Essay Tom Engelhardt

Donald Trump Knew Us Better Than We Knew Ourselves

Now that Trump's been defeated, count on one thing: he’ll take as much of this country with him as he can.
[Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0]

By Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch

In 2016 as now, he was the candidate of chaos. Yes, he was a billionaire (or wanna-be billionaire or in-hock billionaire, not to mention a liar, a cheat, and a scoundrel), but from the beginning he appealed to the forces of order in America that were also, as it happened, the forces of chaos. Donald Trump entered the presidential sweepstakes, or to be completely accurate rode an escalator into it, from stage right. In another universe, he could have entered from stage left and he wouldn’t have given a damn either way.

After all, there never really was a left, right, or center for the king of apprentices. There was never anything but the imposing figure known as The Donald, the man of the hour, any hour, past, present, or future. Whatever his political position of the moment, he reflected one thing above all: the underlying chaos and bad faith of a world of wealth, power, and ever-growing inequality, a world, as it happened, just waiting to go down.

Now that he’s defeated, count on one thing: he’ll take as much of this country with him as he can. If he has his way, when he finally decides to jump ship, money in hand, he’ll leave the rest of us at a vast mask-less rally with death running wild in our midst. From the beginning, he was always the orange-faced, yellow-haired personification of chaos. Now, just as the Republican Party did in 2016, this country has taken on his chaos as our own and, in the wake of the recent election, one obvious question is: Are we, too, scheduled for the ventilator of history?

Do I sound extreme? I damn well hope so. We’re in a gridlocked, post-election moment of previously unimaginable extremity in an increasingly over-armed, ever more divided country that used to be known as the “last superpower” on Planet Earth. It matters (but not enough) that that aged Democratic centrist Joe Biden has taken the presidency and, if all goes faintly as previously expected, will make his way into the future White House. Without a Senate majority, however, and with a reduced majority in the House, without the Democrats having taken a single state legislature from the Republicans, and with Donald Trump’s America still fully mobilized and ready for… well, who knows what… don’t count on good tidings ahead.

The Personification of Carnage

From the start, he was imperial America’s candidate of decline, even if few recognized it at the time. Still, it should have been obvious enough in 2016 — it was to me anyway — that his trademark slogan, Make America Great Again, was nothing short of an admission that this “exceptional,” “indispensable” nation of ours, the greatest superpower in history (or so this country’s politicians then liked to believe) had, in fact, seen better times.

Donald Trump was then, and remains, a vengeful, preening peacock sent by god knows whom to make that reality obvious to one and all. That was certainly true of the slice of white, heartland, working-class America that decided to embrace the billionaire bankuptee and reality TV host. In a land of already staggering inequality, he was the one who would somehow give them back their lost status, their lost sense of American wellbeing and of a future that they could embrace for their children and grandchildren. And if he didn’t do that for them, he would at least be emotional payback when it came to all the loathed powers-that-be in Washington who had, they felt, taken them down.

His “base,” as they came to be known in the media, whom he abhorred, adored, and played like an accordion, embraced the man who, in the end, was guaranteed to leave them holding the bag without the slightest compunction. In those years, they became his property, his very own apprentices, like the political party he also absorbed without a second thought.

When it came to that base, he became, after a fashion, their god or perhaps their demon, and so he remains today, even in defeat. Of course, he won’t care if he ends up bankrupting them, leaves them in a ditch, or continues to rev them up at future rallies that, though they may spread death, leave him feeling whole and good and top of the line.

On the other hand, when Joe Biden, the definition of an old white man, finally limps into the Oval Office, he’ll represent a return to normalcy in Washington, the retrieval of an America that was. The only problem: the America that was — if you’ll excuse the repetition of a verb — was an America in decline, even if its leaders didn’t know it. It was a country on course for a previously un-American version of inequality and so instability that once would have been unimaginable.

Who can doubt that Donald Trump himself was the personification of hell on Earth? He was the witch in the wardrobe. He was a satanic art-of-the-dealer (every deal, by definition, meant only for himself). He was what this country vomited up from the depths of its disturbed innards as a uniquely symbolic president. From the moment he delivered that Inaugural Address of his on January 20, 2017, he would also be the personification of carnage.

And yes, goad me a little more, and believe me I could go on. But you get the drift, right?

And yet give Donald Trump the credit he deserves. However intuitively, he grasped just where this country was and was going (and, of course, how he could benefit from that). He understood its fault lines in a way no one else did. He even understood how to run a campaign for — instead of against — a pandemic in a way that should have left him 20,000 leagues under the sea, not floating in a heated pool at Mar-a-Lago.

There couldn’t be a grimmer moral to the American story than this: he knew all of us so much better than we knew ourselves. To so many Americans, he spoke what felt like reality itself. It mattered not at all that he looked like, felt like, and was a con man in a great American tradition, or that he had stiffed the government with those tax returns he’d never release. After all, whatever he was, he was the genuine (fraudulent) thing in a world where increasing numbers of Americans already felt conned by the 1% politics of a Washington that was filled with con artists of a different sort.

Now, despite the scads of lawyers he’s called into action to screw the works, Donald Trump has missed his chance for a second round in the Oval Office and, as a result, rest assured, we’ll all be left holding the bag. In the midst of the pandemic from hell — don’t doubt it for a second — this will be another kind of hell on earth.

A Vote for Doom

Now, let’s look on the bright side, because at such a moment who wants to just read a screed of negativity? So here’s the good news: thanks to President Trump’s defeat in election 2020 (however long it may take to play out in court), the world will go down more slowly, though how much more slowly remains to be seen. After all, there was one factor in any Trump second term that was going to be unlike any other.

Though it may not seem like it to us, the rest of what we would have seen from a Trump second term — autocratic behavior, raw racism, a red-hot version of nationalism (white and otherwise), aggrieved masculinity, all amid the pandemic of the century — would have been just another passing chapter in human history. In that long tale, autocrats and nationalists of every grim kind have been a dime-a-dozen and even nightmarish pandemics anything but unknown. Give it a decade, a century, a millennium, and it would be as if nothing had happened at all. Who but the historians (if they still exist) would even remember?

Unfortunately, that’s not true of one factor in election 2020, though it played the most modest of roles in the campaign itself. That was, of course, the phenomenon of climate change, the human heating of the planet through the never-ending release into the atmosphere (and the oceans) of greenhouse gasses from the burning of fossil fuels.

Certainly, since the coal-fired industrial revolution began in England in the eighteenth century, the warming of this planet has been sparked and fed by us humans, but it is not, in fact, part of human history. It will operate on a timescale likely to leave that history in the dust. Once released, and if not brought under some reasonable control (as is still possible), it’s a phenomenon that will stand, in the most devastating fashion imaginable, outside human history altogether. Unlike any other Trumpian phenomenon, once it truly sets in, give it a decade, a century, even a millennium, and it will still be working to ensure that Earth, to one degree or another, becomes a distinctly unlivable planet for humanity.

It’s little short of passing strange — you might actually call it suicidal — that Donald Trump (and the crew he brought to power) would be quite so intent not just on ignoring or “denying” climate change, as is often charged, but on amplifying it by, in essence, actively setting this planet afire. The president’s term for it was “unleashing American Energy Dominance.” How strange, however, that his intent to destroy a habitable planet proved quite so popular, not once, but twice — and who knows about a third time in 2024?

After all, a vote for Trump was, in essence, a vote for doom. At some level, it wasn’t even complicated, but from a base that seemed to glory in those mask-less, chanting love fests for their One and Only, perhaps none of this should have been a surprise at all.

If Donald Trump has become something like a god to his supporters, then perhaps it’s worth asking what kind of a god would be quite so intent on setting fire to the planet (and while he was at it murdering his own apprentices with Covid-19)? Perhaps we need to think of him, in fact, as our very own boatman Charon on the river Styx, paddling us all to what someday could quite literally be a hell on Earth.

After all, I’m writing this piece in New York City on a November day when it’s 74 degrees outside (and, no, that’s not a misprint). Yet another fierce tropical storm in a record year of them has drenched parts of Florida, a place that’s no longer a swing state but, like Mar-a-Lago, property of The Donald. Meanwhile, parts of the West, having burned and smoked and flamed in a historic fashion across millions and millions of charred acres amid heat waves galore, are still smoldering (though hardly noticed by anyone), and the world couldn’t be less together.

In a Senate controlled by Mitch McConnell, green new deals or two-trillion-dollar climate plans will become more fantastic than Donald Trump himself. Still, with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at least partially running a deeply divided country in the midst of a pandemic and an economy that’s gone to hell, the pyromania will ease up somewhat. Some modest steps might even be taken toward alternate forms of energy and some to save the environment, as well as a humanity in distress. It won’t be what’s needed, but it won’t be a torch either and that’s the best thing to be said about our moment and why it truly mattered that Donald Trump was not reelected.

Now, return for a moment to 1991, when that other superpower, the Soviet Union, imploded. America’s power brokers then (including Joe Biden), believing themselves alone and powerful beyond imagining on Planet Earth, the inheritors of everything that had gone before, launched what would become disastrous forever wars, sure that this planet was theirs for the taking, even as history itself — just imagine — was ending.

Almost three decades later, that same last superpower is a democracy in decline, not to say chaos; an imperial power in decline globally; a military power that can’t find a winning war to fight (even as Congress, no matter the president, appropriates yet more funding for the military-industrial complex). We have a 78-year-old man getting ready to inhabit the Oval Office and another 78-year-old preparing to oppose him in the Senate, while an 80-year-old runs the House. Doesn’t this tell you something about a country swept away by a pandemic — 100,000 or more cases a day — and, despite assurances from Donald Trump, without a turnable “corner” in sight? And none of this would be the end of the world, so to speak, if it weren’t for climate change.

Admittedly, Covid-19 has turned this country into a kind of hell on Earth, having been left to roam in an unprecedented fashion by a killer president. Cases are soaring, hospitals overwhelmeddeaths rising, and almost half of America can’t think about anything but crowding together for presidential rallies, living mask-less lives, and “opening” the economy.

Trumpism has split America in two in a way that hasn’t been imaginable since the Civil War. The president and the Senate are likely to be in gridlock, the judicial system a partisan affair of the first order, the national security state a money-gobbling shadow empire, the citizenry armed to the teeth, racism rising, and life everywhere in an increasing state of chaos.

Welcome to the (Dis)United States. Donald Trump led the way and, whatever he does, I suspect that this, for at least the time being, is still in some sense his world, not Joe Biden’s. He was the man and, like it or not, we were all his apprentices in a performance of destructive power of the first order that has yet to truly end.

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He runs TomDispatch and is a fellow of the Type Media Center. His sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War.


  1. Tom if you are reading this I think you are on a roll. But the narrative here is not quite right, although you have identified the proper elements of the story.

    Trump didn’t impose his chaos on us. We were there first. If anything he unwittingly began to impose order on the chaos. He wasn’t sent by “god knows whom”. Like everything, he was sent by God. God knows what They are doing.

    I think as individuals we are probably saner than we have ever been, but as a nation we are psychotic. All our institutions have been appropriated by the Empire and they uniformly spew the Empire’s propaganda line, so we are trapped in unreality. To most of us for example the Rs are “the party of the right” and the Ds are “the party of the left”. So naturally the world appears chaotic since our categories are unreal.

    Trump’s gift was to create a coherent counter-unreality, and since he is coherently Satanic it begins to impose order on the chaos. He isn’t Charon, he is Thanatos, and he appeals to those who unconsciously long for easeful death. We may hope that his creation of a party of Death may lead to the emergence of a party of Life. He has already created a significant difference between the D and R parties.

    Trump collaborated with the Empire to a point, but he was a loose cannon, and he expressed an alternative unreality. In reaction to this both the Empire and the actual left were driven into the D party. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be.

    1. These are perceptive comments from our good citizen Mr. Easton. As are Mr. Englehardt’s comments.

      Sigh … Only Self-Awareness can save us. We must strive to ‘see’ ourselves from points of view besides our own.

      You folks are trapped deep in your own point of view.

      “Understand the enemy, and understand yourself”. If you cannot ‘see’ yourselves through The Enemy’s eyes, then you best greatly fear the outcome of every battle.

      We LOST …. BIG TIME … The Common People LOST in this election.

      Playing the LOTE game at ALL is foolish, but we just elected the GREATER EVIL, by FAR!

      Trumpty-Dumpty was a lone-wolf oafus dufus Bozo. We juast elected The Enemy’s own Political Machine.

      Geez, people … sigh …

      1. Oddly Biden has at least of whiff of consciousness about Earth’s plight and today’s downtrodden whereas there’s scant evidence, not even a whiff of it, emanating from the Agent Chaos-Moscow Mitch-lock step Koch possessed Heritage Society cloned Congressional Republicans – so buried be they in mud gone so dry like bricks of mean gold for which their lust has turned them cold to feelings, their own or others, much less for that State of Poor, whether that of people or ravaged earth. Sufficient unto the day the evil thereof. Like gold there are even gradients of “evil.”

      2. Yea … Verily I do agree, there are indeed gradients of evil.

        “Who’s the best lawman?”, Butch asked Sundance, as they stopped to give their horses a brief rest, and looked back at their dogged pursuers in the distant canyon below.

        “Best? What do you mean ‘best’? You mean toughest? Or easiest to bribe?”, answered the always pragmatic Sundance.

        You think the lesser evil is the stronger? You think the swtronger is tghe lesser because you agree with a couple of the political policies the evil pretends to favor? Just because he mouths some politicians platitudes?

        Koch does NOT fund just Mitch McConnell. Koch funds BOTH Democratic and Republican think tanks.

        You see, good citizen Ms. Sweet, you just don’t seem to understand ‘the game’ we’re in. You don’t understand The Enemy. And you don’t understand your self. With such fatal handicaps, you will lose every battle.

        They don’t just fund the side whose ideas they favor. They fund EVERY side that will take their money, and then they cunningly play them off against each other. One of Biden’s most important operatives, a military man riding point on his TIP Gang, (his ‘transition team’), Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, (who helped Colin Powell ‘sell’ what most acknowledge as THE most disastrous policy blunder in our nation history), deposits Koch’s checks in his bank account too.

        The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft is funded by Koch, and fellow Baron Oligarch Soros, who also pays for BLM co-founder Alicia Garza’s $3,000 hair weaves.

        BLM’s primary funding is from Baron Oligarchs, and every Corporation gushingly supports BLM. geez, what a devastatingly effective ‘movement’, a revolution funded and cheered on by the very powers being rebelled against.

        Hmm …. That seem right to you?

        You don’t really ‘get it’, do you, good citizen? You don’t really understand ‘the game’ The Enemy is playing?

        You don’t try to have one side, the side you agree with, dominate. First you want to create as many ‘sides’ as you possibly can. Then you want to try to make them all have about the same amount of power, (which is very little). Then you cunningly and skillfully play them off against one another.

        Of course ‘they’ have many highly skilled techniques they use, but they ALL revolve pretty much around “divide and rule”. They don’t care which side ‘wins’, just as long as that side’s opponents are just about equally powerful.

        Gradients of evil? Hmm … Caliban thinks that when choosing between evils, the WEAKEST evil is the BEST evil. Would you choose to face the Balrog, rather than simply a common orc, just because the Balrog is somehow more ‘politically correct’?

        We just defeated an oafus dufus lone wolf Bozo, poor dizzy ole Trumpty-Dumpty. That poor old boy NEVER woulda’ run if he’d ‘a known what was going to happen. He’s WAYY out of his league. We defeated a weak ineffectual clown, and elected our Enemy’s primary and powerful Political Machine, and we think we elected the ‘lesser’ evil?

        We are so completely clueless ‘on the field’ that we think we chose the ‘lesser’ evil when we elected by FAR the stronger evil?

        Playing the LOTE game at all is foolish, but choosing the most powerful evil, (by an exponential magnitude), as the ‘lesser evil’ is just downright stupid.

        We just don’t understand ‘the game’ we’re in. That’s why we always lose.

      3. Biden owes his office to the DNC but we can’t be sure that he will follow their orders. At 78 he may feel he won’t seek a second term so he is free to do the best job that he can. Let’s not foreclose on hope before it is necessary.

      4. Well … Okey doke … We all have to follow our own best thinking. Wouldn’t hold yer breath, but if good citizen Mr. Easton wants to give Skinny Joe a chance, go ahead.

        The man has not only been a lick-spittle errand boy and bagman for The Elites for his entire career, but his boots are still sloshing wet with stinky Ukrainian sewage swamp scum. The laptop is HARD EVIDENCE. It ain’t gonna dissolve. The silly-ass “the Russians did it” alibi ain’t gonna stand up. The truth, whatever it may be, “will out”. (It stinks so bad, we’ll” nose it under the stair”, perhaps).

        The man’s pants are covered in scum above the knees. The only reason people are blind to it is their crazed hatred of Trump. People have plumb gone nuts, and still can’t ‘see’ straight. Biden was caught with guns smoking in both hands, (on fracking VIDEO no less). He’s dirty as a pig’s wallow.

        Anyway … You all cherish your delusions for awhile longer. Maybe you’re right. Those of us who survive will see what happens, I guess. (No one has a crystal ball).

        Few seem to realize that the Dems suffered a probably fatal defeat. The Repugs can feel the swell already. McConnell’s a cagey ole boy. He’s got many plans underway. lotta track being laid. The off-party most always roars back in the next mid-terms. Holding the House will be a life or death struggle for the Desperate Dems in ’22. If they lose, … Another impeachment (payback is so sweet). Special prosecutors. Obama and Hillary are both guilty of treason. The FISA warrant isn the smoking gun. If the repugs re-take Congress, the Obama-Clintonista Regime will likely go down in flames, and the Repugs will SURELY find a more capable candidate by ’24.

      5. Zwarich I don’t know what to make of you. Are you demented or just deliberately disruptive? I think most likely both. You would have to be insane to think it matters to disrupt this obscure corner of the internet.

      6. Well …. I’m sure sorry t’ be disruptin’ t’ ya poor Paulie m’boy. I’ll be up nights now, p[acin’ the floor, wondering what people like Paul Easton.

        You don’t know, jake-leg, who I am, where I’ve been, who I know, or what I’ve done.

        Do ya, good Paulie boy?

        I’m sure good citizen Mr. Scheer will overlook your stupid insult to his work as ‘obscure’.

        Yea … well … insane enough Caliban may very well be, but he is here for a reason. I happen to think Robert Scheer is an important person, as are the people he knows.

        Caliban learned long ago that communicating effectively with the right people, (with the Really Good Ones, can have more impact that trying to communicate with people like you, good sir.

        Ya know, I used t’ run a crew of rugged men. Men tempered “leather tough” by the pain and hardship that was just the normal routine of their daily lives. You learn things, Paulie boy. Ya learn that one man can get more done that 100 boys, or any number.

        Tell ya how a man with my experience thinks, Mr. Easton. The game is to protect those we love from attacking marauders. Yer first captain first choose, Mr. Easton. You can pick Rambo, or Billie Jack, as your pick, or you can pick 100 of the roughest toughest ‘leftists’ in America. The marauders are armed with guns and knives, and they’re lookin’ at yer pretty wife lustily.

        Who you gonna pick.

        Some ‘a ole boys out here don’t give a shit what people like you think about us, Paulie. We’re not politicians running for office. We’re warriors fighting a deadly pitched battle.

        I first heard the term ‘leather tough’ in an old cowboy show song from the 1950s. ‘The Rebel’.

      7. “With a dream he’d hold to his dying breath, he’d search his soul and gamble with death”.

        I’m betting that Paul Easton has never gambled with death. I’m bettin’ he never had a bottle broke over his had by a man with a gun in his belt, and yet lived to tell the tale. I’m bettin’ Mr. Easton never fought a whole gang in the street in front of the Green Duck, (27th and Prospect, KCMO. Say hi to Dwayne fer me if he’s still runnin’ the place). Yea, they had ’em in their belts they did, but somehow here I still am. (Luckily they knew who I was, (I was widely known in that neighborhood), and they didn’t pull their pieces.)

        Listen, jack. Listen good. You start talking about the ‘deep state paying me’, you’re going somewhere you DON’T want to do, sonny boy. Hear?

        Yer like some fool young gunslinger in the Hollywood saloon, wants t’make a name fer himself. You callin’ me out, boy? You want to meet in the street at high noon? Does ole Caliban strike ya as a man who’s gonna turn ya down and run away?

        Hear ye! Hear ye! One and all. The great Paulie Boy Easton has challenged Caliban to a public debate in the street at high noon.

        You go on, Paulie. Your choice of topic.

      8. Or then again Zwarich, the US Deep State has money to burn. Maybe they actually pay you for this shit.

      9. Yea … well … (chuckle’s softly) … in the street at high noon … if Paulie Boy is even half what he pretends to be.

        C’mon, lad … Yer a good lad … Yea, I know you never met no one like Caliban. Ain’t too many like us around. But I sure ain’t the ONLY one. Yer a good lad. I’m on YOUR side, lad. I’m tryin’ hardb to get folks like YOU to understand that you don’t even know what game yer playin’. That’s why we always LOSE!

        Listen m’boy … ‘List well … You don’t insult a full grown man to his face, and then turn around to yer buddies and beat yer chest and hold yer hands together over yer head. That’s how things go on the playground, maybe, but out here in the territories where ole apes like Caliban hang out, that’s not how it goes.

        You slapped poor old Caliban with yer stinky dead fish?

        What did ya hope Caliban might do?

        Your pick of the topic Paulie Boy. Formal Public Debate in the street at high noon.

      10. “The enemy’s own Political Machine”………………………
        Wasn’t it amazing how quickly the rethugnicans jumped on the “Lone-wolf oafus dufus’s” Big Grift Wagon?
        So which group comprises said “Enemy’s Political Machine?
        The Rethugnicans – or The Dumbocrats…………..?

  2. tommy’s obsession w trump is self loathing narcissism; amerikans are the problem, not trump—less fascist than biden…if any group split amerikans it is the ruling class dems that promoted covidian fascism…interesting that it is the communists that protest against covid martial law in Europe/S. amerika—2 days ago 25,000 die linke in Leipsig (their motto is “we can do better than capitalism”. Sandaniista never succumbed to covid fascism–151 attributed deaths…it is the fascist nations that closed enterprises, require masks that are plagued w the most per capita deaths

    1. Very perceptive comments, but that’s a very deep discussion in a different direction.

      It’s almost surely true that Trump was actually RIGHT! (Gasp!!). The cure is almost surely going to be worse than the disease ever would have been. The sheer amount of people who will die from the consequences of shutting down the worlds economy, to the extent we did, will dwarf the number who likely would have died from covid had we not shut down.

      There may have been a conspiracy involved, but I learned long ago that on THAT level, the truth is almost always never really known.

      It’ll never be proven, but I’m satisfied that the preponderance of evidence shows that the Deep State, under Allen Dulles, orchestrated the political murders in the 60s. Folks got the message. No one has ‘stood up’ since.

      Dr. King’s mantle is just lying there, half buried in the mud and mire. Anyone could pick it up. I dare ye. Do we think it’s not guarded by snipers?

      1. Do you think Yuri could pick it up? I think Yuri is a not too bright employee of the well known Moscow troll farm not proved to be funded by the Russian government. It might be a bit of a stretch for him to become an inspiring American Civil Rights icon.

      2. Yea … well … could be. I learned a VERY long time ago, Mr. Easton, that the most skilled spies/operatives are the folks you’d NEVER suspect.

        You may be right. I have Yuri pegged as a very intelligent young man with little confidence in himself. Likely a ‘incel’. He has to denigrate other people in order to elevate himself above them. It’s a very common profile. He has a lot to say. It’s a shame he seems to want to ‘alienate everybody’, because he really does have substance to contribute.

        Yea … At first I felt like putting his face in the mud, but resisting that urge, I listened to him instead. I would be surprised if he were an operative. Anyone withy any training at ALL would not be so in your face insulting to just about everyone.

        But I don’t know. Could be. I just met the guy.

        We reveal ourselves constantly. Cunning and clever as we may be, we cannot speak at all without revealing something about our own true selves.

        If ole Yuri can manage to put up with my human vagaries, I’ll make the effort to put up with his,

      3. “The cure is almost surely going to be worse than the disease ever would have been. The sheer amount of people who will die from the consequences of shutting down the worlds economy, to the extent we did, will dwarf the number who likely would have died from covid had we not shut down.”

        And you know this, how?

      4. Yer ded right about the Dulles Bros. Dr King’s mantle? Well, read The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy. Covers everything from JFK’s murder (I was on the 5th flr of the NSA that day…) thru the murders of King & RFK. Meticulous, fascinating “fictional” acct of the mythical”Deep State”. Home of Linda Lovelace.

      1. A Long Island Tea with a shot of Meyers rumon top usually relaxes one’s anxiety….. followed by a few tokes, it will propel one into The Electric Mist. You’ll feel just like Burgess Meredith ……..

      2. Yea … Well … I’ll take a ‘Gansett or a PBR, and a ‘little smoke’. Never much liked hard liquor. But a ‘few tokes’ sounds nice.

        This is what we need. Drop the acts. Let’s talk about our drug habits … LOL … No..seriously..C’mon, which of us has the proper status to be casting stones at one another?

        Let’s all stop pretending to be anything but poor dumb humans. Most ALL of us, and most all our ancestors, have endured misery and pain aplenty.

        We’re all doing the best we can

        Those who should be allies … etc ….

  3. the 70+ million who voted for The Big Orange Flaccid Sack of Rotting Suet have been besotting themselves for 400 years on the gibbering cartoon show of Christian fantasy, and for the last 40 on the nihilism of Jerry Springer, Howard Stern, and now Rush Limbaugh & Alex Jones.
    Donald will stay in the limelight – with his 2 flavors of arm candy, replete with their surgically distorted faces and big rubber hooters – to entertain his “base” and torture the rest of us into “the dustbin of history”
    At 77, all I’m concerned with is – who’ll bring the butter when the roll is called up yonder………..?

    1. Geezus man. Are ye REALLY as flaming a bigot as ye sound?

      LeMerde. Gee … yer a clever one, aintcha? MeOff, Jack, glad t’ meet ya. I remember that from me school boy days.

      Did you throw spit balls at the pretty girl in pigtails when the teacher wasn’t looking? Did she smile at you when yer spit ball smacked her cheek? Did you even care if she smiled or grimaced?

      You think it’s not obvious that a big bad talker like you would feel yer knees go all shaky and wobbly, was you t’ stand in front of a full grow’d workin’ stiff, scatchin’ his cheek with hands that look like rough scarred leather.

      The man went out in the hot sun in July, and the cold wind in January, fer 40 years, swingin’ that 20 oz Eastwing, like ole Sisyphus rolled his stone.

      It tempers a man’s spirit like steel, and the power in the hand that swung that hammer all those years can be something to behold.

      Ya think ole Caliban doesn’t know a snot-nosed punk when I hear him talkin’ so loud and tuff? LOL …

      1. You ain’t the onliest one swung a 32 oz Estwing wafflehead in rain, snow & blazing sun for 40 yrs, Bub……………………………..

      2. Hey … Bubba … Er… should we call ya Mr. LeShit?

        Hmm….A 32 oz? Wow! I don’t think I ever even SAW one. In the olden days them framers’d swing those 24 oz long shafts. Slap a 16 in one shot, (usually three, a tap to set, a full drive to get it mostly done. The a slightly lighter one to finish. Man, in softer wood, like typical SPF, (Doug fir was a whole other story), it was a rhythm that could actually bring a sort of joy to a man’s heart. Tap. BAM. hit. Tap BAM hit. Down the line. Slappin ’em down with yer own strong right arm.

        That’s how Sisyphus survived. He found joy in his own strength, his own courage, his own spirit.

        I HATED to work for the first 10-12 years. I hated going to work. I hated being at work. I hated working. I did it, though. I gritted my teeth real hard every dang day, but I did it.

        I was in my early 30s when I met Thaddeus. (I met him in jail, next cell over. It was the start of a long friendship). Thaddeus Bethel. Geez … The stories I could tell of the places that man took me, and the people I met there.

        Anyway … Not now … There’ll be a time for every purpose.

        It was Thaddeus who taught me “the secret to happiness is NOT doing what you like to do. The secret is to like what you HAVE to do”.

        Yea … Thus did Sisyphus survive.

        I’m sure Mr. LeShit knows all about that.

        But then, what is he pouring his rank bigotry on so many of his fellow carpenters’ heads?

        Don’s gonna build him a house. He’s chosen people to help him. Will he ask them what their beliefs are? Or will he hang a tool belt on ’em to see what they can actually DO?

  4. I never really knew Tom Engelhardt. I’ve heard of him, of course, but I’ve never before been familiar with his work.

    I am taken aback to witness how extraordinarily mean and hateful he is. Geezus … This man is just bursting with hateful spite. Wonder how he got that way? He is certainly a good marionette. He is feeling exactly like The Enemy knew he would feel, and he is behaving exactly as The Enemy figured he would, and wanted him to.

    Ya see … Sigh …. (No, Caliban m’boy, they DON’T see). Sigh … how’dya ‘explain’ that the sky is blue on a clear summer’s day?

    Anyone who is ‘playing the same game’ as The Enemy is playing, would ‘see’ that Trump was the perfect patsy.

    The Mass Media got him elected. Hmm… He was given what many think was literally billions upon billions of dollars worth of ‘free access’ to Mass Media during his campaign. Some say he was ‘playing the media’. Yea … Well … If people would only understand the true nature of these Mass Media, as they are being so skillfully used to ‘engineer’ our society into totalitarian compliance, (Hedges talks about this ‘new totalitarianism’), people would know that these Mass Media are being used for social engineering with brilliant skill, obviously advised by the nation’s most brilliant minds in mass psychology.

    C’mon, folks. An oafus clown buffoon like Trumpty-Dumpty does not ‘use’ the sort of cunning and powerful people who CONTROL ALL the Mass Media.

    They GAVE him all that free time, they literally got him elected. And our best explanation is that the people who control our Mass Media are just fools?

    Then the minute he got elected, the Mass Media were on him like a pack of wild ravenous dogs. We have NEVER, at least not since Eisenhower, (the slice I’ve witnessed), seen a spectacle like this. The Mass Media was used as the primary tool to keep him from governing. Accusing him of being a traitor, with a cockamamie story, a stupendous Big Lie, that Barry and Hillary thought up. RussiaGate. They accused Trump of being not merely a traitor, but of being an Enemy Agent of a foreign nation.

    And it was ALL a giant pack of lies blasted out by the overpowering Mass Media Echo Chamber.

    Poor ole Trumpty-Dumpty never knew what hit him. If that old boy had known what he was going to be in for, he NEVER would have run. He could still be a happy star on TV! (Trump has proven that the old adage even holds for people with power among The Elites. People often rise to their level of incompetence).

    Ya see, they got a LOT done while Trump was in office, that they now don’t have to ‘own’. And believe me, a LOT of the stuff that the Obama-Clintonistas did they are already blaming on Trump.

    If you were the people who run things, who own and centrally control ALL Mass Media, and you were so morally depraved that you destroyed entire nations, burned children, and spread starvation and pestilence, (like Obama and Hillary did), you think it would never occur to you to put a punching bag in office, use the social engineering power of Mass Media to whip the nation up into chaos while he is in office, and then come bursting back into full power like heroes.

    Ya think you’d never think ‘a that, if you was one ‘a them people running this hellhole mess? Well … I’ll tell ye, folks, yer damn lucky then that Caliban isn’t one ‘a them, ’cause I can see how EASY it would be for them to do, and I can see how much they stood to gain, and HAVE gained.

    C’mon, try and wake up and understand that we just elected Sewage Scum Swamp Lizard who has been a lick-spittle errand boy for The Enemy over his ENTIRE career, and poor overwrought folks like our good TommyEngel are so mixed up in their raging hateful passions that they think they ‘won’.

    It would be as easy as ginning up a Race War by blasting out the Floyd video, and trotting out the Bolshevik Marionettes.

    C’mon, folks …. Put away yer checkers sets. That’s NOT the game The Enemy is playing. Until we wake up from our delusions, and get our heads in the Game at HAND, we’re just gonna keep a rollin’ in the mud and mire. While we watch The Enemy run downfield and score.

    We can see that this poor ole TommyEngel is a bit beside himself at the moment. He is spouting out ugly yellow green acid bile. Watch out! I wouldn’t be gettin’ too close t’ him. It’ll burn a hole in yer skin. I don’t know the man, but surely he isn’t burning up inside, stewing in these juices of his own hatefulness, all the time.

    I’m sure the man will get ahold of himself. We have to think clearly. Giving vent to our hysterical passions, as poor TommyEngel does here, only makes us part of the problem, not ANY part of the solution.

    1. Gosh, please, join Mr Yuri and go get a stiff drink. Maybe reconsider the downsides of dwelling in such lofty heights. Didn’t Caliban wind up a pure fool?

      1. If you’re going to say something, good citizen Ms. Sweet, then say something. Lofty heights? Eh? Ahh … gee … Thanks for sharing such complex ideas. And you’re actually citing the experience of a fictional character as if that character has some bearing on the meaning or veracity, or lack of same, of anything I say here?

        I would guess, (though I don’t know), that you feel kinship to this man who is seething in hatred of HALF the nation’s Common People, because you share that hatred. You are blind to his rank bigotry, because you hold the same dear.


        big·​ot·​ry | \ ˈbi-gə-trē \
        plural bigotries
        Definition of bigotry
        1: obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices : the state of mind of a bigot

        Somehow people have redefined this word to have something primarily to do with racial prejudice. It actually doesn’t, other than in a secondary/ancillary reference.

        We are NEVER going to make any ‘progress’ toward peace and justice by demonizing HALF our fellow citizens, as ‘racist scum Nazi white supremacists’ just because they think that importing tens of millions of desperate poor people from foreign countries, to compete with our own poor and workin g people, isn’t fair to them.

        “Lofty heights”, eh? Sounds ‘deep’. Care to share what you mean, or perhaps you’re being intentionally enigmatic?

      1. Just as I avoid entering smoke filled rooms, I’ve taken to deleting Mr. Zwarich’s comments on 1st sight of his name in my email list. And, once on the comment domain, skipping over his entries. Without respect, no relationship has a whisper of a chance. I understand your sentiments Don LeMerde. And it saddens. As does Mr. Zwarich’s apparently tortured soul.
        His offerings remind me of that part in each of us that functions like hydrochloric acid to relationship – whether to Self or to Other. And, with them, no intimation of awareness of responsibility nor remorse nor care. No enlightenment one could say. Prison bars do not a prison make.The presence of this reality has been before us for quite awhile, before Mr. Zwarich appeared here. Coppins essay in the Atlantic, “The Man Who Broke Politics”, quotes Republican Newt Gingrich -“For their party to succeed, “Gingrich went on,” the next generation of Republicans would have to learn to “raise hell,” to stop being so “nice,” to realize that politics was, above all, a cutthroat “war for power”—and to start acting like it.” 26 years ago. Today, Trump. And, here, Mr. Zwarich. So, given the power complex. So, what might be the evolutionary impulse here for dealing with the mushroomed effect today of this imbalance? and regression?

      2. My constant felt response to these wild, combative rants is, “Whew……………….”
        I wish I were as thoughtful, intelligent and obviously kind as you. I am about half as furious and crazy as Mr Z about what I’ve seen evolving since Reagan’s destructive shift in our political rhetoric: “Government isn’t the solution to the problem – government IS the problem”
        and: “The most frightening words in the english language are – ” I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”.
        We are, in a truly terrifying way, “dans le merde”. The Shadow we’ve been inflicting on the 3rd world for the last 150 yrs has finally metastasized and, as Rev Wright said, …………….”come home to roost”
        By the time Mitch & The Donald are done – in 60 days – we’ll be a shadow of The Shadow . Pogo said it: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” As Greg Palast titled it: “Armed Madhouse”.
        “Greatest country the world has ever known”.
        Well, it could have been. But, founded on racism, genocide & slavery?
        Not a chance………………………
        And now Trump is looking for military targets………
        And we’ve got a doddering 78 yr old coming into the Whitehouse……and a malevolent/malicious/malignant septuagenarian controlling the government…….
        Kamala’s going to have her hands full
        If she’s not assassinated by a Proud Boy, a Boogaloo Boi, or one of the Torch Carrying/Jew haters ….
        I want Cornell West on the expanded Supreme Court, for starters.
        Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann or Wanda Sykes as press secretary.
        And prison for the entire Trump Klan and for all the grifters who accompanied them,,,,,
        But Joe “doesn’t want to dwell on the past”.
        Which approach has, step by step, since Nixon’s treason in ’68, brought us to this cynical insanity. In other words, No Justice. 5 presidential elections stolen since ’68, through blatant treason , acts of criminality and voter suppression.
        I’ll be off the planet soon – but God (whoever SHE is ) help the ones who have to follow …..
        A stiff drink, indeed.

      3. I share all your sentiments. Were the crimes committed by the Black man in the street of the same order of magnitude as the skullduggery of today’s mis-leadership bunch, there’d be no hesitancy but to nail him in prison for a very lengthy term. Justice – were she to have a voice – would demand these thieves be held accountable to her and to The People. If Biden avoids this, it places him in collusion with the Capt Chaos et al mindset that says we’re untouchable. We’re above it and the American people. If Biden avoids this out of fear of facing the hullabaloo by the Republicans, he’s blurred Justice down a couple of notches and revealed his basic spinelessness. If Biden avoids this encounter with Justice for All under emotional inauthentic platitudes about peace and healing, he will have put an irretrievable wound in the trust of the People.What kind of feeling is instilled in the People when they witness two levels of justice? One for the Gingrich-ized Republican bullying coarsened loud mouthed Mis-Leadership, the Spineless Old Guard/Corporate Democratic Mis-Leadership and Big Time Grifters a la Wall Street /Corporate CEO’s and hedge fund managers . —- and the other bottom level of justice – for the rest of us. If he avoids this honoring of Justice For All, he is modeling the acceptability of lawlessness. Not mercy. And definitely, not healing which requires confession.

      4. Selina
        When Obama & Holder each made statements that The Big Swindle that collapsed the economy was, in fact, just “the atmosphere” of the time and that “it was actually perfectly legal” and that “no one person could be identified as being responsible” (there were tens of thousands) and that, finally, per Obama, “we don’t want to dwell on the past”…… I want to email the W.H. and arrange for my presidential pardon for stealing enough money (5 mil or so) to keep myself comfortable for the final few years.
        Each time the dumbocrats have elided responsibility using the same limp, lame-ass excuses – ie, not wanting to cause turmoil, but, in fact, not having the balls to confront the rethugs, they’ve enabled them to go further. Gee, how did someone as awful as BigOrangeSnakeShit ever get into the W.H? Biden is giving every indication he’s about to do the same thing. Goddam him if he does. “We just want to heal the country and bring everyone together”
        F**K that shit……………………….

      5. He isn’t owning sh*t with his opaque, pretentious, hyper-theatrical “crusty old bastard” persona. I grew up in a tough place too, swung a framing hammer for 35 years, ran “rough, manly crews” (usually slobbering fools who couldn’t talk about anything at lunch but pussy and duck hunting – y’know M’boy: salt o’ the earth. Not like those fey, limp-wristed, libral college punks), but I don’t need to pretend I’m a cross between Eric Hoffer & Long John Silver. A=r=r=r=r= Meboy……….

      6. Yea, tell us more about that waffle face 32 oz Eastwing ya swung fer 40 years.

        I saw a lot of men (and even a few women) swing hammers, and I not only never saw a 32 oz claw hammer, (a small 2 lb sledge is a handy hammer, but it’s not for driving nails, and anyway, they’re hard to find. Usually a 2.5 lb is the smallest anyone ever stocks.

        I not only never saw one, I never even knew they existed. You learn something new every dang day. You can order one on Home Depot’s web site, but they don’t stock one. And irs a wood handled Vaughn. Eastwing doesn’t seem to make a 32 oz.

        And ya swung it fer 40 years? Well … I’ll definitely say ‘scuse me if I ever bump into ya in the pub.

        Any Man who could swing a 32 oz hammer all day would have a forearm on that side at least two inches bigger than the other, and could likely punch a hole in a brick wall. Ya wouldn’t wanna get on his bad side.

        Mr. LeMerde is clearly a man among men.

      7. Was “a man among men”. But never an overbearing cowardly bully. Verbally or physically.
        Now just a 77 Y/O retiree fending off my own permutation of the big “C”. Not long for the Planet, sissy fuss. That should give you pleasure & satisfaction. Bon Voyage. In French that means “good trip”

      8. I’m sorry to hear. It’s more understandable now why you seem to be so angry at everyone.

        Sissy-fuss? C’mon man. You’re better than that.

        We’re all going to walk that Lonesome Valley. I wish you good travels, brother carpenter.

        Today is a good day to die. A warrior knows his death is his constant companion. I am guessing that you are not afraid. I do not trouble myself with wondering about any ‘hereafter’. It will always be a mystery. I hope you are not afraid. Try not to be angry. We all walk the same lonesome valley.

        You turned out to be a better man than I figured at first. When guessing at such things, we’re all wrong much more often than right. Few of us know the day we will make that journey through that valley.

        When I was a tender young man, I was inspired by strong men who were strong enough to ‘turn the other cheek’. I’ve been tested. More than once it was ‘him or me’, and I chose to lay my own power aside. Too many times, however, I fell far short. Hammurabi made The Law. A eye for an eye. Well, I never blinded anyone, anyway ….

        Good luck on your journey. Two of my favorite that I bet you like too.

        The Reverend Mr. Black

        And the old Bill Monroe tune, Wayfaring Stranger

        And the same from a sweet tattooed angel

        I’m sure you swung that Estwing well. I only swung mine the best I could. I was a real wuss. LOL. But I did it anyway. Sissy-fuss got nuthin’ on me.

        I can only wonder how you came to hold so many in such contempt. You might re-think that. Sounds like you gave as good as you got.

        Happy trails

    1. M Zwarich’s wild, insulting, blathering, pejorative hypocrisy is as mean spirited, ugly and bigoted as he accuses everyone else in this comment list of. The sheer poisonous, hebephrenic overkill is already tiresome and ennervating. So much for M Scheer’s comment list. I’ve had enough…………………

      1. Ehh….LOL….Here he is. Mr. LeMerde. (I took French in high school). You don’t go around acting this way without them sending someone.

        Thank you for expressing your thoughts, good citizen Mr. LeShit, er, LeMerde. Sorry yer leavin’. Yer right though. Yer WAYY outta’ yer league here Donnie Boy. Tell yer boys it’ll take a better man than you.

        It’s a shame. I was so lookin’ forward to hearin’ yer stories ’bout that 32 oz Eastwing.

  5. When Haysoos comes down – any day now (and you better be ready with your “Love Offerings”) on his White Charger wildly waving his
    Flaming Sword, those Media Guys will rue the day. Lemme tell ya…….

      1. Yea … This ole boy that is too ashamed to tell us his name, cowering there behind his fake identity, is sure a big bad tough ole boy, ain’t he?

        Maybe he could give me a call? I’m in the book. Easy to find. We could get together and you could tell me how you hold all other carpenters (besides yerself) in complete contempt. In fact, you don’t seem to like ANYBODY very much.

        LeMerde, huh? “The Shit”, you say … Hmmm …. seems the poor old boy doesn’t even think very highly of himself.

        Still leavin’ soon? Don’t let that swingin’ door catcha in the backside.

  6. By the way Sissy Fuss – that’s an ESTwing 32 – not an EASTwing. Guess you missed your spelling lessons in jail. I went into the army instead…..

    1. Good fer you. I’m sure you had a illustrious military career. And yes, you are right. It IS “Estwing”. Good for you. I have a several of them left. (At least three I think). I have the first one I ever bought, the rubber wearing through to the steel from bumping various materials into place. We always called them “Eastwing”. Just goes t’ show. Good catch.

      But Estwing does NOT make a 32 Oz. (Only a 30 oz)

      So … LOL … looks like a coupla’ dumb ole carpenters here didn’t know our trusty hammers as well as we thought we did, eh?

      You take care, soldier. I’m in the book. I really am. I do use a theatrical name for ‘street theater’ purposes, but it’s not to hide my identity, as you hide yours. Zwarich is my REAL name, Mr. LeMerde …. Gee … It just occurred to me …. Maybe LeShit is YOUR real name? … Naw …. Yer just hiding there, SO courageously, aintcha Bubba LeMerde?

      1. My 32 ozers were Vaughans. Always tho’t the Estwings were aesthetically superior – but the grips were too slim for my paws.
        I was a lousy carpenter compared to most., mostly because I hated it…… the rain, the mud, the snow, the ice, the aching cold mornings, the cuts & slivers, the asshole, lying contractors, the asshole lying clients. But, at the end of every day, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with a physical product well done…….
        Years in cabinet & furniture shops gave me an appreciation of the artistry of journeymen framers.
        Every time I drive by a site I think, “Thank Christ (whoever the fuck HE was) I don’t have to do THAT shit anymore………………..
        We’re – at this age – clinging to the outer rim of The Big Wheel, fighting the centrifugal force trying to fling us into The Void……………………
        Be well and prosper Mr Z

      2. Yea … Ain’t this the way it goes? Ya bump heads and take a couple socks at each other, then have a beer and laugh about what idiots we are.

        If you swung a Vaughn yer a better man than me. Actually I wasn’t a framing carpenter, although I did build a few houses. I swung a 16 oz for a few years, then settled on a 20 oz, (short shaft). I drove many more 1 – 1/4 ” trim nails as 16 pennies.

        You got a journey t’ make good brother. All your ancestors made it. We are surely not lesser men than them. You’ll walk that valley with courage. I’m sorry if you are in pain. I think a man like you will make that journey with courage.

        Good geezus and joesph b… don’t let me get started on how much I hated chippin’ ice off the material in a cold January wind. No one who’s never done it, would even know …

        Don’t go nowhere’s on my account … Caliban knows he can be a bit much t’ take. If it was me out there listening, I’d probably wanna slap me silly ’bout half the time.

        And NOW I ‘get it’ on the LeMerde thing. I thought you were disrespecting the group. And you were just stating our common cause.

        Ain’t that the way it goes? Geez … Our human condition … sheesh … Good thing we weren’t face t’ face. A sight it woulda’ been … LOL … Two old fools rolling in the slosh of spilled beer, spit, and peanut shells…Hey … give a couple old fools credit … We’d ‘a given the folks a good laugh, and a story they might even tell their grandchildren.

        Yer a better man than me, Mr. LeMerde. I been this big a fool for a long time

  7. Sissy Fuss – U no who U R……
    WAY OUT OF MY LEAGUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks fer th’ laff, you old Galoot.

    1. Poor things. Selina Sweet and her new soul-mate, Mr. Don Le Merde, (which translates as LeShit.

      Ms. Sweet has now departed. Ah … how me heart is crushed ….

      I always remember that when children play our good Ms. Sweet’s game, when they cover their ears with palms and loudly say, “nanny-nanny boo-boo, I can’t hear you”, they always get angry when you say something back, despite the palms.

      Our good Mr. LeMerde so dramatically promised he was leaving, but looky see, here he still is. And Ms. Sweet think Caliban will believe that when she sees a comment frome about a comment from her, the spirited girl will show ME. She won’t even read it. (LOL … people are SO funny, aren’t we?)

      Poor ole caliban is crushed. Poor Mr LeMerde can’t keep up, (he just ain’t got the chops, and Ms Sweet can’t deal with anyone being as smart as she is. She has to be superior to feel comfortable. (This is, of course, VERY common human psychology, so thyis is not meant to be pickin’ on poor Ms. Sweet, whom I happen to admire and respect a great deal.

      Ya see … ole Caliban doesn’t dislike others for their human faults … I look for the good in people. When presented with the bad, I do try to get people’s attention.

      These folks are now no longer within earshot, (yea right, ya think they’re not a waitin’ to see if Caliban will be a sucker and ‘take the bait’?), but I wonder why they think a person whose purpose is to have ourselves “see ourselves as others see us”, a person who pleads with his fellow countrymen and countrywomen that we must become Self-Aware to win a life and death struggle against a deadly Enemy, I wonder if they think I do this for some nefarious reason?

      And how to explain their child-like behavior here? What is their purported purpose here?

      1. Actually, “dans le merde” translates as “in the shit” – which is where we all are at this point. So much for your H.S. French.
        You’re schizophrenic, hypocritical, self-contradictory asswipery never ends sissy fuss.
        I’ll leave you in your “slough of despond”. With all your offensive, pretentious blather, you haven’t, in all these posts, ever said anything intelligible. It’s all a megalomaniacal Trumpephrenic spewing of egotistitcal B.S. My condolences to anyone within 50 feet of you.

  8. The trap here is evident, duress and confrontation continue the game of” I win you lose” assuring that real cooperation, and, hopefully, some sort of resolution might be achieved. This sport of victory access is part of the conditioning which perpetuates the corrupt system we suffer. Rather than kick a Klansman in the balls, ask what is wrong with minimum wage, universal health care, clean water, a future for our children. No matter what, do not give up on hope, all of us are in a very small boat, floating through the cosmos.

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