Thursday, September 25, 2014

Muslim Scholars Make the Theological Case Against the Islamic State

I am pleased with this letter and its authors. I am no scholar when it comes to the Koran. I hear, and read about people saying Islam is a violent religion, but had my doubts. The doubting that Islam is violent comes from working with Muslims during my career. Many times I have worked with them as partners on the job to rebuild aircraft.

Once I worked on a section 41 mod on King Fahd's 747. The Saudi reps were mostly nice people, except one. He wanted to inspect everything, but had little direct knowledge of aircraft structures. That caused him to question everything and act with extreme caution. I confronted him once, and asked him in a forceful tone "Are you calling me a liar?" about what I was telling him about the process. The Lockheed inspector got a really displeased look on his face when I said that. Everything turned out alright anyway. The Saudi rep passionately explained that he had to make sure everything was right or he could be in big trouble.

There I go blabbing on and on. Okay guys, here is the summery of the letter that the Islamic scholars gave to the Apostate Islamic State. I call the Islamic State "Apostate" using the definition "abandoning a religious or political belief or principle." Clearly they have abandoned the true Islamic faith if the principals below apply.

Executive Summary

1-It is forbidden in Islam to issue fatwas without all the necessary learning requirements. Even then fatwas must follow Islamic legal theory as defined in the Classical texts. It is also forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Qur’an— or part of a verse — to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Qur’an and Hadith teach related to that matter. In other words, there are strict subjective and objective prerequisites for fatwas, and one cannot ‘cherry- pick’ Qur’anic verses for legal arguments without considering the entire Qur’an and Hadith.

2-It is forbidden in Islam to issue legal rulings about anything without mastery of the Arabic language.

3-It is forbidden in Islam to oversimplify Shari’ah matters and ignore established Islamic sciences.

4-It is permissible in Islam [for scholars] to differ on any matter, except those fundamentals of religion that all Muslims must know.

5-It is forbidden in Islam to ignore the reality of contemporary times when deriving legal rulings.

6-It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent.

7-It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.

8-Jihad in Islam is defensive war. It is not permissible without the right cause, the right purpose and without the right rules of conduct.

9-It is forbidden in Islam to declare people non-Muslim unless he (or she) openly declares disbelief.

10-It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat — in any way —Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture’.

11-It is obligatory to consider Yazidis as People of the Scripture.

12-The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus.

13-It is forbidden in Islam to force people to convert.

14-It is forbidden in Islam to deny women their rights.

15-It is forbidden in Islam to deny children their rights.

16-It is forbidden in Islam to enact legal punishments (hudud ) without following the correct  procedures that ensure justice and mercy.

17-It is forbidden in Islam to torture people.

18-It is forbidden in Islam to disfigure the dead.

19-It is forbidden in Islam to attribute evil acts to God.

20-It is forbidden in Islam to destroy the graves and shrines of Prophets and Companions.

21-Armed insurrection is forbidden in Islam for any reason other than clear disbelief by the ruler and not allowing people to pray.

22-It is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without consensus from all Muslims.

23-Loyalty to one’s nation is permissible in Islam.

24-After the death of the Prophet, Islam does not require anyone to emigrate anywhere.

Following link is more information:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Say NO to Daylight Savings Time

I want our civilization to drop Daylight Savings Time, the 12 hour clock, and time zones. We should be using a 24 hour world wide clock, no time zones and not be having to adjust our clocks by an hour every 6 months.
If it is 2:00 in New York, it should also be 2:00 in Tokyo. It is more logical to have clocks world wide to be on the same time. It is less expensive too. The need for adjusting clocks backward or forward is no longer needed, and is an obsolete practice born of an agrarian society.
Move into the 21st century and say no to daylight savings time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No Arms for Syrian Rebels

I've come to this conclusion about the rebels in Syria just today. No arming any rebel groups in Syria. We take our friends in there, crush ISIL, and the Syrian government can sit back and watch or go to war with us. Their choice, and I would hope they choose wisely. That goes for any rebels in Syria too. Hands off our forces or get crushed. This is a position of strength. You tell them the way it will be, then follow through. And let me tell you Syria doesn't want to jump in to war with the United States. If unleashed, our forces could easily decimate them as well.

It was asked of me "At what cost to the United States?"

At much less cost than arming the rebels. Syria will not oppose a force that wishes to eliminate ISIL. The FSA is in disarray, but they still hold on. They will not oppose a force that wishes to eliminate ISIL. I think they both will tolerate it because a common enemy will be eliminated. Syria and the FSA can continue to fight among them self. In the end they will defeat Assad, but not with arms we provide. Not in this round anyway. That is one of the things that keeps getting us into trouble. Arming this group and that, only for them to turn on us. This group will be costly indeed if we play into their hands. So far the president has reacted from a position of weakness. Their has to be an image of power emanating from the United States, of leadership. So far I see weakness, and a congress that ignores its war time duties. The congress will lay it all at the president's feet, then blame him for any bad outcome. The cost to the US is far greater if we arm the rebels. Another thing, if we arm the rebels, any time one of them are killed, or a position is taken, so too will any weapons left behind. Then in the future when we do have to send troops, be it our own or those of other nations, they will be at greater risk.

Congress forges ahead with Obama's request to arm Syrian rebels

Facebook Posters Show America's True Feelings About ISIL

Here is a thread of thought on the murderous group called ISIL, and what Americans think about it, and what is being done about it. It is from a conversation on Facebook, and really shows some of the strong feelings Americans have about the terrorist group. One thing that seems to be agreed on if anything is, ISIL needs to go. Read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

James Parks Jr. Have you ever heard of the Visigoths, led by Alaric I. The Sack of Rome was by them and occurred on August 24, 410. Before then Alaric was trained by and fought side by side with the Romans. Later when the forces of the Visigoth were no longer needed, they were no longer used. But they still retained the knowledge of Roman battle tactics.

The Visigoths demanded tribute from Rome in the form of tons of gold. Later that proved insufficient. Thus came the Sack of Rome, and the fall of the Roman Empire.

Sometimes I feel like we live in a modern Rome. Like we are paying off the so-called barbarians. Our people are unwilling to use our warriors to confront an enemy bent on our destruction. Our nation, who was once thought of as strong, is looked at as being weak. If our nation was seen as one of strength, Putin wouldn't be testing us with the launch of an ICBM, and saying it was due to American aggression. Groups like ISIS wouldn't be running rampant if our nation was seen as a real Super Power. Any person who keeps up with the news knows this.

So far our nations president has dealt with our enemies from a position of weakness. The weakness comes from political indecisiveness. Indecisiveness of a president who is opposed at every turn by a hostile congress. When the barbarians come banging at our gates, it will be because we invited them through weakness. How long till the Sacking of Washington?
But I should point out. Rome wasn't sacked for a lack of militaristic will. It was because it tried to control the whole world. The legions were spread far and wide protecting too many far-flung interests. If Rome had been run by a sensible emperor, he would have disengaged as much as possible from trying to run an orderly world, and kept his troops closer to home to protect the Roman people. The Brits failed to learn that same lesson.
In 408 he laid siege upon Rome. The Senate of Rome was forced to give him a lot of gold, and to liberate all 40,000 Gothic slaves in Rome. A year later they refused to give Alaric a commission, so he once again laid siege upon Rome in 409. By 410 they were running the streets when the starved Romans finally opened the gates to the city. One would think that if Rome had all these armies at their command they could of mustered up enough forces in 12 months to prevent the subsequent sacking. By the time this happened, Rome was already in decline. The sack of Rome was just the period at the end of a glorious sentence.
While it IS true that our President is hamstrung quite often by congress, I don't think any rational leader of any belligerent group, be it a nation or terrorist organization, views the President as indecisive. Propaganda fed Americans who would LIKE this to be true view him this way. This is an easy perception to foster in a political sense, because he is deliberative. He DOES take his time on making decisions. Personally, I think that is a good thing. Too many bad decisions have been made in recent decades, trying to instantly fix problems that actually evolved into different problems than the one that was quickly dealt with. But back in (March, was it?) When Barack threatened using American military might on Syrian targets, what happened? The "Supposedly" more decisive Putin, contemplating losses both personnel-wise and more importantly, financially, backed down and encouraged his puppet Assad to begin handing over his chemical weapons. How has this been so quickly forgotten? This president doesn't REact to moves by foreign potentates. He slowly sets the stage for counter offensives that leave his enemies reeling, since he didn't give them the move they wanted

This isn't 5th century Rome. There is no modern equivalent of the Visigoths. Today, we are dealing with small bands of terrorists and political opportunism. If we concentrate our intelligence resources on the operations of terror cells, instead of getting sucked into massive military ventures halfway around the world, we will be much safer. Certainly safe enough from crude hoardes two seas away from our borders. Pennsylvania Avenue is safe enough. Main Street in anytown U.S.A. is the true target for these barbaric groups. They want us to take our eyes off our own homeland, tied down logistically and strategically in far away lands. There is no doubt we have good reasons, both tactically and humanitarian-wise to confront them on THEIR battlefield. But doing it quickly, simply to "show resolve" won't gain us anything, and may actually create more problems than we already have. A judicious, clear-headed approach is the way to go. You can't kill an ant mound with a hammer. You've got to poison it. Smashing 20 ants may seem satisfying at the moment until they're crawling all over your arm. Apply the poison, then walk away. Their frenzy is their weakness. Blundering into their mound would be ours.
You should know by now I am not some propaganda fed fool who believes everything told to him. My views on the presidents indecisiveness has come from my own deliberation, and not by watching Fox News. (I seldom view their trash news, they have no credibility) One time I was training a person on how to do aircraft structural repairs. I instructed him on how to locate the place to drill a hole, and drill a quality hole. Well, he carefully read the blueprints, did measurements and marked lines where to drill. He was very careful, and examined and reexamined the spot to drill. He chucked up his drill and studied things carefully. So carefully he was falling woefully behind. I told him that one can only examine the prints and structure so much then you have to put the drill to the metal and make a hole. He said he didn't want to make a mistake, and that was fine. Still you have got to come to the point when you trust your judgement and drill that hole. Our president has studied to the point of falling woefully behind. The only problem is, falling behind in this is costing the lives of thousands. The force called ISIL has increased in size by double since their initial incursion into Iraq. The president called it a red line not to be crossed in Syria if chemical weapons were used. They were used and our president did nothing. Bargain with Russia? That turned out sweet. You do realize Russia has threatened us at lease twice with nuclear attack since then don't you? They were veiled threats, but the last one was in the form of an ICBM launch test from a submarine because of "American Aggression". I remember when Desert Storm happened. It was a short time we had a coalition, and was pounding the Iraq forces into dust. No this is not 5th century Rome, but the parallels are there. Some times you have to take a strong stance, and this is one of them. The president has taken way to long by trying to keep the GOP from having ammunition to use against him. Boehner has already stated that he believes the president's plan will not work. Frankly, I agree with him. I'll say it again, the minute ISIL crossed the Iraqi border, our nation should of said "Oh no the hell you don't. Not after all the blood and treasure we spent you don't." Then pounded the crap out of the bastards while they were relatively weak. One of our problems is we are trying to be nice to everyone. You can't please everyone. If you try the same thing that is happening to the USA will happen to you. Everyone will think you are weak and will try to take advantage. There is no doing it quickly to show resolve. There is only pounding the crap out of our enemies as soon as we are able to kill the enemy, and to save the innocent. There is no blundering into their mound. Our commanding generals are the best in the world. Our forces outmatch them piece for piece and man for man. There is no blundering. Only killing the enemy. I see even your lack of faith in the power of the United States military has been effected by the presidents inaction. I like president Obama for a lot of things. The only thing I didn't like about him when he was first elected was a lack of military expertise or experience. Now my fears about him have come home to roost. I just wonder how many people have been forced at the tip of a sword to convert or die while I wrote this. I seriously wouldn't doubt it if it was more than a few.
I wrote this on August 11, 2014. Hurrah for the Kurds
Hurrah for the Kurds. The only indigenous force in Iraq that didn't turn tail and run in the face of ISIS. Let's not let the brave Kurds down. Let us help them fight for their lives. Let us fight beside them to eliminate ISIS for good and all. Let's not leave them hanging like they did after the Kuwait invasion. We should arm them. The Kurds are probably the one group we can trust the most. They have stuck with us from the get-go. We shouldn't turn our backs on them, or any of the civilians under threat from radicals like ISIS. That includes that group in Africa, Boko Haram. They need to be eliminated just as much as any of the others. If there is something we can do to cause their extinction, we need to be doing it.

American relationship with Iraqi Kurds long, complicated
Steve Kornacki traces the history of the U.S. relationship with Iraqi Kurds, from the failure to deliver support to an anti-Saddam Hussein uprising during George H.W. Bush administration to President Obama’s humanitarian airdrops and targeted military strikes against ISIS.

I don't voice my opinion on the religious aspects much because I'm an atheist with a lot of friends who believe. We respect each other. I've still got an opinion, so here is an atheist take on it. One thing that really makes things hard is all the factions within all the religious groups. ISIS shows how problematic this can be. There are millions of people who are Muslims. Just the same as all other religions, their are different interpretations of their holy book, and that has caused factions. Now one of the radical factions, who have taken a barbaric interpretation of the Koran have gone amok. That makes it really hard on everyone else. Everyone wants to eliminate them. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists and most others agree. ISIS can't be allowed to exist.

Shedding light on the aspirations of ISIS
Al Arabiya’s Hisham Melhem joins via phone to discuss the aspirations of terror organization ISIS, and the threat the group poses against Kurds and U.S. interests in Iraq.

ISIS, claiming the Islamic faith, have made it bad on the people they are terrorizing, killing, raping and enslaving. They have indirectly made it bad on the other people who have the Islamic faith too. Idiots take it like all Muslims want to behead the infidels. That just isn't the case. The vast majority of people on the planet just want to make a living, raise their families, and be left alone so they can peacefully live their lives.

Now we have attacked the ISIS with bombs. They took down the hated black flags off their trucks. As the good Humans fight to rid our world of the pathogens named ISIS, they may try to meld into the populace. That will make things harder, and still very dangerous for the average person there. They will have mass murderers mixed in with their people. It may sound like a witch hunt, but the people need to keep their eyes open. They need to point their finger so all of them can be rooted out, and dealt with. They are dangerous criminals who will retaliate against people for turning them in. That is where things become hard. No one wants their family singled out for elimination, but that is exactly what can happen with the ISIS group. It is scary as hell. This situation will call for supreme bravery and courage, not only from us, but from the good people of Iraq who wish to finally live in peace.

You seen the bad Humans burning their passports as a sign of allegiance to death and insanity. Not all of them traitors are doing that, I wager. Some of them are still here, some of them are still there. They will meld into the crowd and use their passports to gain access to places people are peacefully living. They will cause mayhem here and there as long as they are allowed to exist. They have vocally threatened us all, and acted on it.

So everyone who isn't, and/or is a Muslim, or anyone else for that matter, can help out in attitude. Don't look at people like ISIS as Muslims, or representing Islam. They are something dedicated to evil and thus are accursed. To borrow an expression, ISIS and their like are an abomination to Humanity. Look at them in the same light you would the Nazis, Khmer Rouge, The Inquisition, or any twisted ideology that promotes its existence through threat of death or violence. Look at them in the same light you would anything that forcefully threatens the peaceful existence and advancement of Humanity. Look at them as a pathogen who's elimination is imperative, peremptory. Nothing more, nothing less.

Right now as you read this, some person stood up for what they believe in, and got their head cut off for it. Now their body lays in the street, and their head on a pole.
I wrote that over a month ago. How many people have been sacrifice in the name of deliberation and restraint in the month past? How many more will be beheaded while we wring our hands trying to keep a worried populace at ease. The president has stated time and again that we will put no boots on the ground. I think we now have over 1000 "advisers" there. Come now. We all know that advisers = boots on the ground. We aren't children. We deserve to know exactly what we are up against and what we are doing about it. No one wants war or to send our troops into harms way, but when that time comes we must pursue the mission vigorously and with resolve. Backing up our deadly warriors with every fiber of our being. We don't send our men and women to die in combat. We send them to kill the enemies of peace and liberty.
First of all James, I'd like you to understand that I don't consider you a gullible fool. If I were to offer a personal criticism, it wouldn't be that. I just feel that your judgement that there is an easy military solution to this situation is oversimplified. I have ultimate faith in our armed forces, but our use of them has repeatedly caused problems that had to be dealt with later.
We are very much on the same level with what needs to be done. There are fanatics who will NOT see reason, and must be exterminated for the good of us all.
Where we differ is 1.) how that is best accomplished, and 2.) What the time table needs to be for this to be accomplished.
Like you, I am infuriated at the inhuman acts of these fanatics. But I'm certain that a grand strategy of cooperation through diplomatic appeals, and thorough preparation can prevent the previous mistakes from happening again. Sure, Desert Storm was a smashing success. It was over in a matter of weeks. But then a guy named Osama bin Laden, who was pupil of ours, until he turned to evil, went out and recruited thousands of more fanatics telling them he needed their help to remove the infidels from "the holy land".
What you see as hand wringing and indecisiveness, I see as careful strategizing. You see a Commander in Chief "falling behind" I see a President who has time and time again had his slow, well-measured approach vindicated.
Like you, I don't think we send our warriors into combat to die. But we've learned, that it isn't necessary or prudent in all cases for having them sent there to kill. It makes a helluva lot of sense to me, that our warriors be sent there to teach someone else to do the killing. To clean up their OWN back yard. If we don't go over and indiscriminately bomb the piss out of things, we may find that there are people on that property willing to work towards that goal. We go over and create a Plain Of Jars, and we lose the population...AND the conflict.That's it for me. I have work tonight for a change. Ciao!
Alan that was well written, to give you credit, I love the idea of having the world with us on this, because that is how we won WWII, the last actual war that was not simply intervention. James, how can we possibly publicly know every move our military will make without informing the enemy? I see just what you are saying, however, I wonder greatly the repercussions of purely demolishing them. What then happens with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, to mention the largest of the surrounding countries. Honestly we do not know the answer, at least for certain. Guns scare me, wars scare me more. I understand facing down a specific enemy, but how specific is ISIS, when they are recruiting from around the world and seem to just consider all enemy, and what of Assad? What threat does he pose? I am actually not in a position to play devil's advocate when it comes to the Romans, or even when it comes to ISIS and I welcome every single view point. But this one just to me, does not seem that simple, the Middle East holds different values that we do, what will set them off, will we? Will ISIS? Will a world coalition? And then what will actually stop them? What pockets will loom after the destruction of ISIS that might morph again? Seems to me Americans are left with so many questions and to be honest I am not sure any of us can predict what will happen no matter what we do. As for Obama, is he hesitant or being deliberate? I do not know the answer.
This may be the one best opportunity for the United States to recover a tarnished and badly battered image in the middle-East we've ever had. But we have to be fully engaged have a chance. The Arab nations that stand with us have not committed troops on the ground that I know of, only air support. So far as I know only Australia has committed ground troops. Look, the ISIL has made enemies of every group and nation out there and in that region. They are killing Sunni and Shea Muslims and Christians and any other peoples who don't follow to the letter their sick views. We need to be in there side by side to fight right along with the threatened ones. We have to make clear that we support them and their right to their faith. Make it clear that we are not against them as a people or religion but with them in a fight against evil and for liberty. You can't do that from an airplane dropping bombs. That only tells them we support them as long as our hands don't have to get dirty. I bring up an old saying that is as true today as it was when first penned "in for penny in for pound". Half measures are not going to be productive. As far as Assad goes, he has to go. If one of our bombs "accidentally" took him out, oh well. Who's to do anything about it. It has been long determined he no longer has a right to rule. Saudi Arabia has much to fear from ISIS. Two of the most holy sites in Islam lay within its borders. If we were to do nothing, absolutely nothing, the Saudis would be the target of ISIS in the next round. You can bet that the United States would use its full power then. You don't let a group like ISIS fester. Day by day they gain more power and resources. They are selling oil on the black market every single day. They are buying and selling slaves and drugs as well. If the armed forces of the United States stood side by side with Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the others in battle against a common enemy, making it plane that we are doing it because we want them to be free to worship as they wish, and to protect ourselves, maybe things can at last be different. We have a huge chance to mend some fences, but I'm afraid they are blowing it, again. The day the United States places combat troops on the ground there, watch as the Arab nations fall in line with our leadership and commit combat troops too. You can't lead from behind. To lead you must place yourselves in harms way. That is exactly what the United States is trying to avoid. As for myself, I would follow a true leader to the gates of hell, and not the undecided even one step.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's a Whole New World. Get With the Program!

by Alan McEwen

One of my friends followed me to your page last week or so, and so did one of HIS friends. They're both critics of the President, so their comments did not surprise me, except for in the way they always surprise the way that they will reach for the most ridiculous criticisms when valid ones are not available. Just to give an example, I've noticed lots of comments saying the President has been indecisive (an argument so pat and overused it's become cliche'), and then the day after the President made his address, outlining his basic strategy, my friend immediately chided him for announcing his approach over public airways to the American people. What do they want? For the President to telepathically assure them that he is putting pieces into place? 

On your page last week we discussed the President's approach. I was trying to make the point that we cannot fight terror groups with the same strategy we have employed in the past. That the President was seeking alternatives. My friend's friend jumped in out of nowhere with the meaningless, cliche' statement that "this president is a failure...the terrorists will have time to entrench themselves...etc." I see this kind of amateur, armchair quarterbacking from these guys all the time. I hardly pay any attention to it anymore. It's mindless drivel parroted from the blogposts they visit and pick up the latest talking points to spread their derision. But I would like to address some of those criticisms now. I can't find the old thread, so I'll have to do it here.

As far as the terrorists becoming "entrenched", just doesn't work like that. This isn't WWI. ISIL doesn't build trenches. They don't build fortifications, or even permanent bases. ISIL is a guerrilla movement. When they move into a territory, they slaughter, pillage, and then leave a small band of bullies in their wake as they move on to the next objective. Those left behind as rear guard are set up in normal office buildings that can be taken out by our mildest weapons. They are not reinforced concrete bunkers that can withstand a 500lb bomb.

We re-learned a lesson in our forays into Afghanistan and Iraq. People resent an invading force. Surely, we could clean out ISIL's gains with a company of well equipped soldiers here, and a battalion of armor there. But the locals get rattled after 2 weeks of armor running through their streets, and they wind up joining the terrorists to repel the invaders from America. We HAVE to let them handle this. The terrorists KNOW what will happen if we deploy heavy forces there. We will turn the people we are trying to help against us.

While my friend and his fellow antagonist are petulantly pressuring our own President to act quickly and without thinking it through, the President himself has been making arrangements with nations in the region to act cooperatively. I can see it already. Next week they'll be dragging out another stale old criticism. They'll say the President is "leading from behind," because we're not pushing people around and using our tanks and infantry to clear villages. What will actually be happening is that people who LOOK like and SPEAK a common language with the Iraqi people will be dealing with these thugs. The locals will not feel threatened and humiliated by G.I. Joe. They will sense that things have a POSSIBILITY of returning to normal in the near future, instead of seeing a new "Camp Freedom" being built by American forces who will be roaming the streets for years to come.

The President told us all two months ago that he would not allow us to become a substitute security force for Iraq. The reasoning for this is that the underlying issue, Shi-ite oppression in the Iraqi government needed to end FIRST. Had we come to Maliki's rescue, and dealt with his problem, he would have held on to power, and we would be guilty in the eyes of Sunnis of propping up a regime that excluded them from participation in the governing of their own country. By denying Maliki such a life line, he was forced to step aside and allow a new governmental structure to begin to be built. If this new government is more inclusive, there is less incentive for the Sunni population to harbor ISIL. After all, THEY are from Syria, mostly, and it is THEY who are the invading force. Not us. This President deserves more credit than he gets for not panicking, thinking things through, and applying the BEST means to the end, not the quickest, most expensive, and destructive. We may have decades of struggle with extremists ahead of us. This idiotic criticism by neo-cons that every armed insurgent group must be confronted by 20,000 soldiers and trillions of dollars of our national treasure must be recognized by the American people for what it is. A short-sighted, outdated methodology that has been proven to fail since the mid 60s. Welcome to the 21st century neo-cons. It's a whole new world. Get with the program!

Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of James E Parks Jr or the Humans Blog and the James Parks Channel.