Friday, June 24, 2016

#Brexit and Donald Trump

First: Congratulations to the People of Great Britain for their courage and commitment to self-rule and local governance.  I'm glad they voted to leave the European Union; it's in their best interests.  The days ahead will be hard, and at every bump in the road talking heads will tell them how "it's their own fault" for choosing independence.  To a degree they're right: independence, self-rule, these things are hard and not without difficulty.  But they are worth far more than the fake "security" of being ruled from afar.

As the English withdrawal from the European Union is analyzed and constantly second-guessed, let me submit to you that it was inevitable, and it shows that Donald Trump has a much better chance to win in November than the Talking Heads would have you believe.  See, I believe that Brexit and the Rise of Trump are both based on the same thing - the realization by the People that their so-called leaders have failed in their actual duties.

National governments have basically two jobs - ensure a "level playing field" inside their borders and protecting their citizens from non-citizens.  That's it.  Both of these are predicated on one foundational idea that the West seems determined to abandon: "Us First."  A nation's government should always, as its first priority, put the well-being and interests of its citizens over the well-being and interests of non-citizens. 

Whether that's non-naturalized immigrants living within its population, foreign threats, foreign business, or even just healthy old international competition, a national government's first priority should be "what is in the best interests of my citizens?"

That's a harder question to answer sometimes that it might seem.  Are trade terriffs on imports good?  How about a lax or strict immigration policy?  What about (any given) war?  Not always easy.

Sometimes, however, it is easy.  Is illegal immigration good for a nation's citizens, or bad?  Bad.  There's not even a question here.  Is unchecked immigration from majority muslim countries good, or bad?  Bad.  Again, not even a question - when your best answer is "we don't know they're a threat," you're not arguing that it's good, just that it might not be as bad as feared.  Ergo: bad.

Now, most people don't even think of these things in these terms.  I'm pretty sure the average Englishman doesn't think in terms of terriffs and duties, or immigration policy.  What they do think of is: how easy it is to find a job (harder with lax immigration, and even harder with massive illegal immigration)?  How good is my standard of living (worse with poor trade policy and massive immigration)?  How safe am I in my home (worse with Muslim Terrorists moving easily about the globe, worse with illegal immigrants)?

And that brings us back to our own shores and Donald Trump.  Donald Trump resonantes with people because he understands* these things.  He understands them in his bones.  Look at his campaign slogan: "Make America Great Again."  That says it all in four words.  America was great "before."  What is "before?"  Well, that's up to the individual.  But it's not great now.  So let's make it great again. 

Let's put Americans first.  Let's say that the well being of American businesses, the American worker, is more important to us than the well being of Iraqis, Afghans, Israelis, Austrialians, the British, Canadians, or anyone else.  Let's get control of our borders - all four of them, and stop importing unskilled workers to compete with our own unskilled workforce (what, you think we didn't have one?  Everyone starts "unskilled").  Let's stop immigration from majority Muslim countries - we owe them nothing - until either Mohammedanism can tamp down on its more violent tendencies or we can find a way to screen out the terrorists.  Let's stop engaging in wars to benefit others and not ourselves.  If American boys and girls are going to die, let's make it to the benefit of the country they serve, and not just someone else.

And that's where the leaders of Great Britain (not the EU) and the United States have failed.  By allowing massive immigration (usually without requiring assimilation), we import unskilled workers to compete with our own unskilled workforce.  The EU member nations are importing terrorists - and it won't be too long before one gets over here.  The so-called leadership of Great Britain and the United States has failed to put their own citizens first, and the citizens are crying "no more."

Of course, they also said (as late as yesterday), that the Brexit would fail.

Will Donald Trump win in November?  I don't know.  People are saying he has no chance.

* - Understanding is not the same as agreeing with or supporting.  Personally, I believe he does both, but whether or not he agrees with or believes in "America First," it is clear that he - unlike the talking heads and Washington Establishment - at least understands it.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Don't Give in to the Lie

In a famous episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Picard is taken prisoner by the Romulans and subjected interrogation and attempted brain-washing.  The brain-washing attempt is fairly direct and simple and, I'm given to understand, is actually more or less how brain-washing works - get the victim to agree to something they know to be false.  Get them to agree to a lie.

Eventually, he responds one last time (just before being rescued): "There... are... FOUR... lights!"

Well, America is being brain-washed right now.  As I type this, you are being asked - even coerced - to agree to a lie: that a man can be a woman, or that a woman can be a man.

And I am here to proclaim- there are four lights.

Honestly, I'm not even sure why this is an issue, but suddenly it seems you can't turn around without tripping over someone decrying how it's unfair that men can't use women's restrooms.  It's unfair, we're told, that transgender people are "barred" from using the restroom "of the gender they identify with."  And if you bring up the idea that, hey, maybe some pervs will use reduced scrutiny to engage in their pervishness, you'll get two responses:  1) "Oh, that won't happen."  and 2) "Pervs are going to be perverted anyway, our rules can't bend to them."

Without addressing either of these responses directly (because they're both stupid and I don't have time to waste on such stupidity), it is important to see the hidden premise behind them - that transgender people really ARE transgender.  That is, that they're really in the "wrong" body.

This is absolute nonsense.  To explain, we first have to clear some things up.

First off, there is the fact that "gender" really is a social construct, and it is mostly tied to masculinity and femininity.  That is why in many Latinate languages, nouns have a gender (and the rules seem weird to us).  Gender has nothing to do with your biology, and really has nothing directly to do with any specific human.  Humans do not have a "gender."  Humans, being sexual beings (that is: we reproduce sexually) have a sex.

Which leads into the next part: you can't be the wrong sex.  Sex is a biological constant.  With such few exceptions that I'm offended I have to mention them, humans are born with two sex chromosomes - the X chromosome and the Y chromosome.  These can be paired in two ways - XX or XY.  If you have two X chromosomes, you're what we call "female" and if you've got an X and a Y you're what we call "male."  This is a biological fact which does not change in our lifetime.  If you believe you are the wrong sex it is your belief - not your sex - which is wrong.

Now, there is nothing inherently evil or immoral about having a mistaken belief about your own biology.  There's not even anything inherently evil or immoral about dressing as though you were the opposite sex.  Assuming you are someone who has a mistaken belief about your own biology and who dresses as though you are the opposite sex, there is nothing inherently evil or immoral about using the restroom of the opposite sex.

I don't think any conservative will disagree with the above statements.  What a conservative says is this:  "I should not be bound by your mistaken belief."  It should be obvious that anyone with such a mistaken belief is not viewing the same reality as the rest of us.  If you have a penis and you think you're a girl, you're not wrong in the way that someone who thinks the earth is flat is wrong (though you're not far off); you're wrong in the way that someone who thinks they're a duck is wrong.  You, in short, have a delusion.

And it is no kindness for society to indulge your delusion.  Deluded people are crazy; who knows what they'll do next?  I would be as uncomfortable in a restroom with a girl who thinks she's a guy as I would be in a restroom with some dude who was talking to the sky about how the aliens were never going to take him alive again.

So tell me, why does the deluded person's "comfort" trump my own?  Why does he (or she) get to be "comfortable" while I must be uncomfortable?  Why must objective reality comport itself to his (or her) subjective unreality?

By the way, the secret that the Progressives don't want you to realize?  Real "passing" transvestites have been using the restroom of their choice without molestation or objection for decades.  With the possible exception of random bigots no one harassed them, and even then, the bigots could only harass them if they knew.  So this isn't about them.  This isn't about "Elsa" who was born John but has been passing as a woman for five years and you never knew.  This is about "Fran" who has more hair on "her" back and arms than a gorilla and whose wang hangs out of "her" micro-miniskirt.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Choosing Thankfulness

I've had a bad year.  Actually, I've had a bad 15 months or so.  I could go into the litany of lost jobs, car wrecks, illnesses, family emergencies, and so forth.  I won’t, because specifics aren’t important here.  Several times over the last few weeks, I've mentioned that I can't wait for 2015 to be over, because it's been a bad year, and hoping that 2016 would be better.  If I can just make it to the end of the year, I tell myself, everything will get better next year.

Then the realist (some would call it the 'cynic') in me speaks up.  "You can't know what's going to happen next year," it says.  "You thought this year was bad?  It can get worse."

I'm forced to admit that my realistic side is correct.  It can certainly get worse.  I've had enough stuff go on just in the last few weeks that brought that sharply into focus.  It can always get worse.

Then, a week or two ago, while listening to our preacher give his lesson, something struck me.  It pierced me to the core.

I have spent the last 15 months of my life resenting things that happened to me.  Oh, I've put on a happy face, and certainly not everything that has happened in those months has been bad, but I have been letting the bad set the tone of my life.  Everything seemed to come back to the bad things.
I have been using those bad things as a shield against personal responsibility.  I'll pause for some of you to digest the irony of that statement; I'm a huge fan of personal responsibility.  As it turns out, I'm not quite as huge a fan of it as I thought.

Not that I've been irresponsible in any of my temporal or social duties.  I go to work, I hang out with friends, I try to be a good husband and father.  My bills get paid, dishes get washed, and my house at least does not look like a disaster area.  Usually.

But I have not taken personal responsibility for my eternal duties.  Work is important for a variety of reasons.  Being a good friend, husband and father are incredibly important.  Being a humble, joyful, and above all *thankful* follower of Christ is much more important.  I have failed in all of those. 
I can wax eloquent on how God never gives us a command to "feel," but then when it comes time to choose, I never seem to.  So today - now - I will choose joy.  I will choose humility.  I will choose thankfulness.

I will not resent the jobs lost (one for me, and one for my wife).  I will thank God for the opportunities presented – a new job at better pay with better hours for me, and the chance to be a stay-at-home mom for my wife.  I will not resent the car wrecks; I will thank God that no one was seriously injured, and that our insurance has handled things relatively smoothly.  I will not resent the illnesses; I will thank God for our health, and that none of those illnesses turned critical (and they could have).

Here I can only repeat the prayer in the parable, and hope like the character I too “go away justified.”

“Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

"No! Shut them all down!"

First, if you don’t recognize that line, I’m not sure we can be friends.

Second, go read this from Larry Kudlow, and then go read this from Ace.

I tend to be on Ace’s side here.  The Republican Establishment has been too open borders for too long, despite the grass roots’ very specific objections that our border situation was a National Security concern.  Either they are way too stupid to be in charge (for not realizing what us rubes in fly-over land, free-market Jesus paradise have realized for the last couple of decades), or they are simply trying to co-opt a position they don’t actually believe to make us rubes in fly-over land, free-market Jesus paradise a little less angry at them.

For over 14 years the Minute Men have been on the border between the US and Mexico attempting (voluntarily) to help US Border Patrol.  They understood (as did many of the rest of us) the danger posed by an open border way back then.  So is really that another terror attack on US soil finally got Larry’s attention, or is he trying to sound tough so that the grass roots will start trusting the Establishment again?

However, with all that said, I think Kudlow is an idiot even in his new hawkish opinion.  He reminds me rather of C-3PO telling R2D2 not to shut down “all the trash compactors on the detention level” but rather, “No! Shut them all down!”

We don’t have a problem with immigrants or visitors from England, France, or Sweden.  Not by and large, at any rate, and certainly not a recognizable terrorism problem from those countries.  Why should we prevent them from coming here and, potentially, even further alienate our allies?  Larry wants to pretend that this is not “about religion.”  To do so, he has to pretend it’s about “immigration” more generally, and so the only option is complete embargo.

Note to Larry Kudlow and the rest of the GOP Establishment:  It’s the Mohammedanism, stupid.

What is the common denominator among Iraq, Syria, Libya, Israel’s West Bank, and the rest of the Middle East?  Mohammedanism.  Who are the euphemistic “warlords” in Africa?  Mostly Mohammedans.  Who is throwing gays off of buildings, beheading Christians, and slaughtering innocents?  Mohammedans.  Who shot up a Christmas Party in San Bernadino, detonated a bomb at the Boston Marathon, and flew 3 planes into US landmarks?  Mohammedans.

It would be really nice if Mohammedanism really was “a religion of peace,” as its apologists claim.  It simply isn’t.  Mohammedanism, is an evil death cult.  Mohammed preached (and practiced) conversion by the sword, conquest, rape, and pillage.  Today, a majority of Mohammedans world-wide believe that violent jihad is a valid form of Mohammedanism.  A majority of US Mohammedans believe that Sharia Law, which has been called “completely incompatible with American Values, should be the law of the land.

Trump is certainly bombastic.  He’s a carnival barker, a narcissist, and a whole host of other unsavory things.  But between him and Larry Kudlow?  Trump is the one who is right.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Funny Thing Is...

...that Donald Trump was right.

If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not have heard about Donald Trump's “racist” (more on that in a moment) comment saying we should stop allowing Mohammedans into America “until our Representatives figure out what’s going on.”  The reaction was predictable, and pathetic.

Most Republicans couldn’t distance themselves fast enough.  Democrats pointed with glee at the “racist” comments and said it “disqualified” Trump from being President (this from the party of the KKK, the Black Panther party, and the Westboro Baptist Church, among others).  Everyone reacted as if there was nothing of substance said.

Yes, Trump is circus clown.  Yes, he’s a carnival barker.  In many ways that’s what makes him so appealing to many.  However, he’s not actually stupid.  So let’s take a serious look at the facts behind the carnival barking.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Why I’m Voting for Donald Trump (Probably)

Because f*ck Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Jeb Bush, that’s why.

Oh.  You wanted the expanded version.  I guess I can do that.

So, I’ve seen a lot on these here inter-tubez talking about “Trump supporters” this and “Trumpkins” that.  Most of it is completely missing the point, so I’m going to try one more time.  This is going to be incredibly cynical and self-serving. Also: long.  I hope you’re ready.

First, a little history. 

President George Herbert Walker Bush enacted a tax increase not very long after promising “Read my lips: no new taxes.”  That betrayal of his word cost him the presidency far more than anything Ross Perot did.  Here’s a hint: if you don’t want challenges from the Right, don’t move quite so far to the left.  But remember those words and that tax law, we’ll get back to them later.

President Clinton was a slimy b-tard of a president, and actually pretty leftist.  At least one self-described feminist offered him oral sex simply for “keeping abortion legal,” which says a great deal both about “feminism” and abortion – none of it good.  Nevertheless he did sign a balanced budget and welfare reform.  Sure, it was under duress, but he did so.  Remember those bills, too, we’ll get back to them as well.

President George Walker Bush ran for the presidency in 2000 on “compassionate conservatism,” which, as far as I can tell, is Progressive Liberalism, but with more praying and less sex.  Less beer, too, probably.  He signed a number of bills with which he did not agree including at least one budget after the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007.  Bills he did agree with – indeed: fought for, included a Medicaid expansion, Medicare Part D, and No Child Left Behind.  He also famously “destroyed capitalism to save it.”  Oh, and inflicted Karl Rove on the Republican Party for, apparently, the rest of eternity.

Enter Barack Obama.  Barack Obama (notorious stuttering clusterf*ck of a malignant traitor) took office in 2009 with a Democrat controlled congress including 60 Democrats in the Senate (okay, that came shortly *after* inauguration, but not long).  He rapidly passed a “stimulus” package which was nothing more than pay-day to his cronies, ignored written bankruptcy law to give GM to the UAW, and generally made a menace of himself.  The entire time this was happening, the Republican Leadership of Mitch McConnell (hereafter: Yertle) and John Boehner (hereafter: Agent Orange) in the Senate and House respectively made excuses for their failure even to slow very much of this down.  Given the headaches Democrats caused Republicans in 2001 – 2006, those excuses were a little limp, but I guess they’re all they had.

Then came Obamacare.  Now, I want to be clear here, Obamacare was passed by Republicans as much as by Democrats.  Sure, no Republican vote was needed for final passage of the Orwellian Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but Republicans had plenty of chances to stop, or at least slow, its passage.  Had they done so, then Scott Brown of Massachusetts would have been installed in his Senator’s seat in time to help a procedural filibuster kill the bill dead.  Instead, they opted for comity and show votes.  The bill was over 900 pages when it was first introduced.  A simple refusal to grant unanimous consent to waive the reading of the bill would likely have stopped the thing cold.  But Yertle and Agent Orange wanted to get home for Christmas.

Shortly after the passage of Obamacare, Republican voters swept the Republicans into office on a platform of “We’ll oppose Obama and repeal every word of Obamacare.”  The echoes of their collective recitations of their oaths of office had not faded before Agent Orange started making excuses.  The House was just “one half of one third of government.”  I guess we were supposed to ignore the part where the House controls spending.

Republican voters gave them a pass, and in 2012, despite Obama’s reelection, Yertle became Senate Majority Leader.  Surely now, we thought, with the full legislature under Republican control, we would get some things done.  Hearings were called (remember Lois Lerner?  Remember Hillary!’s “what difference, at this point, does it make?  Remember Fast and Furious?).  Much hot air was released.  And.  Nothing.  Happened.  No spending was cut.  When it looked like spending *might* be cut, Republicans panicked and passed more spending.  No, a budget “balanced” in out years does not cut, and a cut in rate of growth is not “a spending cut.”  When a few Republican malcontents (Ted Cruz among them, but there were others) succeeded in forcing a meager and very partial shutdown, Yertle and Agent Orange couldn’t throw them under the bus fast enough, and quickly moved to authorize MOAR SPENDING!!!

All along the way we’ve had excuses.  “We don’t have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.”  “Obama will just veto it.”  Remember those passed and signed bills I mentioned earlier?  Funny how not having filibuster proof majorities in the Senate or veto-proof majorities in Congress did not stop Congress from getting Presidents to sign bills in the past.  I guess there must be a new rule that says “If we’re not assured of success, we may as well not try.”  I guess I missed that memo.

That doesn’t even begin to get to amnesty and illegal immigration failures and betrayals we’ve seen since the 1980s.

All of this is to say: “Burn it down. Scatter the stones.  Salt the earth where it stood.”  We have not had a two party system since at least 2006, and possibly as far back as 2001.  There is no significant difference in outcome between having Democrats and Republicans in office.  I mean, really, what’s going to happen if Republicans aren’t in office?  Will Planned Parenthood be revealed as priests of Moloch selling the parts of babies butchered in (and sometimes just out-of) the womb for fun and profit and Congress won’t do anything?  Will the Supreme Court overstep its bounds (again) and declare a constitutional right for homosexual partnerships to call themselves “marriage” while forcing those opposed to participate?  Will the EPA dump great quantities of pollutants into a river in Colorado and face no consequences?  Will the President make an unconstitutional Treaty with Iran virtually guaranteeing that they will gain nuclear weapons capabilities while ALSO promising to provide them protection from Israel?

When it comes down to actual outcomes, and not rhetoric, there is no significant difference between Republicans and Democrats.  Just notice how fast Republicans pull out the race card themselves when confronted over their desire for amnesty.  But our system cannot survive under one party.  There must be an opposition – a real opposition acting against the majority.  It is the only way to curb the excesses of the majority against the minority, and the only way to ensure that the Federal Government only uses its powers in ways guided by the Constitution for the purpose of protecting Liberty.

Therefore it is time for a third party.  However, the game is rigged.  Democrats and Republicans get on ballots automatically.  Simply have the nomination of your party, and you show up on the ballot.  How nice.  Third parties have to have petition drives and hope they get enough signatures.  Democrats and Republicans have advertising advantages and a national structure enshrined in law (or nearly so).  Third parties must scrimp and scrape for every scrap of exposure they can get.  A third party, in short, is denied access with the two establishment parties.

So we’re faced with a conundrum.  Republican recalcitrance to be an opposition party means we need a new party.  The party establishments have basically enshrined the two party system, so a third party is not a viable solution.  What to do?

Destroy the party.  Destroy its leadership.  Destroy its ability to operate.  And then conservatives might, possibly, maybe have a shot (but it would be a long one) at seizing control of the new power structures and returning the Republican Party – no longer controlled by the establishment and their Donor Class allies/masters.

But who can do such a thing?  Not the seizing control part – conservatives will have to do that after the destruction part, and there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to do so.  The best we can hope for is a chance.  No, who can do the destruction part?

Answer – only someone not beholden to that current power structure.  But how can we avoid that?  How can one not be beholden to the current power structure.  Well, first, he’d need to be self-funding, because he’s not going to get the big power donors like the Chambers of Commerce.  And he’d need to have a lot of name recognition, because that power structure isn’t going to want his message to get out – so he’d need a way to get it out anyway.  And he’d need to have some shred of credential to say “see, I’m a success” so that people can be convinced that he’d be a successful president.

Sound like anyone you know?

Now, if it looks like this defense of Trump has been short on what Trump will do or why I support him, it’s because it’s not a defense of Trump.  I’m virtually certain Trump will be a terrible president (assuming he’s elected).  I’m virtually certain he’s only in it for him, and is only conservative insofar as being conservative is a path to the White House.  I’m pretty sure he’s saying what sells, and not really what he believes.

So be it.  I’m not supporting Donald Trump.  If there were someone else in the field who was self funded, had huge (or is that “yuuuge!”) name recognition, and the ability to sell himself as a success at something people respect, I would vote for that person instead.  Donald Trump is a means to an end, and that end is already being achieved.

The Republican Party and its enablers in Conservative Media are busy telling everyone who is mad at the Republican Party that we’re idiots.  We’re racists.  We’re fools.  And in so doing they are ensuring that many conservatives never vote for any Republican on the national level again. 

Burn it down?  Yertle, Agent Orange, Rove, Jeb, and all are doing that.

Scatter the stones?  That will depend on the burn it down phase, but I’m pretty sure I can trust the hissy fit they’ll throw when they lose (and they will lose, one way or another).

Salt the earth where it stood?  We’ll have to work on that.

No, I don’t support Donald Trump.  But Donald Trump winning the Republican Party will suit my goals far better than if anyone else does.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Once Proud Organization

I am the Committee Chair of a Cub Scout Pack.  I knew this was coming.  Nevertheless I find myself saddened not only by the decision, but by the fact that the decision was made public before it was disseminated to local Scout Leadership.  Whether this lack of communication is a failure at the National Council or my local council I do not know, but I do know that it is a failure.

The bigger failure, however, is the decision itself.

On my Honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the scout law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

A Scout Is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Whatever you believe about homosexuality, it is clear that homosexual behavior (separated by act of free will from homosexual urges or proclivities) is sin.  Indeed, being “openly gay,” is an active choice to live in sin – to engage in that homosexual behavior.

Whatever you believe about homosexuality, you cannot be doing your duty to God, you cannot be morally straight, and you cannot be reverent if you are choosing to engage in homosexual behavior.

Whatever you believe about homosexuality, those three things: duty to God, morality, and reverence are part of being a Scout.  It is one thing to allow openly homosexual children.  I believe it is sick on many levels to assume that children of 12 or 13 can *be* homosexual in any meaningful way, but allowances can and should be made for Scouts.  They are, after all, still learning about that duty to God.  Leadership, however, must be held to the strictest standards.

The Scouts do not allow consumption of alcoholic beverages at scout functions.  Why?  Is it because alcohol is morally wrong?  Is it because duty to God or Country requires one to abstain from drinking?  Certainly not.  The Scouts do not allow consumption of alcoholic beverages because it is unwise.

Openly homosexual leadership is beyond unwise.  It is undermining the very Oath and Law we expect these boys to uphold.  It is proving to them, in a way words will never be able to overcome, that the Oath and Law are “just words,” and have no meaning.  It is proving to them that morality is based on convenience, and duty to God ends at doors of the church building.

What is worse about this decision is this: the homosexual lobby will not stop with this success.  We already have proof of this.  It will not be enough that religious charter organizations can decide about their own leadership.  Ask Sweet Cakes in Oregon.  Ask Memories Pizza.  Ask any of dozens of photographers, bakers, and caterers who have been forced by the homosexual lobby with the assistance of the government to act in ways contrary to their consciences.  Ask the homosexual lobby itself- the lobby already calling for the end of tax-exempt status for churches which do not support homosexual unions.

The Boy Scouts of America had won in court many times – as a private organization, they were under no requirement to accept homosexual leadership.  Now they have thrown that away.  Obviously the Boy Scouts of America no longer find it necessary to their charter to restrict homosexual parents to non-leadership roles.  How much defense will local charter organizations and local packs have when the homosexual lobby comes again demanding acceptance?