Archive for August, 2011

Journolist: Remembering The Compromised Gatekeepers

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I’m seeing so much biased bullcrap coming out of Politico these days, I thought it might be useful to revisit Journolist — the listserve of liberal journalists and leftist thinkers who work together to form a narrative and push it into the mainstream media. The ultimate goals: 1) Make conservatives look stupid and 2) help President Obama or the liberal du jour look fabulous. Read background here.

If you think their coordinated efforts are a thing of the past, think again. On Twitter, it’s very easy to follow the Genesis of a liberal meme and to see that coordination is necessary to elevate it. For example, when Markos Moulitas and Matthew Yglesias, and then, dull-witted useful idiot David Frum, pushed forth the outrageous and malignant idea that Sarah Palin was responsible for the Arizona shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, it caught like wildfire throughout the same old group of lefties. They were none too subtle.

Other talking points are coordinated. You’ll see the same phrases, probably focused grouped by the White House, in every piece about a topic. The current issue the White House is pushing: Green jobs. Expect all sorts of lavish praise for them.

The current negative issue: Get rid of Rick Perry. So, while Obama has made repeated promises about transparency and failed, you’ll be reading lots of pieces from different folks on Rick Perry’s transparency. The “transparency meme” takes the place of the old leftist meme about how Texas jobs aren’t real jobs, etc. And that story took the place of crazy religion wingerdoodles and creationism and, you get the idea.

The leftist press just doesn’t stop. You may be left scratching your head wondering why you even like these accomplished conservatives. That would be the point.

Meanwhile, what you won’t be hearing about: 9.1% unemployment, Obama’s horrible poll numbers, how Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, the double-dip recession, how consumer confidence has bottomed out, how President Obama would rather play golf or fundraise than lead, how manufacturing is leaving America, how the Obama administration is targeting political enemies, how it’s helping political friends. You won’t hear much of anything about these topics.

The goal is to Protect Obama At All Costs.

Some Republicans know how this mean leftist machine rolls, so they’ll feed their opposition research to the hack houses and let the liberals do their gleeful dirty work. And then, the same politicians will be shocked and appalled when those biased beasts turn on them. Exhibit “A”: John McCain.

Please know that when you read most of what passes for Journalism these days, it’s agenda-driven. These Gatekeepers at the Washington Post, New York Times, Politico, and elsewhere work together with the goal of making conservatives look stupid. They hate conservatives ideologically. They hate liberals only to the extent that liberals are ineffective.

The liberal press is not upset with Obama in substance — everything from Union malfeasance to project gunrunners serves a Machiavellian purpose — they’re just frustrated at the perception that Obama is weak and ineffectual. They want more liberalness from him. They want more autocracy! Thus, any displeasure at Obama they convey is for those reasons.

Some key Journolisters were (are, if it doesn’t exist in another form I’ll eat my shoe) [Full list here, some add-ons here]:

Paul Krugman — Moron Economist for the New York Times
Ezra Klein (Founder and keeper of Journolist) — Moron Economist blogger for the Washington Post
Mike Allen — POLITICO
Jonathan Chait — The New Republic
Eric Boehlert — Media Matters (SEIU hush money, Soros funded)
David Corn — Mother Jones
Brad De Long — Moron Economist at Berkley
Kevin Drum — Mother Jones, Washington Monthly
Dan Froomkin — HuffPo, Washington Post
James Fallows — The Atlantic
Chris Hayes — The Nation
Joe Klein — TIME
Robert Mackey — New York Times
Peter Orzag — Office of Management and Budget Director for President Obama
Michael Scherer — TIME
Nate Silver — 538, now, New York Times
Ben Smith — POLITICO
Jeffery Toobin — CNN, The New Yorker
Matthew Yglesias — Center for American Progress, The Atlantic Monthly

I just pulled some more well known names. There are at least 160 + known Journolisters.

Liberal scholars who get quoted in the aforementioned articles as impartial experts are on the list, too. Learn their names.

Nearly everything read at every one of these publications must be interpretted through the lens of bias and agenda. These folks are not truth-seekers. They are ideology pushers. Some are more subtle than others. Some, like Krugman, get more Out-Of-The-Closet flagrant as they get more comfy/old/senile.

Know that they are working with the White House. Remember, Rahm Emanuel (former White House aid, current Mayor of Chicago), James Carville (political strategist, Bill Clinton assistant, foreign elections consultant, commentator), Paul Begala (Clinton assistant, political strategist, CNN, Law professor) and George Stephanopoulos (former Bill Clinton comms director, ABC News This Week)have their daily phone-call confabs and they then pass orders to the Journolisters.

It’s an efficient system that benefits the whole. Like the Borg.

Journolist and the Leftist narrative machine is as strong as ever. As the election year rolls around, they’ll be out in force propping up President Obama and denigrating every single Republican hopeful. If they can undermine every Republican by using the opposition research fed to them by all the different campaigns, they’ll do it. It ultimately serves their goal, anyway — weaken all the Republicans so that none of them can beat Obama.

Don’t be duped.

The Elites Who Lack Gravitas

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Peggy Noonan enthused about Barack Obama. That fact alone should disqualify her, in perpetuity, from use of the word “gravitas” when criticizing anyone–so easily ensnared by the superficial and glib is she.

Karl Rove couldn’t bring himself to craft a stragery to defend his boss, the abused George W. Bush, from the spurious attacks from the left. His narrow vision exposed the Congressional flank to a bloodbath in 2006. He is of the “compassionate conservatism” ilk who undermined the Republican brand that is yet to recover. And now, he’s saying who can and cannot win and paternally chiding candidates. Please.

These people deign to lecture me? To lecture you?

You know who is still not serious? The Democrats. The Press. And most gallingly, the Republican die-hards clinging to the last vestiges of their reputations; those who had kinder words for Barack Obama than for the average American who can see the blindingly obvious: America is in deep, deep economic trouble and the current folks in Washington still play like this is a game.

Strong words are aimed at Ben Bernake and Peggy Noonan, buddies with him no doubt (because really, who of import isn’t friends with Peggy Noonan), squeaks like she’s been goosed by the captain of the football team. “Why I never!” Yes, and you never will.

I have lost all hope that these folks care for anything more than the game that is Washington politics. Who’s in charge? Does he dress nicely? Is he well-spoken? Is he properly educated? Is he serious (code word for Ivy educated, silver tongued and bland)?

Never mind that the world is on fire. The economy is on the Tolkienian edge of the knife and our pundits and pointy heads are still obsessed with form?

Jonah Goldberg writes today about Rick Perry:

But here’s my problem: I find the prospect of another four or eight years of defending these cultural distinctions to be intensely wearying.

My weariness is hardly a major consideration for anybody, but I think it reflects a larger problem. Conservatism is starting to have an identity-politics problem all its own. I think conservatism needs to spend less time defending candidates for who they are, and more time supporting candidates for what they intend to do.

Bush’s inability to articulate arguments had nothing to do with his Texan-ness or his Christianity, but a lot of folks on the right defended him as if that were the case. “He speaks American, don’t you get it?”

To which I’d reply: “No, he speaks badly.”

Jonah has a point. I loved and love George W. Bush even though I profoundly disagreed with him on some major points (NCLB, Dept. of Homeland Security, etc.). I loved the man. I just couldn’t listen to him. His speaking style, especially when more “prepared” drove me nuts. Off the cuff, such as when speaking at Ground Zero, he was better. And I’d read his speeches and be awed at the beauty of their words and then cringe in wonder when I heard them.

But you know what? I’ll take cringe-inducing speaking over smooth talking all day long. I’m beyond the leftists and their pointing and laughing. I can go another couple years, or decades, of good governance if I don’t have to endure bad ideas and smooth talk. Would I like good ideas and smooth talk? That would be nice, but the smooth talk is a helpful bonus.

The fact is, conservatism is coming in all sorts of forms these days. We don’t have an identity-politics problem. Look at our governors, Jonah. Rick Scott, John Kasich, Nikki Haley, Mitch Daniels, Sam Brownback, Rick Snyder, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Susana Martinez. Every single one of them, no matter how they speak, would be painted as a stupid rube by the left and media were he or she running for President. Need proof? Just look at the press coverage of them now, in their states.

We have a leftist and press problem. And we have big name Republicans like Noonan and Rove who end up aiding and abetting these folks with their focus on things that don’t matter.

The time for being swayed by the superficial is gone. I would vote for a bald, motorcycle riding Indiana governor. I would vote for an overweight, brash talking Jersey boy. I would vote for just about anyone willing to cut the government and take our economic woes and jobs despair seriously.

Get over the form. The next President better have substance. We’ve had three years of Barack Obama. That should inoculate anyone from the worries of being picked on for eight years by moronic Keynsians who sent America deeper into the morass.

It is the dawn of a new political day and I’m not sure many have caught up, yet.

Results matter. Go look to the states and look at the results of the policies of the states where the Governors supposedly lacking “gravitas” preside. Now look at what we have in the White House. Who has gravitas again?

Hurricane Irene: PREPARE!

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

So, on Twitter a few minutes ago, I created a list for folks on the Northeastern seaboard looking at their imminent crisis. Most seem rather blithely detached from the impending pain. I know that feeling. It’s the same one one has looking into the Grand Canyon and seeing the vastness and feeling small and overwhelmed. People see that satellite image and it seems unreal. It isn’t.

Prepare. The New York Times has a gorgeous interactive tracker here.

Overarching ideas: If I were a single mother or had health problems or have infants or small children, I would be evacuating now. New York is going to have some problems that New Orleans had: A rather land-locked populace, many of whom rely on public transportation. The time for leaving is now. You have two days. Don’t dally. If it comes to nothing, you’ve had a nice long weekend away. If it comes to something, being stuck three or four floors up and helpless with not enough food, water, medicine? Misery. Ask for help NOW.

So, here’s some things you’ll need if you decide to ride it out — something I most certainly DO NOT recommend considering what’s coming. But if you’re a stubborn mule and refuse to leave, at least be prepared.

  1. Bleach: You’ll use it to clean. Before the hurricane hit here last time, I became a whirling dervish. I cleaned EVERY piece of laundry. The house was spotless. The first thing that happens when the hurricane comes through — no electricity, no sanitation, no public works. Think about it. Think about not flushing your toilet. Yeah.
  2. Extra paper goods: Toilet paper, paper plates, plasticware, garbage bags, baby wipes (no showers), etc. You can’t have too much.
  3. Camp lamps: You know those propane camp lamps? Make sure you have fuel, too. But when you lose electricity, you’ll want to sit around in the sweltering heat and do something. Get cards, books (no iPad), board games.
  4. Landline for telephone and MAKE SURE you have an old-fashioned phone that doesn’t need batteries.
  5. Buy more perishable food than you think. Fruits, veggies. Dried goods get boring after a couple days.
  6. CASH IS KING. ATMs won’t work. Banks will be closed. You will need money to buy things from whomever is still open. Their credit card machines WON’T work.
  7. Fill up the car with gas. This could save your life. Your car engine is a generator. It can charge your phones. It can get you the hell out of Dodge. Fill it up.
  8. Buy a chainsaw now.  Laugh if you will, but we helped many people get out of their driveways and out of neighborhoods with our chainsaw. People were stuck. Don’t be one of them.
  9. Buy a handcrank NOAA radio. You will use this. When the reality of no electricity settles in, you’ll start panicking because you don’t have enough batteries. Hand cranks work no matter. Buy one here.
  10. Guns and ammo. Make sure and have it ready. There was no looting in Houston. Know why? Self protection. People get desperate. When we left and finally evacuated a week after the last hurricane, we stopped at a private gas station that our friends are part owner of — we needed to top off the tank after doing some running around. A very frantic dude came up (he was armed) who wanted gas. We all were armed (four men and me and the kids). It was a good thing we were.
  11. High calorie food and multi-vitamins. Chocolate. PB&J. Boxed foods. Get a variety. You’ll be sick of it all before it’s all over.
  12. Clear plastic covered containers and plastic bags. PUT ALL VALUABLES in clear plastic bags. Put plastic bags in the bin. Be ready to put them in the car and go. 12.5 Have a container with emergency items — hunting knife, rope, tarp, duct tape, etc.
  13. Gas stove works. Everything else won’t. You’ll need a grill and charcoal and matches or a lighter. Keep em dry.
  14. WHEN IN DOUBT EVACUATE.  What’s the worst that can happen? You’re wrong? Who cares? It’s better than being stuck in a flooded city, I can promise you.
  15. Get water. During the first hurricane, we had surprise guests. Friends and extended family lived in a mobile home. They couldn’t afford to leave but the hurricane was on a direct path. We had them come to our house. It was a good thing we had lots and lots of extra water. You want to be in the position of helping people–not needing help.
  16. You have a short window to make contact with family. The government will take over the cellular and landline network for emergency channels. This will piss you off. Don’t panic. Addendum: Make sue someone knows what your plans are. Give out back up phone numbers. People will be worrying about you.
  17. Extras: Duct tape (for windows and blowing and stuff) and LED flash lights. FIRST AID kit. Aspirin, antibiotics, butterfly bandages, etc
  18. Take pictures for insurance. Right NOW, get out your phone. Go around your house and take pictures of everything. Save the photos somewhere safe. Insurance. Someone mentioned emailing them to yourself. This is a good idea. Get it in the cloud in case you need to make claims.
  19. Last thing before all else fails: Fill the tub with water. And as @chrisofrights says, the water tank has extra.
  20. Plastic bags. You really can’t have too many between trash and clean up. RT @FineCalliCat: wipes..don’t forget wipes
BONUS: Don’t forget an emergency kit. Fill up on your medicine, etc.
Double BONUS: Manual can opener. Forgot that.
You’re probably thinking this is melodramatic. Not so much. Things get primal awfully quickly. When it comes down to it, there will be a grim determination that sets in. You’ll start only seeing men at the grocery store. You’ll see panicked people pleaded with grocers for more water. You’ll wish you had prepared. You’ll feel foolish because you knew what you should do but you didn’t do it.
Do it.
Once the hurricane hits and once the electricity goes out, you’ll be thrown back in time. There will be no sanitation. There will be water everywhere. Trees and debris will be strewn. You’ll wonder when someone will clean up. No one is cleaning up. YOU are cleaning up.
Civilization is a delicate thing. It goes out the window, and quickly, under trauma. Your best defense is preparing now. Communications will fail. You’ll wonder how the government does anything. And the answer is, they don’t do much, very well, on a good day. Under pressure, they go to where they’re most needed first and there’s many things they simply can’t do. Expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised when they come through.
Good luck!

Video And Text Of Governor Perry’s Presidential Announcement Speech

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Video of Governor Perry:

Howdy. Thank you, Erick. It is great to be at RedState. And I’ll tell you what, it’s even better to be governor of the largest red state in America.

It’s sure good to be back in the Palmetto State, in South Carolina. I enjoy coming to places where people elect folks like Nikki Haley, true conservatives. And also where they love the greatest fighting force on the face of the earth…the United States Military.

And I want to take a moment and ask you to just take a silence, think about those young Navy SEALs and the other special operators who gave it all in the service of their country. Just take a moment to say Thank you, Lord, that we have those kind of selfless, sacrificial men and women. Their sacrifice was immeasurable, their dedication profound, and we will never, ever forget them.

I stand before you today as the governor of Texas. But I also stand before you the son of two tenant farmers, Ray Perry, who came home after 35 bombing missions over Europe to work his little corner of land out there, and Amelia who made sure my sister Milla and I had everything that we needed, including hand-sewing my clothes until I went off to college.

I am also the product of a place called Paint Creek. Doesn’t have a zip code. It’s too small to be called a town along the rolling plains of Texas. We grew dryland cotton and wheat, and when I wasn’t farming or attending Paint Creek Rural School, I was generally over at Troop 48 working on my Eagle Scout award.

Around the age of 8, I was blessed – didn’t realize it, but I was blessed to meet my future wife, Anita Thigpen, at a piano recital. We had our first date eight years later. And she finally agreed to marry me 16 years after that. Nobody says I am not persistent.

There is no greater way to live life than with someone you love, and my first love is with us today, my lovely wife Anita. We’re also blessed to have two incredible children, Griffin and Sydney, and they are also with us today, and our wonderful daughter-in-law Meredith. I’d just like to introduce those two. Thank you.

What I learned growing up on the farm was a way of life that was centered on hard work, and on faith and on thrift. Those values have stuck with me my whole life. But it wasn’t until I graduated from Texas A&M University and joined the United States Air Force, flying C-130’s all around the globe, that I truly appreciated the blessings of freedom.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, I realized that the United States of America really is the last great hope of mankind. What I saw was systems of government that elevated rulers at the expense of the people. Socialist systems cloaked maybe in good intentions but were delivering misery and stagnation. And I learned that not everyone values life like we do in America, or the rights that are endowed to every human being by a loving God.

You see, as Americans we’re not defined by class, and we will never be told our place. What makes our nation exceptional is that anyone, from any background, can climb the highest of heights. As Americans, we don’t see the role of government as guaranteeing outcomes, but allowing free men and women to flourish based on their own vision, their hard work and their personal responsibility. And as Americans, we realize there is no taxpayer money that wasn’t first earned by the sweat and toil of one of our citizens.

That’s why we reject this President’s unbridled fixation on taking more money out of the wallets and pocketbooks of American families and employers and giving it to a central government. “Spreading the wealth” punishes success while setting America on course to greater dependency on government. Washington’s insatiable desire to spend our children’s inheritance on failed “stimulus” plans and other misguided economic theories have given us record debt and left us with far too many unemployed.

But of course, now we’re told we are in recovery. Yeah.

But this sure doesn’t feel like a recovery to more than nine percent of Americans out there who are unemployed, or the sixteen percent of African Americans and 11 percent of Hispanics in the same position, or the millions more who can only find part-time work, or those who have stopped even looking for a job.

One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job. That is not a recovery. That is an economic disaster.

If you think about it, for those Americans who do have full-time jobs, they aren’t experiencing economic recovery with the rising fuel costs and the food prices that are going up. Recovery is a meaningless word if the bank has foreclosed on your home, if you are under water on your mortgage, or if you are up to the max on your credit card debt. Those Americans know that this President and his big-spending, big-government policies have prolonged our national misery, not alleviated it.

And what do we say to our children? Y’all figure it out? Don’t worry, Washington’s created 17 debt and entitlement commissions in 30 years, but the fact of the matter is they just didn’t have the courage to make the decisions to allow you to have the future that you actually deserve? That Washington wouldn’t even make modest entitlement program reforms in this last debate? And the President even refused to lay out a plan, for fear of the next election? How can the wealthiest nation in the history of civilization fail so miserably to pay its bills? How does that happen?

Well, Mr. President, let us tell you something: you can’t win the future by selling America off to foreign creditors.

We cannot afford four more years of this rudderless leadership. Last week, that leadership failed, and the tax and spend and borrow agenda of this President led to the first ever downgrade of the credit rating of the United States of America.

In reality though, this is just the most recent downgrade. The fact is for nearly three years President Obama has been downgrading American jobs. He’s been downgrading our standing in the world. He’s been downgrading our financial stability. He’s been downgrading our confidence, and downgrading the hope for a better future for our children. That’s a fact.

His policies are not only a threat to this economy, so are his appointees – a threat. You see he stacked the National Labor Relations Board with anti-business cronies who want to dictate to a private company, Boeing, where they can build a plant. No president, no president should kill jobs in South Carolina, or any other state for that matter, simply because they choose to go to a right-to-work state.

You see, when the Obama Administration is not stifling economic growth with over-regulation, they are achieving the same through their reckless spending. Debt is not only a threat to our economy, but also to our security.

America’s standing in the world is in peril, not only because of disastrous economic policies, but from the incoherent muddle that they call foreign policy. Our president has insulted our friends and he’s encouraged our enemies, thumbing his nose at traditional allies like Israel. He seeks to dictate new borders for the Middle East and the oldest democracy there, Israel, while he is an abject failure in his constitutional duty to protect our borders in the United States.

His foreign policy seems to be based on alienating our traditional allies, while basing our domestic agenda on importing those failed Western European social values. We don’t need a president who apologizes for America. We need a president who protects and projects those values.

Look, it’s pretty simple: we’re going to stand with those who stand with us, and we will vigorously defend our interests. And those who threaten our interests, harm our citizens – we will simply not be scolding you, we will defeat you.

Our nation cannot and it must not endure four more years of aimless foreign policy. We cannot and must not endure four more years of rising unemployment, rising taxes, rising debt, rising energy dependence on nations that intend us harm.

It is time to get America working again. To get citizens – to get our citizens working in good jobs and getting the government to working for the people again.

Page one of any economic plan to get America working is to give a pink slip to the current resident in the White House.

Listen, we just got to get back to the basic truths of economic success. As Governor, I’ve had to deal with the consequences of this national recession. In 2003, and again this year, my state faced billions of dollars in budget shortfalls. But we worked hard, we made tough decisions, we balanced our budget. Not by raising taxes, but by setting priorities and cutting government spending. It can and it must be done in Washington, DC.

Dr. Schwertner (State Representative, R-Williamson County, TX), we have led Texas based on some just really pretty simple guiding principles. One is don’t spend all of the money. Two is keeping the taxes low and under control. Three is you have your regulatory climate fair and predictable. Four is reform the legal system so frivolous lawsuits don’t paralyze employers that are trying to create jobs.

Over the years, we have followed this recipe to produce the strongest economy in the nation. Since June of 2009, Texas is responsible for more than 40 percent of all of the new jobs created in America.

Now think about that. We’re home to less than 10 percent of the population in America, but forty percent of all the new jobs were created in that state.

I’ve cut taxes. I have delivered historic property tax reductions. I was the first governor since World War II to cut general revenue spending in our state budget. We passed lawsuit reform, including just this last session a “loser pays” law to stop the frivolous lawsuits that were happening.

And I know I’ve talked a lot about Texas here in the last little bit. I’m a Texan and proud of it. But first, and foremost, I’m an incredibly proud American.

And I know something: America is not broken. Washington, D.C., is broken!

We need balanced budgets. We need lower taxes. We need less regulation. And we need civil justice reform – those same four principles. Our country’s most urgent need is to revitalize our economy, stop the generational theft that is going on with this record debt.

I come to South Carolina because I will not sit back and accept the path that America is on. Because a great country requires a better direction. Because a renewed nation needs a new president.

It is time to get America working again. And that’s why, with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for President of the United States.

It’s time for America to believe again. It’s time to believe that the promise of our future is far greater than even our best days behind us. It’s time to believe again in the potential of private enterprise, set free from the shackles of overbearing federal government. And it’s time to truly restore our standing in the world, and renew our faith in freedom as the best hope for peace in this world that’s beset with strife.

The change we seek will never emanate out of Washington, D.C. It will come from the windswept prairies of Middle America, the farms and factories across this great land, from the hearts and minds of the goodhearted Americans who will accept not a future that is less than our past, patriots – patriots who will not be consigned to a fate of less freedom in exchange for more government.

We do not have to accept our current circumstances. We will change them. We are Americans. That’s what we do. We roll up our sleeves. We go to work. We fix things.

We stand up and proudly proclaim that Washington is not our caretaker and we reject the state that, in Margaret Thatcher’s words, she said a state that takes too much from us in order to do too much for us. We will not stand for that any longer.

We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax. And you know the liberals out there are saying that we need to pay more. We are indignant about leaders who do not listen and spend money faster than they can print it.

In America, the people are not subjects of government. The government is subject to the people. And it is up to us, to this present generation of Americans, to take a stand for freedom, to send a message to Washington that we’re taking our future back from the grips of central planners who would control our healthcare, who would spend our treasure, who downgrade our future and micro-manage our lives.

It is time to limit and simplify the taxes in this country. We have to quit spending money we don’t have. We need to get our fiscal house in order and restore our good credit. And we will repeal this President’s misguided, one-size-fits-all government healthcare plan immediately.

We’ll create jobs. We’ll get America working again. We’ll create jobs and we’ll build wealth, we’ll truly educate and innovate in science, and in technology, engineering and math. We’ll create the jobs and the progress needed to get America working again.

And I’ll promise you this: I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can. And at the same time, we’ll be freeing our families and small businesses and states from the burdensome and costly federal government so those groups can create, innovate and succeed.

I believe in America. I believe in Her purpose and Her promise. I believe Her best days have not yet been lived. I believe Her greatest deeds are reserved for the generations to come. With the help and the courage of the American people, we will get our country working again. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.