FEATURE

Howdy, Modi! Tulsi & Trump All In For The Indian Fascist Leader’s Fan Club

The greatest diplomatic triumph for the American Sangh was rehabilitating Modi’s tainted reputation in the United States. Gabbard played a significant part in that project. By Pieter Friedrich The Caravan (9/1/19) TULSI GABBARD, a United States Congresswoman, entered the historic First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles to the strains of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” She shook hands with her cheering fans, leaped on stage with a smile, accepted a garland of white flowers from a supporter, folded her hands in greeting and said, “Aloha.” It was a sunny Saturday morning in March 2019, and she was campaigning for…

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The Dark Web Is Saturating Our Communities With Deadly Fentanyl Imports From China

  China encouraging and subsidizing production and export of fentanyl and other drugs of abuse to US. Fresh Air (9/4/19) ‘Fentanyl, Inc.’ author Ben Westhoff says the synthetic opioid, while useful in hospitals, is killing more Americans as a street drug than any other in U.S. history. More than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year. Westhoff talks about how it moves from China to your corner. Link to 35-Minute Audio


Pathocracy: The Pathological Power Of Governments Led By Narcissists & Psychopaths

The danger of democracy transitioning into pathocracy is always real. It is always closer to us than we think, and once it has a foothold, will crush every obstacle in its way. By Steve Taylor The Conversation (9/19/19) After spending his early life suffering under the Nazis and then Stalin, the Polish psychologist Andrew Lobaczewski devoted his career to studying the relationship between psychological disorders and politics. He wanted to understand why psychopaths and narcissists are so strongly attracted to power as well as the processes by which they take over governments and countries. He eventually came up with the term “pathocracy”…


Creator Of Stanford Prison Experiment On ICE & Trump’s Camps: It’s How Nazi Guards Behaved

Philip Zimbardo, whose work explored the psychology of cruelty: America under Trump is a “nightmare situation” By  Chauncey Devega Salon (9/12/19) Thousands of migrant and refugee children have still not been reunited with their families. Many may never be returned to their parents. Children being held in Donald Trump’s concentration camps and other detention centers have been sexually assaulted by staff members. A new lawsuit against the Trump administration alleges that Trump’s ICE and Border Patrol enforcers are abusing teenage girls and young women by denying them proper sanitary products, leaving the girls in bloody clothes and refusing to allow them to properly…


Edward Snowden Memoir ‘Permanent Record’ Lays Out The Emerging Worldwide Surveillance Threat

“The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.” By Ewen MacKaskill The Guardian (9/13/19) The world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden, says he has detected a softening in public hostility towards him in the US over his disclosure of top-secret documents that revealed the extent of the global surveillance programmes run by American and British spy agencies. In an exclusive two-hour interview in Moscow to mark the publication of his memoirs, Permanent Record, Snowden said dire warnings that his disclosures would cause harm had not come to pass, and even…


Shut It Down: Veteran Organizer Lisa Fithian Offers A Guide To Resistance In Era Of Climate Crisis

“Learn Your History.” Democracy Now! (9/6/19) Lisa Fithian is a longtime organizer and nonviolent direct action trainer since the 1970s. She has shut down the CIA. She has occupied Wall Street, disrupted the World Trade Organization and stood her ground in Tahrir Square. She has walked in solidarity with the tribal leaders at Standing Rock and defended communities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. “It’s an incredibly painful time, but we can’t let that pain de-stablize us.” She joined us at the Democracy Now! studio to talk about her new book, which was published this week, titled “Shut It Down: Stories…


When The ICE Police State Drag Net Hits Close To Your Home & Family

By Tom Balistrieri Special to the Commoner Call (9/9/19) Big ICE Border Patrol check-point stop on I-89 in West Lebanon, New Hampshire  yesterday [9/5]  near the exit to a popular local Mexican Restaurant named Gusanoz. The owner, Nick Yager, was interviewed by the local newspaper, and he told them that immigrants have been his best workers. A young Mexican American woman and her kids were caught in the stop. She said they didn’t give her any trouble, but she was scared and she had to explain it to her kids, who were in the backseat. (That ‘Young Mexican American woman…


Joe Biden Lying About His Role In Disastrous Iraq War Is Typical Of American Pols & Shows Why We Have So Many Wars

In Biden’s case, he attempted to take a Sharpie to the entire war and black-out his name. By Jonathan Turley The Hill (9/7/19) Former French President Charles de Gaulle once explained that “since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.” This week, no one is more surprised than President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump succeeded in turning an innocent mistake about the weather into a giant lie and then, after days of determined effort, into a full-fledged scandal. Biden succeeded in denying his own words in…


America’s Slow-Motion Coup Keeps Grinding Forward: But Is Donald Trump Really The One To Blame?

We need to understand that Trump is a symptom, not the problem. By Andrew O’Hehir Salon (8/2/19) We are in the middle of a slow-motion coup in the United States of America. Even the phrase itself is banal, which is itself a symptom of our moral and political exhaustion. But sometimes clichés are on the money. Most of this coup is happening right out in the open, where those of us who are somewhat paying attention can notice it, bemoan it and then move on to the next day’s real or manufactured outrage. That doesn’t seem to be helping. There…


The Deep State Government Hiding In Plain Sight

[Editor’s Note: Be sure to watch all the way through to the end to catch Bill Moyer’s commentary. — Mark L. Taylor] Moyers & Company (4/15/16) Mike Lofgren, a congressional staff member for 28 years, joins Bill Moyers to talk about what he calls Washington’s “Deep State,” in which elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. “It is how we had deregulation, financialization of the economy, the Wall Street bust, the erosion or our civil liberties and perpetual war,” Lofgren tells Moyers. Link to 27-Minute Video ***** Essay: Anatomy Of The Deep State In terms…


Wisconsin Journalist & Media Commentator John Nichols Talks With Ralph Nader About The Corporate Takeover Of Newspapers

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/2/19) Wisconsin is about to see a big media change as the Gannett-owned Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel is about to be taken over by GateHouse media, a corporation known for stripping assets out of papers, slashing reporting staffs and diminishing the amount and quality of local reporting. The combination of Gannett and GateHouse will create the largest media conglomerate that will own 1 out of 6 newspapers in the country. More and more communities are going without local media, which means local government at the municipal and county levels goes unreported. Without the light…


Undercover: Reports From A Vancouver Democrat Who’s Been Working Against The Far-Right Extremist Group ‘Patriot’ Prayer From The Inside

[Editor’s Note: A hero in an era of cowards. — Mark L. Taylor] By Alex Zielinski Portland Mercury (8/26/19) Since 2017, far-right groups have flocked to notoriously liberal Portland to march, yell, and engage in violent clashes with left-wing activists. Most of these demonstrations were planned by Patriot Prayer, a small coalition of Trump-supporting provocateurs based in Vancouver, WA. Ben has marched alongside Patriot Prayer for nearly every major Portland demonstration—events with such vague names as “Rally for Trump and Freedom,” “Freedom March,” and “Trump Free Speech Rally.” What the far-right group didn’t know was that Ben was a spy. “I…


After Decades Of Corporate ‘Decimation’ Of Unions, Sanders Calls For Workers To Win The Class War Waged Against Them

“If there is going to be class warfare in this country, it’s time that the working class of this country won that war.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/21/19) After he unveiled a comprehensive plan to double union membership and strengthen labor rights, Sen. Bernie Sanders said during an AFL-CIO event in Iowa on Wednesday that it is time for America’s workers to win the class war against corporate elites. “If there is going to be class warfare in this country,” said Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, “it’s time that the working class of this country won that war.” Sanders explained…


Goebbels: The Truth About Political Lying (Or Why Trump Lies So Much)

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” — Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda.


‘A Snake Eating It’s Tail’ — Stock Buybacks Are Yet Another Wall Street Scam You Will Pay For

“All those billions are not just going into the air, they are going into someone’s pocket.” [Editor’s Note: One of the business experts interviewed warns we are at grave risk of yet another financial meltdown on the scale of what we experienced in 2008. — Mark L. Taylor] Business Daily / BBC (8/16/19) Share buybacks are when a publicly-listed company uses some of its spare cash to buy up shares in itself, in order to drive the share price up and benefit shareholders. The practice has become so common that the amount of buyback money extracted from corporations exceeds their…


Bearing Witness. Telling Truth In A Time Of Lies: Why It Is Important To Call Them What They Are — Concentration Camps

“Terrible things are happening outside… poor, helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find their parents have disappeared. “ — Anne Frank ***** By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/12/19) On Saturday I got into a fiery Facebook squabble with a frequent corporate dem critic objecting to something I posted about the growing network of concentration camps popping up along the southern border. I was accused of “extreme exaggeration” because the situation now is nothing like the death camps in Nazi…


“F-you, I like guns.” — Army Veteran Gets Real About Military Grade Firearms In The Hands Of Civilians:

This rifle is so deadly and so easy to use that no civilian should be able to get their hands on one. We simply don’t need these things in society at large.  By Anastasia Bernoulli Anastasia Writes (2/15/18) America, can we talk? Let’s just cut the shit for once and actually talk about what’s going on without blustering and pretending we’re actually doing a good job at adulting as a country right now. We’re not. We’re really screwing this whole society thing up, and we have to do better. We don’t have a choice. People are dying. At this rate, it’s…


Ruin Trump’s Day: Here’s A Direct Action You Can Take To Support Young ‘Dreamers’

  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) is still alive, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to kill it, and it’s vital that eligible immigrant youth renew their two-year protections as soon as possible. The cost for immigrant youth to apply is steep. That’s why Daily Kos is supporting the United We Dream DACA renewal fund. UWD has a waiting list of hundreds of young people, and every dollar raised is a chance to get them the resources they need to live without fear of deportation. Please chip in to the DACA renewal fund today to help support immigrant…


Wisconsin Under Direct Surveillance By War Dept. This Summer: ‘A Dystopian Surveillance State Being Built in Plain Sight’

“These programs are not about stopping violence, they’re about social control.” [Editor’s Note: Americans would never put up with the incessant hum of surveillance drones circling endlessly overhead as civilian victims of American wars have to. So, instead, unseen, silent, high-altitude and just as observant surveillance balloons will not attract attention while doing the job. History has shown that all empires hollow themselves out, eventually turning the weapons of foreign domination back on to the impoverished and beaten down civilians at home. This is happening now. — Mark L. Taylor] By Julia Conley Common Dreams (8/2/19) Millions of Americans across the…


Ex-Health Insurance Exec: Industry Is Using Same Old, Decades-Old Lies & Scare Tactics To Fight Medicare For All

  Democracy Now! (8/2/19) The Democratic presidential candidates remain deeply divided on how to expand healthcare to the tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both pushed for abolishing private health insurance and establishing a Medicare for All system. Their rivals have pushed a number of different, more incremental approaches. During the first night of the latest debates, Sanders pointed out that the country has taken sweeping action before to expand health coverage to millions of Americans, referring to the 50th anniversary of the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. We…


Trump’s Crude Words Are Cruel, Hateful – And Infectious. We Must Resist Calculated Hate

Language is a kind of virus, and history has shown many times that this virus can be lethal. By Francine Prose The Guardian (7/30/19) In the lead-up to the 2016 election, after Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as “animals” and his supporters began chanting “Lock her up” about Hillary Clinton, it seemed as if a malevolent genie had been let out of a bottle. Now, almost three years later, it has become painfully clear just how cruel, powerful and destructive that hateful spirit is, and that the survival of our country, our culture – indeed of our humanity – may depend…


As Deficit Explodes, Ron Johnson & Ted Cruz Demand Even More Tax Cuts For The Super Wealthy

Ron Johnson joined 19 other GOP senators to urge Treasury to give the wealthy yet another massive tax cut via executive order. By Bess Levin Vanity Fair (7/29/19) A sitting U.S. president who can’t stop attacking black and brown people. A never-ending trade war that has necessitated more than one multibillion-dollar farm bailout. A humanitarian crisis on the border of his own state. These are just a handful of the many issues that Senator Ted Cruz could be focused on. Instead, he’s currently devoting his efforts to a much more important cause: demanding another tax cut for the rich, this time without Congress’s approval. In a letter sent to Steve Mnuchin on Monday, the…


The Legalistic Veneer Of Fascism: Weaponizing National Belonging, From Nazi Germany To Trump

By Masha Gessen The New Yorker (7/21/19) This past week I found myself in Stuttgart, an industrial city in southwest Germany. As I usually do in a European city I haven’t visited before, I went to the local history museum to see how the story of the Second World War is presented. Stuttgart’s museum opened just last year, and its handling of the Nazi era is more circumspect than that of older German memorials. The period from 1933 to 1945 comprises a small set of displays, perhaps ten per cent of the entire exhibition. The tone is neutral. By turning…


The American Corporate Wealth Care System Is A Needlessly Complicated, Colossal Mess … That Kills

Corporate Wealthcare In The United States 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States are linked to health care financial stress. 45,000 people die every year due to a lack of health insurance. In 2017, 3.9 million children were uninsured, up from 3.6 million in 2016. Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. fell by 0.1 years, to 78.6, in 2016, following a similar drop in 2015. This is the first time in 50 years that life expectancy has fallen for two years running. In 25 other developed countries, life expectancy in 2015 averaged 81.8 years. ***** “The American health…


‘Official Secrets’ — Movie About Courageous UK Intel Whistleblower Who Leaked Damning Memo

  [Editor’s Note: The disastrous Iraq War rolled forward and was enabled by government deceit and malfeasance, bitter failure and active complicity of the British and American corporate media. In the midst of the craven battalions of government and corporate media a few brave souls stood out. Here’s the story of a courageous 27 year-old intelligence worker who stood for truth and principle. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (7/19/19) In 2003, Katharine Gun, a young specialist working for Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, exposed a highly confidential memo that revealed the United States’ collaboration with Britain in collecting sensitive information…


The Numbers Are In, Proving The Shady Trumpublican Tax Cut Was The Scam Critics Had Warned Of

This tax bill was constructed on a foundation of lies. By Marshall Auerback Independent Media Institute (7/16/19) The most commonly heard refrain when Donald Trump and the GOP were seeking to pass some version of corporate tax reform went something like this: There are literally trillions of dollars trapped in offshore dollar deposits which, because of America’s uncompetitive tax rates, cannot be brought back home. Cut the corporate tax rate and get those dollars repatriated, thereby unleashing a flood of new job-creating investment in the process. Or so the pitch went. Since the passage of the tax bill, the data show no…


This Is How Genocide Begins: A Border Patrol Agent Reveals What It’s Really Like To Jail Migrant Children

“Somewhere down the line people just accepted what’s going on as normal. That includes the people responsible for fixing the problems.” By Ginger Thompson ProPublica (7/16/19) The Border Patrol agent, a veteran with 13 years on the job, had been assigned to the agency’s detention center in McAllen, Texas, for close to a month when the team of court-appointed lawyers and doctors showed up one day at the end of June. Taking in the squalor, the stench of unwashed bodies, and the poor health and vacant eyes of the hundreds of children held there, the group members appeared stunned. Then,…


Famed CBS Journalist Edward R. Murrow Reminds Us Of What It Means To Be Americans: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.”

“A Report On Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy” / “See It Now” on CBS – March 9, 1954. “Earlier the Senator asked, “Upon what meat does this, our Caesar, feed?” Had he looked three lines earlier in Shakespeare’s Caesar, he would have found this line, which is not altogether inappropriate: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” “No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior senator from…


Dem Rep. Adam Schiff Accused Of ‘Criminalizing Routine Reporting,’ Groups Call For Stripping CIA-Backed Provision From Intelligence Legislation

“Schiff is clearly the resistance to the resistance, and he should drop this provision from his bill.” By Eoin Higgins Common Dreams (7/11/190 A CIA-backed provision for a bill that could have dire effects on the freedom of the press is quietly making its way through Congress, despite the protestations of civil rights groups to Rep. Adam Schiff, the powerful California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, to strip the rule. “Adam Schiff is once again putting the interests of the intelligence agencies in concealing their misdeeds ahead of protecting the rights of ordinary Americans,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director…


The Creepy Epstein Scandal Reveals The Deep Bipartisan Rot Of The Nation’s Supposed ‘Elites’

  By Frank Rich New York Magazine (7/12/19) In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s indictment in New York, a number of powerful people formerly in Epstein’s orbit — Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Bill Clinton, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Donald Trump — have been scrambling in the face of renewed scrutiny. What will Acosta’s exit and the new Epstein prosecution shake up, and what might they not be able to change? Perhaps at long last a serial rapist and pedophile may be brought to justice, more than a dozen years after he was first charged with crimes that have brutalized countless girls and women. But…


Bill Clinton Is Lying About Scandal … Again. But This Time Things Could Be Far More Serious

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” — President Bill Clinton (1/26/98) By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/11/19) While George W. Bush got tangled in its subtle logical intricacies, there is a folksy bit of advice citizens need to keep handy when dealing with politicians of all skunky stripes and varieties: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.” Present White House occupier aside, there is no politician where this is more true than Bill Clinton. Anyone conscious at the time can recall Clinton’s brash, self-righteous presentation when he sternly declared to…


Eugene Debs: “I am suspicious of leaders…”

“I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety. Give me the rank and file every day in the week. “If you go to the city of Washington, and you examine the pages of the Congressional Directory, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of Congress, and misrepresentatives of the masses — you will find that almost all of them claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. “I am very glad I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be…


“Welcome back to the USA” — Though I’m A Journalist I Didn’t Fully Realize The Abusive Power Of U.S. Border Officials Until They Trounced On My Rights & Privacy

  “Regardless of whether you have embarrassing information on your device, it’s about personal autonomy and living in a free society and not a police state.”   By Seth Harp The Intercept (6/22/19) I SHOULD HAVE kept my mouth shut about the guacamole; that made things worse for me. Otherwise, what I’m about to describe could happen to any American who travels internationally. It happened 33,295 times last year. My work as a journalist has taken me to many foreign countries, including frequent trips to Mexico. On May 13, I was returning to the U.S. from Mexico City when, passing through immigration at…


Interviews With Madison Native & Liberation Theologian Matthew Fox, Target Of Corrupt Papal Forces

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/8/19) Below are six interviews conducted by Paul Jay for Reality Asserts Itself on the Real News Network of Madison native and liberation theologian Matthew Fox. When Fox and other courageous priests continued preaching the liberation theology of justice for the poor in Central America he was kicked out of the church by the the fascist supporting Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the future Pope Benedict XVI. While targeting priests advocating for the poor, Ratzinger was one of the key…


WDRT Conversations: In A Violent, Lost Culture Rites Of Passage Are A Path To Healing

WDRT (6/29/19) Commoner Call columnist WDRT community radio host Dan Peak interviews Dr. Thomas Balistrieri on the significance of rites of passage for human beings, and how we can re-integrate them into our lives. WDRT is a non-commercial, community-supported radio station located in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Link to 58-Minute Audio ***** Pilot Edition Of Locally-Produced News Show: The Monthly Review WDRT (6/29/19) Check out the pilot edition of WDRT’s new program, The Monthly Review. Hosts Dan Peak and Mark Taylor take a critical look at the news of the last month. Both hosts collaborate on the twice-weekly news site, The Commoner Call….


Here’s A List Of Organizations Mobilizing To Help The Influx Of Immigrants Crossing The Texas-Mexico Border

By Alex Samuels Texas Tribune (6/18/19) Government agencies are grappling to respond to the number of immigrants coming into the country. Many tax-funded shelters housing immigrants are overcrowded, and there are reports some have substandard living conditions. We’ve compiled a list of organizations that are mobilizing to help. … Read the Rest (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** Kids In Need Of Defense  KIND’s Family Separation Response Team is addressing the profound crisis caused by the Trump Administration taking children away from their parents upon…


$11 For Any Prescription? What Corporate U.S. Health Care Could Learn From Germany

  On Point / WBUR (6/24/19) Germany has a private health care system like the U.S., but even the sickest patients rarely pay more than $11 for a prescription. How? Guests: Noam Levey, writes about national health care policy out of Washington, D.C., for the Los Angeles Times. (@NoamLevey) Leigh Purvis, director of health services research at the AARP Public Policy Institute. (@leighdrugwonk) Link to 40-Minute Audio ***** German Patients Get The Latest Drugs For Just $11. Can Such A Model Work In The U.S.? By Norm Levey The Los Angeles Times (6/19/19) Patients who come to the Havelhöhe cancer…


Concentrate Real Hard On This, America: Here Is Why They Are Called ‘Concentration Camps’

MSNBC news host Lawrence O’Donnell does an excellent job of running down the shameful history of concentration camps in the United States, supposed home of the free. Link to 5-Minute Video (Commoner Call illustration by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org ) ***** How Trump Administration’s Border Camps Fit Right Into The History Of Concentration Camps When it comes to this kind of detention, even when a government isn’t plotting a genocide, shocking numbers of people can still end up hurt—or dead. By Andrea Pitzer GQ (6/18/19) In February 2018, U.S….


Crime Report: Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion In Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom 50% Of Us Lost $900 Billion

“The top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom half owns less than nothing.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (6/14/19) Adding to the mountain of statistical evidence showing the severity of U.S. inequality, an analysis published Friday found that the top one percent of Americans gained $21 trillion in wealth since 1989 while the bottom 50 percent lost $900 billion. Matt Bruenig, founder of the left-wing think tank People’s Policy Project, broke down the Federal Reserve’s newly released “Distributive Financial Accounts” data series and found that, overall, “the top one percent owns nearly $30 trillion of assets while the bottom…


The Price Of Money: Political & Moral Defeat

“The Democrats have no power to change the system. Yet. So if they want to stay in the game and be competitive they’re going to have to match the Republican’s fundraising juggernaut, otherwise Trump will out-organize, out-advertise and flat out bury us in 2020.” — Facebook post (6/6/19) By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (6/13/19) So let’s take a look at that siren call of money… Two figures to consider from the 2016 presidential race: $1.2 billion and $217.5 million. The first is the amount of money raised by Hillary Clinton. The second is the amount of money raised…