The Apotheosis, Canonization, and Hagiography of Rob Ford

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 30, 2016 by jtoddring

I feel sympathy for former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his family, but watching a few minutes of the CBC news coverage of his funeral (it was on in the cafe where I had a coffee, and could not be avoided), I have to think, this man was, by all indications, a person of very questionable character, and a terrible mayor. To hear the CBC gush and fawn over him, and refer to him in hushed and solemn tones as the best mayor Toronto has ever had, makes me wonder if the CBC is on crack.

Rob Ford was a public embarrassment, and an international embarrassment, not just to Toronto, but to all of Canada. Newspapers across the United States and Britain asked, what is going on with Canada? Even Jon Stewart had to ask, what is wrong with Toronto mayor Rob Ford?

Rob Ford joins the ranks of Mike Harris, Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney, as one of the most widely disliked, mistrusted and disrespected, if not positively loathed, political figures in all of Canadian history. Why is the CBC trying to turn him into some kind of national hero?

It made me think of something Hunter S. Thompson said, after the funeral of Richard Nixon. He said, in his opinion, Nixon should not have been buried with honours, but should have had his body set on fire and thrown into a garbage dumpster. I think that is a terrible thing to say about anyone, no matter how lowly their character had been. Forgiveness and compassion are good and important things. But trying to turn a villain into a saint after their death is grossly irresponsible, and simply not right.

So yes, once again, I have to conclude, the CBC is on crack.

JTR,
March 30, 2016

Plan B: Here is what Bernie Sanders needs to do if he does not win the primaries — which I certainly hope he does

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2016 by jtoddring

These are the facts. Trump is an orangutan, obsessed with his sausage fingers, and filled with an infantile grandiosity, narcissism and egomania. He is a petty right-wing thug, very much like David Cameron of Britain, but without the British sense of tact or diplomacy. Hillary, meanwhile, is a slick, war-mongering shill for Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. She is much more dangerous than knuckle-brains Trump. Neither one can be supported by any person of conscience, or even common sense.

It is utterly unconscionable to support any of the major candidates, other than Bernie Sanders — including Hillary Clinton. So if — and it is still an if — Bernie does not win the primaries, as I hope he does, then only Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party is acceptable. Only.

Jill Stein would have been an excellent running mate to Bernie, or an equally qualified candidate, or maybe even a better candidate than Bernie. But she had zero chance of winning in 2016. Maybe in 2020 or 2024 she could win, but not in 2016.

But if Bernie does not end up as the candidate, then it is a vote for conscience, even in the face of tactical defeat and a temporary retreat, as the master strategist Sun Tzu advised (but not longer term defeat), and not a vote for the lesser of evils, which must hold sway. And that means that Trump, Cruz, and Shillary “The Hawk” Clinton, are all ruled out.

If we were to look at it from a historical perspective, as we should, then we would instantly recognize that all three represent the extreme right, and are rabidly militarist, elitist, crypto-fascists, and all of them represent the interests of the corporate elite who have taken over the nation and most of the world. None of them are in any way remotely acceptable or supportable as candidates for presidency of the world’s dominant superpower, or for any nation that wishes to be free or democratic. This is the first important point to be made.

Secondly, from what I can see, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that Bernie is out of the running, or that he cannot win. Remember, everyone said Hillary was guaranteed to win in 2008, then this guy named Barack Obama showed up out of nowhere, and won. Long-shots can and do win, and Bernie is closing in.

The corporate media networks are trying hard to minimize and dismiss the facts, because Hillary is corporate America’s chosen candidate — the candidate they want elected, they have anointed, and they have backed with huge sums of Wall Street money. But the facts are indisputable — Sanders won landslide majorities in Hawaii (the least white and most multi-cultural state), Alaska and Washington State, and has cut down Hillary’s lead by a quarter in just those three states. Bernie now has the clear momentum, and is gaining fast.

Bernie has raised more individual contributions than any candidate in US history — over three million, with an average donation of $27. (And has refused Wall Street’s money.) He just won the support of American citizens overseas, with an overwhelming 70% of the vote. He has the overwhelming support of millennials and independents. And he has come from being a complete unknown, less than a year ago, to being a serious challenger to the party establishment’s anointed front-runner.

Bernie started out 70 points behind Hillary, and now, as of March 24, according to Bloomberg polls, Bernie Sanders has taken the lead in national polls over Hillary Clinton — despite her nation-wide name recognition, her enormous head-start, and her enormous sums of Wall Street money backing her campaign, and despite the corporate media favoring her and marginalizing Sanders at every step of the way — with 49% versus 48% of Democratic voters.

Moreover, the more people learn about Hillary Clinton, the more they distrust her. Whereas, the opposite is true for Bernie Sanders — the more people learn about him, the more they trust him and want to support him. Time is most definitely on the side of Bernie Sanders.

Already, 64% of registered voters do not find Hillary honesty or trustworthy. And it is still early in the race.

Remember also, that a) Hillary has a negative approval rating, and b) Hillary is under investigation by the FBI, and c) no candidate in US history has ever become president with a negative approval rating, or while under investigation by the FBI.

Remember too, that the Bush-Cheney cabal destroyed the credibility of the Republican Party, which is really now a zombie party, which only a small percentage of Americans remain willing to vote for.

Bernie Sanders has always been the long-shot, but he is rapidly closing the gap on Hillary in terms of delegates — and he is the only candidate generating enormous excitement among the people, and particularly the youth, the millennials, who just surpassed the baby boomers as the biggest voting block in the country. And again, he is also overwhelmingly favored, not only by the youth, but also by independents, who now outnumber both Democrats and Republicans.

But most essentially, Bernie Sanders still remains the only decent candidate — the only candidate who is not either guilty of war crimes, as Hillary is, or advocating war crimes, as Hillary, Trump and Cruz are all doing; and the only candidate who is seriously taking on Wall Street, and the extreme and growing inequality and corruption which are the biggest issues facing the country.

(See John Pilger for a more sane and informed response to the election than has been given by virtually anyone in either the mainstream or “alternative” media, here. http://www.counterpunch.org/…/trump-and-clinton…/

“A virulent if familiar censorship is about to descend on the US election campaign. As the cartoon brute, Donald Trump, seems almost certain to win the Republican Party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton is being ordained both as the “women’s candidate” and the champion of American liberalism in its heroic struggle with the Evil One.

This is drivel, of course; Hillary Clinton leaves a trail of blood and suffering around the world and a clear record of exploitation and greed in her own country. To say so, however, is becoming intolerable in the land of free speech.”

— John Pilger: Trump and Clinton, Censoring the Unpalatable, CounterPunch, March 29, 2016

Bernie Sanders is still very much in the race, and moreover, according to the latest polls by Reuters, Clinton would lose to Trump, while Sanders would beat Trump by nearly 20%. So if people are concerned about preventing a Trump presidency, then they should be supporting Bernie Sanders, as he is the safest bet to do just that.

It’s easy for most people to see why Trump cannot be supported. But Hillary truly is no better, and arguably, worse. Hillary is a bloodless neoliberal imperialist and war hawk, who can be supported by no person of conscience, under any circumstances. Let’s make that perfectly clear.

But, while Bernie should win, and is the only candidate of conscience, and the only candidate at all supportable by people of conscience, there is a chance, of course, that he might not.

Even if he wins the popular vote, which he most likely will do, he still could be defeated by the DNC stealing the election. And if he wins the popular vote, and the Democratic party elite break ranks with their paymasters on Wall Street, and go against their masters’ wishes, which is to support Hillary, their chosen candidate, at any cost, and they refuse to steal the election and over-ride the popular vote, then there still remains the very real possibility of election fraud, which of course, has happened in recent US history, as everyone knows.

So Bernie may win, or he may lose — and if he loses, it may be through fair means, or through anti-democratic means, or by outright fraudulent means. I do not believe he is going to lose, but that is far from certain. And if he does lose the primaries, what then?

That is an obvious big question for Bernie Sanders, and I am sure he is considering his options carefully. And he must know very well, that if he throws his support behind Hillary Clinton, it will be taken as a profound betrayal by millions of people.

Hillary is rightly perceived by a growing majority of people in the US as a dishonest and unscrupulous servant of Wall Street — and she is. For Bernie to endorse or support her would be viewed by millions of Americans as an act of terrible betrayal, considering all that Bernie has said and spoken for, and all that he believes.

What then, should Bernie do, if he does not win the primaries?

Apparently Bernie Sanders has said he will not run as an independent or under a third party ticket, and that he will throw his support behind Hillary Clinton if he does not win the primaries. This was, of course, a Faustian bargain, to make such statements.

It was likely the only way the DNC would let him enter the race as a Democratic nominee. But it was an all-or-nothing proposition, for if he wins, that is great, but if he loses, then he is forced to endorse a candidate who, frankly, is corrupt, and who represents exactly what is wrong with the country, which is the corruption by big money.

So if Bernie does not win in the primaries, he will be faced with a moral dilemma: he can honor his commitment to endorse Hillary Clinton, and that would be keeping his word; but it would also be supporting truly heinous foreign and domestic policies, which will only further destroy the country, further harm the people, and further undermine democracy, civil liberties, the economy and peace, and quite literally risk a nuclear confrontation with Russia and China, and WWIII. This is what supporting Hillary Clinton means, and we should make no mistake about it.

Or, he can break with his commitment to endorse Hillary, citing Emerson, if he must — that “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”, and it is better to admit a mistake, than to continue in it; and run against Clinton, in a three-way race against both her and Trump — where, I believe, he would beat them both, as the latest polls are continuing to show. (47% of people say they would vote for Sanders, 31% for Trump, and 30% for Clinton, according to recent benchmark Reuters match-up polls.)

It is very much like the classic moral dilemma which Socrates described. You borrow a sword from someone, and promise to give it back. But the person you borrowed it from, you realize, has gone mad. Should you uphold your promise, and give a sword to a madman, or should you break your promise, because it is would be wrong to give a sword to a madman? In Socrates opinion, and I think most people would agree, the right thing to do is to break your promise, because to give a sword to a madman is unconscionable.

Likewise, it is unconscionable to hand the presidency to Hillary Clinton, for that would be to hand it to the war machine, the military-industrial-security complex, and to the Wall Street bankers and corporate elite who are defrauding and destroying the nation, and the better part of the world along with it.

The best answer — if by chance, by fair contest or by DNC manipulations, he loses the primaries — the best response, for the people of the United States, and for the world, since the US is still the dominant super-power in the world, would certainly not be that Bernie Sanders either walks away quietly, or worse, that he throws his support behind Hillary Clinton.

The alternative to either walking away, or betraying millions of people, and his principles, by supporting Hillary, would be to break ranks — not with the people, or with his principles, as he will undoubtedly be pressured to do, and is most certainly being pressured to do now; but to break ranks with the Democratic Party, and to run on a joint ticket with Dr. Jill Stein and the Greens.

Bernie is an independent after all, and merely caucuses with the Democratic party — and the Democratic party establishment, if it does not support him, is not worthy of his support, and has confirmed its corruption by Wall Street money and stubborn intransigence, as well as its deafness to the people and to the times.

This would shock the establishment, but then, who cares? The establishment is entirely corrupt, as the great majority of Americans now know very well. Fuck the establishment. The establishment is destroying the country, raping the poor and the middle class, and devouring the world. They are not the ones who deserve loyalty. They deserve to be removed from power, swiftly and decisively, and not, to be catered to.

Another question to ask is, would Hillary actually endorse Bernie, if Bernie wins the nomination? She is Wall Street’s player — he is Wall Street’s opponent. I seriously doubt that she would lend her weight to his election. But in any event, that is an aside.

The real gist of the matter is this. Bernie Sanders’ loyalty should be with the 99% of the people who need an ally and a fighter in their corner, and not with the Democratic party establishment, nor with the Wall Street business elite who effectively own and control it.

Would Jill Stein agree to having Bernie Sanders as a running mate for the White House? Would Bernie Sanders make such a bold move? We will see. I think it is entirely within the realm of possibility, and I think it would be the most honorable, as well as the most intelligent, thing to do.

If such a partnership were to come to pass, I think there would be no stopping Bernie and Jill, and millions of people would write in their names on their ballots, if need be, to get them elected. Shillery and Drumph, the weasel and the orangutan — the Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum of corporate America — wouldn’t stand a chance.

And for the coup de grace, the dynamic duo of Bernie and Jill should invite Elizabeth Warren to be their Attorney General. Between the three of them, they would secure every progressive vote in the country, as well as the votes of the majority of women of all ages, and the overwhelming support of independents and the youth, who together, make up the bulk of eligible voters in the US today.

It’s a winning ticket. If Plan B needs to be executed, it could not only sweep Bernie Sanders and his team into office, but it would be a body blow to the liberal and conservative establishment alike, and to the Wall Street corporate interests which they both represent. And we have waited quite long enough for that.

I don’t think plan B is going to be necessary, unless the DNC steals the election — which would pretty much destroy the slight remaining credibility of the party, so I think they will think very hard about that before doing the usual acrobatics and slight of hand tricks for the corporate masters. But if plan B is needed, then I think Bernie should most definitely engage it, and the people should support it, fully and vigorously.

America needs to be shaken up, before it falls apart. This team would definitely do that; and Bernie and Jill, and maybe with Elizabeth Warren on side as well, and almost definitely so, would do more than simply shake things up. They would begin to heal this broken country, and put it on a better track.

And that is something we can be certain that neither Clinton, nor Trump, nor Cruz would do. In fact, anyone of the three would most likely spell certain disaster; and at the very least, the continuation of the long, slow bleed of the people and the nation. And that simply cannot be tolerated.

So either way, revolution it is, and revolution it must be.

J. Todd Ring,
March 29, 2016

John Pilger: Why Hillary Clinton Is More Dangerous Than Donald Trump https://newmatilda.com/…/john-pilger-why-hillary…/ …

Trump and Clinton: Censoring the Unpalatable — John Pilger
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/29/trump-and-clinton-censoring-the-unpalatable/

The Radicalization of the American Power Elite:From George Bush, to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — J. Todd Ring
https://medium.com/…/the-radicalization-of-the-american…

Jill Stein Is Open To Collaborating With Bernie Sanders For Presidential Bid
https://medium.com/r/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DoATojfMNJGA

Would President Bernie Offer Hillary A Cabinet Position? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx2vg3ZOZlk

On Terrorism and Imperialism: The “War On Terrorism” Is The War OF Terrorism

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2016 by jtoddring

 

Exactly. This sums it up completely.

This is exactly what Chomsky and other intelligent and honest observers have been saying. If we want to end terrorism, then we will have to end imperialism. That means we stop trying to control other nations for the sake of geopolitics and imperial interests, such as the control of oil and gas reserves and pipeline routes in the Middle East.

Until we let go of the obsession with controlling the world’s resources, as the US and it’s allies are hell-bent on doing, terrorism will never go away, and in fact, will only increase.

What is it to bomb other countries, and kill hundreds of thousands of people through war, or over a million through economic sanctions? It is state terrorism, and nothing other, as Chomsky has been saying for years. And what is the result of all this killing that is done by the US and its partners in crime? More terrorism, of course. People get angry when you bomb their country, kill their children, destroy their homes, their schools, their hospitals and their nation, and overthrow their government. And some of them turn to terrorism. This is unsurprising, and it is not only predictable, but was predicted, well before the launch of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11, and the official “Global War On Terror”, or GWOT, began.

The intelligence agencies all know this – they just don’t care. The objective of the war on terror has never been to end terrorism, but to create a pretext and a rationalization for permanent imperial war abroad, and a war on democracy, civil liberties and the people’s voices and power at home – all for the sake of corporate power and corporate profits.

The same is true of the war on terror as with the war on drugs. One of the architects of the war on drugs, in 1968, recently admitted in an interview which was just published in Harpers, that the original intent of the “war on drugs” was to target and disrupt “the anti-war left and the blacks.” He stated openly that they knew they were lying about the war on drugs. The war on drugs was never intended to end the drug trade – which the CIA controlled and still controls (both heroine and cocaine) – much less to end drug use. It is a tool for political control. And exactly the same is true of the “war on terror” – which, by the way, like the “war on drugs” is a phrase that should never be used without quotation marks, because it is a lie, a propaganda tool, and not what it appears to be.

But to put it succinctly and in a nutshell, the world is now ruled by a handful of oligarchs, bankers and other business elites, and the giant corporations they control; and for them, war is very profitable and desirable, and controlling the world’s resources through war, or any other means that are expedient, is just a matter of doing business as usual. Until they are removed from power, nothing is going to change.

Dethrone the bankers and the corporate elite, and return the power to the people, where it rightfully belongs, and the world will be transformed in less than a year. Until then, nothing is going to change, and we can expect the world to become increasingly dangerous, unstable and insecure, violent, war-torn, unjust, tyrannical, toxic and polluted, until our civilization collapses, and humankind goes extinct.

So democratic revolution really is a matter of survival now, as I argue in my book, Enlightened Democracy, which I would urge everyone to read.

(It’s on Amazon, here: http://www.amazon.com/Enlightened-Democracy-Millennium-Introductory-Political-Economy/dp/1481074776/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1458869803&sr=8-3&keywords=enlightened+democracy)

And as for democracy and revolution, it had better be soon, or it will be game over for the human race on earth.

This is why I get a little exasperated sometimes – we are running out of time. We need serious action, and much more than we currently are seeing, and now.

Stand up. Speak out. And let the revolution begin. It is that, or it is slow death. Only fantasy presents a third option.

JTR,
March 24, 2016

PS:

Latest Polls:
 
(From Reuters):
 
47% of people would vote for Sanders, 32% for Trump, or Drumph, and 30% for “bomb-em-now” Hillary “The-Hawk” Clinton.
 
So, if there is any trace of democracy left in the US, which admittedly is a very big if, then Sanders will win. He might. He has a strong chance of winning all, or at least most of the Western states, and that changes everything. It’s still very early in the race. The media is corporate owned and corporate controlled, and they want either Trump or Clinton to win, because they won’t ruffle any feathers on Wall Street. So you can’t trust them for information, of course. But the polls speak for themselves.
 
If there is still some remnant of democracy in the US, Bernie will win. If not, then the system is clearly broken, and it’s time for plan B: which is a grassroots, Gandhian, democratic revolution. This will be a pivotal year one way or another. Either change will begin in earnest through the ballot box, or through the barricades. Either way, change, and real change, is coming. And none too soon.

The Healing Power of Sleep – And How To Get Some

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2016 by jtoddring

What a difference good sleep makes. I‘ve had an ongoing battle with insomnia for over thirty years, and when stress is high, it’s at its worst. Last night was the first decent night’s sleep in a month. What a relief! It’s night and day, so to speak. I’ve had insomnia since I was eighteen. So I can definitely speak about the effects of not sleeping well. And sleep is very important.

We live in a tightly-wound, Puritanical society where a feverish rushing and busyness, getting and spending, consumerism, status-seeking, social climbing and productivism reign; so there is generally a great deal of stress, to put it mildly, and we live in a sea of stress, in a culture which is systematically stressed-out as a routine habit – and not only do our health and quality of life suffer for it, but also, often, sleep does not come easy, even though it is essential to our health, our clarity of mind, and also our ability to get things done.

When we don’t sleep well, or enough, then we are likely to feel tired and have less than optimum energy, the mind is less clear, little stresses hit us harder, big stresses can easily overwhelm us, and even very small stresses can overwhelm us, and it is much harder to be at our best. And on top of that, when we don’t sleep well, or don’t get enough sleep, the body, including the brain, can’t properly regenerate itself, as it naturally does, so our health begins to be strained, and that can lead to other serious problems.

Recent studies have shown that people who get less than six and a half hours sleep a night on a regular basis have significantly higher risk of heart attack. And other studies have confirmed the obvious: that when we don’t sleep well, our memory, concentration, mental functioning and learning ability are all greatly impaired. Mood disorders, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other troubles common to our deeply stress-filled and unbalanced society, can also be greatly aggravated simply by a lack of good sleep. So our body and our mind are both at risk, and not nearly at their best, when we don’t sleep well.

So what can we do for good sleep, since it is very important to our health, our peace of mind, our ability to get things done, and our general feeling of happiness and well-being?

There are a lot of things that help with good sleep, fortunately. For those who have difficulties sleeping, or sleeping well, here are a few that have been shown to be very effective, most of which I’ve tried myself; and for most of them, I can confirm that they most definitely help. And yes, they generally involve something more than taking a pill.

 

Habits are number one:

A sane society would value, and be structured to promote, health, well-being, and the fulfillment of our highest potential, as well as justice, freedom, peace, culture and the arts, and the life of the mind. We don’t live in such a society. Modern society is frankly insane, as many people are well aware. But while we strive to create a better world, and a wiser, and more sane society, we can move our own lives in a positive direction. And among the habits we should cultivate in order to do that, and as a result, live with greater peace, health, happiness, fulfillment, and better sleep, are these:

Avoid worry, hurry, blame, resentment, self-recrimination, or dwelling on the past or the future.

Abandon all notions of control and powerlessness – they are both illusions, and they will only bring pain, suffering, stress, and sleepless nights. We always have power. We never have control.

Do the things that are important to you, and don’t put them off – take big leaps, or take baby steps if necessary, but move forward toward your goals and dreams, every day.

Make space every day for quiet, solitude, nature, stillness and reflection.

Rejoice in every victory, be it yours or another’s, no matter how small.

Laugh a lot, and keep a sense of humour, as well as a sense of perspective.

Eat well, and take good care of your health.

Forgive everything and everyone – including yourself.

Do your best, and at the end of the day and all day be at peace with that.

Forget about what other people may think or say – it doesn’t matter. Just be yourself, and be at peace.

Practice gratitude and appreciation.

Take delight in small joys and little things – like a sunrise, or a cup of tea, a flower, or a smile, or a piece of your favourite music.

Cultivate patience. Without patience, little of significance can be accomplished, and much stress and frustration can result. With patience, everything is possible.

Get lots of sunlight and fresh air every day.

Learn to love cooking, and cook wholesome, nourishing foods for you and your family – and take your time cooking, without rush, and enjoy the process, as well as the meal.

Chew your food. This seems simple, maybe even silly, but it is far more important than most people imagine. More broadly, we should take good care of our digestion, because if our digestion is off, if it is poor, and whether or not we know that it is poor, then we will be malnourished no matter how much we eat, or how healthy our diet is, because we are not properly digesting our food, and not properly assimilating the nutrients in our food. So digestion is extremely important. And if our digestion is poor, not only will we be malnourished, and our general health will suffer, and our susceptibility to disease will be high, but our mood, energy, and also our sleep, will suffer for it. So chew your food. Eat slowly. Never watch, read or talk about stressful things during or after meals if you can possibly help it. And eat lots of foods that aid digestion: sauerkraut, pickles, pickled beets and pickled eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, kimchi and kefir, bananas, basil, mint and pesto are a few to include in your diet. Longevity studies repeatedly show that people who regularly eat fermented and digestion-aiding foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut live the longest lives. And it’s not just about living long, of course, but living well. So chew your food! And learn to love pickles!:)

Consider taking up gardening. Spending time with green life and plants, caring for plants and working with the soil, is deeply therapeutic, and deeply relaxing, and it will definitely improve sleep as well.

Take regular saunas, sweats or steam baths.

Try meditation. Everyone is capable of doing it, unless they are in a coma, and even just 10 minutes a day of simple meditation on the breath has been shown to have tremendous benefits for health and peace of mind.

Do yoga – 10 minutes to an hour a day (I have difficulty with that one, I must admit) plus one class or more a week. It is life-changing. Only meditation and saunas bring this depth of relaxation and peace as yoga gives. And yes, everyone who is not in a coma can do it. (Modify the practices as needed, and do only the ones you can do comfortably as a start.)

Get lots of exercise of some kind or another on a regular basis – on a daily basis.

Keep your bedroom dark when you sleep – get black-out curtains that block all light, don’t keep any lights on in the room or even in the hall, and maybe try a sleep mask.

Try ear plugs or white noise – a humidifier, air cleaner or fan, or best, a fountain – to help you sleep and to block out noise.

If your partner snores, try ear plugs, white noise, Breathe-Right Strips, a jaw strap for snoring (I have read these work well and are surprisingly comfortable) and/or a sleep clinic for both of you. (Testing at a sleep clinic for sleep apnea may be a good idea if you’ve had sleep problems for a long time, or if you snore or your partner snores, since sleep apnea is very common, and it disturbs sleep, as well as having negative effects on the mind, mood and health.)

Don’t read, work or watch TV in the room where you sleep.

Don’t read, watch or talk about stressful things after 9pm – or after dinner prep starts, if you have serious troubles with sleep.

Do your day-planning during the day – don’t think about schedules or things you have to do tomorrow or in the near future, in the evening before bed: that’s a sure way to have a sleepless night, if you’re prone to that.

Keep regular sleep times as much as possible.

Try to follow the rhythms of the sun and sleep close to the times of darkness, between 9pm and 5am, as much as possible – yes, we are a part of nature, and our sleep cycles still work best when we follow nature’s rhythms (and few of us are true nocturns, by nature, but only by habit).

The ideal sleep cycle for most people, for optimal health and well-being, is to be asleep by 10pm, and to get up at 6am, or 5am; and if need be, take a nap or siesta in the early afternoon. This is not always possible, but we should approximate this sleep cycle as closely as we can.

Naps or siestas are very healthy – and we should not feel guilty about taking them. In fact, we should incorporate them into our lives and our culture. They have been shown to improve energy, mood, mental clarity, productivity, creativity, and general mental and physical performance. If we take 20-30 minutes for a nap, chances are that afterward we will not only feel better, but will get more done than if we hadn’t taken time for a short rest. The more sensible businesses and workplaces already incorporate and allow naps. That may be shocking to some, but it simply works, both in terms of human health, and also in terms of increased productivity, creativity and innovation, as well as employee job satisfaction, employee retention, and lower stress and sick leave. A half hour nap can be very regenerating; or a 90 minute nap can give a full sleep cycle, and deep rest and regeneration. Just remember to keep naps to before 3pm if they are longer than 20-30 minutes, or you may interfere with sleep later that night.

If you can’t sleep after half an hour of laying in bed, get up, leave the room, and go do something very relaxing: like some light reading – emphasis on light; or watch something relaxing; or take a hot bath; listen to some soothing music; do some very gentle yoga; or go for a walk; or have a cup of herbal tea with honey – preferably an herbal tea that will help with sleep, and there are many of them to choose from.

Make sure your home and your bedroom get lots of fresh air.

Keep your living space clean, tidy, uncluttered, harmonious and peaceful, as much as possible.

Learn to love plants, and surround yourself with green.

Natural health care for good sleep:

Try to stick to a plant-based diet high in protein (pulses, legumes, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds), fibre, essential oils, enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Drink lots of clean (non-bottled) water – eight cups a day minimum. Try lemon water, which cleanses the body of toxins, flushes the liver, adds vitamin C, and alkalanizes the body, restoring the body’s natural ph balance. (A Berkey water filter would be a very smart investment, along with a Dyson air purifier, since our water and air are now, sadly, toxic.)

Minimize caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, tobacco, refined and processed foods, meat, dairy, toxins and sugar. In other words, abandon the modern diet – it will make you stressed, sleepless and sick.

Avoid caffeine after 2pm (or noon if you’re very sensitive to it).

Don’t eat in the evening. Eat frequent, small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day; eat your heaviest meal at noon; and finish eating dinner by 6pm, or better, 5:30pm. Any food eaten after 6pm will not be fully digested before 9pm, when your liver goes into a natural rest and regeneration mode, and when our bodies most naturally want to be sleeping. That means eating after 6pm will definitely impair your sleep. Don’t do it. It’s a challenging habit to break, but it’s just not worth it to eat late, or snack in the evening, then have a bad night’s sleep as a result.

Eat lots of greens, and sweet orange vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and squash – they are naturally soothing and relaxing to the body, as well as nourishing and healing.

Take extra omega-3 essential oils. They can be found in high concentrations in flax, hemp and chia seeds in particular. Put them in or on everything.

And try these naturopathic and herbal medicines for good sleep:

Super Sleep formula: a chewable tablet with 5-HTP, L-theanine and melatonin

(available through Costco – and yes, it’s worth the minimal membership fee, as you will save that amount on your first trip)

Tryptophan

(Naturally found in turkey and bananas, and also available in tablets)

Rescue Remedy Sleep

Holy Basil

Ashwagandha

B-vitamins

(take in the morning and afternoon, as they boost energy as well as lowering stress and bringing relaxation, and might make you too alert to sleep at night if taken in the evening)

~*~

And if all of that doesn’t work, get a brick! Ok, just joking. These things should help immensely.

The habits are the big ones, but the other things will help a great deal in the meantime. Good luck! I wish you peaceful sleep, and a healthy, happy, vibrant life to all.

JTR,
March 23, 2016

The Appeal of Sanders and Trump

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2016 by jtoddring

 

LATEST POLLS SHOW TRUMP WINNING AGAINST CLINTON – BUT SANDERS BEATING TRUMP BY A WIDE MARGIN

News update:

As of the latest poll, by Reuters, which is the benchmark for such polls, as of March 18 (the most recent data) after closing the gap for some time, Trump is now beating Hillary in the polls. In a match-up between the two – and such match-up polls have been generally accurate to within 3% of the final election results – Trump would beat Hillary, and become the next president. Meanwhile, in a match-up between Trump and Sanders, Sanders wins easily, by a huge margin, of nearly 20%. Nearly 50% of people said they would vote for Bernie Sanders, while just over 30% said they would vote for Donald Trump. (So yes, 30% of Americans are stark raving mad, but that is beside the point.)

The conclusion is obvious: if anyone is worried about Trump becoming president – as they should be, since he is a raving lunatic, and certifiably insane, as well as a racist, sexist bigot, and he appears to also be a power-mongering fascist as well – then they should support Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is the safest bet to defeat Trump. Hillary would simply lose.

What is also clear is that if Hillary Clinton is serious about ensuring that the Democratic party defeats Donald Trump, then she should withdraw from the race immediately. She won’t do this, of course, because she is also certifiably insane (being zealously, even maniacally eager for war with Iran, for example, knowing full well this risks nuclear war with Russia), and also power-hungry, like Trump, but she should. In any case, a vote for Hillary has now become a vote for Trump, because she is going to lose to him. Sanders is not only the only decent candidate, but the only one who can defeat the psychopath which is Donald Drumph – er…Trump.

The mass media have been playing cheerleaders for both Trump and Clinton, (Trump received 23 times the media coverage as Sanders in 2015) but they are out of touch with the people, as well as corrupt, due to money interests. Don’t rely on them for information, of course. And do support Bernie Sanders, please – if for no other reason, than to ensure that Donald Trump never sees the inside of the White House, other than by way of photographs, or a guided tour.

Want to defeat Trump? Vote Sanders. It is the only way.

– JTR, March 24, 2016

*

In a nutshell, Donald Trump is a false populist, who is using and manipulating, and misdirecting the people’s anger, and channeling it into hate. Bernie Sanders is an authentic, real populist, who is touching on the people’s legitimate anger and discontent, and directing it where it should be directed, at the root of the problem, which is the Wall Street elite, and the corporate coup which is destroying the nation, the middle class, and the world. But let’s look more deeply, because these are serious issues, and a great deal is at stake.

Donald Trump appeals to the anger and frustration of the people, clearly, but why, exactly, does he hold such appeal for at least a minority of the people of the US? Well, the basic problem is that corporate globalization has meant that factories and jobs have been sent to China and other low-wage countries, with the result that the middle class in the US is being wiped out, as poverty and inequality – and tensions – soar. But instead of addressing the real problems, people like Trump blame immigrants and Muslims, and direct (or misdirect) the people’s anger there. It is a common pattern, and we’ve seen it before, and it is a dangerous pattern as well, of course.

Trump wants to build a wall between the US and Mexico, to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the US. But this will accomplish nothing, other than wasting money and sowing further division, tensions and distraction. You could build the equivalent of the Great Wall of China all around the entire continental US, and it wouldn’t change the fundamental situation. The problem is within the US, and is not coming from outside.

The problem is globalization and de-industrialization, not immigration, be it legal or illegal. The problem is that the corporate elite have become drunk with greed, and are seeking ever greater short-term profits, at the expense of the American people and the world. Wall Street is simply seeking maximum short-term profits, by moving factories and jobs to low-wage countries, and the results have been devastating for the people of the US.

If Donald Trump had any intelligence or honesty, he would be the conservative equivalent of Bernie Sanders, and he would be focusing the people’s anger on the real source of the problem – which is Wall Street, and the off-shoring of jobs through corporate globalization.

But Trump has proven that he has absolutely no honesty, and probably very little intelligence either. He is a snake oil peddler, a scam artist. He is using the people’s anger in dishonest ways, simply to further his own power-lust and greed, and to further inflate his already bloated ego. And unfortunately, millions of people are falling for it, and are deceived by it.

Bernie Sanders is presenting a very honest populism, as opposed to the false populism of people like Trump or Clinton. Sanders is relating to the very real anger of the people, and focusing it where it should be focused – on the Wall Street elite who are devouring the people, the nation, and the world.

Fortunately, I don’t think there is much chance that Donald Trump could be elected in 2016, although we can never know for certain – and the simple reason is that the Bush-Cheney cabal destroyed the credibility of the Republican party.

(We should remember that when Obama won what the media ridiculously called a “populist landslide” in 2012, less than 25% of the American people voted for him – and even fewer voted for the Republican party. Both parties are now train wrecks, after four decades of selling the people down the river to the corporate elite, but the Republicans are in an even worse state of having destroyed their credibility than the Democrats.)

Even if the Republican party was not thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the great majority of the people, which it is, it is unlikely, at present at least, that such a rabid extremist as Donald Trump, could win a presidential election in 2016 – maybe in earlier times, or maybe, if things turn even worse, in a future time, but not in 2016.

Let’s be perfectly clear. Election fraud is still a possibility, and it has happened before, of course, so either Trump or Hillary could win by that means. But otherwise, neither of them is likely to win.

Trump would have difficulty winning, as I say, because he an extremist even by recent Republican standards, which are now abysmally low (Abraham Lincoln would be ashamed of what his party has become), and because the Republican party has disgraced and discredited itself, even with a large percentage of former Republican voters. And even among the small minority of Americans who still support the Republican party, only a minority of them support Donald Trump. Hillary has a negative approval rating, and is being investigated by the FBI, and no presidential candidate has ever been elected who has a negative approval rating, or is under investigation by the FBI. So unless there is widespread fraud or manipulation of the election, neither of these clowns stands much chance of winning.

The corporate media may portray the race as being between Trump and Hillary, but it is Bernie Sanders who actually stands the greatest chance of winning. This flies in the face of common opinion among media pundits, but we should not trust the media for any information, other than maybe the weather report – and they usually get that wrong too.

Bernie Sanders was essentially unknown to the American people, less than a year ago. He has gone from being a complete unknown, to becoming a major contender, virtually overnight. He has also raised more individual donations than any presidential candidate in US history, and with an average donation of under $30 – and has also refused all corporate Super-PAC money. So his support is very strong, and is growing.

Bernie Sanders also has the support of 80% of millennials – youth between the ages of 18 and 30. And we should note that millennials are now the largest voting block in the US, having just surpassed the baby boomers.

Bernie Sanders also has the support for the great majority of political independents. And we should also note that independents now outnumber both Democrats and Republicans in the US.

(Both major parties have disgraced and discredited themselves, as we have said, and more and more people are becoming independents, like Bernie Sanders is, as a result.)

So Bernie Sanders has a very large and passionate, growing number of supporters; and he has the overwhelming support of the two largest voting blocks in the nation, which are the youth and the independents. He has a very real chance of winning – barring election fraud, or the high-jacking of the democratic process by the “super-delegates” or the electoral college, or simple media manipulation of the people (see Amy Goodman’s comments below).

In fact, given the devastation of the Republican party on the one hand, and the facts pertaining to Hillary on the other, I would say that Bernie Sanders may well be the leading contender in the race, despite what the media have to say on the issue – if we are talking about the popular vote, and not about delegates. And this election may well yet come down a question of the democratic vote – stranger things have happened, and democracy just might arise in the United States, if enough people get off of the sidelines, shrug off their apathy and learned cynicism, and get involved.

We should also note two other very important points. One is that either Clinton or Trump would be perfectly acceptable to the corporate elite, and both are strongly backed by the Wall Street elite. Clinton is awash in Wall Street money, and both Clinton and Trump have received extremely favourable and extremely biased coverage and support by the corporate-controlled media on the whole. (Remember also that simple media presence means a tremendous amount – and in 2015 the US media gave Donald Trump 23 times the coverage they gave to Bernie Sanders. From that is is easy to tell who is Wall Street’s man, and who is not.)

Another important point is that in every match-up of candidates, Bernie Sanders would win over Trump in the election, while Hillary Clinton would most likely lose to Trump. And even early match-up polls have been accurate in recent presidential elections to within two percentage points of the final results. So the worst thing the Democratic party could do is to back Hillary Clinton.

Nevertheless, Clinton has the backing of the great majority of the (anti-democratic) super-delegates and the party establishment, precisely because she is Wall Street’s chosen candidate, and they know who butters their bread. So Clinton could win the Democratic nomination, despite the fact that it could prove disastrous to the Democratic party, and despite the grassroots populist uprising in support of Bernie Sanders.

(The party elite follow orders – and the money masters who call the shots care only that a compliant candidate who serves their interests, such as either Clinton or Trump, wins the election, and a candidate who has declared war on Wall Street, Bernie Sanders, does not. They care nothing about whether a Democratic of Republican candidate takes power, because what matters is not the party, but the compliance of the puppet installed.)

But what is most telling, is this. There are still several months left before the election, and in that time, a great deal could change. And one major element which may well be decisive is the fact that the more people learn about either Trump or Hillary, the less they trust them or support them: meanwhile, the opposite is true for Bernie Sanders – the more people find out about him, the more they trust him, and the more they like him, and tend to support him.

Remember also – it’s still early. Presidential elections are historically not decided until the final two months of the campaign, or less.

“Sanders’ campaign was dealt a body blow on March 15, when he lost 4 states to Hillary Clinton (he officially conceded Missouri days later after tying on March 15). However, the Vermont senator is positioned to win a majority, if not all of the coming primaries in Western states. Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Alaska, Wisconsin, and Wyoming all have caucuses and primaries in the coming two weeks, and Sanders is poised to win in nearly all of them.” – US UnCut, March 21, 2016

The system is corrupted deeply, but not beyond hope. There is always hope so long as there is breath. The people always hold the greater power. When, and if, they decide to make use of it, then everything changes. And that always remains a possibility, at virtually any, and every moment.

The people still have the power, and always have the greater power, as David Hume said. The question is whether they will realize it, and make us of it. Right now, most are asleep, and they seem to prefer it that way; but that can change any time. And more and more people are awakening, so there is definite hope, even though things look very bleak, and very ominous indeed.

As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.” Racists and war-hawks and the servants of the elite may not have the last word in this possibly pivotal election of 2016. Let us hope that is the case.

JTR,

March 22, 2016

Despite massive media manipulation and a flood of money from Wall Street to swing the election results, Bernie Sanders continues to be the strongest candidate in the match-up polls

https://medium.com/@webconnoisseur/latest-reuters-data-shows-hillary-losing-to-trump-but-bernie-wins-d322d691ce17

Amy Goodman calls out CNN: ‘The media manufactures consent’ of Trump

Media Silent As Bernie Sanders Packs Seattle Arena Beyond Capacity, March 21, 2016

http://usuncut.com/politics/bernie-sanders-seattle-rally-biggest-crowd-yet/

The Democrats Abroad ‪#‎GlobalPrimary‬ Results are out! Americans abroad cast 34,570 ballots from over 170 countries, giving Senator Bernie Sanders a 69% win to 31% over Secretary Hillary Clinton.

http://www.democratsabroad.org/global_presidential_primary_…

 

This is why millions of people love Bernie Sanders:

Back when Bernie Sanders was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, C-SPAN asked him what his dream president would talk about.

Sanders, then in his mid-forties, began to speak earnestly about how Americans deserve a presidential candidate who would challenge the corrupt Washington establishment and take on the billionaires who run the political process. His response to the question sounded almost exactly like a Bernie Sanders stump speech in 2016.” (short video attached)

http://usuncut.com/politics/video-of-bernie-sanders-predicting-campaignng-2016/

 

Elizabeth Warren Has the Donald Trump Take-Down America Has Been Waiting For

http://usuncut.com/politics/elizabeth-warren-donald-trump/

 

John Oliver on Donald Drumph

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnpO_RTSNmQ

 

Bill Maher: Donald Trump Is the White Kayne

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTL-M3e6lq0

 

Bill Maher Destroys Donald Trump Again And Again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYEYFUz-ZT4

 

Who Will Own The Whitehouse – Nafeez Ahmed

View story at Medium.com

 

New Poll Shows Half of America Thinks Donald Trump Is A Fascist

http://usuncut.com/politics/poll-shows-half-america-thinks-donald-trump-fascist/

Means and Ends: Instrumental versus reflective thinking, and the life and death of the human species

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2016 by jtoddring

Means and Ends:

Instrumental versus reflective thinking,
and the life and death of the human species

Stephen Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule; but to schedule your priorities.” This is so extremely important. Most people prioritize their schedules – that’s why they never get anything done. They are too busy being busy to really focus on what matters most to them, and so, what matters most is usually left to the side, and left undone. Decades can go by lived in this way. Don’t do it. Make your priorities a priority by creating space for them, and focusing on them. That is the only way your priorities will ever get fulfilled. Otherwise, they are not really priorities, they are just daydreams. Until we carve out space for them, they will never amount to anything. We have to make time for what is important to us, or life will simply pass us by.

Last night, re-reading Aldous Huxley’s great work, The Perennial Philosophy, I skipped to the last two pages, and found a very thoughtful discussion, extremely lucid, as Huxley always is, on action and contemplation. The reflections in that short passage must have been ruminating in my mind while I slept, because today they seem to have sparked further thoughts, which I would like to share…..

Without reflection, we may devote our lives to things that really mean little to us; because we order our lives by prioritizing our schedules, rather than scheduling our lives around our priorities. And that would mean that we by and large waste our lives. But another problem with a lack of reflection is that we may end up pursuing goals which not only waste our precious years, but which can even prove disastrous.

As Heidegger said, their are (at least) two different kinds of thinking (or that is one way to look at it). One is instrumental, and one is reflective. Instrumental thinking is all the rage in modern society. It asks questions of how to do things. It is purely technocratic and utilitarian, or “practical” and “pragmatic”. This seems sensible enough, but there is a far more important question, and that is, what is worth doing? Instrumental thinking does not ask this question. Reflective thinking asks this question. But reflective thinking is not all the rage in modern society, and very few people engage in it. That is why modern society is in trouble, and is in crisis, and rapidly destroying itself.

We are very good at instrumental thinking, but have forgotten our capacity for reflective thinking. That means we can set goals which we have not reflected upon sufficiently, and which are self-destructive, and we can then execute plans to achieve our ill-considered and self-destructive plans with great panache and skill. But it would have been far better to reflect first, then act, so that we do not simply get to our goal faster and more assuredly, but know whether our goal is worth getting to at all.

If we do not once more embrace and consciously value the act and the habit of reflective thinking, we can be racing toward the edge of a cliff – as we are doing now – and at every moment working hard to increase our speed. And that is precisely what we are doing right now, at this potentially terminal stage of human history. A more reflective life and way of being screams out to us. Let us not be too deaf to listen, or soon we will be too dead to hear (more dead than the majority already are).

Simplify, simplify. It is time to reflect, before we run out of time.

JTR,
March 22, 2016

Justin Trudeau and the Continuing Saga of Canadian Apathy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2016 by jtoddring

A recent poll shows strong support for the Trudeau government in Canada, and I have to think, once again, that it is surprising to see that Canadians can be so uncritical and unquestioning of their government.

Yes, Harper was defeated, and yes, that was a good thing. But the current government under Trudeau Jr. is deeply flawed, and criminally negligent, at best – and that is the best you can say about them.

Trudeau Jr. is still subsidizing big oil and the fossil fuel industry, still pushing for oil pipelines, still blocking serious action on the environment. And we are still waiting on serious action on the lack of safe drinking water for 120 native communities and 1,600 municipalities across the country – in one of the seven richest countries on earth, with the means to provide all Canadians more than a decent standard of living, and certainly vastly more wealth and resources than is needed to simply provide clean, safe water for all. And further, the Trudeau government has so far refused to cancel or reject a plan by Ontario Power Generation to bury radioactive waste in the Great Lakes basin, even though every radioactive waste facility ever built has leaked, and despite the fact that the Great Lakes provide drinking water to 40 million people. And all of this entails what can only be called criminal negligence in the extreme.

Beyond that, the Trudeau Liberals refuse to raise corporate taxes to reasonable levels, say, where they were in 1960, at roughly 40%: and as a result, must work with a self-inflicted short-fall of revenues, meaning that health care, education, social and environmental programs cannot be properly funded.

What this means is that the Liberal Party is no longer a liberal party, as it was up until the government of Pierre Eliot Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, in the late 1970’s. For more than thirty years, the Liberal Party of Canada has been yet another party of neoliberalism, which is to say, another party run by and for big business. And central to the neoliberal, pro-corporate agenda, is austerity for the people, with giant subsidies, bail-outs, “stimulus” packages and tax breaks for the corporations and the rich. This is why we have inadequate funding for health care, education, social programs and environmental programs in Canada, as in the US and Europe, despite the fact that Canada is one of the richest countries on earth: neoliberalism and a corporate agenda have taken over – and the Trudeau Jr. government is just the latest expression of this criminal posse of neo-feudal corporatists, gouging the people to further line the pockets of the rich.

At the same time, the young Trudeau signed the TPP, which effectively spells the final death blow to Canadian sovereignty, and democracy in Canada. Few actions could express a greater or more utter incompetence, or criminality, depending on how you want to view it.

And while talking about “a principled foreign policy,” Trudeau Jr. approved the arms deal signed by Harper to ship more arms to the Saudis – the most brutal regime in the Middle East, and one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

Saudi Arabia is also the country which is the primary arms provider and source of funds to ISIS and Al Qaeda. Principled foreign policy? This is not only criminally negligent, at best, to be sending more arms to the Saudi dictatorship; it is also a disastrous and extremely foolish policy which is guaranteed to blow back in our faces, as Saudi Arabia continues to fuel terrorism, even while it proclaims it is fighting it.

And along with arming the Saudis, Trudeau continued the bombing in Iraq and Syria, not only breaking his election promises, but violating international law, and thereby committing what are under international law, nothing less than war crimes. Yes, principled foreign policy indeed. Only now has this criminal and foolish behaviour and disastrous policy been halted – one point for which we can be glad in an otherwise dismal reign to date.

(And yes, it is a reign, when 40% of the popular vote can give you 100% of the power in government, and a four year coronation.)

And finally, Justin Trudeau promised to bring in proportional representation, to fix our quasi-democratic electoral system, and bring it into the 21st century, or even the 20th. So far, we have seen no action on this critical issue of democracy, and another Trudeau promise goes either broken, or simply ignored and abandoned.

Those were just election promises, right? Nobody takes those seriously. Well, clearly they shouldn’t when it is either the Liberal or Conservative Party in question.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth May, the only political leader in the country at the federal level who deserves to be called a leader, or who has any clue as to what is going on, apparently, or any spine, or integrity, or vision to bring to bear on the issues we face, is largely ignored by both the media and the people.

Are Canadians clueless, or are we simply a people that cannot seem to shake off a long tradition of public apathy? I think the latter is the case, and I do not know what will rouse them from their slumber, or bring them to their senses.

During the recent federal election, there was a wave of political passion across the country – which is to say, as passionate as Canadians get about anything other than hockey, beer and Tim Horton’s – as we the people decided to remove a much reviled Conservative government from power. Then we all went back to sleep. Or at least the majority seem to have returned to slumber land. What does it take to get Canadians to shake off their long-standing habit of apathy and complacency? I truly do not know.

JTR,
March 2, 2016

 

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