Monday, January 29, 2007

And She's Off...

The fact that Hillary is yet to utter a single word regarding policy and is yet to give us a single reason as to why she should be elected President, should be a good indicator as to what kind of President she would be if she ever is elected.

For the past six years Hillary has twisted with the political winds, relying on only her last name to keep her on top of the Presidential heap.

Then, in her first high profile trip to Iowa since she officially announced her candidacy, this lighthearted, yet very telling exchange took place:

While we are all racking our brains, as to whom Hillary and her supporters had on their minds when they began cracking up, let’s discuss how she mindlessly punted the multiple follow-ups with Democratic talking points.

Then, once her aides told her that she sounded like a typical, evasive politician – something that the American people won’t buy (see Kerry and Gore)-she played up the joke angle. And then the "everyone's out to get me" angle.

Why are you all “psychoanalyzing” me? See. I’m a victim.

That kitchen is going to get pretty hot Mrs. Clinton. Perhaps you should keep one eye on the exit.

No one cares what Hillary meant when she spoke of how to deal with "evil and bad men." Her audience certainly thought they knew and had a nice, long laugh.

Bill Clinton was not a bad or evil man. He was just a scoundrel with a broken moral compass.

But Hillary took what could have been a light and human moment and then tried to squirm out of it, just like a politician always does when they are trying too hard to get on everyone’s good side.

Just like her husband.

Get used to it.

For the next year Hillary will be going through the motions of a presidential campaign using the template created by the Clinton team, with the insufferable Terry Mcauliffe at the helm. The only problem is that the template was created for Bill, not for Hillary.

She will not offer any substantive policy ideas, and while this can work for some presidential candidates, it cannot work for one who’s as charismatically challenged as Mrs. Clinton.

She does not have Bill's political gifts, but like Gore and Kerry before her, no one has bothered to tell her this. She will therefore continue to run a campaign that's heavy on rhetoric and talking points, but devoid of substance.

Her supporters like her because she’s a Clinton. She’s also a woman, and the Democrats yearn for someone other than a white male in the Oval Office, regardless of their qualifications (see Obama).

The fact that Hillary is a woman, and the fact that she is a woman who has had a very public and very controversial personal life in regards to her marriage, is going to raise questions as to whether she is tough enough to lead a polarized nation during tumultuous times.

Her husband is a god-like figure to Democrats, but as we can see, he is also a bit of a joke. Hillary must strike some kind of balance or there will be more moments like this, and they will do a lot more damage than this silly, yet not entirely insignificant, gaffe.
Hillary will say anything to get elected and do the same to get people to like her. This may have worked when her unknown husband was running for president in '92, but it will not work for his wife 15 years later, and it is certainly not a quality that one wants the Commander In Chief to espouse.
So let us pray.
Please God. Let the Six-Year honeymoon for Hillary, be over.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Reminder of What's at Stake

From the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and Daniel Hanninger, comes this utterly terrifying piece of writing.

January 25, 2007
Talking Ourselves Into Defeat
By Daniel Henninger

The United States is talking itself into defeat in Iraq. Its political culture is now in a downward spiral of pessimism. In the halls of Congress, across endless newspaper columns, amid the punditocracy and on Sunday morning talk shows--all emit a Stygian gloom about America.

Yes, on any given day on some discrete issue (Prime Minister Maliki's bona fides, for example), the criticism of the American role is not without justification. But the cumulative effect of this unremitting ill wind is corrosive. We are not only on the way to talking ourselves into defeat in Iraq but into a diminished international status that may be harder to recover than the doom mob imagines. Self-criticism has its role, but profligate self-doubt can exact a price.

Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins wonders "whether the clock has already run out." To U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton the new strategy is "a dead end." For the Bush troop request, presidential candidate Joe Biden predicted "overwhelming rejection." (His committee resolution to that effect yesterday passed by three votes.) Presidential candidate Chuck Hagel: "We have anarchy in Iraq. It's getting worse." And not least, Sen. John Warner this week heaved his tenured eminence against the war effort, proposing another "non-binding" resolution against more troops.

To pick one amid scores of similar characterizations in the media, the Associated Press wrote from Washington before the State of the Union speech that "Democrats--and even some Republicans--scoffed at his policy." "Scoff" is a strong word, suggesting eye-rolling ridicule. (The line was so good that the AP ran it after the speech as well, under another writer's byline, this time from Baghdad.) But of course amid the giddy vapors of mass mockery, they all "support the troops."

Our slide to a national nervous breakdown because of Iraq is not going unnoticed. Australia's foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has been visiting across the U.S. this week. "I've been pretty worried about what I've heard," Mr. Downer said in an interview. Walking on Santa Monica beach Sunday before last, Mr. Downer said he encountered a display of crosses in the sand, representing the American dead in Iraq.

"What concerns me about this," he said, "is that it's sort of an isolationist sentiment, subconsciously, not consciously, and that would be an enormous problem for the world. I hope the American people understand the importance of not retreating and thinking the world's problems aren't theirs."

Some of this is politics as usual, but even normal partisanship comes dressed now in the language of apocalypse. In his SOTU rebuttal, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb ripped into the current economy, saying it reminded him of the early 1900s: "The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt." Ah, we've fallen to the level of czarist Russia.

You know the pessimism has turned manic when no one is allowed to depart the asylum. Sen. John McCain's support for Iraq and the new Bush plan is now being described in press reports as not only costing him support in the polls (the asylum's inkblot of reality) but worse, the support of campaign contributors.

It is a phenomenon fascinating to behold. Its causes are multiple, but here are several:

• Bush schadenfreude. Partisan pleasure in George Bush's pain dates to the anguish of the contested 2000 election loss. The Democrats have run against something called "Bush" for so long that this sentiment is now bound up in any act or policy remotely attached to the president. Iraq's troubles, or Iran or North Korea, are merely an artifact of crushing this one guy.

• The Iraq Study Group. The ISG report wasn't defeatist, but it enabled the vocabulary of defeat. Its warning of a "slide toward chaos" was re-defined as the current Iraqi status quo. They called their bipartisan solution "phased withdrawal," but it was a euphemism for defeat. Momentum was already building in this direction, and the ISG propelled it.

• The leadership vacuum. The administration never rallied the nation behind the war in a concrete way. A young Marine officer recently returned from combat in Iraq told me this week he is taken aback at how disassociated the American people seem from Iraq, no matter how constantly it's in the news. He says it's as if the problem is not so much what is actually happening in Iraq but that the war is "annoying" to Americans, as if to say: Can't it just go away or not be on the front page all the time? Rallying a nation at war is a president's job.

• The opposition vacuum. One reason the negative mood in politics is so disconcerting is that the opposition's alternative vision is nonexistent. On joining the opposition recently, GOP Sen. Norm Coleman announced, "I can't tell you what the path to success is." Joe Biden says the "primary" Iraq strategy should be to force its leaders to make the political compromises necessary to "end the violence."

As a political strategy, unremitting opposition has worked. Approval for the president and the war is low. The GOP lost sight of its ideological lodestars and so control of Congress. But the U.S. still occupies a unique position of power in the world, and we are putting that status at risk by playing politics without a net.

On the "Charlie Rose Show" this month, former Army vice chief of staff Gen. Jack Keane, who supports the counterinsurgency plan being undertaken by Gen. David Petraeus, said in exasperation: "My God, this is the United States. We are the world's No. 1 superpower. This isn't about arrogance. This is about capability and applying ourselves to a problem that is at its essence a human problem."

At our current juncture, Gen. Keane's words probably rub many the wrong way. But there's a Cassandra-like warning implicit in them. The mood of mass resignation spreading through the body politic is toxic. It is uncharacteristic of Americans under stress. Some might call it realism, but it looks closer to the fatalism of elderly Europe, overwhelmed and exhausted by its burdens, than to the American tradition.

In 1966, Sen. George Aiken delivered a speech on Vietnam famously translated for history as "declare victory and go home.' " On current course, it looks like we may declare defeat and go home.

Daniel Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

While many insist that it was the decision to go into Iraq, which threatens to erode our superpower status in the world, in reality leaving a difficult situation in that nation, because we cannot stomach the carnage, would be ten times as devastating to our reputation.

When George Bush Sr. pushed Saddam out of Kuwait in a matter of weeks and with hardly any causalties it made the American people believe that The United States could easily dispatch of any foe, with very little trouble.

As a result, the American people can no longer stomach long-term battles in which lives are lost, regardless of the battles importance to the future of our nation and the world.

3,000 lives is a devastating loss to a nation such as ours, which puts a higher value on human life than any other people on the planet. However, we have suffered through far higher body counts in order to achieve the ability to live our lives without the threat of facists, totalitarians and religious nuts.

Combat Deaths

Civil War - 110,070
WWI - 53,513
WWII - 292,131
Korea - 33,651
Vietnam - 47,369
Iraq - 2,479

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Saturday, January 20, 2007


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Recently, many on the left have gravitated towards a guy named Keith Olbermann for their daily dose of punditry.

The staunch critic of the Bush Administration grabs about half-a-million viewers a night with his show, Countdown,and is most often seen through the mainstream media lens as the Left's answer to Bill O'Reilly, whose show competes with Olbermann's in the 8pm time slot.

Well, perhaps "compete" is not the right word. O'Reilly trounces Olbermann nightly, getting roughly three times his viewership and leaving Olbermann (much like MSNBC) mired in third place.

Politically, Olbermann's rhetoric is pretty standard for today's Far Left bomb thrower.

"Bush-lied, our freedoms are being taken away, America is just as bad as the terrorists, Fox News is right wing propaganda," you know, standard liberal bunk.

Olbermann is a sports guy and always has been. His entire broadcast career has been dedicated to ESPN, Fox Sports Net, and calling baseball games, and his specialty shows when he starts talking politics.

Like most on the far left, he plays loose with the facts, molding the issues to fit his interpretation of them. The most notable example of this were his misleading statements concerning the Military Commissions Act, which he falsely characterized as allowing the federal government to arrest anyone, at any time and without any reason.

His followers freaked out over this and screamed bloody murder, but that ended abruptly, once folks realized that he was grossly misinterpreting that particular piece of bipartisan legislation.

To his credit, Olbermann is an eloquent speaker, a tremendous writer and a very handsome gentleman. He was named "Sexiest Newsman" by Playgirl magazine a couple years ago for whatever that's worth.

He could have great potential as a pundit or social commentator if he knew what he was talking about.

Unfortunately, like so many on the Far Left he is not only devoid of important factual information, but also of any common decency.

He would be right at home moderating a live debate between Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump. It would go down is his language. A language filled with personal attacks, name-calling and childish, unprofessional behavior.

Olbermann has become a bit of a household name, even to conservatives and non-sports fans, due to his constant personal attacks on Mr. O'Reilly.

Olbermann celebrated O'Reilly's personal troubles, when the FNC commentator was accused of sexual harassment.

Although the case was eventually settled, Olbermann publicly reveled in his competitors personal troubles, and gleefully began a pledge drive to make the tapes between O'Reilly and his alleged victim public.

Yes folks, these are the actions of a top personality on what is billed as a serious news network.

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I'm not going to defend O'Reilly. Maybe he did sexually harass some chick. Who knows? But to take joy in the problems of others, simply because you disagree with them politically, is low-class. It's like cheering when the quarterback of the opposing team gets injured and is taken out for the season.

His immaturity continued, as did his personal crusade against O'Reilly when at an event for the Television Critics Association, he donned an O'Reilly mask and gave the Nazi salute to the audience.

Implying that those with conservative values are akin to Nazis, is, of course, standard fare for the modern liberal movement. But when an individual who is billed, by some, as being a serious voice in important times does something like that, essentially calling his competition a Nazi, can you really take anything that guy says seriously anymore? Is his perception of the world and those who inhabit it so screwed up that he actually thinks that Bill O'Reilly is a Nazi sympathizer, likes Nazis or has political beliefs that in anyway mirror the horrifying ideology of The Third Reich?

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Olbermann has called O'Reilly a "moron" and "this generation's Joe McCarthy."

Perhaps if McCarthy had sold Red Scare "gear", and then given the proceeds to charity, he could have secured a more positive legacy for himself.

He also referred to FNC's Chris Wallace as "a monkey posing as a newscaster" after Wallace asked former President Bill Clinton a simple question as to why he did nothing about terrorism during his eight years in office.

And yet, these immature and mindless attacks, coupled with pretty words attached to a pretty face, have lead the far left in this nation to embrace this guy and use You Tube clips of his nightly rants, in their crusade to destroy the Bush presidency and give up in Iraq.

He is to themwhat O'Reilly is to people who have traditional values and who care about things like child molesters going to jail and political correctness run amok: a hero.

And how appropriate it is.

This kind of gutter politics has been the weapon of choice for liberals in this country ever since President Bush took office. So it is only fitting that their new hero behave in the same fashion as those who have preceded him. In fact, he must, in order to gain their admiration and support.

His attacks on O'Reilly have succeeded in achieving for Olbermann what was likely his main goal: higher ratings.

When you act like a buffoon, people like to watch, and once word gets out, those who are also buffoons will join in the fun. Once again, I point to the recent ratings surge on The View as proof.

Olbermann is a perfect example of the type of person that the traditional left-wing media needs to avoid in order to continue to be taken seriously in the public arena.

Just as the Left's delusions of Republican's stealing elections, could potentially lead those leftists using the delusion to justify cheating in order to gain what they feel is rightfully theirs, the deluded Left has gravitated towards Olbermann's hateful rhetoric and behavior. They have done so as a reaction to what they have been duped into believing is similar behavior coming from guys like O'Reilly and other conservatives and Republicans. Thank inaccurate and dumbed-down hit pieces such as Robert Greenwald's Outfoxed for that mindset.

This opening, and it's acceptance by Olbermann's fans and supporters has the potential to make his style of low-brow news programming commonplace on our television sets and in our newspapers.

O'Reilly has been the bigger man through all of this and has pretty much ignored Olbermann's low-blows, but in my view, he shouldn't.

O'Reilly should take on Olbermann, exposing his behavior and explaining why it not only reflects poorly on everyone in the media, but how it also lowers the level of civil and political discourse further, in a nation which can not afford to visit these depths at this crucial point in our history.

So if you're looking for an O'Reilly alternative, skip the mean-spirited Olbermann, go to Comedy Central, and watch the funnier and more cerebral Stephen Colbert.

Colbert may also make a living by trashing conservatives, but unlike Olbermann, he has made a name for himself without trying to destroy his competition on a personal level.
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Friday, January 19, 2007

Democrat Speak.

From The Godfather of blogging.

Friday, January 19, 2007
Democrat Speak
Posted by Dean Barnett | 5:15 PM
I sense the dark hand of George Lakoff in all of this.

You remember George Lakoff, don’t you? Lakoff was the mastermind academic who officiously volunteered to help the Democrats remake America’s political terminology. I’m not sure any of the following can be laid at Lakoff’s feet, but his game was garden variety exercises in Orwellian stuff like referring to reckless government expenditures as “investments” or a troop surge as an “escalation” or surrender as “redeployment.”

But this time, they’ve gone too far. Yesterday on ABC News, Dianne Sawyer did a glowing puff piece on the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi may dress like she owns stock in Chanel, but worry not – according to Sawyer she’s “galvanized steel with a smile.” At one point in the interview, Pelosi talked about the Congressional Medal of Honor that was posthumously awarded to Jason Dunham last week. Here’s how Pelosi described Dunham’s heroism:

“I just had the privilege of meeting with the family of the young man who received the Congressional Medal of Honor. He jumped on a hand grenade and saved the lives of his other young people in his unit.”

I know the Democrats have developed as one of their pet Lakoffian tics the habit of describing our warriors as defenseless children. Thus, when Pelosi refers to Dunham as a “young man” and the men he saved as “other young people,” she’s merely falling into a bad habit.

But it’s a real bad habit; a truly offensive one. This is a matter of more than just mere semantics. Jason Dunham was a Marine. So, too, were the men he saved. They see themselves as warriors, and that’s what they are. The term “young people” is meant to demean them, and in Dunham’s case denies him the dignity that he has so completely earned.

Additionally, the failure to use the word “soldier”, "Marine" or any other term that acknowledges a connection between Dunham and the military is borderline grotesque. In Pelosi’s formulation, it almost sounds as if some random “young people” were frolicking in Iraq and stumbled upon a live grenade.

One other thing: If Dianne Sawyer really wants to see human beings that are like “galvanized steel,” she might consider turning her journalistic gaze to Iraq and the Marines still there like Jason Dunham.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

What Was in Sandy Berger's Pants?

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And why is the left-wing media avoiding the story like the plague?

January 15, 2007
Sandy Berger: What Did He Take and Why Did He Take It?
By Ronald A. Cass

Some things cry out for explanation. Like finding $90,000 in marked bills in a Congressman's freezer. Or finding out that a blue-chip lawyer who held one of the most important jobs in the nation was willing to risk his career, his livelihood, and his liberty to steal, hide, and destroy classified documents.

We all have a pretty good idea what the money was doing in Representative William Jefferson's freezer. But the questions about President William Jefferson Clinton's National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, just keep piling up.

It's time we got some answers.

According to reports from the Inspector General of the National Archives and the staff of the House of Representatives' Government Operations Committee, Mr. Berger, while acting as former President Clinton's designated representative to the commission investigating the attacks of September 11, 2001, illegally took confidential documents from the Archives on more than one occasion. He folded documents in his clothes, snuck them out of the Archives building, and stashed them under a construction trailer nearby until he could return, retrieve them, and later cut them up. After he was caught, he lied to the investigators and tried to shift blame to Archive employees.

Contrary to his initial denials and later excuses, Berger clearly intended from the outset to remove sensitive material from the Archives. He used the pretext of making and receiving private phone calls to get time alone with confidential material, although rules governing access dictated that someone from the Archives staff must be present. He took bathroom breaks every half-hour to provide further opportunity to remove and conceal documents.

Before this information was released, the Justice Department, accepting his explanation of innocent and accidental removal of the documents, allowed Berger to enter a plea to the misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material - no prison time, no loss of his bar license. The series of actions that the Archives and House investigations detail, however, are entirely at odds with protestations of innocence. Nothing about his actions was accidental. Nothing was casual. And nothing was normal.

What could have been important enough for Berger to take the risks he did? What could have been important enough for a lawyer of his distinction to risk disgrace, disbarment, and prison?

To paraphrase the questions asked of Richard Nixon by members of his own Party, what did he take and why did he take it?


The report released by Rep. Tom Davis last week makes plain that right now we cannot answer those questions. We cannot say what information in fact was lost through Mr. Berger's actions.

At President Clinton's request, he reviewed highly confidential material during four visits to the Archives over four months. Only Mr. Berger knows what transpired on his first two visits, when he reviewed collections of confidential memos, e-mails, and handwritten notes, including materials taken from counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke's office - all of which were not catalogued at the individual item level.

On Mr. Berger's third visit Archives employees became suspicious that he might be removing classified material. Rather than directly confront a former Cabinet-level official, Archives officials simply took steps to identify further theft on succeeding visits. That is how Mr. Berger's thefts on his fourth and last visit were documented.

We don't know what Mr. Berger might have removed from the uncatalogued materials reviewed in his earlier visits, but we know his last visit focused on a memorandum called the Millennium Alert After Action Report (MAAAR). Copies of this report were made available to the 9/11 Commission, but the information in those copies undoubtedly is not what interested Berger most. Berger took five copies of the report and later destroyed three of them.

What was on the copies he destroyed? Handwritten notes from Berger, the President, or some other official? Observations that would be embarrassing to them, evidence they missed an important threat or considered or recommended actions - or decisions not to act - they wouldn't want to defend in public? Evidence, perhaps, that would have supported the Bush Administration? We don't know, and no one who does is saying, but the evidence must have been terribly damning for Berger to take the risks he did.


There are good reasons to protect sensitive communications within the government. Some discussions should be private if presidents are to have the best advice and the nation is to have the best decisions on sensitive matters. The President and top officials should be able to explore options and discuss threats - among themselves and with their key staff members - without fear that a remark taken out of context or poorly phrased will come back to haunt them.

Laws that endeavor to strike the balance between salutary confidentiality and beneficial public disclosure at times tilt too far to disclosure. In public debate, advantages of disclosure are often easier to explain than advantages of secrecy. That, in part, follows from the nature of secrets - if you don't reveal them, you can't explain fully why they should have stayed secret.

The Berger episode, however, strictly involves materials that are supposed to be turned over under the law, materials specifically covered by a presidential directive that authorized sharing the information with those investigating 9/11 intelligence-gathering and evaluation. Mr. Berger's willingness to risk everything to suppress the information goes well beyond ordinary concerns against excessive disclosure.

Bill Clinton obviously has great sensitivity to his place in history and to accusations that he did too little to respond to al-Qaeda, that he is to some degree responsible for failing to prevent 9/11's tragedy. That is why he and his lieutenants made reckless and baseless accusations against the current Bush administration, attempting to portray them as having dropped the baton handed off by ever-vigilant Clintonistas (who, according to John Ashcroft's testimony, withheld the MAAAR and its warnings about al-Qaeda's operations in the US from the Bush transition team).

But maybe there is more to the story. Maybe there is something far worse than we can imagine that is worth having his chief security aide risk his reputation, his career, and his liberty to cover up.


Mr. Berger, the Clintons, and their allies do not want questions about this story asked or answered. Mr. Berger's lawyer, Lanny Breuer, along with former Clinton officials, assured us that all of the material destroyed by Berger existed in other form and was made available to the 9/11 investigations, that nothing relevant to the Clinton Administration's response to al-Qaeda was withheld.

Of course, we also were assured that Monica had only imagined a relationship with Bill and that rumors to the contrary were, in Hillary's famous phrase, the work of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

Politicians never like to admit mistakes. They see legitimate inquiries as politically inspired, which they often are. Changing the subject or shifting blame to others aren't tactics peculiar to the Clintons.

The Clintons, however, take the game of deny-deceive-and-distract to a new level. Their relentless personal attacks on Ken Starr were designed to undermine the credibility of information about Bill Clinton's perjury, to deflect attention from his own failings. Clinton's excessive reaction - complete with hyperbole, finger-wagging, and scolding - to a simple question from Fox News' Chris Wallace about his response to al-Qaeda is in the same vein. Something here touches a nerve.

That nerve is exposed in the Sandy Berger saga. This story at bottom is about the security of our nation, about what was - or was not - done to protect us from the most shocking and deadly attack on American citizens by foreign agents in our nation's history. This story is critical not only to understanding our past but also to securing our future. It can help us understand what it is reasonable to expect can be done to keep us and our loved ones safe from harm. It is, in short, as important a story as there is.


It is a story the news media should be desperate to explore, not desperate to avoid.

They should want to know the full story, no matter what the implications are for the legacy of a president much loved by an overwhelmingly liberal media or what the risks are for a former First Lady whose future is tied to her husband's past. Those risks loom especially large before a field of potential Republican presidential candidates with strong reputations in security matters - like Rudy Giuliani, for example, whose courageous performance on 9/11 still resonates.

Those who wrap themselves so frequently in the mantra of the people's right to know should want to know the truth - all the time. Sadly, today's would-be Woodwards and Bernsteins look more like ostriches than hawks, showing no curiosity about what Sandy Berger was hiding. Had that been the attitude when Watergate first appeared as a minor news story, Richard Nixon would have served out his full second term. The rest, as they say, is history.

Mr. Cass, Chairman of the Center for the Rule of Law and Dean Emeritus of Boston University School of Law, served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as Commissioner and Vice-Chairman of the US International Trade Commission.

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