Despatches   30/11/2005

Begorrah! Oi’ve netted me a beauty here, Paddy!!

Whodathunkit!!?? Crazy Cindy Sheehan reckons the Washington Post is “right wing”.

Stuck for a Christmas present for that person who’s just a little bit different? What about Brightfeet Headlight Slippers? A Downshift Toilet Flusher? Maybe a Wild Animal Sounds Wall Clock? Find out about them at Tim Blair’s goofy gift guide.

Moan, whine, we continue to meet discrimination out here in the regions.

Righto, polish up that Nobel Prize:
Finnish computer science students have devised a system which enables air guitarists to hear themselves ‘play’.

Who’s a stupid Ficker?

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Men: Boycott Qantas   29/11/2005

Here’s another sound reason to never step aboard a Qantas flight again: The former state-controlled airline has shown it has lost none of its contempt for individuals and human rights with this contemptuous policy:

Air New Zealand and Qantas have banned men from sitting next to unaccompanied children on flights, sparking accusations of discrimination.
The airlines have come under fire for the policy that critics say is political correctness gone mad after a man revealed he was ordered to change seats during a Qantas flight because he was sitting next to a young boy travelling alone.

If these nazis get away with this what’s next? To be consistent they’d have to ban males from sports coaching, teaching, travelling beside kids on trains and buses, driving taxis if there’s a kid alone on board — the possibilities are endless.

Amazingly, a Green politician — a species usually in thrall to political correctness — has hit out at the discrimination:

The airline needed to recognise that “men are people too”, Keith Locke said.
“It is prejudicial to presume that men can’t be trusted to have contact with children unless they are related to them or are specially trained,” Mr Locke said.

UPDATE:
The disgraceful policy of Qantas (and other airlines, including Virgin and Cathay Pacific) is getting widespread coverage, including a run by the International Herald Tribune.
The Wall Street Journal online has given it a mention, too. That can’t be too good for business.
This editorial from New Zealand echoes my feelings:
The airlines’ policy says all males have an incontinent predilection for molesting children. In short, men are bad for them.
Paedophilia is the blackest of crimes and nothing is spared in the urge to condemn it, least of all the sensibilities of males obliged to shoulder the burden of shared guilt.
The consequent fear of suspicion and tarnish of accusation mean children are anathema to men, too, and that segregation might protect the latter from false claims of sexual assault. Earlier this month it was reported that Swiss Santa Clauses have been banned from sitting children on their laps because of the risk that they might face such accusations. A letter on this page laments the mistrust of any relationship a male teacher has with his pupils.

In another astonishing attack on basic democratic rights, the junta-led Australian Football League has embraced presumption of guilt according to gender.
Under its “Respect and Responsibility” policy released this month, the AFL can impose a range of punishments, including suspension and delisting, to players accused of sexual assault – even before their cases have been heard in court.

This is not only unconstitutional, it’s just plain stupid and an open invitation to corruption.
Just imagine, a week before the Grand Final a tart appears from nowhere and claims Nathan Buckley has raped her. Automatic suspension and the Pies lose yet another grannie thanks to this lovely little piece of fascism.

Football’s more important than life or death as someone once remarked. Certainly more important than inner-urban social agendas that appear to be the main priority of AFL supremo “Colonel” Andrew Demitriou. But how did matters get to this stage in the AFL? By putting in charge bovver boys with egos bigger than their spreading middle-aged guts and definitely much larger than anything carried under their hats.

UPDATE 2: All hail the power of blog. I sent the Qantas yarn off to James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web section, pointing out that it was a strange marketing ploy indeed to imply that half your adult customers were potential pedophiles.
The WSJ gave it a run and today The Australian publishes the journal’s take in its Cut and Paste column (scroll down). So my concerns have taken a return trip across the Pacific and I didn’t have to give up my seat to anyone. Or be accused of being the lowest form of humanoid on the planet.
Love to be a fly on the wall in Qantas’ marketing chief’s office.

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Actor Omar Sharif is under threat from Islamist extremists. He’s not alone.

Sharif had recently played St. Peter in an Italian TV film and spoke highly of the role, saying that he “seemed to hear voices” during filming and that “it will be difficult for me to play other roles from now on.” Although Sharif’s comments seem innocuous, they prompted a death threat. According to the Adnkronos International news agency, a message on a web forum which has been used by al Qaeda in the past linked to another website that threatened Sharif’s life. The website containing the threat said, “Omar Sharif has stated that he has embraced the crusader idolatry. He is a crusader who is offending Islam and Muslims and receiving applause from the Italian people. I give you this advice, brothers, you must kill him.”

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They could hate for Australia   

Howard-haters are going nuts in their tireless endeavours to make every public incident a black mark for the PM.
Their latest piece of imbecility is a demand that he cancel Friday’s PM’s cricket match between his Australian XI and the West Indies because drug trafficker Van Nguyen is to be hanged in Singapore that morning.
No matter that Howard’s made several pleas for clemency to Singapore authorities, almost to the point of damaging relations with that nation.
And no matter that the H-Hs have painted themselves into a corner with endless whining about the execution. Are we going to hear the same amount of belly-aching when Indonesia sentences that horrible little Amrozi to death for his slaughter of scores of Aussies in Bali?
And where did the hare-brained idea for Howard to cancel the cricket match come from?
Er, I guess no one would be surprised that it originated at the ABC, the natural habitat of Howard-haters.

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Hit assured   28/11/2005

I’m tipping this will be a huge box office hit, although the mainstream media critics will hate it. Hat tip to Michael Gill.
The script is expected to draw from the blogging efforts of Michael Yon, whom I’ve just added to the blog roll. As well as his forceful reports from the front, Yon is famous for this moving photograph:
yon

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Hilarious   

Mark Steyn has come across one of Whoopi Goldberg’s most hilarious performances. Trouble is, she wasn’t trying to be funny. I hate to labour the point but there’s a goldmine of humour for a comedian prepared to mine the lode of political correctness. It’s stupidity on a stick.

The average multiplex is surely not long for this world. Already, 85 percent of Hollywood’s business comes from home entertainment — DVDs and the like. Suits me. Or so I thought until, on the way home from the hell of Harry Potter, I stopped to buy the third boxed set in the ”Looney Tunes Golden Collection.” Loved the first two: Daffy, Bugs, Porky, beautifully restored, tons of special features. But, for some reason, this new set begins with a special announcement by Whoopi Goldberg explaining what it is we’re not meant to find funny: ”Unfortunately at that time racial and ethnic differences were caricatured in ways that may have embarrassed and even hurt people of color, women and ethnic groups,” she tells us sternly. ”These jokes were wrong then and they’re wrong today” — unlike, say, Whoopi Goldberg’s most memorable joke of recent years, the one at that 2004 all-star Democratic Party gala in New York where she compared President Bush to her, um, private parts. There’s a gag for the ages.
I don’t know what Whoopi’s making such a meal about. It’s true you don’t see many positive images of people of color on ”Looney Tunes,” but then the images of people of non-color aren’t terribly positive either (Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam). Instead, you see positive images of ducks of color, roadrunners of color and tweety birds of color. How weirdly reductive to be so obsessed about something so peripheral to these cartoons that you stick the same damn Whoopi Goldberg health warning on all four DVDs in the box. And don’t think about hitting the “Next” button and skipping to the cartoons: You can’t; you gotta sit through it.

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Almost an upset   

Well, our captain on the Observation Deck, Patrick Hawke, didn’t quite manage to get elected to his local council, but he gave it a good shake and went down by only 39 votes. He should be a shoo-in next time. Here’s Paddy:
I am very proud to have come so close. It shows that the community is changing and they are becoming more prepared to give a different approach a chance. Nearly half the population of Drouin took a punt on a person 99% of them did not know and had never met. I find it significant that they so much want a change in the status quo that they were prepared to give me a shot. It’s wonderful.

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It’s her party and . . .   

Heh-heh, it looks like the Mother Sheehan road show has slowed to a halt as the lack of attendance at her book-signing suggests:suggests:

While book-signings for political figures like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity often feature long lines and people waiting for hours, the scene at Cindy Sheehan’s book-signing yesterday near President Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch was a much more lonely affair.

Here’ s an artistic portrayal of the event:

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Self-abuser   

For decades, bearers of flimsy socialist ideology would shut up their opponents by abusing them as “fascists” or “racists”.
The fascist slur was flung so readily that eventually even the distinterested consulted their dictionaries and political encyclopedia. And what did they find? That fascists and nazis were much closer philosophically to the left’s heroes than to any democratic conservative or right wing liberal. In fact, fascists were just socialists who let a handful of corporations stay in existence to more efficiently run things.
So it was nice to see a sharp rationalist give weary old red Terry Lane a right bollicking in the Sunday Age for bandying around the fascist tag. Lane will have to update his vitriol.

Terry Lane quotes Umberto Eco’s pronunciamento, “Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism” (‘A train of thought on creeping fascism’, 20/11). Au contraire.
The Nazis enjoyed a greater degree of support in the universities than in the population as a whole. Pro-Nazi luminaries included philosopher Martin Heidegger, conductor Herbert vonKarajan and pioneer postmodernist Paul de Man.Even Joseph Goebbels hada doctorate in literature.
The intimacy between intellectuals and fascism’s alter ego, communism (“the opiate of the intellectuals”), was even closer. Intellectuals, as Paul Johnson wrote, “habitually forget that people matter more than concepts”, and will always be suckersfor a totalising system. They exemplify the classic definition of the authoritarian personality: intolerance of ambiguity.
The voice of the people, on the other hand, while not the voice of God, is at least a subversive mutter on behalf of messy, untidy common sense.
And, please, not that myth about Hitler winning a majority at the polls. The Nazis never got more than 37 per cent of the vote in a free election.
To seriously assert that the US and Australia are fascist is nothing but an adolescent dummy spit.
BILL JAMES, Bayswater>

Nicely put, Bill.

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Frightening   25/11/2005

Melanie Phillips taps into the nightmare that is sweeping Europe:
The Netherlands – that open, tolerant, multicultural country – has descended into an utterly horrifying state of mass intimidation and murderous terror directed against anyone who stands up against Islamic facism:

No greater indication of the trendy left’s utter stupidity is their failure to understand that it is their idealogical touchstones like homosexual rights and women’s liberation that are the first casualities in an islamofascist blitzkrieg.

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They’re peaceful … really … truly …   

Yes, we have to get down and engage with these disaffected people, find the root causes to their problems. They are, after all, Muslims and that’s the religion of peace, isn’t it?
JEMAAH Islamiah mastermind Azahari bin Husin was planning a suicide bomb attack on the memorial service held in Kuta last month for the 202 people who died in the Bali nightclub bombings three years ago.
The October 12 service was attended by 300 people, including Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Justice Minister Chris Ellison, Bali Police Chief I Made Mangku Pastika and at least 50 relatives of the 88 Australians who died.
The JI bombmaker, who was killed in a shootout with police earlier this month, was also considering mounting attacks on a range of other Bali targets, including the airport, the Ubud art market, temples, restaurants and the zoo, according to a detailed document titled The Bali Project obtained by Indonesian police.

Pretty big story.

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Vote (1) Patrick   24/11/2005

If it were at all possible, I’d slip over the bay to Drouin in Gippsland, register on the electoral roll and vote early and often for mine capitan on the Observation Deck, Patrick Hawke, who is standing for the local council.
Alas, I’m more likely to join the Druids than the Drouinites but our best wishes are with Paddy in his tilt at democratic representation on Saturday.
Paddy has chronicled his campaign on a special blog and it makes illuminating reading about grassroots politics. If this excerpt is any indication, I’d welcome a few Paddies on our council.

I had a phone call today asking me what I thought of Baw Baw’s ever increasing rates. My answer was simple. Council rates will always go up, that’s a given, the thing is that we have to fight not to lose services as well. Rates going up is natural progression, rates going up and services going down is unacceptable. This is the case currently with Baw Baw’s hard rubbish removal service. The rates have gone up and essentially this service has been lost. Not good.
The caller also told me he was disappointed with council wasting our money, he quoted examples of council trying to stop perfectly legal permits by appealing them on a regular basis.
I agree. The Baw Baw shire legal bill must be staggering to say the least. I bet their legal firm rubs its hands together every time a Baw Baw rep walks through the door. And you’re paying for it. Good huh?

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Laughter’s a powerful weapon   

When it comes to mocking maniacal mullahs and their henchmen, no one tops Mark Steyn:

Still, Zarqawi has now announced his intention to decapitate King Abdullah. “Your star is fading,” he declared. “You will not escape your fate, you descendant of traitors.” The Hashemite kings are descended from Mohammed, so I’m not sure what family tree he thinks he’s barking up there. But it was just a passing slur and Zarqawi quickly cut to the cut. “We will be able to reach your head and chop it off.”
Yeah, you and whose insurgents? I don’t know what Islamist Suicide-Bombing For Dummies defines as a soft target but a Jordanian-Palestinian wedding in the public area of a hotel in a Muslim country with no infidel troops must come pretty close to the softest target of all time. Even more revealing, look at who Zarqawi dispatched to blow up his brother Muslims: why would he send Shamari, one of his most trusted lieutenants, to die in an operation requiring practically no skill? Well, by definition it’s hard to get suicide bombers with experience. But Shamari’s presence suggests at the very least that al-Qa’ida’s Iraq branch is having a hard time meeting its recruitment targets.

Seriously though nothing, apart from a bullet, defuses a zealot’s enthusiasm like ridicule. Comedians, scriptwriters and cartoonists should be following Steyn’s lead and inspiring the civilised world to laugh scornfully at these pumped-up, cowardly, barbaric obsessives.
The fact that most from the comedic arts shy from such obvious targets shows how much in thrall they are to the Islamofascist-appeasing intelligentsia and politically correct dummies whining about “marginalised minorities”.
Surely the comic classes approve of Charlie Chaplin who was after all a leftie. He had no problem satirising the shite out of Hitler. And it made him a legend.

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X marks the POTUS-in-waiting   22/11/2005

A conspiracy, a technical glitch or a control room prank?
Whatever, Matt Drudge has revealed that CNN was airing Vice President Dick Cheney’s speech live from the American Enterprise Institute in Washington — when a large black ‘X’ repeatedly flashed over the vice president’s face!

The ‘X’ over Cheney’s face appeared each time less than a second, creating an odd subliminal effect.
As this DRUDGE REPORT screen capture reveals, while one ‘X’ flashed over Cheney’s face CNN ran a headline at the bottom of its screen: “CHENEY: I DO NOT BELIEVE IT IS WRONG TO CRITICIZE.”
One top White House source expressed concern about what was aired over CNN.
“Is someone in Atlanta trying to tell us something?”
A CNN spokesman did not return repeated calls late Monday night.

Someone’s due for a steel-capped Size 12 in the backside.

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Repulsive sight: Michael Moore exposed   

Michael Moore has been dumped on by a reviewer in his home town of Flint over revelations contained in Peter Schweizer’s new book,
“Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy,” Schweizer exposes Moore’s “fake public persona,” the Flint Journal states in a review.
Moore proudly points to his upbringing in the working-class Michigan city, a former United Auto Workers Union stronghold, and much of his movie “Roger & Me” was filmed there.
But Moore does his film production in Canada to avoid paying union scale and threatened to fire half of his TV show’s writing staff when they wanted to join a union, reviewer David Forsmark reports after reading Schweizer’s book.
“He’s a proponent of affirmative action but never has hired a black person to do anything important on one of his projects.
“Moore claims he owns no stock and only puts ‘what little I can’ in ‘something the old-timers call a savings account’ – yet Schweizer writes that he owns stock in defense contractors and Halliburton.
“Moore says he gives away 40 percent of his money, but Schweizer reports that his tax returns show his foundations give the minimum necessary to stay tax exempt.”

Shares in Haliburton! How will fat boy wriggle out of that?

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Monster disrobed   21/11/2005

Historical hard-head Keith Windschuttle has written a savage, fact-filled attack on Maoism for Quadrant magazine.
Windschuttle, who like many of us was a soft leftie until he grew up and got brains, rounds on the usual unreconstructed suspects.
In the Seventies, Maoism in Australia became radical chic. Celebrities such as advertising executive Phillip Adams and ambassador to China Stephen Fitzgerald turned Mao caps and jackets into fashionable attire. The collection of Mao’s revolutionary aphorisms, The Little Red Book, became a best-seller in left-wing bookshops. In 1971, a tract by two Danish authors urging children to defy authority and enjoy sex was published and sold in Australia by radical journalist Wendy Bacon under the name The Little Red Schoolbook . After New York ‘s Andy Warhol produced his silk screen multiple portraits of the great helmsman in 1972, the National Gallery of Australia purchased a copy. Sydney celebrity artist Brett Whiteley followed with a number of social realist paintings acclaiming life in China under Communism. As part of a series of portraits of his artistic heroes, van Gogh, Gauguin and Bacon, Whiteley added one of Chairman Mao in full military dress.

Importantly, Windschuttle draws on reputable sources to demonstrate just what an evil, genocidal tyrant Mao was. His slaughter victims top Hitler’s and Stalin’s combined.
It is unlikely that future Chinese anniversaries will be celebrated by anyone in the Australian media in the same way. Mao Tse-tung now stands revealed as the greatest mass murderer in human history. We now have plausible evidence that he was responsible for the deaths of more than 70 million people, a tally larger than that achieved by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin combined. In their new biography Mao: The Unknown Story ( Jonathan Cape, London, 814 pages, $59.95), Jung Chang and Jon Halliday attribute 38 million of these deaths to the great Chinese famine of 1958–61. Another 27 million were executed or worked to death between 1950 and 1976 in Mao’s gulag of prisons and labour camps. During the initial nationwide campaign of terror to consolidate his regime from October 1950 to October 1951, Mao oversaw three million Chinese killed by execution, mob violence and suicide. A further three million suffered the same fate after 1966 at the hands of the Red Guards and other protagonists of the Cultural Revolution.

I feel embarrassed that in my youth I thought this monster was a force for good. But I at least admit my folly. The silence from most publicly proclaimed Maoists of the 60s and 70s could lead many to believe they still hold those views. They don’t, surely?

Moreover, Chang and Halliday reveal how much responsibility Mao had for this particular catastrophe. Becker had attributed the famine largely to the ideological folly of a failed experiment in collectivization. Chang and Halliday produce new evidence to show it was more sinister than that. Mao’s regime confiscated Chinese harvests during the Great Leap Forward so it could export food to Communist-controlled Eastern Europe in exchange for armaments and political support. Food and money were also exported to support anti-colonial and Communist movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the first year of famine, 1958–59, China exported seven million tons of grain, enough to feed 38 million people. In 1960, a year in which 22 million Chinese died of starvation, China was the biggest international aid donor in terms of proportion of GNP in the world. Thanks to Chinese agricultural exports, East Germany was able to lift food rationing in 1958, and Albania in 1961.
In China at the same time a major food source for the urban population became the “food substitute” chlorella, a disgusting substance that grew in urine and contained a little protein. In the countryside, starving Chinese peasants were reduced to eating bark and compost and, in Anhui and Gansu provinces, to cannibalism. In Chinese cities in 1960, the maximum daily intake was 1200 calories, compared to the 1300-1700 calories a day fed to the inmates of Auschwitz .

Read the lot and reflect on the cult-following this maniac enjoyed in Australian universities and some unions 20 to 40 years ago. And consider that many of those followers hold positions in academia, politics and media. Perhaps Windschuttle’s sizzling essay will spark some expressions of remorse.
Hmmm, Porcine Airlines cleared for landing.

UPDATE:
This letter to The Australian dumps on the sentiments of at least one former Monash Univeristy (60s-70s habitat of Aussie Maoists) activist. His brother, at least, saw the light.
IN rejecting his brother’s suggestion that radical Muslim preachers should be deported, Tim Costello has demonstrated his graduation from champion of the downtrodden to full membership of a contemporary version of “Mao’s Useful Idiots” (“Fear factor splits the two Costello brothers”, 24/11). That coterie of supporters of the world’s most murderous political system included crazed clergymen willingly and fatuously blinded to reality. Magnanimously Pastor Costello concedes the difficulty of dealing with suicide bombers, but regarding radical Muslim preachers he’s “not saying deport them. I’m saying publish them – publish, publish, publish – and debate it”. Well, I guess that is what supporters of appeasement no doubt pushed when confronted by Hitler’s demands in the 1930s. Debate and negotiation served no purpose then. Furthermore, what is the use of debate when the other side is utterly intransigent and prefers murder and mayhem to civilised discourse? Extremism knows no bounds, the stakes are now too high, so our tolerance should have limits. Apart from pious hand-wringing and mealy-mouthed pleas for more debate, will Tim Costello take any personal responsibility if, or rather when, it is demonstrated that the tolerance he demands for radical Muslim preachers has contributed to injuries and deaths from a terrorist strike in this country?
Warwick Stacey
Epping, NSW

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Origins of civilization   20/11/2005

This is how it all came about:

Once beer was discovered it required grain & that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early human ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That’s how villages were formed.
Some men spent their days tracking & killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as “The Conservative movement.” Other men who were weaker & less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q’s & doing the sewing, fetching & hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men sometimes think and act like they are women. The rest became known as ‘girleymen.’

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Ho, ho, ho!!   19/11/2005

I’m not sure what I want for Christmas, dear. But I know what I’m getting you.

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Moonbag   18/11/2005

Is it their gigantic egos that convinces most celebrities that the “keep your trap shut and have people only suspect you are stupid” rule doesn’t apply to them? Here’s that towering intellectual, Madonna, on political matters:

“9/11 was too ambiguous. You couldn’t prove how the government was somehow in on the deal. You could say ‘Oh that’s just Michael Moore’. New Orleans was undeniable irresponsibility.”

Can’t sing, can’t act, trades on being a bigoted slut. And now reveals she’s in the tinfoil hat ranks of moonbattery.
God, it must be embarrassing for those with brains who hold leftwing opinions.

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Word’s out   

Dare say there’ll be much newspaper flinging and stamping of grubby footwear in school staffrooms across the nation today in the wake of this report (scroll down):

IF you were thinking of sending your child to an Australian school, think again. Teachers addled by New Age nonsense about “outcomes-based education” have sent standards plunging and schools have been captured by trendy ideologues more interested in remaking society than teaching reading, writing and arithmetic.

It appears in the influential Bangkok Post and has sparked a degree of, let’s say, smugness, in the Slatts household.

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