Several months ago, CNN launched a new segment called “Reality Check.” It features the smug John Avlon, who also regularly shares the anchor as the network’s Senior Political analyst. In other words, their on-set “yes man.”
Avlon came to CNN from the Daily Beast, where he was the head beast. In those days, he was one of those regular bobblehead “contributors.” Seriously. Every time a host or guest would make a derogatory comment about Trump, Republicans or conservatives, Avlon would give it his smarmy smile and his head would … well … bobble up and down.
He was so good at playing into CNN’s anti-Trump narratives that they hired him full time and gave him his own segment to present an anti-Trump prosecution brief on a regular basis. After each prejudicial presentation, anchors John Berman and Alisyn Camerota would bolster his biased offering with such statements as “That is really great information, John” or “You really bring out the fact so clearly” or “You really tell people what they need to know.”
Avlon builds his case against Trump with selective facts, agonizing interpretations of those facts – while leaving out facts that refute those he presents – and outright disinformation. His “Reality Check” is not meant to educate the public – or to tell both sides of a story. It is to indoctrinate along the lines of the network’s various political false narratives. In short, Avlon is CNN’s chief propagandist. He earns that title despite intense competition form many of the other on-air personalities in the CNN stable.
Avlon used his platform to defend the rise of socialism within the Democratic Party, his favored political entity – and to call out Trump, Republicans and FOX News for criticizing the authoritarian concept. He selected a dictionary definition of socialism as “economic and political theories advocating collective or government ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”
That definition, in and of itself, should elicit condemnation of the political theory but he failed to complete the definition. It is also defined as “a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.” If you think that is not the ultimate goal, just listen to all those Democrats condemning capitalism these days.
Avlon claims that all those examples of failed socialism that brought deaths and misery at the hands of brutal despots is … old news. Since World War II, he says that world poverty rates have been cut in half – implying that it was due to the rise of socialism in a few countries. Based on a reality check, it would be more accurate to attribute the decline in poverty on capitalism – with nation’s like China and Russia taking on more capitalistic policies.
With the image of Senator Elizabeth Warren in the background, Avalon takes it upon himself to say that free college tuition and government-run healthcare is NOT socialism. He segues into class warfare with an attack on those Senator Bernie Sanders dubs “the one-percenters.”
Avlon goes on to criticize Republicans for “crying wolf” over socialism. He points out that Social Security and Medicare were decried as socialist when they were proposed and now they are popular. Because they have become part of the American economic fabric – and have attained a level of popularity – does not mean that there were not steps toward socialism. They were.
In his conclusion, Avlon declares that criticism of socialism in America is merely “political hype.” Just what a good left-wing propagandist would say.
That is only one example of the type of biased reporting Avlon and CNN pass off as a reality check. Virtually every one of his segments could be refuted in a fact-based counter argument. But those facts are banned and censored by the folks at CNN and that is why their “Reality Check” is anything but …
So, there ‘tis
According to the summary released by Attorney General William Barr, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election found there was no conspiracy involving Donald Trump or his campaign.
“The Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign,” read the four-page letter by Attorney General William Barr summarizing “principal conclusions” of Mueller’s investigation. The letter was sent to leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees Sunday afternoon, two days after Mueller delivered the confidential report to Barr.
While Barr’s letter also drew no final conclusions about whether or not the president obstructed justice, President Trump and his legal team are taking the final report as a complete victory.
“After a long look, after a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side where a lot of bad things happened…it was just announced there was no collusion with Russia, the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,”
Trump told reporters before he boarded Air Force One in Palm Beach, Florida where he finally broke his silence days after the end of the two-year investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and the Russian government.
“It was a complete and total exoneration,” said Trump. “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest it’s a shame that your president had to go through this.”
Trump Turns the Tables on Mueller?
Now, following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s key findings — including no evidence of collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign – it seems that the president is seeking once again to turn the tables on Mueller, by renewing calls to investigate the investigators.
“Hopefully somebody is going to look at the other side,” Trump said. “This was an illegal takedown that failed, and hopefully somebody is going to be looking at the other side.”
In case it wasn’t clear what he meant by that statement, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News an investigation should be launched into how the investigation began.
“He was being investigated for a crime that never happened,” Giuliani said. “There was never any collusion.”
Giuliani added, “There has to be a full and complete investigation, with at least as much enthusiasm as this one, to figure out where did this charge emanate, who started it, who paid for it.”
The former New York mayor specifically called out one of Trump’s most vocal critics, Rep. Adam Schiff, asking the California lawmaker where the evidence of collusion is that Schiff has said he has.
“Where is Schiff’s evidence?” Giuliani asked. “Where is it? In his head?”
Trump has maintained all along that he never colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign. He has long decried the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt” while attacking the FBI figures who launched the original Russia probe that was eventually taken over by Mueller in 2017. Trump and his legal team have also questioned what role the unverified and salacious anti-Trump “dossier” played in the probe’s beginnings.
Once a staunch supporter, it’s been no secret that more recently the “love affair” between Donald Trump and Ann Coulter is over. Coulter has been very critical of the president lately, and recently the president blasted the conservative columnist over her admonishment of Trump for his “lack of progress on border wall construction.”
In inimitable Trump style, the president hit back with the following tweet. “Wacky Nut Job @AnnCoulter, who still hasn’t figured out that, despite all odds and an entire Democrat Party of Far Left Radicals against me (not to mention certain Republicans who are sadly unwilling to fight), I am winning on the Border,”
“Stopping an Invasion”
Trump went on to say, “Major sections of Wall are being built and renovated, with MUCH MORE to follow shortly,” Trump continued. “Tens of thousands of illegals are being apprehended (captured) at the Border and NOT allowed into our Country. With another President, millions would be pouring in. I am stopping an invasion as the Wall gets built.”
Coulter was once an ardent supporter of Trump, primarily because of his views on the Wall and immigration. She even wrote the book, “In Trump We Trust,” which followed her previous bestseller, “Adios, America,” in which she predicted that unlimited illegal immigration would destroy the US. However, like many of us Coulter has been frustrated with Trump not getting the entirety of the Wall built as quickly as he promised.
She has targeted that frustration squarely at the president, instead of where her ire should be directed – at the endless resistance from federal courts, the Democrats, and, of course, RINOs.
Crisis at the Border Continues
Despite Trump schooling Coulter on just how much progress he is actually making on border security, the president’s Twitter war with her comes only a few days after Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before Congress that border authorities at DHS expect 1 million illegal aliens to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border this year, a dramatic spike over previous years, which in this writer’s eyes certainly constitutes a “national emergency.”
Someone needs to remind Coulter that Democrats and Republicans are still fighting the president over his border security efforts – this time members of both parties are trying to block his emergency declaration along the border, but Trump believes he’ll eventually prevail in federal court.
The week that ended on Friday March 8 was a very rough one for President Donald J. Trump, so rough in fact, that even some of his most staunch supporters feel he may not be able to survive another one like it.
Those were the words of Fox News analyst and former judge Andrew Napolitano, who recapped Trump’s horrendous week for the Washington Times.
In the piece, Napolitano described how Trump failed to reach a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and saw his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, accuse him of crimes during congressional testimony.
More On Trumps Bad Week
On top of that, Napolitano wrote in his column, the House of Representatives moved to block Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border, and The New York Times reported that Trump had overruled intelligence agencies to demand his son-in-law obtain a security clearance, despite concerns.
And that is all to say nothing about Democrats launching a widespread investigation into Trump, his family and his business dealings, which resulted in document requests from 81 individuals, entities and agencies close to the president ― including his two sons.
For his part, Trump claimed that Cohen’s explosive allegations actually interfered with his negotiations in Hanoi and were the proximate cause of their failure. Napolitano implied that the president might be right, concluding in his piece that of President Trump is to survive all of the forces that are now arrayed against him, determined to see him fail, he must “do more” than his usual tactics, and mount a sober and mature defense.
“The president has serious and powerful tormentors whom he cannot overcome by mockery alone,” Napolitano concluded, suggesting he would need to respond with more than his usual choice of “acerbic tweets,” because many of his current tormentors can legally cause him real harm.
“He needs to address these issues soberly, directly and maturely,” Napolitano wrote. “Can President Trump survive all this? Yes—but not if he has another week like the last one.”
Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s Prime Minister and the leftist Socialist Party leader has ruled out the possibility of stripping Swedish Islamic State Fighters of their citizenships and has said that they have the right to come back to the country.
Nyheter Idag recently reported that Löfven stated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously warned those who were traveling in and around the region in which IS had been fighting, that those individuals who were captured shouldn’t anticipate any assistance from the Swedish government at a consular level.
The prime minister did, however, state that he would refrain from stripping the Islamic State fighters of their Swedish citizenship, asserting that it was their right to return to the country if they desired. He then said that upon their return, it would be up to the intelligence service and law enforcement to keep track of the returning terrorist whereabouts and to potentially arrest and prosecute them.
Löfven’s statement lies in stark contrast with what right-wing populist leader of the Sweden Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, had to say regarding the issue. Åkesson stated, “If they choose to travel away to support the terrorist organization Islamic State, in my opinion, they have used up all of their rights to call themselves Swedish. Then they should also not be a citizen.”
In a reaction to the shocking comments given by Löfven, Paula Bierler, the Sweden Democrat’s migration policy spokeswomen, agreed with Åkesson, writing, “The people who left Sweden to join the Islamic State should be considered to have terminated their Swedish citizenship.”
Since 2012, at least 150 of the approximately 300 terrorists that left the country to fight for the Islamic State have now returned back to Sweden. According to Jan Jönsson, a local politician, at least 19 of these Islamic State terrorists are currently living in the Swedish Capital of Stockholm.
In Malmö, a southern city that’s become infamous for its no-go zones and significant Middle Eastern and North African migrant population, around twenty or so former Islamic State terrorists have purportedly been operating underground and illegal mosques and using them to recruit new radical Islamic terrorists for their jihad against the West.
Michael Helders, an anti-violence extremism activist, stated that former IS fighters are often ‘seen as heroes for young people who are at risk and radicalized.’ He added that “It increases concern, of course, and creates instability. People are worried about their children.”
Of the 300 Islamic terrorists that left Sweden to join Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, about half have returned to Sweden, whereas 50 are thought to have been killed, while another 100 remain in the Middle East.
As the dismantling of the Islamic State continues, we can expect this issue to remain at the forefront of political debate in many western European countries.
Viewing free internet porn in the United Kingdom is about to become markedly trickier when new legislation which seeks to protect children from internet excrement comes into effect as soon as the first of next month.
But for all the hopeless fappers and reprobates with voyeuristic proclivities, not to worry, if you must, you will still be able to unlock the smut by handing over some identification or by purchasing a £5 ‘porn card’ at your local retailer.
That means starting as soon as next month, to access porn sites like PornHub and YouPorn – which both attract almost two billion visits each month worldwide – Brits will be required to provide proof of ID before accessing any X-rated video clips.
These new regulations were approved as part of the 2017 Digital Economy Act.
These free sites will join many other internet porn sites which are already currently using what’s called the AgeID system. The AgeID system requires users to present an official form of identification like a passport or driver’s license to verify their age.
According to James Clark, the spokesman for AgeID, when the new system is launched, goatish internet prowlers will come to a non-pornographic ‘landing page’ where they must input the required information before they proceed on to the porn site.
“When a user first visits a site protected by AgeID, a landing page will appear with a prompt for the user to verify their age before they can access the site,” Clark told The Metro. He added that “Each website will create their own unique non-pornographic landing page for this purpose.”
When a potential porn viewer first clicks onto the website, AgeID will ask them to register and verify their age via Mobile SMS, a driver’s license, passport, or credit card. Conveniently enough, porn viewers will be able to use their username and password for AgeID to access each and every porn site that uses AgeID.
According to Clark, “It is a one-time verification, with a simple single sign-on for future access. If a user verifies on one AgeID protected site, they will not need to perform this verification again on any other site carrying AgeID.”
In addition to registering with AgeID, Britons will also be able to access internet porn websites by way of purchasing a ‘voucher’ at thousands of retail shops which will offer special ID cards, which porn watchers can link to the app Portes. Via the app Portes, people will be able to log into porn sides without having to provide their email address.
The scheme has already been pushed back a few times before. New rules were supposed to take effect during April of last year but were pushed back to the end of the year before it was again postponed until April of this year.
Porn sites that don’t comply with the rules will be subject to a £250,000 fine or a blanket block by UK internet service providers. Regulators will also have the authority to block sites that fail to exhibit that they deny access to under 18s
Some ‘experts’ aren’t so keen on the idea, however.
Dr. Victoria Nash from the Oxford Internet Institute commented on the policy, saying, “it may make it harder for children to stumble across pornography, especially in the younger age range, but it will do nothing to stop determined teenagers.”
Other experts are concerned about possible threats that the new system’s poses to the privacy of individuals.
Dr. Joss Write, who is another academic from the Oxford Internet Institute, also commented on the policy, saying, “There are privacy issues – you’re requiring people to effectively announce the fact they are looking at this material to the credit card authorities.
He added, “And there are serious security issues from requiring people to enter their credit card details into untrusted sites.”
It will be interesting to see how this policy works out and if other western countries will follow suit.
Among the more ludicrous claims made by disloyal and disbarred convicted felon Michael Cohen, is his assessment that if President Trump fails to win the 2020 election, he would not peacefully hand over power to the winning democratic candidate.
In his closing remarks before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Cohen said, “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”
Immediately, left-wing pundits and other anti-Trumpers seized on Cohen’s words to propagate fear and loathing of the President.
After “Lying Cohen’s” internationally televised testimony, John Dean, President Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he drew parallels with his own defining testimony against Nixon, saying that he shared Cohen’s fears. In the op-ed Dean said that Cohen’s warning about a violent transition “was the most troubling — actually, chilling — thing he said in his five hours before the committee.”
Dean went on to say, “Since Mr. Cohen’s warning came in his closing words, there was no opportunity for committee members to ask follow-up questions. So I double-checked with his lawyer, Lanny Davis, if I had understood Mr. Cohen’s testimony correctly. Mr. Davis responded, “He was referring to Trump’s authoritarian mind-set, and lack of respect for democracy and democratic institutions.”
Main Stream Media Fear Mongering
Dean wasn’t alone in using Cohen words to stir up fear and resentment. In a piece published in the Miami Herald and other publications, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. warned, “Should Trump lose in 2020, a smooth transition is not guaranteed.”
Like Dean, Pitts cited Cohen’s remarks and inquired: “Let that marinate a moment. And ask yourself: What happens if this guy whose self-definition, whose entire psychological structure, is founded upon a self-image as a man who always wins, loses? Can you see him quietly accepting it with dignity and grace? One can more readily imagine Mitch McConnell twerking in Times Square.”
In what Breitbart sarcastically referred to as “a stroke of originality,” Moveon.org activist Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor, wrote a piece for the Guardian titled, “If Trump loses, we know what to expect: anger, fear and disruption.”
Reich again utilized Cohen’s “warning” to exclaim, “The United States is now headed by someone pathologically incapable of admitting defeat. This doesn’t bode well for the 2020 presidential election.”
Michael Cohen Is a Convict and Pathetic Liar
Before we give any credence to anything that comes out of Cohen’s disgraced mouth, let us not forget that he is convicted criminal, and has been rightfully branded a “pathetic liar,” by the White House. Cohen is a convict who pled guilty to –among other things — lying to Congress in two separate prosecutions. The prison-bound Cohen also pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws and financial crimes, including tax evasion and bank fraud.
But none of that has stopped the left from using his words to lend credence to their ridiculous narrative of fear.
In a previous commentary, I handicapped the impeachment of President Trump at around 99 percent. I was being conservative. For obvious reasons, Democrats are denying any obsession to impeach Trump. They claim that their main focus will be on policy and issues – an agenda for America. That is nonsense.
Impeachment is the number one objective of the House Democrats – including a number who have made no secret of their desire to impeach. They have longed for it –and actually called for it – even before Trump took the oath of office. It was a mainstay in the Anti-Trump Resistance Movement. It was the subject of an ongoing media campaign financed by billionaire Tom Steyer. Impeachment is the entire reason for the flurry of congressional investigations. It is the objective behind the highly biased news media.
Democrats were setting the stage with the Michael Cohen hearings. It is the reason that they gave him an unusually long 30-minute opening statement as a lawyer’s brief against the President – and a long closing statement. The questions were designed to stitch together what appears to be impeachment issues – and remember, impeachment is a political process and does not require hard evidence. The perception of wrong-doing – even if not criminal – is enough to attempt impeachment.
By the way, you need to understand that all the questions and anticipated answers were well known in advance. Congressional hearings are scripted events – not real investigations. It is likely that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was given some in-depth questions to offset her growing reputation as being a dim bulb in the Democrat marquee. And that new narrative was played out with the praise of the fawning media.
Democrats on the Committee acted surprised by the presentation of a check signed by Trump with Cohen on the payee line – a check written while Trump was President. They seized on it as hard proof that Trump committed a crime WHILE PRESIDENT – an impeachable offense. And, again, the anti-Trump media carried the interpretation as factual. CNN’s John Berman repeatedly insisted that it is proof of a crime. Of course, the existence of that check was very well known before the hearings.
The check, in and of itself, proves nothing. Cohen said it was part of the repayment for the money he put out to pay off porn performer Stormy Daniels. He did not offer any support for that contention. It could have easily been a payment for other services to Trump’s personal attorney. We will just have to see what comes out in the coming weeks on that issue.
In addition, the Democrats claim that the check is proof of a crime is highly questionable. Whether the payment to Daniels was an improper campaign contribution by Trump has not been determined by the Federal Election Commission or adjudicated in any court.
They claim that Cohen’s confession to committing a federal election crime and implicating “Individual 1,” the President of the United States. If Cohen confesses to the crime, it automatically means that Trump committed the same crime in conjunction with Cohen. That is the contention and on the surface it sounds reasonable.
It is not that simple. Is it possible that Cohen confessed to a crime that was not a crime and that he did not actually commit? Strange as that may seem, it is exactly what he did. It was because of prosecutorial abuse by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Cohen was potentially facing decades in prison for multiple convictions on tax evasion and bank fraud. Mueller offered Cohen a very short sentence in a plea deal. As part of that plea deal, Mueller insisted that Cohen also confess to the alleged violations of federal campaign laws.
Many knowledgeable legal scholars have expressed opinions that Mueller could never have gotten a conviction on the alleged campaign violation. Many even opine that the case would have been thrown out at the first traditional request for a dismissal.
Yes, it is true. It is arguable that Cohen confessed to a crime he did not commit under pressure to avoid proper punishment for his much more serious crimes — and that it will be very difficult to convict the President because he will fight any such charge – and probably successfully.
Even if true, it would not normally be addressed as a major criminal matter. Normally, violations of federal election laws are handled as a civil matter by the Federal Election Commission and usually results in a fine. Cohen was not getting time behind bars because of that issue. It was for the major crimes of tax evasion and bank fraud.
Folding in the relatively minor issue of an alleged election law violation is disturbing because it gives some indication that Mueller and his team are going out of their way to create the appearance of an impeachable case against Trump. That is not good for Trump or America.
So, there ‘tis.
President Donald J. Trump has announced that he plans to hold a July 4th “Salute to America” this Independence Day outside of the iconic Lincoln Memorial. The President tweeted, “HOLD THE DATE! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called “A Salute To America” and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
The President did not say if this would include a military parade, which he had admired in other countries, and had planned here, but canceled in 2018, citing a high cost.
Washington D.C. already celebrates Independence Day annually with fireworks on the National Mall and a parade on Constitution Avenue.
Many have taken to social media in praise of Trump’s plans to expand the traditional D.C. celebration into something bigger and better.
Fourth of July Trump Style
This isn’t the first time the president has alluded to having a bigger celebration in D.C. for the yearly holiday. Besides his aforementioned currently scrapped plans for a military parade, he had suggested throwing an event for Independence Day at either National Mall or the Lincoln Memorial during a Cabinet meeting in January.
“It could be a very exciting day,” Trump said. “It’ll be a, really a gathering, as opposed to a parade I guess you’d have to say. Perhaps at the Lincoln Memorial. We’re looking at sites. But we’re thinking about doing something which would become perhaps, become a tradition, Salute to America, on July Fourth or July Fourth weekend, somewhere around that area.”
Despite Trump’s enthusiasm for the event, National Parks Service spokesman Mike Litterst told the Washington Post that “no final decisions have been made” as to where the Salute to America will take place, while the city’s mayor is struggling to find out what makes this celebration different than any other year.
“Every year, Washington, D.C. celebrates the 4th of July with a handful of parades, a matinee baseball game at Nationals Park, a Folklife Festival on the Mall and neighborhood cookouts in all eight wards,” a spokesperson for D.C. Mayor’s Office said. “The day culminates with music and fireworks stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. Like you, we are still assessing what will be different this year.”
What will be different is the celebrations will be led by a President who knows how to do things in a “huge” and exciting way, so as he says, I would “hold the date” and get ready for the best 4th of July since 1776!
Earlier this week on Tuesday, Hayden Williams, a young man who’s affiliated with the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA, was viciously attacked by a rabid leftist who disapproved of the signs that were set up around the organization’s recruitment table.
The politically motivated attack was caught on video, at first by Williams himself before the two attackers knocked it from his hands, and later by onlookers. Video footage shows the man who attacked Williams shouting, “Motherf*cker. You racist little inbred b*tch. C*nt. I’ll shoot you!”
Police reported that one of the two men knocked over the table, and then punched Williams in the face several times, inflicting noteworthy injuries.
The two suspects had left the scene by the time campus police arrived.
Witnesses of the attack have told members from the media that signs at the recruitment table read: ‘We Support Our President’, ‘This is MAGA Country’, and ‘Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims’, a reference to Empire actor Jessie Smollet’s staged racist and homophobic attack against himself last month in Chicago.
In an interview with Campus Reform, Williams said, “Some students nearby tabling were laughing, even one guy was smiling while I was being attacked and trying to hand me his flyer as a joke. The idea is free speech has consequences…. which include you getting assaulted if they find you promoting ideas others don’t agree with.”
The incident has garnered attention from several prominent conservative figures.
In a tweet, Donold Trump Jr. wrote, “When a liberal like Jussie cries wolf and fakes an attack he receives unmatched coverage, sympathy & support creating a tsunami of attention. When a conservative student literally gets punched in the face and it’s caught on video it barely makes a ripple.”
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, wrote, “’This is abhorrent behavior against free speech on campus. No form of violence is acceptable.”
Conservative groups across the country have claimed for a long time now that students who lean to the right side of the political spectrum have repeatedly been targets for harassment and violent assault by leftists over the views that they hold. In an interview given to Fox News, Charlie Kirk, the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA stated that, “ College campuses have become increasingly unsafe for conservatives.”
They aren’t wrong.
The incident is just the most recent in a series violent, ideologically inspired attacks against conservatives on college campuses across the United States.
Campus police are currently investing that assault and are asking the public for information on the perpetrators.
During the run-up to the 2020 elections, look for political violence and the hate campaign against conservative Americans to reach levels that have never been seen before.