Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Values of Survival

A TRC exclusive, by Christoper Weller

Syllogism -

1. A deductive scheme of formal argument consisting of a major and a 
minor premise and a conclusion;

2. A subtle, specious, or crafty argument;

3. Reasoning from the general to the specific; deduction.

The world is at the brink of collapse, and those around us seem unaware of the pending doom on the horizon.  They play out the story of civilization even in its final chapter.  Their very lives are at stake and the survival of the human species, yet they make no effort to stray from the path of self-destruction.  Some have called this a "death urge" at play, where, as Freud mused, the human mind has an equal drive toward death as it does for an Eros to live, to survive.  It is this "death instinct," so says Freud and his contemporaries, that is kept in check by the dominant culture, civilization -- as if the superego is inherently aggressive and violent, and it is only the "civilized" way of life that controls this innate drive.

Freud, and his followers and contemporaries, surely were, and still are, a product of civilization itself, trapped in this sacred bubble of interpretation of the world -- a perspective that is failing, along with what created it -- civilization itself.  But, we can at least agree that what keeps the human mind in check when dealing with the forces of change are the cultural norms, mores, and taboos enlisted by civilization, and it is no wonder the death urge in society is seemingly continuing to strengthen as the pillars of industrial civilization begin to crumble at our feet.  This may be indeed why, to those of us in the Transition Culture, the rest of humanity seems deranged into this silent, subconscious drive toward self-destruction.

What is included in these cultural norms that the proponents of the "death urge" postulate from, is the perception of what the values of the culture entail.  In the culture of civilization, the element that supposedly keeps the death urge at bay is how it interprets what it means to live.  This is fully represented in how the dominant culture expresses its values.  What is found is that the values of civilization take on a totally different meaning than what a living, thinking species such as the human should adapt to at all.  And, with the dominant culture in charge of our fate today, the values of consumption, acquisition, competition, and greed drive our desires toward a state of living that we are told is the best there is or ever will be.  We are fed the lies of what value means, and we believe them.

However, as anyone with an inkling of cultural anthropology would be aware of, what one values in the process of life and living is relative to any culture, whether "civilized" or indigenous.  And, what society is experiencing today is that the "values" defined by the dominant culture -- the values of Globalization, Capitalism, Consumerism, Infinite Growth-Based Economics, various religions, and etc. -- are beginning to collapse.  They are destroying our world, our planet, our ability to survive, and our souls.  They have steered us in the direction of death itself.

Thus, many of us are faced with the paradoxical dilemma best expressed by the mantra:

"To value change or change our values."

This can form a puzzling thought, equal in perplexity to its derived mantra -- are we in need of a "value change for survival?"

Trapped in the captivity of our "civilized" thought, we can indeed struggle with this dilemma, and it will seem as an unsolvable paradox.  But, we can certainly agree that the longer we puzzle over the solution, the closer we come to oblivion, and it's time that someone try to solve this beleaguering riddle.

The first step in this deduction is to realize that values evolve, whether the dominant culture can admit it or not -- and, like evolution, cultural norms, mores, taboos, and etc. must "work" to exist.  Such as with biological evolution, if traits do not "work," such as the traits of an organism, they won't exist for very long, and certainly won't be around for us to study.  Even if we try to contemplate a trait that could exist, in our formulations of our ideas, it must "work" to exist in rational thought.

Most of us in the Transition Culture are aware that the dominant "values" of today are not working.  And to survive at all, they too must "evolve."  Thus, we can conclude that:

 "to evolve" = "to change"

Therefore, it is obvious that the dominant values must change.  But change to what?

What "traits" of values must be carried over through the Great Transition and what must be thrown out for survival, keeping in mind that "survival" really means "it works" (for at least a certain period of time until symbiosis is lost, the environment changes, or carrying capacity of the ecosystem is surpassed).  So, it can also be concluded that:

"survival" = "it works"

Contrary to the Darwinists & Neo-Darwinist evolutionary biologists, along with the contemporary "religion" known as "genetic determinism," the idea of "survival of the fittest," the "selfish gene" hypothesis of Richard Dawkins and company, or any other of the derived "competition-for-survival" models, growing evidence is showing that these ideas are not congruent with the true nature or broad function of evolution and species survival.  Evidence points more often to a symbiotic relationship of life with other life and the environment, rather than a competition, "selfish genes," or determinism.

What has been found is that the primary force which "determines" survival, change, or if the species "works" is symbiosis of the species with its surroundings.  This includes other species, the physical environment, or even "endosymbiotic" relationships; where species have a relationship with other species living and surviving, changing and evolving together inside other species or inside the cells of those species.  There are indeed moments in the evolutionary process of what Steven J. Gould called "punctuated equilibria," but the moment this "equilibrium" is achieved, symbiosis takes over once again, throughout the remainder of the extent of the existence of the species on this planet.

Thus, we can conclude that if values must "change" for our survival, they must change using this model that true evolution follows -- But why?  It is because we can now conclude that:

"survival" = "to live" = "to change" ="to evolve" = "symbiosis" = "it works"

This is because for us to survive, means for us to live.  And, living involves changing, which means evolving.  And, to evolve means to have symbiosis.  To have symbiosis means it works.

Symbiosis, both inner and outer, is the key to this -- not competition, not selfishness, not conquering, not overwhelming, not overrunning, not self-destruction.  These are "values" of the dominant culture that is destroying our world.  It is part of the psychopathic nature of this old, dying, self-destructive culture that is collapsing now, and taking everything else with it.

It is no wonder why these values are readily adopted and accepted to be a part of our so-called "modern" understanding of the evolution of life.  It is because they support the delusions, lies, and faith in the dominant culture.  It even supports the "death urge" that has been derived from our thinkers and why this drive towards self-extinction continues to propagate the subconscious of the human mind today.

Therefore, how these "values" evolve will also be tainted with what we as a species "want" or "choose" them to be.  And, it is the dominant culture, the culture of civilization that has deluded itself into believing that it can control the evolution of values -- through laws that will always be broken, through economic systems that attempt to separate themselves from the natural world, to its religious institutions attempting to separate the nature of human beings from the natural world.  In the end, as it is accelerating in our world now, "choice" in values doesn't necessarily mean "it works" and certainly doesn't guarantee symbiosis.

But, if we take an objective stance on this part of the paradox, the question becomes:

Do we "choose" to change our values, as has always been done, yet has failed in one way or another throughout the history of civilization, or do we allow for the change to occur "naturally," as evolution commands?

And, in addition, this begs the question: Do we have enough time to allow change to come "naturally," when, ultimately, it is survival that is at stake?

Thus, how will we define "value" if left to be interpreted by the dying, psychopathic, dominant culture?  How can we even suggest to use what the dominant culture has taught us all since birth to answer this question?  Especially, when it is the dominant culture that doesn't even define "value" in the sense of survival at all!  It is a culture held captive to the "death urge," where its ultimate value means "no survival at all," and thus, its primary values don't "work" anymore.  The primary "value" is to dominate the world, consuming the planet until there is nothing left to consume.

Thus, the mantra from above, and the paradox that it entails, which we are puzzling over here, can be solved only by taking either of these two routes: We either allow evolution to decide if our "values" continue to be allowed to exist, or we choose to change them now, by force.

We have concluded that if "survival" means "life", and to live means "it works," and for it to work means "symbiosis," then the question becomes not whether you "value change" or you must "change your values," but rather:  Do you see survival itself as valuable?

If so, then there is not a need to change one's values, because valuing survival is valuing change!  This is because, as concluded above, "change" is equal to "survival," and how all life must survive, and hence, "works" on this planet.

Then it all comes down to: Why would anyone in their right mind not value survival unless they were psychopathic and sick?  This could only mean that there is something driving their thinking, driving their life that is equally psychopathic, sick, suicidal, self-destructive, and etc. -- something that is the complete antithesis of life itself!  From this we can conclude that:

"sickness" = "disease" and "disease" = eventual "destruction/death" and 
"destruction/death" = "not surviving" and "not surviving" = "not life"

And this is what is driving the human condition today.  The root of what drives it all is a culture of "not valuing survival," and it is no wonder that the death urge is increasingly exposing itself in the process of civilization as the dominant culture self-destructs.

As the deduction of the mantra continues, we come to the root of what drives the dominant culture's idea of "values," or better, "not valuing survival."  This can be explained by the difference between "growth" and "development."

This is what has become the deciding factor of what drives the dominant culture's understanding of "survival"-- an understanding based on a "growth model" rather than on a "development" model. And, somewhere along the way, the meaning of these two terms were twisted and perverted.

To review from what we've concluded thus far:

"survival" = "to evolve" = "symbiosis" = "to live" = "it works" = "to change"

And, now deducing further we include that:

"to change" = "to develop"

Along with the "change" that takes place with all life and non-life on this planet, there is also "development" that takes place.  Life forms all have a period of growth, but the internal "clock" of growth slows down, and eventually stops this process.  Even the human is not immune from the limits of growth.  We mostly stop growing by the time we reach adulthood, yet we continue to develop as a human being indefinitely, from that time forward.  Our societies and cultures reflect this phenomenon as well.  Our cultures evolve and mature, and most have gone through a "growth phase" that eventually ends.  As with any species, as mentioned above, the culture reaches a limit of growth and change, then it acquires a symbiosis with its environment, whether that be the physical environment or its presence amongst other cultures.  The geological properties of the Earth itself, follow a growth and change pattern, then will settle down into a state of homeostasis and symbiosis.

Thus, "growth" in reality merely relates to the physical, temporary property of a species, and with culture as well -- it is a "property" of growth to be exact.  And, after the growth phase, no more is development a primary factor to the life process than with humanity.  Development of the human mind is what sets us apart from all other life.  Our development produces all the elements of human culture.  Our development is responsible for the presence of wisdom.  And, it is what wisdom that we acquire through our development that will determine whether we survive or not.

If the human mind focuses on its development, and how development is an integral part of life and existence on this planet, then we are more in tune with what it means to survive, to "work."  Then, what is the resistance to develop?  Or, more exact then, what is the resistance to survive?

All that is left that doesn't fit into the equation of the "values of survival" is how we define growth.  It is how we have defined growth and how it has been chosen by our society and redefined as the delusion of the age.  And it is this definition, a false understanding of growth that has led us on the path that ignores the meaning of survival, life, symbiosis, change, development, and how it all works.

Through this chain of reasoning, we can deduce that our values for survival are part of living already. We develop whether we try to ignore it or not.  Our values change and evolve whether we like it or not.  Life and culture evolve, whether we choose to hold on to them or not.  We are not in control of the levers of life.  All of these are entirely innate and exist in us.  What has held them back from being set free are the delusions of the dominant culture relating to how it defines growth.  It tells us that for us to develop, we must grow; for us to survive, we must grow; for us to change, we must grow, for us to "work," we must grow.  It has created a false sense of value.  It is responsible for releasing, harboring, and encouraging the death urge upon the human psyche.

Thus, there is no choice to "value change" or "change our values."  The only choice is to destroy what keeps us from believing we have no other choice -- that which has made us believe that the only choice is to continue to grow beyond what the rules of Nature, mentioned above, can allow.

We are rapidly passing the "fork in the road," where we have the opportunity to abandon the false values of the culture that is leading us to our deaths.  There are real values that we once had when we were part of this planet, not pretending we were masters of it -- they were the true values of survival.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

FAIR TV: 'Professor' Netanyahu, 'End' of the Afghan Surge, WaPo/Big Oil Update

 submitted by Gabrielle Price

This week on FAIR TV: Was Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's UN address, illustrated with a cartoon bomb, really "professorial"? Plus some thoughts on whether the media should be declaring the Afghan surge "over," and an update on what the Washington Post is telling activists about its ties to Big Oil.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting ~ Challenging Media Bias & Censorship Since 1986

Is Truth An Enemy Of The State? Assange Address to UN

Submitted by Gabrielle Price

When you view the UN message from Assange, he sounds like any freedom loving individual with respect for free speech and free press.  So if the US believes him an enemy of the state for speaking the know what this means essentially, right?

By the way, the US boycotted the UN delegation. Obama and Hillary were not there. The chairs were empty, while the rest of the world discussed human rights issues and participated in diplomacy.  It does not say a lot about our current administration that it believes itself above important discourse with the rest of the world...a world that is in a huge state of upheaval...yet, still concerned about maintaining basic human rights.

I have no misconceptions about what this government has become.  Because it has not displayed interest in maintaining the very rights discussed at the UN, here in the United States -- the country that used to be a beacon for those very rights.

We have a lot of work to do, America.  And it's going to take more than flipping a switch in a voting booth.  What are you prepared to do?

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Democratic Womanism by Alice Walker

You ask me why I smile
when you tell me you intend
in the coming national elections
to hold your nose
and vote for the lesser of two evils.
There are more than two evils out there,
is one reason I smile.
Another is that our old buddy Nostradamus
comes to mind, with his dreadful
400 year old prophecy: that our world
and theirs too
(our “enemies” – lots of kids included here)
will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust)
in our lifetime. Which makes the idea of elections
and the billions of dollars wasted on them
somewhat fatuous.
A Southerner of Color,
my people held the vote
very dear
while others, for centuries,
merely appeared to play
with it.
One thing I can assure
you of is this:
I will never betray such pure hearts
by voting for evil
even if it were microscopic
which, as you can see in any newscast
no matter the slant,
it is not.
I want something else;
a different system
One not seen
on this earth
for thousands of years. If ever.
Democratic Womanism.
Notice how this word has “man” right in the middle of it?
That’s one reason I like it. He is there, front and center. But he is surrounded. I want to vote and work for a way of life
that honors the feminine;
a way that acknowledges
the theft of the wisdom
female and dark Mother leadership
might have provided our spaceship
all along.
I am not thinking
of a talking head
kind of gal:
happy to be mixing
it up
with the baddest
bad boys
on the planet
her eyes a slit
her mouth a zipper.
No, I am speaking of true
regime change.
Where women rise
to take their place
en masse
at the helm
of earth’s frail and failing ship;
where each thousand years
of our silence
is examined
with regret,
and the cruel manner in which our values
of compassion and kindness
have been ridiculed
and suppressed
brought to bear on the disaster
of the present time.
The past must be examined closely, I believe, before we can leave it there. I am thinking of Democratic, and, perhaps
Socialist, Womanism.
For who else knows so deeply
how to share but Mothers
and Grandmothers? Big sisters
and Aunts?
To love
and adore
both female and male?
Not to mention those in between.
To work at keeping
the entire community
fed, educated
and safe?
Democratic womanism,
Democratic Socialist
would have as its icons
such fierce warriors
for good as
Vandana Shiva
Aung San Suu Kyi,
Wangari Maathai
Harriet Tubman
Yoko Ono
Frida Kahlo
Angela Davis
& Barbara Lee:
With new ones always rising, wherever you look. Recent writers for instance: Michelle Alexander, Isabel Wilkerson, and Nancy Turner Banks, M.D.* Whose books, read together, go a long way toward bringing us up to speed on how our declining country got this way.
You are also on this list, but it is so long (Isis would appear midway) that I must stop or be unable to finish the poem!) So just know I’ve stood you in a circle that includes Marian Wright Edelman, Amy Goodman, Sojourner Truth, Gloria Steinem and Mary McLeod Bethune. John Brown, Frederick Douglass, John Lennon and Howard Zinn are there too. Happy to be surrounded!
There is no system
now in place
that can change
the disastrous course
Earth is on.
Who can doubt this?
The male leaders
of Earth
appear to have abandoned
their very senses
though most appear
to live now
in their heads.
They murder humans and other
forests and rivers and mountains
every day
they are in office
and never seem
to notice it.
They eat and drink devastation.
Women of the world,
Is this devastation Us?
Would we kill whole continents for oil
(or anything else)
rather than limit
the number of consumer offspring we produce
and learn how to make our own fire?
Democratic Womanism.
Democratic Socialist Womanism.
A system of governance
we can dream and imagine and build together. One that recognizes
at least six thousand years
of brutally enforced complicity
in the assassination
of Mother Earth, but foresees six thousand years
ahead of us when we will not submit.
What will we need? A hundred years
at least to plan: (five hundred will be handed us
when the planet is scared enough)
in which circles of women meet,
organize ourselves, and,
allied with men
brave enough to stand with women,
nurture our planet to a degree of health.
And without apology -
(impossible to make
a bigger mess than has been made)-
devote ourselves, heedless of opposition,
to tirelessly serving and resuscitating Our Mother ship
and with gratitude
for Her care of us
worshipfully commit
rehabilitating it.

Copyright©2012 by Alice Victoria Walker

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

OWS Week 9/20: S17 Occupy Anniversary, Chicago Teacher Strike, Anti-Evictions, Occupy Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

contributed by Gabrielle Price

Happy Anniversary, Occupy!  This episode of the show; OWS Week reports on convergence on NYC for OWS S17 Anniversary and Teachers Union strike in Chicago.  We also cover the Occupy Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also in Pasadena, CA and Atlanta, GA.

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Moment of Clarity: Truth VS. Puppy Purging: Where Do YOU Get Your News?

TRC contributor, Lee Camp

We're in the middle of an all-out information war.  Propaganda and mistruths are thrown around like hamburger helper in a food fight.  The only way to fight the steady stream of bullshit is to know the truth, to have the facts, to grasp the reality.  But where do you go to do that??

[TRC hopes you visit us here and follow our news feeds on Twitter and Facebook, where we share news from many of the outlets mentioned in Lee's vid below.  Also, since he mentioned it -- donations from readers are what keep TRC going and growing as an outlet to combat and Occupy Mainstream Media.] TRC Founder, Gabrielle Price

TRC is run solely on donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!

Lost in Space

TRC contributor, Christopher Weller

"We've got to evolve to a higher form in order to survive...This form we're in right now is just too primitive.  We have to evolve into something higher, more angelic form...Intelligence is what makes us special, isn't it?  Moths can't screw up the world. Catfish can't screw up the world. It takes intelligence to do that." - Julie 

"In that case, what do you make of your daydream quest?  As you head into the universe to learn how to live, are you looking for angels?..." - Ishmael 

"No...I'm looking for intelligent races just like us -- but they know how to live without destroying their worlds...It's like we're specially cursed..." - Julie 

"This is why, in your daydream, it's necessary to look elsewhere in the universe for the knowledge you seek.  You can't find it amongst yourselves, because you're a 'cursed' race.  To find the knowledge you need to live sustainably, you need to find a race that isn't cursed.   And there's no reason to suppose that everyone's cursed.  You feel that someone out there must know how to live sustainably..."

"The 'curse' under which you operate is very, very localized....It doesn't even remotely extend to the whole of humanity.  Thousands of peoples have lived here sustainably, Julie. Without difficulty. Without effort." - Ishmael 

- From My Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn 

Since the dawn of civilization, the dominant perception of our place in the Cosmos is to explore, to extend our race out to every corner of the Earth, and our imaginations have been filled with dreams of leaping the planet to continue the odyssey out into space.  We believe that the exponentially accelerating advances can only continue, that we will rapidly approach a level of technological achievement that will allow us a place in the stars, joining the community of advanced civilizations amongst the galaxy and beyond, and we have no need to look back.  It is as if we believe this is hardwired into the nature of intelligence in the universe -- that it is the destiny of all intelligent life.

The history of Western Civilization is replete with the stories of explorers crossing the vast oceans, over and across distant lands, to "discover new worlds."  As we know now, the history of civilization here on Earth has been written by the minds of the civilized, where to the countless indigenous cultures, all the explorations and discoveries of this history were a nightmare of conquest and slaughter.  This is because the conceptual belief of civilization is to dominate what it conquers and explores.  It is because the way of civilization that has evolved from the beginning is to believe in the myth that domination is some how equal to progress, that Nature, and hence the universe entire, is to be explored, tamed, and conquered to our liking. And, our stories only naturally reflect this. 

This leads only to arrogance of our species.  It leads to a blind faith in our abilities.  The culture of civilization, wrapped in the confidence in our technological advancements, is blinded to our true place in Nature.  As we have reached out into space, we have forgotten that it is our symbiosis with this planet and all of the natural world that has allowed us to exist at all.  This belief in our dominion has become intertwined with our dreams of conquering the vastness of space, yet the true laws of Nature will forever keep us held down until we begin to recognize that it is only our conciliation with it that will allow us to have a place in the Cosmos at all. 

The systems of civilization, laced with delusions of grandeur and progress, have broken with the symbiosis we once had during our origins.   We have forgotten how to live at peace with the world. Our economic systems, our social systems, our religious systems, our political systems, and so on, are at war with Nature, rather than in union with it.  The only connection to the Cosmos has been to attempt to bend it to our will.  For us to have a chance at truly reaching for the stars, we must begin to heal the damage we have done to her, and to our souls.  We must return to being at peace with the world.  We need to have a connection, once again, to the Universe.  We can gaze out into space, in awe of its majesty all that we please, but we will never get there unless we make this connection. 

The entire history of space science and exploration has only been possible by those cultures who have exploited the most out of the bounty of the Earth.  And this pattern can only continue as long as the dominant culture is permitted to exist.   Most of the world is shut out of the adventure. Our population is headed straight past the carrying capacity of what this planet can support.  The portion of the human race living every day with poverty and struggle is exponentially growing as the dominant culture devours the last resources of the planet. 

This delusion of human progress, birthed at the dawn of civilization itself, has lead us to a state where there is not one system on this good Earth that is free of a state of decline.  Ecological collapse, oceanic collapse, global climate change, the peaking of all major resources, and on and on, are leading us into our own black hole, that very soon will suck us into a singularity of extinction, and along with it will go the dreams of exploring space. 

As we continue on the path of self-destruction, our arrogance only seems to grow stronger.  A greater faith in our technologies develops, ignoring what Nature is telling us.   It seems that if we can survive at all, after the dust has settled, there will not be much of a human race left.  If we achieve a society of space voyagers, the vast majority of us will not be around to enjoy the glory.  As it is today, the dominant culture ensures that it is only the minority that takes the step “for all mankind.”  If we are to explore the Cosmos as one species together, we will have to conquer our cultural hang-ups first. 

As Ishmael tells his young student, Julie, our delusions have brought us to the desperation of imagining that somewhere, out there, someone knows how to live at peace with Nature.  Someone has been able to solve the problem of self-destruction, and allowed their species to explore space. Even part of our imaginations reflected in movies and books projects this fantasy -- that some day these extraterrestrial beings will let us in on this secret, and we will be saved from ourselves. We mistakenly believe that we can find these answers and solutions within the same story we’ve been following up to now -- the same story that got us into the calamity we face today.  But, we need not look out into space for this answer.  We only need to look back at ourselves, and to our true history of how we were at one time, in complete synchronicity with our world. 

Are there such peoples out there somewhere in the Universe?  When one understands the magnitude and vastness of the Cosmos, when one understands the basis of life, when one understands the physics and chemistry that is ubiquitous throughout all space & time, the answer to this question can be an overwhelmingly positive possibility.  With over one hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone, and over one hundred billion galaxies in the known Universe, the chances of intelligent life developing is astoundingly high.

But, what does it take for a race of beings to achieve this status of having a true place amongst the stars?  As mentioned above, the first step is to achieve peace with ones own planet without destroying it, and themselves along with it.  Part of the answer has to do with what has been the key to success or failure of all past civilizations here on Earth.  It is surely our acquisition, exploitation, and use of resources, but primarily it is the employment of energy. 

This concept of relating the use of energy and the expansion of intelligent peoples into space is not new.  The same concept is used in the study of collapsing of past civilizations here on Earth. The study of the evolution of our use of energy leads scientists of all genres to come to the same conclusion that without the proper use of energy, a civilization goes no where.  It is always a profound loss of food energy, human energy, domesticated animal energy, kinetic energy, steam energy, chemical energy, fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy, and so on, that causes a civilization to collapse into chaos.  Some had fallen back on other, less complicated forms, but it is always the need for energy that keeps civilization going and growing.  And, as we in the Transition Culture are fully aware, it is our current use of energy that is creating the trap that will extinguish our chances of going anywhere. 

In 1964, Russian scientist, Nikolai Kardashev, developed the concept of measuring the growth of civilizations expanding into the Cosmos, basing it correctly upon the use of energy.   He classified civilizations into three main categories.  A Class I civilization would have achieved the complete use of the entire energy output of the home planet, and would be in a completely efficient and stable form that is sustainable only if the civilization decides not to grow from there.  A Class II civilization would have had the need to expand beyond the energy capabilities of the home planet, and have harnessed the entire output capacity of its home star.  And, finally, once the civilization decided that it needed to grow from that point, it would move to a Class III civilization, of what Kardashev referred to as a "galactic civilization," where they have now achieved the entire energy output of either regions, or sectors, of the home galaxy, or even the entire galaxy itself. 

Through the development of the S.E.T.I. project, or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, this concept from Kardeshev was broken down into sub-categories, particularly by the famed astronomer Carl Sagan, where its number system was taken out to incorporate a decimal system.  In the seventies, Sagan and others concluded that at that time we were about a 0.7 civilization -- not quite at the level of Class I. However, Sagan and others in the project were not so naive, and strongly suggested that we could very easily slip into a lower position, even to 0.0, which equates to complete collapse.  The S.E.T.I program, searching for radio signals that they believed would emanate from civilizations of higher class ratings, believed that even with the vastness of space and the statistical use of the class system, there still may be a chance that they may never find the proof they so painstakingly searched for, because maybe, like us, most civilizations grew beyond their carrying capacity, never becoming at peace with their home planet and each other, and had self-destructed.

In our local environment, in our own solar system, which has been thoroughly explored, we have discovered possible planets and moons that we believe may be possible to colonize some day. We imagine colonizing the surface of the Moon, harvesting the water discovered at its poles, or the Helium 4, necessary for the prospect of fusion energy here on Earth.  We dream of someday exploring Jupiter's moon Europa, with its possible shell of ice covering the surface, where underneath a vast ocean of life, kept alive by volcanic activity, is awaiting our brave explorers.  We imagine going to Mars, where the possibility of transforming it back into a living, breathing planet through the process of terraforming, will allow us to inhabit the planet, truly beginning to colonize the solar system.  Yet, through this scientific study of changing Mars to suit us, we develop models of how it can be done, where in each and every model, efficiency, sustainability, and symbiosis all must be a part of the plan.

Even in our travel locally around Earth, we must create an environment for the occupants of our crafts that is as efficient and self-sustainable as possible, for us even to have the hope at going elsewhere amongst the planets.  We are blind to this fact that although we have not understood the importance of efficiency and sustainability with our home planet, we certainly realize we must provide it to the astronauts we fling out into the blackness of space.  We certainly understand that it must be done in order for us to colonize the solar system and beyond.  Why not here? 

Again, we must return our thoughts and minds back to Earth.  Our reality draws us much closer to home. Gaia whispers in our ears the solutions, yet today, we don't listen to her wisdom.  For even if we are to have the right to look out into space and dream of a place there, we must acknowledge that we have had no respect for our home that has given us life, that has even allowed for us to have the ability to dream at all.  If we are to join the community of civilizations that just might be out there, we must begin to think more of how we ought to live here, how we should live at all.   If there is anything that has allowed any intelligent civilizations to flourish in the Universe, it has been through wisdom and reflection such as this. 

We must not look to some mysterious signal from space or monumental arrival of extraterrestrial beings for answers, or wait for some savior race to rescue us -- we must rescue ourselves first. We must start making our planet inhabitable before we claim any right to inhabit other worlds.  We must begin to redesign how we live on this planet, just as we design our spacecraft, basing our interaction with the world as efficiency, sustainability, interdependence, and symbiosis.   If we are to even consider us to be an intelligent race, we must demonstrate it in the first place.  Otherwise we will remain "lost in space" forever. 

We do have the ability to achieve the various stages of Kardashev’s classes of civilizations in the Universe, but only if we become wise.  Is it wise to use vast amounts of precious energy to launch just a few of us into the punishing coldness of space?  Is it wise to power our space probes with plutonium, the most poisonous element known to man, an element that just a mere, few kilograms could wipe out the human race if one of these crafts exploded in our atmosphere?   Is this “progress"?  And, as said above, if we are to make it at all as a species to the end of even this century, is it “progress” that most of the human race and most of the life on this planet, must suffer and die so that only a few of us can explore the Cosmos? 

You see?  We have just projected the same element of the sick, destructive culture that dominates our lives, our planet, and our souls into the project of space exploration thus far.  We waste and we poison for a glory we have no right to experience. 

If there is a dream that many of us in the Transition Culture have about the future of space exploration, it is more like a looming, surreal nightmare.  It is of an arrival of a projection of some truly wise culture from the depths of space.  A robotic probe arrives to our atmosphere a few centuries from now, sent in search of intelligent life.   It studies our air, our water, and our land.  It discovers a wasteland of our former civilization, slowly being consumed by a healing planet, healing itself of a once omnipresent disease of dominion we unleashed upon it.  It becomes utterly puzzled by what it has found.  Its grand mission seems a failure, at least for this corner of the galaxy.  In its computations it concludes that there is no intelligent life here on Earth, and it leaves us behind, lost in space.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

FAIR TV: Chicago Teachers vs. Corporate Media, NYT and Torture, WashPost and Big Oil

submitted by Gabrielle Price

From Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, The Refreshment Center is proud to present episodes of FAIR TV, to help readers stay on top of the corporate media spin in order to facilitate and encourage a more informed citizenry.

In this episode, FAIR's Steve Randall holds MSM feet to the fire on everything from the Chicago Teachers vs. Corporate Media, NYT and Torture, and finally, WashPost and Big Oil.

My Thoughts on Occupy ~ Book release 01/28/12 || Updated

 Submitted by Gabrielle Price

This was my contribution to a book that was re-released on the two year anniversary of its publishing date.  I am in good company in this publication -- and do not deny this blessing, but none of my readers may have had the cash to buy this book.  There IS a serious class war going on. I would tell you to buy this book -- but it is no longer in print, nor are any excerpts from it found online. I am not under contract, so I offer my contribution to those who have wanted to read it since its release.  I was damn proud to be part of it.  Anyone who was interested in buying the book -- the funds, I am told "went to Occupy".  Who that is, I cannot verify. I waited too long to buy a copy of my own, so I have no receipt, have no idea how many were sold and was not provided one as a contributor. I'm quite uncertain whether the book was published in paper form.

So it goes...

This essay was my gift to the brave souls during Occupy who asked the toughest questions, and got their hands dirty. Occupy, to me, was about cooperation and sharing of knowledge as well as talents. I'm unsure whether the publishers behind the book were working for themselves only, or another org but my experiences on the ground with real people who were injured, pepper sprayed, jailed and gave a damn, from Portland to Phoenix -- also opened their hearts, homes and their minds enough to question everything...

I continue to do that, regardless of what another soul thinks of me for it. ~ G

"As a long time writer and activist from the Midwest, I was moved and thrilled beyond words to see the Egyptian people take to the streets in January of 2010.  Witnessing the outpouring of support from all over the world on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, I thought, "Please don't let America be far behind."  To bear witness to people in Egypt standing in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin as they occupied their capital -- sending messages of support and pizza to sustain them, I knew something was coming.  Something big.  Then came September and OWS and everything began to change, including the national dialogue.  That is by no means a small accomplishment.

What the people of Egypt want is democracy.  Not the 'democracy' facade that we have been sold in so many jingoistic, American flag-waving, truck commercials.  What Egypt did and what Occupy does is force us to see past the facade, to call into question what kind of democracy we really have that slanders, beats and pepper sprays its citizens.  We are made to ask ourselves some painful questions.  Many of those questions have been asked before, during the Vietnam war, Kent State, the Civil Rights Movement to name a few.  The difference then?  There was a responsible press to cover it.

When we begin to see the state of things and ask those painful questions, we begin to find answers in each other; in the people who also see and share that same pain with us.  There is an awful lot of power in understanding.  Many are learning to be patient enough to honor that process in others who are unsure of getting involved or don't understand that they are the 99%.  Corporate media keeps a lot of people sleepwalking and you'd be surprised how many blame themselves for their quality of life.  They would rather blame themselves then what they perceive as their 'free country.'   What this corrupt system has done and continues to do to the spirit and the psyche of the people is beyond amoral.  Many Americans are in a co-dependent relationship with this abusive power structure.  Occupy is the way of breaking the pattern of abuse and finally saying, "Enough!"

Throughout the fall, the strides made by this movement have sparked so many to action. People of all ages, colors, beliefs, skill sets and yes, classes, have come together in compassionate action and incredible creativity to understand each other, inspire and discuss the state of our Union.  What has been said and done in GA's from California to Maine since September likely has more bearing on the future of this country than any address or debate on national television and this writer hopes that they are all made a part of this country's historical record.  The continued People's History of the United States.  If Howard could see us now.

Tonight, I watch and share the livestream of Occupy Oakland protesters as they're being kettled, beaten and under mass arrest.  I'm also seeing some incredible magazine-worthy photos from Egypt's second mass protest.  A year later, we are still witnessing history.  We The People are the 99%. We are the first names mentioned on our living document and we hold that power the elite can never take away from us unless we consent or submit.  It is the kind of power that cannot be bought, sold, traded, cheapened, slandered, broken, beaten or silenced.  It is the power of the human spirit. Occupy is the genuine article and the stuff that legend is made of.  I wish my grandfather were alive to see it.  As a WWII veteran, he fought against fascism.  Now we all are.

I have been deeply moved in bearing witness, incredibly honored to record and participate in a movement that has single-handedly renewed my faith in a passionate citizenry, given me hope for the return of real journalism and restored pride in my country.  I can hardly wait for spring." 

Gabrielle Price
Founder/Editor, The Refreshment Center Blog
Working for a better media...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

OWS Week 9/12 : DNC, Chicago Teachers, Bradley Manning, Occupy Obama HQ, Drone protests

submitted by Gabrielle Price

This episode of the show; DNC protests, Chicago Teachers Union demos and Free Bradley Manning vigil continues. OWS Week stayed in Charlotte North Carolina to capture the last days of popular protests against the two-party system in America. The patriots and veterans converged on the Obama HQ in Washington DC in support of Bradley Manning and over in Chicago. Fannie Mae got it with highly controversial action: young folks burning registration cards and ripping up the constitution with the ultimate symbolism reminiscent of burning draft cards back in the days of the Vietnam War.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Moment of Clarity : I Know Who Will Win The Presidential Election (Seriously)

TRC contributor, Lee Camp

Every pundit, wonk, and talking head in the entire nation has been postulating, extrapolating, and bloviating about who will win the presidential election this November.  They don't know the answer.  But I do.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Lessons of Chiron and Healing of the Wounds of Dominion

TRC contributor, Christopher Weller

After we have gained the knowledge and wisdom of what is happening in this world, when we have moved past the pain, the isolation, and the anger, we come to a point where we begin to realize that we have tapped into a deep, hidden truth about our existence on this planet.  You begin to understand that the lies of this culture that have taught you: that your destiny is to have dominion over the Earth and that humanity, in doing so, will achieve the immortality of gods some day.  This has caused the pain and struggle of humanity for ages.

Once we have had this epiphany, our love for our lives and this good Earth doesn't dissolve away.  In fact it begins to increase.  You wish to teach others this wisdom.  You wish to heal what has been so broken, what has been plagued.  Through this painful experience you learn an important lesson and at its core, found the greatest source of moral and spiritual strength.

Upon this discovery of the Truth of our time, you realize that there are many others who are still experiencing the pain, and you wish so much to relieve it.  You want to show them that the greater truth you have discovered, the way in which we can live to be at peace with the planet, is their real destiny.

But in order to realize this, just as you, they must make it through the painful suffering of losing everything they've understood through the delusions of this culture.  As with birth itself, it is a painful, but beautiful transition of growth.  The power of this "birth" into the transition allows them to realize they have been healed by it, and with each person who awakens through the guidance, wisdom, and knowledge you share with them, the Earth is brought closer to being healed itself.

Through the sacrifice of the culture of dominion over this planet, the lie of the age, you are free of the pain and on the road to being a part of the true immortality of the Earth, because you are now part of it again.  Through your recognition that this culture you've been a slave to all your life is not "immortal," and the painful birth it took to release your delusion, you realize you have only lost a fantasy of immortality, and by understanding that you are part of the Earth.  By contributing to a way of living that reflects this existence, you are as timeless as the Cosmos.

Reflecting upon the Greek myth of Chiron, I discovered that the story of this "wounded healer" entails a similar lesson, buried deep in the words.  With this essay I hope to bring it to light, so that, like the timeless embodiment his image holds in the constellation Centaurus, it will also guide you further in understanding your place in the Cosmos as well.  As it is said that Chiron was the "father of the healing arts," and that he was the teacher of great legendary heroes, helping them discover their true destiny, so I hope this interpretation of the story, woven into this essay, helps heal you and others, allowing you to recognize and reach your true destiny.

I am told that the story goes as follows.  Kronos, the god later known as Saturn, fell captivated by the beauty of the nymph Philyra.  Like with many young goddesses of Greek mythology, Philyra did not share the same desires as the lustful male god and quickly devised a plan to escape Kronos's advances.  Philyra quickly turned herself into a mare, hoping that would quell the desires of the god who pursued her.

Kronos matched her metamorphosis and transformed himself into a great stallion that cornered the mare, Philyra, finally enabling him to mate with her.  Philyra becomes pregnant and later gives birth to Chiron, who is a centaur -- the body of a horse and the torso, arms, and head of a human form.  With Kronos long gone, Philyra is disgusted by the appearance of her son and abandons him.  He is later adopted by the Sun god Apollo, who teaches Chiron all that he knew.

In traditional Greek mythology, the centaurs were rowdy, drunken troublemakers, with their only positive attribute for the Greeks being their bellicose and combative nature, since the art of battle was tantamount to honor in ancient Greek culture.  However, it appears that because Chiron suffered the pain of abandonment by those that normally would be the ones who should love him most, and had been taught all the wisdom of the gods by his adopted father Apollo, Chiron became a different kind of centaur -- one who promoted calm, collective thought, wisdom, justice, compassion, and the pursuit of knowledge.

Chiron became a revered teacher, passing on wisdom and knowledge, especially the art of healing to his pupils.  Many of the great heroes such as Achilles and Hercules were taught their destinies riding atop Chiron's back.  One day, a brawl ensued between other rowdy centaurs, involving Chiron's student, Hercules.  One of Chiron's arrows, which had been laced with the blood of a Hydra (a mythical species similar to Medusa herself), had accidentally fell upon one of Chiron's hooves.  Being laced with the blood of the Hydra, it creates a wound that can never heal.  However, with Chiron being immortal, he would suffer pain from that wound for eternity.

Hercules feels great guilt and sympathy for what had happened, and he strikes up a deal with the god Zeus.  Prometheus, the god who had stolen fire from the gods and gave it to humanity, had been punished by Zeus for this deed.  He was made to live out all of eternity, chained to a rock at Mount Olympus, where each day his liver would be pecked out of his body by crows, heal completely, only to be eaten out again the next day, forever, and ever.  The only escape for Prometheus was if one of the gods took his place.

Hercules proposes to Chiron that he take the place of Prometheus, which would at last make him physically mortal, he could die, and the suffering of his wound would end.  After great thought, Chiron decides to end his own suffering, leaves with his student and all who he had taught, and takes the place of Prometheus to die at peace with the Cosmos.

As with many of us in the Transition culture, we too have been abandoned by those who should love us most.  We are shunned for our all-too-real knowledge, which threatens the delusions of the masses.  In our seclusion we have found peace with ourselves and our world by suffering through the painful birth into the enlightenment of the true wisdom of this world that the epiphany has brought us.  The old person has finally been laid to rest and the new one has joined the timeless symbiosis of this planet -- birth, death, and rebirth.

Like the wound of Chiron, the longer we allow the soul of humanity to be wounded by the delusions of this culture, the longer we will remain in pain and suffering, for the rest of the human story 'till its End.  We recognize that the pain of the wounds this culture gave us can only be healed by giving up the false promises of a culture bent on obsession with dominating the planet.

The gift of fire from Prometheus, is like the gift of being like gods upon the Earth.  It has indeed allowed us to dominate this planet, yet we lay waste to everything in our path, burning a coldness into our souls.  Our misuse of this gift has created the dreadful human condition that we are now faced with today.   And, like Prometheus, we must suffer forever for having the burden of this gift, waiting for some great healer to come along to heal the error, and end the pain.  We will suffer until we realize that the healer is ourselves.

Like Chiron's sacrifice of immortality to end both Prometheus's and his own pain, we must sacrifice as well.  We must stop believing we are invincible.  We must stop believing we have the power to take and take from this world and never give back.  We must sacrifice our dominion to end the pain.  And, like a new birth -- an event not free of pain -- but once past, you have taken your place back in the story of Nature and true beauty and balance will reveal itself.  That beauty that has always been there for us all, but was hidden away, behind a dark veil that blinded us: the false promises of dominion.

Once that veil is removed and we have taken our place in the timeless, endless, vastness of space & time, we look out into the Cosmos, and recognize ourselves.

The Constellation Centaurus

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Politics of No Choice

TRC contributor, Tesha Miller 

US Presidential campaigns are now in full swing and the curtains are propped wide open to reveal the sideshow spectacle which has come to represent her politics.  Come one, come all!  Tune out to the real issues of the day, like the slow and agonizing death of the middle class and the lack of a committed political body willing to lift a finger to stop the bleed-out of the people’s wealth.  Let’s not look at the costs, moral and financial, involved in empire's endless rampage against oil rich nations, or the ethical morass which our tarnished state now represents to the rest of the world.  And by all means, don’t dare utter a word about the promise of yet another QE3 by Bernanke, which will further saddle the nation with greater debt and which America’s working class will ultimately be forced to pay; even as they proclaim the dire need for austerity. Oh no!  This election is about the cults of personalities and about their hollow promises of change. 

If you’ve made it this far and haven’t been purged from the voting lists, due to political affiliation, or still actually believe in the lessor of evil politics, you likely still believe that America is a democratic state, because you get the November privilege of casting a vote.  Maybe you’re mesmerized by the endless campaign messages splattered across your TV screen which are approved by some smiling talking head and you find yourself hoping to God that the entire nation isn’t going to catch fire, just like Rome; even though you smell the burning and feel the heat on your neck. Its making you sweat. 

You force yourself to believe that the system still works because if it doesn’t, it means that you actually have to do something about it, or admit that you’re a coward and are going to get exactly what you deserve.  After all, they showed us what’s coming for the troublemakers, we got front row tickets to the preview; if you take to the streets, like OWS, you get beaten by police in riot gear and jailed without charge.  And should you make enough noise…you might even get paid a visit by the FBI and put on a domestic terrorist list.  

So you play your role in the entire process and pick a side, with a held nose, and debate with your friends and neighbors from the prescribed talking points.  You steer clear of the messy details: the ever widening reaches of the police state, the loss of basic civil rights, the mounting racial tensions, corporate personhood, systemic corruption, environmental carnage, inequality, soaring incarceration rates, failing infrastructure, constant warfare and the end of the American dream. 

I am here to tell you that without your direct involvement in the process that the middle class is going to be a concept reserved for history books.  I am here to tell you that the US is going to continue down the pathway of western hegemony till an economic collapse, or much of the world is a war torn wasteland.  Finally, I’m here to tell you that real democracy isn’t merely the ability to choose between highly selected corporate candidates of gunshot, or poison.  I am here to empower you and remind you that while it is true that we are presented with the politics of no choice, during Novembers election; it doesn’t mean that you can’t determine a third choice for the betterment of our nation…the choice of solidarity with your fellows.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bill Moyers & Co : Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala on Third-Party Politics

Bill talks to Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, who share their unique perspectives on the intersection of personal missions and modern politics. 

Stein graduated from Harvard Medical School to become an internist specializing in environmental health. She was a Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate in 2002, co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities in 2003, and represented the Green-Rainbow Party in state races in 2004 and 2006.

Honkala is an anti-poverty activist and community organizer who co-founded the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.  A formerly homeless single mother, Honkala became the first woman ever to run for Sheriff of Philadelphia in 2011.

Moment of Clarity : Are We In The Middle Of The Zombie Apocalypse?!

TRC contributor, Lee Camp

Have you looked over your should recently?  There are zombies and vampires everywhere. 
I'm not kidding....

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Friday, September 7, 2012

RAP NEWS : Big Brother is WWWatching You

submitted by Gabrielle Price

Juice Rap News: Episode 15 - Big Brother is WWWatching You.  September 2012 rocks around with some crucial developments in the ongoing struggle over the future of the internet.  Will it remain the one open frequency where humanity can bypass filters and barriers; or become the greatest spying machine ever imagined?  The future is being decided as we type.  Across Oceania, States have been erecting and installing measures to legalise the watching, tracking and storage of data of party-members and proles alike.  If such plans materialize, will this place ever be the same?  And what will be the evolutionary consequences for our human journey?  Join our plucky host Robert Foster as he conducts an incisive analysis of the situation at hand.  Joining him are newly appointed Thought Police General at the Pentopticon, Darth O'Brien Baxter, and a surprisingly lucid Terence Winston Moonseed.  Once again, in the midst of this Grand Human Experiment, we are forced to ask tough questions about our future.  Will it involve a free internet which will continue to revolutionize the way the world communicates with itself?  Or is our picture of the future a Boot stamping on this Human InterFace forever?

Written & created by Giordano Nanni & Hugo Farrant - on Wurundjeri Land in Melbourne, Australia.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Moment of Clarity : Why The Occupy Anniversary on Sept17th Matters

TRC contributor, Lee Camp

A year ago Occupy Wall Street burst onto the scene, changing the conversations going on around this country and perhaps the world.  Has it had some defeats, some hurdles, some difficulties?  Sure.  But who honestly thought it wouldn't?  This war isn't over.

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OWS Week 9/5: RNC, DNC protests continued, Bradley Manning, Poverty March

submitted by Gabrielle Price

This episode of the show; RNC, Tampa Florida protests, DNC, Charlotte North Carolina demos, March on Wall Street South, Bradley Manning Trial update, Anti-Romney protests DC.  Protest actions kicked up a notch in waning days of Tampa's Republican National Convention.  Occupy and allies' Sunday March on Wall Street South prior to start of Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.  Fort Meade, Maryland for solidarity and soundbites from Bradley Manning supporters and Washington, DC, where Occupy joined labor for anti-Romney march.

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Keiser Report : World's Richest Woman, Kleptocracy, Libor, GOP

 submitted by Gabrielle Price

In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the world's richest woman and how the dingo stole her sanity.  They talk about the children of the Crimson, kleptographers and the interregnum of insanity.  In the second half of the show, Max Keiser talks to Catherine Austin Fitts about Libor crimes and item number 17 on the GOP platform and what they mean for the future of the world economy. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Moment of Clarity exclusive interview with Investigative Journalist Greg Palast

TRC contributor, Lee Camp

I sit down with the man who uncovered exactly how the 2000 election was stolen for George W. Bush.  He's chased major evil corporations like BP and Exxon around the world to find out the truth.  He's the thorn in the side of the billionaire criminals like the Koch Bros. and Paul Singer.  He also happens to be a NY Times bestselling author.  Check out his new book at

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Moment of Clarity : What You're Doing Right Now Might Not Matter At All

TRC contributor Lee Camp

What are you doing right now?  Does it matter?  Like really matter?  What would it be like if it did?  This video has the answer to all those questions as well as a killer recipe for a key lime pie.

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