Brett Guthrie

Beating the Regulator Drumbeat

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August 26, 2011

Apparently August is the best time to hold “Town Halls” if you’re an elected representative.

It’s so hot no one cares what you say and for the most part, even if you say totally crazy stuff, no one really notices. And it is in this environment that we see the GOP beginning to push their new Obama-attack, a call we will see repeated louder and louder as Congress reconvenes.

Several of Kentucky’s elected officials have held just these sort of meetings over the past few weeks — though it’s a stretch to call them “town halls.”

In almost every case, the event is actually just a direct address from the Republican representative to largely private groups, often the city or county chamber of commerce.

Certainly their constituents; hardly the people.

Mitch McConnell was in Florence this Monday lying to the Rotary Club, telling them that now is a actually perfect time to get things done in Washington.

“My point was that, ironically, it is probably the best time, and some would argue the only time, to do really hard things, because really hard things done on a partisan basis cannot be accomplished and produces a wipeout in the next election,” McConnell said. “This is actually the perfect time.”

How Mitch even said any of this without getting laughed out of the room mere weeks after the debt debate is particularly bizarre, especially when, clearly, the GOP House is screwing up even McConnell’s own ideas of what should be done. Was no one listening?

Aside from telling people how well Washington’s working right now thanks to the Tea Party, the Republican reps are spinning all sorts of tales.

Last week at a “town hall” in London, Rand Paul took a break from exposing the secret government agency SWAT teams to warn his audience that the EPA has “gone crazy.”

This is part of a recurring set of talking points in almost every one of these businesspeople meetings, regardless of the Republican doing the talking.

The Republicans have no jobs plan, have no interest in helping everyday Americans and are instead focused on slashing the safety net (education, medicare, etc) on the one hand and, on the other, this new strategy ratcheting up — spinning lies that regulations are at fault for our destroyed economy.

Mitch McConnnell paused his “constituent” tour last week to tell The Hill that “the administration’s overregulation of the private sector and repeated calls for closing corporate tax breaks had created a pall over the economy.”

“Quit trying to raise taxes. Quit over-regulating. Washington should let the private sector flourish so we have a chance again to have a growing economy,” McConnell said.

Regulations in general, and environmental regulations specifically, are a hot topic among Republicans right now. Republicans, of course, have always been opposed to regulations governing how much business can get away with, that’s nothing new. But now they are folding this longheld opposition into a new argument. Just as they are trying to use the economic collapse they created to dismantle Medicare (which they’ve wanted to destroy from its inception), they are using the dire economic situation to try and roll back the safeties and guidelines that have reigned in otherwise dangerously freewheeling corporations for decades.

They are specifically, loudly and centrally arguing that deregulating business is their solution to America’s jobs problem. This is, in fact, the GOP’s central jobs “plan” even though it has very little to do with actually creating jobs — and it is spearheaded by Kentucky Republican Rep. Geoff Davis and Senator Rand Paul.

The signature jobs initiative for Republicans when Congress returns in September is an attempt to pass the REINS Act (Regulation from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny).

The REINS Act would require Congress to approve every major new regulation proposed by the White House before it takes effect. If Congress does not act within 70 days, the rule is void.

This would severely limit the power of the executive branch, since no regulations – such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases – could become effective without approval from both houses of Congress, a high bar. In this way, congressional Republicans are seeking to bring back to Congress the regulatory powers that have gradually devolved to the executive branch during the past 50 years.

Sponsors include Rep. Geoff Davis (R) of Kentucky and Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky. The bill is endorsed by business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, which is launching a summer regulation road show to boost public support.

Regulators! Mount up!

I can’t believe they taking Warren’s wealth
They took my rings, they took my rolex
I looked at the brotha, said ‘Damn, what’s next?’

On Wednesday, Mitch McConnell addressed chambers of commerce in Bell and Harlan counties, and of course he had one central message:

“We haven’t passed any new legislation, but there are a bunch of new regulators appointed by the president who busily work trying to make it difficult to burn coal and to produce low cost electricity for our country,” said Senator Mitch McConnell.

McConnell said regulation from Washington is hindering economic opportunities.

On Thursday in Hopkins County, Rand Paul beat the regulation drum hard:

“Can you imagine what the federal government is doing to the coal companies, the banks, and to industry at large? It is literally out of control,” said Senator Paul. “You can say we need the EPA to keep our water and air clean. We should have clean water and clean air. While I’m the most pro-coal person you’ll meet, they can’t dump sludge in the creek, they can’t pollute, and nobody can dump benzene in our water. We shouldn’t have that. But what has happened is that the regulations have gone overboard. We need to get out of the way and let businesses thrive.”

Whether in faked “town hall” meetings or across the internet or over e-mail and talk radio, the business interests controlling the Republican Party and it’s (maybe) well-meaning Tea Party grassroots are banging the drum that the regulations that made our water and air cleaner over the past thirty years, that save lives every day and stand in between the greedy bastards who run the corporations that run this country (into the ground) and would bankrupt America tomorrow if they could make a million dollars (or a billion — hey, Wal-Mart!) do not need to be regulated.

Put tons of mercury directly into the water.

Cover towns in coal ash.

Let children play with toxic chemicals.

This will, somehow, create jobs.

Phil Kerpen, “vice president for policy” at Americans for Prosperity, the Koch Brother’s funded front group, eloquently pushed this ridiculous argument last week, claiming the new “regulations” in last year’s Wall Street reform were actively destroying jobs. As if the unregulated Wall Street of years past created them. Same for the Health Care bill and, of course their favorite target… the EPA:

On top of that we’ve seen an astonishing train wreck of new energy regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including an aggressive effort to discover elements of the failed Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation inside the forty-year-old Clean Air Act. The EPA is now contemplating its most aggressively anti-jobs regulation: an out-of-cycle re-proposal of smog rules that would ratchet down levels so far beyond what is necessary for public health that nearly the whole country would be judged “out of attainment” and over seven millions jobs would be lost. The EPA is also attempting to impose an absurd 54.5 mile-per-gallon fuel economy standard that will take any car worth driving off the market.

So again, breathing cleaner air somehow kills jobs (and not enough people) and car companies should be left to make vehicles that burn 1 mile per gallon if they want to because that would obviously make lots and lots of jobs, like billions of them.

This logic makes no sense, and yet they use it, over and over.

Kerpen goes on to defend the media conglomerates that control your access to the internet and want to ratchet up prices and throttle access speeds, and attacks working people who try to band together to demand any sort of rights in the face of their corporate overlords, and ends with, again, a celebration of the GOP’s #1 Jobs Plan — Kentucky Congressman Geofferson Davis’ cutely named bill:

The most significant reform is the REINS ACT, H.R. 10, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky. The REINS Act would require approval of the House, Senate, and President for any economically significant rule before it could take effect. It would eliminate the most extreme outcomes and dampen the impact of regulatory uncertainty on businesses that would be eager to hire if they had more reasonable expectations of regulatory compliance costs. If the President is serious about creating jobs, he should stop blaming bad luck and take responsibility. He should call off the regulatory attacks at his agencies and urge passage of the REINS Act.

Because again, it was “regulatory uncertainty” not Wall Street dirtbags borrowing trillions of dollars against trillions in unpayable debt that wrecked the economy and disappeared American jobs.

It was “regulatory uncertainty” that collapsed the economy and sent unemployment above 9%, not the insanely unnecessary war in Iraq.

It was drinkable water that destroyed America’s main streets. It was safety-tested vehicles that destroyed the American dream. It was regulations, not corporations, that sapped trillions of needed dollars from America’s revenue streams over the past decade.

It was the regulations.

So Kentucky Congressman Geofferson Davis leads the GOP’s national charge to cynically attack regulations under the auspices of job creation, as though making us less safe will do something more than just make the rich richer.

And for all their complaints about how these regulations are hurting small businesses, keeping them from hiring new workers, it is clear who is paying for this ridiculous bill and who is behind these insipid attacks. As Platts recently reported:

Group says utilities the ones really lobbying for ‘small business’ bill

….Public Citizen Regulatory Policy Advocate Amit Narang in a Tuesday interview said utility interests see the legislation as a way to block new US Environmental Protection Agency regulations that would affect generators, especially those that burn coal.

“The reality of the lobbying contradicts the rhetoric we’re hearing from the Republicans,” Narang said. He added that despite the public statements from Congress about protecting small businesses, “I think it’s pretty clear that the electric utilities are the big winners if REINS were to pass.”

The 27 organizations that reported lobbying in support of the REINS Act in the first half of 2011 include 16 electric utilities and the Edison Electric Institute, Public Citizen said.

Utilities identified as lobbying for the proposal include Southern Company, Duke Energy, Xcel Energy, Constellation Energy, FirstEnergy, Progress Energy, DTE Energy, MidAmerican Energy, and the Ohio Municipal Electric Association, among others.

Also lobbying for the legislation was the US Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers.

….Public Citizen also said that lobbying power on the issue is “lopsided,” since the groups supporting the bill spent a total of about $52 million on all issues they lobbied for, including the REINS Act. Groups opposing REINS spent about $1.5 million in lobbying on all issues, including REINS.


And they won’t be satisfied by anything short of complete rollbacks. The REINS act is a campaign tool, not a jobs plan. It dummies up talking points about an Obama administration with its big government hands controlling every facet of our lives — nothing true, but easy to talk about, especially from a party that has no other options, no real plans, nothing substantive to say.

And it doesn’t matter that Obama has already preempted the REINS act, just this week announcing a set of regulations to be killed off:

Cass Sunstein, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, revealed Tuesday the administration is hoping to help businesses in America save billions of dollars by wiping out or scaling back hundreds of government regulations.

“Over the next five years, the monetized savings from just a fraction of the reforms announced today are likely to exceed $10 billion,” Sunstein wrote on the White House’s blog. “Perhaps more important, today’s plans explicitly recognize that the regulatory lookback is not a one-time endeavor. Agencies will continue to revisit existing rules, asking whether they should be updated, streamlined, or repealed.

Officials at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce quickly called the “lookback” on old regulations a step in the right direction but said it did not go nearly enough given the mountain of new regulations the President created with health care and financial reform.

“The administration’s findings and determinations, on their own, are a worthy effort at making technical changes to the regulatory process, but the results of this lookback will not have a material impact on the real regulatory burdens facing businesses today,” said Bill Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president of environment, tech, and regulatory affairs.

The Republicans don’t care either. The leadership will keep beating the drum and Kentucky’s Congressional delegation, led by Paul and Davis, with Mitch and Hal, Ed and Brett all at their side, will continue to lie to voters, telling them it is regulations that wrecked the economy, that destroyed the job market, and that they must be eliminated so that an unregulated madness may make us all rich. They are generating a false argument that will lead, they hope, to big gains for giant corporations and, also, to more and louder and dumber claims about President Obama’s insatiable appetite for controlling every American’s daily lives.

GOP’s War on EPA totally ridiculous (and other things you already know)

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August 10, 2011

Funny story you already know too well. The entire Republican Party (and some of their apologists, like, oh, a certain governor and congressman) have launched this grand war on Obama’s totalitarian Environmental Protection Agency.

They rail on and on about how it is suffocating jobs (not lungs) and how its gigantic governmental overreach, its power grab, is really about bankrupting America and destroying our livelihoods or at least our Way of Life and isn’t that so evil and GET OFF OUR BACKS! (Or, wait, that’s that Democrat again.)

So you already know that much of this so-called power grab is just court-ordered restitution for years of Bush administration malfeasance… so not really law-breaking by the Obama admin as much as law ‘biding and the Republicans just don’t like the law and just want free reign for Big Business. Essentially, their war on the EPA is ridiculous.

As Grist Magazine recently reported:

In April 2008, the Bush EPA released a 20-page spreadsheet [PDF] of 94 EPA rules or actions under just the Clean Air Act that had been challenged in court until that point during the Bush administration.

As of August 2011, 37 of those cases have been decided by a court, and in nearly two-thirds of those cases (23), the courts overturned the Bush EPA rules. (The remaining 57 cases have either settled, been voluntarily dismissed, voluntarily remanded, or are still pending in court.)

In 15 of those 23 adverse rulings, the courts found that the Bush EPA had contradicted or disregarded the plain language of the Clean Air Act. This is the worst way for EPA to lose a federal environmental lawsuit, because it reflects a court’s judgment that the agency defied the plain instructions of the law.

Public health and environmental groups were the prevailing parties in 18 of those 23 Clean Air Act rulings against the Bush EPA. These groups prevailed in 13 of the 15 “plain language” court decisions. EPA lost this startling number of Clean Air Act cases because the Bush administration had adopted unlawful regulations that benefited polluting industries at the expense of human health and the environment, despite unambiguous statutory directives requiring otherwise. This was truly out-of-control behavior.


When the Obama administration took office in January 2009, it inherited the legal obligation to respond to court orders in not just these 23 Clean Air Act cases, but also in numerous other losing cases under other environmental statutes that EPA administers. The current administration inherited the responsibility to fix a decade-long mess consciously created by the Bush administration and industry supporters out of a shared ideological-economic agenda to violate environmental laws and weaken public health safeguards.

It is striking how thoroughly today’s fiercest EPA critics ignore this history and its implications. Conservative politicians like the House members quoted above, pundits like the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and industry lobbyists ignore this unprecedented wave of Bush administration lawbreaking that the Obama EPA now must rectify.

Or, it would be striking if it wasn’t so wonderfully obvious.

Who would ever expect the GOP would try blame Obama for what they and Bush totally F-d up. Who would ever.

All of which brings us to some equally obvious news from the past weekend:

A settlement with the U.S. and states in which the Tennessee Valley Authority will close 18 coal-fired plants and add pollution controls is drawing scrutiny from House Republicans, who say it may raise energy costs.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and five other Republicans sent a letter today asking Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson about the agreement, which requires TVA to spend $3 billion to $5 billion on equipment to reduce emissions.

“What will be the source of the funds to meet these obligations, and will the costs be passed on to ratepayers?” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

The lawmakers also ask the EPA to explain how the agreement led TVA to close almost a third of its 59 coal-fueled generators. The settlement resolves allegations that the authority violated the federal Clean Air Act.

As part of the agreement, the TVA will also invest $350 million in clean energy technology and pay a $10 million civil fine.

None of which sounds like the “settlement” of an innocent party and, were these people not Republican Congressman and thus being willfully idiotic here, it might suggest that the settlement was a good deal compared to what might have happened if the case had gone further. Indeed, that’s why people “settle.”

Joining Upton in signing this dumb letter were Kentucky Congressmen Brett Guthrie and Ed “Doggy Dog” Whitfield.

Rogers, Guthrie, Whitfield, Chandler vote Aye… Davis & Yarmuth vote No *UPDATE*

August 2, 2011

The House passed the McConnell/Boehner trick plan yesterday that sold out the Tea Party with the help of Hal Rogers and over the warnings of Rand Paul and here’s how everyone in the House voted!

269 to 161!

Ed Whitfield (KY-R-01): Sure!

Brett Guthrie (KY-R-02): Yesssss.

Hal Rogers (KY-R-05): Hellz yeah!

Ben Chandler (KY-?-06): Aye. But shhhh.

Jefferson Davis (KY-R-04): No, thank you.

John Yarmuth (KY-D-03): Uh… no.



Guthrie’s justification for voting Yes:

“Included are serious spending cuts that exceed the amount of the debt ceiling increase while avoiding job-killing tax increases on families and small businesses.”

And Geofferson Davis had this to say about voting No:

Davis said that although the debt deal “makes a number of positive steps toward beginning to address our fiscal problems and also averts default” he voted against it because it had several flaws that he couldn’t overlook, such as the 12-member bipartisan committee charged with finding other ways to cut the deficit.

“While there is certainly room for cuts and efficiency improvements in every federal agency and program, I have concerns about the method by which cuts would take place if the joint select committee did not work as intended,” he said.

John Yarmuth’s No Vote:

“Tonight, I chose to stand up for what the American people have demanded. Throughout this politically-induced crisis, my constituents have been loud and clear: any plan to reduce our debt must protect Medicare and require millionaires, billionaires, and big oil companies to share in the sacrifice.

This plan asks nothing of the wealthy few and will inevitably lead to cuts in Medicare, education, and the investments we need to create jobs and get our economy back on track.”

And Ben Chandler’s Yes Vote:

“Compromise, by definition, means that all parties give up something for the greater good.  Although this bill is not perfect, this bipartisan compromise reduces our nation’s deficit, cuts federal spending and helps our country avoid a catastrophic economic default. Instead of including extreme plans to turn Medicare into a voucher program, I am pleased the bill includes protections for veterans, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries as well as a framework for a detailed discussion on further deficit reduction and fiscal priorities.”

Rand Paul named most Freedomiest dude in Washington by some magazine

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July 28, 2011

Well, technically he tied for first with some 26 other people dude, including his father and Michelle Bachmann. They all got 100% Freedom ratings! 100%!

All the Congresspeople were rated on whether they voted to smash ObamaCare, whether they voted to smash the United Nations, whether they voted to smash NPR, whether they voted to smash the EPA, whether they voted to abort Planned Parenthood, whether they voted to expand offshore drilling, and where they stood on Libya and the Patriot Act.

As you can see, “Freedom” is most importantly defended as pertains to private corporations and also an important factor in the grading is how low an opinion one has of women.

Mitch McConnell got a terrible 60%, just squeaking past the threshold level between “Freedom” and “Tyranny.”

The Kentucky Congressional Delegation scored as follows:

  • 89% — Brett Guthrie (R-02)
  • 80% — Ed Whitfield (R-01)
  • 80% — Geoff Davis (R-04)
  • 79% — Hal Rogers (R-05)
  • 30% — Ben Chandler (D-06)
  • 20% — John Yarmuth (D-03)

So, wait… you’re telling us that Yarmuth’s body is 90% water and 20% freedom? So he’s giving 110%? Or we shouldn’t trust you guys with the economy?

Here’s a link to the PDF for the “Freedom Index” from some magazine or think tank or something that I am blissfully free to not name and, likewise, have the complete freedom to not link to so as to freely keep you from viewing their advertisements or further perusing their dumb site and can instead, freely, send you to download their dumb PDF which, really, isn’t much to look at anyway — PDF, if you care.

In other news, Rand’s shaking his Freedom-thang in Iowa this weekend, at the Pizza Ranch in Spencer and the Prime N’ Wine in Mason City, among others, to help ensure his father win’s the upcoming Iowa Straw Poll.

He was also on Greta Van Sustren last night but didn’t say anything interesting, though his hair was particularly jellied.

Brett Guthrie knows how to make a conference call

July 25, 2011

Congressman Guthrie (KY-O2) was so excited after being invited by Speaker Boner to be on a conference call to talk about how the Republicans are going to wreck the global economy and hasten the Book of Revelations that he immediately called the Associated Press to tell them about the call and all that didn’t happen on it:

Rep. Brett Guthrie was part of a conference call Sunday in which House leaders updated rank-and-file GOP members on the on-again-off-again negotiations over raising the nation’s debt limit. The update came as a sharply divided Congress prepares for a decisive week of talks aimed at preventing an unprecedented default on the U.S. debt.

With an Aug. 2 government default bearing down on Congress and the White House, Guthrie said that Boehner is trying to “stay within the principles” of legislation dubbed “Cut, Cap and Balance.”


Or not really. As the Washington Post reported:

In a conference call with House Republicans, Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) called for the party to unify behind a plan that he promised to detail when lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday. Aides in both parties said they expected Boehner to press ahead with a two-stage strategy that would give the Treasury only about $1 trillion in additional borrowing authority, forcing another battle over the debt ceiling early next year when the parties are embroiled in the heat of the 2012 presidential campaign.

So Brett Guthrie dialed into a call with 200+ participants. Very exclusive.

And his leader told him and all the others to get on board with an abstract and undisclosed plan to toy with the average American’s livlihood for another year-or-so so they can exploit voters’ suffering right before the 2012 election.


After you’re done shaking your head in dismay at the voters of the 2nd District, here’s a nice take on what Boner is going for in all this:

Basically, Boehner doesn’t really have the votes for anything. He doesn’t even have the votes for Cut, Cap and Balance, because that requires a supermajority in each house to pass a Constitutional amendment.

So he’s reduced to the lowest common denominator. That’s a plan that only temporarily lifts the debt ceiling, pleasing the faction that opposes lifting the ceiling, avoids any tax increases, pleasing the anti-tax absolutists, and provokes a confrontation with Obama, pleasing the political hardball faction. It also positions the party as having voted to lift the debt ceiling past August 2nd, thus providing the party with an argument for laying the blame on Obama if and when dire consequences occur.

Tax rate hostages

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December 5, 2010

So a funny thing happened this week. 168 Republicans voted to increase income taxes on every American making under $250,000 a year, including Brett Guthrie, Geoff(erson) Davis, Ed Whitfield and Hal Rogers.

They claimed that if millionaires and billionaires don’t maintain their current tax rate, they will stick with raising taxes on everyone else.

Here’s what the American people think about that:

Yeah, they seem to disagree with the Republicans for some reason. In fact Republicans (54%) don’t even agree with Republicans.

But the good news is that Mitch McConnell will go along with what the American people want, right?

And the Democrats will stand strong?

Or not.

Ed Marksberry defends health insurance reform

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October 28, 2010

Ed Marksberry might not beat incumbent 2nd District Congressman Brett Guthrie, but any Democrat who proudly defends the great progress in the new health insurance reform deserves The Carrot. Here’s Ed, and here’s his campaign site:

Brett Guthrie’s folly*

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March 4, 2010

With the state up in arms over wasteful government spending, the news that Brett Guthrie spent a staggering $243,000 of our tax dollars on constituent franking mailers (ads for himself) in the last half of 2009 is pretty devastating. It’s a good thing that our well oiled-machine of a Kentucky Democratic Party was able to recruit a top-notch challenger against the first-time incumbent in an anti-incumbent year.

Oh, wait. I forgot that the KDP is in shambles and hardly even exists anymore. Yea, I guess not.

Nevertheless, political newcomer and Daviess County homebuilder/realtor Ed Marksberry did throw his hat into the ring. Here’s his website. If anyone knows, like, anything about him, please let us know.

Rep. Brett Guthrie’s franking tyranny destroying Kentucky Liberty

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March 3, 2010

KY’s best journalist John Cheves has a story out on how our Democratic congressmen are abusing our liberty and such with tyrannical taxpayer funded franking. Oh, wait…

In the second half of 2009, according to the database, freshman Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, spent $242,519 on franking — far more than the rest of the delegation combined.


In descending order after Guthrie, Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Hebron, spent $99,397; Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, spent $28,122; Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, spent $27,717; Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, spent $10,977; and Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, spent $9,248.

Republicans will attack Guthrie for this in 5… 4… 3… wait, never.

Boswell internal poll shows him 8 points up on Guthrie

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September 4, 2008

David Boswell came out with an internal poll yesterday showing him up 8 points on Brett Guthrie in the 2nd District Congressional race (41-33, 26% undecided).

Internal polls are mostly bullshit, but I tend to read them as typically 5-10 points inflated for their candidate. So my reading on this is that the race remains dead even. The margin of the poll will likely get the attention of the DCCC, and perhaps lure some funding their way. But throwing Nancy Pelosi under the bus at the DNC didn’t help matters much.




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