Art Chance: Palin is finishing what she started, as every Democrat’s favorite Republican



Sarah Palin has been at war with all-things-Republican since the turn of the century beginning with attempts, mostly by proxy, to wrest control of the Republican Party away from then-party Chairman Randy Ruederich.

Palin made her move into state-level politics in 2002 with a second-place finish to Loren Leman in the Republican Primary for lieutenant governor. Frank Murkowski’s successful run for governor meant that his long-held U.S. Senate seat would be open; under the law in effect at the time he could appoint his successor.

At this stage of her career, Palin had a resume that would look fairly impressive for a Mat-Su Valley state House seat. She’d been on the Wasilla City Council and had been a two-term mayor of Wasilla, where she’d had a government about the size of a suburban real estate office, and for which she had a city manager to do all the detail work. She threw her hat in the ring for appointment to the U.S. Senate, and she did so vociferously. There were others who may have received some consideration, but the choice seemed to come back to Sarah Palin or businessman and former State Sen. John Binkley.

I think it is a fair assessment that the contrarian wing of Republican/conservative voters largely supported Palin and the Republican/conservative voters who had an inkling how government worked supported Binkley, though some did so reluctantly.  

The new governor had two bad choices, so he made a worse one: He appointed his daughter, Lisa, whose resume was little if any more impressive than Sarah’s. His administration was doomed the day he did that. I know; I was there.

Gov. Murkowski tried to placate Palin with one of the best patronage jobs in state government under the governor’s direct appointment authority — a commissioner at the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, at the time the highest paid job in the Executive Branch that didn’t require some sort of professional credential.  It actually paid more than the governor or any real commissioner was paid.  

Sarah wasn’t placated. To make it worse, her old bête noir, Randy Ruedrich, was also appointed an AOGCC Commissioner, so they worked together. This didn’t end well. Her appointment went over so poorly that the Legislature passed legislation establishing qualifications for AOGCC commissioners, a bill known in the Capitol as “The No More Sarah Palins Law.”  And the Legislature also took away the governor’s senatorial appointment authority. Now, when an Alaska U.S. senator resigns or dies in office, we elect rather than appoint the temporary placeholder.

AOGCC is administratively attached to the Department of Administration, where my Division of Labor Relations was located, so I spent a lot of my Monday in staff meetings with Palin. It’s fair to say that those of us who had real jobs and real responsibilities weren’t nearly as impressed with her as she was of herself. 

It didn’t take long for the trouble to begin: Palin started complaining that Ruedrich was doing Republican Party business on state time. I’d had a couple of issues with Ruedrich about such things and Ruedrich was prone to pronounce the relevant state laws and rules as “stupid.”   I wasn’t reticent to tell him that those laws were because of people like him. Ruedrich got a stern talking to or two and the kerfuffle seemed to have played out.

Some time later I was summoned to the commissioner’s office and into a meeting with our deputies and the governor’s special assistant assigned to Administration. The special assistant told us that Palin had written the governor with her complaints and said that she had brought them to the commissioner of Administration, who had done nothing.  I don’t think the Governor’s Office believed it any more than we did, but we were told to “fix it.”  One of the deputies and I adjourn to my office to try to figure out how to “fix it.”

For those of you who think you know about this from reading “Going Rogue,” almost nothing in Palin’s account is true. That said, I won’t call her a liar because I know her well enough to know that she believes whatever falls out of her mouth is true. 

I suggested that we order her to Juneau for an investigatory interview. The deputy replied that she wouldn’t come to Juneau. I said, “Good. Order her to Juneau and if she won’t come, just fire her.”  He said, “She’s Sarah Palin.” I said, “OK, we treat them like classified, unionized employees and do the whole due-process drill.”   

I generated the notice memos to them; Ruedrich as the object of the investigation and Palin as a material witness. We set a meeting with each of them the following Monday in Anchorage. We instructed Ruedrich that he wasn’t to discuss the matter with anyone except as necessary to prepare his defense and, since she wasn’t accused of anything, we instructed Palin that she wasn’t to discuss it at all. Those memos were designed to raise the hairs on the necks of state employees, but I don’t think they had much effect on either of them.

The deputy showed up to meet with Palin, who acted surprised: “Oh, I should have called you; Randy and I had a good talk and worked it all out.”  

There went a thousand bucks or so of the state’s money for a useless trip to Anchorage and we no longer had a complaint. So, maybe peace would descend on the land. It lasted a little while then the news exploded that Palin had resigned because we didn’t deal with her ethics complaints against Ruedrich. Palin immediately became the Anchorage Daily News‘ and every Democrat’s favorite Republican. Then the voters foolishly elected her governor.

Palin became the best governor the Democrats ever had since Bill Egan in the 1960s. In her two years as governor, the General Fund expenditures soared from $6.7 Billion to $9.3 Billion. She worked with the Democrats to get one of their fondest hopes of the oil era: a revenue scheme based on oil revenue rather than oil production. It’s known as ACES — Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share. 

Those of us who had been around since the beginning understood that the state could never pay and supervise lawyers, accountants, and auditors who could go toe to toe with the oil companies, so we established a taxation and royalty scheme based on simply counting barrels of oil. Even so, we were in constant litigation with them. The complex ACES tax scheme put a lot of money in the State treasury but it has never been audited, and probably couldn’t be.

In the waning days of Murkowski’s term, his Administration negotiated a deal for a natural gas line with the producers. Malcontents in the Department of Natural Resources leaked the details to Pravda, excuse me, the Anchorage Daily News, before it could be announced and ADN/Democrat opposition killed the plan.  

When she became governor, Palin sought out the malcontents from the Murkowski Administration and brought them into her Administration.  The DNR malcontents, some with TransCanada ties, made a deal with TransCanada, which gave them a half-billion dollars of Alaska’s money for starting a gas line, and for which we have seen nothing. In the ensuing years nobody has shown any interest as to where the money went.

I was a front page writer on the Red State political blog back in 2008.  The Red State management were big Palin propaganda fans. I said she’d never propose a budget cut and that her “Ethics Act” problems were of her own making. If you’re doing something privately, you go to the state’s ethics attorney, tell them what you want to do, and if the attorney clears it, the state defends you against ethics complaints.   The only logical reason for Palin not going to the ethics attorney is she didn’t want to tell the Department of Law what she was doing. That got me banned from Red State; people who really like Palin really like her and facts and reason have no impact on them. Palin quit and her defenders haven’t had much to say.

Fast forward a little more than a decade: Palin is rich, single, trim, has had a bit of work done, and is letting herself be seen tete a tete at dinner in fancy New York restaurants with a former National Hockey League player. I thought she’d never put herself before a hostile press again. There some interesting allegations in Joe McGinniss’ book, “The Rogue,” but maybe she thinks memories have faded or nobody cares. 

Palin has the money and name recognition to win the late Congressman Don Young’s seat. She’ll leave every other Republican bruised, bleeding, and broke. The communists, excuse me, Democrats will pour money into Alaska to defeat her and that will spill over into the other races. We face for the first time since 1973 having a Democrat U.S. Representative, as a result.  

We may well have a Democrat/fake independent governor, too, with Bill Walker. And the one person Palin hates most, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, may well survive. 

Palin has had a good run as the home wrecker of Alaska Republican politics.

And, before one of the trolls brings it up, she didn’t fire me. I retired June 30, 2006, long before she was even the nominee. I must confess she made me a good bit of money; when she did some really stupid things with the unions, they knew who to call. I named the new drives on my boat “Sarah.”  Giddy-up Sarah!

Art Chance is a retired Director of Labor Relations for the State of Alaska, formerly of Juneau and now living in Anchorage. He is the author of the book, “Red on Blue, Establishing a Republican Governance,” available at Amazon. 


  1. I would be surprised if Sarah spends one nickel of her own money. Maybe Art has a bankroll for her?

    • I don’t know her well enough to determine if she will spend her own money or not. But she seems to likes the spotlight and money spent on politics is usually a good investment.


    Expose the folks Art


  3. I’ve really enjoyed the dark humor lurking in your many previous columns, Art. But I detect, more than anything else, some real and petty bitterness in this one. I think you are playing both sides with this one. Your rancor is getting in the way of making solid arguments why historic Palin supporters should not support her bid now. I would like to know more of where you think her faults lie rather than nasty misattributions like, “I can see Russia from my house.” Care to try again?

    • Let me make it simple enough for even the most simple-minded Palin sychophants; she was incompetent. She had no idea how to make the State Government work. Everything she did was for the greater glory of Sarah Palin. She rarely asked for staff advice and even more rarely took it. As I said, she made a good bit of money for me. I knew my former staff in Labor Relations would never advise her to do some of the things she and her commissioner of administration did, so they never asked them or ignored their advice; I enjoyed the trips to the bank.

      • Well done Art,
        Off the top of my head here’s what I recall in addition
        She never held a cabinet meeting
        Todd was the de facto head of ADF&G
        Troopergate happened as described, namely that Palin, as governor, attempted to use the power of the chief executive to destroy a rank and file state employee — her brother in law in the wake of an ugly divorce from her sister, and then fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan for refusing to facilitate the ethics breach.

        She got elected, in large part, by successfully painting Frank Murkowski as a member of the “good ol boys” club, and then, ironically, surrounded herself with sycophants she went to high school with.

        During her honeymoon as governor—when no one challenged her popularity Sarah Barracuda broke everything she touched but before those chickens came a’ roosting, she was whisked away to the bright lights of presidential politics.

        Then, when Obama won, her national star faded and the writers from Vogue, and Vanity Fair quit calling for puff pieces. It was time for Sarah to go home and govern. She complained bitterly that the hard job of governing was made harder by the ethics complaints she was saddled with.

        A curious thing that—being hoisted upon one’s own petard.*

        *in the early days of her governorship Sarah used her 92% approval rating to jam her ethics law down the throat of the legislature—which cowardly acquiesced. She was later called onto the carpet by a former state employee Andree McLeod who used Palin’s ethics law to charge her with, essentially, fraud over her continued used of state funded staff during her stint as McCain’s VP nominee—something she was supposed to cease doing.

        Bottom line—when the job turned into a job, she quit.

        I dunno, maybe she should’ve let John Duffy run the state for her too…

    • I thought the piece was pretty clear and had a lot more weight than the SNL joke. There was plenty of meat in his article to discuss, why not pick one that you disagree with rather than pretending he said nothing?

  4. As a long time reader of Red State, I remember when getting banned was instant upon posting any comment that disagreed with party machine Republican orthodox dogma.
    Since the Trump era, and empowerment of common, middle class conservative Republicans in having a meaningful voice in the only viable alternative to the full fascist Democrat Party, Red State now allows contrarian comments to the “party line”.
    I clearly remember Art Chance’s articles on there, he was highly respected with Alaska insight, but more importantly he impressed the need for incoming Republican administrations to clean house, or nothing changes. And how to deal with the legalities of removing entrenched union employees, etc.
    Miller won the GOP primary and instead of acknowledging this, the queen of corruption, Lisa went for the write in option as an independent.
    Art Chance was banned from Red State because he was working for Lisas campaign, and she no longer pretended to be even the average incompetent and corrupt Republican that tend to run Alaska. Lisa, like most Alaska politicians say whatever to whoever, like chameleons, to stay in power.
    It is always entertaining to read Arts’ posts as he is articulate, experienced, intelligent and very knowledgeable. It also illustrates why Alaska is so corrupt and dysfunctional, as the power players have no convictions, they just swim where the strongest currents of power, money and influence originate.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I never actually worked for Lisa’s campaign or even made a contribution to her, I figured I’d done my due by keeping the unions out of the 2004 election between her and the unions’ “made man” Knowles.

      I answered the Party’s call for election count observers. Joe Miller’s ignorant rednecks starting screaming to high Heaven that the Party observers were stealing the election from them. I won’t say I’d never commit a crime, but it would be enough of a crime that I could spend the rest of my life in a country with no extradition treaty and allow me to sit on a beach while earning 20%.

      I strenuously objected to the rednecks’ accusations on Red State, and that is when we parted company. It hurt them more than it hurt me. The “Day of the Kraken” came shortly afterward as Erick and his frat boys got rid of every good writer on Red State. Of course, Erick Erickson is still a nobody.

      • I stand corrected, I used to read your posts and you had a very large reader following across the country. That was the narrative given when you abruptly ended posting. Erik left not much later. I wouldn’t personally describe Red State as rednecks, it’s rather stuffy and dry, milk toast, always nervous to offend leftwingers, and dogmatic.
        I do remember how strange it was to see the ballots with the write in name Murkowski spelled correctly every single time and in the exact same handwriting from each of several villages in the NW Arctic region I’m very familiar with. There was no way Murkowski was going to be allowed to lose that election to Miller. I was poll watching for the GOP and the staff at the precinct on Chena Pump Road was very unfriendly and rude (Miller himself and his wife voted when I was there), the precinct staff in North Pole later that day were polite and professional.
        Let’s just hope that Murkowski time at the public trough are over.

  5. So who’s your choice? Imitation Republican Begich the 3? Unknowns like Josh Revak or John Coghill? Republican of convenience Tara Sweeney? None of them can get elected and if you screw around, you are going to end up with Congressman Al Gross, D-Santa Barbara.

    • Jim Wilke, I disagree, Begich is the real deal and highly electable, (imitation my a$$).
      As for unknowns, we do know enough about Coghill and Revak to know that they should drop out immediately. I fear that your vapid girl, Sarah, who a history of making really bad decisions and is only running for her own personal validation will likely siphon off enough votes from NB III to ensure that Allen Gross, aka “Cajones” gets elected. Make no mistake, your enemy the DemoRAT is celebrating Sarah’s attention getting, last minute entrance in this race!
      The Republican Party has always been the STUPID party so it’s likely that Allen “Cajones” Gross will win the special election despite his fourth place showing in a local Petersburg election last fall.
      So you see Jim, your worst fears realized! Sweet Dreams!

    • Fortunately, Coghill is not an unknown. After his stint in the Senate, those of us in the Interior know him all too well – RINO, big government to the core.

  6. Art: what is wrong with the GOP in Alaska? I’d compare them to Vichy French, but that’s an insult to Vichy French.

    • “…….what is wrong with the GOP in Alaska?……..”
      It’s a blindness caused by their eyes filled with oil and oil money.

      • There are two factions in the party. One is concerned with platform but does not know how to win elections. The other can win elections but cares nothing for platform. I remember a Bob Dole was asked what he thought about the platform in 1996. He said he hadn’t read it and had no intention to. Didn’t give a damn about platform and couldn’t win either.

        • They can’t win elections because the electorate is more corrupt than the party. It’s the old horse/cart question. And Alaska’s fish world before oil was corrupt, too, so oil itself isn’t the root of the problem of corruption. But I assure you: kill the oil, and 15%-25% of the people currently in this state will leave as if their britches were on fire, and I submit that those are precisely the people who we want gone.

  7. As “terrible” as Sarah is, she is waay better than Gross, Al, Revak, and about 47 or so other declared opportunists.

    It’s a shame Don didn’t groom someone conservative as a replacement. His greatest failure, IMO.

    • IMO, Sarah is no better than the 50 you depicted. If she gets elected you can expect a movement to oust her come the next election. The ONLY thing good about the house seat is it’s voted every 2 years. Murky gets 6 and historically spends 5 as a democrat and the last one as a republican fearing she will lose her seat.

      • “…….If she gets elected you can expect a movement to oust her come the next election…….”
        Ah, another Russian Collusion tale? She can receive Russian messages from her porch? Yeah, okay. Bring it………

  8. I respect your opinions Art, but I trust our republican party here in Alaska a lot less. Two sides to every story and I find that true with Palin’s record of accomplishment or failure. I met Palin 30 years back and remember both sides; so do many Alaskans. I think her numbers will be huge. Look forward to your posts Art.

  9. I don’t disagree with any of Art’s histrionics, especially his account of the gas line, DNR, and Transcanada, but I believe he missed the most important Palin aspects. Therefore the reader is at a loss to understand how Miss Wasilla became Mayor and then Governor, to then go on and blow that office all to Hell and be the Republican nominee for Vice President. Art explains the unimportant details and completely omits the key points that explain everything. I will hit a few of those: (1) Palin was able to trounce Knowles and Halcro, gubernatorial candidates who held hands to defeat Palin in the general election. Frank Murkowski would have lost, assuming he would have won the primary absent Palin, not a sure bet at all of course. (2) Then Palin, at or about age 42 I think, got pregnant with a one in ten chance of having a Downs Syndrome kid. Her luck ran out. Had she been a D the press would have loved her for it (the Downs Syndrome infant), but as an R they hounded her w/o mercy. (3) At the same time her 15 year-old daughter got knocked up and her husband did nothing about it. The guy who knocked her up should have disappeared, with his testicles suspended in an empty pickle jar somewhere in Wasilla, but instead he had his moment of fame over knocking up a young girl. The press would have been fine with the knocked up daughter had Palin been a D – lauded her had she been black. But as a former Miss Wasilla, and a white R the press continued to make her life Hell. (4) With no support coming from any direction, she resigned. Like Dunleavy she tried multiple chiefs of staff, but her judgement may have been as challenged in that as it was in finding husbands. (5) But she was destined for the national stage, even creating a career win for one or more actresses who mocked her. She trounced VP candidate Joe Biden in their one debate. She was a much better candidate than McCain, Biden or Obama, and had she been black and a D she would have been President. Yes, she would have been as unprepared for that job as she had been for Governor, but so was Obama. I will immodestly claim that this account better explains Palin’s rise from Wasilla, at least in my view (What do you think?). I won’t be voting for her again BTW.

      • Trump a winner? Are you kidding me? He’s failed in nearly every dumbass financial effort. He LOST the 2020 election Aunt Dot. Those who lose are called losers. Donald Trump is 100% a loser.

        • The election was stolen. How do we know? People like you say it was not! Billionaires are losers in the left’s bible, this we know. Patriotic Americans are the biggest losers according to American Marxist. IF Trump had won at least the worst among us would have committed suicide. Normal Americans or those who are perceived to be normal and Stright are losers to the left. Poppies, Poppies, sleep sleep sez the left

        • Use of profanity often is a reflection of someone with nothing of substance.

          I don’t know you, but I imagine Trump has made and kept more money than you can conceive. Developers often go boom/bust. Nature of the business.

          Do you have buildings named after you? Have you been elected to federal office?

          I’d love to be a “loser” the way Trump has been one.

    • What do I think? Your opinion is either racist or a race-baiter. Not much substance. Sorry, kiddo. You get a ‘D’ for turning the paper in on time. That’s it. Doesn’t pass.

  10. So now Mr. Chance are you going to do an expose on all the other candidates running for this office?

  11. Know what is more important than money? Freedom.
    Where was Begich on the vaccine mandates BEFORE he started to run for office?
    I know Palin was fully against it and demonstrated her willingness to be with her actions.

    The attempt by the Democrats and the Republican (controlled opposition) to make sheep of our citizens is a defining moment.

    ACES is but a shadow of the tyranny they tried to impose and the hundreds of thousands that died when they blocked ivermectin.

    • I have a text from Nick B III on the subject of Vax mandates. Sent prior to his running. It clearly states he is opposed to a mandate.
      Hope that clears it up for you.

  12. Art, you’ve kicked all the blocks out from under the “anybody but Sarah” campaign. “Giddy-up Sarah!” I know that the little mare doesn’t like this kind of talk, and neither do any of the young fillies around the state! She may be dumb as a rock and lazy as hell, but she wouldn’t be saddled up and ridden hard! I thought that the establishment had turned old plow horses like yourself into canned dog food. “Giddy-up Sarah, giddy-up!” You’ve just made this the race of the century! And just by “chance,” you’ve given Sarah all the “art” she needs!

  13. Sarah is nothing but red meat for the mainstream Left journalists and political commentators. She is nothing but non-stop entertainment for the Nation Enquirer, Globe, and other grocery store check-out rags. Everything Art says is basically true. I was sort of hoping John Binkley would have won the 2006 Republican Primary scrap against his nemisis, Frank Murkowski. Murkowski had promised to appoint Binkley to the vacated US Senate seat and breached the deal by selecting Lisa instead What a mistake. I thought Binkley was the better choice, but we all know how dumb Frank Murkowski really is. Sarah’s inducement into McCain’s universe was another blunderous move by Sarah. I wanted her to finish her governorship, but she loves the limelight too much. Personally, I couldn’t take it anymore, Art. Everything you say is true. We have a dysfunctional family. Sarah needs to stay home with our Downs Syndrome child and be a better mom. And Trump needs to support the better choice, who is Nick Begich III. Me, I’ve got a new lady in my life and everything is back to normal, well except for the name Palin, which seems to follow me around where ever I go.

    • I do not think there is even a drop of hate in any of these posts but a healthy discussion of fact and memories by some folks that paid attention to what was going around them or to them over the years.

      • I appreciate open discussion. I’d like to see columns like this on the other candidates running too. Give us the dirt on everyone and let us decide who is the cleanest choice.

  14. … Art, great sentence:
    “Palin became the best governor the Democrats ever had since Bill Egan in the 1960s.”! …

  15. I had the opportunity to brief the AOGCC commissioners, including Sarah, on a project I was working on at the time that involved our north slope oil development plans. While explaining the project, Sarah had a look on her face that I understood at the time to be complete incomprehension, but later with the passage of ACES and recognition her husband Todd worked for BP as a union hand, it was a look of complete disdain for the oil companies. Now however, I recognize I was right in both. She’s dumb and hates the oil companies. She won’t get my vote.

  16. Of the bunch, Palin is the only one that is different….in a good way!!!!
    At least we know she is not a lib! America First not Last…..

    • She is actually a liberal. Have you been paying attention? The ONLY thing Palin is conservative on is social issues. Period. Other than that, she’s big government, big taxation, big spending, she stabbed Parnell in the back to endorse Walker/Mallott and Walker is who destroyed the PFD. How much more evidence do you need that she’s not a conservative?

  17. Art, is there anything that has happened in the last fifty years that you didn’t have super secret access to?

  18. “Then the voters foolishly elected her governor.” – I was one of the foolish voters that had the opportunity to regret that decision, but I also have to question whether there was any real effort to educate voters about any of this at the time? My regrets about Palin stem directly from her poor performance as governor. Had the media provided the details in this article of her before-days, I might never have voted for her.

  19. This site is all in on Begich, obviously. Most likely for reasons not contrary to its commercial interests.
    Sarah is a shameless narcissist, which ranks her smack dab in the middle of the congressional pack.
    We are going to go from the representative with the most seniority to the least.
    The Republicans will probably take control of the House and hopefully the Senate.
    Trump will probably have influence. Trump endorsed Palin.
    Palin already has national name recognition, which no other candidate will ever achieve. Ever. Well, except for Santa and Al Goss. JK.
    It is probably true that her executive skills were not ideal But those are not that relevant to being a Representative on a 435 person committee.
    If the Republicans take the House, her out-sized brand recognition will offset our lack of seniority.

    • erak,
      Your right that Sarah Palin is a shameless narcissist, however her outsized political ego will actually act against Alaska’s seniority problem. Nobody in the House of Representatives will take her seriously. And that’s just assuming she doesn’t loose to AL Gross or any other democrat

  20. Well, that column reads like a raging dose of Palin Derangement Syndrome. You know, I didn’t vote for Trump because I thought he was the best candidate. I voted for him because the other options were unthinkable. What I got was the education of a lifetime: a full-on war by the Globalist Swamp (worldwide) against him, which served as proof to me that he was the right man for the job. His endorsement for Palin, along with the already begun howling from the Alaskan Swamps, is a sure sign that she’s the person for the job. What this world needs is warfare of every type; political, psychological, spiritual, martial, economic, ideological, ecological, et al, and when political figures war with each other unto political death, I am at my happiest.

      • “…….Palin is the worst part of the political swamp out there……..”
        Actually, some of the worse part of the Alaskan Swamp was dragged out of the murk in the Alaskan Corruption Scandal of 2006. Granted, the FBI and DOJ Swamp openly got away with murder in that scandal (particularly Weissman), and the lawyer class escaped without a scratch, but their necks are currently exposed to the ax. Palin has been bloodied by the lawyer/media/ political class like Trump, and I want to send her back there swinging.

  21. If someone placed Art’s column in front of her face, I think even Sarah Palin might be convinced her day is over. Great piece, Art.

    • It’s very well written. I wish it would go national. The Fox News commenters who don’t live here are slobbering all over themselves in support of her, and haven’t got a clue what a terrible governor she turned out to be and don’t understand why so many conservatives don’t support her.

  22. She was a terrible Governor during her tenure and, I’m guessing she hasn’t learned anything since so as to be a better public representative – leader, worthy of my vote. She reminds me of a typical political junkie, completely corrupted with narcissism, self-importance and an insatiable ego.
    I’ll be voting for Nick Begich.

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