More to ignore, Book 8....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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New York attorney general seeks to depose Trump in civil fraud probe
Kerry Eleveld

New York Attorney General Letitia James is reportedly angling to depose Donald Trump on Jan. 7 in relation to her office's ongoing civil probe of whether the Trump Organization committed financial fraud, according to The Washington Post.

No one close to the matter was willing to go on record about it—not Trump’s spokespeople, not Trump's attorney, and not James' office—which makes her intentions seem all the more real.
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James, who on Thursday unexpectedly dropped out of New York's gubernatorial race, had pledged to target Trump in her bid last year to become the state's top law enforcement officer. Both she and the Manhattan district attorney have been investigating whether Trump's family business illegally manipulated property values to both garner lower taxes and secure favorable financial loans.

Though the attorney general's probe has been civil in nature, her office has also contributed information to the district attorney’s criminal investigation. The New York Times reports that, because the attorney general’s civil investigation is running parallel to the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal probe, Trump could reject a subpoena to sit for the civil deposition on the grounds that it might incriminate him in the criminal case.

“Even if a judge sided with Ms. James, Mr. Trump could invoke his Fifth Amendment right and decline to respond to questions,” writes the Times.

James is weighing whether to sue the Trump Organization and her request for a deposition with Trump suggests she has reached a critical point in the investigation. Last fall, her office successfully forced Trump's son Eric to sit for a deposition after he initially refused to comply. Trump himself also recently sat for a four-and-a-half hour deposition in a totally different matter related to a group of protesters who sued him for alleged assault by his security guards in 2015. As the Post notes, Trump was also deposed numerous times before taking office in relation to civil suits filed against him and/or his company.

New York prosecutors are particularly interested in the Trump Organization's wildly inconsistent valuations of two properties: 1) a California golf club that the business variously valued at $900,000 and $25 million; 2) and a suburban New York property that Trump alternately said was worth $56 million and $291 million, according to the Post.

The Trump Organization and its CEO, Allen Weisselberg, have already been charged with tax fraud in the joint probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and James. That trial could take place next year in the several months preceding the 2022 midterms.

In James' surprise announcement stepping back from the gubernatorial race, she indicated she would run for reelection as attorney general.

“I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general,” James tweeted. "There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job.”
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Letitia James to Stay as New York Attorney General & Drop Governor Bid
DRo
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Fox News alleges 'mistake' after confusing the names of two Latino congressman
Rebekah Sager

It should be no surprise to anyone that, if given the chance, Fox News will jump into racism with both feet, guns blazing.
This time, it’s the tale of two Florida Carloses.

One is Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, one of Florida’s first openly LGBTQ representatives, a half-Peruvian, half-French Canadian, married to Jerick Mediavilla, a Puerto Rican journalist and educator.

Smith is a progressive out of Miami who is currently suing Gov. Ron DeSantis over COVID-19 data. Smith believes the lack of transparency is “prolonging the pandemic and the pain and suffering of Floridians.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Carlos Gimenez, a Miami GOP congressman and former mayor, is desperately trying to make a name for himself by rubbing noses with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and voting against President Biden’s infrastructure bill. Oh, and making appearances on Fox & Friends.
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“I believe in creating jobs and bringing billions of dollars in infrastructure to expand our roads and build public transit in Florida,” Smith said. “Congressman Carlos voted against the infrastructure plan in Congress.”

These days, according to the Miami Herald, Gimenez is an ultra-conservative Cuban American, but back in 2016, when it was convenient for his reelection in what was a Democratic-majority county, he supported Hillary Clinton.

Smith took to Twitter to take a deserved jab at Gimenez and clear his name.



Of course, Fox dismissed the gaffe as a click “of the wrong button.”

“Of all the times the interview was aired throughout the day, this honest mistake happened once and was rectified immediately,” Gimenez said in a statement sent to Miami Herald’s Fabiola Santiago, via his spokesman. “Mistakes happen.”

But, as someone who worked at the now-shuttered Fox News Latino (FNL), I can honestly say that what started as an attempt to court Latino voters to the Republican party, ended when Trump was elected and they were no longer needed.

The idea of the silo site came from the man himself—Fox News Chairman and famed sexual harasser, Roger Ailes.

The small team of most Latino journalists catered the content to Latino readers. We refused to use the word “illegal,” opting for “undocumented” and attempted to humanize the Latino community, highlighting the good over the usual Fox News take—crime and illegal immigration.

To most readers, it was obvious the angle of FNL stories was drastically different than those of regular Fox News.com and vastly different from the broadcast.

FNL was pulled without fanfare at midnight on Dec. 8, 2016, suspiciously just a month after Trump’s win.

The point is, Fox News, just as the Republican party, sees Latinos as one block. Even if the political divide is wide, the names sound and look a lot the same.

A Carlos here, a Carlos there. Who can keep it all straight?

Just last year Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade said, "it's a fact" that there is an "invasion" of immigrants coming across the US-Mexico border.

Tucker Carlson and all the other Tucker Carlsons of the Foxsphere play to their base, stoking fear about the boogeyman “illegals” coming to take their Karens and kids.

So, forgive me if I don’t buy the lower-third graphic mistake as simply human error, because these folks are far from human or humane to others. I know because I worked there, and with my experience and knowledge, I can assure you that it was intentional.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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New jobless claims hit a 52-year low. How will the media spin that to be bad for Biden?
Laura Clawson

New unemployment claims dropped to 184,000 last week, the lowest since 1969. It sure is going to be interesting watching the media find a way to turn that into bad news for President Joe Biden. Perhaps Vice President Kamala Harris will be too concerned about information security or buying a kitchen implement that costs less than half what many guns cost, and that can dominate the headlines instead.

It is the case that the jobless claims numbers come with caveats: This remains a volatile, unpredictable economic recovery, and seasonal adjustments, which played a significant factor in the historically low number, are harder for Labor Department economists to pin down than in a usual year. But according to the best available data … new unemployment claims were at a 52-year low, even as the headlines have been dominated by talk of how the economy is dragging Biden’s presidency down.
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When we look at the economic recovery from the lowest lows of the COVID-19 pandemic, one key question is what effect the federal government’s relief packages had. The Roosevelt Institute is out with a review answering that question about the American Rescue Plan, and the conclusion is that it fulfilled the most optimistic predictions.




In fact, unemployment has dropped faster than the Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee projected even after the American Rescue Plan was passed.

People aren’t just employed at higher rates than expected at the beginning of 2021. “Using the Atlanta Fed’s Wage Growth Tracker, we see younger workers (16-24 years old) saw a 9.7 percent wage increase, and the bottom 25 percent of earners saw a 5.1 percent raise,” Mike Konczal and Emily DiVito write. “Workers with a high-school education and those at the bottom of the income distribution all saw wage growth stronger than average for recovery periods. This is still true when you account for the effects of inflation. Multiple sources find that around the bottom 70 percent of workers had real hourly wage increases over the past two years.”

Additionally, low-income families have gained wealth thanks to the investments of the American Rescue Plan and other relief packages—but especially thanks to the expanded child tax credit.

It’s not that everything is perfect. Thursday’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed continuing weakness in state and local government jobs, particularly in education. There are still millions of missing jobs relative to February 2020. The recovery remains unequal, with Black and Latino workers facing higher unemployment rates. Women are returning to the paid workforce, but the lost ground is likely to take years to regain.

But. With the bad news, there is plenty of good news, and in particular there’s evidence that Biden’s economic policies are working as planned, and lifting up the economy and the families in it. Not that the media is as interested in talking about that as it is in talking about the price of milk.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Appeals court rejects Trump's bid to keep January 6 documents from House committee


A federal appeals court Thursday ruled against former President Donald Trump in his effort to block his White House records from being released to the House select committee investigating January 6.

However, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals paused its ruling for two weeks so that Trump could seek a Supreme Court intervention.

This story is breaking and will be updated.


A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to block a House committee from getting White House records related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The decision comes a day after Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sued the committee in Washington federal court seeking to void two subpoenas related to him from the same select committee.

Trump is almost certain to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Court Of Appeals Strikes Down Trump Claim of Executive Privilege For Archives.
KeithDB

The United States Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Donald Trump’s claim that executive privilege allows him to overrule the current executive’s decision to release documents held by the National Archivist to the 1/6 Committee. You can read the decision HERE.

The only bad news in the decision is that the records will not be immediately released. The court granted a request made by Trump’s attorneys during the hearing that they be allowed 14 days to file a request for cert with the Supreme Court. In addition the court made clear its decision applies only to the specific documents at issue and not to additional documents sought by the 1/6 Committee but not yet reviewed by the executive branch to determine if privilege applies.

The court found the need for the documents “exceptional and imperative” because of the unique nature of what happened on January 6th. The court also seemed to link the insurrection to Trump, describing how he called them there and then urged them to walk to Capitol saying “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” The results were devastating. In the words of the court:

“The events of January 6, 2021 marked the most significant assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812. The building was desecrated, blood was shed, and several individuals lost their lives . . . Approximately 140 law enforcement officers were injured, and one officer who had been attacked died the next day. In the aftermath, workers labored to sweep up broken glass, wipe away blood, and clean feces off the walls. Portions of the building’s historic architecture were damaged or destroyed, including precious artwork and statues, murals, historic benches and original shutters.”

The court also emphasized that President Biden did a document by document review to determine if executive privilege should apply to any of the documents and that Biden concluded, as the Chief Executive, that the national interest was best served by not asserting executive privilege. The court found significant that two branches of the government were in agreement with each other and argued that the third branch should not interfere with that.

“The privilege being asserted is not a personal privilege belonging to former President Trump; he stewards it for the benefit of the Republic. The interests the privilege protects are those of the Presidency itself, not former President Trump individually.”

The penultimate paragraph of the decision is quite moving and uses a quote frequently used by conservatives.

“Benjamin Franklin said, at the founding, that we have ‘a Republic—if we can keep it.’ The events of January 6th exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted. In response, the President of the United States and Congress have each made the judgment that access to this subset of presidential communication records is necessary to address a matter of great constitutional moment for the Republic. Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President Biden’s assessment of the Executive Branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that the Political Branches have avoided.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump is Having a REALLY Bad Day
Dan K

Trump_Baby-Blimp_Hindenburg-Disaster_1_.jpg


Some news clips just from the past few hours:

Trump White House records can be released in Jan. 6 probe pending Supreme Court review, appeals court rules See Kossack diary Court Of Appeals Strikes Down Trump Claim of Executive Privilege For Archives:

The United States Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Donald Trump’s claim that executive privilege allows him to overrule the current executive’s decision to release documents held by the National Archivist to the 1/6 Committee. You can read the decision HERE.

And while Mark Meadows is trying desperately to hide his head up Trump’s ass so he won’t be able to talk to the committee, he already gave them lots of ammunition:

January 6 committee gets Meadows texts, emails with 'wide range' of people while attack was underway

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows provided the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot with text messages and emails that show he was "exchanging with a wide range of individuals while the attack was underway," according to a source with knowledge of the communications.
The messages on Meadows' personal cell phone and email account, which were voluntarily handed over without any claim of executive privilege, relate to "what Donald Trump was doing and not doing during the riot," the source added.

The Great Orange Shitgibbon will not be amused, I fear.

And when NY AG Letitia James dropped out of the governor’s race to run for re-election as attorney general, she said in her statement:

“There are a number of important investigations and cases that are under way, and I intend to finish the job. I am running for reelection to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do.”

Just in case that was too subtle, the current governor of New York explains it all to you:



Yep. Especially given this news: New York attorney general seeks Trump’s deposition as part of civil fraud investigation. Vanity Fair reminds us that while Trump could fight being deposed, James is very likely to win:

In 2020, James’s office subpoenaed Eric Trump, who initially refused to comply, before agreeing to sit for questioning in the fall. Earlier this year, a judge forced the ex-president to be deposed in a case accusing his security guards of assaulting protesters in 2015.

On top of all that, It’s a Biden Boom—and No One Has Noticed Yet:

Based on the data, President Biden and the Democratic Congress are set to preside over the strongest two-year performance on growth, jobs, and income in decades—so long as the current cycle of inflation eases, and the Omicron variant does not trigger another round of shutdowns. The future paths of inflation and the pandemic are large and important unknowns—but if they break right, everything else points to a Biden boom through 2022.

On the other hand . . . Report: Trump Is Systematically Laying the Groundwork to Steal the 2024 Election. So it’s far far too early to relax — actually, there’s never a good time to relax, sorry about that — but things are definitely looking sour for the Sourpuss of Mar-A-LetGo already, dammit!
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Thursday, Dec 9, 2021 · 9:44:54 PM EST · Dan K
Watching Chris Hayes and Rachel. Both have experts on who think there is at most a 50-50 chance the Supreme Court will even agree to hear the case. They also pointed that the speed with which the district and circuit courts heard and disposed of the case shows that they are very aware of Trump’s delay tactics and are fed up with them.

Yes, he is having a really bad day. May he have many more. May he have the worst days. People will be saying they’ve never seen days so bad as his, it’s amazing how bad his days are.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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FOX News Ignores Appeals Court Ruling Against Trump's Bid to Stiff the January 6th Committee
News Corpse

trump-loser.jpg


In the latest attempt by Donald Trump to keep his treasonous conduct secret and evade accountability for his crimes (something he is still very sensitive about), the former reality TV game show lost yet another court battle. The D.C. Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled against Trump's specious claim of executive privilege, setting the stage for a Supreme Court decision that legal experts predict they won't even bother hear.

Trump's litigation was aimed at denying the House Select Committee investing the January 6th insurrection access to documents held by the National Archives. According to ABC News...

"In a 68-page ruling, the three-judge panel tossed aside Trump's various arguments for blocking through executive privilege records that the committee regards as vital to its investigation into the run-up to the deadly riot aimed at overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election."

There was no ambiguity whatsoever in the Court's decision. Trump's arguments were dismissed in total. The ruling by the Court said in part that...

"On the record before us, former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the Political Branches over these documents." [...]

"Both Branches agree that there is a unique legislative need for these documents and that they are directly relevant to the Committee's inquiry into an attack on the Legislative Branch and its constitutional role in the peaceful transfer of power." [...]

"The privilege being asserted is not a personal privilege belonging to former President Trump; he stewards it for the benefit of the Republic. The interests the privilege protects are those of the Presidency itself, not former President Trump individually. And the President has determined that immediate disclosure will promote, not injure, the national interest, and that delay here is itself injurious."

Trump's response to this ruling was a terse statement released by his Twitter ban defying spokes-shill, Liz Harrington. She tweeted that...

"Regardless of today’s decision by the the appeals court, this case was always destined for the Supreme Court. President Trump’s duty to defend the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency continues, and he will keep fighting for every American and every future Administration."

As noted above, the Supreme Court is likely to allow the Appeals Court decision to stand. That's the view of Harvard constitutional law professor emeritus, Laurence Tribe, among others. And the notion that Trump is defending the Constitution that his actions on January 6th endeavored to subvert is beyond absurd. He is fighting for the only cause that has ever meant anything to him: Himself!

In the hours that have passed since the Appeals Court ruling was announced, Fox News has failed to report it on their website. Although they have managed to find room for eleven stories about Jussie Smollett's conviction, and five stories about their burnt Christmas tree. That should tell you something about the editorial priorities of Fox News. Clearly they aren't interest in informing their audience that Trump is, once again, The Biggest Loser.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Seeking Jan. 6 ‘agents provocateurs,’ Carlson calls out ‘RedFace45,’ who’s actually a Tucker fan
David Neiwert

ScreenShot2021-12-09at12.41.18PM.png


Ever since a mob of pro-Trump fanatics attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Republicans and their propagandists have been frantically engaged in a gaslighting campaign to convince the public that it didn’t see what it watched unfold that day, primarily by claiming that someone, anyone else—their favorite concocted bogeymen, “Antifa” or Black Lives Matter, or their favorite conspiracy theory, the “Deep State”—was responsible for the violence, other than the disinformation-fueled “Patriots” and their cohorts who turned out en masse to try to keep Congress from counting the Electoral College that day.

Tucker Carlson, of course, has been leading that gaslight brigade, primarily with a barrage of baldfaced lying, claiming that the people responsible were actually “Deep State” agents of the FBI, trying to set up hapless MAGA fans with a “false flag” operation. His latest iteration of this conspiracy theory, trotted out Tuesday on his Fox News show, tried to suggest that a seemingly unidentified man in the crowd, notable for his red face paint, was in fact one of these “agents provocateurs”—when a brief bit of digging by HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly revealed that in fact the man is a well-known St. Louis Cardinals fan, and an ardent Tucker Carlson devotee.


The claim was made by a regular guest (and featured contributor to his propaganda pseudo-documentary) named Joseph McBride, an attorney for several of the Jan. 6 defendants, while Carlson pumped the claims alongside him. The focus of the segment was a particular participant in the riot photographed and recorded in key locales outside the Capitol, distinguished by his bright red facepaint and matching MAGA hat, pseudonymously named “RedFace45” by online sleuths seeking to identify various actors in the mob that day.

Carlson claimed there were “people who, on tape, encourage illegality” but “who have not been charged,” and McBride then described “RedFace45” as one of them:

He is clearly a law-enforcement officer. He interacts with uniformed personnel, he interacts with agents in the crowd. He passes out weapons—sledgehammers, poles, mace. Some of those things come into contact with other protesters who have subsequently been charged with possessing dangerous weapons and using dangerous weapons at the Capitol. That is clearly entrapment. It’s clearly the government creating conditions of dangerousness, and entrapping members of the crowd to possess weapons and possibly use them—for reasons that we cannot comprehend.

Carlson then demanded to know: “Who is this person, and why hasn’t he been charged? That’s a simple ask.” He suggested that someone in Congress should demand an investigation.

They needn’t bother. Reilly’s report at HuffPost reveals that in fact “RedFace45” has been identified already, and interviewed by the FBI, but apparently hasn’t been charged because there’s no evidence he participated in the day’s violence beyond yelling and encouraging people. In fact, he’s something of a well-known character in the St. Louis area, where he is known as “Rally Runner,” an ardent Cardinals fan who runs sprints around Busch Stadium during home games.

“Rally Runner” is somewhat of a local celebrity in St. Louis. A photo of him was featured in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch in October 2013, when the Cardinals reached the World Series. The man, who did not provide a name, told the paper his running “strengthens the spirit for the Cardinals to get the energy to win.” (They lost to the Red Sox in six games that year.) He also told St. Louis magazine in 2016 that running around the stadium was “spiritual,” that his “memory is horrible” and that he’d like to publish his journal as a book.

As it happens, in addition to being a rabid Trump supporter, “Rally Runner’s” social-media posts have included posts and comments expressing his adoration for Carlson: “This is so true what he says.” “Tucker nails it again! So true!” “Look at my post from Tucker Carlson on my timeline recently, if Dems get Senate and President we are screwed. Everyone is screwed,” he wrote in November.

When Reilly confronted McBride with this evidence, he at first refused to acknowledge its veracity, then finally claimed that because it was his job was to defend his client, he didn’t “need to be right” about the facts.

“If I’m wrong, so be it, bro. I don’t care,” McBride said. “I don’t give a shit about being wrong.”

Finally, McBride told Reilly he had just been “theorizing things,” but was “not publishing conclusive findings”—though apparently he had no compunction about making definitive assertions on national television.

Republicans have had an array of would-be scapegoats to blame for the right-wing mob’s violence on Jan. 6, beginning with the early claim that the instigators were actually “Antifa” and BLM that was trotted out by GOP members of Congress. One of their early favorites was to identify a young Black videographer from Utah, John J. Sullivan, who had been with the mobs inside the Capitol, as a secret “agent provocateur” from both antifa and BLM.

There’s just one problem with this story: It has, once again, been thoroughly debunked. Sullivan, as The Washington Post reported in detail, is a man who initially attempted to organize BLM protests in Utah outside of the existing African American protest community. In short order, a person was shot during one of his events and then Proud Boys began showing up to support his protests. Among BLM activists, he was widely regarded as a duplicitous “double agent.” His last organized protest of the summer was a pro-gun rights rally featuring large numbers of far-right militiamen, including Oath Keepers.

Then there have been the sensational claims of right-wing propagandist Darren Beattie from Revolver News, who has been featured heavily in Carlson’s pseudo-documentary. Beattie’s badly flawed reportage—which, among other many factual errors, is based on conflating confidential informants with unindicted coconspirators, when in reality they are mutually exclusive under the law—has nonetheless continued to circulate with fresh iterations.

Beattie recently appeared on Glenn Beck’s talk show to claim that an Arizona Oath Keeper named Ray Epps was one of these “Deep State” informants for the FBI who had helped convince innocent “Patriots” to incriminate themselves (also the subject of a lengthy Revolver piece by Beattie). Beattie also suggests that Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes—around whom federal prosecutors have been circling for months—is somehow part of this plot with the FBI.

But as Politifact explains, Beattie doesn’t even confirm that Epps is an FBI informant, but rather speculates broadly that he is. His actions on Jan. 6, videos show are wholly consistent with those of the outspoken Trump supporter he has been for years (notably as a spokesman for the Arizona Oath Keepers). And as with all of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who had informant relationships with the FBI, if Epps was also himself an informant, the information he was providing was intelligence on their “leftist” opponents, not on their own organization.

It also would not be a Tucker Carlson gaslighting episode without the requisite right-wing projection by which mainstream liberals defending democracy from the radical right, in classic “bloody shirt” style, are converted into nefarious bullies trying to destroy the country. This was the plea that McBride made to Carlson’s audience:

Our democracy and our way life is at stake, and unless you fulfill your oath to your constituents and to your country to stand up and do the right thing here, then our democracy will be lost, there is no doubt about it.

Sometimes they’re right, but not the way they think.

 

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