By Lambert Strether of .
“The Trump administration is keeping quiet about a deal struck with South Korea to amend a six-year-old free trade deal between the two countries. South Korea is not — it released information this week on the broad outcomes of the talks, noting concessions it made on autos, including by agreeing to tack on 20 years to the U.S. tariff phase-out for pickup truck exports and double to 50,000 the amount of vehicles per model that can enter the country without having to meet with South Korean safety standards” . “Former Rep. Donald Manzullo, who now heads the Korea Economic Institute, praised the new agreement based on details released so far. He also breathed a sigh of relief that the Trump administration did not insist on major revisions, as Trump’s rhetoric often suggested, and expressed hope Seoul would not be asked to revisit the agreement again.”
“The White House may have provided a template for new trade agreements in the pact just struck with South Korea. The deal came in part because the two allies have a bigger common challenge ahead in disarming North Korea…, but it also sets a potential framework for other negotiations the U.S. has underway or may be coming in the future” . “One trade expert in Seoul says the new deal provides an ‘exemplary case’ for Canada and Mexico to follow, for instance, in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Seoul officials say they made only ‘modest’ concessions, and the deal is unlikely to shift trans-Pacific trade flows much if at all.” Then again, they would say that.
“Trump’s recent decision to temporarily exempt the European Union and six other trading partners from new steel and aluminum tariffs may be a strategic move to force problems stemming from global excess capacity back onto China, Bill Reinsch, senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Morning Trade” . “‘Basically they’re trying to bank shot. It’s a Chinese problem. Everybody agrees on that. Their overcapacity has flooded the world and the solution to the problem is to basically get everybody to gang up on them and force them to eat their sur,’ Reinsch said. If that’s the aim, it might be relatively easy to get the EU and others on board, he added.” I don’t know if this is right or not. But it’s nice to read some commentary that isn’t hysterical yammering.
“AP-NORC Poll: Trump benefiting from economic policies” . “A growing American economy and passage of a Republican tax overhaul appear to be helping President Donald Trump lift his approval ratings from historic lows, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Trump remains unpopular with the majority of Americans, 58 percent. But 42 percent say they now approve of the job he’s doing as president, from a month ago.” Pretty volatile! “One of the GOP’s challenges, however, will be keeping the economy and tax overhaul in the spotlight through the fall given the crush of other matters roiling the White House and competing for Americans’ attention. At the White House Monday, the daily press briefing was dominated by questions about the president’s alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels, a relationship he denies.” Yes, finally the Democrats have nailed Trump. For consensual sex.
“An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last week illustrated the point, finding that 59 percent of registered Republican voters said they consider themselves more a supporter of Trump than the Republican Party” .
“Study Finds Single Payer Viable in 2018 Elections”  (original). “The report finds that of the 561 Democratic candidates running for the House of Representatives in 2018, 271 of them support Medicare for All or single payer. That’s 48 percent. Of the 192 Democrats currently in the House, 121 have signed on to HR 676, the single payer bill in the House and 71 have not. That’s 63 percent. ‘People don’t want to be that person who is out on single payer island with something that is not politically viable, not popular,’ Panagiotopoulos told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. ‘I want to show that single payer is part of the mainstream. Two-thirds of the Democrats in the House already support it. You are pretty much on the minority side if you are not supporting Medicare for All at this point.'” This is good for the long haul, but in 2018, the Democrat leadership is busily suppporting Blue Dog candidates who oppose it; speculating freely, I’d say that making sure that #MedicareForAll is not a policy outcome of any 2016 “wave” is the Democrat leadership’s top policy priority. Oh, and I love the venue for this story. The health insurance industry is indeed a “corporate crime.”
All of these candidates endorsed by the mighty have endorsed . Nurses are working with activists, organizers, and workers to build a national movement to win. There is no debate, healthcare is a human right. ✊
— Winifred (@WaywardWinifred)
“After Stormy Daniels, Republicans Face a Referendum on Trump’s Conduct” . “While Republicans have been bracing for months for a punishing election in November, they are increasingly alarmed that their losses may be even worse than feared because the midterm campaign destined to turn more on the behavior of the man in the White House than any other in decades…. But in an illustration of how firm Mr. Trump’s grip is on the party base, the have become an issue in some races only because pro-Trump candidates are attacking Republican rivals for abandoning him over those infamous “Access Hollywood” remarks. Michigan’s attorney general, Bill Schuette, is assailing his rival for the Republican nomination for governor, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, because Mr. Calley backed away from Mr. Trump after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape came out in 2016. Indeed, the party’s embrace of Mr. Trump is most striking in several Midwestern states where he triumphed in 2016, and where a large number of important Senate and governor’s races are underway.” So we’re going to nationalize the 2018 mid-terms on Russia and Stormy Daniels….
WI: “On Monday, attorneys for [Governor Scott] Walker asked that the judge give Walker until April 6 to call the special elections. That would improve his chances of getting lawmakers to approve the legislation that would cancel these special elections and end the requirement that governors promptly call special elections when vacancies occur in the Legislature” . “The GOP leaders’ plan, Assembly Bill 947, would eliminate the requirement that Walker call elections promptly and give the governor wide latitude to decide whether and when to do so. It would also bar holding special elections after the spring election in the year the legislative seat would ordinarily be filled. This year’s spring election is next week, on April 3.” Classy!
AZ-08: “GOP scrambles to avert another election dumpster fire” . “Two weeks after the party’s stunning defeat in a conservative district in southwestern Pennsylvania, Republicans are funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into Arizona’s 8th District, which President Donald Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in 2016…. Republicans insist the efforts are precautionary and that they fully expect to prevail in an April 24 special election. Two senior party officials who’ve reviewed polling in recent days said [Debbie] Lesko held a double-digit lead.”
CA: “Progressives File Lawsuits Against California Democratic Party Over Endorsement Process” . “Stephen Jaffe faces an uphill battle in challenging Pelosi in California’s 12th Congressional District, but he managed to obtain 37 delegate signatures to challenge the California Democratic Party’s endorsement of Pelosi. Jaffe alleges that after he paid the petition fee of $350 and submitted his signatures, the party told him the 20 percent threshold required 38 signatures, and that one of his signatures was disqualified because their address didn’t match what they had on record. Jaffe claimed he was only provided a list of 182 eligible delegates by the party, only to be told there were 190 eligible delegates once his petition was completed.”
2016 Post Mortem
"For those of us that are in states that Trump won we would really appreciate if she would be more careful and show respect to every American voter and not just the ones who voted for her" – Claire McCaskill on Hillary Clinton
— Kasie DC (@KasieDC)
Facebook post by a comic shop owner who met some of the Parkland students recently. Very hard to read but I’m glad I did.
— Tres @ C2E2 AA #T14 (@tresdcomics)
“Parkland students interview Bernie Sanders: ‘Your generation has the power to change America'” . This is well worth a read, both the student’s questions, and Sander’s answers.
UPDATE This is a good thread on guns in the context of militarized families and communities:
most teens are coming up engulfed in the post911 hysterical patriotism–that gives them even less resources than I have (me, the 40 something that still hasn't figured it out) to understand how to negotiate most of ur family/community in military-
— RustBelt Rebel (@RustBeltRebel)
It is true that I have literally no idea what our — carceral? — schools are like these days. I mean, I used to ride my bike to school, and when school was out, my time was unscheduled ’til dinner. No metal detectors, no “resource officers.” My baseline assumptions about “school” come from those memories, which diverge from reality, somewhat in my small college town, wildly for many parts of the country.
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Can Teenagers Save America? They’ve Done It Before” [Jon Grinspan, ]. Here is the thesis:
But in the final years of the 19th century, a sudden burst of young people demanded new issues — their issues. Tired of, as one Coloradan put it, “rotten old hulks who monopolize the offices and dwell upon the past,” a generation of young men and women denounced their leaders and with them, partisanship. They demanded political reform, labor reform and social reform, and declared that they would withhold their votes from any party that didn’t respond. “The ratio of party feeling and self-interest is rapidly changing,” declared one sharp-tongued New Yorker in 1898, adding that “the younger generation hates both parties equally.”
Politicians saw the change and chased after those young voters. Soon, The Washington Post was begging: “Don’t sneer at them as ‘boys,’ when they drop into your ward meetings, don’t make them do all the work of the campaign.”
In the new century, young people’s “self interest” helped kill extreme polarization by forcing both parties to pursue the same set of demands. Youthful independent voters emerged as a decisive third force, with just enough influence to swing close elections. Politicians scrambled after them, beginning the Progressive Era, passing laws protecting workers, cleaning up cities and championing the young.
This sounds like a presentist — and centrist — fairy tale to me, but I don’t know the history. Can readers comment?
UPDATE Quite the contrast:
Barack Obama about Parkland, 2018: “too often we say wait your turn.”
Barack Obama to Ferguson when we visited the White House, 2014: “you have to take it slow, change is incremental. It’s a marathon, not a race. You can’t have everything at once.”
— ashley yates (@brownblaze)
Still, if youth were the only, or even the dominant factor, #BlackLivesMatter would have gotten the instant traction that the * Kids got. So… NOTE * Median income: .
“During the meeting in Richmond, city and county voter registrars spoke out about problems they’ve been seeing with online registration applications filed through the Department of Motor Vehicles” . “The problems are marked in college communities, often targeted by voter-registration drives aimed at students. Many students prefer to vote where they go to school rather than in their parents’ city or county. But when students renew their drivers’ licenses, they tend to use their parents’ addresses. When that information is forwarded to registrars, it can appear as if they’ve moved. That was the problem that kept at least two dozen Christopher Newport University students from voting at a Newport News precinct in the 2016 election. It emerged again last year, when several others were only able to cast provisional ballots. Those ballots were generally not counted when city Electoral Board’s official review of vote totals found students were not registered in the city precinct where they thought they could vote.” A functional political party that actually cared about expanding its supposed youthful base would have addressed and fixed problems like this long ago. Why not a brochure in every incoming students information packet? And so forth.
“The 7,383-Seat Strategy” . “But as we head into the first national elections since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats are talking less about “the Trump effect” than they are about “the Virginia effect”—the unprecedented surge of women, minority, and millennial candidates running for seats in their state legislatures, many in deep-red districts long written off by the Democratic Party establishment. These candidates have been buoyed by a raft of outside and resistance groups, including Indivisible, Emily’s List, Run for Something, Forward Majority, Sister District, and BlackPAC, among many others. But party leaders have also taken note of this wave and are finally beginning to invest meaningfully and systematically in local candidates.” This is the worst sort of The Nation-style flaccidity. There is no possible way Indivisible, Emily’s List, or can be classified as outside anything. If it’s “outside” you want–
DSA Denver is petitioning delegates at County Assembly to add the following language to the Denver Democratic Party Platform:
We believe the economy should be democratically owned and controlled in order to serve the needs of the many, not make profits for a few.
— Denver DSA🌹 (@DSAdenver)
Approved, amazingly enough. Can Colorado readers confim/contextualize?
UPDATE Concrete material benefits:
Organizing locally has to be visible to the public. So when the NRA makes a comment about spooky socialists, those in your community can say "Oh socialists? They are the people who fix tail lights for free and shovel snow for those in need. Not very spooky."
— DSA Binghamton 🚩🌹🍞✊ (@DsaBinghamton)
UPDATE “I Love Trolls” . This is an informal history of the 2016 Sanders campaign, and its aftermath, from a Sanders supporter.
“Worst Corruption Scandal in Each State” . Fascinating sign of the times that there’s for this. #5, California (2010): “City officials bilked the blue-collar town of Bell, California, out of $5.5 million in a scandal that broke in 2010. Robert Rizzo, the former city manager, received a 12-year prison sentence and was ordered to make restitution of $8.8 million. He pleaded no contest to 69 charges of fraud and misappropriation of public funds. Rizzo had drawn a salary of $800,000 in a city of about 40,000 where one-fourth of the residents live below the federal poverty level. Rizzo also was guilty of income tax evasion.” 2010? That along ago? Really? That’s the best we can do?
Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, March 2018: “Manufacturing activity growth in the Fifth District slowed more than analysts expected in March” . “The deceleration was broad-based, with all but one (service expenditures, up 8 points to 18) of the business sector activity components registering declines within current conditions. Most of the largest declines were in the components driving the previous month’s accelerated growth… In contrast with their assessment of current conditions, manufacturing executives became more optimistic in February in almost every aspect of business, most of all the components leading the current conditions declines.” And: “Based on these regional surveys, it seems likely the ISM manufacturing index will be solid again in March, but probably lower than in February (to be released Monday, April 2nd)” . And but: “The important Richmond Fed subcategories significantly decelerated, The internals are much worse than last month” .
S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, January 2016: “Home prices are bubbling a bit. First it was 3-1/2 year highs in last week’s FHFA data and today Case-Shiller beats the top estimate ” . “If there are bubbles forming it’s in the west. Seattle is out front…. The weakest price growth is in Chicago and Washington DC.” And but: “Many pundits believe home prices are back in a bubble. Maybe, but the falling inventory of homes for sale keeps home prices relatively high. I continue to see this a situation of supply and demand. It is the affordability of the homes which is becoming an issue for the lower segments of consumers” ,
Consumer Confidence, March 2018: “The consumer confidence index, at 127.7, eased back slightly in March but remains very strong especially the assessment of the labor market where only 14.9 percent say jobs are hard to get” . “This year’s tax cut has been offsetting trouble in the stock market and continues to support confidence readings. Yet confidence in stocks is eroding with only 35.4 percent of the sample seeing year-ahead gains for the market vs 40.1 percent in February and a peak of 51.0 percent in January when the sell-off first hit…. Buying plans are soft especially for homes… Today’s report is less upbeat than prior months but not the assessment of the labor market which is a central positive that does overshadow the spots of softness.”
State Street Investor Confidence Index, March 2018: “Global institutional investors continued to regain confidence and further increased their holdings of equities in March” . “The increase in global appetite for equities was broad-based and included all three of the main regions.”
Retail: “Newell Brands Inc., the maker of Sharpie markers and Paper Mate pens, has been fighting in the aisles with Office Depot Inc., contending the office-supply store wasn’t doing enough to showcase its products and even pulling back shipments to the retailer over the past year. ….[T]he impact hit Newell’s fourth-quarter sales, triggered a string of director resignations and drew interest from activist investors” . “Historically, retailers and manufacturers have worked together to bolster sales. But conflicts are growing as retailers lower prices to win back shoppers from Amazon and other online sellers.”
Shipping: “Box lines face extra $34bn for low-sulphur fuel if shipowners don’t install scrubbers” . “Within two years it will be illegal to power a ship with fuel having more than 0.5% sulphur content, unless the vessel is fitted with an exhaust clean gas system, known as a scrubber. However, according to a new white paper, released by Swedish financial services group SEB, fewer than 2,000 ships out of a world merchant fleet of some 60,000 – 3.3% – are expected to have scrubber systems installed by January 1 2020.”
The Bezzle: “Why Driverless Cars Could Be Travelling Under the Radar in Texas” . “But finding the answer to another basic question — whether any such [robot car public street] testing currently is going on in Texas — remains elusive. That is due largely to a bill passed by the Legislature last year and signed into law in June by Gov. Greg Abbott. Senate Bill 2205 by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, …. ‘We haven’t been ed,’ said Jason JonMichael, the city’s assistant director of smart mobility. ‘Some of those cars elsewhere are driving interstate miles. Could there be one on I-10 now, or in the near future? Yes.'” Contacted for the story, Uber, Toyota, and Ford said they had no programs in Texas. GM and Waymo declined to comment. So…
The Bezzle: “New Leadership Has Not Changed Uber” . “The problem with Uber was never that the chief executive had created a thuggish “Game of Thrones”-type culture, as Susan Fowler, an engineer, described it in a blog post. The problem was, and still is, Uber’s business model: Its modus operandi is to subsidize fares and flood streets with its cars to achieve a transportation monopoly. In city after city, this has led to huge increases in traffic congestion, increased carbon emissions and the undermining of public transportation…. .Ridership on public transportation is down in nearly every major American city, including (which recorded since 2009). This is hurting the revenue that public transportation needs to sustain itself.” So it’s an ill wind that blows no glibertarian. stupid money-heavy venture capitalist good, eh?
Honey for the Bears: Re: Durable Goods (from March 23): “Big downward revision. This is somewhat like how we’ve gotten ‘revised into recession’ in past cycles” . The charts in Mosler’s story look like they come from Econintersect, so I went there to check. Oddly, yields no results in Google or Bing on two browsers. Can readers confirm?
Honey for the Bears:
Coincident Economic Indicators: History Suggests Recession is Close
— Mike Mish Shedlock (@MishGEA)
Mr. Market: “The 6 Most Shorted NYSE Stocks” . Pfizer, Rite Aid, General Electric, Chesapeake Energy, AT&T, and Weatherford. And “The 6 Most Shorted Nasdaq Stocks” . Sirius XM, AMD, Intel, Apple, Micron, Mattel.
Mr. Market: “Wall Street’s beloved FANG stock quartet may be breaking up” . “”The FANG complex needs to go away,’ said Joel Kulina, senior vice president of institutional cash equities at Wedbush. “You can’t compare Facebook and Google to Amazon anymore because they’re going in different directions and disrupting different parts of the world.'” But if you look at Facebook Fracas today, you will see that Facebook and Google are intimately bound together at the business process level.
Five Horsemen: “Facebook carries on sinking as its peers bounce back” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].
NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Mania-panic index rises to 25 (worry) on yesterday’s bounce” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)
Rapture Index: Closes unchanged . Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184.
“Full transcript: Recode’s Kurt Wagner answers Facebook-Cambridge Analytica questions on Too Embarrassed to Ask” (podcast) . A podcast transcript, so discursive. A fun read with technical issues discussed in accessible language. Interesting for 1): “You like Mark. I like Mark,” and 2) discussion if the “cohesion” of the Facebook management team. Also, there’s more to come on the story… .
“How Facebook was able to siphon off phone call and text logs” . “The news that Facebook’s Android app has been collecting call and text histories is yet another black eye for the social media giant. But just why was Facebook able to siphon off records of who its users were ing — and when — in the first place? The short answer: Because Google let it. The longer answer: Well, it’s complicated…. There’s a reason Facebook’s actions were restricted to Android phones. Apple locks down app permissions tightly, which offers more privacy protection to iPhone users. “Apple’s fundamental approach is to collect the minimum amount of information to keep the service running, and keep customers in control of the information,” said Rich Mogull, CEO of the security firm Securosis. But Android has long been more indulgent. Until recently, in fact, Google let app developers gain access to a phone’s call and text logs. All they needed was an app that required access to user s. Once users agreed, Android would then also grant access to those communication histories.”
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“The Librarian at the Nexus of the Harlem Renaissance” . “You might not know about Regina Anderson, but you’ve probably heard of many of her friends. On a typical day in 1923 or 1924, Anderson might leave her desk at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library and drop a letter to W.E.B. Du Bois in the mailbox. She may go home to her apartment on St. Nicholas Avenue to check up on her couchsurfer, Zora Neale Hurston. Or she might hit the town with Countee Cullen, and then finish out the night cooking bacon and eggs for Langston Hughes…. Throughout, Anderson kept focused on her job. She would later write that she saw ‘the use of books as our strongest means of promoting intercultural understanding.'”
“Private Equity? It’s More Like Pirate Equity” [ (!)]. “There will surely be more bankruptcies by all types of PE-backed companies, and the debate will intensify around what constitutes an appropriate level of debt. That’s another way of saying people will become very angry as mounting bankruptcies lead to job losses. Then, it will only be a matter of time before popular opinion turns against the world of PE and its extremely well-compensated executives…. The U.S. consumer may have deleveraged after the financial crisis, but the corporate sector releveraged, and is probably in an equally precarious financial position as consumers were 10 years ago.”
“Is It Time to Stop Saying ‘the Safety Net’?” . Yes. I’ve been saying this for years. Why should life be like a tightrope act? More: “Dropping the term safety net is part of the human services groups’ broader strategy to get the public and policymakers to think of human services as investments in the community that boost the economy, reduce crime and improve public health. For example, child participation in the food stamps program has been to better health in adulthood, such as reduced incidence of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. And some evidence suggests that Head Start the likelihood that children will be arrested or charged with a crime as adults.” Can’t things be good in themselves without being “investments”?
“Labour groups file OECD complaint against BHP and Vale over dam-burst disaster” . “Geneva-based IndustriALL, a global union federation that says it represents more than 50 million workers in 140 countries, joined forces with Building and Wood Workers’ International to file a complaint against BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) and Vale (NYSE:VALE) under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises…. The indictment is related to the consequences of the collapse of the Fundão Dam in the Brazilian state Minas Gerais on November 5, 2015. The facility used to store millions of litres of waste from the Germano iron-ore complex, which is operated by Samarco Mineração S.A., a joint venture between BHP Billiton and Vale S.A. When it breached, the disaster killed 19 people, left hundreds homeless and unemployed and caused sludge to wash downstream into the neighbouring state of Espírito Santo through remote mountain valleys reaching the Atlantic ocean 600 kilometres away.”
UPDATE Happy Anniversary:
Mar 27 1981 – Four hour “warning strike” by Solidarity union involves 12 million people and paralyzes Poland.
— DailyRadical History (@radicaldaily)
I wonder what the conditions on the ground had to be for that general strike to take place. A sclerotic regime [check]….
News of The Wired
“Poisoned by East Germany” [ (Nippersmom)]. “Often unbeknownst to them, East German athletes were frequently given anabolic steroids, sex and growth hormones and extreme doses of pain medication. For many of those affected, severe health consequences have been the result, some of which are only now making themselves felt.” Katja Hofmann: “I enjoy life, but I know that I won’t grow to be very old.”
“Newly-discovered human organ may help explain how cancer spreads”  (incredibly, not paywalled). “A newly discovered network of fluid-filled channels in the human body may be a previously-unknown organ, and it seems to help transport cancer cells around the body… Theise reckons that every tissue in the body may be surrounded by a network of these channels, which essentially form an organ. The team estimate that the organ contains around a fifth of the total fluid volume of the human body. “We think they act as shock absorbers,” says [Neil Theise, a pathologist at New York University School of Medicine]. This organ was likely never seen before because standard approaches for processing and visualising human tissue causes the channels to drain, and the collagen fibres that give the network its structure to collapse in on themselves. This would have made the channels appear like a hard wall of dense protective tissue, instead of a fluid-filled cushion.” Science is great, but a whole new human organ? We really don’t know anything, do we?
“The Mind-Expanding Ideas of Andy Clark” . “Andy Clark, a philosopher and cognitive scientist at the University of Edinburgh, believes that there is no important difference between Inga and Otto, memory and notebook. He believes that . But this isn’t really a factual claim; clearly, you can make a case either way. No, it’s more a way of thinking about what sort of creature a human is. Clark rejects the idea that a person is complete in himself, shut in against the outside, in no need of help…. Without the stimulus of the world, an infant could not learn to hear or see, and a brain develops and rewires itself in response to its environment throughout its life. Any human who uses language to think with has already incorporated an external device into his most intimate self, and the connections only proliferate from there.” We then learn Clark was a Google Glass fan. I dunno….
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Readers, feel free to me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (PM):
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