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See You on the Dark Side of the Moon

SEE YOU ON THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

And if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

Brain Damage, Pink Floyd

Image result for see you on the dark side of the moon"

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

Brain Damage, Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd’s 1973 Dark Side of the Moon album is considered one of the greatest albums of all-time. It stayed on the Billboard 200 charts for 937 weeks. Roger Waters concept was for an album that dealt with things that “make people mad”. The Dark Side of the Moon’s themes include war, conflict, greed, the passage of time, death, and insanity, the latter inspired in part by former band member Syd Barrett’s worsening mental state.

The five tracks on each side reflect various stages of human life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat, exploring the nature of the human experience, and empathy. The themes of this album are timeless and are as germane today as they were forty-six years ago, if not more relevant. The country and world are awash in conflict, driven by the greed of evil men. Decent, law abiding, hard-working, critical thinking Americans see the world going insane as the passage of time leads towards the death of an American empire.

Waters and Gilmour lyrics have always captured the falsity of the world, whether it be the music industry, the ruling elite, educational system, politicians, the military, or our own delusions that keep us from accepting the truth. Their cynicism about our world appeals to my natural inclination towards skepticism about mankind and those constituting the invisible government, controlling the levers of our society.

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Strangers in a Strange Land

Strangers in a Strange Land

“Secrecy begets tyranny.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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“Thinking doesn’t pay. Just makes you discontented with what you see around you.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

When I read quotes by men like H.L. Mencken and Robert Heinlein, I realize I’m not really a stranger in a strange land, even though I feel that way most of the time. These cynical, critical thinking, libertarian minded gentlemen understood government tended towards corruption and tyranny, the populace tended towards ignorance and distraction, and reality eventually teaches a harsh lesson to fools, knaves and dumbasses.

Sometimes we think the current day worldly circumstances are new and original, when human nature, politicians, and governments never really change. When Mencken and Heinlein were writing and providing social commentary during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, they observed the same fallacies, foolishness, lack of self-responsibility, government malfeasance, and inability of the majority to think critically, that are rampant in society today.

The quotes above, written during the 1950s, are even more pertinent today. As the ongoing Surveillance State attempted coup against president Trump approaches its denouement, the fabric of this country is being torn asunder. It is the secrecy in which the Deep State has operated without oversight which has led to government tyranny. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden exposed the secrets of powerful interests operating within the CIA, NSA, FBI, White House, Congress and military industrial complex, revealing the malevolent disregard for the Constitutional rights of American citizens and wielding of power for power’s sake.

The collection of all electronic communications by Americans by all-powerful, unaccountable Deep State psychopaths is worse than anything conceived by Orwell in 1984. 

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The Fed’s Dilemma Is Our Problem!

The Fed’s Dilemma Is Our Problem!

A road sign showing two arrows leading in different directions and a label below that says dilemma

Pundit Bill Bonner predicts:

“Most likely, the stock market will crash sometime before the 2020 election. We can’t know when.

…. The end of the stock market boom, too, is unpredictable. But each passing day brings us a day closer to when it will crash and burn.”

Bonner’s prediction is in line with our 2017 article, “An Economic Showdown Is Looming”. I suggested the Fed, part of the deep state, was setting up President Trump to be another Herbert Hoover. The deep state wants the market to crash so they can crush capitalism and further consolidate federal government control.

Fed Chair Yellen announced the Fed would begin raising rates in 2015. After one early increase and she held off until after the election. Despite Ms. Yellen’s vehement objections to the politics of holding off on rate increases before the election, it sure looked political.

CNN Money reports:

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave the U.S. economy a nearly clean bill of health, two days before Donald Trump arrives at the White House.(Emphasis mine)

“Now, it’s fair to say, the economy is near maximum employment and inflation is moving toward our goal.”

CNBC quoted Ms. Yellen:

“Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? …. That would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.”

In 2018, the Atlantic Article, “The Federal Reserve Chair Is Ignoring President Trump”, Fed chairman Powell reassured us:

“Not every business cycle is going to last forever, but no reason to believe this cycle can’t go on for quite some time, effectively indefinitely.”

The underlying Fed message – Bush broke it, Obama fixed it, and now Trump is responsible.

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Underestimating Them & Overestimating Us

UNDERESTIMATING THEM & OVERESTIMATING US

“Do not underestimate the ‘power of underestimation’. They can’t stop you, if they don’t see you coming.” ― Izey Victoria Odiase

Image result for bernanke, yellen, powell

During the summer of 2008 I was writing articles a few times per week predicting an economic catastrophe and a banking crisis. When the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression swept across the world, resulting in double digit unemployment, a 50% stock market crash in a matter of months, millions of home foreclosures, and the virtual insolvency of the criminal Wall Street banks, my predictions were vindicated. I was pretty smug and sure the start of this Fourth Turning would follow the path of the last Crisis, with a Greater Depression, economic disaster and war.

In the summer of 2008, the national debt stood at $9.4 trillion, which amounted to 65% of GDP. Total credit market debt peaked at $54 trillion. Consumer debt peaked at $2.7 trillion. Mortgage debt crested at $14.8 trillion. The Federal Reserve balance sheet had been static at or below $900 billion for years.

During 2007, a risk averse senior citizen couple (my parents) who had accumulated $200,000 of retirement savings over their lifetime of hard work, could generate $10,000 of interest income in a Vanguard money market fund yielding 5%. This supplemented their modest Social Security income of $20,000 to $30,000 per year. The interest rate on savings during normal economic times was generally 2% above inflation, which hovered around 3% in 2007 according to the data manipulators at the BLS.

As the summer of 2008 progressed, I felt more disconnected. I had been doing everything possible to support Ron Paul’s candidacy for president, but the masses weren’t ready for the truth or the reality of our situation. In my opinion the country was already off-course and headed towards a debt created disaster. 

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American Chernobyl

American Chernobyl

In the Spring of 1986 the Soviet Union was in a slow motion collapse. No one in the US intelligence agencies predicted it, the military was taken completely by surprise and no apologies were ever made for the thirty year, multi-trillion dollar oversight. It’s political and social institutions were Potemkin villages kept alive by little more than inertia yet on the outside everything appeared normal, and if not healthy, at least it seemed monolithic in it’s outward appearance.

The structural rot that had taken hold after the death of Stalin had become the central pillar of Eastern European civilization and the foundation upon which it was built- the blood of tens of millions of murdered citizens- softened the ground further, leading to it’s eventual implosion five short years later. On the 26th of April a failed experiment at a nuclear power plant in the Ukraine initiated a slow and steady series of system failures, leading to a full blown meltdown that forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of inhabitants from the exclusion zone.

Most Americans recall the event as a catastrophic ecological disaster that threatened- at that time- to spread radioactive particles across wide swaths of Europe, poisoning the groundwater that fed the Dnieper River, leading directly to the Black Sea. No one was certain in the aftermath of the extent of the damage, nor of the ability of the Soviet system to respond truthfully to international inquiries. It was assumed throughout the Free and Democratic nations of the West that the USSR was incapable of sharing anything that would reflect poorly on their ability to govern.

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The Most Interesting Man in the World: Two Faces on the Same Coin

The Most Interesting Man in the World: Two Faces on the Same Coin

Presidential elections are planned distractions

To divert attention from the action behind the scenes

Like a game of chess when the house is a mess

Or a petty money squabble when your marriage is in trouble

Or a football game when there’s rioting in the streets

It’s just another movie, another song and dance

Another poor sucker who never had a chance

– Timbuk3. “Just Another Movie”, Greetings From Timbuk3 (1986), Mamdadaddi Music/I.R.S. Music, Inc. admin. by Atlantic Music

Before the big game there’s a coin toss and by the luck of the draw, decisions are made even before the teams take the field. It is the same for politics with, perhaps, the exception of luck having anything to do with the outcomes.  Regardless, the games play on our screens and we passively watch; anxiously waiting to see what happens.

It’s an all-or-nothing blitz to score big and winners take all.  In the interim, there are the commercial breaks revealing ads refined by the fires of focus groups and in boardrooms.

Edward Bernays, the influential pioneer of public relations and the nephew of iconic psychologist Sigmund Freud, wrote in his 1928 book “Propaganda” (page 37) regarding an “unseen mechanism of society” that constituted “an invisible government” that was, assuredly,  “the true ruling power of our country”. Bernays added:  “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

Bernays was quite proud of his uncle’s work and he accepted Freud’s foundational premises towards the use of emotional manipulation of the masses through advertising. It was Bernays, in fact, who changed the term “propaganda” to “public relations”.

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Technology: Distracting, Disturbing, Deceiving & Deluding Ourselves to Death

TECHNOLOGY: DISTRACTING, DISTURBING, DECEIVING & DELUDING OURSELVES TO DEATH

“What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. 

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.” ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Image result for huxley amusing ourselves to death

Something as mundane as using the restroom at work sometimes ends up triggering deeper thoughts about technology – its benefits, deficiencies and danger to our culture. I’ve been using the same restroom at work for the last twelve years. They remodeled the restroom a few years ago with the latest technology – automatic flushers, automatic soap dispensers, automatic spigots, and automatic towel dispenser. This technology is supposed to make things better, but from my perspective the technology just added complexity, glitches and unnecessary complications.

First off, these technological “improvements” did not eliminate any humans from the equation. The housekeepers responsible for the restrooms continued to be employed. Prior to the remodel they would fill a metal bin with individual paper towels and fill the soap dispenser with liquid soap. Now they have to insert a roll of paper towels in the electronic dispenser and a cartridge of soap in the electronic soap dispenser.

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2019 From a Fourth Turning Perspective

2019 FROM A FOURTH TURNING PERSPECTIVE

“An impasse over the federal budget reaches a stalemate. The president and Congress both refuse to back down, triggering a near-total government shutdown. The president declares emergency powers. Congress rescinds his authority. Dollar and bond prices plummet. The president threatens to stop Social Security checks. Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling. Default looms. Wall Street panics.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

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Strauss and Howe wrote their book in 1996. They were not trying to be prophets of doom, but observers of history able to connect events through human life cycles of 80 or so years. Using critical thinking skills and identifying the most likely triggers for crisis: debt, civic decay, and global disorder, they were able to anticipate scenarios which could drive the next crisis, which they warned would arrive in the mid-2000 decade. The scenario described above is fairly close to the current situation, driven by the showdown between Trump and the Democrats regarding the border wall.

It has not reached the stage where all hell breaks loose, but if it extends until the end of January and food stamp money is not distributed to 40 million people (mostly in urban ghettos) all bets are off. The likelihood of this scenario is small, but there are numerous potential triggers which could still make 2019 go down in history as a year to remember.

As we enter the eleventh year of this Fourth Turning, the fourth Crisis period in U.S. history, the mood of U.S. citizens and citizens around the globe continues to darken. Fourth Turnings are driven by generational configuration and the emotional reaction to events by the Prophet generation leaders, Nomad generation spearheads, and Hero generation cannon fodder.

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Mad World

MAD WORLD

And I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles it’s a very very
Mad world, mad world

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The haunting Gary Jules version of the Tears for Fears’ Mad World speaks to me in these tumultuous mad times. It must speak to many others, as the music video has been viewed over 132 million times. The melancholy video is shot from the top of an urban school building in a decaying decrepit bleak neighborhood with school children creating various figures on the concrete pavement below. The camera pans slowly to Gary Jules singing on the rooftop and captures the concrete jungle of non-descript architecture, identical office towers, gray cookie cutter apartment complexes, and a world devoid of joy and vibrancy.

The song was influenced by Arthur Janov’s theories in his book The Primal Scream. The chorus above about his “dreams of dying were the best he ever had” is representative of letting go of this mad world and being free of the monotony and release from the insanity of this world. Our ego fools us into thinking the madness of this world is actually normal. Day after day we live lives of quiet desperation. Despite all evidence our world is spinning out of control and the madness of the crowds is visible in financial markets, housing markets, politics, social justice, and social media, the level of normalcy bias among the populace has reached astounding levels, as we desperately try to convince ourselves everything will be alright. But it won’t.

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Language: The Indispensable Fundamental Actuator of False Orthodoxy

Language: The Indispensable Fundamental Actuator of False Orthodoxy

In Ayn Rand’s penultimate magnum opus, “The Fountainhead”, there was a minor antagonist by the name of Ellsworth Toohey whose raison d’etre was to undermine Rand’s ideal man and protagonist, Howard Roark.

Although Toohey considered his parasitical power as having a major stifling effect on capitalistic society, in reality, all his cumulative efforts ended up as a mere minor footnote in the long march of Man; as evidenced in the story’s denouement and ensuing towering city skylines.

Of course, much of Rand’s life consisted of excoriating the parasitical aspect of the Collectivists and their government, as both defined by dependency; in stark contrast to the rugged self-reliance of the men who moved the world.

In The Fountainhead, a discussion took place whereby Toohey said he wanted to make the “ideological soil” infertile to the point where young heads would explode prior to expressing any individuality (or similar to that).  Then, later, near the end, Toohey asked Roark what Roark thought of him, and the egoistic, self-reliant architect replied: “But I don’t think of you.”

In reality, is it possible today to ignore the Collective? Or, has it propagated sufficiently to where it can be ignored no longer?

Acceptance of reality requires honesty.  And the author Ayn Rand identified reason as the means for Man’s thriving existence on this blue marble. Therefore, if we are to examine reality with honesty, then we must by all means factor logic and time as follows:

If (this), then (that)

Stated another way, either the decisions we make now will improve our reality in the days ahead –  or, we will be worse off than we are at present.

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The Fourth Turning & War of the Worlds

THE FOURTH TURNING & WAR OF THE WORLDS

Image result for fake news cnn Image result for illegal immigrant invasion

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“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

The paragraph above captures everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen during this Fourth Turning. It was written over two decades ago, but no one can deny its accuracy regarding our present situation. The spark was a financial crash. The response to the financial crash by the financial and governmental entities, along with their Deep State co-conspirators who created the financial collapse due to their greed and malfeasance, led to the incomprehensible election of Donald Trump, as the deplorables in flyover country evoked revenge upon the corrupt establishment.

The chain reaction of unyielding responses by the left and the right accelerates at a breakneck pace, with absolutely no possibility of compromise. A new emergency or winner take all battle seems to be occurring on a weekly basis, with the mid-term elections as the likely trigger for the next phase of this Fourth Turning.

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They Want You To Do As They Say, Not As They Do

THEY WANT YOU TO DO AS THEY SAY, NOT AS THEY DO

“Facts are threatening to those invested in fraud.”DaShanne Stokes

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Insiders at US companies unloaded $5.7 billion of their company stock this month, the highest in any September over the past decade, according to TrimTabs Investment Research.  Insiders, which include corporate officers and directors, sold over $10 billion of their company stock in August, also at the fastest pace in 10 years. With the stock market at all time highs and valuations, based on all historically accurate measures, off the charts, it makes sense for knowledgeable insiders to sell high. Of course, if they were expecting the profits of their companies to soar because Trump says we have the best economy in history, why would they be selling?

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/insider%20sales%20aug%202018.jpg

When these Ivy League educated superstar CEOs go on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox to tout their companies and field softball questions from bimbos and boobs disguised as journalists, they proclaim a glorious future and declare their stocks to be undervalued and a screaming bargain. Buy, buy, buy. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. They personally do the opposite with their own funds versus what they do with shareholder funds. Ethics among corporate executives has never been one of the required traits. Lying with a straight face is the key to being a successful CEO in today’s warped amoral world.

While dumping stock like there’s no tomorrow these very same CEOs of the largest US public companies have authorized a breathtaking $827.4 billion of stock buybacks in 2018 — already a record for any year, according to TrimTabs. Annualized, these CEOs will will buyback in excess of $1.2 TRILLION when stocks are at all-time highs. In contrast, in 2009 when they could have bought their stocks at 10 year lows, they bought back less than $100 billion. Buy high and sell low. How can they go wrong?

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Heroes & Whores

HEROES & WHORES

“Certainly one of the most important things I learned is that numbers can be deceiving. There is a logic to mathematics, but there is also the underlying human element that must be considered. Numbers can’t lie, but the people who create those numbers can and do. As so many people have learned, forgetting to include human nature in an equation can be devastating.”Harry Markopolos, No One Would Listen

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The quote I used from Harry Markopolos’ No One Would Listen book about the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme in my last article triggered a bittersweet recollection. For me, the experience captured the true nature of our warped financial markets, a culture  glorifying wealthy arrogant criminal assholes, while ignoring or ridiculing honest, hard working, highly intelligent truth tellers.

The picture of Markopolos above shows an average looking middle aged guy, with a five o’clock shadow, bad haircut, and wearing a modestly priced suit and tie. Since reading about his fruitless effort to expose Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme and his fifteen minutes of fame in 2009, I have felt an affinity towards him. We both have a brother and sister. We were both brought up in Catholic households and went to Catholic schools. We both have degrees in finance. We have both had financial careers. We are both married with three sons. And we both believe facts and an accurate assessment of the numbers always reveals the truth.

Through his job as a portfolio manager with a small investment firm Bernie Madoff’s investing record was brought to his attention. As a numbers guy, he immediately began assessing the returns.  Markopolos said he knew within five minutes Madoff’s numbers didn’t add up. It took him another four hours to mathematically prove that they could have only been obtained by fraud.

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What Keeps Them Up At Night

WHAT KEEPS THEM UP AT NIGHT

“Government has coddled, accepted, and ignored white collar crime for too long. It is time the nation woke up and realized that it’s not the armed robbers or drug dealers who cause the most economic harm, it’s the white collar criminals living in the most expensive homes who have the most impressive resumes who harm us the most. They steal our pensions, bankrupt our companies, and destroy thousands of jobs, ruining countless lives.” – Harry Markopolos, Madoff Whistleblower

Image result for bank ceos in front of congress

The tenth anniversary of the Wall Street created financial catastrophe brought back some bittersweet memories this week. I wrote my first articles during the summer/fall of 2008 for Seeking Alpha. They included: Is The U.S Banking System Safe? (Aug 2008), The Great Consumer Crash of 2009 (Aug 2008), Looming Financial Catastrophe: A Real Inconvenient Truth (Aug 2008), Is Wachovia the Worst Run Bank in America (Sept 2008), The U.S. on the Precipice (Sept 2008), On Board the U.S.S. Titanic (Sept 2008), Our Coming Depression (Oct 2008), among others. I was pumping out 5,000 word articles every 2 or 3 days.

I was full of piss and vinegar. I was outraged by the actions taken by Paulson, Bernanke and Bush in bailing out criminal bankers with our money. This ensemble of accurate and acerbic articles led to requests for appearances on Glenn Beck’s CNN show, Neil Cavuto’s show, and several others. My need for my day job led me to turning down the invitations. I did several radio interviews, but kept a relatively low profile.

Ten years later, I’m running low on piss and vinegar. Irrationality reigns. Abnormal is the new normal. Delusions and new paradigms rule the day. During manias it is virtually useless to try and use facts and rational arguments against propaganda, misinformation and hype. The delusional will have to be clubbed like a baby seal once again to regain some sense of reality.

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Writer’s Block in A Fourth Turning

Writer’s Block in A Fourth Turning

I have writer’s block.

It’s not for lack of things to write about in my personal life or in world events but for the past six months, I just haven’t felt like I’ve had anything new or interesting to say.

No words of wisdom, no earth-shattering revelations and no interest in rehashing topics that have been talked about dozens of times by people smarter than me.

I think part of the problem is that I’m past the point of talking and moving more towards the “I’m done talking” point.

So I focus on other things to keep myself and my mouth out of trouble.

I spent Sunday installing new brake pads on my wife’s Mercedes up at a hunting buddy’s place. He’s a heavy duty mechanic who helps me with jobs that I think are a little more complicated than I want to handle on my own.

After working with him on it for the afternoon I realized I could have done it by myself but that it would have taken me twice as long since he already knew what he was doing. He likes German cars and is familiar with them.

The job wasn’t that complicated but it was a nuisance. I probably wouldn’t need his help again but he’d likely offer it anyways. That’s friendship as I understand it so I offered him a hand replacing the rear struts in his car whenever he decided he wanted to do the job. He doesn’t need my help but I can speed the process up and he likes the company and the banter.

As you get older the constant stream of jobs like this help you realize that life is filled mostly with tasks that have to be done.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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