Allen West: I’ve “heard” 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party

posted at 12:46 pm on April 11, 2012 by Tina Korbe

This story has already gotten a lot of comment action in Headlines, but, given all the talk about Allen West for vice president, it seems to merit a full-fledged post, as well.

At a town hall event in Florida yesterday, West warned his constituents that he’s “heard” that as many as 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party. He didn’t name names, but the House has just 190 Democrats, so, if West is right, that means about 42 percent of House Ds consider themselves communists.

In this post, I want to explore two questions: (1) How plausible is it that such a sizable percentage of Democrats in the House of Representatives really prefer a centrally planned economy to a free market economy? and (2) Was it politically savvy or politically stupid of Allen West to make this statement?

The answer to the first question is easier than the second. West’s “80″ number might seem a little high, but it’s not hard to believe that, out of the many democratic socialists or social democrats in Congress, at least a fraction would go so far as to say they favor outright central planning and control of the means of production. Others might not definitively think a communist scheme of social organization is optimal but would consider it somehow preferable to democratic capitalism.

To answer the second question, we have to acknowledge that the word “communism” still has a very negative connotation to the average American, even as some of the ideas that fuel or lead to communism (e.g. the mind of man is all there is, history progresses linearly and inexorably toward collectivism, etc.) have become surprisingly widespread. Consequently, even those who admit the appeal of communist ideas or acknowledge themselves to have been influenced by those ideas will shy away from the actual label of “communist.”

It has puzzled me for some time that socialists and communists are so unwilling to call themselves by name — but, the more I read of history, the more I understand. My generation might not understand what communism really is, but we have some underlying sense that it has been broadly rejected by free and thinking peoples and we really wouldn’t have much appetite to hear ideas from someone who outright identified himself with a failed theory of social organization. Like any young people, though, we’re susceptible to making ourselves our own gods — so we’re still susceptible to the allure of the ideas of communism.

We also have to acknowledge that the average American — including the average young American — thinks that nobody today would actually embrace the failed theories that led to the bloodiest century in human history. We can conceive of anti-capitalism and crony capitalism, of a big-government approach to the solution of all problems — but outright socialism or communism? That seems like a stretch. That means that, at the same time that socialists and communists are unwilling to claim their ideas, opponents of those ideas are unwilling to label socialists and communists as such for fear of acquiring the “extreme” or “out-of-touch” label.

That’s the risk Allen West has brought upon himself with his remarks. We’ve seen West risk the “extreme” label more than once. The most ready example of his bravery is in his unflinching elucidations of what does and does not constitute racism. His past teaches us to expect that he’s unconcerned about whether these remarks earn him the label “out-of-touch.” (Incidentally, liberals can’t accuse him of fear-mongering in this instance unless they’re willing to concede that there is something in communism to fear. Then again, I suppose they would argue that it’s not that there is something in communism to fear so much as there is a common perception that there is something in communism to fear.)

At any rate, it probably wasn’t politically savvy of West to say this if he’s interested to win the VP nod. Mitt Romney has shown every sign of wanting to moderately defend conservative ideas and West doesn’t often moderate his rhetoric. It was savvy, though, if he’s looking primarily to solidify his reputation as a heedless-of-the-consequences speaker of the truth, a man who calls ‘em as he sees ‘em.

Update: According to this tweet, a spokesperson for Allen West said he was referring to the Progressive Caucus when he said 80 members of the House are communists. Meanwhile, a reader e-mailed me to note that it is beyond any kind of dispute that a number of House Democrats are members of the The Democratic Socialists of America. In 2009, DSA released the names of 70 such Democrats, many of whom still serve in the House.


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If you are Rep Allen Wes,t and you are trying to communicate to them, do you use the term progressive or even socialist democrat as terms they would know? Or do you use communist because you know that’s a familiar term for their age group?

Dr Evil on April 11, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Okaaaayyyy!! I suppose he calls himself a “Negro”, so as to better communicate on their terms. Calls TB “consumption”, does he? Refers to the Internet as “a series of tubes”?

Once again, words have meanings. There is actually a “Communist Party” in America, and as far as I can tell, nobody here has been able to name a single member of Congress who is a member of the CP, much less 80 of them.

Irresponsible, and ignorant.

JohnGalt23 on April 11, 2012 at 3:32 PM

BTW, I provided all of you the motherlode of information about the Communist Party USA and its historical solidarity with the Democrat Party. You’re welcome.

Buy Danish on April 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM

I don’t understand why he said it but I fail to see the outrage. We are talking semantics here. They don’t mind labeling Republicans, what’s wrong with this term?

Cindy Munford on April 11, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Harry Reid called GW Bush, a sitting president, “stupid” in front of HS students and gets no blowback. As much as I detest Obama, I would not want to say something bad like that in front of students. Save that stuff for the political arena.

I am so tired of the dems ALWAYS changing the rules/dynamics of what is permissible. Meanwhile, most of the battered beyotches of the repub. party just say “please like me, can’t we all get along”.

arnold ziffel on April 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM

New class at Harvard, “Understanding Obama”

Schadenfreude on April 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM

I honestly thought you were just kidding until I clicked the link. Good old Chas. Ogletree, he never ceases to impress. I’m giving you an assignment. Think of some other titles for the class. Here’s one, Political Sucker Punching 1A.

arnold ziffel on April 11, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Twenty-plus years ago, a friend of mine who is a political history buff and I were discussing the democrats. Even in those days we were batting around conversations like: Why do these guys call themselves democrats? One would think what one calls himself would represent one’s idealogy. I offered the question, would it be a large stretch to just come right out and call yourself a “socialist” or, for that matter, a downright “communist?”

I think it is time the yellow-bellied democrat twerps come right out and reveal themselves for just what they are. As much as I despise Van Jones, at least he’s honest about what he is.

Turtle317 on April 11, 2012 at 3:40 PM

(1) How plausible is it that such a sizable percentage of Democrats in the House of Representatives really prefer a centrally planned economy to a free market economy?

Tina, my most sincere condolences that you’ve been in a coma the last 6 years. I didn’t know.

My question is; How does he figure the number is that low?

TugboatPhil on April 11, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Play it as it lays.

Call ‘em as you see ‘em.

You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

The emperor has no clothes.

West just said what everyone knows is true.

jazzuscounty on April 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM

OK Tina, not a bad post at all, but my suggestion is in the future, for stories like this, you put the full quote of whatever he said in the post itself. It’s more or less impossible for readers to decide what to make of this story without that. Yes, we can see it if we follow the link, but when the quote is the story, then the full quote really needs to be in the post itself.

From your post, you might get the impression that he’s pulling a McCarthy, and asserting that he has a list of actual members of the official Communist Party.

The full quote is

Moderator: What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialist?
West: It’s a good question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

That sounds to me like a snarky way of saying that the Congressional Progressive Caucus are a bunch a commies. It doesn’t come across as any kind of assertion. It certainly doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with the actual capital C Communist Party.

RINO in Name Only on April 11, 2012 at 3:48 PM

I thought that the D caucus added “Commie 4 Life on the Down Low” to it’s charter somewhere around ’06?

preallocated on April 11, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Wise of West to say?

Probably not directly but has served to draw attention (again) to the Democratic Socialists of America and the list of politicians aligned with it.

But overall I would say it is a manifestation of political inexperience on his part to have said it in that way.

crosspatch on April 11, 2012 at 3:51 PM

RINO in Name Only on April 11, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Oops, didn’t see the update. But that is another reason why the quote should go in the post – I would bet that many readers would have been able to point out the misunderstanding without needing a clarification from West’s spokesman.

RINO in Name Only on April 11, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Im not sure if 80 members of congress are actually communists, but I do know that when I read the 10 pillars of communism and the Democrat party platform, I dont see much of a difference between the two.

Machismo on April 11, 2012 at 3:56 PM

New class at Harvard, “Understanding Obama”

Schadenfreude on April 11, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Don’t you just love it? Because he is so brilliant and most of us are just too stupid to understand his lawyerly shorthand that he speaks.

silvernana on April 11, 2012 at 3:57 PM

JohnGalt23 on April 11, 2012 at 3:32 PM

I stated in my comment that I was speculating on his motivation I don’t know why he used the term communist for progressives? It’s just one of many labels they wear intermittently depending on the group they are pandering to.

Dr Evil on April 11, 2012 at 3:58 PM

BTW, I provided all of you the motherlode of information about the Communist Party USA and its historical solidarity with the Democrat Party. You’re welcome.

Buy Danish on April 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Okay, now can you cross reference them to DNC campaign donator’s list GRIN.

Dr Evil on April 11, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Once again, words have meanings. There is actually a “Communist Party” in America, and as far as I can tell, nobody here has been able to name a single member of Congress who is a member of the CP, much less 80 of them.

Irresponsible, and ignorant.

JohnGalt23 on April 11, 2012 at 3:32 PM

If you read his quote, it’s pretty obvious he’s not saying they are part of the Communist Party. See


RINO in Name Only on April 11, 2012 at 3:48 PM

RINO in Name Only on April 11, 2012 at 4:00 PM

arnold ziffel on April 11, 2012 at 3:34 PM

It seems impossible that they truly don’t see the double standard. I guess they have been getting away with it for far too long.

Cindy Munford on April 11, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Irresponsible, and ignorant.

JohnGalt23 on April 11, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Aren’t you just a little sick of having to micromanage every word out of your mouth or the mouths of public officials? He said what he said, it stands on it’s own and different people will feel differently about it. No one will ever please everyone and it’s time to stop trying.

Cindy Munford on April 11, 2012 at 4:02 PM

the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Many here applaud West for what he said.

Yet some of those very same people think it’s a good idea to nominate someone who said “my views are progressive”.

ITguy on April 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Yet some of those very same people think it’s a good idea to nominate someone who said “my views are progressive”.

ITguy on April 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Well you know, because he’s the safe choice….

Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.

Dr Evil on April 11, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Many here applaud West for what he said.

Yet some of those very same people think it’s a good idea to nominate someone who said “my views are progressive”.

ITguy on April 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

(a) I do
(b) I don’t

silvernana on April 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Come on people, are you all that stupid? Of course they are communists. They will never admit that, but look at the policies they want to put through. It’s not fasionable to call people what they are in this PC world. Communists one and all. And they should be dealt with in an appropriate manner.

rjulio on April 11, 2012 at 4:15 PM

I am hoping for a rebuttal from Debbie Downer head of the DNC. So Deb how long have you been a member of the Communist Party?

Dr Evil on April 11, 2012 at 4:23 PM

The Communists in China refer to their economic system as “State Capitalism” which they distinguish from the “Free Market Capitalism” economic system in the United States.

In the Great Depression, many in the United States thought that Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union had cured unemployment. Today, some say we must learn the lessons of China’s state-run capitalism.

Just four months ago, Andrew Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging the United States to adopt a “forward looking, long-term economic plan,” like China does. Mr. Stern was just back from Chong­qing, impressed by that mega-city’s “people-oriented development” under “an aggressive and popular Communist Party leader — Bo Xilai.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/chipping-away-at-chinas-state-capitalism/2012/04/01/gIQA3rObpS_story.html

Question for you all…

Once President Obama and his fellow “Democratic Socialists of America” and Union Leaders finish having the U.S. government take over:

- the U.S. health care system
- the student loan industry
- the auto makers
- “green” energy companies
- the banks that they forced to take bailout money
- the education system
- and whatever industries they decide to take over next

will the United States effectively have a “State Capitalism” system, just like China?

How long will it be before Michelle Obama is forcing us all to get up early to do our “Let’s Move” calisthenics in the parks, just like Chinese citizens, to reduce the costs our government has to pay for our health care?

Rep. Allen West calls them like he sees them. And Rep. West is right to call members of the “Congressional Progressive Caucus” what they are – Communists.

Vote very carefully in November!

wren on April 11, 2012 at 4:39 PM

ITguy on April 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

I could be wrong but I don’t think the same people applauding Rep. West’s comments are the same people who are thrilled to vote for the candidate that made that statement. In fact, the very thought of Rep. West being consider to be said candidate’s VP will probably cause a severe case of the vapors.

Cindy Munford on April 11, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Aren’t you just a little sick of having to micromanage every word out of your mouth or the mouths of public officials? He said what he said, it stands on it’s own and different people will feel differently about it. No one will ever please everyone and it’s time to stop trying.

Cindy Munford on April 11, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Yeah, I guess you’re right. We should just let it slide when Democrats call increases in spending “cuts”. We should let it slide when 0 calls SCOTUS’ striking down of his law “unprecedented”. We should let it slide when Al “Tawana Brawley” says “resist we much”. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that last one.)

When the clowns act like clowns, I want to be able to hammer them unmercifully for it. But it is a helluva lot harder when we allow those on our own side to indulge in their own clownishness.

JohnGalt23 on April 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Relabel the product and put it back on the shelf to sell it. No one will buy anything labeled communist or socialist, but if you label it as being progressive, now that is a winner. No one would be against a “progressive agenda”. Everyone is for progress. …… But, but where are we going? Higher taxes, more spending, bigger government, more regulations, and a bankrupt country.

More government is not the answer, it is part of the problem.

SC.Charlie on April 11, 2012 at 4:53 PM

looks like it was a hatchet job from some liberal florida rag:

http://weaselzippers.us/2012/04/11/allen-west-almost-half-the-democrats-in-congress-are-communists-obama-scared-of-him/

he was referring to the congressional progressive caucus, the hack reporter intentionally edited out the second line of his sentence, and he was responding to a question about it. Lovely to see some hysterical “conservatives” ready to throw a stalwart tea partier under the bus over a msm hitjob. In any case i posted a link to the CPC because that is what i suspected hewas talking about without knowing the full context of his speech, and you know what?, he is absolutely right.

this post should be updated with this news, as it stands it’s merely parroting a hitjob

golembythehudson on April 11, 2012 at 4:56 PM

JohnGalt23 on April 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Is this really that horrible a statement? There is nothing illegal or any social stigma attached to being a communist or a socialist anymore. It’s all word games and McCarthy lost the war a long time ago. And since when have our folks actually had to say or do anything to be labeled? People are allowed to say silly things, we should just require it to be handled equitably.

Cindy Munford on April 11, 2012 at 4:58 PM

My father’s a lifelong Republican, but he admits he’s a socialist because he cashes his Social Security checks and he drew on Medicare for his knee surgery last year.

Drew Lowell on April 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM

this post should be updated with this news, as it stands it’s merely parroting a hitjob

golembythehudson on April 11, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Thanks! Did you email Tina? This is a much better explanation than the tweet she linked to. Meanwhile, from your link:

However, his campaign manager, Tim Edson, told The Daily Caller that West’s full remarks make clear that he was making a jab at the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and not making an outlandish, McCarthyesque allegation.

CC: Cindy Munford

Who is suggesting there’s no “stigma” attached to being called a “Communist”. Apparently West disagrees…

Buy Danish on April 11, 2012 at 5:07 PM

My father’s a lifelong Republican, but he admits he’s a socialist because he cashes his Social Security checks and he drew on Medicare for his knee surgery last year.

Drew Lowell on April 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Caution: Obama propagandist/Useful Idiot at work.

Buy Danish on April 11, 2012 at 5:08 PM

The link to the list of House Members who belong to the Democratic Socialists of America that Tina posted is very helpful.

Now we know who we need to VOTE OUT OF OFFICE in November.

But the list is not complete. NANCY PELOSI’s name needs to be added to the list of Democratic Socialists / Congressional Progressive Caucus.

As only WND has reported, Pelosi is a long-time member of the “Progressive Caucus” – or, as I call it, the Congressional Red Army Caucus.

In fact, she has even served on the executive committee of the socialist-leaning Progressive Caucus, a bloc of about 60 votes or nearly 30 percent of the minority vote in the lower chamber.

Until 1999, the website of the Progressive Caucus was hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America. Following an expose of the link between the two organizations in WND, the Progressive Caucus established its own website under the auspices of Congress. Another officer of the Progressive Caucus, and one of its guiding lights, is avowed socialist Rep. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent.

http://www.wnd.com/2006/11/38728/

Nancy Pelosi may have Political Advisors who were astute enough to get Pelosi’s name taken off the list of Congressional Progressive Caucus members, but as a former member of the Progressive Caucus’s Executive Committee, we all know that Nancy Pelosi is a “fellow traveller” and she can’t hide from her “progressive” political policies.

wren on April 11, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Let me help.

In this post, I want to explore two questions: (1) How plausible is it that such a sizable percentage of Democrats in the House of Representatives really prefer a centrally planned economy to a free market economy?

a) it is utterly implausible that this many of the vermin Democrats would declare such a position, while …

b) at the same time it is undeniable that they do. Undeniable.

and (2) Was it politically savvy or politically stupid of Allen West to make this statement?

Depends on whether or not anyone else in the GOP has the nuts and moral clarity to demonstrate this undeniable fact.

Jaibones on April 11, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Just four months ago, Andrew Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging the United States to adopt a “forward looking, long-term economic plan,” like China does. Mr. Stern was just back from Chong­qing, impressed by that mega-city’s “people-oriented development” under “an aggressive and popular Communist Party leader — Bo Xilai. wren on April 11, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Was there any mention of his admiration of the one child policy and state enforced abortions? I mean right now we have a contraception mandate, that screams for mandatory usage by enrolled participants.

Dr Evil on April 11, 2012 at 5:21 PM

My father’s a lifelong Republican, but he admits he’s a socialist because he cashes his Social Security checks and he drew on Medicare for his knee surgery last year.

Drew Lowell on April 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Given that your father was forced to pay into the Social Security and Medicare systems via payroll deduction throughout his career, your father is not a socialist for using the benefits that he earned and paid for.

wren on April 11, 2012 at 5:21 PM

i really think the hatchet job by the palm beach post, and the subsequent media frenzy, should merit it’s own post, what you have is a msm that is intentionally trying to sabotage Allen West, who is now a national figure, by using deceptive editing, remember he is himself in a tight congressional race. It was a hatchet job through and through, just like the nbc zimmerman “racist” tape

golembythehudson on April 11, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Now that we have a list of the Socialists in Congress who we need to VOTE OUT OF OFFICE in November, we need to start with the California Congressional delegation.

California’s Primary election is on June 5th, 2012.

For the first time, California will be using a “Top Two Open Primary” system.

Since the top two winners of the Primary Elections who will advance to the General Election may be from the same party, the California Primary Elections on June 5th will be the most effective way for us to clear lots of Socialists out of Congress.

With Democrats running against Democrats in the Primary, it may be more possible than it was before to unseat a Socialist incumbent.

And we need work hard to make sure as many Republicans as possible get a spot on the General Election ballot in November, since there is no longer a guarantee that a Republican will even appear on the November ballot.

Since California has over 50 Congressional Districts, California’s Primary Election will have a HUGE impact on which party will win the Majority in the House in 2012.

We can’t wait until November to clean the House in California. We need to be actively involved in California Congressional campaigns NOW.

On June 8, 2010, California voters approved Proposition 14, which created the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act.

Except for the office of U.S. President and county central committee offices, offices that used to be known as “partisan offices” (e.g., state constitutional offices, U.S. Congress, and state legislative offices) are now known as “voter-nominated” offices.

Under the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, all candidates running in a primary election, regardless of their party preference, will appear on a single Primary Election ballot and voters can vote for any candidate. The top two overall vote-getters – not the top vote-getter from each qualified party and anyone using the independent nomination process – will move on to the General Election.

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/npp.htm

wren on April 11, 2012 at 5:40 PM

My father’s a lifelong Republican, but he admits he’s a socialist because he cashes his Social Security checks and he drew on Medicare for his knee surgery last year.

Drew Lowell on April 11, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Given that your father was forced to pay into the Social Security and Medicare systems via payroll deduction throughout his career, your father is not a socialist for using the benefits that he earned and paid for.

wren on April 11, 2012 at 5:21 PM

So entitlement programs are not socialist in nature as long as they are supported by government-administered taxes? If that’s the case, why do conservatives attack them for being just that?

Drew Lowell on April 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Drew Lowell on April 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

They never should have been started but they were, by a progressive. That said, if they want to give me my “donation” back and let me take care of myself, I am just fine with that. But they won’t, will they? So your father shouldn’t feel bad about being forced into a bad deal. If I’m not mistaken, plenty of wealthy older people are forced to use Medicare when they would rather not.

Cindy Munford on April 11, 2012 at 5:55 PM

So entitlement programs are not socialist in nature as long as they are supported by government-administered taxes? If that’s the case, why do conservatives attack them for being just that?

Drew Lowell on April 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

You need new talking points, conservatives call the Ponzi schemes.

Dr Evil on April 11, 2012 at 6:10 PM

This is why we as a ppl NEED Allen West as Mitt’s running mate. He would get the base as fired up as Sarah did in 08. Please Mittens , call Allen West and ask him to be your veep, I’ll Quit calling you Mittens if ya do…………

angrymike on April 11, 2012 at 7:01 PM

angrymike on April 11, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Not a snowballs chance in H-E-double hockey sticks.

Cindy Munford on April 11, 2012 at 7:17 PM

TAKE IT TO THEIR FACES!! SHOW NO WEAKNESS!!

John Kettlewell on April 11, 2012 at 8:50 PM

This is why we as a ppl NEED Allen West as Mitt’s running mate. He would get the base as fired up as Sarah did in 08.

angrymike on April 11, 2012 at 7:01 PM

How did that work out for you?

bileduct on April 11, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I’ve heard that between 78 and 81 Congressional Republicans are actually child molesters.

bileduct on April 12, 2012 at 12:41 AM

bileduct on April 12, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Sorry but a fan of Little Green Footballs was here earlier with that line. Interesting concept to equate a political ideology with a felony.

Cindy Munford on April 12, 2012 at 1:20 AM

(1) How plausible is it that such a sizable percentage of Democrats in the House of Representatives really prefer a centrally planned economy to a free market economy?

OBAMACARE.

labrat on April 12, 2012 at 9:24 AM

I don’t know West but he must be really stupid to think that Progressive equals Communist. Hopefully he’ll lose in November and we won’t have to hear his braying any more.

independentvoice on April 12, 2012 at 9:46 AM

wren on April 11, 2012 at 5:15 PM

I only wish I could vote for one of West’s “Communists”. Instead my vote doesn’t matter because our Congressman, Joe Pitts the dinosaur, will get reelcted easily. What a shame.

independentvoice on April 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM

West just said what everyone knows is true.

jazzuscounty on April 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Dream on. The only people who think this is true are right-wing radicals like most here on Hot Air. Or Redstate. Or Malkin’s worthless blog. The vast majority of the U.S. recognize ultra-conservative lies when they see them.

independentvoice on April 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM

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