who in the hell do these people work for?

In spite of Obama’s near 70% approval rating, it looks like Republicans in Congress are going to fight him on his economic recovery package… unless, that is, he agrees to make Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy permanent.

I’d like to see Obama start with some kind of legislative victory, but maybe it’s a good thing if the Republicans decide to stand up and fight this publicly. It would certainly make it clear to everyone that their loyalties don’t lie with the majority of their constituents, who would be seeing their taxes cut under the Obama plan.

Obama, as you may recall, has made it clear that, under his plan, everyone making less than $250,000 dollars a year will pay less in taxes than they do presently. So this clearly isn’t about the 99.5% of their constituents who make less than a quarter of a million dollars per year, or, for that matter, the 7% of Americans who are now unemployed. This is about preserving the Bush tax breaks for the ultra-rich that are set to expire.

If our economy weren’t in such terrible shape, and if we didn’t desperately need to begin creating jobs and building the infrastructure for domestic energy production immediately, I’d welcome a Republican filibuster, dooming whatever remaining chances the party might have for a future. But I think there’s too much on the line right now, and I hope, for the sake of the country, a few Republicans will take the high road and join the Democrats (who damned well better all vote in support of the legislation). And, if no one comes forward on the Republican side, we’d damned well better be ready to act in a big way, bringing all kinds of attention to those men and women who would rather protect the interests of the mega-rich during this time in which so many of our friends and neighbors are finding themselves out of work and losing their homes.

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40 Comments

  1. mark
    Posted December 31, 1969 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    The heat is starting. I just received the following press release calling out Michigan representatives by name…

    Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery Now

    http://www.americansunitedforchange.org

    http://www.jobsandeconomicrecovery.com

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    CONTACT: Jeremy Funk, 202-470-5878

    Lauren Weiner, 202-470-5870

    With the U.S. House Scheduled to Vote in Next 48 Hours on President Obama’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan, Campaign Representing Millions of Americans Calls on U.S. Reps. Ehlers, McCotter, Miller, Rogers and Upton to Put Struggling Out-of-Work Michigan Families Ahead of Partisanship

    Wednesday’s vote on the Obama jobs plan the most historic in Congress since the vote to authorize the war in Iraq

    The Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery calls on Reps. Ehlers, McCotter, Miller, Rogers and Upton to support President Obama’s plan to create millions of jobs and strengthen the economy in the near and long term for America’s struggling middle-class families

    Washington D.C. – With the U.S. House of Representatives scheduled to vote Wednesday on President Barack Obama’s ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,’ the Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery said the time has come for U.S. Reps. Vernon Ehlers (MI-3), Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11), Candice Miller (MI-10), Mike Rogers (MI-8), and Fred Upton (MI-6) to take and a stand on the Obama plan that will create or save three to four million jobs, strengthen our middle class, and improve the economy in the near and long term by making sound investments in state fiscal relief, health care, energy efficiency, transportation and schools. Identified by the Campaign as key votes, Reps. Ehlers, McCotter, Miller, Rogers and Upton have received scores of phone calls and emails urging them to put struggling out-of-work Michigan families ahead of partisan gamesmanship by voting in favor of the Obama jobs plan.

    Brad Woodhouse, President of Americans United for Change: “Just 48 hours remains before the U.S. House holds the most significant vote since the vote to authorize the war in Iraq, and the people of Michigan need to know where their Representatives in Congress stand. President Obama’s jobs and economic recovery plan takes bold and immediate steps to address the worsening U.S. recession that has already hemorrhaged millions of jobs and threatens millions more if nothing is done It is our hope that Representatives Ehlers, McCotter, Miller, Rogers and Upton put the interests of struggling out-of-work Michiganders first by supporting this plan that will put millions of middle-class Americans back to work quickly through solid and sound long-term investments in health care, energy efficiency, transportation and education. We can not afford to slow down the process with the same old petty partisanship and political gamesmanship – the more we delay in sending this major jobs and economic recovery plan to the President’s desk, the more Americans will lose their jobs and healthcare.”

    Launched on December 18th with nearly 50 events from coast to coast, the Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery is a coalition of more than 30 leading progressive groups and unions utilizing all the resources and techniques of a modern campaign to pass the Obama jobs plan. From grassroots and grass tops contacts, to phones, emails, web videos and paid advertising – this $4-5 million campaign aims to pressure key and potentially deciding votes in Congress and to build a movement for an overwhelming victory for this package so that the American people have confidence in the plan and its ability to help turn our economy around.

    To date, the following organizations have signed on the Campaign for Jobs and Economic Recovery Now: AFSCME, SEIU, AFLCIO, MoveOn.org Political Action, NEA, Americans United for Change, USAction, Campaign for America’s Future, ACORN, Health Care for America Now, TrueMajority.org, Sierra Club, People for the American Way Foundation, 21st Century Democrats, American Postal Workers Union, Campaign for America’s Future, Institute for Policy Studies – Cities for Progress, Community Action Partnership, Economic Policy Institute, Environment America, League of Conservation Voters, Medicaid Health Plans of America (MHPA), National Education Association, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, National Priorities Project, National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, National Women’s Law Center, People for the American Way Foundation, Progressive Future, Roosevelt Institution, United Food and Commercial Workers, Women’s Voices – Women’s Vote Action Fund, Working Group on Extreme Inequality, Young Democrats of America and YWCA USA.

    Thank you, Funk and Weiner!

  2. Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    how come people with lots of money are never grateful for the privelege that they really have? i am not in the $250K class so maybe i would think differently if i ever make it into that bracket.

    i don’t like paying taxes but i am not going to complain about my ability to care for myself and go out and buy a beer and take a vacation every now and then.

  3. designatedrepublican
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    The republicans are working for the people who voted for them. 22 states and more than 58 million Americans voted republican for President in the last election. That’s reason enough for the republicans in Congress to do more than simply roll over and bark for Pelosi and Reid.

  4. Posted January 26, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I doubt that many of the people that voted Republican really like the idea of rich people getting tax breaks. A few, maybe, but not all.

  5. Brackache
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I’ll agree with you that most Republicans are hypocrits, in that many supported increasing spending and the size of government under Bush, and are now seeming to only change their tune when a Democrat is in charge… but a lot of people honestly think Obama’s economic recovery plan is sheer madness (and thought the same thing of Bush or McCain’s similar super-spending stimulus policies) and will make everything much worse for much longer. I doubt, though, that most Republicans would actually come up with a good small government solution to the problem if they had the power again. God knows they didn’t when they had the chance.

  6. Glen S.
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    For a generation, the core Republican economic agenda (aided and abetted by some “Blue Dog” and DLC Democrats) has been tax cuts, deregulation, and free trade. At the same time, Republicans have actively opposed public-sector investments in infrastructure, education, health care, energy, public transit and the environment; which — along with more progressive environmental, labor and trade policies — are necessary to rebuild a more robust economy, and a more equitable and sustainable society.

    Now, the disastrous consequences of nearly 30 years of years of “trickle down” economics are becoming more painfully obvious each day … and yet, the Republicans still do not seem have anything “new” to offer.

    It seems the only thing they have to left — and the thing that most distinguishes them from a new, extremely popular President and his commanding majorities in both houses of Congress — is their ability to delay and impede.

    With the economy spiraling downward ever faster and action urgently needed, it will be interesting to see just how much patience the public will continue to have for Mr. Boehner and his crew as they alternate between stall-tactics and advocating for the discredited policies of the past.

  7. Paw
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I get that Republicans hate taxes. I just don’t get that they would be willing to forgo their own tax cut so that their rich neighbor can have one. Obama is offering a tax cut to over 99% of people in his plan, but the Republicans are threatening to stop it because of that 1%. Just how fucking stupid are regular working class Republicans?

  8. designatedrepublican
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Glen,

    Where have you been for the past 20 years? The success of “trickle down” economics in bringing to pass the American economic juggernaut that began in the mid 1980s was last spoken of by a republican President named Ronald Reagan as he was leaving office.

    Bush I, while he benefitted from Reagan’s reductions in marginal tax rates, never really bought into the notion that tax rate reductions for all equals greater prosperity for all equals greater tax revenue to the federal government. That’s why “No New Taxes” Bush I eventually broke that pledge and lost his re-election.

    Bush II was no Reaganomics guy either. He surrounded himself with Bush I economic advisors, which is why – like his Father – when things got tough he also went along with the Democrat’s in agreeing to the various bailouts.

    Bush II has also gone along with massive pork barrel spending by the Democrat-controlled Congress – barely vetoing any bills no matter how laden they were with special projects. Even when the republicans were in the Congressional majority under Bush II, it was those pesky RINO republicans, not the conservatives, that ran the show – they might as well have been Democrats with the way they handled the public’s money!

    Glen, the “discredited” policy decisions that brought upon us this economic mess (changes to federally-backed home mortgage rules and policies of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac) were made by President Clinton back in the 1990s and later exacerbated by Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd, and the Democrat Congressional leadership . The information is out there showing that John McCain and the Bush Administration both warned several years ago of the dangers of the over-stretched mortgage guarantee program – Good old Barney Frank is on record scoffing at the notion that Fannie or Freddie would become insolvent.

  9. Brackache
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Many Republicans are probably pretty ignorant on the specifics of why too much spending sucks, or they would have been more up in arms about congress during Bush’s Presidency voting for it.

    I’ll grant you this: taxation is a far more honest way of paying for spending than borrowing or printing up more money.

    Problem is, the Feds can’t possibly tax enough to support all their spending commitments at this point, without closing down tons of programs/obligations, which no one wants them to do.

    So where’s the money going to come from?

    (I told OEC I was going to try to stop fruitlessly warning about hyperinflation. I really AM trying.)

  10. Brackache
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    …and I’m not throwing mud across the isle. Please don’t misunderstand me. This is not an R vs D thing in my mind.

  11. Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    DR:
    There is plenty of blame to go around in the current economic crisis but laying it all at the feet of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd is just silly. The GOP controlled Congress for 3/4 of Bush’s time in office (and 3/4 of Clinton’s for that matter). This mess was well underway by the time the Democrats returned in 2007.

    Of course, Bush II’s presidency was an unmitigated disaster. I might have more respect for the things you say if you would just admit that. Christopher Buckley, William F.’s son and a small government conservative, said the only people pleased with Bush II’s record are the descendents of James Buchanan – now their ancestor can no longer be considered the worst President in U.S. history.

    As Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in the latest New Yorker,

    “During the 8 years of the second President Bush, the unemployment rate went from 4.2 per cent to 7.2 percent and climbing; consumer confidence dropped to an all time low; a budget surplus of two hundred billion dollars became a deficit of that plus a trillion; more than a million families fell into poverty; the ranks of those without health insurance rose by 6 million; and the fruits of the nation’s economic growth went almost entirely to the rich, while family incomes in the middle and below declined”

    And that’s just want he did to the economy.

  12. Glen S.
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    DR – Frankly, the “economic juggernaut” you mention is really all a matter of perspective.

    Republicans from Reagan through Bush II consistently told us that big tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would stimulate the economy and create jobs. In fact, all they have done is to stimulate the largest re-distribution of wealth (upward) in American history.

    Republicans (and some Democrats) told us that “free trade” policies would stimulate the economy and create jobs. In fact, what these policies did was decimate our manufacturing sector by flooding our markets with artificially-cheap consumer products while, at the same time, depressing real-dollar wages for most working- and middle-class Americans.

    Republicans told us that health care was best handled by the free market, instead of by oh-so-scary government bureaucrats and “socialized medicine.” In fact, at this point, most everyone agrees that our health care system is now “broken,” as the the cost of health continues to rise much, much faster than inflation, and more people than ever cannot afford (or even become eligible) for coverage.

    Republicans told us that tax breaks for big oil companies were good for everyone because they provide an incentive to invest in new sources of energy to meet future needs. In fact, we are now more dependent on foreign oil (much of it from unstable/unfriendly sources) than ever before; meanwhile while we have wasted more precious years waiting to develop cleaner and more sustainable sources.

    Republicans told us that businesses could be trusted to regulate themselves — and promptly slashed funding for food safety inspectors, consumer safety watchdogs, and financial regulators, etc. In fact, what we’ve ended up with is now almost weekly stories about tainted food, toxic toys, and — in the financial sector — perhaps the most obscene orgy of greed and malfeasance EVER, coupled with a complete contempt for “real” people, “real” work, and “real” wealth.

    The truth is, DR, the Republican “economic juggernaut” was (we’re now seeing) mostly a myth. While GDP did indeed “grow” over all those years, most of the increased wealth went to only a handful of people at the top. Even more of it, it turns out, never even existed at all — but rather, was the product of ridiculously hyper-inflated home values, or existed merely as pixels on screens floating back-and-forth between Lehman Bros., Meryl Lynch, Citibank, etc.

    Now that the bubble is bursting, millions of ordinary hard-working Americans are losing their homes, their jobs, their retirement savings, and their faith in a better future for themselves and their families.

    “Juggernaut” indeed.

  13. Posted January 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    This will be one of those moments when DR goes midnight.

  14. mark
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    All that aside, I just really don’t understand how the Republicans in Congress justify not passing a stimulus plan that has benefits for a vast majority of their constituents on the grounds that they need to have the have the wealthiest among us make more… And, yes, I’ll grant you that some folks may really have an issue with the concept of printing more money to get us out of this mess, but that’s not what these elected officials are saying. They’re saying that they would get onboard if Obama would make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent… I just can’t see how they’ll possibly stand up to the pressure of their constituents and a very popular new President who people actually trust.

    And I like it when one of you flips the right rock over and Designated Republican comes running out. I live for those moments.

  15. Brackache
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know. It’s probably more like this in the minds of their constituents:

    Democrats are after my guns, Democrats kill babies, Democrats are God-hating sodomites, Democrats want to turn America Communist. Save us, Republicans.

    And that’s pretty much it.

    Many people, on both sides, have short memories when political passions are aroused. So long as the Republicans start talking like Ron Paul all of a sudden, instead of the big government interventionist bullies they actually vote like, they can build their base up again as underdogs.

    Of course, their rhetoric of championing of the Constitution, small government, and free markets is the biggest load of bullshit there ever was. They just said that shit to get elected.

  16. Brackache
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    oops, shit. italics should have ended before, “and that’s pretty much it.”

  17. Brackache
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Wednesday’s vote on the Obama jobs plan the most historic in Congress since the vote to authorize the war in Iraq.

    …so similar to the Iraq vote, make sure you cave to fear-mongering pressures that are popular at the time, but won’t be later when we finally figure out it was a really fucking stupid idea, and created worse problems then if we’d just done nothing.

    Couldn’t have written a better analogy myself.

    But, of course, since our guys in the blue jerseys are doing it, they must know what they’re doing. Genius.

  18. Brackache
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I could have said that more gently.

  19. Brackache
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Pricipled Republican viewpoint on the stimulus package

    reinteration of Principled Republican viewpoint on the stimulus package on a different channel

    I seriously doubt most Republicans have a principled argument against the stimulus package, though. They’re basically just afraid of Democrats.

  20. Agreed, Sheer Madness
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Brackache, I am completely with you on this issue. Let’s hope some strong voices can convince our elected officials to step back and think about this a little.

  21. Brackache
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I actually get nervous when people agree with me.

    But thanks, Agreed, I do need the encouragement sometimes too, so I can at least entertain the notion, however briefly, that I’m not totally insane.

  22. Glen S.
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Brachache,

    As a progressive Democrat, I disagree with many of your political ideas … but I don’t think you, or your ideas, are insane.

    In fact, I give you credit for standing up for an ideology that is at least coherent, consistent, and principled — unlike that of “traditional” Republicans, who’ve been feeding us a complete line of b.s. for so many years.

  23. Glen S.
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    The NYT’s Bob Herbert suggests Republicans need to go to “rehab,” but they say “no, no, no …”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/opinion/27herbert.html?th&emc=th

  24. Brackache
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Glen! Encouragement without agreement make me feel so fine.

  25. Oliva
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I just can’t see how they’ll possibly stand up to the pressure of their constituents and a very popular new President who people actually trust.

    So, today on MSNBC Norah O’Donnell giggled and guffawed while talking to GOP congressmen after their meeting with Obama, egging them on to say how ludicrous it was for Dems to put the family planning money in the budget and other such things. She was visibly relishing their antagonistic stance, loving the idea of a fight. What about treating a really sobering subject with seriousness? And that was on MSNBC, which isn’t supposed to be quite so FOX-ish.

  26. Oliva
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    The Politico report noted that the “out of power minority party” seems to be “finding its voice as a stout opposition party instead of the party of compromise.” Perhaps, but I’m not entirely sure when, exactly, House Republicans were ever positioned as the “party of compromise.”

    What’s more, the article added that Republicans “slapped” Obama’s “outstretched hand,” as part of a “coordinated effort to embarrass” the president.

    I suspect Obama isn’t feeling especially embarrassed. Frustrated, maybe. Like he’s wasting his time, probably. But the institutional dynamic hasn’t changed. House Democrats still enjoy a 77-seat advantage over the minority, Obama is still a very popular president, and Republicans (and their ideas) still enjoy little public support. The stimulus is still likely to pass, especially in the House.

    Whether the House GOP is enjoying itself more now than last week is largely inconsequential.
    –http://www.washingtonmonthly.com

    What to say–Boehner, Corker, Blackburn . . . our national embarrassments. Bush passed the torch.

    How frustrating that their idiocy and small-mindedness remain alive and well on the House and Senate floors, despite a goodwill approach by the president and a passionate disavowal of their principles and strategies by most Americans. Their continuing displays of hubris are kind of surprising–but also really upsetting.

  27. designatedrepublican
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    “I seriously doubt most Republicans have a principled argument against the stimulus package, though.”

    This republican thinks that The Pelosi/Reid Pork Product Stimulus Act of 2009 is little more than a $200Billion highways and bridges bill laden with $600Billion worth of Congressionally-favored pork barrel projects from the Democrat’s wish list.

    Even the Congressional Budget Office says that only a small portion of this spending will have any positive effect on the economy – and much of it consists of projects that will take years to get going (long after our economy has rebounded, following the usual cycle.

    If passed, this bill will burden each American with another $10,000 in their personal share of the national debt!

  28. Posted January 27, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    LOL, “the usual cycle”! That’s a great one. You are priceless, designated republican.

  29. Oliva
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I’d willingly join a big supportive effort and pitch in my $10,000 share to fix the country’s infrastructure and create jobs for my countrymen and women–ah, and that universal health care we’ve been running away from for too long. A whole lot better than having it and more stolen from all of us by warmongers and greedy bankers and rich folks, some of whom forget they got there not because they’re innately gifted or worth it but because privilege is a powerful thing, like access, like greed.

    I’d do it, and I have a feeling a whole lot of other people would too. I’d have to work plenty of extra hours for a while and need a little lead time, but it would be worth it for those kinds of major fixes and to set us up for a rosier future.

  30. Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Like many Republicans, DR expects a free ride for everything.

    However, I’m sure that he’s right about the pork.

  31. Brackache
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad that people in Govt are finally admitting this is going to get worse before it gets better and that it’s going to last a long time.

    It’s hard to take it all in that the good times are over for a while, even though so many businesses/banks have gone under and so may have lost their jobs all around us.

    Is anybody around here who reads this blog in need of help because of this economic crisis yet?

    I’m sure many of us are willing/able to offer something or another, if asked.

  32. Oliva
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Is anybody around here who reads this blog in need of help because of this economic crisis yet?

    I’m sure many of us are willing/able to offer something or another, if asked.

    Kindness is cool!

  33. Brackache
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Well, I was thinking: economies are nothing more than human interaction for the things we want/need. The old way of so interacting might break down, but the people are still there. The trick then, is to quickly shift how we interact to meet each others’ needs: with charity, and trading the stuff we have/produce/can do.

  34. ol' e cross
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    As it’s past midnight, BA, I need someone to wish me a happy birthday.

  35. Luke Bison
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    Hmmm? So who are your really OEC? Alan Alda? No, not that smart. Baryshnikov? No, not that graceful. Mo Rocca? No, not that funny. Rick Warren … maybe. Nick Carter … more likely.

    Wait. I got it.

    Happy Birthday you sexy little man.

  36. oliva
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday, Ol’ E Cross!

    To be an Aquarian is to have impeccable, almost infallible judgement. It is to know, instantly, the right answer to any question and to see, immediately, the best way to proceed with any plan. It is also though, to be viewed with suspicion by those who do not possess such clarity. All you ever need, to be successful, is to act on your insights.
    –cainer.com

  37. Brackache
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Happy one hundred and eleventh!

  38. ol' e cross
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Thanks BA. And to think, at one time I didn’t think I’d make it past 105.

    Thanks Olivia and thanks for not focusing on “the dark side: “Intractable and contrary, perverse and unpredictable, unemotional and detached.”

    Luke, close, you were right on the small and sexy part.

  39. Oliva
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    From “Community or Chaos: MLK and Clint Eastwood,” Michigan Citizen

    “We have to go back to when people shared things and started taking care of each other. That’s the only way we will survive. What better way to do it than with food?” said Will Allen, Founder of Growing Power, MacArthur Genius Award 2008.

    “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing’-oriented society to a ‘person’-oriented society . . . A civilization can flounder as readily in the face of moral and spiritual bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy.”

    –Martin Luther King, Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?)

    –http://www.michigancitizen.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=77&twindow=Default&mad=No&sdetail=6967&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=1070&hn=michigancitizen&he=.com

  40. Aha
    Posted January 28, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Wait, I’ve got it—Communism!

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