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2024-02-22 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 583 references
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Ok, I'll weigh in.

The law in question is obscene.  It has stood on the books for 70 years and is known as 63(12) for where it is in New York's legal code.  Trump is not the first person it has been aimed at; it has been used against Juul, Exxon-Mobil and Shkreli, to name three of several other abusive attacks over the last few years.

In short this law is one that Trump knew was there and, one must assume, as he decided to operate there thought was just fine provided it got used on other people and not him.  If you willingly participate in a crooked system you should not be all that surprised when you wake up one morning and find a stick of C-4 up your ass with the detcord going around the door in the corner and some dude is softly chuckling at what he's about to do to you.

The word "fraud" in legal use has a fairly strict definition: Someone must be harmed as a result of your deceptive conduct; they must take an action that they would not have but for your lie and get fucked as a result of it.  But case law for this specific law said otherwise because the statute in question specifically defined itdishonest conduct is enough and nobody has to actually get screwed.

To be clear Trump knew this risk existed and both set up his "empire" and continued to play in NY.  How did he know that?  Because it was the basis of the "Trump University" case that the previous prosecutor used against him!  Remember that case?  I do.

So how's your "Most Stable Genius" look in light of this set of facts, may I ask?

Here's the law in question:

12. Whenever any person shall engage in repeated fraudulent or illegal acts or otherwise demonstrate persistent fraud or illegality in the carrying on, conducting or transaction of business, the attorney general may apply, in the name of the people of the state of New York, to the supreme court of the state of New York, on notice of five days, for an order enjoining the continuance of such business activity or of any fraudulent or illegal acts, directing restitution and damages and, in an appropriate case, cancelling any certificate filed under and by virtue of the provisions of section four hundred forty of the former penal law or section one hundred thirty of the general business law, and the court may award the relief applied for or so much thereof as it may deem proper. The word "fraud" or "fraudulent" as used herein shall include any device, scheme or artifice to defraud and any deception, misrepresentation, concealment, suppression, false pretense, false promise or unconscionable contractual provisions. The term "persistent fraud" or "illegality" as used herein shall include continuance or carrying on of any fraudulent or illegal act or conduct. The term "repeated" as used herein shall include repetition of any separate and distinct fraudulent or illegal act, or conduct which affects more than one person. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, all monies recovered or obtained under this subdivision by a state agency or state official or employee acting in their official capacity shall be subject to subdivision eleven of section four of the state finance law. 

In connection with any such application, the attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in accordance with the civil practice law and rules. Such authorization shall not abate or terminate by reason of any action or proceeding brought by the attorney general under this section.

Note the wild-eyed set of definitions here.

No harm is required; deception, false promises, concealment or similar elements of conduct are sufficient.  You don't have to show that someone got fucked, in short, you merely need to show that someone lied and that such conduct occurred more than once even if the acts themselves are unconnected or in different areas or lines of business.

Now think about the breadth of this for a minute.  A car dealer -- every car dealer -- tells you its a great time to buy a car even if they know otherwise.  Literally every F&I office in a car dealership tries to sell you things, such as extended service contracts, that are demonstrably to your detriment in that they are wildly outpriced for what you receive and they conceal that by not fairly disclosing, for example, that they have an 80% margin on that "extended warranty" and almost nobody manages to successfully collect if the car does break down.  Hell, even the "green cap" on tires with $20 nitrogen gas fills are a screw job; the gas, assuming they actually did use it, costs about fifty cents -- which they of course do not disclose.  Similar "deception" is committed by every lender, every single real estate agent and similar every single day.

Even if the target of such "deceptions" is not harmed at the pure discretion of the NY AG ("may apply") that entity can be destroyed and the fruits of every element of same is, at said person's discretion, forfeit.

Trump probably liked this element of NY Law.  I'm sure a lot of other people do; it is a cudgel that can be wielded by the rich and powerful at will who have outsize political influence.  Unlike virtually every other law citing "fraud" which requires the target to get screwed in some form or fashion that is not the case here.  This "law" has stood on the books for seventy years and not only has Trump not done anything about it nor has his family line which was also all through NY and by the way neither has anyone else.

May I remind you that both the Juul and the Exxon-Mobil cases were filed while Trump was President and had a very clear bully pulpit to use in this regard, if not his entire Department of Justice?

Oh, you want to do business with people in NY and subject yourself to NY's jurisdiction given this fact?

Are you really that fucking stupid?

Orange Jesus was, even with clear proof that this law was being applied politically while he was President, and he got his asshole split wide open.  Awwwwwwwww...

Do stupid things, win stupid prizes -- now let me know when you're willing to cut off all business with any entity that has Nexus in NY State -- and until you are sit down and shut the fuck up because you are doing business there with clients and customers knowing that mere advertising, which always is full of "puffery", say much less anything ordinary in the realm of salesmanship, subjects you to forfeiture of every single fucking penny you make in sales to or within that state, plus interest.

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2024-02-21 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 459 references
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Watch this video (I can't embed it as Youslob has deemed it "18 over" because it involves violence.)

I know, its 25 minutes, which is far more than most American's attention span.  Not watching this video may well get you either killed or bankrupted, so if you wish to argue that you don't have time for it, that's fine -- I will toast your death because now you've had an explicit warning and ignored it so you deserve to get buttfucked and when you do get buttfucked I'm going to laugh at your bankruptcy or worse.

Do I have your attention yet?


At what point does the lady cop in that video know there's a problem and do the wrong thing that got her friend killed and she nearly-so -- and why?

I'm gonna make your scroll down.












At 9:50 into the video, all the way up to 14:30ish, or for roughly five minutes, it is clear that an asymmetric information situation exists of some sort.  Neither of the cops knows what it is but that it exists is absolutely clear to both of them at that point.

The worst-case situation for the driver assuming no such asymmetric information is that he's going to get busted for DUI (in fact Shelby mentions exactly this on the radio; she suspects a DUI but for weed, not alcohol) which for the driver is a serious pain in the ass, might get him jail time but isn't a life-ending event and isn't a felony either unless its a subsequent offense -- a fact Shelby knows, if in fact it is, since she called in his ID.  Fighting over it (e.g. resisting arrest) on the other hand is a felony and while the driver does sound like he might be intoxicated and he was swerving still, it ought to be clear to the driver at the point Shelby tells him another cop is coming he's not talking his way out of the stop.

The only reason to resist in this situation is that there is an unknown-to-the-deputy's set of facts -- but is known to the driver -- that means the driver is going to jail for something more-serious than a DUI if and when he gets out of the vehicle.

Shelby has five minutes of time after it should be apparent to her that this is the case.

What is the correct action for her to take?

She should have upgraded the situation from a traffic stop to a felony stop; you get back to your vehicle, either behind the door as partial concealment or in the vehicle where you have the engine block as hard cover and once your partner arrives you order the driver out of the vehicle, hands first out the windows, through the loudspeaker with enough distance between you (and your lights on his vehicle and the door partly blinding him) so that he cannot get a clean shot at you.  You remain in such a covered position until he has his hands where you can clearly see them and you can get to him, with your sidearm out and at low ready, before he can try anything (e.g. he is prone on the ground, face down, with his hands stretched out above his head.)  If you do that and he pulls or points a gun you have the clear drop on him and you shoot him.

If you're wrong -- there is no asymmetric information in his possession -- and he's just confused due to intoxication you've lost nothing.  Yeah, he gets inconvenienced because he had to put his hands out the window, open the door from the outside latch, crawl out hands first and get on the ground face-down.  Whoopie do-do.  You still find the weed or run your impairment test once he's out of the vehicle and you can see his hands, if he's intoxicated you can arrest and stuff him for that and if you find something smokable perhaps its marijuana and perhaps not (I note that in Tennessee weed isn't legal but Delta 8 and 10 are and both smell exactly the same as marijuana) so all the odor gives the cop is probable cause for a roadside impairment test which means you have to get out of the car -- and, probably, enough probable cause for a search of the vehicle.  If there's nothing well then there's nothing -- he goes home and he's pissed off about it but he prompted that response by refusing to exit the car.

That he's refusing means there is a decent, if not high probability, that he knows something that you as a deputy do not.  If you're Shelby you might think the most-likely possibility given the smell is that he has marijuana in the car, but again there are a dozen perfectly-legal Delta 8 and 10 shops all up and down Route 66 here and he drove past several of them so if that's what he's got its not against the law.  Being impaired, however, is illegal whether the drug in question is legal or not.

But in this case the asymmetric information he has and the deputy does not is that he has a gun and since he's a convicted felon if you find the gun he goes to jail right now and faces a felony charge in the State, with the potential for a federal felony charge.  He knows this and she doesn't -- and that's why he refused to get out, because he knew damn well that if he got out of the car it was 100% certain he was going to get busted with it.

When someone is behaving in a fashion that makes no sense given the information you have and assume is shared between the two of you the odds are extremely high the other actor(s) know something very important that you do not.

Want me to go somewhere else that will make you uncomfortable?  Shelby plays the feelings game with the dude who claims she's pulled him over because he's black.  If you put feelings before facts you are likely to get seriously screwed or even die.

Now those other actors may be delusional and that there are a lot of them doesn't change that possibility.  Take the fairly-recent espousing that "The fed will cut rates many times!" by a huge number of people -- and thus you should buy stocks, buy a house because you will be able to rapidly refinance to a lower rate, etc.  I have pointed out several times why I believe that's crap and now, with the most-recent CPI and PPI data, it looks like I'm right.  The number of people believing something doesn't add or subtract anything from its validity.  Look at how many people were scared out of their damned wits by Covid despite this table from the CDC on the risk of dying from the disease:


For those under 69, by the CDC's own data, the risk of dying was just 5 in 1,000 (!!) and for those under 50 your risk was 2 in 10,000 or better.  For children under 19 the risk was three in one hundred thousand, meaning that if every one of the 60 million kids in America had been infected the number of deaths would have been about 1,800.  For reference roughly double that many people die of drowning every year in the United States, about one fourth of them kids.


Where's the crossover between the risk of dying from the disease and the jabs?  I'll tell where I know the odds don't make sense today and clearly did not even in 2020 when the above was published by the CDC -- in those under 49.  Maybe for those over 50 but then again perhaps not since we seem to keep having people die downstream at a wildly-accelerated rate after being jabbed and its not slowing down.  But to give these shots on a mass-basis in the entire population?  You're out of your fucking mind if you took that shit unless you had asymmetric information about your personal risk specifically.

The only difference between these scenarios is the amount of time required for the consequences to become evident.

The deputy above got shot in the leg and her partner was shot dead because neither of them recognized that the behavior of that driver made no sense unless he had asymmetric information they did not.  Rather than act prudently given roughly five minutes of warning they instead continued on the original assumption that this was just a dude that might be intoxicated a bit and one of them paid for that stupidity with their life and the other received a nasty hole in her leg.

Yes, that was stupid and the first and most important lesson is to call things what they are.  I hope Shelby, if she stays on the force over in Blount County, learned something from this about asymmetric information and when it is clear the person you are interacting with likely has it and you don't then you back off until you are reasonably sure you're not going to get drilled.

Now look at the market around you today -- in stocks, real estate and elsewhere.  Does it actually make sense that everything will be ok or is the person who has to be on the other side of the transaction -- that is, the seller -- likely have asymmetric information you do not?

If you believe the bullshitters out there today, just as in 1999 and 2007, never mind 1929 and before while you might not wind up holding the bag you're about as likely as that Deputy to have it all be ok when you are presented with evidence that the other guy has asymmetric information and you don't retreat back to your car and upgrade the "DUI" to a felony stop.

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2024-02-18 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 596 references
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From Rasmussen comes a rather nasty "tea leaf" sort of thing starting with a document from one of the "Five Eyes" folks appearing to implicate the Obama Administration in actual spying on Trump's campaign and presumptive Administration officials.

There's plenty more where that appears to begin, and it leads to more questions than answers.

But folks, if the questions and answers lead to a conclusion that our intelligence agencies effectively "Queered" an election - or attempted to -- that's a coup d'etat and this was not one or two people involved in it: It's a huge percentage of both House and Senate, the entirety of the State Department that knew about it, which is not a trivial number of people and a bunch of foreigners too.

This would all be wildly illegal.

Is it a violation of 18 USC 2383?  Good question.  Advocating the overthrow of the government by force is under 18 USC 2385.

But Section 2384 states that a seditious conspiracy exists when:

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

Note where the "or" clause is.

A conspiracy to overthrow or put down the Government does not require the actual use of force.  All the other elements that can constitute this offense do but a coup d'etat does not require violence to be taken as part of the action(s) of the persons participating in it to be punishable.

Therefore if, in fact, this was aimed at destroying or otherwise tampering with the lawful and peaceful selection of our civilian government then there is a very clear argument that the elements of 18 USC 2384 were satisfied and everyone involved is subject to said prosecution.

This is a matter of the gravest extreme in that you are talking about a literal attack on the Constitution and Government itself.  You do not need to burn, loot, murder, shoot or blow things up to commit the offense, and the offense is not against a person it is against the entirety of the United States and its Constitution.

The United States and its State Department (and adjuncts, aka "the CIA") have a long and well-documented history of doing exactly this in other nations -- including, quite-arguably Ukraine and definitely (even admittedly-so) in many other nations, including Iran.  That does not standing alone convict people in our government in this instance but it certainly does mean we've done it before in other places so to claim that "we'd never do that" rings hollow.

This must be run to the ground, in public, and if substantiated every person who was involved in any way must face charges for same.

The very legitimacy of our government at all levels -- federal, state and local -- depends on it.

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2024-02-03 08:22 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 312 references
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While the people yelling are all claiming "go woke, go broke" its not quite that simple, as the rather-convoluted ownership structure for Sports Illustrated makes clear.

Media has changed.  It used to be that SI was the sports news venue other than this or that on a random basis on the nightly news.  Of course their annual swimsuit issue was the subject of much collection and, for young men, plenty of fapping as well.

Look around you though.  TIME Magazine was a weekly publication and in fact owned Sports Illustrated until 2018.  It now "survives" every two weeks.... sort of.  When was the last time you saw one?  Newsweek, arguably its primary competitor, ceased publication in 2012, moving to an all-digital format.  How well is it doing now?  I haven't read a single article from it in years.

But as SI flailed about it, like so many other places, it tried to be "adaptive" and expanded their view of "swimsuits" to something other than what it historically had been: An appeal to young men (whether physically or at heart) who like looking at young, sexy women in bathing suits.

As Vogue put it in their piece on this "change":

For Day, the casting process is more about character than how someone looks in a bikini. “Our goal in selecting who we feature is centered around identifying some of the most inspiring, interesting, and multidimensional women that we can find,” she says. Sampaio had been on Day’s radar for her activism within the LGBTQIA community. “We are deeply moved that Valentina was willing to put her trust in us,” says Day. “We didn’t think twice about wanting to amplify her voice and message and give her a platform to advocate from on behalf of her personal aspirations and the trans community.”

That was a belly flop.  It turns out that men won't buy a magazine that has "women" (yeah, as above SI bit into that too) that said men either find unattractive or who aren't really women, but like to pretend they are.  Go figure; SI used to appeal to the very primal urge of men to reproduce and that was a decent strategy to sell magazines.  Remove said urge to reproduce with the persons in the images and suddenly said men don't buy the magazine anymore.  If they were subscribers rather than one-off buyers and attribute back that decision to your sports reporting, well, then you're really in trouble.

Was this supposed to be a big shock?  Day, the editor in chief of the Swimsuit thing, was always out of her mind and frankly, from my point of view it was idiotic to put a woman in charge of this in the first place.  Why?  Look at the rest of the species; it is the male Robin that is pretty, not the female. The same is true for lions, peacocks and countless other creatures when there is a significant difference by sex.  In other words whether you like it or not from a biological point of view males advertise, females choose.  Now map this onto human behavior and what you see among women "competing" is garbage; they "dress up" (whether in swimsuits or otherwise) to try to impress other women!  Madison Avenue has made a fortune out of turning women against each other through peddling a completely-false set of expectations and beliefs that run counter to biological imperatives and the entire world is more-poor for it.  The truth, like it or not and it always has been and will be this way, is that men put forward the proposition but women choose.  Thus if you want to sell magazines to men (who consume more sports media than women; go figure as they "view" themselves through an unrealistic "I could do that" sort of lens just like women do and thus live vicariously through sports) you put a heterosexual man in charge and let him cast the models for what he believes is maximally likely to get other men to pay for the content.  Instead SI actually claim themselves that they were "redefining" beauty standards in the name of "Diversity, Inclusion and Equity" and what they got is DIE -- their own death, to be specific.

Congratulations guuurl; you did it and business went boom the bad way!

By the way calling those who don't get an involuntary telephone pole in the pants at such images bigots doesn't work to sell magazines either so don't bother with that.

In the end, however, this isn't as simple as just "woke and broke"; its also a tale of the media generally, and digital content has changed it forever.  You can lament it all you want but the local newspaper is no more (if it exists at all its a piece of a large entity that has a "special edition" with maybe one person covering said "local stories") and the papers in major metros are struggling -- or gone entirely.  The ad dollars that a car dealer spent on a local newspaper can be targeted on modern media to only those who are likely to buy cars, where in the newspaper by definition you are paying to advertise to 80 year old geriatric people who long ago lost their driver license because they can't see.

Nonetheless this failure stands as yet another testament to the fact that when you go against what which is in fact real the odds are high you're not going to have a happy outcome.

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2023-10-10 09:35 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 1018 references
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.... and I don't care.

Postulate: There are no rules of war.

Corollary: There are no "war crimes."

Oh, I know, the molly-coddling UN-style bullshit is that there are.  "Geneva Conventions" and all that.  429 "articles" of "law" related to war and every single one of them is self-serving bullshit.

War is Hell.  War is supposed to be Hell and anything that makes it less-Hell is Satanic in its implication, implementation and thought process because doing that incites more war.

War should be recoiled from, not embraced.  Papering over the horror of it with threats of "prosecution" is not only a joke its a trope and should get everyone involved hanged right here and now so as to prevent the next war.

Humanity and technology are largely responsible for this, incidentally, and that's really nobody's fault.  People have minds, they use them, this results in innovation and the consequence of that is detachment between action and result.  Its no different, really, than what goes on in my home or yours every single day.  You don't stoke a fire manually nor open and close windows to regulate the temperature in your house or apartment; you push a button or turn a dial and a machine takes care of it.

A hundred or so years ago it didn't work that way.  If it was cold you made a bigger fire in a fireplace or stove.  If it was hot you opened windows (and hoped there was a breeze.)  You did it, you paid attention to whether what you did was sufficient, and then you stopped when it was.  You learned over time, from infancy in fact, how to stoke and build said fire so it was sufficient but not 95 degrees in your house, and to keep the coals going overnight so in the morning you still had some residual heat and didn't have to light it again.  If you wanted light at night you lit a candle or oil lamp. When you were done you blew it out.  You didn't dare leave either unattended lest they burn your house down.  Today you flip a switch and all that happens if you leave it on is that you get a somewhat-higher bill from the power company.

Well, war was the same way.

If you wanted to kill people in size you had to go do it face-to-face. You had to see the horror of what you were doing. Plunge the sword or dirk into the other guy's body, feel it go in, see the expression on his face and watch him die.  Of course you had to do this while he was trying to do the same to you, which adds quite a bit to the drama, does it not?

Innovation seems to come with war first.  Go figure; nobody likes losing a war because historically it has meant losing your life.

Pushing a button on a bombsight, mashing the FIRE button while staring at a radar scope or sniping someone from 1,000yds out is a whole different thing than going man-to-man (mounted or not) with swords, pikes or dirks.  Today we don't even look through the bombsight -- we program a GPS or IMU in the front of a missile, push a button, often from afar, and then from a satellite high above the earth watch the resulting wreckage.  We don't even see the dead bodies those acts generate most of the time.

I have no respect for anything in the Geneva Conventions or any other so-called "laws of war" and if you manage to incite me sufficiently that I decide to go to war there will be no rules whatsoever, except for me seeking to make you dead before you can make me dead.  So-called "rules" or "laws" of war are directly contrary to everyone's interest in not engaging in war in the first place and were enacted and put in place by assholes who never have to face the horrors of their own acts and are trying to sanitize them so you'll allow said assholes to commit more of them without turning on said leaders yourselves.  Every government official involved in that and in "respecting" same deserves to be forced onto the front line with nothing more than a dagger or bayonet; no ammunition, grenades or other similar things that will give them the ability to inflict death at a distance beyond the reach of their own hand.  If you really want or are willing to engage in war then do it hand-to-hand and deal with the horrors of blood running down your arms and legs -- and hope that is the other guy's, but it might quite-possibly be yours.

Let's think this through at a very-basic level: Does the prospect of your wife, daughter or son who decides to go fight being raped up the ass and then decapitated by the opposing party in a war make you more or less likely to engage in said war in the first place?


In the context of the current mess over in Israel and Gaza I do not care if Israel flattens Gaza to a literal smoking ruin.  War sucks and like it or not that's what this is and Hamas made the decision to initiate hostilities, so the IDF may as well get on with it.  They gave fair warning to "uninvolved" civilians to get the Hell out of there.  They made that decision and I respect it.  It is a fact that derogating or outright ignoring everyone's right to self-defense and the defense of their loved ones is why the Hamas attacks were successful and why Hamas was operating in Gaza to begin with.  There were and have been two groups there over the last decades; those civilians who support Hamas and those who were defenseless as a direct result of government policy prohibiting "at will" arms ownership.  The former are complicit and the latter were prohibited from slaying the terrorists in advance of their operation and it was the Israeli government that did the prohibiting because they consider "Gazans" to be less-than-citizens.  Evidence?  They call those who live there "Gazans", not Israelis!  Does Israel call those people living in Jerusalem Jerusalans?

But in fact Israel's government effectively did disarm its own citizens because of this very position, that is unforgiveable and entirely and reasonably charged against the Knessset and Bibi himself.  Every single one of the dead is dead because they had no arms with which to resist and those not interested in such happening in Gaza had no way to effectively assault the attackers before they breached the lines from behind and it is the Israeli government that made it that way.  Going into a town to rape, kidnap, murder and plunder where everyone has a gun is a losing act; every window becomes an elevated platform from which you are shot at from all sides!

Unless, of course, there are no guns because they're illegal and everyone is a "nice, law-abiding citizen" -- except those who aren't really "citizens" so we can't actually let everyone buy and have all the guns they want because "some are lesser" and might use them to bad ends.

The problem with such niceties is that the invading horde, terrorists or those who are intent on "gimme dat!" don't give a wet crap about laws, any more than common criminals do.  A government thus can either let the people even the odds as they see fit, declaring that in fact everyone is equal in the most-basic of ways or it is a fact that said government deliberately posts up their citizens as shooting gallery targets.

Human history is full of brutality, like it or not, and so is nature. Not all animals kill only for food; the common housecat kills birds for both food and sport, and will do so even if well-fed at home.  We claim to be "superior" but we're not; we're animals, and the "superior" often is really nothing more than "kill it because it thinks differently than I do" in respect to religion, government structure or simply because someone thinks you're ugly -- or have a fat wallet.

Denying facts does not make them untrue and in the context of war it just makes you dead.

That which reduces the experience of the horror of war makes it more likely that you'll engage in war.

And if you don't think that's objectively bad, well, let me be the first to call you the monster.

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