- Sweden's Infamous "Bikini Cop" Quits Amid Growing Police Crisis
Back in August Mikaela Kellner became Sweden’s most famous police officer when she took a short break from sunbathing in the park to tackle and arrest a pickpocket. Pictures of the event quickly rose to international fame and nearly broke the internet.
I bet this guy was trying to get caught. Bikini-clad Swedish cop makes arrest while sunbathing https://t.co/EuxnrYpis2
— Neil Combee (@NeilCombee) August 6, 2016
Swedish cop in bikini tackles ‘lucky’ homeless crook https://t.co/NjNdhEmNnQ
— TomoNews US (@TomoNewsUS) August 3, 2016
Spread of the news instantly gained the fit cop nearly 30,000 instagram followers.
Now, after 11 years on the force, the famed officer has decided to turn in her badge in protest to her department’s recent reorganization that, according to Kellner, has resulted in personnel being treated unfairly. Per Sputnik:
“The main reason is that I’ve not felt comfortable with the recent [police] reorganization. I do not think that personnel are being treated fairly, as they should.”
“[Being a police officer] has become a bit like a second identity, and I feel bad about not doing a good job.”
Though Kellner didn’t mention it, Sweden’s police force has recently been plagued by understaffing and a rapid rise in violent crime that seemingly corresponded with the arrival of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Northern Africa. The level of violence within certain areas rose to such a level that police abandoned efforts to control the streets, leading to the establishment of 55 “no-go zones” (something we discussed in further detail here: “Sweden Creates 55 “No-Go Zones” As It Loses Control Of Refugee Crisis“).
All in all, Sweden’s police force has been plagued by severe understaffing, underpayment and low crime detection — despite the allocation of billions of extra kronor in backup. A report published earlier this year suggested as many as 80 percent of Swedish police officers were considering pursuing a different careers due to the danger they face in the field. In recent months, Sweden was plagued by ballooning criminality in the form of sex attacks, burglary, murder, vehicular arson and violence toward the police in blighted suburban areas.
Much of the crime, however, is linked to specific suburbs in urban communities populated by migrants, where police rarely venture outside police stations for fear of being attacked by locals — a fact that the Swedish authorities are loath to admit. In light of the Swedish practice to conceal the identity of the perpetrators, many suggest that the authorities and police conspire to cover up migrant crime to whitewash the country’s immigration policy.
While we hate to see someone with her particular “talents” get pushed out of the force, we wish Ms. Kellner the best of luck with her personal training career.
- Trump Is Exactly Where The Elites Want Him
Cognitive dissonance is a powerful drug. It makes otherwise-very-intelligent people goofy and incoherent in their thinking and blinds them to certain realities that they should normally see right in front of their noses. I witness it all the time in the field of economics — a key piece of logic, a key fact that certain people absolutely refuse to take into account simply because they have a singular idea of how the world works and they cannot allow that idea to ever come into question. They would rather leap into a mental gymnastics routine worthy of an Olympic gold medal than examine the truth. And if you confront them on it, they’ll accuse YOU of being the one in denial.
This is how we ended up with the credit crisis and market crash of 2008/2009. This is how very few people saw the writing on the wall with Syria and ISIS and the fact that the funding and training of Islamic extremists by Western governments for the purpose of proxy insurgency might not be such a great concept. It is the reason why it took years for the mainstream to acknowledge the advent of the East/West paradigm, the same paradigm that alternative analysts warned about years in advance. This is why most mainstream AND alternative analysts completely discounted a successful Brexit referendum. And, it is why the vast majority of pundits could not even conceive of a Trump victory in 2016. I could write a list 20 pages long on all the geopolitical and fiscal developments most people missed because they were clinging to assumptions rather than evidence.
Unfortunately, the liberty movement is also sometimes vulnerable to such assumptions. The most dangerous of which revolve around the rise of President-elect Donald Trump.
I have seen endless theories over the past several months on all the ways in which the global elites would sabotage the Trump campaign. I believe the phrase “they will never allow him to win” was repeated in nearly every discussion on the election. The assumption in this instance was that Trump is “anti-establishment” and, therefore, a threat to the globalists. These are the same globalists that people also claimed would “rig the election,” or initiate a “coup” in the electoral college to stop a Trump presidency.
Of course, this never happened. So, a large percentage of the movement needs to question — why didn’t it happen? How did Trump win within a system we know has been rigged for decades?
You’ll hear hundreds of theories and rationalizations on Trump’s miraculous victory, but a reason you will almost never hear is also the most likely one: Trump won the election because he serves the interests of the establishment. Trump won because he is a fake.
This is not an idea that many liberty activists want to entertain. They were so repulsed by the proposition of Hillary Clinton taking the helm at the White House that they would have invested themselves in almost ANYONE running against her, even if they thought that candidate might be controlled opposition. However, not just anyone was fielded as a candidate; Trump was fielded, and for good reason. I predicted before the Republican and Democratic primaries that the final election would be between Trump and Clinton in my article Will A Trump Presidency Really Change Anything For The Better?, published in March, and here is a quote on why:
My point back then as well as now is that without Clinton as the counter-party, Trump would not have garnered the political following he did. Any other Democratic candidate would not have galvanized conservatives so fervently. As I continued in my pre-primaries article:
The staging of the 2016 election might have appeared to some people to be absolute chaos, but to me, it could not have been more perfectly scripted. In later articles covering the election I went on to give Trump a chance. I stated that I had little doubt that he would win the election and that this would be followed by an economic crisis, probably triggered early in his first term. Conservative movements would be set up as scapegoats for a crash the globalists had created. However, I believed it (marginally) possible that Trump was not aware of this strategy on the part of the elites. Today, I no longer hold this view.
The first and worst sign that Trump is not anywhere near “anti-establishment” has been his complete reversal of his original “drain the swamp” rhetoric. Trump is not only NOT draining the swamp that is the Washington D.C. and corporate elitist revolving door, he is adding even more creatures of varying ghoulishness. As Newt Gingrich, who describes himself as an outside adviser to Trump, recently stated:
There is a good reason why Trump no longer wants to use that particular slogan — his cabinet is now filled with the exact same elitists he used to slam along with the Washington establishment.
Trump first placed former Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary. Goldman Sachs has a long history of insinuating its alumni into vital positions within government bodies dealing directly with the economy. Mnuchin is particularly troubling because of his ties to George Soros; Mnuchin used to work directly for George Soros at Soros Fund Management up until 2004.
Then, for those people that thought maybe Mnuchin was just an anomaly, Trump added Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs, as the director of the National Economic Council.
Trump’s chief strategist and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon is also a former Goldman Sachs investment banker.
It is interesting to note that over a quarter of the gains in the delusional Dow Jones spike after Trump’s election was tied to a rise in Goldman Sachs stock value. Imagine that…
Trump is also now “advised” on economic matters by the likes of JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon. Are we starting to get the picture here?
If that is not enough, then how about the fact that Trump is being closely advised by long time globalist Henry Kissinger (just as Vladimir Putin is advised by Kissinger)? I'm not sure why so many people are surprised by this arrangement; Trump was meeting with Kissinger months before the election. No matter the administration, there is ALWAYS a high level globalist behind the curtain. Barack Obama had Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Trump and Putin have Kissinger.
I won’t go into the numerous establishment Republicans that Trump has tapped for his administration, I will save that can of worms for another article, but anyone in the Liberty Movement that is not at least generally suspicious of Trump at this point is probably kidding themselves. The bottom line is, Trump has already LIED to his political base. He has surrounded himself with globalists and financial gatekeepers when he originally criticized Clinton for the same behavior. At this point, as long as he working in close proximity with such parasites there is no way for us to know if he is calling the shots, or if his handlers are making decisions for him.
I have heard it argued that Trump “has no choices” outside of D.C. insiders, which is why his cabinet is loaded with bottom feeders from Goldman Sachs. I find this argument rather naive. I would argue that there are thousands of brilliant professionals and people far more trustworthy outside of the beltway that could populate Trump’s cabinet and “make America great again.” I would even argue that ANY person with little experience inside the D.C. corruption chamber would be better suited to the job.
It seems to me that there are some activists that just can’t let go of the notion that Trump was the candidate the elites wanted all along. After all, didn’t the powers-that-be do everything in their power to try and stop him from winning the election?
Well, not really. The media firestorm surrounding Trump, though highly negative in tone, only boosted Trump’s exposure throughout the election. In fact, Trump received more coverage from outlets like CNN than all the other candidates combined.
This was the exact opposite tactic that the elitist controlled media used against true liberty candidate Ron Paul in 2012. With Paul, the media went out of their way to ignore him; they even refused to show a single Ron Paul campaign sign in a crowd if they could avoid it. This was a concerted systematic effort on the part of left AND right wing media outlets to ensure that no one outside of the internet heard about Ron Paul.
So what happened with Trump? Why did the mainstream media abandon a strategy that was very effective against Ron Paul, and why did they give Trump endless free coverage?
The elites also did not take very stringent measures to disrupt Trump’s candidacy early in the race. The Republican National Convention undertook a campaign of disinformation and rule changes in order to ensure that Ron Paul would have no chance of organizing an upset against establishment choice Mitt Romney. The same exact kind of treachery was used by the DNC in 2016 to sabotage Bernie Sanders — arguably a far more popular and effective candidate than Hillary Clinton. The party elites have numerous tools at their disposal to kill a candidate’s chances before he or she ever makes it on the national stage, yet, we are supposed to believe that Trump just slipped through the cracks, or beat them at their own game? I think not.
The election itself was riddled with email leaks and data dumps showcasing the corruption of the Clinton campaign, and yes, this did help to ensure a Trump win. The accusations of “Russian hacking” is clearly a sideshow, but the question remains, who did feed that information to Wikileaks? Some theorize that “disgruntled employees” within the U.S. intelligence apparatus may have leaked the data. I think they were not disgruntled. I think that most of the leaks were part of the election theater from the very beginning. In light of Trump’s clear goal to entrench banking vampires within his administration, I think that the elites always intended for him to “win” the election.
Of course, for some in the liberty movement this claim is sacrilegious. They don’t want to hear it, they’ll hate me for saying it, and that’s fine. I started my work in 2006 during the Bush years, and I remember quite well what it was like. I have little doubt that some people will be accusing me of being a "liberal" before they even finish this article, just as people called me a "Neo-Con" during the Obama administration. People who held fast to "conspiracy theories" surrounding the election and how Clinton was the "chosen one" will now hypocritically call me a "conspiracy theorist" for pointing out that NO ONE gets into the White House without being vetted by the elites, even Trump.
Working in alternative media means not caring if people like you or dislike you. I’ve been able to make numerous correct predictions because I do not concern myself with the pressures of conforming to group-think. My only hope is that many in the movement realize sooner rather than later that their faith in Trump has been ill invested. The great danger is that the liberty movement, the best last chance for saving this nation, will sit on its collective hands idle, centralizing all their hopes and eggs into the Trump basket, waiting for him to gallop in on his white horse and save us all from oblivion. And when that time comes, I suspect that he will do nothing, and the movement will be neutralized by its own desperate desire for a hero and an idol.
- Putin Stunner: "We Will Not Expel Anyone; We Refuse To Sink To 'Kitchen' Diplomacy"
Vladimir the merciful?
Following this morning’s reports that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would recommend to Russian President Vladimir Putin a retaliation in kind, and expel 35 American diplomats, saying that “we cannot leave such acts unanswered. Reciprocity is part of diplomatic law” with Putin spokesman Peskov adding that “there is no doubt that Russia’s adequate and mirror response will make Washington officials feel very uncomfortable as well”, it was ultimately up to Putin to decide how to respond to the US.
Which he did on Friday morning, when in a stunning reversal, the Russian leader took the high road, rejected the Lavrov proposal, and in a statement posted by the Kremlin said that Russia won’t expel any Americans in retaliation to US moves, in a brutal demonstration of just how irrelevant Obama’s 11th hour decision is for US-Russian relations.
The reversal comes as Russian officials portrayed U.S. sanctions as a last act of a lame-duck president and suggested that Trump could reverse them when he takes over the White House in January.
President Obama expels 35 ???????? diplomats in Cold War deja vu. As everybody, incl ???????? people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Adm. pic.twitter.com/mleqA16H8D
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) December 29, 2016
Earlier Russian Prime Minster Dmitry Medvedev said the Obama administration was ending its term in “anti-Russia death throes.”
“It is regrettable that the Obama administration, which started out by restoring our ties, is ending its term in an anti-Russia death throes. RIP,” Medvedev, who served as president in 2009 when Obama tried to improve Russia-U.S. relations, wrote on his official Facebook page.
In the just released statement, Putin laughed off Obama’s 11th hour temper tantrum, and said that Russia won’t cause problems to U.S. diplomats or deport anyone, adding that Russia has the right to respond in tit-for-tat manner, but it will not engage in irresponsible diplomacy.
The punchline, however, was saved for what may be Russia’s final slam of the debacle that is Obama’s administration saying that “It’s a pity that the current U.S. administration is finishing their work in such a manner” saying that Russia refuses “to sink to the level of this irresponsible “kitchen” diplomacy.”
Putin ended the statement by congratulating U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, and the American people on the New Year and invited the hildren of US diplomats to a holiday celebration at the Kremlin.
From the full statement posted on the Kremlin website:
Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.
And with that one statement, Obama lost the diplomatic war with Russia.
In other news, the Kremlin said it will send a government plane to the US to evacuate the expelled diplomats and their family members. Earlier, there were reports that the diplomats were having problems buying tickets on such short notice, with airlines already booked by New Year’s travelers.
* * *
Full Putin statement below:
We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship. This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.
As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.
The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.
It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.
My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.
I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.
- How Musicians Die
The passing of George Michael this week reminded many of the seemingly short life expectancy of musicians (and performers in general). In fact, as on study found, while blues, jazz, and country singers typically live as long as the average American; rock, techno, punk, metal, rap, and hip hop stars die significantly sooner.
“I hope I die before I get old,” The Who’s Roger Daltrey sang in “My Generation” in 1965. This didn’t happen for Daltrey, who is now a ripe 71, but it did to many other musicians.
Dianna Theadora Kenny, a professor of psychology and music at the University of Sydney, has conducted a statistical study of premature death among musicians.
As The Washington Post notes, she found that musicians from older genres – including blues, jazz, country and gospel – have similar lifespans to American people their own age. The life expectancy for R&B musicians is slightly lower, while the life expectancy for newer genres like rock, techno, punk, metal, rap and hip hop is significantly shorter.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kenny finds that accidents – including car crashes and drug overdoses – are a huge cause of premature death for musicians, accounting for almost 20 percent of all deaths across genres. But accidents are much more likely to kill rock, metal and punk musicians. Punk and metal musicians also appear susceptible to suicide, while gospel musicians had the lowest suicide rate of all genres.
* * *
The bottom line is, stay away from rappers and hip hop stars and make sure your favorite blues singer eats well and exercises.
- Why Politicians Are To Blame For Most Terrorist Attacks
European political leaders are making the same mistake in reacting to the massacre at the Christmas fair in Berlin, in which 12 died, as they did during previous terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. There is an over-concentration on the failings of the security services in not identifying and neutralising the Tunisian petty criminal, Anis Amri, as the threat he turned out to be. There is too little focus on bringing to an end the wars in Syria and Iraq which make this type of atrocity unstoppable.
In the aftermath of the killings the visibility of Amri, who was shot dead in Milan this morning, as a potential threat looks misleadingly obvious, and the culpability of those who did not see this appears more glaring than it really was. The number of possible suspects – suspected before they have done anything – is too great to police them effectively.
No politician or security official wishing to retain their job can tell a frightened and enraged public that it is impossible to defend them. Those in charge become an easy target for critics who opportunistically exploit terrorism to blame government incompetence or demand communal punishment of asylum seekers, immigrants or Muslims. At such times, the media is at its self-righteous worst, whipping up hysteria and portraying horrifying but small-scale incidents as if they were existential threats. This has always been true, but 24/7 news coverage makes it worse as reporters run out of things to say and lose all sense of proportion. As the old American newspaper nostrum has it: “if it bleeds, it leads.”
But in over-reacting, governments and media play into the hands of the terrorists who want to create fear and demonstrate their strength, but whose greatest gains come when they provoke an exaggerated self-destructive response. 9/11 was the most successful terrorist attack in history, not just because it destroyed the Twin Towers but because it lured the Bush administration into invading Afghanistan and Iraq. Subsequently, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, rendition, torture and “targeted killings” (otherwise known as assassination campaigns), all justified by 9/11, have acted as recruiting sergeants for al-Qaeda type organisations.
The war on terror has failed more demonstrably than most wars: al-Qaeda numbered in the hundreds in 2001, but today – along with Isis – it has tens of thousands of fighters and supporters spread across dozens of countries.
Political leaders are not blameless, but they tend to be blamed for the wrong thing. Contrary to talk about “lone wolf” terrorism, most people like Amri turn out to have had sympathetic or supportive connections. In his case, US officials say he had communicated with Isis and was in contact with a Salafi preacher. He would have needed little more than inspiration and encouragement, since driving a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Christmas requires no special expertise.
Isis remains crucial to the present wave of terrorist attacks in Europe because it provides ideological motivation and justification and can, as in Paris and Brussels, control and sustain a terrorist cell. So long as there is a well-organised de facto Isis capable of providing these things, terrorism cannot be defeated; there will always be a “breakdown in security” to be exploited.
The continuing existence of such a state is proof of the failure of US and European leadership. It is they who created the original conditions for the rise of Isis by invading Iraq in 2003. They allowed Syria to be torn apart by civil war after 2011 and believed the consequent anarchy could be confined to Iraq and Syria. It was only in 2014 and 2015 – after the creation of Isis, the flood of migrants fleeing to central Europe and the terrorist attacks in France and Belgium – that politicians and officials really took on board the potential danger.
Yet two-and-a-half years after it was first declared, Isis is still in business. Some 2,885 Iraqis were killed in November alone, most of them as a result of fighting between Isis and the Iraqi security forces. Over the last month international focus has been on the fall of east Aleppo and too little attention is given to the fact that Isis has been holding its own in Mosul and has recaptured Palmyra in Syria.
There is a dangerous disconnect in the minds of governments and news organisations between what happens in the war in Iraq and Syria and the long-term consequences this has on the streets of Europe. When the Iraqi armed forces and their Kurdish allies began on 17 October their advance on Mosul, by far the largest urban centre held by any of the Salafi-jihadi groups, it was widely believed that Isis was about to be defeated in its last lair.
It has not happened. The elite units of the Iraqi armed forces, notably the 10,000 strong “Golden Division”, have suffered as much as 50 per cent casualties. They are being ground down by skilful tactics in east Mosul whereby mobile Isis units rapidly shift their positions in built-up areas using holes cut in the walls of houses and a network of tunnels. They avoid permanent fixed positions where they can be located and targeted by artillery and the US-led air coalition. They ambush the Iraqi military forces in their vehicles as they move through narrow streets. The UN says that almost 2,000 members of the Iraqi security forces, including paramilitary Shia units and Kurdish Peshmerga units, were killed in November alone.
The offensive is largely stalled and still has not reached the main part of Mosul city on the west bank of the Tigris River. Districts in east Mosul captured weeks ago have to be captured again. The main thrust of Iraqi government forces attack on Mosul was meant to come from the south, but this front has not moved for six weeks. Isis is even reported to have sent 500 fighters from Mosul across the desert to retake Palmyra, in the first important territorial gain by Isis for 18 months.
This is not an organisation that is going out of business fast, or even at all. The failure of Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and other insurgent groups to defend east Aleppo more resolutely and successfully will probably lead to a haemorrhage of the most experienced and toughest fighters to Isis. It will have the advantage of being less dependent than the other rebel groups on outside support from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are close to accepting defeat in Syria. This may not save Isis in the long term because of the sheer number of its enemies, but it has shown once again that it is more resilient than the Pentagon had supposed.
There are serious consequences here for Europe: Isis can keep going for years with the low-level terrorist attacks like that which just happened in Berlin. It does not have to do much by way of exhortation or material aid to achieve this. When a terrorist incident does take place it is capable of shifting the political agenda in a country as large as Germany. Isis knows this and while it exists the terrorism will not stop.
- These Are The Most Expensive Zip Codes In America
Sagaponack’s 11962 (in the Hamptons) and Atherton’s 94027 retain their top positions as the most expensive ZIPs in the country, despite seeing a considerable drop in median sale prices, but California isn't getting any cheaper! Out of the 100 priciest ZIP codes, an impressive total of 72 are located in CA. NY trails behind, with a total of 21 ZIP codes, half of which are located in New York City.
And the 10 Priciest ZIP Codes in the Country Are…
#10. 94028, Portola Valley
The ZIP code that covers the entire Portola Valley town — which has already made a name for itself as one of the wealthiest towns in California — is so appealing to affluent buyers that it has commanded a median selling price of $2,815,000.
#9. 94022, Los Altos
Making its way to the top 10 (after landing on the 12th spot on our list last year), this Los Altos ZIP code can brag about median selling prices of $2,831,250.
#8. 94301, Palo Alto
This location — on top of being a stone’s throw from major employers, with the Googleplex itself being in the nearby Mountain View — has the added benefit of neighboring Stanford University. Despite that, the Palo Alto ZIP saw a $215,000 drop in selling prices, with the median for the area now sitting at $2,935,000.
#7. 90210, Beverly Hills
Registering an 11% drop in home prices, the iconic Beverly Hills ZIP code traded its Top 3 spot from last year for an honorable 7th spot on our list.
#6. 10007, New York City
Part TriBeCa, part Financial District, and surrounding the World Trade Center, 10007 saw a spectacular growth in 2016 in terms of selling prices: while the year before, homes in the area commanded a median price of $2,800,000, 2016 median selling prices jumped way past the $3 million mark, at $3,349,657.
#5. 90402, Santa Monica
The ritzy neighborhood north of Montana Avenue consolidates its position as a top attraction for affluent (and international) buyers, with a median price of $3,395,000.
#4. 33109, Miami Beach
A popular retirement destination for investors and affluent retirees, 33109 stands out as Florida’s most expensive ZIP code, with a median selling price of $3.4 million.
#3. 10013, New York City
Few areas can compete with the appeal of this ZIP code, which includes parts of TriBeCa, SoHo and Hudson Square. It then comes as no surprise that properties in the area sold for 12% more in 2016 compared to the previous year, with the median price now up to $3,808,765 — bumping it up one position and securing a top 3 spot among the most expensive ZIP codes in the country.
#2. 94027, Atherton
Despite being home to less than 8,000 residents, Atherton can pride itself on having some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Nevertheless, its 2016 median price of $5,425,000 is down 8% from 2015.
#1. 11962, Sagaponack
With its sprawling mansions — that sell for about $5.5 million — this Hampton’s ZIP code is the undisputed leader when it comes to hefty prices and exclusive living. But despite managing to maintain its top spot on the list of most expensive ZIP codes, Sagaponack saw a 35% decrease in median sale prices — which translates into a full $3 million price drop.
- Mormon Choir Singer Quits To Avoid Performing For "Tyrannical, Fascist" Trump
First, we had the downtrodden, disaffected Radio City Music Hall Rockette, Phoebe Pearl, who raged against her employer’s decision to perform at Trump’s inauguration saying she was “embarrassed and disappointed” by the upcoming performance. She even posted a cute picture to her instagram account, in protest, declaring that Trump is “Not My President!”
Now, Jan Chamberlin, formerly of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is seeking her 15 minutes of fame. Rather than sing at the President-elect’s inauguration next month, Chamberlin has decided to quit the famed group in epic fashion with a Facebook rant saying the choir is implicitly “endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man” while going on to compare Trump to Hitler on multiple occasions. Here’s a little taste of the rant:
I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be alright and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.
But it’s no use. I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect.
I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and facism by singing for this man.
History is repeating itself; the same tactics are being used by Hitler (identify a problem, finding a scapegoat target to blame, and stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear, and gathering the funding).
I only know I could never “throw roses to Hitler.” And I certainly could never sing for him.
Since when did singing and/or dancing at a political event become an implicit endorsement of a candidate? Here’s a BREAKING NEWS FLASH for all you disaffected, liberal “artists”: Literally zero people care about your political views so get over yourself, as soon as possible, please.
For the record, having a nice singing voice and/or a talent for dancing gives you about the same level intellectual authority to share your political views as to pilot NASA’s first manned mission to Mars…though we wouldn’t necessarily discourage you from pursuing the latter.
And here is the full statement courtesy of Chamberlin’s Facebook page:
Dear Family and Friends,
This is the message I have sent to Choir:
Dear President Jarrett and Choir,
Today is my birthday. (Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you………..)
It is with a sad and heavy heart that I submit my resignation to you and to Choir. I’m am praying that Jesus will help me get through this email before I totally break down.
I thank you all for 5 very meaningful years. There are many memories and experiences which I will cherish and hold dear in my heart.
Since “the announcement”, I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony. I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul.
I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in Choir for all the other good reasons.
I have highly valued the mission of the Choir to be good- will ambassadors for Christ, to share beautiful music and to give hope, inspiration, and comfort to others.
I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be alright and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.
But it’s no use. I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect.
I love you all, and I know the goodness of your hearts, and your desire to go out there and show that we are politically neutral and share good will. That is the image Choir wishes to present and the message they desperately want to send.
I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and facism by singing for this man.
And Choir’s wonderful image and networking will be severely damaged and that many good people throughout this land and throughout the world already do and will continue to feel betrayed. I believe hereafter our message will not be believed by many that have loved us and adored what we have stood for.
I know that I too feel betrayed.
Tyranny is now on our doorstep; it has been sneaking its way into our lives through stealth. Now it will burst into our homes through storm.
I hope that we and many others will work together with greater dilligence and awareness to calmly and bravely work together to defend our freedoms and our rights for our families, our friends, and our fellow citizens. I hope we can throw off the labels and really listen to each other with respect, love, compassion, and a true desire to bring our energies and souls together in solving the difficult problems that lie in our wake.
In the show Wicked, the Wizard makes a really interesting statement. He says “ I create conflict to stay in power.” This scenario can keep us perpetually distracted and at odds with each other and keep us from working together to solve important issues. This also allows those in office to do whatever they want to unchecked. I believe this has been done to us, both cunningly and intentionally. I believe we have a lot more in common than we have in difference, and if we will listen to each other, we can learn a great deal from one another.
And we can learn to work together to defend our freedoms with sensibility and integrity.
When I first auditioned and entered Choir, it was to follow deep personal impressions, and to honor my late father, who was among the best of men. Now I must leave Choir for the same reasons. My father ( who was an expert airforce bomber) hated tyranny and was extremely distraught over the holocaust. He and Mom both loved people greatly.
I have deep patriotic feelings for this country and for the freedoms of people everywhere throughout the world. I am troubled by the problems we face which seek to destroy our love for liberty and respect for humanity internationally.
History is repeating itself; the same tactics are being used by Hitler (identify a problem, finding a scapegoat target to blame, and stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear, and gathering the funding). I plead with everyone to go back and read the books we all know on these topics and review the films produced to help us learn from these gargantuan crimes so that we will not allow them to be repeated. Evil people prosper when good people stand by and do nothing.
We must continue our love and support for the refugees and the oppressed by fighting against these great evils.
For me, this is a HUGELY moral issue. “ as he died to make men holy, let us live to make free” ( The first time I heard this beautiful piece, I was 11 years old; my brother Jim was singing in Honor Choir. IT”S message sent inspirational electricity through my soul and penetrated every fiber of my being. THIS is Choir’s true message, and we don’t want it lost by giving the opposite message).
James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This scripture has been resonating with me a lot lately.
I only know I could never “throw roses to Hitler.” And I certainly could never sing for him.
Much love to you all. I wish you all blessings and happiness.
My heart is shattered and broken…………. but my conscience is clear. And THAT, really is all that matters.
- Eric Zuesse: America’s Secret Planned Conquest Of Russia
Submitted by investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of hey’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
America’s Secret Planned Conquest Of Russia
The U.S. government’s plan to conquer Russia is based upon a belief in, and the fundamental plan to establish, “Nuclear Primacy” against Russia — an American ability to win a nuclear war against, and so conquer, Russia.
This concept became respectable in U.S. academic and governmental policymaking circles when virtually simultaneously in 2006 a short-form and a long-form version of an article endorsing the concept, which the article’s two co-authors there named “nuclear primacy,” were published respectively in the world’s two most influential journals of international affairs, Foreign Affairs from the Council on Foreign Relations, and International Security from Harvard. (CFR got the more popular short version, titled “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy”, and Harvard got the more scholarly long version, which was titled “The End of MAD?”.)
This article claimed that the central geostrategic concept during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Mutually Assured Destruction or “MAD” — in which there is no such thing as the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. conquering the other, because the first of the two to attack will itself also be destroyed by the surviving nuclear forces of the one responding to that attack — will soon be merely past history (like the Soviet Union itself already is); and, so, as the short form of the article said, “nuclear primacy remains a goal of the United States”; and, as the long form said, “the United States now stands on the cusp of nuclear primacy.” In other words: arms-control or no, the U.S. should, and soon will, be able to grab Russia (the largest land-mass of any country, and also the one richest in natural resources).
Neither version of this article mentioned the key reason why nuclear victory is exceedingly dangerous even under the most favorable conditions, which reason is the concept (and the likely reality in the event of nuclear war between the two superpowers) “nuclear winter” — the scientific studies showing that a resulting sudden sharp cooling of the atmosphere after all those enormous explosions would produce a global die-off. America’s aristocracy and its vassal-aristocracies controlling the U.S.-allied nations (billionaires, centi-millionaires, and their top agents in both the public and private sectors) are buying and building deep-underground nuclear shelters for themselves, but they wouldn’t be able to stay underground and survive on stored feedstuffs forever. (As for everybody else, those other people are not involved in geostrategic decisionmaking, and so are being ignored.) However, many of America’s (and associated) elite are paying those bomb-shelter expenses, but none of the West’s elite are condemning the path toward nuclear war that their governments are on. So: buying or building nuclear-war shelters is more acceptable to them than is stopping America’s planned conquest of Russia. The higher priority is to conquer Russia.
A far less influential scholarly journal, China Policy, published later in 2006 a critical article arguing against nuclear supremacy, but that article has had no impact upon policymaking. Its title was “The Fallacy of Nuclear Primacy” and it argued that, “American nuclear supremacy removes the root source of stability from the nuclear equation: mutual vulnerability.” It presented a moral argument: “U.S. leaders might try to exploit its nuclear superiority … by actually launching a cold-blooded nuclear attack against its nuclear rival in the midst of an intense crisis. The professors discount significantly the power of the nuclear taboo to restrain U.S. leaders from crossing the fateful threshold. If crisis circumstances grow dire enough, the temptation to try to disarm their nuclear adversaries through a nuclear first-strike may be too strong to resist, they argue.” The concept of “nuclear winter” wasn’t even so much as just mentioned (much less dealt with) in this article, just as it was ignored in the two that it was arguing against.
The co-authors of (both versions of) the article that had proposed and endorsed nuclear primacy, then published in 2007 (this one also in International Security), a response to that critical article. This reply’s title was “U.S. Nuclear Primacy and the Future of the Chinese Deterrent”. But it had no more impact than did the obscure article it was arguing against.
Thus, nuclear primacy has become U.S. policy, and MAD no longer is U.S. policy (though it remains Russian policy). The U.S. government is planning to take over Russia (basically, to install a puppet-regime there). That’s the reality.
Central to the nuclear-primacy concept is that of what’s variously called a “Ballistic Missile Defense” (BMD) or “Anti Ballistic Missile” (ABM) system: a system to disable or knock out Russia’s retaliatory nuclear weapons so that a U.S. blitz nuclear attack won’t be able to be met by any nuclear counter-attack.
As “The End of MAD?” put it: “Russia has approximately 3,500 strategic nuclear warheads today, but if the United States struck before Russian forces were alerted, Russia would be lucky if a half-dozen warheads survived.”
In other words: America’s aristocracy aren’t necessarily hoping to protect all of the U.S. population from a counter-attack, but are willing to sacrifice perhaps a few million Americans here and there, in order to achieve the intended result: conquest of Russia.
That article then says that a BMD-ABM system wouldn’t necessarily indicate America’s determination to pursue nuclear primacy against Russia, because it could instead be intended purely and authentically defensively, to protect against nuclear attack from Iran, North Korea or some other country. However: “Other U.S. nuclear programs are hard to explain with any mission other than a nuclear first strike on a major power adversary. For example, the decision to upgrade the fuse of many SLBM warheads (the W76s) to permit ground bursts makes sense only if the mission is destroying hundreds of hardened silos. One might argue that ground bursts could be useful for a variety of other missions, such as destroying North Korean WMD bunkers or remote cave complexes housing terrorist leaders. The United States, however, already has a large number of highly accurate, similar-yield warheads that would be ideal for these purposes.” The article even notes that: “Other analysts have noted that the current U.S. nuclear force looks surprisingly like an arsenal designed for a nuclear first strike against Russia or China.” And, “A group of RAND analysts agrees: ‘What the planned force appears best suited to provide beyond the needs of traditional deterrence is a preemptive counterforce capability against Russia and China. Otherwise, the numbers and the operating procedures simply do not add up.’” So: the co-authors here are claiming to be merely giving a name, “nuclear primacy,” to America’s existing strategic military policy — not to be inventing or creating it. They are, above all, saying that this is the reality now in U.S. policy-making circles; that MAD no longer is.
And their article has, indeed, described the guiding strategic-planning objective not only of the George W. Bush Administration, but also of Barack Obama’s — as will now be documented.
U.S. President Obama has always been saying that the reason why America is installing anti-ballistic missiles (“ABM”s, otherwise known as ballistic-missile defense or “BMD”) in Romania, Poland, and other nations that border (or are near to) Russia, is in order to protect Europe against Iranian missiles that might be aimed against Europe. He says that this is purely defensive, not aggressive, and that what it’s defending from is Iran, not Russia — so, Russia has no reason for complaint about it.
But then, Obama reached his nuclear deal with Iran; and this deal ended, for at least ten years, any realistic possibility that Iran would develop any nuclear-weapons capability — Obama himself emphasized that this was the case; he wasn’t denying it.
So: Obama’s claimed reason for installing ABMs in Europe was now, quite simply, gone. (Not that it had been credible anyway, since Iran didn’t have any nuclear weapons. It was merely a pretext, not honestly a reason.)
Here is how Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, stated the matter, at that time, during the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, on 22 October 2015:
The use of the threat of a nuclear missile attack from Iran as an excuse, as we know, has destroyed the fundamental basis of modern international security – the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The United States has unilaterally seceded from the treaty. Incidentally, today we have resolved the Iranian issue and there is no threat from Iran and never has been, just as we said.
The thing that seemed to have led our American partners to build an anti-missile defence system is gone. It would be reasonable to expect work to develop the US anti-missile defence system to come to an end as well. [But] What is actually happening? Nothing of the kind, or actually the opposite – everything continues.
Recently the United States conducted the first test of the anti-missile defence system in Europe. What does this mean? It means we were right when we argued with our American partners. They were simply trying yet again to mislead us and the whole world. To put it plainly, they were lying. It was not about the hypothetical Iranian threat, which never existed. It was about an attempt to destroy the strategic balance, to change the balance of forces in their favour not only to dominate, but to have the opportunity to dictate their will to all: to their geopolitical competition and, I believe, to their allies as well. This is a very dangerous scenario, harmful to all, including, in my opinion, to the United States.
The nuclear deterrent lost its value. Some probably even had the illusion that victory of one party in a world conflict was again possible – without irreversible, unacceptable, as experts say, consequences for the winner, if there ever is one
He called Obama there a “liar,” and that’s a blatantly truthful characterization of the situation. But Putin missed there saying what’s even more basic for an understanding of what Obama was doing in this matter — and which makes that “lie” from Obama particularly heinous: Putin missed saying that an anti-missile system can be at least as important as an aggressive weapon as it is as a defensive one, because if a first-strike attacker wants to eliminate the defender’s ability to strike back from the attacker’s first-strike attack, then an anti-missile system is the weapon to do that, by eliminating the defender’s missiles before those strike-back missiles can reach their targets. It nullifies the other side’s defense — and to do this is enormously aggressive; it strips the victim’s retaliation. The whole distinction between offensive and defensive can thus be pure propaganda, nothing having to do actually with aggressive and defensive. Whether the use will be defensive, or instead offensive, won’t be known until the system is in actual battlefield use. Only the propaganda is clear; the weapon’s use is not.
So, Putin understated the heinousness, and the danger to Russians, that was actually involved in Obama’s tricks. All that Putin did was to vaguely suggest an aggressive possibility: “It was about an attempt to destroy the strategic balance, to change the balance of forces in their favour not only to dominate, but to have the opportunity to dictate their will to all.” Most people don’t relate to such abstractions as “strategic balance.”
Obama and other agents of the U.S. aristocracy know that their public have been trained for decades, to hate, fear, and despise, Russians, and especially the Russian government, as if it were the Soviet Union, and as if its Warsaw Pact and communism still existed and Russia hadn’t ended its hostility to the U.S. in 1991 (though the U.S. continued its hostility to Russia — that rump remaining country from the former communist empire — and during Obama’s second term the hostility soared). So, for example, at the conservative website Breitbart, when that statement quoted here from Putin was posted as part of an honestly written and presented article titled “Vladimir Putin: U.S. Missile Defense System Threatens Russia”, almost none of the reader-comments indicated any ability or inclination of the readers to sympathize with the plight for Russians that Putin had just expressed. Instead, to the extent that the comments there were relevant, they were generally hostile, such as:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he has concerns that the U.S. ballistic missile defense system threatens Russia’s nuclear capability.”
Vlad, its supposed to, its called defense. The only way it could harm your nukes is if they were shot down…………….after you launched them!
How can a defense system threaten anything? Like Obama would attack Russia. That is laughable.
Most people’s minds are straightjacketed in bigotries of various sorts, preconceptions such as that a “missile defense” system, and a “Defense” Department, can’t be aggressive — even extremely aggressive and war-mongering. The first thought that comes to mind about anything that’s ‘defensive’ is that something else must be ‘aggressive’ or ‘offensive’, and that whatever is ‘defensive’ (such as an ABM) is therefore good and even necessary. That’s thinking, and receiving the term “defense,” like thinking just one move ahead in a chess-game, but this is the mental limit for most people, and every propagandist (such as the people who professionally design propaganda or PR slogans and campaigns) do precisely what Obama and the rest of the aristocracy and their agents do in order to deceive their gulls: they phrase things for one-move-ahead-limit thinkers, like that. The cardinal rule in the deception-professions is therefore, first, to find people with the desired prejudices, and then to play them as that, with one-move-ahead-limit sales-pitches, which are directed to precisely those prejudices. This report at the Breitbart site was instead presenting a high-quality news-report, to a low-quality audience, and so the reader-comments it generated were few, and generally hostile.
Obama is a master at deception. Another good example of this was 26 March 2012, during Obama’s campaign for re-election, when he confidentially told Dmitry Medvedev, “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [the incoming President Putin] to give me space. … This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” Obama was privately communicating to Putin (through Medvedev) that Obama was pushing the ABM installations only so as not to be politically vulnerable to charges from the knee-jerk Russia-haters, Republicans, and that Obama’s fakery regarding the supposed ABM-target’s being Iran was only in order to appeal to yet another Republican bigotry (against Iran), and so Obama was intending to back away from supporting the ABM system during his second term.
But actually, Obama had had Russia in his gunsights even prior to his coming into office. Two specific objects in focus were Moscow-friendly leaders of nations: Assad of Syria, and Yanukovych of Ukraine. America’s strategy, ever since 24 February 1990, has been to strip Russia of allies and friends — to leave Russia increasingly isolated and surrounded by enemies. When Obama entered the White House on 20 January 2009, there already was a plea in the pipeline from the Syrian government for urgently needed food-aid to address the all-time-record drought there, which had decimated Syrian agriculture. Obama’s Administration never even answered it. Well before the Arab Spring demonstrations in 2011, Obama was hoping for turmoil in Syria and the overthrow of Assad — lots of starving Syrians would be just the thing.
Moreover, the planning for the February 2014 coup to overthrow the Moscow-friendly democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, started in the U.S. State Department by no later than 2011.
So: when Obama told Medvedev and Putin, on 26 March 2012, not to worry about Obama’s intentions toward Russia, he was lying. He wanted his intended victim to be off-guard, unprepared for what was soon to come.
On Obama’s way out the door, he did two things that significantly advanced America’s ABM-BMD threat against Russia.
On 10 December 2016, ‘Defense’ Secretary Ashton Carter stated, burying it in a speech he gave in Bahrain — site of a major U.S. military base — “just this week, we reached an agreement for Qatar to purchase a 5,000-kilometer early-warning radar to enhance its missile defenses,” and he said nothing more about it, as if this announcement weren’t the bombshell it actually was. Alex Gorka headlined about that at Strategic Culture, “US-Qatar Deal Threatens Russia: Reading News Between the Lines” and he explained that this system “is designed to be used as an early warning system against strategic offensive assets – something Iran does not possess.” Near the start of Carter’s speech, Carter had said that he would be talking about “checking Iranian aggression and malign influence, and helping defend our friends and allies,” including Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Gorka noted, “The announced range of 5,000km (3,100mi) by far exceeds the requirement to counter a missile threat coming from Iran,” and, “There is no other reasonable explanation for the choice, except the fact that the AN/FPS-132 can monitor large chunks of Russian territory,” the objective being “to surround the Russian Federation with BMD sites and neutralize its capability to deliver a retaliatory strike if attacked.”
One of Obama’s last actions as the U.S. President was to sign into law a bill that had been quietly passed in Congress, which included a key change in U.S. law that would enable the government to spend unlimited funds on realizing former President Ronald Reagan’s dream of a space-based ABM system, “Star Wars.” On December 22nd, David Willman of the Los Angeles Times, headlined “Congress scrapped this one word from the law, opening the door to a space arms race”, and he reported that the eliminated word was “limited.” Willman explained that, “The nation’s homeland missile defense system is designed to thwart a small-scale, or ‘limited,’ attack by the likes of North Korea or Iran. As for the threat of a large-scale strike by China or Russia, the prospect of massive U.S. retaliation is supposed to deter both from ever launching missiles.” He noted: “The bill awaits action by President Obama. The White House has not said what he will do.” Willman also noted that on an earlier occasion, “the Obama administration criticized the changes in the Senate bill, saying it ‘strongly objects’ to removing ‘limited’ and to placing anti-missile weaponry in space. The statement stopped short of threatening a veto.” But then, the next day, on December 23rd, Willman bannered, “President Obama signs defense bill that could spur new space-based arms race”. Whereas Obama’s public rhetoric portrayed himself as being the type of person who had deserved to win the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, almost all of his actual decisions in office were the exact opposite — and here was a superb example of that.
Whether Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, will continue with that longstanding (ever since 24 February 1990) plan to conquer Russia, or instead finally end the Cold War on the U.S. side (as it already had ended in 1991 on the U.S.S.R.’s), isn’t yet clear.
This is what happens when what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex” takes over the country, and everything (including the ‘news’ media) serves it, rather than the military-industrial complex’s serving the public.
It fits in with the massive data which indicates that the U.S. government is run by an aristocracy or “oligarchy”, instead of run by people who represent the public — a “democracy.” Obama as President fit right in.
- The Political Left's Shmoo Theory Of Education
“Uneducated” is the favorite insult and excuse of the political left. In the past year alone, for example, a lack of education among voters has been used to explain each of the left’s electoral failures, as well as to dismiss criticisms of its people, policies, and institutions. These defenses are dubious to say the least. Yet setting aside the strategic choices of left-wing political groups, the obsession with un-education reveals that there are serious problems with the way education is understood by the intellectual classes.
Most importantly, the popular use of the word “education” suffers from the same error as the mainstream economic use of the word “capital.” This shouldn’t be a surprise, given that education is often metaphorically described as “human capital.” The error is that both capital and education are thought of as a kind of “homogeneous blob,” or “shmoo.” A shmoo is elastic and can be molded by the user into any shape necessary, and it’s therefore equally serviceable in all possible uses. Anyone who wants to use it as a production input must simply decide how much to apply to a specific problem.
In reality, of course, capital and education are both highly heterogeneous. The structure of production is extremely delicate and difficult to organize, and so too is the structure of human knowledge.
Unfortunately, this fact escapes those intellectuals who concern themselves with other people’s lack of education: in current discourse, education is a homogeneous good acquired exclusively through obtaining formal degrees. To lack a college degree is to lack education, while the more degrees one acquires, the better educated one is. Importantly, all education is equally serviceable across all areas of expertise. English majors can talk about economics, and physicists can talk about politics. But anyone who isn’t a product of the university education system is barred from participating in these discussions.
It should be easy to spot the errors in this kind of thinking. First, no matter what kind of education we pursue, we don’t simply add new blobs of it to a big pile. Instead, we acquire specific, distinct types of knowledge which vary widely in their serviceability. Second, and more important, education is not equivalent to obtaining degrees. It means different things in different contexts, and the education that takes place in higher education institutions reflects only a specific and narrow type of learning. Depending on one’s area of study, this kind of learning can often lack relevance outside the classroom, and in this sense, it actually undermines the role of education as a practical tool for learning how to create value within society. This is part of the reason why university-educated people flock to the intellectual class to begin with.
In fact, sometimes obtaining the relevant kind of education is impossible within higher education. To take some obvious examples, many of the most successful and world-changing entrepreneurs of the past few decades have been college dropouts. Needless to say, they’ve given a bit more to the human race than the average Huffington Post writer. On a smaller scale, Mises was fond of pointing out that consumers are often better educated about the state of the economy than many economists.
“Education” is another example of a kind of rhetorical imperialism that has already captured words like “science” and “evidence.” The bias in favor of “education” is basically a bias in favor of the opinions of the contemporary intellectual classes, and a devotion to the status quo in higher education. The intellectuals treat education as a shmoo because often, that’s exactly what it is to them: simply another word for describing their own collection of homogeneous opinions and concepts, which they believe should form the sum of all discussion. Fortunately, more and more people are beginning to realize that true education does not and cannot thrive in this environment, which increasingly closes itself off from the real world and the people in it. This is the perfect time for organizations like the Mises Institute to take up the challenge of bringing genuine learning to the masses, both inside and outside the academy.
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