Propaganda rules America today, destroying the Republic

Summary: One of the big stories in the last days of the American Republic is our gullibility. Now propaganda rules our minds. The dominance of tribal truths makes rational discussion difficult and compromise almost impossible. This makes us easy to rule. Here are a few examples. All from the Left, since they are dominant today. But in revolutionary times, that can change in an instant.

There are decades where nothing happens. There are weeks where decades happen.
— Paraphrase of a sentence from Marx’s letter to Engels, 9 April 1863,

People blinded by propaganda. By GoodIdeas. AdobeStock - 349503568.
By GoodIdeas. AdobeStock – 349503568.

A Republic is a fragile entity. It can live for centuries, then be destroyed by its people in a year. Republics often die of suicide.

Violence in Portland

Rioters attack Federal buildings with little interference from the local police. See one of the many videos that the major media do not show here, Federal agents were deployed to defend Federal buildings, which is well within their authority.

The Left went wild! The Federal agents were abducting people. Kidnapping them! Disappearing them! Troopers on our streets! Just like the Gestapo! Much of the major media made this the story, describing it as an extraordinary event (it’s not) and a massive threat to our civil liberties (examples here) – often not even mentioning the rioters’ attacks on Federal buildings.

Leftists also made much of the Federal agents’ use of unmarked cars. Although police and Federal agents often use unmarked vehicles – for good reason. Unfair! How can Antifa target their cars?

Also terrifying were Federal agents without name tags! How can Antifa dox them when they do not wear nametags?

“Federal Protective Service Deputy Director of Operations Richard Cline told reporters that, to avoid the risk of doxxing, officers’ names had been replaced with badge numbers as about 38 officers had had their personal information put online.” {Source.}

Here are Speaker Pelosi and the NY Times employing the Big Lie.

Trump’s Occupation of American Cities Has Begun. Can we call it fascism yet?” – Op-ed by columnist Michelle Goldberg.

Of course, all of this is bogus. Federal agencies have a statutory responsibility to protect Federal buildings, which were under daily attack. Agents (not soldiers) were wearing patches identifying their agencies. People were taken into custody (SOP at any riot), processed, and released where appropriate. There is no simple way to handle violent mobs. Sensible people avoid them.

But there is no antidote to propaganda in America (there are still people who believe that Saddam had WMDs to threaten America). Many (most?) on the Left read only carefully curated sources of information, which only pictures of peaceful protestors. That is their reality.

Why we are saturated in propaganda: it works

Christopher Bedford tells the sad story at The Federalist.

“On July 6, The Atlantic published social justice activist and lawyer Derecka Purnell’s “How I Became a Police Abolitionist,” an article that she opened with a story of the polluted neighborhood and culture of fear she grew up in, leading to the first shooting she says she’d ever witnessed: a police officer wounding a young boy in a St. Louis recreation center for skipping a basketball sign-in sheet. Purnell used the story as the base of a strident, impassioned call to abolish the police, whom she compared to slavers.”

Of course, the story immediately went viral and was uncritically broadcast by the major media. Staff of The Federalist investigated (Leftist media hoaxes are seldom uncovered by the press). It quickly unraveled. Four days later, with the story still rippling out across the media, The Atlantic still had not replied. Then The Atlantic drastically rewrote the story (with a correction in the footnotes) – description here. There was no shooting by police, the victim was 18 (not a boy). The article still stingingly says that the accused “was back at work the following week.” Which is odd, since liberalizing bail terms is a major recommendation by the Left.

Social media still has many mentions of this blockbuster story, such as this by The Atlantic’s “Constitution Editor.” Perhaps she still considers it “beautiful writing”, and is sad that Purnell’s fabrication was caught.

The success of propaganda stains everything

The effectiveness of propaganda in modern America, the ease with which it molds our minds, creates an irresistible pressure on our institutions to become propaganda machines. This stains everything. Supporting the narrative becomes the fast track to career success in journalism, business, academic, government, and the sciences. People have ambitions and families to feed. Of course they go along.

Climate science and related fields have been deeply corrupted. The latest example is in the largely bogus campaign to make polar bears the poster children for the coming Climate Extinction. The NYT leads the parade with “Global Warming Is Driving Polar Bears Toward Extinction.” Even People magazine joins in with “Polar Bears Likely to Go Extinct by End of Century Due to Global Warming.

They discuss “Fasting season length sets temporal limits for global polar bear persistence” by Péter K. Molná et al. in Nature Climate Change. It has two mind-blowing flaws. First, it uses RCP8.5 as a “business as usual scenario.” I first debunked that claim in 2015 (here and here). I have written more about this since then. As have many others (e.g., this from Nature Climate Change in 2018; esp. see this graphic). It is a zombie theory, too politically useful to die. But how can this description of RCP8.5 still pass peer review?

The paper has an even more astonishing failure of peer review: it uses data that ends in 2005 (there is more current data). Such a data truncation is inherently suspicious. But, as so often these days, papers that support the narrative are waived through.

For more detail, see this review by Dr. Susan Crockford. She has been writing about this for 8 years; her work has well withstood the test of time and repeated criticism.

Conclusions

American has become a nation of people governed by tribal truths. That means increased social conflict, because tribal truths are irreconcilable by logic or fact. Which is why social media has become more an exchange of insults than useful dialog. The Declaration of Independence is political poetry, not to be confused with Aristotle’s Politics. I doubt Jefferson intended “We hold these truths to be self-evident” be the foundation for every political faction in America. This makes politics into a religious conflict, with compromise – even co-existence – difficult or impossible.

I (and others) wrote about this many years ago as something to climax in the future. The future is now with the Left’s assertion that living or working with people holding different beliefs threatens their safety. They have in effect declared civil war, fighting to become a supreme caste.

But there is a more important bottom line: both Left and Right believe what they are told. They do what they are told. This makes us easy to rule. It probably makes us incapable of self-rule, unless we change.

My guess is that we will not change, and will evolve from citizens into subjects. We will console ourselves by awarding ourselves the status of victim. So we will have moral superiority over our rulers. They will find that hilarious.

The capacity for change is an inherent part of the human soul, so I might be wrong. But my prediction seems the smart way to bet.

A new phase for this website

Like so many others, I have described the slow decay of America. Reading such stories is entertainment for America’s Outer Party (college-educated middle class). I had hoped to act as a dime-store Thomas Paine or Samuel Adams, helping to arouse Americans to begin the great work of reform. I now think that is a hopeless endeavor. We have the power, but not the will to use it.

My June 15 post, A new beginning for America, concluded a series that began on July 4, 2006: Forecast: Death of the American Constitution. This was the most successful forecast of my long career betting on the future. That post also began a new series looking at the New America rising on the ashes of the America-that-once-was.

Contest

I will send a copy of Rome’s Last Citizen (see below) to those who post the best comments to this series of posts. I have ten copies. Only one book per winner. Decisions are purely subjective by the judges, based on the originality and quality of insights, plus supporting facts and analysis, of the comment.

A copy also goes to whoever suggests a new masthead for this website. “Helping to reignite the spirit of a nation grown cold” shows a hopeful spirit I no longer have.

For More Information

Ideas! See my recommended books and films at Amazon. For something different, see “The Swallow – a story of the WWII Night Witches.”

I highly recommend Martin van Creveld’s new book, Seeing into the Future: A Short History of Prediction. “From the ancients watching the flight of birds to the murky activities of Google and Facebook today, Seeing into the Future provides vital insight into the past, present, and – of course – future of prediction.” Our media overflow with predictions. This will help you sort the useful ones from the chaff, and so better see our futures.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about this vital issue see my posts about fear, about the Constitution, and especially these posts …

  1. Our institutions are hollow because we don’t love them.
  2. After Independence Day, look to America after the Republic.
  3. We have become cowards. We can become brave again.
  4. We gave our rulers the greatest gift that we can give.
  5. The Founders’ error dooms our Republic, but not the next.
  6. Fireworks for the mind on this July 4.
  7. The Boomers see the ruin of their dreams.

See the past to foresee our future

The Founders looked to the Roman Republic for ideas and inspiration. In this time of peril, we too can do so. See two books about the people who were the poles of the forces that could have saved the Republic, but instead destroyed it.

Caesar – a biography by Christian Meier. About one the most extraordinary individuals ever, who tried to chart a new path for Rome – and failed.

Rome’s Last Citizen by Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni – The life and legacy of Cato, the mortal enemy of Caesar.

"Caesar" by Christian Meier
Available at Amazon.
Rome's Last Citizen
Available at Amazon.

 

23 thoughts on “Propaganda rules America today, destroying the Republic”

  1. It’s pretty rich that you feature Andy Ngo in a post about propaganda; he’s a mirror image of the left liars you have here. I remember you retweeting and falling for the “tribal truth” of concrete milkshakes. He’s the ur example of getting places by showing people what they want to see.

    You’re someone who really pushed the FBI findings about white supremacists joining police and federal agencies, and the dangers of 4GW being brought home via soldiers becoming police or anti state insurgents. id like to hear your thoughts on how that might be playing a role in the mistrust and hatred of the police, how it has effected the lives of the people they “serve,” and what those supremacists are doing now that they have an opportunity to beat and shoot rubber slugs at whomever.

    Are you forgetting the first weeks of the riots and protests, when even docile foreign reporters were getting lit up and bloodied? Old men being crippled and concussed? The narrative of the police just responding to the riots leaves out the previous weeks, and decades, of police doing violence to the people. Plus this came from the build up of years of police needlessly shooting or humiliating people, sometimes handcuffed, on video,
    and getting away with it.

    You’ve expressed your frustration with local politics, at least rioting finally got some changes to police policy. I don’t know why cities have to burn before someone on the news mentions qualified immunity.

    1. KD,

      “It’s pretty rich that you feature Andy Ngo in a post about propaganda”

      I’m uninterested in the standard tribal rebuttal of “he opposes us, so I won’t listen to him.” It’s exactly what I’m writing about,

      If you think these videos are all CGI, fine. I pity you, but life goes on. I don’t care what anyone thinks of them; they (and police injuries in these riots) speak for themselves.

      “You’re someone who really pushed the FBI findings about white supremacists joining police and federal agencies,”

      Citation?

      “dangers of 4GW being brought home via soldiers becoming police or anti state insurgents.”

      Hasn’t happened yet on any significant scale. But it’s early days yet, as the Left pops the bolts out of America’s structure.

      “id like to hear your thoughts on how that might be playing a role in the mistrust and hatred of the police”

      Look at the results of integration of police. They’re still hated by communities that embrace their predators. Lots of videos of protestors (often white) abusing Black police.

      “Are you forgetting the first weeks of the riots and protests, when even docile foreign reporters were getting lit up and bloodied? “

      Violent riots are pants-wetting terrifying incidents up close, even if agitators describe them to the gullible as “mostly peaceful.” If we tripled the pay of police, we could field sociologists to deal with riots. The result would be interesting to see. But we deploy blue collar police, who meet violence with violence.

      As economists say, solve for the equilibrium.

      That’s the case everywhere. See reports about the French police dealing with the frequent riots in the great ring cities around Paris.

      “I don’t know why cities have to burn before someone on the news mentions qualified immunity.”

      Absolutely! Let’s equip police with attorneys on the street to consult with handling of violent offenders. Or just make them subject to scapegoating by election hungry DAs and hostile juries.

      Donut shops in our inner cities will be the beneficiaries. Women, the elderly, and shopkeepers in our inner cities will be the victims.

      But their lives don’t matter if they bring power to the Left.

      We’re in a mess, and it’s going to get worse. The Left’s mad social engineering experiments – with us as their lab rats – will accelerate the process to warp speed.

      Then the Right will have their turn at bat.

      Eventually one side or another will win and rule us. I’m confident you will whine either way.

      1. FM,

        -Of course I don’t think the videos are CGI, or that the police aren’t being injured. I meant using anything from him is propaganda because he selectively edits videos and outright lies about their circumstances. The narrative with which they are presented shapes people’s thoughts… exactly what you’re writing about.

        “FBI findings about white supremacists joining police and federal agencies,”
        Citation?
        -You haven’t? I found many posts where you link the DHS study… https://fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf. I’m remembering wrong, then. I thought you’ve posted about the FBI findings, too, and about the infiltration of local police departments. Sorry for misrepresenting you, I seem to be mistaken. Anyway, I meant it to highlight one of your successful predictions.

        Look at the results of integration of police. They’re still hated by communities that embrace their predators. Lots of videos of protestors (often white) abusing Black police.
        – Integration has nothing to do with it, black police do as they’re told or get off the force. The blue wall is the only color that matters.
        -And embracing their predators… I guess people expect the criminals to do crime, they can deal with that, but when the so called good guys prey upon the community too, it’s maddening.

        even if agitators describe them to the gullible as “mostly peaceful.”
        -This is how protests are handled. You’ve put that picture of the fat cop pepper spraying the line of seated students up a few times over the years…. Back to the current protests though… I saw videos of many protests that were calm until geysers of tear gas popped up, releasing an angry hornet’s nest into the cities. And the reporters who were shot at and beat are agitators? If you think those videos are CGI, fine, I pity you. But the videos of clearly identified and passive foreign reporters getting shoved and shot, of local reporters being shot at with pepper balls, beaten and trampled, speak for themselves. The police do what they want and rarely face consequences… which brings us to…

        Absolutely! Let’s equip police with attorneys on the street to consult with handling of violent offenders….. election hungry DAs and hostile juries
        -Yeah that’s what the issue is here, that obviously violent people are being treated too harshly and not that undeserving people have no recourse when it comes to a cop detaining, harassing, beating, shooting them. Whether it be with excessive force, (take your pick) mistaken identity, (wrong house in a no knock raid, or a guest in the “right house”) or as a bystander, (recent UPS truck chase). And what’s the conviction or even prosecution rate for cops vs the complaints they receive…
        Am I talking to the same person who wrote…
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/08/28/police-brutality-recorded-sued-immunity-71220/
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/12/01/police-killings-killed-compared-violence-73654/
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2015/10/15/americans-see-our-police-89892/

        That’s the case everywhere. / The Left’s mad social engineering experiments / Then the Right will have their turn
        -For profit prisons, police militarization, gutting of social services, offshoring, tax reductions for the rich, the war on drugs, defeat of unions, deindustrialization, etc… none of these seem like left wing ideas to me. The right has been in power and exercised it effectively. Every few years a democrat comes along to calm people down and lock in the changes. Maybe we’ve moved so far to the right a neoliberal policy is left now, but not if words have any meaning.

      2. -Of course I don’t think the videos are CGI, or that the police aren’t being injured. I meant using anything from him is propaganda because he selectively edits videos and outright lies about their circumstances. The narrative with which they are presented shapes people’s thoughts… exactly what you’re writing about.

        “FBI findings about white supremacists joining police and federal agencies,”
        Citation?
        -You haven’t? I found many posts where you link the DHS study… https://fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf. I’m remembering wrong, then. I thought you’ve posted about the FBI findings and about the infiltration of police depts too. Sorry for misrepresenting you, I seem to be mistaken. Anyway, I meant it to highlight one of your successful predictions.

        Look at the results of integration of police. They’re still hated by communities that embrace their predators. Lots of videos of protestors (often white) abusing Black police.
        – Integration has nothing to do with it, black police do as they’re told or get off the force. The blue wall is the only color that matters.
        -And embracing their predators… I guess people expect the criminals to do crime, they can deal with that, but when the so-called good guys prey upon the community too, it’s maddening.

        even if agitators describe them to the gullible as “mostly peaceful.”
        -This is how protests are always treated. You’ve put that picture of the fat cop pepper spraying the line of seated students up a few times over the years…. Back to the current protests though… I saw videos of many protests that were calm until geysers of tear gas popped up, releasing an angry hornet’s nest into the cities. And the reporters who were shot at and beat are agitators? If you think those videos are CGI, fine, I pity you. But the videos of clearly identified and passive foreign reporters getting shoved and shot, of local reporters being shot at with pepper balls, beaten and trampled, speak for themselves. The police do what they want and rarely face consequences… which brings us to…

        Absolutely! Let’s equip police with attorneys on the street to consult with handling of violent offenders….. election hungry DAs and hostile juries
        -Yeah that’s what the issue is here, that obviously violent people are being treated too harshly and not that undeserving people have no recourse when it comes to a cop detaining, harassing, beating, shooting them. Whether it be with excessive force, (take your pick) mistaken identity, (wrong house in a no knock raid, or a guest in the “right house”) or as a bystander, (recent UPS truck chase). And what’s the conviction or even prosecution rate for cops vs the complaints they receive…

        Am I talking to the same person who wrote…
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/08/28/police-brutality-recorded-sued-immunity-71220/
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/12/01/police-killings-killed-compared-violence-73654/
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2015/10/15/americans-see-our-police-89892/

        That’s the case everywhere. / The Left’s mad social engineering experiments / Then the Right will have their turn
        -For profit prisons, police militarization, gutting of social services, offshoring, tax reductions for the rich, the war on drugs, defeat of unions, deindustrialization, etc… none of these seem like left wing ideas to me. The right has been in power and exercised it effectively. Every few years a democrat comes along to calm people down and lock in the changes. Maybe we’ve moved so far to the right a neoliberal policy is left now, but not if words have any meaning.

      3. -Of course I don’t think the videos are CGI, or that the police aren’t being injured. I meant using anything from him is propaganda because he selectively edits videos and outright lies about their circumstances, but yes mixed in with videos not shown on normal media. But the narrative with which they are presented shapes people’s thoughts… exactly what you’re writing about.

        “FBI findings about white supremacists joining police and federal agencies,”
        Citation?
        -You haven’t? I found many posts where you link the DHS study… https://fas.org/irp/eprint/rightwing.pdf. I’m remembering wrong, then. I thought you’ve posted about the FBI findings, too, and about the infiltration of local police departments. Sorry for misrepresenting you, I seem to be mistaken. Anyway, I meant it to highlight one of your successful predictions.

        Look at the results of integration of police. They’re still hated by communities that embrace their predators. Lots of videos of protestors (often white) abusing Black police.
        – Integration has nothing to do with it, black police do as they’re told or get off the force. The blue wall is the only color that matters.
        -And embracing their predators… I guess people expect the criminals to do crime, they can deal with that, but when the so-called good guys prey upon the community too, it’s maddening.

        even if agitators describe them to the gullible as “mostly peaceful.”
        -This is how protests are always treated. You’ve put that picture of the fat cop pepper spraying the line of seated students up a few times over the years…. Back to the current protests though… I saw videos of many protests that were calm until geysers of tear gas popped up, releasing an angry hornet’s nest into the cities. And the reporters who were shot at and beat are agitators? If you think those videos are CGI, fine, I pity you. But the videos of clearly identified and passive foreign reporters getting shoved and shot, of local reporters being shot at with pepper balls, beaten and trampled, speak for themselves. The police do what they want and rarely face consequences… which brings us to…

      4. Absolutely! Let’s equip police with attorneys on the street to consult with handling of violent offenders….. election hungry DAs and hostile juries

        -Yeah that’s what the issue is here, that obviously violent people are being treated too harshly and not that undeserving people have no recourse when it comes to a cop detaining, harassing, beating, shooting them. Whether it be with excessive force, (take your pick) mistaken identity, (wrong house in a no knock raid, or a guest in the “right house”) or as a bystander, (recent UPS truck chase). And what’s the conviction or even prosecution rate for cops vs the complaints they receive…
        Hostile juries? Bizarre response from someone who frequently reports that the police and military are the two institutions in which American still have trust. Am I talking to the same person who wrote…
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/08/28/police-brutality-recorded-sued-immunity-71220/
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/12/01/police-killings-killed-compared-violence-73654/
        https://fabiusmaximus.com/2015/10/15/americans-see-our-police-89892/

        That’s the case everywhere. / The Left’s mad social engineering experiments / Then the Right will have their turn

        -For profit prisons, police militarization, gutting of social services and the new deal, tax reductions for the rich, war on drugs, antiunionism, deindustrialization, etc… none of these seem like left wing ideas to me. The right has been in power and exercised it effectively. Every few years a democrat comes along to calm people down and lock in the changes. Maybe we’ve moved so far to the right a neoliberal policy is left now, but not if words have any meaning. I don’t think cancel culture and corporate wokeness are stronger forces than the above, either.

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  4. John F Pittman

    Today’s nitpicks: which {show} only pictures of peaceful protestors (sp). It should be protesters. Next to last sentence in Violence in Portland.

    My offering for masthead is from Shakespeare: Lilies that fester smell worse than weeds.

    Larry in your response to KD, you bring up one of the signs that the propaganda has been so successful. It isn’t just “two wrongs make a right, if you’re on the correct side”, it is the abandonment of procedure. The Feds and every organized entity have procedures, especially procedures for unacceptable behavior, such as police abuse.

    In the Portland scene, protesters are committing several felonies. The agents are doing their sworn duty. Agents and officers can legitimately kill, not murder, someone who feloniously assaults them or even a building they are to protect. The use of rubber bullets is a procedure to avoid unnecessary injury, as is arrest. Yet the claim is the opposite. The excuse: isolated events in the past that are unrelated to the present can be used against our foes.

    What are the procedures we see from the media and the rioters. One is the lie that they are peaceful. Arson, assault, and rioting are not peaceful.

    Another is the lie “They made me do it, because they are not perfect.” The procedure is that “They” is anyone or institution that disagrees with the narrative.

    There are other lies. The point is that the procedures of these protesters are not the search for truth and justice. Rather, it is the language of power.

    1. ” isn’t just “two wrongs make a right, if you’re on the correct side”, it is the abandonment of procedure. The Feds and every organized entity have procedures, especially procedures for unacceptable behavior, such as police abuse.”

      Absolutely proved wrong time and time again, decade after decade in this country. Procedure and rules are called upon to keep a certain kind of person in line or oppressed, or to excuse morally repugnant actions by security forces, or to rationalize why “nothing can be done the law says its okay” when those in power aren’t interested in helping a situation.
      From the recent propublica release of NYPD files, many officers with 60-70+ verified complaints, countless videos of cops planting evidence or abusing people, police organized murder of activists like fred hampton or ferguson leaders, and whatever weekly news story about a swat team killing a pet or being in the wrong house, the police do what they want and we have no recourse. I don’t know how these facts, not tribal facts, but facts about life in america, don’t rationally lead to protests AT LEAST in your mind.

      1. There’s a lot of vulture/carcass imagery available – and captures the idea of the character of are soon rulers?

  5. Regarding climate change propaganda; there is an organisation set up to assist news media’s dissemination of misinformation: Covering Climate Now. https://www.coveringclimatenow.org/

    They feature the most fear inducing, cherry picked stories; a noticeable feature is appeals to emotion, perhaps a defining characteristic of effective propaganda.
    Over 400 outlets are signed up so far, there’s a full list of their “partners” on their website.
    The promotion of climate hysteria is now endemic and institutionalized.

  6. ” It probably makes us incapable of self-rule unless we change…we will console ourselves by awarding ourselves the status of victims. So we will have moral superiority over our rulers. They will find this hilarious.”

    Is the foundational basis of our incapability for self-rule due to a type of spiritual malady?

    Reinhold Niebuhr argued, shortly before WWII, that because we are all sinners, that justice in political life can be achieved “only by a certain degree of coercion on the one hand and by resistance to coercion and tyranny on the other hand. The political life of man must constantly steer between the scylla of anarchy and the charybdis of tyranny. ”

    Taking a deeper step towards personal responsibility, Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his 3 volume testament “Gulag Archipelago” unsentimentally reflected on how he believed a human being becomes evil and how he becomes good.

    ” In the intoxification of youthful success I felt myself to become infallible and I was therefore cruel. In this surfeit power I was a murderer and an oppressor and in my most evil moments I was convinced I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systemic arguments and it was only when I lay there on the rotting prison straw that I sensed within me the first stirrings of good.”

    Does genuine self-rule and the capacity to bust through propaganda seem to require a genuine will to rule self?

    1. Worm wood,

      There is nothing unusual in America’s apparent decision that the burden of self-government is too heavy for us to bear. No metaphysics is required.

      Look at the fall of the Roman Republic. The distance in time makes it easier to see. I suggest starting with the two books recommended in this post.

      “to require a genuine will to rule self?”

      The Founders believed that self-discipline was needed by citizens. It’s part of the burden which we appear unwilling to carry.

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