White Supremacists, Islamic Terrorists, Trumpers

I know that sane Americans are all holding our breath until January 20th, when most of us are anticipating being able to breathe a sigh of relief.  We foresee a return to normal concerns– policy debates based at least partially on logic and evidence, an actual national response to the COVID pandemic, and an end to waking up each day to news of the President’s latest lunacy and/or his administration’s latest, ever-more-blatant corruption.

Apparently, however, we won’t be clear of existential threats when Trump and his mobsters depart.

The Washington Post recently carried a column on the results of a study done by Jigsaw, the research arm of Google.The research looked into violent white-supremacist groups, and found that they had formed a connected global movement even before Trump’s presidency gave them oxygen here in the U.S., and that movement will almost certainly continue long after he leaves office.

These white-supremacist groups have used the Internet to recruit and train followers, much as Islamist extremists did a decade ago, argues a major new study by Jigsaw, a research arm of Google. The study, described here for the first time, is being published Tuesday by Jigsaw’s digital journal, the Current.

The study shatters the image that many analysts have of white supremacist attackers as “lone wolf” extremists. Jared Cohen, the chief executive of Jigsaw, argues that “this myth obscures the vast underlying infrastructure of white supremacist online communities around the world.”

These groups “move fluidly between mainstream and fringe platforms,” Cohen warns. They recruit followers on Facebook or YouTube, among other venues, and then direct them to protected “alt-tech” sites where they can privately share propaganda and boast about operations.

The report describes a movement that is much larger, much more violent and much better organized than most of us have realized. Information from the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database  suggest the existence of a global network that has been steadily growing since 2010.

A chilling factoid: that network has expanded “in tandem with Islamist extremism, its twin in using online media to spread hate.”

Consider these comparisons: In 2009, white supremacists were responsible for six deaths in 19 incidents, while Islamist extremists were responsible for 14 deaths in 12 incidents. Those numbers kept climbing steadily through the decade. By 2019, white supremacists were linked to 165 deaths in 336 incidents, while Islamist extremists were tied to 193 deaths in 82 incidents.

In three “hot spots” for white supremacists — Germany, Britain and the United States — the number of incidents seemed to spike because of special factors: in Germany, the influx of Syrian migrants in 2015; in Britain, the angry debate over Brexit in 2016; in the United States, Trump’s presidency in 2017.

When we look at the evidence all around us–it is hard not to conclude that we live at a time when huge numbers of people are simply crazy. Not just wrong about this or that, not just uninformed or unpleasant (although most also fall into those categories), but off the charts deranged.

It isn’t just the “soldiers” of these horrifying, radicalized terrorist threats.

It’s also the huge numbers of Republicans who believe that Donald Trump was mentally and emotionally fit to occupy the Oval Office. It’s the millions who insist that an election that delivered victories to their party’s down-ballot candidates, was supervised in many states by their own party, and was lost by over seven million votes, was somehow “stolen.” It’s the huge numbers who believe in “QAnon” and its conspiratorial allegations that Democrats are trafficking and  killing children and drinking their blood. It’s the inconceivable numbers who continue to dismiss the pandemic as a “hoax” while their friends and relatives die.

I know rational folks are supposed to “reach out” to those on “the other side”–but how do you reach out to people who are on the other side of sanity?


  1. Education seems the only solution. But these crazy folks educate their kids in hate long before they get to school. And their churches reinforce many of their beliefs. This is going to be difficult I fear.

  2. It’s the Salem witch trials, 2020 version. Identical species – we are either better educated or we are not. Many are not. We must destroy sources of deliberate misinformation, particularly religions, and we must do everything we can to educate every single person to their greatest potential.

  3. I have never seen the point of reaching out to people who have a very different set of basic values than I do. No one is changing anyone’s points of view. Not even a smidge. And the inherent expectation today is that I change my values and perspectives – not them.

    Perspective is malleable as circumstances evolve and we become better informed and/or more thoughtful. Values are more foundational and difficult to change. typically our life experiences reinforce our basic values which are established at an early age – many child development professionals suggest by age 5.

    Connect with your inner child!

  4. Over it, I’d say people are more asleep than anything. Hypnotized via programming to the unconscious mind. Starts happening in kindergarten and goes on from there. Parents have no idea how to nurture their children’s talents, skills, and gifts. They turn them over to an educational system that manufactures widgets – one size fits all. It’s embarrassing to watch.

    Sheila writes, “When we look at the evidence all around us–it is hard not to conclude that we live at a time when huge numbers of people are simply crazy.”

    Remember the facade on 9/11 where they took down three steel and concrete buildings with two aluminum planes. We all watched these buildings go down in exactly the same way. Two planes. Three buildings. Both eyes.

    We still believed our government and the media. Why is that?

    You say you are sane, but I bet you’re asleep.

    Here’s a hint: They are coming for your rights again and you’ll give it to them because they’ve made you scared first, and then they offer to protect you. They’re messing with your unconscious minds Freud talked about.


  5. Over It; “Salem witch trials”? I view the past four years as the nation-wide Republican Carpetbagger’s Reconstruction with the benefit of electronic media.

    The only “sigh of relief” I expect to feel will be the removal of full governmental powers from the control of Trump’s insanity, “a major step for man and a giant step for mankind”. I expect no immediate miracles or even noticeable changes to take place; we didn’t reach this point overnight and we will not escape it overnight…or even over the initial days, weeks and months. We must use common sense, logic and patience and place our trust in Joe and Kamala’s leadership; this will take unifying the Democratic party and supporters who elected them to lead us out of the current Hell and damnation and the Covid-19 Pandemic.

  6. “I know rational folks are supposed to “reach out” to those on “the other side”–but how do you reach out to people who are on the other side of sanity?”

    You don’t. That explains insanity. Those who do these things are NOT sane, NOT rational and have inferiority complexes on top of their inferiority complexes. These pathetic wretches have always been part of humanity. But when you give them guns and the internet, what else would we expect?

    White Supremacy? Please. These mental midgets are just about power of the alpha males in the cave dwellings of the past. They retain their most primitive behaviors and refuse to accept the nature of civilization. Those traits are in all of us, but only that pathetic 25% ignore the self-control that is necessary for large, complex societies to function.


  7. This is the perfect blog post for a Wednesday morning; the time of the week were you are too far from the weekend to see any reprieve yet you are far enough into the week to realize that it will be largely unproductive – at least as far as your ‘planned’ work goes. I feel the same about the population described here… any effort I put in to reaching out will be unproductive and I see no end to their efforts to try and dominate the majority of the population in this country. Yet, if I don’t continue try I know full well that it will not be me that suffers, but rather my kids and future generations. We just have to do the hard work, Sheila.

  8. Some of today’s comments lead me to conclude the there is yet another side to “the other side of sanity.”

  9. Very poignant today Sheila!

    Let’s see if we can get a commentor to make a couple of 3 word comments laced with a emojis!

    But getting to the crux of the situation again is to look at history, Todd’s conspiracy theories aside, I actually watched the entire chain of events concerning the World Trade Center. My bosses son was in one of the buildings.

    We brought up the ABC feed on the large-screen control room screen, and we watched that whole day.
    There was no doubt about the airplanes crashing into the buildings, each jet carried about 6000 gallons of jet fuel, the Jets crashed into the buildings releasing the fuel inside, it created an inferno that no one could ever have planned for, the elevator shafts and the stairwells created a chimney effect which fed the flames, and created a bellows type of fire, a large-scale blacksmiths bellows. Temperatures were approaching 3500°!
    Enough to melt steel beams and weaken concrete! Once the building collapsed, just one floor, the inertia continued pushing down gaining momentum all away to the ground!

    Simple engineering Todd, no government conspiracy, it was what it was! Even Osama bin Laden said he didn’t expect the buildings to collapse, but even if they wouldn’t have completely collapsed they would’ve had to have been demolished anyway, the structural integrity was gone.

    The United States, Britain, and Germany, have always had a pretty special relationship when it came to one flew over the cuckoo’s nest!

    Eugenics (Eugenik), Manifest Destiny/American romanticism/American exceptionalism (Lebensraum), Fake news/lying press (Lugenpresse) Germany of course had the Nazis, America had the Bund or the American version of the Nazi party!

    A huge portion of American/British manufacturing and corporate giants also were backers of Nazi Germany! The same with the British! Ford, Westinghouse, General Electric, Coca-Cola, ITT, Barclays, IBM, General Motors, the list is truly endless! And, these companies continue manufacturing well through the war!

    Do you think all of these connections just disappeared? It’s more than just a fanatical movement, it’s embedded in capitalism! The desire to use slave labor, to abuse workers, to hoard their financial windfalls, to refuse and campaign against livable wages! You’ll see that many of these companies that were alive and well in Britain, America, and Germany, are the main ones that roil against equality in the workplace, fair wages, and working conditions! Especially in their expansion to 2nd and 3rd world countries! And, today, companies that weren’t in existence then, Walmart, Apple, and other corporations follow in their distant brothers footsteps!

    It’s a mindset of white nationalistic Protestant evangelical superiority!

    No one saw this coming? I highly doubt it.

  10. We know how to prevent repeats of 9/11, reinforce access to commercial airplane cockpits.

    We have law enforcement pretty skilled at tracking malevolent groups and individuals in this country, and the whole world as a matter of fact.

    The holes in our government safety net are courtesy of democracy and entertainment and social media.

    Compared to all humans before us we are safe, not perfectly, but as close as money can buy.

    The major threat to us now is sex and too many children but we’re making progress on that too even though too late and too slow in coming.

    Much of our safety comes because our economy can afford it because there’s way more than enough to go around but what’s broken is that it doesn’t go around but sits in the accounts of a few individuals and corporations. It needs to be a collective resource to solve problems, not an individual resource to buy yachts and airplanes. As a collective resource, it needs to be spent on today’s opportunities not yesterday’s; on attacking personal problems not other countries.

    We have all of the individual smarts we need but are short on collective intelligence.

  11. I wonder if Biden will use our intelligence agencies to look at ways to undermine the propaganda of white supremacists on the internet. Like Islamic terrorists they are extremist in their ideology.

    I watched a documentary about an African-American man who “befriended” Klan members and eventually got them to leave the Klan.

    Question is can we create something like the VOA to undermine the propaganda of these oppressive white supremacists ? How do we draw young white men and women into organizations that celebrate diversity? Is their a profile of people who are drawn into white supremacists groups like those who join gangs?

  12. How to end this? I had heard that one step is to repeal “Section 230”, the rules that protect social media companies from being responsible for what they publish.

    Today I heard Trump demanding that we repeal section 230. I thought Wow! But then as I thought about it, it is a good ploy at this point. If Trump is asking for it, would any sane Democrat do something Trump asked for. If Trump is asking for it, now that Republicans are distancing themselves from Trump would any of them do it?

    Hey thanks to somebody for the link yesterday about gaming theory and QAnon.

  13. Bring back the draft!!! Nothing in history equaled the draft/military service for enhancing diversity tolerance. In an ironic way, war protestors, peacniks, love fanatics, and assorted sissies of the 1960s are responsible for the growth of todays hate fanatics. Are you aware of how grossly sick at the stomach and psyche those four groups made fairly reasonable people feel?

    One David Duke follower told me that the “love f**ks reminded him of the summer Bible school teacher when he was in elementary school. That woman treated us kids–boys who were in third and fourth grade, some older than that–as if we were babies. Baby talked until you thought you’d vomit. Wanted us to play in the sandbox instead of baseball at recess.” I thought about that and realized that I too recalled being put off by baby talking teachers. There is something about overdone gentility that is sickening, maybe poisonous. As much as we’d like to discount any of the “thinking” of Trumpites, there are a few lessons to be learned. One: gentility overdone is not only fake but repugnant; far from making us friendly, it makes us disgusting and repellant to reasonable folks.

  14. Never a fan of Manichaeism, it now looks to me that there are large numbers of awesomely evil people hiding in rat holes, sewers and bat caves awaiting the call to glory from demagogues like Bin Laden and Trump. Black and white doesn’t explain everything, maybe not very much, but there seem to be a lot of innately wicked people waiting to leap onto the stage of history to do their part to hasten the apocalypse. It is not in our nature to kill these people unless they act out, and only small numbers of them can be made sane. What strategy remains is to build political structures that preclude them from holding power and that contrive methods of dealing with them if they sneak under the barbed wire.

    Because it assumes a degree of selflessness and patriotism in national leaders, our Constitution is ill equipped to deal with those whose goals, like McConnell’s and many in the party he leads, equate to nihilism. That puts us in a position where only superhuman efforts resulting in a Democrat-dominated Congress can lead to the kind of fire-wall legislation that will preserve a civilized world.

    Most Americans wish this outcome. To get there we must begin by eliminating the Electoral College, a tool for power grabbing used by mentally crippled minorities led by high I.Q. criminals. Without telegraphing our move, we must convince a majority of Americans that this is job one in the defense of American democracy. This will require an amendment to the Constitution. It will be harder than defeating a pandemic, but it is possibly the only way to keep the nihilist camel from sticking his nose under the tent every four years. Power does more than corrupt. It makes people lose their minds in ways that hurt everyone, including themselves.

  15. Like Larry’s suggestion to bring back the universal military draft (only this time, it would be mandatory for both men and women). Not sure how much help it would be in enhancing tolerance for diversity, perhaps some, but doing away with our all professional military might help to cut down on the number of wars the U.S. is fighting.

    Or how about a year of mandatory universal service for the Country, if not in the military? As JFK famously said: “”Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Different time. Different era.

    Doubtful that either would pass Congress these days. And talk about “Government infringing on and taking away my personal freedom and liberty.” If wearing a mask is an unconstitutional taking away of “personal freedom,” just think about what having to involuntarily serve in the military or national service for a couple of years might constitute!

  16. Power does not corrupt. Power is neutral.

    Powerlessness, however, does corrupt.

    Those who condemn power are the first to prescribe solutions that require power to be in their hands or in the hands of public servants they trust. What a telling contradiction!

  17. Larry @ 11:34 am. Larry, I was one of those drafted in Sept 1969. I was sent to Vietnam in March 1970 as a combat infantryman. I ended up my tour in April 1971 anti-war. I had more respect for the Anti-War demonstrators than the so-called “Silent Majority” who sent us off to War with a pat on the back.

    Your quote,” In an ironic way, war protestors, peacniks, love fanatics, and assorted sissies of the 1960s are responsible for the growth of todays hate fanatics. Are you aware of how grossly sick at the stomach and psyche those four groups made fairly reasonable people feel?”

    They should have felt sick. The USA was responsible for over 3 million Asians being killed, wounded and missing as a result of the Vietnam War. By the time the United States ended its Southeast Asian bombing campaigns, the total tonnage of ordnance dropped approximately tripled the totals for World War II. The Indochinese bombings amounted to 7,662,000 tons of explosives, compared to 2,150,000 tons in the world conflict.

    I fail to see how, “war protestors, peacniks, love fanatics, and assorted sissies of the 1960s” are anyway responsible for the Reactionary Right Wing hate groups. The Reactionary Right Wing Hate Groups of today are polar opposites of the war protestors, etc.

  18. Perhaps “power” and/or the right to exercise it should be removed from political scientists and given to sociologists and economists. After all, plumbers cannot be licensed to perform brain surgery (see contra: Trump’s appointments where being pro life is one of the qualifications for wholly unrelated positions in government), and since we are only interested in protecting our delicate psyches and our pocketbooks (and the political scientists have done such a lousy job), why not?

  19. Greetings Monotonou. Very valid and true observation. They like to carry weapons and act tough but my guess is that very few have served in the military. Korea 1952 & 1953

  20. “It’s the inconceivable numbers who continue to dismiss the pandemic as a “hoax” while their friends and relatives die.”

    It’s even worse than that.
    I read an interview of a nurse who related interactions she’s had with numerous patients who were struggling to breathe but were still arguing with her, “It’s not Covid! Covid is a hoax! Tell me what’s REALLY wrong with me!” Many of those people seemingly went to their deaths [though she couldn’t be certain because, once they were intubated, all communication came to an end] that the medical staff were lying to them about what their diagnosis was.

  21. ML,
    “I fail to see how, “war protestors, peacniks, love fanatics, and assorted sissies of the 1960s” are anyway responsible for the Reactionary Right Wing hate groups. The Reactionary Right Wing Hate Groups of today are polar opposites of the war protestors, etc.”

    Bananas had no disgust for frigid temperatures until they saw how rotten the cold made them feel. Potential hate groups (those whose latent hate could be nurtured and prodded) had little disgust for liberals until the Permissives among Liberals in the 1960s displayed such pungent softness/cowardliness/fake gentility that normal stomachs were turned.

    If you wish to be influential, it is helpful to realize how one’s behavior turns others AGAINST your ideas instead of FOR your ideas. To do that requires reflective empathy, a type of empathy (seeing yourself through other’s eyes) that is sometimes salt to the eyes.

  22. Larry Kaiser & Monotonous Languor:
    War brings about racism or at least cements it.
    During the Vietnam war, the word “Gook” was widely used among the troops.
    During WWII the derogatory words were “Jap” “Slant-eyes” and “Kraut.”

    Please note that, during that earlier conflict, one nationality was interred in this country while the other was not. The one that was forced into camps LOOKED LESS LIKE THE AVERAGE AMERICAN THAN THE OTHER DID. The very fact that one group was European and the other Asian cemented their fates.

    There’s nothing like dropping bombs and napalm and other deadly substances on human beings to make the people who are doing the dropping begin to see their victims as subhumans who must, somehow, deserve what “we” are doing to them.

    It’s human nature and the way the perpetrators manage to sleep at night.

    Then, surprise surprise, they bring those beliefs that were baked in as a survival strategy in the war theater back home when they return —- and any “other” the encounter back here remains suspect unless and until those who did the fighting actively work to get past their prejudices. Many never do.

  23. ML,
    Right on!

    You’ve posted the most ignorant couple of comments I think I’ve read on this particular blog, ever!

    The antiwar movement was born out of the civil Rights movement! And, I would not consider Martin Luther King a sissy! Because, exactly what is a sissy? That in itself is an ignorant statement larry, and you should be ashamed of it!

    I came from a school that was segregated at the time, and, there was no baby talk! there was no nurturing spirit or concern or empathy or compassion or anything remotely similar to that. And, I bore the brunt of it because I was the only kid that was of a darker complexion. And I will say, what it made me? when I got older and bigger and meaner, I went back to find those individuals! And, I made sure I exacted my vengeance.

    The sad thing was, all of those bullies and sobs from that time, people who were five grades above me, didn’t remember me while they were getting their lights punched out!

    Judging by your comments, you were probably like those that I sought out when I came back to the area after I was grown.

    I was 15 years old when they canceled the draft, I can’t say that I was afraid of it, because my cousin and I were going to go in possibly the buddy system and stay together through our service.

    My father was in korea, my cousin’s father had been in korea, and, our uncle’s were all in the second world war, all five of the brothers.

    one of the interesting stories that they told us when we were young, was how the white soldiers from the south would tell the women of those European countries as they were pushing through towards Germany, that the black soldiers would grow tails at midnight! Amongst many other racist, bigoted and ignorant practices!

    I don’t know, maybe those clowns from the South were talked to in school with baby talk? God what a dumb statement.

  24. Larry Kaiser @ 1:18 pm Wrote “If you wish to be influential, it is helpful to realize how one’s behavior turns others AGAINST your ideas instead of FOR your ideas. To do that requires reflective empathy, a type of empathy (seeing yourself through other’s eyes) that is sometimes salt to the eyes.”

    It is precisely that I had empathy that turned me Anti-War. I “saw” the war through Vietnamese eyes. As twocrows wrote, “During the Vietnam war, the word “Gook” was widely used among the troops.” This is true.

    A Senate speech by George McGovern made in September of 1970. McGovern didn’t mince words as he called his fellow senators to account for their complicity in approving and continuing war in Southeast Asia:

    “Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood. Every senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval [hospitals] and all across our land–young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces, or hopes. There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure.

    Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor, or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed.

    But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war, those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.”

  25. John, thank you for your 1:58 comment, and ML for your comments. I was thinking similarly about Larry’s comments: off the wall.
    Larry, I was one of those you call a sissy, and the like. I protested the illegal, immoral war in Viet Nam, at the Pentagon, got tear gassed, was pushed and shoved by police horses in NYC during one particular protest. I had some older fellow tell me that I should go join the army, so that it could “Make a man of you.” Bull! I was a man, albeit with long hair, in standing up for a moral, caring, spin on the world. The U.S. had no business taking over for the defeated French. Johnson, apparently manufactured the Tonkin Gulf episode, much like the our entry into the Spanish-American War (“Remember the Maine!”) was reportedly set up by the U.S. Do you want to know one of the reasons so many people believe that the government lies to them? Because it does, big time. GWB and his venal Cheney, dragged us into war in the mid-east, with manufactured “evidence” of weapons of mass destruction. “Real” Americans were boycotting German and French goods , because Bush could not get Germany and France to acquiesce to his “Fake News.”
    Sadly the “Flower Power” movement, if you will, was co-opted by business as usual, had no real organizational skills, maybe got too stoned and immersed in the music of the protest movement; got demoralized when Eugene McCarthy left the political scene, I do not really know.

    I have read that the “Flower Power” movement scared the conservatives a lot, and they worked whatever magic they had to push it aside. The Koch bros. were building their elitist, bigoted political program as far back as at least the ’70’s, and their Tea Party program became a part of that. Charles Koch me out recently and claimed that they’d messed up, leading to our current troubles.
    We have had no Republican president elected without major fraud since all the states but Massachusetts voted for Nixon.
    The Republicans know that, and DT has even said it, with fair elections we will never see another Republican president. So, while DT is really only interested in DT, I’m guessing that the Republican establishment is happy to support any and all lies, fantasies, fairy tales about this having been a fraudulent election. Reagan infamously (my spin on it) declared that “facts are annoyances,” Gingrich and the fossil fuel supporting congress members, including ass-with-a-snowball-for -evidence, have gone along with it. And here we are, with people claiming that “My preferred reality is at least as good as yours” supporting blatant craziness!

  26. Mitch,
    Yes, well said!

    Thanx, you really took the issue to task.

    It doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme I suppose, but, I’m so impressed with both of you.,,

  27. In his book Proof of Conspiracy Seth Abramson wrote about this. It is growing around the word, but they are sophisticated in their approach. Most are taking advantage of Parliamentary types of governance to build political party sway. It’s the force behind Brexit and why we got that orange guy as president. At the time he was an unwitting accomplice. He was put in here to destabilize our economy leaving us a much weaker guardian. We’re damn near a civil war because half the nation is willing to believe an absolute fabrication. When I’ve tried to explain this to people they tend to ignore the ramifications of this and his presidency. Just growing the crop.

  28. “Let it begin with me.” It’s what I try to live by . As far as the other crazy folks out there — they are looking for a solution outside of themselves. Thus they turn to and are driven by a complex influence of fundamentalist “Christian” doctrines (most of which are un-Christ-like), less than adequate education about civics and global history, a toxic patriarchy , uber consumerism which puts things ahead of people and nature, a prevalence of drug use (many of which cause paranoia) without easily accessed treatment and the historical legacy of racism. IF the country can ever begin to tackle these issues we MIGHT get some relief. But as was pointed out in the blog, social media thrives on sensationalism and attracts those who have been taught NOT to think for themselves.

  29. Increase the Peace. Cannot resist insanity with outrage. I’m determined to just “stay the course of kindness.” To be informed, yes, but not to follow insanity down the rabbit hole with my own outrage and despair. To continue to do what I can, where I am to increase the peace and kindness. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” said Charles Dickens over a hundred years ago. This is the world. I’m hoping to meet my adventure with courage and kindness. “God bless us, every one.”

  30. @Monotonous Languor I loved your comments. If I were a man, I too would have been in Vietnam. For some history on the protesters watch the “Trial of the Chicago 7” on Netflix. I sobbed at the end, remembering the many lives lost, the lies from our government, accounting as you stated for so many deaths – in a senseless war. It takes real courage to speak truth to power. Protesting is our right and of late, our obligation as one action for defending Democracy. If not for COVID, we should all be in the streets protesting the GOPs efforts at overturning our election.

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