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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
New Article: Feeding the Extremists
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Not only does WorldNetDaily have a soft spot for anti-abortion radicals of the type that killed George Tiller, it has common interests with the man who allegedly shot a guard at the Holocaust Museum. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 AM EDT
MRC Wins the Perception War
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's war against David Letterman over a joke he told was based on a deliberately misleading bit of framing: that Letterman was deliberately referring to Sarah Palin's 14-year-old daughter in a quip about Palin’s daughter getting "knocked up" by baseball star Alex Rodriguez, when Letterman has made clear that he was referring to Palin's 18-year-old daughter.

Brent Bozell blurred the distinction in his June 12 demand for an apology like a "real man" (Bozell, if you'll recall, had to be taken into court and forced to pay $3.5 million to World Wresting Entertainment before he apologized like a real man for telling lies). The MRC's Seton Motley joined Fox News in ignoring the distinction completely in a June 14 appearance, portraying Letterman's joke as specifically referring to the 14-year-old though Letterman has specifically said that wasn't the case. (Motley's Fox News appearance, by the way, follows the template -- Motley appeared solo was not identified as a conservative.)

Motley also said of comparisons of the Letterman situation with that of Don Imus' offensive remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team: "None of this is defending Don Imus. For me, the MRC -- none of it. He was obnoxious, he was offensive." In fact, as we detailed at the time, the MRC was loath to directly criticize Imus over the remarks, reserving its wrath for people like Al Sharpton who highlighted the remarks, with Bozell himself calling them "the usual cast of professional victims."

But the MRC, in declaring victory by getting Letterman to issue a more formal apology, gives away their game. Brent Baker wrtes in a June 15 MRC item that "Palin and conservatives were outraged and demanded an apology and retraction for a 'joke' seemed aimed at the 14-year-old daughter though Letterman said he was referring to the 18-year-old daughter."

And who made Letterman's joke seem "aimed at the 14-year-old daughter"? Palin and conservatives.

Baker quotes Letterman as saying, "It doesn't make any difference what my intent was, it's the perception." Again, who created the perception that Letterman said something so offensive that he must formally apologize? Palin and conservatives led by the MRC. Thus, the MRC wins the perception war against Letterman.

Motley complained during his Fox News appearance that "It's just a matter of if you get into a grievance group situation ... there is no grievance group for conservatives, for conservative women." But the MRC is, in fact, one of many grievance groups on the right -- a fact Motley downplayed on Fox News.

If the MRC didn't have a grievance to peddle, there was no reason for Motley to go on TV and Bozell to issue press releases.

UPDATE: Letterman's more abject apology still isn't good enough for Bozell, who dismissed it as "slippery and Clintonian." And Bozell still wants to fight the perception war -- even though he already won -- by insisting there was "no perception, no misunderstanding" about Letterman's original joke.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 12:20 PM EDT
Monday, June 15, 2009
WND's False Headline
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 15 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein carries the headline: " 'U.S. told us don't take Netanyahu seriously,' " presented as a direct quote ascribed to a "senior Palestinian official."

But the headline is a lie. Nowhere in Klein's article does that direct quote appear. Indeed, nowhere does Klein report that the Obama administration "told" the Palestinians anything, let alone to ignore statements by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While Klein does quote a statement from a Palestinian official -- "We received encouraging signs from the Americans that we should not take seriously into consideration Netanyahu's speech"-- its meaning is different; a "sign" is not the same thing as being "told" something.

Will WND fix this false headline? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:35 PM EDT
Examiner Ignores Full Story of IG Firing
Topic: Washington Examiner

A June 15 Washington Examiner editorial attacked the Obama administration for firing Americorps inspector general Gerald Walpin over an investigation of Kevin Johnson, "a high-profile Obama political supporter and a friend of First Lady Michelle Obama" who is now mayor of Sacramento, in alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funds as an example of Obama's "gangster government." But the Examiner fails to tell the full story.

As we've detailed, the U.S. Attorney in the case accused Walpin of hiding evidence in the Johnson investigation and making pronouncements in the media before discussing them with the attorney, and the punishment Walpin sought against Johnson -- which ultimately may have kept Sacramento from receiving federal stimulus money -- was out of proportion to previous sanctions for similar offenses. The Examiner also fails to mention an additional factor it no doubt likes due to its right-wing leanings: Walpin is a right-wing Republican and member of the right-wing Federalist Society who once introduced Mitt Romney at a Federalist Society meeting by saying that Romney served as governor of a state, Massachusetts, run by the "modern-day KKK ... the Kennedy-Kerry Klan."

The Examiner's editorial was based on reporting by the Examiner's Byron York, who has similarly played down the U.S. attorney's criticism of Walpin. It's only in a web-only update to his June 12 column that York mentions the criticism, but only in a single paragraph, followed by several paragraphs of Walpin's response to it. A June 14 blog post by York completely ignores the U.S. attorney's criticism of Walpin.

So York has clearly taken sides here and, like Walpin, is hiding exculpatory information -- which further highlights the Examiner's hard-right shift.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 PM EDT
Tom Blumer Cluelessness Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 14 NewsBusters post by noted maven of cluelessness Tom Blumer reports on an idea regarding Flint, Mich., published in the UK Telegraph, "that involves tearing down entire neighborhoods and simply abandoning them -- oops, I'm sorry, I meant to say, 'returning them to nature.'" Blumer adds: "Leave it to the British press to once again do the job of real reporting that U.S. journalists apparently won't do."

Actually, the New York Times reported on this idea two months ago.

Blumer also fails to mention the key reason this idea is being considered: the decline of the domestic automotive industry meant that Flint's population, as stated in the Telegraph, "has almost halved to 110,000," which "has left street after street in sections of the city almost entirely abandoned." Blumer does not offer an alternative idea for Flint.

On the other hand, Blumer smears President Obama as "Dear Leader," so he's got that going for him.

UPDATE:  Dan Kildee, the county official portrayed in the Telegraph article as having been asked by the Obama administration to bring his demolition idea to 50 other U.S. communities, now says the Telegraph got it wrong. The discussion was about the larger "land bank" concept, in which cities can more easily take control of abandoned properties, not the demolition idea.

Will Blumer tell readers about this important clarification? Don't count on it -- he has yet to correct his item to note that the Times addressed it two months ago.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 15, 2009 4:08 PM EDT
WND's Washington: Michael Savage = Prometheus
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Just when we though Ellis Washington couldn't get any more slobberingly sycophantic toward the bile-filled Michael Savage, he manages to top himself. In his June 13 WorldNetDaily column, Washington has declared Savage to be nothing less than Prometheus:

Prometheus challenged the awesome authority of Zeus by stealing fire from heaven, which gave warmth to the earth thus saving all humanity. Likewise, Savage has put his reputation on the line daily for 15 years as a Ph.D. trained scientist, autodidactic philosopher and historian, zealously defending America's national heritage and waging battle in the arena of ideas against the Zeuses of our time – like Jacqui Smith, the recently deposed home secretary of England who on May 5 libelously and slanderously placed Savage on a blacklist of 16 people banned from England, a list of infamy that included Muslim terrorists, homosexual hate-mongers, neo-Nazis and Russian mobsters.

Zeus meted out unjust and sadistic punishment to Prometheus by chaining him to a rock and commanding an eagle to eat his liver every day, only to have the liver grow back anew each day. Likewise, a similar Sisyphus-like torture was heaped upon Savage by Great Britain whose unprovoked defamation of his name and reputation has daily caused Savage's life and the physical security of his entire family to be brought into mortal danger. When Savage pleaded with the Obama administration and sent a personal letter to the president and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, to intervene on his behalf as an American citizen, all he received in return was the tormenting cacophony of crickets ringing in his ears.

Another famous treatment of the heroism of Prometheus was Percy Shelley's "Prometheus Unbound" (1820). Shelley reworks the lost play of Aeschylus so that Prometheus refuses to bow to Zeus (Jupiter), but instead defeats him in a victory of the human heart and intellect over oppressive religion. Likewise, Savage's iconoclastic, defiant nature would never allow him to compromise his moral principles by kowtowing to Zeus (e.g., Obama, England, the GOP, socialism, censorship) even as his fellow conservatives (Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Joe Scarborough, Fox News, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, American Enterprise Institute, National Review), as well as the government-controlled media, all stand in silent acquiescence as the eagle (the literal symbol of the U.S. government) daily seeks to devour Savage's singular voice.

[...]

I end this intimate tribute of my friend and intellectual mentor the same why I began, with the enduring words of that magnificent Greek tragedian, Aeschylus, who in his "Prometheus" said: Prometheus caused blind hopes to live in the hearts of men. Consequently, who can argue with any level of credibility against Dr. Michael Savage's "blind hopes" in valiantly defending freedom of speech and freedom of expression for all mankind? Surely, in England and in America this man should be memorialized as our modern-day Prometheus.

Thank you, Prometheus. … Thank you, Dr. Michael Savage.

You can wipe the drool off your chin now, Ellis.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 AM EDT
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Fired IG Runs to WND, Spins Misleading Conspiracy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 13 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn features claims by Gerald Walpin, a former inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal office that oversees AmeriCorps, that he was fired by the Obama administration because he "filed two reports exposing gross misappropriation of federal AmeriCorps funds by a prominent Barack Obama supporter." Zahn, however, does not appear to have any interest whatsoever in telling the full story, even though such information was available prior to the publication of his article.

Zahn states that Walpin "Walpin dared to push for action against the St. HOPE Academy program – run by Obama supporter and former NBA star Kevin Johnson – which had misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal AmeriCorps funds." But there's more to the story that Zahn doesn't tell. According to Talking Points Memo:

- Later that month, Walpin, on behalf of CNCS, released the findings of the federal probe, which it appears he had led. Walpin found that St. HOPE had improperly used hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money, by using AmeriCorps volunteers to run errands for Johnson, wash his car, and do political work relating to a local school board race. Saying he had found "potential criminal violations," Walpin recommended that while the US attorney's office's investigation was ongoing, Johnson and another St. HOPE official be barred from receiving federal money. But as the Bee would later note in an editorial, "Walpin decided to act before any legal body determined whether irregularities in the administration of grants from 2004-2007 reflected inadvertent errors and ignorance of regulations or actual fraud."

- Nonetheless, days later, a "debarment official" at CNCS followed up on Walpin's recommendation, taking the rare step of issuing a letter suspending Johnson and the other official from receiving federal funds. Walpin touted the news in "huge red headlines" on his IG website, according to the Bee.

- The Bee would later find that, since its inception in 1994, the NCSC had suspended only two other organizations and three other people, and that the irregularities at St. HOPE were similar to those found at other nonprofits that were not suspended.

- Johnson's camp called the findings "relatively minor issues," and called Walpin, who was appointed to his post by President Bush, a "right-wing Republican." Johnson's campaign cited a 2005 incident in which Walpin had introduced Mitt Romney at a meeting of the conservative Federalist Society -- on whose board Walpin sits -- by saying that Romney served as governor of a state, Massachusetts, run by the "modern-day KKK ... the Kennedy-Kerry Klan."

[...]

So here's what it sounds like: Johnson and his non-profit ran a very loose operation, which deserved some kind of sanction. But Walpin's action -- in publicly suggesting, without much apparent evidence, that Johnson might have committed a crime, and having Johnson barred from receiving federal funds, ultimately jeopardizing the fortunes of the city as a whole after Johnson became mayor -- was out of all proportion to the wrongdoing.

ABC's Jake Tapper further reports that the U.S. Attorney's office through which Walpin's charges would have been filed found that Walpin withheld exculapory information from the office -- in the office's words, Walpin "overstepped his authority by electing to provide my office with selective information and withholding other potentially significant information at the expense of determining the truth" -- and made pronouncements in the media before discussing them with the office, thus "hindering our investigation and handling of this matter." 

Walpin's actions, Tapper reports, "repeatedly offended officials of the US Attorney's office, to the point that the Republican-appointee in the US Attorney's office filed an official complain[t] aginst the Republican-appointed Inspector General."

Zahn does not tell his readers the details of the U.S. attorney's complaints, but he wrote that Walpin "pointed out that the inspector general has not been found guilty of any misconduct, and the charges are disputed." Nor does Zahn report the important fact that Walpin is a Republican, as is the U.S. attorney who complained about him.

Remember that WND has a history of lying and misleading about Obama, so expect Zahn to behave just like Walpin and withhold exculpatory information.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EDT
WND Ignores Birther's Prayer for Obama's Death
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has already dismissed the alleged shooter of George Tiller as mentally ill and the alleged shooter of a guard at the Holocaust Museum as a liberal. How will it address the issue of someone praying for the death of President Obama?

Former Southern Baptist Convention official Wiley Drake told radio host Alan Colmes last week that he's using "imprecatory prayer" to pray for the death of the "usurper that is in the White House," Barack Obama.

WND loves Wiley Drake -- he's one of the people involved in the Obama birth certificate conspiracy as a plaintiff with Alan Keyes in one lawsuit on the issue. He has also endorsed preacher David Wilkerson's prediction of an "earth-shattering calamity" -- "riots and blazing fires" in New York City and across the East Coast -- in the near future. WND has also endorsed Drake's call of "imprecatory prayer" in begging God to rain on Obama's acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. (It didn't work.)

But curiously, WND has not reported Drake's death threat on Obama. Why?

As we've noted, WND has a habit of refusing to tell its readers facts that confict with its right-wing agenda.  It's not good for right-wingers to be so overt about their hatred as Drake, so WND will send this down the memory hole, just as it did any evidence that Tiller's alleged killer, Scott Roeder, had closer ties to Operation Rescue that WND wants to admit, or any of Randall Terry's less-than-concilatory statements on Tiller's death.

Because Drake went beyond WND's agenda, it seems WND will pretend he never said it at all.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 AM EDT
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Evidence, Please
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard, in defending Rush Limbaugh against a claim that he once portrayed Chelsea Clinton as the "White House dog," used a June 12 NewsBusters post to repeat another blog post that purports to depict the incident as a mistake and a misunderstanding and insisting that Limbaugh profusely apologized at the time.

What's lacking, though, is any actual evidence to support the claim.

The blog Sheppard cited is called Lying Liar, which ought to be a warning sign (it largely centers on attacking Al Franken).  It is anonymously written. The post Sheppard cited provides no outside links to back up the claims it makes.

Indeed, actual physical evidence to support Sheppard's version of events is sorely lacking -- even NewsBusters' parent organization, the Media Research Center, has never ventured to defend Limbaugh in such a way. The only direct reference to the incident that we could find in the MRC archive came in a 2003 CyberAlert; that reference came in the course of quoting someone else, and no effort is made to highlight or correct the claim. That indicates to us that it believes the claim is true.

Limbaugh presumably has access to copies of the original broadcasts of his '90s TV show, on which the incident reportedly took place. All he has to do is post the video of the incident and the subsequent purported apologies, and that would clear his name.

Will Sheppard demand that Limbaugh do that?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 AM EDT
Jackie Mason's Latest Anti-Obama Rant
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The latest anti-Obama WorldNetDaily rant from Jackie Mason, in a June 11 video:

Every time a new president comes into office, he tries to tell you how he's going to settle the problem of Israel, and now it's Barack Obama's chance to let you know how he's going to solve this problem. But all of the other presidents who wanted to solve this problem were constantly evenhanded or that everybody thought they were evenhanded or at least they attempted to be evenhanded. Barack Obama, obviously, through all the statesmanship and the flowery phrases and the fancy dialogue, he's not even attempting to be evenhanded. He's giving orders to Israel: "Give up your settlements. I want to make sure that one more person doesn't [unintelligible] into that settlement and they don't extend the living room or kitchen or toilet and you're very closely organized in exactly that spot and you shouldn't move from that spot for a second and a half because somehow that's causing all the trouble all over the world. Iran would never start a war and peace on earth would reign all over the universe if Israel just didn't build another kitchen or toilet or they didn't add another person nobody drank a glass of water and an extra foot of land.

Now, do believe this nonsense? This is the biggest piece of fakery in the world and this man with all the flowery phrases, if you listen carefully, is defrauding America because Israel is in no way any problem in this situation.

[...]

Besides, why should the settlements be considered a problem in the first place? Is it even fair to suggest it? Right now, over a million and a half -- almost -- closer to two million Arabs live on Israeli land. Not only do they live there, but they're equal citizens with Israeli in almost every way. Health care benefits, unemployment benefits, they have the same opportunities as Israelis to get ahead in life and to get the same equal democratic principles and problems and they live the same democratic life that every Israeli does, on equal terms in every way. They're equal citizens. How come the Israelis don't complain: "Look at this, There's only a million and a half Arabs here, there better not be one more, they better not build another toilet or another kitchen." A million and a half Arabs who are a threat to Israel every day, commiting suicide bombings every day. And they take their chance with their very lives to keep a million and a half Arabs in their country every day, and it doesn't bother them. But three extra Jews who are mostly religious Jews walking around with a shawl and a prayer book, they are the greatest menace to society when there's only a couple hundred of them or maybe a couple thousand? How did they become such a menace to the Arabs when a million and a half Arabs who are threatening to kill Jews every day are not considered a threat?

There are no such thing as Israeli suicide bombers -- it never existed, it never happened, they're not engangering anybody's life. They're living a peaceful life. Most of them are very religious, humble Jews minding their own business. Why are they such a terrible threat with an extra kitchen? This is the biggest fraud in the world. We are endangering our lives every day, and we keep them there as equal citizens. But let one Jew build a toilet, and it's called an extension of a settlement, and they're the biggest threat in the world to the Arabs.

Suicide bombers is not a threat but an extra toilet is? This is a fraud and chicanery and deception, and your president ought to be ashamed of himself to make an issue out of it.

1) The population of Israeli settlements in the West Back is much more than "maybe a couple thousand"; as of 2006, it was more than 267,000. And they're not all "living a peaceful life"; some are engaged in vigilante violence against Palestinians.

2) Far from being "not considered a threat," right-wing Israeli politicans, including the far-right Kach/Kahane Chai, advocate removal (by various means) of all Arabs rom Israel.

3) Obama is not "giving orders" to Israel; Obama cannot order another sovereign nation to do anything. He has, however, requested that settlement activity stop as part of a peace process with the Palestinians.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, June 13, 2009 12:51 AM EDT
Friday, June 12, 2009
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The worst, however, and the most atrocious lie our president has told – or is likely to tell – is the one that follows:

I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

That would be the oath of office he took on Jan. 20, 2009. Instead of supporting and defending the Constitution, he perforated it. You can guess what he's been doing with the pieces – every day since he was sworn in.

-- Erik Rush, June 11 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EDT
WND Again Neglects To Mention Its Shared Interests With Von Brunn
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 11 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh asserts that accused Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn "was a Darwin-lover who hated the Bible and Christians, and defies media efforts to classify him as a stereotypical 'right-winger.'"

Unruh fails to mention that von Brunn is also a birther who hated the Federal Reserve -- interests von Brunn shares with WorldNetDaily.

The list of related WND links at the end of Unruh's article, however, is largely comprised ofarticles related to WND's obsession of Barack Obama's birth certificate -- which suggests that WND is quite aware of this connection but has chosen to censor it.

As we've noted, WND has criticized Fox News anchor Shepard Smith for ridiculing the obsession over Obama's birth certificate but neglected to report the context of Smith's criticism that von Brunn is a birther.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 PM EDT
ConWeb Misleads on Mirandizing Detainees
Topic: The ConWeb

A June 10 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling regurgitates a Weekly Standard report claiming "the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee." Since Schilling made no apparent effort to verify anything on her own, she has written an article that is dubious at best.

By contrast, the Washington Independent quoted Gen. David Petraeus as saying, "The real rumor yesterday is whether our forces were reading Miranda rights to detainees and the answer to that is no." And the Washington Post's Greg Sargent contacted a Justice Department spokesman, who said: "There has been no policy change and nor blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas. While there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas, at both Bagram and in other situations, in order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees."

In other words, if there is indeed a policy to Mirandize detainees, it appears to have begun in the Bush administration. Indeed, the author of that Weekly Standard report, Stephen Hayes, said himself that "There are reports that this was happening on specific bases as going back as early as July 2008."'

The rest of the ConWeb behaved only slightly better on this story, reporting the claim but not the full truth.

A June 11 Newsmax article by Dave Eberhart repeats the claim and includes the Justice Department statement, but Eberhart ignores Hayes' statement that the Mirandizing began under the Bush administration.

David Limbaugh, in a June 12 column that appears at WorldNetDaily and Newsmax, asserted that "There are reports that [Obama's] Justice Department has quietly ordered the FBI to give Miranda warnings to enemy combatants captured at war in Afghanistan" without noting reports that it apparently started under the Bush administration.

Rich Galen, in his June 12 CNSNews.com column, also repeated the claim without noting that it apparently started under the Bush administration.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 12, 2009 11:31 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I don't know about you, but I find it troubling that the "oh, so tolerant leftists" who elected their illegal alien messiah have abandoned the Nazi theme in their political discussions.

That must mean the left is happy with the new government.

[...]

I'm sure you will be pleased – as I am – to know that America's brief flirtation with the Bush-Hitler Nazis has cooled, the jack-booted, Democrat prestitutes have made the world safe for dissent, and tolerance is once again the law of the land.

-- Craige McMillan, June 11 WorldNetDaily column.

McMillan curiously fails to mention that his fellow WND columnists have filled the void with repeatedly likening President Obama to Nazis. If likening President Bush to Hitler was so terrible, why does McMillan tolerate likening Obama to Hitler?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Richard Bartholomew catches WorldNetDaily essentially using someone else's paid on the WND website to attack President Obama -- this time, essentially blaming him for the swine flu epidemic. The website to which the ad links, which sells a self-proclaimed "Flu Survival Kit," doesn't mention Obama directly, but it does claim:

The Globalists dug up frozen 1918 flu death cadavers in Siberia, extracted the DNA of the deadly Spanish flu and combined it with the very deadly Bird Flu (H5N1), mixed it with Swine Flu (H1N1) and merged it with a “carrier agent” of the highly contagious generic flu we all get to trigger certain and rapid human-to-human transmission.

This isn't the first time that WND has twisted an ad on its website into an attack on Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT

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