Friday, July 31, 2015

Just Another Little Fact

I read today that in my home State, California (a total failure in every way, according to Republicans,) Obamacare has reduced the percentage of uninsured people by 68%.

That's what happens when you make an honest attempt to implement laws, instead of spending billions to poison people's minds against them, so rich people can steal everything.

No, Of Course We Don't Have a Police Problem in Our Country

The following stories from the last two days, on my Facebook feed this morning:

"Video shows Georgia cop slammed elderly black man’s head on concrete and lied about it" 

"Alabama cop admits to lying to protect colleague who viciously beat a handcuffed man" 

"SC cop killed teen with two shots to the back during weed bust — and didn’t even report it: attorney" 

"San Jose cop followed black family home and held them at gunpoint for no reason: lawsuit" 

"COP KICKS SUSPECT: The Delaware Attorney General's Office has indicted a Dover police office on assault charges after he was caught on camera kicking a suspect in the face, knocking him out and breaking his jaw" 

"This Alabama jail really did torture an inmate with a Burmese python"

 I have to mention a couple of stories I heard recently on Thom Hartmann's show.  The first involves a guy who was refused a chance to be a policeman because he scored too high on an intelligence test.  He took the police to court, and lost.  The judges ruled that they had a perfect right to reject him because he was too smart.  The second involves a discussion that Thom had with someone who alleged that a very large percentage of police are steroid users- and if you think about the shape of most policemen you run into, and their belligerent attitude, sort of makes sense.  So, stupid steroided-out guys.  Just who we want wandering around the streets with guns.  I can't confirm that last story, but something is desperately wrong with our police forces in this country.  Maybe they are all just violent right wing bullies.  But whatever it is, I think it's time to stop it.  Don't you?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How the Republican Propaganda Game Functions

The latest example:  So, Barack Obama, in concert with five other world powers, let's remember, manages to pull off what is probably the greatest example of Middle Eastern diplomacy in decades. Here is how this is reported.  First, there is a phase where at least some people are reporting and discussing the actual details of this agreement.  But you see, that can only go on about a week or ten days, at which point the truth is pretty much out there for those who are interested.

This limit does not extend, of course, to the people who are lying about the agreement.  They can continue telling their nauseating falsehoods indefinitely- my God, they are still at it with Benghazi- with the playing field left to them, because the truth has already been told.  And every time they broadcast another lie, a few more people fall for it.  And soon, Americans think Obama increased the budget deficit, the stimulus didn't generate any jobs, Obamacare is a grotesque failure, and on and on.  And with the "mainstream" press so invested in carrying water for the Republican party, there's really no way to prevent the lies from drowning out the truth.

The Insanity...

The dishonesty.  Apparently, Jon Stewart has actually been at the White House TWO TIMES!!!!!! during the Obama administration. Cue the insane right wing freakout over this disgraceful revelation:

“Secret visits, unprecedented access...It’s Official: Jon Stewart is an Obama Shill.” ...now we know that there was a coordinated effort to control which Administration foibles got ha-has, and which were exposed for actual critique. It’s not a particularly shocking revelation, but it does serve as one more layer of slime covering the travesty that is the relationship between liberals and the media.”

Just a small sample of the synthetic outrage today over this utterly meaningless fact.  Click the link to the article at Alicublog for much more, if you are interested.

Two obvious things to point out about this latest Republican outrage.  First of all, they have succeeded in their Pavlovian task of training their minions to react with hatred and anger to anything about the left, no matter how meaningless; and more importantly, the endless recurrence of this sort of idiotic non-scandal shows perfectly well what an honest, well intentioned bunch Democrats are, by and large, that after six years, after spending millions of dollars in "opposition research,"  this is the level of "scandal" they have been able to find in the Obama administration.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Most Redneck Thing In History

This:

"OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday she was trying to be a good mother when she let her daughter park a "nice trailer" on the grounds of the governor's mansion, but that the vehicle runs afoul of an obscure state regulation and Christina Fallin must move the home on wheels."

God in heaven above, how can things like this be true?  Maybe she could also have a couple of trashed 1970's cars up on concrete blocks, or an old washing machine or two.


The Electoral Stacked Deck

I'd like to deal with two incidents in the last week that show just how difficult it is going to be for Democrats to have a fair shot of winning the 2016 election.  Those of us who actually pay attention to what goes on in this country spend their time in a constant semi-daze at the thought that, after its performance the last few decades, the Republican party is afforded any credibility whatsoever by the electorate.  By now, the Republicans should be as lost to history as the Whigs or the Know Nothings, but there they are, seemingly taken seriously around the country.  A buffoon like Donald Trump is treated like the Conservative equivalent of Bernie Sanders, while a malignant, corrupt liar who has devastated everything he ever touched, like Scott Walker or Chris Christie, is treated as a suitable opponent to Hillary Clinton.  How does this happen?  How does this madness continue?  Well, here are a couple of examples of how this magic trick is pulled off.

The first one has to do with the reporting of the New York Times regarding a fabricated e-mail scandal involving Hillary Clinton.  The Times published a story headlined “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email”  stating as a clear fact that there was a criminal inquiry into Hillary's behavior itself.  As the days went by, first of all, it turned out that the supposed inquiry was not about Hillary at all, but about how some of the e-mails had been handled after she turned them over to the government.  What's more, the inquiry was not a criminal one in any way.  It turned out that some of the information in a couple of the e-mails had been classified long after Hillary left office, and the inquiry was designed to make sure that the later treatment of the e-mails, by people utterly unrelated to Hillary, did not reveal information which was only classified after Hillary left.  There was never a suggestion that Hillary herself did anything wrong- not a suggestion, that is, except in the New York Times, which as much as accused her of being a criminal.  And where did this information that the New York Times relied upon come from?  From the usual unnamed "high government sources," i.e. lying Republican operatives, whose word is as good as gold to the New York Times.

And now, let's look at a couple of excerpts from an article in the Washington Post, by Jennifer Rubin.  Now, given that Jennifer Rubin has a years-long history of dishing out the most abominable Republican lies to the American people, it's stunning that she can get any job in journalism, let alone one at the vaunted Washington Post.  Well, here's Jennifer a couple of days ago, lying her ass off about the Iran nuclear deal:

"As we learn more about the Iran deal — the side agreements, the lifting of the arms and missile embargoes, the loophole-ridden inspections regime — the more apparent it is that only people so enamored of their own work, so gullible to embrace the Iranians’ soothing words and so desperate for glory could have negotiated this deal. Rather than acknowledge the criticisms on the merits, the administration sinks lower and lower, casting aspersions on critics.

The administration sounds more unhinged with each passing day, no doubt because it is not convincing Democrats to stand with the White House in defense of a rotten deal...An Obama administration assessment of the Iran nuclear deal provided to Congress has led a number of lawmakers to conclude the U.S. and world powers will never get to the bottom of the country’s alleged efforts to build an atomic weapon, and that Tehran won’t be pressed to fully explain its past."

This "rotten deal" has been praised as a phenomenal diplomatic breakthrough everywhere, by governments, diplomats and disarmament specialists, except among right wing Americans, and a few pathetic Likud members in Israel who, like the former Republican operative Netanyahu, seem to be more interested in the fate of the Republican party than the security of their own country.

"Details of the report, which haven’t been previously disclosed, indicate the deal reached this month could go ahead even if United Nations inspectors never ascertain conclusively whether Iran pursued a nuclear weapons program—something Tehran has repeatedly denied.

In other words, the administration caved on PMDs and the deal would go into effect without ever forcing Iran to disclose information necessary to conduct adequate inspections. (“Outside nuclear experts said understanding Iran’s past nuclear work was critical to verifying the new agreement because it establishes a baseline for what Tehran has done in the past.”) Democrats who insisted on a credible inspection process and know that it depends on our understanding of Iran’s past nuclear weapons program have a choice: Cave (as the president did, thereby sacrificing their own credibility) or insist the president go back (with additional leverage in the form of new sanctions) to obtain what Kerry once promised he would get"

Of course, it is what happens now and in the future that is important.  What happened in the past was never what these negotiations were about, and will have absolutely nothing to do with whether the negotiations are a success.  Rubin simply invents this meaningless issue, because the truth is, as the whole world knows, that Obama has cooperated with five other countries to pull off an amazing diplomatic agreement, without a shot being fired.

"No wonder the administration is throwing a fit, louder...with each passing day. The president and his advisers desperately want to divert attention from their own grossly defective deal... "

I haven't really noticed the administration "throwing a fit," unless it counts as a fit for Democrats to show any satisfaction in a job well done.  This article is so intemperate, so filled with lies and so vicious that it belongs at Gateway Pundit or Breitbart, not on the pages of what is supposedly one of our top newspapers.  And, of course, we have already illustrated what we're getting from the other one.

Fast on the heels of this comes the news that the supposedly left-wing cable news network MSNBC is replacing Ed Schultz, a reliable liberal, with Chuck Todd, whose only journalistic skill on earth seems to consist in not showing the slightest negative reaction as Republicans come on his show and lie in his face over and over again.

And this is our liberal press.  I'll tell you what: I'm sick of the pundits that (when they rarely seem to notice this malfeasance) blame it on a love of the "horse race," or on their all possessing emotional developments on the level of middle school kids, like Maureen Dowd, or some other psychological defect that results in this sort of coverage.  After decades of this sort of thing, which always, always works to the benefit of Republicans, when will people face the fact that it is the product of a corrupt fifth estate, bought and paid for by the rich, thanks to Reagan era deregulation, and operating exactly as Reagan and his handlers have always intended?

As I have said before, the Democrats could whip the Republicans within an inch of their lives without any problem whatsoever.  What they can't beat is the Republicans and the press working together, which is what we have had in this country for decades now, with the predictable result that our way of life is unraveling with no prospect of things ever getting better.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Current Take on Donald Trump

So, the real likelihood is that Trump is just a really rich guy who loves being the center of attention, and is willing to pay for it.  But here's another possibility that I haven't heard anyone suggest:

Trump is actually the Republicans' answer to Bernie Sanders.  The Republicans can see the utterly unexpected degree to which Sanders' populist message is resonating with people, and they are deathly afraid that their own supposed populists, the teabaggers, will hear him and respond to what he has to say.  So, their only possible response (short of actually doing something that benefits anyone but the Koch brothers, but let's stick to reality here) is to find a candidate that can keep those people on the reservation.  Well, Trump is the perfect choice- he loves the media coverage, and he knows that he won't get the nomination, so it's just a fun carnival ride for him.  And they can keep him in the news as long as Bernie Sanders continues his surge.  Because, to a Republican, the notion of a Presidential candidate actually getting people to support him by putting forth an honest, middle class oriented message, is totally beyond their comprehension.

Then, when Bernie withers like all of their own one-month-wonders do, Trump can get bored and go home.  That's the plan, anyway.  Because, as I said, the one thing they never thought of in their worst nightmares is an honest politician. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Good Guys With Guns

From an AP story:

"LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police investigating the death of a Los Angeles man uncovered an arsenal inside his home and garage — more than 1,200 guns and about two tons of ammunition, authorities said Monday.
Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Smith called the number of rifles, pistols and shotguns staggering.

There were no signs of foul play."

Well, I'm just glad that his guns proved so useful to him.



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

Greetings from Baton Rouge!  Well, I want to start out today with a wonderful picture circulated on the internet, by that sterling Conservative intellectual, Dinesh D'Sousa.  Yes, just a couple of weeks out of prison and he's at it again.  And here's the picture:

Of course, the photo was not online for more than about ten minutes before someone found the original, which naturally didn't have the Confederate flag.  But that wasn't fast enough to keep it from spreading to a whole bunch of other right wing sites.  As to why Hillary, when she was a student at Wellesley who grew up in Illinois, would have a Confederate flag in her dorm room, well, who knows?

And while we are on the subject of right wing lies, get ready for an avalanche of coverage about a video made by a friend of professional liar James O'Keefe, purporting to picture a person from Planned Parenthood, selling baby parts from aborted fetuses for $30-100.00.  I'm not going to waste your time explaining what a miserable smear this is, but I will tell you that it has been picked up by just about every right wing website I looked at today.

Well, on with the rest:

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "Party in New Hampshire: Romney Hosts Rubio and Christie "

Boy, that must have been one hell of a shindig.

Michael Brown Town Hall:  "Oregon Declares War On Christian Faith"

That's right, troops are massing in the streets in front of churches, waiting for the order to start shooting...oh wait...this is actually about a court upholding a fine against a right wing Christian.  Guys, you really ought to look up the word "war" in the dictionary.  I don't think it means what you think it does.


Leah Barkoukis, Town Hall:  "By the Way: More Than 42 Million Muslims 'Support ISIS' "

Well, that amounts to less than 2.5% of all Muslims in the world.  I wonder how many right wing Christians support attacking Iran?

And now for some really unexpected news:

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "Bill O'Reilly Rips San Francisco Politicians, Obama Administration"

Who would have ever expected that?

Byron York, Town Hall:  "Some conservatives have seen efforts to remove the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, and also from other public places around the South, as the beginning of a slippery slope in which roads and landmarks named after Confederate figures are changed, monuments are removed, and a significant part of American history is obscured from view."

How about the fact that the Civil War having been about slavery has been "obscured from view" for 150 years by Byron and his friends?  Let's deal with that one first.


Bill Kristol, Twitter:  ""The Left's 21st century agenda: expunging every trace of respect, recognition or acknowledgment of Americans who fought for the Confederacy"

Well, you've almost got that right, Bill.  We'll leave them with the same amount of respect and acknowledgment that we give to Heinrich Himmler's personal office staff.   How's that for a fair compromise?

Bob Barr, Town Hall:  " Is Trump America’s “Strongman”?

Well, only in the sense that he is a sideshow act.

Moe Lane, Red State:  "Republican heroes go after horrible, Democratic-imposed, school lunch restrictions...The GOP is gearing up to go after the Democratic school lunch horror-show."

And there it is- what Obama has reduced the  Republicans to.  This is the issue that is supposed to outrage their base.  Democrats want kids to eat healthy food.  Not really as scary as wanting to annihilate them with weapons of mass destruction.  Still, to a Conservative, pretty frightening.

Seton Motley, Red State:  "Democrats Want Big Government Crony Socialism – Why Are Some Republicans Giving It to Them?"

Only mentioning this item for the first occurrence I have ever seen of a new meaningless Republican insult:  "crony socialism."  Man, that's really scary.

Brad Jackson, Red State:  "How to Fix America’s Public Pension Crisis"

By stealing trillions from retired government workers.  Hey, who is going to stop them?

RopeGate: Vintage Video Emerges of Clintons Corralling Press in 1992...Now we know where Hillary's aides got the idea."

Well, stop the presses!  Hillary's campaign is over now!  She corralled the press!

Sorry, guys, this isn't going to register with anyone until she starts using a branding iron on them.

Michael van der Galien, PJ Media:  "Ted Cruz Makes Waves: Raises $51 Million in Second Quarter"

Does that make him sane?  I don't think so.  It does mean, however, that some suckers just threw $51 million down the sewer.

Jordan Debbink, Renew America:  "Jindal has sharpened tool for 2016"

Watch out, Bobby.  Don't stick it in your eye.

Matt Vespa, Town Hall:  "Medicaid Is A 'Humanitarian Catastrophe'

It's actually much more humanitarian to just let poor people die.


John Hawkins, Town Hall  "The Fight Over the Confederate Flag Has Turned Into a Hateful Smear Campaign Against Millions of Southerners"

Not enough hate on earth to give them what they deserve.

David Limbaugh:  "Hillary's Tired, Demagogic Economic Proposals"

As opposed to the new, never heard of before, Republican economic proposals- cutting taxes on the rich, and less regulation of business.

Erick Erickson, Red State:  "We already know what is going to happen with Iran. In a few years, there will be an underground nuclear detonation signaling that Iran has learned to make a bomb and is deploying a nuclear arsenal. It will destabilize the region and provoke a war that is even now foreseeable."

This from the same people who suggested that the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage would cause God to hit the United States with an asteroid.

Streiff, Red State:  "Obama caves to Iran on every issue"

Of course, the text of the agreement has not been released, but Streiff already knows what is in it.  Mental Telepathy, I guess.  And by the way, since Russia was in on this also, I guess Conservative hero Putin caved to Iran on every issue too.

Erick Erickson, Red State:  "Did you see Hillary Clinton’s press conference yesterday?  She claimed to be in favor of a tomorrow and future, but then attacked tech companies like Uber and AirBnb..."

Uber and AirBnb are tech companies because you reach them online?  That's like saying your supermarket is General Motors because you get to it in your car.

Gavin McInnes, The Greg Gutfield Show:  "Trump Is a Snowplow Who Will Move Out and ‘BOOM! Ted Cruz, President!”

Ha ha.  Fairy tale time.  Then, we'll all drink some chocolate milk and take a nap.

Michael Walsh, PJ Media:  "Slain L.A. Football Player’s Dad: Trump Is Right on Immigration"

Slain L.A. football player's dad...boy they are really going for the government policy experts now.

James Jay Carafano, PJ Media:  "How Twitter Can Get You Killed"

Maybe if you go on twitter and threaten a Mexican drug lord?

Chuck Baldwin, Renew America:  "Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that what we see happening in the United States today is an apt illustration of why the Confederate flag was raised in the first place. What we see materializing before our very eyes is tyranny...The Confederate flag needs to be raised, not lowered"

Right, Chuck, you go with that.  Pig.

Newsmachete, American Thinker:  "What will happen to our military when it's led by soldiers with gender dysphoria?"

Whatever it is, it couldn't be worse than what happened to it when it was led by Republicans in Iraq.  Deal with that, sucker.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Greece and Collapse

What led to the current Greek fiscal calamity?  To hear our betters in the economic world, it is all a result of the Greeks being shiftless, irresponsible borrowers who spent themselves into penury, and must now pay the price.  But if that is so, why is it that the bankers that lent them the money, year after year, encouraging them ever more strongly to keep taking more, and who are presumably able to tell a good loan from a bad one, didn't cut them off, and make them live within their means, for their own good?

Well, you see, that's the way things used to work, at least from the thirties until the nineties.  The wise old mortgage lender wouldn't grant you a loan you couldn't handle.  That might have been frustrating at the time, but in the long run, it saved you from disaster.

But then, something happened.  Rich people, and their stooges, like Reagan, Bush, Gingrich- you know the names- decided that they just didn't have enough money, so they tilted the playing field in their direction, and the bucks came rolling on down, beyond the wildest dreams of old fasioned rich guys.  That was great for them; I mean, who wouldn't like a 230 foot yacht?  But there was one problem:  what do you do with all that money?  You can't keep a few billion in your mattress, so you have to invest it somewhere.  It seems like there could be nothing greater for banks and brokerage houses than to have a bunch of rich guys bring them all their money, but this just creates another problem.  Banks have to pay interest on that money, and if they can't lend it out to other people, they are going to end up broke; particularly because those rich guys are hardly going to be satisfied with the measly percent or two that the rest of us have to deal with.  But with economic troubles constantly on the horizon, there just isn't anywhere for the banks to safely invest their rich clients' money. 

So, the banks just abandoned their principles and used less and less discretion in granting their loans.  This was true in this country with banks giving mortgages to people who could obviously never pay for them, and it was just as true with the big international banking institutions, virtually forcing their money down the throats of hapless saps like the Greeks.  What's more, anyone who has read this far can see that this entire process is inevitably going to end up in a giant smash.  Of course, when that happens, the banks expect the victims of their irresponsible greed to pay the price, and that seems to be the way it always goes.

But you see, there is a simple and obvious answer to this endlessly repeating situation:  If you don't cram too much into the pipeline to begin with, it won't explode on you.  Allowing rich people to have too much money is the cause of financial crises, and for the sake of all of us, this must be brought to an end, probably by some vast increase in upper tax brackets, combined with enough regulation to prevent them from looting whatever business they get their hands on. 

For your information, this is exactly what happened in the nineteen twenties.  At that time, there was a vast increase in the share of the nation's wealth that was going to the rich.  All sorts of inscrutable investment vehicles were created to give them a place to put their money; and contrary to the popular misconception that no one predicted the final result of this, many economists warned of the inevitable collapse that was to come.  Of course, we were under Republican rule, so there was no more chance that any of those guys would get their hands on the levers of power, than that President Romney would appoint Paul Krugman to head the Fed.  No, instead, President Calvin Coolidge made Andrew Mellon, the head of a gigantic banking house and one of the richest men in America, to be the Secretary of the Treasury, where he remained until 1932, doing everything he could to increase the portion of the nation's wealth owned by the rich, and thus doing everything he could to see to it that the Great Depression would be as catastrophic as it was.

I am making no argument for fairness here, although that would be a legitimate argument to make.  I am stating that letting the rich have more money than they can meaningfully invest is a guaranteed recipe for economic disaster.  It is a matter of self defense for us to take back the ill-gotten gains of these rich sociopaths.  If we don't the world is doomed to endless replays of the economic collapse we have seen in 1929 and 2008.

Iran

So, the Republicans are screaming their heads off over the deal just reached with Iran.  A little sample, from their Presidential field:

Mike Huckabee:  "Shame on the Obama administration for agreeing to a deal that empowers an evil Iranian regime to carry out its threat to 'wipe Israel off the map' and bring 'death to America.'

Marco Rubio:  "Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security. President Obama has consistently negotiated from a position of weakness"

Chris Christie:  "After two years of humiliating concessions by President Obama, he has made his deal with Iran"

And on and on.  Here's one thing about all of this, which no one in the mainstream press seems to have noticed:  for months now, the Republicans have been talking as if this was some sort of deal between Iran and President Obama personally.  They forget that there are six  world powers who have been involved in this negotiation every step of the way.  They don't care to mention that, even if the Republicans manage to totally destroy the United States' participation in this process, the other five countries are going to take this historic deal.  Republicans want to trade away our participation in a major step toward peace in the Middle East, for nothing but a chance to poke Obama in the eye again. 

And let us not forget that it was the United States that overthrew Iran's democratic government, resulting in what they have now, and it is the United States alone that is filled with politicians constantly agitating for war with Iran.  We're lucky they were willing to trust us enough to even include us in the negotiations; and in case this is not clear, it is the personal trust they had in Obama that allowed that.

So, they're off to the races, trying to turn a major foreign policy achievment into a disaster.

And let's not finish without a shoutout to that Republican in Likud clothing, Benjamin Netanyahu, whose intransigent, piggish attitude has apparently succeeded in destroying about eighty percent of the support Israel used to have around the world, just a couple of years ago.  Netanyahu lived in the United States and was a Republican operative before he ever involved himself in Israeli politics; I believe that he is really more of a Republican than an Israeli.  He knows that his bread is going to be buttered by the likes of Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers, so he is deliberately selling the Israeli people down the river to curry favor with these rich psychopaths.  The israeli people are just not prepared to recognize the threat of an American politician using American techniques to manipulate them, but we are.  It's time for us to focus on just who this guy is, and on the fact that he is destroying his country the same way the Republicans are destroying ours.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Greece

Let's be clear about what is going on in Greece.  A bunch of European banks made big loans to Greece, and Greece could not pay them back.  All of this "austerity" is about making the Greek people pay the banks back for their bad investments.  None of the money raised by these measures is going to Greece- it's all going to the bankers who made their bad investments.

Well, you know what?  Here's how I thought capitalism is supposed to work:  You make an investment, and if it works, you make money.  If it doesn't work, you lose.  Instead, it is now seemingly established that if you are a big enough bank or brokerage, you have to get your money back, even if that involves crushing the democratically elected government of a country like Greece, and looting your money from innocent people who had nothing to do with your bad loan. 

This is the death of democracy, at the hands of a rich elite who feel so entitled that they believe that someone else has to bear the cost when their gambles don't work out.  I think I need hardly point out that this is exactly what happened in this country after the 2008 collapse, and it's what Republicans did in response to the last depression too, and we know how that worked out.

We are at the point in the US where a few rich people are on the verge of being able to buy the entire country.  These people believe that we owe them a profit on their investments, no matter how foolish or malicious they are.  They also believe that they have the absolute right to overthrow any government that tries to stand up to them.  And every single Republican is fighting as hard as he can to prove that he can sell his soul to them faster than anyone else.

And people call Bernie Sanders crazy.