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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#20321 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-August-18, 13:40

View Postkenberg, on 2022-August-18, 12:48, said:

This is very cynical and, I think, misguided. A guy phones in to the AARP session and asks his question. I hear his question and realize it is exactly the question I had. This makes it a fair bet that there are several others out there with the same question since the question appears to me to be very substantial and apply to many people.

The Dems would like to win some elections this fall. If no one is at all open to any discussion whatsoever then we are all wasting our time discussing matters. Discussion assumes that someone will give some consideration to something. The Inflation Reduction Act is regarded as a big deal. Congress has had other recent successes. Perhaps some people have some questions, perhaps the answers will influence how they view these accomplishments.

Or we can just say it all doesn't matter.

Chris Van Hollen is a pretty decent guy as far as I know. I am prepared to give him some leeway here. Perhaps, if I read his extended interview all the way through and carefully, I would think better of it.

Call me hopelessly naive, but I think the best way for the Dems to approach the fall elections is to put the accomplishments of Congress in front of the voters, explain the benefits, answer questions accurately, and make a point of the fact that if we want more such accomplishments in the future it is important to vote for Democrats in the fall. Of course this approach might fail. Giving up is sure to fail. And success and failure come in degrees.


I don't believe you are naive. But from what I can tell social media is the driver of election results, not AARP meetings. If the results of the meeting are resent via facebook or twitter or whatever else is used, then there is a chance, because more than so-and-so legislator said the meaningful address is what my cousin/friend/neighbor/pastor/bot/RussiaSpyBot/Trump/ said on social media.
You do notice, I assume, how few politicians actually ride trains these days?
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#20322 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2022-August-18, 14:44

View Postbillw55, on 2015-August-17, 09:20, said:

I wish people would stop taking Trump seriously. Like several other candidates, he has adopted the recent trend of using a fake and/or obviously hopeless presidential candidacy as a marketing gig, enabled by a mountain of free publicity from the slobbering media. He can say any stupid thing he wants, because he isn't serious and knows he is just going to drop out later.


Unlike other QOP candidates, when push comes to shove, Trump could probably easily win the nomination if he formally enters the race. Trump wasn't a "serious" candidate in 2016, said plenty of stupid and offensive things, and yet he won. If he is elected president again, he will be immune from further federal prosecution for 4 years so that's a big plus for him. If he's been convicted of a felony, or still in the trial phase, but hasn't been sent to prison, there could be a constitutional standoff as prosecutors and some courts try to take him into custody, while Trump as the president will order the Secret Service and DOJ to protect him from being detained.

As far as dropping out later, Trump has learned his lesson. Running for president is one of the biggest grifting opportunities there is. With constant political media coverage dominating most news days until election day, there's no telling how much money Trump can grift from his supporters, maybe half a billion or more could end up in his pockets at the end of the race.
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#20323 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2022-August-18, 14:51

View Posty66, on 2022-August-17, 09:02, said:

If America was serious, we would also make it illegal for corporations to bribe members of Congress.


Ridiculous suggestion. How are members of Congress supposed to gain multi millions in wealth while in office if they can't get bribed by corporations buying their votes? Please think of the poor members of Congress who would have to rely on their substantial 6 figure government salaries to get by.
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#20324 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2022-August-18, 14:59

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY said:

I think there's probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different, they're statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.


Candidate quality? My observation is that it depends on the state. How else do you explain senators like Ron Paul, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, etc., etc.
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#20325 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2022-August-18, 15:18

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said:

I think there's probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different, they're statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.

The primary difference between Senate races and those for House Representatives is that Senate boundaries cannot be gerrymandered.
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#20326 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-August-18, 15:44

View PostGilithin, on 2022-August-18, 15:18, said:

The primary difference between Senate races and those for House Representatives is that Senate boundaries cannot be gerrymandered.


Wrong. Senate races are Gerrymandered by definition, which is why the senate in Paul Keating's words are "unrepresentative swill".


One of the primary differences between a pluralistic democracy where there is one vote/one value and the USA is the Senate.



California (Population: 39,613,493)
Texas (Population: 29,730,311)
Florida (Population: 21,944,577)
New York (Population: 19,299,981)
Pennsylvania (Population: 12,804,123)
Illinois (Population: 12,569,321)
Ohio (Population: 11,714,618)
Georgia (Population: 10,830,007)
North Carolina (Population: 10,701,022)
Michigan (Population: 9,992,427)

Wyoming (Population: 581,075)
Vermont (Population: 623,251)
Alaska (Population: 724,357)
North Dakota (Population: 770,026)
South Dakota (Population: 896,581)
Delaware (Population: 990,334)
Rhode Island (Population: 1,061,509)
Montana (Population: 1,085,004)
Maine (Population: 1,354,522)

non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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#20327 User is online   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 03:00

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-August-18, 15:44, said:


Wrong. Senate races are Gerrymandered by definition, which is why the senate in Paul Keating's words are "unrepresentative swill".


...


One of the "downsides" of being a federation :)

I reckon the world would be much better if it was all run by our big inner city areas

I came to "love" the Australian "unrepresentative swill" :)

Edit. Sorry different uses of quotes
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#20328 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 03:01

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-August-18, 15:44, said:

One of the primary differences between a pluralistic democracy where there is one vote/one value and the USA is the Senate.

While this is true (and is the foundation of "democratic" minority rule, which requires control of the small states) it is not the same as gerrymandering. Gerrymandering allows the legislation to move the boundaries to create a safe majority of Representatives even with a minoroty of voters, or make a super-safe super-majority from a purple state. The extreme gerrymandering in US elections, all created using highly advanced voter databases, is what has reduced the number of competitive House races to a mere handful; and this in turn allows parties to put up particular extreme candidates as whoever wins the party Primary is guaranteed to win the seat. To bring it back to the quote at the top of this sub-thread, this is why the candidate matters more in many Senate races - they actually have to win a few moderate votes if they want to get elected. This is mostly not true for House Representatives.
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#20329 User is online   thepossum 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 03:06

I reckon pluralistic democracy is *****

In Australia we have a commission that adjusts boundaries to even it all up :lol:

Oh dear that one is heading the wrong way etc

Edit One of the learnings I put down as getting too old to care is that every vote is "equal". I think I need to study ancient Greek philosophy

What is democracy. Which is more democratic. China or the USA? China has two sides two. Those in the party and those not
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#20330 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 03:45

View PostGilithin, on 2022-August-19, 03:01, said:

While this is true (and is the foundation of "democratic" minority rule, which requires control of the small states) it is not the same as gerrymandering. Gerrymandering allows the legislation to move the boundaries to create a safe majority of Representatives even with a minoroty of voters, or make a super-safe super-majority from a purple state. The extreme gerrymandering in US elections, all created using highly advanced voter databases, is what has reduced the number of competitive House races to a mere handful; and this in turn allows parties to put up particular extreme candidates as whoever wins the party Primary is guaranteed to win the seat. To bring it back to the quote at the top of this sub-thread, this is why the candidate matters more in many Senate races - they actually have to win a few moderate votes if they want to get elected. This is mostly not true for House Representatives.


The type of electoral fraud perpetrated by the creation of the Senate (and it's ludicrous powers) is much worse than the outrageous redistricting Gerrymanders.

The structure of the US Senate is inherently racist.
Designed to protect the wealth of the few (as shown above) from the aspirations of the many.

If one single government structure has destroyed the hopes and dreams of the USA it's the Senataliban.
A bunch of (by and large) crusty old white men that are clueless about the poverty, and suffering they create with all there desperate whining about "working across the aisle" and "creating bipartisanship to achieve the greater good".

What is the net result?
No health care, no infrastructure. no education, systemic racism, the list started after the civil war.
When were all citizens of the USA allowed to vote? 1965.
How old were you in 1965?
Black women couldn't legally vote for John F Kennedy. The first time they were able to vote was for Richard Nixon in 1968.

Even with the egregious gerrymandering in the lower house they still manage to elect Democrat majorities that can happily pass laws.
Unfortunately they have no say in getting those laws past the upper house goons and even though they are the House of Representatives they cannot affect the appointment of Judges.

American exceptionalism is an exception amongst other functioning first world democracies.

I don't know what the answer is - we have our own problems - but one thing's for sure: you can't polish a turd.

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#20331 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 04:40

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-August-19, 03:45, said:

[size="3"]
The type of electoral fraud perpetrated by the creation of the Senate (and it's ludicrous powers) is much worse than the outrageous redistricting Gerrymanders.

The structure of the US Senate is inherently racist.
Designed to protect the wealth of the few (as shown above) from the aspirations of the many.

WHen the Founding Fathers were drawing up the Consitution, one of their greatest fears was the potential for European colonial powers, particularly Britain, from infiltrating the fledgling political situation and re-establishing de facto control over the country. One of the easiest ways of achieving this would have been taking control of a few populous coastal states and using the power of these to dominate the less populated states. The construction of the Senate was therefore deliberately set up to give smaller sates extra power, thus making such a political takeover much more difficult. This should make it extremely obvious even to the most dumb-headed, know-it-all poster that the structure of the Senate itself is not racist. It may have been used through history to support racism but that is a different thing altogether.
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#20332 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 04:51

View PostGilithin, on 2022-August-19, 04:40, said:

WHen the Founding Fathers were drawing up the Consitution, one of their greatest fears was the potential for European colonial powers, particularly Britain, from infiltrating the fledgling political situation and re-establishing de facto control over the country. One of the easiest ways of achieving this would have been taking control of a few populous coastal states and using the power of these to dominate the less populated states. The construction of the Senate was therefore deliberately set up to give smaller sates extra power, thus making such a political takeover much more difficult. This should make it extremely obvious even to the most dumb-headed, know-it-all poster that the structure of the Senate itself is not racist. It may have been used through history to support racism but that is a different thing altogether.

It is still structural racism.
Just because something was established with one thing in mind does not mean that it doesn't give effect to something else.
The objective of preventing California from "taking over" Wyoming - what a proposition! - seems to have enabled a tiny minority to exert disproportionate control of everyone.






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#20333 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 09:39

If, and I think it is a big IF, the Dems are up for a realistic look at why they lose elections the above discussion about the Senate could be useful.

We imagine a White guy in, say, California and imagine that he is annoyed by the fact that California, with its almost 40 million population, gets only two seats in the Senate. And now imagine that he reads the above discussion. His conclusion? "Oh, I get it. The Dems are interested in how the structure of the Senate affects Black people living in California. They have no interest in how it affects White people living in California". If he mentions this, it is explained to him that he is a racist. This guy had been thinking that two Senate seats for each state, regardless of the population, just wasn't right on general principles, but no, his objection must be based on how it affects Black people otherwise he is a racist.

My guess is that if a pollster asked voters "How important, as you choose to vote, is it for a candidate to be interested in your well-being" there would be very few who would respond "Oh, that doesn't matter at all, I just want to do what is right".

This fits in with my earlier suggestion that Dems make a strong effort to explain to voters just exactly how the Inflation Reduction Act and other recent successes affect a large part of the population. I believe a large part of the population will be affected. If Dems wish to win an election, I think it would be a very good idea to explain these effects to voters in such a manner that a person can say, "Oh, it seems this will be good for me, I guess the Dems are interested in my well-being".

Short version: To get votes, address the concerns of voters. A broadly defined large group of voters. Inflation and medical costs affect a very broad group of voters, so explaining the effects of the Inflation Reduction Act can be done in a manner that a great many people, that's people, just people can see the advantage. That could help get votes.
Ken
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#20334 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 12:15

View Postkenberg, on 2022-August-19, 09:39, said:

Short version: To get votes, address the concerns of voters. A broadly defined large group of voters. Inflation and medical costs affect a very broad group of voters, so explaining the effects of the Inflation Reduction Act can be done in a manner that a great many people, that's people, just people can see the advantage. That could help get votes.

I suspect making this your top priority and convincing voters that it is your top priority is a big part of what McConnell means by candidate quality.
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#20335 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 14:15

View Postkenberg, on 2022-August-18, 12:48, said:

This is very cynical and, I think, misguided. A guy phones in to the AARP session and asks his question. I hear his question and realize it is exactly the question I had. This makes it a fair bet that there are several others out there with the same question since the question appears to me to be very substantial and apply to many people.

The Dems would like to win some elections this fall. If no one is at all open to any discussion whatsoever then we are all wasting our time discussing matters. Discussion assumes that someone will give some consideration to something. The Inflation Reduction Act is regarded as a big deal. Congress has had other recent successes. Perhaps some people have some questions, perhaps the answers will influence how they view these accomplishments.

Or we can just say it all doesn't matter.

Chris Van Hollen is a pretty decent guy as far as I know. I am prepared to give him some leeway here. Perhaps, if I read his extended interview all the way through and carefully, I would think better of it.

Call me hopelessly naive, but I think the best way for the Dems to approach the fall elections is to put the accomplishments of Congress in front of the voters, explain the benefits, answer questions accurately, and make a point of the fact that if we want more such accomplishments in the future it is important to vote for Democrats in the fall. Of course this approach might fail. Giving up is sure to fail. And success and failure come in degrees.

My cynicism comes from being draft eligible in 1969.
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#20336 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 15:13

A rather extraordinary column in the WaPo today about the state of the current Republican party. A hew highlights as there is a paywall:



Quote

Religion News Service attempted to contact more than 50 House and Senate Republicans seeking their response, questioning whether they support calls to make the RNC the party of Christian nationalism. The list ranged from hard-line conservatives to more moderate Republicans who recently voted to codify the legalization of same-sex marriage into federal law. Two Republicans responded: Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina.





Quote


Elizabeth Neumann, who resigned from the Trump administration in April 2020 after serving as assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention at the Department of Homeland Security, attributed Republicans' reticence about Christian nationalism partly to a shift under President Donald Trump that legitimized allegiance to Christian nationalist ideas as a pillar of Republicanism.


"Trump said in a 2018 speech that he's a nationalist, so if you're a really big Trump supporter, then think of yourself as a nationalist, too," Neumann said. "So the idea that you're merging Christian values with nationalism, it's not a big leap."

As a result, she added, "elected officials are afraid of their base."



Quote

Her view is supported by a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, in which "Faith and Flag Conservatives" — a category Pew researchers call the organization's attempt to assess hard-line Christian nationalist views — make up 23 percent of those who identify themselves as Republican or lean toward the party. Faith and Flag Conservatives also reported the highest political activity of any conservative group, suggesting an outsize influence on GOP politics, probably including party primaries.






Quote

Neumann, who now works at the extremism analysis organization Moonshot CVE, said Republican silence is part of a larger pattern of conservatives demurring when presented with opportunities to condemn extremism, which can accelerate radicalization.

"You can do a whole lot before somebody has really radicalized," Neumann said. "The key is early intervention, and the fact that you have lawmakers not willing to speak truth — whether it's about an election, whether it's about an FBI raid, or about Christian nationalism — it is allowing their constituents to be vulnerable to jargon, darker elements, persuading them to move into extremism."



She added: "When leaders do not lead, there is a cost."

https://www.washingt...an-nationalism/


Bottom Line: the Republican party is being run by a radical minority because the party leaders do not have the guts to shout them down as idiots.



"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#20337 User is offline   Gerardo 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 18:02

"Religious Freedom" is neither

#20338 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 18:44

Or the "future planning committee" perhaps?
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#20339 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-August-19, 19:37

Blake Hounshell and Jeremy W. Peters at NYT said:

https://messaging-cu...f6-aa349ba75b41

After a decade at Fox News, Chris Stirewalt was suddenly shown the door in January 2021, becoming a casualty of restructuring — or, at least, that was how Fox described his and other layoffs that swept out longtime journalists who were part of the network’s news division.

Stirewalt, who was part of the team at Fox News that projects election results and who testified before the House Jan. 6 committee this summer, suspects there was a bigger reason behind his firing, which he explains in his new book, “Broken News: Why the Media Rage Machine Divides America and How to Fight Back,” to be released next week.

“I got canned after very vocal and very online viewers — including the then-president of the United States — became furious when our Decision Desk was the first to project that Joe Biden would win the former G.O.P. stronghold of Arizona in 2020,” Stirewalt writes.

Coming at 11:20 p.m., well before the other networks declared that Biden would win the state, the Fox call was extremely controversial and consequential. It infuriated Donald Trump and threw a wrench into his attempt to falsely declare himself the winner of the 2020 election. He ordered his campaign aides to demand that Fox retract the call, to no avail.

Despite the pressure to reverse its decision, and the ratings crash Fox suffered in the next few weeks after Trump urged people to watch other networks, the network didn’t buckle because the Decision Desk analysts insisted that the data backed up their projections. And they were right.

A spokeswoman for Fox News said only, “Chris Stirewalt’s quest for relevance knows no bounds,” but did not dispute any specific points he makes.

Green beans and ice cream

Stirewalt’s book is an often candid reflection on the state of political journalism and his time at Fox News, where such post-mortem assessments are not common — either because of the strict confidentiality agreements in place for employees, or the loyalty that some network insiders continue to feel even after they’ve left.

In Stirewalt’s view, the network has played a leading role in the coarsening of American democracy and the radicalization of the right. At one point in the book, he accuses Fox of inciting “black-helicopter-level paranoia and hatred.”

He describes how, over his 11 years at the network, he witnessed Fox feeding its viewers more and more of what they wanted to hear, and little else. This kind of affirming coverage got worse during the years that Trump was president, he says, and turbocharged the reaction of Trump supporters once Fox called Arizona for Biden.

“Even in the four years since the previous presidential election, Fox viewers had become even more accustomed to flattery and less willing to hear news that challenged their expectations,” he writes. “Me serving up green beans to viewers who had been spoon-fed ice cream sundaes for years came as a terrible shock to their systems.”

He describes the “rage” directed at him and the rest of the Decision Desk team, writing, “Amid the geyser of anger in the wake of the Arizona call, Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, called for my firing and accused me of a ‘cover-up.’”

He goes on, “Covering up what, exactly? We didn’t have any ballots to count and we didn’t have any electoral votes to award.”

Stirewalt also writes: “Had viewers been given a more accurate understanding of the race over time, Trump’s loss would have been seen as a likely outcome. Instead of understanding his narrow win in 2016 as the shocking upset that it was, viewers were told to assume that polls don’t apply (unless they were good for Trump) and that forecasters like me were going to be wrong again.”

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#20340 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-August-20, 08:36

I have been thinking a bit about how society has changed during my lifetime, partly for the better, but in other ways not at all better. Genetically speaking, I suppose humans today are not that much different from humans of the previous century. Still, things are different and probably that affects our politics.

An example of change. I talked to a granddaughter yesterday on the phone. She had been playing soccer and we talked about how much fun she had. Her father thinks maybe she can get a soccer scholarship. Perhaps so. She will have her fourth birthday in a couple of months. I focused on her enjoyment. When I was 3 I had never heard of soccer and I played tag and other games with the kids across the street. Her mother had signed her up for soccer somewhere that was far enough away so that she had to be driven there.

My mother took me and other neighborhood kids to the circus and my father took me and other neighborhood kids to watch baseball (St. Paul Saints, a farm club of the Dodgers) but otherwise the other kids and I mostly organized our own activities and walked or biked to get there. A particularly weird part of this, when you think about it, is that both of my granddaughter's parents work, my mother didn't, but still, childhood activities today seem to require much more parental involvement than when I was young.

This is just one small piece of how the world has changed and I don't claim that it explains our current political mess, but maybe life was once more relaxed and maybe that does have something to do with today's extremism.

I realize this is just sort of random thinking.
Ken
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