Election Season!

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Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:06 pm

Well, it's election day here in Canada, and election fever is rising in the States, as well!

Time to talk real politics!

It looks like we have a match up between the NDP, liberals, and federal conservatives here, with the Green and Bloc threatening major interference.
I'm eager to find out how much influence the Green gains this year, because I believe their policies and ideas are poorly informed and would be even less well implemented.

Personally, I'm voting for the NDP because they share more of my ideas about how the country should be run than the liberals or conservatives.
I liked the liberals under Jean Chretien, really, but under Martin and Dion, the policies have changed too much, and with the pressure from the conservatives, they seem too focused on satisfying the public to do a good job.

And I despise the conservatives. I'm sure they're doing what they think is best for Canada, but they're going against their election promises, (the PMO has gained a great deal of power since they came in, for example), they've put in anti-choice legislation, (such as raising the age of consent, which although it represents a good idea, should've been enacted in an empowerment law, not as a restrictive law), cut most of the social programs that made me approve of the liberals, enacted a stupid tax cut for stupid reasons, and generally clash with my personal ideology.

The NDP aren't my ideal party either, but most of their policies are in the right direction, and if they get into power and keep it, we'll have a true tri-partisan gov't, from which point I hope it expands further. Ideally, we would have enough parties in power that a majority gov't would be next to impossible, and instead of representing the small "majority", (that is, in Canada, the minorities outweigh the largest group, (calling it a majority would be kind of misleading. :P), but because the largest group still has much more voting power, they are still the group that is pandered to by politics currently), would represent the diversity of Canada much better, even if any action they could take would be very gradual and limited.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:55 pm

Well, that was exciting! The projections are pretty solid at this point, but the actual votes could still swing a conservative gov't. It looks like we'll have a just minority conservative gov't, with about 145 conservative seats and 75 liberal seats, (and 45 block seats, with 35 NDP seats, and a couple of independents).

The bloc and the liberals lost points this election, with the liberals losing an amazing 9%, which was picked up half by the conservatives, half by the NDP and green party. The NDP scored a huge victory this election, gaining both seats and points. The green party is also happy with decreasing degrees of failure.

Newfoundland and Quebec turned out to be trouble spots for the conservatives, with Newfoundland electing one NDP in St. John's East with >80% of the vote, and 6 liberals in the other seats. Quebec switched between the bloc and the liberals for the most part, but also elected an independent.

The green party had 9% of the Albertan vote, which went completely against my expectations, and the NDP increase there was also probably due to environmental concerns.


I hope the conservatives lose some of the leading seats by morning.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby mouse on Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:24 pm

ok, i'm an ignorant usian. can you tell me (briefly) what the ndp is all about? (as opposed to greens, liberals and conservatives)
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:38 pm

The NDP have a pretty strict policy . . . but they've compromised it a lot in the last few years so that they can get votes. Discarding all but the most important principles, if you will.

The most important thing is social nets. They believe in economic stability, and that it can be achieved such tools as social programs, welfare, health care, etc.

They generally believe in giving people the freedom of choice in controversial issues, and that any restrictions, though sometimes necessary or desirable, are always merely enforcing the views of the few upon the many.

Generally, they're Canada's main socialist party.
If you really want to know the nitty gritty of the party:
http://www.ndp.ca/

(keep in mind to doubt and research any "facts" there. I don't trust anybody to advertise themselves fairly or truthfully, particularly since the definition of truth, in some circumstances, can vary from person to person.)
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:57 am

For your reading pleasure:

http://www.viruscomix.com/page461.html
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:13 pm

As long as you're aware that was completely tongue-in-cheek.

For your reading pleasure, Ms. Atwood, whose books I detest and political essays I admire, (not this one in particular, it's somewhat not true/uneducated on some points):
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... itics/home
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:47 am

Ms. Atwood...some of whose novels I enjoy (Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake)....is, in this case, absolutely correct in her evaluation of the Harper government. I won't even say she's misguided in voicing her political preference so publicly as, like Al Sharpton and Bono, she's one of those people who, right or wrong, has enough of a fanatic following (hell, she's practically the poster child for liberalism in Canada) that she can sway a decent amount of votes with a crook of her gnarled finger.

However, I will say that her efforts in writing this article were predictably futile, as in the end, by 14 October, the various political parties of Canada had spent in the neighborhood of $100 million to keep things pretty much exactly the same as they were on 13 October. There's your power of political change.

By the way...it's worth noting that the Marijuana Party spent over $500K on this election (source: http://election.globaltv.com/topstoryde ... stid=49529). That's a hell of a lot of bud.
Other interesting facts from the same article: who knew that Canada had a Libertarian party? And why is the Marxist-Leninist Party separate from the Communist Party? Isn't that splitting some hairs particularly finely? Considering that between them they spent more on the election than the Bloc Quebecois, wouldn't it make sense for them to join forces to gain some seats, then hash out later exactly what Marx said about exploitation of the working class?
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:34 pm

I find that in that article, Ms. Atwood put up a LOT of strawmen arguments and some stuff she said was quite poorly researched or maybe poorly expressed. One or the other. Normally she puts out a much higher quality of political essay.

The marxist-leninists are socialists, the communists are communists.

If you had been paying attention to the article, the political parties COULD HAVE spent over 100 million, most of them did not use that full allowance. (or did not have the money to meet that allowance)

I'm pretty sure the marijuana party just handed out brownies and calmly talked to people again.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:07 am

Counterclockwise wrote:I find that in that article, Ms. Atwood put up a LOT of strawmen arguments and some stuff she said was quite poorly researched or maybe poorly expressed. One or the other. Normally she puts out a much higher quality of political essay.

The marxist-leninists are socialists, the communists are communists.

If you had been paying attention to the article, the political parties COULD HAVE spent over 100 million, most of them did not use that full allowance. (or did not have the money to meet that allowance)

I'm pretty sure the marijuana party just handed out brownies and calmly talked to people again.


At least she admitted it was poorly researched. Honestly, I found her article less preachy and elitist than I expected from her. I thought it was well done. Still, she did try to ban lawnmowers, so there's only so much credibility I can give her.

Socialist, communist...pot-ay-to, pot-ah-to. The difference is one of degree ("I'll only put it in a little bit").

I only skimmed the article, so it's no wonder I didn't get it entirely right. Like Margaret Atwood, I like my research light and fluffy. What are these silly things you call facts?

I'll publicly state right now that I'll vote for any politician who takes the time to make me brownies. When was the last time you saw Stephen Harper in an apron delivering chocolatey goodness door to door?
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:43 am

There's a world of difference between socialism and communism.

Socialism is a liberal type movement.
Communism is strictly conservative.

Socialism is actually an economic model, not a political one, while communism is a gov't model.
In communism, only a few people have a say over anything, and for it to be a good system, we require 0% corruption.

In (pure) socialism, everyone has some say, over both politics and economics, and in order for it to work well, we require everyone to follow the same rules.
(Pure socialism is also equivalent to pure laissez faire capitalism, and they fail for the same reasons.)

non-pure Socialism works for the same reasons non-pure capitalism works, it merely approaches the balance from the other side of the scale, favouring the consumers rather than the corporations.

The federal conservatives are actually somewhat communist if you examine their policies. The republicans down in the states resemble them even more so.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Ian McDonald on Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:47 pm

Counterclockwise wrote:The federal conservatives are actually somewhat communist if you examine their policies. The republicans down in the states resemble them even more so.


And if you doubt what Counterclockwise has to say here, you should check out this recent Tom the Dancing Bug.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby mouse on Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:51 pm

Ian McDonald wrote:
Counterclockwise wrote:The federal conservatives are actually somewhat communist if you examine their policies. The republicans down in the states resemble them even more so.


And if you doubt what Counterclockwise has to say here, you should check out this recent Tom the Dancing Bug.


i missed counterclockwise's comment. you should tell the republican national committee that their policies are communist - then their heads would explode, and it will be _much_ easier to win the election.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:41 am

Counterclockwise wrote:There's a world of difference between socialism and communism.


Just to clarify (and simplify a bit):
According to Dictionary.com:

so·cial·ism
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

com·mu·nism
1. a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
2. (often initial capital letter) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.
3. (initial capital letter) the principles and practices of the Communist party.

OK, so socialism is the ownership of capital by the community as a whole, and in Marxist theory is a transitory state to communism (i.e. communism-lite), whereas communism is the ownership of capital by the community as a whole. Yup. Lots of difference there. Worlds apart, they are. Chalk and cheese.
I understand your point, insofar as I understand the analysis of politics provided by http://www.romm.org/soc_com.html, run by so liberal he bleeds carrot juice Dave Romm, but in effect what either one comes down to is putting the individual at the disposal of the community, and telling me that I have no right to the wealth I've generated. Of course, we know from the history of Canadian welfare systems that no one would ever abuse such a system to live a comfortable existence off the work of others right? (See: TAGS program. See: Cape Breton, NS.) Methinks that the human animal has a couple hundred thousand more years of evolving to do before we can even begin to consider such a system, and even then that doesn't make it right.
Sadly, the recent example of the U.S. banking system shows us that laissez-faire is no closer to being a good model at the moment. Dem bankers just can't be trusted.
The answer? Good old fashioned myob, courtesy once again of Eric Frank Russell. Survivalism begins at home, and it's never too late to start hoarding canned goods.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:38 pm

The welfare system is a system devised to promote economic stability in a capitalist system by lessening the effects of an economic trough.
The conservatives introduced it after the great depression.

It's not particularly socialistic. Socialistic policies would rather split work so that everyone is working . . . and preferably as little as possible. Instead of firing half the workers because the new technology allows you to do twice the work, a socialistic system would have all the workers doing half the worktime they would previously have been doing.

Second, dictionary.com has never been an authoritative source. Might I remind you that for three years, it had florescence defined as "the flowering season"?
And a dictionary is never the place to go for anything of a particularly longer description or history; they have to abridge it way too much to emphasize the real meaning. Often, they also contain outdated meanings or words that are no longer used.

Socialism vests property in the community, because everyone has a say over everything.
Communism vests property in the community/state, because everyone is told what to do.
If you don't see a difference in that, you're lost.

Instead of saying, "fuck the bankers", you should learn some economics. Due to the rules and regulations forced on them by the US gov't, they did all they could do to avoid a collapse. Which just meant that the inevitable collapse became a larger and larger problem.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby mouse on Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:05 pm

AisA wrote:
Counterclockwise wrote:There's a world of difference between socialism and communism.


Just to clarify (and simplify a bit):
According to Dictionary.com:

so·cial·ism
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

com·mu·nism
1. a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.



ok, i'm not an expert, but i see a significant difference between those two. the first one allows you to have personal property, the community shares ownership only in the means of production. so i can have my own car, but i can't personally own a company that manufactures cars.

in the second case, i can't own either the car or the company; the best i can hope for is that the community will let me use one.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:35 am

Counterclockwise wrote:The welfare system is a system devised to promote economic stability in a capitalist system by lessening the effects of an economic trough.
The conservatives introduced it after the great depression.

It's not particularly socialistic. Socialistic policies would rather split work so that everyone is working . . . and preferably as little as possible. Instead of firing half the workers because the new technology allows you to do twice the work, a socialistic system would have all the workers doing half the worktime they would previously have been doing.

Second, dictionary.com has never been an authoritative source. Might I remind you that for three years, it had florescence defined as "the flowering season"?
And a dictionary is never the place to go for anything of a particularly longer description or history; they have to abridge it way too much to emphasize the real meaning. Often, they also contain outdated meanings or words that are no longer used.

Socialism vests property in the community, because everyone has a say over everything.
Communism vests property in the community/state, because everyone is told what to do.
If you don't see a difference in that, you're lost.

Instead of saying, "fuck the bankers", you should learn some economics. Due to the rules and regulations forced on them by the US gov't, they did all they could do to avoid a collapse. Which just meant that the inevitable collapse became a larger and larger problem.


Canada is a semi-socialist state. It's not a bad place to live, but it's not the best of all worlds either. To that extent, the welfare system is socialist, in that it facilitates the redistribution of wealth from the "haves" to the "have nots", or at least to the "have not right now...". Under any political system, any practice that allows for that, also allows for abuse of such a system, which was my point...that given the opportunity, some people will always abuse such a system to the detriment of those people who have no choice but to feed into it.
In defining the different systems, you're looking at the recipient...where the capital is going. I'm looking at it from the point of view of the producer...where the capital is coming from. Under both systems, the producer is told that they do not have any right to the product of their work, aside from that which is granted back to them by a ruling body (either the "community" or the "state"). Both hold need as the standard of the good, which means the more needy you are, the more you get, while the better you can produce, the more you must give. Makes it a great world....for the recipient.
Did I say "fuck the bankers"? I wouldn't fuck a banker with a ten foot pole. (sorry...I usually throw the small ones back, but I couldn't resist). And since my comment on bankers was a throwaway, I won't analyze that any further. (huh-huh. He said anal-ize.)

I'm not lost, I'm just like Diogenes...searching in the dark for an honest man.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:37 am

mouse wrote:
AisA wrote:
Counterclockwise wrote:There's a world of difference between socialism and communism.


Just to clarify (and simplify a bit):
According to Dictionary.com:

so·cial·ism
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

com·mu·nism
1. a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.



ok, i'm not an expert, but i see a significant difference between those two. the first one allows you to have personal property, the community shares ownership only in the means of production. so i can have my own car, but i can't personally own a company that manufactures cars.

in the second case, i can't own either the car or the company; the best i can hope for is that the community will let me use one.


Clever use of selective bolding there. Yes, if I read "vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution", then that system does allow me to own personal property. However, if I bold the next few words and read "vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc...." then it does not allow me to own property. Don't practice your html tags on me.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Arantor on Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:20 am

RIght. Let me add my tup'pence worth.

A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.


What are we vesting things in? The community as a whole. Not a controlling party, or the state, but to the community, i.e. the people in it.

What are we vesting in the community? Ownership and control of means of production and distribution of capital, land etc.

I read that, perhaps incorrectly, as vesting the right of ownership in the community, and the right to control means of production and distribution in the community, such that I can own property, I can produce property and I can distribute property - widening 'property' to include possessions and wealth.

To, me this means we can own things and collectively produce and distribute the wealth/land. The one thing it doesn't address is *how* these things will be controlled, and assumes that every member of the community will be content with and willing to accept equal.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:56 am

I think Arantor explains the point I was trying to get across.

If you have ownership of company A which owns 50% of company B, than you effectively have 50% ownership of company B, yes?
And if I have 50% ownership of company A, than i have 25% ownership of company B. Note that this is actually how they calculate it.

If I have equal ownership with every other member of country A, which owns all material possessions, than I have equal ownership of all material possessions, which can be broken down into an equal amount of material possessions each.



Welfare doesn't distribute from the haves to the have nots. It keeps money in the hands of the rich. Do I need to explain?
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:12 pm

Counterclockwise wrote:I think Arantor explains the point I was trying to get across.

If you have ownership of company A which owns 50% of company B, than you effectively have 50% ownership of company B, yes?
And if I have 50% ownership of company A, than i have 25% ownership of company B. Note that this is actually how they calculate it.

If I have equal ownership with every other member of country A, which owns all material possessions, than I have equal ownership of all material possessions, which can be broken down into an equal amount of material possessions each.

Welfare doesn't distribute from the haves to the have nots. It keeps money in the hands of the rich. Do I need to explain?


If I country A owns all material possessions, then I have equal ownership of nothing, since it is owned by country A. So, in the sense that 0 divided by x still equals 0, then yes, there is an equal amount of material possessions each.
I return to my previous point...you're considering the recipient of the wealth without considering the source of it. In order to be distributed...by any means...wealth has to be acquired. Since everyone in country A (a pretty country, but the trains never run on time) has an equal share of any wealth produced, and since some people will inevitably produce more or less wealth than others, the only way this equal sharing can be done is take wealth from those who are able to produce it and distribute it to those who cannot.
It's like North America's current consumption of fossil fuels...we don't care where it comes from, we only want more. You're the political equivalent of an SUV driving hockey mom. Dammit, stop hogging the road! And get off the cel phone while you're driving. And put down that Starbuck's.
Um...I had a point in there somewhere.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Counterclockwise on Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:19 pm

Not everyone who fulfils a useful function is producing wealth.

A capitalist system already takes from those who produce and gives to those who do not.

edit: forgot to respond to this:

If I country A owns all material possessions, then I have equal ownership of nothing, since it is owned by country A. So, in the sense that 0 divided by x still equals 0, then yes, there is an equal amount of material possessions each.


But you own part of country A. Material possessions have been defined as a subset of country A. Because you own a part of country A, you effectively own a part of material possessions.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:31 am

Counterclockwise wrote:Not everyone who fulfils a useful function is producing wealth.

A capitalist system already takes from those who produce and gives to those who do not.

edit: forgot to respond to this:

If I country A owns all material possessions, then I have equal ownership of nothing, since it is owned by country A. So, in the sense that 0 divided by x still equals 0, then yes, there is an equal amount of material possessions each.


But you own part of country A. Material possessions have been defined as a subset of country A. Because you own a part of country A, you effectively own a part of material possessions.


Not everyone who claims wealth is fulfilling a useful function. If all cats are gray, and Tom is gray, it does not mean that Tom is a cat. He could be a ferret.

A capitalist system (in a perfect world where people are honest and unicorns poop rainbows) returns wealth to the people who create the means of producing it. A socialist/communist system takes wealth from those who produce it and distributes it to those who do not.

If I own part of country A, then I have the right to say that no one else can use my part of country A, and that I have the right to the proceeds of any wealth that is produced from my part of country A. If I have no choice but to distribute the wealth from my part of country A amongst the rest of the population of country A, then I do not own anything. Rather, I have the right of use as granted me in a revocable sense by the administration of country A. Rather like the DRM on mp3s from WalMart.
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:57 am

Now here's an interesting bit of legwork I did to occupy my brain this afternoon....
From Metafilter, I found a comparative list of countries' ratings for human trafficking and slavery, according to ratings set by the U.S. State Dept. (I know...a questionable authority, but it's a start): http://www.gvnet.com/humantrafficking/00-Ratings.htm
It's rated according to 4 tiers, tiers 1 & 2 being the better, and tier 2 watchlist and tier 3 being countries where slavery/trafficking is more active or less controlled.
For comparison, I found a list of countries currently under a communist or socialist political system: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedi ... -countries.
What's interesting to note is that of the 15 communist/socialist countries listed:
-not one is on the tier 1 list.
-only 5 are on the tier 2 list.
-of the 14 countries on the tier 3 list, 7 of them are currently or formerly communist/socialist.

Now...make of that what you will, but I think that's an interesting correlation.

Facts. Huh. Who knew?
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Re: Election Season!

Postby Ian McDonald on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:12 am

AisA wrote:-of the 14 countries on the tier 3 list, 7 of them are currently or formerly communist/socialist.

Now...make of that what you will, but I think that's an interesting correlation.

Facts. Huh. Who knew?


Just curious: what are the other seven?
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Re: Election Season!

Postby AisA on Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:36 am

Ian McDonald wrote:
AisA wrote:Just curious: what are the other seven?

Here's the full list:

Algeria - former Socialist.
Iran
Oman
Sudan - former Socialist.
Burma - former Socialist
Kuwait
Papua New Guinea - former Socialist
Syria - former Socialist
Cuba - Communist
Korea, North - Communist
Qatar
Fiji
Moldova
Saudi Arabia

I don't have time to do the research right now, but a quick look at the names suggest a strong Muslim presence. I suspect that's an argument for another day. No fatwas for me, thanks, I'm on a diet.
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