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Texas Politician Wants Violent Games Tax 226

Posted by Zonk
from the worse-than-cigarettes-by-far dept.
Gamepolitics reports that a candidate for the Governor of Texas would pass a violent games tax if elected. From the article: "The Amarillo Globe News is reporting that Republican gubernatorial candidate Star Locke wants to scrap Texas' current property tax system. Instead, Locke would institute new taxes on abortion providers, soft drinks, and violent video games to fund the state's government. Locke, a rancher and builder from Corpus Christi, favors a 50% tax on violent games, as well as a $10,000 tax per abortion and a 10% levy on sweetened soft drinks."
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Texas Politician Wants Violent Games Tax

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  • by wckdjugallo (832138) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:28AM (#14557797)
    If he was elected he would get rid of a tax he has to pay. And replace it with taxes he won't pay since they would be taxing services he obviously doesn't use? How is that fair?
    • by RailGunner (554645) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:32AM (#14557840) Journal
      Star Locke doesn't have a snowball chance in hell of winning the Texas Governor position. It's going to be between the incumbent, Rick Perry, and another Republican challenger, Carole Keeton Strayhorn.

      Star Locke, Kinky Friedman, and a few others, are just dry-roasted nuts that aren't worth paying much attention too.

      • CK Strayhorn
        Star Locke
        Kinky Friedman
        Rick Perry

        Rick Perry needs to change his name, it's just not good enough
      • Yeah, that's probably true, but Kinky's earned more money than any of the democratic contenders.

        And Carole is technically an independent in this election, and doesn't have her traditional republican backing.
      • Star Locke doesn't have a snowball chance in hell of winning the Texas Governor position.

        Agreed. I was going to post nearly the same language. :) I do think Kinky has a chance (I have in mind Ma & Pa Ferguson and Pappy O'Daniel), but I have to wonder if his campaign is percolating a little too sluggishly to have much chance of success. Perry's in the damn paper every day. It's hard as hell to compete with that.

        $0.02USD,
        -l

        /me watches all the Texans come out of the Slashdot woodwork...

    • Hmm... I won't be going to Texas any time soon I guess...

      I wonder what "violent" video game developers based out of that state, like Id, think?
    • If he was elected he would get rid of a tax he has to pay. And replace it with taxes he won't pay since they would be taxing services he obviously doesn't use? How is that fair?

      You answered your own question. Sure, his intentions are obvious. And his motivations could range anywhere from simple greed to some deep belief in his own righteousness. But, in the end, if Texas doesn't want this to happen, Texas can stop it.

  • by faloi (738831) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:29AM (#14557812)
    There's no way this sort of thing would pass. Texas is in the midst of some funding issues/scandals. And considering I live in Texas and this is the first I've heard of this guy, this is a cheap way to get some publicity for his campaign. Either that or I need to pay more attention to local politics.
  • by Godeke (32895) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:30AM (#14557820)
    Good grief, I'm as big of a video game fan as anyone, but this isn't about video games but a scary way of thinking.

    "I take the position that the Founding Fathers took: that the power to tax is the power to destroy. So our concept is that we need to tax things we don't want and you want to not tax things that you want to encourage.

    Ah, there is the epitome of sustainable government taxation: tax things you want to destroy. Sometimes I wonder what powers these politicians... it sure isn't brains. See, if you succeed in destroying the taxed items, then you have no tax base. So destruction of the taxed items clearly can't be the goal in such a tax proposal: it would deny the government the monies it needs.

    So if your goal isn't to destroy the "sin taxed" items (since under his model you only tax things you don't want) then the reality is that you want to encourage or sustain the sin taxed items to help raise funds. Ah, isn't that a great idea? Get elected by claiming that you will remove taxes from things ordinary good folk want, such as property, and shift the burden to evil gamers, loose women and sugar fiends. (Wow, has Texas really become so utopian that those were the worst they could find? My trip to the Dallas BoardGameGeek convention sure didn't make it seem that way.)

    One wonders if the people are smart enough to realize that fully funding your government via sin taxes turns you into something similar to Las Vegas, where sin is fully encouraged as long as the taxes are collected. Of course, the prior story on politicians ignoring the facts probably explains this all away anyway.
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:37AM (#14557903)
      ... and given that he thinks it's a good idea to tax nonintoxicating beverages, I'd suggest he put a largish tax on tea.
    • That's a pretty strange assumption that all women who want/need abortions are "loose" as you put it.

      Ever think there might be other reasons for wanting an abortion? Does RAPE come to mind?
      • Are you saying she didn't ask for it by the way she dressed?

        All trolling aside I wonder if this will pass constitutional muster. You can't outlaw abortions in a state, can one simply tax it to obscurity. At 10K it would be cheaper just to goto the next state, and I assume thats what they want.
      • Chill. I was making a joke based on a presumed attitude of someone who would propose such a tax structure, not my opinion of abortion (which is that it should be available to those who want it without an overly intrusive government nanny).
      • Besides, this is 2006, I thought the idea that being "loose" is normal for men but morally wrong for women died decades ago?
    • by ianscot (591483) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @12:34PM (#14558632)
      Ah, there is the epitome of sustainable government taxation: tax things you want to destroy.

      In general, don't you find that conspicuously pious posturing and an inability to think through consequences go hand in hand?

      Seriously. This guy is probably a so-called "small government" conservative, too, but he has no problem with the idea of government regulating which video games are violent, and which aren't quite violent enough, to require his new tax.

      At least with tobacco and alcohol, which are the classic models for this, you can make the case that the tax money partly addresses problems created by the "sin" in question. Don't even get me started on the abortion side of this. That's unreal. (If you're pro-life, do you really want an idiot like this on your side? Work on Roe V. Wade, whatever, but a $10,000 tax? That's just dumb, and would be about as legal as Jim Crow poll taxes.)

      The problem's with the folks what elected this bumpkin. Note to American voters: if you're looking for a good, decent person to hold office, try finding someone who actually struggles with moral questions, rather than someone who claims they're easy to decided on for reasons of religious faith or whatever. People who think moral questions are easy are either a) of Godlike divinity; or b) on the wrong side of those questions, but wearing a nice white robe because it gets them power. And I'm fairly sure this guy isn't divine.

    • by pla (258480) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @12:59PM (#14558970) Journal
      Ah, there is the epitome of sustainable government taxation: tax things you want to destroy.

      ...Like "personal income" and "sales"?


      Gotta agree, these guys certainly don't think very much about the consequences of the laws they create.


      But then, I have increasingly grown of the opinion that ALL involuntary taxation needs to end, immediately. Not that I expect that to happen, nor will I stop paying my yearly extortion money to the government, but culturally, we NEED to lose the mentality best summed up in the "death and taxes" cliche. "We" don't need to pay taxes. "They" need our money to use it on police and militaries so they can enforce all the other BS laws that no sane human would ever consider "good".


      I'll gladly pay for roads, for schools, for libraries, for social programs that benefit everyone (like truly universal healthcare, not of this half-assed system we have now). But when the single biggest chunk of my income goes, involuntarily, to fighting a new holy war, I have a problem with that. And for anyone who considers this rant to have gone off-topic, consider - How would you categorize the Christian Right's campaign against all things fun, free, or Islamic?
      • tax things you want to destroy. ...Like "personal income" and "sales"?

        Great point. I wonder how well he'll do if his opponent quotes him, and then alludes to the conclusion that the man is obviously a Communist.
      • I'll gladly pay for roads, for schools, for libraries, for social programs that benefit everyone (like truly universal healthcare, not of this half-assed system we have now).

        The problem is the majority of people who, given the choice, would not support any of those things. Without involuntary taxation, you would not have a military, law enforcement*, fire protection, road maintenance, public education, low-income health care and other services, public parks/libraries/museums, and so on. Is that really t


    • This guy sounds like a complete jackass, but it's not just conservatives who think this way. Some states have huge taxes on cigarettes (though that's a bipartisan thing, it seems) I've heard quite a few liberals clamoring for huge increases in taxes on gasoline (cuz it would only hurt SUV drivers... never mind the truck drivers who deliver goods and people who ride the bus etc) and increasing taxes on guns and other things conservatives like.

      The fact is, both sides say they want to keep property, sales, an
    • See, if you succeed in destroying the taxed items, then you have no tax base

      that "sin taxes" (at least those which could destroy the items they tax) are often so difficult to collect that the government doesn't earn a bit on them. they are only there to steer the popular behavour.
  • Remember (Score:3, Funny)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:32AM (#14557833)
    The colonies declared war on England because they taxed a beverage. And it wasn't even coffee.
  • what if, instead of the tax on sweetened soft drinks, they stopped subsidizing corn farmers? the price of corn syrup would go up, so soft drink manufacturers would switch to cane sugar and increase their prices.

    government increases income (no subsidy)
    soda price goes up
    (soft drinks taste better)
    • I'm pretty sure corn syrup is still cheaper unsubsidized than cane sugar. I still wish cola manufactures would provide the more expensive option of cane sugar version.

      You can still purchase original cane sugar Dr. Pepper at http://www.dublindrpepper.com/ [dublindrpepper.com]
      • hey sometimes i drink coke and it tastes really good. this only happens when it comes out of a fountain or one of those bar watergun things (i want one).

        do you know what they are doing that makes it so delicious? do they put in real sugar somehow? or are they just altering the syrup/water ratio. either way, can i get in on this action?

        (i take my soda very seriously)
    • No, the US subsidizes the corn farmers so that they limit production. If there were no subsidy, the corn farmers would produce a lot more corn, resulting in LOWER corn prices (which is good in my opinion). Not allowing us to get cane sugar from one of the largest producers of cane sugar on earth (Cuba) is what's keeping sugar prices so high. In other countries a lot of soft drink makers still use cane sugar because it's dirt cheap in most parts of the world.
    • No, tax ConAgra, Cargill and ADM instead, say, with a differential tax (figure out an inverse formula to help drive up the price that the commodity buyers pay to farmers. Of course, they will just figure out some other way to screw over farmers, so what's the point). ADM benefits (and lobbies for) the continued cane sugar tariffs, along with the anti-Castro loonies in Florida and the few remaining sugar cane growers in Florida. It is in ADM's best interests to keep the sugar tariffs high. ADM makes and sell
      • stick it to the man by taking that $77 and using it to buy black market cuban cane sugar. i hear the smuggling process just makes it taste sweeter.
  • Yeah, again, let's all support Kinky Friedman for Governor [kinkyfriedman.com]!

    Oh, and I'd like to see a tax for stupid tax initiatives.
    • I think he's an asshat [suseroot.com]. I don't know much about her (except she signed my permit to collect taxes in Texas), but Comptroller Carole Strayhorn [carolestrayhorn.com] is also running as an Independent, she looks more likely to get my vote.
      • He's an asshat because why? Because he hasn't copied and pasted his resume word for word for governor? You gotta be kidding me. Carole has no info on what she supports doesn't support, has almost no use of internet technology(wow, yet another unimpressive candidate who has no clue of INTER-NET) and says, like all Republicans initially do, she wants to lower taxes. But, like all Republicans(yes, I know she's running as an independent), she'll probably raise them here and there while lowering this other one b
        • He's an asshat because his campaign is a joke. I appreciate the fact that he's trying to break away from "politics as usual" and offer an alternative. But he'll never get enough people to vote for him with commercials about action figures and banner ads on his campaign site for his barbecue sauce. Even if someone wanted to say his campaign wasn't about winning but about making a statement...what's the statement? It's fun to run for Governor? OK, I'm convinced. Independent candidates should be taken se

  • <snarky>Well, I hope this genius also taxes other things that could hurt you...like coffee, fast food, and city buses. I'd hate to be exposed to anything that could damage me in any way.</snarky>
  • bullets (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:34AM (#14557861)
    What's the current tax per bullet and what's his recommended one?
  • by Durrill (908003) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:35AM (#14557875)
    If he were to introduce a +1% levy on ammunition, i'm sure the state would have a hundred billion surplus by the end of the year.
  • Insane (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:35AM (#14557878)
    It sounds like he wants to eliminate the taxes he pays and create "extreme" sin taxes.

    The 50% tax on violent video games would get declared unconstitutional most likely. It would be an infringement on freedom or speech (censorship on what the government "thinks" is violent) probably.

    Would they even have the state constitutional authority tax put a flat fee tax on abortions? I'm not a lawyer, but I feel something would come up that would overturn that kind of tax.

    We have something like the soft drink tax in Washington state, but it's at it's normal sales tax rate. Food items hear, most of them, and when not in a serving environment, don't get sales tax.

    There are ways to get rid property taxes. Create a luxury sales tax. Have the sales tax only affect purchases the rich can afford. Electronics over $5k for example. Vehicles over $50k. Anything classified as a yacht. Property purchases (i.e. land) exceeding $1 million.
    • So this guy's "extreme" sin tax solution is wrong but your "extreme" luxury tax idea is OK? Sounds to me like they're both implementations of the same idea: moving the tax burden from many people to fewer people. At least sin taxes are harder to sidestep. Luxury taxes generally don't work because the people who have the money to buy the luxury item typically also have the money to travel elsewhere to get said item.
      • I believe that would be illegal to avoid paying the tax. Sales tax tends to be done by destination, not the purchasing place. For example, I, being a Washingtonian, would be responsible for any and all sales tax on purchases I make by mail order or by Internet purchase. If I purchase a book from New York while my residence and shipping destination is in Washington state, I am responsible for paying the sales tax. Although a book is a minor purchase, you get the idea.
        • Sales tax tends to be done by destination, not the purchasing place.

          And Mexico is right across the border. You think they wouldn't want that business? They're probably dreaming of it.
          • What do you mean? Someone, like from Texas, buying an item from another state and having it shipped to Mexico? Well, that's definitely cheating the state.
        • Re:Insane (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hal2814 (725639)
          That's because they consider the sale to happen based on where the purchaser is at the time of purchase. I live in Georgia and go to South Carolina frequently. I pay my sales taxes to the state of South Carolina when I'm there and I buy something (ex. gas for my boat). I am in no way obligated to pay those taxes to the state of Georgia. When I buy something online I'm purchasing it FROM Georgia and I'm subject ot pay those taxes to the state of Georgia.

          Now some states get you on boat and automobile taxe
    • Create a luxury sales tax. Have the sales tax only affect purchases the rich can afford. Electronics over $5k for example. Vehicles over $50k. Anything classified as a yacht. Property purchases (i.e. land) exceeding $1 million.

      The US Congress thought that a 10% luxury tax on boats over $100,000 was a good idea back in 1991. It was (relatively) quickly repealed three years later -- but not before putting a large number of US-based custom boat builders out of business.

      • How exactly did they go out of business? A 10% retail sales tax on boats shouldn't be that negative.
        • I imagine that if you're buying a $100,000 boat, then it's probably an ocean going vessel, and you could probably get around it by buying the boat somewhere else. I don't think there's any laws that stop you from parking a boat from another country at a marina.
          • Some people are bound to try cheating, but I would hope they would be more honest. Since there's no income tax in my state, they do have the money to pay the sales tax. Also, if the luxury tax isn't too much, perhaps 3% in addition to regular sales taxes, that's only $3k more.

            If a luxury tax doesn't work, there's always one more idea. Make property taxes progressive, and there are so many ways to do it too.
        • How exactly did they go out of business? A 10% retail sales tax on boats shouldn't be that negative.

          They bought the boat somewhere else, or simply didn't buy one at all.

          The US had a diverse custom boat building industry. Most were small, family-run operations that built custom boats to order for people that had the money and inclination. It was a high-margin (and high-profit) business, separate from the mass market boat industry that churn out fishing and ski boats using production lines.

          The luxur

    • There's a little city out here east of Dallas called Canton. They have what is called "First Monday Trade Days" (where Dallas got the name for it's very gray market tech trading midnight rush called "First Saturday"). There website is here [firstmondaycanton.com]. Because of first monday, and because they lease out that land to other conventions/shows(such as farming equipment trade shows, etc..) they don't have a city property tax. Wikipedia has more info [wikipedia.org]. So there are ways without even taxing stuff traditionally.

      Of course, you g
    • Re:Insane (Score:3, Informative)

      by nickname225 (840560)
      I am a lawyer (although constitutional law is not my area of specialization) - and at least the taxes on "violent" video games and abortion would most likely be found unconstitutional. The government is free to tax video games at pretty much any rate they want - but the first amendment protection of free speech is generally construed to prohibit government regulation of "Content based speech" So - a tax on JUST violent video games - or even JUST kids video games is unlikely to pass constitutional muster.
    • Food items hear

      And I thought only the walls had ears....
    • Create a luxury sales tax. Have the sales tax only affect purchases the rich can afford. Electronics over $5k for example.

      Our new quad-Xeon server cost more than $5k, but it helps us stay in business (employing about 50 people). You'd levy luxury taxes on my business capital.

      Vehicles over $50k.

      A dump truck will easily run you $75k+. You'd levy luxury taxes on the construction crew down the road.

      Anything classified as a yacht.

      From the American Heritage dictionary:

      Yacht: Any of various relati

  • by timster (32400) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:36AM (#14557883)
    Corpus Christi is literally the boondocks. Plenty of Texas politicians say stupid things, but this guy doesn't even have a remote chance of being elected. Calling him a "candidate" is extremely far-fetched.

    Anybody can spout nonsense; this guy doesn't have the support of any significant number of Texans, so it's silly to use him as an example of modern Texan politics.
  • There's many a state right now gnashing their teeth over the almost universal jump in tobacco taxes a few years ago. They claimed that they were raising those taxes to get people to quit smoking. Well it worked and now they're complaining that they're not getting as much tax revenue from cigarettes. Sin taxes don't work because they do work. If you raise the tax high enough, a lot of people will drop the "sin."

    Also, if you put a $10000 tax on abortions in the state of Texas, people WILL leave Texas to g
    • If you raise the tax high enough, a lot of people will drop the "sin."

      Actually, I doubt many people drop the sin. Instead, they will look for illegal, and cheaper alternatives. It's happened with cigarrettes, people are trying to buy them online, or from indian reservations [missoulian.com] where the taxes aren't charged.

      Also, I personally don't agree with abortions, but a $10k tax is NOT the way to get rid of them. Yeah, a lot of people will leave Texas to get them, but a lot of people will go to illegal places, and
      • Actually, I doubt many people drop the sin. Instead, they will look for illegal, and cheaper alternatives.

        Indeed. Anytime there is prohibition (or something is made unreasonalbe to possess by unreasonable means) there will be a black market. Taxing abortion may not make people wanting the procedure to go over the border but rather seek out "back alley" methods.

        We see the blackmarket drug trade has done. We simply need to find an easier/cheaper way to obtain what they want.
    • There's many a state right now gnashing their teeth over the almost universal jump in tobacco taxes a few years ago. They claimed that they were raising those taxes to get people to quit smoking. Well it worked and now they're complaining that they're not getting as much tax revenue from cigarettes.

      Meanwhile, in Ireland, they imposed a tax a few years ago of fifteen cents on every plastic carrier bag provided by stores to their customers.

      Just about every bugger in the country immediately switched to reu

  • Greater Effects (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sc0ttyb (833038) * on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:39AM (#14557922)
    I wonder if this guy realizes just how many game development houses are currently based in Texas. Taxing violent games into oblivion would most likely force a lot of these developers to relocate, thus losing directly and indirectly associated jobs, future investment, and well, it's just a dick thing to do.

    I bet this'll go over really, really well. Lmaonade.
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:40AM (#14557932) Journal
    How about fact that this suggestion effectively make abortion unavailable to the poor in the state of Texas?

    This proposal is a raft of bullshit intended to get votes from Christian conservatives and frightened, reactionary idiots. And no doubt, one significant purpose of this proposal is a backdoor attempt to make abortion unavailable de facto to one segment of the population.

    Pro- or anti- abortion, don't ignore the important issue - the videogame tax is a minor part of the significance of the proposal.
    • I'm _hoping_ that people are thinking like I did, which is that a $10,000 tax on abortions will mean that a few people will cross state borders once.

      People don't tend to get abortions terribly often, and $10,000 is such a ludicrous amount that he's just forcing people to go out-of-state in a piece of legislation that wouldn't last five minutes, it's so obviously an anti-abortion law by the backdoor.

      However, an extra $25 on the price of a game is going to either get paid, or just make Amazon a shedload of ca
    • One of the theories of Freakonomics
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/006073132X/ref=pd _bbs_null_1/002-8602761-4144069?v=glance&n=283155 [amazon.com]
      is that abortion has had the single largest affect on reducing crime in the US in the 1990's. Offensive, but interesting.
    • How about fact that this suggestion effectively make abortion unavailable to the poor in the state of Texas?

      Gosh, I'm sure that never occured to him.

      His website [starovertexas.com] is great, though. Much of the text appears to have been written by someone with no more than an 8th grade education. He particularly does not seem to understand the correct use of CAPITAL LETTERS or "quotes,"

      ISLAM is NOT a religion but a Virus

      The ATHLETIC BOARD shall set minimum Physical fitness work out programs for all TEXAS SCHOOLS wi

    • Sure, he is making abortion illegal by taxing it to the point where it is effectivly illegal.

      However, would you also be as upset if as some politicians have tried to do that we put a $10,000 tax on guns (and hence, pricing them into essentially being illegal)?

      That is the problem... everyone is willing to use the aparatus of the government in order to enforce their own agenda. Are you against this because it is an abuse of government power, or because the agenda is different than your? For most people, it is
  • by Xiver (13712) on Wednesday January 25, 2006 @11:53AM (#14558103)
    I'm a very conservative guy, in fact I'm 33 year old software developing, video game playing, gun toting, SUV driving, soda drinking, Jesus freak with a black belt, three daughters, a wife, and a mortgage who would like nothing more than peace on earth in my lifetime. I've played 'violent' video games since there were 'violent' video games. I don't really care for the Grand Theft Auto type of video games, but I've played a couple of them and I don't think I've been warped. I can understand people's frustration with that type of game because it glorifies crime, but guess what, so do %80 of the movies that come out of Hollywood. Almost all video games could be considered violent. Look at Pacman, that weird yellow cannibal that runs around eating 'power pellets' to make him powerful enough to kill the 'ghosts'. Just because someone enjoys playing FPS's, MMORPGs, or other violent games does not mean that they are going to pick up a gun and go on a rampage for laughs. This guy is clueless.

              Property taxes in Texas are a little ridiculous, but my daughters will receive a much better public education than I did because of them. If he really wants to do something good for Texas he would be proposing that the borders be properly patrolled. Maybe he should tax illegal immigration. He certainly won't get my vote or any of the other 'conservative' people that I know.
  • PG-rated game, $60 + normal sales tax. = $65
    M-rated free mod: $0 + 50% violent game tax = $0
    Total cost: $65
    Taxes: $5
  • If they can, they will tax anything with little reason other then "People won't buy it as often when it's to expensive" to cover up them just using it as a money tree. Really though. Taxation is needed to keep the government running, but most taxation targets like these serve no purpose other then to further their own political wants (like abortion) and get money, even if half the country may not agree.
  • Madness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by catahoula10 (944094)
    "institute new taxes on abortion providers, soft drinks, and violent video games to fund the state's government."

    Sin taxes. More sin taxes.
    How did we get to a point in America where such a small number of people are allowed to decide for the larger number of people what is and is not a sin?
    Some have tried to tax assorted food items as sin. Some have already sin-taxed alcohol and tobacco. What will be next if this is allowed to continue?

    How about watching specific television programs, will that be ta
  • 1) I own lots of property.
    2) I buy no video games.
    3) ?
    4) Profit!
  • "Also ran."

    Dig hard enough and you can find a candidate for any elected office in the United States that will say anything you can imagine. It will be news when this person gets more than 2% of the vote.
  • starting with the president.
    1. Replace sexual education with "abstinence" and bible classes
    2. Tax abortions
    3. Profit!

    Sounds like a good plan... if you're an asshole.

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