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March 30, 2020

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I'm going back to the poetry thread where at least something fucking rhymes.

Marty, you are invited to go over to the new thread and post your promised analysis of the stimulus. Might be a better use of your time.

bc, that's an interesting question, though please don't forget the context here on this blog. Charles WT told us that Chinese don't believe in the germ theory and when called on it, posted some videos of wet markets and asserted that Chinese said that, implying it wasn't racist. Go back further (and given the fact that I am half Japanese) and you'll see calling out of other knee jerk reflexes about the Yellow Peril and such. Folks here are generally not to bad about this, so it's not been an obsession of mine, but in light of the current crisis, it serves thoughtful commentators well to take a beat before automatically serving up whatever hot take they have on China.

Your point about distrusting the numbers from China reminds me of a not at all funny joke that I remember from childhood, which has a person who has an accident involving a bunch of people from group X [I leave it to you to fill in which group it might be] that he (it was always a guy) killed. He says it was hard to hide the bodies because of all the screaming. The other person says "I thought you said they were all dead" to which the guy replies "Yeah, but you know how they lie" Sometimes, people complaining about Chinese lies about numbers is like the guy who says they always lie.

I can't look in anyone's head and heart and say if it is racist or not. But I think of my own epiphany, where I tut-tutted about the lawlessness in New Orleans after Katrina, because of pictures of African Americans 'looting' a store, and was then saw a picture of white people doing the same thing and having it listed as 'redistributing supplies'.

So is distrusting the numbers racist? It depends on who is saying it and why they are saying it. But defensiveness is generally a tell. And if someone says they can't be racist because they are praising South Korea's approach, then it is likely they are, because they are seeing it thru the lens of race and coming up with post hoc justifications.

This may be taken as total proof of my crypto communist tendencies, but I can easily see a time in the far future where people are told the history of this event and it is explained that the virus revealed the rot that was at the heart of Western individualism and this should be taken as an object lesson as to why we should never trust Anglo-American folks. Because, after all, they always lie...

No, my final for a while, biting hooks refers to trolls. At this point it means having to have any discussion where someone disagrees with you about Trump, or much of anything else. I actually put out some facts, there are more. For example, the federal response has improved significantly since Kushner got involved. He wasnt one of the early advisors on this.

Trump is most of what russell says,but the government response isnt. The focus on hating Trump prevents any legitimate discourse.

And on that note adieu.

Marty, you put out 'facts' and claim any discussion against you is us ganging up on you. Just like Trump and the media. Unfortunately, we can't get him to say adieu...

Ahh, for crying out loud Marty, stay well.

I love it when you speak French to me, mon ami.

I'll save my Kushner rant for when you return, like the swallows to Capistrano.

Trump would say "adieu", but he means he bolts the joint and doesn't pay the bills that are due.

Lies, damned lies, and the utterings of certain governors.

And if someone says they can't be racist because they are praising South Korea's approach, then it is likely they are, because they are seeing it thru the lens of race and coming up with post hoc justifications.

I’m not sure if this is in response to my mention of South Korea in contrast to North Korea, but “can’t be racist” isn’t that same as “isn’t necessarily racist.” And “ the lens of race” didn’t come from me. I get that there’s plenty of racism out there, and that anti-Chinese racism (and anti-East Asian racism by extension) is particularly in evidence right now, but I don’t trust the numbers coming out of China because it is run by a communist dictatorship and i’ve read that there’s evidence that suggests the death toll is higher than reported.

I hadn’t previously seen anything suggesting underreporting from Spain or Italy. And their numbers are terrible (as in lots of deaths), so there was no reason to be suspicious.

It’s not my hobby horse to criticize China. I was responding to McKinney’s assertion that we were being too hard on Rump while thinking China was beyond criticism (I guess because we weren’t actively criticizing China).

If I seem defensive, it could be because I hate racism and don’t want to be called a racist. I’d like to say I’m not at all racist, but that would leave me too lacking in self-awareness to be vigilant against whatever racist impulses I might have and would prefer to be rid of.

If you comment wasn’t directed at me, I’m sorry for any lost time spent reading this, lj. No hard feeling either way.

biting hooks refers to trolls

Actually, "don't bite hooks" is one of the memorable aphorisms of my old guru Danaan Parry. It is a rule for life.

My old grammy had a lot of sayings too, one of which was "Don't take names to yourself."

Or do, if that's how you roll.

Hairshirt, not at all, apologies for not being clearer. My problem is that I wake up after a long thread and all the comments tend to go in the hopper. I'll try to be more careful.

Charles WT told us that Chinese don't believe in the germ theory and when called on it, posted some videos of wet markets and asserted that Chinese said that, implying it wasn't racist.

Chinese doctors who practice western medicine, medical researchers, etc. certainly believe in the existence of parasites, pathogens, germs, and viruses. But much of the mainland Chinese population behave as though there are no such things.

And the government is promoting an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for the coronavirus. Maybe they're promoting it for psychological effect. To give people a sense that they have control over something they don't.

"Less than a month after taking steps to permanently ban the trade and consumption of live wild animals for food, the Chinese government has recommended using Tan Re Qing, an injection containing bear bile, to treat severe and critical COVID-19 cases. It is one of a number of recommended coronavirus treatments—both traditional and Western—on a list published March 4 by China’s National Health Commission, the government body responsible for national health policy. This recommendation highlights what wildlife advocates say is a contradictory approach to wildlife: shutting down the live trade in animals for food on the one hand and promoting the trade in animal parts on the other."
China promotes bear bile as coronavirus treatment, alarming wildlife advocates: China’s National Health Commission published a list of recommended treatments, including injections that contain bear bile powder.

Sorry Bernie, but almost no one in a position of authority believed him. So you're just wrong.

Then why is it that TX, FL, and GA just changed their policies the day after Trump admitted that this was serious business?

No worries, lj. Coincidences happen.

Sorry, this hook is so tempting. Marty exampled this:

For example, the federal response has improved significantly since Kushner got involved. He wasnt one of the early advisors on this.

https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/1245536139789979650

from this post

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/04/failson-of-every-portfolio

The good thing about the handwringing right's collective shoulder shrug WRT Trump is that it allows them to put all the sins of their corrupt congressional support team on that poor goat. It's Schrödinger's Scapegoat - always laden with the collective guilt but never actually exiled into the desert to die.

I wonder how much more swift and effective the government response could have been had it not needed to thread the tiny needle of Trump's... what? ...attention span? ...narcissism? ...insecurity? Is there a word for all three as an AND statement?

We can't ignore Trump because the GOP congresspeople have all chosen to keep him there at the head of the line in a position to do exactly what he is doing.

But it's okay because government always makes mistakes.

Shrug.

For anyone who thinks that the media is overhyping the situation (I think I've seen that here, and very recently, but can't remember who said it), here's a sobering note.

I would like to comment, but am too exhausted by other issues going on IRL right now.

Schrödinger's Scapegoat

Priceless.

Great comment in the Yglesias twitter thread lj linked to:

*arrives in Cambridge with $10 million, sees real estate there is kind of expensive, looks at a map* "Somerville... I bet no one's ever thought of *that*."

I will be back in the makes the world go round thread, I will wait until tomorrow as media is now hyping that pretty dishonestly.

But the link in JanieM's i:07 is a must read and answers a bunch of questions I have had. So whatever we do now, testing treatments,building ventilators, stockpiling masks and gloves may pay off in October and save a lot of lives. Thanks for that one.

To McKinney and others were (rightly) horrified at the treatment of Dr. Li (the reluctant whistleblower who was punished, and then died of Covid-19) see how much better we are:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/navy-expected-relieve-captain-who-raised-alarm-about-covid-19-n1175351

Thanks for that one.

My son sent me the link. Glad it was useful. I do think it's worth a discussion, I just can't do it right now.

Sorry, this hook is so tempting.

Bite all the hooks you want. I'll complain all I want. ;-)

But much of the mainland Chinese population behave as though there are no such things.

As I said, defensiveness is a tell...

Anyhow, let's all chant together: Don't bite hooks.

Good advice, always.

I don't have a dog, so I can't kick the dog. My wife gets annoyed if I kick the furniture.

So I come here to ObWi and vent.

Heard from our step-son tonight, it's been a while, because he's a guy and guys are often like that. He lives on the west coast, it was good to hear his voice and know that he's well.

the federal response has improved significantly since Kushner got involved.

And, of course, Kushner is the reason why. Because Kushner is secretly an expert in pandemic response, like he's secretly an expert in the Middle East and every other thing Trump puts on his plate.

Keep drinking that Kool-Aid.

Somewhere, somehow, Kushner is making money off of COVID-19. Because the only way these bastards know how to relate to the world is by how they can make money off of it.

No more hooks for me tonight.

Remember when he was going to fix the opioid crisis?

And peace in the Middle East is going so well, too.

I blame President Barack Obama, that moderate, for not ordering the summary execution and slaughter of this Bundy, the old fart Bundy and his tax liens, all of the future Bundys six generations hence, his moo cow, his dumb rabid dog, and his 4x4.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/ammon-bundy-pledges-physical-defense-for-those-who-defy-idahos-covid-19-order

It's time to goddamned kill.

We can horse around waiting for McKinney's "due process".

That shit NEVER lands anywhere near the republican conservative armed right wing.

Due process from now on is a bullet in the brain stem for America's forseeable future.

Am I getting out of control again, or am I voicing the truth everyone knows in their best American selves?

They want to kill us.

Actually, the reason the West Bank and other hot spots are so quiet, despite the Netanyahoo corrupt oppression, is that Kushner has transferred his opioid business over there to keep the Palestinian proles sedated while far right conservative Israelis, after they get done liquidating liberal and moderate Jews, can expand their plantations.

The crisis wasn't fixed. It was moved.

Killing one bird with two stones.

Am I getting out of control again, or am I voicing the truth everyone knows in their best American selves?

What exactly do you think you're accomplishing by beating your for-the-most-part allies over the head all day long with your so-called "truths"?

nous wrote, a while back, that "Returning fire here isn't firing for effect."

I would say you are firing for effect, but the effect isn't being visited on your enemies, it's being visited on your friends, in the form of cluttering up threads with incoherent shouting, constantly obsessing on gruesome violence, and chanting an endless litany of nasty words just to hear yourself say them.

Do you actually think you're inspiring people to action of some sort? What action? To what effect, in real life? You could shout violent words at me all day long to try to get me to go out on the court in the fourth quarter of the NBA finals and help the Celtics beat the Lakers, but it wouldn't do a damned bit of good for either me or the Celtics.

In fact, being shouted at constantly does me, at least, some harm. If that's what you intend (and with your repetition of certain words and phrases, I more or less believe it is), then you're succeeding.

At a minimum, there’s harm in the fact that a blog where I like to hang out is almost uninhabitable when you fill up vast amounts of the airtime with words of hatred and despair. I can’t speak for anyone else, but it certainly isn’t inspiring me to do a damned thing except go away from here. It's unpleasant and wearisome, to no good end that I can see, except apparently to satisfy some need of yours to keep shouting hateful words.

What Janie said

lj:

If the comment was aimed at me, I respond "what HSH said."

I think Asians are great. I love the culture, the food (I make Thai and Vietnamese food regularly, forced to because I'm almost two hours from civilization), dated Asians in college, represented a quasi-governmental entity of Japan and I study a Korean martial art. When you said your "crypto communist tendencies" I had a good chuckle and thought the opposite in me, spurred on no doubt by my grandmother's stories. Don't get her talking about the WWII Russian pilots flying lend-lease aircraft from my home town. I think communism stinks. And that puts it mildly. So my distrust of info from China is regime distrust.

BTW, regarding the germ theory comment, I couldn't help but think of the story I read about crazy conspiracy theories racing through French social media, one of which is that the Paris Institut Pasteur created the virus. The Institut had to respond. Because, you know, father of germ theory + Shanghai Pasteur Institute + Wuhan = something.

https://youtu.be/slcYmN0XtdQ?t=363
just the part from 6:03 to 6:47

This looks like a (not very funny) piece from a late night show. Poe's law at work again.
Time for the 16 ton weight or the giant foot from the intro.

Wow, what a thing to wake up to. Janie is absolutely right: JDT's heart (and on past record his brain) is in very much the right place, but by thrashing around in the way he does he accomplishes no harm to his enemies, and no good to his friends. We are in a firestorm, our every little action has consequences, and JDT is doing a lot more than fluttering his beautiful butterfly wings (see chaos theory for reference).

I'll go quiet again.

Be safe everyone.


No one thinks it's a hoax, and he never said it was.

bullshit.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-deniers-outbreak-hoax/2020/03/19/46bc5e46-6872-11ea-b313-df458622c2cc_story.html

Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ They go, ‘Oh, not good, not good.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No they can’t. They can’t count their votes.

One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they’ve been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax. But you know, we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We’re 15 people [cases of coronavirus infection] in this massive country. And because of the fact that we went early, we went early, we could have had a lot more than that.

This is from Jackass's speech at his February 28th rally in South Carolina. Snopes makes the distinction that he was not referring to the virus itself as a hoax, but to the Democrats' response to it. From Snopes again:

In context, Trump did not say in the passage above that the virus itself was a hoax. He instead said that Democrats’ criticism of his administration’s response to it was a hoax. He muddied the waters a few minutes later, however, by comparing the number of coronavirus fatalities in the U.S. (none, at that point in time) to the number of fatalities during an average flu season, and accusing the press of being in “hysteria mode”:

So a number that nobody heard of that I heard of recently and I was shocked to hear it, 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? 35,000. That’s a lot of people. It could go to 100,000, it could be 27,000, they say usually a minimum of 27, it goes up to 100,000 people a year who die, and so far we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States. Nobody. And it doesn’t mean we won’t, and we are totally prepared, it doesn’t mean we won’t. But think of it. You hear 35 and 40,000 people, and we’ve lost nobody, and you wonder, the press is in hysteria mode.

I think you'd have to be in a pretty intentionally obtuse state of mind (therefore not arguing in good faith, if you knew the above information) to think he never said it was a hoax.

hoax

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DmW_H4U-MI

the GOP is a fucking hoax

I think you'd have to be in a pretty intentionally obtuse state of mind (therefore not arguing in good faith, if you knew the above information) to think he never said it was a hoax.

In "defense" of the president, it's such an incoherent stream of loosely connected sentences that it's hard to know precisely what he's trying to say. ;^)

"the GOP is a fucking hoax"

The GOP is in NO WAY a hoax.

It's a national brain-worm pandemic. The patient is going on life-support.

bc, the immediate context of my call out is here
https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2020/02/wuhans-on-first-.html?cid=6a00d834515c2369e20240a4ec534e200d#comment-6a00d834515c2369e20240a4ec534e200d

I was also answering you and took your question as an honest one. I realize that, but I have to note that I don't and can't know if it was honest, only you can say that and I'm certainly more than happy to take your word for it. But it does help us understand why it can be almost impossible to get to grips with racism.

Also, not doubting you at all, but I would observe that
(I make Thai and Vietnamese food regularly, forced to because I'm almost two hours from civilization), dated Asians in college, represented a quasi-governmental entity of Japan and I study a Korean martial art.

Really doesn't prove (or disprove) anything. People can do (and have done) all those things and still be racist. It is like 'I can't be racist because some of my best friends are black" or "I can't be sexist because I have two daughters".

This is not to dismiss your experiences, and I didn't (and don't) think you are racist and wasn't calling you out for any unconscious racism. But it is not as simple as I'm not racist because I do/don't do X

I obviously disagree. I think you have to be prepared to read/listen assuming the worst possible interpretation of that speech to conclude he was talking about anything but the Democrats attack on him as a hoax.

Which is true, it was just the next thing they jumped on that gets repeated as fact over and over.

The Democratries are a cult. Built on hating Trump for everything.

Okayyyyy....

You hear 35 and 40,000 people, and we’ve lost nobody, and you wonder, the press is in hysteria mode.

Perhaps not exactly calling it a hoax, but definitely hoax-curious.

Yes, touting the magnificent figures so far, and talking about the press being in "hysteria mode" sure would suggest a hoax to most impartial people.

Trump has done nothing but downplay this, even now. and as a result, Republicans have consistently told pollsters that they think the whole thing is overblown.

so when he said "And this is their new hoax", people who think it's overblown are not going to do detailed transcript parsing to figure out that he meant anything but what he's been saying all along: it's no big deal, it's under control, get back to work, keep the stock market happy.

Built on hating Trump for everything.

What did Democrats do before Trump was there? I guess was they were without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Trump moved upon the face of the waters. And Trump said, Let there be light: and oh boy, it was great, it was perfect and there was this wonderful light... well you get the picture...

Part of the problem, along the lines of my earlier half-joke about Orange Comb-over Man's verbal incoherence, is that he, being the President of the United States of America, should be careful about what he says and make the greatest possible effort to be as clear as possible about what he's saying publicly (and probably privately, depending on the context).

Instead, it's always some combination of "Maybe he said that, and maybe he didn't" or "He was just joking" or "What I think he really meant was" or whatever other ambiguous formulation you want to add.

The man seems incapable of speaking clearly. That or he's unclear on purpose, so he always has plausible deniability about whatever he says, ever. ("She's going to go through some things" isn't necessarily a threat, right?)

If nothing else, the guy's a f**king mess and doesn't seem to be interested not being a f**king mess, and that's bad enough in and of itself.

And to sort of invert lj's comment, I was hating Trump long before I had much of a political identity and long before he was president. Given the alternatives, I can say that I'm strongly Democratic today, but that wasn't true 30 years ago. And, 30 years ago, Trump wasn't a political figure. Somehow, I still thought he was an a**hole without my being a Democrat and without his being a Republican president.

"The man seems incapable of speaking clearly"

I agree. He just shouldnt talk.

The man seems incapable of speaking clearly. That or he's unclear on purpose,

either way, to pay attention to him and point out that he's misleading people about a pandemic is cultish. so we'd better just zip it.

A possible upside to Trump is that his inner and outer dialogs seem to be nearly identical. For a lot of politicians, their inner and outer dialogs have never had a sitdown for coffee together. On the other hand, it's scary that his inner dialog might be so muddled.

it's scary that his inner dialog might be so muddled.

To use an idiom that I normally detest, but is the only thing that will do here: no shit, Sherlock.

He just shouldnt talk.

I'm pretty sure everybody here agrees on that. And also that nobody here thinks there's the slightest chance of that happening.

he should resign and throw himself into the ocean.

the worst part about him losing in November is going to be that the press is still going to cover his tweets as if they're important news. and he's going to do hundreds more Hannity interviews. and he's never going to STFU until the end of time.

An anecdote, FWIW: I was talking to a Trump-supporting friend a week ago. I've been following worldometers.info somewhat obsessively for about 3 weeks now. I told my friend that, the way things were trending, we'd be counting US cases in the millions and deaths in the tens of thousands in 3 or 4 weeks (i.e. 2 or 3 weeks from now).

His response was a very dismissive, "I don't think so." Why not? Just don't. (You know that look where you kind of pull your head back, scrunch up your face, raise an eyebrow or one side of your mouth, and shake your head back in forth like you're gesturing "no" for a second? Like that. The body-language equivalent of "Whatever. You're nuts.")

At the time, reported cases were just under 100K and deaths around 1500. I'm assuming I don't need to tell anyone where those numbers are today, one week later. I'd be curious to know if whatever bubble he was in has since been burst.

hsh, it would be interesting to know. Do report back if and when you speak to him again. Charting a Trump-supporter's journey (after all, we don't have any open ones here) would be fascinating.

I'd be curious to know if whatever bubble he was in has since been burst.

As for your (hsh's) friend -- amongst all the other supports for not believing it's going to get that bad is a complete lack of interest in the math. I mean, what does math have to do with real life, right?

Has the guy seen a picture of one of the curve projections? Does he understand the effect of multiplying 2x2x2x2x2, or whatever, for some period of time? If so, does he then think God is going to intervene and stop the spread? I mean, he isn't just arguing that he won't get very sick, and who cares if other people die, he's arguing the numbers.

I'd be curious to know if whatever bubble he was in has since been burst.

2nd response to this: I don't know about SFJ supporters, but an awful lot of people have had to stop on a dime and change direction more than once in the past month.

I watched as our local school officials went through the following sequence in a little more than a week:

1) new virus going around, we're keeping an eye on things and will send kids home if they're sick

2) we're canceling after-school activities, but we do not believe there's any reason to cancel school (the principal of one of the bigger high schools in the state said, publicly, that okay, it might make sense to empty the colleges, but younger kids don't travel much, so it wasn't necessary to consider closing elementary and high schools: IOW, a mind-boggling head-in-sand refusal to accept that there was going to be community spread)

3) about three days later: schools closed for two weeks.

4) toward the end of that period: schools closed until the end of April.

And so it goes.

I suppose there's a combination causes, including people getting bad information, and people just not wanting to believe it. Hard to blame them for the latter, really, because this is a situation unprecedented in our lives. But it's nice when public officials step up and show some leadership.

His response was a very dismissive, "I don't think so." Why not? Just don't.

Conversation over. At least for that topic.

People aren't gonna hear what they don't wanna hear. If you try to make them, they're only gonna be pissed at you.

Some folks will figure stuff out over time, some won't.

I have seen the kind of sequence of realizations outlined in my 11:59 in almost everyone I know, including people who understand math but just aren't paying attention, or are paying attention to the wrong news outlets, or who just don't want to believe it's happening here ("here" meaning planet earth, I guess, and in their lifetimes).

For better and worse, I started reading Anne Laurie's daily COVID-19 posts at BJ on 1/21. For a while I felt like Cassandra. Three of my relatives work at WDW in Orlando, and one of my other relatives said, by text one day, that she couldn't imagine Disney every considering closing. At that point the parks in Asia had already been closed for a month (she didn't know that), and WDW announced its own closure later that day, IIRC. Some people don't spent all day on the internet and so hadn't heard much, and some people didn't want to believe it, and, to repeat myself, none of us has ever been in a situation remotely like this before.

Lots of lags. I too would be curious to know if hsh's friend's thinking evolves. My pessimistic guess is that the facts will eventually be undeniable, and then, given that he's a fan of SFJ, he'll blame it all on the Democrats.

and he's never going to STFU until the end of time.

Hope you're wrong, although that may be coming sooner that I'd thought.

I'd be curious to know if whatever bubble he was in has since been burst.

Since Trump is now saying that, if we keep the number of deaths to 100,000 to 200,000 (well past mere 10s of thousands), and since Trump supporters have what Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post calls the attention span of a goldfish, the bubble probably has not burst fr him. Even if the specifics have changed -- he won't have noticed.

To be clear, I had my own learning curve. I just started climbing it a little sooner than other people I know.

wj -- your link needs a tweak.
Fixed. Thanks for catching that.

Do report back if and when you speak to him again.

He's one of those guys who, if he has changed his thinking, will say, "I never said that." He will have always been at war with Eastasia.

Roughly eight-in-ten (79%) of those whose main source is Fox News say the media slightly or greatly exaggerated the risk of the pandemic, with only 15% saying they got the risks about right.

...

In addition, 39% in the Fox News group say the virus originated – either intentionally or unintentionally – in a laboratory, compared with 23% of the CNN group and 14% of the MSNBC group that say the same thing.

the data isn't in on the question of: does Fox News makes its audience dumber or does the dumber audience self-select Fox News?

Some people are wary of China's numbers, and rightfully so. But take a look at this: https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw/status/1247573157504057345

It's probably a reality of this disease that getting a handle on numbers is going to be really hard. This would probably be true under the best of governments, but our President constantly lies. I mean, the inaugural attendance, FFS. So "trusting" the numbers, when he has an interest in what they say about him ... good luck with that.

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