Wednesday, January 30, 2013

(Opinion) British National Party: BNP going broke, great!!!

While financial woe is nothing to cheer about as many of us have found out in the last five years of poor economic growth and a string of financial scandals that have largely gone unpunished but an article published by  the Independent detailing the British National Party’s (BNP) apparent financial troubles is a more than legitimate exception the rule[1]. The BNP, despite their recent rise, have always been a party despised by many Britons, even among fellow far right groups.

There should be no shock if you were to witness off the cuff yelps of joy to the news that its leader Nick Griffin (who is probably as, if not, more unpopular than the party and its platform itself) suggested in a speech to party faithful that in order to raise funds, they had to “begin collecting scrap” while comically enquiring “the price of copper”[2].

While this may seem quite comical and admittedly satisfying for anybody with a fleeting affinity with the human race, the BNP’S financial problems are serious to say the least. The BNP has been in financial arrears for some time since their poor showing  in the last general election underlined when the BNP “declared that at 31 December 2010 it owed £582,961 and had £15,846 in the bank”[3]. Numbers like these would terminal for a business never mind a well disliked party short on friends and high on enemies that would like nothing better than to see the party file for bankruptcy.

The BNP has been in decline for last three years with many of its members leaving the party exposing deep division among its leadership and indeed its rank and file. Its decline has been underlined by gruesome local election defeats with the party losing many of its local councillors and a MEP (who left the BNP with only one MEP, Nick Griffin).

It’s no real surprise considering the party platform was, for the lack of a better word, disgusting. No party can really expect to stay in power at the local level for any amount of time if one of their councillors can, with a straight face, state their objection to “the building of new schools in the (Burnley) area because they would encourage children of different backgrounds to integrate”[4].

While the BNP’s demise is not so shocking due their unreasonable stance on just about every issue that is relevant to British people, It is surprising that they’re floundering in an political and economic climate where far right parties and movements usually thrive. Matthew Goodwin excellently illustrated this point when he wrote in a guardian article:

“Consider this: despite economic recession; despite deep cuts to local services; despite continuing public concern over immigration; despite high levels of dissatisfaction with the main parties; despite ongoing political distrust; despite an unpopular coalition government that includes the Liberal Democrats – home for many protest voters; despite continuing public anger over the expenses scandal and more recent media and cash-for-access scandals; and despite a Labour party that has not yet reconnected fully with its core base – the BNP has completely failed to make even an electoral squeak. At one time, voters in some parts of the country appeared willing to back the party. Today, they appear completely uninterested. In my view, the British National party's quest for electoral success is finished and Griffin's attempted strategy of "modernisation" lies in ruins”[5].
In sum, the British National Party may be in dire straits and may, as many hope (including many of its far right counterparts), dissolve but unfortunately, the BNP are not the be all, end all of Britain's far right movement and as Goodwin rightly pointed out, the real point of focus is “what will emerge to fill the vacuum”[6].   

[1] A. McSmith, 2013, British National Party ‘so poor should sell scrap metal,
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] Political Scrapbook, 2012, Falling Apart: Six BNP Councillors Who Should Lose Their Seats In May,
[5] M. Goodwin, 2012, The BNP finished as electoral force,
[6] Ibid

(Video) Stay classy: Pro Gun advocates Heckle father of sandy hook massacre victim

Monday, January 28, 2013

(Opinion) SEC Nomination: Mary Jo White is not the best pick to police Wall Street

Hiring people to take up difficult positions will always be a challenge, no less when you’re picking a nominee to be the head of the SEC, but it would help if the nominee didn’t butter their bread by defending the very characters they are about to be tasked to hold to account. It would be wrong to say that Mary Jo White is beholden to the interests of  Wall street, but a considerable portion of her resume suggest that may be true.

Before the case can be made for White being a poor pick for the SEC post, it would be wise to point out why she is up the consideration in the first place. Mary Jo White is an accomplished prosecutor who had prosecuted infamous mobster John Gotti and the terrorists involved in the first attack against the World Trade Center[1].

However the real problem lies not with who she has prosecuted but who she has defended. In her time in the private sector, White had defended major figures on Wall street including “Kenneth Lewis, the former chairman and chief executive of Bank of America, and John Mack, who held the top job at Morgan Stanley”[2]. White also defended (inexpicably) “nine independent directors” of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in the middle of the phone hacking scandal in 2011[3].

Why White’s background matters so much is that after five years since that financial crisis that brought the country to its knees, no CEO or chief executive has seen the inside of a jail cell and with the nomination of a former director of the Nasdaq  for the position of leader of the SEC, an organisation seen by many to be soft touch, the prospects for change are slim[4].
Long standing issues in American politics come to the fore such as the revolving between the private and public sector, for which White’s accomplished career serves as a prime example.  This is why David Sirota in Salon notes that :

“With this revolving door spinning so fast,… it has created a culture whereby prosecutors and SEC officials have an incentive not to enforce the law. Simply put, if you know your next lucrative job is on Wall Street, you aren’t all that interested in prosecuting Wall Street, because that might limit your private-sector career prospects”.

In sum, Mary Jo White has had a sterling career in both public and private sectors but her involvement in both and her probable ascent into a key role in regulating the US financial industry leaves much to be desired when she will go to battle against Wall street figures.

[1] D. Rushe, 2013, Mob Prosecutor Mary Jo White to be nominated to lead SEC,
[2] J. Cassidy, 2013, Two reasons why mary jo white is a bad choice for the SEC,
[3] K.Rushton. 2011. Phone hacking: News Corp hires former US attorney general to fight lawsuits,
[4] D. Rushe, 2013, Mob Prosecutor Mary Jo White to be nominated to lead SEC,

Friday, January 25, 2013

(Deals) New Les Miserables Movie Soundtrack

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(deals) New Kindle Fire

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(Deals) Complete Harry Potter Film collection

Buy the Harry Potter Complete Film Boxset for the more than fair price of £20.00 by clicking on the Image below:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mutual Funds: Why mutual funds days are numbered

The always excellent Khan academy explains why closed-end Mutual Funds or exchange traded funds may be a better alternative to normal open-end Mutual Funds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

(Opinion) Taro Aso: When honest opinions in politics are not refreshing

There has always been the feeling among most people around the world that their political representatives do not hold the most progressive opinions about their citizenry and Japan’s finance minister Taro Aso went some way to confirm that long held suspicion.  Nobody avoids putting their private views in the press than politicians, Aso broke the mould and stated that a quarter of his country’s  population “should be allowed to “hurry up and die”[1]

The Irony about his public statement stating in essence that the elderly should die and be quick about it is that  Aso, no spring chicken at the age of  72, belongs to the very same group he is encouraging to die quicker due citing that if he was to get sick  he would  ‘feel’ “increasingly bad knowing that (‘treatment’) was all being paid for by the government”[2].

Aso means exactly what he said when he stated his lack of comfort of being an expense on the government income balance sheet  citing that he doesn’t want “end-of-life care”  and made public the fact that he had “written a note instructing his family to deny him life-prolonging medical treatment”[3].

While it is clear from Aso’s statement that he would like to have some control when he faces testing sickness and impending death, this position is not likely to become legislation any time soon as his party supported a move to “double consumption (‘sales’) tax to 10% over the next three years” to deal with “rising welfare costs”[4].

This tax increase was not a move to protect the elderly by politicians out of the goodness of their hearts but a calculated realisation that the elderly is a crucial voting bloc with “almost a quarter of the 128 million population is aged over 60.. (and)(t)he proportion is forecast to rise to 40% over the next 50 years”[5].

While there is a real problem of Japan’s older population straining it welfare system, It does shoe Aso’s contempt of his fellow citizens. This hasn’t been Aso’s first day at the rodeo as far as outrageous public statements are concerned as he has attacked Japan older population in the past when he was Prime Minster citing them as “tax burdens who should take better care of their health”[6].

In sum, politicians are not the most favoured among us when it comes to popularity, especially when they confirm long held suspicions that they have little to say that would flatter their fellow citizens. However Aso, who comes from a privileged background, earns such suspicion expressing his superiority of Citizens of which he is  similar in age, most of which who have worked hard all their lives.     

[1] J, McCurry, 2013, Let elderly people ‘hurry and die’ says Japanese minister,

[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid

(Video) Obama 2013 Inauguration Speech: Obama Inaugural Address

Monday, January 21, 2013

(Video) The War on Terror: War on Terror Going Nowhere

Young Turks host Cenk Uygur gives his take on the War on Terror and the methods used to fight it.

(Video) Obama Gun Control statement: A War is a' Coming

President Obama lays out his plan for gun control at White house press conference.

(Opinion) Obama Inauguration: Second term prospects for Obama's policy success

While there is a lot of speculation about what President Obama’s second term will look like, it would be easy to argue is going to look pretty much like his first. Obama will do little about changing the United States drone policy or curbing the war on terror despite its destructive outcomes (and what looks set to escalate in the in light of the hostage tragedy in Algeria) or climate change as he can’t discuss climate change Republican party, who have many members in congress and among the rank and file who don’t believe it’s happening and think it’s a hoax.

Due to the tragedy at took place in Newtown, will have a an ugly fight with NRA and the Republicans in getting legislation through congress telling from the already ugly tone gun control  debate has taken already. The NRA, free of shame, went after the children of the President citing the false discrepancy between the protection his children get and opting not to put armed guards at every at school across the country as if the President and indeed his children are not the best targets for kidnapping or murder for any group looking hurt the country.  

It will be a draining but necessary fight but Obama, if he gets something done, will have some political capital to spend, and it is vital that he spends it trying to get to a jobs bill through congress.

While his election served as the first black swan against the maxim that presidents don’t get a second term in a bad economy, the Obama campaign were really successful at destroying Mitt Romney’s simple message of ‘are you better than you were four years ago’ by launching a successful character assassination against it messenger by portraying him as an aloof and cold-hearted plutocrat who could care less about the plights of working people.

There was no real talk about jobs as Obama has done very little about tackling America’s unemployment rate and in the recent negotiations preceding the media and congress created ‘fiscal cliff’, which would have saw the much despised bush era tax cuts expire, Obama saw to it that the tax cut hated by most of his party are now permanent in exchange for an small rise in the tax rate.

Obama will get somewhere in the almost certain fight about immigration as Republicans have woken up to the reality that the public is to the left on many of the social and cultural issues that plague the country.  He will get a lot of movement in getting the Dream Act passed and getting currently undocumented immigrants on a track leading to citizenship.

In sum, Obama Inauguration will be a joyous occasion as Americans will once again  bears witness to an African American taking the oath of office and also for all who love lofty speeches and the choreography of  American Politics in general. However when the music and the celebrations dampen, there is a great chance of Obama proving once and for all the trends of all politics is continuity, not change. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

(Opinion) Jamie Dimon Bonus Cut: finally some reason on wallstreet but not enough

Wall Street is not the most popular street in America but with JP Morgan cutting the bonus of its Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, It shows that some wall street institutions are responding to public outrage. In light of making a massive loss in the derivatives market (which played a key role in nearly bringing the US financial system to its knees), Jamie Dimon saw his bonus halved as his company effectively said the buck stopped with him when they cited that Dimon “bears ultimate responsibility for the failures that led to the losses in the CIO and has accepted responsibility for such failures"[1].

However, it is not enough as Jamie Dimon will still have a significant  bonus ($11.5 m) despite displaying terrifying incompetence[2]. According to an article in Forbes, Dimon displayed his shocking ignorance about the company he heads when presented with news of JP Morgan Chase’s loss in the market, responded angrily demanding that he saw “the positions” of the company, or in in other words, the actual trades upon which JP Morgan Chase made losses[3].

Could you imagine incompetence of this kind at your job resulting in a cut of your performance and effectively merit free bonus if you didn’t know what investments your company specifically lost money? A Checkout Operator in Tesco will face the sack for shorting the till by a meagre £40 but a high powered CEO can so ignorant not to know his company’s loss making positions in stock market is just short of being criminally negligent.

This is made worse by the fact that politicians, despite reams of evidence suggesting that strong scepticism being the reasonable approach towards banks, still have faith in financial institution and its leaders as incredibly:

Congress being made up of Congressmen and Congresswomen, no one thought to ask why the CEO of a financial industry leader handling billions a day didn’t know where the money was.[4]
This is because in light of technologies in the marketplace to make JP Morgan’s loss making or profitable trades easier to access, JP Morgan use systems “that were developed in the 1980s, or earlier” making accounting for losses and even profits a taxing proposition[5].
Jamie Dimon is a case that posits the problem of punishing bankers for unwise financial deals besides imprisonment as Kevin Roose of New York Magazine smartly pointed out:

You think the guy who pulled down $40 million in the last two years — and who already gets his black cars, private jet travel, and other perks paid for by his employer  is going to go hungry?[6].
Telling from his reaction to his punishment in the press, he is fully aware of this dreary fact as he confidently demanded to release the report which served as a basis for cutting his bonus as he confidently asserted that losses in the billions “are close to being a “non-issue” for the company”[7].   

[1] The Telegraph, 2013, JP Morgan halves Jamie Dimon’s pay over $6bn London loss,
[2] Ibid
[3] T. Groenfeldt, 2013, Why Jamie and Jon Corzine couldn’t find their money,
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] K. Roose, 2013, A Better Way To Punish Jamie Dimon,
[7] D.Kopecki, 2013, Dimon Says Whale Loss Is Very Close to Being a ‘Non-Issue’,

(Note From The Editor) 2013 predictions update: Guardiola states his intention to Manage an English club

Like I said in the article  sport 2013: The editor’s five predictions for the sporting year of 2013,  Guardiola's move to England was on the cards and what do you know, the guardian today has reported that the former Barcelona coach is considering a move as "Chelsea and the Manchester clubs  are possibilities".

In the report, Guardiola made clear his intention and could yet prove I maybe Nostradamus after all!!

Thanks for reading

Alex Clarke
The Carnage Report

Read the guardian article here:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

(Note From The Editor) Check us out on CafePress!!

Love this blog, or like looking stylish? check out The Carnage Report apparel at CafePress. we are priced fairly so you won't have to break the bank.

If you read us, why not wear us.  

Check our The Carnage Report store at CafePress here:

Thanks for reading!

Alex Clarke
The Carnage Report


Friday, January 11, 2013

(Politics) Kenyan MP Pay Rise: foxes in the henhouse

I’m sure most you reading this (including myself) would like to vote on what they get paid when they retire but unfortunately for us, were not shameless MP’s from Kenya who voted for their retirement package yesterday which includes, according to a BBC News report, “an armed guard, a diplomatic passport and access to airport VIP lounges”[1].

This isn’t the first time that Kenyan MPs have tried to add more weight to their purse as in 2012, Kenya president vetoed an attempt by the MPs to earn a $100,000 bonus despite being best paid politicians in the continent[2] This comes in the face of the Kenyan government being less than hospitable to the plight of public sector workers as it has “repeatedly dismissed the wage demands of striking public sector workers, arguing that the funds were not available”[3].

However the real tragedy of this situation is that the wage is linked to performance or the salaries of politicians are not in line with the salary of the average Kenyan which nearly 13 times less annually than their elected ‘representatives’[4].

There is definitely going to be a push back against MPs voting for  their salaries and bonuses as last year it provoked people to march in the streets in protest while rightly defiling their politicians as “thieves and greedy hyenas”[5].

The timing was especially terrible after the government had initially rebuff teacher strikes leaving a ‘protest organizer’ to wander aloud  "How come our teachers had to strike for three weeks to get a salary hike, yet within a single sitting the MPs could easily increase their remuneration?"[6].

In sum, while Kenya’s lawmakers, at the expense of the taxpayer, can secure a raise so large that it would take a Kenyan “earning the minimum wage…61 years to earn the equivalent” just by voting it, they should expect, better yet anticipate the ire of their constituents and the nation as a whole as there is no room for politicians who seem to have no shame about maximizing their wages based on nothing but their own greed[7].

[1] BBC News, 2013, Kenyan MPs vote themselves $100,000 retirement bonus,
[2] BBC News, 2012, Kenya President Mwai Kibaki rejects MPs’ bonus attempt,
[3] BBC News, 2013, Kenyan MPs vote themselves $100,000 retirement bonus,
[4] Ibid
[5] BBC News, 2012, Kenya President Mwai Kibaki rejects MPs’ bonus attempt,
[6] Ibid, quoted by BBC News
[7] Ibid

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Alex Jones 'debate' with Piers Morgan: the best and worst television you'll see all year

(Opinion) AIG Lawsuit: A Lot of Nerve

 It is safe to say that financial institutions worldwide are not the most popular institutions in the current climate and AIG’s shocking consideration of a law suit against the US government is a key case study of why. AIG were over a barrel in 2008 when left to hold one the largest bags in the history of financial speculation after insuring risky loans against default thought to be of triple A value in the US housing market  forcing the US government  to bail the insurance company out. The situation was so bad that government officials “feared its collapse would wreck the financial system”[1].

AIG received the most cash out of all the companies that were bailed out in 2008 making even considering joining a lawsuit filed by its former chief executive Maurice Greenberg reprehensible. The reaction to AIG considering joining the lawsuit has been met with both shock and anger by taxpayers and Washington with  congressmen Peter Welch (D-Vt) and Michael Capuano (D-Mass) incensed enough to send a stern letter to AIG chairman Robert Miller telling him “don’t even think about it”[2]. The letter continued in admonishing the company stating that:

“Taxpayers are still furious that they rescued a company whose own conduct brought it down. Don’t rub salt in the wounds with yet another reckless decision that is on par with the reckless decision that led to the bailout in the first place.”[3]

Robert Reich shared his view through his twitter account and posited that AIG should be sued “for stupidity”[4]. While there is no doubt that there are grounds for such a lawsuit, the greater charge that should be made against the insurance company is greed and ingratitude. The company was in dire straits when the government stepped in and rescued it from the ineptitude of its own management and insurance policy.

There was protests in the streets at the time when AIG where bailed out and the ill will garnered from this has not gone away making AIG’s pondering over the lawsuit even worse.  AIG has revealed that it has ‘three options’ but in reality it only has one, rebuff the temptation to join its former employee in suing the government that saved it from ruin and gave it enough time to return to profitability or face a future of a hostile public and government should it ever get in trouble again,   

In sum, AIG was not the most popular financial giant in the land of the home and the brave to say the least before this story and certainly won’t after it as it risks drawing the ire of both the public and the government in one stroke.

[1], 2013, AIG considers joining lawsuit against US  government over $182bn bailout,
[2] Quoted by Fox News,2013, Lawmakers outraged after AIG announces potential suit against US over bailout,
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid

Monday, January 7, 2013

(Politics) Guest Post: Teetering on the precipice by Tom Degan

Was this a great country or what! Living in America. It's getting weirder by the minute....
The victims of Hurricane Sandy might finally receive the desperately needed aid from the government this week - but only after the Congress of the United States has been publicly shamed into providing it. In 2005, within a week of Hurricane Katrina's devastation in the south, the people of that region were handed a check for over sixty-five billion to help with the clean up and rescue. Nearly three months after Sandy made her wrath known, the people of the northeast are still waiting. The Republicans have made themselves clear. The only thing that matters to them are tax cuts for a class of people who already have more money than they'll be able top spend in three lifetimes. We here in New York and New Jersey don't matter. Ain't that a scream?
Here's another example of the spreading ethical rot that is killing the United States of America; a country which at one time (Hold onto your hats, generation Xers!) was the best place in the world in which to live. It's not anymore. It ain't even close. Still, we do have the best reality shows on the planet. Stand proud, America!
And I'm afraid the situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets a half-a-shade better. The 113th Congress, which was sworn in on January 3, is still controlled by what used to be called "the party of Abraham Lincoln" (Thank goodness for quotation marks!) The next two years will see more obstruction and legislative sabotage. I like to call it "treason".
The Republican party has spent the last thirty years trying to appeal to the kind of people who historically were not too interested in the political process: insanity junkies. And all of their efforts have payed off quite well for them - a little too well as it turns out. The "party of Abraham Lincoln" has devolved into the party of Uncle Fester. That demographic that the political scientists refer to as "moderates" (I call them "purple agitators" myself) have taken a good look at what the GOP has become and they're headin' for the hills. And many the so-called "Reagan Democrats" are disillusioned to say the least. It's almost as if they got all decked-up for that dream date with Marilyn Monroe, but when the door opened, standing there to greet them was Typhoid Mary in her loveliest party dress.
Since the dawn of the New Deal eighty years ago, that disgusting party's reason for existing has been to undo the programs that Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped bring into being - programs that helped create a middle class that didn't even exist prior to his inauguration on March 3, 1933. Their efforts went into overdrive when Ronald Reagan became president in 1981. Their efforts are bearing fruit, too. The middle class in America is in the process of obliteration. Long gone is the day when a middle income family could provide their children with a decent living and a college education. Here's the punch line: Most of the victims of the so-called "Reagan Revolution" still revere the man. I'm not making this stuff up.
What must be remembered is that Ronald Reagan was essentially a mask - with a twinkle in its eye and a fine, Irish smile. Remove that mask and what is revealed is the hideous, grotesque smirk of George W. Bush. That's the real face of the "Reagan Revolution".
The only way out of the ditch that the "job creators" have dug us into will be by raising their taxes. And I'm not talking about the modest increase that was proposed by President Obama (and denied by the Republicans) - I'm talking about soaking the bastards. That'll create some jobs pretty damned quick. For a period of at least ten years, we need to bring the tax rates of the richest half-a-percent back to where they were when Eisenhower was president, when a lot of them were in a ninety percent bracket. Just to refresh your American history, the economy did pretty well back then. Am I waging class warfare here? You'd better believe it, Buster. And I ain't takin' no prisoners, baby!
FUN FACT: Back in the summer the Texas State Republican Party announced that part of their platform at the 2012 National Convention will be the demand that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 be repealed as unconstitutional. Since they made that announcement there has not been a single word of reprimand toward them from the Republican National Committee - nary a peep. I kid you not.
It wasn't always this way. Once upon a time, the South was predominated by racist Democrats ("Dixiecrats" they were called). For a century after the end of the Civil War, the dear old folks of Dixie could not bring themselves to register with the party of that "bearded, nigger-lovin' bastard that freed the slaves". All that changed in the mid nineteen-sixties when President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the said to his aide, Bill Moyers, "We've lost the south for a generation." By "we" he was referring to the Democratic party. It turned out to be the understatement of the twentieth century. Within within a decade, nearly all of the former Dixiecrats fled - like diseased rats - from the Democratic party.
POP QUIZ: Which party welcomed them with open arms?
What happened, quite simply, was a fusion of the economic plutocrats in the Republican north, with the racial bigots in the Democratic south. Had it not been for Nixon's southern strategy in 1968, that coalition would never have come into existence. Had it not been for the south's reaction to the civil rights movement, this country never would have elected a feeble-minded old reactionary like Ronald Reagan thirty-three years ago this November. Indeed, Reagan would launch his campaign from the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi, an unremarkable tiny stain on the map whose only claim to fame prior to 1980 was the brutal murder there of three civil rights workers in the summer of 1964....
....and shame on us if we ever forget their names:
Andrew Goodman, aged twenty
James Cheney, aged twenty-one
Michael Schwerner, aged twenty-four
When Reagan campaigned for the White House in 1980, he had a non-too-subtle had a message for the sons and daughters of Dixie who still flew the Confederate flag on their front lawns (and probably still do): "Jim Crow's gonna be given the red carpet treatment in my White House". And for the most part, that was the case. The slow-but-steady gains that black people in America had seen since the dawn of the Civil Rights era began to falter when Reagan entered the White House in January of 1981. In Dixieland he took his stand....
Think about this, folks: When FDR was elected eighty years ago, he was not able to undo the mess he inherited from the Republicans in one term. He wasn't even able to do it in two terms. It took him nearly a decade! Unlike Roosevelt, Barack Obama will not be allowed the luxury of four terms. It will probably take two - possibly three - different presidents to clean up this mess. Thankfully it seems that the American people are starting to awaken from their thirty-plus-year coma. They've finally opened their eyes to find themselves teetering on the economic precipice.
Did you have a nice nap, kiddies?
Tom Degan


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