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Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cataclysm - Part V

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Post#586 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:30 pm by hands11

nate33 wrote:
fugop wrote:Raising taxes in the middle of an economic crisis isn't ever a good thing. It's not going to be a good thing when we raise rates on the highest earners here in the near future. It is almost as bad as slashing spending programs -- it's generally contractionary policy. Austerity is idiotic, driven by an absurd obsession with the deficit.

That said, a reduction in reported millionaires at the beginning of an economic crisis shouldn't astonish anyone, and attributing it to a raise in tax rates seems hasty. I didn't see any evidence in the Telegraph article that it was tax avoidance, rather than a reduction in income, that was driving the drop off.

C'mon fugop. In 2009/10, after the brunt of the recession, there were 16,000 millionaires. A year later, during the (albeit anemic) recovery, that number was cut to 6000. That's not the recession hurting income. It's millionaires hiding their money.


Why does Buffett seem to have suck a different take on things?
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Post#587 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:39 pm by hands11

popper wrote:It's looking like there will be one of two possible outcomes to the immediate cliff issue.

1. Go over the cliff, pass a tax cut on the middle class in Jan., and then back to trench warfare on the debt ceiling and other tax and spend issues.

2. Pass the middle class tax cut before Jan 1, then go over the cliff, then trench warfare on the debt ceiling and other tax and spend issues.

I think it's gonna be a tough 2 or 3 months.


You do realize that the trench warfare on the debt ceiling is the Republican leadership shooting the country in the foot. This money is already spent when the passed the bills that spent it. This is only a matter of if we are going to actually pay the bill later. Both side routinely passed this regardless of party because they know this. They passed it routinely with one page and 5 minutes. Boner did it lots of time and is actually on video saying it would be stupid not to do it. Now he sings a different tune.

You know how much the Rs added to the deficit by playing this stupid game and lowering our credit rating ? And now they want to do it again ? Did you read the reason why they lowered our rating ? It was because they lost faith that the Rs leadership would not act like idiots such that they could get something this simple done without making a political football out of it.

They shouldn't even have this debt limit procedure. You fight over that when you are allocating the funds.

This is the crap that makes the government so broken. That along with the broken Senate.
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Post#588 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:44 pm by nate33

hands11 wrote:
nate33 wrote:
fugop wrote:Raising taxes in the middle of an economic crisis isn't ever a good thing. It's not going to be a good thing when we raise rates on the highest earners here in the near future. It is almost as bad as slashing spending programs -- it's generally contractionary policy. Austerity is idiotic, driven by an absurd obsession with the deficit.

That said, a reduction in reported millionaires at the beginning of an economic crisis shouldn't astonish anyone, and attributing it to a raise in tax rates seems hasty. I didn't see any evidence in the Telegraph article that it was tax avoidance, rather than a reduction in income, that was driving the drop off.

C'mon fugop. In 2009/10, after the brunt of the recession, there were 16,000 millionaires. A year later, during the (albeit anemic) recovery, that number was cut to 6000. That's not the recession hurting income. It's millionaires hiding their money.


Why does Buffett seem to have suck a different take on things?

Because he has very little income. All his investments are dividends and capital gains. In income taxes go up, it'll barely affect him.
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Post#589 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:51 pm by hands11

You have not read or listened to his ideas if you think that.

He says all people making income ( regardless of type. Dividends included ) should pay a flat 30%.
If it is 10M or more. 35%.

Period.
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Post#590 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:15 pm by popper

DCZards wrote:I don't know how this pension/bankruptcy stuff is going to play out, but I sure hope those good folks who, in many cases, took smaller pay increases in exchange for improved pension benefits, don't get screwed.


Me too. Hopefully the state's would step in to cover any shortfall.
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Post#591 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Sun Dec 2, 2012 10:01 am by hands11

If you supported the Dems side of the argument, contact your representatives to show your support for letting the Bush tax cuts expire and letting the debt ceiling deal they already passed kick in. The debt ceiling deal they already passed does across the board spending cuts and it even starts to trim the military industrial complex.

If it causes a slight recession, so be it. Another one is probably due about now given 3 years of growth after the great recession. That equity bubble that popped wasn't going to get worked out all in one smooth line.

Then once these two things happen, they can come back with targets temporary middle income tax cuts and infrastructure investments.

The Rs are not going to renegotiate in good faith and still haven't seemed to learn anything via adjusting their policies and language. Boner hasn't changed his tone at all. He says he took some political risk by saying he would put revenues but what he is saying is thing he has been saying and the same ideas Mitt ran on and lost. The man acts like his political ideas actually won and that he has some leverage. They didn't and he doesn't. The Dems would be stupid to negotiate with him when he is out there say the President proposal wasn't a serious one. F Boner. I am sick sick of this fool.

The Rs party still haven't matured to a platform where they will promote ideas that are paid for. Unpaid for Wars and Tax expenditures along with a prescription drug benefit have ballooned the debt and crushed the economy. Rs have to stop being the party of handouts and credit card spending.

The stupid idea that lowering taxes is always the right solution to every problem is childish logic. Effective tax rates are at record lows right now as are our investments in infrastructure. All they did was kick the can down the road which got us in this mess to begin with. The Grover plead needs to die and all Rs that abdicate their responsibilities to such a plead need voted out of office. Why ? It takes the political back lash off the table for out of control spending. It does the opposite of what they say it does. The penalty for to much spending is higher taxes to pay for it if you don't do pay go. If you never allow taxes to go up to match the spending, then you pile up debt which is the easy out because people don't feel that right away. And here we are as proof of what that looks like. The debt piles up to critical levels and then people pay attention and do political spin over who created the debt. Rs would like you to believe it the person who is in office when things got out of control when in fact the debt problem was created many year before. How convenient.

If you have to pay for spending, then you have to raise taxes or cut in other areas to off set that increased deficits created by the tax cuts. Well if they can't off set the new deficits/spending, then you have to raise taxes. Once the taxes get to high, people will complain making it a political issue. That then forces them to revisit what spending gets cut if they want lower taxes or else taxes need to stay where they are. Lower taxes and lower spending have to go hand in hand. So if you can't pay for your tax cuts when you do them, then you shouldn't pass them to begin with. Doing the tax cuts without offsets or spending decreases is just being the Candy Man. Its a way of dumbing down America making them think they can have it all but it is a great way to buy vote and pass the higher taxes or lower services to future generation. Bush did this in spades and look what it got us. Huge debt for future generations to pay back and the mess we are in today. It was a huge transfer of wealth from the future to the people who got the money the last 25 years. It was robbery. And if you want to see who the robbers where, look who acquired that money.

Rs have turned this argument upside down saying Dems always want to delay spending cuts when they want tax increases. The only reason you would even talk that way is because Rs passed tax cuts without paying for them to begin with. Thats the real debate. Thats where politicians need to do the tough work. Cutting taxes is easy. Paying for the tax cuts is the harder thing. Who wants to politically be on the side of being the adult in the room and saying, hey, given the level of spending you'll want, we need to raise taxes or keep that where it is. Its not the Dems who are giving the handout policies. Its the Rs.

Rs need to learn to pay for what they want. If that is lower taxes ( news flash..we all do), then do the politics of showing how you are going to pay for them. And not some fairy tail trick down crap. What a wonderful ball of crap they made up so they didn't have to do any real political work. And the sickening thing is they got away with it for 30 years.

Balancing tax levels and what we want to spend that money on is really tough work. It would help if we had two parties that operated in economic reality. Rs need to stop living in their dreamscape where they think tax cuts pay for themselves. They don't. That why the CBO projected the Bush tax cuts to add so much to the national debt which they have.

I'm just not sure how the party survives when they have to admit their economic ideas and political language for the last 30 years was total BS. How do you twist you way out something that has been the core of what got you elected. They are trying to spin their way of of this by acting like they have different policies, but it lip service. Say they will put revenues on the table is nothing different. Its just new marketing language.
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Post#592 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Sun Dec 2, 2012 12:46 pm by penbeast0

I agree with Hands here about the fiscal cliff being the best chance for anything resembling a real choice on spending. Hands wants a middle class tax cut and infrastructure spending; I want to get closer to balancing the budget. Where we agree is that neither of us think that the Republicans have any real interest in lowering the federal debt; where we disagree is that he seems to think only the Republicans are the villians here. I think neither party is serious about debt reduction as soon as it turns to cutting ANY real federal spending at more than the margin (Dems) or cutting ANY real taxes other than at the margin (Reps) although both will posture about cutting the other party's sacred cows knowing that they won't have to put their money where their mouth is. My biggest fear is that the fiscal cliff negotiations will succeed in a typical Washington deal which combines accounting gimmicks and putting off true costs onto future generations in which case both parties will pat themselves on the back and go right back to the same tactics that got us into this mess.
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Post#593 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Sun Dec 2, 2012 4:46 pm by hands11

penbeast0 wrote:I agree with Hands here about the fiscal cliff being the best chance for anything resembling a real choice on spending. Hands wants a middle class tax cut and infrastructure spending; I want to get closer to balancing the budget. Where we agree is that neither of us think that the Republicans have any real interest in lowering the federal debt; where we disagree is that he seems to think only the Republicans are the villians here. I think neither party is serious about debt reduction as soon as it turns to cutting ANY real federal spending at more than the margin (Dems) or cutting ANY real taxes other than at the margin (Reps) although both will posture about cutting the other party's sacred cows knowing that they won't have to put their money where their mouth is. My biggest fear is that the fiscal cliff negotiations will succeed in a typical Washington deal which combines accounting gimmicks and putting off true costs onto future generations in which case both parties will pat themselves on the back and go right back to the same tactics that got us into this mess.


I want both. One leads to the other. Actually, if the economy could swing it, I would forgo the middle income tax cuts at the levels they are now if it meant cutting the deficit enough that confidence was restored. Getting the top brackets back in line helps but getting the middle brackets up more would have a larger impact in bringing down the annual deficit. A short recession now would be a small price to pay for getting budget more in balance without cutting government spending on investment/infrastructure. When we come out of other other side of the recession in 9 months, things would be looking a lot better. Housing should be fully stabilized, blue collar and manufacturing would be a lot stronger and tax rev as a percentage of GDP would be back in line as well.

Come mid term, Rs would be slamming the Dems for causing a recession and unemployment numbers that still don't look much better then they are now, but the economy would be getting stronger in a much more healthy way that is sustainable, the annual debt would be lower then today and the debt to GDP would be dropping.

Unraveling that 25 year equity bubble, unpaid for wars, run away defense spending and taxes cuts that weren't paid for isn't so easy that it can be done in just one recession cycle over 3 years. The shorter term goal should be a healthy economy and about a 400B annual deficit. If we can get back there, we will be in range to grow the economy at 3-4% and make the adjustment needed to get the debt to GDP heading down.
Then they can do some spending cuts and let the middle income tax cuts go all the way back to Clinton levels to get the budget fully in balance or even into surplus again. Then, like post WWII, you just keep at it for 20 years and eventually you are back down to 50% debt to GDP.

Then you just hope people of that time actually remember the mess we were in and how we got there so they don't let their votes get purchased by some fool running for president talking about how he is going to lower taxes without offsets in spending because.. tax cuts pay for themselves.

In a dream world, eventually they get debt to GDP down to about 25% and they start to phase in some middle income tax cuts that have offsets such that the debt to GDP doesn't increase. Thats how you do real tax cuts. You get your house in order first and you make sure you can afford them longer term.
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Post#594 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Mon Dec 3, 2012 6:18 pm by Induveca

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Post#595 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 10:14 am by Zonkerbl

U.S. emits about 7 billion tons of carbon a year. According to the EPA, the social cost of carbon is about $26 per ton. A carbon tax of $26/ton would raise about $182 billion. Over ten years that would raise $1.8 trillion in revenues, exactly equal to the amount of revenue the dems are asking for. Well, ok, our emissions are increasing each year, and a $26/ton tax is supposed to reduce emissions, according to my estimates by about 8%... so a little less than that. Let's say 5%... so $1.7 trillion.

Alternatively, you could start now at $6/ton and increase it by $2/year over the next ten years. That would raise $860 billion over the next ten years, a little more than the amount of revenue the Republicans are aiming at.

C'mon you dummies. Choose the easy answer for once! Kill two birds with one stone! Etc. etc.!
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Post#596 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 11:20 am by nate33

Zonkerbl wrote:According to the EPA, the social cost of carbon is about $26 per ton.

This is the part that I have difficulty swallowing. I think everybody is understating the benefits of global warming (if the globe is indeed warming, which it hasn't in 15 years). We're are talking about HUGE increases in food production as cold-weather land masses become warmer. We will have improvement's in health as people spend more time outdoors for a greater portion of the year.

People act like the Earth has been this exact temperature throughout history, and that this exact temperature is somehow ideal.
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Post#597 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 11:41 am by Severn Hoos

nate33 wrote:
Zonkerbl wrote:According to the EPA, the social cost of carbon is about $26 per ton.

This is the part that I have difficulty swallowing. I think everybody is understating the benefits of global warming (if the globe is indeed warming, which it hasn't in 15 years). We're are talking about HUGE increases in food production as cold-weather land masses become warmer. We will have improvement's in health as people spend more time outdoors for a greater portion of the year.

People act like the Earth has been this exact temperature throughout history, and that this exact temperature is somehow ideal.


There are some legitimate questions, IMO. Do we know definitively that the earth is warming? (Can we trust fractions on temperature readings from the 19th C, for example?) Do we know that it is truly Global (vs. primarily localized in city/heat sinks)? Is it cyclical? (remember the Global Cooling scare of the 70s?) Is it definitively man-caused? Can it be countered, even if we wanted to? What would be the cost of countering it? Might there be potential benefits to GW (per nate's post)? Would the benefit of countering GW outweigh the cost? Are there potential dangers in the efforts to reduce global temperatures? (imagine if we had taken steps to raise global temperatures back in the 70s!)

I could go on, but I already feel like Inigo pestering Westley when he'd been mostly dead all day. But I don't think simply asking the question makes one a whackjob corporatist hack.
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Post#598 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 12:25 pm by pancakes3

Well, carbon emissions have effects other than warming. It is a pollutant. It just seems like in today's world there are just too many slices of pie to keep up with. It's not like sim city and you can't hit pause. It doesn't seem like there are enough hours in the day to figure out how to properly answer all the questions out there.
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Post#599 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 12:34 pm by dobrojim

I found this at the National Academy of Science website

I would trust the discussion here a whole lot more than most alternatives

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=14673
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Post#600 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 12:39 pm by Zonkerbl

nate33 wrote:
Zonkerbl wrote:According to the EPA, the social cost of carbon is about $26 per ton.

This is the part that I have difficulty swallowing. I think everybody is understating the benefits of global warming (if the globe is indeed warming, which it hasn't in 15 years). We're are talking about HUGE increases in food production as cold-weather land masses become warmer. We will have improvement's in health as people spend more time outdoors for a greater portion of the year.

People act like the Earth has been this exact temperature throughout history, and that this exact temperature is somehow ideal.


Well, judge for yourself. All that stuff was accounted for, if you can wade through the technical jargon.

http://www.epa.gov/oms/climate/regulations/scc-tsd.pdf

Iirc, they leave out the costs of sea animals going extinct, which in my mind is the greatest "cost" associated with global warming. Other costs include increased displacement of the poor living near the shoreline on South-East Asian countries. Although the biggest cost by far, apparently, is increased expenditures on electricity for air conditioning in the united states, I **** you not.
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Post#601 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 1:04 pm by Induveca

Taxing carbon emissions isn't as simple as it may seem....this was somewhat tackled with the 97 Kyoto Protocol and carbon credits.

Amusingly enough, "voluntary carbon credit market" investors around the world are praising the likes of Al Gore for bringing the global warming issue to the front and center. Not because they want to help the world, but because it made a secondary market for UN issued carbon credits. YOU can buy a carbon credit, and sell it later. Also, Al Gore himself has made millions by trading carbon credits in this same market. Talk about insider trading, the guy is a complete joke.

http://newsbusters.org/node/11149

These things have literally become commodities.

Here's how the scheme works. If I own a huge tract of tree-lined land in Brazil (say 50 acres), I offer to sell to an international logging company. I then inform the UN that these negotiations are taking place, and VOILA, I'm issued a sum of carbon credits for no cost for NOT cutting down the trees. I then trade the credits to other companies and make tens of millions of dollars.

Or you could get your entire company funded for a year by choosing a less than desirable emission system, then having a better system funded by the UN via carbon credits. Of course you then by the original system anyways, and find some filters which achieve the same impact. Again, free money.

It's a ridiculous system, but one that is firmly entrenched the world over. Land owners and savvy business owners love the carbon credit system, it is literally free money. The worst offenders are US companies, and the US government.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -wikileaks

Read this to better understand the scam that is carbon emissions. These systems aren't always dreamed up to benefit the world, although the tree-hugger and "green" types think otherwise. It's a complete bull scheme. Attempting to tax carbon emissions will, in the end, collect little money due to this system.

It will however create a boom in secondary carbon credit markets.

If anyone wants to buy a tract of land to build a house on in the future (say 2-3 years from now), do so under an LLC/business plan with a future carbon footprint. You can get paid NOT to create the company, but still own the land, and do with it as you please. Never done it myself, but the system is a farce.
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Post#602 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 1:37 pm by pancakes3

Question, Induveca. You're getting "paid" in carbon credits or in dollars?

If carbon credits, and you do end up developing your land, aren't you beholden to your agreement and have to give back those credits if you do develop?

Furthermore, following the trail of money. The government creates these carbon credits out of nothing - essentially minting them at zero cost. They issue it to tree owners. Companies are forced by regulations to give money for regulations and usually buy them from tree owners rather than purchase them on their own because the tree owners can sell them for cheaper because those credits have no intrinsic value to someone who owns large tracts of jungle. That jungle-owner can't develop his land any more. The company is now out of millions of dollars to do what they were doing anyway and still looking for ways to cut emissions because they don't want to pay any more of this "tax" than they have to.

The winner out of the three parties involved is the government because it promotes lower emissions. The companies are out millions of dollars. The landowner even loses to an extent because though he still owns the land he's lost practical use of his land.

I suppose you could argue that in making it a commodity, you've now got carbon-credit traders but I would hardly call that a scam. It may be an unfortunate consequence of the global economy but really they're no less despicable than a commodity trader who's buying and selling orange juice.

** your original position on commodities and options trading notwithstanding.
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Post#603 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 2:46 pm by Zonkerbl

Those are "offsets." Not carbon credits, strictly speaking. Well, depends. In the Waxman-Markey legislation, you would have been issued a number of tons of carbon that you are allowed to emit, which (if done correctly) starts at your current emissions level and then declines a little each year. You can choose to emit less and sell your surplus "carbon credits" on the market, you can buy carbon credits from someone else who managed to emit less than their quota, or you can buy offsets, which consist mostly of 1) promises from U.S. farmers who are in the conservation program to continue to not farm on their land and 2) promises from Brazilian landowners not to chop down their jungle and farm on it.

Tricky to get that to work, since it's not really clear who owns the land down there or how in the world you could verify that they wouldn't have left the land undeveloped anyway. Europeans apparently went the route of going ahead and issuing offsets willy-nilly and fix the bugs as you go along. As you can see that is a somewhat problematic way of doing it.
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Post#604 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 4:15 pm by Induveca

Zonk,

The whole process is idiotic. Land ownership is easy to "prove" in the 3rd world, but of course after credits have been issued (retroactive to 6-7 years even!), they are traded and they do what they wish anyways.

It's a ridiculous system, but one in which wealthy landowners/governments/businesses are making millions. There is one company down here I know personally who owns massive amounts of land. Trees are hundreds of years old, there is no real logging here. They have made millions off of trading these credits. They never intended to do anything anyways.

Literally free money. All it takes is the ridiculous question of "what are your plans for this land", and the honest response of "we may consider logging, real estate, sales to factories or mining at some point". Then BOOM they have 2-15 years (depending on agreement) to not touch the land.

Of course, there are just so many ways to abuse the system. All thanks to Mr. Green, Al Gore (I confirmed the businesses he owns indirectly around carbon emissions have generated tens of billions already). Bravo to Gore, man has fooled nearly his entire liberal following into thinking he is an "environmentalist".
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Post#605 Re: Political Roundtable Cosmic String of Cat
Tue Dec 4, 2012 6:28 pm by Zonkerbl

Yeah. The idea itself is not idiotic. We can reduce our emissions all we want -- if farmers in Brazil continue to raze the amazon to grow soybeans and raise cattle, we're screwed. Any realistic solution to climate change has to figure out some way to make Brazilians think twice about destroying rainforest. One way to do that is to pay them not to do it. The devil is in the details. If it was easy, there'd be a market for it already and we wouldn't be having the problem in the first place.

When you burn down an acre of rainforest, you PERMANENTLY damage the earth's ability to absorb carbon. So if you get paid to not burn down an acre of rainforest, it has to be a PERMANENT commitment to never burn it. It has to be forever illegal to cut down that acre. You'll continue to get your monthly payment, but if you burn down that forest, you go to jail. Like you say, you can't just sell it to someone and let that person burn the forest down.

Actually I find it hard to believe that the Europeans haven't thought about this. What's more likely is that corrupt Brazilian government officials are ignoring the rules. Which is the other main problem. How can I, a U.S. citizen, do anything about a Brazilian breaking a Brazilian law? Nothing. So the commitment to not burn down an acre of rainforest is essentially unenforceable.
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