Patterico's Pontifications


Is Fauxcahontas Really Pocahontas?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

That’s what The Daily Beast tells us in this headline (well, they put it a different way):

Warren DNA Test

I’d say it’s really more like this:

The original story broke in the Boston Globe, with a more cautious headline: Warren releases results of DNA test.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides “strong evidence’’ she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations, an unprecedented move by one of the top possible contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.

Warren, whose claims to Native American blood have been mocked by President Trump and other Republicans, provided the test results to the Globe on Sunday in an effort to defuse questions about her ancestry that have persisted for years. She planned an elaborate rollout Monday of the results as she aimed for widespread attention.

The analysis of Warren’s DNA was done by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and expert in the field who won a 2010 MacArthur fellowship, also known as a genius grant, for his work on tracking population migration via DNA analysis.

You can read the actual DNA report itself here. The relevant statement is this:

The total and average segment size suggest (via the method of moments) an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the pedigree at approximately 8 generations before the sample.

The word “suggest” elsewhere in the report is strengthened to “strongly support” in the conclusion, although no additional data is added to explain why the conclusion is stronger. Also, in the conclusion, the likely generation is widened into a range of generations (6-10) which conveniently comes closer to fitting Warren’s narrative of a great-great-great grandmother who was Native American.

The important upshot: Trump was right to call her Pocahontas instead of Fauxcahontas!

He’s always right, you know.

UPDATE: The Boston Globe has issued a correction:

Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024.

As commenter harkin points out, that’s a fraction, not a percentage, but keep trying, guys.

When you convert to a percentage, you get Warren having .0976% Native American blood. Here’s the thing, though: that is totally unremarkable and indeed about half the average for an American of European ancestry.

On average, the scientists found, people who identified as African-American had genes that were only 73.2 percent African. European genes accounted for 24 percent of their DNA, while .8 percent came from Native Americans.

Latinos, on the other hand, had genes that were on average 65.1 percent European, 18 percent Native American, and 6.2 percent African. The researchers found that European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 Native American.

Could Donald Trump be more of a native American than Warren? Based on these numbers, that seems likely.

Calling this any sort of vindication for Warren is utterly laughable.

UPDATE x2: If my math is correct, the percentage for the eighth generation (the most likely according to the report) would be .39% — about double the average for the average American of European descent, and still a minuscule amount.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 97

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 8:43 am

It is the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “In allen meinen Taten” (In all that I do / In all my undertakings).

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 10:17-31:

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

In all my actions
I take counsel from the Highest,
who owns and is capable of everything;
In all things He must give,
so that they may prosper,
His own advice and assistance.

There is nothing, early or late,
to all my efforts,
my worries are in vain.
He may do with my affairs
according to His will,
I place them at His disposal.

Both chorale movements in today’s cantata — at the beginning and at the end — are based on the famous melody “Innsbruck, ich muß dich lassen” (Innsbruck, I Must Leave You) by Heinrich Isaac. The final chorale (lasting less than a minute) in particular has a more straightforward rendition of the melody:

This tune may sound familar to fans of the St. Matthew Passion, because it is used twice in that work, for example here:

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Payback for the Treatment of Justice Kavanaugh Begins

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:20 am

[guest post by JVW]

Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris shouldn’t insult us by pretending to be surprised by this:

President Trump is plowing ahead to fill three vacancies on the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, brushing aside Democratic resistance to nominate conservative judges.

Presidents traditionally work with senators from judicial nominees’ home state — in this case, California — to put forward judicial picks. They often seek what’s known as a “blue slip,” or an opinion from those senators.

But in a snub to California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, the White House announced Wednesday that Trump had nominated Patrick Bumatay, Daniel Collins and Kenneth Kiyul Lee (all from the Golden State, and reportedly all members of the conservative Federalist Society) to the influential circuit. The court, with a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against the travel ban and limits on funding to “sanctuary cities.”

Naturally we’ll hear no end to the caterwauling about how Trump has trampled upon established norms, to which I can only say “Good!” If Feinstein, Harris, and the progressive judicial industry thought that it would be business as usual after their scandalous performance during the Kavanaugh hearing, this can be a sharp rejoinder to them that their wretched behavior will have lasting consequences.

Hopefully Jeff Flake and Susan Collins are OK with confirming them in the next few weeks.



The Conservative Governor Who Fights Like a Progressive

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:15 pm

[guest post by JVW]

The Cato Institute released it’s annual report card on America’s governors earlier this week, and in looking through it, I was struck by one entry in particular. Here is what they had to say about Maine’s second-term Republican governor, Paul LePage:

Governor Paul LePage is a staunch fiscal conservative. He has restrained spending and cut state employment by 7 percent since taking office. LePage has signed into law cost-cutting reforms to welfare and health programs, and he has decried the negative effects of big government: “Big, expensive welfare programs riddled with fraud and abuse threaten our future. Too many Mainers are dependent on government. Government dependency has not — and never will — create prosperity.”

Now that is an impressive scorecard for any conservative governor, but the way LePage has gone about governing on the right in a state where legislative power is divided between the two major parties is very interesting:

In 2015, LePage proposed a plan to reduce the top individual income tax rate from 7.95 percent to 5.75 percent, reduce the top corporate tax rate from 8.93 percent to 6.75 percent, eliminate narrow tax breaks, repeal the estate tax, and raise sales taxes. When the legislature rejected the plan, LePage said that he would veto any bills sponsored by Democrats. In the end, the legislature passed a budget that included substantial tax cuts over the veto of LePage, who wanted even larger cuts. The plan cut the top personal income tax rate from 7.95 to 7.15 percent, reduced taxes for low-income households, increased the estate tax exemption, and made the previous sales tax rate increase permanent.

In 2016, LePage pushed for more tax cuts. In his state of the state address, he proposed reducing the individual income tax rate to 4 percent over time and repealing the estate tax.

In other words, Gov. LePage demanded a huge tax cut, goaded Democrats into passing a smaller tax cut (I’m not expert on Maine politics, but I doubt that Democrats were too keen on cutting taxes at all) even going so far as to forcing them to override his veto, then the very next year came back and demanded even more in tax cuts, the ones he was denied the previous year. This is exactly how Democrats treat spending: get what you can this time around, demand the rest of it next time around, but always keep pushing for more, more, more. When Pine Tree State Democrats responded by raising taxes via voter initiative in the high-turnout Presidential election year of 2016, LePage was ready to do battle:

In November of that year, voters narrowly passed, by a 51–49 margin, an initiative (Question 2) to impose a 3 percentage point income tax surtax on households earning more than $200,000 a year to fund education. LePage opposed the hike.

LePage’s budget in January 2017 called for repeal of the surtax and a major overhaul of the state’s tax system. He proposed replacing the multi-rate individual income tax with a 5.75 percent flat tax, cutting the corporate tax rate, eliminating the estate tax, raising the exemption level on retirement income, and offsetting some of the revenue loss by broadening the sales tax base and raising lodging taxes. After a battle with the legislature and a government shutdown, a deal was struck to increase education spending but repeal the surtax on high earners imposed in 2016.

Again, LePage appears to be a first-rate wheeler and dealer. When the Dems convinced the casual voter (number of voters in 2014: 611,255; number of voters in 2016: 771,892) to come out and support a tax increase on someone else, the governor made repeal of the increase a condition of reaching a deal and appears to have absolutely waxed the high-tax advocates in budget negotiations, shutting down the government to demonstrate his seriousness.

But eternal vigilance is the price of (economic) freedom, so Gov. LePage and his allies have to forever be on the watch for attempts by Maine Democrats to collect and spend more and more dollars from their fellow citizens.

In 2018, LePage proposed conforming to changes under the 2017 federal tax law. Simple con- formity would raise taxes by about $300 million a year, so the governor proposed to offset the taxpayer cost with tax cuts for lower-income taxpayers, a corporate tax rate cut from 8.93 per- cent to 8.33 percent, and estate tax reductions. The legislature failed to pass the plan.

LePage is term-limited out this year, and none of the candidates vying to replace him appear to have his flair for conflict or fortitude in staunchly defending low-tax principles. I guess it’s the way of things: the parsimonious governor is followed by the profligate governor and vice-versa (except of course in California, where all governors spend like golf duffers at the Pebble Beach Pro Shop), so Maine’s era of austerity might be winding down. But here’s to Paul LePage for proving that increasing government spending is not the path to prosperity, and for using the left’s tactics against them in pursuit of tax reform.


Turks Tell U.S.: We Have Audio of a Journalist Being Tortured and Murdered in the Saudi Consulate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:15 am

The Turks say they have audio of Jamal Khashoggi being beaten and tortured by the Saudis:

The Turkish government has told U.S. officials that it has audio and video recordings that prove Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this month, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.

The recordings show that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi in the consulate after he walked in Oct. 2 to obtain an official document before his upcoming wedding, then killed him and dismembered his body, the officials said.

The audio recording in particular provides some of the most persuasive and gruesome evidence that the Saudi team is responsible for Khashoggi’s death, the officials said.

“The voice recording from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered,” said one person with knowledge of the recording who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss highly sensitive intelligence.

“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” this person said. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”

A second person briefed on the recording said men could be heard beating Khashoggi.

Khashoggi is hardly the first innocent person Mohammed bin Salman has had killed. We’re sending weapons to a regime that created a humanitarian crisis in Yemen and conducted an air strike on a school bus. But, to paraphrase Stalin, if only one man dies of torture and is cut up with a bone saw, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Law Students Walk Out Of Class In Protest Of Kavanaugh Confirmation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Students from a number of law schools have walked out of class to protest the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The walkout began yesterday, and is scheduled to go through Friday. From the Strike Against Kavanaugh Organizing Committee’s open letter:

We are in the middle of a national emergency. Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed to the Supreme Court. We cannot accept a system that empowers a man who repeatedly lied under oath and a judiciary review process that only performs a sham of an investigation into his misconduct. We do not recognize Kavanaugh as a legitimate member of the United States Supreme Court.

This week, law students will be striking across the country beginning at 2:15 PM EST on Wednesday 10/10/18 and lasting through Friday 10/12/18. We demand that anyone seeking to be elected to Congress in November commits to impeaching Kavanaugh to protect any semblance of rule of law and the people of our communities. While this strike primarily is being organized on law school campuses, we encourage students at every level to participate and invite non-student workers, lawyers, and other members of the public to organize their communities to walk out on Wednesday and strike with us.

While the students are obviously free to walk out of class and raise their voices in protest – God bless America – other students are pointing out the obvious:

Some students… questioned the strategy because Kavanaugh had already been confirmed.

According to students involved in planning the walkout, the goal of the protest is two-fold: to see Kavanaugh impeached, and to defend reproductive rights because Kavanaugh is going to kill women.

The strike aims to push politicians and political candidates to support Kavanaugh’s impeachment on the grounds of alleged perjury, and to defend reproductive rights as members of the U.S. Congress, said Nikta Daijavad, a second-year student at New York University’s School of Law and a leader of NYU Law Women, which endorsed the strike.

Whether impeachment happens in the new Congress or a future one, “we’re not going to stop thinking that Brett Kavanaugh should be impeached for perjury,” [Justine] Medina [co-chair of Brooklyn Law School’s National Lawyers Guild] said.

While Medina and her peers may have a goal of seeing Kavanaugh impeached for perjury, one questions the likelihood of that actually happening:

“Perjury is pretty narrow. A statement that is misleading, that is evasive, that doesn’t answer the question is not perjury. It’s only perjury when you deliberately, knowingly and directly lie. So a lot of the things that people are upset about in Kavanaugh’s testimony, I think are better characterized as evasive or combative or misleading.”

For more on the question of perjury, see Beldar’s comment here.

No doubt these young protesters are fueled by a smug sense of self-righteous anger at the seeming unfairness of it all, yet a few years down the line, they may be faced with an unfortunate consequence of their actions.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Happily, a Stroke of Sanity in California

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:31 pm

[guest post by JVW]

I saw an interesting little tidbit over at the good ol’ Dog Trainer from a story that was actually published last week:

The president of the board of administration of CalPERS, the state’s largest public employee pension fund, lost her bid for reelection to a Corona police officer, the agency announced Thursday after tallying votes from members cast over the last two months.

Priya Mathur, who has served on the board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System since 2003, will be replaced by Jason Perez, a police sergeant who serves as president of the Corona Police Officers Assn. Mathur was selected in January as president of the CalPERS board, and her defeat marks the second shake-up of the pension fund’s leadership in less than a year.

Perez focused his campaign squarely on Mathur’s record representing public agency workers and on what he argues is a record by the pension fund of being overly focused on the political implications of its investments.

“In the past, it’s been used more as a political action committee than a retirement fund,” Perez said in an interview Thursday. “I think the public agency [employees] are just sick of the shenanigans.”

CalPERS for some time has been run as yet another adjunct of left-wing Democrat policy, using its huge investment powers (valued at almost $357 billion) to reward allies while shunning those who are not riding in first class aboard the social justice train. In past years the organization’s board — which consists of six members elected by CalPERS members, four ex officio members drawn from the fetid state bureaucracy, and three members appointed by the governor (two) and legislative leaders (one) — has decided to meddle in corporate governance and foreign policy, which is certainly their prerogative. But when given a foot, progressives demand a yard, and it was only a matter of time before the wokedy-wokest activists started pushing for a ban on investments in fossil fuels and other bugaboos of the activist left, most notably guns.

And that’s what pressed Sgt. Perez to run and cast out Ms. Mathur. According to the Dog Trainer:

Perez focused his campaign squarely on Mathur’s record representing public agency workers and on what he argues is a record by the pension fund of being overly focused on the political implications of its investments.

“In the past, it’s been used more as a political action committee than a retirement fund,” Perez said in an interview Thursday. “I think the public agency [employees] are just sick of the shenanigans.”

As such, Perez could bring a decidedly different approach to the pension governance board. In March, he lashed out at state Treasurer John Chiang, who sits on the CalPERS board, during a debate over whether the fund should embrace Chiang’s request to divest from certain gun retailers.

“This is nothing more than a political ploy,” Perez said during public comment. “It has nothing to do with CalPERS and its fiduciary responsibility to invest, to maximize returns.”

The board ultimately declined to accept Chiang’s proposal.

In a state like California where virtue signaling is as ubiquitous as air kisses and bro-hugs, this is pretty significant. A public board that skews heavily to the left has decided that they aren’t willing to endanger their own financial well-being in order to placate the capricious political posturing of the haut monde of the Golden State. Score one, but only one, for sensibility. It’s nice to win one every once in a while here in the Avocado Republic.


More from the Tolerant Radical Left: Truck with Pro-Trump Stickers Torched in Vancouver

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:47 am

The insanity of the radical left continues:

A truck bearing pro-Trump stickers was torched after the owner left the vehicle at a bar parking lot in Vancouver, Wash., overnight.

Johnny MacKay told KOIN News the incident occurred late Monday night, after he opted to take an Uber home after having a few drinks, leaving his Nissan Titan pickup in the Garage Bar and Grille’s parking lot.

During the night, Randy Sanchagrin, who lives near the bar, told the local station he heard an explosion. He then exited the house and began filming what turned out to be MacKay’s truck being engulfed by flames.

“By the time I ran back to the street it was so bad there was no getting close to it,” Sanchagrin told the local outlet.

Photos of MacKay’s pickup showed two bumper stickers reading “TRUMP 2020” and “TRUMP: KEEP AMERICA GREAT! 2020.”

MacKay told the station he thinks his stickers made him a target.

Oh, and in case you thought it was an unrelated coincidence that the truck had Trump stickers on it:

He said when he arrived at the bar the next morning to pick up his truck, he also found Trump’s name spray-painted on the vehicle.

It’s not an unrelated coincidence.

When they go low, we kick them. But we don’t do anything inappropriate of course.

No word yet on whether Brooke Baldwin or Don Lemon think this was “arson” as opposed to peaceful protest.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Turkish Government: Saudi Government Killed and Dismembered Dissident in Their Consulate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

A Saudi dissent who had harshly criticized the current Saudi regime on the pages of the Washington Post was murdered in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey and dismembered with a bone saw, according to anonymous sources in the Turkish government. They are blaming the Saudi government. New York Times:

Top Turkish security officials have concluded that the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on orders from the highest levels of the royal court, a senior official said Tuesday.

The official described a quick and complex operation in which Mr. Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulate by a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose.

“It is like ‘Pulp Fiction,’” the official said.

The officials aren’t releasing their evidence; to do so would likely put sources and methods at risk. But we do know that 15 Saudi agents arrived by airplane and left again by airplane after a few hours. They were all Saudi government or security personnel, and one was an autopsy expert who would presumably know how to wield a bone saw. Many are claiming that there is video of the killing, which would not be surprising, given where it occurred:

Another person briefed on the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose confidential details, told The Times on Saturday that Turkish intelligence had obtained a video of the killing, made by the Saudis to prove that it had occurred.

A commentator close to Mr. Erdogan’s government said so publicly on Tuesday.

“There is a video of the moment of him being killed,” Kemal Ozturk, a columnist in a pro-government newspaper and the former head of a semiofficial news agency, said in an interview on a pro-government television network, citing unnamed security officials.

Khashoggi wrote columns for the Washington Post for about a year. Here’s an example of his writing:

When I speak of the fear, intimidation, arrests and public shaming of intellectuals and religious leaders who dare to speak their minds, and then I tell you that I’m from Saudi Arabia, are you surprised?

With young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power, he promised an embrace of social and economic reform. He spoke of making our country more open and tolerant and promised that he would address the things that hold back our progress, such as the ban on women driving.

But all I see now is the recent wave of arrests. Last week, about 30 people were reportedly rounded up by authorities, ahead of the crown prince’s ascension to the throne. Some of the arrested are good friends of mine, and the effort represents the public shaming of intellectuals and religious leaders who dare to express opinions contrary to those of my country’s leadership. …

It was painful for me several years ago when several friends were arrested. I said nothing. I didn’t want to lose my job or my freedom. I worried about my family.

I have made a different choice now. I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice. To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot. I want you to know that Saudi Arabia has not always been as it is now. We Saudis deserve better.

Why would Khashoggi enter the Saudi Consulate after writing things like that? He had to get a document so that he could be married.

I am a little more than halfway through Infidel, the autobiography of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a true heroine (can I say heroine?) for feminism — and someone who has been pilloried by “feminists” in America. The book describes Hirsi Ali’s upbringing in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia. The oppression of women she describes in Saudi Arabia is vivid and maddening. It’s a barbaric society.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was thought to be a reformer who would change all of that. After all, he will let women drive! And Foreign Policy Expert Jared Kushner is reportedly quite taken with him. (And Crown Prince Mohammed is reported taken with the notion that Kushner is “in his pocket.“) But Crown Prince Mohammed has also notably arrested journalists, activists, and dissidents in typical authoritarian style. (Hey, you have to be tough!) And let’s not get carried away with the notion of what a “reformer” he is. He has done nothing to eliminate that aspect of society described in “Infidel” wherein women are under the guardianship of men and cannot do anything meaningful without their permission. Honor killings and stonings continue unabated. Saudi society is still medieval Islamism through and through.

The reported murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi is a reminder of the barbarism of our good friends the Saudis. Let’s try not to forget it.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley Resigns

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

It was announced this morning that President Trump has accepted the resignation of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley. While this comes as a surprise to the public, Haley apparently discussed her departure with the president last week during a visit to the White House. She will leave the Trump administration at the end of the year.

Haley has obviously been a tremendous asset to this administration. And clearly, she has a bright future in the GOP.

As a reminder, back in September, Haley responded to an incendiary op-ed published in the New York Times. While the anonymous writer claimed to be a senior official in the administration, they chose not to go directly to the president with their concerns about any number of matters pertaining to this administration. Haley instructed that taking advantage of the direct access that senior officials have with the president was the proper way to proceed when disagreement arose, letting the chips fall as they might:

I, too, am a senior Trump administration official. I proudly serve in this administration, and I enthusiastically support most of its decisions and the direction it is taking the country. But I don’t agree with the president on everything. When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person.

Like my colleagues in the Cabinet and on the National Security Council, I have very open access to the president. He does not shut out his advisers, and he does not demand that everyone agree with him. I can talk to him most any time, and I frequently do. If I disagree with something and believe it is important enough to raise with the president, I do it. And he listens. Sometimes he changes course, sometimes he doesn’t. That’s the way the system should work. And the American people should be comfortable knowing that’s the way the system does work in this administration.If the author truly is a senior administration official, then he or she has the kind of access to the president I described. If that is the case, this official has ample opportunity to try to persuade the president to change course. If the author is frustrated by an inability to persuade the president, then he or she is free to resign.


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