Should the Insurance Industry be Legal?

Should the Insurance Industry be Legal?
David Schlecht

I’m guessing you’re finding this question rather odd. But, think about it and it only makes sense. As I wrote in an earlier post, the one legal requirement of a corporation is to make money, not provide services.

Why would we want to put money into an insurance pool knowing that the pool’s primary purpose is to make profit and if it can find a way to disqualify me, it must do so by law, regardless of whether it’s moral or fair or even correct?

Think about the concept of insurance, for a moment. Insurance is a way for a very large number of us to  pool a small amount of money from each of us to help cover the catastrophic costs of one of us encountering an unforeseen or unexpected condition.  In layman’s terms, it’s all about spreading the risk out to a large enough pool that it doesn’t cost much to insure compared to the cost of disaster.

Now, if it’s just a bunch of people all pooling our money together, then it’s really insurance. On the other hand, if it’s a bunch of us giving our money to an insurance company then it’s a gamble whether we’ll actually get paid, or get disqualified.

You know, come to think of it, insurance is the fundamental purpose of a government. We have national military because we can’t all afford to hire our own little militias and certainly can’t afford a big military, so we pool our money and put it into a military that protects us all. That’s insurance.

How about our police force? Same thing isn’t it? We can’t all afford to hire the Pinkerton Detectives to protect our homes, so we all pitch in a few dollars a week and pool it into a police force that insures all of us, yes, even the greedy who are so opposed to people helping each other. Okay, one more example, how about our fire departments? Aren’t they really insurance? Of course they are.

Now, what happens when we put a corporation in between us and our pool of money? Well, like in the days of old, the fire department will drive to your burning home and see if you’re a paid subscriber and if not, then just drive right on by. Hopefully the company you are paying isn’t far behind. And, hopefully your neighbors have been paying their fire company or your neighborhood will soon look like Somalia and your property value will look about the same as well.

I’m not recommending that our government should run all our insurance needs. Not by a long shot. Some, certainly. I am, however, suggesting that we should make it illegal to make a profit running an insurance company (and yes, that includes fire companies, etc.). Non-profit organizations will spring up all over the country to fill the void.

And, now we’re going to have to look at the abuses we’re seeing in non-profit companies where the CEOs and Boards of Directors are bringing home greedy compensation packages. But we already have laws against that so it’s not too hard to fix it, just start enforcing the laws.

Should greedy insurance companies really be in charge of distributing our money as they see fit?

What’s Next for the Healthcare Bill

What’s Next for the Healthcare Bill
David Schlecht

By now, everyone paying attention to the bill knows that the one coming from the Senate failed the two attempts to include public options. Everyone knows that a plan like Baucus put together would be a disaster for America but a big payoff (reimbursement) to the health insurance industry.

So, where does it go from here and what should we be doing?

Nobody really thought that Baucus would deliver anything of any value to the American voter so the sooner we can get his worthless bill out of the Senate, the sooner we can start the reconciliation process. The next step is for Reid and Pelosi to reconcile the two versions of the bill and come up with a single plan that is then ratified by the House and Senate.

We need to all be calling Reid and Pelosi every day and letting them know we demand a strong universal public option. It’s sad to say, but Congress has demonstrated their ignorance as to the importance of this bill. If they fail to pass a meaningful bill the Democratic voters will refuse to re-elect them. We could see a huge turnover in the Democratic party if they fail this test. I for one will refuse to vote for a single Democratic incumbent if they can’t get this through.

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The Newspaper Fiasco

The Newspaper Fiasco
David Schlecht

We’ve reported in prior posts regarding the encroaching corporate bias in our local papers as they are gobbled up by the national and international media companies. Now even the national media outlets are losing money on local papers. What can a free country do without a free press?

Many of our country’s founding assumptions are based on the principle of a free press and there have been numerous articles written about the subject by or founding fathers. The idea of a free press has grown to include free media which includes radio, television, and now the Internet.

I think that by chunking up to the larger issue of free media, we are risking losing track of the fundamental that our forefathers were so concerned over. A free media is great but it’s not nearly as important as a free local press. Remember, back in the days of 1776, when our country was new, all press was local. The idea of a free press only meant local press.

Now that we have allowed our local free press to be gobbled up by greedy national corporations, we’ve abandoned the concerns our forefathers were so explicitly warning about.

All communities need local new reporters and local journalists and local papers. It’s time for us to put our tax dollars into our local news papers and bring back local investigating and local news.

But, you say that dead-tree press is already obsolete. You’re right, but there are plenty of people who can only afford a dead-tree newspaper and this will always be true. I know enough people who do not have Internet access and don’t get the new fandangled phone message news and the new fandangled, what-ever-comes-next. There will always be people who need access to the cheapest form of news. We can’t abandon those papers.

Should we use our tax dollars to ensure a free local press? Take the poll.

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Stop Hate Speech

Stop Hate Speech
David Schlecht

[Updated below]

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Michele Bachmann has been on a rant demonizing the American Census for a long time now and her followers are adding even more hate to the fire.

Just a couple days ago a Census worker was murdered in a grisly display of hatred.

No one really denies that there is a connection between the hate speech and the hate crimes, well, no one but the guilty. The rest of America know that it is cause and effect of too much hate speech.

Last year there were three murders of “liberals” by the weak-minded reading the hate speech of O’Reily, Hanity, and, Limbaugh.

When will America wake up and start enforcing our laws against hate speech? Had we enforced the laws when the crimes were committed last year, and the hate speech was addressed, then Bachmann would either have toned down her hate or gone to prison for it. Either way, there would have been one less hate crime.

It’s time to put hate speech in it place, in prison.

Update: There is evidence to believe that this grisly murder may have been a suicide. Does removing the one case from the discussion change the need for reform?

Did You Know?

Did You Know?
David Schlecht

Here is some interesting trivia regarding America’s past.

  1. Near the beginning of the our drive to independence, our founding fathers had a tea party revolt and dressed up as natives and dumped millions of (today’s) dollars worth of tea in the bay. This was a revolt against a corrupt corporation who had their taxes decreased so they could put American tea houses out of business. Got that? A revolt against greed and against corporations. You see, the Honourable East Indian Tea Company (one of the world’s first corporations) had become so influential that they were able to affect English legislation regarding their trade practices.
  2. None of Americas founding fathers were stinkingly rich and none left financial legacies. Most of the founding fathers were middle class Americans. Some were a little better off and many were a lot worse off. None were what we would call corporate greedy, like today’s corporate greedy. In fact, from #1 you can see that they were opposed to unrestrained greed.
  3. The upper nobility left America during and after the revolution, moving back to England or to Canada. Again, this is more examples of the fact that the founding of America was for a more equitable and just country. In fact, if you spend a few moments reading over the Declaration of Independence, you will see  equity and fairness as a fundamental theme. America is based on equitable and fair access to the country’s riches.
  4. Welfare is referenced in our constitution, not once, but twice. Imagine that! The desire to help one another is a fundamental part of our founding documents. We’ve all read the words, “Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Nowhere does our constitution make any special references to greed or free markets or free commerce. Nowhere! Why? Because the country was founded on being of, by, and for the people, not the corporations.

The very first congress provided welfare funds to help the needy. Got that? The very first one.

So, when you hear someone tell you that Welfare is illegal, it’s time you realized either they’re really that stupid or they’re purposely lying to you.  Helping one another was and is a fundamental American responsibility. Today, you hear all the stinkingly rich cry about having to repay to a society that has given them so much. For some reason, “greedy” and “selfish” just don’t seem to do justice to this kind of person.

If you hear politicians proclaiming that we need to reduce the size of government, it’s time to evict them. A strong and happy society has a strong and effective government. Those who want to do away with this don’t want America to follow the dreams of our founding fathers. Vote them out! When you hear Reagan say the “9 most terrifying words”, you should be disgusted in his ignorance.

The Trouble With Acorn

The Trouble With Acorn
David Schlecht

Acorn has been in the news a lot lately. For those who don’t know what Acorn does, they’re an organization that works to help the poor and disenfranchised get access to help, and that includes helping them get out and vote. This from their website:

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities

Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it?

The Republicans have been trying to shut down this organization for a long time. You should ask yourself, why. What is so sinister that a political party would be so afraid of an organization intent on helping people? But, forget that for now. Let’s look at their current troubles.

Recently, a few employees of Acorn were caught offering advice on starting questionable businesses when they were asked. The organization has no interest in helping people start questionable businesses and it’s not a service the organization provides.

So, for whatever reason the Republicans hate this organization, they are using this opportunity to try to shut them down. They’ve even passed a bill to prevent disreputable businesses from doing business with the government with the primary effort to halt any funding to Acorn.

Now, here is the problem I have with this. Halliburton has defrauded our government out of millions of dollars and have been convicted. Blackwater has defrauded our government and has been convicted. In fact, most of the military industrial complex, at one time or another, has been found guilty of defrauding our government.

Remember when we lost BILLIONS of dollars over in Iraq and absolutely no one knew where it went?

Where were the Republicans all this time? They were out there passing laws making it illegal for us to investigate the fraud. Yes, indeed, they really care about unethical businesses. Not!

Yet, here comes an organization that has a purpose to help the lower and middle class and the Republican party is all over it like flies on, well, swill.

Why doesn’t this hypocrisy make the average Republican nauseous? How can these elected Republican swine not get sick on their own putrid ethics? How terribly misguided are those who continue to vote in the swine.

This is another example of how the Republican Party is a disgrace to America. Republicans, it’s time you took back your party. We need to work together to save our country, and this is where we should start.

Stopping Obamacare

Stopping Obamacare
David Schlecht

I went to a health care rally the other day and came across a woman holding up a sign saying “Stop Obamacare It’ll bankrupt the country.” I had a short visit with her and here’s what she said.

I asked her what Obamacare was and her answer was a typical uneducated sheeple reply, “well, I dunno. Whatever Obama’s shoveling.”  When I explained to her that Obama didn’t have a health care plan that he was endorsing yet, she didn’t care.

“It doesn’t matter. No matter what he ends up forcing on us will be bad for America.”

This interchange so well exemplifies the Republican opposition to Obamacare. If they use the term, Obamacare, they obviously don’t have a single clue that they’re talking about. But more than anything, it demonstrates that the Republicans aren’t opposed to one plan or another, but just plain opposed to Obama. They don’t want health care to fail, they want Obama to fail.

I don’t know a single Democrat who wanted Bush, America’s worst president, to fail, we were all hoping that he would actually do something good. We hated his foolish and destructive policies but we weren’t opposed to America’s president.

The Republicans are!

How can you love your country and secretly hope your president fails? It’s a serious sickness, brought on by the right wing media. And we have to address this illness as a nation or we will never ever get past this.

Reinventing Capitalism

Reinventing Capitalism
David Schlecht

I’ve written many times about the problems with and the need to reform our current financial system. Stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture, the problem isn’t limited to our banks, but is a fundamental problem with our entire approach to commerce.

Just think for a moment about the American approach to business. In a dog-eat-dog market, only the greedy and unethical survive. Sooner or later you’ll either get big enough to control your part of the industry or you’ll get gobbled up by a bigger fish. And, the harder you drive your employees and the less you pay them, the better are the chances you’ll be one of the big fish. The more inferior products you’re able to sell, the better for you, sure, better for you, but worse for your community and worse for your workers and worse for America, well, basically worse for everyone else but you.

That’s the foundation for commerce in almost the entire world.

Today, in this economic tsunami, is the grandest of opportunities to fix this upside down situation. In fact, looking back at the past 30 years, it’s plain to see that it was our current economic/financial/commercial system that has caused this mess, AGAIN! Businesses and wealthy get stronger and richer over the years until they have undue influence over the government and then start breaking down the barriers society put up to control them.

We, earthlings, need a new set of rules on which we play this game of capitalism. Here is my list of recommended rules for the new game:

  1. Half of all boards of directors in any company must be representatives of the employees. Employees are guaranteed a certain percentage of the company’s stocks.
  2. Outlaw all personhood for corporations. This is a big deal and too big an issue to discuss here, but check it out. Google “corporate personhood”.
  3. No business can control more than 15% of a market. Any more and the corporation or business is broken up. Sure, we’ll all pay an extra buck-and-a-quata for a week’s groceries, but we’ll all get paid considerably better, even the owners.
  4. If the business is a natural monopoly, such as phone, energy, health insurance, water, sewer, fire, it is managed and provided by We the People.
  5. If the business controls the commons, it is managed and provided by We the People.
  6. Businesses are dissolved immediately when guilty of defrauding our governments. The same goes for donating even a single dime to politics. If your ad looks a little bit political, good by and good riddance.
  7. All businesses must function primarily for the purpose of providing benefit to society.
  8. All businesses must be evaluated annually by the community and the employees and any three years of failure to operate in the community’s best interest causes the business to be broken up and all assets sold off.

These simple changes will still make businesses profitable but they will want to share the wealth with the workers and will want to provide the best, not the cheapest, service to the community.

Take a Quiz #1

Take a Quiz #1

Here’s a short little quiz. See how well you do…

  1. By law, what’s the one requirement of every corporation in America?
  2. Can a corporation be penalized for doing the right thing?
  3. What’s the primary function of a for-profit health insurance company?
  4. What is the best way for an insurance company to make money for their share holders and management?
  5. How many industrialized countries allow for-profit insurance companies to determine who gets treatment and who dies?
  6. How many people die every year in America because they can’t get or otherwise don’t have health insurance?

And, the answers:

  1. By law, what’s the one requirement of every corporation in America? Make a profit for the share holders. This is due to a court decision where the shareholders sued Ford Motor Company for doing the “right thing” even though it didn’t maximize profits.
  2. Can a corporation be penalized for doing the right thing? Yes. See #1.
  3. What’s the primary function of a for-profit health insurance company? You’ve probably already guessed by now. The primary purpose of a for-profit corporation is to make profit for its shareholders. Not to sell insurance, and certainly not to pay out benefits. In fact, if the corporation pays out a dime more than necessary, in other words, saves a single life, it can be sued by its shareholders. Is this really who you want deciding your medical decisions for you?
  4. What is the best way for an insurance company to make money for their shareholders and management? Obviously, by denying claims, and by denying coverage to anyone but those least likely to file claims. Recision!
  5. How many industrialized countries allow for-profit insurance companies to determine who gets treatment and who dies? One, only one. America. Not too bright, though.
  6. How many people die every year in America because they can’t get or otherwise don’t have insurance? More than all the homicides and drunk driver deaths combined. 4800. One every 12 minutes. What, exactly does that say about our great nation? America was not born on the notion of greed, but on the notion of helping each other. We’ve come a long way, baby.

So, how did you score? Less than half of the voting public can score more than a failing grade, 50%. No wonder there are so many people out there screaming “keep your government hands off my Medicare”  The only problem is that they’re screaming so loud that they can’t hear the truth. Wait, sounds like Fox doesn’t it?

And, now the latest word from the Max Wrong health care bill is that we will all be REQUIRED to BUY insurance from a for-profit corporation or get taxed. It’s time to recall Max Baucus and get a real Republican or Democrat in his seat.

America is a Great Country

America is a Great Country
David Schlecht

Some of us believe this, and others of us just say the words but don’t believe it, and still others just plain think We the People stink, and we may all love America.

How can this be? Simple. It all boils down to who you listen to.

Take a moment today, during lunch, jot down a quick list of the things America does well and another list of the things it does poorly, and then go through and place a value for the importance of each item.

Here’s my very short list, but really, don’t cheat. Make your own list and grade your country:

Does Well

(5) Protect us from foreign invaders
(5) Protect us from violent criminals
(4) Protect our homes from fire
(4) Protect our environment from greedy corporations
(3) Protect the weak and down-trodden
(3) Provides fair and equitable education for all
(3) Protects us from unethical businesses
(2) Protects us from disasters
(4) Protects our food supply, medicines

Does Badly

(5) Protect us from corporate greed
(5) Ensures access to an unbiased media
(5) Protects us from greedy corporations polluting our information, media, and science
(4) Protects us from the ultra-rich having undue influence in our government
(3) Research to help mankind

Okay, now remove everything from your list that isn’t an actual current function of the government. In my list I’ll remove:
– Protect us from corporate greed
– Ensures access to an unbiased media
– Protects us from greedy corporations polluting our information, media, and science
– Protects us from the ultra-rich having undue influence in our government

Now, add up the two groups, Good and Bad. In my list, I have 33 Good and 3 Bad.

This is a quick look at how good you think We the People are at governing ourselves.

The next time you hear someone say how lousy the government is at doing anything, remember this little test and ask yourself if maybe the speaker has no idea what he’s talking about. If that’s the case, perhaps it’s time to change the channel.

Leave a comment and let us know how good or bad you find America to be.

One last point. Why do we know America is great but still listen to people tell us it can’t run anything successfully? Here’s a quote. Can you guess who said it?

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

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Fascism in America

Fascism in America
David Schlecht

As you have found in many of my posts, the problem America faces today isn’t the right vs left or the Democrats vs the Republicans or even the Conservatives vs the Liberals, even though that is all you hear about in the news.

No, the problem is Fascism. I know this word turns most people off because they’re tired of the countless fools trying to paint one party or one candidate as a Fascist, but wait, this isn’t about painting the other party in a negative term. It’s about using the actual definitions to compare with America’s politics.

We’ll try to avoid the nebulous connotations used by so many to mean something foreign or scary or anti-American, but rather to actually use the real definitions. There are general and specific definitions of Fascism, the general  being a dictatorial government. Or, more specifically:

Fascists advocate the creation of a single-party state.Fascist governments forbid and suppress criticism and opposition to the government and the fascist movement. Fascism opposes class conflict, blames capitalist liberal democracies for its creation and communists for exploiting the concept

More specific fascism is Neo-Fascism:

groups that express a specific admiration for Benito Mussolini and Italian fascism or any other fascist leader/state. Neo-fascism usually includes nationalism, anti-immigration policies or, where relevant, nativism (see definition), anti-communism, and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy. Allegations that a group is neo-fascist may be hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a politic epithet. Some post-World War II regimes have been described as neo-fascist due to their authoritarian nature, and sometimes due to their fascination with fascist ideology and rituals. Neo-fascist movements are more straight-forwardly right-wing than the pre-WWII movements, and have become intertwined with the radical right.

And, finally, Italian or Corporate Fascism is defined by the reign of Mussolini:

In the economic sphere, many fascist leaders have claimed to support a “Third Way” in economic policy, which they believed superior to both the rampant individualism of unrestrained capitalism and the severe control of state communism.This was to be achieved by establishing significant government control over business and labour (Mussolini called his nation’s system “the corporate state”). No common and concise definition exists for fascism and historians and political scientists disagree on what should be in any concise definition.

Note the reference to communism. Fascism is used to fight Socialism and Communism. So, if you’re still reading blogs that try to associate Obama with Fascism, it’s time to get your head out of your, well, sand, and quit reading the lies.

In fact, Mussolini’s Fascism had corporations controlling the congress. Plain and simple, a government for and by big business. Very much the opposite of Socialism and Communism.

A very simple search for people-centric legislation coming from the Republican party compared to a search of business-centric legislation makes it painfully clear that the Republican party is owned by corporations. I used to say that the only way to combat that undue control over our government is to vote for the Democrats. Well, look at who donates the most money to Democrats, now. The corporations.

It seems quite obvious that money controls our government, today. As long as our politicians are waging multi-million dollar political campaigns, they need big money. That leaves you and me out of the process. No wonder Medicare-part-D passed. It wasn’t intended to help the public or our government in any way. It only gave billions of dollars to the health care industry who in turn funneled millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of the same Fascists who voted in the bills.

America’s Supreme Court is now controlled by corporate lawyers and shills. A case coming before the court soon is a case that will allow corporations to openly and freely use money as if it was free speech. How will our nickel and dime donations compare with multi-million dollar smear campaigns coming from corporations?

If big business owns both of our political parties, then aren’t we already a fascist country? Is it too late to take it back?

Our Broken Media

Our Broken Media
David Schlecht

This from Free Press Media Reform:

Shouldn’t the media be able to at least discuss health care issues, instead of largely ignoring them and focusing on the screams of hysterical people who accuse the president of being a communist — only to be rewarded with guest appearances on network TV? Has America fallen so far that this is the answer regarding the content of our character?

There is no way we can fix all the disasters that are our government without first fixing our media, and the only way to do that is to make media local (no more mega-corporations) and to demand that the media work in the interest of society. America really has no media other than what’s on the blogs. Everything else, conservative or liberal is owned by big business.

Healthcare Rally at UNR

… this from the Young Dems:

UNR Young Democrats Initiate Health Care Rally
in Support of Obama’s Sept. 9 Address to Congress

WCDP and Organizing for America to Sponsor Rally

What: “Health Care: Our Issue, Our Future” Rally

When: Wednesday, Sept. 9, from Noon to 1 p.m

Where: UNR Campus, HilliardPlaza “Mini Quad”

Parking: Metered lot north of Whalen Garage ($1.50 per hour)

Contact: Taylor Anderson, (775) 848-1137,
“It isn’t the senior citizens who will be stuck with the broken health care system we have today, it’s our generation,” said Taylor Anderson, member of the UNR Young Democrats of Nevada (YDNV). “If we don’t pass meaningful health care reform now, it won’t happen in our generation.”

The Young Democrats are leading a coalition of other Democratic groups to show that health care is a vital issue for students and young people.

“What gets done in the next few months in Congress will determine our access to full, affordable insurance coverage for the foreseeable future,” said YDNV activist Adam Allen, who will emcee the rally.

“The students want to engage in the national health care debate to show they care, and also to bust some of the myths that are floating around,” said Chip Evans, chair of the Washoe County Democratic Party (WCDP), a rally sponsor.

In addition to the UNR YDNV chapter and the WCDP, other sponsors are: Organizing for America; Nevada State Democratic Party and Health Care for America Now (HCAN).

Featured speakers at the rally are: Nevada State Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie; Theresa Navarro, State Director, Health Care for America Now; Ann Newsome, Speaker, UNR Student Senate; Gracie Geremia, UNR Student Senate and Dave Osolnick, Nevada Deputy Field Director, Organizing for America.

Young Democrats at the University of Nevada, Reno are rallying around President Barack Obama’s health care reform to prove they have a huge stake in this national debate. The WCDP will be among the sponsors supporting the event.

Free Market Madness

Free Market Madness
David Schlecht

The next time someone tries telling you how wonderful the “free market” is and how it will solve all our problems, I suggest you stop and take a breath and really question it. Here’s why.

Though I’ve discussed the silliness of the supply side economics, or voodoo economics as it’s called, the “free market” is also based on outright lies.

Going all the way back to Econ 101, let’s revisit the economic structure of the robber barons. A middle class in an economy is something that does not grow or survive without political regulations and pressures. It’s that simple. Without regulations (in other word, a free market) pay for the working class will always reduce to subsistence levels. Always!

In a truly free economy, there are a few wealthy leeching off the misfortune of the rest of society. And then there are the working poor. There is basically nobody in between. In other words, no middle class.

Sure, there is a very small percentage of small business owners, but they are barely a step away from the working poor. Ever read any of Dickens’ stories? That is exactly how England’s free market worked in the 19th century; it’s how any free market works over time. Been to Somalia lately?

Other than the stinking and unethical rich, who would ever want such a society? Well, obviously someone is doing a great job of convincing the uneducated or naive that “free markets” are in our best interests.

There is no shortage of “think tanks” funded by the rich, whose sole job is to fool the gullible amongst us.

A “free market” society is an imoral society. Don’t believe the lies. It only causes disaster for anyone but the elite.

We Can’t Afford to Wait Vigil in Reno

We Can’t Afford to Wait Vigil in Reno
David Schlecht

There will be a Health Care Can’t Wait Vigil at the Reno Thompson Federal Building in Reno this Wednesday. Check it out here

It’s time for everyone to get get motivated and start showing up at these events. Otherwise, our elected representatives will think, and rightfully so, that we don’t care. And, if we don’t care, and the blood sucking insurance industry does, who do you think will get the better deal?

Be Strong. United We Stand. Show up!. Wednesday, 6:00 pm.

Take the poll:

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