Tagged: politics

He Read the Wrong Heller

That’s what you’re thinking, isn’t it? After you read my amendment proposal, you thought I misunderstood what I was supposed to read. You’re saying, “His friend clearly suggested the supreme court case involving Heller, then he goes and tracks down Joseph Heller’s classic Catch-22. Moron.”

Trouble is, I have read Catch-22, but, in fact, I have also read the opinions behind the latest second amendment decision of our highest court. And yes, I still maintain that my proposed amendment is both the solution to the issue and at the same time draws out the actual issue that has been raised by the school shootings of the recent past.

I previously wrote that I believe the school shootings raise the issue of whether the atom bombs dropped in WWII have fundamentally and irrevocably altered life. In other words, I believe it is time to fully address that life is not the same as it was before the bombs. The Law now wrangles a different sort of chaos. (One easy example that comes to mind is how jumping on an atom bomb does nothing for our friends–unlike stepping in front of a bullet or jumping on a grenade etc. Even Christ’s, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” must needs be seen in new light.)

Another way I could have put my belief, perhaps an easier to understand way, is that since officially ending WWII we have not declared war according to our law–the U.S. Constitution–and I wonder, “Is this because we believe we are forevermore in time of war?”

In my thought experiment wherein I’m pretending to interpret the ratified then challenged Amendment XXVIII’s language of, “In time of peace, arms shall no longer be secured by the people,” I see that the most difficult part to interpret, and the most essential, is the “in time of peace.” I believe we would find that when the founders used the phrase in the third amendment, they meant there was distinction between time of war and time of peace.

Do we?

I look around and conclude, “No. No we don’t. We do not believe in the distinction.” And by my thinking, no distinction means we believe that we are in time of war.

But I’m a veteran. Not just any veteran, a veteran officer. My oath is lifelong, regardless the source of my income. So I can’t help but see war, no different than hammers can’t help but see objects to strike. But you? You’re not a veteran.

What do you see? What do you believe?

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Upon Review, My Wording Was Too Moses, Not Enough Jefferson

Rise and shine, Marchers! Have your dainty feet had time to heal? Must’ve been an excruciatingly tiresome week, what with such a physically demanding event last weekend. The sacrifice! You probably forgot to carbo load ahead of time, too. Darn it all! There’s always next time. When is it? I hear the next walkout is April 20th? Shh, come closer. Did you hear that that is Hitler’s birthday, too? Hopefully people won’t think you’re celebrating, ughh. Oh, how many steps did you log? That’ll help with your HSA incentives. (Yes, the jogging in place counts.) The celebratory ice cream probably went down with less guilt, didn’t it? I mean, you really made a difference, don’t you think? I feel safer, that’s for sure. And it’s all because of you.

From within the clouds at the top of Sinai, then, seeking clearance for a full-stop landing, having read in full and considered the District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), and borrowing some language from the repealed Amendment XVIII, I offer this revision for consideration.

Amendment XXVIII

Article I – After one year from the ratification of this article, in time of peace, arms shall no longer be secured by the people.

Article II – The Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Article III –  This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.

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My question is, “Do you understand how I can competently reason that the first article of my proposed amendment does not contravene the second amendment (especially as it was interpreted in the Court’s most recent opinion on the amendment as indicated in the Heller opinion)?”

(I’m not interested in whether you agree with it or think it would ever be ratified. I’m interested in holding a conversation which assumes the amendment’s ratification, and subsequent challenge, and then we’re SCOTUS justices. You know, thought experiment style.)

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Additionally, regarding late Justice Scalia–I do not think he would turn in his grave. My amendment in no way indicates that the right which is not to be infringed in the second amendment is “linked to or conditioned by serving in a militia.” What have I said that makes you draw that connection?

Hey You Yellow-Bellied Weekend Marchers! It Was Silly of Me…

…to assume you had character to begin with.

Not a single one of you accepted my challenge. Not-a one. Your silence allowed my mind to wander. In hindsight, I wonder why I didn’t think through my challenge before I declared it. Of course you wouldn’t understand you had been attacked and defend yourself. You don’t have character. Character requires perseverance, and perseverance requires overcoming some sort of difficulty. No, not the difficulties you’re thinking you have overcome. Neither exasperatingly stuck-open selfie sticks, nor completely spelling out words live under this umbrella. I’m talking difficult. I’ll give you an example.

H-‘s Spring Break was last week. (To new readers, she’s my seven-year-old daughter.) The entire reason I moved to Denver was proximity to the mountains. I wanted to live near the ski-resorts and I wanted H- to grow up skiing. The opportunity finally arrived to take her skiing. In short, the ski-lessons turned out to be a bust. She didn’t know the other kids, and the instructors were very un-ski-instructory.

Whatever.

The proper bunny hill, however, was open for another hour after the lesson, so I took her to the line for the unthinkably slow-but-brief chair lift. Suddenly she had to go to the bathroom.

“Too bad,” I said.

See, I have a younger brother. Once, when we were about to ride the Power Tower at Cedar Point–last ride of the night–as we crept closer to the terrifically terrifying thrill ride and heard the screams, he suddenly had to go to the bathroom.

I also said, “Too bad,” to him back then.

I can only imagine the transition H- experienced as she went from fear of the unknown, to fear of heights, to fear of how to get off the lift. But I don’t have to imagine her relief as I firmly held onto her and we successfully dismounted without hiccup.

“Ready for this?” I queried, absolutely certain she wasn’t.

She soon fell.

I didn’t help her up and I felt like a jerk.

Luckily, ever since she was very young, upon her falling down, I’ve been asking her, “Why do we fall down, Bruce?” and she answers with, “To learn how to pick ourselves up.” (Thanks, Mr. Nolan.)

We maybe made three trips up and down the bunny hill before we called it quits. If she ever chose to fall because she got going too fast and decided to bail before things got ugly, I would help her up. If she fell because she was afraid, I ski’d to her and told her to get up. That was day one.

Day two, we started fresh. After more of the same, she began to fall less and eventually proposed an intriguing deal.

“Hey Daddy. I was thinking. If I can ski down this without falling, can I have a stuffy (her name for Beanie Boos)?”

“I’ll make that deal,” I confirmed, quickly adding, “But you can’t fall once. But you’ve got a deal. It doesn’t matter if it takes all day either. If by the end of today you have made it down one time without falling, you get the stuffy.”

“Not once. Got it. Can I have one for every time I don’t fall?”

“No. But,” I continued, eyeing the larger mountain to our left, “If you go with me on that chair lift, all the way to the top, and ski down the green with me, then no matter how many times you fall, I will get you a second one.”

“So two total?”

“Yes, H-. If you don’t fall on this short one, and you simply go with me on the long one, you will get two stuffies.”

She agreed and we eventually boarded the longer lift. She seemed in awe of how much longer it was. I’m sure she was not looking forward to skiing down the mountain.

This green run took me about thirty seconds to make it down if I didn’t stop.

My mother, H-, and I took one and a half hours. Well, that’s not true. After about an hour, my mother just left us, unable to believe my treatment of H-.

H- cried most of the way. She fell about every ten feet. Only rarely did I help her up. At one point some stranger lady began giving H- tips, I didn’t acknowledge her existence. Probably five minutes went by before hah-sah-tahn concluded it was best to leave.

Are you getting the picture? I was aware that I was coming off as literally employing every horrible parenting tool out of the tool-bag. To these people, I was the tool. But they were mistaken.

See, they thought I was trying to teach H- how to ski. Far from it. It’s possible H- may never really take to skiing like I want her to. Instead, I was teaching her to have character. (Something I’m especially glad I did, considering I have since learned that none of you have it.)

Again, an hour an a half later, the last thirty minutes of which my dad and mom spent actively debating my sanity, H- and I finally made it to the point where she could see the bottom. Naturally she fell at that point.

“Get up,” I said.

Then, totally surprising me (for what reason, I do not know–this was the skill I was teaching) I hear her say to herself, “Okay. There’s the bottom. You can do this.”

I had to look away lest she see my joy; better for her to harbor whatever kind of ill will little girls can have for their fathers at this moment.

During the late lunch she further surprised me by suggesting that she probably shouldn’t get the stuffy because it took so long.

“A deal’s a deal, H-.”

Then she asked if after we go together a few more times on the bunny hill if she could try going by herself–after we ride up together.

Overall, H- did not take to skiing like my younger brother did at her age. She doesn’t turn much.

But she has something you don’t. And she will not forget it.

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PS – The conversation with my friend didn’t go well, or develop at all really. We met. I barely and playfully broached the topic, and he said, “I’ve already replied.” It reminded me that he definitely carries the fire. But it also made me sad. Because I love conversation.

Hey Weekend Marchers! I Hereby Challenge Your Character…

…by asking you to have the courage to be wrong. Wrong about what? Wrong about my beliefs. I challenge you to state what I believe to be the issue. That is, state what someone who does not think that your foolish-if-fashionable footsteps are moving forward anything or anyone but your own body believes to be the issue.

Think you have the character to do this? I don’t think you do.

I think you’re chicken, the whole lot of you.

But I’m giving you the opportunity to prove me wrong. What have you got to lose? Certainly not any more tear-stained poster-board. So give it a shot and comment below. I dare ya. (Or write your own post and give me the link.)

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I spent most of yesterday in an abundantly enjoyable conversation with one of your hopeful souls (his name is also Pete), and yet at the end, he still could only express confusion at what I believe to be the issue. (See the entire conversation here.)

I ably described the issue raised by school shootings as I see it, and I ably described the issue raised by school shootings as he saw it. By the end, he confirmed that I “sort of” saw his side. But he never demonstrated that he understood mine–nor did he really indicate that he cared to. Trouble is, I knew that I knew his side before the whole conversation started. (I knew ’cause I have been listening to you!)

But it gets worse. He is not the only one of you stomping spirits who do not seem to be able to simply state what I (and my pals) believe to be the issue.

Remember, all I want is to be assured that you possess some level of discernment. Here’s your chance to prove to me that you understand where we disagree. For assistance, links to recent posts which vary in length, breadth, and depth and whose contents contain writing which my pals generally agree I am clearly making a case in opposition to you are here, here, here, here, and here.

Clues (or beliefs which I do not hold): I do not believe the issue to be gun violence. I do not believe the issue to be bump stocks or AR-15s. I do not believe the issue to be the interpretation of the meaning of the second amendment or any of its words. I do not believe the issue will be solved by more guns. I do not believe the issue will be solved by less guns. And unlike you I do not believe the issue will be solved by stricter gun laws.

But I do believe the school shootings raise an important issue.

Can you state, in your own words, what I believe to be the issue that they raise? Remember! If you bravely accept my challenge to defend your character, YOU MAY BE WRONG–about me. Scary.

The Amendment

In my last two posts (three if you include the book review) I have done my best to indicate that while I disagree with you, I do hear what you’re saying. I’m now asking, do you hear me?

In a surprising turn of events for me, whereas I initially wanted to effectively smear your claim, I have instead concluded that at the root of your claim, you are calling for the law. This is a very reasonable claim, a very humane claim. But there is a problem with it.

You think these shootings, the school ones especially, evidence that we are living in a state of chaos–in some situation similar to that which is before the law–and you desire to do something about it.

However, the law is already here. We are not in a state of chaos in the United States of America. Several hundred, perhaps even one thousand people have broken the law in the last twenty years in ways that previously seemed unimaginable. This is new, yes, but it is not chaos.

Hear me now. These events do not indicate that we have returned to the state of nature. They do not even indicate that we are in a trajectory towards the return to the state of nature.

Do you hear me? I’m asking you to listen. I listened to you. It’s the least you can do.

The law is not determined by elections. You (meaning literally you, the person reading this, and not meaning the generic “anyone”), you cannot vote the law out or in.

What to do?

The only option you have is to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that is a very real option which I do believe we (you and I–folks who disagree) should examine through civil discourse. But I wonder if you even know how it is done? If you do not, then you definitely are in no position to accomplish this possibly desirable task.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but I say this is the only option you have because I believe that every other option is anarchy–a subversive dismantling of the law. And this dismantling is a step in the opposite direction of what you want if you really want to keep certain firearms out of the hands of civilians while in the hands of the warriors.

In pictures from the marches, I saw a sign which said, “America, the world is watching.”

Do you hear them?

If you amend the Constitution, then we follow the footsteps and stand on the shoulders of our founders and teach the watching world the law. If you pass any other legislation–any whatsoever–then we demonstrate that we do not value the law. This, again, is the opposite of what you have said you desire.

And this is the precise point of disagreement.

Do you hear me?

The amendment is the precise point because I am confused by why you think there is any other option. I will listen and read anything you have which you think will help me see your point more clearly. I want the shootings to stop as much as you do.

Do you hear me?

Your turn.

Reaction to Saturday’s “March For Our Lives”

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This post is an exercise in the time-honored tradition of trying to state the opposition’s point of view.

As for Saturday’s events, as far as I can determine, two main claims were repeatedly made.

  • We need to end gun violence. (Sir Paul McCartney and Yolanda Renee King)
  • We need to keep weapons of war out of the hands of civilians. (Delaney Tarr and Cameron Kasky)

Regarding ending gun violence: it is not possible for me to imagine how to un-invent something as prevalent as guns, so I’ll not spend time assessing this claim.

Regarding keeping weapons of war out of the hands of civilians: I can imagine that, and so I’ll do my best to get to the heart of their desire.

Certainly the claim needs much more specificity. Surely they don’t mean to include knives (carried and used by warriors to this day), just as they surely do not believe other weapons of war (nuclear bombs) are obtainable by civilians. I also do not believe they intend to keep revolvers or single-shot rifles out of the hands of civilians. Nor do I think they wish to keep pump-action shotguns or the like out of civilians’ hands. In short, I think I feel the pulse of the claim rightly when I say that they desire to keep away from civilians any gun that resembles an AR-15, with its incredibly powerful and quickly replaceable “banana” clip (or the “I-always-thought-that-was-a-handle” thing).

Put another way, at the risk of oversimplifying things to an unfeeling level, the opposition to the status quo wants to make sure the star shape is only placed into the star opening.

This seems sensible, and yet the trouble with this view is that through it the opposition to status quo shows that it has not taken into account two very pertinent facts.

First, make no mistake, these shootings–beginning with Columbine–if not earlier, are acts of war, and to win a war you do not disarm the good guys.

Second, this is not a war against flesh and blood. Until the opposition understands the power of the Gospel, the limitless power of grace, they are fighting for the losing side.

The LORD has never lost a battle and he is captain of every army.

Does Anyone Think We Can Defeat The Enemy?

Here’s President Obama’s self-absorbed response  to Mr. Trump’s self-absorbed bombas-ticary.

Assuming you don’t have 25 minutes to spend on the above video, I’ve done my best to clarify the arguments below.

Mr. Trump is arguing that

A – American leaders need to use the label “Radical Islam” in order to stop terrorism.

B – Implicit to Mr. Trump’s argument is the argument if we don’t label the enemy accurately (know who/what the enemy is) then we cannot possibly defeat the enemy.

C – If we don’t elect Mr. Trump as president, then no one will say “Radical Islam.”

A + B + C =

D – Without using the label “Radical Islam,” we cannot defeat the enemy (whatever the enemy is).

Since B and D are the same, then Mr. Trump is using circular reasoning. All Mr. Trump has actually argued is, “Without me, we cannot defeat the enemy.”

In response, President Obama is arguing that

A – If we use the label “Radical Islam,” we don’t really mean the adjective “radical”. In other words, if we say “Radical Islam,” people only hear “Islam.”

B – Extremists successfully recruit new extremists by telling the lie to young Muslim men that the West believes Islam is the enemy.

C – If the number of extremists grows, we cannot defeat the enemy.

D – If he were to say, “Radical Islam is the enemy,” then he’d be doing the recruiting for the extremists (ISIL/ISIS).

A + B + C + D =

E – If we use the label “Radical Islam,” we cannot defeat the enemy (whatever the enemy is).

Since C and E are the same, then President Obama is likewise using circular reasoning. All President Obama has actually argued is, “Without me, we cannot defeat the enemy.”

In sum, Mr. Trump believes we must use the label “Radical Islam” to defeat the enemy and President Obama believes we must NOT use the label “Radical Islam” to defeat the enemy. But each man clearly believes that without him, the enemy cannot be defeated. Can we agree that besides being self-absorbed and redundant, their argument is depressing?

For a different, encouraging argument, try mine.

I am arguing that,

A – I wanted to fight or I did fight terrorism (Wait. Terrorism? Who are we kidding? We’re at war with Allah) with violence from Sept. 11, 2001 until March 1, 2012.

B – It’s now 2016. 4 years after stepping off the violent path, it is apparent that terrorism (Allah) is still a growing threat.

C – Terrorism (Allah) cannot be defeated by violence because it is an idea.

D – Only ideas can defeat ideas.

E – Due to internal inconsistencies not much different than President Obama and Mr. Trump’s circular reasoning, neither naturalism, nor deism, nor Buddhism, nor scientism, nor atheism, nor Mormonism, nor Tom Cruise-ism, nor patriotism, nor nationalism, nor globalism can defeat terrorism (Allah).

A + B + C + D + E =

F – Christianity’s Triune God, in all of His mystery (tell me again, how was Jesus fully human and fully divine at the same time?), in all of His reality (the concrete resurrection of Jesus as proclaimed by the New Testament writers and its subsequent 2000 year witness of manifest grace) is the only idea that can defeat terrorism (Allah).

In other words, A + B + C + D + E = 

F – We can defeat terrorism (Allah). And we can defeat terrorism (Allah) without me! We just need to submit ourselves to the will of Christianity’s Triune God.

In sum, my argument (Christianity’s argument), unlike Mr. Trump and President Obama, is, “Without me, the enemy can be defeated”–emphasis on “the enemy can be defeated” and “without me.” There is hope people. His name is Jesus.

Do you see?

Who Would Have Thunk It?

The fact that it ultimately isn’t surprising is what proves that we all would have predicted it. I just can’t stop thinking about Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigrants. The idea of freedom of religion as one of the greatest achievements mankind has ever bestowed upon itself was so ingrained in me as a child that I cannot help but wonder how the country that guarantees this freedom is now fascinated by a possible presidential candidate who brings into the legal realm religion. And do not get me started on the fact that other candidates are rebuking him via their–I’m sure–personal social meeja accounts. Ooo, scary.

I wrote about this once before, but it seems timely to bring the issue back to the front. In an odd turn of events, I have had the pleasure of attending undergraduate courses in two different decades at two different colleges. Within the liberal arts departments at least, the theme of my two experiences or the ultimate goal of American universities seemed to be Holocaust prevention. Specifically, the history and social science departments spend tremendous time and energy explaining how something as horrific as the Holocaust could even occur in generally civilized society. The Stanford Prison Experiment.  The Milgram Experiment. We’re taught about these social experiments which were conducted after the war ended and even then–in a controlled setting–they had to be administratively stopped because things got so out of hand. Furthermore, to illustrate just how fully these experiments permeate our culture, a movie (not the first) was released earlier this year called, ta da, The Stanford Prison Experiment about the very same thing. The professors teach these lessons under the guise that if only we prove scientifically that people are violence-prone sheep, then people are not violence-prone sheep. To me the experiments have only proven that another holocaust is very possible.

And this whole discussion illustrates the problem with the progressive/liberal/leftist worldview that dominates academia and therefore society. (Yes, I’m lumping Trump–a republican–in the group.) Philosophically, quantum-something-or-other-ly, and really, there actually only exists the present. So if you do wrong in the present, in hopes of improving the future, then you can’t escape that you are doing wrong. But Trump wants to do wrong by banning Muslims. Only for a short time, though. Until things get better. And the President wants to do wrong by stopping the sale of guns today, not because he has any evidence that this stoppage will stop gun violence today, but because maybe it will curb it in the future. The trouble is that it is wrong to make a legal decision based on religion. The trouble is that it is wrong to disarm a nation. These things are wrong. They were wrong a couple hundred years ago, they are wrong today, and they will be wrong in the future. By wrong, I don’t mean these two notions go against trending political correctness, I mean they are wrong. Just wrong. Google it if you have to. Wrong.

The conservative, on the other hand, strives to do right today. And the conservative recognizes that one measure of righteousness is its practical, predictable consequence of more righteousness. I, as a man who loves his ability to be a Christian without being a martyr, won’t support a man running for government office who wants to use religion as a legal definition because I don’t want to be around when he changes his mind regarding which religions are good and which ones are bad. I, as a veteran (which means I’ve seen first-hand how people with guns are sheep), don’t want the government to be the only one with assault/combat weapons because I can plainly see that if the government has all the guns, then the government has all the guns! My pink body explodes when shot. And given my disdain for authority, guess who gets shot first?

Even the event of the Holocaust itself was based in liberalism/progressivism. Life will be better in the future if we do this action today. How about we try “Life will be better today and in the future if we do this act today”?

Ah, but it doesn’t matter. Many of you (obviously it’s you. I know it’s not me.) love progressives. Obama, Trump, Clinton, the whole lot of them. You and I are very similar in that we don’t care about politics and don’t have time to get involved. Where you and I differ is that you are going to vote for the lesser of two evils. You are going to cast a vote under your name that will have the effect of taking one more step towards our asking, “Who would’ve thunk it?” during whatever atrocity America (that’s you and me) is bound to commit before too long if this dream of a better future holds.

Looking for a call to action? Here it is. Don’t vote for people you don’t want to hold office. That might mean not voting. Or that might mean voting for people who won’t win. Either way, we’re at the point in history where instead of admitting, “I didn’t want to waste my vote so I picked the better of the two,” we can declare, “I didn’t vote for this fool.” Not voting is voting.

Happy New Years people.

Black People Does Not Exist

Black People does not exist. Black People is not an organization. Black People has no leader. Black People has no agenda. Black People has no logo. Black People is not looking to increase its membership. Black People has no bank account. Black People has no buildings.

Black People does not hate White People. Black People does not believe in looting. Black People does not encourage lawlessness. Black People does not teach its young members to ignore policemen. Black People does not fear for its life.

Black People does not align itself with views held by Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, or Bill Cosby. Black People does not have a dress code. Black People does not believe the dream is deferred.

Black People is not responsible for Ferguson. Black People does not support Michael Brown’s family. Black People is not angry at Darren Wilson. Black People is not angry, period. That’s because there is no Black People.

You may wonder where Black People came from if it does not exist. You may be curious and ask, “Did Black People ever exist?” The answer is irrelevant to the universal goal. The goal is to get there. And no, there will never be defined more clearly than as an abstract place that I want to arrive at safely–with you.

The only way to get there is together. It’s the slogan of this blog. It is by no means an original concept. Air Force pilots and flight crews say it in the negative or inverse, well, they say it this way: “You don’t crash in compartments.” It is a stark reminder that aircrews use to eloquently express the concept if you know something is wrong with the flight and choose to let an outside pressure–real or perceived–prevent you from sharing the information and consequently the aircraft crashes, you die too. In this case, the mechanical problem is the widespread belief of a falsehood–that Black People is a real thing.

Crew, Black People does not exist. This has been true for some time, but it is now clear that the safe landing of this flight depends on you believing it. Black People does not exist. There is no Black People. Believe it.

4 Reasons To Avoid Using Eye-Catching Headlines

1. First, nobody likes people who try too hard. And a good eye-catching headline, such as, “Did Michael Jackson Secretly Confess to Janet That He Was Guilty?” or my favorite one from LinkedIn of late, “10 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job in 2014”, these types of headlines that really beg the reader to point-and-click reek of strong cologne before a big date. Rather than trying too hard, it’s better if you try just the right amount.

2. Second, your reputation is worth more than the ad revenue generated by clicks. And readers often feel let down when they discover (again) that Michael Jackson didn’t confess anything to Janet, and that there is not one good reason, let alone ten, to quit working in 2014. After time, people will question your integrity and motivations.

3. Third, and finally, the most enticing headlines are always one mistake away from pissing readers off.