The Uses of Law

When would-be reformers go through the law code looking for bad laws to attack, often they are simply paralyzed by the sheer volume of damaging laws. Priorities must be set; given scarce resources, one must decide to change this law before that one. Yet as far as I know, no one has tried to categorize laws by what they do, so that they could be compared to each other qualitatively or quantitatively.

Such a system, if it were clearly defined and accepted, could work wonders in getting people to agree on what needs changing now, and what later. While I have no idea how the quantitative aspect could work, I have some thoughts on how to categorize law.

Fundamentally, law can do three things:

1. Law can make a statement of morality, i.e. say that such-and-such is good or bad in itself. Example: laws against child abuse.

2. Law can regulate and promote civil order (or, less generously, create unintended consequences in society), without necessarily making a moral judgement on the things being regulated. Example: traffic laws.

3. Law can privilege one actor or group of actors over another. Example: agriculture subsidies.

Now, most laws have components of all three of these elements. For example, families with children get a tax writeoff for their children because our culture considers childraising to be a great good, and in order to keep the population growing fast enough to avoid a deflationary spiral. In the process, families with children are privileged over families without children.

But by taking a law, determining the totality of its effects, and classifying these effects using the above three components, one may more easily analyze its effects or identify the underlying assumptions of the law. One these are clarified, one may more easily ask whether the law is good or bad.

This is about the point where I should ideally demonstrate this method (say, on the Accredited Investor laws), but it's late and my brain is running on empty. I'll get around to a demo soon.


Propoganda Techniques

Strategy Page provides a detailed list of the most effective and commonly used forms of propoganda. As they write, "If you spend any time at all consuming mass media, you will find these techniques familiar." Check it out.

Strategy Page is incredibly useful for anyone who wants to better understand modern warfare and strategy. Especially interesting are the "DLS" articles in the sidebar, which stand for Dirty Little Secrets.


D.C. Summer: A Retrospective

[Yes, I finally got around to it…]

This past summer was spent in Washington D.C. doing a program run by the Fund for American Studies (TFAS), where I studied part of the day at Georgetown and interned at an NGO for the rest. (Check my June and July 2005 archives for some posts referencing my experiences.) I have been asked a few times to summarize my impressions of the way government works.

The NGO I interned at was relatively small and not intimately connected to the halls of power; but it was very much a part of the "vast right-wing consipracy," so to speak. Our major financial backer was one of the big names of the libertarian/conservative movement, and much of our board was composed of Heritage Foundation members. The NGO officers attended the Wednesday roundtables given by Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform. These roundtables served to brief all the major libertarian/conservative organizations in town, and coordinate their lobbying activities in Congress. While much of the gathering's goals matched those of the Bush Administration (and in the one roundtable I attended, an administration official was actually there to talk about Hugo Chavez), this was emphatically not a Republican alliance per se. They wanted deregulation and small government, and the President was giving them precious little to feel good about except for CAFTA.

In that room, I had the sense of a great deal of frustrated power. These people were all representing large constituencies of people who thought that government was too big, too intrusive, and out of control. Yet they could do nothing about it without the Senate, and while they certainly had influence in the House of Representatives, the Senate was much more hostile to their goals. In particular, the gathering's support for CAFTA was small potatoes compared to the direct lobbying by the President, and in the end the people around the room could do little but make their phone calls and hope that the President came through. In the end, of course, CAFTA passed.

TFAS arranged many events for the students; we visited the Federal Reserve, the State Department, the CIA. Everywhere we went, I got the same impression from the staff: they were generally competent people, working incredibly hard for relatively little pay because they genuinely wanted to serve the country. They were cynical as only government workers can be, and sometimes resentful of their low salaries, but they all did the work because they felt a calling, or because they loved being a part of Washington (in which sense that was true is a disturbing question).

(A word on the salaries. Looking at government salaries in the abstract, they don't seem too bad. But D.C. is possibly the most expensive city in America to live in. To get an tiny apartment on a starting government salary, you needed at least three other roommates. Yet the city is filled with people doing just that, in order to work at the center of government.)

At the same time, you could tell a lot about a particular agency by looking at where it was housed. The Federal Reserve is located in one of the great neoclassical edifices, and lavishly appointed in the old style. Inside, one got a tremendous sense of gravity and history. The deliberations of its members cannot help but be influenced by a sense of responsibility for the country whose money they control, as it should be.

The State Department, on the other hand, is located in a terribly ugly building in Foggy Bottom. It seems like something out of a 1950's "This is the Future" exhibit. There are no windows once you get inside, and the main conference room is closed off from the outside world. The employees gave off a vague sense of being out of touch, whether it was the outdated clothing worn by the secretaries or the way that people seemed to blink just a bit too quickly when confronted by a group of mostly well-behaved college students.

I was surprised to find that many midlevel government appointees are selected solely because of their work during election campaigns. One of the speakers who came to TFAS's career day was a midlevel member of the Treasury Department, who described how he had started working campaigns on the state level, eventually becoming a key member of the President's reelection team for his state. Because of that election job, he was given his post in the Treasury. While he was certainly qualified for the position, I was unsettled by the whole idea.

This official invited a few of us to a shindig he had arranged at Capital City Brewery. I was the only one to make it due to a terrible rainstorm, but I got to watch him work a long table filled with Washington professionals. They were senior congressional aides, or else midlevel officials like himself in other agencies. He had brought them together to outline plans for a lobbying organization he was setting up to get Federal funding for a poor area of his state; I suspect that at least part of his intent was to lay the groundwork for an eventual run for elected office. I was certainly not the only one to think so; the others spent the night making connections to this dynamic figure who promised to go far in politics.

My overall impression of how the government works, from my extremely limited vantage point, was that Washington is full of decent, hardworking people who love their country and serve it by playing according to the sometimes corrupt, sometimes nasty, sometimes hypocritical rules of the game. There is far too much money going around, as can be seen by the hordes of lobbying organizations that infest every decent-looking highrise, and that will skew people's behavior. One wonders how the system can ever be tamed, simply because it has become so tightly interdependent and full of incestuous linkages. But at any rate, I have much more respect for the average Washingtonian now than before the summer.

One final note: the Jewish Community Center looked like some sort of miniature neoclassical fortress. It gave off a sense of pathetic pretensions to wealth and power on the one hand, and a deep and abiding insecurity on the other. It may illuminate much about the mindset of the average Jewish lobbyist or politico. (On the other hand, the food was quite good, though I ate more often at Eli's Deli on 20th and N. Mmm, Capital Sandwich…)


How Does One Practice That?

A practitioner of Chi Gong (or Qigong) performed an amazing (and slightly off-color) feat of strength the other day in Fremont, California. Read about it here (rated R). The article seems not to have any quotation marks, but you can figure it out without much trouble.

At one point the article describes the body part in question as "look[ing] ready to burst." This is consistent with videos I have seen of other Chi Gong demonstrations, in which the practitioners appear to have swelled up significantly. You can also see a hint of this in the movie "Kung Fu Hustle"; compare the normal appearance of the tailor, Iron Fist, to his appearance while he is fighting. His skin appears to puff out, particularly his face and chest.

This was just too cool to pass up. Hat tip to Ace of Spades.


Rafah Crossing

The United States has just pressured Israel into transferring the Rafah crossing in Gaza to the control of the Palestinian Authority. This will almost certainly lead to increased weapons-smuggling into Gaza, as even while the Israelis are still there they routinely find sophisticated tunnels through which smugglers transport weapons, explosives, and people.

Is the objective of the exercise to guarantee Israeli security? Or is it to give the Palestinians a state? We cannot do both with any certainty, and which of the two options we prefer will dictate our response to issues like the Rafah crossing. A sovereign state must by definition control its own borders; the present Israeli checkpoints are a clear violation of any forecasted Palestinian sovereignty. Therefore, if the powers-that-be are serious about Palestinian statehood, the borders must eventually revert to Palestinian control.

But doing so threatens Israeli security, does it not? Yes, unless you happen to believe that the key for eventual peace lies in Palestinian statehood. Then the handover takes on the characteristics of an investment, in which you sacrifice security in the short-term for the sake of greater security in the long-term.

The flaw in such an argument, of course, is that it presumes that a sovereign Palestinian state will be a good neighbor. While I would be thrilled if such a thing were to come about, I see no evidence that a free Palestine would be anything other than a forward-base for Hamas, Hizbullah, and al-Qa'ida. But the optimists will not be satisfied until the whole experiment blows up in—well, not their faces exactly (except for the delusional Israeli left), but the faces of the poor schlubs on the front line.

In that sense, perhaps the transfer of the Rafah crossing is a good thing. Either it will work as intended, helping to usher the Palestinians into a new era of peace and goodwill, or it will hasten the day when the failure of Oslo becomes so spectacular, so all-encompassing, that Israel will finally discard its delusions, put away the olive branch and unsheathe the sword.


Zarqawi Dead?

According to reports now hitting the wires (for example, read here and here) US forces surrounded a house containing eight senior al-Qaida members, most of whom detonated themselves to avoid capture. There is reason to believe, but no confirmation yet, that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was one of them.

Combined with the continued success of Operation Steel Curtain and Zarqawi's being made outcast from his own clan, prudent onlookers can conclude that we have long since passed the point of inevitable victory in Iraq. That victory will not be painless—as Churchill reminded the US Congress during World War 2, more Union soldiers died after Gettysburg than before, though the end was no longer in doubt—but it will come, unless we choose to quit the field and let the enemy win by default.

Be steadfast, America. Hold on to your weapons for just a little longer.

For a little perspective, check out the devastating political cartoons of Dr. Seuss during World War 2. Many of them could easily have been ripped out of today's headlines.


A Free-Market Approach to Reducing the National Debt

Much ink has been spilled and much hot air has gusted about concerning our expanding national debt. Everyone agrees that the debt is a bad thing; it makes us beholden to large holders of Treasuries such as China or Japan, it drives up the inflation rate, it takes more and more of our budget just to service existing debt, it makes borrowing more expensive, it weakens the dollar, et cetera.

With all the talk, not much has actually been done about paying it down. To do so requires some combination of revenue increases and spending decreases (though given the government's unprecedented revenue growth at all levels, many would say our main problem is with spending). Raising taxes would stifle the economy and be politically unpopular, and lowering spending would leave the old and the poor hanging, which is even more politically unpopular. That something needs to be done anyway is not enough for our Congress, which would rather spend its time on "cultural" issues of negligible fiscal significance than actually risk angering the interest groups.

So the debt continues to grow. And increasing taxes are hardly a solution, given that additional revenues would likely be used for more programs and not to plug the hole in our budget. At any rate, there is no guarantee that Congress would use additional revenues the way we want them to.

Is there anything we citizens can do? Actually, yes. I just learned today that the Bureau of the Public Debt has a program whereby individuals can donate money to the Treasury for the express purpose of retiring public debt. Apparently these donations are tax-deductible, though this is not immediately apparent from the BPD link.

People have a meaningful choice between sending money into the general revenues to pay for who-knows-what, or making a small sacrifice to devote money exclusively to paying down the national debt—while denying tax revenue to the budget. Donating towards paying down the debt could become not only an act of civic patriotism, but a powerful protest against Washington budget politics at the same time. Best of all, it is totally voluntary.

What's not to like?

Yes, Congress can easily borrow more money to make up for the shortfall, but since donations would be tax-deductible and not credited to taxes entirely, the total debt would go down more than the size of the shortfall. Moreover, if such donations became widespread enough it would be a stunning condemnation of our present budgeting culture, which may encourage a new crop of enterprisng politicans intent on cleaning house.

And to tell the truth, even if Congress would not reform in the face of such humiliation, we no longer have the luxury of waiting for them to act. If it takes concerted action by the people ourselves to get this country out of debt, then so be it. I am not convinced that a war with China is inevitable, but just the chance of it happening raises the spectre of economic warfare in which China drops the Treasury Bomb and destroys the dollar. We have a civic duty to protect this country from that threat, and the many other corrosive effects of a national debt.


What Does it Take?

Here is a news report video concerning a member of the National Guard who attempted to pass to al-Qaida strategies on how best to kill the crews of armored vehicles, without destroying the vehicles themselves so that they can be captured by al-Qaida. The man was caught in a sting by Federal agents, during which he offered to defect from his unit and join al-Qaida in Iraq, and was just sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 19 years.

Many on the blogosphere are asking, "Why is this man not being executed for treason?"

He intended for his fellow soldiers to die; he offered to fight for the enemy; he gave information that would have placed our soldiers in great danger. He would seem to meet every standard for execution, with the sole mitigating factor being that the men he spoke to were not actually enemies of this country, as he believed them to be. Yet the actual effect of his treason should be irrelevant; that he acted to harm his brothers in arms should be enough.

In the United States, the death penalty is for all practical purposes restricted to cases of murder. While this limitation is logical enough, given a particular line of thought, it ends up mitigating the perceived severity of monstrous crimes that leave their victims alive. One who kidnaps a young child and commits unspeakable crimes, physical and sexual, over an arbitrarily long period would not be liable for the death penalty. Neither, apparently, would a traitor to his country and comrades who had the good fortune to be caught before he killed anyone personally.

The death penalty has many justifcations; chief among them, I think, is that it serves to identify a class of crimes worthy of the worst punishment society can offer. By that standard, America considers premeditated murder of a single victim to be qualitatively worse that treason to the whole, such that the murderer may be executed and the traitor may not. To be sure, the murderer is worthy of death; but to say that the traitor is not, is to say that America as a whole is less valuable than the least of its citizens.

Jewish law prescribes the death penalty for a range of crimes beyond murder. Many of these crimes threaten the very fabric of society; examples are adultery, and kidnapping persons and selling them into slavery. Similarly, in the Philippines drug trafficking is a capital offense. In my view, it is deeply irresponsible for America to restrict the death penalty as it has; while execution must surely be used sparingly and with great care, we have an obligation to defend our society just as surely as those who live in it.

Why have we become unwilling to say that our society is sacrosanct?


Of Senators and Horses

I only take cheap shots at politicians on this blog for special occasions, and boy is this one ever special. Our distinguished Senator Barbara Boxer has apparently written a work of fiction called "A Time to Run" about a liberal senator trying to prevent the nomination of a conservative Supreme Court justice (sound familiar?). John J. Miller reviews it here (rated R), and the excerpts he notes are just awful.

Most amusing to me is the Hot! Equine! Action! passage, which takes absurdity to a new level. I have been around horses for most of my life, and I have never yet seen a horse that weighed "a ton." The author's inattention to detail screams out from every sentence.

Look upon her works, ye mighty, and despair!


Quote of the Day

The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "loyalty" and "duty." Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute—get out of there fast! You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed.
—Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough For Love


Misguided Parenting Advice

On The High Road is a discussion about this article on parenting by clinical psychologist Dr. Ruth Peters. The general advice in the article, dealing with setting limits for your child's social activities, is reasonable if a bit more risk-averse than I care for. Of interest to the High Road crowd, naturally, is that the first scenario Dr. Peters presents concerns playing with toy guns:
Your six-year-old son wants to play with the kid down the block who appears to be a ballistics expert. He always seems to be in the front yard shooting cans with his BB gun, owns three (count them, three) fake hand grenades and brags that his father has rifles in the house. You have a standing family rule for all of your kids that guns, even toy ones, are off-limits. Your child, who has recently become interested in all things military, accuses you of being unfair.
When my brother and I were young, our parents forbid toy guns in the house, and also did not let us watch violent movies. So far as we can tell, we were in a completely gun-free environment—until my brother and I started constructing weapons out of Legos, at which point our parents conceded defeat. My mother is convinced that affinity for guns is genetic.

I tend to be skeptical of bans on toy guns; while parents are free to have such bans, I suspect that they will be ineffective.
What to do? First, be sure that you’ve listened to your son’s entire argument, and if there’s room for compromise, do it. Perhaps you can allow his friend to come to your house to play with your son’s toys and games — it may turn out that the lure is not really the play weapons, but his buddy’s fun presence.
Um, no.

When I was six, we would play with other kids specifically to get our hands on their toys. Which is why few kids ever wanted to come to our house, since we didn't have a game console, high-powered computer, swimming pool, et cetera. If this hypothetical six-year-old really wanted his friend's company, he would have invited him over to the parent's house to begin with.
Many families do not allow their children to play with toy weapons, as the parents believe that these toys are “gateways” to the real McCoy…
Uh-huh. Right. If I had to make a guess, I would say the opposite: most kids with toy guns end up getting bored with them in a few months or years; and some families who own guns do not allow their children to have toy guns, believing that they teach bad safety habits. The parents just start their kids right away on the real thing.
Ask the boy's mom or dad if they possess a gun and how it is stored. If you feel even the least bit uncomfortable with the answer — don’t allow your child to visit their home.
It's one thing if the parents leave their guns around within reach of their children, or store the guns inside their liquor closet or something as bad. But I suspect that the target audience of this article would feel "the least bit uncomfortable" with the mere presence of guns, thanks in no small part to articles such as this one that demonize all guns and gunowners. Many gunowners complain that their children are stigmatized by other parents, who refuse to let their children come play simply because somewhere in the house is a self-aware, malicious, devious firearm just itching to crawl over to some innocent children and pull its own trigger at them.

My broader problem with this piece is Dr. Peters's assumption that good parents keep their homes gun-free. Violence is an ugly thing, but so is passivity in the face of evil. Some parents prefer to discourage the former, some the latter—and some do both, for there is nothing contradictory about a disciplined approach to violence. But Dr. Peters seems to believe that violence is the greatest of evils, no matter what its form. Such an attitude is acceptable for the usual business of society, but fails catastrophically in times of danger and upheaval. In such times, the warrior must once again come to the fore. And those who train their children to be warriors should not be given the brand of shame by a society that increasingly places the burden of its defense on them.



I just added a whole bunch of rich bloggy goodness to my sidebar. In particular, the link to the Belmont Club is now updated. Check it out, they're all good…

Sadly, I decided to remove the Imperial Rottweiler. The site has gone downhill fast. Every post that goes up becomes flooded with comments calling for genocide, and I can get better writing without the idiots over at Protein Wisdom.

I also removed the Amazon ad. It wasn't doing much for me, and besides it's irritating.

That is all.


Logical Conclusions

Tonight, Dr. Daniel Pipes spoke at my college on radical Islam and the War on Terror. Much of what he said I agree with, some of it less so. One of Dr. Pipes's themes is that Islam must undergo a change comparable to the Christian Reformation, or the larger war cannot end. During questions, one student said words to the following effect: given that within our own community [i.e. Orthodox Judaism] we look upon so-called religious moderates with contempt, is it not hypocritical to expect the Muslims to do what we will not?

Now, I have frequently thought about this issue. I know just how resilient Halachic Judaism has been in the face of outside pressure; I also know that there are areas where great philosophical shifts took place, though the process took hundreds of years. Since Islamic law is structurally comparable to our own, I can imagine that a fundamental shift away from radicalism will be very hard to pull off, and will take time.

But that wasn't the way that the particular student asked the question. He was not saying, "Here is a problem with your proposal, which we need to think about and address." He was saying instead, "Here is why your proposal is intellectually dishonest, hypocritical, and demonstrates that you are not being fair." The word hypocritical came up several times, as well as some scurrilous comparisons between radical Islam and certain fringe Jewish groups who want a Greater Israel.

This student may have thought he was being clever, or exposing the inauthenticity of a noted conservative voice. But this whole mindset is facile for two reasons. First, hypocrisy is one of the greatest forces for good in society. Nobody is perfect; therefore, everyone is being hypocritical to some degree whenever he acts in any way more elevated than base self-interest. Hypocrisy makes the world go 'round.

Second, the student did not try to challenge Dr. Pipes's view that radical Islam is the problem, and is growing ever stronger in the Muslim world. In that case, the only conceivable alternatives to a religious reformation within Islam are total capitulation by the West, or else genocide.

To repeat: if their religion cannot change, then every Muslim would necessarily become a threat to the West. Genocide is the logical end to this line of reasoning.

By advocating a religious reformation, Dr. Pipes is not being hypocritical or imperialistic to the Muslim world. He is instead arguing for its very survival. That the Left cannot see this is just one more proof of their fundamental unseriousness on the whole issue.


Mediocrity vs. Moderation

[This is adapted from a dvar Torah given by one of my fellow students last night. He cited the Maharal of Prague and the Shem mi-Shumel for different parts of the whole, but I no longer remember which part went with whom, so just keep that in mind.]

At the end of this week's Torah portion, we see for the first time the family of Avram (who would later become Avraham, forefather of the Jewish people). The narrative speaks briefly of his brother Haran, saying only that he "died before the face of his father."

A well-established tradition expands on the narrative in the text to explain what happened. (While there is little evidence for the expanded version in the Torah itself, it is accepted as authoritative history by even the arch-rationalist Maimonides.) According to this tradition, King Nimrod had set up a cult of the god-king based around himself. Avram, having already reasoned out the existence of God, refused to worship Nimrod or any other idol and was thrown into a furnace in punishment. Haran was watching at the time, and not having Avram's faith was afraid to intervene. God saved Avram from death and eventually he was retrieved from the furnace.

At this point there are two variants. In one, Haran saw that Avram survived and immediately announced that he too would not worship Nimrod—at which point he too was thrown in the furnace, and was consumed in the fire. In the other variant, God strikes Haran down directly for his lack of faith, again with fire. In either case, Haran dies because he lacks true beliefs and just goes where the wind blows.

If you look at the three letters of his name, "hei reish nun," you find something interesting. The numerical value of "hei" is five, i.e. midway between one and ten (on the low side). The value of "nun" is fifty, i.e. midway between ten and a hundred (again on the low side). The value of "reish" is two hundred, midway between one hundred and four hundred (only four letters are valued in the hundredths-place).

Essentially, Haran was the ultimate example of mediocrity. His instinct was to converge on the center, with no other purpose than to avoid standing out in either direction. When it seemed that Nimrod was the ultimate power, Haran acquiesced to Nimrod's orders. When it seemed that Avram had bested Nimrod, Haran immediately switches over to Avram's side. But his inconstancy is his undoing and he ultimately perishes. But the story is not done.

According to a kabbalistic tradition, Aharon the Priest, brother of Moshe (Moses), was a gilgul of Haran. In simplistic terms, this means that Aharon's soul had the same "spiritual DNA" as that of Haran, and was sent to the world in part to rectify Haran's mistakes.

Aharon's name contains all the letters of Haran's name, with the additional letter "aleph." This implies that Aharon shared the same instinct towards the center that Haran did, with the difference that his centrism was dedicated towards the service of God (hence the aleph). Aharon was the great peacemaker of Israel, called by Hillel "a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace." He was especially known in the tradition for reconciling two good friends who had quarreled, or a husband and wife who had marital discord.

Several times in the Torah we see Aharon taking great risks to head off disaster. During the episode of the Golden Calf, Aharon acquiesces to the demands of the mob and actually facilitates their idolatry, but in such a way as to delay them and contain their lawlessness; in the end, the damage to the people was lessened by Aharon's actions and he was pardoned. In another instance, Aharon intercedes when God sets loose a plague amongst the people, and the plague is halted.

The difference between simple mediocrity and a true spirit of moderation, it seems, is that the mediocre man has no firm principles animating his conduct. His every action is geared towards his own advancement or self-preservation, with no higher aim. The true moderate, on the other hand, seeks to bring other people together for a higher purpose—in this case to serve God and to promote peace among the community. To do so he may take great risks, but they are always in order to increase fellowship and peace. May we see fewer examples of mediocrity, and more examples of true moderation motivated by the service of God and humanity.


Creative Translation (Updated)

Posting has been light as I gear up for the big push on my thesis. During my research, I just came across something interesting. The official name of Osama bin Laden's umbrella organization is usually given in the news as the "World Islamic Front for the Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders." I have just seen the Arabic (in a transliterated form) for the first time. Here it is:

Al-Jabhah al-Islamiyya al-'Alamiyya li-Qitaal al-Yahud wal-Salibiyyin

Notice a word missing? Nowhere in the name is the word "Jihad" mentioned. The word that was apparently translated as "Jihad" is actually a verbal noun derived from the root QaTaLa, "to kill." So a better translation would be, "World Islamic Front for the Killing of Jews and Crusaders."

Puts a bit of a different spin on it, huh?

In all the years that we have known of this organization, why have the media and the government never once translated its name correctly?

UPDATE (Nov. 14): I mentioned this to my Arabic teacher, and he said that Qitaal is properly a verbal noun of Qaatil, "to try to kill," or better, "to fight." So the translation should be "WIF for fighting Jews and Crusaders."

At any rate, there is still no hint of meaning related to Jihad. I suspect some Westerner decided to romanticize the name, and it stuck.