Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving and Other Assorted Myths

Am I the only one who thinks that during the week leading up to Thanksgiving, We, the People need to be thinking about how thankful we should be for living in these here United States. You know....Home of the Brave, Land of the Free? The place where huddled masses yearning to breathe free managed to land at some checkpoint and make it through to the Goldeneh Medina?

The First Thanksgiving  J.L.G. Ferris - c.1932
the mythological version
Seems to me that unless you're a Native American, you arrived on these here shores seeking freedom from something. And when we arrived, we weren't nice to the people who were here. We brought little hostess gifts like influenza and small pox. Eventually, We, the People conquered, vanquished, humbled, belittled, segregated, and out-and-out killed the people who actually owned this land. I am certain had the Algonquins had a media outlet, they would've described these same "settlers" as religious terrorists come to impose their laws, customs, and mores upon people who had their own laws, customs and mores and saw no reason to change them. So, one might correctly conclude the only time refugees to the US really decimated the population was when they first arrived. See illustration above for revisionist, mythological depiction of the first Thanksgiving. 

We cannot go back and undo what the first settlers and subsequent generations did to the Native Americans, but there are certainly things that should be done, beginning with the systematic removal of ALL anti-Indigenous People acts throughout this country. A good place to begin would be recognizing the role of terror in the conquest of this nation. 

Terror? Did I say terror? Yes. As a matter of fact I did. We showed up with firesticks and scared the living daylights out of the locals. We told them BIG lies about how we were magic. We scared them first into submission, then we swooped in and destroyed them. I do believe that qualifies as guerrilla warfare. 

Meanwhile, back at the ol' homestead, another thing we should do is think about what role this mythological magic-feast holiday has in our lives. It's not religious. It is quintessentially American. It supposed to celebrate not who we are, but who we believe we have become. 

Try living up to that higher dream standard. Let's take a moment to remember where our ancestors came from and what life is like back there now. Do we want to go back, or do we want to stay in this great, imperfect manifest destiny that needs work?

There is a lot of work to do here, and we could sure use a few more hands attached to the arms attached to the shoulders and attached to the heads who want to believe in the American dream. We need those new refugees as much as they need us. It is not easy to get here. It takes about two very long, very probing years for refugee status to be conferred and that's even before America becomes the destination. There is no guarantee once you're declared a refugee that you're even gonna get in here, so let's all take a deep breath before jumping off the short pier. 

      Manzanar - Winter  1943-44       

Ansel Adams
This registration thing is Americanly abhorrent. The Nazis began  by requiring Jews to register as Jews. Once the data base was formed, it was easy to round them up. And we do know how to round people up already, don't we? We even know how to build concentration camps. Manzanar was not a myth or an imaginary exercise. Manzanar was very real. You may even know someone who was imprisoned there....and doesn't talk about it much. But they remember what it was like to be rounded up because of the shape of their eyes and the color of their skin....while their sons were in uniform fighting for the US. How American is that?

This year, when you sit down at the Thanksgiving table, maybe talk about where your people came from and how they got here. Which group would've been the one who wanted your group to register. Just don't think about it, talk about it. Talk about what you would do when then come to your door to register you. This Thanksgiving, begin a new conversation with your family and your friends. Your job is to learn who you are, who your family is, and who we are as a nation.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
May all those who are hungry come and eat. 
Our tables are laden with goodly bounty. 

c. 1950

Monday, November 16, 2015

Don't Bother With Your Tired, Your Poor, Or Your Huddled Masses

used by permission © 2015 Steven G. Artley
If Mary and Joseph showed up at the refugee table next week, they might be denied visas because a rather vocal segment of these here United States has decided that only Christians from Syria should be allowed refugee status. Problem is, Mary and Joseph weren't Christian. They were Jews and they were from the Middle East. Based on Jeb!'s statement, or Dr. Ben's rhetoric, they would not have been granted refugee status.  

Seems to me, Clown Cavalcade of GOP hopefuls, all your religiosity is nothing more than hot air. Where is the compassion? Where is the desire to help your fellow human? All the stuff your savior preached throughout his career is meaningless to you? 

You would rather wage war over a ridiculous red coffee cup then lift a damn finger to help with the humanitarian crisis raging in half the world. You talk about boots-on-the-ground and bombing Syria with not a single thought about what happens next. Like Iraq was such a screaming success, let's do it again.

Come to think of it, the GOP isn't all that far removed from radical Islam, is it? They talk about everlasting life when instead they broker death with their guns-for-everyone policies. They want to put prayer in schools just like the madrases. They want everyone to follow their particular brand of religion while demonizing everyone else. Gee, fellas, I would think you would welcome ISIS with open arms and boxes of ammo.

In his speech on Monday, November 16th, President Obama said:
When I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution—that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
Apparently POTUS was wrong, because there are a whole lotta petitions going around saying that's exactly who we are. 

The governors who say they are closing their borders to refugees are morons. Unless you are checking all travel papers at the interstate toll booths, there is no restriction on travel within the US. These are the same clowns who talk about the importance of life, but do not give a damn about helping people survive. They talk about the sanctity of the family, yet they throw entire families to the wolves of war. Talk about hypocrites!

And for the record, you don't exactly walk up to the gangplank and say, "Hi, I'm a refugee; take me to America." The steps to even get refugee status are rigorous and begin with an appearance before the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) who determines status based on the parameters established in 1951. Once refugee status is conferred, you will be referred to one of several countries who have opened the doors to certified refugees. No, the system isn't perfect, but it sure as hell beats people swimming across the Mediterranean and walking north from Greece. By the way, those aren't refugees....those are migrants. Apples and oranges. 

Syrian refugee family arrives in Canada
This is a big country. There is plenty of room for a few thousand broken families to find peace and security if only for a little while. Many expect to return to Syria when it is safe again, and view the US not as a permanent address, but as a place to heal. These are not radicals. These are not terrorists. These are people whose lives have been disrupted and destroyed by ISIS. We should be taking them in. We should be a safe haven. We should be everything we tell ourselves we are. Leaving them to die in a war zone is the most uncharitable act I can think of. That anyone can think of. 

If you consider yourself to be an American, if you consider yourself to be patriotic, if you consider yourself to be a believer in the Constitution of these here United States, and consider yourself of be a dues-paying member of We, the People, get off your collective butts and start acting like it. Tell your governors and your congressclowns that  we want to host and help the Syrian refugees. We want them to experience a free and productive society. We want to give them something to take home: the idea that freedom is worth the fight.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Day
Now would be a good time to go through closets and drawers
to get clothing ready for donation. 
Keep in mind, furniture will also be needed. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

You Need An Appointment

Back when the junior son was a whippersnapper barely able to sign his name, he marched himself into the Naval Recruiting Station on Robert Street (next to the old Rainbow in the creepy strip mall,) clambered up onto a plastic chair and informed the rather startled officer behind the desk he wanted to attend to Annapolis... and it was time to get started. The man was very nice, asked the junior son a variety of very serious questions and received very serious answers. The recruiting officer told junior son he needed someone to nominate him, and explained who can do that. Making up a packet of information about the Naval Academy, he presented it to the kid in an official Navy folder. He then looked at me and said, "I think he could do it, y'know. I've never seen a kid this intense before." When the junior son presented the packet to his dad and told him what he'd done, Ziggy listened to him closely and told him this was a very good goal to have. Later, the Pappy-Unit turned to me and said, "Not a bad idea, hon. Service academies are tuition free."

Anyone who lives in this country and is even mildly aware of how officers get to be officers knows that the five service academies
  • The United States Military Academy (USMA) West Point, New York, est. 1802
  • The United States Naval Academy (USNA) Annapolis, Maryland, est. 1845
  • The United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) New London, Connecticut, est. 1876
  • The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Kings Point, New York, est. 1943
  • The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Colorado Springs, Colorado, est. 1954

accept nominations, not applications, and admissions are called appointments. An appointment to a service academy means your tuition is paid by We, the People in order to insure our military has the best trained commanders in the world. 

Ben and his BFF Jesus
Dr. Carson, practitioner of psycho-ceramic surgery, clearly has no frickin' idea what he's talking about. It's not admission; it's an appointment, and no one offers to get you one, much less a scholarship. And if anyone had a serious conversation with you about pursuing a nomination for West Point or Kings Point or all points in between, I'm pretty sure you would remember that conversation for the rest of your life. "Hey, wanna go to West Point?" doesn't strike me as a serious conversation.

And therein lies the problem. This guy thinks casual chatter passes for serious conversation. He can't get his stories straight. Not about trying to stab someone, not about what classes he took in college. Not about the snake oil he's been selling à la Dr. Oz, another wacko who, based on Dr. Carson's success, is probably planning the launch of his campaign. 

What is wrong with these people? 

Bread and circus. That's what our elections have come down to. 

Photo by Arthur Levin
The last few days have been spent following the elections in Myanmar, the first free elections in that country in a quarter century, and people are putting selfies of their ink-stained voting fingers all over Facebook. These are people that have seriously gone to the polls to have a certifiable voice in the future of their nation. There are so many problems to tackle, so much damage to undo, but millions of Burmese are bound and determined to prove they have a voice. They are fighting for their very existence as a people. Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, after years of house arrest, is leading the opposition party even though their constitution excludes her becoming president because she is married to a foreigner. (Her husband is British.) One of my friends happens to be there now.... I am  so envious that I cannot be there to watch history being made.

Elections are serious stuff and we treat it like a circus parade. How can we possibly put up for election someone who believes the pyramids were built by Joseph for grain storage? 

The common fodder these days is that Marco Rubio will be the nominee. I hope not. He's no better than any of the other lying, fear-mongers running for office. At least the Democrats have the good sense to keep the cadre of candidates down to a reasonable number. 

President Obama nailed it in a single line the other night, when, at a Democratic fund raiser in response to the GOP field whining about the CNBC moderators, he said:
“I mean let me tell you, if you can’t handle – if you can’t handle those guys, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”

If this is really the best field of candidates out of a whole country of 321,216,400+ people, We, the People are in deep and serious weeds. 

Wifely Person Tip o'the Week
Think about the last time you were proud about voting.
Now, is there anyone reaching for the ballot 
who would inspire that same sense of pride?
If there isn't.....go out an find one. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hopes For A Peaceful Anniversary

I am irradiated, but not glowing. I have a head cold. I'm tired and cranky. BUT..... 

72 years ago, in a borough far, far away, there was a wedding:

November 3rd, 1943

I guess there aren't too many couples out there who get to celebrate 72 years together. Sure, my folks had their moments but now, the best they can do is hold hands in the night while Mom hopes for a moment or two of a lucid Dad. 

I wish their living at Sholom Home's nursing/hospice side wasn't such a day-to-day challenge for all of us. My father is slowly fading away, living mostly in his head, going to the morning production meeting at Blum where he give still gives orders for the gluers and the pressmen. Yesterday he knew the Mets dropped game 4 in the World Series, but today, I'm not so sure he understood that KC beat his beloved Mets to a pulp and took the series in 5 games. 

Mom is already grieving the loss of the man my Dad was. The moments of presence are fewer and fewer...and easier to miss because he is so quiet. There is such sadness and resignation in her voice when she tells me how the day went. It's rarely a good day. The challenges of living in a nursing home are myriad and all-too-often frustrating for her, for me, and even for Dad. We are all exhausted.

But for the moment, he is still in the land of the living. He has not gone to Aunt Ruthie's....where I'm positive everyone is waiting for the rest of us at the perennial party. I try to make the most of the moments he's in the present, and I encourage Mom to keep telling him how much she loves him. When he's in the moment, he tells me he's hanging on for Mom. In turn, Mom whispers she has to hang on for him. I wonder if either one can ever let go.

"Happy Anniversary" seems oddly insufficient. Instead, I want to wish them "Peaceful Anniversary."

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Day
The older you get, the more precious the gift of time.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Five Tats and They're Spelled Right

Here it is, a little more than a year away from the finish line, and I'm already sick to death of politics and candidates. That does not bode well, y'know. So, to give everyone a little breather, I thought I'd catch you all up on what's going down over at Chez Wifely.

First of all, the cancer thing has been a real adventure. Unlike many who have been faced with this terrifying diagnosis...including my husband who lost his battle.... I have had it relatively easy. The surgeries went well, I'm pretty much healed up, and I am now the proud owner of 5....count 'em on yer fingers....five tats. 

Yep. The staid WP is now sporting 3 tats down the center of my torso, then one on each side. I hear they're all spelled right, too. Actually, I can't even find 'em when I look, they're so tiny. I know they are there because the zapper machine was able to read 'em this morning during the radiation dry run. 

The truth is, I'm more nervous about the radiation than I was about anything else. I know it has to be done, and I know it's relatively easy to do, but the concept of purposefully irradiating part of me is vaguely disconcerting. The techs tell me I won't be glowing in the dark anytime soon, and that, I admit, is a little disappointing. I was hoping to be my own Halloween decoration......

Let me tell you what I've learned these last couple of months.  
  • I learned about me. Let's just say I'm a tough ol' bird and likely to remain so.
  • I learned about independence.....or rather, how much I despise being dependent on others. 
  • I learned about my relationships with other people. There were some surprises in there, but overall, it made me rethink how I am when others ask me for help. More than once, Senior Son has commented on my lack of "empathy skills." He's probably right about that, and having to ask for help from others drove that point home. BIG TIME. 
  • I learned that my expensive insurance is really, really good insurance. They paid for things my doctors warned me they might not pay one of the genetic tests (they paid the whole thing) and the cream for radiation (totally covered with no co-pay.) The EOBs are easy to understand and their website a breeze to navigate. 
  • I learned that the company my company pays to manage Leave of Absence stuff must cut down more trees for paper pulp than the The New York Times... based on the number of packets I get from them. About once a day, occasionally two arrive in the same day. Can you say, "ecologically unfriendly," boys and girls?
  • I learned that every day with my nonagenarian parents is a gift of time I never thought I would have. Even while they are dealing daily with end of life issues, their beds are pushed together so they can hold hands in the night. I am in awe of their tenacity.
  • And I leaned that having my mother here while I'm going through breast cancer ...even at my advanced the best medicine of all. Not that she does anything special, or says anything particularly earth shattering... but my mom is here, in the present, able to understand when I'm scared. And we laugh. A lot. 
I'm already back in the office and I'm hoping that three weeks of radiation won't slow me down too much. The ubiquitous they tell me attitude is everything and it's wholly possible I will sail right through the three weeks. Well, their mouths to G-d's ear!

So, enough of this self-indulgent claptrap. Next week, I should be back to being pissed off about watch out. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Self-reliance is not innate, it is a skill.
You must practice it every day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Stand Up ~ Be Counted: Counting Counts.

Angus Deaton  
Ben Solomon for the NY Times
CrediBen Solomon for The New York TimesCrediBen Solomon for The New York Times
So I read this article in the New York Times about the Nobel winner in economics...a guy named Angus Deaton. What this guy does is to use a whole lotta data to extrapolate a whole lotta information. That's the technical explanation. The practical explanation is that the statistics Dr. Deaton collects ultimately measure standards of living and guides policy. This is not an arbitrary process. It's not something we do only if we feel like doing it. It's the law. 

The U.S. Census is actually established by the Constitution of these here United States, specifically in Article 1, Section 2:
Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse [sic] three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
One cannot help but notice some of the racist, exclusionary language in Article 1, Section 2. If you want to read about the history of the U.S. Census, go to Wiki on the subject because I don't want to spend a lot of time here talking about the evolution of the process. What I do want to talk about is the need for the census itself. 

The Census does more than just decide how many people are sent to the House of Representatives. It tells us who we are. Questions the census asks are not specious. They tell us who has indoor plumbing and who does not...yes, folks, there are still places in this country with outhouses. It lets the government know who has electricity and who does not...and  by extension, who has access to an internet connection or cell phones and who does not. It identifies pockets of extreme poverty, food deserts, and insufficient access to education. It provides social scientists with information about where our society works and where it doesn't. In other words, it provides much more important data than where your great-grandparents lived when they arrived in these here United States. 

From The National Journal
It is in the best interest of The GOP to curtail the information-gathering. Right now, they are very good at gerrymandering, better than the Democrats, and let me tell you, both parties lack the moral high-ground on this issue. Gerrymandering is wrong. It's manipulative and it is destructive to the will of We, the People. There shouldn't be the carved-out curlicues we see instead of straight lines though the districts, designed to favor one party or another. And let me assure you, both parties are wrong here.

But gerrymandering isn't the only issue. How the government apportions money spent is:
First, decennial census data on state populations determine the number of seats in Congress each state receives and how those districts are drawn, through processes called “reapportionment” and “redistricting”. Second, the census provides the figures that determine the number of electors each state receives for presidential elections. Third, census numbers determine the allocation of hundreds of billions of federal program dollars. Fourth, federal agencies and private litigants use data on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, and disability to monitor compliance with civil rights laws and to determine where disparities exist and remediation is required. Finally, the private sector uses census data to make important decisions about their businesses, including investment strategies, hiring plans, and location of facilities.   The Leadership Conference: Census 2010 Education Kit
Reducing the ability of the U.S. Census to fully perform its function will further reduce the working classes to invisible status. The Census team is often the first line of information for living conditions in this nation. Reduction of their canvassing force coupled with the removal of social issue questions insures that large swaths of We, the People with lose our collective voices. The only ones who will benefit from this loss will be the burgeoning oligarchs who dismiss out-of-hand the working and living conditions of the less affluent. Programs designed to help those segments of the population will disappear because they can no longer be ascribed to sectors in need, since those sectors will become invisible.

And the Republicans are bound and determined not to allow that information to be collected. In June, THE ATLANTIC ran an excellent article: Republicans Try To Curtail The Census. If you're a member of We, the People, you should read this article because it speaks directly to you as a citizen. The curtailment of the Census has far-reaching ramifications that go beyond the internet and indoor plumbing. 

Someone should tell the farmers of the south and west, those stalwart supporters of Libertarian ideals, that getting rid of the census is going to directly impact their crop supports and probably their access to federal grazing land. Tell the Cuban immigrant population of Florida who throw their considerable weight behind Jeb! that a reduced census is going to impact their schools and their access to special services for Spanish-speakers. Tell those fine outdoors-men in Idaho that curtailing the census will reduce the federal supports for utilities and, amazingly enough, internet access and the availability of social media.

Penny-wise, pound foolish, as my British Grandmother used to say. The GOP morons who want to cut back the census are really looking for ways to keep We, the People from freedom of speech and the right to vote. Curtailing the census is one way of keeping democracy at bay....and out of our hands. 

The GOP is working very hard behind the scenes to make sure YOU don't get a voice in government. We are less than five years away from the 2020 census. YOU have a choice. You can throw your hands up in exasperation.....or you can start shouting now. 

The U.S. Census is critical to our survival as We, the People of the United States. Don't let anyone take that away from us. Not the Republicans and not the Democrats. The United States of America may be far from perfect, but name another place you'd rather live right now. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Know anyone turning ONE this week?
Anything with buttons to press can be the perfect gift.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Indigenous People Day!

Happy Indigenous People Day!

Doesn't quite roll off the tongue like Happy Columbus Day, but Indigenous language in this country doesn't exactly roll off our tongues either, so maybe it's just as well we have to work a little harder to say it. 

Now, there's all sorts of stuff about the real Cristoforo Colombo/Cristóbal Colón/Cristóvão Colombo/Christopher Columbus you may or may not the first name on the list above is the name he was born with in 1451 Genoa, Italy. We think. He may or may not have been Jewish, but his voyages were probably funded by wealthy Jews in Spain. And it's also pretty certain that one or more of his crewmen were Jewish fleeing Spain on the day the Inquisition was enacted.

But none of that changes anything that happened once he got here. This guy opened the door to exploration of a New World, and doing what Europeans do best, he planted a flag in the name of the Spanish Crown and declared ownership over land he clearly had no legal right to gift to anyone. 

Cristoforo lived and died; his work was carried forward by many others: Pizarro, Cortez, DeSoto....just to name a few...and none of those guys entered into any negotiations with the people who lived in their own world on their own terms. Living their own lives. Speaking their own languages. Worshiping their own gods. Doing the same stuff people in Europe did to protect their own and raise their kids. Sure, they had fights with the neighbors and there were local wars, but for the most part, their lives were no different from any other community in Europe, Asia, Africa, or anywhere else human lived. 

Cristoforo did not discover this new world, he merely ran aground on it. And the rest is disheartening history.

Across South, Central, and North America, there were attempted and all too often successful attempts at ethnic cleansing and genocide. Governmental archives in every single new world country are littered with documents that suppressed, robbbed, humiliated, or destroyed indigenous lives. These ballsy newcomers took their land without so much as a by-your-leave and forced millions of indigenous residents to leave their traditional homes. I suppose Dr. Ben Carson, Cavalcade Clown, will chalk this up to the Native Americans not being armed before their economic and physical holocaust. See, the Second Amendment didn't apply to them...any more than any other part of the Constitution. 

I don't like the Washington DC football team being called the Redskins. That's just disrespectful. The Fighting Sioux of North Dakota was referred to the local Sioux tribes for a referendum, but the name was retired in 2009. Generally racist logos (see Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves) also need to go. It's time to own up to our own apartheid, shameful past in regard to our own Indigenous Peoples. And this applies to Central and South America as well.

Abuses directed solely at native populations have not stopped. Reservations remain in the United States, and there are still too many anti-Indian laws on too many books. The first step in owning our participation in the wholesale genocide of our own local populations is to ditch Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous People Day. It's a small and insignificant step, but it's a first step.

What no Black American would ever tolerate, we ask our Indigenous peoples to not just tolerate, but accept as the status quo. We think we're helping when state legislatures permit tribes to open casinos.  That is nothing more than a band-aid and a lousy one at that. 

If We, the People want to do something hand-in-hand with the many Indigenous tribes, we should be spending a boatload of money on restoration of language and the preservation of indigenous cultural heritage. Minnesota and Montana are just two states that offer language immersion programs for native language. There are federal laws about providing instruction in Native American language, but it's not even close to being enough.

There can be no meaningful conversation about multi-culturalism in these here United States, unless it begins with and strongly includes the condition of ALL indigenous tribes. They are the ones relegated to ghettos. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, there are currently 334 reservations in operations, and about one-third (700,000) Native Americans live on the "res." Of that one third, approximately 28.4% live below the poverty line.  The graph on the left gives you a pretty good idea about housing on the res. 

So here's the thing: a website called THE STATE OF WORKING AMERICA - POVERTY cites the following statistics:
Among racial and ethnic groups, African Americans had the highest poverty rate, 27.4 percent, followed by Hispanics at 26.6 percent and whites at 9.9 percent. 45.8 percent of young black children (under age 6) live in poverty, compared to 14.5 percent of white children.
That statement seems wrong. Something is missing. It may be close, but it's wrong. And it's wrong because it reinforces the idea that Native Americans are invisible....because they are. 

I know it's not a popular or even a readily acceptable idea...but their lives matter, too. If we're going to have the conversation about the other, then our indigenous population must be included in this conversation. Not to do so, would be apartheid in the classic sense of the world.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Day
You cannot be invisible unless you are giving yourself permission
to be invisible. And even then, it doesn't always work.