Going Off the Rail

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38 Responses

  1. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Ami Magazine ran a cover headline entitled “Leftist Jews Caused the Killings in Toulouse” , it decked out the White House in Nazi Flags, and ran an article which accused the Israeli Government of being equal to Czarist Russia for dismantling an illegally built “cohen” walkway over the bais hakvoros in Meron. This problem is not limited to Ami but basically runs the gamut of “Chareidi” publications. Unfortunately for all too many frum families there only source of news is these publications and right wing talk radio. Its time to bring back the Wall Street Journal and the Economist.

  2. Wolfman says:

    If our sources of news were the Wall Street Journal and the Economist, we would be OK. The problem is that news sources like the New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC are biased. Polls routinely show that an overwhelming majority of reporters on the staffs of the mainstream media companies are liberal. While the quotes quoted in the article may be slightly over the top, they are not as inaccurate as portrayed. President Obama’s desire to reset relations with Russia and have open dialogue with the Muslim world have been interpreted as signs of weakness. While some commentary may be too far to the right, let’s not swing the pendulum the other way.

  3. Raymond says:

    Actually, what is truly frightening and shameful, is how any Jew proud of his Jewish heritage could possibly feel any loyalty at all to Barack Obama, whose level of hostility toward Israel approaches that of the notorious antisemite, Jimmy Carter. Plus, it is bewildering to me how Jews can continue to bash the very right-wing Christians who are the strongest friends of Israel that we Jews have. In fact, I broke away from my parents’ Democratic political party, switching over to the other side, precisely over this issue of Israel. And in the decades that have passed since I made that decision, history has demonstrated my choice to be a sound one. Since the assassination of the very pro-Israel Robert Kennedy, this nation’s Democratic Presidents (Carter, Clinton, Obama) have been terrible for Israel, while its Republican Presidents (Nixon, Reagan, Bush) have been our wonderful friends. And while John McCain and Mitt Romney lost in the last two Presidential elections, both are strongly pro-Israel as well. Barack Obama, in sharp contrast, has made himself our enemy.

  4. joel rich says:

    Interesting juxtaposition of lead middle east stories yesterday:

    U.S. Allies Fret Over Shift on Aid to Egypt-Wall Street Journal

    In Crackdown Response, U.S. Temporarily Freezes Some Military Aid to Egypt –NY Times

    Conscious and/or unconscious framing?
    KT

  5. ben dov says:

    Ami magazine cannot be taken seriously as a source of wisdom. Remember their sympathetic reporting of Weberman in that molestation scandal.

  6. L. Oberstein says:

    My daughter who works for the CDC just wrote me that since she is a contract employee,not a Federal worker, she will not get back pay when the shut down is ended. How many frum Jews still cheer the Tea Party, think the solution to crime is to arm everyone with an assault rifle , and oppose all government handouts to anyone but frum Jews in Lakewood. The word “liberal” has been made into an insult,but who can compare in stupidity to the Neanderthal wing of the Republican Party. Dr. Schick is totally correct. We demean our Torah and our Mesorah when we align ourselves with ignorance and prejudice. Don’t think for one second that the intense hatred of President Obama isn’t based in large measure on racism. They can deny it in public but I hear what the say to one another. When frum Jews are bigots they remind me of those deluded German Jews who actually supported National Socialism in the beginning in the naive beleive that only the “Ostyuden” were the problem, not them. wish we had leaders who understood this.

  7. Bob Miller says:

    Someday, even Jews who are staunch, lifelong Democrats will catch onto our current President’s malice and duplicity. In the meantime, we will see articles like this one.

  8. dr. bill says:

    i think bias is intrinsic to all of us, the wsj, cnn, jpost, the economist and gedolai olam included. when it is denied or when it is raised to the hannity/mathews level it becomes a real issue. otoh, we also extol bias or should i say intuition, something that when not recognized has potentially negative consequences. in general, i am more upset by bias exhibited by leaders who ought know better than by the media; alas there are enough such examples, as well.

  9. Jacob Alperin-Sheriff says:

    This phenomenon is referred to as “Daas Radio.”

  10. Yserbius says:

    Agreed. Can we also work on the blatant worship of right-wing Israeli nationalism coupled with the paradox of Haredi anti-Zionism? Yes, I know that Israel is just trying to do their best to defend themselves, but they also tend to overstep their bounds quite a bit.

  11. DF says:

    Dr. Shick’s commentary, in this post and in others, are typical of those of a certain age and background. 3 out of every 4 of his articles, I would estimate, are pre-occupied with the New York Times or the Jewish Week, or some similar left-wing oriented publication. It is hence understandable he would see the right wing through the jaundiced vitriol with which those publications present it. At the same time, such one-sided media enables him to overlook so much of the problems orthodox Jews and others have with this president and his administration. [Hint: we care about things other than just Israel and Iran. A little something called domestic policy.]

    With all due respect, Dr. Shick is stuck in the patterns of 15 years ago. (The mere fact that he cites “Rush Limbaugh” as his poster boy underscores it.) The print media he devotes so much attention to has long been overshadowed by newer forms of media. Rather than using strong opinions to criticize those who express different strong opinions, Dr. Shick would do better by focusing his efforts on internal matters. Tuition, for example. Or if he disagrees with the Pew findings re orthodox Jews, he can conduct a better survey. These are areas where he can make a difference. Opinions, we have no shortage of.

  12. shaul shapira says:

    I’m not a big fan of either of those two sources of info you mentioned, but I think you need to read a bit more broadly. At least in the case of Ami, their writers usually run the gamut from close to normal to the type of stuff quoted here. Also they need to differentiate themselves from Mishpacha and one of the ways of doing it is by going tabloid style, publishing John Loftus’s weekly multiple conspiracies theories, weird captions etc etc. Think of National Enquirer with a Yeshivishe feel.

  13. YEA says:

    “What is frightening is how despite our painful history at the hands of the far right, much of it still recent, there is an eager embrace of the far, far right-wing.”

    If you live in the present, you know that the “far, far right-wing,” (which you define as people like Rush Limbaugh in particular and right-wing talk radio in general), are among the strongest current supporters of both Israel and the Jewish people.
    In fact, when Abe Foxman (shamelessly and falsely) accused Rush Limbaugh of “borderline anti-semitism,” many mainstream Jewish organisations felt the need to protest:
    AMERICAN FRIENDS OF LIKUD, CAMERA, EMUNAH OF AMERICA, JINSA, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF YOUNG ISRAEL, RELIGIOUS ZIONISTS OF AMERICA, and Z-STREET:
    “There has been controversy, recently, over statements made by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh about Jewish voting patterns, political ties and the recent Massachusetts election. We are deeply dismayed by the unfounded criticism of the talk show commentator’s observations. While one may agree or disagree with Mr. Limbaugh’s views on many subjects, his outspoken support for Israel has been eloquent, informed and undeniable. Moreover, in commentary on the Jewish people, he has been nothing short of a philo-Semite. We are grateful for his strong and singular
    voice on these issues.”

    Rush Limbaugh himself issued the following statement:
    “Anybody who listens to this program even marginally knows that this program is and has consistently been one of the most outspoken supporters of the Jewish people and of Israel in particular.”

    One should not forget the past, but one should not live in it either. If you want to find real anti-semitism in America in 2013, most of it can be found among people who are on the political left and in the Occupy Wall Street crowd (and yes, I know that there are plenty of leftists who do not have an anti-semitic bone in their body, and I also know all about Pat Buchanan.).

    How many prominent, well-known, left-wing personalities are there in America who are strong supporters of Israel/the Jewish people who are NOT themselves Jewish and/or are NOT politicians? Where are all the non-Jewish Alan Dershowitzes?

    I can name an almost endless list of well-known “far, far-right wing” personalities who are firmly, consistently, and outspokenly pro-Israel and pro-Jewish, none of whom are Jewish (or consider themselves to be so) or politicians. I will list just a few such personalities, limiting myself to those in the media:

    Rush Limbaugh
    Mark Steyn
    Hugh Hewitt
    Glenn Beck
    Mike Huckabee
    Curtis Sliwa
    Thomas Sowell
    Sean Hannity
    Neil Boortz

    I am no fan of the Jewish magazines being criticized, and much of the criticism is fair. But to attack consistent supporters of Jews and Israel while holding them responsible for the actions of others (who lived in a different time and, for the most part, on a different continent)? For shame!

  14. Turx says:

    Hi. So it turns out that I’m the writer of the piece quoted from Ami Magazine and I do have what to say.
    First of all, any comparison of me to right-wing ideologues is unfairly degrading to right-wing ideologues, most of whom are decent, hard-working, American citizens. I think right wingers should resent being compared to me; I just hope they don’t use AKs, (15, 47 or otherwise) to prove their point.
    Now, it’s one thing to quote a satire column — the Fars comparison to CNN is taken from a satire column, for crying out loud! – and presenting it as genuine opinion. But let’s look at what the article itself was about. It was about CNN making stuff up. Which, by the way, they do quite regularly (like by the Boston Massacre, the Navy Yard shooting, and almost every event of the “breaking news” variety). The same, of course, goes for Fox News, but in their case making up news is what they do (and do quite well, too) and that doesn’t make for an interesting article, so I tend to leave them alone.
    The premise of the quoted satire article itself was that CNN quoted Rouhani as having acknowledged the Holocaust, something which Rouhani, through his state-controlled media, flatly denies. And yes, to say that CNN makes up stuff while actually pointing out an example where CNN actually made stuff up shouldn’t win me a one-way ticket on the Tea Party Express, now should it? (And if it does, why am I last one to find out about these things?)
    The arguments the good rabbi makes against those whom he calls out as being talmidim and chassidim of Rush Limbaugh are arguments that I myself have made in the past, which just goes to prove that he (the good Rabbi, I mean, not Rush Limbaugh) reads my column much more often than he’d ever care to admit.
    Does CNN get directives from the White House? Well, of course they do, regardless of who the occupier of the Oval Office is at the time. Did CNN challenge the White House’s claim of Iraq having WMDs? Of course not. Did they challenge the White House’s claim that it was Assad who ordered the chemical weapons strike? Not at all. CNN doesn’t challenges the talking points they receive, which explains why they announced the closing down of their own investigative journalism department last year. Comparing them to Fars — in that regard — in not that (warning, lame pun approaching!) far off. And anyway, I’ll consider apologizing to CNN when CNN apologizes to Egypt for their terrible reporting during the toppling of Morsi.
    So to summarize: I agree with much of the points the good rabbi makes about Jewish media in general. But for him to misuse a satire piece (and by the way, in this week’s satire column I happen to be making fun of Ted Cruz and the Tea Party, hardly in line with far-right ideology) which had been penned by someone who has never really been called “conservative” before, on a topic that most liberals and conservatives could probably agree on (have you seen the media’s approval rating of late?), turns the good rabbi and his arguments into the very thing he’s ranting against in the first place. Whatever preexisting condition brings about something like that, I sincerely hope it is covered under Obamacare.
    P.S. When is my feeling of “shame” supposed to set in? I’m not feeling any shame yet…

  15. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    Marvin Shick should rewrite this article. He should leave out his unfounded fear of the “far right”. He should instead focus on the lack of basic normative journalistic standards in Chareidi media. He should thoroughly document the many (I would say, weekly) instances of hyperbolic, paranoid and one sided portrayal of news stories that is rampant in Chareidi media. His quote from Ami magazine comparing CNN to Fars news agency is an excellent example of indefensible nonsense being spouted by a magazine that considers itself a mouthpiece for Torah Judaism. Marvin Shick should list many more such examples and drive home the point that this is not just an issue of slant or bias, or Republican vs. Democrat, but rather one of delusions and paranoia that masquerades as news.

  16. lacosta says:

    if haredi media is considered too RW politically , why is haredi electorate overwhelmingly Democratic ? is it because , in the end , they too depend on a Socialist Welfare State ?

    it can’t be because they support the Democrat’s social agenda….. they must pray that when the 5th Democratic supreme court judge is chosen , that they don’t make mandatory anti-halachical politically correct modes of life , at the price of losing financial support ..
    can one imagine if Lakewood loses government aid if it doesnt support gay ,marriage or women rabbis? or businesses forced to close for trying to enforce tzius etc?

  17. Baruch says:

    I am politically right wing – and it is precisely for this reason that these types of comments disturb me so much. It makes us look like a bunch of imbeciles. If we want to be at all persuasive, we need to sound like intelligent and reasonable people.

  18. Raymond says:

    Traditional Jews should indeed cheer the Tea Party, as they are one of the strongest forces doing what they can to combat, or at least slow down, the socialist transformation of this country under the disastrous leadership of Barack Obama. Violent crime would be even more rampant than it already is, if not for this nation’s Second Amendment guaranteeing the right of individuals such as ourselves to defend ourselves against violent criminals. The Political Left constantly resorts to such childish insults by calling our side stupid Neanderthals, but how intelligent is it to constantly be on the wrong side of history as the Political Left is? Ironically, it is the Political Left who are filled with ignorance and prejudice, with their constant stereotyping of those of us with more traditional moral values. They try to silence our side by calling our opposition to Barack Obama racism. So by virtue of the fact that our President is Black, we are therefore not allowed to criticize either his life experiences, world outlook, nor his actual policies, because if we do, that automatically makes us racist? By that logic (or lack of it), their constant maligning of Sarah Palin must be bigotry against women. Their mocking of Mitt Romney must be bigotry against Mormons. Such a game can work in both directions. I interact with political conservatives all the time, and do not recall even a single instance of their objection to Barack Obama having the slightest thing to do with his skin color. Jews supporting a socialist like Barack Obama reminds me of those deluded, Left-wing German Jews who actually supported the nazis, at least at the beginning. We do have some leaders who understand this, namely those Jewish leaders with politically conservative values.

  19. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Rabbi Schick writes that “What is frightening is how despite our painful history at the hands of the far right, much of it still recent, there is an eager embrace of the far, far right-wing.” Let us remember that Rav Aharon Kotler, whose name Rabbi Schick invokes whenever he can, on his deathbed called rabbis in Indiana on behalf of Senator Homer Capehart, one of the most reactionary men ever to sit in the United States Senate. At least one ought to acknowledge that there is some support of the gedolim for the far right wing.

  20. Andy says:

    L.Oberstein,

    Are you comparing the Tea Party with Nazis?

    If you are, care to back that up with evidence of Tea Party anti-Semitism? Please, no dancing around the issue with more “elegant” verbiage (“Neanderthals”),just evidence that the Tea Party is anti-Semitic.

    If you can’t, then it will be obvious to all where the true bias resides.

  21. Robert Muller says:

    I am surprised at the amount of loshon hora and baseless allegations that is permitted on this ostensibly Orthodox blog. Doesn’t the prohibition against loshon hora apply to blogs as much as it applies to all other communication? Rabbi Frankfurter lies?! Isn’t that unsubstantiated charge expressly asur? You owe Ami and Rabbi Frankfurter an apology and a retraction.

    [YA – That comment did violate our stated rules, and has been deleted. A corrolary to “haste makes waste” is that hurried moderation means that eyeballs sometimes don’t notice words that should set off alarm bells. We regret the lapse in standard, and ask mechila of R Frankfurter for any discomfort this caused him. ]

  22. L. Oberstein says:

    I odn’t expect those who write that liberalism is evil to agree with anything I write as we obviously have different views of what the United States and its institutions stand for. The Tea Party is really not normative republican. republicans believe in less government, lower taxes, “the business of America is business.” The Tea Party has hijacked the mainstream Republican Paarty to the detriment of democracy and constitutional government.The glee with which newly elected, novice Senator Cruz and his acolytes brought about the shut down of the governement and the ensuing pain and suffering of somany tens of thousands of decent,working Americans is ugly. In case you honestly don’t know, the Affordaable Care Act is settled law, passed by Congress ,signed by the President and upheld by the Supreme Court. The American form of govenment based on our Constituion is to wait until the next election and elect more people who want to revoke the law and then to legally change the law and have it signed by a President who so agrees. To hold the entire country hostage and to seriously harm our economy to force a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Democratic President to cancel its signature legislation is not only unheard of ,it is un American. Normative republicans would never have done this but the House of repreentatives is being coerced by 40 or so fanatics . If a free vote were allowed, we could let the nation get back to work and the economy continue to improve. Real people are suffering for politcal theatre. The fact that Senator Cruz secretly met with his followers n the House of Repreesentative to ge them to undeermine the Speaker and coerce him into not allowing a free vote to continue operating the government is an act of political treachery that I think many normative Republicans would agree with me on.
    What i wrote was “When frum Jews are bigots they remind me of those deluded German Jews who actually supported National Socialism in the beginning in the naive beleive that only the “Ostyuden” were the problem, not them. wish we had leaders who understood this.” I do not think that the Tea arty are Nazis, I think that Jews who support the Tea Party are deluding themselves. Yes, of course there is major bias against President Obama because he is half black and if you don’t admit that it is so, then you are living in la la land. The visceral hatred is far more than opposition to his liberal social agenda. It is a peresonal hatred full of conspiracy theories. That frum Jews fall for this is sad. I don’t expexct to convince anyone who thinks that the Tea Party is great, but I hope we can get Amrican back to work and continue to be a great country run by the rules of demolcracy.

  23. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Andy:

    By the same token, we could ask Raymond if he likens Barak Obama to the Nazis. After all, his comment that, “Jews supporting a socialist like Barack Obama reminds me of those deluded, Left-wing German Jews who actually supported the Nazis, at least at the beginning.” This differs little from L. Oberstein’s comment that “When frum Jews are bigots they remind me of those deluded German Jews who actually supported National Socialism in the beginning in the naive beleive that only the “Ostyuden” were the problem, not them.”

    I think the true bias resides everywhere.

  24. Andy says:

    L.Oberstein,

    So we agree that those who invoke the Nazis in order to discredit the Tea Party are ignorant and prejudiced.

    I argue that this also lowers the credibility of anything else they say; maybe you would disagree.

    L. Oberstein: “How many frum Jews still cheer the Tea Party….We demean our Torah and our Mesorah when we align ourselves with ignorance and prejudice”.

    Are you claiming that the the Tea Party is prejudiced?

    If you are, care to back that up with evidence of Tea Party anti-Semitism, racism, etc.? Please, no dancing around the issue with additional “elegant” verbiage (“Neanderthals”),just evidence that the Tea Party is prejudiced.

    If you can’t, then it will be obvious to all where the true bias resides.

    Lawrence M. Reisman:

    When one side constantly demogogues the other, similar to when one side in war gains an advantage by bombing civilians, it is difficult to not respond in kind.

  25. Moishe Potemkin says:

    Rabbi Oberatein suggests that “Yes, of course there is major bias against President Obama because he is half black and if you don’t admit that it is so, then you are living in la la land. ”

    That’s about as true as assuming that his own opposition to Senator Cruz reflects “major bias” against Hispanics. Or Canadians.

    It is possible to believe that ‘Obamacare’ is law, and also to believe that since its costs outweigh its benefits, its opponents should use whatever legislative tools they have to mitigate these costs.

  26. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Andy:

    You write that, “When one side constantly demogogues the other, similar to when one side in war gains an advantage by bombing civilians, it is difficult to not respond in kind.” Both sides are guilty of constant demogoguery. It is unfair to say one is more guilty than the other. And your argument sounds too much like the same argument Arabs use for attacking Israeli civilians.

  27. Andy says:

    Rabbi Schick,

    BiMichilas Kvodchuh,

    You decry those who make Limbaugh their “Rebbe”. Then you end with:”What is frightening is how despite our painful history at the hands of the far right, much of it still recent, there is an eager embrace of the far, far right-wing.”, by which you must mean either the Nazis, or European Christian anti-Semites.

    Are you claiming that Limbaugh is in either category? If you are, please cite instances where Limbaugh said or did anything that would put him in either category. He’s been on the radio for over 30 years, so there should be many such instances, if he was in fact in either category.

    If you can’t, would you agree that this was unfair?

    If by “far, far right wing” that’s close to Nazism or European Christian anti-Semitism, you mean the John Birch Society, or the Klu Klux Klan, or Neo-Nazis, I’m right with you. Even if you were referring to people who are not quite in either category, but probably qualify as “far, far right” low-grade anti-Semites, such as Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran, I would understand.

    But if you mean conservatives who have never shown a hint of anti-Semitism, you discredit your argument, and damage your own cause.

  28. Andy says:

    Lawrence,

    I have often heard or seen the mainstream left invoke the Nazis (for example, the post and some comments above), seriously hinting that that the mainstream right wants to murder us in concentration camps. I have rarely heard this from the mainstream right, e.g. serious hints that the the mainstream left are Stalinists who want to murder us in gulags.

    That’s been my experience. Obviously your experience differs.

    Not sure what you meant with your analogy to the Arab/ Israeli conflict. Did you mean that no side is right or wrong because both are engaing in a “cycle of violence”?

  29. Wolfman says:

    There is not a scintilla of evidence linking thoughtful, Conservative/Libertarian/Republican opposition to the president with racism. Repeating this mantra over and over again does not make it any more accurate. Insulting people who deny the racism link should not be confused with evidence. Thoughtful people on both sides of the issue can debate without the use of the “R” word.

  30. Raymond says:

    Whenever anybody on the Political Left accuses us political conservatives of racism, I know that our side has won the argument. Any Jew who continues to support Barack Obama, is in such a state of irrational denial, that it is probably a case of casting pearls before swine, to inject reason and evidence into such a discussion.

    Meanwhile, I thank G-d every day for the Political Right (especially of the Christian variety) here in America, for they are the strongest supporters of our Jewish State of Israel out there.

  31. DF says:

    Chazal have a great phrase: Kol Haposel, B’mumu Posel. [Is there an English equivalent?] When left-wingers accuse the right of racism and bigotry and all the usual nonsense, they are revealing a great deal of what really goes on in their own minds.

  32. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    To Raymond, DF and all the die hard conservatives on this blog. Perhaps you would do well to listen to how Peter King (R-NY) rips into Ted Cruz and his Tea Party pals. Level headed Republicans realize that the Tea Party is a disaster and has shown itself to be wholly irresponsible by bringing the government to the verge of default. Unfortunately, it is people like Rush, and Hannity who (though deserving of praise for their strong backing of Israel) have inflamed the Republican base with overheated rhetoric and gross oversimplifications of the pressing issues of the days. It is time for a return to sanity and mature discourse, and that is why the name calling of socialist, communist, racist etc must stop. It is also why people like Turx should stop printing nonsense under the guise of parody. Parody is the exaggeration of flaws not the invention of them.

  33. Bob Miller says:

    CK wrote that “It is time for a return to sanity and mature discourse”.

    When’s the last time we experienced that? The governing class itself is not known for these qualities.

  34. Raymond says:

    Actually, the Tea Party had absolutely nothing to do with the government shut-down. The Republicans in Congress repeatedly voted to keep all departments of the government running, other than ObamaCare, which they correctly want to be defunded. Unfortunately, the mainstream media is nothing but a propaganda machine for the Obama Administration, who seeks to vilify those of us with traditional values, every step of the way. This marginalizing of those of us with such values, is what is insane and immature. As for the incessant charges of racism against our side, that is nothing but psychological projection, as it is the Political Left who are the ones constantly defining people in terms of their skin color. I remain bewildered how anybody claiming to have traditional, Jewish values, can possibly support anybody who is politically Left of Center.

  35. lawrence kaplan says:

    DF: The English equivalent is: “If you point one finger to others, you are pointing four towards yourself.”

  36. yankel says:

    Raymond – you write ‘The Republicans in Congress repeatedly voted to keep all departments of the government running, other than ObamaCare, which they correctly want to be defunded.’
    That one word – correctly, is where the problem starts. We have elections for this reason. If you believe that ObamaCare should be repealed, vote your beliefs. You cannot deny the right others have to disagree with you. Therefore the correctly is inappropriate.

  37. Bob Miller says:

    The more Americans are enraged by direct exposure to the failures and evils of Obamacare in practice, the more they’ll wish Reid and McCain had been more like Cruz. No happy spin can make people forget they were taken for fools.

  38. Bob Miller says:

    Yankel wrote on October 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm that “We have elections for this reason.”

    We have divided government right now because the same 2012 elections that re-elected Obama also returned a House of Representatives with a Republican majority (only some of the Democratic-controlled Senate was in play).

    So if we had the 2012 elections for a reason, what was that reason? To express the cluelessness or ambivalence of the voting public? To demonstrate that nobody in DC has a mandate to transform society radically in any direction?

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