Jerry Jackson

Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Tearing down sovereign nations & replacing them with global system administrators.

In Economics, Human Rights, Military, Society, World News on June 21, 2012 at 3:09 am

Part 1: Imperialism is Alive and Well

February 18, 2012 – The British Empire didn’t just have a fleet that projected its hegemonic will across the planet, it possessed financial networks to consolidate global economic power, and system administrators to ensure the endless efficient flow of resources from distant lands back to London and into the pockets of England’s monied elite. It was a well oiled machine, refined by centuries of experience.

While every schoolchild learns about the British Empire, it seems a common modern-day political malady for adults to believe that reality is organized as their history books were in school – in neat well defined chapters. This leads to the common misconception that the age of imperialism is somehow a closed-chapter in human history. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Imperialism did not go extinct. It simply evolved.

Imperialism is alive & well.

There are several pertinent examples illustrating how imperialism is still alive and well, and only cleverly disguised with updated nomenclatures. What we know today as “free trade” actually derives its origins from economic concessions the British frequently extorted from nations under its “gunboat diplomacy” strategy – that is, anchoring gunboats off the coast of a foreign capital, and threatening bombardment and military conquest if certain demands were not met.

Colonial Southeast Asia circa 1850's. Thailand/Siam was never colonized but made many concessions.

Colonial Southeast Asia circa 1850’s. Thailand/Siam
was never colonized but made many concessions.

In the mid-1800’s, Thailand, then the Kingdom of Siam, was surrounded on all sides by colonized nations and in turn was made to concede to the British 1855 Bowring Treaty. See how many of these “gunboat policy” imposed concessions sound like today’s “economic liberalization:”

1. Siam granted extraterritoriality to British subjects.
2. British could trade freely in all seaports and reside permanently in Bangkok.
3. British could buy and rent property in Bangkok.
4. British subjects could travel freely in the interior with passes provided by the consul.
5. Import and export duties were capped at 3%, except the duty-free opium and bullion.
6. British merchants were to be allowed to buy and sell directly with individual Siamese.

A more contemporary example would be the outright military conquest of Iraq and Paul Bremer‘s (CFR) economic reformation of the broken state. The Economist enumerates the neo-colonial “economic liberalization” of Iraq in a piece titled “Let’s all go to the yard sale: If it all works out, Iraq will be a capitalist’s dream:”

1. 100% ownership of Iraqi assets.
2. Full repatriation of profits.
3. Equal legal standing with local firms.
4. Foreign banks allowed to operate or buy into local banks.
5. Income and corporate taxes capped at 15%.
6. Universal tariffs slashed to 5%.

Nomenclatures aside, nothing has changed since 1855 as far as imperialist “wish-lists” go. The Economist argued, as would any 18-19th century imperialist, that Iraq needed foreign expertise to catch up, justifying the evisceration of their national sovereignty and the foreign stewardship (theft) of their resources. Unlike Siam, Iraq refused to concede to the “gunboats” of modern-day Wall Street & London, and often as the British did during the “glory days” of the empire, they made good on their threats.

Continue reading ‘Tearing down sovereign nations & replacing them with global system administrators.’ 

Rising temperatures at Fukushima raise questions over stability of nuclear plant

In Activism, Big Business, Fukushima, Japan, Human Rights, Society, World News on February 17, 2012 at 1:08 am

Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant say they are regaining control of a reactor after its temperature rose dramatically this week, casting doubt on government claims that the facility has been stabilized.

Tests were ordered on all Japanese nuclear plants after the Fukushima disaster.

Tests were ordered on all Japanese nuclear plants after the Fukushima disaster. Photograph: Kyodo/Reuters

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] was forced to increase the amount of cooling water being injected into the No 2 reactor after its temperature soared to 73.3C earlier this week.

By Tuesday night, the temperature had dropped to 68.5C at the bottom of the reactor’s containment vessel, where molten fuel is believed to have accumulated after three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors suffered meltdown after last year’s tsunami disaster.
The temperature at the bottom of the No 2 reactor vessel had risen by more than 20C in the space of several days, although it remained below the 93C limit the US nuclear regulatory commission sets for a safe state known as cold shutdown. Tepco said it had also injected water containing boric acid to prevent a nuclear chain reaction known as re-criticality.
The operator said the sudden rise in temperature did not call in to question the government’s declaration in December that all three damaged reactors had achieved cold shutdown.


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“The temperature of the reactor pressure vessel seems to be close to peaking out,” Junichi Matsumoto, a Tepco spokesman, told reporters.
Late last year, however, the minister in charge of the response to the Fukushima disaster, Goshi Hosono, conceded that officials had no idea about the exact location of molten uranium fuel but assumed that it had come to rest at the bottom of its containment vessels.

Read entire article ‘Rising temperatures at Fukushima raise questions over stability of nuclear plant‘, at Global Freedom Technology Firm.
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This Is What An Economic Depression Looks Like In The 21st Century

In Activism, Big Business, Economics, Human Rights, Police State, Society, World News on February 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Economic collapse in the 21st century Do you want to see what a 21st century economic depression looks like?  Just look at Greece.  Once upon a time, the Greek economy was thriving, the Greek government was borrowing money like there was no tomorrow and Greek citizens were thoroughly enjoying the bubble of false prosperity that all that debt created.

Those that warned that Greece was headed for a financial collapse were laughed at and were called “doom and gloomers”.  Well, nobody is laughing now.  You see, the truth is that debt is a very cruel master.  Greeks were able to live way beyond their means for many, many years but eventually a day of reckoning arrived.

At this point, the Greek economy has been in a recession for five years in a row, and the economic crisis in that country is rapidly getting even worse.  It was just recently announced that the overall rate of unemployment in Greece has soared above 20 percent and the youth unemployment rate has risen to an astounding 48 percent.  One out of every five retail stores has been shut down and parents are literally abandoning children in the streets.  The frightening thing is that this is just the beginning.  Things are going to get a lot worse in Greece.  And in case you haven’t been paying attention, these kinds of conditions are coming to the United States as well.  We are heading down the exact same road as Greece went down, and the economic pain that this country is eventually going to suffer is going to be beyond anything that most Americans would dare to imagine.

All debt spirals eventually come to an end.  For years, Greece borrowed huge amounts of very cheap money, but there came a point when the debt became absolutely strangling and the rest of the world refused to lend the Greek government money at such cheap rates anymore.

Greece would have defaulted long before now if the EU and the IMF had not stepped in to bail them out.  But along with those bailouts came strings.  The EU and the IMF insisted that the Greek government cut spending and raise taxes.

Well, those spending cuts and tax increases caused the economy to slow down.  Tax revenues decreased and deficit reduction targets were missed.  So the EU and the IMF insisted on even more spending cuts and tax increases.

Even after all of the spending cuts and all of the tax increases that we have seen, the debt to GDP ratio in Greece is still higher than it was before the crisis began.  Today, the Greek national debt is sitting at 142 percent of GDP.

Now the EU and the IMF are demanding even more austerity measures before they will release any more bailout money.

Needless to say, the Greek people are pretty much exasperated by all of this.  They created this mess by going into so much debt, but they certainly don’t like the solutions that are being imposed upon them.

Protesters in Greece are absolutely outraged that the EU and the IMF are now demanding a 22 percent reduction in the minimum wage.

Most families in Greece are just barely surviving at this point.  Unfortunately, Greece is probably looking at depression conditions for many years to come.

Over the past three years, the size of the Greek economy has shrunk by 16 percent.

In 2012, it is being projected that the Greek economy will shrink by another 5 percent.

Sadly, that projection is probably way too optimistic.

Over the past couple of months, it has been like someone has pulled the rug out from under the Greek economy.  Just check out the following numbers from an article in the Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard…

Another normal day at the Hellenic Statistical Authority.

We learn that:

Greece’s manufacturing output contracted by 15.5pc in December from a year earlier.

Industrial output fell 11.3pc, compared to minus 7.8pc in November.

Unemployment jumped to 20.9pc in November, up from 18.2pc a month earlier.

I have little further to add. This is what a death spiral looks like.

Can you imagine unemployment going up by 2.7 percent in one month?

This is what a 21st century economic depression looks like.

And needless to say, civil unrest is rampant in Greece.

The following is how a USA Today article described some of the protests that we saw in Greece this week….

Scores of youths, in hoods and gas masks, used sledge hammers to smash up marble paving stones in Athens’ main Syntagma Square before hurling the rubble at riot police.

The country’s two biggest labor unions stopped railway, ferry and public transport schedules, and hospitals worked on skeleton staff while most public services were disrupted. Unions were planning protests in Athens and other cities around midday.

Greek citizens are exasperated by the endless rounds of austerity that are being imposed upon them.  They wonder how far all of this is going to go.

How much higher can taxes go in Greece?  Greece already has tax rates that are among the highest in Europe….

Greece has the third highest rate of VAT in Europe, second highest gas/petrol tax, third highest tax on social insurance contributions, fifth highest VAT on alcohol, highest property tax and one of the worst corporate tax rates, without the quality of living or competitiveness to match.

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Rupert Murdoch Lobbies Congress To Restrict Internet

In Activism, Big Business, Biography, Economics, Human Rights, Internet Censorship, Police State, Society on January 8, 2012 at 5:59 am

WASHINGTON — News Corp. honcho Rupert Murdoch threw his weight behind Congress’ attempt to restrict the Internet, personally lobbying leaders on Capitol Hill Wednesday for two measures that purport to combat piracy.

Rupert Murdoch Lobbies Congress To Restrict Internet

Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch’s media empire is among some 350 large corporations that have come out in favor of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, as well as the Protect IP Act in the Senate.

Both measures would require Internet operators to police activity online, and would mandate Internet giants like Google and AOL (the parent company of The Huffington Post and an opponent of the bills) and credit card companies to take down sites that have content deemed to be in violation of copyright rules.
The battle has pitted huge content generators like Disney and the motion picture industry against their online competitors, with each side reportedly spending some $90 million on lobbying efforts.
Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive O...

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Supporters say the measures will help curb theft and preserve the integrity of the Internet. Opponents charge that the measures amount to censorship that will stifle innovation and impose higher costs on consumers.

News Corp. owns 20th Century Fox films and many television franchises such as “The Simpsons.” The firm has long lobbied on the issue, donating to members on both sides of the aisle.

US Taxpayers Could Pay For European Bailout

In Economics, Human Rights, Police State, Society on October 19, 2011 at 8:17 pm

The U.S. is coming to Europe’s financial rescue.

Europe Bailout

Dollars for Euros

So far, America’s role is fairly limited. But if thecrisis continues to grow and the U.S. takes on a wider role, U.S. consumers and taxpayers could feel a bigger impact. The biggest exposure could come from America’s status as the single largest source of money for the International Monetary Fund.
The latest round of American financial assistance came Thursday with a promise by the Federal Reserve to swap as many dollars for euros as European bankers need. In the short run, those transactions won’t have much impact because the central banks are simply swapping currencies of equal value. If the move helps avert a wider crisis, it could help spare the global economy from another recession.


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But over the long term, consumers could feel the impact of central bankers flooding the financial system with cash, according to John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics.


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Chaos On The Streets Of America

In Activism, Big Business, Economics, Human Rights, Police State, Society on September 18, 2011 at 1:10 am

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Image by bsabarnowl via Flickr

Should we just expect mass chaos on the streets of America every time a major holiday rolls around? At least 42 people were hit by gunfire in New York City over the Labor Day weekend. The violence got so bad that even the mayor felt compelled to publicly address it. In Chicago, at least 6 people(including a man in a wheelchair) were killed over the Labor Day weekend.

Sadly, this is just a continuation of a trend that we have seen build over the past few years. At the beginning of the summer, there was terrible violence all over America during the Memorial Day weekend. We also saw violence break out during 4th of July celebrations. It appears that wherever large groups of young people gather in America today, there is going to be a very good chance that chaos is going to erupt.

Almost wherever you look, you can see the frustration of the American people starting to boil over. Very few public places seem to be immune.

For example, there have been very disturbing incidents of violence at quite a few NFL games recently. Just check out this video and this video.

There was even one incident recently where coaches and players ganged up to brutally attack a referee during a youth football game in Florida.

What in the world is happening to this country?

People are getting angrier and angrier and they are starting to lash out.

As I have documented previously, there have been a disturbing number of flash mob robberies in the United States this year. When dozens of young people start banding together to loot stores, you know that things are getting bad. Just check out this video of a recent example from the state of Maryland.

When individuals or small groups commit crimes that is bad enough.

But when large groups of people start banding together to commit crimes that is absolutely frightening.

The sad truth is that it is not even safe to take your kids to the state fair anymore. The following is how one local ABC News affiliate described the “flash mob” attacks that took place at the Wisconsin state fair this year….

Milwaukee police said that around 11:10 p.m., squads were sent to the area for reports of battery, fighting and property damage being caused by an unruly crowd of “hundreds” of people. One officer described it as a “mob beating.”

Police said the group of young people attacked fair goers who were leaving the fair grounds. Police said that some victims were attacked while walking. They said others were pulled out of cars and off of motorcycles before being beaten.

Could you imagine your children watching that scene unfold from the backseat of your vehicle?

Could you imagine your wife and your children being pulled out of your vehicle and beaten by rampaging criminals?

Yes, this kind of thing is now happening in the heartland of America.

Even young girls are increasingly participating in violence. Just check out this video of a group of teen girls brutally assaulting a worker outside City Hall in Philadelphia earlier this year.

How in the world did those young girls learn to act like that?

Sadly, that was not an isolated incident. Young women all over the nation have become absolutely brutal. In Minnesota recently, a mob of teen girls beat the living daylights out of a mother and her two daughters until they were black and blue. Apparently the mob of teen girls was enraged over a pair of missing sunglasses.

In America today, the love of most people has grown cold. A growing number of Americans (especially young Americans) seem to have very little empathy for anyone else.

As the economy crumbles, many Americans find themselves doing very low things in order to survive. So far in 2011, dog thefts have increased by 49 percent. These days, people will steal anything of value if it is not bolted down.

What is certainly not helping things is the rampant unemployment all over the nation. Sadly, the younger that you are, the more likely that you are to be unemployed.

According to a recent USA Today article, more than one-fourth of all teens are unemployed at this point….

The unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds ticked up to 25.4% in August from 25% the previous month, the Labor Department said last week. For black teens, unemployment leaped to 46.5% from 39.2% in July. The nation’s jobless rate was unchanged at 9.1%.

But those numbers only tell part of the story. The real picture starts to emerge when you look at how many teens actually do have a job.

Back in the year 2000, more than 50 percent of all Americans teens had a job.

This summer, only 29.6% of all American teens had a job.

So we have a whole lot of teens with a whole lot of time on their hands.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough jobs for everyone out there right now. There is intense competition even for the most basic jobs.

The number of Americans with jobs overall continues to decline. For example, the percentage of Californians that are 16 years or older that have a job is the lowest that is has been in over 30 years.

What is even more frightening is that we have just seen another huge wave of layoffs. The following is from a recent CBS article….

It’s been a summer storm of pink slips. Along with Borders, Bank of America, Cisco, Lockheed Martin, and Goldman Sachs have all recently announced mass layoffs.

But a lack of jobs is far from the only reason why the fabric of American society is falling to pieces.

Many believe that another huge reason for all of the chaos on the streets of America is the breakdown of the American family. In 1960, married couples accounted for 75 percent of all households in America. Today, they account for just 48 percent of all households.

Millions upon millions of American children are growing up with only one parent, and that one parent usually has to work so hard that he or she is hardly ever home.

So those kids are being raised by our public schools, by government institutions, by the television, by movies, by video games and by other kids.

Now we are starting to reap what we have been sowing as a society.

Many of our greatest cities have been transformed into rotting war zones. As millions of jobs have been shipped overseas, entire communities have been gutted. Those that remain in these cities find themselves trying to survive in an environment where morality has been thrown out the window.

For example, the following is what one British reporter found during his visit to Detroit….

 

Continue reading “Chaos on the streets of America” at Global Freedom Technology Firm.

London riots a pretext for Internet crackdown

In Activism, Economics, Human Rights, Internet Censorship, Police State, Society, World News on August 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

Riots in LondonJordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan were two of several demonstrators that were given harsh sentences for petty crimes in the recent UK riots. Another looter got six months for stealing a case of bottled water. Alex Jones, radio host of the Alex Jones Show, tells us why this is a severe overreaction on the UK’s part and how he is not surprised.

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Read entire article “London riots a pretext for internet crackdown,” at Global Freedom Technology Firm
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Government to Monitor Social Networks For “Extremist Propaganda”

In Activism, Big Business, Economics, Hacktivist, Human Rights, Internet Censorship, Military, Police State, Society on August 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm


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New White House plan follows Pentagon advisory targeting protests against Federal Reserve

A new strategy document released by the White House promises to “closely monitor…the Internet and social networking sites” in order to “counter online violent extremist propaganda” as the federal government attempts to embed itself further in local communities under the guise of preventing domestic extremism.

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The document, Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States (PDF), focuses on identifying Americans who have supposedly been radicalized or groomed by Al-Qaeda to carry out attacks in the United States.

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As the L.A. Times notes , the plan involves “federal departments not usually associated with national security,” and is heavily focused around increasing the federal government’s involvement with schools and the “emotional and behavioral development” of young people.
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The document defines extremist propaganda as that which is used to “feed on grievances” and “assign blame.” The government vows to “aggressively” combat such ideology by “continuing to closely monitor the important role the internet and social networking sites play in advancing violent extremist narratives.”

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In targeting the Internet and social networking websites for surveillance in the name of fighting domestic terrorism, the White House is continuing in the vein of the previous administration who in 2006 revealed that since 9/11 they had been pursuing a plan to diminish the role of “conspiracy theories” as a primary recruitment tool for terrorists.

The document arrives in the same week that the Pentagon also announced it would be hiring individuals to “detect and track popular ideas on social networks”.
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Continue reading ‘Government to Monitor Social Networks For “Extremist Propaganda”’ at Global Freedom Technology Firm.
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Bill Approved To Create Massive Surveillance Database Of Internet Users

In Activism, Big Business, Human Rights, Internet Censorship, Police State, Society on July 30, 2011 at 1:32 am


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Privacy busting legislation a “stalking horse for a massive expansion of federal power”

Massive Surveillance Database

Internet User Surveillance

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Legislation that will force Internet providers to store information on all their customers and share it with the federal government and law enforcement agencies was significantly beefed at the last minute yesterday and approved by a U.S. House of Representatives committee.
Under the guise of protecting children from internet pornographers, the House Judiciary committee voted 19-10 to approve a bill that will require Internet Service Providers to store temporarily assigned IP addresses for future government use.
In addition, the bill was re-written yesterday to also include the enforced retention of customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.
As Declan McCullagh of CNet reports, the panel rejected an amendment that would have clarified that only IP addresses must be stored.
“The bill is mislabeled,” said Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the panel. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.”
It represents “a data bank of every digital act by every American” that would “let us find out where every single American visited Web sites,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who led Democratic opposition to the bill. The Californian Representative described the legislation as a “mess of a bill” and a “stalking horse for a massive expansion of federal power”.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., noted that the bill would open a Pandora’s box of government abuse.
“This is not about child porn. It never has been and never will be,” Issa said. “This is a convenient way for law enforcement to get what they couldn’t get in the PATRIOT Act.”
Advocates for the legislation include the National Sheriffs’ Association, which has said it “strongly supports” mandatory data retention. The bill has also attracted endorsements from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as the FBI.

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In a last ditch effort to derail the bill, the ACLU, along with dozens of other privacy watchdog groups penned a letter (PDF) to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith earlier this week, noting that “any data retention mandate is a direct assault on bedrock privacy principles.”
“The data retention mandate in this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized,” Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said.
“Requiring Internet companies to redesign and reconfigure their systems to facilitate government surveillance of Americans’ expressive activities is simply un-American. Such a scheme would be as objectionable to our Founders as the requiring of licenses for printing presses or the banning of anonymous pamphlets.” Bankston added.
“This is China-style law enforcement, treating everyone as a potential suspect and requiring the collection of personal information just in case it might later be useful to the government,” said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel for the Washington based Center for Democracy and Technology, in an interview with Bloomberg.
A fortnight ago, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) appealed before the House Judiciary Committee, asking that Congress recognize the fact that retaining identifying information would put at risk “99.9% of Internet users.”
EPIC President Marc Rotenberg pointed out that it is more prudent to seek data minimization rather than data retention, in the wake of increased risk of data breaches and identity theft. Rotenberg noted that enforced data retention would make ISPs more vulnerable to hackers, citing the LulzSec group, which recently claimed responsibility for temporarily shutting down a CIA website and other high-profile hacks.
“Minimizing stored user data reduces incentives for hackers to attack data storage systems by reducing the amount of data available to steal. Minimization also reduces the costs of data breaches,” Rotenberg said in prepared testimony.
Rotenberg suggested that the data could be used to bring criminal charges that were unrelated to child pornography, noting that any mandatory retention of data would be accessible to police investigating any crime.
“Although this data retention requirement has been introduced as part of a bill focused on child sexual exploitation, there is no evidence to suggest that the majority of law enforcement requests for customer subscriber information relate to child protection cases.” Rotenberg argued.


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Afghan CIA Drug Kingpin Shot Dead by Own Bodyguard

In Big Business, Military, World News on July 22, 2011 at 10:39 pm


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Afghan President Karzai's brother shot dead

Afghan President Karzai's brother


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Ahmad Wali Karzai, the half brother of Afghan president Hamid Karzai, was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards Tuesday morning. Friend and trusted head of security Sardar Mohammed shot him in the head and chest. Mohammed was in turn shot and killed by fellow bodyguards. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination.

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Afghan President

Karzai’s brother shot dead

 

In 2009 it was reported that Karzai was a major player in the Afghan opium trade. According to reports, other members of the Karzai family are involved “head-to-heels” in the drug business.
Ahmad Wali Karzai also worked for the CIA.
“The CIA has been complicit in the global drug trade for years,” a former intelligence official told Newsmax in 2002. “The CIA did almost the identical thing during the Vietnam War, which had catastrophic consequences – the increase in the heroin trade in the USA beginning in the 1970s is directly attributable to the CIA.”
According to a report in Presscore, the former Unocal employee Hamid Karzai and his family are heavily involved in the CIA’s drug business.
“85 per cent of all drugs produced in Afghanistan is being shipped aboard US aircraft. Foreign diplomats have stated that the United States military buy drugs from local Afghan drug lords who deal with field commanders overseeing eradication of drug production,” states the report. The CIA provides protection for the enterprise.
The CIA has been in the drug running business since the 1950s. In Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Latin America, and Afghanistan, the CIA — also known as the “Cocaine Import Agency” — has remained at the forefront of the international illicit drug trade. The journalist Gary Webb and the San Jose Mercury News tied the CIA and the Contras to a large crack cocaine ring in Los Angeles. Webb paid with his life for revealing this information to the public.
Before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban had imposed a ban on opium production. This resulted in opium production collapsing by more than 90 per cent. It was the U.S. supported Northern Alliance that came to the rescue and began protecting the production of raw opium.
“CIA-supported Mujahedeen rebels [who in 2001 were part of the Northern Alliance] engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported government and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society,” William Blum writes in The Real Drug Lords.
In a Fox News report aired in April of 2010, correspondent Geraldo Rivera interviewed a solder in Afghanistan who admitted the U.S. allows the opium trade to flourish.
Continue reading ‘Afghan CIA Drug Kingpin Shot Dead by Own Bodyguard‘ at Global Freedom Technology Firm. 



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