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Where is the Press on the Cost of Obamacare

The House Republicans recently came out with a budget that repeals Obamacare.  There have been numerous interviews with budget committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) about the budget he has presented.  All of the reporting seems to be focused on the political angles, or the practicality of the proposal.  Asking about who this will help politically or how this would ever happen while the President is in office must be more interesting.  Ryan has stated that the elimination of Obamacare, and the tax increases that were to pay for it, will save over $700 billion in the next ten years.  How can that be true, since the President promised that his healthcare law would not add a dime to the deficit?dime

No one has challenged Mr. Ryan’s conclusions.  They have simply questioned the prudence of the document politically.  The media loves the politics of this issue so much, that they have completely overlooked a big story.  In his September 9, 2009 address to a joint session of Congress, the President said the following…

“And here’s what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. (Applause.) I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period. And to prove that I’m serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don’t materialize.” (Applause.) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/09/obama-health-care-speech_n_281265.html

The costs are obviously higher than estimated.  Where are the calls from the media for the President to come up with additional spending cuts as promised?  This, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with our press.  They should be questioning either the numbers that Mr. Ryan is presenting, or the President’s promise that Obamacare will not add “one thin dime” to the deficit.  The law was passed only three years ago, and it hasn’t even been implemented yet.  If it does not add one dime to the deficit, then how can repealing it save $700 billion?

The press is certainly biased, and that may be the case here.  If someone were to show that the Republican budget and the President’s promise don’t jive, it may lead to some tough questions for the President.  It’s much more fun to talk about the next election, or ask some more poll questions.  Even a biased media that paid attention to facts, or had a memory beyond last weekend, would have challenged Ryan’s numbers in order to keep the President’s promise intact.  This issue seems to point out more of a laziness in the media than bias.  Keeping score of how one side is doing over the other, just leaves all those hoping for solutions as the losers.


Bush Tax Cuts Caused the Recession?

The Democratic Party, led by President Obama, is making the argument that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 caused the recession of 2008.  Some campaign talking points are…“Driving us in a ditch…We’ve tried their way and it didn’t work…Tax cuts for the wealthy led to the recession…Returning to the failed policies of the past”.  The tax cuts were a provable overwhelming success in terms of the resulting economy.  They led to good sustainable growth, and a low unemployment rate.  Are we to believe that these cuts were some sort of Trojan horse that looked great for 5 years, but snuck up and bit us in year 6?  In fact the President extended them for 2 years in 2010, and is interested in extending them for 98% of Americans now.  Why would he allow such a destructive policy to continue if it caused a recession?  Why isn’t he asked this when he talks about the failed policies of the past?

The Bush Tax cuts had the same effect on the economy that the Reagan, Kennedy, and Harding/Coolidge tax cuts had. They created sustained economic growth and jobs. The facts are as follows…

Year                            GDP Growth Rate                              Unemployment Rate

2003                                        2.5%                                                    6.0%

2004                                        3.9%                                                    5.5%

2005                                        3.2%                                                    5.1%

2006                                        2.8%                                                    4.6%

2007                                        2.0%                                                    4.6%

These statistics are readily available at government websites, and could take as long as 10 minutes to research.  It is bad enough that the Democrats are trying to gain political advantage by ignoring facts.  It is, however, unacceptable that people in the media would propagate this falsehood when the facts are easily available.  The housing crisis caused the recession.  Unqualified people were able to get mortgages for little or no money down.  When the price of the house went down, the mortgage went underwater.  Banks packaged these mortgages in investments, and when people started defaulting on their loans it brought the financial system to the brink of collapse.  This failed policy of the past is still going on under this president.  The FHA still has its 3.5% down payment mortgages going out the door. 

The media and the democrats ignore these statistics so they can continue to deny the effectiveness of tax cuts, when it comes to economic growth and job creation.  Acknowledging these facts would also force us to look at the real reasons for the crisis.  Liberals in the press love to blame the banks for the housing crisis.  They were not without blame, but they just took a bad policy and accelerated it by creating investments that bet on these bad loans.  This is like blaming the driver of a car for an accident when the government mandates TNT be put in the gas tank.

The President wants to blame tax cuts for the recession when he and Democrats have not recommended any changes to the policy that was the root cause of the crisis.  At the same time he has endorsed almost completely, the tax cuts that he rails about.  The media has really dropped the ball in terms of pointing out the incoherence of these arguments.  It is left to the Romney campaign and outside groups to get this message out, so we don’t make the mistake of leaving the dipsticks in charge in Washington.

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

Last week due to recently revealed comments that were made in May of 2010, EPA Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz was forced to step down.  He had tried apologizing, and the White House spokesman said that it was not an indication of how the White House views regulation of the oil and gas industries.  Every outlet in the media is referring to the comments as harsh, over the top, and unacceptable.  What he said is not the most important issue, it is where and when he said it.  If these views are not the same as President Obama’s, why is he only now being forced to resign?

For those of you not familiar with this story, Al Armendariz was appointed by the President in 2009, after years of environmental activism, to serve as EPA administrator for the gulf region. This region contains the country’s primary production of oil and gas.  The video that was released shows Armendariz answering a question about the agency’s enforcement policies.  In Dish, TX in a public meeting Q&A he says…

“I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said,” Armendariz said. “It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them,” Armendariz said.  “And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there,” he added.


It is certainly terrible that a government official said this, and he has followed through with policies that have been antagonistic to the oil and gas producers.  It is interesting that his statement refers to the EPA as the Romans, and I guess any business is the conquered Turks.  You can marinate on the visual there, but the real issue is that this statement took place 2 years ago in public.  Even in his comments, he refers to a meeting with staff where he said it before.  This was probably a common analogy that he used on a regular basis. It is certain that this statement, and the views he expressed were known to the administration.  What was their reaction to it 2 years ago?  If the head of the EPA or the President disagreed with what was said would Armendariz have continued in his job?  It seems that the only difference between 2 years ago, 1 year ago, 6 months ago, and now…is that WE know.

Despite being in office for over 3 years there are regular questions about where President Obama stands on the issue of energy policy.  With the recent increase in oil prices, he started saying publicly that he is in favor of an ‘all of the above’ policy.  This was John McCain’s campaign statement in 2008, implying that we should exploit all energy options.  Does Mr. Obama’s action, or better yet inaction, in dealing with the case of Armendariz match his embrace of the oil industry implied in the ‘all of the above’ rhetoric?

There is certainly an argument to be made for America to use less fossil fuels.  Many believe that it is the right way to go from a pollution, global warming and perhaps self reliance standpoint.  Some of the arguments against that stand would be higher costs and disruptions in current businesses.  The President seems to have decided to not make that argument, however.  I believe that we have a case of saying one thing in public, while acting very differently when the cameras are not rolling.  He would not be the first politician to do such a thing, but he is the one that is on the ballot this fall.

Sticks and Stones…

In an airing of the football movie All the Right Moves with Tom Cruise, the executives at the FX network made an editing decision which was not very surprising.  In the original R rated version of the film, football coach Craig T. Nelson makes a pre-game motivational speech to his team where he refers to himself and his players in saying, “We’re the Dagos, we’re the Polacks, we’re the Niggers.”  In the edited version it became, “We’re the Dagos, we’re the Polacks, we’re the beep.”  This omission of the n-word only, was sadly an editing decision which all too often reflects every day society.

It would be very easy to trumpet the double standard and hypocrisy in this example from the movie with regard to all the slurs in question being racial slurs.  That’s very tempting and the racists at the FX network should be especially ashamed in this case, but I find all naughty words and name calling to be just that; naughty words and name calling.

If you’re clever enough, there are a countless number of ways to degrade, insult or offend just about anyone.  Who is anyone to quantify the level of degradation from one insult or another?  Can we really decide on everyone else’s behalf how much hurt or insult or pain they are entitled  to claim when victimized by one naughty word as opposed to another?  Who’s to say the n-word is more universally hurtful than even fatso or baldy or dumb-dumb.  What if the person being called a dumb-dumb actually is a little slow.  Maybe they road the short bus to school and were in romper room classes with no more than five students.  As such, maybe they faced constant ridicule and bullying in the form of incessantly being called a dumb-dumb.   Does that person ever count as much as a black person?  Can their feelings ever be hurt as much as a black person’s feelings?  Are they forever denied the same level of sensitivity just because of their skin color?  That is point blank racist to every non-black person on the planet!

Every naughty name has a meaning.  Every naughty word has a reason why it’s mean.  Every naughty word has a semantic origin and a history of usage.  How are parents or grade school teachers supposed to sell the blatant double standard about the n-word to our impressionable young children?  If we’re going to quantify name calling for them they may have the insight to ask if ‘double jerk’ is twice as bad as just ‘jerk’ or if ‘silly willy’is worse than just ‘silly’?

I’m not seeking to use the n-word.  I’m not looking to encourage others to do so. In doing so, the response to that bit of name calling may very well be some form of physical, criminal, lawless violence.  I’m merely suggesting equal sensitivity to everyone no matter what that level of sensitivity may be.  Clearly we are a long way from that.  Even in this post I have perpetrated that which I am contesting by writing out words like ‘dumb-dumb’ yet oh so gingerly tiptoeing around the dreaded ‘n-word’.  I’m just a gutless chump for bending over and pretending that I too find that word to be more mean than other insults.  I guess that’s better than being one of the racist pigs who actually find that to be true.


Misunderstanding Free Speech

Recently Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Miami Marlins baseball team, said that he admired Fidel Castro.  It was ignorant and perhaps stupid, and has created a mini firestorm in southern Florida.  The comment has caused a fairly predictable reaction from many including the media, particularly in this case, the sports media.  The belief that we are constitutionally guaranteed the right to free speech, and with that freedom we can say whatever we want without consequence is false.

The first amendment is one of the most referenced and yet misunderstood parts of our constitution.  It reads as follows…Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  ’Congress shall make no law’ means that the government cannot prevent you from speaking.  They also can’t prosecute or punish you for what you say.  That’s it!

There is no right to make others listen to you. You have no right to a public forum, unless it is to petition the government.  When people say…”I have a right to be heard!”  No, actually, you don’t.  Not when it comes to me.  There is no right for you to inflict your views on the rest of us individuals.  The government may have to listen to you, but I don’t.

The right to free speech doesn’t guarantee any rights with respect to how others will react to what you say.  People can speak out against you, protest, tell you how stupid you are, not buy your product, and your boss can even fire you.  There are all kinds of consequences to speaking out.  Ask the Dixie Chicks, Don Imus, Michael Richards, Rush Limbaugh, John Rocker, Jimmy ‘The Greek’, or Ozzie Guillen who got suspended by his team for what he said because it was bad for business.

Next time you hear some media type tell you about someone’s freedom of speech, know that all this means is they can’t go to jail for the stupid thing they said.  All else is fair game.

Ant and the Grasshopper Revisited

We found this email and other similar new versions flying around the internet with a new twist on an old story.


Two Different Versions …


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and gathering up supplies for the winter.  The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.  Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE OLD STORY:  Be responsible for yourself!


The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and gathering up supplies for the winter.  The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.  Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press     conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.  America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?  Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green…’

Occupy the Anthill stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the SEIU group singing, We shall overcome.  Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper’s sake, while he damns the ants.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush 43, President Bush 41, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight.  Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Piers Morgan that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to   make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.  The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is   confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.  The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends   finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the   government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who   terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous  and peaceful,   neighborhood.  The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free   world with it.


With the ability to actually see where we are headed by simply looking across the Atlantic, the choice between 2 possible futures could not be clearer.  We at Free Markets Free People would simply ask, “What kind of country do we want?”

In the News…White House Birth Control Reversal

Below is an excerpt of a story, typical of the reporting of the White House change in policy in terms of its birth control mandate for coverage under Obamacare.

WASHINGTON (AP) President Obama announced that religious employers will not have to cover birth control for their employees after all. He will demand instead that insurance companies will be the ones ultimately responsible for providing free contraception. The administration announced in January that religious-affiliated employers had to cover birth control as preventive care for women. Churches and houses of worship were exempt, but all other affiliated organizations were ordered to comply by August 2013. Obama’s abrupt retreat is an attempt to address concerns from Catholic leaders and end an election-year nightmare for the White House. Women will still get guaranteed access to birth control without co-pays or premiums no matter where they work. But religious organizations that see contraception as a violation of their faith can refuse to cover it, and insurance companies will then have to do so. 


It is our belief at FMFP that this change was not done due to protests from Bishops, and other religious leaders.  It also was not done to shore up his reelection chances.  We believe that the White House had already calculated the issue was a net winner for his reelection.  He made the change because he would have been overruled by the Supreme Court. 

There is no doubt that the constitution protects religious institutions from government interference.  Even the current partisan Supreme Court believes this, which is proven in a 9-0 ruling in January that was not widely reported.  The details are listed in the following link.  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/11/supreme-court-sides-with-church-on-decision-to-fire-employee-on-religious/.  The ruling basically reaffirms that religious institutions are not subject to the same rules that regular employers must follow.  You would think that a unanimous decision which overturned a lower court ruling would be big news.

The change in the rule focuses solely on who the administration is forcing to cover these reproductive services.  We are sure that they received advice on the fact that the government cannot force religious institutions to cover these services, but they can force insurance companies to do anything they wish.  The change does not address the concerns voiced by many that say these religious institutions will obviously pay for the services in their insurance rates.  It also does not help those other business owners who will be forced to cover something that they would not want to cover.  The subtle change is simply to protect themselves against a legal challenge that they would have certainly lost. 

No matter how you feel on this issue, it should give one pause whenever the government is willing to force to implement policies on the citizens.

Advocacy Reporting

Reporters are supposed to go to an event, and report on what occurs there. They can get quotes, do background, and remind us of history, but the concept is simple.  If done properly it would be as if the reporter doesn’t even exist and we consumers would feel as if we were there.  This would be without commentary, loaded questioning, unfair editing, and most importantly the reporter not becoming part of the story.

We had a couple of examples of not reporting, or biased reporting, over this past weekend.  The President had a news conference this weekend, and his 2nd question asked was by Dan Lothian from CNN. 

  • Q: Thank you, Mr. President. Last night at the Republican debate, some of the hopefuls — they hope to get your job — they defended the practice of waterboarding, which is a practice that you banned in 2009. Herman Cain said, “I don’t see that as torture.” Michelle Bachmann said that it’s “very effective.” So I’m wondering if you think that they’re uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible? (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/14/news-conference-president-obama)

Mr. Lothian must have been so concerned that the President couldn’t properly handle the question.  This could be the only explanation for the fact that he asked a multiple choice question that would properly make Mr. Lothian’s point no matter which one he chose.  In his estimation the matter is not open for discussion.  I wonder if he knows that our military has a history of waterboarding our soldiers for training purposes?  I wonder if we were torturing our own soldiers?  Even if you throw out the facts about the issue it is difficult to find a better example of advocacy in a reporter than Mr. Lothian.

Dan Lothian is a small fish and he’s not a big time reporter even though he got the 2nd question to the President in his news conference.  How big time, however, is a news anchor for a major network?  Theoretically Scott Pelly (said anchor) is one of the top 3 reporters in the country.  In this weekend’s Republican Presidential Debate Mr. Pelley expressed his concern for the killing of terrorist al-Awlaki a little over a month ago.  The back and forth was as follows…

  • Scott Pelley: Speaker Gingrich, if I could just ask you the same question, as President of the United States, would you sign that death warrant for an American citizen overseas who you believe is a terrorist suspect?
  • Newt Gingrich: Well, he’s not a terrorist suspect. He’s a person who was found guilty under review of actively seeking the death of Americans.
  • Scott Pelley: Not– not found guilty by a court, sir.
  • Newt Gingrich: He was found guilty by a panel that looked at it and reported to the president.
  • Scott Pelley: Well, that’s ex-judicial. That’s– it’s not–
  • Newt Gingrich: Let me– let me– let me tell you a story– let me just tell you this.
  • Scott Pelley: –the rule of law.
  • Newt Gingrich: It is the rule of law. That is explicitly false. It is the rule of law.
  • Scott Pelley: No.
  • Newt Gingrich: If you engage in war against the United States, you are an enemy combatant. You have none of the civil liberties of the United States. You cannot go to court. Let me be– let me be very clear about this. There are two levels. There’s a huge gap here that– that frankly far too many people get confused over. Civil defense, criminal defense, is a function of being within the American law. Waging war on the United States is outside criminal law. It is an act of war and should be dealt with as an act of war. And the correct thing in an act of war is to kill people who are trying to kill you.
  • Male Voice: Well said. Well

For the video please go to
around the 42nd minute: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-full-cbs-newsnational-journal-gop-debate/2011/11/13/gIQAesw4HN_video.html

If you add to this question the smug look on the face of Mr. Pelley, as he was schooled on the law by the History PHD carrying former Speaker of the House, it is really remarkable that some think there is no bias at the highest levels of the media.  Just the lack of historical knowledge should be embarrassing enough to get rid of this knucklehead.  If you take the premise that Mr. Pelley posits, the US citizens who chose to fight against us in any war, did not receive their due process on the battlefield.  In fact, wasn’t the killing of Confederate soldiers by the Union without a trial an illegal act?

Journalists don’t have to be History PHD’s if they would just do their jobs. If the moderator of the debate is doing his job properly, we should not remember who the moderator was.  Scott Pelley should just blend into the background, instead he became part of the story.  Bias is not always this blatant, and we need to often seek out the stories not reported.  It would be refreshing if a reporter went to an event, and told us what happened there.


Have you ever noticed that there is a preferred class of food portrayed in the media? It is the small organic farm. You have never seen a story about how mass produced foods by giant Agribusiness feeds the world, or how the predicted worldwide famine (popular in the 1970’s due to population increase) never happened because of the yield improvements of the large American Industrial Farmers. Politically correct organic food is portrayed as how things used to be before the chemicals and the big business got into our food. Did you know that the recent E. coli outbreak in Europe came from been sprouts from an organic farm? Maybe the fact that it came from an organic farm isn’t important to the story, or maybe that should be up to the news consumer to decide.

We cannot have our news media deciding which of the facts are important and not important, but that is exactly what they do. You cannot know everything about every story, but we rely upon news sources to sift out the pertinent facts. This E. coli story shows the bias that exists towards organic foods in most media organizations. If you think that your news does not go through a prism of politically correct filters before it reaches you, you are living in a fantasy world. Try to find a story about the E. coli incident that happens to mention the fact that it came from an organic farm. Most large news organizations are not including this important detail in their reporting. Of the two locations found mentioning this fact, one was a liberal health type website interested in dispelling fears of swearing off organic food (http://www.anh-usa.org/the-european-e-coli-outbreak-the-real-story/).

Issues are simple if they are black & white, and they are also easier for reporters. Most subjects are more complex and take more time to explain, and when the story is cut for time or print space the editing is vitally important. For whatever reason (often political) there is a template at most news organizations on each issue, and they wish to continue that narrative no matter where the facts lead. This has a direct effect on the stories that reporters go after as well as the content that makes “the news”. There are regular stories that are anti big business, and the food industry is no exception. Stories about how Monsanto is basically forcing people to use their seeds, or how big business is squeezing out the small family farmer are in the regular news rotation.

Imagine if food giant ADM (Archers Daniels Midland) had been responsible for this outbreak and the 3200+ affected as well as the 36 deaths that it caused. You can just see the stories that would be generated for the next few months. “ADM kills 36 and how many more?”…”Have we let industry take over our precious food supply?”…”Salary of ADM executives compared to the family farmer”…”Food subsidies being wasted”…”More money needed on inspections”…”ADM lobbyists watered down safe food law”. There would be a hearing in Congress where CEO’s of the big agribusinesses are asked probing grandstanding questions about how safe the food supply is.

I am not advocating or condemning organic foods or the family farm. They are not even mutually exclusive as there are big agribusinesses that produce organic food. What I am saying is this should be worthy of further investigation, and the exclusion of the word organic in the reporting up to this point does not give me a warm and cozy feeling about the information to come. If you compare this outbreak to other food related illnesses, more people have been killed in this incident than any I can find in the past 10 years, perhaps 20 years. Some organic farms use chemical based fertilizers similar to large industrial farms, but some use animal manure. The way one gets E. coli is to ingest feces. Gee is it just possible there is a story here? Hopefully we are still early in the reporting cycle such that these further questions will be investigated.

This story has the extra weight of the preconceived template of the media about the goodness of organic foods, and this must be broken in order to get to the truth. There are two different types of bias that I have seen in the media. One is when a media organization advocates a policy, and is almost always easy to spot. The other more destructive form of bias is not telling a story, or not revealing pertinent facts for the consumer to make a balanced judgment. We must all be vigilant in revealing this second form of bias. Our system and even our health are at risk.

WHY DON’T THEY ASK…? 4/4/2011

There is a debate underway in Washington about how much money we should spend and how to reduce the deficit.  We are going to add about $1.5 trillion to the debt this year, which is already close to $14 trillion.  With baby boomers retiring, the costs are going to spiral out of control even more in the next few years.  I have watched liberal after liberal come on various news outlets to talk about the federal budget.  The talking point seems to be that the economic recovery is too weak for us to risk a cut in federal spending.  Why don’t they ask the guest in question, “Can you point to a time in the past, when the economy was strong, where you advocated cutting spending?”  Of course, when the economy is strong, liberals advocate spending even more arguing that everyone is not experiencing the strong growth that the country is experiencing.  It just would be nice to have them stumble on their current argument.

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