The Ocoee Massacre: Where’s The Apology For That?

“At the time that I visited Ocoee, the last colored family of Ocoee was leaving with their goods piled high on a motor truck with six colored children on top. White children stood around and jeered the Negroes who were leaving, threatening them with burning if they did not hurry up and get away. These children thought it a huge joke that some Negroes had been burned alive.”

Walter White — NAACP

1920 was a Presidential Election year. It was historic in that it was the year women were first given the right to vote. History remembers well the women associated with the Suffrage Movement that fought for that right for several decades. Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and occasionally Ida B. Wells are cited for their efforts.

Although black males had been granted the right to vote in 1870 through the 15th Amendment. Actual voting, after Federal troops were removed from the South after the Compromise of 1877 was more than problematic. In 1920, Democrats throughout the State of Florida were determined that black men and women would not vote. History doesn’t tell that story so well.

Ocoee, FL is a small community within Orange County, FL which includes Orlando. On November 2, 1920, white citizens from Ocoee, Orlando, and nearby Winter Garden, shot and killed an unknown number of black citizens after two men; Mose Norman and July Perry tried to vote. In what the Orlando Sentinel called, “The Ocoee Race Riot,” they treated it as if it were a black uprising. The headline the next day included, “RACE TROUBLE AT OCOEE CLAIMS 2 WHITE VICTIMS,” The number of black people murdered has never been verified. Estimates range from 37–500. Everyone not killed was burned out and forced to leave. The town remained all-white for the next 40 years. July Perry was initially arrested and taken to an Orlando jail. He was then taken from that jail by a mob, shot multiple times and then strung up and left hanging from an Orlando light post. According to the Chicago Defender, a sign was left nearby saying, “This Is What We Do To Niggers That Vote.”

Most Orlando residents, even most Ocoee residents are unfamiliar with this history. Every ten years or so, the Orlando Sentinel runs a story covering the incident. On Sunday, January 13, 2019, they ran a front-page article, “It’s now our turn to apologize.” It came after the new Governor “pardoned” the Groveland Four, victims of a different event twenty miles away when four young black men were falsely accused of raping a white girl. One was killed during his capture. Two were shot by the local Sheriff while he transported them from the State Prison to testify in a hearing. He claimed they were trying to escape. Evidence that proved he actually murdered one and wounded the other was kept hidden by the FBI.

The Sentinel apologized for their role including misleading coverage and looking the other way which allowed that Sheriff to continue serving 21 years after murdering one of the Groveland Four and seriously wounding another. There has been no apology for their coverage of what they have referred to as the Ocoee Race Riot. They didn’t cover the conspiracy to keep blacks from voting although many local leaders made public statements and issued warnings to that effect. Since the Sentinel elected to apologize for its Groveland coverage, they might consider looking closer to home and review their coverage in their home county as well?

The Casual Racism of the Internet, How It Eases Its Way Into Real Life

Something happens to people on the Internet, they get brave, especially when a little anonymity is thrown in the mix. They say things online they would never endeavor to say to someone face to face. But it’s a lot more than calling someone the N-word, or whatever words deemed the most demeaning to whatever group they don’t like. It’s the casual expressions of racists beliefs that when unchallenged, become part of the consensus in the safe zones where people gather online.

Once upon a time, people were ashamed to be called racist and would govern themselves accordingly. Two things have changed. Anonymous screen names let people say whatever they like without fear of recrimination is one. A chorus of people backing them up, making their racism a badge of honor instead of a bad thing is another. Racism has become a favorite excuse to explain away everything that doesn’t go the way it always has.

Recently, some Federal Judges of color have made rulings that stood in the way of some of the government’s Unconstitutional efforts to fight immigration. Opponents cried out, “Affirmative Action!” as the reason blacks and Hispanics were ever in a position to make those decisions in the first place. They believe that the only way a person of color ever attained high placement was to fill a quota, displacing a more deserving white person in the process. In response, of the 87 Federal judges appointed by the current administration. One has been black and one Hispanic, 80 of the remaining were white. Kristen Clarke, President of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said, “It turns the clock back on years of work and effort that went into promoting judicial diversity.”

Beyond the machinations of the administration who blatantly are unconcerned about anyone outside their base. The general public has found racism more acceptable, redefining it almost out of official existence. The same people who casually rail against Affirmative Action on the Internet, are the same ones that are making hiring decisions and promotions, ever wary that they don’t respond to the pressure of “political correctness.” There’s more support now to do the wrong thing than the right one.

It would be nice to believe that our friends and neighbors aren’t the ones filling up the comments section of blogs and articles with nasty remarks espousing their hatred. Would that it be a Russian in a Saint Petersburg troll farm than the person teaching your children or coaching their teams. The racism prevalent across the Internet isn’t primarily bots and trolls, rather your co-workers and neighbors who “smile in your face” while revealing their true nature when tweeting and commenting.

The Internet didn’t create racism, though racists have certainly embraced it. It give them an audience, let them find others with similar thoughts and values. And for the most part, there’s little recourse, free speech and all that. Even worse it’s way cool in some circles to be as racist as you like, Reddit anyone? Maybe the best thing about the Internet when it comes to racism is when people get videoed taking their online behavior to the real world, are identified, then punished or fired. While some of you wear your racism like a badge of honor. Employers can’t afford to appear to feel the same way.

📝 Read this story later in Journal.

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Love In The Right Place, Wrong Time

Dr. John was a relatively obscure musician (outside of New Orleans) until he performed the song, “Right Place, Wrong Time” which became a Top-Ten hit and won him one of his six Grammy Awards. The song had lyrical contributions from several artists including Bette Midler and Bob Dylan and related a tale of ironic bad luck and failures.

Love often finds us in the right place and the wrong time. More precisely the right person and wrong time where one or both of you are unable to recognize that which is right before you. Sometimes you become friends, more likely is that you each go on to other relationships, maybe even happiness, but still not what might have been.

Perhaps you were too young and had no true understanding of what love is? You relied on advice from friends and were open to advances from strangers. Monogamy, sacrifice, dedication, transparency, and vulnerability were words you could spell, technically believed their definition, but had yet to incorporate them into your lifestyle. Maybe you were too shy or immature or too damn busy with your career to take notice?

Maybe you were enthralled with another, in a relationship or just coming out? The mind so occupied that you were unable to begin something new. Perhaps you never met at all, possibly in the same event at the same time but the universe conspired to keep you apart.

But the universe doesn’t always conspire against you. Sometimes if gives you second chances to discover what might have been? You meet at a college reunion, get a Friend request on Facebook, see their picture on an Internet dating site. Life gives you second chance, very rarely does it give you three. So when that second chance comes… what are you going to do?

  • I wrote this well over a year ago. I ran across it in my unpublished stories and decided to send it out into the universe.

So Tiger… When You Get Your Medal From Trump

To clear the air, there may be no bigger fan of Tiger Woods than myself, and no bigger hater of Donald Trump. I’ve follower Tiger since his days at Stanford, cheered him on during his first Master’s Win which was his first Major tournament twenty years ago. My choice of what to do on Father’s Day was generally to watch Tiger on tv in the US Open. If he was in contention, I watched Tiger.

When he had his trials both personal and physical, I recognized his faults, wished he’d done better, but still rooted for him to return to something resembling his former self. The best of his time, maybe all-time.

Last Sunday, I watched him play the final holes of the Masters, doing what he so often did before. Played solid and let those unaccustomed to the pressure, self-destruct all around him. I’ve watched Tiger win before, but never seem him so happy after climbing all the way out of the hell he had found himself in.

Shortly after his win, Donald Trump announced he was awarding Tiger the Presidential Medal of Freedom; America’s highest civilian honor. Trump has already given the award to a few athletes including the late Babe Ruth, Roger Staubach, and Alan Page.

Tiger has never been openly political. His brand has never been to embrace his politics or even his blackness. He preferred the term, “Cablinasian,” embracing his multi-ethnic origins, not wishing to exclude anyone. Tiger has known and played golf with Donald Trump for some time. When asked about him he said, “I’ve known Donald for a number of years. We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.”

When asked about Trump’s harsh immigration policies. Woods responded in part, “Well, he’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office.”

I don’t ask Tiger to make the choice I’d make if invited to appear with Trump to receive an award. In my mind, the choice of Tiger and desire to appear alongside him is far more about Trump than it is Tiger’s accomplishments. If it’s Tiger’s desire to accept the award, by all means, he should do so.

But when you go Tiger and the camera’s are rolling, and Trump starts to inevitably make it all about him. When he makes it political and begins to lie as he always does. If he makes a racist comment about Muslims, or Native Americans, or “the Blacks” or maybe refers to you as “his black” as he has others. Consider before you go whether you will draw the line somewhere? Anywhere? You can respect the office but still recognize when the officeholder has disrespected it. Will you stand mute… or respond?

Medium Curation Guidelines: Mysterium Tremendum

The term, “Mysterium Tremendum,” is Latin for tremendous mystery. I’ve heard it often explained in a religious context. An explanation that God is to man as man is to an ant. His ways are so much greater than man’s that we cannot possibly understand them, much like the ant cannot appreciate man’s reasoning. I’ve come to start thinking of Medium’s curation process as Mysterium Tremendum, not meant to be comprehended, just adhered to.

I’ve read the printed material intended to assist in my understanding;

I’m a relatively new member of the Medium Partner Program. I’d have to say my overall experience has been positive. I didn’t know what to expect and have been pleasantly surprised. I’m getting wider readership than I’d been getting on my own blog. One recent post got over 20K views in a day, almost all not eligible for payment, but it was still exciting. Some of the reasons I enjoy writing are as simple as being read and hoping to make a difference. Others have to do with establishing a writing career. Back to Mysterium Tremendum.

In another lifetime I was a salesperson for a major corporation. Each year they’d introduce a new compensation plan; outlining what products and services were emphasized. Once given your objective, it was possible to develop a strategy to maximize income based on selling those items providing a maximum return and focusing on those customers likely to need them. In the Medium Partner Program, there exists a formula I’m sure that translates, views, read ratios, fans, claps, and responses into dollars. What is it? Mysterium Tremendum.

According to Medium, they receive thousands of articles daily for consideration with “over 25 Curators” reviewing them all, some specialists in particular topics. This leaves the possibility that everything in a certain category is reviewed by the same person. Is that the case? I often write about sensitive subjects like politics and race where someone could be rubbed the wrong way? After several consecutive stories weren’t curated, I inquired about a particular story as to why? Is there someone who doesn’t like my point of view or my style? Mysterium Tremendum.

I had some respectful interaction with the Help team to try to get a better understanding of the process. In response to my questions about the Medium Curation process, I mainly got the links to the material shown above. In full disclosure, I did get specific answers to another unrelated question and the person I communicated with was very courteous.

The Medium Partner Program is a marvelous opportunity for writers and has so much potential. One way to achieve it is through greater transparency. Tell the writers exactly how they get paid which will show them Medium’s values and result in a product more consistent with Medium’s wishes. Medium will get what they pay for, which should be what they want. And from time to time, if requested, provide feedback as to why a story isn’t curated. It can’t take too much longer than sending a link to the guidelines.

American Exceptionalism (White Exceptionalism by a nicer name)

American Exceptionalism has been described by historians since the mid-1800s. Definitions fall basically into three camps.

  1. Because of its unique origins, born from revolution, America is unique from all other nations. Never having Kings and Queens it had always been ruled by the people thru its elected representatives.
  2. America has a unique mission to transform the world and has the responsibility to ensure that its form of government always exists.
  3. America’s mission, resources, and history make it superior to all other nations.

The first premise makes the case on its own that American Exceptionalism is simply a metaphor for White Exceptionalism in that it assumes the “origin” of America begins when white people arrived. Some history books pay a bit more attention to the inhabitants already present when European’s got here. Generations of Americans, however, were taught from American History books whose first chapters began in Europe with religious freedom being the main reason for their migration.

What you might not know is that a high percentage of colonists were criminals. Beginning in 1615 British courts started sending their convicts to the colonies to alleviate their own large criminal populations. It took until 1697 before colonial ports began refusing “convict ships”. In 1917 British Parliament passed the Transportation Act revising the method by which convicts were sent to America. Between 1700 and 1775, over 50,000 more convicts were sent to America with over 20,000 settling in Virginia. Donald Trump speaks of Mexico sending “not their best” and claiming “they’re rapists” in his popular claims with no evidentiary basis. England formally and systemically sent America its convicted criminals who could be had for a lower rate than the indentured servants who also helped build America. And then, of course, there were the slaves who were cheaper still.

Making America’s unique history the basis for a claim of exceptionalism requires we ignore its reliance on slave labor, indentured servants and criminals, all of whom were exploited for the benefit of the white landowners and politicians who benefited from their abuse. We haven’t even mentioned taking the land from the remaining existing inhabitants that had managed to survive being killed off by European diseases.

The second part of the initial premise is that America has since the Revolution engaged in self-rule by duly elected representatives of “the People” when the reverse is often true. Examination of the current Presidential Election has revealed that the Political parties often have more control than the people whether it be thru the obscure rules that select delegates to party conventions, the electoral college and the combination of redistricting and gerrymandering. Our elections often give the people a chance to offer an opinion, but one that can be taken away should the desire be great enough. We may never have had a King or Queen but true power rests in the hands of such a small number of people that we do have an Oligarchy and Citizen’s United has set that in stone.

The next premise is about America’s unique status in the world and its mission to ensure its form of government always exists. It speaks volumes that America presumes it has the right to dictate to the world and to superimpose its values on other countries. If one pays special attention, there is a pattern as to when and where America usurps control of the decisions of others.

Routinely America has overthrown leaders and promoted insurgencies in countries where the populations are other than white. While suggesting our goal is to preserve or promote Democracy. We’ve never had a problem supporting dictatorships or monarchies when we had favorable access to their resources or they provided a strategic alliance in their part of the world. Our status as “The World’s Policeman” is actually correct as long as we know that protect and serve only applies to America and even then primarily to the institutions primarily under the control of our white power brokers. Unfortunately, their needs also rely upon the revenue generated from the sale of arms across the world and depend on the continued instability caused by the wars they promote.

However one might feel about the first two false premises. It is the third that makes America the most dangerous, even to many of its own citizens. The conservative right is reviving the idea of American Exceptionalism and the way they use it is proof of the prejudice that is its foundation. They say our history, mission, and resources make us superior to all other nations. Efforts are underway in Texas and other places to incorporate the teaching of American Exceptionalism in history books. Ensuring the propaganda of superiority is entrenched for future generations. They feared our actual history wasn’t “patriotic enough”.

Make no mistake, when politicians speak of American Exceptionalism it is much more likely to apply to Mexico, Iraq or Iran, China, Japan, Venezuela or any country where the inhabitants are primarily brown, black or yellow. America cares deeply about the human rights abuses or terrorist attacks in France, Brussels or England but not so much in Sierra Leonne or Kenya. Israeli lives matter much more than Palestinian ones. American Exceptionalism has always been about the preservation of white interests and it is the demographic march of America into a majority-minority nation that provokes its revival.

It is American Exceptionalism which allows the country to engage in voter suppression, gerrymandering to ensure state governments are controlled by giving more power to rural white areas, disenfranchising the more “urban” large cities. We worry about the southern border dividing us from our brown neighbors while the northern Canadian border elicits no fear. American Exceptionalism is but the polite name by which those white Americans so inclined can promote their ideals.

The Mueller’s and the Barr’s

By all accounts the Mueller family and Barr family areclose. Mueller’s wife, Ann Cabell Standish, and Christine Barr attend Sunday School together. Robert Mueller attended the weddings of two of William Barr’s daughters. “Bob” and “Bill” have been good friends, sometimes co-workers for over thirty years. During his confirmation hearings, William Barr said he told President Trump, “the two families were good friends and would be good friends when this was all over.” It’s beginning to look like there may be a bit of a strain in the long-term relationship. The “good friends” are headed for a confrontation where only one’s reputation will be left standing.

Robert Mueller was selected as the Special Counsel for the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election and whether there was any collusion within the Trump Campaign. He spent 22 months, indicted 13 Russian nationals, 12 Russian Intelligence Officers, garnered multiple guilty pleadings, obtained guilty verdicts against Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and has charges pending against Trump Associate Roger Stone and others. Mueller recently gave his report to the newly confirmed Attorney General Bob Barr, who inserted himself into the process, writing a 19-page memo to the FBI suggesting a President cannot be guilty of Obstruction of Justice.

After receiving Mueller’s report, Barr took two days and issued a Summary (which he later denied was a summary although he himself called it one) indicating there was no collusion and the President had not been found to have obstructed justice. In one of the few partial quotes, Barr included from the actual report. Mueller made clear his report, “does not exonerate the President.” Barr’s version… does so!

In Testimony before a House Committee today, Barr said he will not release an unredacted version of the Mueller Report to Congress. He will not ask the Judge overseeing the Mueller Grand Jury release any Grand Jury information. He also suggested if Mueller had done his job, making a prosecutorial recommendation on the Obstruction of Justice issue, he Barr, wouldn’t have had to.

Breaking with their almost two years of silence. Members of the Mueller team have begun leaking, basically calling bullshit on the Barr version claiming the President is off the hook and did no wrong. It’s expected Mueller will be called to testify before Congress and explain not only what was in his report, but whether or not he agrees with his good buddy William Barr. We can anticipate Barr will continue to defend his actions, justifying himself by continuing to blame Mueller.

Barr was asked if he’d consulted Mueller while drafting his 4-page summary of the Mueller Report and he said he had not. He indicated he did offer to show it to Mueller before its release but Mueller declined. That can be translated to.

Barr: “Please look at the summary I’ve written Bob? I ‘d like your concurrence it’s an accurate reflection.”

Mueller: “How many pages are there?”

Barr: “Four.”

Mueller: “I’ll pass.”

Barr: “Without your acceptance, it will look like I’m covering something up?”

Mueller: “Probably.”

Barr: “As long as we’ve been friends, you should know me better than that?”

Mueller: “Like Iran-Contra?”

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the next Sunday School class and see if Ann and Christine hug when they meet. Technically, Robert Mueller is still the Special Counsel and reports to his boss William Barr the Attorney General. I don’t expect a lot of hijinks and back-slapping are going on in the staff meetings. While we await the inevitable testimony, compelled by subpoenas. Friendships are about to be tested. Reputations possibly destroyed? We will see!

America’s Caste System

America has a Caste System. Not formalized like that of India past. Discrimination based on Caste there has been illegal for over sixty years. It doesn’t present itself there in all the ways it used to. It has found new ways, particularly in elections where Caste is still the determining factor in choosing who to vote for. It was once true that when born into a Caste it was virtually impossible to change. Now there are Inter-Caste marriages, primarily among the upper-level. It may seem what I’m describing still sounds a lot like America. There is a big difference.

In America, Caste is more informal and everyone has created a hierarchy based on their own experience. Of course, there are general external classifications based on education level or career. When you meet someone among the first questions; “Where did you go to school? And “What do you do?” We rate each other based on education, career income… and race.

Throughout American history, race has always been one of the ways people placed themselves in context. The poorest white person could be relieved that at least they weren’t Black or Native American. Then Obama happened. America had a Black President who oozed intelligence whenever he spoke. They spent eight years with their equilibrium out of whack. They could no longer make an honest intellectual case for superiority while there was a Black President, Black Attorney General, a Black First Lady that went high when they went low. In a way, President Obama was as they say, “the most divisive President of all time.” Not because of his words or actions. It was his existence that divided the nation, the Caste system had been overturned.

The final straw that changed the campaign allowing Trump to win wasn’t Hillary’s private server. It wasn’t leaked E-mails. Not even the Comey letter in a late October surprise. It was the multiple appearances of Barack and Michelle Obama on the campaign trail that motivated white people from every crack and crevice to vote against Obama thru Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t a strictly male reaction. White women ignored all the misogyny, multiple women coming forward to report sexual harassment and Trump’s admission on tape to being a sexual predator. They ignored his extramarital affairs. Looked the other way at the rape charge that was working through the courts before death threats caused it to be withdrawn. They left their sisters of color in the lurch as they have throughout American history with their ultimate decision being to support their whiteness above their gender. Loyal to their Caste.

I’ve watched the glee in some Republican faces as they attempt to dismantle everything President Obama accomplished in the past eight years. They may be successful in undoing the first thing he accomplished which was salvaging the economy. To undo all things Obama they’re willing to take healthcare from twenty-three million Americans and remove most restrictions regulating big banks and Wall Street which almost destroyed the nation before.

When the Senate meets to confirm Trump’s cabinet choices. They may mention the racist or xenophobic past that afflicts most of his early picks. But they’ll ignore what they’ve said and done in favor of who they are. Caste uber alles.

When you watch the news in the future. Look thru the prism of a Caste based society. You’ll understand the limited and biased coverage of Standing Rock with its modern-day Bull Connor. You’ll know why a Bannon or Sessions was acceptable to those making decisions because those are their people. You’ll see why attacks on voter rights are so successful in becoming law despite their clear unconstitutionality and obvious racist intent. It’s because when it’s all said and done. Caste wins out.

In Defense Of Herman Cain, Why Should He Be Vetted?

Donald Trump has told confidants he wants to appoint Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve Board. He’s waiting until Cain passes his background check which is what I’m objecting to. Why should the black man be vetted before submission to the Senate for approval when nobody else in the Trump Administration was forced to?

Trump has submitted people for Federal Judges that have neither been judges nor tried a case. He’s forced through 25 Security Clearances for people the career staff said were unworthy based on their past; financial ties, drug, use, criminal behavior, and potential for blackmail. We got an Acting Attorney General who had his firm shut down by the FTC and fined $26 Million for deceiving customers. The white nominee for the other Federal Reserve Board opening, Stephen Moore, owes the IRS $75,000. Cheated his wife out of $300,000 in their divorce settlement, and bragged about his mistress in front of his kids. Nobody vetted him.

It’s grossly unfair that the Trump Administration has supported crooks, liars, pedophiles, Attorneys that gave special deals to pedophiles and ensured other pedophiles remained hidden, unqualified candidates, and perjurers, without vetting any of them, and now they want to vet Hermain Cain. Even then, the normal thing to do would be to vet them first before making his name public. Should they uncover something, no need to publicly embarrass him? Just let him slink away without being shamed.

In full disclosure, I’ve met Herman Cain, played a round of golf with him while he was still the C.E.O. of Godfather’s Pizza and before he became a political figure. Before he became a right-wing radio personality and before his run for President. He came across as a nice guy, actually humble. He even has seven years of experience in some capacity with the Kansas City Federal Reserve between 1989–1996. I don’t care if he was the custodian, that puts him head and shoulders above many of Trump’s other nominees. Vetting him is an obvious double standard which shouldn’t be permitted.

Release The Mueller Report Now!

The dam has burst and the previously non-leaking Mueller investigative team has started making their displeasure known with William Barr’s 4-page summary of their 22-month investigation into the President and his campaign. In leaks to the New York Times and Washington Post, they reveal that there is information highly negative towards the President and that each section had its own summary, designed to be released to the public. While Attorney General Barr in effect cleared President Trump of Obstruction of Justice, even while noting the report explicitly did not draw that conclusion. New reports find the evidence of Obstruction not reported by Barr to be “alarming and significant.”

There are two types of information at dispute as to whether it can be released. Grand Jury information which could be released upon approval of a Federal Judge as was done in Watergate. Also, information that would compromise sources and methods, types of information routinely provided to Congress which has the clearance to see such material. Barr has added another criterion which appears to be excluding information that might prove embarrassing to third-parties not under indictment.

William Barr has now discovered what others with distinguished careers of service to the Country have discovered. Once you tie your fate to Trump. Your personal integrity will be sacrificed. Already in his record was recommending the pardons for everyone associated with Iran-Contra, he also wrote a memo he submitted to the Trump White House, declaring a President cannot commit Obstruction of Justice. He apparently injected himself into a process Mueller intended to be decided by Congress and the American people, to prove himself right. Military Generals, distinguished businessmen, career diplomats, have attempted to serve their Country by joining Trump and found that required serving one too many masters. In his confirmation hearings, Barr indicated he was at the end of his career and had no need to kowtow to Trump. Apparently, he failed to remember that when attempting to clear him with his version of the Mueller Report.

At this point, with the credibility of Barr’s version highly suspect. Nothing else will do except the full release of the Mueller Report including all supporting information to Congress, and a complete as possible release to the American public of the report they paid for.

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