the con-man who heads up the NRA is completely out of touch with the vast majority of his own constituency as well as the vast majority of the nation as a whole...
This still photo depicts actor Mark Wahlberg using the powerful .50 BMG Barrett M82A1M to shoot down an approaching helicopter at the outset of the 2007 motion picture, Shooter. Later, in the same film, what appears to be a Barrett M82A1 mounted atop a computer-operated weapon platform, is remotely accessed to carry out the long-distance assassination of an Archbishop who is standing next to the President.
On a segment of Thursday night's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, the host addressed the fact that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is funded and controlled by those who are making obscene profits off the very weaponry used to carry out mass murders of civilians in the U.S. O'Donnell pointed out that, since 2005, when former Senator Larry "Wide Stance" Craig (R-ID), now an NRA Board member, pushed a bill through Congress which immunized weapons manufacturers from civil liability for the carnage wrought by the weapons they unload on the public, the NRA has received over $38 million in contributions from weapons manufacturers.
O'Donnell's list of NRA Board members included George Kollitides of the Freedom Group, owner of multiple weapons manufacturers, including Remington and Bushmaster. Kollitides' company manufactured the AR-15 that was used to murder 20 children and 6 educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT last month. Another one of his companies, Advanced Armaments, manufactures silencers, that, according to its web site, are legal in 39 states. Who inside this country, aside from mob hit men, need silencers?
The truly disturbing revelation, however, was that the military grade weapon, the Barrett M82 (see narrated video below), akin to the one seen in the still photo above, is being sold to the general public by Ronnie Barrett, yet another wealthy member of the NRA's Board of Directors.
The Barrett M82 semi-automatic sniper rifle chambers a powerful 12.7×99 mm NATO (.50BMG) armor piercing round. Known as the "Barrett Light Fifty," it was used by the IRA to conduct a sniper campaign against British armed forces in Northern Ireland. It has been sold to the armed forces of some 40 nations. During the First Gulf War, the U.S. military used the Barrett M82 to disable Iraqi armored personnel carriers.
It is difficult to imagine what possible legitimate function the M82 would have in any civilian setting --- that is unless one considers assassinations and shooting down helicopters to be a constitutionally protected sporting event. Yet, lighter variations of the M82, like the more advanced M107, are readily available to civilians in every state except California. When California banned civilian purchases of these insanely deadly weapons, Barrett retaliated by suspending sales to all of the Golden State's law enforcement agencies. Frankly, the following narrated video suggests that this powerful weapon should not be in the hands of law enforcement agencies either, let alone civilians.
One can't help but think of the words Martin Luther King presented during his moving "Beyond Vietnam" speech: "Somehow this madness must cease"...
Jon Stewart's take last night on "King Obama's" shocking executive actions (there were not "executive orders") on guns issued Wednesday was similar to our own here at The BRAD BLOG that same day, and later in the afternoon on our radio show.
In other words Stewart focused on those who are willing to beclown themselves by insisting that the President's rather tepid --- rather non-controversial if you bother to read them --- 23 executive actions and 9 recommendations to Congress to improve gun safety in this nation were nothing short of TYRANNY!!!!
As Stewart observes in the very funny segment posted below, it seems these folks are "confusing tyranny with the unpleasant burning sensation of losing democratic elections."
He ultimately concludes: "I guess it can be summed up by the old homily: 'First they came for the guns, and I said nothing, because...they really didn't."
The segment is split into two parts, both below, but it's really just one segment...
U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez on Wednesday gave the final approval for the $1 million settlement, initially filed in September.
As part of the settlement, the university has agreed to pay $30,000 to each of the 21 plaintiffs, a total of $250,000 to their attorneys and a total of $100,000 to 15 other claimants.
The settlement also stipulates that UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi issue a formal written apology to the students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed. It also calls for the university to develop new policies regarding student demonstrations and use of force.
In the very same week...
• A military judge agreed that U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning's pre-trial confinement, for having allegedly leaked classified diplomatic cables, was excessively harsh, but refused to dismiss the charges against him. Instead, the judge reduced 4 months from Manning's potential life sentence that he hasn't even received yet while being jailed for 2 years and 8 months, so far, waiting for his day in military court. The judge also delayed the start of his trial for another 3 months in the bargain.
• 26-year old activist and Internet prodigy and pioneer Aaron Swartz killed himself after what his family describes as bullying by a federal prosecutor who filed 13 felony charges against him --- with potential penalties of nearly 50 years in prison --- for something that has never been a crime and has no victims.
Meanwhile, just a few weeks earlier...
• Britain's largest bank, HSBC, was slapped on the wrist with a $1.9 billion settlement (a few weeks of profit) for having knowingly laundered billions of dollars for drug cartels and terrorist organizations and rogue states after federal prosecutors in the U.S. decided that any harsher punishment --- such as larger fines or taking them to court or, God forbid, sending any single one of their employees or board members to prison for even a day --- would potentially result in bankruptcy for the "too big to jail" international bank.
And, a few weeks before that...
• Oil giant BP pleaded guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter and other criminal charges related to the massive oil spill and deaths of 11 men on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. They agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines (they made more than that in profit alone in the third quarter of 2012) over a five year period. Nobody would face any jail time in the settlement.
Yet, all the while...
• NRA stooges continued to pretend that their big bad assault weapons are responsible for keeping this country safe from big government tyranny.
What the fuck is wrong with this picture, those people, this Administration, our Dept. of Justice, and this country?
1) "20 school children stabbed in China on the same day proves nothing can be done to stop crazy people!"
Nope. Though it does prove that, even without access to guns, crazy people may still try to kill people. But, unlike all of the 20 school children in Newtown, CT, who were shot several times each in a matter of minutes with a legally purchased and registered semi-automatic rifle equipped with high capacity magazines, none of the 20 kids stabbed in the China incident actually died. No wonder the NRA stooges stopped referring to that story within about 24 hours of the Newtown shootings, but it was "fun" while it lasted (and before the wingnuts bothered to read beyond the China story's headline.)
2) "More guns would have stopped it!"
Nope. Despite NRA Con-Man-in-Chief Wayne LaPierre's embarassing argument that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun", armed guards didn't stop the Columbine mass shooting or the Virginia Tech mass shooting (the worse in the nation's shameful history of mass shootings) or even the assassination attempt on President Reagan. But, more to the point, this 2009 ABC News video just destroys the absurd notion that "more guns would have stopped it!"
3) "You just want to take away my guns!"
Nope. But we do, at the very least, agree with the vast majority of NRA members (if not their terrorist-enabling, con-men leadership) who strongly support new gun safety regulations, such as mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, bans on concealed carry permits for violent misdemeanants and domestic abusers, gun safety training requirements for gun owners, and barring those on the "Terror Watch List" from purchasing weapons, just to name a few. Why does the NRA oppose all of those things despite the overwhelming support of them by their own members? Because they don't care about their members, the 2nd Amendment or gun safety, they care only about their real bosses: the U.S. arms industry. Period.
4) "More people die in automobiles, so you must want to ban them too!"
Nope (and we don't want to "ban" all guns, either.) But we'd have no problem with severe safety regulations and oversight on the manufacture, purchase and use of guns, just as we have in effect for the manufacture, purchase and use of automobiles. Seat belt requirements don't prevent everyone from dying in cars, but we still require they are built into every car and used by every driver. The result: the prevention of thousands of deaths and injuries each year. We also have serious licensing requirements for the use of cars, including proficiency tests before anybody is allowed to legally operate one on their own. We have universal speed limit laws, stop lights, and laws that bar drunk driving (which can be enforced before someone gets killed.) We also require that everyone purchase insurance before operating a motor vehicle. Yet few, if any (and certainly not the industry's top promoter, the AAA), cry "Liberty! Freedom!" in response to all of those sensible safety regulations. And, it should be noted, all of those safety regulations are in place for a "tool" that is designed to kill nobody, unlike semi-assault rifles and high-capacity magazines which, when used as designed, are meant to kill as many people as possible and as quickly as possible.
5) "Guns are just a 'tool'! Mental illness is the real problem!"
Nope. There are insane people everywhere, but almost no developed countries with the insanely high rates of gun violence that are found in the U.S. Nonetheless, it's clear that many people involved in violent gun crimes are mentally ill. So, what would you like to do about mental illness then? Spend more federal government money on health care? Sounds good. Require the "jack-booted thugs" of the federal government create "lunatic panels" to judge who is and isn't mentally equipped to operate a firearm before they are allowed to buy one? Would you like publicly available lists of who the Big Government believes to be insane? Or lists of which families have someone judged by the government to be mentally ill living in their households? You "ObamaCare" opponents ought to love all of the above! Doesn't sound intrusive at all!
Of course, this is just a new spin on the old "Gun don't kill people, people kill people" yarn which even folks on the Right don't actually believe. If they did, as Lee Fang recently pointed out, they wouldn't be so upset about the pretend "Fast and Furious" scandal.
6) "If not mental illness, it's video games and Hollywood movies that are the problem!"
Nope. If that was the case, the gun violence rates would be just as high in places like Canada, Great Britian and everywhere else in the world where they enjoy the same video games and Hollywood movies that we do here in the "land of the free and the home of the brave." But it's darling that you want to protect the bastardized version of what you believe the 2nd Amendment says and what the founders created it for, even while not seeming to give a damn about undermining the 1st in the bargain.
7) "'Gun Control' is just another excuse to take away my 'civil liberties'!"
Nope. Oh, and what "civil liberties"? Which ones? Where does the U.S. Constitution guarantee the "civil liberty" of the unlimited purchase and use of semi-automatic assault rifles, ammunition and high-capacity magazines? Even extreme rightwing Justice Antonin Scalia has no problem with the 1934 ban on machines guns. But, regarding that quaint "2nd Amendment Protects Us From Tyranny!" argument, how'd that work out in preventing the very real tyranny of the PATRIOT Act and all of the other civil liberties outrages that followed? Or, were you, like the NRA, one of the folks who didn't seem to care about that type of very real government tyranny, as it swept across our nation, with little or no complaint from folks like you, over the past decade or so?
Of course, if the founders had hoped that guns would be used by the citizenry to rebel against the federal government, one wonders why they expressly barred treason in the Constitution. It almost seems as if the argument that the 2nd Amendment was meant to allow the people to rebel against the federal government was made up long after the fact in order to dishonestly justify unlimited gun ownership with no regulation whatsoever. And, of course, it was.
Any other really dumb responses to Newtown that we missed?
Where was the NRA while the Patriot Act was being passed? Where are they now while it's still in effect?
Most importantly, why didn't our right to bear arms protect us from this drastic, powerful, and seemingly permanent destruction of many of our Constitutional liberties??
Look, if gun owners really and truly want to protect our liberties, they should put down their guns and get politically active. Guns did not protect us and would not have protected us from the Patriot Act. Only active engagement in our political system would have or could still save us from the Patriot Act and/or other infringements of our liberties.
He then added separately...
We'd add only one other thought for now: Where does the 2nd Amendment, or any other, afford anybody the "civil liberty" of buying and purchasing as many semi-assault rifles, boxes of ammo and high-capacity magazines as they want without restriction or regulation? We can't seem to find that in our copy of the U.S. Constitution and, though we've asked, no one has yet identified for us where that "liberty" is enumerated.
That said, Heller's point above is probably far more important.
As we noted yesterday, the press conference held by the NRA's Con-Man-In-Chief did not go well. But, of course, as we've been told by many an NRA-stooge commenter long taken in by the NRA racket, we're just "anti-gun nuts", right?
While it's not entirely surprising to see the New York Times editorial board deride LaPierre's proposal yesterday, writing unambiguously that they "we were stunned by Mr. LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant," how about those "anti-gun nuts" over at Rupert Murdoch's New York Post today?...
And, just for good measure, here's the review from the not-nearly-as-Rightwing New York Daily News...
So, uh, apparently it's not just us. (For a pleasant change.)
And, by the way, while we have been describing the NRA as a "racket" for some time, even George W. Bush's former White House ethics attorney (yes, they had one!) is calling them the very same thing now, and in the New York Times!
NYU media critic and professor Jay Rosen cut to the chase in his tweet: "Exact quote just now from the NRA press conference. 'This is the beginning of a serious conversation. We won't be taking any questions.'"
The only thing that might have made the NRA's post-Newtown "major press conference" this morning --- during which they had promised earlier this week to unveil their "meaningful contributions to help make sure" a mass shooting like the one at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, one week ago today, "never happens again" --- would have been if someone had actually opened fire there.
Tragically, that appears to have been happening in central Pennsylvania at almost the exact same moment as NRA CEO, Executive Vice-President and chief liar Wayne LaPierre was offering his remarks at the D.C. presser. According to a WPXI reporter, the suspect "went up & down a rural road in Altoona & shot victims." Four people are said to have died in that shooting, and three state troopers were injured attempting to stop the shooter.
"To be fair to the NRA," observed Media Matters' Jamison Foser, "YOU try to hold a press conference that doesn’t coincide with a gun killing in America. It ain’t easy."
All the while, LaPierre was instructing the gathered media today that the problems we are facing, the epidemic of mass shootings and gun violence, is due to video games, the news media, lack of armed security guards at elementary schools, mental illness, and even Barack Obama. It has, apparently, nothing whatsoever to do with guns in any way, shape or form, if LaPierre's 24 minutes of prepared remarks (full video below) are any indication.
"THIS is the mighty NRA? The group that supposedly rules all of Washington, DC? THESE nut jobs??" quipped Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, adding a few minutes later: "If nut job LaPierre held a 'press conference' every Fri, sweeping gun control would be passed by February"...
[Update: During a disastrous post-Newtown press conference this morning in D.C., exactly one week after the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the NRA's CEO and Executive Vice President (and chief liar) Wayne LaPierre said: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." More on that presser now here, but the following article, published prior to the NRA debacle today, goes a long way towards pre-bunking LaPierre's main contention.]
There have been a lot of absurd claims by the folks scammed by the NRA racket into believing that nothing can be done to decrease gun violence following last week's horrific mass shooting in Newtown, CT.
(Our personal favorite was the one that failed the quickest: The claim that the stabbing of 20 school children in China on the very same day as the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre proves that putting responsible limitations on gun and high-capacity magazine ownership won't help stop these types of tragedies. The reason that response failed so quickly? The wingnuts using it apparently failed to read the actual China story to learn that none of the children there were actually killed in that attack.)
The excuse for taking no action in the wake of Newtown which has had the longest shelf life to date, seems to be the notion that if only someone in the school --- or in the movie theater, or in the shopping mall, or in the Sikh temple, etc. --- had been armed, the tragedy would have been averted.
BRAD BLOG commenter "JPack80" recently proffered the same silly notion:
Setting aside his obvious strawman --- folks like us are no more "anti-gun nuts" than the vast majority of NRA members (if not their con-man leadership) who agree we should have increased gun safety regulations --- JPack80's thin argument, and the millions of other wingnuts making the same weak case, is quickly debunked by a few fairly easy to understand points. (There are many more, but we'll stick to two for the moment, since some folks making this case may have trouble counting higher than that.)
First, how many shots did the Fort Hood shooter get off when he opened fire --- killing 13 and wounding 29 others --- in the middle of a U.S. Army base, filled with people carrying loaded weapons and many more with easy access to them? (Answer: About 200 rounds, which also included shoot-outs with two armed officers, the first of which was hit three times before she went down. But, see update below for additional thoughts on this.)
It is also true that both Columbine and Virginia Tech had armed security officers on campus, as little good as that did anybody, during the mass shootings there. Let's also not forget the trained New York City police who attempted to stop a gunman at the Empire State Building over the summer. They ended up shooting nine (9) innocent bystanders in the bargain.
And, during today's ridiculous news conference by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, where he called for an armed "a police officer in every single school" because "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the Brady Campaign's Sarah Brady, wife of Ronald Reagan's Press Secretary James Brady, who was almost killed during the 1981 assassination attempt on the President, took to Twitter to respond to LaPierre's point by noting: "Wayne, a gun in the hands of Secret Service didn't stop Hinkley from wounding Pres. Reagan and 3 others including my husband." Our coverage of that bizarre presser now here...]
But the more damning response to the foolish point that "more people with guns are the best way to stop mass shootings" is found in this 2009 ABC video showing how people with guns, and training, actually react when confronted by something like a sudden, surprise shooting. Watch the results of the experiment --- using some folks with relatively little gun training as well as some who are trained marksmen --- to see how well that whole "if only someone was armed during these shootings they could have stopped the shooter!" argument holds up...
So, what's your next, dumb, non-solution for these problems, wingnuts?
UPDATE: Several commenters written to take issue with our description of the Fort Hood shootings having taken place "in the middle of a U.S. Army base, filled with people carrying loaded weapons and many more with easy access to them"...
On today's The BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio here in Los Angeles, we dealt with, what, if anything, will now be done in the wake of the latest mass shootings in Newtown, CT, and if the lies and propaganda and bullying of the NRA will finally be overcome --- or not.
We covered this morning's announcement that President Obama is naming Vice President Biden to head a task force with recommendations for new gun safety regulations due by January; the fact that the vast majority of NRA members call for many such regulations (even as their con-men leadership do not); and whether this moment --- and the change in positions by people like Republican Joe Scarborough and maybe even the NRA themselves) might finally become a tipping point in returning sanity to our out of control gun laws, or lack thereof, in this country.
Desi Doyen joins us for a brief history of how the NRA changed in 1977 from a 100-year old gun safety organization, to a Republican political operation, as well as for the latest Green News Report.
Plus, we got to a lot of phone callers with opinions on all of this, including an NRA member who says he'll be quitting the group; an NRA instructor who says we're absolutely right about what the NRA has become; a caller disagrees that any more gun laws are needed, because it would "allow the wolf in the door", or some such; and even a surprise call from our pal, the great progressive trouble-maker Cliff Schecter. Enjoy!
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx. 58 mins]...
P.S. The BradCast is now carried on the free TuneIn mobile app as well as on the Stitcher Radio app. It's also available via RSS here --- since we don't always get around to posting every episode ourselves here.
After just over four days, the terrorist-enabling NRA con-men have decided to finally break their complete silence following last Friday's mass shooting which killed 20 children and 7 adults in Newtown, CT. The killer used assault weapons and high-capacity magazines the NRA had long fought to make available to just about anybody.
In a terse statement released this afternoon, the group's leadership claim they are "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
While their claim is welcome, it remains to be seen if a) they actually mean it and b) if they will actually call for gun safety policies supported by the vast majority of their membership, or if they will continue serving only as mouth-pieces for the U.S. arms industry.
The statement notes the group will hold a news conference this Friday, December 21 --- the Friday before Christmas --- which Washington Post's Greg Sargent aptly describes as "the ultimate Friday news dump."
Here's their complete statement today...
UPDATE 12/21/12: The NRA held it's "major news conference" today, announcing their "major contributions". It didn't go well...
"If we're going to get past this almost hysterical fear of trying to do anything at all on gun rights," MSNBC's Rachel Maddow asked on Friday during her breaking coverage of the mass shootings at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT, "if we're going to try to puncture the myth that anything to reform or rationalize gun laws is absolutely, politically impossible as a categorical thing, what would happen if we just started at the edges?"
"What would happen if we just started with what even members of the NRA say they want from national gun laws? Because they want a hell of a lot more than we've got right now," she correctly noted. "The organization that they're a member of may not admit that, but when you poll their members, even they want improvements."
She is absolutely right. And so is the rank and file membership of the National Rifle Association when it comes to many of the most pressing gun safety issues. The numbers (read on) are unequivocal. They want what their leadership does not, and by huge margins. The con-men and scam-artists who run the terrorist-enabling NRA racket, on the other hand, as usual, are absolutely bloody wrong.
If we could reform gun safety laws just enough in this country to meet the wishes of the vast majority of the NRA membership, we would be leaps and bounds beyond the deadly political quagmire we have been languishing in as a nation --- thanks to the insidious liars and profiteers of the NRA leadership and the cowardly politicians afraid to take them on --- for at least a decade in this country.
The NRA's loudest and most dishonest voice is its Executive VP and chief political strategist Wayne LaPierre. He is opposed to any and all legislation that might stand a chance of making Americans safer, claiming a twisted and tortured view of the Bill of Right's 2nd Amendment as a prohibition against any and all such legislation...
The conservative Republican and former U.S. Congressman from Florida turned MSNBC morning show anchor Joe Scarborough offered a powerful response this morning to the tragic mass shooting which killed 20 children and 7 adults in Newtown, CT last Friday.
The often glib Scarborough who says he "received the NRA's highest ratings over four terms in Congress," took a very serious and non-ideological turn at the top of today's Morning Joe program on MSNBC. During his prepared remarks he cited the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school as a "true landmark" which, he said, forced him to spend "the past few days grasping for solutions and struggling for answers, while daring to question my long held beliefs on these subjects."
"Every American must know," he said, "from this day forward, that nothing can ever be the same again."
With an eye towards what he described as "entrenched special interests [who] will try to muddy the issues," he implored that "Politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo. They must instead be forced to protect our children."
"The violence we see spreading from shopping malls in Oregon, to movie theaters in Colorado, to college campuses in Virginia, to elementary schools in Connecticut, is being spawned by the toxic brew of a violent pop culture, a growing mental health crisis and the proliferation of combat-styled guns."
"The cause of these sickening mass shootings," he explained, "is no longer a mystery to common-sense Americans."
Speaking from his former perspective as a powerful Washington D.C. insider during his days in the U.S. House, Scarborough went on to say: "I am a conservative Republican who received the NRA's highest ratings over 4 terms in Congress. I saw the debate over guns as a powerful, symbolic struggle between individual rights and government control. In the years after Waco and Ruby Ridge, the symbolism of that debate seemed even more powerful to my colleagues and me."
"But the symbols of that ideological struggle have since been shattered by the harvest sown from violent, mind-numbing video games and gruesome Hollywood movies that dangerously desensitizes those who struggle with mental health challenges. Add military-styled weapons and high capacity magazines to that equation and tragedy can never be too far behind."
"Friday changed everything," he continued. "It must change everything. We all must begin anew and demand that Washington's old way of doing business is no longer acceptable. ... Our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-styled high-caliber semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want."
The complete video of Scarborough's 12/17/2012 remarks on MSNBC's Morning Joe is at the top of this article, the full text transcript follows below...
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