Friday, June 25, 2010

Journalism Class

The Huffington Post has an interesting interview with Michael Hastings, who wrote the Rolling Stone story on Stanley McChrystal, which ultimately led to his firing. At the end comes this interesting exchange:
(HuffPo) In the hypercompetitive media world, some of the reaction to your story has been a little negative, that you have "hostile views" and that you're anti-war. Some have wondered how you could jeopardize your future access to sources. How do you respond to that?
(Hastings) Look, I went into journalism to do journalism, not advertising. My views are critical but that shouldn't be mistaken for hostile - I'm just not a stenographer. There is a body of work that shows how I view these issues but that was hard-earned through experience, not something I learned going to a cocktail party on fucking K Street. That's what reporters are supposed to do, report the story.
That is a great quote.

And this is ultimately why Michael Hastings is a journalist, and people like CNN's Ed Henry are not. Hastings cares about getting at the truth, and that's it. Ed Henry and the like care only for being invited back to posh sprinkler parties, and will never do, say or write anything that might jeopardize their access.

It's worth noting that Rolling Stone has featured some really good pieces of journalism of late, with Matt Taibbi's scathing Wall Street exposes and now Hastings piece. You can also find some pretty good journalism from Jon Stewart over at the Daily Show, who often posts extended online interviews that are more illuminating and honest than anything you'll ever find at Fox or CNN.

Do I wish that the mainstream media would do their jobs for once? Of course. But since they aren't, let's stop watching and reading them. Let's support actual journalists.

Here's to Michael Hastings!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill!

There is a widely circulated new analysis of the Gulf spill that was posted on The Oil Drum recently, which claims that the true extent of the catastrophe is much greater than either BP and the government are, even now, letting on.

The post lays out a fairly convincing argument that the problems within the well go far beyond what we can see on the deep sea video-in other words, that the oil spewing from the wellhead is not the whole story.

The poster, who identifies himself as an expert in domestic energy business, claims that everything that we know about the leak points to a catastrophic sub-seafloor failure of the well pipe, and that it is now leaking at around 1000 feet below the seafloor. This leak will grow worse and worse, until it results in an unrestricted flow of oil from the reservoir below. And to make matters worse, if the relief well that is currently being drilled doesn’t reach the well pipe before it disintegrates, it will be useless and we will be out of options to stop it. And at this point, we could be looking at releases of 150,000 barrels per day.

At this point, the entire capacity of the underlying Macondo prospect will flow unrestricted into the Gulf of Mexico.

Does this sound scary? It should. The Macondo reserve holds an estimated 50 million barrels of crude oil. This is 2.1 billion gallons of crude. To put that in perspective, this is 200 times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill. It is an unimaginable figure, and would cause an environmental disaster of unimaginable proportions.

The post claims that it is probably too late to prevent this from happening. I don’t know if that is true or not. I hope it’s not. But so far, everything that BP and the government has told us has been either a lie, or frighteningly wrong. There is absolutely no reason to believe anything they say regarding what’s actually happening down there. And so we have to assume that there is a good chance that the doomsday scenario will happen-that the entire 50 million barrel reserve is going to end up in the Gulf and eventually spread to all four corners of the earth.

What is BP doing about this possibility? Nothing. The spill response plan that BP was required by law to have ready at all times was useless, a generalized plan written by a contractor that had references to saving walruses and proved to be completely inadequate for the current spill, and will be even more so if this entire well does, in fact, fail.

We are told that they are drilling a relief well, and have been told that this is guaranteed to work. But now, unsurprisingly, we are learning that there is a good chance that it will not work, even if the well does not fail. What then?

I think that there is one other thing that we could do which would mitigate the disaster. It would be expensive, and that’s probably why I haven’t heard BP make a peep about it. In fact, I haven’t heard this suggestion anywhere, but I’m going to make it anyways: It’s time to start drilling multiple wells into this reserve. By this I don’t mean a relief well, because these won’t work in case of complete failure. I mean separate wells.

If this gusher cannot be stopped, we can either get the oil out in a relatively safe manner, or it can get itself out. Every barrel that we can get out through a well is a barrel that won’t be escaping into the sea. We don’t need one well, or two, but as many as we can possibly drill, in as short a time as possible. And we should start drilling them now, because they will take a long time to complete.

BP, of course, doesn’t want to contemplate this. Deep sea wells are extremely expensive to drill. Multiple wells make no economic sense in normal times, because there is a fixed amount of oil in a reserve, and there is no hurry in getting it out.

But these are not normal times. Every single day tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of barrels of poison are escaping from that reserve. We are in a huge fucking hurry.

Will this be expensive? Of course. We may drill these wells almost to completion only to find that the original well has not deteriorated further, and we may decide at that point that we only risk making the problem worse by tapping the reserve with the same well technology that just recently failed so spectacularly.

But if this well fails completely, then we are going to need these wells. It won’t matter if they fail, anyway. And it will be far to late to drill them at that point.

BP will scream bloody murder, of course. But if they refuse, the United States government should nationalize them, and make them drill. There is plenty of precedent for doing this in the face of threats to the national security, and there can be no doubt that this is exactly such a threat.

Empty promises from BP to pay for the cleanup instead are unacceptable. There is a great likelihood that BP doesn’t have enough money to pay for the damage already done, and that’s assuming that you can even put a price on what’s happened. And I don’t believe that you can.

It’s past time for us to assume the worst. We can no longer trust BP when they say they have a plan, or when the government says it’s on top of things.We can no longer allow BP to base its response to this disaster on its own financial interests. It’s time to act.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Terrible True Cost Of Oil (That BP Doesn't Want You To See)

Notes from the BP hearing:

"(BP President Lamar) McKay, did, however, issue a plea for forbearance from Congressional and executive branch officials, saying: “America’s economy, security and standard of living today significantly depend upon domestic oil and gas production. Reducing our energy production, absent a concurrent reduction in consumption, would shift additional jobs and dollars offshore and place millions of additional barrels per day into tanker ships that must traverse the world’s oceans.”

As detestable as BP is, McKay is right about this. We absolutely must reduce our consumption of oil. And the reasons for this go far beyond those which McKay listed. Our out-of-control use of oil is the reason we are currently engaged in two wars, which are killing hundreds of thousands and costing the United States trillions. It is the reason we suffer from air pollution that kills thousands each year, and sickens many more. It is one of the reasons we are facing global climate change.

And today, it is the reason that a huge part of the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico is dying, that thousands of fisherman and shrimpers have lost their livelihoods, and that millions more who rely on a clean ocean will pay a fearsome price.

But what McKay didn't say is that one of the main reasons Americans do not reduce their consumption is because he and the rest of his industry do everything in their power to keep Americans hooked on oil. And the way that they do that is by using Congress to hide the true costs of oil consumption.

When we buy gas at the pump, we pay only the cost of producing and delivering that gas, plus a little extra in taxes to maintain roads. The people who use gas don't directly pay the costs of trillion dollar wars, or pollution, or climate change, or of the devastation in the Gulf.

But those costs are real. The true cost of a gallon of gasoline is probably somewhere around $15. We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. So who pays?

You do.

You pay in taxes to support imperialistic wars needed to secure large supplies of oil for our addicted population.

You pay every time you take a breath of polluted air.

You pay every time a landfill overflows with petroleum based plastics.

You pay every when production catastrophes result in a virtual destruction of large parts of our country.

And you pay for this even while the oil companies make hundreds of billions of dollars, while passing off the hidden costs to you.

We must reduce our use of oil. But we will never be able to do this as long as the oil industry pays off Congress to require us to pay the hidden costs of oil. These hidden costs make our alternatives to oil seem more expensive, even though they are not. And until we are able to see the true cost of our oil use, we will not kick the habit.

Maybe the silver lining in this disaster is that people will finally begin to see just how terrible is the price we pay.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Israel Doesn't Need Help, Plans To Investigate Itself

This should really get to the bottom of things:

JERUSALEM—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed a commission that includes two international observers to investigate the bungled raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine dead last month.
The May 31 raid by Israeli naval commandoes triggered one of Israel's worst diplomatic crises in decades. The U.S. joined the United Nations Security Council in condemning the raid and called for a credible and transparent investigation.
The commission, announced late Sunday night by Mr. Netanyahu, is unlikely to satisfy some in the international community, however, including Turkey, which has called for an international investigation. All nine passengers killed during the raid were Turkish, including one who had dual U.S. citizenship.

The whole world, with the usual exception of Israel's chief defender and enabler, the United States, has demanded an international investigation of Israel's killing of nine aid activists in international waters. Israel has refused, saying that it will investigate itself, as though that could ever be done in a meaningful way. It has appointed a commission of Israelis, who will be joined by two international observers as a sop to those who demanded a fair inquiry.

Those observers? One is the British Lord David Trimble, who was last noted for founding the "Friends of Israel" initiative, only last month. The other is Canadian General Ken Watkin, of which little seems to be known. It should be sufficient to point out that all of the members of the commission were hand-picked by the Israeli government-the same government which has confiscated all audio and video recordings of the event that it could find, and whose main goal is to ensure that the only story ever told is the one they are telling.

So far, it's working.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Joke That The Afghan War Has Become

The NYT today highlights the confusion around the private Afghan security companies that are hired by the private trucking firms that the United States pay to transport supplies to combat troops.

The story documents what has become painfully obvious. We have no real idea who we are fighting. We claim to be committed to destroying the Taliban, because they are evil and anti-democratic. So instead, we pay money to other groups who on paper oppose the Taliban, even though they are just as violent and repressive. And that's ok, because they aren't called "Taliban", which Americans have been trained to see as the most evil of all people on earth.

So on any given day, we hand out money with no accountability to armed groups who we have no control over, who may or may not be colluding with the Taliban, who are just as repressive as the Taliban, and who may in fact be integrated with, or indistinguishable from the Taliban. We really just have no fucking idea.

Why don't we just guard our own convoys? I was once in the Army back in a different life, and I was a truck driver in a supply company. Do those jobs not exist anymore?

They don't, and the reason is simple. The Obama administration finds it politically impossible to ask for enough troops to actually carry out the mission. So instead, they are literally outsourcing our war. And what's worse, they are outsourcing it to our enemies.

The insanity of this policy is hard to overstate. It is destroying our ability to accomplish the already pointless and impossible mission which we have ludicrously set for ourselves: building a democracy in a strange country whose population doesn't want it. So why do we do it?

There are two reasons, and they stand as an insult to the troops we have who are needlessly sacrificing their lives for a mission which our government is sabotaging daily for political reasons.

The first reason is that politically, our government refuses to tell the people the straight truth, which is that in order for us to waste our time more efficiently in Afghanistan, we need more troops. But Americans won't support more troops, and so our government tries to cover this up by essentially bribing our enemies to allow supplies to go through, so that we can continue to pretend to fight this war.

The second reason is that, while our military could re-supply itself at a far smaller cost, and without handing millions over to people who we call our enemies, we won't do that because these supply and security contracts are bribes in and of themselves. We're bribing American contractors, who lobby Congress daily in order to enrich themselves through our war. And we're bribing members of the Afghan government, who have connections with both the Taliban and warlords who are sympathetic to the government, at least at the moment. (The grim truth is that the loyalties of pretty much anyone with a weapon in Afghanistan lie with whomever can help them out at the moment.)

But don't worry. We have a well-defined goal and a clear path to its accomplishment.

The goal is to destroy our empire in the wilds of Afghanistan. And the path is the one that we are on today.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


In case you were wondering who is making US foreign policy decisions about issues which affect us deeply:
At the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was cobbling together a proposal for an international panel to investigate the deadly raid.
The panel would include representatives from Turkey and Israel, or at least one member each to represent their interests, and two or three others selected from a list assembled by Mr. Ban, diplomats said.
Mr. Ban plans to pitch the plan to Israel and Turkey over the weekend, the diplomats said, and the United States has said it will sign off on it once Israel accepts it.
Here's a hint: it's not the United States.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Israel Ambassador Defend Poor, Helpless Israel

The New York Times has a shameful editorial contribution about the recent Israel assault on the humanitarian aid flotilla that was attempting to deliver aid to Gaza. It's written by none other than Michael Oren, who is the Israeli ambassador to the United States. It says a lot about the current state of media affairs  when the reaction of the "liberal" New York Times is to give a national platform to the Israeli ambassador to spew his propaganda, as though Israel has trouble getting heard in the United States.

Needless to say, there is nothing from anyone representing the Palestinians side, or the side of the outraged international community in general.

PEACE activists are people who demonstrate nonviolently for peaceful co-existence and human rights. The mob that assaulted Israeli special forces on the deck of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on Monday was not motivated by peace. On the contrary, the religious extremists embedded among those on board were paid and equipped to attack Israelis — both by their own hands as well as by aiding Hamas — and to destroy any hope of peace.
There is so much that is wrong with paragraph that I hardly know where to begin.

First, he calls them a mob, but the rest of the world knows that the group included European legislators, peace activists, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. These people were not armed, and the idea that they were some some of angry mob bent on invading Israel in ludicrous.

Second, the notion that these people assaulted the Israeli commandos is would be laughable if it were not so outrageous and disgusting. These people were unarmed, were in international waters, and were assaulted by Israeli storm troopers rappelling out of helicopters in the middle of the night. Numerous reports have been made that the Israeli's fired their weapons from the helicopters before they even reached the ship. The most obvious explanation is that the peace activists were defending themselves. And it simply boggles the mind that any sane person could believe that a bunch of unarmed activists could pose any resembling a threat to the Israeli Defense Force, which is one of the most ruthless, well-armed, and unstoppable military forces on the planet, much less could be assaulting them from the deck of a small boat.

What does he think happened here? Does he think that those Israeli special forces guys were just innocently hanging from helicopters in the Mediterranean when a boat full of politicians and peace activists swooped in with ferry boat and attacked them with sticks? Because that's what he's saying.
Millions have already seen the Al Jazeera broadcast showing these “activists” chanting “Khaibar! Khaibar!”— a reference to a Muslim massacre of Jews in the Arabian peninsula in the seventh century. YouTube viewers saw Israeli troops, armed with crowd-dispersing paintball guns and side arms for emergency protection, being beaten and hurled over the railings of the ship by attackers wielding iron bars.
I haven't seen this video, but it's not surprising that people who were being assaulted and murdered would say things like that. And there is frankly nothing that can believed about any of the videos that the Israelis have released, because they are out of context and because the Israelis have seized all journalistic evidence, and are controlling the flow of information completely.
What the videos don’t show, however, are several curious aspects Israeli authorities are now investigating. First, about 100 of those detained from the boats were carrying immense sums in their pockets — nearly a million euros in total. Second, Israel discovered spent bullet cartridges on the Mavi Marmara that are of a caliber not used by the Israeli commandos, some of whom suffered gunshot wounds. Also found on the boat were propaganda clips showing passengers “injured” by Israeli forces; these videos, however, were filmed during daylight, hours before the nighttime operation occurred.
First of all, when did it become a crime or even suspicious behavior to carry money? And is this really that much money? That averages out to 10,000 euros apiece. If I was going to a place like Gaza, I'd probably want to have some cash with me, too. Is that supposed to be some sort of justification for murdering a bunch of aid workers in cold blood?

As far as spent bullet casings and video clips go, well, does anyone with any knowledge of how Israel operates doubt for a second that could easily be a plant? And Israel, of course, is insisting that all of this "evidence" and, indeed, the whole massacre, be investigate by none other than Israel.
The investigations of all this evidence will be transparent, in accordance with Israel’s security needs.
Note that he does not say that the investigation will be transparent, but that it will be transparent as long as the transparency serves Israel's interests.
There is little doubt as to the real purpose of the Mavi Marmara’s voyage — not to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, but to create a provocation that would put international pressure on Israel to drop the Gaza embargo, and thus allow the flow of seaborne military supplies to Hamas.
So the real intent of this mission was to spotlight the cruelty and inhumanity and criminality of Israel's denial of vital food and medicine to Gazans, and we're supposed to think that there is something wrong with this? Of course, Israel is not only trying to starve Gaza, but it's also trying to deny them weapons. This is what any genocidal government would do to a population that it has been brutally occupying for decades. I'm sure the Nazi's tried to keep guns out of the Warsaw Ghetto, too. It doesn't make it right.
Just as Hamas gunmen hide behind civilians in Gaza, so, too, do their sponsors cower behind shipments of seemingly innocent aid.
What is only "seemingly innocent" about a boatload of medical supplies? Did the Israelis find a weapons cache and forget to tell the world?
This is why the organizers of the flotilla repeatedly rejected Israeli offers to transfer its cargo to Gaza once it was inspected for military contraband. They also rebuffed an Israeli request to earmark some aid packages for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas for four years.
Or maybe it's because Israel has repeatedly refused to allow these exact same kinds of supplies to get through, and has even publicly claimed it plans to put the Palestinians people in Gaza "on a diet". And so what if they refused to bring an aid package to Shalit? It's a group of international aid workers and politicians. If Israel wants to deliver aid to Shalit, they can drop it off themselves. They're in Gaza shooting people every day anyway.
In the recent past, Israeli forces have diverted nine such flotillas, all without incident, and peacefully boarded five of the ships in this week’s convoy. Their cargoes, after proper inspection, were delivered to non-Hamas institutions in Gaza. Only the Marmara, a vessel too large to be neutralized by technical means such as fouling the propeller, violently resisted.
Wait, I though they were assaulting the Israelis? Now they're only resisting these heavily armed commandos? With sticks?
It is no coincidence that the ship was dispatched by Insani Yardim Vakfi (also called the I.H.H.), a supposed charity that Israeli and other intelligence services have linked to Islamic extremists.
You'll have to excuse me for not believing the Israeli intelligence service. So who are these "other intelligence services"? Is he trying to say that Al Qaeda is mixed up in this? Because Oren knows damn well this isn't true, and is just trying to spread rumors that he knows will get America's thoroughly-terrorized wing nuts foaming at the mouth.
The real intent of breaking the embargo is to allow rockets to be transported to Gaza from Hamas’s suppliers in Syria and Iran. Israel has already intercepted several such ships laden with munitions. Since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has fired more than 10,000 rockets and mortars at our civilian population. This week, two Hamas rockets exploded near Ashkelon, one of Israel’s largest cities.
I'm sure Hamas would love to have some more rockets, as ineffectual as they have been. A few dozen Israelis have ever been killed by these rockets, and that's over the entire history of Israel's brutal occupation of Gaza, a history which includes a recent war against the defenseless Palestinians in which 13 Israeli soldiers died, while 1300 Palestinians, many of them civilians and children perished and what was left of the Gazan infrastructure was left in rubble- the ruins of which the Israelis are condemning the Palestinian people to live in while denying them food, medicine, clean water, and any hope of rebuilding.

But apparently, we should all be outraged that the Palestinians would want to get a few homemade rockets to fight back against the world-class military that the United States has so graciously provided for Israel. And this outrage is somehow supposed to obscure the fact that there were no rockets on these ships, as the whole world already knew.

Israel has a right and a duty to defend itself from Hamas and its backers.
But not by committing genocide against the Palestinian people.
Our struggle is not with the people of Gaza but only with the radical regime that overthrew the legitimate Palestinian Authority and has pledged to seek Israel’s destruction.
No matter how many times Israel says this, it doesn't change the fact that it is the civilian population of Gaza that pays the price.
Each day, Israel facilitates the passage into Gaza of more than 100 truckloads of food and medicine — there is no shortage of either.
100 truckloads-for a population of 1.5 million, and in a territory that has been reduced to rubble and desperately needs to rebuild. The notion that there is no shortage of food in Gaza is laughable; report after report from independent agencies have shown that there is a massive ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
We, too, want a free Gaza — a Gaza liberated from brutal Hamas rule — as well as an Israel freed from terrorist threats.
Hamas was put in power because they got the electricity working. The Palestinians don't seem to think they're brutal, and it would be hard to imagine anything as brutal as the Israeli army's treatment of Gaza. It's preposterous for Israel to claim that they are concerned about the freedom of Gaza.

As far as Israel being free from terrorist threats, the next time they complain about rocket attacks or suicide bombers, we should all remember that they have overwhelming regional military superiority, they have nuclear weapons, the have the world's only superpower backing them regardless of what they do, and that they have been brutally occupying Gaza for decades. They have denied the Palestinians any method of self-determination, and have denied them a conventional military with which to defend themselves.

How can they complain that it's somehow "unfair" when the Palestinians fight back with stick, stones, rockets and suicide bombs?

What other options have they been left with?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Did you hear the story about the guy who was suspected of murder? It seems that the police department let him conduct an investigation of himself.

Didn't hear that story? I didn't either. But the United States is insisting that Israel be allowed to investigate itself in a case in which it is suspected of murdering 9 peace activists in an incident that has sparked widespread international condemnation from all corners of the globe-with the exception, of course, of the United States.

I mean seriously, how fucking stupid does America think the rest of the world is? Because they either think that, or they just don't give a damn anymore.

What I don't understand is why they would even bother with an investigation. The US should just speak up and say what everyone else already knows: As far as America is concerned, Israel can do whatever the hell they want.

Why bother covering it up with a report no one will believe anyway?

The Shameful Silence Of The United States

I thought that this week's commando assault on an international group of unarmed peace protesters and aid workers in international waters, which was perpetrated by the terrorist state of Israel, might finally elicit some criticism from the Obama administration.

I was wrong.

The president and high ranking members of his administration have made it very clear in the past that there is noting, literally nothing, that Israel could do that the United States would condemn. The billions of dollars worth of weapons and aid which the United States sends to Israel each year will not stop, nor will the United States' ever stop enabling Israel commit war crimes with impunity.

What is the end result of our policy of aiding and abetting a country that has done more to harm the security of the United States than any other nation on earth besides our own?

First, we can expect more terror attacks. Our shameful support for Israel as it commits a slow form of genocide against the Palestinian people probably does more to radicalize Islam than any other policy, and there are plenty of shameful American policies to choose from.The whole world knows what Israel has done, as it commits war crime after war crime, and the whole world knows that the only reason Israel is able to continue doing these things is because the United States has told the rest of the world that it will not allow anyone to do anything to stop Israel.

We have seen case after case of terror attempts by radicalized Muslims, some successful, some not, who are motivated by a deep hatred of the United States, because they correctly see us as the sole reason that Israel can keep an entire people living in a virtual concentration camp, even as the rest of the world cries out for justice.

Our leaders and the media, of course, willfully ignore what motivates these terrorists, as though the reasons for these attacks are unimportant. And the American people, by and large, accept this, as though the last thing we should worry about are the stated reasons for these continued and escalating attacks.

But no one in Washington really cares about doing anything about the threat of terrorism. The Obama administration, like the one before it, has realized that it is able to claim vast imperial powers for itself as long as the "War on Terror" continues, and so it has a vested interest in continuing the "war" forever, if possible.

The military/security/industrial complex is a profit making enterprise for whom terrorism and fear is a form of marketing. It's greatest fear is that peace will come.

And most members of Congress refuse to do anything positive, either because they have been bought off by the military/industrial complex, or because they are petrified of ignorant voters who can't stand to hear anything other than that the United States is the greatest nation that ever was, and that it can never, but never, do wrong.

And so nothing happens. What will be the response of the United States when Israel detonates a nuclear weapon inside Iran? It will have the choice of siding with Israel against the entire world, including a comprehensively radicalized Islamic population, or of siding with civilization against Israel. Is there any question which choice it will make?

Soon, the United States will indeed find itself and its client state of Israel isolated against the international community. In fact, this is arguably the case today, but the degree of isolation and its effects can become radically worse. In the short term, the result will be more and worse terror attacks, more civil rights taken away from American citizens as the country slips closer and closer to an armed police state, and a more rapid consolidation of power in the elite.

This sounds bad enough, but the long term is even worse. The US is a fading empire, and like all fading empires, the cost of incessant war will suffocate its economy. The US is already held hostage to foreign oil, and is being rapidly eclipsed by economies like China, which are light years ahead of us in the race to develop clean, efficient energy. The US no longer knows how to make things. The largest sector of its economy -by far- is a virtual house of cards, pretending to make money by shuffling paper around.

What happens in 10 or 20 years, when the rest of the world sees the United States crumbling? One thing is for sure-if we continue on the path we are on, we will have no friends, and our enemies will show us no mercy.