Gradually, Then Suddenly: Losing Control of the Narrative

As we have often lamented, one of the factors behind Trump’s “victory” was the complicity of so much of the major media. No matter how badly the Oval Office Occupant disgraced himself and our suffering nation, the Media Village Idiots made excuse ranging from ‘he’s playing a multi-dimensional chess game whose final move is hidden from his critics’ to ‘he relies an expansive sense of what will please his base, regardless of outsiders’ opinions’. But the horrors of last week, and the complete inability of the Squatter-in-Chief to demonstrate even the most basic human emotions in the face of its victims, seem to be piercing the bubble…

From Trump’s staunchest “nonpartisan” defender, the NYTimes, “Trump Uses a Day of Healing to Deepen the Nation’s Divisions”:

Mr. Trump’s schedule was meant to follow the traditional model of apolitical presidential visits with victims, law enforcement officials and hospital workers after calamities like the mass shootings that resulted in 31 deaths in Dayton and El Paso and that created a new sense of national crisis over assault weapons and the rise of white supremacist ideology.

That plan went awry even before Mr. Trump, who has acknowledged his discomfort with showing empathy in public, departed Washington…

The result was the latest example of Mr. Trump’s penchant for inflaming divisions at moments when other presidents have tried to soothe them, and further proof of his staff’s inability to persuade him to follow the norms of presidential behavior


Mr. Trump was greeted in both Dayton and El Paso by protests of unusual size for a presidential visit at a time of collective grief.

In Republican-leaning Dayton, small groups of demonstrators waved signs that read “Dump Trump” and “Do Something!” His supporters, who insist that his language is not to blame for the actions of deranged individuals, and that calls for him to embrace gun control do not address the root causes of gun violence, turned out in smaller numbers.

The reception was especially bitter in El Paso, a border city that Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized and where many people blame his anti-immigrant messaging and talk of a cross-border “invasion” for inspiring the gunman who killed 22 people at a Walmart here.

Protesters staged a daylong demonstration in a park near the University Medical Center of El Paso, and when Mr. Trump arrived at a nearby police emergency operations center, a group greeted him with a large white bedsheet that had the words “Racist, go home” written on it. At a memorial site in a parking lot near the Walmart, where mourners had erected small white crosses and left hundreds of flowers, balloons and candles, the appearance of a woman in a red “Make America Great Again” hat provoked shouting and profanity, prompting state troopers to intervene and urge calm.

Even as the president denied that he had “fanned the flames of white supremacy,” as Mr. Biden had asserted, Mr. Trump repeated his past claim of equivalence between extremists on the left and right…






100 replies
  1. 1

    I look forward to a major tweetstorm today or tomorrow.

  2. 2
    WereBear says:

    We damn sure live in interesting times.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: According to Real Press Sec only four tweets so far, but two are against the lamestream media. Once he finishes his morning round of golf, he’ll be back whining.

  4. 4
    MattF says:

    Orphaned infant! Thumbs up!

    One assumes that Trump ordered that the baby had to be disinfected…

  5. 5
    mrmoshpotato says:

    the complete inability of the Squatter-in-Chief to demonstrate even the most basic human emotions in the face of its victims

    Not even demonstrate, but inability to even badly fake the most basic human emotions.

    Thanks 77000-strong “Eeww Hillary!” crowd!

  6. 6

    As bad as things are here, at least we have a functioning opposition and somewhat functioning press, unlike India. Where the press has drowned in a sea of sycophancy and the opposition has been largely silent over Modi’s extra constitutional power grab in Kashmir.

  7. 7
    Anya says:

    That poor baby lost his parents and now is being raised by people without a judgment who let him be used as a prop. My heart breaks for that poor child. I know they are grieving too but they should’ve protected the baby from this exploitation. Malaria and her husband are the worst people on the planet. They look like some tourists posing with some memorabilia or a celebrity.

  8. 8
    Miss Bianca says:

    @LanceThruster: You again? Fuck off, troll.

  9. 9
    Jim, Foolish LIteralist says:

    @JPL: According to Real Press Sec only four tweets so far, but two are against the lamestream media

    I saw he’s using “Lamestream Media”. When you’re cribbing lines from Sarah Palin… I think she’s cutting ribbons at Christian bookstores in outer Wassilla in exchange for Golden Corral gift certificates these days.

  10. 10
    elm says:

    @Anya: Trump was heard saying “put it back in the cage with no blanket”.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist:

    Maybe he’ll try her wink next.

  12. 12
    B.B.A. says:

    I got your narrative right here: 40-odd percent of Americans (almost every one of them white) are just as base as Trump and love it when he does this shit. It triggers the libs.

  13. 13
    Miss Bianca says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The whole world appears determined to set the stage for World War Three. I commiserate you over the situation in Kashmir – there is no way that this is going to end well.

    btw, am reading a history of the Begum of Bhopal – am finding it slow going, despite the fascination of the theme – either that’s a sign it’s badly-written, or a sign that my attention span and patience are not what they once were. Or both, perhaps.

  14. 14
    debit says:

    @MattF: In my mind I hear Trump saying, “How many broken bones? That’s incredible!”

  15. 15
    beth says:

    @Anya: I’m assuming those people with the baby are somehow related to the parents who died in the shooting. I can’t imagine losing a beloved relative in that way and being able to pose happily for cameras just a few days later. It’s horrifying for that poor baby.

  16. 16
    zhena gogolia says:

    max seddon

    @maxseddon
    Follow Follow @maxseddon
    More
    More than 47,000 people – double the number of a few weeks ago – protested in Moscow today. The Kremlin’s attempts to kill the pro-democracy movement are only making it stronger

  17. 17

    @Miss Bianca: I have never heard of the Begum of Bhopal. Is it supposed to be a real historical person?

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Yarrow says:

    He may have lost control of the narrative surrounding the shootings in El Paso and Dayton but the narrative will certainly change today.

  20. 20
    Miss Bianca says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Sorry, that should have been “Begums” – there were several, it seems:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3116867-begums-of-bhopal

  21. 21
    Yarrow says:

    @beth: Apparently the baby’s father or maybe both parents were Trump supporters so maybe the relatives felt they were honoring the parents by bringing the baby to meet Trump.

    It’s easy for us to judge them from the outside but we don’t know the family and I personally am not eager to judge people for how they respond and react in their grief. Maybe they’ll regret it later but maybe at the time it felt like the right way to honor their lost family members.

  22. 22
    trollhattan says:

    Jesus, that video. Like playing polka music over Dachau footage.

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow:

    I just hope they don’t speak at next year’s RNC.

  24. 24
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Miss Bianca: Don’t feed the bad troll. :)

  25. 25
    Gelfling 545 says:

    There was a group of photos on FB yesterday showing Presidents Clinton, Bush & Obama consoling the grieving clearly sharing the pain of the victims. Then there was Trump, grinning like an idiot.

  26. 26

    @schrodingers_cat: By the 19th century many of the rulers in the subcontinent had merely become puppets of the East India Company and later the British Crown. Its like Orange and his puppet master in Moscow. So I don’t think these women were all that powerful.

  27. 27
    low-tech cyclist says:

    That plan went awry even before Mr. Trump, who has acknowledged his discomfort with showing empathy in public, departed Washington…

    They misspelled “inability to.”

    And they left out “or in private” after “in public.”

  28. 28
    SenyorDave says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist: I think she’s cutting ribbons at Christian bookstores in outer Wassilla in exchange for Golden Corral gift certificates these days.

    I think you win the internet today with that comment. Although I think we first have to check to see if that is an event that is actually scheduled.

  29. 29
    Yarrow says:

    @zhena gogolia: In recent decades August seems to have been a pivotal month in Russia.

    For many parts of the world, August is a month for vacation: for heading to the seaside or jetting off for sightseeing. The worlds of business and politics tend to take it easy. In Russia, things have sometimes been disastrously different.

    Four of the biggest events shaping the Russia we see today have happened during the month of August.

    Years covered, 1991, 1998, 2000, 2008.

  30. 30

    Mr. Trump repeated his past claim of equivalence between extremists on the left and right…

    I want to know more about this. I knew Trump would walk back the criticism of white supremacy, like he has every other time.

  31. 31
    FelonyGovt says:

    As I posted yesterday, a friend of mine who does not follow politics or even the news at all was appalled by Trump’s behavior in El Paso. He was s such a horrible excuse for a human being. I think they really stepped in it this time.

  32. 32
    Gelfling 545 says:

    Interesting. The division in the Democratic Party may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Since I am not being allowed to select text to link, here is the link in the rude nude.
    https://crooksandliars.com/2019/08/progressive-moderate-turns-out-democratic

  33. 33
    jc says:

    The only thing Trump cares about in any situation are the “optics.” He goes to Dayton and to El Paso and carefully avoids the press and pretends it’s all “thumbs up.” He just shuts out any opposing voices — see America, everything’s going great. What a great job I’m doing … everyone says so.

  34. 34
    TS (the original) says:

    @Gelfling 545:

    Then there was Trump, grinning like an idiot.

    He is an idiot – acting as normal. Every time I see or hear this man – I wonder again about the sanity of those who thought and continue to think he was/is a suitable person for president. Illiterate and unable to speak in sentences, how did he convince 60 million people to vote for him?

  35. 35
  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    @TS (the original): Illiterate and unable to speak in sentences, how did he convince 60 million people to vote for him?

    He is exactly like them, and promised to own the libs on the world stage, for them. It was like drawing flies to a bug zapper.

  37. 37
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud: I doubt the baby will be speaking well enough to address the RNC by then.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow:

    Probably be speaking better than Trump.

  39. 39
    Neldob says:

    Brings to mind that historic word “deplorable”. It should be used more often.

  40. 40
    Yarrow says:

    @WereBear:

    He is exactly like them, and promised to own the libs on the world stage, for them.

    Yep. It’s really that simple. And so easy to manipulate via propaganda.

  41. 41
    Chyron HR says:

    @LanceThruster:

    So the big bad DNC is now rigging the 2020 primary polls in favor of FOUR of Bernie’s opponents? Is that seriously the excuse you’re going to go with?

  42. 42
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @LanceThruster:

    Heckuva job, DNC.

    Huh? What does the DNC have to do with any of this?

  43. 43
    Baud says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Nothing. Old troll.

  44. 44
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: in good or bad faith, the troll speaks to the infantile Berniebot obsession with the DNC, who failed the Infailable One.

  45. 45
    TS (the original) says:

    @Baud:

    hate

    Has the world become so ugly – or was I living in dreamworld for too many years

  46. 46
    debbie says:

    Careful what you wish for, Trumpie. Press coverage inside the Dayton hospital would have shown your statement about the enormous amount of love you were shown to be just one more lie.

    Regardless, karma remains a bitch.

  47. 47
    MattF says:

    @FelonyGovt: For most people, the fact of Trump’s unfitness will sink in eventually, but slowly. In time for the 2020 election, one hopes.

  48. 48
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Baud:

    Thanks. I vaguely recognised the nym but didn’t peg them as a troll until I saw several other comments. In future I’ll ignore them.

  49. 49
    Miss Bianca says:

    @LanceThruster: Wikileaks? WIKILEAKS is your source for assertions of big bad DNC??! Bwah hah hah yeah no.

    If that’s your best shot, I’d hate to see to see your worst. Bored now.

  50. 50
    lumpkin says:

    I think a more apt metaphor than “piercing the bubble” would be “beating a sheet hanging on the clothesline”. It’s gonna go right back to the way it was.

  51. 51
    opiejeanne says:

    @LanceThruster: Fuck off. Fuck all the way off. You know the drill.

  52. 52
    randy khan says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that, of all the things he’s bad at doing, Trump is worst at the part of the job where a President acts as a stand-in for the nation in a time of tragedy or sorrow, something that most Presidents do naturally, and that even a doofus like George W. Bush could do pretty well (with occasional missteps, but still mostly he got it right). Someone wrote recently that with Trump, we don’t have a head of state, and since being a stand in for the nation is basically the role of the head of state, I think that was exactly right.

  53. 53
    ruemara says:

    @LanceThruster: How the fuck does this relate to the DNC?

    ugh

    Woke up to a message from USCIS saying I had to respond. Cool. So I clicked on it to respond. They have set my swearing in schedule and I can find it on the letter in my document section. Which has nothing in it past my interview appointment. They’re so bassackwards.

  54. 54
    low-tech cyclist says:

    JUST NOW: WH insiders “will privately admit this was something of a debacle, these are not the headlines they wanted to see.”@maggieNYT on insider reaction to @realDonaldTrump trip to Dayton and El Paso.

    Who gives a feral hog’s ass what White House insiders thought about this? If their boss upsets them, they’re free to resign. If they don’t, then they’re OK with who and what he is.

    This inside reporting was way overrated in better times. In the Trump era, it’s meaningless and worthless. So Maggie, why don’t you either do real reporting, or get a real job?

  55. 55
    opiejeanne says:

    @Anya: The aunt and uncle are whining about the criticism they’re getting for this stunt. At first they tried defending Trump but now they’re complaining about how they’re being treated

  56. 56
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    He bills himself as “Lance Thruster” (isn’t that ever-so clever; this one’s a real rocket scientist). Ignore this sad 30-something incel.

  57. 57
    The Dangerman says:

    Visiting El Paso hospital after massacre, Trump brags about size of his…

    Oh, fuck, NO….

    …crowds.

    WHEW.

  58. 58
    cain says:

    @ruemara:
    Oh man.. hopefully all will work out.

  59. 59
    Ken says:

    @Gelfling 545: So something like the classic guide to Labradors?

    (In case the link doesn’t work, that’s the classic “black lab, yellow lab, chocolate lab, meth lab” picture.)

  60. 60
    opiejeanne says:

    @LanceThruster: Mmm pie. The funny thing is, I have you pied on my other computer but not on this one. I normally ignore you, troll-boy.

  61. 61
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Lots of stuff about Trump in El Paso.

    How’d the Toledo part of his trip work out?

  62. 62
    japa21 says:

    Just for the record, the “Eeww Sanders” crowd was much bigger than the “Eeww Hillary” crowd.

  63. 63
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @Baud: yeah, he’;s an idiot. go ahead and pie-filter him….

  64. 64
    StringOnAStick says:

    @beth: The people who brought the baby back to the hospital are the brother of the baby’s dead dad and I assume his wife. I heard him defend tRUMP on NPR Monday and say that he and his late brother are big tRUMP supporters and don’t think he’s been doing anything to fan the flames of racism. His brother had recently gotten married and had this baby with a woman who had two older kids. The surviving brother said he was going to take the baby, but his saying that his brother was a stand up guy for taking care of “kids that aren’t his” made me pretty sure that they are NOT taking in the two older orphans. Maybe they’ll be taken in by their father’s family or their late mother’s family and maybe they aren’t members of the tRUMP cult. The brother did say he wanted a chance to talk to tRUMP one on one and see if his political opinions were wrong, but I figure this guy is so far into FOX-land that even looking into the eyes of the malignant narcissist who’s raging racism got his brother killed won’t be enough to break the spell.

  65. 65
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @West of the Rockies: he’s an incel? That must be why so many of his posts talk about tarts!

  66. 66
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Neldob:

    Hillary was being kind when she called the Deplorables. Garbage Humans is my term of choice.

  67. 67
    SRW1 says:

    @Baud:

    Not only old troll, also old material.

  68. 68
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Nothing. Lance is convinced that Hillary is the root of all evil and directed the DNC to make Trump win the primary and then cheated Bernie out of the general, and he pollutes literally every thread he’s in with the same tired set of stupid theories trying to get the whole thing off track.

    Ignore him.

  69. 69
    Citizen Alan says:

    @LanceThruster:

    Cretins like you are why I literally pray for the death of Bernie Sanders. I want the miserable tucker to keep over dead of a stroke right in the middle of wagging his finger at someone.

  70. 70
    SRW1 says:

    @MattF:

    It will sink in really fast if Trump loses in 2020.

  71. 71
    ruemara says:

    @cain: Oh, it usually does. They have the dumbest system of posting urgent messages, but the documents to explain what’s urgent don’t come until days later.

  72. 72
    Bill Arnold says:

    Note the byline (including Maggie Haberman, which was part of Annie’s point) on the NYTimes piece, which is uncharacteristically savage for the NYTimes.
    Trump Uses a Day of Healing to Deepen the Nation’s Divisions (Michael Crowley, Maggie Haberman, Mitch Smith and Michael D. Shear, Aug. 7, 2019)

    LT, old-school trolling doesn’t work as well as it used to here. Please include links, to sources that have some plausible credibility (links attract search engines). And please attack D.J. Trump and the Republicans (The Destroy America Party) at least a token amount. Wikileaks made its motives clear by who it doesn’t dump information about (Russia. Republicans. Etc.)

  73. 73
    Ken says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    How’d the Toledo part of his trip work out?

    I see what you did there.

    I can also totally see Trump insisting that they go to Toledo, since the alternative is admitting he got it wrong in the speech.

  74. 74
    opiejeanne says:

    @SRW1: As in, Trump who? I could never stand that loser?

  75. 75
    chopper says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    forget it, subie, it’s crazytown.

  76. 76
    Cacti says:

    @LanceThruster:

    If your cult leader somehow managed to get the nom, Trump would win 40+ states.

  77. 77
    look-a-monkey says:

    I was on the receiving end of this type of visit back when Obama was in office.

    In our case, the President and First Lady took time out of their vacation to console grieving families. They could not have been more gracious and they spent about 15-20 minutes with each family individually.

    That visit was not for the cameras. The official White House photographer accompanied them and took pictures, but they were for us if we wanted them. No photos were released to the media – ever. I don’t believe the trip was even reported in the media until after it happened.

    The contrast between my experience and how the Trumps behaved in El Paso is truly staggering.

  78. 78

    @ruemara: They told me my swearing in date and venue on the day of the interview. They were extra nice and made it possible for both me and husband kitteh to be sworn in together on same date and venue and it was July 4th on the village green of Old Sturbridge Village. And my interviewer’s name was Hillary.

  79. 79
    columbusqueen says:

    @LanceThruster: WTF kind are you living.in? What rigged primary, jackals?

  80. 80
    Another Scott says:

    Twitter:

    Zoe Tillman Verified account @ZoeTillman

    AG Bill Barr says the DOJ inspector general will investigate the circumstances of Jeffrey Epstein’s death, along with the FBI. Story: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidmack/jeffrey-epstein-dead

    […]

    Given how well Barr and the DOJ did with the Mueller investigation and report, I’m sure you’re as relieved as I am…

    (groucho-roll-eyes.gif)

    (via Popehat)

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  81. 81
    Ruckus says:

    @Jim, Foolish LIteralist:

    Golden Corral gift certificates

    Boy are those things overrated.

  82. 82
    Ruckus says:

    @TS (the original):

    how did he convince 60 million people to vote for him?

    He had professional help.

  83. 83
    Ruckus says:

    @randy khan:
    That is correct, we don’t have a head of state.
    We do currently have an asshole of state.

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    So Maggie, why don’t you either do real reporting, or get a real job?

    Don’t upset the apple cart by asking her to do something she is clearly unable to do……

  85. 85
    Ruckus says:

    @look-a-monkey:
    Sorry that you had anything happen that an off the record presidential visit was necessary.

    The contrast between my experience and how the Trumps behaved in El Paso is truly staggering.

    The contrast between the humanity of the Obamas and the total lack of same by the trumps is truly staggering.

  86. 86
    Ruckus says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    At least they made up a little for all the time, effort and worry that preceded the swearing in.

  87. 87
    J R in WV says:

    @Neldob:

    Brings to mind that historic word “deplorable”. It should be used more often.

    I like “deplorable” pretty well, but prefer in this case and stronger word, like “despicable!”

  88. 88
    J R in WV says:

    @Chyron HR:

    @LanceThruster:

    So the big bad DNC is now rigging the 2020 primary polls in favor of FOUR of Bernie’s opponents? Is that seriously the excuse you’re going to go with?

    I dunno who deleted Lance Thruster, but I want to thank the anonymous benefactor from the bottom of my stomach !!

    Actually, I believe the members of the Democratic Party are the mystereous group who have put Sanders at 5th place in the crowd of Democratic contenders for the Presidential nomination. As more drop away from the lead pack, Sanders will sink further toward the bottom, where he belongs.

    Not a Democrat Sanders is my third from the bottom choice, with only T Gabbard and M Williamson tied for dead last below him.

  89. 89
    J R in WV says:

    @LanceThruster:

    So disappointing, thot you were BANNED but not yet.

    There’s already been some pretty blatant attemps to shape the narrative.

    Mimi Rocah’s “Bernie makes my skin crawl” presented as thoughtful political analysis is but one example.

    I agree that “Bernie makes my skin crawl” isn’t thoughtful analysis, it’s a simple expression of truth. Bernie makes everyone’s skin crawl, and for a special few that’s a good thing. For the rest of us, it’s one more reason not to support the deadbeat loser.

    I know, I know “don’t feed the troll” but sometimes it’s such a soft target!

  90. 90
    VFX Lurker says:

    Added LanceThruster to the pie filter. To quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “…and there was much rejoicing.”

  91. 91
    Brachiator says:

    Coming late to the thread

    An El Paso hospital official says that there was a general assessment that there was “an absence of empathy” on Trump’s part during his visit

    It’s like The Emperor’s New Clothes.

    Trump’s courtiers are paid not to notice this

    The press are too sophisticated to notice this

    But Trump’s lack of empathy is all to obvious to ordinary people, especially to hospital staff who deal with people in distress all goddam day

  92. 92
    Ruckus says:

    @J R in WV:

    with only T Gabbard and M Williamson tied for dead last below him.

    BS may be above them in most/any sane list but it’s only by a micron. At best.

  93. 93
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    Habeman is so terrible. There she is trying to explain away and drum up sympathy for a guy who has none: You guys! He’s used to doing flashy promos! Not interacting with news reporters! That’s why he’s so bad at this!….like we’re supposed to feel sorry for him. Fuck that. I’m not feeling one ounce of pity for for the orange pussbag no matter how miserable he is. He deserves every ounce of misery the world and his own psyche dish out. Maybe Haberman should ask herself why she constantly has to go to bat for one of the worst people ever. She won’t like the answer but it would do her good to come to grips with it.

  94. 94
    Ruckus says:

    @What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us?:

    She won’t like the answer but it would do her good to come to grips with it.

    Implies facts not in evidence.

  95. 95
    SWMBO says:

    @Ken: I can see him renaming Dayton to Toledo by executive order. Much more his style. And he would still be wrong.

  96. 96
    H.E.Wolf says:

    @ruemara:

    They have set my swearing in schedule

    Congratulations!!!
    You and @schrodingers_cat: are two people that it’s an honor to be co-citizens with.

  97. 97
    Ken says:

    @Brachiator:

    especially to hospital staff who deal with people in distress all goddam day

    …and who are trained to recognize mental disorders.

  98. 98
    Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom says:

    @MattF: Well, at least *FLOTUS was approriately dressed. For once.

  99. 99
    Mary Ellen Sandahl says:

    @TS (the original):Fear comes before hate. From his very first campaign speech Mexico “sending” murderers and rapists, he has stoked fear. Hate rises from hat like the steam from a dungheap.

  100. 100
    look-a-monkey says:

    @Ruckus: Thank you, that’s kind of you to say.

    Trump’s inability to act like a human being is always astonishing, but this instance is particularly horrifying to me because of my personal experience.

    (To lighten the tone: when our family met with President Obama, he immediately addressed my 11-year-old daughter and told her that he could tell she was the troublemaker of the family. Not only was he right, but he gave us the ability to continually remind her of this official presidential assessment of her character.)

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