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Showing posts from 2008

Good-bye 2008

I thought for my final post of 2008, I would write about the observations I have made both in my personal life and in the goings-on in the world at large. Here it goes:

The 2008 Presidential Election
It seems as each election comes and goes, more and more time is spent by politicians, beginning earlier and earlier, to sell us on the idea that they are what's best for this country. Being as how this is the first election that I've used my recently developed critical thinking skills towards, it baffles me how much "hope" and "faith" we put into another fallible human being. The position and power of the U.S. presidency has grown so enourmously over the last century that it sickens me to think how much damage one person could ultimately do to our lives. The centralization of power in Washington, and power and corruption displayed by our "leaders" should have our founders rolling around at lightning speeds in their graves. I'm saddened to see what t…

North Pole Bailout

A little late I know, but some much needed comic relief. Enjoy:

Santa Claus Bailout Hearing

Overpopulation: The Perennial Myth

There are those in the world that believe the earth is or shortly will be overpopulated. That the earth and all of it's resources won't be enough to support the growing size of the human population, and will lead to greater and greater strife and human conflict. Those who believe such are completely wrong and perpetuating an evil myth. (I say evil because the proposed solutions involve a decrease in freedom and an increase in the size and scope of government.) And here to make my point is an article from The Freeman, a publication by the Foundation for Economic Education. I recommend reading the entire article, and if you're still not convinced, feel free to browse through the links below. The Freeman article can be found here. An excerpt:From the period before Christ, men have been worried about overpopulation. Those concerns have become ever more frenzied. On an almost daily basis we are fed a barrage of stories in the newspapers and on television—complete with such appr…

Patents: Invention vs. Innovation

I just read the cover article in my latest copy of The Freeman, the 52-year flagship publication of the Foundation for Economic Education. It is titled "Do Patents Encourage Innovation? The Case of the Steam Engine," found here. It is an interesting article on how history, in this case the history of the steam engine, has shown that patents seem to stifle innovation. Now, I'm not saying that I agree with the authors, but it did spark some thought wanderings on the claim. 

To understand how such a claim is strengthened by the case of the steam engine, you'll have to read the article. But the more I think about it, the more I come back to a big question. Though patents may stifle innovation, do they encourage invention? That really is the big question. After all, without a guarantee of monopoly on an idea, just how big is the incentive to invent anything at all. Then again, monopolies hurt consumers by eliminating competition and weakening the incentive to innovate. Per…

Lemon Socialism

I've just heard this name and I'm already in love with it. What it means, as explained by David Boaz, president of the Cato Institute, is socializing or nationalizing lemon (read: loser) companies. He goes on in this inteview to talk about the auto bailout, a must watch:

David Boaz on "Lemon Socialism"


Gov. Spending Hurts Economy

This video by Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute explains why the theory that says the government should increase its spending to boost the economy, as proposed by John Keynes in the early 20th century, relies on several logical fallacies that when examined, both in theory and in practice, prove that Keynes was wrong. Educating yourself on this is especially important during this time in the history of our country.

Keynesianism Demolished - by Daniel Mitchell

Buy a Gun, Now!

I'm a little fired up right now after reading about Brittany Zimmerman of New York. She was being attacked, with a knife, and managed to call 911 for help. The problem is, the police didn't arrive for 48 minutes and by then she was already dead and found by her boyfriend.

This is a perfect example of why private gun ownership is so important to self defense. Had she been carrying protection in the form of a firearm, no doubt she would still be alive. To insist that the only protection people have a right to is the police is an insult to anyone who values their own life and the lives of their loved ones. I hope we can all learn a lesson from this tragedy on the importance of securing our God-given right to bear arms.

My heart goes out to the Zimmerman family and pray that others, living in such dangerous places as New York, are better prepared.

Money, Banking, and The Fed

In order to get better educated on how the dollar came to be and why we have the Federal Reserve, I recommended watching this video (via YouTube) by the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve - Ludwig von Mises Institute


Increased Scientific Dissent II

Here's the link to the full .PDF report titled "More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims. Scientists Continue to Debunk 'Consensus' in 2008" from the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Here's more of the introduction (the text contains links in the .PDF file):The chorus of skeptical scientific voices grow louder in 2008 as a steady stream of peer-reviewed studies, analyses, real world data and inconvenient developments challenged the UN and former Vice President Al Gore's claims that the "science is settled" and there is a "consensus." On a range of issues, 2008 proved to be challenging for the promoters of man-made climate fears. Promoters of anthropogenic warming fears endured the following: Global temperatures failing to warm; Peer-reviwed studies predicting a continued lack of warming; a failed attempt to revive the discredited “Hockey Stick”; inconvenient developments and s…

Increased Scientific Dissent

A full U.S. Senate report should be released today showing the growing number of scientific dissent to the theory of man-made global warming. The pre-release article can be viewed here at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works blog. An excerpt:The UN global warming conference currently underway in Poland is about to face a serious challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe who are criticizing the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore. Set for release this week, a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report features the dissenting voices of over 650 international scientists, many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN. The report has added about 250 scientists (and growing) in 2008 to the over 400 scientists who spoke out in 2007. The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policyma…

The Free Market Clapper

Oh this is too funny, I just had to post a link:

The Free Market Clapper - a Flash animation by Mark Fiore

The Right to Shout "Fire"?

I am currently reading a book by Murray Rothbard titled "For a New Liberty" and it has thus far been very enlightening. I just read the end of Chapter 2 and thought I would post here an interesting point on our right of freedom of speech:Consider, for example, the classic example where liberals generally concede that a person’s “right of freedom of speech” must be curbed in the name of the “public interest”: Justice Holmes’ famous dictum that no one has the right to cry “fire” falsely in a crowded theater. Holmes and his followers have used this illustration again and again to prove the supposed necessity for all rights to be relative and tentative rather than precise and absolute.

But the problem here is not that rights cannot be pushed too far but that the whole case is discussed in terms of a vague and wooly “freedom of speech” rather than in terms of the rights of private property. Suppose we analyze the problem under the aspect of property rights. The fellow who brings o…

Henry Ford's Position on Bailouts

The below is from LewRockwell.com:Thanks to Kevin Duffy for a reminder of what the great entrepreneur Henry Ford said on February 11, 1934: "Let them fail; let everybody fail! I made my fortune when I had nothing to start with, by myself and my own ideas. Let other people do the same thing. If I lose everything in the collapse of our financial structure, I will start in at the beginning and build it up again."
Let it be known that I agree with his position.

"You're sitting in a chair in the sky..."

Here's a comedic look at how capitalism and the free market has blessed our lives:



(If you can't view the embedded video, see it here.)

Separation of State and Marriage

As my family drove home tonight along a street in downtown Salt Lake City, we were delayed by several hundred, make that thousands of people around Temple Square protesting the LDS Church. It wasn't like any protest I've seen in this city and was quite a testament to our right to protest. (Of which I am grateful.)

So why were they protesting the LDS Church? Because the LDS Church was one of the main proponents of the recent proposition in California to amend the state constitution to define marriage as only a union between a man and woman. I happen to support that proposition as well. And here's why.

What first needs to be answered is why, in this day and age, the state (by which I mean the government) is involved in the practice of marriage. It wasn't always that way. Traditionally, marriage was a function of religion and was a religious ceremony. The question is why the state became involved. The answer is because society wanted to encourage marriage as it led to the s…

My Consent Has Been Given

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Alas, I have given my consent to be governed by the one whom I believe best represents every one of my values and ideals. (Click the picture to enlarge if you can't tell who it is.)

A Right To...

Because of America, the case for human rights achieved monumental proportions when it was penned in our Declaration of Independence, and with the ratification of the United States Constitution with it's first ten amendments, called the Bill of Rights. Can you name those rights? They are the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, petition, arms, the freedom against quartering soldiers and unreasonable searches or seizures, the right to due process of law, freedom from incriminating yourself and double jeopardy, right of a speedy and public trial and a trial by jury, and the freedom from excessive bail and cruel punishment.

These are the rights specifically mentioned in the Constitution as a list of "thou shalt nots" to infringement from government. I am grateful for all of them. Unfortunately, to many, this list has grown to include "rights" such as housing, health-care, and schooling. I disagree that these are "rights" and believe to call them a…

Globalization is Good

Globalization is a good thing. Despite what those who protest it believe, globalization is the best way to end poverty throughout the world. To demonstrate that point, I want you all to watch a documentary by Johan Norberg called Globalization is Good. Johan Norberg is also the author of In Defense of Global Capitalism, a book on my recommended reading list. I have confidence it will educate you and change your mind if you are currently anti-globalization.

To watch it via Google Video, click this link: Globalization is Good
To download it as a Quicktime file (270mb), click here.

Consent of the Governed

What does it mean to vote in a political election to you? Does it mean you are making your voice heard? Does it mean you are securing your right to complain about the outcome? Or does it mean that you are giving your consent to be governed? To me, it's that last one.

The American Declaration of Independence, signed in 1776, contains these words:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

What this means is that the powers that government derives are only just if derived from the consent of the governed. Further, consent is given to the government by the process of voting for our representatives. Therefore, it follows, that voting for someone is giving them our consent to govern us…

Serfdom, Ho!

This is truly a frightening prospect given to us by the Democratic presidential scoundrel Barack Obama, that middle school and high school students should be forced by their institutions to perform community service, in order for those institutions to receive federal money. And who attends schools receiving federal money? If you guessed students from low- and middle-class families, you guessed correctly. And this is the very thing we fought a war for independence from:

"National service mandated by the state is what Europe had for centuries. It was called serfdom. For example, in France, citizens were required to perform public service building and repairing roads and other public projects for hundreds and thousands of hours a year. Serfdom wasn't eliminated in France until the French revolution, one of the "liberty" parts of that revolution. It was largely the American revolution which inspired this escape from serfdom. Indeed, the American revolution was all about …

To Vote, or Not to Vote

To vote, or to vote by not voting? That is the question currently on my mind as we approach Election Day 2008. If I vote, then I am giving my consent to one of the available scoundrels to govern me. If I don't vote, I am voting to give my consent to none of the available scoundrels to govern me. On the other hand, if I don't vote, then my vote for the lesser scoundrel isn't there to cancel out another's vote for the greater scoundrel. If we always vote for the lesser scoundrel, then we will be slowly going down the rabbit hole rather than quickly. Either way, it feels inevitable that we will learn what the rabbit knows. So what to do, what to do?

Of course I also should consider that because my vote will count for exactly nothing, what else could I be doing with my time come November 4th? I could be spending it schmoozing my wife or playing with my son. Or even making my voice heard in a far greater way than voting by posting to this blog. And because my vote will count…

The Fire is Spreading

The fire just lit by the Supreme Court under gun control advocate's arses, that is. As expected, other handgun bans and onerous gun laws around the country will soon be challenged, starting with the City of Chicago. The Second Amendment Foundation with the Illinois State Rifle Association has filed a "federal lawsuit challenging the City of Chicago's long-standing handgun ban." The SAF also won it's San Fransisco handgun ban case in April.

These are great times for those who love liberty and our right to defend ourselves. Removing these bans will benefit these cities and all US citizens greatly. Especially appealing is this quote by Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:

"We've lost the battle on what the Second Amendment means. Seventy-five percent of the public thinks it's an individual right. Why are we arguing a theory anymore? We are concerned about what we can do practically."

So much for originalist interpretat…

Second Amendment as Individual Right!

The Supreme Court ruled today that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. A few excerpts from their 5-4 ruling:

"HELD: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

"The Court's interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment."

"The [D.C.] handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment."

Commitment to Freedom

On May 5, I posted some excerpts from a paper written by economist Walter E. Williams that included the following:

"The true test of one's commitment to freedom of expression does not come when one permits others the freedom to express ideas with which he agrees. The true test comes when one permits others to express ideas he finds offensive. The same test applies to one's commitment to freedom of association, namely when he permits others to associate in ways he deems offensive."

This test must be used for freedom in general. As I talked about in my last post, those members of society on "the Right" support laws that make it illegal for adults to prostitute themselves, take hard drugs, and other acts they deem immoral. Don't get me wrong, I believe prostitution is extremely immoral, as is lasciviousness and homosexuality, among many other immoral acts. But my commitment to freedom is tested when I allow others the freedom to do immoral things.

This is tru…

Just and Unjust Government

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about something involving the premise of government, which, of course is force. Force is what government stands on and can only exist through the threat of force. Government is also the enforcer of the law. So let's have a thought experiment on just what laws the government can justly enforce.

Can a person, say me, force a person, say you, to drink an alcoholic beverage? Can I personally force you to smoke a cigarette? Can I force you to believe in and follow Jesus Christ? The answer to all of these questions is a big fat NO. I cannot justly force you to do any of those things. I can only use peaceful persuasion. What about non-objectionable things? Can I force you to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages? Can I force you to abstain from smoking cigarettes? Can I force you to be a pagan? The same answer, NO.

Does it follow then that although I can't force you to do, or not to do, any of those things, that I can band with my fellow citizen…

American Life Expectancy

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Russell Roberts, over on Cafe Hayek, gave this nice little reminder for those who complain "about how dangerous and polluted and horrible life is in the United States":

Happy Father's Day!

In tribute of our fathers, The Heritage Foundation's FamilyFacts.org has linked several studies regarding the importance of fathers. The below are the various study topics and the links can be found here:

1. Children's well-being. Children living in intact families tend to fare better on cognitive achievement and behavioral outcomes than peers living in families with unmarried biological fathers, stepfathers, and mothers' cohabiting partners.

2. Adolescents' psychological well-being. Close relationships between adolescents and their fathers are positively associated with adolescents' psychological well-being.

3. Adolescents' behavioral problems. Adolescents of more involved fathers tend to exhibit lower levels of behavioral problems than peers of less involved fathers.

4. Youth delinquency. Adolescents who report having more positive relationships with their fathers are less likely to engage in delinquency than peers who have less positive relationships with th…

Second Amendment Petition

The Patriot Post is circulating a petition in support of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution that I am presenting below. Please follow the link to sign it and forward it to everyone you know that values our God-given right to bear arms:

Make your voice heard TODAY!
Take a stand TODAY!

Please join fellow Patriots and sign The Right of the People
... shall not be infringed (see text below) affirming the Second
Amendment's individual "right of the People to keep and bear arms."

To sign this petition online, link to --
http://PatriotPetitions.US/second/

If you don't have Web access, you can sign this petition by
sending a blank e-mail to: <sign-second@PatriotPetitions
.US>
_____________________

The Right of the People ... shall not be infringed

To President George Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and
Republican Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

We, the people of these United States, righ…

The Guarantor of Freedom

I have what I believe to be the best argument for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, and for it being interpreted as it has over the entire history of America, that it guarantees a personal right to bear arms and a collective right to organize a militia.To share my argument, I'll start with a little exercise. Imagine if you will you live in a democratic-republic country, like America, that guarantees such rights as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and freedom of association and protects property rights. I think the most beloved of all rights to both the political left and the political right are those previously listed rights, except for perhaps property rights. So in this country, that has been around for some years, the people enjoy their rights and exercise them all to their fullest extent, and the government is relatively small and mostly limited to its sphere of national defense. As has been seen in America, when these rights are guaranteed, pros…

Reasons For Freedom

Throughout my life, I have observed, pondered, and concluded on many different things; things like what types of food I prefer, how I handle my finances, to the ideas of politics, philosophy and religion that I will subscribe to. In all cases, I hope to be not so certain as to reject truth when it contradicts my ideas and my ways of doing things. For many instances, accepting new or additional truth is easy, such as learning to perform a task at work more efficiently or adopting a better medical procedure. But for other instances, accepting new or additional truth is difficult, especially if it seems to or does contradict our deeply held habits or beliefs.I believe it is human nature to want to hold on to that which is familiar, even if it is false, so long as it isn't harmful. Some would prefer to hold tight to those falsehoods that they have, despite how much greater the new truth is. It's often inconvenient to accept new truth because of the change it could wrought in your …

Knowledge Deficit on Trade II

I received an interesting comment regarding my post "Knowledge Deficit on Trade" from a reader by the name of Chris that I'd like to answer here. I will post the comment in it's entirety and then proceed to answer each point made by Chris:

"Explain something to me here. You said that American dollars will make there way back [someday]. Then how is that China holds over a billion of dollars in US cash. Is it because maybe they have been stock pilling it and not sending it back through the system.

I guess this also means that there really isn't a national dept either since deficits don't really exist.

I also wonder how complex economics were in the 18th century."

Chris is correct that I said that US dollars will make there way back someday, and they will through future purchases and investments. He asks how China holds over a billion dollars in US cash and wonders if they've been stock piling it. The answer to that question is that even though China o…

Knowledge Deficit on Trade

Recently a friend of mine at work commented on America's "trade deficit" and alluded to its existence. I quickly corrected him and said that America didn't have a trade deficit and to insist that it did showed ignorance of what trade, particularly international trade, is when talking about deficits and surpluses. In the words of the former president of the Foundation of Economic Education, Donald J. Boudreaux, "Here's a quick lesson in international economic accounting. Every nation's foreign trade is always balanced." And that's really all there is to it. Let's break it down. If a country's total exports of goods and services do not equal its total imports of goods and services, the country's trade is still in balance, as the following example "balance sheet" shows:America's exports:$500,000 minus
America's imports:$1,000,000
America's trade account: -$500,000Capital spent for imports:$1,000,000 minus
Capital rcvd…

Immigration and America

These United States of America were built entirely by immigrants and their descendants. Every non-native American citizen owes, in some respect, the blessing that is his life here to his immigrant ancestors. Because of this, it is surprising to me to see so many Americans take the stand they do against those wanting so much to partake of America's goodness that they risk their lives to obtain it. While I don't believe that anybody has the right to disobey our immigration laws and expect to get off scot-free, I recognize that illegally immigrating into this country is not a felony, rather a misdemeanor. As such, I here outline what I believe to be the best way to handle the current immigration problem in four phases:Phase One – National Security
I believe that national security is the most important function of the federal government. And in my opinion, secure borders, north, south, east, and west, are vital to protecting ourselves and our sovereignty. The first phase in handl…

Corporate Welfare

One of the things that are consistently talked about in the media is the supposed alliance between "big business" and the political right. Traditionally, the political right means limited (read small) government and free markets. (This isn't so today.) So who wouldn't see big business aligning itself with these ideas? What may be startling to some is the fact that big businesses, that is, big corporations, actually align themselves with big government and controlled markets. The reason is what is commonly termed "corporate welfare." What is corporate welfare? Well, before we can answer that we must first define "welfare". According to Dictionary.com welfare is "financial or other assistance to an individual or family from a city, state, or national government" or welfare is "receiving financial aid from the government or from a private organization because of hardship and need." Welfare sounds like a pretty nice thing to receiv…

Bedrooms Are For Beds, Not Televisions

Since my early teenage years to the time that I got married, a television set served as a member of my bedroom, as did a video game system and eventually a computer. As wonderful as these things are, I am now convinced that none of them belong in a bedroom. Something I committed to when I get married was to remove the television set from my bedroom and never allow it to return. And I've been true to that commitment to this day. The reason that I decided to do this was because I learned what a television set in the bedroom does to our bodies. It trains them to do precisely what we don't want them to do when they hit the bed: Stay Awake! This was my biggest problem, one that I failed to see the cause of during the time that I had a television set in my bedroom. However, I am glad to report that not falling asleep quickly is no longer a problem for me. You see, I have trained my body over the last three years to go to sleep when I lay in my bed. By not using the bed to do anythin…

Public Shootings and Self-Defense

I wrote the below a year ago for a college writing class. The assignment was to right a persuasive essay; and like all persuasive essays the topic I chose was one that I truly believe in. The right to defend ourselves and our families from harm is God-given and central to the preservation of liberty:Public Shootings and Self-Defense – May 24th, 2007Recently, there have been two major public killing sprees; the rampages at Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. A not so recent public killing spree occurred at Columbine High School, Columbine, Colorado. These events have spurred both public outcry for tighter gun control, and an increase in applications for a concealed weapons permit. The media have hosted the debate on their front pages. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, one thing should be very clear: Nature has endowed life with the unalienable right to self-preservation. From the beginning, life has never questioned whether or not…

Bastiat’s “The Law”

Frederic Bastiat was a Nineteenth Century economist, statesman, and author, born in France and served as a Deputy to the Legislative Assembly around the time of the French Revolution of 1948. "He did most of his writing during the years just before—and immediately following—the Revolution… As a Deputy…, Mr. Bastiat was studying and explaining each socialist fallacy as it appeared. And he explained how socialism must inevitably degenerate into communism. But most of his countrymen chose to ignore his logic."The Law is a masterpiece and a must read for anybody who wants to understand the purpose of the law in keeping a just society. "For Bastiat, law is a negative. He agreed with a friend who pointed out that it is imprecise to say that law should create justice. In truth, the law should prevent injustice. 'Justice is achieved only when injustice is absent.' That may strike some readers as dubious. But on reflection, one can see that a free and just society is wha…

Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?

A few months ago, I read another of Thomas Sowell's many books, this one published in the year I was born, 1984. As I'm sure you've figured out by now, I hold Mr. Sowell in very high regard. He is intellectually honest and, as an African-American, he's not shy to report the facts when it comes to race-related issues. Many of his books, if written by a Caucasian-American, may have never been published, or if they were, created wide-spread controversy and indignation. Not that what he writes about hasn't created indignation, it has, but because he's black, he's simply written off as an "Uncle Tom". The book I read is titled Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?, and is "a brutally frank, perceptive and important contribution to the national debate over the means to achieve equality and social justice for minorities and women." In this book, Mr. Sowell "has forced civil rights advocates to take a hard look at what has, and has not, been a…

Internet Anonymity

Dennis Prager wrote an excellent analysis in October 2007 on anonymity on the Internet, specifically anonymous comments posted in comment sections of blogs, online newspapers, etc. The column can be found here. An excerpt below:

"The Internet practice of giving everyone the ability to express himself anonymously for millions to read has debased public discourse. Cursing, ad hominem attacks and/or the utter absence of logic characterize a large percentage of many websites' 'comments' sections. And because people tend to do what society says it is OK to do, many people, especially younger people, are coming to view such primitive forms of self-expression as acceptable."

In Defense of Global Capitalism

I just finished reading an insightful book on globalization by Swedish think tank Timbro's Jonah Norberg titled In Defense of Global Capitalism. This book is the first to rebut, "systematically and thoroughly, the claims of the anti-globalization movement. With facts, statistics and graphs, [the author] shows why capitalism is in the process of creating a better world." Below I have selected my favorite parts of my favorite chapters from the book and hope that they will prove insightful to you as well:The Preface
"By capitalism I do not specifically mean an economic system of capital ownership and investment opportunities. Those things can also exist in a command economy. What I mean is the [classic liberal] market economy, with free competition based on the right to use one's property and the freedom to negotiate, to conclude agreements, and to start up business activities. What I am defending, then, is individual liberty in the economy. Capitalists are dangerou…