The price of the EpiPen has skyrocketed. Is the free market to blame? Also in this fortnight's episode, The EpiPen Government Monopoly Edition, What's in the News with articles on poop, Pokemon Go, tickets for laws that don't exist, and hemp legalization, and yet another Statists Gonna State on Gary Johnson.

WHAT’S RUSTLING MY JIMMIES 

[1:29]

There's been yet another bout of outrage over the high cost of medicine, reminiscent of Martin Shkreli and his life-saving drug Daraprim.

This time, the controversy surrounds the life-saving EpiPen, a device that easily and safely injects epinephrine to quickly open up airways for people undergoing severe anaphylaxis because of an extreme allergy. It has saved the lives of countless people who are allergic to bee stings, certain foods, or other drugs because it can be administered on the spot by somebody without any medical training.

EpiPen is sold by Mylan, and the price for a pack of two has increased from about $100 in 2007 to over $600 as of May 2016, a 450% increase.

WHAT'S IN THE NEWS 

[8:02]

In I shit you not news, the FDA is making plans to tighten restrictions on poop samples used in a growing number of fecal transplants.

In LAVA Spurt follow-up news, a Louisiana state lawmaker has announced that he wants government regulations on future actions by citizen heroes such as the “Cajun Navy.”

In government wants to regulate your entire life news, Milwaukee County's parks director has sent a letter to the company behind the gaming sensation “Pokemon Go,” asking it to comply with a county ordinance that requires a permit for game play in the public spaces.

In making shit up as they go news, Edward Adkins received a ticket for riding a bicycle without a helmet in Dallas in September of 2014, for a law that had been removed from the city ordinance several months earlier.

In muh roads news, without government, smugglers will improve the roads. Near the Russian-Belarus border, smugglers have secretly improved a country road so they can drive trucks with contraband European Union fruit past Russian customs officials.

In without the government who would waste our money news, the US Army made trillions of dollars of accounting mistakes and often did not have the receipts or invoices needed to support figures in its budget, according to a scathing Pentagon report.

In nullify all the things news, the Virginia state House of Delegates has passed a bill that will make industrial hemp completely legal throughout the state, overriding any federal interference.

In government inefficiency news, the Environmental Protection Agency says it need eight more years to decide if the ethanol mandate is bad for the environment.

STATISTS GONNA STATE

[21:16]

Every time I think I'm done with using this segment for Libertarian Party candidates, our candidates open their mouths again. And this time, it's more Gary Johnson than Bill Weld, sadly enough.

I received a Facebook message from a friend of mine running for US Congress as a Libertarian the other day, and this is exactly the sort of thing I warned was going to happen. He said, “Catching nine kinds of crap over the stupidity that keeps streaming out of Johnson's mouth…. I've had to re-explain so many times what real libertarianism actually is.” This is sad as fuck, but don't say that I, and many others, didn't warn you.

 

Read Full Transcript

TEASER INTRO

The price of the EpiPen has skyrocketed. Is the free market to blame? Also in this fortnight's episode, What's in the News with articles on poop, Pokemon Go, tickets for laws that don't exist, and hemp legalization, and yet another Statists Gonna State on Gary Johnson.

INTRO

“Welcome to The LAVA Flow, channeling the flow of information to the Libertarian, Anarcho-capitalist, Voluntaryist, and Agorist community. Find us at thelavaflow.com. Here’s your host, Rodger Paxton.”

As one of my supporters, Christian, said, I'm mainlining liberty straight to your brain every fortnight! Thank you for joining me this week, coming to you from the state where the largest ice house in the world was built in 1890, using 60,000 pounds of ice, this is the show that will bring you the people, places, and events that everyone in the liberty revolution needs to know. You can catch me on Twitter @TheLAVAFlowPod.

This is episode forty-four, The EpiPen Government Monopoly Edition, and it’s Tuesday, August 30th, 2016, when at least 765 people have been killed by police already this year. What's Rustling My Jimmies this week? You're about to find out! Let’s Do It To It!

WHAT’S RUSTLING MY JIMMIES

There's been yet another bout of outrage over the high cost of medicine, reminiscent of Martin Shkreli and his life-saving drug Daraprim.

This time, the controversy surrounds the life-saving EpiPen, a device that easily and safely injects epinephrine to quickly open up airways for people undergoing severe anaphylaxis because of an extreme allergy. It has saved the lives of countless people who are allergic to bee stings, certain foods, or other drugs because it can be administered on the spot by somebody without any medical training.

EpiPen is sold by Mylan, and the price for a pack of two has increased from about $100 in 2007 to over $600 as of May 2016, a 450% increase. Ironically enough, the CEO of Mylan, Heather Bresch, is the daughter of West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin. Manchin, of course, has no comment on the situation.

Everyone is going fucking nuts over this issue, blaming the free market and greed for this massive rise in prices. Of course, as you've likely figured out by now, if the media is saying something is the fault of the free market, you can pretty much take it to the bank that it is the exact opposite. So, let's take a closer look at this and find out exactly why this cost was allowed to rise so much.

First of all, Mylan holds a patent on a type of design for the EpiPen that meets specific legal requirements forced upon schools for auto-injectors. And, if a competitor comes into the market at all, the FDA bars the competing companies that do manage to meet the same technical requirements by forcing them to meet a higher standard than was set for the EpiPen. As The Libertarian Republic sais:

Taking this information into account, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that FDA regulations customized to Mylan’s already-established brand and design is causing a monopoly to form around the company’s offering. Thus far the competing companies to Mylan have been given excuse after excuse as to why their products can’t see equal footing in the market. It’s essentially a rigged game – cronyism, to be exact.

Essentially what the FDA and the federal government is doing is setting up a monopoly for Mylan. And remember, only government can enforce a monopoly. Without government, monopolies would be very short-lived as competitors would see an opening in a market and jump into it.

The funny thing about this is that the medicine involved, epinephrine, is very cheap to make, just a few cents per dose. It is not the medicine that Mylan is charging this amount of money for, but the injector, and that is where they have the government force protected patent.

As mises.org said:

The complications come from producing the easy auto-injecting devices. Mylan “owns” their auto-injector device design, so competitors must find workarounds in their devices to deliver the epinephrine into the patient’s body. This task, coupled with the tangled mess of FDA red tape, has proven to be difficult for would-be EpiPen competitors. It’s like expecting somebody to come up with a new way to play baseball without bases, balls, gloves, or bats, but still getting the game approved by the MLB as a baseball game substitute.

Mylan has been repeatedly protected from competition, and it has repeatedly (and predictably) increased the price of EpiPens in response. Allowing all of these companies to compete in producing epinephrine auto-injectors would be the best course for all of the many patients who want a cheaper solution for severe allergic reactions.

One thing is for sure: capitalism is not to blame. Government regulations have choked this market and many others. What we need is a big dose of freedom.

I do disagree with Mises.org on one thing, capitalism IS to blame. Crony-capitalism. It's the free market that is not to blame. This is exactly what we talked about in episode 33 of this show, The Radicals for the Free Market Edition. Cronyism does meet the definition of capitalism, but not the definition of free markets, so when people call this sort of thing capitalism, they are right on. This is why I no longer call myself a capitalist. You can listen to that show at thelavaflow.com/33.

Fortunately, after all of this pressure, Mylan has offered discounts on the EpiPen to ease the burden on some people. The company said it would offer coupons covering up to $300 "for patients in health plans who face higher out-of-pocket costs" for the EpiPen Auto-Injector treatment.

Mylan also said it would double the income level at which families are eligible for assistance in purchasing the medication to 400% of the federal poverty level, which stands at $24,300 for a family of four. The company said a family of four with income up to $97,200 won't pay out of pocket.

Mylan CEO Bresch is pointing the finger (accurately) toward the many different folks who have their hands in the till when it comes to drug sales. Part of the company's solution will be to allow people to order EpiPens directly from Mylan because "more than half the amount paid by the health care system for EpiPens goes to pharmacy benefit managers, insurers, wholesalers and pharmacy retailers, not to the company itself."

The only solution to this issue, though, is to get the government out of the fucking way completely. If competitors such as Sanofi and Teva weren't continually shut out of the game by the government who is trying to protect Mylan's monopoly, this could never happen. I mean, we are talking about a bit of plastic, glass, and metal in the injector and a few cents worth of medicine, for fuck's sake. This should be available next to the Tylenol in any store for a few bucks, and it would be in a truly free market society. And, I can guarantee we would see much more innovation in the types of easy-to-use injectors than just the EpiPen as well if this were actually opened to the free market. Government regulation stifles innovation and protects monopolies. It does the opposite of what the greed of profit in the free market would do.

WHAT'S IN THE NEWS

In I shit you not news, the FDA is making plans to tighten restrictions on poop samples used in a growing number of fecal transplants. Fecal microbial transplantation (FMT) is a procedure that takes stool from people with a healthy stomach biome and puts it into a sick person's colon in the hope of resetting the mix of microbes there. Many people see it as fringe treatment, but it is gaining steam lately as more trials show promise in the practice.

The new FDA restrictions will make it harder for doctors to buy stool from stool banks and could limit FMT to large hospitals, giving fewer patients access to the practice, and could lead to more "do-it-yourself" procedures without medical supervision and with material that has not been screened for diseases and putting patient safety at risk.

There is one proponent of the new rules, Rebiotix, a startup based in Minnesota that is developing an enema treatment of bacteria extracted from poop. They are looking to win the exclusive rights to sell the product for seven years, gaining a huge lead in a market expected to be worth $1.5 billion by 2024. Imagine that! They are seeking a monopoly that can only be achieved with government force!

In LAVA Spurt follow-up news, a Louisiana state lawmaker has announced that he wants government regulations on future actions by citizen heroes such as the "Cajun Navy."

Republican State Senator Jonathan Perry of the Vermillion, Lafayette area, is working on legislation that could require training, certificates and a permit fee to allow these Good Samaritans to get past law enforcement into devastated areas. He said some were turned away.

“At the end of the day, there are going to be two things that are going to be the hurdle when you approach it from the state’s standpoint,” said Sen. Perry in a radio interview. “Liability is going to be number one for them. They don’t want the liability of someone going out to rescue someone and then not being able to find them (the rescuers) and, secondly, there’s a cost.”

"How can you regulate people helping people? That doesn't make sense to me," said Cajun Navy member Dustin Clouatre.

"And we'll never know how many people got rescued, right? Because there were no bureaucrats with clipboards marking down how many. They just went and did it," said publisher Scott McKay. "The fact that John Perry is a Republican, right? It's like 'Hey, you ran on small government. Now you want to regulate the Cajun Navy.' What are you doing?"

Republicans haven't been small government is a very very long time, unfortunately. This was one thing that lead to my disillusion with the Republican Party.

In government wants to regulate your entire life news, Milwaukee County's parks director has sent a letter to the company behind the gaming sensation "Pokemon Go," asking it to comply with a county ordinance that requires a permit for game play in the public spaces.

So far there's been no reply, parks director John Dargle said, adding that he's only asking the CEO of Niantic to do what any organization must do when it organizes an event on park land.

"We're asking them to submit a permit so that we understand who is the contact (and) how we can get a hold of them if this should get out of hand," Dargle said.

Until that permit is obtained, Niantic "must deactivate and remove all Pokemon GO sites, including Poke stops and Gyms within Milwaukee County parks," the letter said.

Talk about asinine. A public park all of a sudden starts being used by the public and the city wants to shut it down or force someone to pay for what would essentially be a 24x7 permit? Give me a fucking break.

In making shit up as they go news, Edward Adkins received a ticket for riding a bicycle without a helmet in Dallas in September of 2014, for a law that had been removed from the city ordinance several months earlier. He currently has a warrant out for his arrest because he doesn't have the money to pay the $259.30 fine.

"That's money I do not have," he said. "I'm barely keeping food in my icebox."

Adkins is poor. He lives off odd jobs, saying he brings in about $80 a week. "The bike was only worth $20," he said. "It didn't make sense to buy a $20 helmet."

Daniel Solis the administrative judge for the city's municipal courts, said sometimes officers issue bad citations because they're not trained properly or simply screw up. He also said the courts can do little if someone doesn't show up to point out the errors. Adkins should've appeared in court himself to contest the citation or hired a lawyer.

Solis, the judge, said Adkins may now have to pay something -- either to get a lawyer or to erase his warrants.

"The system is not perfect," Solis said.

God damned right the system is not perfect. It's not even good. It's certainly not fucking just. This would be super easy to fix. If this judge gave a rat's ass about justice he would wipe this from the books and apologize to Adkins. As it stands, they are going to make a poor man more poor in their effort to protect him from himself. Fuck the government.

In muh roads news, without government, smugglers will improve the roads. Near the Russian-Belarus border, smugglers have secretly improved a country road so they can drive trucks with contraband European Union fruit past Russian customs officials. The smugglers apparently used heavy earth-moving equipment at night to "widen and raise the gravel track, and put in more turning and passing points" - right under the noses of the local authorities.

Russia announced a ban on food imports from the European Union last year, in retaliation for an EU trade embargo over Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea. Since then, the number of lorries crossing legally from Belarus has increased dramatically in the last year to 73,000, all of which Russian customs have to inspect for banned foodstuffs. "At least someone is maintaining our roads," one person writes, a sentiment echoed in many other comments on RIA Novosti's site. Some even suggest the smugglers should form a party to stand in next month's parliamentary elections on a "Let our lorry through, and we'll fix your potholes" platform.

In without the government who would waste our money news, the US Army made trillions of dollars of accounting mistakes and often did not have the receipts or invoices needed to support figures in its budget, according to a scathing Pentagon report. The audit, conducted by the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General, found that the Army erroneously made $2.8 trillion in adjustments in the third quarter of 2015 to its Army general fund - one of the main accounts used to fund the service. The error amount skyrocketed to $6.5 trillion for all of last year, the report said. And yes, folks, that is trillion with a T.

The June report, first disclosed by Reuters on Friday, found "unreliable" data was used to prepare the financial statements, leading to the possibility that the Army's finances were "materially misstated." Financial managers from the Pentagon and the Army "could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions," the audit said.

If any private business had done this, they would have to shut their doors for good. But, the government can get away with it because their operations are guaranteed by the systematic theft of our money, so they have no incentive to keep accurate records and no incentive to waste money. Think about this the next time you fill out your 1040.

In nullify all the things news, the Virginia state House of Delegates has passed a bill that will make industrial hemp completely legal throughout the state, overriding any federal interference. Passed 98-0, every delegate jumped on board to seize their right, as a state, to lead their own destiny. Hemp is one of the most valuable commodities on the planet, functioning as food, fiber and other products.

If passed through the senate, Virginia would join a host of states that have already taken the reigns to grow industrial hemp. The states of Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, North Dakota and Vermont have nullified federal prohibition and legalized the production and manufacturing of hemp.

“In short, this would cut the federal government completely out of the state’s hemp policy, as it should be,” said Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center.

In government inefficiency news, the Environmental Protection Agency says it need eight more years to decide if the ethanol mandate is bad for the environment. When the EPA's Inspector General pointed out last week that the study was nearly two years overdue, the EPA said they'll get around to finishing it, and I shit you not, by 2024.

Congress created the ethanol mandate in 2005, requiring the blending of corn-based biofuels into gasoline and diesel. A 2007 law expanding the scope of the mandate required the EPA to submit reports to Congress every three years detailing the consequences of that policy on air and water quality. After completing one such report in 2011, the EPA says it ran out of money and didn't have enough time to keep doing them. What the actual fuck? I had no idea it was this easy to bypass Congressional law. Maybe I'll just write on my next tax form that I can't pay it because I ran out of money! I wonder how they'd treat me if I did that?

The Associate Press, with a whole hell of a lot less money than the EPA, in an investigation published in 2013 found that federal ethanol policies drove up the price of corn and encouraged farmers to plant more of it. That touched off "a cascade of unintended consequences, including the elimination of millions of acres of conservation land." Since the 2007 expansion of federal ethanol mandates, farmers had planted 19 million new acres of corn, the AP found, including 6.5 million acres planted on land supposedly set aside for conservation.

"The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy," the AP concluded. "But the Obama administration stands by it, highlighting its benefits to the farming industry."

Ethanol isn't just bad for the land, it's bad for the air too. The switch from gasoline to ethanol-blended fuels has been linked to increased smog in some cities. Mark Jacobson, an environmental engineer at Stanford University, found that using ethanol adds 22 percent more hydrocarbons—the minuscule bad guys responsible for burning a hole in the planet's ozone layer—to the atmosphere than does burning gasoline.

But, of course, without the government, all of our land, air, water, and food would be polluted and we would have no knowledge or recourse, right? This is exactly what statists say, including Gary Johnson, when the subject of pollution comes up.

STATISTS GONNA STATE

Every time I think I'm done with using this segment for Libertarian Party candidates, our candidates open their mouths again. And this time, it's more Gary Johnson than Bill Weld, sadly enough.

I received a Facebook message from a friend of mine running for US Congress as a Libertarian the other day, and this is exactly the sort of thing I warned was going to happen. He said, "Catching nine kinds of crap over the stupidity that keeps streaming out of Johnson's mouth.... I've had to re-explain so many times what real libertarianism actually is." This is sad as fuck, but don't say that I, and many others, didn't warn you.

So what has Johnson said in the last few weeks? Well, first of all, he said that Mitt Romney would be welcome in a Gary Johnson administration. Johnson said, "“If Mitt Romney wants to be a part of the administration, that would be a guarantee.” He continued on to state that he has no specific position in mind for the 2012 Republican nominee. Said Johnson, “I think [the position] would be for Mitt Romney to decide … and I say that with reverence to his skills as a business person and having run the Olympics.” Weld suggested that perhaps Romney would serve as a good Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense.

So, the architect of universal healthcare in Massachusetts, and big government statist Mitt Romney is welcome in their administration. What the actual fuck?

But, it doesn't stop there. Johnson said he endorsed a fee on carbon dioxide emissions. This is part of his "free market" approach to global warming. Johnson’s “free market” approach to global warming includes “a fee — not a tax, he said — placed on carbon” to make those who emit the greenhouse gas pay the supposed cost of their actions, according to the Juneau Empire. Yeah, right. Remember, Obamacare wasn't supposed to be a tax either. It was a penalty and not a tax, until it was determined that a penalty would be illegal, so all of a sudden they had to call it what it always was, a tax. Either way, penalty, fee, tax, it is fucking theft, and your Libertarian Party candidate wants to impose it.

And, Johnson came out for mandated vaccines as well. This is a huge reversal from 2011 when he tweeted "No to mandatory vaccines."

“You know, since I’ve said that … I’ve come to find out that without mandatory vaccines, the vaccines that would in fact be issued would not be effective,” he said. “So … it’s dependent that you have mandatory vaccines so that every child is immune. Otherwise, not all children will be immune even though they receive a vaccine.”

Johnson said he believes vaccination policy should be handled at the local level. “In my opinion, this is a local issue. If it ends up to be a federal issue, I would come down on the side of science and I would probably require that vaccine,” he said.

Johnson said his position changed recently. “It’s an evolution actually just in the last few months, just in the last month or so,” he said. “I was under the belief that … ‘Why require a vaccine? If I don’t want my child to have a vaccine and you want yours to, let yours have the vaccine and they’ll be immune.’ Well, it turns out that that’s not the case, and it may sound terribly uninformed on my part, but I didn’t realize that.”

But, all is not lost, you may say. You might say that because Johnson flip-flopped on his flip-flop on both of these issues. In Concord, New Hampshire, before a very libertarian crowd, he had this to say:

If any of you heard me say I support a carbon tax...Look, I haven't raised a penny of taxes in my politicial career and neither has Bill [Weld]. We were looking at—I was looking at—what I heard was a carbon fee which from a free-market standpoint would actually address the issue and cost less. I have determined that, you know what, it's a great theory but I don't think it can work, and I've worked my way through that.

And I support a person's right to choose, so when it comes to vaccinations we should be able to make the decision whether we want to vaccinate our kids or not. I choose to vaccinate my kid and you never say never. Look, in the case of a zombie apocalypse taking over the United States, and there is a vaccine for that, as president of the United States, you might find me mandating that vaccine.

So he has gone full circle on both of these issues, first against them, then for them, now sorta against them again. Come on! Does he think we're stupid? And everyone called John Kerry a flip-flopper for fucks sake. Apparently, Johnson held three positions on mandatory vaccines if just about a month. That is not flip-flopping, that is pure idiocy. This is reminiscent of his banning the burka comments on the day he announced his candidacy, which he quickly did an about-face on after the back-lash from libertarians. He clearly does not have a fundamental understanding of the libertarian philosophy.

It is also clear that Johnson is a statist and not afraid in any way to use the force of government on people. There is no way that someone who was a libertarian could flirt with using force to take a "fee" from people for carbon emissions or to force someone to inject something in their bodies against their will. Let me be perfectly clear, these are not libertarian positions. It is the exact opposite. While, at least for now, he is holding the libertarians position on these two, the fact that he can willy-nilly decide that using force is ok in these situations proves what I've been saying all along, that Gary Johnson is not a libertarian. And besides, did he really flip on the vaccines issue? He said, "in the case of a zombie apocalypse taking over the United States, and there is a vaccine for that, as president of the United States, you might find me mandating that vaccine." It is clear by this statement that he would send armed men to your home to force you to inject something into your body against your will. Fuck this guy in the neck.

In a bit of good news for the Johnson campaign, but bad news for libertarianism, Johnson Weld raised more than $2.9 million in the first half of August, more than he raised in his entire 2012 race. Johnson is also averaging 10.2% in the five polls that the Commission on Presidential Debates chose to determine who will be admitted in the debates. As you know, Johnson needs to average 15% in these polls to make it.

But what is the Johnson campaign spending its money on? According to the July financials they filed with the FEC, 62% of the money went not to advertising, or signage, or mailings, or polling, or anything that could get the message out about the campaign. 62% of the money they spent went directly into the pockets of consultants. This was a huge issue with the 2012 Johnson campaign as well, and I see that they have not learned their lessons at all. Only 7.6% went to classical advertising while 13.1% went to printing and mailing houses.

OUTRO

Thank you for listening to the show this week. As always, I need to thank my favorite party host, Jessica, for her help with this show. For the show notes to this episode, where I put links and other information that has been on this show, go to thelavaflow.com/44.

I have a few new iTunes reviews this week! Ohioconservative56 had this to say:

What's needed now! This is a podcast I stumbled upon from Darryl W Perry, and as such this podcast has not only entertained me but kept me up to date on the hottest issues in the Liberty movement. Mr.Paxton's show is one that I can't stress enough on the quality. It's an excellent show and I can't wait for more content. So in the mean time. Keep striking the root.

Thanks, Ohioconservative! I really appreciate the review!

Claybot93 had this to say:

One of my favorite podcasts! The LAVA Flow is a great podcast, I constantly move it up on my playlist over episodes of other podcasts, I also want to hear Rodger say, Clayton Hunt is the king of Ancapistan!

Well, there you go, Clayton. I said it. I hope you're happy now! And thanks for the review.

AntonLee43 had this to say:

Great show, great guy! What else can be said that hasn't been already. This show is great for every libertarian leaning individual. Full of stuff you might not already know and current topics packaged neatly by a guy who is just as booming and attention getting in person as he is on the airwaves. This show is a keeper.

Wow, Anton! Thanks a lot for that awesome review! I had no idea that my introverted self was booming and attention getting!

And keep giving me those reviews, guys. iTunes steers people to this podcast based on the number of subscribers and the number of positive reviews, so every positive review you give me helps get the show in front of more people. Go to thelavaflow.com/itunes today to give me a rating and a review!

I also have a couple of new supporters this week. Justin started a new donation at $1.50 per episode using Federal Reserve Notes through Patreon and TS.Bitcoin started a new Bitcoin donation through Coinbase of $2.50 per episode. Wow, guys. I can't tell you how much every single donation I get means to me, especially since you're going to get the content for free regardless. Thanks so much! So, thanks to Justin, TS, and the rest of my awesome supporters, I'm now at $135.50 per episode, 54.2% of the way to my next level, where I will be bringing you a full 30-minute episode of The LAVA Flow every single week.

And, if you, like Justin and TS, want more of the LAVA Flow, and to keep this show ad-free, exercise your free-market muscles by going to http://thelavaflow.com/support and giving a per-episode donation of as little as a buck an episode using Federal Reserve Notes through Patreon or Bitcoin through Coinbase. There are monthly costs associated with doing this show and I need additional equipment to continue making this show better for you every single episode.

Until next time... keep striking the root.

This has been a Pax Libertas Productions Podcast.

 

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