October 29, 2014

Asset Forfeiture – 3

Posted in Politics tagged , , , at 11:44 pm by gruundehn

The DEA and various Federal, State and Local police agencies have had so much fun with asset forfeiture that the IRS has joined in. Businesses that make frequent deposits of under $10,000 are being targeted according to reports and being shut down by having their accounts seized. In most, if not all, cases charges are never filed and the business owners have to fight the IRS in order to recover their money. And, of course, the IRS fights as hard as possible to keep the seized money.

The original asset forfeiture law was sold as a way to hurt drug cartels and dealers. It is almost never used against them but against ordinary citizens and businesses who do not have the resources to fight back. Increasingly the Federal Government, regardless of which party is in charge, is ignoring the 4th Amendment – prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures. If that protection goes what else among our protections against government abuse will disappear?

Governments are always power hungry. The Founding Fathers knew that having lived under the British Government with no written constitution. Look at the Articles of Confederation and see their initial reaction to government abuse of the people. The Constitution is a attempt to balance government power and individual freedom with the tilt towards individual freedom. But the government has been chipping away ever since. Government run schools provide government propaganda for the increase of government power, even when unconstitutional, and for the preservation of what power the government has seized already.

The government, at all levels, seizing assets without conviction of a crime in a court of law is one of the unconstitutional seizures of power. For some reason these seizures do not get much attention in the media but they exist and are a threat to the existence of private property rights. If you have your bank account only at the whim of the government, how can you plan for the future? How can you provide for your family? How can commerce continue?

If you read this, I ask you to take up arms (so to speak) and search out one instance of the IRS, DEA or whichever government agency seizing assets without conviction and publicize it as you can. Point out how this seizure is unreasonable and threatening to everyone in the community. This is the first time I have asked for public action on the part of anyone who reads this blog. This is an issue that could lead to violence on the part of the citizenry once it becomes too overbearing and if you and others can help stop it now, that can be avoided. At least I hope it can.

October 27, 2014

20th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , at 1:47 am by gruundehn

Today has been pretty good. I watched the Bengals win an important game and I don’t hurt as much as normal. I think I’ll watch the late game as well.

I spoke to the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday, nothing unusual about that since I often chew out the Board of Supervisors but this was the first time I got quoted in the media. Not the town’s main newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star (aka the Red Star) but a web paper. And of course I got misquoted. But at least it is a start, maybe next time when I say I am speaking on behalf of the Pima County Libertarian Party that part will get reported as well.

Speaking of the PCLP, our meeting was held last week and it went well. We are working on some outreach programs to increase membership and clout. I think when we start having speeches I’ll talk about the Drug War and how it is counter-productive. I know I work more on elections but, as has been pointed out, voting isn’t sexy enough for a public speech. At least, not at the start.

I started studying a book for The Community of Solitude – No Moment Too Small by Norvene Vest and so far it is interesting. I’m just reading the Introduction but it resonates quite a bit. Last year when I was in the recovery facility after my arm surgery I started reading The Rule of Benedict. I was struck by how much the general population could benefit from trying to follow the Rule even without joining a monastic community. The introduction of No Moment Too Small gave me much the same feeling, so someone else had that thought about the Rule. I’m going to read it a couple of times more, the Introduction, and get a strong feel for it and then report to Brother Gordon who is helping me find my way in the Community of Solitude.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones or sent to West Africa without proper training or equipment, especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Toni Sue Brooks, Catherine Brown, Alysha Collins, Oma “Sam” Guard, Ann Grisel, Sara Heitshu, Joyce Henderson, Jackson Loew, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Peggy Scott, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Alison Bower, William Brown, Sandy Fox, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Bill Morris, Maribel Ortiz, Cindy Osche, Peggy Southwick, Cody & family, Dave, Gloria, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Karl, Leah, Maureen, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Pat & Sam, Ruth, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need; for those who have died; for animal companions who have died especially Coco. I also ask that you pray for the millions of people who have been murdered, driven from their homeland or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: No Moment Too Small by Norvene Vest as well as the Sister Fidelma series.

What I’m watching: Just some news shows and The Flash – I like this one much better than the old one.

What I’m writing: I got some done on Magic in the Monastery but I’ll be concentrating on my D&D campaign for the near future.

October 23, 2014

Asset Forfeiture part 2

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 7:11 pm by gruundehn

With drugs being unlawful – that is, heroin, meth, marijuana, speed, etc., the price for them is high enough so that criminals control the market. Since prices are uncontrolled by anything approaching market forces the criminals can offer cheap drugs at the start and make up for that cheapness later. And it usually that higher price that is used to drive headlines when drugs are seized – the headline will scream that several thousand or even million dollars worth of whatever were seized by DEA or whomever last night or last week or whenever. And politicians, made greedy by that artificial value, go after the goods that were bought by that drug money.

Except that often they don’t go after drug lord’s assets they go after yours, if it happens to be something that they want. Tales of aircraft going to Los Angles (A known drug location), cash going to a custom car manufacturer (but it might be used for drugs) who typically require that payments be made in case, cash tainted with drug residue (95% plus of all $20 bills are thus contaminated according to one statistic I have read), a fancy car (only drug dealers have such a car) or whatever. It is easier for the government to go after you when you have something they want (and they want everything it seems) than it is to go after a drug lord who can afford the expenses necessary to fight while you can’t afford to prove the innocence of your property.

It is easy for governments to justify taking your property and they don’t even have to work hard. All they have to do now is just claim that your assets are somehow related to drug use or sales and they don’t have to prove this claim just make it, and they now own our property. And if you want to get it back, you not only have to prove that your property is innocent but you have to incur great expense in doing so.  You no longer own your property, it just hasn’t been confiscated yet.

This is how the War of Drugs has corrupted the police agencies and the politicians in part. The other part is that bribes and so forth are easy when you have such serious money coming in, just pick your politician and offer “silver or lead” and off you go. And even well-paid politicians accept bribes. As far as I know, the pay level does not affect the willingness to accept bribes.

October 20, 2014

19th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , at 12:42 am by gruundehn

So now I am officially an old man. My birthday last Tuesday was pretty much OK, I stopped paying attention to them years ago. However, this one being a milestone, I turned 65, I paid more attention to it.

My arm is still hurting, and now when I use it the elbow will give me a sharp pain sometimes. I haven’t been able to predict when so I am always surprised. The surgeon can’t find anything wrong with it. I don’t mind getting old, I do mind getting decrepit. And that is increasingly happening; my hip is starting to hurt as well.

Last Tuesday I was attending the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting and it was a disgrace. If the Board had acted more imperiously it would have been a farce. For those of you who read this, I don’t know how many live in Pima County or are activists in local government, so I won’t go into detail. I do plan on throwing a monkey wrench into the works this coming Tuesday though.

Last Friday was the monthly EIC meeting and one of the members ducked out halfway through, this member has been something of a troublemaker – he was the one who started the whole complaint about the Open Meeting Law a couple of months ago. He did make a comment though that indicated a change in position on one issue, he had been the staunchest defender of the plan to remove precinct scanners to save money and last Friday he pointed out that the scanners could be used as a security measure. Gee, myself and one other member had been pointing that out for months. Anyway, after the meeting I decided to visit a ROMAN catholic monastery and talk with someone about spiritual direction. I got there at 11:50 AM and the office closed at 11:30 AM. I can’t go tomorrow nor Tuesday so I will have to wait until Wednesday. I need to get my personal program going. I am a Postulant in the Community of Solitude and to advance to Novice I need to be under spiritual direction for at least six months. I am on this path and I intend to see it through.

For those of you who wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Dona Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Toni Sue Brooks, Catherine Brown, Alysha Collins, Oma “Sam” Guard, Ann Grisel, Joyce Henderson, Jackson Loew, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Jane Pundt, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Peggy Scott, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Alison Bower, William Brown, Sandy Fox, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Bill Morris, Maribel Ortiz, Cindy Osche, Peggy Southwick, Cody & Family, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Karl, Leah, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need; for those who have died especially Jonathan D. Walker, Andrew T. Weathers. Please give thanks for the baptisms of Kathy Liu & Eli Gardner-Starks. Also please pray for the millions of people who have been murdered, driven from their homelands, or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: Various religious books and the Sister Fidelma series.

What I’m watching: I watched the Bengals (Bungles) pretend to play football today and I am watching news shows and that is pretty much it except for Mythbusters Season 8 which I just bought and am watching.

What I’m writing: I did get a little bit done on Magic in the Monastery. but not much.

October 16, 2014

Government Takings

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 12:28 am by gruundehn

I have already spoken a bit on government seizing the property of people without cause, or warrant. Ever since the Federal Government declared war on drugs things have gotten bad for this country. No-knock raids where the police do not have to show a warrant, r perhaps even have one. The police can steal from you at a whim. Politicians gather power and pander to special interests. Taxes, another form of taking, are far too many and the total amount paid is probably higher than that a medieval serf paid.

The government, at all levels, seems to consider the population as a wallet brimming with money. And, as a wallet, useful only for that aspect. The government does not treat the population with respect, does not treat the population as if the population was composed of intelligent people, doe not consider the population as anything other than sheep for sheering.

The government takes our money, our property and our time with impunity and we do not get what the government is required to give us: protection and justice. Oh, we get plenty of feel-good programs that do nothing to solve whatever problem they are supposed to solve (and if a government program solved a problem, what would the government do with the now-surplus bureaucrats?) and we get plenty of meaningless hot air. Justice we do not get, protection we do not get.

The income tax is taken out of any wage packet on a weekly basis. This is to prevent you from realizing just how much of your salary – the food from your table, the new clothes you should have to replace the old clothes, and all the other things you cannot afford because of taxes – goes to feed the insatiable maw. You can decide what meets your needs better than some high-school graduate from Washington D.C. can. But that does not stop that bureaucrat from taking from you and deciding for you, and decide badly.

When you walk down the street, ride in your car, sit in your living room, or whatever you do wherever, the government is ready to pounce on you and take more of your hard-earned money / property just because it can and because you let them.

October 13, 2014

18th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , at 12:01 am by gruundehn

Well, I am sleeping a bit better and not oversleeping like last Sunday. But I’m not all that happy with how things have gone over the past week. Today the Bengals tied with the Panthers, it was a good game and I enjoyed watching it but I did not like the outcome (I wonder why). I am starting to think I may have gotten things wrong trying to enroll with Tricare For Life and stay with the VA. I’m going to have to go to the Social Security office sometime this week and get things straightened out. My arm has been bothering me more than usual this last week but nothing seriously painful yet. The Pima County Board of Supervisors took up a serious issue last Tuesday and then ducked it.

The issue that the Board of Supervisors took up and then ducked was spending taxpayer money on projects and agencies without a public vote. What four of the five members do is take some of the money budgeted for operating their office and give it to outside charities or agencies in the County government without voting on the diversion from what the money was legally obligated for. One supervisor did propose that a list of the diversions be made and publicized so people would know where the money went but the money is still being diverted without a public vote nor with a chance for the public to comment.

I spent some time evaluating my spiritual past. This was hard, I have never tried to do something like this before and it took a long time for me to think I accomplished something in this regard. I spoke with a Guardian of the Community of Solitude about this through emails and after some misunderstanding I think he understands why I was having problems with this. I have to find a Spiritual Director to help me along this road but I am happy to be on this road. It’s amazing just what a life looks like in hindsight. The Guardian spoke of spiritual growth but in the last email I sent I said that growth sounded like expansion in place and I think I prefer to taking a journey, going from one place to another even if I never reach the other place and am not sure about the road I am on.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military, especially those in combat zones, especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Erich Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Toni Sue Brooks, Catherine Brown, Oma :Sam: Guard, Ann Grisel, Joyce Henderson, Jackson Loew, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Barbara & Sam Reynolds, Peggy Scott, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Lee, Alison Bower, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Cody & family, Jerry & Rondy, Joel, Karl, Leah, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need; for those who have died; for animal companions who have died especially Coco. I also ask for your prayers for the millions of people who have been murdered, driven from their homelands or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma and various religious books.

What I’m watching: Not much of anything except some news shows and football.

What I’m writing: I got a little done on Magic in the Monastery but I think I’m going to have to set that aside and concentrate on my upcoming D&D campaign.

October 9, 2014

Drug War Confiscations

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 12:40 am by gruundehn

As part of the War on Drugs governments at all levels but most notoriously the Federal level have the power to seize drug assets. They do not have to charge anyone with a crime much less convict them and if you want to fight their violation of the 4th Amendment you have to prove that your assets are innocent, the Government does not have to prove that those assets are drug-related, just allege that it is so. And not even that really, just that your property or money MIGHT be used to buy drugs or is somehow possibly related to drug use.

One of the foundations of our Republic is private property and that such is inviolate without just cause. And yet, government propaganda has trained us to tamely give over our hard-earned property on a government whim. As long as the government can take our property on a whim, what is the difference between us and a group of slaves who cannot own property?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, where I discussed why judges are bad for our country, judges are supposed to protect us from the government but since they either are appointed by politicians who do not want a legal system that prevents them from gaining power, judges far too often act as if they are the tools of the government. When asset forfeiture laws should have been declared unconstitutional the day that they were passed judges go along and help steal your property.

Since asset forfeiture is a public act, there should be a paper trail that is available to the public. Want to bet? Try to discover what assets have been seized by your local government and for what reason. Trying to do so will probably get you in trouble. How much of the budget of your local police department comes from assets taken from citizens? Your police department has probably become corrupt enough to take what they want from you and your neighbors knowing that they will never be held accountable. The time is now to cause trouble for these crooks wearing badges and let honest cops protect you and your property.

October 6, 2014

17th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , at 3:57 am by gruundehn

I’ve had a horrible day today. Lately I have had trouble sleeping – my pattern has been sleep from about 9:30-10:00 PM to about 12:30-1:00 AM and then from about 4:30-5:00 AM until sometime around 9:00 AM. Today I followed that pattern until the last part when I slept until about 1:30 PM today. Needless to say I missed church and I was scheduled to be an usher today. Plus, I’m not sure how I’ll sleep tonight.

I had been watching the Bengals play the Patriots but got discouraged. The “Bungles” are back. I quit watching in the third quarter because it hurt to watch. It would take a team worthy of the best to come back and win and the Bengals didn’t even show flashes of that level of play. Oh well, 3-1 is still pretty good, even though 4-0 would have been better.

I was asked to provide a history of my spiritual development for the Community of Solitude and I am finding that to be a tough task. Doing a quick biography is no problem but sitting down and charting out how my past spiritual life has developed is hard. I have discovered things about me, maybe – I’m not too sure that what I have discovered is real or just something superficial – that I am not sure I like and things that I had never considered even considering such as do I like being in uniforms or is it just an interesting point that a lot of what I did in my life involved my wearing a uniform? I have to finish this trip down discovery lane and get set up to progress down life’s lane better suited for what comes.

I have been spending too much time on the internet watching cat and other funny videos. I spend a lot of time reading web comics also and I am getting annoyed with a few of those I have enjoyed reading. Yes, I realize that I read for free but I do try and buy merchandise, usually books, to support the web comic. But lately several of the ones I enjoy are just going slow or not at all. I saw an ad for one and it looked interesting (that is, of course, what ads do) and clicked to see what the comic was like. The latest comic was three years old. Some of the ones I read haven’t updated in months, and this includes some that have an update schedule of three times a week. I don’t complain often but it would be nice if the comic creator would let people know what is going on or not going on.

Since I missed church this morning and Grace-St. Paul’s didn’t put this week’s bulletin on their website I cannot give this week’s prayer list. I am continuing to use last week’s and I request that you do also.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma and various religious books.

What I’m writing: I got some done on Magic in the Monastery but I am going to have to shift to my upcoming D&D campaign to be ready for the start which is coming up fast.

What I’m watching: Not much of anything, I am still going through the Animaniacs an episode at a time.

October 2, 2014

Election Integrity

Posted in Politics tagged , , , , at 1:10 am by gruundehn

Voter . election fraud is becoming increasingly publicized. In the 2012 General Election North Carolina found, officially, 35,750 people who voted in North Carolina and at least one other State; an investigation group (not an official government investigation) found 40,000 and counting people who voted in Maryland and Virginia during the 2012 General Election; in 2011 52 people were convicted of voter fraud during the 2008 General Election. And this does not count the reports of people, Republicans mostly, who got to the polls and found that they had already voted – and they say that they had not voted an early ballot or voted earlier that day. Plus there were the reports of election department throughout the country giving a ballot to someone who was not the person that they claimed to be; this was done, of course, by an outside advocacy group. And just in the news is the report of a State Representative in New Hampshire charged with multiple counts of voter fraud.

Chicago in specific, and Illinois in general, are clichés for election fraud and I know of no effective effort to clean them up. And if you look at the efforts to stop voter ID laws and cleaning out old election rolls you find one specific political party at the forefront. I am speaking of the Democrats of course. Republicans are at the forefront for cleaning up elections and making them fairer and more honest. I do not believe that the Republicans are doing this out of sheer honesty, the Republicans believe that they will gain some benefit and they are probably right. The Democrats probably believe the same thing, cleaner elections will result in Republican gains and they also are probably right since both beliefs are two parts of the same thing.

I have yet to find where strong voter ID suppresses voter turnout, indeed the little evidence I have seen is the exact opposite. Personal ID cards are required for so many functions that claiming that demanding a personal ID is only for suppressing low income voter turnout should be ludicrous in the extreme but unfortunately it isn’t considered to be so. Why is that? I don’t want to sound like some right-wing nut-job but the claim that too many in the news business are committed Democrats would explain it. And that does not require some massive conspiracy just people staying with their inclinations.

If you vote, and I hope that if you do that you are an informed voter, do you like the idea that your vote is cancelled out by fraud? Isn’t voting too important to the life of America to allow it to be tainted without some effort to eliminate the taint?

September 29, 2014

16th Sunday after Pentecost, 2014

Posted in Personal tagged , , , , at 12:31 am by gruundehn

The weather here in Tucson looks like it is breaking, away from summer heat and into fall coolness. Normally the first really cool evening and night happens around Halloween but the temperature starts dropping around the middle of September and it is happening. The summer rainy season has been good but we didn’t get enough to overcome the shortfall from the winter rainy season deficit. Living in a desert does tend to focus one on the rainfall.

I watched the 49er’s / Eagles game because I don’t like the 49er’s and wanted them to lose but they didn’t. Why don’t I like the 49er’s? I am a Bengals fan and the Bengals made it to the Super Bowl twice, only to lose to the 49er’s. The Eagles just had no offence in the game and their defense and special teams couldn’t do enough to overcome the good game the 49er’s played. Since the Bengals had a bye week, at least they didn’t lose. When I wear my Bengals cap or my Bengals shirt in public I get a lot of comments about how good the team is doing. After all the years of bad teams this is nice.

My arm is still not healing right, but when I met with the surgeon I argued that the bone massager be given more time. I do not want to have another surgery on my arm. If this other surgery does happen then the rod presently in my arm gets taken out and a tube gets put on my arm and a bone graft gets taken from my hip and used to try to get the bone to heal properly. I am going to try to avoid that if at all possible and if I can’t avoid it, then I will put it off as long as I can.

I haven’t been sleeping very well this last week. I bought some sleeping pills a few weeks ago and try to avoid using them but I have had to use them on occasion. I don’t like them because even after a night’s sleep I am drowsy for the rest of the day. I hope that I can get back to normal sleep sometime soon.

One bad thing about my erratic sleeping pattern is that I am having trouble keeping to a prayer schedule. Since my sleeping has been sporadic and full of shorter sleep periods, almost long naps, when I try to meditate I fall asleep and again I am not getting my prayer schedule done as I should. With some luck and a better sleep pattern this will end soon I hope.

If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Dianne Bret Harte, Kitt Bret Harte, Toni Sue Brooks, Catherine Brown, Oma “Sam” Guard, Joyce Henderson, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Wendy, John & Lu Pipentacos, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Ed, Jay, Lee, Alison Bower, William Brown, Francesca Jarvis, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Ken Leuning, Ken McClain, Maribel Ortiz, Bishop Tom Shaw, Peggy Southwick, Dorothy & Marilyn, Janet, Jerry & Rondy, Sister Joan, Joel, Karl, Leah, Monica, Roman & Danitza, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Vince & Amy; for animal companions in need especially Poochini, Emma; for those who have died especially Betsy Bret Harte, Gerald Buckler, Eva Pipentacos, Sandra Chamberlain; for animal companions who have died. I also ask that you pray for Leah Still, the 4-year-old daughter of the Cincinnati Bengals player who is fighting cancer. I also ask that you pray for the millions of people who have been murdered, driven from their homeland, or otherwise persecuted by Muslims throughout the world, including those recently murdered here in America.

What I’m watching: I just bought the complete Animaniacs show and I’m watching the shows one at a time.

What I’m reading: Sister Fidelma mysteries and various religious books.

What I’m writing: I haven’t been able to get much writing done because of the erratic sleeping pattern I’m going through but I hope that I can get some serious writing done this week.

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