The One-Size-Fits-All Blockchain

The One-Size-Fits-All Blockchain

Recently, I tuned into the LBRY Community Podcast and near the end, they brought up a question that someone had asked about LBRY. This person wanted to know why it was not built on a privacy coin like Monero. They implied that LBRY should move to a private chain like that. Now, apart from the obvious technical issues regarding such a request, this does bring up something that I often see when people discuss crypto.

People love one-size-fits-all technology. They love to pick one favorite thing or company that does everything. They might be an Apple person who stupidly uses Apple for everything. They might be a Google person who can’t get enough of Google’s products and services. They might be a Facebook person who puts down any other social media platform because they just don’t provide all of the same features as Facebook.

When it comes to crypto, you have the Bitcoin-only people. All other coins are what they call “shitcoins.” You also have the Monero-only bunch, who can’t imagine any reason to use a public blockchain. You also have the ERC-20 crowd who just can’t get enough of their little tokens. Now, there is nothing wrong with having favorites, whether a favorite brand or platform or blockchain, but it is incredibly naive and counter-productive to turn around and then say that everyone should use your preferred solution.

There is no one-size-fits-all blockchain, and there shouldn’t be. If one blockchain tried to do it all, we would end up with less innovation, less freedom, less technological progress. If we all had to gather under the banner of one blockchain, the forced association would lead to more infighting and less excitement.

Bitcoin doesn’t serve the same purpose as Monero. Ethereum doesn’t serve the same purpose as LBRY. Blocknet doesn’t serve the same purpose as DASH. If you want a blockchain for crypto conservatives, Bitcoin is there for you. It is tried and true. It may be slow and it may be expensive, but with Bitcoin you know exactly what you are getting and you know that it won’t dramatically change overnight. If you want private money, if you value fungibility, Monero and other privacy coins are there for you. If you want to publicly post videos and other content, LBRY is there for you. If you want to connect and interact directly with multiple blockchains using a standard API, then Blocknet is there for you. If you want to build complex, worldwide blockchain applications, Ethereum and the brilliant Ethereum Virtual Machine exist for you.

None of these chains could accomplish everything that the others accomplish, and it would be a waste of time to try and do so. What makes far more sense is having a large number of crypto projects out there, with many different blockchains that are each specially designed to provide certain solutions. Sure, some do more than others, but that doesn’t change the point.

With a multitude of projects, everyone gets to focus on their own particular passions and they get to innovate on those. Specialization ultimately leads to innovation for everyone because we can all learn from those projects in order to build the next generation of crypto products and services.

Lots of crypto projects, lots of blockchains, is a good thing. And apart from the benefits in terms of innovation, it’s also worth pointing out that if everyone only used a one-size-fits-all blockchain, then that would mean we are all depending on one project, which should worry everyone. Software projects come and go. Blockchains come and go. Tech is innovative one day and deprecated the next. If we all relied on the same thing, then that would put us all at risk because then the enemies of our freedom and autonomy would have a central point to attack in an attempt to seize more control over us.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t be naive enough to think that your pet project or blockchain is the answer to everyone’s problems. Nothing good will come of that.

In a healthy, free market there are lots of technologies out fighting to provide solutions to our problems, and that is a good thing.

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The Memory Hole

The Memory Hole

Censorship has been in the news a lot lately. You have probably heard it mentioned in relation to Donald Trump. Twitter, Facebook, and many other online platforms permanently suspended his accounts last week. That’s pretty wild, but there is a lot more worth talking about than any one person losing their Twitter account.

In the past, censorship has taken many forms. Originally, it involved physically stopping people from speaking, either by violence or threat of violence. Then, as speech moved to paper it involved destroying scrolls and later books. George Orwell, in his classic book 1984 imagined a future where censorship happened by literally cutting portions out of newspapers and putting them into what he called a “memory hole” where they would be burned up and destroyed forever.

Today, we have experienced decades of the near free spread of information. The internet has been incredible for that. But, now people are realizing that the same tools which have been so incredible for the proliferation of information can also be used for the mass censorship of information.

In the past, censorship always involved a lot of work. If someone wanted to lead a censorship campaign, it involved getting thugs who would carry it out. They would have to physically find the people and materials that they wanted to censor and then they had to physically dispose of them.

Today, censorship happens at the push of a button. It doesn’t matter whether the contraband information comes from a powerful government official or any one of us regular folks. For better or for worse, the internet has become the public space. It is where we make friends, it is where we interact with people, it is where we keep in contact with family, and now it’s become more and more where we get our jobs done. This combination of censorship becoming so easy and our lives moving to such a large extent online has created a problem worth talking about.

While censorship used to involved trying to get rid of a few books or people, now we risk instantly having huge portions of our life ripped from us without warning and with no recourse.

I experienced this personally with a Facebook group. It was a group of us who met online, became friends, online, and interacted online. We built real relationships and even businesses along the way. We shared births and deaths and countless prayers. Yet, on our fourth anniversary (and just a few days before last year’s presidential election) Facebook permanently suspended our group. It was gone. We lost four years of personal and professional content. They accused us of the vague crimes of violating community standards and spreading fake news.

Our group certainly wasn’t the only one. Millions of people are losing years of their lives to big tech censorship. Donald Trump is only one drop in that ocean.

This goes beyond politics and tired arguments over public vs. private censorship. The source material of history is being ripped from us. Opposing voices are disappearing without any recourse. In an age where we thought that information would be unstoppable, we are watching the historical narrative be shaped in real-time.

Let’s not pretend that Donald Trump didn’t use Twitter as his primary venue for making public statements. Now, when people want to look back at his words they have to rely on third parties and backed up data since the source material has been removed. In a few years, when you share quotes from his tweets people will say, “Yeah, but how can you even be sure that he said that?” What will remain are the incessant fake news articles from the agenda-driven media painting Trump as a hopeless tyrant and anyone who doesn’t hate him as brainwashed Q people.

While you still can, I’d suggest you do whatever you can to back up your online data. It is very easy to download all of your data from both Facebook and Twitter. At the very least, get a copy of your own data before it is ripped from you. Don’t let your posts, your history, your interactions be memory-holed. And going forward, now is a great time to stop and consider where we are sending our data. If our lives can be so easily censored on these platforms, then maybe we shouldn’t rely so heavily on them.

Take control of your life and your online data. Don’t let yourself be memory-holed.

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Crypto Is Money

Crypto Is Money

Crypto is all over the news right now. Look one way and you will see news about the wildly high dollar value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Look another way and you will see news about Ripple, Coinbase, and the state war against crypto. I read about as much crypto news as I can find, but the strangest posts about crypto are those I find on social media.

There is widespread obsession with the price in dollars of cryptocurrencies. You will also regularly hear terms like “investment” and “diversity” and “capital gains” in relation to crypto. I find it frustrating, to say the least.

Cryptocurrencies were created as currencies, not investments. They solve problems that have never before been solved. Until now, there has never been a way to instantly send money to anyone in the world, person to person, without any middle man. With cash, you can do person to person payments easily, but you can only do it locally. With money transfers or card payments, you rely on multiple banks and middlemen to get money from point A to point B, and a bank is always left holding the money, not the individual. Plus, it takes multiple days for a transaction to close.

Gold is great as well, but it has the same usage problems as cash. It only works for local payments, otherwise, you have to trust multiple middlemen. Plus, it has the added problems that it is heavy and difficult to store, plus it is much less divisible than cash unless you are using gold powder and scales, but who has time for that?

People who obsess over the price of crypto and who think of it as an investment completely miss the point. Crypto prices will go up and down in relation to fiat currencies. The big spikes generally come from traditional investment money which shows up just long enough to build a big bubble then gets pulled out at the top causing the dollar value to crash. Sure, cryptocurrencies with limited supply have the potential to steadily go up in value over time as fiat value falls, but ultimately that is irrelevant in terms of day to day usage.

If you want to get rich quick off of crypto, good luck with that. You probably won’t. If you want to diversify and invest in crypto like stocks, you may or may not get the return you hope for. If you are hodling tons of crypto and begging others to do the same, then you are missing out on the real benefits of crypto and are no different than any NPC out there living under the thumb of the state and its tightly-controlled and surveilled financial system.

So, stop asking for permission from corrupt financial institutions to use your own money. Stop using systems that you know are being watched and controlled by the state. Stop trusting dozens of financial institutions with your money.

Instead, be free. Use crypto to accomplish what can only be accomplished using crypto. Pay for goods and services directly, hold the keys to your money yourself. When you use cryptocurrencies as money, the temporary value in terms of fiat becomes dramatically less important. Break free of thinking of crypto only in terms of fiat, because it is far better than fiat.

Sure, no cryptocurrency is perfect right now, but that isn’t a problem. They are each a step in the right direction. Do you not use SSL/TLS when you browse the web? Sure, TLS isn’t perfect, but it is our best option on the clear web right now. When a better alternative arrives, then we can use that instead. Technology is never in a finished state. There is always new innovation around the corner. What we do is use what we have available to us and grow and adapt over time. It works for internet protocols and it works for cryptocurrencies as well.

The best days of crypto are ahead of us, not behind us, and it has nothing to do with the fiat value. The value of cryptocurrencies is in their usage as money.

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The What About Bobification of America

The What About Bobification of America

I love Bill Murray. I enjoy basically every movie he has ever done. One of my favorites is called What About Bob.

No matter how many decades pass, I can’t help but laugh out loud while watching it. In that classic, Bill Murray plays a man named Bob who is scared of everything. He is desperately scared, everywhere he goes, about getting sick. Everyday things are almost impossible for him because of this extreme fear. He can’t open a door without first wiping the knob. He can’t get on a bus with other people. Things like getting into an elevator are monumental tasks for him. In one scene, he holds his breath the whole time while on an elevator with other people. It’s hilarious.

He wants help dealing with this obvious mental condition and seeks out Dr. Leo Marvin. But, even the great Leo Marvin can’t handle the absurd extent of Bob’s phobias. The whole movie is ludicrous and hilarious, as you watch Bob baby step his way through life, scared of everything.

But, alas, times change and the comedy of yesterday has somehow become the reality of today. As I go out to the store, I am surrounded by Bobs. These people are terrified of breathing the same air as people around them. They are terrified of touching something that someone else has touched. They wear gloves and face shields and are scared to get on a bus or into an elevator with others. This kind of irrational behavior was funny in the context of one man in a comedy movie in the ’90s. But, it isn’t so much when everyone acts that way.

I was in Best Buy today, and they are one of the silliest when it comes to the mask wearing and all that stuff. I marched in like I always do, ignoring the people at the front. I found what I needed to but then asked a worker a question. As soon as he saw me, he physically jumped. I went to ask him my question again but he cut me off, saying, “Sir, you need to wear a mask here. I cannot speak to you if you won’t wear a mask.” I chuckled and told him that I am not able to. Another worker showed up with a box of masks. He held out the box of masks toward me as far as he could possibly reach, and turned his head away from me as far as he could so that he was as far from my face as possible. It was incredibly goofy and over the top, yet that is the 2020 norm in many places.

If you had told me a year ago that today the majority of people in public would act like Bob from What About Bob, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, here we are.

I don’t know about you, but I am going to continue laughing at What About Bob. I am going to continue living like a normal human being. I am not going to hold my breath in elevators or pretend like a piece of cloth or shield of plastic will protect me from germs. I am a human being, not a mentally-incapacitated panophobe.

We seemingly live in a world of Bobs and it isn’t funny any more. I’m left wondering if death therapy isn’t really that bad. Where’s that giant meteor when you need it?

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TechnoAgorist: Agorism as a Means, Not an End

TechnoAgorist: Agorism as a Means, Not an End

Agorism did not appear out of a vacuum; it is the spiritual and practical successor to libertarianism as defined by Murray Rothbard in For A New Liberty. Samuel Konkin III said as much in his New Libertarian Manifesto, the classic which first defined agorism. In his manifesto, he built on the earlier philosophical and economic work of Rothbard and defined what he called “New Libertarianism.”

I like to call agorism “libertarianism with feet.” Samuel Kokin knew that philosophical libertarianism on its own would not bring the world any closer to the libertarian end of a free society. He also knew that political action would not lead to a free society. So, he proposed a means to make libertarianism practical, which is counter-economics. The idea with counter-economics is to build alternate markets that are not dependent upon the state or state apparatuses so that they can act independently of the will of the state. Then, when the state ceases to exist these markets are mature and can continue without interruption. In other words, counter-economics is about state-proofing your life and business.

These markets are rightly called gray markets. They aren’t black markets. They might be legal or might not be, but the point is that the agorist does not care. They are just providing goods and services and interacting in free markets outside of state control.

Konkin described the process like this:

“…Slowly but steadily we will move to the free society turning more counter-economists onto libertarianism and more libertarians onto counter-economics, finally integrating theory and practice. The counter-economy will grow and spread… with an ever-larger agorist sub-society embedded in the statist society.”

The important thing to remember is that agorism via counter-economics is a means to an end, but not an end in and of itself. Kokin wrote:

“The basic principle which leads a libertarian from statism to his free society is the same which the founders of libertarianism used to discover the theory itself. That principle is consistency. Thus, the consistent application of the theory of libertarianism to every action the individual libertarian takes creates the libertarian society.”

Konkin saw agorism as a consistently-implemented libertarian strategy. He described the ends as a “free society” and later as a “libertarian society.” That term “libertarian society” would make many modern agorist purists choke. They have a strange tendency to contrast themselves to Rothbard rather than accept what Kokin did, which is that we share the same goals, the same ends. All throughout the New Libertarian Manifesto, Rothbard is quoted because he didn’t disagree with Rothbard on the ends, but the means.

When we define agorism publicly, we need to make sure that we define it as a strategy toward the common libertarian goal of a free society (now, just to be clear, this isn’t in any way related to the ends of the so-called Libertarian Party or any other statist apparatus). We shouldn’t be afraid to pull from all the good stuff Rothbard and other anarcho-capitalists wrote just because they didn’t accept the agorist’s means toward a free society.

Agorism via counter-economics is a means, not an end. The end is a free society and that goal is more important than any agorist purity test.

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TechnoAgorist: President Gilligan

TechnoAgorist: President Gilligan

My children love watching Gilligan’s Island. I appreciate that the show is mindless fun and that I don’t have to worry about it pushing some stupid, progressive agenda on my children. Recently, after dinner we were watching our daily episode and in it the characters were having trouble finding fresh water. They needed to dig a well, but nobody was taking the initiative to do what they knew needed to be done!

In their typical, cartoonish way of thinking, they decide that what they need is a president of the island, who can keep order and make sure that the things get done that need getting done. After some election hijinks, Gilligan–of all people–wins and becomes president of their island.

So, do you think that solved their problems? Do you imagine that then they actually did what they needed to do and finally dug the well? Ha! That’s not how politics works!

Since they now had a de facto government led by Gilligan, everyone’s attention turned to getting positions in his government. They wined and dined, wheeled and dealed, and eventually ended up with everything but what they really needed. They had a government consisting of a president and a cabinet made up of the rest of the castaways, yet they had no water.

You see, they started off with a clear problem. They needed water. There was also a practical solution, which was to dig a well. But, rather than do what they knew needed to be done they turned to politics and ended up chasing their tails as they raced to deflect personal responsibility.

Now, this episode was absurd, like every other episode of Gilligan’s Island, but shockingly enough there are way too many people in the world today who in the same way identify real problems but then wait for government to take care of them. That is just as absurd.

If you identify a problem in your life, the answer is never bureaucracy. Politics doesn’t make things better, it makes things worse. The answer is getting off of your rump and taking care of it. If something is broken, fix it. If your grass is too tall, mow it. If your dryer hose gets clogged, clear it. If your carpet is dirty, vaccuum it. If your water is gross, filter it.

Life is all about doing what we need to do. We each have our own value scales which determine our priorities, but my point isn’t to tell you what your priorities should be, it’s to remind you that accomplishing whatever those priorities are is up to you and you alone. Anything else is a cop-out, an attempt to push your own responsibilities off onto others.

Don’t let your life devolve into an episode of Gilligan’s Island. Don’t expect politics to fix your problems. It’s your life to live and your problems to fix. I know you can do it.

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Techno-Agorist: Do NPCs Dream of Electric Sheep?

Techno-Agorist: Do NPCs Dream of Electric Sheep?

I am a huge fan of Philip K. Dick. His short stories have always been my favorite science fiction of all time. In high school, I read through my big volume of his short stories so many times that the binding literally fell apart. Recently, I decided to read through his full-length book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Boy-oh-boy was that weird. After finishing, I decided to revisit the movie Blade Runner, which was loosely based on that classic.

The movie is dramatically different from the book, but it is still immensely enjoyable. It asks important questions about humanity and about life. In the movie, Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, a cop whose job is to hunt down androids called “replicants.” These replicants are indistinguishable from humans outside of their increased strength and artificially-short life spans. As Deckard hunts these humanoid robots down, he is faced with questions about what it means to be human.

By the end of the movie, Deckard as well as you the viewer are left with the impression that life isn’t about what material your body is made out of, but instead, it’s about your mind, your life, and the collection of experiences which make you who you are.

The NPC meme is still very popular these days. NPC is an acronym for non-player characters in games. These are those programmed characters who walk around, mindlessly looping through the same pre-programmed lines and actions.

The NPC meme is shockingly apt because we live in a world and country full of real-life NPCs. These are people who seemingly act only on programming, mindlessly walking about repeating the same pre-programmed lines.

As I watched Blade Runner and contemplated the questions it asked, I began contrasting our real-life NPCs with the fictional replicants of Philip K. Dick’s world.

Real-life NPCs mindlessly suck up and repeat what they are told by the establishment, agenda-driven media. They are the ones who demanded an end to the war on terror during the Bush years but then forgot about it when Obama came to power and the media said to look the other way. They are the ones who went on and on about election fraud and Russian meddling in 2016 yet in 2020 cannot imagine there could be any fraud in the US election system. They are the ones who scream, “My body, my choice!” while also demanding that we all be forced to wear medical devices on our faces and be injected with who-knows-what from corrupt pharmaceutical companies.

NPCs are impossible to reason with because all that they can do is what they are programmed to do. They just repeat pre-programmed lines. Given the choice, I would rather live in a world with artificial humans who think rather than one with biological humans who don’t. Replicants are far superior to NPCs because they consider, they reason, they learn and grow.

Unlike with replicants in the world of Blade Runner, I don’t believe that NPCs should be put down, or “retired” as Philip K. Dick put it. The crazy thing is that if the media ever tells the NPCs that they should want me to be put down for not repeating their lines, they will hop right on board with it just like they did with brown people in the middle east, one day shouting against war and then last week voting for a neoconservative with a decades-long record of championing the warfare state.

Let’s be better than that. Let’s use our brains. Let’s be a positive contrast to the NPCs of the world today and maybe, just maybe, we can start to break their programming.

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Techno-Agorist: Broken Security Is No Security

Techno-Agorist: Broken Security Is No Security

Every few years, we once again hear about the federal government discussing ways to get around encryption. Usually, thankfully, it doesn’t head anywhere. The most spectacular failure was in the nineties when the federal government tried to get tech companies to use special chips which would give the feds access to people’s data. There was an outcry at the time and it led to the federal government abandoning that proposal and it also led to people open-sourcing hard encryption. Folks realized that the best way to protect encryption technology was to release it into the wild so that it could be implemented anywhere and everywhere.

Last July, attorney general William Barr once again revived this debate. He went after tech companies who use encryption in their products. He claimed that by using unbreakable encryption (at least for now), they create “law-free zones.” He said that “…we must ensure that we retain society’s ability to gain lawful access to data and communications.”

This really blows my mind. “Society” doesn’t have a right to my devices, to my data, to my life. Of course, the reason the feds say that they need access to encrypted data is to stop criminals. But, what is a criminal? Who defines what a criminal is? Obviously, it’s the government! Do you see the problem here?

But, moving on, the tech press often talks of two ways that companies can give the feds access to our data. One is through back doors and the other is through front doors.

A back door generally means a way around encryption, like a secret API. Until recently, that was generally the kind of access that the federal government was trying to get. But, back doors that provide a way for the government to get around encryption are inherently flawed because a back door by definition is a security vulnerability. It’s only a matter of time until it is exploited.

These days, I’ll often hear how we should provide the government front door access instead. A front door does not in any way break encryption. It doesn’t provide a way around the encryption. The encryption is just as strong as if there wasn’t a front door. What this generally means is that when a company encrypts your data, they do so using more than one encryption key. The government has or can be given access to one of those keys if a case arises where they want to get through someone’s encryption. Using the special government key, they can decrypt the data and do what they want with it. Proponents of front doors point out how great it is because it doesn’t in any way break the encryption. It doesn’t add any new exploitable vulnerabilities. It is technically as secure as if the front door wasn’t even there.

While that makes sense to statist tech commentators, they seem to miss the major problem with both front and back door approaches. Both introduce trust into what would otherwise be a trustless, algorithmic relationship.

Unlike humans, algorithms are programmed. They are predictable. You put in X and you get out Y. That is how encryption works. With encryption, you don’t have to trust anyone. You have a key and an algorithm, and with those you can encrypt and decrypt your data. That is what makes cryptocurrencies so great. You don’t have to trust anyone. You just hold your encryption keys and get work done.

When anyone introduces an extra party into encryption, whether through front or back doors, they introduce trust into the system. If that is the case, your data security is no longer under your control. It doesn’t matter how well you protect your keys. It doesn’t matter how well you protect your data. There is always going to be someone out there who has access to your data and you have to trust that they will be as diligent with your data security as you are.

On a practical level alone, anyone with a brain in their head should know that the government is the very last group of people who you’d ever want to trust with your data security. It doesn’t even matter if the government uses third parties to handle the back doors or front doors or whatever. You are still left hoping, trusting that these people will protect your data.

Security is only as good as its weakest link, and when you introduce ways around or through encryption, you introduce trust into an otherwise trustless system. Broken security is no security because it takes the power out of your hands and places it into the hands of others. I am not ok with that, and you shouldn’t be either.

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Techno-Agorist: Whoever Wins… We Live

Techno-Agorist: Whoever Wins… We Live

I don’t know if you have heard, but we just experienced the most important election of our lifetime. At least, that’s what I have been told by friends and family from all political persuasions. The funny thing is that I have heard the same about every election that has happened in my lifetime.

Either every presidential election truly is the most important election of our lifetime, or this is all just political speak used to get people invested in electoral politics. I lean toward the latter being the truth. Politicians use democracy to give people the illusion of control. If you criticize what these politicians do, then you are told that you should have voted harder or been more involved in the process. This illusion only holds up if people continue to vote and take part in the system.

The thing is, no matter how many of these elections happen, the government keeps growing, and our freedom keeps shrinking. This isn’t because of how much we vote or don’t vote. It’s because of evil people in government doing evil things.

So, what do we do? If voting doesn’t make the difference, then what does?

Agorism is what makes the difference. Focusing on you and your family is what makes the difference. Imagine if people took all that time and energy that they put into pointless political action and instead put it into making their lives better?

This has been a hard year in so many ways, but for me and my family it has actually been pretty incredible. We used the stupid COVID “lockdown” to prepare our house to sell. Then, on the very day that realtors were allowed to go back to work (yup, you heard that right, even realtors weren’t allowed to work in PA for a time), we found someone to sell our house.

We have since sold that house and moved all the way down to Florida. For a little more than we sold our home in PA for, we purchased three acres of wooded land and a big, beautiful manufactured home. In fact, we closed on our land and home today. Woohoo!

While in PA, we had one growing season. Here in Florida, we have at least three growing seasons! We are learning what can be planted when so that we can best take advantage of the climate here. As soon as we have our home, we are getting chickens and goats. Rather than using city water and sewage, we will have well water a septic tank. Out back, we have a spring-fed lake. If we ever need extra water, we are set! Our land is in the dead center of the Ocala National Forest. You can’t go there without seeing wildlife. There are deer and bears in the forest and lots of fish in the lake. If we needed to survive, we could do very well on our little homestead.

I could right now be stressing over the presidential election. I could be pouring over the news and arguing with people online about it. But, ultimately, I don’t see the point. That is a waste of my time. My plan is to use my time and energy to make my life better. My plan is to make sure that I have food, water, shelter, and a means of taking care of my family whatever comes.

If they are going to tell me that every presidential election is the most important election of my lifetime, then I think that I’ll just begin calling every day the most important day of my lifetime. Every day is a new chance to focus on what matters most. Every day is a new chance to make life better for myself and my family. Every day is a new chance to follow my conscience and do what I know is right.

Whoever wins, we live. Let’s check our priorities and focus on the things that matter most, rather than get swept up in and stressed out about things that we can’t control.

Techno-Agorist: Local Politics Is Still Politics

Techno-Agorist: Local Politics Is Still Politics

My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Today we are talking about the different yet equally-destructive levels of government

There is a pervading idea among many people that somehow local government is less bad, less corrupt, or easier to control than higher levels of government. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Government on all levels is excellent at making shady deals and screwing over their populace.

I recently left Allentown, the third-largest city in Pennsylvania. The previous mayor of Allentown is currently in prison. He had announced lots of new public investment into the city. They roped off a large portion of the downtown and designated it as the “neighborhood improvement zone.” They drove out the local, small, minority-run businesses and then the city promised to pay up to 50% of the building costs of any new builds approved by the city in that zone. Over time, old buildings were torn down and a number of fancy new buildings went up. Of course, the city was broke, but that didn’t stop them. Afterward, it was found out that ALL of the contracts for building those fancy new buildings went to one single business with political connections to the mayor. All the things he had done to “improve the city” were actually just schemes to move huge amounts of money from the city to his friends.

We were lucky that he actually went to prison for it. Most politicians get away with it.

I can understand why if you don’t think much about it, local politics seems less frightening. It feels like since it is closer to home, it will be easier to control. Maybe that is the case in some extremely limited cases, but Allentown is hardly unique in how corrupt it is. Just ask Marvin Heemeyer. Rest in peace.

The problem is that when you give a person or group of people coercive control over your life, you set them up for failure. It doesn’t matter whether it is a government, a social media site, or even parents. Abuse flows from unchecked power. When you add legal violence into the mix, it just exacerbates the problem.

Avenged Sevenfold released a song a few years back called “Hail to the King.” In it, you see a seemingly-innocent boy find a crown and take it. Over time, you watch as the boy grows into a man of violence. At the end, you see him sitting on his throne. What once was an innocent boy is now a skeleton, a symbol of death, sitting on his throne while smoke from all of his destruction rises around him.

Power corrupts. That’s the story of humanity. Don’t ever excuse people who use violence to control you. Don’t ever make excuses for people who make up laws then point a gun at you if you don’t follow them.

Instead, ignore these people. Don’t take part in their systems. Make your own systems, your own markets. Appeal to people’s humanity in your interactions. Don’t ever use violence to coerce people to your will. The only way we can break free is if we stop justifying violent coercion on all levels, both public and private.

This is Techno-Agorist, episode 41.

Originally posted at:

Techno-Agorist on LBRY:

Techno-Agorist is a production of the MLGA Network. Find more great content at:

$60 Keycaps

$60 Keycaps

My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Today we are talking about free markets and $60 keycaps.

I am kind’ve a keyboard snob. Ever since I began working full time at a computer, I have been extremely particular about what keyboard I use. My favorite brand is called Das Keyboard. They make strong, heavy, beautiful mechanical keyboards with removable keycaps and excellent switch options. A few days ago I received an email from them about new keycaps they are selling. In particular, they have a new escape key. I followed the link to see what it was. This new escape key is transparent with a miniature steampunk-style city inside of it.

I looked at it for a minute because it was cool, then I chuckled when I looked over at the price. The thing costs sixty dollars! I turned to my oldest daughter and said, “Hey, look at this new escape key! It only costs $60!” After her surprise wore off, she laughed as well. Personally, I cannot imagine paying that much for an escape key. But, it might surprise you to know that I am only one person, and chances are that there is some dude out there who would be willing to pay for a fancy steampunk escape key!

We live in a time of central control. It doesn’t matter how many times central planning fails. It doesn’t matter how many times price controls backfire. It doesn’t matter how many times black markets are created because of the state trying to ban certain goods and services. When it comes to the state, the push is always to centralize control within itself. If the government really cared about what is most practical, they would disband and go home because history shows overwhelmingly that when government inserts itself into the market, things get worse.

This year, government has coined a number of new designations such “essential employees” and “essential services” and “essential goods.” But, truth is I find those to be even more laughable than $60 keycaps.

What is an essential employee? According to some bureaucrat or group of bureaucrats, that would be an employee who they think should keep their job, no matter what happens. But, ask a so-called non-essential employee if they think that they should keep their job. Chances are that you’ll get a different answer! To the person who needs that job, it is most certainly essential!

What about essential services? Once again, that would be a service that bureaucrats think is important enough to exist. But, to someone who provides or uses a so-called non-essential service, that service is essential!

Same goes for so-called essential and non-essential goods.

If you asked a bureaucrat if people need sixty dollar keycaps, I can guarantee you that unless they owned stake in a company who makes those keycaps, they would insist that those are non-essential! They would say the folks who design those keycaps are non-essential workers and that the ones selling them provide a non-essential service and the keycaps themselves are non-essential goods.

But, despite the imaginings of bureaucrats and despite my daughter and me both chuckling over that fancy escape key, there is still some dude who wants that keycap and who will pay sixty dollars for it.

The free market is amazing because it plays to everybody. In a free market, it isn’t about who or what is essential. It’s only about individuals who are willing to trade one thing for another. It’s about individuals and groups of individuals who value a good or service over a chunk of change in their bank account.

In the free market, the only non-essential employees are those narcissistic bureaucrats and the only real non-essential services are their central planning. 2020 would have been a great year if it hadn’t been for those bureaucrats messing with the market.

Regardless, 2020 has been a great reminder of why agorism and counter-economics are so important. The more we can separate ourselves from these people, the better.

This is Techno-Agorist, episode 40.

Originally posted at:

Techno-Agorist on LBRY:

Techno-Agorist is a production of the MLGA Network. Find more great content at:

Techno-Agorist #37: Waco pt. 3 of 3 Judgment Day

Techno-Agorist #37: Waco pt. 3 of 3 Judgment Day

My name is Ryan and I am an agorist. Two days ago was the 27th anniversary of the slaughter of the Branch Davidians in Waco by the federal government. My buddy Cam, host of the Make Liberty Great Again podcast and co-founder of the MLGA Network recently wrote and recorded a three-part mini-series on those fateful events and I it was too good not to share. This is Part three: Judgment Day.

The children were gathered in an old vault in the middle of the complex. Huddled. Frightened. Held tightly by their mothers. Outside, sounds of tanks and the yells of men came through windows and reclaimed wooden doors.

But in here, they were safe. This vault had stopped a fire before. Everything else had been charred and destroyed, but the most precious things had remained unlicked by the flames.

They were safe in here.

They would be ok.

As the tank crashed into the building, the modified nozzle began shooting a searing gas into the vault. Their little lungs filled with poison as their mothers looked on with horror, helpless, unable to do anything except hold wet sheets or towels over the mouths of their children as gas masks aren’t fitted for toddlers.

Welcome to the Red Pill of the Week, I’m Cam Harless from Make Liberty Great Again and today we are finishing the story of David Koresh and the time the federal government used tear gas on toddlers.

When the FBI pulled up to take over the operations in Waco, it was reminiscent of their time in Idaho. The ATF had screwed the pooch and four more ATF agents had died. They had to clean up their mess.

The FBI began their negotiations with David Koresh and the others holed up in Mt. Carmel.

One of Koresh’s requests was that they not burn the church down and to please not shoot the people or the kids.

They gave the Davidians a video camera and asked them to explain who they are, why they were there, and what was going on inside of the house. These videos, at the time, were not given to the press. This would have softened the public’s sentiment on Koresh and the Davidians.

The decisions in the negotiation were not made by the FBI negotiators. Instead, they were decided in DC. This did not please the negotiators in the least, as they had to work in the moment to try and ensure a peaceful end to the standoff.

The FBI brought in their Hostage Rescue Team. This team was headed by Commander Richard Rogers, who had previously been criticized for the part he played in the Ruby Ridge incident.

As with Ruby Ridge, Rogers often overrode the FBI site commander and had mobilized the Blue and Gold tactical teams. FBI snipers were put in places where they could ensure that anyone leaving could be gunned down.

The Blue team was lead by Lon Huriuchi, the sniper that had killed Vicki Weaver on Ruby Ridge.

At first, the Branch Davidians still had the ability to communicate outside of Mt. Carmel. Koresh gave phone interviews with local news media.

The FBI cut off all of the Davidian’s communication to the outside world and made sure that the only people that Koresh could communicate with was the FBI.

After much talking and convincing, Koresh eventually agreed to leave the complex peacefully with everyone inside of Mt. Carmel if a taped sermon of his was broadcasted on national news. When they agreed and the broadcast was through, Koresh nor his congregation left Mt. Carmel.

Koresh said that he felt that God had told him to wait and he told his people and the FBI negotiators that they should wait on God to sort everything out peacefully.

The FBI has since claimed that Koresh had promised to come out five times and reneged every time. There is absolutely no evidence or phone records to corroborate this claim.

A psychological profile was performed on Koresh. The profiler sent out four memos that told the FBI to be cautious and non-confrontational with Koresh. The profiler claims that he was pressured to change the assessment to justify a more confrontational approach.

The FBI began their psychological warfare campaign. They brought in speakers and would blast the sounds of rabbits being slaughtered, horses neighing, dolphin cries, breaking glass and “These Boots Are Made For Walking” by Nancy Sinatra at the complex. They used these loud, disturbing noises and shined flood lights into the windows to disturb the inhabitants’ sleep cycles.

The Davidians, tired, attacked, and being intentionally pushed towards insanity, reached out to the outside world the only way that they knew how.

They created a banner that they hung from a window to call for help.

“God help us, we want the press,” the banner read.

The corporate media, being the bloodthirsty sons-of-bitches that they are shot a short, smiling video where they sarcastically replied “God help us, we are the press” and extended no help to the trapped and frightened people.

Some of the agents would mock the Branch Davidians. Some were seen pulling down their pants and mooning the people inside, aiming their asses at open windows.

As negotiations continued, the aggressive outward display did not match the words of the FBI negotiators. The tanks the FBI was driving around their property left a far different impression than the words of the negotiators.

When they finally let the Davidians fetch Peter Gent’s body from the top of the silo, they buried the body out front and had a serene moment while they laid him to rest.

Shortly thereafter, the tanks intentionally drove over the newly disturbed soil above the boy’s body multiple times.

The tanks ran over cars and other parts of the compound. But, the Davidians stayed put. They didn’t shoot at the tanks or the agents.

The FBI believed that they were winning.

They were pushing these people to the point of desperation.

The negotiators asked if the Davidians if they had fire extinguishers. They said that they had a single fire extinguisher in the complex. When the negotiator heard this, he replied “Somebody better buy some fire insurance.”

Locals and people from all over the country came to Waco to witness this standoff. They couldn’t get too close to the actual property, but they brought telescopes and made a party out of it.

A young man whose name you may also know, Timothy McVeigh, having followed the happenings at Ruby Ridge, showed up to sell some stickers and other items outside of Mt. Carmel.

Over time, several members and 21 children were released. The adults were immediately arrested and charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder over the deaths of the ATF agents. Their children were given to CPS. It was noted that all of the children were intelligent, well-spoken, healthy, and well-taken care of.

Another banner was hung from the window.

“FBI broke negotiation! We want press!”

The Davidians wanted to have a third party to negotiate with that they felt like they could trust. The FBI did not allow this and the corporate media did not come to their aid.

Another banner hung from the window.

“Rodney King, we understand.”

On April 14th, there was a major breakthrough.

David Koresh had never written out his teaching on the seven seals. He felt like he had to wait on God’s permission to write them out and release that information.

Koresh had felt led to finally write out and release his interpretation of the seven seals. He was beginning the writing process and once done, he stated that he and the entire congregation would leave Mt. Carmel peacefully and willingly. That’s what he felt God had told him.

The negotiators seemed pleased at this development, but most said they didn’t believe that he would actually write them or have anyone leave the compound.

He began dictating his interpretation of the seven seals on April 18th. He spent four hours that night writing and completing the first seal.

But, the FBI didn’t wait for him to bring it out. They didn’t wait for him to finish. The next morning, April 19th 1993, they decided to make their move.

The FBI devised a plan of inserting tear gas into Mt. Carmel. The White House was advised of this, although the logs of those calls were redacted.

The FBI claimed that the negotiations had reached an impasse, that no one was coming out, that the writing of the seals was a stalling tactic, and that Koresh was not working on the seals.

However, the negotiators knew that the first seal was finished. They had sent in typewriter ribbon to Koresh so he could prove it, but the next morning at 5:50am, they unleashed their tanks.

This was the first time the US government actively used tanks against its own people and their property.

Most of the Davidians hid. The children were sent to what the FBI called “the bunker,” a records vault that had lived through a fire in the past.

The tanks drove up to the compound and began puncturing holes into the buildings. They destroyed different areas of the compound as they did so.

The tanks began spraying CS gas into the complex.

But, CS isn’t a gas. CS is a chemical powder that is considered one of the most severe forms of “tear gas.” The FBI had dissolved the CS into methylene chloride, a volatile chemical used to strip paint. Together, they formed an aerosol mist when sprayed through huge steel injectors fitted on the tanks.

In enclosed spaces, CS alone can cause unconsciousness, death, and can be ignited by a small spark into a fireball. When CS and methylene chloride burn, hydrogen cyanide is produced. This is the same gas that is used in prison gas chambers.

Tear gas is torturous. They planned to gas everyone in the compound for 48 hours until they came out.

But, they used up all of the gas they had planned to use over two days within 2 hours and had to get more brought in from Dallas.

The people within the complex, including children and the elderly, were tortured with this gas for three to four hours. Some adults had gas masks that they used until the filters were spent, but the children never had a chance of filtering it out of their lungs outside of holding wet blankets to their faces, which works as well as you might think.

The FBI had hidden bugs in some of the supplies that they had sent into Mt. Carmel and some government operators had also gotten onto the property to hide bugs.

After much “scrubbing” by the FBI, they were able to find snippets of audio around this time where a Branch Davidian was heard saying “I already poured it. It’s already poured. Don’t pour it out, we might need some later.” And “ we only light ‘em as they come in, right?”

These snippets, which had to be severely scrubbed and edited down by the FBI to be understood at all, was used to claim that the Davidians were planning to set a fire using gasoline. Other reports claim that they were creating molotov cocktails to throw at tanks if they broke through the building.

But, no molotov cocktails were thrown.

The CS, at the concentration that was delivered into the house, would have led to gas masks failing. It would lead to unconsciousness. It is very possible that at that point, most everyone in the building would have been inert.

The agents started firing ferret rounds at the compound with the excuse that the Davidians were shooting at them. There is no evidence that the Davidians were, in fact, shooting at them.

These ferret rounds delivered more CS into the building and, if someone was shot directly in the head or chest with one, they were strong enough to kill. They fired these rounds into every window in Mt. Carmel and at any movement in the house.

While this assault was ongoing, the FBI made sure that any news vans and cameras were only aimed at one side of the house. Leaving the other side a blindspot to any outside observers. Another tank was working in this blindspot.

April 19th was a windy day. As the tanks bashed holes in the building, it opened up the house in such a way that created what would be described as a “pot-belly stove.”

As the siege wore on, a fire erupted in three different places in the building within three minutes.

The CS gas ignited, creating cyanide and fireballs that engulfed the building.

On video, in front of the whole world, Mt. Carmel burnt to the ground. The cyanide in the air made muscles contract to the point of breaking bones. A child’s charred remains were discovered whose body had contorted into a C-shape from the muscle contractions. Only a few made it out alive.

The Branch Davidians burned to death in front of an entire nation in real time.

The fire killed 79 people, including 22 children.

The special agent in charge held back the firefighters that had arrived on scene because he “didn’t want them to drive into gunfire.”

This was a tragedy. This was a horror unfolding in the clear light of day.

This was when coincidences and inconsistencies started piling up and the FBI claimed that the Davidians had commited mass suicide.

Since 1993, former FBI, Special Forces, and CIA operatives have come forward with evidence to suggest that this claim is a blatant falsehood.

There’s a lot to unpack here. So, stay with me as I unroll it.

The FBI said that there was no other way to bring Koresh and the Branch Davidians out.

However, when operators had snuck into the building to plant listening devices, they were close enough to David Koresh to grab him and remove him from the premises without incident. They asked permission, but were denied because ”the Justice Department already had a plan in place.”

Attorney General Janet Reno claimed that there was no wrongdoing and that the reason that she approved the gas attack was because “Koresh was beating babies” and likened the tanks to “rent-a-cars.”

I have a feeling that those children saw things a bit differently when the tanks rolled up to torture them with tear gas to “protect them from future beatings.”

Instead of seeing the final siege through, she left to give a speech in the middle, leaving decisions to the FBI and other Clinton White House officials. The decisions that were made in the situation room have not been revealed.

The FBI claimed that no shots were fired by the FBI at the Davidians.

Edward Allard, the creator of FLIR technology, an infrared technology that was used by the FBI, watched the footage taken above Mt. Carmel before the fire from an FBI plane. He counted 62 individual shots aimed at Mt. Carmel from the outside before he stopped counting.

In the infrared video, you can see what looks like two people dropping out of the tank and taking a flanking position to cover the tank as it entered the building. There were flashes of light coming from these figures that matched automatic weapons fire at 10 flashes per second, or 600 rounds per minute.

The FBI claimed that these must simply be light reflections that the camera caught.

Light flashes made by reflection, Allard says, would not show up like that on a FLIR camera. He said for that to have been the case, the plane would have to have been circling Mt. Carmel at Mach 3. There is no other explanation of these flashes outside of gunfire. There is nothing in nature that can match the rate of the flashes.

The FBI claims to have replicated the incident and that the flashes could, in fact, come from reflections. However, their “replication” was not done in the same conditions as the original incident and Allard has claimed that it does not show what they say it does.

As the tank pulled out, more shots are taken from the courtyard into the dining room area, the Davidian’s escape route from the fire. The figures shot as they were retreating from their position. 15 people were found shot to death at that location.

All of this was verified by a third party, Infraspection, who said “It was obvious to me on several occasions that there was gunfire or automatic weapon discharge, seemingly fired toward the building from the outer perimeter.”

They continued, “…due to the potentially sensitive nature of this material and the resulting negative repercussions to Infraspection, we are choosing to decline any further comment surrounding this taped incident and our subsequent professional opinions regarding its viewing.”

60 Minutes, who was in contact with Infraspection, did not share this information at the time.

Carlos Ghigliotti, a FLIR expert, agreed with Allard’s assessment that this must be automatic weapons fire, but was found dead prior to turning in his report.

Lon Huriuchi, the murderer of Vicki Weaver, claimed that he did not fire his weapon.

At his sniper position, there were 4 spent shell casings.

Around 27 Davidians died of gunshot wounds. The FBI claims that they either shot themselves or they were killed by other Davidians.

One child was found with a wound indicative of stabbing. Some believe that some of these were mercy killings by the Davidians. Some believe that the gunfire caught on infrared video tell a different story.

The FBI claimed that they had not run over any of the Branch Davidians with their tanks and that no bodies were found in the area where they had driven into the complex with their tanks.

Just a bit further into the complex in the location where they entered, five bodies were found.

Steven Henry had a gunshot wound to his chest and his leg was sheared off at the hip.

Later examination showed that James Riddle’s body was torn apart by wounds that matched tank treads.

A tread reportedly came off during the operation due to getting jammed on “something red.”

Infraspection had concluded that “there were occasions on the video that seemed to appear as though people were entering, exiting, or being run over by an armored vehicle.”

There was no damage to the tanks submitted on the official damage reports.

The FBI claims that they did not start the fire.

Of the three fires that started within three minutes in the complex, there was a flash in the gym that was consistent with a detonation, according to Allard. Infraspection concluded “a portion of the video showed a flash or pyrotechnic explosion in one portion of one of the buildings.”

The detonation in another area where the fire started was found to be consistent with the detonation of a hand grenade or a flashbang.

Six flashbangs were found in the evidence six years later. They appear to have gone through the structure and were found in all three points of the fire’s origin. They were mislabeled as silencers or gun parts in the evidence locker.

Once the fire died down and all of the bodies were burned, the Branch Davidian flag flew off of the their flagpole. The ATF spent no time in raising an ATF flag to fly in its place.

If that’s not a mark of conquest, I don’t know what is.

From there, evidence and bodies were collected and the property was bulldozed. Destruction of a crime scene that quickly is not typical.

There, they found the automatic weapons they were looking for, although several claim that these guns were not on the premises prior to February 28th.

The FBI took all of the evidence from local authorities to examine themselves. A local coroner had sent an employee out with a video camera to document the incident. The tape was taken, on site, by an agent. The tape was never returned. Allegedly, it was misplaced.

As mentioned before, the tape of the first shots of the first raid from three different cameras were lost as was the door that would have showed who had taken the first shots. As was the front door.

The bodies that were recovered were held in freezers by the FBI. The power to those freezers happened to go out and the bodies lost much of their forensic value.

The FBI said that they had no help from the military in the siege at Waco.

But, on April 14th, Janet Reno had a meeting with the FBI command team, and Brigadier General Shoomaker and Colonel Boiken from the Delta Force. This meeting was allegedly meant to convince Reno to authorize the final assault.

Previously confidential documents prove that Delta Force was at Waco despite assertions to the contrary. Over ten Delta Force operators at Waco participated and Delta Force members have admitted to being in a fire fight with the Branch Davidians.

The only person who can give authorization to use the Delta Force or the American military against American citizens on American soil is the president. Which means that President Clinton was not only aware, but approved their involvement. He admitted to doing so.

Vince Foster was the point person for the White House in the case of Waco.

After his untimely suicide, a search was done in his office. The FBI conducted a search and found no documents about Waco whatsoever.

Maggie Williams, the chief of staff to First Lady Hillary Clinton had visited Foster’s office the night of his death and removed a box of files. Foster’s assistant took the box to the presidential residence to be reviewed by the First Lady. Foster’s assistant testified to this under oath.

All throughout the siege, David Koresh was likened to Charlie Manson and Jim Jones. He was a cult-leader. He was a rapist. He was a child abuser. They used language that is hard to get away from that pushes this narrative. “Army of God,” “Sinful Messiah,” “compound,” “bunker.” They didn’t show the home videos made by the Branch Davidians before the fire and they never spent time to find out who the people were. It seems clear that they had a plan to boost the ATF’s reputation and things went as wrong as possible and this many coincidences points to a coverup.

Was David Koresh a messiah? No. Was he a cult leader? Yes, but not in the way they attempted to paint it. Did he take advantage of his station? Yes. Was he a polygamist and did he marry teenage girls? That seems to be the case.

But, the real question we need to ask here is “did the government overstep its bounds?” Did they begin a process that killed 85 people needlessly? Did they have the right to gas toddlers even if David Koresh owned automatic weapons? Did they set up one of the most public executions in American history and televise it to the masses?

The Siege at Waco is one of the most disgusting displays of American law enforcement in history. Kids were tortured and burned to death because the ATF, the FBI, and the White House had something to prove. When that didn’t pan out, they had to cover their tracks.

85 people died because they stood up for their peculiar religious beliefs and their right to bear arms. Autopsies revealed that some women and children were found beneath the fallen concrete wall of a storage room and died of skull injuries. One report claimed that the evidence hints at the use of a shape charge in that area.

Autopsy photos of other children locked in what appear to be spasmic death poses are consistent with cyanide poisoning as produced by burning CS gas.

It doesn’t matter if David Koresh was the leader of a Doomsday cult or if he had automatic weapons. Those kids didn’t deserve that. Those women didn’t deserve that. The men, including Koresh, didn’t deserve that.

The state said this was the only way. They said that Koresh was stalling. They said that he wasn’t going to write the seven seals manuscript and that tear gas had to be pumped into Mt. Carmel.

But Ruth Riddle came out of that fire with the manuscript.

They lied and many people died.

The investigations and hearings that were conducted by Congress were heated, morbid, and enlightening. Orin Hatch fought for the FBI. Joe Biden defended the ATF. Chuck Schumer degraded survivors and witnesses in the defense of the state. The Clintons authorized military force on citizens.

These are your rulers. These people are still in power. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton still want to ascend to the presidency.

They would look you in the eye and tell you with a straight face that “You have to trust the people in charge.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to do that.

There’s your Red Pill. Don’t take the whole bottle.


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