AMERICAN BUDDHA ONLINE LIBRARY
THE SONG OF
I am Tara,
THE BODHISATTVA MARSHALL PLAN
PHASE 1, DEMOLITION: RE-ESTABLISH THE ORIGINAL GROUND
1.A. Eliminate Phony Democracy
There's a time-lag between when something happens, and when you acknowledge it. People become bald before they acknowledge it, for example. But people who don't like you will have no trouble waking you up to the smell of the coffee, and pointing out, with unflattering cartoons in my case, that you don't have a big, healthy mane like you once did. Which started me thinking about whether there's been an advancement in hair transplantation tech since back in the eighties, when this Eastern European paralegal I knew got a hair transplant. I saw it more as an attempted hair transplant, if the purpose of hair transplant is to actually disguise baldness. He had sparsely reforested the area north of his forehead in an exact grid pattern, like a tree-farm. It was the sort of thing that kept me wondering. Why the heck did he bother? It was transparently ineffective. Now you can't say that for the coverup job that Congress has done since representative democracy went missing. Probably the majority of the people don't even realize it has happened. Congress may have a low approval rating, but Senators and Congressional reps aren't actually being burned in effigy, as would be the case if the truth were known -- that representative democracy is dead because the honored members of the Senate and the House represent only moneyed corporate interests and whoever else their handlers put in front of them while murmuring "big donor" in their ear.
At some point you don't have to ask if there's a waste disposal plant nearby. The stench makes the issue moot. Something has died here, and trillions upon trillions of stench-producing bacteria are hard at work, farting up a storm, and that's just gonna stink. The stench of corruption that has been emanating from Washington for all of these years since oh, Good Lord, my entire lifetime, that takes you back to Truman, should have alerted us to something. But like I say, it's been a damn good coverup!
America lost its nuclear cherry nine years before I was born, and everybody was in shock about it while I grew into long pants. That was called the fifties -- prime nostalgia belt stuff -- and if you want to know what everyone's nostalgic about, I'll tell you. It's not bobby sox and convertibles, waitresses on rollerskates, and people saying "Gee whiz!" No, it's the comforting atmosphere of sheer terror that pervaded a society where everyone knew that this day could be your last, because Kennedy and Kruschev were giving each other the hairy eyeball while fingering their nuclear triggers, and everybody knew that the red menace was serious. Serious, like the French say, as a heart attack. It was kind of the Zen of being a counterweight in the balance of terror. We were all in it together. That's one thing you can say for a nuclear holocaust. People say they want to go with their loved ones simultaneously. Nukes are like an app for that.
So I think you can make the argument that democracy was dead before I was born. It has just been a kinder, gentler form of martial law ever since. And now, as we are surrounded, conditioned, and monitored by omnipresent instruments of social control, we realize that we are the frog in the cooking pot so often spoken of.
The strange thing about stench is that your nose goes numb. There's plenty of towns that stink, inhabited by people who are the olfactory equivalent of deaf to stink. Usually the airborne agent is sulfur dioxide, the rotten-egg smell that is one of the core nasty smells around a paper mill. And people who live in paper towns are notoriously touchy about anyone saying their town stinks, because after a while you don't smell it anymore. So it goes without saying that a Congressperson or a Senator, is the last person who would have the first idea about what corruption is. Those who labor on the Congressional Hill will no doubt say that their little burg "smells like money," like the people who live in Franklin, Virginia, a paper-mill town known statewide for its cheerful, stink-deaf locals.
It's pretty simple. If you want to get rich, you have to put up with a lot of stink at first, and no one in Washington will argue with that. But pretty soon you don't notice anymore, and none of your friends notice, and anyone who brings it up, like that Medea Benjamin, will just be shown the exit by men wearing flak jackets, armed with Tasers and powerful semi-automatic handguns, in case the troublemaker is non-compliant and has to be neutralized or terminated.
Bush II took it as proof that Saddam Hussein had a totalitarian system because the people gave him 100% of their votes. Tyrant-to-tyrant, of course, he knew what he was talking about! It takes a stronger brand of tyrant to run a country with only 48% of the popular vote and nine judges on your side.
about playin' poker with an ace in the hole.
succession is what we have here in the USA. With a
two-party system that puts bluebloods in both corners,
the power structure can hardly lose. Some Democrats
still wring their hands over how the Supreme Court took
Gore seriously when he conceded. Lawyers all agree the
opinion that no judge would sign is nonsense, lacking
any sound legal rationale. Because it was all about
sportsmanship, you see? Gore conceded, and that should
have been that, but then he waffled. His blue blood kind
of flared up, and he forgot that he'd conceded. He
reached for lawyers, and that was unsportsmanlike, so
the Supreme Court had to intervene. They say English
military victories were "won on the playing fields of
Eton." Likewise, Bush v. Gore was won in the locker
rooms of Yale and Harvard.
Congress, while "gridlocked on domestic policy," is full speed ahead on things like the Trans Pacific Partnership, that, if adopted, would restrict the scope of U.S. law based upon agreements negotiated in secret by corporate leaders and government apparatchiks. Congress is never "gridlocked on Israel," or "gridlocked on the Pentagon budget," or "gridlocked on investigating torture abuses." Nope, they're bipartisan on all that flag-wavey shit. Congress is only "gridlocked" on things like overhauling consumer bankruptcy law to allow people who only have one home to keep it. That's such a tough issue to get your head around, especially when you've got your head filled with images of how you're going to spend the campaign money you got from the mortgage-insurance company that is making so much money off the housing disaster. Congress is gridlocked.
The gridlock that exists in Congress is not accidental. It is as planned as everything else that Congress is doing. Collaboration "across the aisle" has been lost, we are told. What nonsense! There is sufficient collaboration to keep all of the agenda items of importance to the wealthy pushed to the fore of governmental action. The things that aren't getting done are things that the wealthy do not want done in a hurry. So you won't get peace in Israel, and you will get more New Yorkers moving there to populate the settlements. You won't get a civilian youth corps out into America, fixing the infrastructure and learning construction skills, and you will get higher student loan debt and a shrinking job market. You won't get immigration reform and respect for the human rights of people in ICE custody, and you will get more money for enforcement officers and detention centers.
What do we have if we do not have representative democracy? It's something like democracy, in one sense only. The populace appears to have given its consent to what government does. But this consent is phony. The phoniness was particularly apparent when the Nine Judges selected Bush II to rule, but it appears equally phony when the Congress orders the citizenry to buy health insurance, or the President orders drones to kill people because he thinks it will make U.S. citizens "more secure." Sometimes he has to kill American citizens with drone strikes. Of course he could not investigate torture. He wasn't powerful enough. The President, you see, does not have the power to investigate the acts of other Presidents. That's because he doesn't represent you. He represents the office of the Presidency. And he doesn't want future Presidents investigating his Presidency. You, and the people who were tortured, have no representation.
Yes, I said you have no representation. If something extremely awful were done to you by the government, who would you turn to? You know the government does awful things to people, right? Black prisons run by the CIA may seem a distant fantasy, but being sent to prison for a long time for what seems like small potatoes is a common experience for citizens of the U.S.A. It's more common for us Americans than for people in any other "first world" country. You got no one to help you if you fall into the clutches of the prosecution, except for a public defender, and while I don't speak ill of public defenders as a class, having been a damn good one myself, on your average day, if you're charged with a federal crime, lawyer or no lawyer, you can kiss your ass goodbye for a lengthy stretch. Unless of course, you're wealthy, or committed a financial crime too complicated for a jury to understand, and can afford a lawyer to defend you at trial. That seems to be working very well these days, for those few, rare, unfortunate financial executives who somehow attract the attention of a prosecutor, usually because their misdeeds can provide cover for those of much bigger criminals.
1.B. Eliminate Phony People
They move among us, non-humans without feelings or emotions. Huge, omnipresent entities looming over us, controlling the systems we depend on for survival and identity. Their logos are more familiar to suburban children, and as beloved, as the family pet. For children in particular, immense corporations provide the stability and meanings that support life and condition growth.
Criticism of corporations is emotional and legalistic. It takes no great wit to kindle anti-corporate ire, so flagrant, and ubiquitous are corporate crimes and misdemeanors. And we are now all comfortable with the fact that the legal doctrine of corporate personhood exploded full blown one day like a disgusting boil erupting on the forehead of the Supreme Court, a pustulent mass revealing the uncleanness within. So no need to go into that.
Neither the Court nor Congress will ever move to explode the legal fiction that companies are people, a notion that is so wrongheaded a solution to the question of how to style the status of a non-human entity in litigation that you know that's not why they did it.
They did it so rich people could clone themselves. Because rich people have so much property that they benefit by hiding their ownership. Back in the 1900's, if all the factories, oil fields, railroad cars and company towns that old John D. Rockefeller owned had "Property of John D. Rockefeller," painted all over them, instead of "Standard Oil," human jealousy, provided with that type of fuel, would have exploded in outrage. As it was, with his power and wealth concealed in Standard Oil and its innumerable sub-corporations, the rage could only smolder, and it took government prosecutors to reveal how one man was imposing his vision of life on America. And in that vision, John D. Rockefeller was the smartest, best person to own everything. He would put it all to what the economists call the "highest, best use."
How could one man own everything in sight? Well, when it came to extracting, refining, transporting, wholesaling and retailing petroleum products, he did. He fixed prices, drove other oilmen out of business, and put the nation's productivity under his heel. But when the Department of Justice charged criminal violations of of the Sherman Antitrust Act, did it charge John D. Rockefeller? Was the man behind the scheme convicted for the crimes of monopolization and price "fixing," i.e., gouging the public? No, "Standard Oil" was. How nice, since if John D. had been convicted, he'd have found it most inconvenient to occupy a prison cell for even one afternoon. Whereas his corporate clone, Standard Oil, could easily join Marvin waiting for the collapse of the Milky Way Galaxy at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and endure the 500,000,000 year wait with greater equanimity. Poor Marvin, though mechanical, still has a brain, but Standard Oil, the clone of John D. Rockefeller, has none at all. Corporate law gives to those having property the power to create new legal persons, companies that stalk the earth, pursuing "their own" interests. By this power to create simulacra of human beings, imbued with rights but not susceptible to pain or punishment, the "tail" of money has truly come to wag the "dog" of human existence, and the right to commit profitable crimes with impunity is now the law of the land.
Ironically, once the people who created mega-corporations lose their place on this earth due to the inevitable process by which human bodies turn from walking, talking, living beings into rotting piles of ordure, their corporate creations live on by the power of the accumulated wealth that they "possess." These non-humans are essentially unguided, once launched into existence with no mind or sense, merely the mechanism for accomplishing whatever the greed algorithm describes as the pursuit of profit. Individual humans latch on to the lumbering beasts as best they can, seeking roles as oilers, mechanics, maintenance drones, while elites vie for positions in the brains of the beast.
When a beast seems likely to topple, like General Motors, or the entire banking sector, government leaders become more alarmed than they were when they learned that Kennedy was dead, that Nixon was a crook, or that Reagan was demented. All those things can be dealt with. But the collapse of a major corporate giant? The heavens will fall! Who will save us, if not the great gods of non-existent corporate Olympus? Hands are wrung, the government coffers are squeezed for the last drop of funding to pump precious billions into the corporate veins, because Daddy is on his deathbead! Those who save a corporate giant from death, as Bush II saved the banks and Obama claims to have saved GM, receive the true honor of the nation -- massive campaign contributions.
Day in, day out, the TV, radio, papers and Internet remind us -- all good comes from the abstract logos, all good people serve the corporati, and the greatest of all humans are the CEOs, the "job-creators," as their worshippers have named them. Leave aside that corporate profits always rise when jobs are cut, the corporati celebrate their faux creativity, talking from all sides of their mouths about how they have brought us cultural advances that make us truly modern, and render the discovery of fire inconsequential. But modernity is a trope that is constantly recycled in the mechanized world of continuous overproduction, and nothing is so modern as the latest retro style. Anyone who thinks that the corporati are providing us with anything new would have been impressed by the vastness of Mussolini's army, that marched 'round and 'round the city of Rome, and past the reviewing stand again and again, until at last Il Duce was satisfied that the world was duly impressed with his martial display.
The only cachet comes from bigness. To be small, individual, alone, is sad, pathetic, flirting with nonexistence. In our brief, firefly existence, we cling for constancy to the logos that have been there for us forever -- Coca Cola, GM, Chase, Starbucks, Safeway, WalMart. Corporations produce sweet drinks, soft foods, shiny cars, glowing screens with animated characters, and everything else in your whole life. Or so they say.
Actually, corporations do nothing. Coca Cola never handed you the change when you bought a coke. McDonalds never asked if you wanted to supersize that. Avis didn't try harder, and even though Hertz was #1, it didn't know it. Corporations are phony people. They don't exist. It's a mass hallucination. Like the Matrix. Find me a corporation, grab one by the balls, squeeze them 'til they burst. Never happen. Corporations have no balls. And yet, the corporate managers have our balls in a box, because we humans foolishly participate in this ridiculous charade, and agree that when people join their efforts together, and file some papers with their company name, henceforth that name becomes a person. Meanwhile, the people running the company become anonymous and act with impunity. That's a recipe for social self-destruction, as action without consequence becomes the norm, and anyone who commits a crime without corporate cover is an idiot.
People should get the credit for what people do. And people should get the blame. But who do you blame at "Monsanto" for its endless efforts to monopolize the business of plant genetics by bribing Congress for favorable legislation? (Monsanto used to be called "DuPont," until its handlers realized that telling people the name of the family that owns the corporation is just asking for undesired publicity.) The people who run "Monsanto" should be held to answer for what they do when they're pretending to be a corporation. But they aren't. "Monsanto" is responsible. But Monsanto doesn't exist, and its lawyers and executives bear no personal, moral responsibility for their unethical behavior. No moral constraints can be brought to bear, and if they are somehow discovered to be involved in corporate wrongdoing, they are simply fired, and the corporation continues on, as blameless as Mother Mary. Why would the Supreme Court punch a huge hole in the legal responsibility of business like that? Make it possible for people to do something bad, then just say "Harvey did it"?
The GM Cobalt scandal is a recent example of how this hole in the responsibility net claims lives until the thump of bodies hitting the concrete becomes a regular thing. If a small company selling used cars killed a dozen people by selling cars with deadly defects, the owner would go to jail tout suite. Not so at GM, though. In an institution that big, responsibility is always distributed so widely amongst the multitude of decisionmakers earning the big bucks to make the tough calls, that ultimately deadly defects turn out to be of mysterious origin, orphan events without ascertainable causes, bad shit emanating from some mysterious gremlins afflicting the organization, but not wearing nametags. In a corporation, when you go looking for bad apples, you find nothing but oranges. Right now, we're hearing that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, possibly the only regulatory agency with less teeth than the FDA, is imposing the "largest fine the agency can impose" for sentencing unsuspecting young drivers to a randomly-occurring death sentence. And how big is that fine? A whopping $35 Million dollars! Yeah, that'll teach old GM! That's .01 percent of the $35 Billion GM made in the first three months of 2014. Big deterrent, huh? Yeah, I tell you what -- GM, get out of the way. That deal is too sweet not to cut the rest of us in.
Hiding the people who do the killing for profit that corporations embrace in search of that "improved bottom line" is a very effective strategy. Not being able to find "the right guy to answer that question" is so well-established that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have a provision to deal with it. If you want to know what a company thinks about anything relevant to a lawsuit, you just notice their deposition as "Mr. Frito-lay," and tell them what questions you need answered, and Frito-lay has to produce someone to testify on that topic. That's the easy way to establish "corporate knowledge" in litigation. But just because there's something in the law called "corporate knowledge" doesn't mean there really is a corporation, knowing anything. There's people, in corporate buildings, wearing corporate outfits, knowing things. And in a world where those people hold power to totally screw up lives and destroy property doing stuff for Harvey, since Harvey is just a socially-agreed hallucination, real people need to be held responsible. Off with the mask, Harvey. Let's see some ID.
1.C. Eliminate Self-Identification of Americans as "Consumers"
As the Twig Is Bent, So Grows the Tree
From childhood we are taught that we are "social beings." This of course means about as much to a kid as it would if a tuna said to its offspring, "We live in the sea." Our social environment is so all-encompassing that as children, we cannot perceive it as a discrete phenomenon. Children, who are on the front lines of the useless-crap consuming that has driven the U.S. economy since the fifties, can't imagine what life would be without the orgiastic overproduction of those highly desirable objects we call "toys."
Every ToysRUs is a temple where parents go to acquire ritual objects so their children can become adepts in the religion of childhood. Those children who acquire the right toys will become high priests of the backyard and the playroom. When parents club each other in an effort to get the right toy for their little prince or princess, they don't think they're acting insane. They are trying to secure for their children the status that they know the right toys will bring. After all, what heartless parent would send their child into the psychic mosh pits of kindergarten and grade school without the armor of owning the right toys?
The right toys are the ones that confirm that you have been watching the same TV shows as your friends. We'll know that TV is no longer an effective medium for programming children when ToysRUs closes down. I discovered how much my children were programmed by the damn boob tube when I threw away the TV in my third year of law school. We had our best Christmas ever that year, because none of the kids knew what they were supposed to get. They mostly opted to get new clothes, Josh got a skateboard, Maria got a phone, Ana got Hello Kitty stuff, and everybody was happy. None of them complained that their toys were Chinese knockoffs of the real thing, which had been a problem in the past. I still love the picture of them all that Christmas, holding their self-chosen toys, happy consumers all, but a little less programmed than their friends.
A Portrait of the Consumer
In our society, the primary common activity is "consumption." With so many of us laid off, it certainly isn't "production." The production mindset was useful during the Second World War, when we needed to bomb the living daylights out of Europe and the Pacific, but nowadays, it's not good for business to be too productive. I suspect someone in government decided that having a nation full of "producers" is not inherently good for business, because low unemployment puts upward pressure on wages, and high productivity puts downward pressure on prices. As a result, a nation full of producers would be a nation full of people demanding higher wages and lower prices, which is of course just the sort of nightmare to make the head of your local Chamber of Commerce wake up in a cold sweat next to his trophy wife. But of course we know that when that man wakes up in this world, he relaxes and goes back to sleep with a smile on his face. And when his trophy wife says, "What's the matter, honey?" he snuggles up against her and says, "Nothin', baby. They're all consumers."
Everyone seems to accept the definition of Americans as "consumers." What the heck? Is this a good social self-image? Visualize a consumer. I don't know what you see, but I see a big, fat, white baby in Pampers with a bottle of formula in its mouth, suckin' on that plastic nipple and gettin' fatter 'n fatter. Pretty soon it's gonna fill those Pampers full of shit, and then it'll cry until it gets changed. Then it'll start over again. As consumers grow, they acquire consumer skills, i.e., the ability to shop, open the mail, perform simple tasks in the service economy, get payday loans and invent numbers to put on credit card applications.
During the adult stage of a consumer's life, called the "prime of life," because most consumers spend it watching prime-time TV, the consumer reaches their peak level of utility. The consumer becomes maximally useful when their consumption hits its peak. In our debt-driven economy, they do this because they have "consumer optimism," i.e., the belief that things are going to get better. People who think things are going to get better will borrow money, knowing that someday they will have it to pay back. Thus, believing that one day they will get out of their dead-end job, they will borrow and try to start a family. A couple of consumers may become the father and mother of other consumers, thus employing doctors. Inevitably, they will have a divorce, and their children will get into trouble, thus employing lawyers. Tough as life is, thanks to their unrequited consumer optimism, the hardest working will give "employment" their best shot, and cook up a TV-dinner version of the American dream that will saddle them with high-interest debt for years, thus producing revenue for bankers.
For most consumers, the primary benefit to having a job is that they get to say they are "employed." This legendary condition is said to confer a sense of self-respect, but as many a formerly-employed consumer will tell you, employment is not all it's cracked up to be. At all events, employment rarely lasts for long these days, and losing it forever has turned into the final horizon for many people whose odometer has gone past 55.
The aging consumer, having served the economy to the best of their consuming ability, having been put outside the realm of employability due to their lack of cutting-edge skills and youthful charm, is statistically likely to fall prey to anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other expensive illnesses available cheap from WalMart. Thus, consumers must consume tranquilizers, insulin, heart medications, and painkillers. They pass from being youthful consumers of entertainment and trivial junk to being aging consumers of "health care," i.e., drugs and expensive procedures, thus providing revenue for the all-important "health care industry." Finally, the vital spirit will leave the consumer, and the corpse they leave behind will give employment to the death industry, which as we know, is thriving.
How different is the life of a consumer from that of a producer! What could a person produce? Anything, really. It's not that we don't have the impulse to produce, but we have been frustrated by a society that makes our creativity irrelevant. It's almost like a conspiracy to make people useless. Thought you could fix cars? Try to tune up a new car without a large manual and a computer. Thought you could program computers? People in India can do it better and faster. Thought you could sing? Who cares -- the airwaves are cluttered with voices. Want to spread a political idea? Go talk to yourself in the free speech zone.
In the Aggregate, Consumers Comprise an Economy, Not a Society
We've accepted our individual identity as consumers, so what are we in the aggregate? You're not going to like this, because consumers, in the aggregate, do not form a social grouping. A nation-sized group of consumers is simply referred to as "the economy." There are no reports on the creative achievements of consumers, unless of course eating contests, stock car races, and school shootings are considered consumer achievements. If you are puzzled by my inclusion of the last, just consider that each school shooter buys a great deal more ammunition than he uses, due to the tendency to stockpile more guns and bullets than can realistically be deployed in one's last stand against the evil society that has oppressed one since childhood. And every school shooting provides a powerful impulse for more police expenditures, more militarization of the schools, and more belief in the need for high-powered weapons in the hands of -- consumers! Obama's response to the crisis of juvenile time bombs going off all over the country is tailored for mass consumption -- give them more tranquilizers.
So a society of consumers is not a society at all. It's just an aggregation of people who are totally hypnotized by material appearances, who identify themselves exclusively with the space contained within their skin, and pursue their individual desires on an ad hoc basis from moment to moment, based on commercial prompts. They lurch from one BigMac Attack to the next, pitting their resources against the menu in an effort to acquire what rudiments of self-respect can be discovered in a Happy Meal. They do not know what it is to experience themselves as members of a group that they feel accepts and appreciates them. Mature consumers thus experience life as the freedom to purchase in an environment where everything truly desirable is beyond their reach, i.e., poverty.
Mature consumers are politically neuter, true "swing" voters who provide the ignorant weight that keeps our ship of state listing to the stupid side. They know nothing about their own interests, because they have never considered them outside the structure of consumerism.
True Self-Interest As the Basis for Social Alliances
To take our leave of consumerism, we must identify our own interests, and align with people of similar interests. Perhaps this seems obvious, but few people practice it. Indeed, those people most convinced that they have joined a group that will advance their interests are mere dupes. Political parties provide an excellent example of this phenomenon. Most Latino voters vote Democratic, and most pundits say the Latino vote sent Obama up to play God, giving him omniscience and putting hellfire in his hand. He gets to see where you were when you made your last phonecall, in case he needs to dispatch a drone to kill you, so the rest of us will be a little safer.
But does Obama show any gratitude to Mexicans for helping him get over? No, Mexicans are the new negroes. Does Obama invite any Mexicans to come and do a fiesta in the Rose Garden? No, he's not a Republican, so he can't advertise his love of enchiladas like Bush did. Does Michelle go to the Mexican border to see if she can make the Immigration and Customs policies a little more humane, and stop separating families like slavers once separated black American families? No, no, no. They don't give us Mexicans a fuckin' plate to admire our beans on.
During the 2008 election, my wife and I were so lonely that we went to the Nader convention in Denver. There we saw thousands of people who were all equally underwhelmed by Obama, enough to rally around the only man with the courage to call phony democracy by its true name. We had great speeches by Ralph and Jello Biafra, we had great music from Nellie McKay, we raised our spirits and raised some money for Ralph. What others called our futile gesture was not futile. To find a suitable quote for our group sentiment, I will quote the Spaniard who, through four years in litigation, forced Google to take his name out of the search engine -- "Resistance is victory!"
But back in 2008, Nader was not the man to support if you wanted to keep your liberal friends and relations happy. There was a project on to make people feel that Obama would be their president. Black Americans rallied to the man they thought was their man, and young people of all ethnicities came along, ready to believe that the man who talked like a high school basketball coach, who believed every player counted, was going to coach their team. Obama's social media meisters had the numbers, the email lists, the fast-response polling data that it takes to morph a message minute by minute, day after day, nudging public opinion into a pocket, until you almost have to win. "Exit polls revealed that Obama had won nearly 70 percent of the vote among Americans under age 25—the highest percentage since U.S. exit polling began in 1976."
Will We Find Our Allies on Facebook?
Obama appointed Chris Hughes, twenty-something Facebook co-founder, to run his Internet marketing campaign. Smart move. Hughes copped User ID Number 5 at Facebook as a people person who focused on user issues, and volunteered his way into the number one Internet job in Obama's campaign machine. By 2007, Obama's Facebook page had 250,000 likes to Hilary's 3,200. Today, BarackObama has over 44 million likes and Hillary2016 has under 400,000. Having helped his man capture the White House, Hughes capped his Facebook tenure by taking $700,000,000 out of the IPO, and bought the New Republic with some change he fished out of the sofa cushions.
Considering how quickly Hughes built a competitor-crushing political machine using social networks, makes you wonder just how much social networks can do to influence politics. I found the answer on the first page of NewRepublic.com. A recent experiment showed that Facebook postings increased voting in a recent election by .39%. When the numbers get into the thousands, those percentages start to decide elections. Attorney Jonathan Zittrain wrote the article, in which he identifies the potential for "digital gerrymandering" by social networking platforms that could send a "get out the vote" message exclusively to people who are voting their way.
Zittrain suggests that for Twitter, or Facebook, or any social network to engage in digital gerrymandering would be so far beyond the pale that ... well -- he doesn't say it won't happen. Let me tell you -- it will inevitably happen unless steps are taken to prevent it, because American consumers are Facebookers.
Facebook has turned out to be a wonderful place for unemployed consumers to while away their time without burning up gasoline driving around looking for a job that doesn't exist. It concentrates all the vulnerable people who are struggling with the collapse of the American economy that began in year 2000 and has never ended, who find themselves in need of some face-saving activity to soak up their excessive spare time. While being addicted even to something as innocuous as chocolate is a private sin indulged in secrecy, being a Facebook addict is openly confessed, as if it were not an admission that, as the alcoholics put it, "we have lost control over our lives."
But on Facebook, you say, we have found our true communities! Oh yes, enough to fill an Arab jail! More about foreign policy later, though. Let's focus on domestic consumers. Yes, you can find people of like mind on Facebook, but you will find it easiest to talk about consumption. The primary purpose of Facebook is to track consumer likes, compile the data, and sell it to advertisers. Zuckerberg didn't choose that word "like" carelessly. The one important thing a consumer does is to like things. Because first you like them, then you buy them. If you don't like them, your opinion's not going to help make a sale, so that explains the missing "dislike" button upon which so many Facebookers have commented.
If you seek to join political speech on Facebook, you will discover that most activist Facebook pages are dominated by whoever happened to be tech-savvy enough to start the page. These self-styled technorati use their power to ban, delete, and censor posts freely, so the Pizza Effect goes into operation, and Facebook speech turns into an exercise in groupthink. Sure you can organize the next meeting handily, and extend the geographic reach of your group for fundraising purposes, and all that other stuff that Chris Hughes is so good at, but you know who he's working for, and he's not an activist.
Since all good liberals know that Obama would never send a hellfire missile down a domestic chimney, we make it a practice to ignore all of the bad news coming from the NSA, the CIA, and the Pentagon. Nothing bad will happen due to our wholesale revelation of our lives on Facebook. Really? Of course you're not a child porn fan, so you don't need to worry that the FBI is trolling for people of that ilk. But they got a much longer list of bad deeds than "child porn" to investigate. Being an Arab, and friending websites that criticize U.S. Middle East policy would be a smart thing only if you are planning your own martyrdom. Would they be talking with real people or FBI agents? Maybe just some down-on-their luck Arab student who overstayed his visa and is working for the FBI hoping to avoid deportation by tending Internet honey pots.
Back in 2012, the FBI was pressuring Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech data giants to install a digital backdoor to allow their agents access to all their user data. In 2013, Snowden told us they had done it, and we got a snow flurry of doublespeak from Zuckerberg, Brin, and Obama that just knocked it right out of the consumer attention zone. We now can be pretty clear from what we've seen in Egypt, that all that digital, online networking helps oppressive regimes pinpoint dissidents with GPS-level accuracy.
Facebook is a store of personal data so tasty that it is drawing hackers to it like a bowl of fruit attracts gnats. Facebook is attacked by hackers continuously because the rewards of a single good hack can be substantial. Just having a friend with a weak password can expose Facebookers to malware attacks that do things like send out messages asking your friends to wire money because you got mugged in Istanbul. Many of those hackers work for the government, doing things the government isn't supposed to do, like Sabu, one of the Occupy founders who farmed out work to young hackers who hacked for the FBI without realizing how their anarchist efforts had been redirected. Facebook is really nasty territory in which to deposit your life secrets.
Not only is it unsafe, it's a bad deal. By opening a Facebook account, populating it with your life history, and linking to your friends, you turn your relationships into Facebook's property. Your relationships are the map of your motivations. Facebook doesn't care about you at all, but it really loves your motivations. As soon as it has them figured out, it will take away features you "like" and sell them back to you. Take for example the right to have your friends hear you. Used to be a post was a post, and all your friends would see it. But now, only one out of ten friends sees your post -- unless you pay. This is so unfriendly.
The nastiest blow, to a nation that once saw itself as capable of overcoming any obstacle, will be the death of the salesman. Sellers of products and services have never liked salesmen all that much. Google killed most of the world's advertising agencies and its largest media outlets for pre-Internet advertising -- the newspapers and magazines. Now Facebook is closing in on the marketers. Consumers will take the job over. In exchange for a makeup kit or some lingerie, a young person can now find gainful employment tweeting or Facebooking the proof of their satisfaction with the product. The practice is taking off, and is said to generate more sales than standard advertising. When Facebook and the other online "communities" are done, the last bastion of American employment -- salesmanship -- will collapse. Consumers will do all the selling, and Willie Loman will take his last bow. Poor bastard. He wanted to be productive.
1.D. Eliminate Phony Law Enforcement
Our society is ostensibly dedicated to what is popularly referred to as "The Rule of Law." This is supposed to inspire us in some way, suggesting that we, as a society, are superior to societies that are not "governed by The Rule of Law." Since European-based colonization efforts dovetailed with racial genocide and the mass destruction of societies that were governed by rules other than "law," this argument has never been put to the test. As a young law student, I was fortunate to hear a talk by the Native American lawyer, Vine Deloria, Jr., author of Custer Died for Your Sins, discussing Native American approaches to what we call "law," i.e., the system of social ordering.
Deloria was an impressive speaker, a very big man, well over 6 feet, dressed in bib overalls, standing to the side of the lectern on the podium in front of a packed classroom, looking like a giant draped in washed denim. The main thing I remember him saying was that Native Americans didn't have jails. As he explained it, the tribe "didn't have any extra braves to put to watching other braves who had misbehaved." That observation fascinated me. Obviously, Native Americans had a system of social control that deterred anti-social conduct and encouraged pro-social conduct; however, it had nothing to do with the terrifying institution that Europeans created, called "imprisonment." This is not to say that Meso-American governments, Aztecas, Incas, and others did not use confinement as a form of punishment. I always assumed that they did; however, it was Deloria who made me aware that this practice was not universal.
Deloria's invocation of a society in which imprisonment was unknown has always stood as a sort of enigma to me. I have never been able to figure it out, and am not the type to accept modern-day explanations for the conduct of people whose traditions have been destroyed. I just don't know how they did it, and I think it's a pity that we can't find out. The "law" that kept unruly braves in line amongst the Shoshone, Crow, Creek, Lakota, and other tribes who were committed to the wandering lifestyle made possible by the abundance of escaped Spanish horses and their wild progeny, can never be understood. It is a terrible pity, because imprisonment is, in my view, the greatest blight on humanity afflicting us today.
I make this denunciation with a relatively clear knowledge of the incarceration system. As a federal contract public defender from 1995 until 2000, I visited many imprisonment facilities, local jails and penitentiaries. There is nothing quite like motorized steel doors clanging shut behind you. Being able to call a jailer and ask to leave seemed like the greatest luxury, especially when I did it after concluding a meeting with a client who didn't have that power. As I explained to many young men, that was the primary difference between us. I could leave, and they couldn't.
My social authority as an attorney allowed me to visit inmates almost any time I wanted, unlike their friends and relatives, who had to wait to see their incarcerated loved ones on visiting days for short periods of time, often separated by glass and speaking to them through telephones. I, on the other hand, could arrive at a moment's notice, ask to see my client, and be ushered into their presence. I finally gave up this line of work, in large part because I just couldn't stand saying goodbye to any more young men who were doing 10-year stints for delivering contraband substances. It was that, and the heartbreaking, completely useless cases involving the deportation of Mexican citizens who had already established families here in the United States that were being torn asunder with bureaucratic efficiency and complete coldness. Witnessing this trail of destruction really became too much for me, especially since my role was very limited, and often I could offer nothing more than competent representation and soothing words that felt hollow and impotent.
The Stamp of Slavery Remains
It was against this background that I formulated my conclusion that law enforcement in this country is phony. It is phony because it masquerades as the pursuit of "justice," when in fact it is the vehicle for enforcement of class inequality, White Master-Race status, and Nordic values, dubbed "Judaeo-Christian" for political, not religious, reasons. Since when do the two religions most antagonistic to each other become conflated into a single philosophy? You can take your choice -- Jesus of Nazareth's philosophy of mercy and kindness, or the genocidal practices of Jehovah -- the two don't mix and weren't meant to. The only important feature of "Jesus" as he is currently popularized, is that he is depicted as a Nordic European. The rest of what we call "Christianity," when it is applied to national policy, is a pure Old Testament power-trip.
Class inequality, and the supremacy of the White Master-Race, is enforced by the use of imprisonment, an institution directly derived from bondsmanship, that was once the fate of generations of European peasants. Bondsmanship came to be called "indentured servitude," often "for a term of years," among Whites. Because of race prejudice and the pious hallucinations of White people who defined Africans as soulless animals, colonial slavers treated them far more cruelly than White bondservants. Slavery achieved official approval from our nation in the Dredd Scott decision, where the Supreme Court held that a slave remained a slave when he crossed into a free state where slavery was illegal, because as an item of property, he could not cheat his owner of his value simply by fleeing the jurisdiction where his owner resided. The persistence in our society of the technologies, economies, and social hierarchies created by "law enforcement" are but the echo of the slave-holder State that was supposedly put to rest by Sherman's march to the sea. But the fires that burned Atlanta were never put out, and slavery's legacy of hate still smolders. Because of the enormity of the cruel, systematic brutalization of Africans by the people and governments of this nation, the national government and the several states stand unified in denial of the crime.
Your Life Is Illegal
Persecuted minorities always find that their social customs are illegal, their sacraments and intoxicants are "drugs," their ceremonies are "heathen." For Native Americans, speaking their native language was a crime. Excluded from the professions (ever see a Black airline pilot on a U.S. domestic flight?) and access to capital, minority people are forced to engage in illegal commerce, often fed by law enforcement that conspires with gangsters to predate on poor communities. Minority citizens are often exposed to prosecution, their activist political leaders can always be slandered as drug dealers, and the artists and creatives easily fall prey to Cointelpro-style setups that lead to their imprisonment.
Minorities find their work made illegal even when it is perfectly honest. The classic victims here are Mexican and Latin-American immigrants who come to the agricultural centers of the nation to find employment. They seek honest employment that, due to their transformation into "consumers," "American" people cannot do. "Consumers" are too sissified to handle work that involves gutting a steer in under a minute, or doing anything at all in blazing heat, like picking fruit and vegetables. Other immigrants, the Wops, Micks and Polacks of the past, venerate their ancestors for their pluck in crossing the seas, and claim noble ancestry by way of their passage through Ellis Island, blessed by Lady Liberty as members of those "huddled masses yearning to breathe free." These arrogant White braggarts deride Mexicans for demonstrating the same pluck. These hatemongers call Mexicans "illegals" as if they were unlawful down to the very bone, rather than being persons who simply do not have the right piece of paper to be on this side of an imaginary line. An imaginary line drawn by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that concluded the war but did not end Anglo hostility.
It goes without saying that when Mexicans and Black people and Asians sell painkillers and euphoriants, it is illegal, because they do it without the necessary licensing. When pharmaceutical companies flood our nation with toxic anti-depressants that are driving people crazy, and super-strength painkillers like Oxycontin, aka hillbilly heroin, now the true opiate for the masses, that is of course legal. In fact, even the "illegal drug trade" is legal when the government manages it.
"Whatever We Do Is Legal"
Which gets us to the rest of the story, which is that the Government's enterprise is lawful, whatever it does, whether it be good or evil, even horrifyingly, transparently evil, such as extreme rendition, torturing people, and the other CIA-Pentagon exploits supposedly confined to the Bush/Cheney/Gonzales/Yoo/Bybee era. It is always lawful, because the Government makes the laws, and since Gonzales took up his pen as the Torturer General, the enactment of laws that make anything legal that is defined as "lawful" has become the routine authoritarian practice in the supposedly democratic precincts of Washington, D.C.
The Government's business is always legal, and today it focuses on keeping many evil and destructive practices a part of our daily life. The Government continues to support extraction businesses around the world as they rape and predate on natural resources and generate ill-will with Native people and other nations. The U.S. Supreme Court's vacating of the verdict against Chevron obtained by Ecuador in its own courts is an extreme example. The Supreme Court's upholding of the Vulture Investor's rights to collect debt against Argentina at its full face value with crushing interest, debt that the market has savagely devalued, is another example.
The United States has completely given up the effort to appear as the world's benefactor, and is making itself known for the imposition of its will by means of extra-judicial force, most blatantly in the case of drone deployments in places like Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, whose people suffer from leadership so craven and despicable that they allow their skies to be patrolled by a foreign nation, and tolerate the killing of innocents within their borders as the price of "global cooperation."
The United States has turned itself into Fortress America, but what the citizens of the nation have not realized is that this Fortress imprisons and surveils them. Within the borders of Fortress America, bundled into their virtual realities, the consumers of the United States are like a termite farm observed by marketers interested in exploiting their habits. The insectile analogy is not misplaced. The consumer role in modern society is obligatory, and closely reflects the insectile model, which is to say, the insectile mind. If you can imagine being judged by an insect, like a preying mantis, or being investigated by a dragonfly, you can imagine the cold mentality that prevails among modern technocrats, who see not people, but demographics, not starving families, but underperforming economies, not soft human bodies, but "terrorists" and "unavoidable collateral damage."
Foreign & Domestic Policies of Oppression Mirror Each Other In Their Contempt For Dark People
If I seem to have merged the enforcement of class injustice with the topic of foreign policy, that is because U.S. foreign policy towards dark people and people in southern nations closely parallels its domestic treatment of dark people even while they are its own citizens, whose ancestors hail from defeated nations like Africans, the Native American tribes, Arabs, Iraquis, and Mexicans. If you reflect upon it, you will perceive that virulent race hatred is only spewed against defeated minorities. There's no prejudice against Austrians, Canadians, Norwegians, and only mild prejudice against the Japanese, who took their WWII internment politely, and fought manfully enough that they were made the guinea pigs for a nucleo-fascist experiment on live human beings.
As for our beloved Americans of German ancestry, their German-American clubs and anti-war organizing in the lead-up to U.S. entry to WWII was never held against them. Sure we burned a number of cities, incinerating a few million Germans, but here in the USA, they weren't rounded up like the Japanese, and with Operation PaperClip, we made smart, weapons-grade Nazis honored Americans who helped us build ICBMs. That's what you call technological progress as a side-benefit of war!
Comparing Civil & Criminal Justice
Domestically, we can see how dark people from defeated nations get a lower brand of justice when they go to court. Poor people are most likely to go to court as criminal defendants or civil debtors. As I will explain, in both of these situations, they will receive a lesser quality of justice. If you want to see how utterly biased towards conviction the criminal justice system is, let's think about this. You have all heard that criminal cases must be proved "beyond a reasonable doubt." You may have heard that civil cases, lawsuits over physical injuries in car accidents and industrial accidents, for example, need to be proven to a "preponderance of the evidence." If you are ever asked to sit on a civil jury, they will explain to you that this is a "lower standard of proof" than "beyond a reasonable doubt." Theoretically, an injured person's right to receive damages when their house is blown up by an exploding oil refinery, needs to be proved only to "a probability," or "a likelihood," in order to obtain a verdict against the oil refinery.
In order to give this lesson a little color, let us use a metaphor. Let us compare trying cases to shooting baskets in a basketball game. Prosecutors, because they are required to prove the facts beyond a reasonable doubt, are shooting through a regular-sized basketball hoop. Civil trial lawyers, who can prevail merely by showing that their client "more likely than not" deserves to win, are shooting hoops through a larger basketball hoop, say, twice as big as an ordinary one. Given this setup, you would expect that the civil lawyers would be racking up much higher scores in their games. They would be scoring into the hundreds of points. Prosecutors, on the other hand, would play games in which scores were much lower. Why? Very simple. It's just easier to shoot a basketball through a larger hoop.
It might surprise you then that civil plaintiffs lose their cases more often than prosecutors. A little under 50% of plaintiffs win their cases, on average, while prosecutors, even the most inept of them, always average much better than a 50% victory rate. Truly aggressive prosecutors achieve victory rates above 90% as a regular matter. Federal prosecutors, because of the powerful bias of the federal court system toward procedures that aid in achieving convictions, secure convictions at a very high rate. The only criminal cases that are harder to win than civil cases are those that have been made particularly difficult for the prosecution by the U.S. Supreme Court's imposition of special procedural hurdles in prosecutions of banks, bankers and ENRON-style megafraudsters.
It is much more difficult for a civil trial lawyer to win an auto accident case than a criminal case because juries don't apply the correct standard. In fact, when they are judging people accused of crimes, juries accept less convincing proof than when they are deciding whether to make a negligent driver pay money to an injured person. A person who finds themself sitting in front of a jury hoping to recover damages because they lost a limb in an industrial accident, or have been put in a wheelchair by a reckless driver, will discover that their lawyer has a far more difficult case to prove than does the prosecutor prosecuting a drunk driver or wife abuser in the courtroom next door. Why? American juries have been so indoctrinated by fear of awarding damages to injured civil plaintiffs that they see them as greedy malingerers, seeking to obtain a windfall at the expense of a poor, unfortunate defendant. Thus, the average civil juror, handed the opportunity to do justice with their verdict, dispenses relatively little justice to their own kind. But when it's time to join the Prosecutor in his noble cause of hammering those who have offended the Judaeo-Christian moral code by dealing in contraband substances, they are only too happy to throw their match into the bonfire. It gives them a good feeling. They know they are doing the right thing.
The Fast Track To Valuable Rights: INCORPORATE!
I also mentioned that when they come to civil court, most poor folks will come in response to creditor lawsuits -- a credit card company or a car dealer will sue them for unpaid debts. Most times, they will be without attorneys, and unlike a criminal prosecution, it does not come with a free lawyer. Since these cases are seen by judges as "cut and dried," those pro se defendants who try to fight discover but modest judicial patience for their efforts. Judges promptly rule against the debtor after reciting a legalistic explanation for the record. Like the experience of the criminal defendant, this is a lower standard of justice than any represented corporation would get in a similar case.
Looking a little bit more closely at how the civil justice system protects corporate entities, we are all now familiar with the much-hated Citizens United decision in which the United States Supreme Court recognized the First Amendment rights of corporations, notwithstanding the fact that any corporation could choose, with the vote of their board of directors, to renounce good forever, expressly join forces with Satan, and ally themselves with the forces of evil as a matter of corporate charter. Indeed, after the Hobby-Lobby decision, that corporation could probably refuse to employ people who insisted on "keeping holy the sabbath," or some other such non-Satanic practice. Corporations are by nature entirely amoral, and therefore are creatures of the moment. If I could buy your corporation outright, I could fire everyone in it, overturn all of your policies, and turn it into a vehicle solely for my will. No entity so subject to arbitrary alteration as to its purpose, and so devoid of moral character can possibly be granted the rights of a citizen. Such an entity cannot be held responsible for anything, because it obviously has no conscience and no moral compass. It could not be instructed in ways of virtue if the project were attempted. It is a machine, and like any machine, it can only be as good as the people who drive it. And it can have no other voice than theirs. Giving such an entity "First Amendment rights" distinct from those of the men who drive it, is merely a legal fiction adopted to benefit the media corporations that design and dictate the consciousness of our nation.
White Media and The Invasion of Demonic Strangers
U.S. media cannot be called anything but "White" media. Its ownership is White. Its orientation is to promote White culture. It depicts other cultures and races as objects of hatred, jaundiced criticism and arrogant pity. What is quite amazing to me is that the Arab-American community, possessed of considerable wealth and influence prior to the 9/11 disaster, sat around for 20 years while the Israel-America/AIPAC lobby that dominates Hollywood churned out one hateful depiction of Middle Eastern people after another. This drumbeat of demonization set the stage for the Iraq war, and has locked us into the contemptible complicity with the "nation of Israel" that can most accurately be described as East New York, a place to ship angry young Jews from Brooklyn so they can play with guns in the settlements that the U.S. government supports as insurance that the conflict will last forever. The management of American opinion regarding the innumerable conflicts that have erupted in the Middle East since the Bush regime initiated its war of aggression on Islamic peoples under the title of "Global War on Terror" has boxed Americans into an untenable view of the world for which we will ultimately pay a very great price. I cannot tell you what that price will be. I can only tell you that when an entire people turns over its productive capacity to a murderous elite that takes it into its head to promulgate its Master Race mandate across the world, and brooks no opposition, that will lead to disaster.
A Most Corrupt Policeman
The United States has long flattered itself with the notion that it is "the world's policeman," and its leaders have most often mused over whether the United States can "afford to continue this role." This sort of arrogant self-depiction of our nation as the dispenser of order in a disorderly world is most reminiscent of the arrogant attitude of the British Raj before Gandhi set the English fox's tail on fire and sent it back to its dangerous little island. India, the English said, would shatter into a million bits if the English left. This was like cancer trying to sell itself to the body as a benefactor, since without it all the organs would fight with each other, rather than with a common foe. Today, from his command post at the center of Fortress America, "President Barack Obama," a puppet for international powers no different than the puppet presidents put into place in Greece and Italy, but managing his tenure with far greater success thanks to his perfidious alliance with the Wall Street/City of London Axis of Financial Evil that treats the world's economy like one big spreadsheet to be managed with the bottom line profits all going to the largest financial entities in the world, in a cycle that sucks wealth into an ever-smaller number of hands. This is the ultimate end of the White technocratic power structure in the United States. Of course, as it internationalizes in foreign affairs, America will increase its capacity to engage in doublespeak, preaching the language of freedom and justice, wearing the robes of Jefferson and Lincoln, while promulgating policies that seek to subject all individual human beings to the will of enormous faceless multinational entities.
Phony law enforcement on the international level is the establishment and maintenance of Fortress America, and the pursuit of policies that seek to divide and conquer enemies and purported friends alike. The Machiavellian attitudes of those who run the U.S. government have been exposed again and again on the international level, most recently by Edward Snowden's disclosures of widespread phonetapping even of the German head of state. As the United States educates the other world's players in power politics, it is sowing dragon's teeth.
The Consumers Are Suitably Cowed
At home, phony law enforcement has established an atmosphere of intimidation towards the citizenry that has reached an almost ideal level. No one in their right mind would think of organizing any kind of anti-governmental resistance that involved the destruction of property, occupying of buildings, or obstruction of public facilities. All of these things can be characterized as terrorism by aggressive prosecutors, and expose people who indulge in such behavior to severe penalties, including lengthy prison terms for apparently trivial conduct, or even no conduct at all, simply the agreement to perform criminal acts in the future. Because of the nationwide enforcement of anti-drug laws, virtually anyone can easily be arrested for possession of narcotics by the use of a little planted evidence or false testimony. Thus, a serious political threat can easily be neutralized by the use of crooked vice squad cops and their usual associates, scumball dealers.
Consumer Habits Are Monitored
Meanwhile, due to social media, people are ventilating their misdeeds and ill-considered behavior where all the world can see it, including the NSA. Arrest records and mugshot photos proliferate online, as do websites that destroy the self-respect of young women whose carelessly shared selfies get into the wrong hands and circulate on the Internet. So much can be known about everyone by anyone, and law enforcement is enjoying a feast of access to compromising data about everyone. The only time they don't seem to like it is when they themselves get caught.
The Fix Is In
The excesses of U.S. foreign military interventionism and the excesses of domestic law enforcement going paramilitary-style have produced a hybrid form of excess at the local level since the U.S. Government launched its program to move high-tech weaponry just returned from Iraq out to the hustings by giving things like 30 ton armored vehicles to small towns that barely have a fire engine. With this kind of trend appearing before us, it behooves us to try and get rid of phony law enforcement before law enforcement gets rid of all limits on its conduct. What has long been a White power structure is now turning into a one-faced monolithic entity that is going to crush everybody under one gigantic system of oppression. The advantages that Whites have enjoyed under the existing system will evaporate like spit on a griddle.
STATEMENT OF DISASSOCIATION WITH WIKIPEDIA:
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