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Michael Maharrey

Articles by Michael Maharrey

Fun on Friday: What’s the Deal With Friday the 13th?

9 days ago

It’s Friday the 13th!You know what? It already seems lucky to me. Heck, it’s Friday. That’s a pretty good start!I’ve never been one to get all torqued up about the number 13 anyway. In fact, I kind of like it. My preferred hockey number is 33 in honor of Patrick Roy and just because it has nice symmetry. But if it’s not available, I’ll go with 13. Why not mock the number gods, right?Truth is I’ve never been particularly superstitious to begin with. Some people are though. I’ve known people who go through every Friday the 13th with a sense of abject dread. Not me. I figure a day is what you make of it. I’m not going to ruin a Friday worried about the number attached to it.Also, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a bit of a contrarian. I’m the kind of person who will walk under a

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Fun on Friday: When Is Fake News Fake News?

16 days ago

Did you know that has fact-checked the on multiple occasions? True story. In the obsession to root out “fake news,” fact-checking sites have resorted to fact-checking satire and parody articles.Apparently, some people actually believe satire articles are true. If you’ve ever watched people trying to operate a Walmart U-scan on a Saturday afternoon, this comes as no surprise. Still, it seems odd that a legit organization dedicated to fact-checking news would waste time with the . I mean, really? The name and cheesy graphics are enough of a giveaway.I don’t know. Maybe the people determining what is and isn’t fake news are fake news.Look, the way I see it, if people are dumb enough to believe Walmart is really going to discontinue auto parts sales to help lower traffic fatalities, then

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Fun on Friday: This Post Blows

23 days ago

As I write this, Hurricane Dorian is taking aim at Florida. What’s fun about that? you might ask. Well, nothing. And I don’t want to minimize the potential for disaster. But the hurricane hasn’t hit yet and the runup to a storm provides a lot of amusement and some educational moments. I just can’t resist.I’ll start with the good news! Florida is about to enjoy an ECONOMIC BOOM! If you believe the Keynesians that is. Now, if you have a shred of common sense, well, maybe it’s not such good news.Anyway, I live in Kentucky, but my mom lives north of Jacksonville and I spent about 20 years in the Tampa Bay area, so I tend to pay more attention to hurricanes than your average land-locked Joe. I’ve got the National Hurricane Service saved to my favorites toolbar, and like most Floridians, I

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Fun on Friday: Just Say No to Gas Station Gold

August 23, 2019

Here’s a tip for you.If some guy comes up to you in a gas station parking lot and tries to sell you gold, don’t buy it.Seriously. Just say, “No!”Who would even buy gas station gold? You might ask.Well apparently, a lot of people.According to a report on Eyewitness News 3 in Hartford, Connecticut, one jewelry and coin dealer has had close two 20 people come in looking to sell fake gold they bought in a gas station parking lot.  Some 20 people coming into just one store.That’s a lot of suckers.Sue Couture works at Good Ole Tom’s in East Hartford. She says it’s easy to quickly identify the fake gold. Just stick a magnet to it. Gold isn’t magnetic. So, if you’re going to make a gas station parking lot gold purchase, at least bring a magnet with you.But really, I’d stick with my first

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Fun on Friday: I’m Spoiled…And Old

August 2, 2019

Confession time.I’m spoiled. And old.I knew this already, but this past week has magnified these truths.You see, I’m in Florida. And it’s been a tough week.That sentence alone probably proves to most of you that I’m spoiled — except for those of you who live here and are already tired of the summer heat and humidity. But when I say I’m literally a five-minute walk from the beach, most of you would probably trade places with me.As for being old – well – I’m in Florida.But I’m not here on vacation. I’m actually at my mom’s house. She’s had some health issues, so I came down to help her out with some appointments and whatnot. Now usually, when I’m here, it’s a vacation. I sit by the pool and chill on the beach. But this time, I had to work.Working away from home creates certain challenges

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It’s Bipartisan Fiscal Suicide!

July 30, 2019

Trump’s bipartisan spending deal took a step closer to reality last week when the US House passed a budget bill by a 284-149 vote.The bill increases discretionary spending from $1.32 trillion in the current fiscal year to $1.37 trillion in fiscal 2020 and then raises it again to $1.375 trillion the year after that. The deal will allow for an increase in both domestic and military spending.In other words, no spending cuts.The deal includes $320 billion in additional spending over existing law and simply suspends the debt ceiling until mid-2021.Poof. Debt ceiling eliminated. Just keep on borrowing, boys!This deal is a product of “bipartisan cooperation.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hammered out the deal with Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)  used a

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Fun on Friday: Go Big or Go Home!

July 26, 2019

Why buy gold when you can just steal it?At least that’s how a group of men in Brazil figured it.Now, I’m not advocating theft here. But you have to give these guys credit for their moxie. They definitely subscribe to the “go big or go home” theory.According to a report, at least eight men were involved in the heist of approximately $30 million worth of gold and other precious metals at the São Paulo airport. The men disguised their trucks to make them look like Brazilian federal police vehicles. Surveillance footage shows at least four thieves getting out of one truck on the tarmac and forcing workers to load it with gold.According to the state news agency, the robbers got away with 1,653 pounds of precious metals. They ditched their trucks about 20 km from the airport.The gold was

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America Doesn’t Have a Wage Problem; It Has a Money Problem

July 23, 2019

The minimum wage debate obscures a more significant problem in America. We don’t primarily have a wage problem. We have a money problem. Government devaluation of the dollar over the years has stolen money from average Americans. But instead of dealing with the core issue, the fight centers around wage policy and offers solutions that will just exacerbate the problems.While we’re on the subject, a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office put a little bit of a damper on the “Fight for 15” minimum wage initiative.The nonpartisan government body projected that increasing the minimum wage would boost pay for about 17 million workers, but it would eliminate up to 3.7 million jobs. The median job-loss – the number you probably saw touted in headlines – was estimated at 1.3 million.The

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Fun on Friday: Forget Area 51; Storm the Fed!

July 19, 2019

So, are you planning on storming Area 51 this fall?You know, this is a thing, right?There’s a Facebook page and everything. And you know, if there’s a Facebook event page, it’s a real thing. So far, 1.7 million people have indicated they are going to the event on Sept. 20, and more than 1.3 million more are “interested” in seeing “them aliens.”Here’s how it’s going to go down, according to the event page.We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens.”For those of you who don’t speak nerd, “naruto running” references the main character in a Japanese manga series called Naruto. I’m not going to try to explain this any further, because, well, I don’t really

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Fun on Friday: An Asteroid Filled With Fool’s Gold

July 12, 2019

Have you heard about the “gold” asteroid?You probably have. It’s been all over the news. Apparently, NASA is planning a mission to a Massachusetts-size lump of rock named “16 Psyche” located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.There’s been widespread reporting that this mission could pave the way for asteroid mining. And that’s led to speculation that it could make us all rich!This is dumb.A headline in screamed, “MIDAS ROCK Giant golden asteroid contains enough heavy metals to make everyone on Earth a billionaire – and Nasa is heading there in 2022.”On a side-note, whenever I hear the world “Midas,” I think muffler. Muffler rock. That doesn’t make much sense.Anyway, this lump of space rock is going to turn us all rich and probably also foster world peace. According to , the

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Fun on Friday: 2020 Olympic Athlete Will Compete for…E-Waste?

July 5, 2019

So athletes in the 2020 Olympics are going to be competing for junk.No joke. The medals for the Tokyo games will be made entirely out of recycled e-waste.According to a little blurb published by the Silver Institute in its most recent edition of , the folks planning for the 2020 Olympics have collected enough silver, gold and bronze (copper and tin) from e-waste to make all of the medals for the games.It’s mostly silver. Yes – gold medal winners get hosed. According to Olympic Committee rules, gold medals must contain a minimum of 6 grams of gold. That’s it. They’re primarily made of silver. As it turns out, there really isn’t that much difference between first and second place.Anyway, the Japanese have collected 9,000 pounds of silver, 67 pounds of gold and 6,000 pounds of bronze.

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How the Fed Wrecks the Economy Over and Over Again

June 26, 2019

When people talk about the economy, they generally focus on government policies such as taxation and regulation. For instance, Republicans credit President Trump’s tax cuts for the seemingly booming economy and surging stock markets. Meanwhile, Democrats blame “deregulation” for the 2008 financial crisis. While government policies do have an impact on the direction of the economy, this analysis completely ignores the biggest player on the stage – the Federal Reserve.You simply cannot grasp the economic big-picture without understanding how Federal Reserve monetary policy drives the boom-bust cycle. The effects of all other government policies work within the Fed’s monetary framework. Money-printing and interest rate manipulations fuel booms and the inevitable attempt to return to

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Fun on Friday: Hard Rock Cafe Goes for Gold

June 21, 2019

From time to time, I write about gold-covered food. Why? Because it’s a thing – a weird thing. It involves gold – which is what we do here. It comes up a lot in my daily Google searches for gold news. And did I mention I find it kind of weird?Really, I don’t understand the thrill of eating gold. I like to invest in gold. I like to wear gold. I like to look at pretty golden things. But eat gold? Nah. Really, it’s a hard pass for me. (There’s a joke there that I’m not going to explain – just think about it a second…hard pass.)I do kind of get the appeal though. A lot of people like to eat gold because it makes them feel like they’ve made it. It makes them feel rich and decadent. If you can afford to eat gold, well, you must have “arrived.”For the most part, it’s a hoity-toity kind of

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The Fed Isn’t the Only Game in Town: The ECB Takes a Decidedly Dovish Turn

June 19, 2019

All eyes will focus on the Federal Reserve as it wraps up its June meeting. But it’s important to remember the Fed isn’t the only game in town. Moves by the European Central Bank also have a significant impact on the global economy (and the gold market) and it has taken a decidedly dovish turn.Most analysts expect the Fed to hold interest rates steady in June, but potentially set the stage for a July rate cut. (Although Jim Grant said he thinks the Fed will actually cut this month.)In some way, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is backed into a corner. On the one hand, any hint that a rate cut is off the table would likely tank already shaky stock markets. The markets have been juiced for weeks in anticipation of more easy money heroin. On the other hand, an excessively dovish tone

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China Urges International Community to Find Alternatives to ‘Weaponized’ US Dollar

June 18, 2019

In an opinion piece published yesterday, a Chinese government newspaper called for the international community to find alternatives to the global dollar system and warned “capricious actions” by the United States government could “ruin the future of the dollar itself.”This is yet another sign that the world is getting tired of the US weaponizing the dollar. We’ve been reporting on efforts by countries like Russia and China to minimize their exposure to the dollar, and we’ve speculated that ultimately these countries would like to dethrone the greenback from its perch as the world’s reserve currency. The article is interesting because it puts these goals in stark, unambiguous terms.The focused on tensions between the US and Iran, and the economic sanctions imposed by the Trump

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Fun on Friday: You Snooze, You Lose

June 14, 2019

Well, you missed out. You could have been $100,000 richer. But you didn’t plunk down $25 for a map. And you’re probably not in Canada.Too bad. As my dad used to say, “When you snooze, you lose.”But a few people did cash in on a treasure hunt up in the Great White North. And those folks are $100,000 better off for their efforts.A company called GoldHunt launched treasure hunts in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. For $25, you could buy and a map, and for $20 more, you could get a map that included clues. The payoff – $100k in gold and silver.A family in Edmonton found the treasure there in just 20 hours. It took the other folks a bit longer. The Vancouver treasure was the last to be unearthed. It took Marko Cerda just over a week to figure out the clues and dig up the chest.So, who is

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Fun on Friday: Finders Weepers; Losers Keepers?

June 7, 2019

And they say crime doesn’t pay.Remember the South Korean custodian who found gold bars in the garbage can at the  Incheon International Airport? I wrote about it a little over a year ago. The real travesty is that the janitor who found the gold probably won’t get a dime. It was a sad case of finders weepers.Well, the story has another twist. It seems it may be losers keepers.So, our intrepid custodian was emptying the trash when he/she found seven gold bars. They are valued at around $300,000 based on current exchange rates. Now, you might think a little reward would be in the offering for the honest employee who found the gold and turned it in.Nope.South Korea has what’s known as a “finders keepers” law. If you find an article and it’s not reclaimed you get to keep at least a portion

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Fun on Friday: There’s Gold In Dem Der Leaves!

May 31, 2019

Calvin and Hobbs ranks as my all-time favorite comic strip. Calvin said and did a lot of the things that went through my head when I was a kid. But of course, I was too chicken to do or say most of those things.If you’re familiar with the strip, you know Calvin’s imagination sometimes intertwined with reality to create some really weird scenarios. Well, I’ve got a real-life story for you that kind of reminds me of a Calvin and Hobbs strip.But before we get to reality, I need you to use your imagination.Picture this: Calvin and Hobbs are walking through the forest on a brisk fall day. The leaves have changed and they are fluttering to the ground all around our dynamic duo. Calvin has a shovel slung over his shoulder. Eventually, Calvin stops underneath a tree with bright golden leaves,

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When It Comes to the Trade War, Don’t Forget to Count the Cost

May 22, 2019

In a recent article, Peter Schiff called the ongoing trade war Pres. Trump’s last stand, saying, “it looks to me that Donald Trump … is charging into an economic version of the Little Bighorn.” Proponents of the trade war argue that we need to give Trump’s strategy time to work. They say the tariffs will force the Chinese to bend, and in the end, America will find itself in a much better economic position than it was before.We can debate whether Trump’s tariffs are a brilliant negotiating tool or an economic disaster, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that they are causing significant pain. And not just for the Chinese. Ultimately, American consumers are paying the price.If you are a regular listener to the Friday Gold Wrap podcast, you have heard me say over and over again that we

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Nope! Nothing to See Here!

May 21, 2019

Don’t worry. Nothing to see here!That was pretty much the message Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivered in a speech he gave at the Atlanta Federal Reserve bank conference on May 20.Powell talked about the high levels of corporate debt. In fact, corporate leverage is at a record level of around 35% of corporate assets. But the Fed chair said it’s not really too big a cause for concern.Although Powell acknowledged, “Business debt has clearly reached a level that should give businesses and investors reason to pause and reflect,” he said comparisons between the current corporate debt level and mortgage debt in the years leading up to the financial crisis are “not fully convincing.”Of course, the pundits and financial experts were all saying that skyrocketing levels of mortgage

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Fun on Friday: Lookie What I Found!

May 17, 2019

Some people have all the luck.Not me. Well, not good luck. I tell people all the time I could never gamble because I would be broke within weeks. I’m the guy that can jinx the best sports team simply by cheering for them.Case in point, I am a Tampa Bay Lightning fan. If you follow hockey, you know my pain. The Bolts broke all kinds of records in the regular season. They ended up tied with the 1996 Detroit Red Wings for the most wins ever during the regular season.And then Tampa Bay went to the playoffs and got swept out in round one by the Columbus Blue Jackets in four straight games.That’s the Maharrey curse.So, the story I’m about to tell you would never happen to me.An Australian family was out for a nice little walk when this guy’s daughter sees a shiny rock lying on the ground. The

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Peter Schiff: Did Trump Tank Stocks on Purpose to Force a Rate Cut?

May 8, 2019

There has been significant volatility in US stock markets so far this week. The Dow was down over 470 points Monday morning. Dip-buyers saved the day and the Dow ended up only down 66 points. But then the bottom fell out on Tuesday, with the Dow plunging 473 points.Tweets by President Trump threatening more tariffs and raising questions about whether China and the US can work out a trade deal sparked this market volatility and the ensuing sell-off.In his latest podcast, Peter Schiff raises an interesting question: was this by design?[embedded content]Of course, it could be that Trump just realized that the amazing trade deal he’s been promising isn’t going to come to fruition and he’s trying to lower expectations. Or it could be a negotiating tactic. The president certainly has a

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Fun on Friday: What? A Free iPad? I Didn’t Get Squat!

May 3, 2019

I was perusing my local newspaper’s website the other day when I came across this headline – “University of Kentucky to Give iPads to All Incoming Freshman This Fall.”I have to admit, just seeing the headline kind of annoyed me. Because you know what I got when I started at UK as a freshman in 1985?Nothing.I didn’t get squat!I have a friend who went to UK about a decade after me. She was a little miffed about the free iPads too. She said all she got was a T-shirt.I didn’t even get a T-shirt. What’s up with that?According to the article, the iPad distribution is part of a partnership between the University of Kentucky and Apple. The university will fork over about $1.5 million for 5,900 iPads.I was just curious, so I did the math. That comes to about $254.24 per iPad. This brings us to

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Fun on Friday: Your Daily Dose of Dumb

April 26, 2019

There’s a video going around on Facebook blaming Trump because tax refund amounts are lower this year. I’m telling you, this video takes dumb to a whole new level!I’m starting to feel like an old man yelling at the clouds.“Kids these days!”“Turn that racket down!”“What is she wearing??”I guess this happens to all of us as we get older. I used to wonder why my grandfather rolled his eyes all the time. Now I know. But, really, there are legitimate reasons to believe society is hurtling toward a canyon of dumb.You’ve probably seen the videos on Facebook. These videos generally hurt my brain to begin with. As they say, “The stupid hurts.” was founded by some Huffington Post people. So, it should come as no surprise that their videos are generally left of center populist drivel. But they

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Fun on Friday: What’s the Big Deal About the Stanley Cup?

April 19, 2019

So, what do you think about the Muller report? I think it completely exonerates the president! No, wait. I think it shows he’s absolutely guilty and should be impeached! No, wait…Actually, I think the whole thing goes to show how people can spin political theater any way they want to, depending on their political proclivities. I don’t really have any political proclivities – at least not when it comes to party politics. I haven’t been following the whole saga, so, I don’t know much about Russiagate at all.But you know what I know about?  Hockey! And it’s Stanley Cup playoff season!Actually, this isn’t a particularly happy subject for me either. You see, I am a Tampa Bay Lightning fan. If you follow hockey, or really sports in general, you know that the Lightning just completed arguably

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Fun on Friday: The Tax Man Cometh

April 12, 2019

It’s time for Fun on Friday and I have to be honest — I’m not feeling very fun.Why?Because the tax man cometh! And no matter how you slice it, taxation is a fun subject. It’s no wonder “death” and “taxes” are often mentioned in the same breath.But April 15 is lurking right around the corner and that means it’s almost tax day.This is the time of year we find out who is a procrastinator and who isn’t. The guy sitting in line at the post office at 11:55 p.m. Monday – procrastinator.No. Taxes aren’t fun. But you know what is fun? Reggae music. You can write the darkest lyrics imaginable, set them to a reggae beat and viola – you have a happy upbeat song. You can be be-bopping along to a reggae song and suddenly realize you’re singing about genocide in Rowanda. It’s kinda weird.Well, the

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Fun on Friday: The Golden Dinner They Called “Art”

April 5, 2019

I’ve written about gold-covered food here in my Fun on Friday column from time to time. People cover all kinds of foods with gold  — including traditional blue-collar fare such as beer and chicken wings.  I’ve even told you where you can get coffee with real gold mixed into it.Well, this week I’m going to up my game. How about an entire meal covered in gold? And how about if we call it “art.”Yes. This is a thing.It happened in Paris. French artist and performer Frederique Lecerf put on the dinner as a performance art piece.Yes. Eating gold food is art. Keep in mind here, when I say art, I’m using air quotes. When you use air quotes, you can turn anything into art. Randomly throw paint at a canvas – “art.” Throw sticks in a pile – “art.” Pee in a cup – bingo – “art.”So, anyway, Lecerf

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Fun on Friday: Kids These Days…

March 29, 2019

I used to hate it when my parents would tell me how much easier I had it than they did. But as I rip through middle age and rapidly approach “old,” I am becoming much more sympathetic to my parents’ point of view. Not that my parents really had it harder than me… But kids these days? Yeah, they have it way easier than I ever did.I mean, yeah, my dad may have had to walk two miles to school in the snow — uphill both ways — while I got to ride with mom. But hell, kids these days don’t even have to get up to change the channel on the TV.And don’t even get me started on the internet. These snowflakes never got the experience of having their mother tell them to “look it up” when that meant flipping through the pages of an encyclopedia. It was really hard at my house because my parents never

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The Pause Is on and Now the Mainstream Is Starting to Talk Interest Rate Cuts

February 20, 2019

Right after the last Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, Peter Schiff said the “Powell Pause” won’t be enough to save the stock market and head off a recession. He said ultimately, the central bank would have to cut interest rates and launch another round of quantitative easing.Well, it seems the mainstream is starting to catch up with Peter’s thinking. Yesterday, ran an article asserting that “instead of pausing, the central bank may need to start cutting interest rates to avoid a recession.”After the Jerome Powell indicated that the pause was on during the last FOMC meeting, Peter said it wouldn’t be long before the Fed would pivot toward rate cuts. He said it was inevitable because the economy is hooked on easy money and you can’t just take the drug away.I think that soon

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Fun on Friday: Dumb Politician Edition

February 8, 2019

When I was a kid, I thought people in elected offices were among the brightest and best. Then I grew up, started interacting with politicians and realized they are no smarter than anybody else. And in fact,  a lot of them are downright dumb.Well, I’ve got an Oklahoma lawmaker for you that fits neatly into the downright dumb category.Oklahoma state Rep. Merleyn Bell, a Democrat from Norman, wants to penalize people who use a successful private sector DUI prevention program to fund an utterly useless government DUI prevention program.Her proposal would place a 20% surcharge (that’s politi-speak for a tax) on Uber and Lyft rates when the companies are in “surge pricing” mode.If you’ve ever used a rideshare service on a busy weekend or during a major event, you’ve experienced surge pricing.

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