Archive for the ‘Freethinking’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Cruz Control

cruz-goldman-sachs

 

Seriously, How Can Ted Cruz Supporters Defend This?…“:

Earlier today Ted Cruz sent out a blitz of fundraising emails on the heels of his Iowa victory.  Here’s an example (screen grabbed), and pay attention to the two bullet points Cruz puts at the bottom of email:

<Snipped> Damning graphic evidence of baldfaced lies, with supporting links. Go see for yourself…

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PostHeaderIcon Europe’s Betrayal of Women

Pat Condell is on the mark as usual; but pay close attention starting at about 1:30, when he equates current Muslim barbarism with that of Europeans 500 years ago:

… I found that insight profound. Then, I’m afraid his conclusion is inescapable.  See also: “Dark Ages II“… â—„Daveâ–º

 

 

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PostHeaderIcon Letting My Imagination Run Free

In addition to the drivel I post here, my aging mind rambles in many other directions – none of them in the least productive, but, at least it helps keep the old gray matter a bit more pliable.

For instance, I was just thinking about another great paradox (doesn’t most of human life seem to be exactly that?). In this instance, it occurred to me that (IMHO) the greatest tool for the enhancement of individual liberty occurred in the latter half of my own life. I refer, of course, to the Internet. Yet, this great tool for enhancement of liberty, via unfettered communication, occurred at the same time that so many people have been dumbed down to the point where they really have nothing worth saying (or hearing). Your typical combined miracle and tragedy. So, the Internet is used, primarily, for useless drivel. Just think of it. At no other time in human history would it be likely that a small group of people, like the participants in this blog – people who will probably never know each other as physical human beings, nevertheless can come together to discuss whatever amuses us.

Then I think – what if the Internet had been invented in the late 18th century? Imagine Tom Paine distributing his pamphlets to the world, not just to a handful of revolutionaries? Imagine that Jefferson could have participated, real time, in the drafting of our Constitution even though he was on another continent and on another mission at the time. Myriad similar examples abound.

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PostHeaderIcon The Basic Fallacy Of ALL Belief Systems

Today I propose to you that all belief systems share a common fallacy when, instead, they should share a common truth.

Let us imagine that I am greatly troubled (as I sometimes have been in the past) about the origin of this universe. So, seeking a quiet place to ponder, I find myself in a place reserved for the practice of Judeo-Christian worship. As I sit there pondering, a priest/minister/rabbi of that particular sect approaches and asks me the nature of my obvious pondering. I explain and receive the apparently definite answer that this universe, and all it contains was created by a being they call God. Have I received the ultimate answer to the mystery of this universe? No. Only I now ponder about the origin of God.

Later, I find myself in the presence of a renown scientist. One who has truly delved deeply into the physics of this universe. I repeat my yearning to know the origin of this universe. The scientist treats me to a lengthy description, most of which is quite beyond my ability to comprehend, about how all the material that existed started to collapse upon itself due to an ever strengthening gravitational force. Finally, all that matter is condensed down to almost nothing – to a state where, rather than condense further, all it can do is explode in the greatest explosion this universe has ever seen. Then, as the detritus from that explosion started to cool, it started processes that ultimately produced this universe. Do I now know the ultimate answer to the mystery of this universe? No. Now I am even more confused because I have no idea where that matter came from to begin with much less how gravity came to be.

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PostHeaderIcon A Possible Means Of Creation

Many people earnestly believe that our universe (multiverse?) and all within it were the result of a conscious act by an intelligent being. I propose to describe, in this article, a possible method whereby that might really have happened, devoid of any and all acts by that dynamic duo Hocus and Pocus.

I begin with a fact that is self-evidently true… if there was/is a creator, that creator pre-existed that which it created – in this case, the present universe which we inhabit. That being true, it must be equally true that the creator of this universe is not OF this universe, therefore any attempt to “know” anything about said creator is doomed to failure. This is because all our ability to “know” or to “describe” anything is based on the known laws of this universe, leaving us helpless to “know” or “describe” anything outside this universe where whatever laws may exist are unknown to us.

Having established that basis, let us try to agree that there are two primary methods by which this universe might have been created. The first, which I will label the “Zap! – Zam! – Viola! method which, of course would depend on magic (the “creator” having magically “created” everything in this universe via supernatural methodology). Since it is impossible to have a rational discussion on any subject that necessarily includes superstition, the supernatural or mysticism, I reject this method.

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PostHeaderIcon Liberty or the State

Liberty or the State

Choose one. Only one. They are mutually exclusive.

It is interesting how both sides of our Incumbrepublocrat duopoly have very different visions of the purpose and utility of the State. Yet, both staunchly defend the existence of the Federal Government, as absolutely necessary to protect our rights and freedom. Of course they do, their cushy jobs are on the line; yet, a good many actually believe they are doing good works, in their life-long struggle to save their own vision of America, from their opponents’ strident agenda and goofy ideology. It seemingly never occurs to any of them, that if they simply shut it down and went home, most of their ‘worthy’ causes would evaporate for lack of opposition, and they would never be missed by the vast majority of a much relieved population.

What would happen if we stopped legitimizing their oligarchy? What if nobody bothered to attend the carefully choreographed kabuki theater performances they call ‘elections?’ Without our dutifully voting for the least objectionable candidates offered, they could not claim a ‘mandate’ for their ‘vision,’ and claim the mantle of ‘leader’ for their ‘constituents.’ The most important statistic worth noting in post-election polling, is how many eligible voters chose ‘none of the above,’ by the simple expedient of boycotting the sham election.

For most of a long interesting life, I have generally been an upstanding American Patriot. I wore the US Army uniform for three years back in the mid ’60s, and then a peace officer’s badge in three different small towns for several years after that. Each of these ‘government jobs,’ required that I swear an oath to defend our country and its Constitution “from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It never occurred to me back then, to question the legitimacy of the Federal government, or its moral authority to make laws governing our conduct. Neither did I question the basis of my sworn duty to enforce them. Everyone must obey… “it’s the Law!”

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PostHeaderIcon A Plea For Sanity

If you have not encountered the Canadian philosopher Stefan Molyneux, it is time to get acquainted. This resonates with my current worldview on so many levels:

…let me know how his timely message strikes you. â—„Daveâ–º

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PostHeaderIcon A Quick Observation

For some time, I have been amazed that, in spite of all the revelations of dishonest behavior, around 40% of Americans seem to believe that Hillary Clinton is honest.

Then I remembered that around 80% of them believe there is a god.

Maybe not so amazing after all.

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

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PostHeaderIcon How Many Tempests Can A Teapot Hold?

The tempest of the day/week seems to be the Planned Parenthood situation.

Before getting into that, a bit of a disclaimer – as I have written elsewhere in this forum, I am a bit conflicted on the abortion issue. For starters, I do not think it is a simple thing. That is to say, there is no way a blanket rule can effectively address all the possible wrinkles in any given abortion decision. For this reason, I consider the decision to be one that belongs to the individuals directly involved, hopefully with professional input to help them come to the best decision circumstances will allow.

That said, there are several aspects of the abortion issue that I am flatly against. First, I do not think abortion should be used as a sort of after-the-fact birth control method for the convenience of the irresponsible. There are simply too many effective ways to prevent pregnancy, many of them freely available to any and all who want or need them. Second, I object to the killing of any fetus that is developed to the point where it might well be able to exist outside the womb. Third, I think that the so-called “partial birth abortion” is simply a socially acceptable term for what is actually infanticide.

Now, the Planned Parenthood (PP) fiasco… Is there any thinking person in this country that does not understand that PP is primarily a collection of abortion clinics? And further, do any of us fail to understand that their operations have been considered legal by both the states and the federal government? Sorry, no mystery there and no news either.

This leaves us with only 3 valid points of contention in this matter:

First, should taxpayer funds be used to help support the operation of PP, and,

Second, should the byproducts of the abortion process be used to harvest potentially usable cellular material, and,

Third, should PP be allowed to sell said cellular material to help fund their operation?

IMHO, the first point is the simplest to consider. A large number of the women who want and/or need abortions are from the lowest income brackets in our nation. Callous though this may sound, it is much more cost effective for the taxpayer to fund such abortions than it is to fund the many expenses associated with unwanted babies born into poverty. Given the crime that almost always results as these unwanted, uneducated, un-cared-for babies mature, it is also, again IMHO, more moral in that it very likely results in less pain and harm to fewer people – over the long run.

The second point – the harvesting of potentially usable material from the aborted fetal remains – is, to me, the most interesting of the issues we are confronted with. Given that the fetus has already been rendered dead by the process, it seems to me that primary thing to which many might object to on moral grounds has already been done (the extinguishing of life). I fail to see how wasting material that potentially has great potential to help the living makes any moral sense. However could burning or even burying the remains add any moral value for anyone? It seems obvious, to me, that finding some potential value in an otherwise unfortunate situation is more moral than rendering the entire transaction a total waste.

The third point – the selling of the material in question – strikes me as an odd thing over which to find a point of contention at all, especially for those who wish to withhold taxpayer funds from PP. If the material can be sold, why not do so, thereby reducing the funding needed from taxpayers? After all, huge industries are based on the sale of dead animal parts for human consumption. Doesn’t the sale of dead animal parts for scientific/medical purposes seem more moral than wholesale slaughter simply for our dining enjoyment?

Of course, my answers to these questions are based on what I hope is a rational thought process whereas the tempest in this matter seems to be nothing more or less than conclusions reached through an emotional process devoid of rational thought. Sadly, this seems to be the way almost all of the issues of the day are addressed. But, what else might we expect from a population that has been intentionally “dumbed down”?

I still remember a conversation held some years ago where a quite sincere lady sitting across a dinner table from me tried to explain how it was an absolute sin to kill innocent creatures. This between bites of medium-rare cow flesh.

Just for the change, why not try thinking about these things instead of feeling about them? Otherwise, you subject yourselves to emotional herding.

Troy L Robinson

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PostHeaderIcon Free Speech on Campus

I can’t think of anything that needs to be added to this indictment:

 

 

…but I sure wish college students could be required to watch and absorb it. â—„Daveâ–º

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PostHeaderIcon Islamic Hate Speech

It seems like half of the PC arguments these days are over what we should or should not say in regards to uncivilized violence by angry young men screaming “Allahu Akbar.” Whether the Jihadi interpretation of the holy writs of their Islamic religion is correct or not, seems rather immaterial to me. They proudly claim they are acting as righteous martyrs on behalf of their god, as directed by their revered prophet Mohammed. Having done a bit of study of the Qur’an and Hadith, I am inclined to accept that they fervently believe that.

I have encountered countless Christians who believe their Holy Bible is the unerring literal word of their God. That modern enlightened Christians can accept that Earth is exceedingly more than ~6,000-years-old, and that “Creation” didn’t quite go down precisely as written, doesn’t change the fact that untold millions still think the fable is unassailable history. Which of the two camps would have the better claim of authority to proclaim the other is ‘misinterpreting’ Genesis? Now, ask the same of the Muslim Jihadis vs. the so-called ‘Islam is the Religion of Peace’ moderates.

CAIR has just condemned as “Hate Rhetoric” an American politician referring to ISIS as “Islamic Savages” on Twitter, and is demanding an apology. What exactly are we supposed to call barbarians shouting “Allahu Akbar” while decapitating a bound non-combatant prisoner, or immolating alive a helplessly caged POW? How about these rather militant Muslims, who prefer shooting their bound civilian captives:

w1047

…are they just misinformed about their glorious religion of peace? How unfortunate for the Infidels they encounter. Savage is too kind a word for these barbarous Islamic marauders. It is often preceded by ‘noble,’ as in ‘noble savage,’ and however they delude themselves, or are cheered on by their coreligionists, there is nothing in the slightest noble about these despicable miscreants.

The term ‘Hate Speech’ has always been curious to me. I think of ‘hate’ as more or less the opposite of ‘love,’ yet intertwined by a close connection of some sort. Generally, one can only conjure the emotion of hate for someone one first loved, or at least knew and cared for in some way. If someone says, “I hate you!” it can only hurt if one somehow values their opinion, and wished otherwise. One can easily be prejudiced against a group or individual, with or without just cause, without hating them. It is perfectly reasonable and rational, to ‘profile’ others and decide one is entirely indifferent to what they may think, and conclude that one has no interest in interacting with them in any way, for whatever reason.

Those considering this view bigoted, are precisely those PC busybodies who rant against ‘Hate Speech.’ I am as indifferent to their condemnation as I am to the outspoken defenders of Islam. Why should I care what they think, when they are so incompetent at it? I could care less what Muslims do to each other in their Middle East sandbox, and frankly I am weary of expending American blood and treasure trying to ‘save’ them from their irrational sectarian squabbles. We should ship them all the guns and ammunition they want, and get out of their way so they can efficiently kill each other, while we are busy turning shale into oil, fracking, building pipelines, and drilling in ANWAR.

I have no reason to hate them; but I damn sure despise Jihadists and their primitive religion. As a Natural Born American, it is my unalienable right to say so, PC be damned. Meanwhile, those Muslims wishing to immigrate here need to understand that we have our own culture, which we like just fine, and a constitutional secular government that is, and forever will be, alien to Sharia law. We don’t intend to change either to accommodate your religious preferences. Assimilate or go find a better country. This one is taken. â—„Daveâ–º

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PostHeaderIcon American Sniper

Saint J9 and I went to see this movie yesterday and really were impressed with the great job done by Clint Eastwood and the actors, especially Bradley Cooper.

For those who don’t know (or care), Chris Kyle lived, and was murdered, 40-50 miles from where we currently live, just as the trial of his killer is just starting up in the same area. Ergo, the interest in the movie is extraordinary in this area.

Indeed, we would have helped populate one of the nearby I35 overpasses to honor the funeral procession as it made its way from Arlington to Austin — except were prevented by a mandatory appointment that took us elsewhere, much to our regret. They say that every one of the overpasses was lined with people and they show some actual footage of the procession at the end of the film. I don’t know how many overpasses there are but the trip is over 150 miles. Once the procession approached the city of Austin, the sides of the highway were also lined by a continuous wall of people and this continued all the way to the Texas State Cemetery where Kyle in interred along with many other Texas heroes.

Makes one proud to be a Texan and an American to be reminded that we still produce such people.

Troy

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PostHeaderIcon Respectable or Contemptible?

Pat Condell finds no reason to show respect for the ‘faith’ of others, and explains why rather succinctly:

Then, Stephen Fry explains even more succinctly why if the faithful are correct about the existence and nature of their god, it is a monster that in and of itself deserves no respect:

While I completely agree with both of these fellows, I am particularly taken with the elegance with which Fry made his case. The nonverbal reaction of the interviewer to some of his statements was priceless! Too bad the Freedom Torch website appears to be defunct. I would have loved to post these there and observe the reaction of the Piously Correct (PC) crowd that once haunted that forum. A clever poll asking which one made the better case for rational thought, could have been most interesting. 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

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PostHeaderIcon Islam – Straight, Fearless, & Frank

Troy has suggested we engage in a discussion of Islam. To set the tone, I suggest we take the lead from our old friend Pat Condell:

 

 

It doesn’t get much straighter, fearless, & frank than that…  â—„Daveâ–º

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PostHeaderIcon Slow Times At The Old Blog Game

Things sure have been slow around here. I know that I have not been holding up my end of things, mostly because there really is not much new to say RE our national condition. I just sit back and watch too many of the things I predicted come to pass with the honest hope that it stops short of my worst prediction (a full-fledged dictatorship).

It is still too early to guess whether the Obamanation will peacefully leave office at the end of his elected term. I suppose that much depends on the prospects for his successor. If the Obamanation’s masters can confidently predict that Hillary will be the next president, then they will no doubt let that happen, knowing that their power will continue undiminished. Should the GOP get its head out of — uh, wherever it usually keeps its head, then who knows what our true masters might then decide. However, such seems very unlikely. Just look at the speed with which assumed GOP front-runner, Krispy-Creame Chistie was reduced to almost-ran status.

Meanwhile, we are off this coming weekend for the next Reason Foundation cruise. Perhaps I will find sufficient inspiration there to write something new. I have been reading and thinking a lot about the effect of fundamentalist religion on our nation and on many of the bizarre happenings therein but have not seen fit to write about it because previous articles on this subject were not well received. While I don’t mind causing minor upset if it makes my readers think, I am not looking to get on any more enemies lists.

Dave, where are you? Have you abandoned this blog for greener pastures? (Or at least, for blogs with more activity?)

Troy

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PostHeaderIcon He Said What?

I admit to being a fan of Duck Dynasty although I would be hard pressed to give a rational reason why. I guess it is the fact that I grew up in similar country (swamps) and enjoyed hunting (especially ducks although I was never especially successful at it – one needed $$ to hunt where there were lots of ducks and $$ I did not have).

So, GQ (of all magazines) interviews the Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, a retired fundamentalist preacher as well as a duck call inventor. And they, along with the A&E cable network pretend to be surprised that he answered most of the questions exactly as one would expect from a fundamentalist preacher. Imagine that.

I don’t happen to agree with Phil about anything concerning religion or tolerance of my fellow man – but – that is not the point of their TV program. Sure, they work a prayer into every episode, usually at the dining table, but I somehow manage to ignore that just like I ignore the myriad times I am subjected to public prayer in my everyday life (part of the price of living in the rural South).
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PostHeaderIcon The Defensive Culture War

I am involved in an interesting discussion on a conservative site frequented by Christian fundamentalists. This morning, a fellow named Rich made a comment suggesting that the Left is waging a “war against Christians,” and that political activism by the religious Right, is “most always” to counter that. It inspired me to share a unique perspective I have, as a non-combatant in the culture war raging across our land, who has communicated extensively with participants in both camps. I think it is worth sharing with a wider audience, so it follows:

————–

The tragedy, Rich, is that most of those on the Left think they too, are playing defense. I spent a couple of years back in ’07 and ’08, frequenting freethinker forums, which were mostly populated with insufferable ACLU type atheist activists. There, I essentially played the opposite role that I have here. I referred to myself as a godless redneck heathen, and defended the traditional American culture extant in flyover country. I was as much an enigma there as I am here.

Here, my patriotism and more or less conservative political views, generally resonate; but my lack of faith, and unabashed willingness to challenge Christian dogma, is confusing and consternating to most. There, I passed their godless test; but my unabashed willingness to defend Judeo-Christian culture, and challenge their equally dogmatic Politically Correct ideology, drove them nuts. Thus, I can report with some authority, that they are irrationally afraid of the Piously Correct agenda.

While flawed in their support of government coercion, for the purposes of redistributing wealth for ‘social justice,’ they are fulsome in their support for civil rights for all mankind, and adamant in their insistence that government stay the hell out of their personal lives. In this, I was in full agreement, although I took pains to point out their inconsistencies, and insist that I wanted government to also stay out of my personal pocketbook.
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PostHeaderIcon Reason Cruise

I want to remind you all that the next Reason Cruise — sponsored by the Reason Foundation and the staff of Reason Magazine — will depart Ft. Lauderdale on February 9, 2014 for a week in the western Caribbean. Jeannine and I have attended both previous cruises and found them to be a real treat as the time at sea is taken up with very interesting seminars as well as the group (including the Reason folk) dining together each evening and usually adjourning together to a nook in a shipboard bar for further discussion and imbibing.

Should any of you decide to participate (and I sincerely hope you will), please mention my name when you make your reservations which will gain me a shipboard credit which I will share with you at the bar. Among other advantages, your participation will allow you to meet Jeannine and I. That alone should be incentive enough.

Details at: www.reasoncruise.com

Troy

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PostHeaderIcon Please Understand Me

Getting back to the subject of your “Unable to Cope” post, Troy, another thought it engendered was the problem of expecting others to think like we do. Remember when we got tangled up with that freethinker forum, where we first met? Expecting it to be a place where ideas were freely discussed, we were somewhat taken aback to find it dominated by ACLU type atheist activists, who were as rigidly dogmatic as the Christian fundamentalists about which they obsessed.

To your credit, you were the first to flee those stultifying groupthink environs in horror. Several more of us soon followed, and we created a new forum, which we called 'Reasonable Rationals' (as opposed to 'Atheist Activists'), where we thoroughly enjoyed daily kicking around interesting ideas for over a year.

As an exercise in comity, early on we explored David Keirsey's work on innate temperament differences, derived from Jungian personality types, identified by Meyers-Briggs type personality tests. He describes the four basic temperaments, out of the 16 possible Jungian combinations, which are not evenly distributed in the population. He briefly explains them here, and then elaborates a bit on each:

'SJ' Guardians 40 – 45%

'SP' Artisans 30 – 35%

'NF' Idealists 15 – 20%

'NT' Rationals 5 – 10%

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PostHeaderIcon Unable To Cope

Scandals related to the Obama regime are popping up almost faster than Fox can cover them (the other parts of the MSM evidently not caring). The evidence that we are being constantly and systematically lied to – thus being manipulated — is overwhelming. Yet, the Obamanation enjoys a positive job approval rating over 50%. Sane people wonder how could this possibly be?

I think I now partly understand and, that partial understanding leads to a conclusion I simply have no idea how to cope with.

We were driving to Ft Worth yesterday to keep an appointment – a drive of 1 ½ hours or so, depending on conditions. So, as is my usual habit, I had the radio tuned to a local talk show. The topic under discussion is quite beside the point. The gist of the story is that a woman called in to make a comment on the topic of the moment. The host reacted to the comment she had made by citing several known, openly available facts showing that what she was claiming was totally incorrect. Her reaction was, in my interpretation, that she did not care what the facts were, she had decided what she wanted to believe and she would continue to believe it no matter what. In other words, her position was based on what she wanted to be true, not on reality.

I admit that I have no idea how such attitudes can be dealt with. And, if as I suspect, this is a widespread thing, the situation seems quite hopeless.

Since my retirement, much of the focus of my life has been on attempts to inform, to educate and to challenge others to think, mostly by trying to restate complex notions in the simplest and most logical way possible in an attempt to make them more understandable. My thinking being that many of our citizens, for any number of reasons, simply do not fully understand what is happening around them. The notion that large numbers of them knowingly and intentionally reject reality is so alien to my world view as to leave me feeling totally helpless and unable to cope.

In my world, the essence of our humanity is our ability to reason. When we intentionally reject that, haven’t we become something less than human?

What disturbs me most of all (about myself and my reaction to this realization) is that suddenly the actions of the likes of Hitler, Mao, Stalin, etc., actually start to make a sort of perverted sense. Yet, the rational being inside me knows that this cannot be the answer because, if it is, then what point is there to anything?

I seek better understanding should any of you have the insight I obviously lack. Truly, if ignorance is bliss then tis folly to seek wisdom. In the meantime I find that there is much joy in simply sitting in my Japanese garden in the evenings, enjoying the plants, the birds, and the critters (especially my friend Mr. Squirrel who is quite the entertainer), partaking of a good cigar and a glass of fine Scots whisky and letting the world do as it will. If this seems overly selfish – weel, I dinna give a hoot!

Troy L Robinson

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