Posts Tagged ‘failing grade’

With Eyes Finally Wide-Open, Reconsider Why The Economy Collapsed In The First Place

December 31, 2009

We are now able to see that from the very beginning of the Obama administration, the Republican Party has again and again demonstrated that they were completely right and Democrats were completely wrong.  Whether you look at the stimulus, cap-and-trade, bogus climate change claims, health care, or terrorism, Americans now solidly agree that Republicans were represent the people; and that Democrats do NOT represent the people.

Right now, a solid plurality of Americans thinks the stimulus (that 99% of Republicans voted against) harmed the economy.  And the people are starting to realize what an ideological partisan slush fund the stimulus was (also predicted by Republicans).

When Obama was elected, unemployment was at 6.6%.  He promised that his stimulus would prevent unemployment from reaching 8%.  And now it’s at 10%, and it’s going to get higher.

Obama demagogued Bush’s spending.  But Bush deficits -bad as they were – were only 2-3% of GDP.  Obama’s deficits are 12.8% of GDP – which is five to six times higher.

Now that your eyes are finally beginning to open wide and see Obama and the Democrats for who and what they truly are, let me point out a few things about the past collapse.

What Americans – and particularly Americans who actually vote – need to realize is that Democrats were trying to do this kind of crap and play these kind of games all along.  They were trying to do it throughout the Bush years, when George Bush tried 17 times to regulate the out of control and Fannie-Mac-and-Freddie-Mae-dominated housing mortgage markets – and Democrats thwarted him over and over again.

Why do I mention the Government Supported Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?  Because they were at the very heart of the mortgage meltdown.

The LA Times writes on May 31, 1999 that:

Lenders also have opened the door wider to minorities because of new initiatives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the giant federally chartered corporations that play critical, if obscure, roles in the home finance system. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and bundle them into securities; that provides lenders the funds to lend more. . . .

LaVaughn M. Henry, Ph.D. Director, U.S. Economic Analysis The PMI Group, Inc. December 9, 2008, pointed out:

The Role of the GSEs is to provide liquidity and stability to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets. Step 1 Banks lend money to Households to purchase and refinance home mortgages Step 2 The GSEs purchase these mortgage from the banks Step 3 GSEs bundle the mortgages into mortgage-backed securities Step 4 GSEs sell mortgage-backed and debt securities to domestic and international capital investors Step 5 Investors pay GSEs for purchase of debt and securities Step 6 GSEs return funds to banks to lend out again for the issuance of new mortgage loans.

It was steps 3-5 that messed us up.  Fannie and Freddie bought mortgages – including many mortgages that poor and minority homeowners couldn’t begin to afford under the mandate of the Community Reinvestment Act – bundled them such that no one could assess their risk, and then sold them to private companies such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.  Fannie and Freddie were exempt from SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] regulations.   The GSEs could bundle up mortgages, which would then be rated AAA, with no requirement to make clear what was in the bundle.  Private companies believed that the bundled securities were guaranteed, since they were essentially being sold by the federal government.

But there were many who predicted that this system – created and maintained by Democrats – could explode.

From the New York Times in September 30, 1999:

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.“

”From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,”
said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ”If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.” . . .

And that is precisely what happened.  There was a downturn (and there will ALWAYS be downturns, won’t there?), and Fannie and Freddie were so leveraged that they collapsed and caused the collapse of the entire industry.  Financial experts anxiously pointed out that a decline of only 1.3% would bankrupt Fannie and Freddie because they were leveraged to the tune of 60%? to 78%.

Democrats were the priests and acolytes of the GSE system.  They protected it, and they were the ones who pressed all the buttons and pulled all the levers.

Keven Hasset concludes an article titled, “How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis“, concludes by saying:

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons.  Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices.  Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.

Watch this video showing how Goerge Bush and John McCain repeatedly warned of the economic collapse (length=4 min):

Watch this video of Democrats protecting and covering for Fannie Mae (length=8 min):

Here’s a video entitled “Burning Down the House: What Caused Our Economic Crisis?” (length=11 min)

And then we find that Barack Obama was in bed with Fannie and Freddie and their shockingly risky policies:

Who really exploded the economy in 2008, liberals or conservatives? Who do you think?  The liberal mainstream media allowed Democrats to blame George Bush simply because he was president at the time, never mentioning that the Democrats who controlled both the House and the Senate relentlessly opposed everything Bush tried to do; and it allowed Democrats to not have to account for the fact that they’d been in complete control of both the House and the Senate.  But remember that the economy went from outstanding to collapsed during the two years (2006-2008) that the Congress was under Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  The unemployment rate was 4.4% when Republicans last ran Congress.  What is it now, three years of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid later?

Few people understand how huge Fannie and Freddie are, or how deeply burrowed they are in the mortgage industry.  But let me put it to you this way: the federal government now underwrites 9 out of 10 residential mortgages.

John McCain tried to warn us in 2006:

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

But he was ignored.

When George Bush first tried to regulate an already out-of-control liberal bastion of Fannie and Freddie, Barney Frank led the united Democrat opposition and said:

”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

And just before Fannie and Freddie collapsed and brought down the entire housing mortgage industry with it creating the economic meltdown, Barney Frank – continuing to stop any regulation of Fannie and Freddie – said this:

REP. BARNEY FRANK, D-MASS.: I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They’re not the best investments these days from the long-term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went completely bankrupt, and had to be bailed out by the government.  It had been Fannie and Freddie which had the sole authority to buy mortgages, bundle them into the mortgage-backed securities which ultimately exploded, and sell those securities to private companies (as I have already shown).  Just as it was Fannie and Freddie which had been the seller of subprime loans.

Democrats demonized and demagogued Republicans by blaming them for a mess that DEMOCRATS created.  And Republicans were to blame primarily because they didn’t do enough to stand up and courageously oppose the disaster that Democrats had created

A couple weeks ago the New York Times reported that Fannie and Freddie would get a whopping $800 billion to cover losses incurred under the Obama administration (and see another article on this $800 billion fiasco here):

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy and resell mortgages, have used $112 billion — including $15 billion for Fannie in November — of a total $400 billion pledge from the Treasury. Now, according to people close to the talks, officials are discussing the possibility of increasing that commitment, possibly to $400 billion for each company, by year-end, after which the Treasury would need Congressional approval to extend it. Company and government officials declined to comment.

But it turned out that that was wrong.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weren’t going to get $800 billion.  That won’t be nearly enough.  They are going to get an unlimited amount of funding (potentially in the trillions):

From the Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009:

The Obama administration’s decision to cover an unlimited amount of losses at the mortgage-finance giants Fannie MaeFreddie Mac over the next three years and stirred controversy over the holiday.

A Newsbuster article, entitled, “Relief Without Limits,” provides an excellent resource of facts and commentary on this incredible and terrifying development.

Remember the righteous outrage of Democrats and the Obama administration over the compensation of CEOs of private banks?  The Democrats don’t seem to mind when Fannie and Freddie execs get huge compensation packages.

The monster rises yet again, and larger and uglier and more dangerous than it has ever been before.  And just like the first time it collapsed, Democrats are in total control of it.  Fannie and Freddie stock went up significantly as the news was announced.  Watch it dwindle back to zero by the end of 2010.

We’re facing another tsunami of foreclosures in 2010.  And three mortgages get worse for every single one that improves.

And even uber-liberal sources like the Huffington Post are acknowledging that Obama’s policies have utterly failed:

Anatomy of a Failed Foreclosure Program (dated 12-07-09)

Just how badly is President Obama’s $75 billion foreclosure program working out? Consider these newly-released numbers: Out of every 100 homeowners who came to JPMorgan Chase for help under the program, just 15 have or will likely receive a permanent payment reduction.

What happened to the other 85? For every 100 trial plans initiated from April through September 2009 under the Home Affordable Modification Program:

  • 29 borrowers did not make all required payments under their trial plan;
  • 20 borrowers did not submit all documents required for underwriting;
  • 31 borrowers submitted all required documents but the documents did not meet HAMP underwriting standards, due to such things as missing signatures or nonstandard formats;
  • 4 borrowers were or are likely to be rejected for undisclosed reasons;
  • 1 borrower will not or is not likely to get their payment lowered.

The data comes from the prepared remarks bank officials plan to make Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee. The testimony was posted Monday on the committee’s website.

It adds up to a brutal illustration of just how the HAMP program, which is supposed to reduce troubled homeowners’ monthly payments to 31 percent of their income, is failing.

Failing.  As in “failing grade.”  As in failed Obama presidency.

You still don’t know the half of it.  Obama’s $75 billion mortgage modification bailout is costing taxpayers an average of $870,967 PER HOUSE when the average house is worth only $177,900.

Famed analyst Meredith Whitney predicted that unemployment would rise to 13% or higher primarily due to the failure to contain the failure to deal with the mortgage industry:

Unemployment is likely to rise to 13 percent or higher and will weigh on the economy for several years, countering government efforts to stabilize the banking industry, analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC. [...]

“We underestimate how much the whole economy is dependent on the mortgage industry, and that has to change,” Whitney said. “This is what happens when you delay the inevitable. We’re buying time here, but we’re not restructuring the economy.”

Under the radar, and against the objections of Republicans that was primarily covered only by C-SPAN, Democrats implemented and then fiercely protected policies that were almost guaranteed to doom our economy.  When the meltdown finally occurred, the same Democrats who created the black hole in the first place flooded the airwaves and blamed George Bush – whom they had already vilified and brought down through unrelenting attacks using the Iraq War as their main foil.

The propaganda worked, and Barack Hussein Obama – a politician who is more beholden to corrupt and frankly un-American entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, ACORN, and the SEIU than any president in history.

And now we’re truly paying for our stupidity.

Obama is taking the same policies that imploded our economy, and multiplied them by a factor of ten.  It’s only a matter of time before his policies create a rotten floor for our economy to plunge through all over again — only this time far, far worse than before.

Someone might say, “But look, Obama is rebuilding the economy.  He’s brought back the stock market, and things are getting better.”

First of all, they really aren’t getting better, and the Dow can drop a lot faster than it can rise (history lesson: there were several rises and crashes of the stock market during the Great Depression).  And second of all, if you loan me a few billion dollars to spread around, I can temporarily bring up the production of my local economy, too.

Just don’t expect either me or Barack Hussein to repay the loan when it comes due.

Obama has been compared – and has compared himself – to FDR.  We now know that for all of FDR’s popularity, his “reforms” during the Great Depression were massive failures which actually kept the United States in depression for seven years longer than if he’d done nothing at all.

Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, said in May 1939, after nearly seven years in office:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!”

In believing the propaganda and lies of the Democrats and Barack Obama, Americans may have well placed the nation in a hole that it very may well not be able to climb out of.

ObamaCare Is Cloward-Piven Strategy In Microcosm

December 11, 2009

First of all, what is the Cloward-Piven strategy:

From Discover The Networks:

First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse. [...]

The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one.

Newsmax offers a further description of Clowar-Piven, and raises the very real possibility that Obama not only studied the strategy, but in fact even studied under Richard Cloward:

Their strategy to create political, financial, and social chaos that would result in revolution blended Alinsky concepts with their more aggressive efforts at bringing about a change in U.S. government. To achieve their revolutionary change, Cloward and Piven sought to use a cadre of aggressive organizers assisted by friendly newsmedia to force a re-distribution of the nation’s wealth. It would be telling to know if Obama, during his years at Columbia, had occasion to meet Cloward and study the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

On my own view, Obama has a “win we win, lose we win” strategy.  To wit, the Obama administration and the Democrat Party are pursuing incredibly risky policies across the board.  If the country and the economy somehow manages to survive these measures (which I would compare to a man surviving a poisoning), Obama and the Democrats will claim victory.  If, on the other hand, the entire national system collapses due to these shockingly terrible policies, the liberals believe that a terrified, hungry public will turn to the government for help – and allow the statists to restructure the nation into a completely socialist system.

The Obama administration, on my view, consists of a collective of fiscal sociopaths.  They don’t even care about the harm that they are doing, as long as they accomplish their self-serving objective of statism, in which they ultimately wield the levers of totalitarian power.

Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said that you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.  The very real question is how far these people are willing to go to milk a crisis to impose their agenda; and how willing they would be to create a crisis to finish the job.

Now armed with the above information about Cloward-Piven, and the above thesis that Obama and the Democrats are actually employing it, let us consider the Democrats’ and Obama’s attempt to take over the health care system.

Far too many Democrats want a socialist single-payer system, and liberals like Democrat Representative Anthony Weiner think the current Senate Democrat proposal is just the ticket to take us there:

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, an outspoken backer of the public option, hailed the expansion of Medicare as an “unvarnished” triumph for Democrats, like himself, who have been pushing for a single-payer government-run health care system. “Never mind the camel’s nose; we’ve got his head and his neck in the tent.”

The generally left-leaning Washington Post agrees with Rep. Weiner, saying that the

last-minute introduction of this idea within the broader context of health reform raises numerous questions — not least of which is whether this proposal is a far more dramatic step toward a single-payer system than lawmakers on either side realize. [...]

The irony of this late-breaking Medicare proposal is that it could be a bigger step toward a single-payer system than the milquetoast public option plans rejected by Senate moderates as too disruptive of the private market.

It is amazing that when the people overwhelmingly rejected the public option, Democrats responded by giving them the public option on steroids.

But let us take a look at who have aligned against this monstrosity, and see just how bad it truly is.

The Mayo Clinic:

“Expanding this system to persons 55 to 64 years old would ultimately hurt patients by accelerating the financial ruin of hospitals and doctors across the country. A majority of Medicare providers currently suffer great financial loss under the program. Mayo Clinic alone lost $840 million last year under Medicare. As a result of these types of losses, a growing number of providers have begun to limit the number of Medicare patients in their practices.  Despite these provider losses, Medicare has not curbed overall spending, especially after adjusting for benefits covered and the cost shift from Medicare to private insurance.  This is clearly an unsustainable model, and one that would be disastrous for our nation’s hospitals, doctors and eventually our patients if expanded to even more beneficiaries.”

The Wall Street Journal rightly calls this fiasco “The Worst Bill Ever.”  Why?

As Congress’s balance sheet drowns in trillions of dollars in new obligations, the political system will have no choice but to start making cost-minded decisions about which treatments patients are allowed to receive. Democrats can’t regulate their way out of the reality that we live in a world of finite resources and infinite wants. Once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable—especially for the innovative high-cost technologies and drugs that are the future of medicine.

The Dean of the Harvard Medical School gave it a “failing grade.”  Dr. Jeffrey Flier argued that:

In effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants. This will make an eventual solution even more difficult. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all.

The California Medical Association came out strongly against the Democrat plan:

The state’s largest doctors group is opposing healthcare legislation being debated in the Senate this week, saying it would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients.

The California Medical Assn. represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, making it the second-largest state medical association in the country after Texas. [...]

“The Senate bill came so short that we could not support it, even though we solidly support healthcare reform,” said Dr. Dev GnanaDev, medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in San Bernardino, who also serves on the association’s executive committee.

Doctors who oppose the Senate bill are concerned that it would would shift Medicare funding from urban to rural areas, move responsibility for Medicare oversight away from Congress by creating an Independent Medicare Commission and, ultimately, decrease Medicare reimbursement rates.

That “Independent Medicare Commission” is just one of the many “death panels” this bill would create.  One hundred and eleven death panels, to be precise.

This is “It’s-Friday-the-13th-and-Jason-Voorhees-is-a-real-monster-and-he’s-actually-in-your-house” terrifying.  The Democrats will collapse our health care system.  People will die.

And I submit to you that the Democrats want to crash the health care system – which is the best in the world after adjusting for murders, suicides, and accident deaths – and replace it with a socialized system that would dramatically expand the power and scope of government.

On top of the disastrous impact on patient care would be the disastrous impact on the national economy.  The health care system that the Senate Democrats would impose on Americans would cost at least $2.5 trillion every ten years following its initial roll-out.  How much more can we afford?  How many more cards can we add to our house before the whole thing comes crashing down?

Why would anybody want to impose a system that is so terribly bad, and which will cost so terribly much?

When you think of the trillions in spending that this administration has already accumulated, and then add the additional $200 billion a year (and $1,761 per family) cost of Obama’s cap-and-trade energy fiasco, you can’t help but begin to wonder if there is an intentional determination to overwhelm our system and “push society into crisis and economic collapse.”

Harvard Medical School Dean Flunks Democrat Health Bill

November 20, 2009

Newsflash: An ‘F’ is really, really bad.

But that’s exactly the grade that the dean of one of our nation’s premier medical schools just assigned to ObamaCare.

Dr. Flier points out that the 2,074 page bill isn’t just bad; it is fundamentally dishonest.

Only a true fool and ideologue would support the takeover of our life-and-death health care system and 1/6th of our economy through a bill that literally gets a failing grade.

NOVEMBER 17, 2009, 6:59 P.M. ET

Health ‘Reform’ Gets a Failing Grade
The changes proposed by Congress will require more draconian measures down the road. Just look at Massachusetts.

By JEFFREY S. FLIER

As the dean of Harvard Medical School I am frequently asked to comment on the health-reform debate. I’d give it a failing grade.

Instead of forthrightly dealing with the fundamental problems, discussion is dominated by rival factions struggling to enact or defeat President Barack Obama’s agenda. The rhetoric on both sides is exaggerated and often deceptive. Those of us for whom the central issue is health—not politics—have been left in the lurch. And as controversy heads toward a conclusion in Washington, it appears that the people who favor the legislation are engaged in collective denial.

Our health-care system suffers from problems of cost, access and quality, and needs major reform. Tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this begets overinsurance and drives costs upward while creating inequities for the unemployed and self-employed. A regulatory morass limits innovation. And deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending without optimizing care.

Speeches and news reports can lead you to believe that proposed congressional legislation would tackle the problems of cost, access and quality. But that’s not true. The various bills do deal with access by expanding Medicaid and mandating subsidized insurance at substantial cost—and thus addresses an important social goal. However, there are no provisions to substantively control the growth of costs or raise the quality of care. So the overall effort will fail to qualify as reform.

In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care’s dysfunctional delivery system. The system we have now promotes fragmented care and makes it more difficult than it should be to assess outcomes and patient satisfaction. The true costs of health care are disguised, competition based on price and quality are almost impossible, and patients lose their ability to be the ultimate judges of value.

Worse, currently proposed federal legislation would undermine any potential for real innovation in insurance and the provision of care. It would do so by overregulating the health-care system in the service of special interests such as insurance companies, hospitals, professional organizations and pharmaceutical companies, rather than the patients who should be our primary concern.

In effect, while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants. This will make an eventual solution even more difficult. Ultimately, our capacity to innovate and develop new therapies would suffer most of all.

There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation succeeded in expanding coverage but—despite initial predictions—increased total spending.

A “Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System” recently declared that the Massachusetts health-care payment system must be changed over the next five years, most likely to one involving “capitated” payments instead of the traditional fee-for-service system. Capitation means that newly created organizations of physicians and other health-care providers will be given limited dollars per patient for all of their care, allowing for shared savings if spending is below the targets. Unfortunately, the details of this massive change—necessitated by skyrocketing costs and a desire to improve quality—are completely unspecified by the commission, although a new Massachusetts state bureaucracy clearly will be required.

Yet it’s entirely unclear how such unspecified changes would impact physician practices and compensation, hospital organizations and their capacity to invest, and the ability of patients to receive the kind and quality of care they desire. Similar challenges would eventually confront the entire country on a more explosive scale if the current legislation becomes law.

Selling an uncertain and potentially unwelcome outcome such as this to the public would be a challenging task. It is easier to assert, confidently but disingenuously, that decreased costs and enhanced quality would result from the current legislation.

So the majority of our representatives may congratulate themselves on reducing the number of uninsured, while quietly understanding this can only be the first step of a multiyear process to more drastically change the organization and funding of health care in America. I have met many people for whom this strategy is conscious and explicit.

We should not be making public policy in such a crucial area by keeping the electorate ignorant of the actual road ahead.

Dr. Flier is dean of the Harvard Medical School.

I’d like to thank Dr. Flier for his courageous stand.  You’ve GOTTA know that the man is taking a lot of heat for it by the hard-core Massachusetts and Harvard liberal ideologue establishment.  Dr. Flier clearly isn’t taking this position on the Democrats’ health agenda for his own health, as it were.

Capitation would merely be the most obvious way that the government would place doctors in a morally/ethically untenable position: they would literally be paid more to give their patients less treatment, and paid less to give their patients more treatment.

Another means of accomplishing the same result would be to have – oh, I don’t know, say 111 federal bureaucracies – which would force doctors to consider their regulations more than considering the needs of their patients.

It is evil.  And Democrats are evil for foisting this abomination upon us.


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