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2016: Obama's America Reviews

Page 1 of 155
Matthew Samuel M

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2012
Poorly filmed and quite dull despite its efforts to intrigue, Obama's America is a paranoid, useless film that really makes no valid statement whatsoever.
Dan S

Super Reviewer

November 17, 2012
An interesting, though extremely slowly paced and occasionally poorly narrated look at the rise of President Barack Obama, and how his connections and past shape the future for the country he oversees. While it delivers in its final half hour, the first hour borders on tedium, specifically though director Dinesh D'Souza's choice of narrating and interviewing (on the phone, which seems totally fake). With that said, it has some content that is definitely arresting, and should not be brushed off. It is undeniable that a large part of our country is infatuated with Barack Obama, potentially for all the wrong reasons, while turning a blind eye to the more disturbing background he possesses. Whatever your politics are (I am a Republican, but I was still let down a little by this documentary), definitely watch atleast the last half hour or so to get a summary as to what we could be looking at four years down the road. Some claim D'Souza is stretching and what he is saying is outlandish, but based on the evidence and connections he focuses on, it's really not that crazy of a scenario. As a recently graduated college student, I know the troubles my generation is having finding steady employment, me included. The ties this President has, as well as the irrefutable underpinnings he has to socialistic policies definitely concerns me, and I hope more documentaries come out in the mean time that further explore Obama and his motives, as the mainstream media's love for him has grown to an unbearable amount.
boxman
boxman

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2012
Dinesh D'Souza, noted conservative pundit and author, has risen to mainstream attention thanks to his documentary 2016: Obama's America, a little movie making some big noise at the box-office. Co-written and directed by John Sullivan (Ben Stein's Expelled), the film rationalizes that the American people don't really know the true Barack Obama. D'Souza uses Obama's own words from his best-selling memoir Dreams From My Father to try and decipher who the president is deep down, and D'Souza theorizes that the most powerful man in the world is really just trying to appeal to an absentee father. D'Souza visits the globe and promises to shed light on the "real" Obama, or, at least, the "real" Obama that fits into the narrative of a political polemic.

After viewing 2016: Obama's America, I am at a loss for words. This won't last long, trust me.

This pseudo-documentary is such an intellectually dishonest, disingenuous, feeble-minded character attack, relying on heavy amounts of guilt-by-association, armchair psychology, factual whitewashing, leaps in logic, and ugly race-baited visual associations to remind its public that Obama is an "other." I tried to be as objective as possible assessing D'Souza's takedown on America's first black president. I tried to analyze his rhetoric, his process of laying the case for his outlandish, paranoid claims. I tried to remove all personal politics from my assessment, and I still will attempt to keep them at bay, to simply review this as a "film." What Obama's America truly aspires to be is the evidence that your crackpot uncle cites as proof that his dismissive opinion of the president, that he's not to be trusted, that he's trying to destroy the country from the inside out, is correct. In this fashion, D'Souza is trying to give cover for the crackpots.

Let's start with D'Souza's fundamental thesis that supposes that Obama's entire motivation is to live out the ideals of his father. He's trying to impress his absent father. I cannot buy this broad generalization, and D'Souza keeps returning to it like he's the only one who can see this obvious conclusion. I find it hard to believe that the father Obama saw once in his life is really the guiding force of his worldviews. Therefore, the more information D'Souza spills about Obama's father the more he's repeating the same conjecture without making any concrete connection. He interviews friends of Obama Sr. in Kenya and asks for their views of President Obama, a man they've never known. There is a litany of interview subjects with tenuous connection to Obama, most are always a step or two or more removed from the man himself. We get his mother's college professor and Obama's half-brother living in Kenya. That's about as close as the movie gets. Often the interview subjects will disintegrate into weak hearsay ("I interviewed a guy who knew his father, so I guess I have some credibility."). I also found it odd how when his interview subjects refer to his radical father, they keep repeating the name "Barack," and not specifying senior or father. It happens so often that the intended association is quite transparent. Here's a clue you're dealing with a crank: D'Souza tries to make hay out of the fact that Obama's book is titled "Dreams FROM My Father" and not "Dreams OF My Father." Rarely has one preposition been given such (half-assed) psychological insight. The fact that the movie purports to get at the "real Obama," and this is the scraps it offers, robs the movie of any desperately desired insight or credibility.

The movie, especially the first 20 minutes, is also the story of D'Souza and his personal journey of why he feels America is the greatest land of them all. Just because the man was born the same year as Obama, got married the same year, and comes from a foreign country (though Obama is an American citizen who only spent four years abroad, but I digress), doesn't mean somehow D'Souza has been given such psychic insight into the mind of Obama. Like Michael Moore, D'Souza inserts himself and his life story into his narrative when it's not essential.

This would also work as an excellent case study in psychological projection. Since we don't get people close to Obama, we get lots and lots of conjecture and people offering their "esteemed" analysis of the man. These so-called experts do what the man's worst critics do, which is ignore the reality of Obama and project their radical interpretation of the man. An even-keeled centrist is a boring narrative, so now he becomes a Marxist, a socialist, a leftist radical, an enemy of the American way of life. This just doesn't jibe with a pesky thing known as the facts. If Obama is really the socialist he's labeled, then he's a horrible socialist. No public option? Recycling the Republican health care plan from the 1990s, including the mandate? Relaxing more gun control laws than Bush did in his entire presidency? Stepping up record numbers of drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Does that sound like a guy who's "weirdly sympathetic to jihadists"?

D'Souza and his interview subjects even take the step of saying that Obama's even-keeled style is really just a front, that deep down he's a raging black man just like failed presidential candidates Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. The reason we don't see this font of anger is because, and here's the ingenious part, Obama knows how to manipulate us all! He's secretly hiding his surplus of radical anger through emotional pragmatism. Not only that, Obama is manipulating race relations to lull us into complacency, because he knows white America wants to be assuaged of feeling racist, so we'll appreciate and advance an African-American man of merit. Excuse me? Does that make sense to anyone, that instead of just being, you know, a pragmatist, Obama is secretly exploiting white guilt to advance, because otherwise how would this man become president unless we were all duped? None of that holds together. D'Souza's 2010 book was called The Roots of Obama's Rage (he also penned the 1995 book The End of Racism, so I guess he was just a little early on that one). The fact that two years, or less, into his presidency, D'Souza is ready to lambaste the man as "rageful" makes me think that D'Souza just cannot perceive objectionable reality like the rest of us.

D'Souza also company also take any opportunity to de-legitimize the man's accomplishments. Obama didn't win the presidency because he was an eloquent, charismatic, intelligent, and compelling political figure, not to mention that he got ten million more votes than John McCain. Could Obama have achieved the historic because of his accomplishments? According to this movie, Obama won the 2008 presidential election because of one thing: he was black. You see foolish reader, America as a nation wanted to assuage any collective white guilt over the transgressions of our ancestors, so we all (myself included) voted for the man as a declarative statement once and for all that we are not racist. Maybe a handful of people were motivated by such a ludicrous notion, but all 69.5 million Obama voters? This is not the film's only simplistic generalization. We also have a psychological expert on what an absentee father does to a child. This is not a unique situation in our culture, nor is it one that prescribes a catchall response. Just because one person grows up without a father does not mean they will rigidly follow the same path in life; there are too many variables to prescribe one fate.

The most telling moment occurs when D'Souza visits Kenya to trace Obama's father's life. He interviews the president's half-brother and tries to needle him that his distant, famous relative is callous. "Why hasn't he helped you out here?" D'Souza presses. "He has a family of his own. I can take care of myself," the half-brother reasons, adding, "He's got other issues to take care of." This is the only member of Obama's actual extended family that D'Souza manages to snag an interview with, and he shuts down his line of inquiry pretty succinctly. Later, the man gives some rather hostile views of Israel, which is meant to signal that any possible points he made should be invalidated.

Then there's just the disingenuous and petty digs that omit key clarifying facts. D'Souza keeps railing against Obama as an anti-colonialist. First off, who in this day and age is going to champion colonialism, a system where the strong take from the weak? And why is colonialism even a relevant prism for the twenty-first century? Again, D'Souza offers little evidence to tie his theories to the man he's critiquing. One of his key pieces of evidence is that Obama returned a bust of Winston Churchill back to England. For D'Souza, this is a sign of his distaste for Churchill as a colonialist. However, the facts are that the bust was on loan and scheduled to return to England anyway, before Obama took office, and there's another bust of Churchill that remains in the president's private offices. What an inconvenience the actual facts make. I'd like to share my friend and PSP colleague Ben Bailey's thought's on this specific matter:

"Little known fact I just learn from the Obama 2016 documentary: The bust of Winston Churchill that used to be kept in the White House was actually a magical artifact that protected this country from socialism as long as it was in America. Naturally, the Anti-Colonialist Obama's first action upon taking office was to send that back. The other bust of Churchill that still resides in the White House does not have any magical powers, so it was kept."

D'Souza also hammers home the notion that Obama opposes the British rule of the Falkland Islands, a tiny group of islands off Argentina's coast. Another casual fact-checking venture proves this is false. The U.S. refused to endorse a declaration of Argentina's claim of ownership. And these are just the petty examples of D'Souza's argument approaching snide, dickish territory.

There are also the demonstrably false assertions, like Obama's desire to destroy America's superpower standing. D'Souza likes to obfuscate the eight years of Bush, speeding over him quickly in a timeline, lumping the national debt explosion under "Bush and Obama." Conservative pundits like to lambaste the president for the dour economy, which has improved over the past four years, but they also conveniently forget the mess the man inherited. To ignore eight years of policies that helped lead to near financial ruin, two wars that Bush also left off budgets and Obama did not, among other things, is to remove all context. It's like setting your house on fire and then blaming the next guy for trying to put it out: "Why haven't you fixed everything yet, pal?" Record debt and financial ruination did not suddenly appear one day in January 2009 when a Democrat took office, despite what some choose to believe. Forgetting the eight tumultuous years of Bush, and their far-reaching complications, is a disservice to history and an ignorant understanding of how we got where we are now.

Then there's D'Souza's dangerous assertion that Obama wants to weaken this country by cutting defense spending and our number of nuclear warheads. Anyone that talks about seriously reducing debt and the deficit and doesn't offer slashing defense spending, a huge part of the pie, is simply not committed to their goal. Like not one dollar of defense spending is wasteful, and any cuts would endanger the security of American life? We're drawing down two wars; do we need to keep spending like they're still active? Also, Obama wants to reduce the world's nuclear arms, and what's so wrong with that? How many warheads do you need? Are 1,500 warheads not enough to blow up the world ten times over? The notion that any reduction in arms or spending accompanies "weakness" is fanciful. Obama doesn't want to weaken this country by reducing America's nuclear stockpile while the world continues to wield these weapons. He wants to reduce all the world's nuclear arms to zero, an ambition D'Souza callously dismisses as fantasy. You know who also wanted to reduce nuclear weapons to zero? Ronald Reagan, D'Souza's hero. As per his 1984 speech: "My dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth." Even Superman was for limiting nuclear arms!

Now, as a piece of pure agitprop, Obama's America suffers as well. D'Souza is no conservative alternative to Michael Moore, an expert at crafting a cohesive message with needlessly duplicitous measures. There is no subtext here; it's all text. There are literally slasher movie violin shrieks on the soundtrack when D'Souza and an interview subject discuss the debt under Obama. There's the image of thorn-covered vines covering the Middle East, threatening Israel to become the "United States of Islam." There is no connecting of the dots, there's only wide conjecture and baseless fear mongering. What this movie becomes is one long string of codes and buzzwords and dog whistles, meant to elicit a certain response from its likely audience. How many times does the phrase "Third World" need to be repeated? D'Souza even tries to turn Hawaii as a stalwart of radicalism with ONE interview from a guy who makes unsubstantiated claims. D'Souza also reminds the audience, as a wink to the birthers out there, that Obama's birth was reported in two Hawaiian newspapers. What other purpose is there to mention this ordinary fact other than to appeal to the birthers in a coded manner? There's a lot of juxtaposition between foreign cultures, Kenya, Indonesia, but what about the fact that Obama spent a far majority of his life in the United States? The man spent four years in Indonesia, and D'Souza makes it sound like this was the central formation of the man's worldviews, not as he grew into maturity, went to college, and practiced law. Surely Obama became the man he was when he was seven years old, just like the rest of us.

D'Souza collects a conservative rogue's gallery of people who must have had tantamount influence on Obama, including old targets like Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright. This is a continuation of guilt by association, a common tactic in 2008. Obama's half-brother in Kenya talks about the West's need to "tame Israel," so D'Souza relies on us to make the connection just like with his father. If Obama's family thinks this way, surely the son they have seen so rarely must be in lockstep? Because nobody ever differed in political views from his or her family.

2016: Obama's America, which hilarious predicts the end of the American empire circa 2016 (I guess a Republican president won't be able to fix things), is a documentary that will convert no one. It's constructed entirely to reinforce the alarmist notions of the president's most fringe detractors. D'Souza doesn't deal with facts because they get in the way of his exaggerated narrative of a fictional Obama, a man who is destroying our country in a quest to prove himself to his absentee ghost of a father. There's plenty of logical inconsistencies, conjecture, and psychological projection and little evidence besides the expert opinions of people who knew a guy who knew a guy who knew Obama Sr. There's plenty of unintentional comedy to be had, however, like a ludicrous racism-is-dead visual reenactment where a black man is upset because people at a bar are purposely giving him the cold shoulder (racists!). A minute later, they come out with a birthday cake and everyone in the bar, including the tattooed biker dude, erupts in applause for the heralded black man (see how wrong you were, world?). The basic assertion that Obama's presidency is his attempt to live out his father's ideals doesn't stand up to scrutiny. It marginalizes a complex, educated man, saying he's just a daddy's boy, just like the film marginalizes the president's historic election by saying it was simply an outpouring of white guilt (what about non-white people?).

I repeat: this pseudo-documentary is such an intellectually dishonest, disingenuous, feeble-minded character attack. It's slimy, snide, petty, and wallows in conjecture and fear mongering. When the denizens in my theater applauded by film's end, I felt a great sadness wash over me. If these people thought this appalling film was effective, was compelling, was informative, and was accurate, then I fear what prism these people choose to view the world through. Because 2016: Obama's America isn't just a horrid example of propaganda, it's also the worst movie of the year, bar none.

Nate's Grade: F
Everett J

Super Reviewer

September 30, 2012
First thing first, I consider myself an Independent, but I have always voted Democrat. I'm always intrigued by political documentaries, and when I heard all the press about this one, I figured I would give it a shot. Long story short, this isn't so much as a documentary, as it is one man interpreting Obama's book, "Dreams from my Father". It's told through narrative, with some interviews and reenactments. When you watch a movie like this, you have to watch it objectively, because this isn't 100% fact, it's just what someone thinks and they made a movie about it. It's like my movie reviews, it's how I see a movie, and it could be very different than how you see it. While I don't agree with a lot of the movie, I found it to be informational and entertaining. Some of the stuff I had never heard of, or thought of it in the way it was presented. Will it change the way I vote in November? No, but it makes the election a little more interesting. The reenactments are kind of cheesy, as is the background music. The filmmaker/narrator, Dinesh D'Souza is sometimes entertaining, and at other times boring. It's kind of like he is reading an essay in parts. Still, it's worth a watch,probably wouldn't spend any money on it which I didn't, no matter your political views.
Dann M

Super Reviewer

September 19, 2012
The political documentary 2016: Obama's America takes an in-depth look at the political ambitions of President Barack Obama. Political scholar Dinesh D'Souza explores how Obama's upbringing has shaped his political policies; specifically his apparent tendency toward anti-colonialism. Looking at Obama's biography, Dream from My Father, and traveling to Kenya, D'Souza delves into the forces that helped to shape Obama into the dynamic politician that he became. Though there's an element of propaganda to the film, 2016: Obama's America is a fascinating look at one of the most controversial political figures of our time.
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

June 15, 2014
2016: Obama's America is, like its director and star Dinesh D'Souza, is a documentary of some interest and intelligence, yet one prone to simplicity and a lack of penetrating depth. Listening to D'Souza's media rounds, one cannot help but be impressed. He is intelligent, well-spoken, and controlled in his delivery. This lead me to check out his 2016 documentary, which has many aspects of merit, but never fully lives up to its promise.

D'Souza's thesis is that Obama's unique upbringing and family history has greatly shaped his world view. Specifically, D'Souza examines his father's socialist and anti-colonialist views, his college associates, and those individuals he has some sort of relationship with that, D'Souza contends, shaped Obama's worldview. This worldview analyses everything from an anti-colonialist view, one that de-emphasizes America's view, and looks to equalize the rest of the world at the sake of our nation's interest, and with a socialist economic bent.

While there's certainly a story to be had here, I'm not convinced D'Souza found it. One should look at all of his policies in context, which is more of the same, and an even greater bent toward militarism, centralism, and blending corporate and government power. If anything, the evolution seems to be that of an intelligence product/operation, with the "anti-colonial" and leftist rhetoric being more of a cover. D'Souza seems to pick and choose his facts, pointing to, as an example, returning a bust of Churchill as a rebuff to the UK, and backing Argentina in the Faulken islands, while ignoring the reversal on numerous military promises, such as Gitmo, and a foreign policy which is very much still interventionist. This speaks to another fault of D'Souza, he correctly exalts America's exceptionalism and our roots in liberty, yet equates that with a seemingly pro-interventionist bent, something very much opposed by our founding fathers.

On a technical level, 2016 is a mixed bag. The cinematography is good, yet the pacing is flawed. Too much time is spent on speculation with just D'Souza, too many filmed phone conversations. The narration is not especially compelling. What is effective, however, are the interviews with the little known family members, done in an un-opposing way, which lends to D'Souza's cool demeanor. What emerges is a certainly different aspect to the Obama story than many realize, yet one that perhaps doesn't fit all the pieces together. It's never boring, and manages to be informative and thought-provoking enough to warrant a watch.

3/5 Stars
Sylvester K

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2012
Hollywood is filled liberal dogs who believes in Obamination, now it's time for them to see the truth. From the cross cultural examination of America, we can see how the so called president will destroy one of the greatest country in the world if he is re-elected. It's an extremely well edited documentary, with precise statistics and analytical perspectives.
July 21, 2013
I was hoping for something that was at least put together well enough that it was able to convert people on the fence (although i disagree with the message.) Instead, it was like watching a prosecutor lead the witness for almost 90 mins. Interviews were obviously constructed and conclusions weren't based in fact, but assumptions made from pieces of information and questionable interviews. This was just something for anti-Obama Americans to rally behind; not something to truly shed light on anything.
September 16, 2012
This is a gutsy and worrisome theory about who Obama is and what his goals are.

All in all, I found it informative. I did not know that Obama's father had many wives and children. I also did not know that he was a anti colonial socialist. The many connections that Obama had with certain anti-Israeli platforms surprised me. It also had a few clips about Obama that show that he will change in his second term. In particular his words with the Russian President.

It left me confused and I wonder about who he really is. I am not surprised that the critics gave it a 27% rating while users gave it a 76%. I know it is not a great film, but at least it gets you thinking about how important this election is and some of the issues at stake. There were way too many clips of random people with underlying psychological implications that were distracting from the message. The filming was also jerky at times.

It will only be lasting if Obama wins again and he proves true the three predictions made in the film. They are: 1) Obama will not do anything significant to stop Iran from getting nuclear bombs. 2) He will spend money as if the deficit did not matter. 3) If the political climate changes and he is forced to tackle the deficit, he will cut military spending and seek to raise taxes. The first two are solid, but the third is more of a backup for if 2 fails.

There was a few more predictions. One highlighted the future in the Middle East will be The United States of Islam. Although this is unrealistic, it still was an interesting idea with many implications.

The clips on Jesse Jackson were also insightful, who said that racism is a covert operation and no longer in your face, but he combats this by saying that racism is not something that will prevent you from living the American Dream.

It also shows us that Obama is trying to level the playing field by reducing the power that the US has, by reducing nuclear bomb stockpiles, reducing the military, and promoting oil drilling in South America while banning it in the USA.

Regardless of some of these extreme claims, it gets you thinking.
October 28, 2012
A thoroughly thought-of political documentary by Dinesh D'Souza. However, instead of focusing so much on revealing the background of the President, perhaps it is better off for him to let the conservatives do their job.
October 26, 2012
Wow! This is a truly, truly terrible film. Logical fallacies, armchair psychology, guilt-by-association, you name it and this film commits it. It is not a documentary. It's a pure character assassination piece that includes just barely enough actual facts to take in the gullible. Don't bother with this trash. Spend the 90 minutes doing something better with your life.
October 16, 2012
A very scary movie that everyone should see before voting in November. I use the word "scary", not because this film revealed anything to me that I didn't already know. Actually, I'd estimate that I already knew of approximately 95% of the content covered in this movie. What's scary is that the content covered in this film was all readily available before the 2008 election (hence why I voted for the old guy and the dumb broad) and yet so many people ignored it then and continue to ignore it now. How dense are people? Many republicans are against Obama for his politics or think he's dumb or think he's naive, etc. No, this is not the case. I said in 2008 and I'll repeat it now... Barrack Hussein Obama is an evil man who hates the United States of America. That statement seems radical to the sheeple who suck from the teet of Obama's America but it's the truth and if they weren't so immediately selfish it would be painfully obvious. This 2012 election isn't a vote between Romney and Obama or republican and democrat or white and black... it's a vote between America and anti-America. I'd say the choice is pretty obvious.
YFilter
October 4, 2012
"The first time we did not know what change would look like. Now we do. The first time we did not know Barack Obama. Now we do. Which dream will we carry into 2016? The American dream or Obama's dream?" - Dinesh D'Souza
September 27, 2012
A rather astounding piece of film-making as I don't believe ANY of it is grounded in reality and yet it is being sold/marketed as a "documentary". Had it been marketed as a clever piece of fiction it would have been reviewed differently; but this will appeal to the lowest-of-the-low information voters and populace. While claiming to be about President Obama, the book is nothing more than Dinesh D'Souza CLAIMING to know and understand the President after reading his book. D'Souza even gather psychologists and other professionals to discuss Obama ... all of whom have NEVER met the guy. Where is the credibility. Playing off of debunked stories of the returned bust of Churchill and America going it alone in the dismantling of nuclear stockpiles, the film stokes fears of "the other" wanting to paint our current President as an outsider with dastardly designs on America (he won't be happy until he destroys it from within). It is interesting watching D'Sousa bash his own heritage and skin color (he believes India is a hellish place on earth), he seems to find it impossible that anybody of dark skin can be happy in it. D'Souza claims Obama's administration spent money simply because it wanted to while NEVER mentioning the nation's worst economic collapse in over 70 years happened immediately before he took office. It is all selective cherry-picking on D'Souza's part. He also insults EVERY person who voted for Obama by saying they only did it because Obama was black and they wanted to prove that they were not racist ... whole-ly belittling Obama's charisma and talents by saying he amounts to nothing more than an African-American white people elected to feel better about themselves. This is hogwash Goebbels propoganda. Insulting to the core. Just because the director apparently loathes himself doesn't mean every other person on the planet does too. PATHETIC. This can all be debunked ... those that fall for this worry me.
flyer86
September 27, 2012
Very well done documentary. Expected to see a Michael Moorish type film but D'Souza is not at all a Moore Man! The information is from his perspective and allows the viewer to come to their own conclusion. After all the BS Birther stuff, socialist crap and the extreme right and left pandering hyperbole, it is clear what Obama is. An Anti-Colonialist. Nothing wrong with that, he has a right to that view. What is clear, is that Obama does NOT understand or internalize the American Values and Culture. The main stream media is being manipulated and those that do not see what is the real target are going to be very surprised as American exceptionalism disappears. The film makes is clear, the change is coming. You have a choice. This film will help you. It is not propaganda but a very well thought out academic presentation and one professors sharing of his views based on his own research and experience. Take it for what it is. You decide. I have.
September 23, 2012
It plays to a more intelligent audience, but too tame by all accounts because D'Souza follows an academic and almost boring script. The few moments that were of worth didn't really say anything about the failed economy and other shitstorms waiting for us if the megalomaniac sociopath gets reelected. Some good info on his anti-colonialism and his America-hating bolshevist progressive roots, but not enough to get people through their own guilt, denial or past the lamestream propaganda.
August 29, 2014
Dinesh D'Souza is a pseudo-intellectual fucktard.
Dave Macias
August 26, 2012
Horrible Director, Terrible-documentary, and pure-propaganda.
July 23, 2014
Glad we saw this movie, it is troubling to be sure.
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