Changing of the guard

“Out of many, one” is what the Latin E pluribus unum means on the Seal of the President of the United States which only reached its final design in 1945 when President Truman adopted it by executive order, with extra stars added for Alaska and Hawaii in 1959 and 1960.

However, it is similar to the Great Seal of the United States, the principal national symbol of the United States, which was first used in 1782. The national motto is “In God we trust” in the “land of the free and the home of the brave” as the National Anthem tells.

So there has been plenty of aspiration, and plenty of pomp and ceremony.

Sadly, as we near the time, there is much speculation about how many rogues Donald Trump will pardon on his way out, how many executive orders Joe Biden will peel off to right the ship of state, and whether there will be violence again, after the insurrection of 6 January.

It seems now authorities believe there was planning and intent on the part of the Oath Keepers.

I have to go to bed, so I’ll leave you with Stan Grant’s excellent reflective piece Can Donald Trump’s impeachment revive America’s faded promise of democracy? and Donald Trump’s promise that he has only just begun.

Honestly, Biden and the US Congress have better things to do than to deal with Donald Trump dethroned, although the real trouble is that Trump still has support in Congress, and apparently over 70 per cent of Republican voters.

I’m glad we are over this side of the Pacific.

This morning:

According to Andrew Beaumont After riots, Donald Trump leaves office with under 40% approval. His approval stands at 38.5/57.9, and has suffered a 9% drop since the insurrection.

His approval ratings at the end of his full term presidency is the worst in recent times apart from Jimmy Carter’s.

Biden signs executive actions on COVID, climate change, immigration and more:

77 thoughts on “Changing of the guard”

  1. Hopefully, what happened during the Trumpviate will spur thought about reform pf the electoral system, the limits of individualism, arms control, welfare and….
    The depth of the current crisis may help.

  2. May I offer for consideration a pungent letter to the editor of “The Age”, a Melbourne newspaper published by Nine News?

    Lessons from the Donald

    Donald Trump, thank you for the reminders of the fragility of our civil and democratic institutions. Of how power corrupts and of how readily principle and moral rectitude cower in the face of vested interest and threatened reprisal. Of how brittle the fabric of civil society, how readily expendable the lives of others, of how easily eschewed are ‘‘truth’’, ‘‘fact’’ and ‘‘science’’.

    Of the destructive, brainwashing potential of social media and of the appeal bigotry, scapegoating and demagoguery have to our base instincts. Of the intoxicating power of Hitler-ite rallies – platforms for adoration, self-aggrandisement and incitement. Of how long-held confidence in the integrity of an electoral system is easily undermined. And of how complete that might have been but for the far nobler instincts of the ‘‘third pillar’’ you sought to mould in your image.

    Lloyd Davies, Warragul

    Warragul is a small, regional town in West Gippsland; a province of Victoria.

    Cheerio

  3. Oh look.
    The unrest is being covered by the lamestream media (D). (In this case the failing NY Times).
    It would seem the Biden administration has had an immediate impact. This is just the sort of thing our Mackay correspondent assured us was never reported when Trump was POTUS.

  4. I’ve only seen bits on ABC, SBS, US PBS, and heard heaps on ABCNewsRadio and RN.

    Seems to me that Americans have a need to do things at high emotion, or they don’t think it’s real, or something.

    I’ve been impressed with the breadth and detail of Biden’s plans, and government seems to be working. For example, within minutes of signing an executive order to rejoin the WHO a letter had been sent to the UN and to the WHO so that Fauci and Gueterras could get together again on an official basis.

    I liked Biden saying that everyone has dignity and should be treated with respect, with zero tolerance of disrespect, bullying etc within his administration.

    It’s good to have a president who sounds lie a fully formed human personality.

    I’m concerned that there is still plenty of American exceptionalism in the language of the new administration. They really do believe that God is on their side.

  5. I heard today that there had been some interest in alternative voting systems. If they had a preferential voting system a new conservative party could be formed, allowing the Trump Republicans to become a rump party like One Nation here.

    Maine has introduced what they call ‘ranked choice voting’ which looks like preferential voting under another name. Given the opposition and attempts to destroy it change will not come easily.

    Biden promised to convene an international Summit for democracy which confounded and confused quite a few critics before the Capitol insurrection, and more so afterwards.

  6. To my mind the first step in US electoral reform should be the removal of the gerrymanders which distort the results in way too many states.

  7. It seems, zoot, that one vote one value is about the last thing on the minds of Republicans. This article The Insurrection Was Put Down. The GOP Plan for Minority Rule Marches On. looks at how Republicans are instituting minority rule:

      The only real way to reverse minority rule is through big structural reforms like abolishing the Electoral College, eliminating the filibuster, ending partisan gerrymandering, enshrining a fundamental right to vote in the Constitution, and giving statehood to Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico so as to make the Senate more reflective of the country. But that won’t happen without bipartisan support—and in some cases a constitutional convention. And Republicans have little incentive to adopt these reforms when they can consistently hold power without winning a majority of votes or appealing to a majority of Americans. Until democracy breaks them, they’ll continue to break democracy.

  8. As that article demonstrates, anyone who calls the USA a representative democracy is delusional.

  9. So the KKK Party have the Presidency, the House and the Senate and still more power need be given them because democracy is broken in the US ?

    OK, that’s one perspective.

    Their are others.

  10. So the KKK Party have the Presidency, the House and the Senate and still more power need be given them …

    Where did you pull that from? (Pardon my bile, but even your arse can’t be that diseased.)

  11. But to be fair it does demonstrate the thinking of a typical Republican (if a Queenslander can be a typical Republican).
    We are discussing making the system more representative of the people (ie more democratic) while Jumpy is talking about power.

  12. Brian, the relevance is that folk admit the US electoral system is gameable. The fact that Democrats ( yes, they are the KKK party, read some history books ) have all three lawmaking bodies ( till the mid terms at least ) indicates they gamed it more successfully than the Republican.

    And please don’t try to sell the “ not a scintilla of evidence “ that Democrats cheat their system too.

  13. Jumpy, by the same logic you would have to call the ALP the ‘White Australia’ party.

    As to Democrats gaming the electoral system, you really do have to provide evidence of that if you want to make that claim. Trump and his lawyers couldn’t do it.

  14. There is a question worth considering as to how easy it will be for Biden to govern now that the Democrats control the HoR, and have the casting vote in the Senate.

    First up, we are consistently told that to pass the impeachment motion in the Senate will require all democrats to stay firm, and 17 Republicans to vote in favour. In other words a ‘super majority of two-thirds of the Senate.

    That is a big ask, but not many Republicans who intend or are inclined to vote that way will signal their intention now, because life could become quite unpleasant for them.

    I understand that to vote in favour of prohibiting Trump running again would only require a simple majority. I don’t know, but assuming that is the case, Democrats would be unlikely to do that, because to do so without the super majority finding of unfitness would be like many authoritarian regimes which pretend to be democratic taking any high profile opposition out of play. It would be an unfortunate precedent.

    In the normal course of business, I’m told that a simple majority is all that is required for money bills. Even then, party voting is not as tight as it is in Australia, so nothing will be easy.

    If no money is involved, like for example, on immigration, then a degree of bipartisanship is required, because a united Republican party can obstruct indefinitely through the filibuster.

    I’m not particularly knowledgeable on these matters, and I don’t want to spend time researching the topic, so if anyone has a good link, we’d all be the wiser. However, it is generally thought that Joe Biden knows the game and how to play it better than most, but it won’t be easy.

  15. Brian

    Jumpy, by the same logic you would have to call the ALP the ‘White Australia’ party.

    Yes, exactly, don’t you ?
    And if not why not, race is use by the ALP/ greens ( including their media allies) at every opportunity ?

    Best to treat every individual Australian as equal I recon.

    I did provide evidence, a single person was arrested for posing as a Republican and harvested at least 5000 votes for Biden in Texas of all places.

    The same blind ignorance that still claim trump won’t condemn white supremacy, even though he has dozens of times, even in that Charlottesville speech.

  16. To address Jumpy in reverse order.

    I did provide evidence, a single person was arrested for posing as a Republican and harvested at least 5000 votes for Biden in Texas of all places.

    Raquel Rodriguez wasn’t “posing as a Republican” when she committed the alleged felonies. She was employed/contracted/paid (take your pick) by a Republican candidate who dropped her after her arrest. Project Veritas apparently has her on tape saying she was doing the bidding of Republicans who were agin Trump. (It certainly looks like Republicans all the way down).
    Since Texas voted well and truly for Trump her efforts benefited the Dems almost as much as the three attempts to fraudulently vote for Trump in Pennsylvania helped the Republicans.

    And please don’t try to sell the “ not a scintilla of evidence “ that Democrats cheat their system too.

    A mis-statement of my comments (quelle surprise!!).
    Jumpy actually claimed enough dead people voted to steal the election from Trump. He even informed us that in swing states they hadn’t voted down the ticket (so much for secret ballots).
    Despite repeated requests he provided no evidence. That’s right, not a scintilla (even though I wouldn’t be surprised if some Dems had committed voter fraud, but if they did they’ve got away with it).

    The fact that Democrats ( yes, they are the KKK party, read some history books ) have all three lawmaking bodies ( till the mid terms at least ) indicates they gamed it more successfully than the Republican.

    Gaining enough votes to overcome the Republican gerrymander and voter suppression is not “gaming” the system. (And yes I know there are Democrat gerrymanders as well, which is why when I commented I didn’t finger the Whig party.)

  17. This from “The Guardian” (some kind on news organisation):

    The Texas Republican senator John Cornyn warned on Saturday that Donald Trump’s second impeachment could lead to the prosecution of former Democratic presidents if Republicans retake Congress in two years’ time.

    Is that outrageous?
    Are they “making the rules up as they go along”?
    Yep, it can happen in any democracy.

    Mr Rudd brings in a rule making it harder to dump any ALP leader. (Well, that rule itself can be dumped if need be, by a simple majority in the Caucus. Nothing last forever, Mr Rudd.)

    The stories are legion that John of Kennedy, taken cruelly from us by an assassin (immediately canonised) in 1963, won the Presidency partly through electoral fraud in late 1960. Yes, looking at you Mayor Daley.

  18. Before Trump fades into the mists of memory, I wanted to draw attention to the heaps of analysis that has been going on picking the patterns in Trump’s rhetoric. I heard one on the radio who said his speeches had long been characterised by violence, a dehumanisation of his opponents, and a consistent attack on the truth of anything one might hear from anyone other than himself.

    The Conversation has a tag Trump rhetoric with 16 items.

    Roger J. Kreuz and Leah Cathryn Windsor have a piece How Trump’s language shifted in the weeks leading up to the Capitol riot – 2 linguists explain.

    They say that when he is in formal settings his speech is similar to Biden’s. However, they do find his speech around the 6 January event problematic.

    Katharine Gelber, Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Queensland, talking to Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens said that most countries had laws against incitement to riot, violence etc.

    There is a problem with metaphor. When Trump says this:

      “Fight like hell,” President Donald Trump implored his supporters. “And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

    does he mean literally “fight”?

    It seems that incitement is the main charge. However, the issue is not being judged by judges, it’s being judged by politicians. Apparently Biden does not think 67 senators will convict, and he is probably right.

    Biden does support the process being undertaken, and he is probably right about that also.

    Last night on Late Night Live the comment was made that Biden is a highly trained horse whisperer in the ways of politics of yore. However, that is now a redundant skill because he will be dealing with mad dogs.

  19. Interesting proposal for bypassing the electoral college: “The Electoral College Is Racist. Here’s How to Kill It Without a Constitutional Amendment.”
    The case for finally doing away with the Electoral College.” https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/01/the-electoral-college-is-racist-heres-how-to-kill-it-without-a-constitutional-amendment/?utm_source=mj-newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily-newsletter-01-28-2021
    (Keep in mind when reading this that the electoral college gives more power to voters in marginal electorates – Presidential candidates won’t promise much to states who are safe to one particular party.)
    Also keep in mind that this approach “gives permission” for states to ignore votes when awarding college votes.)
    Also keep in mind that much the same would be achieved if states split their college votes on the basis of the vote split instead of the current practice of using winner takes all when allocating college votes.
    Back to the article:
    ” But while Trump and his enablers attempted to use Congress to exploit the Electoral College, proponents of a national popular vote are trying a new strategy to reform it. Rather than amending the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College—which requires two-thirds approval from both the House and the Senate, as well as ratification by at least 38 states—advocates have formed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement between states to award all their electors to whomever wins the popular vote nationally. The compact only goes into effect once it has enough member states to actually decide an election. So far, 15 states plus DC have made the pledge: 74 electoral votes short of the 270 needed. No state with a Republican-controlled legislature has joined.”

  20. John, the Founding Fathers were fearful of a pure democracy, for good reason, so they created a Constitutional Republic instead.

    All this bullshit about trump being a threat to the Constitution while at the very same time trying to break it, again.
    The Democrats hate the inbuilt limitations on government that allow freedom and prosperity, always have but it’s the worst it’s ever been right now.

  21. John, the Founding Fathers were fearful of a pure democracy, for good reason, so they created a Constitutional Republic instead.

    Which raises a few questions, like
    1. What is the difference between a democracy and a republic?
    2. Are you saying the constitution is not democratic?
    3. What aspects of pure democracy did the founding fathers fear?
    4. Didn’t the founding fathers actually create a Democratic Republic? (Like North Korea and East Germany)

  22. Is Jumpy still saying Trump won the election ?

    Show the group where I said that trump won the election you lying sack of shit.

  23. Sorry Brian but if there’s one thing I hate it’s folk lying about me.
    And zoot does little else.

  24. Show the group where I said that trump won the election you lying sack of shit.

    So when you stated that dead people voted but only in the presidential election (in the swing states) you were actually just trolling because you accepted that Biden had won the election fair and square?
    And when you complained bitterly that the media referring to Biden as “President-elect” was premature you were just trolling, because you accepted that Biden had won enough states to win the Electoral College and was therefore the de facto President-elect?

    Pull the other one, it plays Jingle Bells. (BTW, your pants are on fire)

  25. (Barrel of monkeys doubles down on the lie.)
    Show us where you conceded that Biden won the election fair and square or retract.
    (Unlike you apparently we have memories, and no, your failure to master the English language does not exonerate you.)

  26. Jumpy, I often can’t figure out what you are saying. I think you are somewhat near the mark when you say the founding fathers were fearful of a pure democracy.

    I would suggest they had no real idea of a pure democracy. Remember it was basically property owning white males who had the vote. There weren’t many proper democracies around before bout 1920.

    However, the Electoral College was there to review what the voters had done – in the 18th century. Things have moved on a bit now, but we’ve been over that ground many times.

    I think it would be helpful if you stated whether you think Biden won fair and square or not, so that we can work out where you are coming from.

    Swearing doesn’t help.

  27. I heard today that the case would be powerfully put that to exonerate Trump would be to set the precedent that a sitting president who loses can do pretty much anything to prevent the outcome, with no penalty.

    It was suggested that when Republicans here what happened properly laid out, the case will be compelling, so we’ll see how all that turns out.

  28. Jumpy: “John, the Founding Fathers were fearful of a pure democracy, for good reason.” The “good reason” was that they did not want their slaves given the vote (despite all men being born equal) and really didn’t trust the masses to support the wishes of rich, white males.
    At the moment, the imperfections of the US form of democracy include:
    1. Makes it easier for the Republicans to win the presidency.
    2. Makes it harder for Afro-Americans to vote.
    3. Sideline from the main contest the votes of people who have the hide vote for minor parties.
    4. Makes it harder for states that strongly support one party to get attention and big promises from presidential candidates.
    5. Makes it too hard to remove a leader who is not performing.
    6. Gives too much power to a president during the handover period.

  29. Up thread I mentioned a program I heard where Katharine Gelber, Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Queensland, was talking to Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens about this whole affair.

    Leaving aside violence, she said the purpose of the insurrection was clearly to prevent the Senate in its routine task of certifying the Electoral College vote.

    As such it was a definite strike against the American constitutional form of democracy.

    She said that the generalised notion of “harm” is used in most laws around the world, which look at instigation and also limit ‘free’ speech. Such a generalise notion is necessary, so that the individual circumstances can be considered. Specifying things more closely would mean the too much would fall through the net.

    She pointed out that J S Mill was quite specific in realising that free speech must have limitations that protect others from harm.

    As the matter stands, she felt there was an open and shut case against Trump in terms of impeachment.

    If impeached, or even if not, I think, there is the possibility of prosecuting him legally under existing law. She would welcome that.

  30. I heard some of the Gelber conversation repeated last night. The whole issue is very complex, and difficult to deal with across the board. Stephens and Aly saw the language used to describe politics as problematic because it contains a lot of violence used as a figure of speech.

  31. Brian,

    I think it would be helpful if you stated whether you think Biden won fair and square or not, so that we can work out where you are coming from.

    My position is very similar to yours when trump became President. Yes biden is President but not fair and square at all. The difference is your doubts had a 2 year investigation and got nothing.

    I predict that after the midterms, the Republicans will be in a position to launch an investigation and we shall see.

    As for swearing, fuck zoots constant lying. Swearing may not add anything other than emphasis, zoots lying is a massive negative.
    Why you continually sanction it and run interference is a mystery to me if your goals with this blog are genuine.

  32. Yes biden is President but not fair and square at all.

    In other words, Trump was the real winner of the election.
    Thank you Jumpy.

  33. Jumpy: “Yes biden is President but not fair and square at all.” Dunno where you get all that from. A vague claim of fraud with no backup evidence and nothing found in requested recounts suggests it was just another bit of fakery from Trump.
    You did at one stage suggest that an increase in the vote proved something. This time around the non-white voters took an enormous amount of effort to vote because they believed that Biden was on their side just like he was when he was Obama’s VP.

  34. John, you still maintained that Putin got trump elected didn’t you ?
    As for non whites, your telling me they were more motivated than for Obama by 10 million ?
    The Hispanic and Asian votes disproves that straight up.

    I’m constantly amazed that the leftists view every single issue through a racial lens.

    Try Libertarianism for 5 minutes and realise race is of no consequence at all.

  35. John, you still maintained that Putin got trump elected didn’t you ?

    Err, no and even if he did how is that relevant?

    As for non whites, your telling me they were more motivated than for Obama by 10 million ?

    Err, why not? And that’s quite a racist statement, particularly for a “libertarian”.

    I’m constantly amazed that the leftists view every single issue through a racial lens.

    Err, no they don’t. But they also don’t recognise the racism that you ignore.

    Try Libertarianism for 5 minutes and realise race is of no consequence at all.

    It’s obviously of consequence for you, you spent three quarters of your comment on it.

  36. OK, I’ll do a deal.
    You give us evidence that Biden didn’t win the election fair and square and I’ll ignore your dribblings for a while.
    But there’s a caveat. It has to be evidence.
    Your gut feeling is not evidence.
    “Surely the black folks would have turned out more for a black guy” is not evidence.
    A Republican apparatchik confessing to swinging 5000 votes to Biden is not evidence.
    Otherwise you’re fair game.

  37. I should put that into English.

    Otherwise you’re fair game.

    translates as, “If you don’t provide real evidence, you’re fair game.”
    (There’s a few too many auxiliary clauses for the meaning to survive the construction I threw together)

  38. A Republican apparatchik confessing to swinging 5000 votes to Biden is not evidence.

    Of course it is for a sane individual.
    You won’t even believe the words out of bidens mouth when he said, AND I QUOTE! ,
    “We’re in a situation where we have put together, and you guys did it for our administration…President Obama’s administration before this. We have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics,”

    Don’t waste anymore of anyone’s time racist.

  39. We’re in a situation where we have put together, and you guys did it for our administration…President Obama’s administration before this. We have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics

    Talk about clutching at straws. Biden was talking about preventing voter fraud. Your failure to master English leaves you open to making completely stupid comments (like this).
    And the Republican apparatchik in Texas who may (or may not) have harvested 5000 votes for Biden did Biden no favours at all – he lost Texas. You need to provide evidence of Biden winning through illegal means.

  40. Jumpy, for the record, on Trump’s election, his success was obviously multi-factorial. He had to have a lot of things fall his way.

    However, leaving aside the quality of the Democrat candidate, I thought James Comey’s thing about the emails was decisive.

    On Putin, I think Mueller did a very solid and thorough report. Many have wondered about the personal interaction between Trump and Putin. Authoritarian personalities tend to dominate those below and suck up to those above.

    Biden will command respect, but does not seek to dominate. This transpired with Putin in 2011:

      “I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul,” Biden recalled telling Putin during a 2011 meeting in the Kremlin, according to the New Yorker magazine. “And he looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, ‘We understand one another.’”

  41. And if memory serves, the main discussion here re the 2016 election was how democracy was lacking if the candidate who lost the popular vote became the president.
    No-one was claiming enough dead people voted to swing the election; no-one argued that storming the Capitol to demand the disenfranchisement of millions of voters was a good thing; no-one claimed the votes were exported to foreign countries or that the voting machines automatically switched Clinton votes to Trump.
    As I remember it the consensus here was that Trump won the election fair and square but the system which allowed him to do this sucked. (But I may be wrong.)

  42. Haha, just did a trip down memory lane and found this gem,

    “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    H.L. Mencken, 1920

  43. One trouble is it’s firing off more Executive Orders than most Authoritarians, more than likely not even knowing what he’s signing.

  44. jumpy, the place was in a mess, with no Lisa Simpson in sight.

    If you think Biden doesn’t know what he’s doing, you underestimate him, but his strength, I think, is that he has gathered very competent people around him, and is not threatened by them.

  45. Haha, just did a trip down memory lane and found this gem,

    I remember digging it out of the vaults to mark the rise of Trump.

    (You must be a false flag, even libertarians aren’t that thick.)

  46. “Members of George W Bush’s administration leave Republican Party, calling it ‘Trump cult'” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-02/dozens-of-former-bush-officials-leave-republican-party/13110996.
    “Dozens of Republicans from former president George W Bush’s administration are leaving the party, dismayed by a failure of many elected Republicans to disown Donald Trump after the deadly storming of the US Capitol last month.”
    My take is that the Republican’s problems are driven by the primary voting system and the rise of the Tea Party rather than Trump as such.
    If Trump died of a heart attack tomorrow it would make little difference to the problems of the Republicans. It was the Tea Party that made Trump possible and it is the Tea Party that will make it difficult for moderate Republicans to become Republican candidates. (Think what would happen here if we had primaries with One Nation voters registering for the LNP.)
    The US might work better with preference voting. Gives room for voters to have more choice and provides a mechanism for both the old parties to split and reform.

  47. Warning: Jumpy may not agree. Then again he might be cheered up by a story on the rise of the extreme right in the USA.

    What a typical nasty greenie type of thing to say.

    ( little tip- Libertarians dislike the extremes on both ends. What’s more they’re in a prime position to recognise them )

  48. Jumpy: “What a typical nasty greenie type of thing to say.” I seem to remember things like support for claims of a false election result, sundry extreme Trump actions etc. but this may simply be a symptom of my ageing mind.

  49. The truest thing you have said in a while, Jumpy, is that “Libertarians dislike”.

    It truly defines them in typically self contradictory fashion.

  50. I’m bemused by Jumpy’s naive belief that Libertarianism sits somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum. It has completely escaped his notice that there are libertarians on the left as well as the right.

  51. The racist troll just accidentally made a valid point confirming my statement.

    So bemused it doesn’t even realise.

    Don’t ya just love it when that happens ?

    I do, a lot 🙂

  52. Jumpy: “John, not for a second did I put it down to the age of your mind if that’s any comfort.” Is that comment meant to be comfort or all about removing another of my excuses for engaging in the occasional attack on Jumpy world so called logic?

  53. The racist troll just accidentally made a valid point confirming my statement.

    Yes, there’s nothing like pointing out that there are libertarians at the extremes of the political spectrum to confirm your statement “Libertarians dislike the extremes on both ends.
    Well caught sir! What a stable genius you are.

  54. Good argument for holding people like Trump, Hawley and Cruz responsible for their incitement of the mob: if they’re not, they (or others) will do it again.
    Whatever happened to the “Law and Order” President and the “Law and Order” Party he supposedly led?

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