Friday, August 9, 2019

Was Trump Right About Baltimore? - Walter Williams

by Walter Williams

The dire lesson about government handouts.

Here's what President Donald Trump tweeted about Baltimore's congressman and his city: "Rep. Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is far worse and more dangerous. His district is considered the worst in the USA."

"As proven last week during a congressional tour, the border is clean, efficient and well run, just very crowded," Trump added. Cumming's "district is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."

President Donald Trump's claims suggesting that Rep. Elijah Cummings' Baltimore-area district is "considered the worst run and most dangerous" has been called racist. But whether Trump's claims have any merit is an empirical matter settled by appealing to facts. Let's look at a few.

In 2018, Baltimore was rated one of the "Rattiest Cities" in the nation by pest control company Orkin. According to Patch Media, although there has been progress in the last few years, Baltimore ranks ninth in rat infestation, down from its sixth position two years ago on Orkin's list.

What about safety? In 2017, St. Louis had the nation's highest murder rate, at 66.1 homicides per 100,000 residents. Baltimore came in second, with 55.8 murders per 100,000 people. The unpleasant fact is that predominantly black and Democratic-run cities have the worst records of public safety. The Trace, an independent nonprofit news organization, using 2017 data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program, listed the 20 major U.S. cities with the highest homicide rates. After St. Louis and Baltimore, Detroit was third, with 39.8 murders per 100,000 people. Other cities with high murder rates included New Orleans; Kansas City, Missouri; Cleveland; Memphis, Tennessee; and Newark, New Jersey. With 24.1 murders per 100,000 residents, Chicago ranked ninth in the nation, followed by Cincinnati and Philadelphia. Washington, D.C., was 17th.

What about education in Baltimore? In 2016, in 13 of Baltimore's 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient on the state's mathematics exam. In six other high schools, only 1% tested proficient in math. In raw numbers, 3,804 Baltimore students took the state's math test and 14 tested proficient. Citywide, only 15% of Baltimore students passed the state's English test. Money is not the problem. Of the nation's 100 largest school systems, Baltimore schools rank third in spending per pupil.

Baltimore's black students receive diplomas that attest that they can function at a 12th-grade level when in fact they may not be able to do so at a sixth-, seventh- or eighth-grade level. These students and their families have little reason to suspect that their diplomas are fraudulent. Thus, if they cannot pass a civil service exam, they will accuse the exam of being racist. When they get poor grades in college and flunk out, they will attribute their plight to racism. The information that these black students have is that they, just as white students, have a high school diploma and the only explanation they see for unequal outcomes is racism. The same story of poor education outcomes can be told about most cities with large black populations.

The problems that black people confront are immune to who is the president of the U.S. Those problems were not ameliorated when Barack Obama was president. Those problems are not going to be ameliorated by Trump's presidency, though the black unemployment rate is considerably lower. The lesson for black people is that politicians and government handouts are not solutions. If they were, at a public expenditure that tops $22 trillion over the past half-century, black people would not be confronted with today's problems.

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Photo by urbanfeel

Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.


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The Ideological Roots of 'The Squad' in Academic 'Postcolonial' Theory - L.E. Ikenga

by L.E. Ikenga

Americans with a casual interest in politics have no idea of the depth of the hatred that these four women have toward the West and all of its abiding citizens.

To understand the ideological goals of the so-called “Squad” of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, one needs to understand the academic theories labeled colonial and postcolonial studies. Many of us “people of color” who have direct or indirect ties to other parts of the third world have seen this nonsense being peddled many times before.

Screen grab from a Trump campaign video

What we are witnessing, despite the veneer of watermelon politics, is not just Marxism, or Alinkyism, or socialism, or communism, or Black Pantherism, or eco-fascism. We are seeing iron-fisted colonial and postcolonial theory acting itself out on the national stage. The study of European colonialism and its aftermath, post colonialism, is a combination of all of those leftist social, economic, and environmental projects rolled into one, presented under the auspices of a systematic academic canon. It uses insider academic jargon to bemoan the aftereffects of having once been dominated, and against their will, culturally transformed by a European colonial power. Hence, the terms “colonialism” and “postcolonialism.”

This is what most people who are not of European descent study when they go to college in this country. If they don’t study it in college, they get a version of it in high school through “social studies” classes. If they never went to high school, they get a Jerimiah Wright version of it from the pulpit. If they don’t go to church, they get it from community organizers in the streets. And if they are not in school, at church, or in the streets, then they are getting it from home. The bottom line is that one way or another, they get it. However, it is the colleges and universities that are doing the most to perpetuate this ideological system intent on destroying all Christian societies and civilizations.

Whether they just take a few classes as electives or end up minoring or majoring in some form of colonial and post colonial theory, this is the radical intellectual ghetto that most blacks and Hispanics are herded into the moment that they step foot on most college campuses. It is what people like me were almost browbeaten into studying when I attended the City University of New York decades ago. When I chose instead to study Old Western Culture, I was overlooked for numerous scholarships and fellowships; treated by the predominantly far-left academic administrators as if I were a leper; and laughed at (behind my back) by many of my fellow students. But as someone who already had first-hand knowledge of several West African regions and a keen interest in a systematic study of her tribal lineage, I saw no need to spend three or four years of my life buttering up to professors who would present me with a revisionist version of my authentic history.

Colonial and postcolonial studies radicalizes its students so effectively based on two important propositions. Number one, it speaks specifically to the experiences of minority people in a way that straightforward Marxism/communism cannot. The problem with trying to stick the Saul Alinsky or Karl Marx label on most black folks is that it still superimposes a European experience on to them.

The theoretical roots of Marxism were not cultivated in Africa, the Caribbean, or Asia. They were cultivated in Europe. So essentially, when you call a “woke” minority person a communist, according to these theories you are “re-colonizing” them based on a European social and economic model. So, whether it’s communism or capitalism, if it was conceived by white people, then don’t try pin it on a black person. If you do, it has to be very “ethno-specific” e.g. African socialism, Pan-Africanism, Latin American socialism, etc. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tried to articulate this point a few weeks ago, but her lack of verbal dexterity made for a convoluted sound bite.

The second reason that these studies radicalize so thoroughly is because they take human instincts and organize them into racial situations that most minorities in the West emotionally identify with. In other words, colonial and postcolonial theory take human instincts of aggression -- to conquer and enslave; to rape, pillage, and lay siege to occupied territory; to overthrow existing regimes in order to assume power by force; and to discriminate and separate oneself from what is unfamiliar -- circumstances that have been experienced across the scope of human history -- and turn these into phenomena that only blacks and browns have been victims of at the hands of whites.

And this by the way is why “people of color” is an absolutely ludicrous but clever phrase invented by these very types of people. It is used to balkanize and erase the real backgrounds of various African, Asian, Arab, and Native American tribal people. It suppresses their cultural vices while exaggerating their virtues. Ultimately, it dehumanizes people because it robs them of their human instincts; and usually for better, it reinvents the stories of their actual traditions. So now, Arab Somalis like Ilan Omar, who come from Muslim tribes that have historically and presently engage in practice of selling black Africans as slaves throughout parts of Africa and the Islamic Middle East, are allowed to evade this fact by taking cover under the mantle of being “people of color.”

Here’s a brief breakdown of the various derivations of colonial and postcolonial theory and how each of the four U.S. Congresswomen uses the theories to perpetuate political agendas that seek to undermine the moral legitimacy of the United States and the Christian West. Included is an overview of the academic departments at their respective alma maters where colonial and postcolonial studies take refuge:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

A Focus on Latin American/Caribbean Postcolonial Theory with a Degree in International Relations/Economics

The canon of literature defending this strain of postcolonial theory posits the following: European conquest of modern-day Latin America and the Caribbean began in the late fifteenth century with the travels of Christopher Columbus, which were financed by the Spanish empire. Through the efforts of Columbus and other navigators, the Spaniards killed and enslaved native people in many parts of the Caribbean as they searched for gold and other resources that would be valuable to Spain. A similar pattern was adopted by the Portuguese in their conquest of territories in South America and Africa. By the late sixteenth century, most of the territories and peoples of the Caribbean Basin, Central and South America had been successfully seized and colonized by the Spanish and Portuguese.

The European powers divided their respective colonial societies along racial lines that deprived the majority native people of basic human rights while giving the ruling advantage to the minority European classes. The Catholic Church, and subsequently all Christian faiths, that forced their religious dogmas onto the native people, were complicit in the subjugation and genocide of the native populations. The Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) is an example of of a decree, validated by papal bulls, that legitimized colonial conquest in this region.

The Europeans brought Old World diseases such as smallpox to the West Indians and Central and South Americans who were already being used as slaves based on the encomienda system. These diseases decimated the populations forcing the replacement of them with black African slave labor, which a developed and sustainable trans-Atlantic Ocean slave trade provided. The slave labor was used on tobacco, sugar, cotton, and coffee plantations; in timber fields; and in gold and silver mines — all to the benefit of the European colonizer. By the early eighteenth century, as the military predominance of the Spanish and Portuguese continued to wane, the Dutch, French, and English began to adopt facets of the colonial conquest pattern set in place by the Spaniards and Portuguese, especially in the Caribbean. Despite the the independence movements of native populations that began in the Caribbean, most notably the Haitian Revolution, during the eighteenth century, the corruptive nature of the European political system made it virtually impossible for the new postcolonial governments (based in part on colonial models) to develop and thrive in an authentic and productive way.

At Boston University (BU), Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s alma mater, colonial and post colonial theory can be studied across several disciplines, including comparative literature, history, political science, and even the fine arts.

The university offers a B.A. in Latin American Studies with key courses such as “The Americas Before Columbus,” “The African Diaspora in the Americas,” and “The Spanish - American Colonial Experience.” BU also offers extensive lectures and conferences in its Musicology and Ethnomusicology departments on the colonial experience. BU’s English and sociology departments offer an array of courses on postcolonial literature studies and critical race/culture theory, which fall under the auspices of colonial and post colonial studies.

Here is a sample syllabus offered by the Pardee School of Global Studies – Latin American Studies Program. The course was open to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Ocasio-Cortez, perhaps the greenest of the four watermelon politicians, uses insider colonial and postcolonial theory talking points quite often to underscore her political motivations. She has claimed that the growing of cauliflower in urban green spaces is “taking a colonial approach to environmentalism” and that communities of color get pushback on environmental projects because of the “colonial lens” that they are viewed with. She also views the present-day relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico as inherently colonial by nature. In a Twitter exchange with Dinesh D’Souza, she responds to one of his questions about Puerto Rico by claiming that the question comes from a “colonial mindset” and that his sentiment is “rooted in colonialism.” And in a 2019 podcast interview not only does she make the audacious statement that “[all] black folks are descendants of slaves that were imported for the explicit purpose of cultivating crops,” but that “racism, colonialism are [something] that we understand through lived experience in a way that many don’t understand.”

The interview is quite revealing.

Ilan Omar and Rashida Tliab

Focus on European Colonialism and Post Colonialism in (North) Africa and the Middle East With Degrees Respectively in Political Science/International Studies and Political Science/Law

This is the most complex version of colonial and postcolonial theory to unpack because of the historically ancient relationship that has existed between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, extending back to the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage (modern day Tunisia). Historically speaking, the political and cultural exchanges between the West and the Arab world have by no means been one-sided. In essence, for the better part of a millennium before European colonialism appeared, many of the Semitic people of this region had already been divided, subjugated, and colonized by a theocratic political ideology of conquest, Islam. This notable fact is something that many prominent Muslim politicians in America like to ignore. So, in terms of colonial and postcolonial studies, the focus tends to be on the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century relations between Europe, the U.S, and the Middle East. Orientalism, written by the late Edward Said is still the standard text used to “deconstruct” and attack Western assumptions about the Middle East.

The central thesis of the book asserts that the people of the Western cultures intrinsically harbor derogatory understandings of Arab regions and people even though they have little-to-no first-hand knowledge of the Arab world. In the arts, literature, political discourse, and academic studies, Arabs are often portrayed as unfamiliar, strange, and menacing. Furthermore, the way in which the knowledge is acquired is highly subjective. The political motives are clear, and they seek to alienate and create a false “the West vs. the Other” dialectic. The lens from which the West views the East is completely distorted. There is an obvious disparity between the reality of what Arab cultures are versus the Western representation of them.

Professor Said’s revolutionary 1978 treatise continues to be required reading in hundreds of colleges and universities across the U.S. within political science, English, anthropology, sociology, history, and cultural/gender studies departments. As a history major, I too had to read it in college.

Ilan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are the most militant of the four women. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that they want a civil war in this country. They want an “American Spring.” This video is one of many where Rashida Tlaib uses Mr. Said’s central thesis to make the point that traditional Americans are morally wrong to attack Muslim women of color based on an “us vs. them paradigm.” And in this video, Ilhan Omar actually pokes fun at Americans for fearing Al-Qaeda, as the “Other.”

Although North Dakota State University, where Ilan Omar received her bachelor’s degree, does not offer much in terms of colonial and postcolonial studies, the University of Minnesota (Humphrey School of Public Affairs) where Ms. Omar was a fellow does. Also note that the Chair of NDSU’s English department, Dr. Weaver-Hightower, describes herself as a “postcolonialist by trade.” Wayne State University Press, the publishing house of Rep. Tlaib’s alma mater, publishes extensively on colonial and postcolonial studies mainly under the guise of African American studies. The University of Minnesota Press also in lockstep with social justice academic culture, publishes books on bizarre topics such as “post colonial biology”.

Ayanna Pressley

Congresswoman Pressley is not a college graduate. However, she did attend Boston University for two years. Judging from her insipid diatribes on race, it’s clear that her lack of academic credentials and imagination has forced her to regurgitate the decades-old tropes on race that we are all too familiar with. BU’s Pardee School of Global Studies and African Studies Center has an extensive virtual multimedia resource center dedicated to the study of colonialism and postcolonialism in Africa especially. I am sure that Rep. Pressley is quite familiar with many of these ideas, which parallel the colonial and postcolonial theories outlined above pertaining to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Americans with a casual interest in politics have no idea of the depth of the hatred that these four women have towards the West and all of its abiding citizens. That’s too bad because mark my words, these women want war. And it’s starting to look like they will actually get their wish.

L.E. Ikenga


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No, Anti-Terrorism Efforts Haven't Hampered Investigations Of White Supremacists - Todd Bensman

by Todd Bensman

Unlike white supremacism, violent Islamism emanates from a global set of actors and ideologies.

In the aftermath of this past weekend's mass shootings, [a new form of an old] narrative is finding purchase: that strong post-9/11 efforts to counter Islamist terrorism are politically and racially inequitable compared to the weak, suppressed efforts to counter violent white nationalism.

As the editorial board of The New York Times put it Sunday, "There are serious questions about how the United States has approached Islamic extremism, but if even a degree of that vigilance and unity of effort was put toward white nationalism, we'd be safer."

Assessments like this belie a surprising ignorance of the fact that homeland security legislation, appropriations, and response were structured after 9/11 to address problem sets that are so mutually exclusive that they have and always will require separate approaches. This is the very definition of a false comparison that should stand corrected as the nation lurches forward in any public discussion. It cannot be farther from true that violent Islam received a disproportionate attention at the high cost of allowing domestic forms of violent extremism to flourish.
Unlike white supremacism, violent Islamism emanates from a global set of actors and ideologies.
Take the Islamist threat. Because violent political Islamism emanates from a global, internationalist set of actors and ideologies, often in foreign locales, a multi-piece toolkit was required to help the FBI counter it as the designated lead agency. Unlike forms of domestic extremism, working to disrupt Islamist terrorism requires both a deep home and away game. The FBI cannot do it without CIA spies, National Security Agency signals intelligence operations, troop deployments, armed drones, and global tracking of human suspects and money.

Consider what it might take to counter al-Qaeda plans to send operatives from Afghan training camps to hijack planes in America, or to disrupt ISIS operatives moving across multiple borders on mass-casualty attack missions in Europe, or to counter the highly effective online recruitment of Americans who travel abroad and join foreign groups of killers in foreign countries with plans to return home, perhaps indoctrinated to commit acts of terror. Legislation and vast inter-agency intelligence-sharing reforms after 9/11 were necessary to marry this very unique American response to an equally unique threat.

White supremacy is largely a law enforcement problem confined to the United States.
By contrast, violent white supremacy of the sort we saw on tragic display in El Paso is largely a law enforcement problem confined to within the United States and its territories, with far less of a global dimension. While a shooter may take "inspiration" from manifestos and chatter posted online or acts seen on the news, like the mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, these kinds of crimes and plots tend to be entirely local self-propelled affairs conducted by lone offenders.

Much has been said, for instance, about the online format "8chan" as a platform for spreading incitements to violence among white racist extremists (the site has been closed since El Paso). But law enforcement agencies already have the means to watch sites like this, and other sites that traffic in narcotics and stolen property, for that tricky moment when free speech becomes illegal incitement or provides probable cause indicators.

Lone offender racists in the United States are not deployed from places abroad that must be controlled and monitored as with international jihadist terrorism. For that reason, domestic terrorism plots require an almost exclusively domestic law enforcement response by the FBI, local sheriff's offices, and state police agencies like the one I used to work for in Texas.

Todd Bensman testifies before a U.S. House subcommittee on FBI efforts to combat white supremacy on June 4, 2019.
CIA officers and military forces are not even statutorily allowed to operate in a law enforcement capacity within U.S. territory, nor can the NSA, spy satellites, or armed drones be enjoined in domestic enforcement action next to your local sheriff's deputy. The USA Patriot Act did formalize a domestic terrorism definition (another of many) and allow for the FBI and DHS to identify potentially violent domestic groups and movements as intelligence and enforcement priorities, at least internally. Domestic extremists to include violent white nationalists can be placed on terror watch lists as a means to occasionally track their movements and activities.

But not much new legislation, such as a standalone Domestic Terrorism Statute, was ever necessary to mount a counterattack on violent white nationalism, since all of the necessary component parts—cops, prosecutors, and criminal statutes that carry high punishments, such as for murder and hate crimes—have long been in place.

Critics of President Trump may feel a strong compulsion to argue that his excess hatred of Islam and affection for white supremacy drove policy toward a break for the white nationalists. But their thinking is flawed by gaps in basic knowledge of how homeland security is structured to deal with both problems in the unique ways that are necessary.

This is not to say that American law enforcement can't pivot to meet a growing threat with greater resources and attention. As I testified to Congress in June, "The number of racially motivated criminal events is now higher than what we were used to. A pivot is necessary to reverse the trend."

However, inequality of effort certainly did not contribute to El Paso. Self-propelled lone offenders who use simple tactics in their attacks are notoriously difficult for law enforcement to detect, or to detect in time to lawfully intervene.

The FBI has tallied hundreds of prosecutions related to the Islamist terror threat.
The threat from violent Islamism remains in play, despite other faulty comparisons that are often made to fraudulently downplay it, such as the current favorite of comparing the death toll from Islamist-motivated attacks to those caused by domestic supremacists. Properly diagnosing threats requires not death tolls but reporting the total numbers of thwarted attacks that might have resulted in deaths. And the FBI has tallied hundreds of prosecutions related to the Islamist terror threat.

To divert from efforts to disrupt Islamist attacks by the hundreds no doubt will result in lost lives one day, as it did before 9/11. In any case, whether to prioritize violent Islamism or white nationalism is not an either-or proposition. This is a resourced country that certainly can and should do both jobs separately and well.

Todd Bensman is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior national security fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies. Bensman previously led counterterrorism-related intelligence efforts for the Texas Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division (ICD) for nearly a decade.


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Prager U Video: New 'Offensive Speech' Rules on College Campuses - Prager University

by Prager University

Get ready to do a whole lot of face-palming.

Prager University is back with another short video commentary on the state of the culture. This time, Isabel Brown discusses the latest list of words and phrases deemed "offensive speech" on college campuses. So long, "food coma." Peace out, "Freshman." Goodbye, "America" (Yes, America). Check out the video below:

Prager University


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Why are government cost projections always so utterly wrong? - Jack Hellner

by Jack Hellner

Free stuff is never, never, free.

The Congressional Budget Office and other such experts of public finance routinely severely underestimate the cost of major government programs such as Medicare, Social Security, student loans, government pensions, lifetime health benefits for government employees, and Obamacare.

They also miss estimates on "smaller" government projects (we're still talking billions here) such as the "big dig" in Boston and the bullet train in California.

They're always underestimating these costs. Why are we always so broke at most government entities? Why do these costs always overshoot their budgets? The short answer is that politicians and bureaucrats routinely underestimate the costs of all government programs and then they overestimate the revenue from the new taxes that they propose to pay for the programs. Through abject ignorance or intentional malfeasance, they do not project that taking additional money out of businesses and individuals’ pockets through higher taxes and additional regulations will slow down the economy. Then as costs come in higher than expected and revenues lower than projected, they just borrow more and tax more, furthering the vicious cycle. The greedy government continues to get bigger and more powerful while this and future generations suffer. But politicians are out buying votes with more “free” stuff. The public are pawns.

All federal government projects cost much more than they should because Democrats cater to their special interests. These laws -- they include prevailing wage statutes and other non-market carve-outs -- have oppressed taxpayers for around 90 years, but they are still there because of Democrats.

So, when Democrats give an estimate of the future costs of Medicare for all, or a public option, or else the big green deal, everyone should realize they are just made-up numbers and most are a significant underestimate.

Once a government program starts, no matter whether it works or not, it is essentially on automatic pilot because a special interest benefits and if anyone ever wants to stop or even reduce a program we see sob stories from the media.

The easiest example of a significant underestimate is Obamacare, where CBO claimed that Obamacare would not only pay for itself but would reduce the deficit. It didn't.

They also pretended that the economy would grow much faster than it actually did. It truly takes ignorance or intentional bias to not understand that a 2,000-page bill with over 10,000 pages of regulations and more than twenty new taxes that takes away choice from consumers, that punishes businesses, and that reduces competition would slow down the economy, not speed it up.

President Obama and his surrogates knowingly lied that people would have the choice to keep their plan and their doctor, that their costs would go down, and that the plan would reduce the deficit. Critics of Obamacare were derided as racists and the media played along.
Since then, we have been indoctrinated about how good Obamacare has been, despite its poor results. Now we are told that we should trust the government to take away private health insurance. We are expected to ignore the lies of Obamacare and the failures of the VA and the Indian health system, and go right along with the next new proposal.

Here's a string of headlines showing just how bad the CBO record is, from a Forbes column:
As Congress readies legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates will play an important and respected role as they did in the passage of the law in 2010. We now know that many of CBO’s projections of important aspects of the ACA have significantly differed from actual outcomes.
Exchange Enrollment Much Less Than CBO Projected
Insurers Performance Much Worse Than CBO Projected
Reinsurance Program Subsidies Much More Generous Than CBO Projected
Medicaid Expansion Enrollment Much Greater Than CBO Projected
Medicaid Expansion Spending Much Greater Than CBO Projected
More New Medicaid Enrollees Were Already Eligible Than CBO Projected
Economic Growth After Obamacare Much Lower Than CBO Projected
In January 2010, CBO projected that growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) would average 3.2% from 2010 to 2016. By way of comparison, the annual GDP growth rate after the first six years of another severe recession (1981-82) averaged 4.6%.
Economic growth after the Great Recession has been anemic by historical standards and relative to expectations. As the figure below shows, annual real GDP has increased just 2.1%, 50% below the average growth rate predicted by CBO and less than half the growth rate during the Reagan recovery.
Every policy or program the Democrats are proposing consists of transferring money and power from the private sector to the federal government. 

As the private sector is reduced throughout the country, sales taxes, income taxes, gas taxes, property taxes and all other revenues to states and cities will fall. Stock and home prices will go down. That does seem to be the ultimate goal of Democrats, to make the rich poorer instead of lifting others up.

As the Democrats offer free health care and other "free" stuff, they are clearly trolling for votes. They certainly don’t care how destructive and costly their proposals are. They appear to want as many people to be dependent on government as possible.

Democrats claim to care deeply about the wealth and income gap, but all their policy proposals make the very wealthy Washington D.C. richer and the rest of the country poorer. Therefore, their proposals compound the problem. And the press makes things even worse.
Here are some simple questions for journalists and other Democrats: Why are so many Democrats proposing to greatly increase gas taxes to pay for infrastructure projects when they are simultaneously advocating eliminating gasoline? Are they committing fraud when they tell the investors the gasoline tax will pay off the bonds? I bet they aren’t projecting a decrease in revenue from gas taxes in their budget? Are they lying to the public by not telling them which taxes they will replace the gas tax with when gasoline is no longer used??

That's just for starters.

Jack Hellner


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A President Consoles Two Grieving Cities - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Trump haters disgrace themselves on a solemn day.

President Trump visited the two cities where last weekend’s mass shootings took place - Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. He tweeted that he wanted to meet “with First Responders, Law Enforcement, and some of the victims of the terrible shootings.”  Before leaving for his Dayton visit, he declared to reporters his concern about any hate group,  “whether it’s white supremacy or any other kind of supremacy, whether it’s Antifa, whether it’s any group or kind of hate.” The president indicated his support for legislation strengthening background checks for gun purchases and keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people.

Not surprisingly, President Trump was met with protests in both cities as well as vicious partisan attacks.

To her credit, the Democrat mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley, greeted President Trump at the airport. She and Ohio Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown met with the president. However, prior to the president’s visit, Mayor Whaley had said she supported those who intended to protest the president, declaring that he's "made this bed and he's gotta lie in it. His rhetoric has been painful for many in our community and I think the people should stand up and say they’re not happy if they’re not happy that he’s coming.”

The president and First Lady Melania Trump visited a Dayton hospital to meet with patients who were victims of the shooting, as well as with emergency and hospital staffers. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the president told survivors at the hospital, "You had God watching. I want you to know we're with you all the way."

Protesters trailed the president and first lady as they arrived at the Dayton hospital. Some were chanting, "hey hey, ho ho! Donald Trump has got to go!" Some waved signs that said, “Dump Trump.” Some congregated in front of a “Trump baby” balloon. One of the protesters held a sign saying “End This Terror” and made an obscene gesture in the direction of the motorcade. A woman yelled, “Trump for impeachment.”

At least 200 people reportedly took part in the Dayton anti-Trump protests. Some Trump supporters showed up as well.  Fortunately, there was no violence.

The protesters no doubt had a good time venting their anger at President Trump. However, their blame game against the president was entirely misplaced. The Dayton shooter was certainly no fan of President Trump and was not motivated by any shared beliefs with the president or inspired by the president’s rhetoric. To the contrary, he reportedly was pro-Antifa as well as a supporter of Elizabeth Warren. The shooter was said to have tweeted at one point, “kill every fascist.” Yet there were no protests against Antifa, whose members have engaged in violence against those they consider “fascists.”

There also were no protests aimed at far-left Elizabeth Warren, whose ideas were evidently shared by the Dayton shooter. Nor should there be. The Dayton shooter was solely responsible for his own heinous crime. He acted out the violent demons in his head. Indeed, the Dayton shooter had a long history of mental problems leading up to his shooting spree. His rampage might have been prevented with timely treatment and the reporting of his prior threats of violence to law enforcement agencies and to the gun background check database system.

President Trump extolled the victims, families, first responders, medical staff and law enforcement officers he met in Dayton. Even Mayor Whaley said she thought the first responders and victims were grateful to see President Trump at the hospital. However, President Trump was not pleased with what the mayor and Senator Brown had to say at the joint news conference they held after the president departed, in which they denounced the president’s rhetoric and pressed their demands for sweeping gun control measures. President Trump tweeted that their news conference was “a fraud,” which “bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with.”

After Dayton, President Trump visited El Paso. Just before he arrived there, two city officials issued a statement demanding that the president “personally condemn racial terrorism by white supremacists, in no uncertain terms.” Otherwise, the statement claimed, “his continued depiction of immigrants and migrants as a threat to our nation will only place our community at greater risk for racially-motivated attacks.” Their irresponsible statement ignores the fact that President Trump has been clear in his condemnation of racial violence and the ideology of white supremacy that can fuel such violence. Moreover, the statement conflates legal and illegal immigration. The president wants to crack down on illegal immigration and gaming of the nation’s asylum laws, not those who come to this country legally.

The El Paso shooting is being treated as a hate crime and as a possible act of domestic terror. The shooting suspect is reportedly a white supremacist who absorbed the virulent, racist invective appearing on extremist social media sites. He is said to have posted his own hate-filled manifesto shortly before his shooting spree, claiming that his “ideology has not changed for several years” and that his opinions on immigration and other subjects “predate Trump and his campaign for president.” Nevertheless, taking individual words from the manifesto such as “invasion” out of context and trying to match them with words used by President Trump in his speeches about illegal immigration, Trump haters seek simplistically to link the president’s rhetoric and the El Paso shooter’s carnage in cause and effect terms.

The manifesto purportedly written by the El Paso shooter contained outright appeals to racism that came from his own twisted mind and the racist rants of other like-minded bigots. For example, the manifesto recommended dividing America into a confederacy of territories, with at least one territory for each race to eliminate the mixture of races. It mused about violence to combat what the manifesto characterized as the threat Hispanics pose to America’s identity. Only an imbecilic demagogue would ascribe such beliefs to anything the president has said about illegal immigration, crime-ridden inner cities, the far-left anti-Semites who presently sit in the House of Representatives, or any other subject.
Beto O’Rourke, whose hometown is El Paso, is one such imbecilic demagogue. Democrat Rep. Veronica Escobar, whose congressional district includes El Paso, is another. In a bid to reignite his flagging presidential campaign, O’Rourke accused the president of stoking racism, inciting violence and being a white nationalist himself. Rep. Escobar said, "Words have consequences.The president has made my community and my people the enemy."

Both O’Rourke and Escobar strongly opposed the president’s visit to El Paso. "We do not need more division,” O’Rourke said. “We need to heal. He has no place here." Escobar said that President Trump was "not welcome" in El Paso. He “should not come here while we are in mourning.”

With remarks like these, O’Rourke and Escobar are the ones sowing division and hatred. El Paso Mayor Dee Margo hit the right note when he tweeted, “We will stay united as we work through the long healing process.” Despite their differences over immigration policy, the mayor set an example to residents of El Paso who do not like President Trump by focusing on the tragedy in their city, not dislike of the president. The mayor welcomed President Trump to the city as a sign of respect for the Office of the Presidency.

Rep. Escobar declined to meet with President Trump, saying “I refuse to be a prop.” Instead, she and O’Rourke joined a protest at El Paso's Washington Park opposing President Trump's visit. Adri Perez of the El Paso ACLU told protesters that “we must come together and say, Donald Trump, your racism, your hatred, your bigotry are not welcome here.” He urged the crowd to turn their grief “into anger and our anger into action.” What “action” he had in mind was not clear. Protesters held anti-Trump signs such as “Trump is a racist,” “Trump is a lying, corrupt racist,” “F..k Trump’s hate speech,” and “Trump not welcome here.”

As President Trump and the first lady had done in Dayton, they visited a hospital in El Paso to meet with medical professionals and victims from last weekend’s mass shooting. Trump haters and supporters were outside of the hospital shouting at each other. Police with shields and assault rifles were present to try and keep the peace. As in Dayton, there fortunately was no violence.

Instead of hitting the pause button on politicizing the tragedies and allowing the country some space to heal from the wounds, contenders for the Democrat Party’s presidential nomination continued to add fuel on the fire. On the very day that President Trump sought to console victims of last weekend’s two mass shootings and honor first responders, Joe Biden accused the president of being responsible for “fueling a literal carnage” in America. President Trump declared the speech “Sooo Boring!” It would also be accurate to say that Barack Obama’s vice president maliciously slandered President Trump, forgetting about the carnage from 24 mass shootings that occurred on the Obama-Biden administration’s watch, resulting in 236 fatalities.

Biden evidently forgot the words of his boss after the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting in 2012, in which Obama reminded Americans how such a tragedy "reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family."  Indeed, Biden himself issued a statement saying, “The prayers of an entire nation are with the victims and their families.” Obama’s Republican opponent in 2012, Mitt Romney, said in response to the Colorado mass shooting, “I stand before you today not as a man running for office, but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American… we can come together, show our fellow citizens the good heart of the America we know and love.’’ There was no politicization of the mass shooting tragedy in 2012. Leaders of both parties urged unity and offered words of healing. Not so today. Democrats and other Trump haters relentlessly attacked the president even as he tried to use his visits to Dayton and El Paso to unite and heal the country. Then they criticized him for fending off the grossly unfair personal attacks.

After his El Paso visit, the president declared that it had been an “amazing day.” He tweeted, “Leaving El Paso for the White House. What GREAT people I met there and in Dayton, Ohio. The Fake News worked overtime trying to disparage me and the two trips, but it just didn’t work. The love, respect & enthusiasm were there for all to see. They have been through so much. Sad!”

With all the slings and arrows aimed at President Trump on the day that he sought to console and honor those affected directly by the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings, the president displayed true leadership. He valiantly upheld the dignity of the Office of the President. His detractors on this solemn day disgraced themselves.

Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.


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The Social Geography of the BDS Movement and Antisemitism - Dr. Alex Joffe

by Dr. Alex Joffe

A simple explanation for these patterns is that BDS interest correlates with post-Christian contexts in which Jews are relatively absent, or with “white” class anxiety emanating from academia.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,249, August 8, 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: An original analysis of the global distribution of BDS Internet searches revealed disproportionate interest in countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, and Sweden, as well as in coastal US states with large academic institutions. In the former regions there are few Jews and little contact with Israel, while in the latter, there are many Jews but proportionately fewer Christian supporters of Israel. A simple explanation for these patterns is that BDS interest correlates with post-Christian contexts in which Jews are relatively absent, or with “white” class anxiety emanating from academia. In the US, growing negativity about Israel in liberal Western communities is likely a class-based transfer of anxiety regarding ”white privilege” onto Israel and Jews.

Hillel Frisch’s highly original analysis of the popularity of BDS raises important questions about the character of this global ”movement.” In brief, by examining the geography of Google queries on BDS and Israel’s legitimacy, Frisch concludes that interest in BDS may be slowing, but it is also distributed uniquely.

Underlying this distribution are important factors that deserve highlighting.

Frisch found, for example, that Google searches regarding BDS in New Zealand, Ireland, and Sweden exceed those in the US and Britain. That is to say, individuals in post-Christian countries with almost no Jews and few relationships with Israel exhibit a disproportionate interest in negative information regarding both.

One explanation for this is that it is precisely the relative absence of Jews and contact with Israel that drives interest. There is a curious symmetry there with the obsessions of Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, which are entirely Jew-free. In both, Israel and Jews are given a disproportionate place in media and scholarship and are ascribed an outsized role in world affairs, albeit with different interpretations.

The relative Jewish (and general religious) void in places like New Zealand and Sweden is filled by historical refractions of Christian antisemitism, contemporary left-wing politics, and the effects of Muslim migration. The left-wing affinity toward Palestinians is a traditional secular religious article of faith, given new impetus by immigrant populations.

But there is another driver in the West, a broader leftward movement of ”white progressive” populations and politicians. Even in the absence of either Jews or Muslims, affluent, liberal communities are being influenced by the progressive left and are moving toward more strident and negative attitudes toward Israel. Hostility is becoming a normative position based on decontextualized notions of ”war crimes,” ”human rights” or Israel’s ”right-wing government,” founded on post-colonialist ”anti-imperialist” intellectual stances. In turn, these notions, specifically aimed at Israel, Jews, and the US, are being woven into the fabric of liberal middle class respectability.

The simplest explanation for this phenomenon is that affluent ”white” populations anxious about their own status in the racialized context of American and now global politics seek to defray their ”privilege” by scapegoating Israel and Jews and pandering to further left (and ethnic minority) opinions. Dislike for Israel and Jews is a litmus test and symbol of enlightened status. Since support for Israel (at least in the US) is strongly correlated with traditional religious viewpoints, anti-Israel bias serves to distinguish social classes even more broadly.

This interpretation also helps explain Frisch’s finding that expressions of American interest in BDS on Google are disproportionately centered in coastal states, especially those with numerous academic institutions. Emanating directly from academia, these attitudes are becoming naturalized throughout affluent, “white,” and Democratic constituencies. To this, as Frisch notes, must be added states that have growing Muslim populations, such as Minnesota and Michigan, which have now elected overt BDS supporters to Congress.

Ironically, growing explicit support for boycotting Israel by neo-Nazi groups puts the respectable progressive left in a de facto alliance with the far right, broadening what had been a convergence between the disreputable left and right, such as between Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and neo-Nazi leader David Duke. These realities point to both the perennial utility of antisemitism for extremist movements and the collapse of such categories as left and right.

Conversely, Frisch found that countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and the Philippines show Google searches that are disproportionately philo-Semitic. The preponderance of evangelical Christianity in these countries is part of the obvious explanation for this phenomenon, as are their negative historical and contemporary experiences with Islam. As more African and Christianizing countries in Asia, especially China, become more connected to the Internet and the global information environment, we may expect similar results.

But BDS is not simply a free-floating social preference among particular demographics. Institutionally it is a key instrument of the red-green alliance between left-wing “social democratic,” which is to say communist, organizations and Muslim Brotherhood-controlled groups. Human agents drive and shape its narratives, which are pulling broader constituencies leftward and toward Israel antipathy.

New research by the Community Security Trust (CST) in Britain has also shown that the information environment in which politicians and populations alike operate has been driven by social media “engine rooms” that churn out endless streams of hostile postings about Israel. Labour members from Islamist, socialist, and pro-BDS backgrounds are all part of this Corbynite cadre, targeting Labour critics inside and outside the party as well as Jews and Israel. This is Soviet-style information warfare cranked up to an entirely new level.

Institutionally, these efforts mesh with the effective takeover of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn by the Israel-obsessed. Another report submitted as part of the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into Labour antisemitism demonstrates that the leadership of the Labour Party after the election of Corbyn set about systematically taking over party structures and radicalizing members against Israel and its supporters, especially Jews.

The obsession of a minority permitted the disinhibition of a broader group of bigots, and, indeed, encouraged it. They then indulged in all manner of crude antisemitism. The same process, of an Israel-hating “social democratic” fringe seeking to take over the broader party and in the process dragging it and politics as a whole leftward, is underway with the Democrats.

But another curious feature of this process is that with the election of Boris Johnson as leader of the Tory Party and his elevation to Prime Minister, Labour wrath has now descended on those ethnic minorities who had the temerity to join Johnson’s Cabinet. The same process has occurred in American politics, as supporters of Trump are accused of being “racists” and “white supremacists,“ and even within the American Jewish community, as Jews accuse other Jews of supporting Trumpist and Israeli “white supremacy.” Revolutions invariably create conflicts between the radicals and the extremely radical. Politics as a whole is the casualty but minorities who fail to conform are, with Jews, among the first victims.

Like antisemitism, BDS is both an environment and an instrument; it exists as a free-floating cultural norm both of the far left and far right, and as a tool utilized against Israel and Jews. The presence or absence of Jews is secondary and the complex realities of Israel are irrelevant. But the creep of BDS and resulting antisemitism into the normative liberal political behavior of Western countries where Jews have been an active, welcome presence in post-war history is an ominous development.

Dr. Alex Joffe is a Shillman-Ingerman Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior non-resident fellow at the BESA Center.


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Killing Free Speech in France, Germany and on the Internet - Judith Bergman

by Judith Bergman

While Facebook eagerly claims to be fighting hate speech online -- 105 posts of some of Al Qaeda's most notorious terrorists are still up on Facebook, as well as YouTube.

  • In early July, France's National Assembly adopted a draft bill designed to curtail online hate speech. The draft bill gives social media platforms 24 hours to remove "hateful content" or risk fines of up to 4% percent of their global revenue. The bill has gone to the French Senate and could become law after parliament's summer recess. If it does, France will be the second country in Europe after Germany to pass a law that directly makes a social media company censor its users on behalf of the state.
  • Knowing that a mere Facebook post could end you up in front of a judge in court is very likely to put a decisive damper on anyone's desire to speak freely.
  • If Facebook's agreement with France is replicated by other European countries, whatever is left of free speech in Europe, especially on the internet, is likely to dry up fast.
  • While Facebook eagerly claims to be fighting hate speech online, including claiming to have removed millions of pieces of terrorist content from its platform, according to a recent report from the Daily Beast, 105 posts of some of Al Qaeda's most notorious terrorists are still up on Facebook, as well as YouTube.
  • When will Facebook -- and YouTube -- make it a priority to remove material featuring the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, whose incitement has inspired actual terrorists to kill people?

In May, France called for increasing government oversight over Facebook. Now Facebook has agreed to hand over to French judges the identification data of French users suspected of hate speech on its platform, according to France's Secretary of State for the Digital Sector, Cédric O.

Previously, according to a Reuters report, "Facebook had refrained from handing over identification data of people suspected of hate speech because it was not compelled to do so under U.S.-French legal conventions and because it was worried countries without an independent judiciary could abuse it". Until now, Reuters noted, Facebook had only cooperated with the French judiciary on matters related to terrorist attacks and violent acts by transferring the IP addresses and other identification data of suspected individuals to French judges who formally demanded it.

Now, however, "hate speech" -- as speech that fails to comply with current political orthodoxy is conveniently labelled -- appears to have become comparable to terrorism and violent crime. How autocratic, yet Cédric O apparently loves it: "This is huge news, it means that the judicial process will be able to run normally".

It is highly probable that other countries will want to have a similar agreement with Facebook; it also appears likely that Facebook would comply. In May, for instance, as France was debating legislation that would give a new "independent regulator" the power to fine tech companies up to 4% of their global revenue if they do not do enough to remove "hateful content" from their network, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented: "I am hopeful that it [the French proposal] can become a model that can be used across the EU".

France is the first and so far only country to have entered into such an agreement with Facebook.

The new agreement could signal the de-facto end of free speech on Facebook for French citizens. Self-censorship in Europe is already widespread: a recent survey in Germany showed that two thirds of Germans are "very careful" about what topics they discuss in public -- Islam and migrants being the most taboo. Knowing that a mere Facebook post could end you up in front of a judge in court is very likely to put a decisive damper on anyone's desire to speak freely.

French authorities are already in the process of setting an extremely public example of what can happen to those who use their freedom of speech on the internet. Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally Party, was recently ordered to stand trial and could face a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros ($85,000) for circulating "violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity". In 2015, she had tweeted images of atrocities committed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq to show what ISIS was doing.

If Facebook's agreement with France is replicated by other European countries, whatever is left of free speech in Europe, especially on the internet, is likely to dry up fast.

In early July, France's National Assembly adopted a draft bill designed to curtail online hate speech. The draft bill gives social media platforms 24 hours to remove "hateful content" or risk fines of up to 4% percent of their global revenue. The bill has gone to the French Senate and could become law after parliament's summer recess. If it does, France will be the second country in Europe after Germany to pass a law that directly makes a social media company censor its users on behalf of the state.

Also in early July, in Germany -- where the censorship law, known as NetzDG, also requires Facebook to remove content within 24 hours or face fines of up to 50 million euros -- the Federal Office of Justice imposed a €2 million regulatory fine on Facebook "for the incomplete information provided in its published report [the publication of its transparency report for the first half of 2018 required under NetzDG] on the number of complaints received about unlawful content. This provides the general public with a distorted image both of the amount of unlawful content and of the social network's response".

According to Germany's Federal Office of Justice, Facebook does not inform its users sufficiently of the option to report "criminal content" in the specific "NetzDG reporting form":
"Facebook has two reporting systems in place: its standard feedback and reporting channels on the one hand, and the 'NetzDG reporting form' on the other. Users who wish to submit a complaint about criminal content under the Network Enforcement Act find themselves steered towards the standard channels, since the parallel existence of standard channels and the 'NetzDG reporting form' is not made sufficiently transparent, and the 'NetzDG reporting form' is too hidden...Where social networks offer more than one reporting channel, this must be made clear and transparent to users, and the complaints received via these channels are to be included in the transparency report. After all, procedures to handle complaints of unlawful content have a considerable impact on transparency."
In response, Facebook said:
"We want to remove hate speech as quickly and effectively as possible and work to do so. We are confident our published NetzDG reports are in accordance with the law, but as many critics have pointed out, the law lacks clarity."
While Facebook claims to be fighting hate speech online, including claiming to have removed millions of pieces of terrorist content from its platform, according to a recent report from the Daily Beast, 105 posts of some of Al Qaeda's most notorious terrorists are still up on Facebook, as well as YouTube.

The terrorists include Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, who was imprisoned for more than five years in Guantanamo Bay for training with al Qaeda and fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan against the United States, and Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born terrorist, both killed by American drone strikes. According to one US counter-terrorism official, speaking in September of 2016:
"If you were to look at people who had committed acts of terrorism or had been arrested and you took a poll, you'd find that the majority of them had some kind of exposure to Awlaki."
Awlaki was preaching and spreading his message of jihad in American mosques as early as the 1990s. At the Masjid Ar-Ribat al-Islami mosque in San Diego, between 1996-2000, two of the future 9/11 hijackers attended his sermons. He is also reported to have inspired several other terrorists, such as the Fort Hood terrorist, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, with whom he exchanged emails, and the Tsarnaev brothers, who bombed the 2013 Boston marathon. Apparently, that sort of activity does not bother Facebook: The Daily Beast reportedly found the videos through simple searches in Arabic using only the names of the jihadists.

That Facebook appears to be "creatively" selective in how it chooses to follow its own rules is nothing new. As previously reported by Gatestone Institute, Ahmad Qadan in Sweden publicly raised funds for ISIS for two years. Facebook only deleted the posts after the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) approached Facebook. In November 2017, Ahmad was sentenced to six months in prison for using Facebook to collect money to fund weapons purchases for the ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terror groups and for posting messages calling for "serious acts of violence primarily or disproportionately aimed at civilians with the intention of creating terror amongst the public."

In September 2018, Canadian media exposed that a Toronto terrorist leader, Zakaria Amara, while serving a life sentence for plotting Al Qaeda-inspired truck bombings in downtown Toronto, nevertheless had a Facebook page on which he posted prison photos and notes about what made him a terrorist. Only after Canadian media outlets contacted Facebook to ask about the account did Facebook delete Amara's account "for violating our community standards."

When will Facebook -- and YouTube -- make it a priority to remove material featuring the terrorist Awlaki, whose incitement has inspired actual terrorists to kill people?

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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