Bernie Sanders Entire Philosophy Summed Up in One Gas Station Sign

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Via Robert Gehl:

Bernie Sanders’ wild-eyed call for “single-payer” universal health care across the country has attracted many followers.

But in his home state of Vermont, they know what a total failure it is.

In 2011, the state adopted the nation’s first European-style, single-payer health insurance. Four years later, they’re forced to abandon the dream.

Last year, Gov. Peter Shumlin’s financial report shocked residents: “Green Mountain Care” was bankrupting the state. Costs for the program would double the entire state budget. To keep it afloat, massive tax increases would be necessary.

So they turned to the feds for a huge bailout.

“The idea of single-payer, or a Medicare-for-all type program, has always been a cherished dream for many in the Democratic Party,” said Henry J. Aaron, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a liberal-leaning Washington think tank. “In truth, there had never been a hard, developed plan to implement such a dream. In Vermont, they finally developed a plan, and look what happened.”

Since the end of World War II when President Harry Truman pushed for a single-payer system, universal health insurance has been the Holy Grail for liberals across the country.

When Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats rammed Obamacare down Americans’ throats, Vermont went further. Gov. Shumlin proudly signed a bill establishing a publicly financed, single-payer system.

Critics said the new bureaucracy would cost much more than liberals claimed, and they were right. The Boston Globereports:

The numbers were stunning. To implement single-payer, the analysis showed, it would cost $4.3 billion in 2017, with Vermont taxpayers picking up $2.6 billion and the federal government covering the rest. To put the figures into perspective, Vermont’s entire fiscal 2015 budget, including both state and federal funds, is about $4.9 billion.

Shumlin’s office estimated the state would need to impose new personal income taxes of up to 9.5 percent, on top of current rates that range from 3.55 to 8.95 percent. Businesses would be hit with an 11.5 percent payroll tax, on top of 7.65 percent payroll taxes employer pay for Social Security and Medicare.univer

And even those tax increases might not have been enough. The governor’s office estimated the Green Mountain Care program would run deficits of $82 million by 2020 and $146 million in 2021. Shumlin said he feared the tax increases would harm businesses and the economy.

So they turned to the feds for a bailout – to the tune of billions.

This is the face of single-payer, universal coverage. Vermont is a tiny state. Imagine if all 50 states adopted this plan? How fast would this country drive straight (further?) into the financial ditch?


GOP Consultant Rick Wilson to MSNBC: Trump Supporters ‘Childless Single Men Who Masturbate to Anime’

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Tuesday on MSNBC’s “All In,” Republican consultant Rick Wilson, who has a long track record of attacking Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and his supporters, once again took aim at Trump’s supporters.

“Who think Donald Trump is the greatest thing, oh, it’s something,” Wilson said to host Chris Hayes. “But the fact of the matter is, most of them are childless single men who masturbate to anime. They’re not real and political players. These are not people who matter in the overall course of humanity. What’s really driving the Republican Party, though, is still a limited government conservatism that is still a structure built around a government that`s less invasive, less intrusive, less taxes, less government, more freedom. We don’t always get there by a straight line path. We don’t always get there in a direct way. But that is still what drives this party. And there’s also a major part of the party that is still trying to sort itself out on what the balancing test is between the limited government side, the national defense side, the social conservatism side. And I don’t think this other stuff Trump is toying with is really a part of the mainstream conservative movement by any stretch of the imagination.

Transcript as follows:

HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid, Charlie Peirce, writer at large for “Esquire” Magazine, and Republican media consultant Rick Wilson.

Well, well, well, Joy, let me start with you. OK, what did we see today? What was that?

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I have to tell you, I think we`re going to look back at today as sort of the quintessentially perfect day in the Republican primary — in the sense that we found out what I`ve always called this legged stool of conservatism, where you got the elites, you got the evangelicals, and you got the sort of meat and potato blue collar wing of the party, we discovered there`s actually four wings of this party. You essentially have the intellectual movement conservative wing, which is what

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 97%represents. I`ve been in a worm hole of been reading “Red State” and reading a lot of conservative sort of publications that are about movement conservatism and intellectual conservatism. That`s who Ted Cruz is, right?

HAYES: They love Cruz.

REID: They love Ted Cruz. He`s hanging with “Duck Dynasty”, but that`s not who he is. He`s the Harvard guy. He`s the Ivy League.

HAYES: He`s both, that`s why he`s great.

REID: Right. Then you`ve got the sort of real meat and potatoes base which isn`t necessarily ideologically conservative. They want more stuff. They want Medicare. They want their ethanol subsidies. They want their life to be made comfortable by the government if that`s what happens.

They just want that feeling of power that America use today have when their parents were young, right? So, he represents that fourth wing of the party, i.e., people think of these two as the same way. I actually don`t think they are.

We also saw briefly there`s a celebrity conservatism element, too. It`s perfect you have John Wayne, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, reality show conservatism. That is what was seen today.

HAYES: Well, Rick, I mean, obviously, the subtext of what Joy said I think is exactly at the heart of the issue, because what`s setting up, what`s happening is Trump and Cruz go after each other, is Cruz is pointing to all the apostasies of Donald Trump, right? And the fact he used to support single-payer and he gave money to the Clintons.

You know, X, Y, Z. This question about what is conservatism? Really, what does it come down to? Sarah Palin comes into vouch and say, all these elitists are telling you what this is. We know what it is. It`s making America great again.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN MEDIA CONSULTANT: Look, there`s a thing I`ve described as the troll party which Trump is sort of energized and activated over the last six months. And what`s happened with the troll party element of this, is they are very driven by the celebrity of Trump and Sarah Palin is a reality TV star, celebrity, as well. She transformed from a political figure to a reality TV show figure.

This is sort of the singularity of the entertainment wing of the Republican Party where there`s not a firm ideological underpinning about it anymore. Sarah Palin was always a populist who was seated in limited government conservatism but, you know, she`s managed to flip that on its head in one day and essentially walk away from all the limited government part of her background and just embrace the Trump populism and the yell louder, yell longer, be madder, be more furious division of the party.

Look, I think Joy`s right. This was one of those like crystal moments of the whole campaign where you had all these elements coming together at one time. I mean, every TV camera in country was on that event and there`s a reason for that. It`s great show. It`s a great entertaining spectacle.

And there`s nothing else like it going on in the field. I think Ted Cruz`s attacks on Trump would have had more credibility and a little more heft and a little more weight if he hadn`t spent the last six months serving as the pilot fish to Donald Trump`s shark and following him around and wagging his tail every time Trump said something absurd, Ted Cruz was sitting in the background with his thumbs up.

So, it would have had more credibility and more oomph this recitation of Trump`s complete lack of conservative credentials of which he has none, it would have been a much more effective argument if he hadn`t been Trump`s fan boy until yesterday.

HAYES: Well, it`s very funny to watch both of them go after each other. They spend six months saying nothing but nice things about each other. Now, they`ve discovered how secretly liberal the other one is.

I want — Charlie, I think we`re getting down to here it, all politics, I want to be clear on this, because I don`t want to say this is just about conservatism. I mean, I think it is. All politics are emotional. All politics are about who you identify with.

We use this term identity politics which is always used to talk about people usually people of color. But all politics are identity politics which is what we`re seeing in this campaign. And to me the moment that sums up this campaign so far was this moment of Trump chanting “USA, USA” into a microphone. Take a look.





HAYES: Trump — Charlie, that is the Trump campaign. That`s it. That`s the Trump campaign in ten seconds. That`s what this campaign has been.

CHARLIE PIERCE, WRITER AT LARGE, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE: I`m glad he did that because if he farmed out to governor Palin, I`m not sure she would have been able to spell it.

Look, I refuse to look upon then whole event today as anything besides spectacle. If it is a pivotal moment in American politics, then this country is screwed from hell to breakfast. OK, you`ve got — I`m sorry.

You have a not particularly bright person auditioning as court jester to a clown basically. That`s the sum total of what happened today. I mean, with all due respect to Rick, the Republican Party is forcing — has been forcing its presidential candidates to look ridiculous for two cycles now.

I mean,

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)79%is talking about having bought a gun for Christmas because he wanted to defend his family against ISIS as the pickup trucks come up Biscayne Boulevard. Chris Christie is out there today talking about how he`s going to undo Michelle Obama`s healthy food and let kids in middle school eat whatever they want for lunch. Jeb Bush is just ridiculous on the face of it.

This is just the quiescence (ph) of it. I don`t think you have to be born a cynic, although I was, to wonder exactly how much this endorsement cost.


REID: But at the end of the day, though, Chris, you know, it`s interesting because for decades, you`ve had Rush Limbaugh and the sort of conservative entertainment complex holding together these various wings of the party as if there was a core belief in a set of specific conservative values among the base. When it turns out what the base wants is a feeling that can be delivered by Rush but some policies that are apostasy to movement conservatives.

HAYES: So, Rick, this is, Mike (INAUDIBLE) wrote this piece today in “The Week” where he looked at this Samuel Francis, who was a white nationalist, white supremacist, who sort of started out main street conservative who was an advisor to Patrick Buchanan, basically said your best path is get rid of all the conservatism stuff, all the limited government deficits, markets, all that stuff, and just go whole hog at essentially ethno-nationalism and Michael writing about the Trump campaign says what so frightens the conservative movement about Trump`s success is he reveals just how thin their support for their ideas really is. His campaign is a rebuke to their institution.

It says the Republican Party doesn`t need all these think tanks or supposed policy expertise. It says look at these people calling themselves libertarians and conservatives, the one in tassel loafers and bow ties. Have they made you more free? Have their endless policy papers and studies and books conserved anything for you? These people are worthless. They are defunct. You don`t need them and you`re better off without them.

What do you think of that, Rick?

WILSON: Well, look, first off, I think that`s absurd. I think there is definitely still a very significant portion of the party that is a limited government conservatism based faction of the overall coalition.

Now, the screamers and the crazy people on the alt right as they call it, you know, who love Donald Trump, who have plenty of Hitler iconography in their Twitter icons.

HAYES: They sure do. I can back that up.

WILSON: Who think Donald Trump is the greatest thing, oh, it`s something. But the fact of the matter is, most of them are childless single men who masturbate to anime. They`re not real and political players. These are not people who matter in the overall course of humanity.

What`s really driving the Republican Party, though, is still a limited government conservatism that is still a structure built around a government that`s less invasive, less intrusive, less taxes, less government, more freedom.

We don`t always get there by a straight line path. We don`t always get there in a direct way. But that is still what drives this party. And there`s also a major part of the party that is still trying to sort itself out on what the balancing test is between the limited government side, the national defense side, the social conservatism side. And I don`t think this other stuff Trump is toying with is really a part of the mainstream conservative movement by any stretch of the imagination.

HAYES: I know, you know, Rick, I think the question to me is this is all going to be tested, right? I think — which is to say I agree with you. There are large parts of people who are avowed Republicans and conservatives who really genuinely care about limited government. But what we`re seeing this sort of electoral test. And that`s what makes today so fascinating, this fight so fascinating, what happens — we are dealing with this sort of seismic question about what exactly we`re looking at as a 21st century Republican Party.

Joy Reid, Charlie Pierce, and Rick Wilson, thank you all.

REID: Thank you.

WILSON: Thanks, Chris.

Federal deficit to soar in 2016 after Ryan-Obama tax deal

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– The Washington Times – Updated: 6:33 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The tax-cut deal inked by President Obama and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan last month has put a major dent in the federal budget, helping send the deficit soaring by 24 percent, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

The $544 billion deficit projected for 2016 marks the first year since 2009 that the red ink has grown, and it powers the deficit back up over the half-trillion mark, where it had been for most of Mr. Obama’s tenure.

Struck by the grim news, budget watchdogs said politicians needed to heed the wake-up call.

“Turning a blind eye to the problem, as so many congressional and presidential candidates have done, merely means they are passing the buck to the next generation as concerns about political damage outweigh policy advantages,” said Steve Bell, senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

CBO projections contained some good news, with the economy showing signs of solid growth in 2016 and 2017, finally overcoming some of the “slack” that built up during the 2008 Wall Street collapse and the Great Recession. Analysts said more people will be enticed back into the labor force, but inflation and interest rates will also rise as the economy ticks along.

But spending and taxes remain the biggest problem for the budget, with the twin deals at the end of last year to break the sequester budget caps that had held spending in check, and to extend a series of special interest tax breaks.

Combined, they meant the government needed more money than ever — but had less flowing in.

Overall, spending will spike by 6 percent in fiscal year 2016, to reach $3.9 trillion. That amounts to 21.2 percent of the country’s output as measured by gross domestic product.

By contrast the government will collect just $3.4 trillion in taxes, or 18.3 percent of GDP.

Those trends will continue for the next decade, the CBO report. Taxes will hold steady at about 18 percent of GDP, while spending will rise from 21 percent to 23 percent — producing ever-worse budget news for the next president to handle.

Deficits peaked at $1.4 trillion in 2009, as the government under first President George W. Bush and then Mr. Obama spent freely to try to prop up banks and to stimulate the economy after the 2008 downturn. The numbers dropped steadily through 2012, when the hole was $1.1 trillion, then dropped more quickly in 2013, falling to $680 billion, and to $439 billion by last year.

At the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest said the economic numbers are proof that the president’s policies have finally righted the economy and produced 70 consecutive months of job gains.

“That’s an indication of a strong bounce back from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,” he said.

But Mr. Earnest refused to say whether the president’s 2017 budget, due to Congress in a few weeks, will make progress in cutting the deficit.

“Stay tuned,” the spokesman said.

Mr. Obama has never presented a balanced budget to Congress, and fought the spending cuts that helped reduce the deficits during his time in office. Instead, he’s pushed for tax increases, with the new money being used to finance his plans for broader government spending.

Those budgets have routinely been rejected by Congress, and with Republicans in control of both chambers, Mr. Obama’s latest plan is unlikely to do any better.

Just five months ago the CBO had projected the deficit would drop in 2016. Instead, it will rise some $105 billion.

“That increase is largely attributable to legislation enacted since August — in particular, the retroactive extension of a number of provisions that reduce corporate and individual income taxes,” the CBO said.

As deficits grow again, the debt will also pile up. Debt held by the public, which excludes borrowing from the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, already accounts for 73.6 percent of GDP. The CBO last year had projected debt might dip as the deficit dropped, but now says it will continue its steady rise, topping 85 percent by 2026.

The president and Congress did find bipartisan agreement on the tax package and spending hikes last year, undoing several years of progress in holding the line on spending. Indeed, government spending actually dropped in 2012 and 2013, then ticked up in 2014 and 2015.

This year, that trickle will become a flood.

Most of the increased spending will come from the government’s health programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare, which will surge $104 billion, or 11 percent, compared to 2015.


Obama vetoes legislation repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood

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President Barack Obama has vetoed legislation that would have repealed much of Obamacare and defunded Planned Parenthood. It is the first time the president has used his power of veto to defend his signature healthcare legislation.

“This legislation would not only repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, but would reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America,” Obama wrote members of the House in a letter.

Earlier on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the legislation and sent it to the president’s desk. The measure passed by a vote of 240 to 181, with just one Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson (Minneapolis) voting in favor. Three Republicans voted against the measure.

We are confronting the president with the hard, honest truth: ObamaCare doesn’t work,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said at the time of the vote, according to The Hill.

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With the president’s veto on the books, however, Congress can override the veto only by a two-thirds majority in each chamber.

If passed into the law, the bill would have dismantled the healthcare law’s key pillars, including requirements that most people obtain coverage, and that larger employers offer insurance to workers. It would also have eliminated the expansion of Medicaid coverage to lower-income people and the government’s subsidies for many who buy policies on the newly created insurance marketplaces. Additionally, it would end taxes which the law imposed to cover its costs.

Republicans argued the health law has driven up costs and hurt consumers, and they promised “patient-centered” solutions in its place. Ryan told reporters the House would come up with its own plan this year but hedged when asked when the GOP would ever vote on a replacement to Obamacare.

“Nothing’s been decided yet,” Ryan said, reported the Associated Press. “Just wait.”

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Democrats denounced the measure on the House floor, arguing that roughly 16 million people were enrolled in the Obamacare programs, and that the repeal measure would likely result in about 22 million fewer people having healthcare in 2017, quoting data from analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

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The bill would have terminated the roughly $450 million in federal dollars that annually go to Planned Parenthood, which makes up about a third of its budget. The healthcare service is a target of Republican attacks over its abortion services, as well as a recent scandal over providing fetal tissue for research.

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The repeal legislation was passed by the Senate through a fast-track process known as reconciliation, despite previous efforts by Democrats to filibuster the bill.


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In America today, there are more than 17 million “independent workers”, and they represent a bigger share of the workforce than ever before

Michael Snyder | End Of The American DreamDECEMBER 30, 2015

In this day and age it seems like almost everything is disposable, and many employers have found that they can make a lot more money if they have a workforce that can be turned on and off like a faucet.

In America today, there are more than 17 million “independent workers”, and they represent a bigger share of the workforce than ever before. Federal laws give a lot of protection to “full-time workers”, but for temporary and contract employees it is a much different story. Temp workers don’t get health insurance, vacation time or retirement benefits. They are simply paid for the limited amount of time that they are needed and then they are disposed of immediately. There has always been a role for such workers in our economy, but these days some of the biggest corporations in the entire country are getting rid of “full-time workers” and replacing them with temp workers just so that they can make a few extra bucks. As a result, the ranks of the “working poor” continue to expand, and the decline of the middle class is accelerating.

Steven Hill, a senior fellow with the New America Foundation and the author of “Raw Deal: How the Uber Economy and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers“, says that the rise of the “1099 economy” is fundamentally shifting the balance of power between employers and employees

This practice has given rise to the term “1099 economy,” since these employees don’t file W-2 income tax forms like any regular, permanent employee; instead, they receive the 1099-MISC form for an IRS classification known as “independent contractor.” The advantage for a business of using 1099 workers over W-2 wage-earners is obvious: an employer usually can lower its labor costs dramatically, often by 30 percent or more, since it is not responsible for a 1099 worker’s health benefits, retirement, unemployment or injured workers compensation, lunch breaks, overtime, disability, paid sick, holiday or vacation leave and more. In addition, contract workers are paid only for the specific number of hours they spend providing labor, or completing a specific job, which increasingly are being reduced to shorter and shorter “micro-gigs.”

Yes, there have always been temp agencies. And there has always been a need for workers that can come in and do a job on a short-term basis. But today, many of the largest and wealthiest corporations in America are purposely getting rid of “full-time workers” and instead are bringing in “independent contractors” to do the exact same jobs.

In some instances, the full-time workers that get fired are actually brought back as the new “temp workers”

Merck, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, was a vanguard of this underhanded strategy. When it came under pressure to cut costs, it sold its Philadelphia factory to a company that fired all 400 employees—and then rehired them back as independent contractors. Merck then contracted with the company to carry on making antibiotics for them, using the exact same workers.

An Arizona public-relations firm, LP&G, fired 88 percent of its staff, and then rehired them as freelancers working out of their homes, with no benefits. Even Outmagazine, the most-read gay monthly in the U.S., laid off its entire editorial staff and then rehired most of them as freelancers, without benefits and with salary cuts.

All of those companies should be absolutely disgusted with themselves.

How can the executives responsible for those decisions even sleep at night?

Don’t they understand what they are doing to people?

When you go from being a full-time worker to being on “temp status”, the changes can be quite dramatic. If this has ever happened to you, then you know what I am talking about. Having to pay “the other half” of the payroll tax or having to find your own much more expensive health insurance are just two of the big negatives that “independent contractors” have to face…

Suddenly I was responsible for paying for my own health care, arranging for my own IRAs and saving for my own retirement. I also had to pay the employer’s half of the Social Security payroll tax, as well as Medicare — nearly an extra 8 percent deducted from my income. The costs for my health-care premiums zoomed out of sight, since I was no longer part of a large health-care pool that could negotiate favorable rates.

The decline in the quality of our jobs is a theme that I have revisited repeatedly in my writing. In order for us to have a thriving middle class, we need lots of good paying middle class jobs.

But our economy is not producing many of those jobs. Instead, most of the growth has been in low paying service jobs. The Middle class in the United States is being slowly but surely shredded, and our politicians don’t seem to care. If you doubt that the middle class is falling apart, just check out the following numbers which come from my previous article entitled “Sayonara Middle Class: 22 Stunning Pieces Of Evidence That Show The Middle Class In America Is Dying“…

#1 This week we learned that for the first time ever recorded, middle class Americans make up a minority of the population. But back in 1971, 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households.

#2 According to the Pew Research Center, the median income of middle class households declined by 4 percent from 2000 to 2014.

#3 The Pew Research Center has also found that median wealth for middle class households dropped by an astounding 28 percent between 2001 and 2013.

#4 In 1970, the middle class took home approximately 62 percent of all income. Today, that number has plummeted to just 43 percent.

#5 There are still 900,000 fewer middle class jobs in America than there were when the last recession began, but our population has gotten significantly larger since that time.

#6 According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#7 For the poorest 20 percent of all Americans, median household wealth declined from negative 905 dollars in 2000 to negative 6,029 dollars in 2011.

#8 A recent nationwide survey discovered that 48 percent of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 believe that “the American Dream is dead”.

#9 At this point, the U.S. only ranks 19th in the world when it comes to median wealth per adult.

#10 Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been one of the engines that has fueled the growth of the middle class in the United States, but today the level of entrepreneurship in this country is sitting at an all-time low.

#11 If you can believe it, the 20 wealthiest people in this country now have more money than the poorest 152 million Americans combined.

#12 The top 0.1 percent of all American families have about as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of all American families combined.

#13 If you have no debt and you also have ten dollars in your pocket, that gives you a greater net worth than about 25 percent of all Americans.

#14 The number of Americans that are living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.

#15 An astounding 48.8 percent of all 25-year-old Americans still live at home with their parents.

#16 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans now live in a home that receives money from the government each month, and nearly 47 million Americans are living in poverty right now.

#17 In 2007, about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that number is one out of every five.

#18 According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the authors of a new book entitled “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America“, there are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day. That number has doubled since 1996.

#19 46 million Americans use food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out.

#20 The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percent over the past six years.

#21 According to Poverty USA, 1.6 million American children slept in a homeless shelter or some other form of emergency housing last year.

#22 The median net worth of families in the United States was $137, 955 in 2007. Today, it is just $82,756.

So is there a solution?

Is our transition to a “1099 economy” inevitable?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…