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Chuck Berry Early Rock and Roll Great

Rock and Roll legend Chuck Berry passed yesterday at the age of 90. His music shaped Rock and Roll for decades.

“There’s only one true king of rock ‘n’ roll,” said Stevie Wonder. “His name is Chuck Berry.”

The Chicago bluesman, who has died aged 90, basically invented rock.

Sure, there were other contributors: Bill Haley’s northern band rock ‘n’roll; Pat Boone and his New Orleans dance blues; and Berry’s label mate at Chess Records, Bo Diddley.

But no-one else shaped the instrumental voice and lyrical attitude of rock like Chuck. His recordings were lean, modern and thrilling. In the words of pop critic Bob Stanley, “they sounded like the tail fins on Cadillacs”.

He was the first to admit he drew inspiration from days of old. “There is really nothing new under the sun,” he said in the mid-1980s tribute film Hail, Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll – citing the likes of T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian as his forebears.

Even the famous “Chuck Berry guitar riff“, which opened hits like Maybellene and Johnny B. Goode, was lifted – by his own admission – from a Louis Jordan record.

What he did with those influences, though, was something else. He gave country the bite of the blues, writing defiant odes to cars and girls at a time when rock lyrics were all Tutti Frutti and A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop.

As Brian Wilson said, he wrote “all of the great songs and came up with all the rock and roll beats”.

“He laid down the law,” added Eric Clapton.

 

The biggest knock on Chuck Berry is he typically performed with pickup bands. As such, the quality of his live performances varied wildly – often not to the good. In this video, he does his classic “Nadine”, backed up by Kieth Richards of the Rolling Stones.

 

Lastly, and interview with Johnny Carson in 1987…

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2017 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Battling Bigots on the WWW – The Myth of “Irish Slaves”

Prior to 1700, there were about 10,000 Irish brought to America as indentured servants. Many of these folks wound up doing farm labor. The period of “servitude” could be from 7 to 15 years based on the cost of their transport to the New World, and what labor skills they had. The white supremacist line is that these people were slaves…They were not. They were not for several reasons –

  1. They were indentured for a specific period – not life. Once their indenture was over, they had to be released.
  2. They never lost legal rights. Ergo, and indentured servant had the right to challenge their indenture in court. Furthermore, if assaulted or killed by the plantation owner – the owner was subject to criminal laws, up to and including murder in the courts of the colonies. Salves conversely, were property, and there was no legal consequence of killing a slave.
  3. About 1670 many of the slave states began passing laws which established slavery solely as a condition of black people. These laws included perpetuity clauses which made the children of slaves…slaves. Status of children, whether free or slave was based on the status of the mother. Ergo, if the mother was free, the children were free. Which was the beginning of the various miscegenation laws prohibiting whites and blacks marriage. Plantation owners specificall wanted to stop black men from having children with indentured Irish women because the children of such would not be slaves.

Virginia, 1662″Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishmen upon a Negro shall be slave or Free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present Grand assembly, that all children born in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother.

“Virginia, 1667″Act III. Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children that are slaves by birth… should by virtue of their baptism be made free, it is enacted that baptism does not alter the condition to the person as to his bondage or freedom; masters freed from this doubt may more carefully propagate Christianity by permitting slaves to be admitted to that sacrament.

“Virginia, 1682″Act I. It is enacted that all servants… which shall be imported into this country either by sea or by land, whether Negroes, Moors, mulattoes or Indians who and whose parentage and native countries are not Christian at the time of their first purchase by some Christian… and all Indians, which shall be sold by our neighboring Indians, or any other trafficking with us for slaves, are hereby adjudged, deemed and taken to be slaves to all intents and purposes any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.

“Virginia, 1705″All servants imported and brought into the Country… who were not Christians in their native Country… shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion… shall be held to be real estate.

[2]South Carolina, 1712″Be it therefore enacted, by his Excellency, William, Lord Craven, Palatine…. and the rest of the members of the General Assembly, now met at Charles Town, for the South-west part of this Province, and by the authority of the same, That all negros, mulattoes, mestizo’s or Indians, which at any time heretofore have been sold, or now are held or taken to be, or hereafter shall be bought and sold for slaves, are hereby declared slaves; and they, and their children, are hereby made and declared slaves….”

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‘Irish slaves’: Historian destroys racist myth conservatives love to share on Facebook

White supremacists have been promoting the myth that the first slaves brought to the Americas were Irish, not African — but a historian says there’s simply no evidence to back their racist claims.

Liam Hogan, a research librarian at the Limerick City Library, set about debunking the myth after spotting a widely shared Global Research article in 2013 and realized its potential for misinformation, reported Hatewatch.

“It was quite clear to me then that many would never engage with the history of the transatlantic slave trade when they had this false equivalence to fall back on,” Hogan told the website. “I think that’s what convinced me that I needed to put the record straight.”

The myth essentially equates indentured or penal servitude with racialized perpetual hereditary chattel slavery, Hogan said.

Racists claim the Irish slave trade began in 1612 and was not abolished until 1839, and they insist “white slavery” has been covered up by “politically correct” historians.

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“The various memes make many claims including (but not limited to) the following: that ‘Irish slaves’ were treated far worse than black slaves, that there were more ‘Irish slaves’ than black slaves, that ‘Irish slaves’ were worth less than black slaves, that enslaved Irish women were forced to breed with enslaved African men and that the Irish were slaves for much longer than black slaves,” Hogan said.

“This is then invariably followed up by overtly racist statements,” he added. “For example, ‘Yet, when is the last time you heard an Irishman bitching and moaning about how the world owes them a living?’”

Hogan hasn’t isolated the myth’s first appearance on social media, but it’s been a common trope on the white supremacist website Stormfront since at least 2003 and has been trotted out as an argument against reparations for slavery and to attack the Black Lives Matter movement.

He pointed to a 2014 post on Alex Jones’ Infowars website that attacked both Black Lives Matter and reparations by promoting several falsehoods about “Irish slavery.”

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“It appropriates the massacre of around 132 African victims of the genocidal transatlantic slave trade in order to diminish it,” Hogan said, referring to the Zong massacre in 1781. “If you look at the Infowars version of the meme you’ll see it has even appended an extra zero, making the number of victims amount to 1,302, while adding that ‘these slaves weren’t from Africa, these forgotten souls were from Ireland.’ This shameless appropriation is then used by Infowars to mock calls for reparatory justice for slavery.”

The myth has become nearly ubiquitous in social media discussions on slavery and race — and it was even promoted by a blogger on the liberal Daily Kos website.

“There was almost no situation where the meme was not used to derail discussions about the legacy of slavery or ongoing anti-black racism,” Hogan said. “Starting with Ferguson and with almost every subsequent police killing of an unarmed black person from late 2014 through 2015, the meme was used to mock and denigrate the Black Lives Matter movement. It is in a sense the ‘historical’ version of the disingenuous All Lives Matter response to demands for justice and truth telling.”

Hogan has collected hundreds of examples of the fallacious argument, which he has shared on Twitter and Tumblr, and he said some of those memes have been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook.

The myth is especially popular among Confederate apologists, and Hogan cites several examples of its deployment during the debate over Confederate flag displays in the wake of the fatal shootings of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist.

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“This year I’ve tracked the meme being shared by the Texas League of the South, History of the True South, Love My Confederate Ancestors and the Sons of Confederate Veterans,” Hogan said. “They seem to believe that this meme somehow negates the fact that the Confederacy fought a war to perpetually enslave millions of African-Americans and their descendants.”

The myth is often supported with citations to the books “To Hell or Barbados,” by Sean O’Callaghan, and “White Cargo,” by Don Jordan and Michael A. Walsh — both of which are historically questionable, according to Hogan, but he said most articles about “Irish slaves” don’t even quote from those sources.

Instead, Hogan said most of those articles rely heavily on an unreferenced blog post and the self-published work of Holocaust denier Michael A. Hoffman II.

Hogan said his concerns are shared by at least 81 academics and historians, and he hopes to set the record straight in his own book.

“I would like to reclaim the history of Irish servitude in the 17th century Anglo-Caribbean and present it in context for a general audience,” he said. “The Cromwellian policy of forced transportation to the colonies in the 1650s (which included an estimated 10,000 Irish people) understandably scars our collective memory and it deserves both respect and close attention from anyone interested in the history of the unfree labor systems in the Atlantic world.”

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He said the myth’s appeal reveals an essential element of racist thought — and the way those beliefs are exploited to justify discriminatory laws.

“The racism then flows as these various groups of Neo-Nazis posit why whites can overcome a ‘worse’ situation than blacks and ‘do not whine about it,’” Hogan said. “So the ‘get over it’ racism that so often accompanies the meme is not about history at all. It goes much deeper than that.”

“Their belief is that non-whites can’t move on due to racial inferiority or social pathology,” he continued. “So through false equivalence and erasure, they attempt to remove history as a determinant so that they can claim the current socioeconomic position and mass incarceration of black people in the U.S. is due to racial inferiority.”

 

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Maryland Opens Historical Center About Harriet Tubman

A portion of Harriet Tubman’s life is set to be dramatized on the Television Series “Underground” on WGN America. Watch it, it is really good!

I currently live on the Eastern Shore, about an hour and a half South of the places Harriet Tubman rescued slaves. I am familiar with the landscape and the swamps (The Great Cypress Swamp) and thickets can be near if not completely impassable and are similar to something you would think of in Florida or Louisiana. There is a great kayak trip though the swamp area, as well as the Blackwater (the water is stained black by the cypress trees) area off the Choptank where Tubman operated.

Harriet Tubman fled a life of slavery in Maryland. Now a new visitor center opens on the land she escaped.

She preferred moving in the darkness of long winter nights. She didn’t wait for late passengers: The “train” for Zion always left on time. And she carried a pistol, in case of trouble or flagging hearts.

Her branch of the line began here, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, near places like Tobacco Stick, Kentuck Swamp, and Skeleton Creek, off the Choptank River, to the north.

She was small and the color of a chestnut, as her owner described her when she first ran away. But she was hardened by whippings and work on the timber gangs, and she knew the wilderness as well as a hunter.

On March 11, the National Park Service and the Maryland State Park Service plan to unveil a new visitor center here dedicated to the life and mission of abolitionist and legendary Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.

The $22 million center, in the works since 2008, is adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, in the hallowed area where Tubman was born, enslaved and from which she escaped.

The opening festivities next weekend will feature reenactors, lectures and writing workshops. The center has exhibits, a museum store, a research library, and an outdoor walking path and pavilion.

It’s the same area where Tubman repeatedly returned at great risk to help relatives and friends out of bondage along the secret anti-slavery network to freedom that was the Underground Railroad.

Between about 1850 and 1860, using stealth and disguise, she made 13 trips, spiriting 70 people out of slavery, historians believe.

Tubman’s life spanned most of the 19th and part of the 20th century, took her across the Eastern United State and Canada, and saw her fight for civil rights, women’s rights and the cause of the Union in the Civil War.

But it was here in the mosquito-infested swamps and woods, and the local plantations and river ports, that the slave girl “Minty” Ross became the liberator, Harriet Tubman.

Here, Tubman was beaten as a child by a mistress who slept with a whip under her pillow. Here, she checked muskrat traps, broke flax and hauled logs with a team of oxen she was permitted to purchase.

nd here, scholars say, amid a fracas one night, she was struck on the head with an iron weight and suffered a debilitating brain injury that would alter her life.

Tubman understood the haunting landscape where she lived and was said to possess a mystical “charm” that protected her, according to biographer Kate Clifford Larson.

“She was a genius,” Larson said in a recent telephone interview. “Even though she couldn’t read or write, she was born with a gift.”

“When she worked in the woods with her father, he taught her how to survive,” Larson said. “How to feed herself, how to protect herself, how to navigate through those woods that are really dark at night.”

And she dare not carry a lantern.

“This is the area that shaped Harriet Tubman’s ideals,” National Park Service historian Beth Parnicza said. “It’s where she and her family grew up, where she lived for 27 years of her life.”

“This landscape is critical to her story,” she said…. Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2017 in Black History, Giant Negros

 

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Music – Booker T. (Formerly of the MGs, and his Hammond 17

I remember as a kid when Hammond Organs were the staple of a number of local bands. There was nothing at the time that generated to deep base notes. Two of the most famous Hammond playing musicians were Booker T. Jones and Jimmy Smith. When the band got hot, and the Hammond started heating up, was about as good as it got back in the day. The Hammond pre-dated transistor technology, and used Vacuum Tubes, mechanical coils, and an oil trough which made a sound far more complex than today’s digital synthesizers.

Takes me back…

 

And not to leave him out, Jimmy Smith in 1964 –

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Healing the Disconnect Between Race and Science

There is a planned March fo Science on the 22nd of February. Whether that march turns into another monster like the Women’s March or barely inconvenience the subway system is really dependent on the “Scientists” making alliances with other groups. Science in particular hasn’t always been good news for black folks, who were often used and abused in horrendous scientific “experiments”. Tuskegee still resounds in the psyche of many black people, who as a result have a inborn distrust of Science.

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Race, History and the #ScienceMarch

Donald Trump is an anti-science president. In fact, his entire raison d’être — perhaps unsurprisingly — stands at cross-purposes with the scientific method, systematic inquiry, and even the basic notion of evidentiary support. In the few days since his inauguration, Trump has already prohibited scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from speaking to the public about their research. Moreover, the White House recently expunged U.S. National Park Service (NPS) Twitter content highlighting the threat of climate change. In the wake of Trump’s dictates, concerned scientists have taken to social media to plan a protest in Washington, DC that they are dubbing the #ScienceMarch. The Twitter account associated with the action — @ScienceMarchDC — has amassed over 240,000 followers since it came online a week ago.

The #ScienceMarch has great potential to underscore the need for public policy to be grounded in scientific study. Securing widespread participation, however, will require that the organizers pull together multiple constituencies in a broad-based multi-racial and bi-partisan alliance. To be sure, the coalitional nature — and, therefore, efficacy — of this fledgling movement will be predicated on the extent to which its organizers are willing to acknowledge the racialized nature of the history of science itself. That is, the organizers must understand the manifold ways in which so-called scientific experimentation and discourse have been marshaled to ratify and propagate white supremacy and to degrade the bodies, minds, and experiences of people of color.

Whereas event organizers claim that “[science] is a not partisan issue,” history unequivocally proves otherwise. Science is and always has been a function of power and politics. The historical record is replete with examples of the ways in which scientific inquiry and experimentation have sought to naturalize and rationalize the inferiority of people of color and justify their oppression through the language of pathology, deviance, and abnormality. Further, people of color have long served as laboratories for dangerous scientific experimentation. Exposing this lurid history is the first of many steps in forcing mainstream science — often implicitly racialized as white — to confront a historical past that exerts an enduring political force over our historical present.

“Because of science,” 21-year-old Black South African Saartjie Baartman was brought to Europe under false pretenses in 1810 by physician William Dunlop and paraded around London’s Piccadilly Circus as a “theatre of human oddities” on the basis of her large buttocks and protruding vulva. For years, Baartman’s body was the object of spectacle, scientific fascination, and degradation. Dr. Dunlop and other medical professionals used her large buttocks and extended labia to claim that Black people were morphologically similar to Orangutans. When Baartman died in 1815 at the age of 26 her corpse became the property of scientist Georges Cuvier. Cuvier fabricated a plaster cast of her body before dissecting it and preserved her skeleton, brain, and genitals. Baartman’s sexual organs were displayed in a Paris museum until 1974, when activists successfully petitioned to have her remains returned to her birthplace in South Africa. Baartman’s body was not repatriated and buried until 2002.

“Because of science,” Samuel Cartwright, a New Orleans physician and Confederate loyalist, argued that high rates of physical and mental illnesses afflicting enslaved black persons were products of the ostensible biologically inferior mental capacity of the “black race.” In his 1815 “Report on the Disease and the Physical Peculiarities of the Negro Race,” Cartwright introduced what he called “Drapetomania,” known as the “Disease Causing Slaves to Run Away.” Unconvinced that enslaved Black children, women, and men might naturally seek freedom, Cartwright instead claimed that Drapetomania could be cured by “kindness.”

“Because of science,” Ota Benga, a young Congolese man, was put on display in an iron monkey cage at the Bronx Zoo in 1906. Benga was brought to the United States by Samuel Verner, a well-known white supremacist from South Carolina. Benga’s captivity — justified under the impress of scientific exploration — was sanctioned by zoological society officials, the mayor of New York City, prominent scientists, much of the public, and many major U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times. Officials at the Bronx Zoo said that “Benga, according to our information, is…closer to the anthropoid apes than the other African savages…” Four years before Benga’s exhibition, Dr. Daniel Brinton published his text The Basis of Social Relations: A Study in Ethnic Psychologywhere he first claimed that Africans were “midway between the Oranutang [sic] and the European white.”

“Because of science,” Alice Jones, who had recently married Leonard Rhinelander, a wealthy white man from Manhattan, was forced to “prove her race” in a New York court in 1924. During her trial Jones was forced to expose her naked body to an all-white, all-male jury and judge. She was made to remove various articles of clothing so the jury and judge could determine her race by examining the color of her nipples, back, and legs. The court concluded that Jones was not fully white.

“Because of science,” Dr. John Cutler, a physician with the U.S. Public Health Service, deliberately infected over 400 Guatemalan prisoners and sex workers with syphilis from 1946–1948. None of the research subjects were asked for their consent. Seventy-one subjects died during the experiments.

“Because of science,” doctors and public officials deliberately withheld syphilis treatment from hundreds of black men in Alabama as part of the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” The experiment — conducted from 1932–1972 — resulted in hundreds of deaths. To this day, there is no evidence that researchers informed the men of the study or its real purpose.

“Because of science,” the University of Cincinnati, with the help of the Pentagon, conducted experiments on 88 cancer patients from 1960–1971 by exposing them to intense doses of radiation and recording their physical and mental responses. They endeavored to answer the following question: “In the event of a nuclear explosion, how much radiation could a soldier withstand before becoming disoriented or disabled?” According to reporting in The New York Times, “most were poor; 60 percent were black.”

“Because of science,” psychiatrists Walter Bromberg and Frank Simon diagnosed Black Power as a form of “protest psychosis” in 1968. They described it as a form of “delusional anti-whiteness.” Four years later, in “Symbolism in Protest Psychosis,” they said the disorder was “a psychotic illness with strong elements of racial hostility and black nationalism [that entails] the release of previously repressed anti-white feelings, which combine with African ideology and beliefs.” In short, “[the illness is oriented toward] reversing the white supremacy tradition or stating an objection to the accepted superiority of white values in terms of an African ideology.”

“Because of science,” over 310 HIV+ Haitian asylum seekers were detained at a Guantánamo Bay prison campfrom 1991–1993. At the time, federal law prohibited individuals with HIV from entering the United States even if they qualified for political asylum.

“Because of science,” over 60,000 women and men — the majority of whom are women of color — were involuntarily sterilized from 1907–2003 in 32 U.S. states. Black and Latina women in Puerto Rico, New York, North Carolina, and California were targeted by the U.S. government for sterilization throughout the 20th century. North Carolina involuntarily sterilized 7,600 people from 1929–1974. During that time period, 85 percent of the victims were women and 40 percent were people of color. Native American women were also subjected to coercive and involuntary population control practices throughout much of the 20th century. The Indian Health Service (IHS) began providing family planning services to Native American families in 1965. According to the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, over 25 percent of Native American women were sterilized between 1970 and 1976.

“Because of science,” nearly 150 women prisoners — most of whom are Black and Brown — were sterilized between 2006 and 2010 by doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). A May 2013 state audit reported that some of the tubal ligations in that time were done illegally without informed consent.

These histories matter.

The #ScienceMarch organizers have recently written that “people from all parts of the political spectrum should be alarmed by [Trump’s] efforts to deny scientific progress.” And they are correct. We should be alarmed. Such a claim, however, seems to leave unacknowledged the ways in which communities of color — based on the histories outlined above — might not take the unqualified promise of science at face value. To be sure, the history of science is a history of power — the power to name problems and legitimize solutions, the power to dictate political agendas, and the power to hierarchize social order. Certainly, the #ScienceMarch is an idea worthy of merit. Its success, however, will depend on acknowledging the racialized histories of science itself.

 

 

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Could You Pass the Voting “Literacy Test”?

Under the Chumph and Republicans we are headed bak to the days of Literacy tests to deny minority voting rights. The following is one such test of black voters used by Louisiana, Of course there were few schools for black children, which racists insisted played no part in being able to pass the test. Remember – one wrong answer, in the 10 minutes allotted to complete the test means you aren’t smart enough to vote… This test was sourced form the Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement site which contains a lot of information as well as historical artifacts. Go there, it is well worth a visit.

Voting Test 1

 

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Historic ‘End White Supremacy’ Sign

We need to find ways big and small to fight back, disrupt, and yes – even destroy the Chump’s government and plans every single day…

Historic ‘End White Supremacy’ Sign Reinstalled In New York City

The message, referencing a 1963 civil rights protest, is shamefully relevant today.

In 1963, a protestor scrawled the words “End White Supremacy” onto a sign and carried it during a civil rights march in New York. Over 50 years have passed and, disgracefully, the message pleading for the most essential of human rights remains just as relevant.

In 2008, digging through archival photographs, artist Sam Durant found an image of the ‘60s sign. Durant creates large-scale lightboxes featuring language culled from various protests and demonstrations throughout history, often focusing on the Civil Rights Movement and Black Panther protests. He gravitates towards words whose relevance is not bound up with any one time or event, whose message resounds regardless.

The artist scanned and cropped the sign’s language to create one such text-based artwork, which was mounted on the exterior of New York’s Paula Cooper Gallery just around the time America elected its first black president until 2009.

On Nov. 29, however, the piece was restored to the Paula Cooper Gallery facade. The sign’s return is a response to the recent election of Donald Trump, who, as a candidate, was widely accused of feeding off the racism, misogyny and xenophobia lingering on the fringes of the American psyche, giving bigotry a platform and ushering it into the mainstream.

Gallery owner Paula Cooper explained the importance of using skills and resources to fight against the normalization of hate and fear in an interview with Hyperallergic.

“We should, as spaces available and open to the public, do whatever we can to resist and overcome whatever abominations are about to confront us,” Cooper said. “How we best do that is the question.”…

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2016 in Second American Revolution

 

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