illustration: connected buckets


When America began to connect to third world nations for the purpose of trade, our $18/hour society was no match for China’s $.25/hour society, and our money began to drain outwards toward China.




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History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


For the most part, to understand the Conflict you must begin with the Old Testament book, Deuteronomy. It gives us insight into why Israelites consider that land (ie. present-day Israel) to be their historic land. In summary: the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, then they marched out of Egypt and into ‘Israel’. This was a war-filled period of time, but in the end the Jews won their wars against the various peoples that lived there 3000 years ago, and took control of the land.

The next part of understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict comes from the New Testament, where we see that the Romans have taken control of that same land.

And then for a couple of thousand years, the land changed hands several times due to the warring nature of humans.

Finally, in the late 1800’s, the ‘modern’ phase of today’s conflict begins. The Jews, who were living throughout Europe in different locations, began to develop a mission to re-settle their ‘historic homeland’. It sounds reasonable, except that that land was also the historic homeland of many many other cultures.

And then hitler shows up (no capital ‘H’ for him … he’s a dick-head), and he does what he did to the Jews of Europe.

After WWII the world feels sorry for the Jews. I presume that at this point everybody is probably in agreement regarding the Jews.

But then: 1947. The UN decides to console the Jews of Europe by assuredly giving them the thing that they have been wanting for fifty years, namely, their ‘historic homeland’. Sounds like a nice gesture by the civilized world in the wake of the hell that the Jews suffered during the war. But in order to provide this kind gift to the Jewish people, the residents of that land had to be removed. They are the Palestineans.

Think about this for about an hour, and then continue reading.

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That’s right: the Palestinaens had to pay the price for hitler’s evil … how do you think the Palestineans felt … they were just farming their land, and then the UN says: ‘you got to move’.

And to make matters worse, the UN/US supported this newly-created nation of Israel by funding them monetarily and militarily, and all the sudden the Jews have the military power to close off the Palestineans from the outside world.

Not surprisingly, the Palestinians were mad. And so were their Muslim brothers. Hence all the f’d-up insanity that we live with today.




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America: is America doing to capitalism what Stalin did to communism ?

Stalin made a mockery of a nice concept: communism.

Communism is the concept of neighbor-supporting-neighbor. Sadly, today, few people realize that the communism that they speak of, the Cold War communism, is not communism but rather Stalin’s Version of Communism, which was a horror.

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And to me it seems as if we, America, have made a mess of a nice concept: capitalism.

Capitalism is the concept that ideas are generated and delivered in a marketplace. But capitalism is a vulnerable system, easily abused by people who focus on the profit part of capitalism.

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Are we being realistic about poverty


Suppose that you are a business adviser and you have a client who has come to you with a problem: he needs firewood to keep his office warm. Now take a look at the image and answer the 4 questions below.

1 – What is the probability of success for method A?
2 – What is the probability of success for method B?
3 – Which of these methods is the best?
4 – If your client does not have a chainsaw, will you tell them that karate chopping is there only option?


The Pursuit of Happyness, a feel-good positive-message Will Smith movie, is a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ themed story which basically pushes the idea that anybody can karate chop a tree, indeed making people feel hopeful – but hopeful about something that is very unlikely to occur. Thus it is effectively creating false hope and therefore it is a reckless message.

Notice that both method A and B require hard work. But method B offers a realistic probability of success in return for the client’s hard work.

In America a great amount of emotion and political policy is invested into method A solutions for the poor. It would be better to invest all of the ‘you can karate it, you just gotta work hard’ emotion into something with a more realistic probability of success, into grand-scale problem solving: to search for a method B.




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…….. if you like this post, please share it for others to read ………………………………………..

Is Big-Box Retail bad for the economy and free-market capitalism?


Over the past 25 years America has seen a transformation of our retail infrastructure go from mom-and-pop stores to big box stores.

Speaking for myself, I love the convenience of big box. And certainly the retail evolution that has led us to the big box model is understandable.

But that may not be the point, but instead, possibly, that the big box retail infrastructure represents:

  • a condensation of wealth that is prohibitive of a healthy economy where wealth is distributed to millions of moms and pops,
  • a destruction of a competitive labor pool, where good workers can bargain with their employers for better wages, or else go work for their employer’s competitor,
  • a destruction of a competitive goods and services environment where vendors and manufacturers are plentiful, each competing to access retailers supply chains.

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To illustrate these problems, imagine a small town with hardware stores. Back in the old days, there were probably 10 hardware stores, each with a different owner.

EXAMPLE 1 – imagine one of these hardware stores, such as Mayberry Hardware. The owner wants to sell wrenches. If there are thousands of different hardware stores around the country, then each owner will probably have slightly different wishes for what kind of wrenches they want to sell, and thus there will inevitably be dozens and dozens of wrench manufacturers around the country developing slight variations of the common wrench.

But if there is only one hardware company in the country (with thousands of stores), and that one hardware company chooses AmeriWrenches as its brand to sell at all of its stores, then the dozens and dozens of other wrench manufacturers will be unable to survive, and will go out of business. And all of its employees will have no choice but to go work at AmeriWrenches.


EXAMPLE 2 – imagine a worker, Little Joe, working at Bubba’s Hardware Store. Imagine that Little Joe is an amazing worker: he knows all the tools, all the construction projects around town, all the customers, all the vendors in the industry, all the tool manufacturers in the industry. But Bubba hasn’t given him a raise in 2 years. Little Joe requests a raise. Bubba refuses. But if there are lots of other hardware stores, Little Joe can go to one of them, such as Steve’s Hardware, and say, “Listen, Mr. Steve, I am great; if it weren’t for me, Bubba would go out of business; but he doesn’t pay me enough … hire me and I can bring my expertise to benefit your store.” In this scenario, we see that employees are in a natural, free market environment, using the principles of ‘competition’ to improve their own value.

However, if there is only one hardware store company in town that owns 10 individual stores around town, then Little Joe is not able to bargain on his own for better wages.

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It should be noted that these same problems occur when one national bank swallows up thousands of local banks, or when one large insurance company swallows up thousands of local insurance companies.




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Does the NRA Inhibit Constructive Dialog


If someone like me says, “gun regulation should be discussed”, some NRA person will respond, “you’re not american, you’re against freedom, you’re stupid, you think hugging criminals will work.” So to avoid being yelled at by my family and friends I, like millions of other people, just keep quiet! Consequently, our country has not had a real democratic discussion about guns and the 2nd Amendment.

Healthy discussions usually produce good answers. The NRA culture should not be afraid of the discussion if they believe that their approach is the right approach.

healthy discussions lead to good things

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There are 5 potential reasons for guns:
#1 – the Foreign Invaders argument – guns for militia members for protecting the homeland.
#2 – the Tyrannical Government argument – guns for a populace to thwart tyranny.
#3 – the Self-Defense argument – guns for individuals protecting themselves against each other.
#4 – the I Need Meat argument – guns for individuals that hunt.
#5 – the It’s Nice and Shiny argument – guns for sportsmen and collectors.
(Maybe there are more, but this is a start.)

We should discuss all 5, independently, from both a constitution-era point of view and from a modern-era point of view.

From a CONSTITUTION-era point of view:
#1is what is ‘written’ in the 2nd Amendment.
#1 & #2were both contextually relevant in 18th c., and both were discussed.
#3was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.
#4was relevant but not discussed in 18th c.
#5was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.

From a MODERN-era point of view:
#1we do not need anymore (our military is solid).
#2we have other mechanisms to prevent tyrannical governments.
#3fair enough, but only if we thoroughly analyze our entire society to understand why we have so many criminals in the first place, because possibly they are a byproduct of some sickness in our society, and maybe they are fixable … maybe.
#4fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.
#5fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.

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Gun Ownership Only With Qualified Training
Any reasonable person should be ok being required to be trained to own a weapon.

Basic gun ownership would require Level 1 training.
Level 1 training would be geared toward the most fundamental of gun claims: protecting the home.
Included in Level 1 firearms training should be psych evaluations and proper training about storing the gun in the home.
Level 1 might require 3 months of weekly sessions. Trainers would be certified by the NRA, but liable to civil and criminal courts for failure to uphold high standards (now you have a check & balance between the NRA’s desire to spread guns, and the public’s desire to have safe, qualified gun owners).

Level 1 would probably only cover low-shot hand guns, which are appropriate for home protection.

A Concealed Weapons Permit would require Level 2 training, specifically some type of Action-based Training (something that probably only military, police, and the most hardcore gun sportsmen ever get). Ab-T would last probably 20 hours, I don’t know, maybe 100.

Why should CWP owners be required to satisfy Level 2 requirements … because a CWP holder is implicitly saying, “I am taking my gun into the public, where all the action is, and if there is trouble I’m going to pull my weapon out into the public space with the intent to pull the trigger.” Therefore that person should have to prove that he/she can handle that action: people running, screaming, shots already being fired from some undetermined direction.

Level 2 would probably also only cover low-shot hand guns.

For hunters they would need a Level 3 certificate. For sportsmen, a Level 4 certificate. Etc.

What do you think about the idea of appropriate training for weapons permits?



Your 2nd Amendment Rights?! … what about donald trump’s??


I have a couple of enemies: the guy whose parking space I snaked this morning at the grocery store, and the occasional random mugger that tries to get my credit cards. But these enemies are simple and I can take care of them with a few pistol bullets into their guts. Easy.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has complex enemies due to his fame and fortune. Anyone in his family would be a valuable ransom for well organized kidnappers, such as those damn mexican cartels who have demonstrated time and time again that they can organize and penetrate an enemy encampment, pulling off any number of different types of insurgency’s.

And because of this, Donald Trump cannot resolve to a simple pistol for his protection, or even a single assault rifle (which does no good when 20 armed mexicans come jumping over your fence). Fortunately, he has the 2nd amendment (recently re-interpreted by the SCOTUS (at the behest of the NRA)) giving him the right to arm himself accordingly: with rocket launchers, probably, and he may need Black Hawks too.

Wait … he can’t have these?! His rights are being infringed. We need to stop all this simple talk about assault rifles, and start focusing on the bigger picture. Donald I am with you: build your personal IED’s, and defend what is yours.

this guy needs more than a simple pistol to protect what’s his



Are you a responsible gun owner, or reckless … try this simple test


What’s your GORF score? Use this simple equation to find out …


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Divide:
x … the amount of Time that you talk about responsible gun ownership by
Y … the amount of Time that you talk about the 2nd Amendment.

If you get a number greater than 3.5, then you are a responsible gun owner.

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Why is this equation important in today’s gun conversation in America? Because over the last few years, apparently some shifts have occurred in our population demographics, and now it is difficult to distinguish between responsible gun owners and reckless gun owners.

Being able to distinguish between these two groups has important implications in our society. Hence my simple equation to help you figure out who is who … the GORF equation.

GORF is an acronym for “Gun-Owner Responsibility Factor”. I am leaving the equation in a simple form, though I should really re-work it to normalize its output, maybe using 0 or 1 as the benchmark value. But as it stands, the benchmark value is 3.5 (I’ll explain in a moment).

In slightly more algebraic notation, my GORF equation looks like this:
GORF = Trgh ÷ Tsar
Trgh is the amount of time u discuss Responsible Gun Handling,
Tsar is the amount of time u discuss Second Amendment Rights.

A good GORF value is 3.5 … If a person’s GORF value is less than 3.5 then that means that that person is reckless, and a danger to civil society; but above 3.5 means that that person is responsible and safe.



Are Weapon-Certification programs the solution


Are Weapon-Certification programs the solution that should make both sides happy:

  • they would enable weapon ownership for the respectful and law-abiding people … republicans smile
  • they would prevent weapon ownership for the reckless and unqualified people … democrats smile.

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How would a Weapon Certification Program work?

Suppose you want a pistol for home protection, a Level 1 Certification would probably be the appropriate certificate. It might require A) 10hours of classroom training, B) 10 hours of supervised firing range training, and C) bi-annual renewals.

Suppose you want a pistol for CWP, a higher level of certification would surely be required, such as, say, Level 4. And this certification would probably require a higher level of maturity, a higher level of skill, and a higher level of in-action experience.

And in theory, there can even be a Certification Program for military-grade weapons, say, maybe, Level 7 Certification.

Anyone caught without the appropriate Certification for their particular weapon will at least temporarily lose their weapon, and have up to 6 months, say, to complete an appropriate Certification Program to get their weapon back.

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What is interesting about Certification, is you can be certified without being “registered” … which a lot of the Tyranny-paranoids are concerned about.

Here is a funny, but poignant, example of how you could be certified for something, but NOT registered: I can very easily train you for 2 weeks on Vulgar-Burping, then give you the Certification to prove you are qualified, but never submit it to any national database of burpers; I, the Certifier, only keep a record in my file cabinet. Now, at some time later in the future, when you are in a McDonalds burping vulgarly, and then you get accosted, you can show the cops your Vulgar-Burping Certificate, and they will say ‘ok’ to you … your Certification is all you need.

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Here’s a little bit more about the Weapon’s Certification idea:

  • the Certification programs could be run by the NRA,
  • but the NRA would be liable to the people through our judicial system (civil and maybe even criminal).

So, suppose the NRA is the Certifying agency, and suppose that over the years they slowly relax their Certification Programs standards, certifying basically anyone and everyone. Then Bad Guys start exploiting the lax certification programs and begin mass murdering, the NRA would be liable in the courts to lawsuits from victim’s families. We all tout our judicial system as being the greatest in the world, so can’t we trust it to handle this particular aspect?

This judicial liability would keep the NRA in balance between:

  • their desire to sell guns at k-mart, and
  • civil people’s desire to have a sane experiences when they venture outside.

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Share with your friends if you feel these ideas have merit.



Families’ Bush and bin Laden Hashed Secret Agreement

It’s not anything new, really, so why am I even flustered by the anti-obama-ists plunging forward with a conspiracy theory about obama somehow being tied to the boston bombings?

Most moderate republicans suggest that obama’s security policies are the basis for these accusations, but extremist republicans are suggesting an actual direct link: that obama ushered out a guilty saudi kid and then scapegoated the whole thing on the chechnyan boyz.

OK, screw it! If you pinheads want to play that way then here you go:

After Sept. 11 the Bush Family got together with the Bin Laden Family and worked out a deal: “keep Al Qaeda away from America and we will let Osama run free”.

Well, this explains why we failed to find obama hiding in our ally’s back yard and that there were no more terrorist attacks during the Bush years, huh!

ooh_conspiracy_theory

Justifying Lynching

It has really been a phenomenal 4 years. Over and over again the republicans/FOX Country/conservatives have relentlessly blamed Obama for everything, and when there was nothing to blame him for, they created a mountain out of some irrelevant mole hill and then blamed him for that. But their real guilt comes in their guise to justify the blame.

justifying_lynching

A Solution to the Gay Marriage Question

In America our fundamental spousal construct is the marriage. The problem is that marriage is a religious concept, not a civil concept. And because our Civil State has adopted a Religious Ceremony as its fundamental spousal construct, other spousal-wannabe’s are running into hurdles.

The solution: remove Marriage as the fundamental spousal construct, and replace it with the Civil Union.

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This opens the door for many types of Civil Unions.

Indeed, “marriage” is actually a type of a Civil Union itself, owned, operated, and defined by the churches (going back to the BC religions I think).

Other possible types of Civil Unions:

  • the las-vegas-elvis Civil Union
  • the bungee-jumping Civil Union
  • the captain-of-a-ship Civil Union
  • the gay Civil Union
  • the human-mannequin Civil Union

Think about each of these: each is questionable in light of religious doctrines, but yet most are acceptable in our civil environment.

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County-by-county democracy should be the mechanism that decides what types are -or are not- recognized by the government for purposes of … what is the purpose of registering our marriages with the government?

The C’s accuse me of being an A

There seem to be 3 different arguments in regards to the gun issue:

A – get rid of all guns (I have never actually heard anyone say this)
B – regulate guns (the ‘how to’ is up for debate)
C – sell guns like bubble gum: anytime, anywhere, anybody

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The C’s are accusing everybody else of being an A.

would you accept Constitutional Rape

Here is a thought experiment …

We probably all agree that the bill of rights (as well as a good bit of the constitution) is supposed to embody the idea of ensuring the protection of people’s natural will (as opposed to suppression). I suppose most Americans will agree with this.

Here is another example of natural will: my natural reproductive drive.

So imagine if the bill of rights included an amendment to protect my right to fulfill my natural reproductive drive … would you support it?

In the hands of ‘common sense’ this clause might work without disrupting a civil society. But as soon as someone starts twisting that clause, interpreting it to suit their own agenda, you could effectively end up with constitutional-rape.

The 2nd amendment has similarly been twisted.

Re-defining the term Gun Control

Comprehensive Training & Certification for gun ownership.

  • If you simply want a pistol for home protection, you need a Level 1 training/certificate;
  • If you want to hunt with a shotgun, you need Level 4 (or whatever);
  • If you want to operate an assault weapon for sportsmanship, you need Level 7 (or whatever);
  • If you want to carry a concealed weapon, you need Level 2 (would include in-action training);
  • etc.

CTC should make both liberals and conservatives happy:
– the liberals want a sensible, civil society;
– the conservatives want guns, and they say responsible gun owners are safe.

CTC legislation would create many jobs in the firearms training sector; and it would weed out a large percentage of irresponsible people, as well as incompetent people.

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Further Reading
Level 1 training would be geared toward the most fundamental of gun claims: protecting the home. Included in Level 1 firearms training should be psych evaluations and proper training about storing the gun in the home. Level 1 might require 3 months of weekly sessions. Trainers would be certified by the NRA, but liable to civil and criminal courts for failure to uphold high standards (now you have a check & balance between the NRA’s desire to spread guns, and the public’s desire to have safe, qualified gun owners). Level 1 would probably only cover low-shot hand guns, which are appropriate for home protection.

A concealed weapons permit would require Level 2 training, specifically some type of Action-based Training (something that probably only military, police, and the most hardcore gun sportsmen ever get). The Ab-T portion of CTC Level 2 would demand probably 30 hours, maybe much more.

Why should CWP holders be required to satisfy Level 2‘s Ab-T requirement … because a CWP holder is implicitly saying, “I am taking my gun into the public, where all the action is, and if there is trouble I’m going to pull my weapon out into the public space with the intent to pull the trigger.” With that being said, I believe that CWP holder should have to prove that he/she can handle the action: people running, screaming, shots already being fired from some undetermined direction, maybe darkness, wounded on the ground. Level 2 would probably also only cover low-shot hand guns.

For hunters they would need a Level 3 certificate. For sportsmen, a Level 4 certificate. Etc.

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What do you think about the idea of Comprehensive Training & Certification for gun ownership?

The NRA inhibits meaningful discussion … day 3 of 26

If someone like me says, “gun regulation should be discussed”, some NRA person will respond, “you’re not american, you’re against freedom, you’re stupid, you think hugging criminals will work.” So to avoid being yelled at by my family and friends I, like millions of other people, just keep quiet! Consequently, our country has not had a real democratic discussion about guns and the 2nd Amendment.

Healthy discussions usually produce good answers. The NRA culture should not be afraid of the discussion if they believe that their approach is the right approach.

healthy discussions lead to good things

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There are 5 potential reasons for guns:
#1 – the Foreign Invaders argument – guns for militia members for protecting the homeland.
#2 – the Tyrannical Government argument – guns for a populace to thwart tyranny.
#3 – the Self-Defense argument – guns for individuals protecting themselves against each other.
#4 – the I Need Meat argument – guns for individuals that hunt.
#5 – the It’s Nice and Shiny argument – guns for sportsmen and collectors.
(Maybe there are more, but this is a start.)

We should discuss all 5, independently, from both a constitution-era point of view and from a modern-era point of view.

From a CONSTITUTION-era point of view:
#1is what is ‘written’ in the 2nd Amendment.
#1 & #2were both contextually relevant in 18th c., and both were discussed.
#3was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.
#4was relevant but not discussed in 18th c.
#5was neither relevant nor discussed in 18th c.

From a MODERN-era point of view:
#1we do not need anymore (our military is solid).
#2we have other mechanisms to prevent tyrannical governments.
#3fair enough, but only if we thoroughly analyze our entire society to understand why we have so many criminals in the first place, because possibly they are a byproduct of some sickness in our society, and maybe they are fixable … maybe.
#4fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.
#5fair enough, but only with the right comprehensive training.

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Gun Ownership Only With Qualified Training
Any reasonable person should be ok being required to be trained to own a weapon.

Basic gun ownership would require Level 1 training.
Level 1 training would be geared toward the most fundamental of gun claims: protecting the home.
Included in Level 1 firearms training should be psych evaluations and proper training about storing the gun in the home.
Level 1 might require 3 months of weekly sessions. Trainers would be certified by the NRA, but liable to civil and criminal courts for failure to uphold high standards (now you have a check & balance between the NRA’s desire to spread guns, and the public’s desire to have safe, qualified gun owners).

Level 1 would probably only cover low-shot hand guns, which are appropriate for home protection.

A Concealed Weapons Permit would require Level 2 training, specifically some type of Action-based Training (something that probably only military, police, and the most hardcore gun sportsmen ever get). Ab-T would last probably 20 hours, I don’t know, maybe 100.

Why should CWP owners be required to satisfy Level 2 requirements … because a CWP holder is implicitly saying, “I am taking my gun into the public, where all the action is, and if there is trouble I’m going to pull my weapon out into the public space with the intent to pull the trigger.” Therefore that person should have to prove that he/she can handle that action: people running, screaming, shots already being fired from some undetermined direction.

Level 2 would probably also only cover low-shot hand guns.

For hunters they would need a Level 3 certificate. For sportsmen, a Level 4 certificate. Etc.

What do you think about the idea of appropriate training for weapons permits?

Republicans want their trees … and they want them now !

The Republican position in the oil discussion has got me thinking: republicans are only seeing one point of view, and they want it adhered to now.

There are many trees in the forest. Ignoring the many for the benefit of a single is a form of falsity. And if your one particular tree happens to causes damage to the others, then, well, you become liable yourself for your approach.

Furthermore, and more complicating, you must consider each and all trees over the long-term. Defending your tree today (or denying someone else’s today) without understanding the projected behavior of those trees is potentially dangerous to the forest as a whole even generations from now. Consider a tree that may eventually grow to overshadow all the rest, killing them off.

But this has made me wonder if Republicans deal with all of their issues with a similar stance: single point-of-view focus, and only respective to the immediate term?

The relationship between the Federalist Papers and the Constitution


Over the last couple of years the Federalist Papers have been referenced by armchair politicians (and Supreme Court Judges) in their efforts to justify certain political agendas.

It is important to know that the Federalist Papers are NOT:
– the Constitution, nor
– an amendment to the Constitution, nor
– a supplement to the Constitution.

But rather the Federalist Papers were Topics of Debate (essays published in newspapers in the late 1780’s) during the development of the Constitution . And as they were topics of debate, some of the points from those essays were agreed to ( by the other Constitutional Convention participants and the debating public), but other points were disapproved.

If you find something in the Federalist Papers, that happens to not be in the Constitution, there is a reason for it: it was disapproved by the collective of the Constitution authors … in other words, they specifically don’t want it in the Constitution. … it was voted out!

However, if you insist on quoting certain parts of the Federalist Papers to justify your political agenda, then be sure to also quote these things as well:

  • Federalist No. 2: “the people must cede to (the government) some of their natural rights”
  • Federalist No. 84: “… bills of rights … are not only unnecessary … but would even be dangerous.”

Recklessly quoting these is misleading, and not understanding that these papers were debate points is where you may be going wrong.



It took Reagan 5-1/2 years to get unemployment under control

It took Reagan 5-1/2 years to get unemployment under control.

He began with about a 7.5% unemployment (seasonably adjusted), and 4 years later it was roughly the same, but only after a huge spike. Then it was about level for another 1.5 years, and finally it starting coming down.