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Post By
zvelf

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
In Reply To
Late Great Donald Blake 
Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 7,408
Subj: Re: You should have stuck with a short response.  Now we're doing this lol
Posted: Mon May 16, 2022 at 11:33:59 pm EDT (Viewed 65 times)
Reply Subj: You should have stuck with a short response.  Now we're doing this lol
Posted: Sat May 14, 2022 at 06:50:21 pm EDT (Viewed 53 times)


I want to preface this by saying, I believe the two of us are on the same side. Contrary to your assertions, I prefer a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren version of the USA to a Bill or Hillary Clinton version. We just differ on the means. You accuse me of several things that are just plain incorrect, and frankly, I’m not sure how you got your interpretation of me based on what I wrote in my long-assed post that explicitly contradict these interpretations. I am not fine with our political system. I am not fine with the Democratic Party. I explicitly stated that Democrats wind up a net negative when it comes to serving people and that the main goal is to change the system by which I mean ween it off big money. But when it comes to presidential elections, we only have two options. So I am going to focus on everything that Democrats do better than Republicans and that is about 98% of all policy issues in my opinion.

I’m going to start off with my summary this time so people don’t have to scroll to the bottom because it is a long way down. What I am arguing against you, LGDB, is that you have a double standard between centrist Democrats and Republicans, either by equating the two in culpability for the state of society despite significant differences in legislation (I know you think they are not significant) and that you criticize the former far more than the latter. This is based on some contradictory reasoning that you want to sway Republicans toward helpful Marxist material improvements to their lives and that criticism of them will alienate them. At the same time, you treat centrist Democrats in the opposite way, strongly criticizing them in a derogatory way, presumably hoping to get the same outcome, or if not that, either thinking you won’t alienate them to your cause or you’re just giving up on them in a way you won’t give up on a Republican. That makes no sense to me. It is not my point that Democrats should not be criticized. It is just that it makes no sense for you to criticize them MORE than Republicans.

Furthermore, I assert that far left policies, even popular ones, are far from any guarantee of getting or keeping a party in power. There are just too many counter examples from Medicare and Medicaid to the NHS in England to Obama’s stimulus and ACA to no significant working-class support for Build Back Better. I say this strongly favoring far left policies, but I am realistic as to their political impact. This is a romanticized, fantasy of how the world works, where if politicians just do the right thing, they will be rewarded for it where in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s what can you do for me next. Or it’s you didn’t actually do anything for me, I did it myself.

My stance is that Democrats, however flawed, are by far the lesser of two evils. Democrats definitely cater to the rich and that appears in their legislation, and they should be criticized for that, but the reason this happens is because the system is broken and big money is required to win elections. Unlike Republicans who do the very opposite, Democrats have passed or attempted to pass legislation to keep big money out or at the very least, identify it, but has repeatedly been stymied by the Supreme Court. You are not going to ween anyone from big money if they need it to get elected in the first place, so campaign finance reform is the start to fixing the system and that requires getting a sympathetic Supreme Court, which requires electing Democratic presidents to appoint them.

All of this I detail in my responses below. I do urge people to read the whole thing because the details matter, but it’s totally understandable if people don’t because it is so long. This will also be my last post on this debate simply because I don’t have the hours in my life to devote to this. I don’t want to do it if I do it half-assed, and I have a daughter to send off to college in the fall and I want to spend what time I can with her before that.

I also want to note that when it comes to political analysis, I write generalizations in this forum far more than I would like, but because of lack of time or energy, I can’t or forget to caveat everything. For example, every time I say working class, I’m mostly referring to the white working class. I am constantly writing statements for which I feel I could add a parenthetical or explicate its many nuances, but then I would get bogged down and destroy the gist of what I am trying to get across. So I am constantly sacrificing precision for concision.

So LGDB, I think you are right in differentiating economic progressives from culturally centered progressives and that the former is not really interested in being woke scolds by definition. But that’s a tautology and isn’t particularly insightful. In any case, I withdraw the accusation of the far left being more responsible, which I already admitted was overly vague, but I reaffirm that much of the academic left is to blame. Even though you stated that term too was overly vague, it seems you agree with me as per your statement, “there's no question that things like woke culture, hyper rigorous politically incorrect discourse, and cancelation are far more prevalent with the college educated, PMC, white liberal contingent.  The group that the Democratic party is most organized to serve.  I mean who do you think is more likely to throw around "terms like Latinx," centrist libs who graduated from MIT or who work at Huffington Post, or working-class people on the left who are in organized labor?”


    Quote:
    LGDB: The main tool by which you're meant as a democracy to put pressure on the political establishment to make your voice heard and change policy is by voting, if your vote can't express that because both parties have reached a consensus (undemocratically) then there's very little one can do.  What party can one vote for if they want to raise wages to $20 an hour, or decriminalize marijuana; or end foreign interventions, and so on?  Expect for trying to reform the parties, but doing that usually risks the apologies of people such as yourself, who suggest doing that would mean risking the chance for the opposition winning.  By being so fixated as you are on the differences of the party, you really do obfuscate the degree to which the find consensus.

So here is where our differences in trying to get to the same goal differs. When it comes time to vote for the president is not the time to be concerned with where the parties agree. It’s far too late to change anything then. Like I said, that’s when you play triage to prevent the worst. The time to force the differentiation has to come much earlier in the process: grassroots work to install the candidates you would like to have in the lower rungs of government where they can work their way up and become the presidential nominee you wish you had but don’t. But even this mostly doesn’t work because the system is corrupt and it corrupts the people within. It’s a little more complicated than this, but to get ahead, you have to make one compromise after another until that’s all you’re doing. So the biggest fix is changing the system, and there’s no easy or quick way to do that. But among the quickest ways, by which I mean about two decades of work, is get a Supreme Court that gets rid of allowing unlimited money into elections, stops saying money = speech, stops equating corporations to people, and ends gerrymandering.

Our flawed system of government does not give us anything but two realistic choices. A protest vote is too late by that point. Bush “beat” Gore by about 500 votes in Florida. Ralph Nader got a little over 90,000 votes in Florida. If 1% of that Nader vote had gone to Gore, he would have been president. Gore would have picked a Supreme Court nominee other than John Roberts and that terrible, terrible Citizen United decision that made our political system even worse would never have been made.


    Quote:
    LGDB: Understanding there are real differences between the Democrats does not contradict nor does it preclude the idea that there are ways in which the parties are too much alike and both working together in concert in certain deleterious ways.

Agreed, though how you tackle this problem is not to alienate your closest allies by saying they are nearly the same as their political opposition. Your apparent position is to say these people (centrist Dems) should know better so you are going to criticize them a lot more negatively than the other side who are notably more opposed to the policies you want implemented, because somehow you think you can sway Republicans through kindness to vote for the more progressive changes you want while thinking you can sway centrists through rudeness to get the same result. That’s not going to work.


    Quote:
    LGDB: Party partisans such as yourself, all the while ALSO exaggerate the parties differences as you're doing here. You're absolutely correct about how bad the war in Iraq war was.  I should know.  I was there.  And I absolutely agree that Bush was chiefly responsible for the Iraq war and is for it (and Afghanistan) and a few other things I could list one of the worst human beings who's ever had political power and influence. But... plenty of Democrats absolute knowingly helped Bush sell and prosecute that war and one of them is the current POTUS, who has done nothing so much as apologize about it.  Bush was absolutely recklessly bellicose and he and his ilk pushed that war through a host of legalistic processes, but he wasn't orders of magnitude different in his outlook with the rest of the Washington establishment, which is why the Democratic Party absolutely helped him launder that war despite very real skepticism by the foreign policy commentariate here and abroad. And even Democratic protests from inside the Beltway about Iraq had to do with the WAY bush was managing the war, not in our invasion; or the jingoist hegemonic politics undergirding it.

Yes, unfortunately many Democrat politicians did support the Iraq War to some degree and should rightfully be condemned for it, but the stance of the party as a whole was pretty evenly divided. 59% of Dems in the House and 42% of the Dems in the Senate voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. 97% of Republicans in the House and 98% of Republicans in the Senate voted for it. Those numbers are still a stark difference. It’s also clear that Hillary Clinton and Biden’s early stance on the war hurt them in the 2008 primary and contributed to Obama winning it over them. That is to say the Democratic Party as a whole came around to opposing the war, which is still notably better than the Republicans who were responsible for starting and implementing it.

As for being a party partisan, if there were a realistic far left party in the United States, I’d be their partisan. I’m only a partisan insofar as the Democrats are the ONLY realistic alternative to the Republican Party, not because I love Democrats in general. I am dissatisfied with Pelosi and everyone to the right of her. But it’s a relative thing, and I will back the center left over Republicans without hesitation.


    Quote:
    LGDB: And it wasn't until well into the 2007 before Democratic sentiment turn to Iraq was a dumb war.  Obama himself called it that... after suggesting we should have had our attention turn to Afghanistan, the smart war.  We see how well that worked out.  And perhaps consider Bill Clinton's crowning achievement of killing about a million people in Sudan after destroying a pharmaceutical factory there or Hillary Clinton's architecting the invasion of Libya that I'm sure you know worked out so well.   And further I think you could argue on the foreign policy front, currently the Democratic establishment isn't far more hesitant to further entrench are involvement in Ukraine than the Republicans are.

All of these examples are somewhat more complicated than you are letting on. I mean hindsight is 20/20; you yourself joined the military; and that Clinton killed a million Sudanese is hyperbolic speculation. Yes, Clinton got faulty intelligence and made a horrible decision to destroy the pharmaceutical plant and as a result of that, at least thousands of Sudanese did die from lack of medication. As that retaliation was against bin Laden and al-Qaeda for bombing U.S. embassies, the military strikes, which were more than just that plant, wasn’t totally without justification. Had Clinton actually got bin Laden as intended, 9/11 likely would never have happened. That definitely doesn’t let Clinton off the hook, but I’m not crowing about it as his “crowning achievement” as if that was his intention for thousands of Sudanese to die. If your intention is to convey that Clinton was a bloodthirsty killer who enjoyed murdering people through his presidential actions, no wonder you’re not going to convince the center left to join you. I don’t consider myself center left and I donate to the DSA. I will continue to do so, but your refusal to understand any perspective except your own (and that of Trump supporters) certainly don’t help in that regard.


    Quote:
    LGDB: One of the most difficult things for political partisan to metabolize is that while one political conflict can be real (i.e. the one between Republicans and Democrats), ANOTHER can also be real and I would argue moreover, more significant to the lives of most people: namely the class conflict.  The one between the rulers and recipient of all the benefits of being at the commanding heights of the political economy, and the rest of the country.  So while Reps and Dems vehementally disagree about say abortion or the don't say gay bill, they in agreement that the political process should have a set of intractable structure which insure that politics is pay to play, that political debate takes place within these incredibly narrow corridors, that it's the province of the rich elites and needs to foremost serve their interests, and that needs to act as a bulwark against democratic interventions against the political system.

So your argument boils down to Democrats WANTING pay to play. Then why did the Democratic House pass HR1 in 2019 (https://www.vox.com/2019/3/8/18253609/hr-1-pelosi-house-democrats-anti-corruption-mcconnell)? How did Russ Feingold get his campaign finance reform bill passed with John McCain? Why did Democrats get so close to passing the DISCLOSE Act of 2010 with the House passing it and the 59 Democrats voting for it in the Senate but it failing based on the filibuster? But to you, Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same on this issue. I already know that your response is going to be the same one as with every bill that Democrats pass. It wasn’t big enough. It didn’t do enough, as if holding together large coalitions of varying constituents is easy. You’re holding Democrats responsible for being unable to pass another New Deal or Great Society legislation, but those only come around once in a generation and only happened when Democrats enjoyed far larger Congressional majorities than today.


    Quote:
    LGDB: We are so class unconscious in this country and in this culture that to even admit the existence of the latter seems like to you the erasure of the former.   The absolute categorical moral superiority of the liberals over the conservatives in so important to maintain ideologically, that to even address this other (I would argue much larger) problem is the same as being in league with the Republicans.

Of course this is how you see it based on your Marxist ideology, but there are many ways to see it and what priorities should be as a result. And of course class is a major issue in this country. But the expression of this sentiment of yours, “By and large I consider you every bit as a moral degenerate as the people you feel that way about. Which is to say that doesn't really have anything to do with anything. In other words, I'm not saying that I think centrist liberals are anything more than what you're saying Trump supporters are,” that equates the morality of supporting Trump as exactly equal to the morality of supporting Obama, because we are talking politics here and not day-to-day-actions-in-your-life morality, is not going to win you the progressive sentiment you desire, but quite the opposite.


    Quote:
    LGDB: I criticize Democrats and liberals so much because for one at the end of the day I think they are at least capable of reforming their party into something that could represent their actual base, and because   Further, you're listing some of the most ideologically committed groups in the Trump voting public.  While Proud boys might be certainly concerning and they certainly do vote for Trump, they're a vocal minority with respect to the broader electorate.  You're similarly invested in the Democratic party.  And while you're committed to the primacy of the Democrats being our only hope, even most people that vote Democrat don't agree with you.  Most people are voting for what they understand to be the lesser of two options and would prefer a way to make them all less evil.

You just either contradicted yourself or you barely understood anything I wrote. I vote for what I understand to be the lesser of two options and would prefer a way to make them all less evil. That’s exactly my stance, which I detail at the end of my last post.


    Quote:
    LGDB: And to that end, you're an interlocuter in the discussion, but no one I'd dream of trying to convince.  People who are invest in political parties aren't generally open to that kind of thing.  The point is to create a kind of political discourse that appeals to a broad group.  You talk as if you occupy the political center, but what I believe is happening is you're occupying an ideological place at the center of power.  So my political rhetoric is calibrated towards most American people, not yourself.

You seem to be arguing with someone else, probably some moderate Democrat whom you’ve argued with before and are recycling those points, because I’m not making the points that you seem to think I’m making. I don’t talk as if I occupy the political center because I don’t. Does my supporting Sanders and Warren and AOC and donating to DSA make me a centrist? The point I’ve been trying to make is simply this, whomever the Democrats nominate as president, if they are to the left of the Republican nominee, get off your high horse and vote for the Democrat. It's too late for Nader or Bernie or Bust. The Democrat may not make things better, but they won’t make things nearly as worse. Most of all, the Republican will make the system worse and even more pay to play, even more gerrymandered, even better for the rich. But we are all equally moral degenerates to you. We are all exactly as morally culpable for voting for whom we did. Okay. And you accuse me of being judgmental?


    Quote:
    LGDB: As far as lumping all the rich people together,  I'm not sure what you mean.  , the upper 1% to be fast and loose, I think  generally speaking  represent a class ( a conscious one) who have the bulk of the economy and political system geared towards their interests.  The idea that our political-economic system benefits the rich, hardly seems to be an incredibly radical statement coming from me.  And I'm sure if you look you'll find most people actually agree with me there.   One can't aim more careful than that.  What other target do you think I'm aiming for?

You lump all of the rich together inasmuch as I lump Trump supporters together. Note that I use the word supporter and not voter. I agree with you that there is some 10-15% of swayable voters every election. So I listed a myriad bunch of the 1% who hardly all think alike.


    Quote:
    LGDB: I do see differences in characters like Trump, McCain, Obama, Bill Clinton and so on.  You can both note those differences and NOT agree that those differences are the ONLY differences that matter.   I mean incidentally I think you already sort of reveal a certain amount of confusion about how bad the Bush  administration was or was not.  You enumerate some of those crimes, but then seem particularly aggrieved by Trump.  I would argue nothing he's done (and I've like almost none of it by the way) rivals the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan.  Not by any serious metric.   And let's leave a side the fact that especially early on those wars took place under Republican leadership but with out question required the complicity of the Democratic party, the fact is they were establishment nonTrumpian Republicans acting in accordance with their open beliefs an in accordance and within a mostly legal framework.  You can say Trump mishandled the pandemic, but that really undersells the degree to which other Republicans very much supported his laissez-faire attitude about the whole thing.  As a matter of fact Trump came out as provaccine faster than many in the Republican establishment.  And the only major differences apparently Trump and most Republicans was as you say the Jan 6th riots, which I would say you're blowing out of proportion on a few ground.

I think Bush was a materially worse president than Trump, but as to the amount of deaths each are responsible for, it’s hard to calculate and know for sure. Trump did A LOT to undermine a responsible pandemic response and helped create an entire segment of
the population resistant to wearing masks, to socially distance, or even to
believe Covid was anything serious
. Yes, Trump briefly came out pro-vaccine, but then refused to promote it. Every living president came out and promoted it together. Who was missing? Trump. You are so tied up in economic benefits for the working class, that you are blinded by your inability to see Trump’s threat as an existential one to democracy itself. The system was bad before, but he made it a level of magnitude worse.


    Quote:
    LGDB: This is probably more for another discussion, but while I think it was a politically directed riot, and that Trump absolutely should have been impeached for it, I don't think it was some kind of insurrection, I don't see it as political significant, but more importantly if you think you're under some delusion that the rest of the establishment Republican disapproved out of some fealty to real political principle, then YOU are given them too much credit.

See here is where your inability to criticize Republicans more than Democrats comes in. The Republican establishment disapproved of it for self-preservation reasons because January 6 was just that bad. They knew it and they thought Americans would be horrified, so horrified that they would make Trump step down to save the party. Imagine what could make Republicans actually want to relinquish power. January 6 wasn’t bad because it was a failed insurrection, and it was an insurrection because it was an attempt to install Trump into a presidency that he had lost. That it was inept at that is besides the point. It was bad because of the Americans who were NOT horrified by it. It was bad because it showed how much people supported Trump even AFTER he started a riot that stormed the Capitol. It was bad because even today, two thirds of all Republicans and one third of all voters still believe Trump’s Big Lie and that our current president is illegitimate. THINK about that for a moment. This undermines everything for that group of people. What would you do if you truly thought that democracy no longer works and that the president stole the election? How could you change the mind of such a person to vote against Republicans whom they believe are trying to fix this? The Iraq War was about as bad as any policy decision since Vietnam, but democracy depends on people believing in it and one third of the electorate does not because of Trump. And this is just one of hundreds of Trump lies. You can end a war. Lies are much harder to kill and we have yet to see the amount of damage this one will do.


    Quote:
    LGDB: Most people can afford a cell phones.  BUT... other expenditures haven't fallen the same way and as a matter of fact they'll ballooned in places.  Nonnegotiable expenses like food, fuel, housing, and especially health care and education have increased far in excess of average worker wages.  Outsourcing jobs through trade agreements like NAFTA don't do anything to reduce the cost of things like real estate or insurance.  So while half of the country's wages were suppressed for the reasoned I mentioned above, few of the major expenditures were being equivalently suppressed.   So in summation for this, this is what your chart and your general understanding apparently fail to consider is that while wages have risen on paper, those increases have been eclipsed by rising inflation, a lower percentage of gain despite growing worker productivity, and having kept pace with rising expenditures that families can't avoid.

Except my chart was based on REAL wages and took inflation into account. Those wages increased under Clinton and Obama and fell under Reagan and both Bushes. And I’ll grant you housing has increased in relative terms, but food and fuel, while varying significantly, briefly in certain years, mostly have not.






Anyway, of course you’re going to get the results you want if you dismiss any study or research or analysis that goes against your interpretation.


    Quote:
    LGDB: The rest of these policies you've mentioned are the kinds of nibbling around the edges that Democrats have been known for and while yes they're often somewhat beneficial, especially with comparison to the brutality and austerity of the opposition, in the context of the large economic policies are drop in the bucket issues.

I’ll just have to repeat myself. You’re holding Democrats responsible for being unable to pass another New Deal or Great Society legislation, but those only come around once in a generation and only happened when Democrats enjoyed far larger Congressional majorities than today. So relative to those, it may be nibbling around the edges to you, but I’d say giving 20 million more people access to healthcare is anything but. And you’re still contradicting yourself. One moment you say centrist Democrats and Trump supporters are all exactly equal in their responsibility for the state of things, but the next moment, Democrats are beneficial compared to the “brutality and austerity” of Republicans and “don't indulge in some of the most egregious excesses of economic deregulation” that Republicans do. It’s like you have to admit it when confronted with actually passed legislation and numbers, but the next moment, you go back to your old stance.


    Quote:
    LGDB: Democrats and Republicans disagree about what the governments role ought to be with respect to a regulatory apparatus, but they do not disagree that the economy ought to be a top down affair in which corporate and financial interests dictate policy despite at this point being either too incompetent or without any inclination to center the welfare or interests of most Americans.  In other words the Republicans wants a machine that transfers wealth as quickly as possible from the people to the upper %1 regardless of how precarious and unstable doing so is, while the Democrats want a machine that's much more stable.  That still works for the moneyed elite and prioritizes the stability of that hegemony.  By and large the Democrats are in NO WAY interests in destabilizing that hierarchy or insuring that the masses have a greater participation in the political process or a more decisive roll in the economic order.

Yeah, Democrats really don’t want greater participation. That’s why they pursue voter suppression, try to eliminate mail-in ballot drop boxes, restrict mail-in voting in general, purge people off voter rolls, keep ex-cons from voting, require IDs to vote. Oh, wait. That describes Republicans! But yeah, the two parties are nearly exactly the same. Again, if Democrats want to be beholden to the rich, why did the Democratic House pass HR1 in 2019? Why did they pass McCain-Feingold and almost pass the DISCLOSE Act? It must be because they are united with Republicans on making the system cater to the rich. No, these bills would not have solved everything. That you seem to require that as contingent to judging a bill positively is your own personal quirk. But do they improve the system or make the system worse? In my opinion, they undoubtedly do the former and show the intent that Democrats overall want big money to be less of a factor. They want more voters, especially the poor and minorities, to express what they want in politics at the polls. Republicans have the complete opposite intention. But again, Democrats are very nearly as bad anyway.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      zvelf: But your logic doesn’t make any sense: Voters moved away from Democrats to Republicans because Democrats were becoming more like Republicans. What? If Democrats are becoming more like what you hate, let’s embrace what you hate? Huh?


    Quote:
    LGDB: As to how people move from voting from Democrats to Republican and then back again, doesn't reflect a change in their ideology.  It reflects things like desperation a lack of options, and often a very unclear picture of what the parties make up is like and what their agendas are like.  It's hard to blame them given the sheer amount of very sophisticated political propaganda organized against them.   So for instance around 13% of Trump voters in 2016 had voted for Obama earlier.  Is it because they all became hateful racists who hate the truth and love guns or something?  No... it probably has something to do with fact that Obama ran on a campaign of being a serious reformer, and instead doubled down on the very economic and political structures whose failures had energized his campaign.  Obama had a clear mandate and for a lot of people he failed.  Now sure you can contextualize his failures and explain that he was powerless.  A conversation for another time perhaps, but the point is there's a way of reading how some of these political trends have manifested as desperate people  voting for anyone who seems like they're going to be most serious about reforming a system that threw them overboard a long time ago.

This is not a convincing counterargument and comes down to people are just too stupid to see through political propaganda. Also, it’s not what really happened. Obama did a lot of things wrong in my opinion, like he should have deployed military significantly better, he should have included the public option in ACA, he should have let the Bush tax cuts expire completely or at least gotten a better deal out of it, he should not have had Larry Summers in his cabinet, and he should not have reached out to the right as much as he did to reach compromises, even though he campaigned on uniting the country and the country wanted him to do so. Obama only had Congress on his side for two years during which he was handling the biggest crisis in 80 years and he still managed the biggest overhaul of the healthcare system in over 40 years. It was a compromised overhaul, but it was still notably better than what we had before in removing pre-existing conditions criteria and expanding Medicaid. I work in health insurance in the nonprofit sector, and one big rule in ACA that few people seem to know about is that insurers have to spend 80-85% of premiums collected on health care costs, which significantly hinders charging more in order to generate more profit. How was that catering to the rich? The people didn’t even give Obama a chance before overwhelmingly turning the House over to his opposition, who then, with the biggest Republican majority in over 60 years, blocked him on everything for the rest of his time in office. If you think a backlash to his race had nothing to do with it and Trump’s eventual win, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. But your interpretation is that in just his first two years in the middle of a huge financial crisis, Obama failed to make the drastic Marxist changes people wanted and so they gave up on him. Not convincing.


    Quote:
    LGDB: I think much of Obama defenders have spent so long explaining why it's acceptable that they can't do much to help people, and so those people began to look elsewhere.  In places I would argue are doomed to fail and kind of loopy.   But as George said, these are the decisions people are forced to make.

And what about decisions politicians are forced to make? Every reason Democrats don’t move left is the same for you: they are beholden to the wealthy who don’t want these policies. That is true A LOT of the time, but there are many reasons one policy or another is not pursued: the exact makeup of the legislature in the moment that would allow or disallow its passage, lots of negotiations among lawmakers to prioritize or de-prioritize any one specific concern, or there is just not enough time in the legislative session to get to something. I agree that being beholden to wealthy constituents is the single biggest factor, but again, we disagree in whether Democrats actively want that to be the case. You seem to think they do. The actual legislation they try to pass shows otherwise.

And you act like there’s not a reason politicians are beholden to big money, that there’s not a reason that they spend more time fundraising than legislating. Roughly 80% of the time, the more highly funded campaign wins the race. Outside of lobbyists, how many people do you think enter politics mainly to spend their time kissing the ass of donors? How many times do I have to say it? The system is broken. Look at #16 here (https://www.vox.com/2014/7/30/5949581/money-in-politics-charts-explain) to see how often the Supreme Court abets breaking the system even more for big money.


    Quote:
    LGDB: Now of course I don't mean every Trump supporter.  I don't even mean most of them, but many of them.  Democratic failures produce Republican voters often times.  And while you're invested in explaining to yourself and others why these failures had to happen how much worse the Republicans really are, for the politically uninitiated who aren't committed to preserving, the Democratic Party's righteousness aren't going to make those excuses for them.  When you tell people you can't help them, you may convince them of all the good reasons you can't help them, but what they won't do is come to you for help anymore.   They'll look elsewhere, and if the only answers are lies, when they're desperate at least a substantive portion will believe the lies.

But everything you said applies to the Republican Party even more than the Democratic Party, so I guess the difference is that the Democratic Party doesn’t make up enough extreme blatant lies.


    Quote:
    LGDB:  I mean your ideology, what you're calling political pragmatism.  I didn't mean to indicate you as being in charge of the DNC lol   And I think we also disagree that you're not ideological.  As a matter of fact, I think that if you think you're not ideological you have a pretty attenuated concept for ideology.

I never said that I am not ideological in general, only that I was not being ideological in that one instance: asking for people to vote for the lesser of two evils. I suppose you can interpret that as ideological in itself, but if so, then there is nothing that is non-ideological.


    Quote:
    LGDB: I have to take note of the fact that I don't vote for the lesser of two evil any more or less that you do apparently.  The difference is I actually think the two are evil apparently.  If you did, I don't think anything I've said here (at least not most of it) would be taken as so controversial.  And I blame people or groups for what they do.  I don't not blame them if they've done something just because someone else also did something worse.   There's not question the Republicans are more directly responsible for Roe v.  Wade.  I  don't blame them for that.  I blame the Democrats for creating a political platform that is by definition classist and so weakens their democratic coalition.

Exactly, you don’t blame the Republicans even though you JUST stated that they “are more directly responsible” and that you blame the Democrats instead. That’s nonsensical.


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    LGDB: If they regularly adopted political policies and governed for working people of a necessity they would attract more people generally.  Their neoliberal policies are directly causal of their lack of popular support, and so their political failures as with Roe are also their fault.  You see when you doing something immoral (to draw a simple analogy), other people's acting immorally doesn't somehow make your immorality virtue.  There are more options here than EITHER it's the Democrat's vault or the Republican's fault.

That is some twisted logic. So every awful thing Republicans do is the fault of Democrats because they failed to win elections and stop the Republicans, but you don’t blame the Republicans. Got it. If only Democrats adopted the policies you advocate, they wouldn’t lose. Let’s see, LBJ gave us Medicare and Medicaid. What happened with the Democrats after that? Oh yeah, Nixon got elected! Clearly, U.S. elections don’t work the way you think they do. What about Clement Attlee of the Labour Party in England. Under him, the NHS, the extremely popular single-payer healthcare system started. 3 years after the NHS was implemented, Attlee was defeated by the Conservative Party.


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    LGDB: And my larger point is that if the Democratic party fails to attract enough voters you should hold their leadership accountable for that MORE than you do the voters that are not convinced it matters.   For a few reasons, the primary one being that you're trying to win them over next election so blaming them is hardly a good way to grow your coalition.  And two even if they're wrong that it was a good idea to sit out or vote for Trump, they're grievances are real and they are right that the Democratic party can and should do better on any number of issues as I've already enumerated.   Blaming the electorate even equal to blaming the incompetent political calculations of those in power is a really wonderful formula to not hold them accountable.   And as I've said before, primarily you shouldn't blamed the electorate because it's basically useless at the political level.  If there's enough uniform pressure on elected officials, if it exceeds whatever financial incentives that would otherwise exists, can have a positive effect.  Politicians often do bend to popular demands if those demands are strong and organized enough.   Crapping on voters for not being smart enough, shaming them, scolding them is at best useless but is more likely counterproductive to your aims.

I mostly agree with this if you didn't apply this logic only to Republicans but also centrist Democrats. Why do you think centrist Dems aren't amenable to moving to the Sanders wing but Republicans are? Also, yes, if I were a politician attacking Trump supporters like Hillary did, that would be stupid. But I’m not a politician, and I see nothing wrong with venting about Trump supporters on an online forum in that they should be held accountable for what was done during Trump’s presidency. Trump is so stupid that he is only a threat insofar as people abet him. Plenty of people abet him. You can equate me with someone running for office, but I’m not. On the other hand, you seem to hold a double standard and don’t apply this logic to our own side. Bernie lost in the primary, therefore he is most to blame, right? Yet here you are blasting centrist Democrats as usual.


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      zvelf: This is just wrong. Democrats are trying to do almost every single thing you listed. Clinton and Obama both raised taxes on the rich while Republicans actively tried to stop them while cutting taxes on the rich every time they are in the majority. It’s the Republicans who doubled the estate tax exemption from $5.49 million to $11.18 million under Trump, another huge giveaway to the rich. Debt forgiveness? The Biden administration is in the middle of figuring out how to best implement student loan forgiveness. A draw down of foreign entanglements? Uh, Afghanistan (which didn’t go very well)? But most pointedly, let me remind you that the DEMOCRATIC HOUSE ALREADY passed the Build Back Better Act as pushed by Biden. That would extend the Child Tax Credit and make it permanent, extend the Earned Income Tax Credit even more, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, IMPOSE EVEN HIGHER TAXES on the RICH and large corporations including instituting a global 15% minimum tax, and establish a universal pre-Kindergarten program. But in your eyes, Democrats are purposefully not doing these things because their real constituency, the rich, disapprove. These are all things EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN is blocking. If even two Republican Senators crossed over, the bill would pass. Literally every Democrat but one in the House voted for it. Every Democrat but two in the Senate are ready to vote for it. The Democratic president is ready to sign it. But somehow you believe the Democrats aren't really interested in passing it even while 99% of all Democrats in Congress have committed.


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    LGDB: I agree that Democrats are marginally better on economics and specifically on tax cuts.  But... just looking at tax cuts doesn't really tell us much.   As a matter of fact Democrats were also fighting for a whole host of pro-wealth tax deductions to be attached with the infrastructure bills.  Look up the SALT deduction if you're unfamiliar.  But by and large I will say that had Build Back Better it would have been an insufficient but ultimately very welcome pieced of legislation.   It would have been the biggest boldest progressive measure to be enacted sense perhaps the New Deal.  It is therefore no surprise that the Democrats weren't able to pass it.


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    What you seem to fail to recognize is that the Democrats aren't a monolith and that many love to pay a lot of lip service to policy that many of them don't actually support and even more don't fight for.  You have a few progressive voices here or there, but often times it doesn't come to much and if you follow the development of BBB that's what you'd come away with.   Leaving aside Ro Khanna, Sanders, and parts of the Squad, most Democrats were fine to separate Build Back Better from the bi partisan infrastructure bill, which more or less ensured Manchin and Sinema weren't going to vote for it.  And it isn't that all things being equal and easy that Joe Biden wouldn't have like to pass BBB.   I'm sure he's probably pretty crestfallen that it didn't pass, seeing as how it's likely the only major legislative victory he could have ever hoped to preside over.  But the more important aspect to recognize here is that Democrats and the rest of the establishment Dems: (1) aren't willing to do what needs to be done to push a bill like that through Congress; i.e. telling the Senate parliamentarian to go screw; ending the filibuster, and going to war with the capital interests who back Sinema and Manchin.  Many Democrats like Pelosi, Biden, and Schumer I think would pull that lever, but what they're not willing to do is the work that would excise the poisonous moneyed interests dug into the party.  (2) they couldn't sell it to the American people because their rhetorical ability to lobby for somethin like that have completely atrophied due to the Larry Summers of the world promulgating an economic philosophy in direct contradiction to this kind of government spending, i.e. Dems post Carter have spend as much of their breath explaining how this sort of deficit spending and big government is so dangerous (and I am not anti big government FYI) and (3) because of the Democrats failing appeal mostly due to focusing more on being anti-Trump than articulating a political vision that most American could find hope in, as well as 40 odd years of transforming themselves into a party not for the worker but for the liberal professional, the Democrats didn't have enough votes in the Senate to legislate.  You act like the fact that the Dems on had 50 senators, well let's face it 48 senator who would vote their "liberal values," is just some accident of history.  Like it has nothing to with the prior decades.


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    You misunderstand my criticism, at least in part here.  Many Democrats do approve of these policies as you articulate, but because outside of these rare occasion they don't often enough represent the interests that they would purport to help, and so they don't have a large enough democratic coalition to control the branches of government.  When they do they usually compromise with big business at the expense of the interests of working American which a lot of people have picked up on.  And foremost, they're whetted to the kind of status quo political procedures that make big lofty legislation that hamstrung if not DOA, which by the way, they're aware of.  This is a pretty good deal for people in the DNC because while you can gesture towards these policies you supposedly support, when they predictably don't pass you can blame the Republicans.  Essentially the Democrats don't act like a party that's serious about actually passing the legislation they assure the public they're for.  And if they fail to legislate, as they have, for most of their donors and the PMC that support them, no real skin of their nose.

So basically, legislation doesn’t get through the process without being diluted or compromised and come out pure as snow on the other end. Color me shocked, but not really. And if voters are shocked and won’t vote for a political party because of that, then there is some fundamental misunderstanding about how government works. But most of this just sounds like rationalization. 99% of Democrats voted for or are ready to vote for the bill that Bernie Sanders most wants, albeit half of what he originally wanted. Blaming the Democrats instead of Manchin, Sinema, and Republican opposition is wrongheaded unless your goal is to give the House and Senate to Republicans in the fall.

Again, there’s a reason Democrats are “not willing to do is the work that would excise the poisonous moneyed interests dug into the party,” which is definitely there, and that’s because more than half of funding to get elected comes from those moneyed interests. Losing the majority of the money you need to get elected means you very likely won’t get elected. The Marxist idea that the people will rise up for you isn’t convincing if by a 3-to-1 ratio, ads on tv,  online, and print are attacking you because you forsook the money to balance them.


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    LGDB: And also you keep mentioned that the Republicans are worse than the Democrats.  And yes.  Absolutely.  With respect to the welfare state or with investments in the public sector it's perhaps the most pronounced.   You're knocking on an open door.  I'm arguing that the Democrats should be better for one if they hope to consistently govern in a way that makes them competitive against the Republicans and two they need to be better because Americans and the rest of the world desperately need them to be better, and that better is within practical reach if people such as yourself would stop trying to shield them from criticism and apologize for some of their worst behavior.  Also it occurs to me that by a very similar logic we could absolve the Republicans if they had the same exact politics but instead of corporate liberal party to their left, you had a fascist party to their right.  And I assume you'd be out here talking about how the Republicans were great because 48 of them didn't vote for the work camps and the suspension of the rule.  That it's not so bad that they want to pass laws against trans people or turn the economy into a Randian dystopia, because they're all we've got to stop the swastika crew.  Apparently a party's behaviors are if not acceptable at least too dangerous to condemn or reform if there's a worse party to their right.

So I am not saying that Democrats should not be criticized so you are misconstruing my point. I am saying that criticizing Democrats, especially as vehemently as you do, and not criticizing Republicans for even worse legislation and behavior is logically inconsistent. Also, after the primaries, when you only have two distinct choices in the election, is not the time to criticize the Democrat as at that point, it is too late. Also, if I have to choose between a Randian dystopia, which we practically have now, and the Third Reich, you had better believe I would choose Randian dystopia.


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    LGDB: The Democrats as a party participate and help to perpetuate a system that badly needs reform.  Their money interested are more committed to fighting that reform than anything else, i.e. they're reactionary.  That doesn't mean they're not the better of the two.   As the saying goes the liberals are the left hand of capital.  They're the nicer of the two, just as during chattel slavery there were factions of slavers that were nicer to their slaves.  Or to broaden it, there were racist white supremacist  people who were decidedly better than pro slavery whites.  This doesn't mean our only two option are white supremacy without slavery or white supremacy with slavery.   But you don't have to give me examples of Democrats who are exceptions or who do good.  As I've said I've volunteered for them.  That's doesn't contradict with the larger sentiment here.

Sure, there are good Democrats and there are bad Democrats. Of course, we should get rid of the bad Democrats insofar as that is feasible. I’d get rid of Manchin and Sinema in a heartbeat, but not if that means McConnell and the Republicans are the majority again.


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    LGDB:  First of all you haven't presented any evidence to suggest the Democratic party isn't significantly influenced by these industries to the degree I'm saying or otherwise.   Now we need only look at the amount of money these parties donated to the Democratic party.  Is it your belief that these financial interest spend billions upon billions of dollars because it has no influence?  These tycoons of industry and masters of coin apparently like to throw their money away despite its lack of efficacy to affect policy?

I’ve presented evidence in the legislation that Democrats have passed or tried to pass to limit big money in politics. Of course, financial interests impact Democratic policies and Democrats cater to these interests to some degree. But like John Morgan, not all of these interests are bad. In 2020, Tom Steyer gave $72 million to Democrats, and was the second biggest contributor to Democrats after Michael Bloomberg. Sure, Steyer is relatively centrist, but the focus of his giving are for environmentalist concerns and election reform, he opposes Citizens United, he is for higher taxes on the wealthy, and he supports a living wage. Dustin Moskovitz was the third biggest giver to Democrats with $50 million in 2020. He is even more centrist, but his focus is on improving health and criminal justice reform. Karla Jurveston donated $34 million in 2020 as she pushes women’s rights, minority representation, and voting rights. In the past, she has helped Elizabeth Warren in particular. These are some of the biggest donations in politics, and sometimes, they are not done for nefarious purposes.


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    LGDB: I don't think that the substantive part of the population I'm referring to sees that the Democrats are corrupt.  It's not that they think many of them that the Republicans aren't corrupt, it's that they don't see corruption as being particular to the Republicans... which by the way they're correct about.  They don't assume that by supporting the Democrats they will discernably improve their standing or their condition.  This isn't particularly ideological and its not something anyone would want to be committed to.  It's just a lesson they've learned by experience.  You can try and trot out abstract and I think disingenuous distinctions between the economies either parties preside over, but are you actually so cynical to think that these people who vote for Republicans or don't vote at all, notice their lives improving substantively while under Democrats, but don't recognize because they've been fooled?

And here is where Marxist theory goes out the window. It depends widely on the person. I think someone who absorbs Fox News is fooled into thinking there are more important political priorities like the culture war. Some of the electorate is just uninformed (“Keep your government hands off my Medicare”) so they don’t know whether they are being helped or not and if they are being helped, they often don’t know where that help is coming from. But I speculate that by far the most common response is that most people believe that if they become more prosperous, it's due to their own hard work or luck than due to some politician or party EVEN IF some legislation actually helped them. It’s hard for me to believe anyone reacting to getting a job with “Thank goodness for that Democratic Party legislation! Good for them!” So this goes back to what I said from the start, you think people are far more rational (and now I’ll add more knowledgeable) than they really are.


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    LGDB: If every time the Democrats took office the poor and working people of this country the found their saving flush, their wages increasing, their towns and communities flourishing, they'd through basic experience absorb that information, but those things don't happen so they don't.  The differences between Republicans and Democrats are real, but any economist will tell you those differences are generally attenuated with the rich and the poor.  In other words, there's a basic level of working class and working poverty such that you don't experience the benefits of the kind of economy whose benefits believe those people should so readily genuflect to.

Again, the electorate is just nowhere nearly as responsive to material gains as you think they are, at least in terms of backing a political party because of them. If people’s lives improve, the next election is about what more can I get, not what you’ve already done for me. Or perhaps secondarily, it’s about how much do I like this nominee’s personality. Again, while Clinton was in office, poverty dropped from 20.7% to 14.4%. Real inflation-adjusted wages went up 6%. Clinton raised taxes on the rich and the government reached a surplus. You talk about Clinton destroying jobs with NAFTA, but Clinton entered office with a 7.3% unemployment rate and left office with 4.2% unemployment. He had the highest approval rating of any president in the past 70 years. Gore, the #2 Democrat in the Clinton administration, still didn’t become president.


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      zvelf: You revealed why Trump voters vote the way they do, but mistake how powerful that is: the “quasi-spiritual kind of battle taking place at the level of civilization.” That’s exactly right. The GOP, Fox News, and far-right radio and websites have made them believe that the left is made up of God-hating, baby killing, election-stealing, condescending, virtue signaling social justice warriors who are out to replace white people with brown immigrants and destroy heterosexual norms. If your average South Carolinian really, truly believed that, then would they trade a material improvement in their life to keep such people in power? No. You can appeal to them all you want with socialist promises, but you’re not getting the vote of someone who believes the above.


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    LGDB:  How would you know? lol  I mean what great power do you have that can testify to their mental or moral limitations.  Again, you're assuming that most of those people have been experiencing these wonderful economies you've be gesturing towards, that they should forgo their other cultural concerns, which is just foolish.

I already explained why any single person’s economic improvement is unlikely to be attributed to a political party by that person, but here I am talking about that group of Trump supporters whom YOU described as believing that they are engaged in a “quasi-spiritual kind of battle taking place at the level of civilization.” Anyone who thinks that civilization depends on Republicans holding power is not going to be swayed by you. (https://www.npr.org/2022/01/05/1070362852/trump-big-lie-election-jan-6-families)


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    LGDB: Also, this is all convenient for you isn't that, you've decided that they're absolutely unreachable.  Kind of let's the libs off the hook the burden of having to develop policies that work in their interest.   Also I notice you're only talking about dyed in the wool MAGA people.  Apparently you've also given up in convincing the Trump voters who aren't nearly so ideologically lock step nor the 30 - 40 % of people that won't vote.  I guess they're all brainwashed too, right?

This is a straw argument. I already conceded that 10-15% of Trump voters are swayable. Again, I was referring to the quasi-spiritual Trump supporters. I haven’t said anything about those who don’t vote so that’s clearly a straw man argument. If we look at the 10 countries in the world with the highest voter turnout, Belgium at 78% is the median. Basically, there will always be about 20% who don’t vote whether because they are apathetic, don’t follow politics whatsoever, can’t get off work, have physical impediments, are just plain lazy, or some other reason. Sure, some of the rest of that 10-20% are reachable and should be sought out. In any case, you keep asserting that I don't want Democrats to change. That is just wrong, which you will realize once I detail what policies I want Democrats to enact in a moment.


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    LGDB: I imagine it more likely that those people don't vote, not because they've been convince of how right the Republicans are so much as they're experienced have convinced the that the Democratic party as it exists currently is ill equipped and in many ways has no inclination of improving their lives.

I’m sure lots of voters and non-voters think this way, but I’d say a huge part of this is because the electorate is just uninformed so as I said, they don’t know whether they are being helped or not and if they are being helped, they don’t know where that help is coming from.


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    LGDB: I absolutely agree that public sentiment for neoliberalism in the 90's was FAR higher than it is today.  But if you've been paying attention I'm sure you'll notice... political reality has changed quite a bit.  While Clinton was stepping out the door, he had high approval, but that's by no means how most people feel about his presidency or him as a person  now.  And by the way, see how any of those policies we've discussed poll at an individual level now.   Regardless enthusiastically as you make have typed that I can't imagine that this standard is one you're keen on keeping.    They loved Clinton so much as a matter of fact... wait who did the elect and reelect after Clinton?   I can't remember?  Also haven't showed how Democrats helped people, at least not sufficiently.  You've touted their minor legislative achievements and then declared they were helpful when comparing them to a big Republican nothing.

See, Bush getting elected after Clinton damages your credibility, not mine. Clinton’s lack of popularity NOW has nothing to do with whether Gore got elected after him THEN. Your assertion is that Democrats would get elected if people thought they did a good job. People at the time thought Clinton did a great job, the best job since FDR. And they still didn’t reward Democrats and a Gore, who policy-wise, was very similar to Clinton. Of course, you believe that Clinton materially caused massive job losses despite him leaving with that 4.2% unemployment rate and are left to explain why he was so popular then. It was only after he left office that many of his worst decisions came to roost.


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    LGDB:  Yeah, or you know prioritize reforming the party rather than apologizing for it so the American people are forced to make these kind of choices.  I'd argue this lesser of two evils political strategy is precisely WHY things have gotten worse over the last 30 years.

You see this as an either-or. I do not. We should definitely prioritize both reforming the party AND keep the greater evil out of power. You yourself have admitted to doing this by voting for Hillary Clinton. So your actions appear to directly contradict your beliefs. But I also believe that keeping Republicans out of power is necessary to reform the Democratic Party because the more Republicans make the system convenient for themselves, the more Democrats have to act like Republicans to make the system work for them.


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    LGDB: How are your politics any different than your average Democratic baby boomer?  And young people also voted overwhelming for Biden in the primary.  People of under 35 have a more positive association with socialism than they do with capitalism.

I want universal single-payer healthcare, although that would potentially jeopardize my job. I want a big social safety net. I want universal basic income eventually. I want to reverse income inequality. I want taxes to double on the very rich. I want strong unions (my spouse is trying to form one right now). I want racial equality but I want affirmative action to be applied by income, not race. I want renewable energy to replace big oil. I want more environmental protections and to fight climate change. I want to drastically cut military spending. I want more corporate and Wall Street regulation. Most of all, I want big money out of politics because the rest is difficult to obtain while that is the case.


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    LGDB:  I don't begrudingly admit anything.  I recognize the marginal legislative achievements here you're trying to use to distract from much more serious economic problems you're not addressing, think are inevitable, or are basically ignorant of.

You are using circular logic. If the Democrats help people enough, people will keep Democrats in power. Since Democrats aren’t kept in power, they aren’t helping people enough. I’ve already explained thoroughly why this is not the case.

Now you can characterize everything I wrote as being an apologist to a Democratic Party that I am only half invested in, but what I am actually doing is shading the gray because all you want to do is focus on how Dems and Republicans are alike even as you condemn Dems more than Republicans. I want to focus on their differences so people know where to vote their interests, at least where the presidency is concerned. I already stated this in my previous post, but yes, I agree the Democratic Party needs a lot of fixing, and the place to do it is first fixing the system. That means getting big money out of the process and that means getting a majority on the Supreme Court, which means electing a Democratic president to appoint them.






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