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tv   David Sokol Adam Brandon America in Perspective  CSPAN  October 14, 2022 12:37pm-1:14pm EDT

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>> my name is spencer chretien and i'm the director of programs here at freedomworks. we're really excited to have you all here today for this party which promotes america in perspective written by david sokol and on president adam brandon. and special thanks also to those who are joining us online on the live stream. this book covers a lot of ground and we're excited to be having this discussion tonight. adam and david have both been pounding the pavement to spread the message of america in perspective but tonight we get to you from both of them both on the same stage. before introduce you to our colleague steve moore a lot of much all that you have pins and papers on your chairs which you can use for questions for the q&a portion of the program tonight. i also want to help set the stage for this discussion by sharing some polling that we've done this month, polling that we've commission on the american dream because that really is fundamentally what the book is about. we worked with our friends scott rasmussen to find that 58% of
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americans say they feel very proud to be an american. 65% say they would rather live in a system which everyone has equal opportunity to succeed and some people end up successful, which is the definition of a meritocracy. only 24% versus where the government ensures that everybody experiences roughly the same outcome. so that's the good news. but there are some concerning findings as well. those get at the thrust of the american dream which is also a theme of this book. only 37% agree america is a strong force for good in the world are only 24% are very confident that we have as a nation the ability to fix the problems that we face. and fully 42% believe america's best days have come and gone. we are looking forward to exploring these types of issues more fully tonight, and in the future as we continue to place america in perspective. i also want to say where excited to be joined tonight by emily
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jashinsky will moderate the discussion. emily is culture editor at the federalist and host of federalist radio hour. she covered politics as a commentator writer for the "washington examiner" and before the examiner she was the spokesperson for young america's foundation. she's . she's interviewed leading politicians and entertainers and has appeared regularly as a guest on major tv programs. emily also serves as director of the national journalism center and associate of the hills weekly show rising fridays and a visiting fellow at independent women's forum originally from wisconsin she is a graduate of george washington university. the first want to introduce our colleague steve moore cucina economy at freedomworks. steve communicates our vision for a pro-growth economic agenda and conducts plenty of original economic analysis as whether you've you have probably seen them on tv. you probably read his columns so without further ado here is steve moore. [applause]
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>> well, hello, everybody. it's a real privilege to be here for this unveiling of this great new book. my first thoughts about this is what is it about omaha, nebraska, that creates so many amazing business minds? i mean you talk about warren buffett and, of course, david sokol hailing from nebraska and ben and kobe successful businessman. so maybe you can tell us what the secret is about that area of the country. this is such really a well-timed book, given the current economic massacre that's going on in this country over the last 18 months. the fact that we've gotten so many of these policies that are supposed to be advancing the american dream but are cheating just the opposite. we are actually depleting the american dream. we are depleting people's economic prospects of the growth of big government policies, and
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it's almost as if joe biden has done exactly the opposite, adam, of what you suggest in this book. what's really so exciting to me about this book is it's not just arrest attention -- recitation of what we have. just this morning the united states passed another $200 billion spending bill. can you think of anything dumber than right now spend even more money? by the way, passed in a bipartisan way. our congressmen and senators need to read this book as well. i really am appreciative that you guys wrote about immigration because immigrants are so much part of the american dream and they are the people who come to this country literally with nothing and show, prove that the american dream is still alive and well.
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we see hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people come into our country every year and achieve the american dream with nothing. so that is really strong evidence that the american dream is alive and well. we've lived through these. david, you know that we'll get through these. one feel despair, we selected countries and wrong direction. we lived through the 1970s when we had the last episode of runaway inflation and it felt like america's place in the world have been diminished. and every one of these instances that is proven to be not true. we have always, america's always prevail. we will prevail again but this is a book, "america in perspective," that is really the sort of map, the gps map about how we retrieve the american dream and american greatness. it will happen. i feel very confident about it but hope everyone this book. adam, you have been you and i worked together now for what i was six years and built this
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incredible activist organization with several million activists around the country who believe in freedom, believe in free enterprise can believe in liberty. i have been concerned about some of those results are young people who don't seem to have the same appreciation for the greatness of america. so can we please get this, i want to see this book put in libraries and put in schools so that young people can read this and learn from it. so congratulations on a great book. united states. thank you to c-span for covering this. i will never turn over to him who to get over to now? >> a round of applause for steve moore. [applause] >> well, it's my pleasure to be here and my thanks to freedomworks for hosting and hosting the conversation that ensure will be very lightly and enlightened because the book itself certainly is as someone
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has had the pleasure of reading it, i can say it's moving and it includes so many helpful arguments but with a sense of i think moral clarity that's missing from a lot of our conversations right now. i'll introduce our speakers and then we will dive right in. our speakers/authors i should say. david sokol as you all as a chairman and ceo of teton capital, , founded three compans in his career to date taken three companies public and is chairman and ceo of mid-american energy holdings company whose sole that come to berkshire hathaway company 2000 or he continues with berkshire hathaway until he retired in march 2011. when left in order to manage the family business investment. he is a member of the executive committee of the board of directors of the horatio alger association distinguished americans. over his 40 year career he has chaired five corporate boards and over a dozen charitable or committee boards. welcome, david. thank you so much. [applause]
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>> we are joined also david's co-authored the one and only adam brandon who is the president of freedomworks turkey join freedomworks in 2005 in the press department and gradually moved into a management role. he's responsible for setting the priorities of the entire family of freedomworks entities including a 501(c)(3) foundation, a issue activism effort political action committee. >> is been published and quarter by fox news the "wall street journal" the "new york times" the "washington post" for it and the hill. when he's not any suit as he is right now he can be found watching the cleveland browns, really? >> that's right. >> sorry about that. the cleveland browns with his wife jacqueline and son pierce. adam, welcome. >> thank you very much. [applause] and because omaha was good and so it's what i just have to point out that john d john d. rockefeller came from my hometown. >> congratulations, adam. [laughing]
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well, i'll move on to our first question which is going to be the same both of our guests and it is very simply why did you decide to write this book works we will start with you, david. >> first of all, you couldn't put a businessperson any less comfortable setting. we have a couple other officer, probably many remiss feel free to raise your hand. michael pack and mark who just an addition to the document that michael did created equal justice thomas in his own words and they just issued a really terrific book that summarizes in his life the other 30 hours of interviews they did on video. it's a fabulous book so anyway thank you for being here. i got to live the american dream. dream. my grandparents came over from poland. my dad when i was a kid, it was always about the american dream. you can do which what to do. we lived lived in rural nebraska, low income happy
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family. by today's standards people say you were poor but we did note that if we were. but what i had was constant encouragement. all five of us kids. you got to get a degree, figure out what degree you going to get because it's going to need to create a live for you to pay for your family the rest of your life, and work hard. that was it. and on sundays he would pass out clippings from the local newspaper about successful business been not only what, and women not only what they did with her career of what they did in the community, with their philanthropy. so to me it was part of who we were. then i got involved with the horatio alger association which issue celebrates people come up from their bootstraps on the substantive bootstraps and creating a life in america and provide scholarships to scholars. over the last 18 months or 18 18 use been involved with horatio alger, scholars get the american dream. they see it and these are kids whose background makes virtually
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anyone i've ever known, they did not have a tough upbringing compared to these kids. they just were not poor but parents killed each other, drug addicts and prostitutes. kids in shipping containers to get to high school. either one of them they don't blame anybody and he believe the american dream by the questions that i often get when you meet with the scholars or mentor them is how, our colleagues or the kids would go to school with don't seem to believe in it anymore? those two things motivated me. that and the fact that less than 50% of american public schools teach civics today. it wasn't an option when i was a kid and in over half the public schools in america american history as an alternate class you don't have to take it. we've got young people today i can't really blame them when they just read the papers and things to not understand why the
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mess we're getting into is there because they have not had the opportunity to really learn and to hopefully this book will give some opportunity for people in a balanced way to understand why america is exceptional. >> what about you, out of? you the way you are grounds fan but your socks screen packers. sorry i had to point that out on from wisconsin. go ahead, adam. >> the reason why i wanted to write this book goes back to the very beginning of the first notes. if you write a book there is that moment that you take all your notes and you filled in a folder and you kind of think of what a going to call this folder? how about america in perspective? and you start gathering other notes and that was the reason that the working title, which ended up being the final title was "america in perspective" is back to we were taking all the stories and so much of what david and his experience mirrored in my own family,
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although newman america has ever taken a company public. a lot of us a dream too, but when you look at the stories december the people come to this country and the hardship that they experience, and every great american story is about persevering and having hardship and having failure and having to reinvent yourself. and every great whether it's a sport athlete or business owner is one, the most common american streets start looking back to our history, , that's just something that happens today. this is happen from the very founding of the nation. so when you start putting all those trials and tribulation in perspective, it's a pretty incredible story. too often we focus on the negative and you focus on what is driving people apart and not that basic dna that unites all of americans. this is a most successful multiethnic country in global history, period.
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is an amazing thing when you think about the plight of thousands of years of human civilization. if you think about that way, yes, this country has had some rough edges. this country has had some real tragedies but it's these basic values we have of meritocracy, will alone at his loudest to reinvent ourselves time and time again. were at one of those difficult periods in history where we are doing a gut check moment looking at a lot of different institutions. if you keep our history and perspective what we've been through it is a map for how we move forward. >> and there such an important commonality both of you just said, and that on the one hand, students are not even learning the basics of american history and on the other hand, what they are being taught is completely devoid of perspective. adam also with you on this question i'm wondering how you think some of his religion but threats to the american dream whether it's our system of higher education, whether it's inflation, whether it's any of these economic problems, how can you talk to people right now who
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are really suffering while balancing that with this message they're getting from just about every cultural institution that america is somehow irredeemable? >> some of the topics we touched on a little bit and something that i was raised with his what is his concept of the american dream? too often the whole concept of the american dream we are told is it's a better car than what your parents drove, it's a bigger house and your grandparents had. when you think about in that light that means the american dream is all about material goods and immaterial approach. what i believe the american dream is something larger than that, the american dream is about, it's about that freedom to dream. it's about that for you to chase whatever your heart desires and how you want to build your future in the economic prosperity. that's kind of, that's a byproduct of when we chase our dreams. >> what you think about that, david?
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>> part of the problem with all this negative if you will attitude is that we lost the ability to communicate as a society and it goes back to the fundamentals that we discussed in the book. the founding father spent an enormous amount of time talking up consensus amongst themselves. took them a great deal of time to decide on 75% approval for a constitutional amendment, two-thirds for impeachment, unico the filibuster 60 votes. they very much understood that, and the whole reason we have two senators per state but proportional representation in the house, they did not want areas of the country to overwhelm anybody else. they knew that would be possible. there would be larger cities, there would be rural areas. these are things you can read about between their letters back and forth and things of that nature. it's a government of we the people which requires consensus. they interested we can elect people based on a plurality of
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votes the weekend i elect them so we the people control the process. if we're going to make major changes to the foundation of society it's got to be on consensus. they are into me is the biggest mistake we made. adam made a comment that, sorry, stephen did, we are one of the only multicultural countries at it ever actually successively multicultural. we're trying to break that down. try to turn itself cellso tribes when we attacked each other. we want to create this myth that we're actually this system of the racist society that we are not but we are humans. we've made a lot of mistakes over the years. what of the country went to war with itself and sacrifice f its population to stop this scourge called slavery? so is that consensus building that we are away from. last week i literally probably one of the most disturbing things i've ever heard a united states president say as is to
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bed a podium in massachusetts and said well, the supreme court turned me down and congress will pass what i want, so i'm going to do it myself. that's russia. that's china. that's a lot of places but that's not a good irrespective of the issue if any republican president said that i would be just as appalled. but that's where we are today. we've got to get to where we communicate and get away from name-calling and we find consensus. we will all be happy with it. consensus means in the case of the constitutional amendment that three-quarters of the state have to approve which means apparently a quarter didn't if that's all it was. that's what we are built upon and if we don't come back to that, if we think the supreme court should be part of it, the house or the office of the president or something, those checks and balances that were put in 246 years ago have been incredibly effective. they do get in the way though if one of us besides we should get
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our way all the time. >> did you have something to add? >> one thing we talked about in the book about success and you mentioned slavery, and i just love the story that we talked about about nigerian americans when you look at statistic about how the nigerian american experience, they are like the most successful subgroup in the entire populations so how can that be that if you have this legacy yet this other group of recent arrivals are doing to so phenomenally well? what that shows is the power of a lot of folks that were not born here the commit take full advantage of the opportunities to chase their dreams come at that shows me the strength of america and the strength of what this country has to offer. it's just a continue through history of these opportunities that are provided to folks here. >> this is an individual that came in from nigeria. made an enormous fortune by working hard and being frankly very smart.
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when i asked him about we were together fishing and i said what do you think about american being systemically racist? he said, well, he said i from the jury. he said it's absurd. your country was formed by western europeans on balance were white, and for a great period of time that was sort of how the country existed. and then you more into this multicultural melting pot. he said if you want to see white privilege and forget white privilege. you want to see black privilege, come to nigeria and try to start a business. he said that such a sad that there's necessarily systemic racism against whites but it's been a black nation since come for its existence. the notion that just because that's the case, your systemic racism is absurd. that's from a nigerian. >> i should the story without earlier when i was down in northern mexico and as a group
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of migrants that was gathered literally almost at the gate of the border. one of the haitian migrants were asking him, they come from venezuela and chile not necessarily from haiti why'd they would risk sleeping on the streets huddled outside the border outside the gate. he said the american dream, turned all of the other dozens of haitians of about it at te all-star saint the american dream, the american dream, and the american dream is very alive and other parts of the world was highlighted by this book through very powerful stories come very powerful anecdotes and want to ask all of you if you have a favorite story from the book that illustrates what america's best kept in perspective? >> my favorite story is compelling of you in this room have heard of robert smalls? like, everyone hands should be. this guy should be on the $20 bill. robert smalls was a slave. he escaped. he commandeered a boat. he freed himself and a bunch of others came up north, convinced
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to lincoln to allow blacks to fight in the civil war in making a multimillionaire founded the republican party of south carolina and to top it all off he bought the plantation he was enslaved in. i mean, that's like only an american credible story in such a story of overcoming. such a story of meeting adversity and is just a lot of fun to try to take a guy like that is a story and i mean this is something that a movie should be made out of. >> i agree. in doing a lot of the research which by the way freedomworks wasn't really helpful when of the things we agreed with was every detail that's in the book has to be referenced because unfortunately today people will tend to think you have a perspective that they don't like and, therefore, they will find something to tear it apart so we wanted everything, in doing that as went through a lot of the research and history you realized how we kept using a term self-healing, that one of the things that's amazing of what the founding fathers created here was this whole
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feeling nature of america to get at odds with itself and then find an answer to that and go forward. .. the reality that we have this unique form of government and society that has been self-healing through these years now. that's not to say there weren't a lot of things to heal from. i mean, there's no one thing we don't gloss over in the book is that there was racism and there was jim crow and, a lot of other things. and those are bad. and nobody in this stage is going to defend them. but we worked our way through them as a society. one criticism we could ngprobably all have his took too long to do those things but i think that's part of the consensus buildings of multicultural backgrounds is don't all see the same. in fact we have freedom of religion means we may
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disagree on things that seem obvious to somebody but for religious reasons we still have to find the consensus but that self healing piece i think we should never lose sight of because this is a co great country and the opportunities today are as good as they ever been but 30 trillion in debt and running our economy the way we're running it, i hope we can avoid, too many people have said that the only way this gets fixed is if we have a catastrophe and unfortunately the very people that get hurt the most income. that's the wrong way to solve this problem >> you talk about argentina and most people say you should talk about venezuela. i think the argentinian story is more interesting from an american perspective. if you go back 100 years ago argentina was there with the united states so you go back hundred years ago france, germany, argentina , they're 5 basically the same country . go back to 1945 and worked bond, and in fact argentina
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they should be in the g-7. this they should be one of the most powerful countries on earth and they lost it and they lost it by starting to mess with some of theirbasic fundamentals. they had a lot of the same things we have and we lost it . that shows me prosperity and stability this country has, it's not just something that was ordained to happen and if you make that policy decision you canbecome the next argentina . you can look back 50 years from now 100 years hefrom now we can be looking back and say that's the moment the united states odecided they're going to go in this other direction they become a great regional power instead of what you talk about asians are at the border singing the americandream . as the moment whereright now is deciding which we were going to go . are we going to reconnect to thethings that have always ug gotten through this ? commitment to meritocracy and rule of law or are we going to go in a more utopian direction and not just a
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giant argentina? >> you talk about you were mentioning when you realize the self story feature of our system. nonfiction writers often learn a lot when writingtheir books . what's the u most interesting thing you learn while writing this book and i'll start with david. >> it's the word consensus. i was startled to find and i believe i've been a history buff on american presidents and the founders but it wasn't until a friend of mine got me to thinking about maybe some of the old papers between the founding fathers . thomas jefferson, there's volumes. he kept every letter he ever wrote and they're printed in volumes and adam had similar files and you go back and start reading these things. they understood exactly what they were doing. they understood that population so they had population centers back then
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that they would try to go for more rural thought processes and other areas of the country the network has been emblazoned inside of me because we had no idea. we think of them being geniuses in their own right. the real genius as they didn't all agree. and yet we they talked in several of their papers about how their goal to write the constitution was to they unanimously agreed on every word and they effectively made that otherthan the areas regarding slavery . and you think about that. think about our congress today drafting a nice letter tosomebody and agreeing on a word . we've lost that and they argued it wasn't that they didn't argue . they ultimately found words theycould all make work . and so consensus would be the one thing . >> the one thing i'd want to add is something that didn't even get into the book.
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we were working and had this meeting and walking out of your house and what's the one thing you want to know if you run a successful business? that's easy, just fire every pessimistic person on your staff. the car ride back to the airport was positive. everyone that was in the car but what i've kind of, that's always stuck with me because it does apply to where, is your country is negative down on himself is not going to be a success. but when people that positivity, i keep going back to your haitian at the border but that's what they were looking for was that positivity of i'm going to have the opportunity to improve my felife no matter what is thrown at me. >> it specifically asking
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about some of the younger people in the crowd and that sense of optimism seems to be such an important context to keep this in. what is your advice to younger members of this audience owing forward as they're being told the country isirredeemable, as their being saturated in pessimism , what's your advice. >> well, read this book. just recognize that we got here as a nation that argues with itself and so the fact always agree doesn't mean we're bad. it doesn't mean the other side is bad and don't let the pessimism get away because to me it is cancerous. it's what's causing our problem, it's notfixing our problems . you take the immigration situation. i'm just a business guy, i get that but i think if we went to not a browns game e but
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a kansas city chiefs game playing the browns in kansas city and we throw darts in their picked 15 people and got them together and gave them genuine facts, unbiased advisors they could come up with a bill to rationally resolve the immigration situation. that bill would have to go in front of the american people and congress but with all due drespect it's not that complicated. we've turned into this political tool to bash people with etc. the young people need to understand we need them to demand more of their electedofficials . and that's how you change things. because it's changeable. think back for most of us in their, ronald reagan changed the attitude of this country in six months. very pessimistic, my first mortgage was 16 percent and
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you think it's depressing being a young person today, 5 and a half percent looks pretty good but in six months f i first vote was for his predecessor . he was an engineer, i was an engineer. he's going to run this country well and i think jimmy carter perhaps might be one of the nicestpeople in this country but he is a horrible president . but optimism, ronald reagan is just an enormous optimism and his unwillingness to break things down and have 50 fights, he would have one fight at a time we've got to solve this, got to get inflation down . wegot to get the economy growing . and he didn't pick a fight with everybody. i think we've got to get back to leadership , leadership matters and thankfully i don't have an answer for it but we need to get away from the professional politician world we live in today where the current administration to me is troubling. steve wrote a very interesting piece but it's
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obvious when you look at it, this is an administration of identity politics and i don't really care personally about so much gender, someone's sexual preference. i want quality people. in our money you could be reading and walk on all fours and if you're good what you do you'll get promoted. that's a nation of how we run a business, it's a meritocracy. we have to experience matters when you're taking the issue of potentially shifting our entire energy situation from our current fossil fuel background to zero carbon. i'll tell you what, i would have every expert i could get my arms around helping me figure out how to do this. and we don't have it and they don't even meet withyou . i've been in the energy industry my whole career obama administration, by the ministration will meet with me, they only meet with folks that want to tell them what they want to hear.
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politically that may be great for america is terrible . i like the old abraham lincoln, cabinet of rivals. get some really smart people with a lot of experience. that's the young people to me they're going to need the ones who have to pick up the mess that we'releaving them . >> one of the numbers i like to throw around is there's a number you can remember. the year 1983. 51 percent of americans were born after 1983. so think of what that means for people in their perspective. berlin wall came down in 1989 so if you're born in 19 need three, talking about constructs and all, you're going to miss some people in that so it's important to make sure there's a whole another audience for us to engagewith . >> and you both so much for your remarks and for this wonderful book i'm excited to bring windsor back up to the stage two of us continue with
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the program, spencer. >> thank you all, thank you adam and david. to emily, we are going to be g doing a book signing with david and adam right next door in a few minutes. i want to take a moment iaalso to recognize a couple special guests and joined us as senator paul and mister larry kudlow. we really value. [applause] we really are grateful for your partnerships with us and thank you so much for your support of what we do at freedom works. i will now fturn it over to everybody for the book signing at the reception and once again thank you to those who joined us online. >> every saturday american history tv documents america
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