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Friends in Safe Spaces March 17, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Five Truths March 15, 2017

Posted by JP in Uncategorized, Venting.
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More political thoughts… March 12, 2017

Posted by JP in Politics, Stupidity, Uncategorized, Venting.
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As I have been reading news reports regarding the various issues facing our Nation I am continually amazed at the inability of people to see truth through all the rhetoric, obfuscation of facts, and to employ a bit of common sense. It seems to me that too many people are blinded by their ideology and refuse to be objective in viewing the issues, and solutions to the problems that face our country.

I am by no means perfect, or completely unbiased in my thoughts and feelings about many of the issues being discussed in the media, however, I try to be balanced, fair, and objective before forming an opinion. I actively seek out contradictory opinions, and information regarding an issue before I take sides on a particular issue and often times because of this practice, my ideas and opinions fall out of the ‘norm’ of my usual conservative viewpoint.

Looking at some of the issues I see that reasonable, and commonsense solutions are entirely possible, if one steps away from the ideology and inflammatory rhetoric of the vocal extremists.

Immigration:

Entrance into this county illegally must be ended, completely. We have laws that govern immigration and those laws must be enforced, consistently and completely, albeit, with a hand of compassion.

It is said that this nation was built on immigrants, and immigration is a cornerstone of the concept of America. To this I agree, however, we no longer ‘need’ immigrants to build the Nation so it makes perfect sense to ensure that those who do enter our country can be a benefit to our society and intend us no harm. Subsequently, the Administration’s temporary travel ban is a logical, and acceptable, precaution to take while the Government improves our vetting process to better ensure that those immigrating here in the future benefit the country and intend us no ill will.

Current illegals should be subject to current laws governing residency and deportation. Those that are productive, beneficial, members of our society need to be provided with an opportunity to attain legal status and become contributing residents (taxes, etc.). While those who are apparent drains on our society (ie; criminals, those receiving public aid, unemployed, etc.) should be sent back to whence they came.

State and City governments who refuse to cooperate with Federal Immigration rules and law must absolutely have all Federal funding withheld. Sanctuary city policies must be eliminated and those officials refusing to comply with the laws should be removed from their positions and/or prosecuted.

It is important to remember this: When the federal government abolished slavery the US economy did NOT collapse, despite the protestations of the slavery proponents. The same will be true by the elimination of the illegal alien labor force. It will require some economic adjustment, but it will not be a devastating blow to the economy as some have suggested.

Health Care:

The Affordable Care Act, implemented by the Obama administration through force and lack of proper legislative process was doomed to failure at its inception. The idea was good, I believe everyone should have access to adequate health care (preferably at little or not cost to the recipient – and yes it is possible). The problem was the law itself was flawed and unsupportable as written.

The new health care law being touted by the GOP is not much better than ‘Obamacare’. There are some improvements, but overall it is still lacking. What needs to happen is for Congress to launch into a full-scale, bipartisan, assault on the issue, partnering with the health care industry leaders and develop a system in which everyone receives coverage at low/no cost and allowing those who wish to pay for their own coverage to do so.

To do this there are a few things we all need to understand:

Businesses (drug and insurance companies specifically) will NOT be making large profits – the best they could hope for most likely would be to break even on the provided coverage and perhaps more profit on the voluntary/optional plans.

Tort reform MUST be implemented. We cannot reduce health care costs effectively if doctors, clinics, and hospitals are subject to outrageously high settlements, or are continually defending suits from claimants not happy with the care they received.

Federal, State, and City governments (specifically Congress) must have the same coverage as the average citizen. What is good for one must be good for all.

Elective procedures (including abortion) should NOT be covered under the provided policies. Of course they should be made available, but at the consumer’s cost.  If I want to have a vasectomy, or a  nose job, or a butt implant, I should be able to do so as long as I am willing to pay for it.

Individual rights:

Women’s rights, LGBT rights, Minority rights, etc. must NOT preclude anyone else’s rights. This includes religious tolerance. Above all else, this nation was founded upon the ideal of religious freedom. That freedom must remain a hallmark in our pursuits of rights and freedoms. To force a person, or business owner, to comply with a practice that violates the dictates of their religious beliefs is abhorrent. One cannot assert that a Christian baker who refuses to make a cake for a gay wedding is discriminating unless one can show that the operation of their business is discriminatory as well (do they refuse to employ homosexuals? Do they refuse to sell cookies, or cupcakes to people based on their color, nationality, sexual orientation?)

We are all equal, we all breathe the same air, bleed the same blood, and are citizens of the same country. We must all be treated equally, fairly, and without extra consideration, or less consideration.

So many out there today throw around the words ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ and yet fail to realize that their very actions are definitive of what they accuse others. Any organization that promotes the advancement of any group above any other is by definition ‘racist’.

Of course, I do recognize that at times there are practices that do not comply with this Country’s laws and philosophy’s of equality and fairness regardless of race, creed, color, nationality, gender, etc. but those practices needs be reconciled specifically and not made to appear as a national fault.

It comes down to the same idea as immigration; we are a nation of laws, and we must comply with those laws, and enforce those laws.

Taxation, Budget and Economy:

So much of what we do, want to do, or should do, in this country revolves around cost. The issue is that we seem unable to conceive of how to pay for the things we should do (health care and education for instance). While the problem is not simple to solve, it is solvable.

Taxation: A flat tax rate on individual income is the most equitable solution. In our current taxation scheme an individual with a higher income is taxed at a higher rate than those with lower incomes. My question is this: does that individual with a higher tax rate receive a higher level of representation in the government? Does my 25% tax rate entitle my vote at the polls to carry 25% more weight than someone only taxed at 10%?  No, it does not. Consequently our tax system contravenes our nation’s founding philosophy protesting ‘taxation without representation’.

Federal grants to foreign countries: Our government sends billions of dollars to other countries. While this is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of global stabilization and promotion of peace and cooperation, the reality must be faced that much of our internal needs can be paid for if those monies were directed inward instead of outward.

Funding of Public Assistance programs: If we discontinue providing Public Assistance to those who are in our country illegally we could saves millions of dollars in Public Aid. It makes no sense to me that our government would give someone money who is not a citizen, or legal resident. Why pay someone to violate our laws?

Tax subsidies to businesses that are profitable already.  Why should be give money to a business that makes a profit? Can they not utilize their profits to pay for whatever the subsidies are paying for?

Tax subsidies to US business moving operations out of country: While this practice is being addressed by the current Administration I must mention it here; if you move your operations out of country you should lose all government assistance, and have your products taxed upon entry into this country.

The bottom line for me comes down to this: My family budgets our money in order to pay for the things we need to live. If I do not have the money for something I want, I do without. If there is something the family needs we revise our budget in order to divert the necessary funds to that need. We do not live outside of our means and we prioritize needs and wants in order to live within our means. The government should do no less.

Give Peace a Chance March 8, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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No minds - If you are going to be close-minded would you mind being close-mouthed as well?

Take out the trash February 12, 2017

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This morning I heard an interesting analogy regarding forgiveness:

When someone sins against you (does you harm in some way – emotionally, physically, financially, etc.) it is like they have brought a bag of garbage to your house and dropped it on your living-room floor.

Forgiveness is simply the act of you picking up that bag of garbage and taking it out; disposing of it so it is no longer in your house. However, many of us do not take out that garbage. We may move it around – take it into a back room for example and shut the door (out of sight, out of mind…. really?), we may just push it over to the side of the couch, or leave it sitting in the middle of the floor.

The problem is that the garbage is still there. It begins to smell; even if it is in the back room with the door closed, the smell will eventually come out and permeate our entire house. The smell will overshadow everything good in our house and lessen the good with its rotting stench (ever try to cook and eat a delicious meal in a dumpster?).

Our house is our life. It is the entirety of who we are, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The smell of rotting garbage that we have not disposed of properly will eventually permeate our lives ruining everything that we have, or do, or try to do, and will poison and sicken us.

Forgiveness thought of in this way makes a whole lot more sense to us as we reflect on the biblical admonitions to forgive:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Forgiveness is not about the blessing of another, it is about the blessing of oneself; of following the example of our Lord in His faithfulness to forgive us of ALL of our wrongs, and it is a practical way to keep ourselves healthy in body and spirit.

Anti-Trump protests are hipocracy at its worst February 8, 2017

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Where was all the talk of Presidential ‘legitimacy’ when Bill Clinton won the 1992 election with a 5.56% LOSS in the Popular vote? Where were the riots, the ‘not my President’ protests? Where was all the nonsense when Clinton won with a much wider deficit than Mr. Trump?

2016 Election:

Trump 45.98% Popular vote, 56.5% Electoral College

1992 Election:

Clinton 43.01% Popular vote, 68.77% Electoral College

Donald Trump refused to say that he’d respect the results of this election. That’s a direct threat to our democracy.

That’s not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections and we’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election…

And let’s be clear about what he’s saying and what he means. He’s denigrating—he’s talking down our democracy. I for one am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our major two parties would take that kind of position.

Hillary Clinton on accepting the 2016 election results

On immigration:  President Trump institutes a temporary halt on immigration almost identical to the halt instituted by the Obama administration in 2015, yet there is and uproar from the left (and even from Obama himself).

Mr. Obama used his rights as president to put a halt to some immigrants from arriving here six times. President George W. Bush used the executive powers six times as well, Bill Clinton did so twice, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter instituted bans using their executive powers a combined seven times.

Where were all the protests for those 19 bans? Where were all the cries of racism?

 

 

Question: “What does the Bible say about illegal immigration?” February 4, 2017

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From Gotquestions.org

Answer: Note: We wholeheartedly believe that Christians are called to be compassionate and merciful toward immigrants (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33–34; Matthew 25:35). We also believe that the United States should have a more compassionate and merciful immigration policy. However, that is not the question at hand. The question at hand concerns illegal immigration—whether it is wrong to violate a nation’s borders and transgress its immigration laws.

Romans 13:1–7 makes it abundantly clear that God expects us to obey the laws of the government. The only exception to this is when a law of the government forces us to disobey a command of God (Acts 5:29). Illegal immigration is the breaking of a government’s law. There is nothing in Scripture that contradicts the idea of a sovereign nation having immigration laws. Therefore, it is rebellion against God to unlawfully enter another country. Illegal immigration is a sin.

Illegal immigration is definitely a controversial issue in the United States (and some other countries) today. Some argue that the immigration laws are unfair, unjust, and even discriminatory—thus giving individuals justification to immigrate illegally. However, Romans 13:1–7 does not give any permission to violate a law just because it is perceived as unjust. Again, the issue is not the fairness of a law. The only biblical reason to violate a government’s law is if that law violates God’s Word. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was under the authority of the Roman Empire, led by Emperor Nero. Under that reign, there were many laws that were unfair, unjust, and/or blatantly evil. Still, Paul instructed Christians to submit to the government.

Are the immigration laws of the United States unfair or unjust? Some think so, but that is not the issue. All developed countries in the world have immigration laws, some more strict than the USA’s, and some less strict, and all have to deal with illegal immigration. There is nothing in the Bible to prohibit a country from having completely open borders or to have completely closed borders. Romans 13:1–7 also gives the government the authority to punish lawbreakers. Whether the punishment is imprisonment, deportation, or even something more severe, it is within the rights of the government to determine.

Illegal immigration is a complex issue. The vast majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have come for the purpose of having a better life, providing for their families, and escaping poverty. These are good goals and motivations. However, it is not biblical to violate a law to achieve a “good.” Caring for the poor, orphans, and widows is something the Bible commands us to do (Galatians 2:10; James 1:27; 2:2–15). However, the biblical fact that we are to care for the unfortunate does not mean we should violate the law in doing so. Supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration is, therefore, a violation of God’s Word. Those seeking to emigrate to another country should always obey the immigration laws of that country. While this may cause delays and frustrations, it is better than acting illegally. A frustrating law is still a law.

What is the biblical solution to illegal immigration? Simple—don’t do it; obey the laws. If disobedience is not a biblical option, what can be done in regards to an unjust immigration law? It is completely within the rights of citizens to seek to change immigration laws. If it is your conviction that an immigration law is unjust, do everything that is legally within your power to get the law changed: pray, petition, vote, peacefully protest, etc. As Christians, we should be the first to seek to change any law that is unjust. At the same time, we are also to demonstrate our submission to God by obeying the government He has placed in authority over us.

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:13–16).

7 Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics February 1, 2017

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How to be in the world, not of the world, in a culture of political vitriol.

Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.

Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

It’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

Here are seven things to remember about politics:

1. Both political parties go to church

There’s a Christian Left and, perhaps even less well-known, there’s a secular Right. Larry T. Decker is a lobbyist and head of the Secular Coalition for America. He’s an “unaffiliated Christian,” but his entire job is devoted to keeping religion out of the U.S. government. Party lines are drawn in chalk, and they’re not hard to cross. The Church must be engaged in politics, but it must not be defined by the arbitrary lines in politics.

2. Political talk radio and cable “news” only want ratings

When media personalities tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by instilling fear and paranoia in their listeners. If we give our favorite political ideologues more time than we give Jesus, we are following the wrong master. There are unbiased, logical and accurate news sources out there. But it’s up to you to be a good steward of information—to fact-check for yourself, take ideology with a grain of salt and make decisions based on facts rather than gossip.

3. Those who argue over politics don’t love their country more than others

They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of weak faith (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1) and are among the things the Lord “detests.” We need to rise above the vitriol and learn to love our neighbors the way God commanded us. We need to love our atheist neighbor who wants to keep creationism out of schools; our Democrat neighbor who wants to keep gay marriage and abortion legal; our Republican neighbor who celebrates death penalty statistics and gun ownership; and yes, even the presidential candidate from the other side.

If you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved.

4. Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake

The social policies of your party were constructed by imperfect politicians fueled by ambition. It’s nearsighted to canonize them—and it will make you obsolete in a few years. Every four years, the parties adopt a current, updated platform at their respective conventions. And while they stay on general tracks, every four years the platform evolves to meet the needs of a growing, modernized and changing party. The Republican party of today doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago. We need to know when to change our views to meet a changing culture—and when to stand by them.

5. Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1-4) and to respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7)

Translation: if you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time vilifying them. This doesn’t mean praying the President will be impeached; it doesn’t mean praying your candidate will win. God commands us to pray for our leaders—for their wisdom, for their hearts and for them to be led by Him.

6. Don’t be paranoid

The country is not going to be destroyed if your candidate loses. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Stand up and demonstrate what God has given you. America has functioned—albeit, at varying levels of success—for years under the direction of alternating Democrat and Republican control, and at every flip, the other side thought it was the end of the world. It’s not. And if we’re a Church that believes God is in control, we have to believe that He is the one in control of the end times—not whoever’s in office now, and not whoever succeeds them.

7. Stop saying, “This is the most important election in the history of our nation”

It’s not. The most important election in the history of our nation was when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Before that, we thought it was OK to own people. Every generation thinks it’s living in the most important moment in history. We’re not, our parents were not and our children probably won’t be. And that’s OK.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from an original version posted in September 2012.

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/politics/7-things-christians-need-remember-about-politics#HjOrEzOKr7d4kS4j.99

Political thoughts January 25, 2017

Posted by JP in Politics, Venting.
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There is so much I want to say but usually choose to keep to myself because of the ongoing contention of the recent election and inauguration of Mr. Trump, however I will attempt to ramble about a few things here just to get them out of my head:

The election and the role of the electoral college:

5 times in our history has a Presidential Candidate won the election despite loosing, or allegedly loosing the popular vote: Donald Trump 2016, George W. Bush 2000,  Benjamin Harrison 1888, Rutherford B. Hayes, 1876, and John Quincy Adams 1824.

This happens as a result of the Electoral College and its role in the Presidentia election process. I have to say that I am not necessarily a fan of the electoral college system, however I have done some thinking about it and realized a very important aspect that bears some attention. Our nation, our government is not a strict democracy; it is a republic, or more accurately to my thinking, a representational democracy. Our system works for us because portions of our populace are represented by an elected official (Congressmen and Senators). Laws are voted upon and passed by these elected officials who theoretically act in the interests of those who elected them. We vote for a Congressman and the winner of the majority of those votes is elected to serve us in Washington D.C., Senators are restricted to 2 per state.  This method of electing representatives serves a valuable purpose: in states such as California, where the population and political leanings are wide spread we are represented by Congressmen who represent the political ideas of a segment of our population. Subsequently, those areas with high populations (Bay Area and Los Angeles) do not have more say in the will of the totality of the state as most of the areas, or counties, throughout the state have different political ideals than those in the heavily populated urban areas.

All this boils down to a simple idea which is demonstrated clearly by a look at a vote by county map of the entire country:

States themselves are not monolithically blue or red. Here's the projected winner in each county in the US. At first glance, there are a handful of blue islands, mostly concentrated along the coasts, surrounded by a sea of red.

Consequently, perhaps the popular vote leaned in favor a Hillary Clinton, based solely upon the density of population of certain urban areas, but the majority of the Country, spread across the entire country went a different route. Therefore, the duly elected President, Donald J. Trump is legitimately our Nation’s leader.

Now as to those who are protesting:

Get over it. I did not vote for Mr. Obama, nor did I want him in office, but when he was elected I put on my big boy pants and supported him as the leader of our country. I prayed for him to do the right thing, expressed my approval when he did do the right thing, and questioned him when he did not do the right thing. The outrageous behavior demonstrated continuously by the liberal populace, and the media, is doing nothing helpful for this country. We are a country divided and the division is a result of the deleterious behavior of the DNC, the mainstream media, the Hollywood left and the  clueless citizenry who’s agenda seems to be directed by misinformation, ignorance of the facts, and petty grudges of a child who did not get what he wanted. A statement I saw today sums it up quite nicely: YOU SAID “LOVE TRUMPS HATE”, BURNING CARS,  SMASHING WINDOWS, AND ASSAULTING PEOPLE PROVES YOU’RE FULL OF CRAP.

Regarding disapproval, or rejection of Mr. Trump’s ‘policies’:

First of all, you cannot disapprove or reject a policy that does not exist. Marching to protest a ‘policy’ the day after the inauguration is ridiculous.

I recently had a discussion with someone about the Executive Order regarding the Affordable Care Act. As it was explained to me the contention was that this person thought it was distasteful and wrong for the President to issue an Executive Order repealing ‘Obama Care’ a day after the election. My difficulty here is debating an issue with someone who got their information from a news agency that clearly is not reporting the facts (left-wing mainstream media). So here is what Executive Order #1 actually does:

Section 1. Ensures that the existing law is being efficiently implemented, minimizes the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.

Sec. 2.  Allows agencies to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.

Sec. 3.  Provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing healthcare programs.

Sec. 4.  Encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance, with the goal of achieving and preserving maximum options for patients and consumers.

No repeal, no stoppage, no nothing other than allowing some flexibility in the administration of the law in regards to penalties, costs, and implementation of programs.  The worst part of this whole Executive Order is that someone who does not have, or does not acquire healthcare may not have to pay the penalty tax.  Woe is me.

His other Executive Order simple mandates a streamline of the Environmental Impact Reports for high priority projects. Perhaps a needed highway bypass could be built in our lifetime rather than waiting 13 years for an EIR to be conducted or approved.

All in all, for me it comes down to this: Mr. Trump was not my choice for President but he was selected as the Republican candidate and provided a candidate much preferred over the alternative. He DID win the election by a the majority of the country and is now the President of the United States of America. As such he deserves the prayers and support of myself, and the rest of the populace.

His success depends upon our support, and our success as a Nation depends upon his success as the leader of the free world. For those who claim ‘not my president’ I have a simple solution: pull up you panties and support the nation, or pack up your stuff and move out, maybe you can cross the border into Mexico before the wall goes up.

Work out your own salvation with trembling and fear January 19, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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JP's Mind

Php 2:12-16  Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).  (13)  [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.  (14)  Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves],  (15)  That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and…

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