Archive for Joe Biden

These Things Come in Threes

Say it ain’t so, Joe:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has one more stop on what has become a Middle East apology tour in the wake of his impolitic answer to a Harvard student’s question: Saudi Arabia.

After apologizing to officials from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, Mr. Biden is trying to connect with Saudi leaders, a senior official said, to clarify that he did not mean to suggest that Saudi Arabia backed Al Qaeda or other extremist groups in Syria.

The vice president’s troubles began Thursday when he declared, in a question-and-answer session at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, that the biggest problem the United States faced in dealing with Syria and the rise of the Islamic State was America’s allies in the region.

Turkey, Mr. Biden said, has admitted allowing foreign fighters to cross into Syria, while Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia funneled weapons and other aid to Syrian rebels that ended up in the hands of Al Nusra, Al Qaeda and other extremist groups.

Stupid Joe: you don’t tell the truth in this administration. This is what happens if you do.

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Apology Tour

Not Obama’s (this time), Biden’s:

US Vice-President Joe Biden has apologised to the United Arab Emirates after suggesting it had fuelled the rise of extremist groups in Syria.

The White House confirmed the call to the UAE, a day after Mr Biden offered a similar apology to Turkey.

Mr Biden told the Harvard students on Thursday that Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia had extended “billions of dollars and tens of thousands of tonnes of weapons” to Sunni fighters battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

He called the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Sunday to offer his apologies, following a request from the UAE authorities for “a formal clarification” of the comments.

His remarks were “amazing and ignore the role of the Emirates in the fight against extremism and terrorism,” UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Mohammad Gargash said, quoted by state-run WAM news agency.

In the telephone call, Mr Biden said that his remarks “regarding the early stages of the conflict in Syria were not meant to imply that the UAE had facilitated or supported IS, al-Qaeda or other extremist groups in Syria”.

It is the second time in two days that he has had to call a key coalition partner to clarify his remarks.

On Saturday, he rang Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he reacted angrily to the comments, saying that if “Mr Biden used such language, that would make him a man of the past for me”.

It is not unusual for Joe Biden to speak his mind but recently he has found himself back-pedalling fast multiple times, says the BBC’s Tom Esslemont in Washington.

It’s hardly news that Biden is a knucklehead. But this episode reminds us of the fiction that he was supposed to be Obama’s sage counsel on world affairs. Obama thinks he’s a sager counsel than his sage counsels anyway (in the case of Biden, he’s not wrong).

I don’t see Biden’s offensive comments in his prepared remarks, so we have to go to the news media:

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem with Syria,” he said. “The Turks, who are great friends… the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down [Syrian President Bashar Al Assad] and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shiite war. What did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of weapons into anyone who would fight against Al Assad.

“Except that the people who were being supplied were [Jabhat] Al Nusra and Al Qaida and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world,” he added, naming Syria’s Al Qaida affiliate.

I don’t know, is Biden wrong? If he didn’t say this in his prepared remarks, was this his unfiltered view? What the hell is the matter with us if the vile, awful, antisemitic Turks are our “great friends”? If diplomacy is the art of disguising what you think, Biden is not your man. If you want a peek inside the mind (to be generous) of this administration, there’s no one better.

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The Casual Antisemitism Of The Vice President Of The United States

Shylocks, anyone?

Vice President Joe Biden “should have been more careful” in a speech when he used a term that some consider anti-Semitic, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday.
At a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation, Biden recalled anecdotes from his son’s experience serving in Iraq and meeting members of the military who were in need of legal help because of problems back at home.

“That’s one of the things that he finds was most in need when he was over there in Iraq for a year,” Biden said, “that people would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being...I mean these Shylocks who took advantage of, um, these women and men while overseas.”

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman issued a mild reprimand later Tuesday.
“When someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden, uses the term ‘Shylocked’ to describe unscrupulous moneylenders dealing with service men and women, we see once again how deeply embedded this stereotype about Jews is in society,” Foxman said in a statement, first reported by Yahoo News.

Who is Shylock?:

The name “Shylock” derives from the name of the antagonist in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.” Shylock, a Jew, was a ruthless moneylender in the play, and he’s remembered for demanding a “pound of flesh” from the merchant Antonio if he failed to repay a loan.
“Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day,” Foxman said. “The vice president should have been more careful.”

Let me give you a quick timeline of Shylock. In 1290, all of the Jews of England were expelled. Why? Due to Medieval Christian laws, they were not permitted to own property or to farm; instead they were required to loan money with interest, so that the King could take whatever he wanted (or felt he needed) from the interest charged. Christians were not allowed to loan money, only Jews. So, prior to the expulsion, the Jews were necessary to running the economy, but eventually the Kind needed everything that they had, and so they were expelled. (This dynamic occurred in the Hitler era. See Gotz Aly’s great study: Hitler’s Beneficiaries.) For a good overview of the economy surrounding the expulsion, check out the wiki link.

In 1657, 350 years later, Oliver Cromwell allowed the Jews to return to England.

Think about the years the Jews were absent from England – 1290 to 1657. And when, Gentle Readers, was the Merchant of Venice written? Scholars date it to 1596-1598. This means, of course, that neither Shakespeare nor anyone living during his time had ever met a Jew. They just hated because that’s what Christians did, that’s what Brits did, think about it as you will.

And today we read about our deeply ignorant and cynical Vice President blaming the housing crisis on Jews.

– Aggie

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When You Want Something Done Right

You have Joe Biden do it:

“They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice,” he forcefully told an audience at an event on the New Hampshire-Maine border. “Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside.”

Not bad. And he wasn’t done:

Describing the perpetrators as “barbarians,” Biden vowed that Americans would not be frightened or intimidated by the heinous acts.

“We came back after 9/11. We dusted ourselves off and we made sure that Osama bin Laden would never, ever again threaten the American people,” Biden said. “We came back Boston strong, blaming no one but resolve to be certain that this didn’t happen again.”

“As a nation, we’re united, and when people harm Americans, we don’t retreat,” he later said. “We don’t forget.”

I’m glad to know we finally have a strategy!

Or do we?

Obama said they do have a regional strategy. Ultimately, he said, “our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it is no longer a threat not just to Iraq but also the region and to the United States.”

He clarified that if the U.S. is joined by an international coalition, they can “continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.”

What happened to “the gates of hell”? What happened to “we don’t retreat”, “we don’t forget”?

What else in the Middle East is “manageable”? Iraq? Syria? Iran? We can’t even “manage” our embassy pool in Tripoli.

Obama tried. His prepared remarks said we would “degrade and destroy” ISIS—which is already a mixed signal. Degraded is not destroyed; destroyed renders degraded irrelevant.

He ended up reiterating his original statement. Gates of hell, degraded, destroyed, managed—if you’ve got several strategies, you’ve got no strategy.

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The People Who Brought You the Weekend…and Low Productivity

I could not let Labor Day pass without my own tribute to the sacrifices made by the working men and women of this country.

I’m so sorry you had to sit through this:

Vice President Joe Biden railed against corporations in a combative Labor Day Parade speech in Detroit with union bosses and their members in attendance – speaking with such passion that even when he made up the name of a fictional historical American president the crowd applauded.

“Why do CEO’s now make 333 times more money than the line worker when back when [WAGER?] was president, they made 25 times what the line worker,” Biden said (10:40). “What happened? What happened?”

President who? Wager? President Way-gur? Did the vice president start saying “Reagan” and then realize halfway through that he shouldn’t? Or did he just make the name up?

But it wasn’t the text that tripped Biden up. It was the optics.

Untitled

Even on Labor Day, it’s not a good look to appear next to someone named “Jimmy” and “Hoffa”.

This is how you do populism for the folks:

We used to call that a “work shirt”. I don’t know what made it a work shirt, but it had to be blue. Check.

But what about the background guys, so heavily vetted by the Obama PR machine? AFSCME I get: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. SEIU in green shirts, instead of purple.

But what about the guy in the red shirt with the clenched fist? What’s that all about? I thought Obama was the first Post-Clenched-Fist™ president.

And the symbolism! Soviet Communism, anyone?

A-ha!

Now it all makes sense.

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Transparent Hypocrisy

Everything Barack Obama touches turns to dreck: it’s the reverse Midas touch. What a pleasure it has been lately watching his reputation swirl down the cistern where dreck belongs:

Right now, here ON THE RECORD, fired “New York Times executive editor, JILL ABRAMSON.

While working at “The New York Times” and after decades of covering presidential administrations, Abramson calling President Obama’s White House the most is he secretive White House that she’s covered. And she’s not the only one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BYRON YORK, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: This is not the most transparent administration in history.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will make our government open and transparent.

One of the things I want to do is open things up. I want transparency. I want accountability.

BOB CUSACK, MANAGING EDITOR, ‘THE HILL': This White House came in saying we’ll do things differently, we’ll change Washington. They didn’t change Washington.

OBAMA: The more transparency we can bring to Washington, the less likely it is Washington will be run by lobbyists and special interests.

Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.

A.B. STODDARD, ‘THE HILL': He’s broken a promise.

OBAMA: This is the most transparent administration in history.

VAN SUSTEREN: You said have this administration is the most is the secretive. What is your support? Why do you say that?

ABRAMSON: I think it’s easy to demonstrate that that’s true, starting with — I love the name of your show, “ON THE RECORD.” I have never dealt with an administration where more officials — some of whom are actually paid to be the spokesmen for various federal agencies –demand that everything be off the record. So that’s secretive and not transparent.

But the most serious thing is the Obama administration has launched eight criminal leak investigations against sources and whistleblowers. And they have tried to sweep in journalists, including – it’s almost the one- year anniversary exactly that your college, James Rosen, had his record secretly looked at by the government in a leak investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it profoundly different thought than the other administrations?

ABRAMSON: It is profoundly different. Before these cases, these eight cases, and all of history, there have been fewer than half of those. And so it is different.

So, this has been an historic administration, after all.

Oh, and about “not changing Washington”, there is agreement:

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: This is within our power to change. Everybody says because we tried in ‘08 and it didn’t happen, it’s not possible.

Give yourself a little credit, Joe. You changed Washington plenty. Never before has an administration that “ended” two “wars” and governed over a five-year “recovery” been so wretchedly unpopular. If you guys were the ones we were waiting for, I wish we had been less patient.

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“Bite Me” Bites

Having gone to public schools back in the day, I’ve seen my fair share of schoolyard fights. I wasn’t a fan back in the day.

But today, I’m making popcorn:

A panel of political analysts on CNN’s New Day on Monday observed that Vice President Joe Biden took a veiled shot at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the weekend by criticizing former President Bill Clinton’s time in office. The political reporters on CNN detected that Biden is behaving like a 2016 candidate, whereas Clinton is not. They further noted that Biden is making some of the same arguments against Clinton that President Barack Obama made during the 2008 Democratic primaries.

Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser on Saturday, Biden told the audience that the divide between the rich and the middle class in America did not begin to expand to the rate it has today in the Bush years but during the Clinton administration.

“This is sort of the case that then Senator Barack Obama made against Hillary Clinton back in ’08,” The Atlantic’s Molly Ball said. “Biden, in public settings, makes the same sort of argument for like the blue-color, economic populist strain.”

“All the stuff that Hillary Clinton is not doing right now, Joe Biden is doing,” New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin asserted. “Is he doing it because he’s going to run, or is he doing it because he wants to be positioned in case she doesn’t run? Probably the latter.”

Speaking of people not running:

Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a closed-door fundraiser in South Carolina Friday and delivered what one attendee called “an Elizabeth Warren-type speech” about the struggles of America’s middle class, remarks that were well-received by a room full of influential primary state Democrats.

What does that mean? A hackneyed, cringe-making spiel that employed the word “hammered” more than “If I Had a Hammer” and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” combined? Hillary must be laughing.


What difference, Joe, at this point, do you make?

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Is This Serious?

I can’t tell, but I think so:

If there’s any suspense left about the Democratic primary in 2016, it largely revolves around whether an economic populist will challenge Clinton from the left. The prospect of Elizabeth Warren entering the race tantalizes many liberals. But since Biden’s not an anti-Wall Street crusader, his potential candidacy sparks barely any interest at all. That’s too bad. While a Warren candidacy would spark one valuable debate inside the Democratic Party—about government’s role in the economy—a Biden candidacy would spark another: about America’s role in the world.

Laughingstock, you mean.

Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden represent opposite poles. Hillary’s a 1990s-style hawk. Although she and Bill came of age during the movement against Vietnam, they both grew far more comfortable with American military force during his presidency. In her first memoir, Clinton describes having supported America’s interventions in both Bosnia and Kosovo. As first lady, she lobbied for Bill to appoint Balkan hawk Madeleine Albright as his second-term secretary of state.

If Hillary’s a hawk, I’m Anastasia, Czarina of Russia. Ask Chris Stevens if she’s a hawk. Ask the missing girls in Nigeria.

Biden’s worldview, by contrast, is more shaped by what came before and after the Clinton years. In a 2012 interview with James Traub, he mentioned his reverence for George Kennan, who for decades during the Cold War warned that global containment was producing American overstretch. Traub notes that Biden’s “foreign-policy heroes—men like Brent Scowcroft and James Baker—are, in effect, Kennan’s sons.” Scowcroft and Baker, it’s worth remembering, resisted the intervention in Bosnia that helped make Clinton a hawk. Nor did not they pursue Saddam Hussein’s ouster at the end of the Gulf War, something to which Bill Clinton committed himself in 1998.

Leaving Saddam in power was a good idea? That was typical of Baker’s corporitist attitude toward American might. Why solve a problem once and for all when it can be managed? If Iraq had to suffer another decade under the Saddam and his boys, so what?

Although Biden, like Clinton, supported the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq…

Okay, I’m done. What are we even arguing anymore? [bleep] the author for wasting as much of my time as he did. And [bleep] me for wasting yours.

A Biden candidacy…give me a break. Pull the other one, as the Brits say, it’s got bells on.

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Out: “Nobody Messes With Joe” In: “Joe is a Hot Mess”

You may have seen in the news a couple of days ago Joe Biden’s inspiring words in Boston on the anniversary of the marathon.

You probably didn’t see this:

It was worth it?

To the Richard family? To Jeff Bauman who would have bled out from his femoral artery had total stranger Carlos Arredondo not clenched shut the gushing orifice.

Their stories are inspiring. But they would rather have lived lives of quiet desperation the past year than have served as inspiration to this maroon. Four of them would rather have lived, period.

Bashing Biden isn’t the point; everyone knows he’s a dolt. But the media covering up for him is a big effing deal.

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WAH! Women Against Hillary!

Remember that woman who hounded people in power whom she claimed had lied to her and the American people about how and why her son died? What was her name again? Shee… something?

Smith! That’s the broad!

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a sudden scheduling change related to her appearance in San Diego on April 11, 2014 at a major healthcare conference.

Local residents made aware of Hillary Clinton’s coming to San Diego organized a protest rally addressing the former Secretary’s role in what has been termed the Benghazi Cover Up. According to Pat Smith, mother of one of the fallen heroes Sean Smith, attendees were given a notice last week that Hillary’s appearance as Key Note Speaker had been changed to a satellite presentation.

Mary Kafka, one of the women organizing the protest rally addressed a group of about 75 people in Ramona, CA on Saturday March 29, 2014. Kafka stated that Hillary’s change of plans would not stop the protest from happening.

Lynette Williams, another one of the organizers and long term San Diego resident, attributed Hillary’s appearance by satellite instead of in person a result of the protest. Williams also raised the question as to whether Hillary’s schedulers saw the attendee list which included Pat Smith.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 23, 2013, in questions related to the facts surrounding the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Hillary Clinton angrily retorted “What difference…does it make?” On April 11, 2014, concerned citizens will let everyone know The Difference Matters.

Mrs. Smith, meet Mr. Woods:

He said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — despite signs early on that militants were behind the attack — pledged to him at that event that she would pursue the maker of an anti-Islam film that had been linked to other protests.

“Her countenance was not good and she made this statement to me … she said we will make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted,” he said on radio host Glenn Beck’s online show, adding that she also apologized.

Woods said he “could tell that she was not telling me the truth.”

Which is different…how?

Woods also described encounters on Sept. 14 with Vice President Biden and President Obama.

He claimed that at one point, Biden came over to him and said, “in an extremely loud and boisterous voice, ‘did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?'”

Woods said in the Beck interview: “I will ask you the question, is that the voice of someone who is truly sorry?”

In a separate interview with radio host Lars Larson, Woods said shaking Obama’s hand was “like shaking hands with a dead fish.”

To be fair, if Obama had to give a firm handshake to everyone whose son or daughter died on his watch, he’d have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Who remembers any of this stuff? In one ear and out the other. It has to be our own kid left by his country to die before we pay attention. Even Cindy What’s-her-name is long forgotten.

But not here:

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Cause and Effect

Cause:

Stepping into a region on edge, Vice President Joe Biden came to Poland on Tuesday to reassure anxious allies that the U.S. will stand up to Russia’s aggression in neighboring Ukraine, even as Moscow brushes aside sanctions and stern warnings from the West.

Effect:

Russian President Vladimir Putin and officials from Crimea signed a treaty Tuesday to make the Black Sea peninsula part of Russia, just two days after it voted to secede from Ukraine in a referendum the United States and the European Union call “illegal.”

Mr. Putin signed the document with the prime minister of Crimea’s regional government, the speaker of Crimea’s parliament, and the mayor of the Crimean city of Sevastopol, where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based.

Hours later, Russian and Ukrainian news media quoted a Ukrainian military spokesman as saying that Russian forces had attacked Ukrainian troops at a base in Crimea’s main city, Simferopol, killing one serviceman.

Be afraid, Poland. Be very afraid.

PS: What’d Biden say to the Polish guy? “This is a big fu*king deal!”?

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Bite Me Bites Back

You might think a lengthy profile of Joe Biden would be as worthwhile an investment of time as, say, darning socks. But you’d be wrong. At least you’d get more life out of the socks.

But Biden’s descriptions of the good-for-nothing president are priceless:

Gore, Klain concluded, had erred by putting himself in a silo, owning only a few issues (the environment and a “reinventing government” project). That won him headlines but limited his impact and eventually exacerbated his estrangement from Clinton in 2000. Klain counseled Biden to embrace a much more ambiguous role that fit Biden’s take-it-as-it-comes personality, urging him to undertake, in Biden’s words, “every sh[*]t job in the world” that Obama didn’t want to do.

Fortunately for Biden, there was a whole lot Obama didn’t want to do, from managing the withdrawal from Iraq to babysitting unreliable and paranoid Afghan President Hamid Karzai and dealing with a squabbling Senate that Obama had been only too happy to leave.

“I have a fu[*]king target on my back,” Biden told a confidant after the 2012 budget deal. He was right.

“When the president asked me what portfolio did I want, I said, ‘Base it on what you want of me to help you govern,’” Biden recalled in our conversation. “‘But I want to be the last guy in the room on every major decision. … You’re president, I’m not, but if it’s my experience you’re lookin’ for, I want to be the last guy to make the case.’” For the most part, Biden adds, Obama kept the promise.

The problem with that approach soon became clear, however: It imposed a loyalty tax of sorts, saddling Biden with a jumble of lost causes Obama wanted to offload.

You mean Obama wanted to offload MORE than Iraq, Afghanistan, and Congress?

In 2009 and 2010, [Biden] was tasked with selling the administration’s massive but unpopular $787 billion economic stimulus bill, headlining an ill-timed “Recovery Summer” tour when public sentiment was souring on big government, and stumping for doomed Democratic congressional candidates facing the incipient Tea Party revolt. Later, Biden would be called upon to sell Obama’s never-going-to-happen jobs bill and to quarterback a futile effort to pass even modest gun control measures in the wake of the 2012 Newtown, Conn., school massacre. In each of these instances, Biden counseled Obama and his team to take bolder action, and privately expressed puzzlement that Obama wasn’t more vigorously selling accomplishments like his health care law. But to no avail.

Was there anything Obama did do?

Senate Democrats were skeptical of his role, but Biden was undeniably a player, not least because of Obama’s inability—or unwillingness—to cultivate meaningful long-term relationships across the aisle.

Obama was a senator, albeit only for four years (less, when you consider he was running for president for at least two years); yet we are told he didn’t care to cultivate relationships, indeed, “had been only too happy to leave” the chamber.

So, WTF did Obama do? Run for reelection:

As Obama’s first term drew to an end and the 2012 campaign geared up, Biden seemed to recognize he needed to move beyond his tiny circle if he wanted a political future. Yet nearly every move to expand his political team was blocked by Obama’s sharp-elbowed protectors, according to several Biden and Obama aides I interviewed. If there was a moment when Biden could have asserted himself as a free agent, willing to buck the president’s political team, it came (and went) in 2011. Biden didn’t ask for much, just a few side trips to see potential 2016 donors, a schedule that took him to battleground states where he could build his blue-collar brand. But Obama’s campaign hands set the tone early on: This was an all-for-one operation, and the one was Barack Obama, not Joe Biden.

In the fall of 2011, Biden’s top in-house political aide at the time, Alan Hoffman, quietly added a few dinners with top Hollywood and Silicon Valley fundraisers onto a previously scheduled January 2012 trip to the West Coast. When Obama senior adviser David Plouffe and campaign manager Jim Messina caught wind of the plan, they shut it down. Plouffe was tasked with laying out the ground rules and told Biden that everything he said or did needed to be cleared with the Chicago campaign headquarters first. “We can’t have people going off doing things on their own,” Plouffe told Biden. “Everything has to be part of the larger plan.”

There’s tons more; I haven’t even scanned it all. But you get the point. Biden had to do every [bleep] job Obama asked of him while the president reamed through (sorry, rammed through) ObamaCare and campaigned for 2012.

But if this story isn’t Biden’s revenge, I don’t know what is. As Obama himself noted, nobody messes with Joe.

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