Doug Archives

Same-sex Marriage vs. State Sovereignty

States? States? We don’t need no stinkin’ states! At least, that’s what a federal judge said last month. The state of Ohio does not have same-sex marriage, but the just said that they had to recognize a marriage license for one that was granted in another state.

Well let me ask you, does the state of Ohio have to recognize law licenses, or medical licenses, or even hunting licenses from other states? No, they don’t. They may grant some leeway for licenses professionals from other states, they certainly don’t have to. It is within their state’s rights not to recognize them at all.

The judge in the case cited the tradition of Ohio recognizing marriages from other states that Ohio itself would not have allowed. He didn’t say specifically, but I’m guessing things like marriages between people who are related to closely. In 2004, Ohio broke with tradition and passed a ban on recognizing same-sex marriage. But the judge seems to think that tradition is somehow legally binding. Ohio was well within its rights to make such a law, as it can with other license recognitions. But the judge was apparently channeling Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof”; “Traditiooon!”

Well anyway, I guess we can now start applying this new legal concept to things like gun licenses, eh? No, we can’t? This wouldn’t have anything to do with politics or activist judges of a particular leaning now, would it?

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    The "Tolerance Police" Claim Their Next Victim

    I mentioned the case of Brendan Eich a little while ago. He’s the genius that basically invented JavaScript, which web programmers are very familiar with and have been using since 1995. He co-founded Mozilla, the company that produces, among other things, the Firefox web browser. He was going to be the company’s CEO recently, until someone noticed he gave $1,000 to the Proposition 8 effort in California to keep marriage to mean one-man-one-woman. He was run out of the company for what I called a Thought Crime. He was eminently qualified to be the CEO of the company, but because he had the politically incorrect idea that marriage should mean what it’s meant for millennia, he was pressured to resign. There were no allegations that he had ever treated someone badly because of their sexual orientation, but he had, according to some, the wrong idea about marriage, and therefore he was unfit to be CEO of the technology company he helped create.

    That’s what I want to stress here. In every other way, he was qualified for the job, but he had opinions that some disagreed with, and they created an atmosphere where Eich could not function in that job. That, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely what the word “intolerance” means. The irony is that those who created that atmosphere would very likely consider themselves the tolerant ones. The sad part is, they are unable to see intolerance in themselves because of the way they have redefined the word “intolerance” to mean “disagreeing with me”.

    That was exhibit A. Exhibit B showed up a couple weeks ago when twin brothers Jason and David Benham were green-lit to host a new show on Home and Garden TV – HGTV – about fixing up dilapidated houses for families in need. Who in the world could be against that?

    Well, in a radio interview, David Benham said this, and made some people mad.

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      The Shape of Things to Come

      Government health care, adored by the Left, has been here in the States for a very long time now. It’s called the Veteran’s Administration, and the latest scandal is simply a matter of well-known sub-standard care bubbling to the surface.

      The obvious question to ask about the VA scandal is: Why? Why would a VA hospital administrator direct doctors not to perform colonoscopies until patients had three positive tests for bloody stools? Or why were VA employees ordered to “cook the books” and hide long wait times that veterans faced when seeking care from heart, cancer, or other specialists? Why did some VA administrators go so far as to create a secret waiting list to hide year-plus wait times?

      There’s only one plausible answer to these questions: rationing. The VA is but a smaller version of the sort of government-run, single-payer health care with which the political left is so enamored.

      As a cousin of mine observed, "if you cant offer proper medical care to those you are most indebted to (i.e. the military veterans), what can we expect our level of care to be?" Indeed.

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        From the "Now They Tell Us" Department

        The Associated Press is breaking news that those of us who were paying attention knew about at least 6 months ago.

        The first thing Michelle Pool did before picking a plan under President Barack Obama’s health insurance law was check whether her longtime primary care doctor was covered. Pool, a 60-year-old diabetic who has had back surgery and a hip replacement, purchased the plan only to find that the insurer was mistaken.

        Pool’s $352 a month gold plan through Covered California’s exchange was cheaper than what she’d paid under her husband’s insurance and seemed like a good deal because of her numerous pre-existing conditions. But after her insurance card came in the mail, the Vista, California resident learned her doctor wasn’t taking her new insurance.

        "It’s not fun when you’ve had a doctor for years and years that you can confide in and he knows you," Pool said. "I’m extremely discouraged. I’m stuck."

        Stories like Pool’s are emerging as more consumers realize they bought plans with limited doctor and hospital networks, some after websites that mistakenly said their doctors were included.

        Now we know why her policy’s cheaper. You get what you pay for.

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          Thought Crimes

          Charles C. W. Cooke calls it fascism. I think that may be a little overwrought, but there’s no escaping the reality that, if you think something politically incorrect these days, your job is in peril.

          Another day, another witch hunt — this time in duplicate. “Twin brothers David and Jason Benham,” CNN reports, “have lost their opportunity to host their own HGTV show.” On Tuesday, the pair was gearing up for their new role; by sundown the next day, the network had announced tersely that it had “decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series.” And that, as they say, was that.

          HGTV’s mind was allegedly changed by a post on the blog Right Wing Watch, where the duo was described as being “anti-gay” and “anti-choice.” That post, David Benham told Erin Burnett yesterday, “was too much for them to bear — they had to make a business decision.” How sad. Certainly, the Benhams hold some heterodox views. They are not merely opposed to abortion and gay marriage, but critical of divorce, adultery, Islam, pornography, “perversion,” the “demonic ideologies” that have crept into the nation’s “universities and . . . public school systems,” and the general culture of “activist” homosexuality, which, David contends, is inextricably tied up with a wider “agenda that is attacking the nation.” But so bloody what? They were tapped to host a home-improvement show, not rewrite the Constitution.

          It matters not, however, to the "tolerant" Left, for whom that word now means "agrees with me". Redefining long-understood definitions seems to be their stock in trade, along with the word "marriage".

          Future students of language will wonder at the period in our history in which it was said with a straight face that diversity required uniformity, tolerance necessitated intolerance, and liberalism called for dogma. Of late, we have been told that Brandeis University is simply too open-minded to hear from a critic of Islam, that Mozilla believes too vehemently in “freedom of speech” to refrain from punishing a man for his private views, and that a respect for the audience of a show about duck hunting demands that we suspend a man for expressing his religious views in an unrelated interview. “Never,” David Benham confirmed in an interview with CNN, “have I spoken against homosexuals, as individuals, and gone against them. I speak about an agenda.” Later, he added that “that’s really what the point of this is — that there is an agenda that is seeking to silence the voices of men and women of faith.” Say, now where might he have got hold of that idea?

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            Benghazi: Smoking Gun, or All Smoke?

            When the latest memo to come out of the Benghazi investigation came out…

            OK, let me back up. Actually, the memo was never given to the Congressional investigation. It took a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch for this memo to come out. So for starters, it really looks like the administration did not want this out in public.

            The thrust of the message was clear: Protect Obama’s image (and re-election efforts) at all costs; American interests and the American public’s right to know be damned. It contained four bullet points:

            –”To convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad;

            –”To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy;

            –”To show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm Americans to justice, and standing steadfast through these protests;

            –”To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

            Remember, this all happened in the heat of the President’s re-election campaign. As to the bullet points, we now know that the US was not doing everything it could to protect the consulate, the protest were not rotted in an Internet video (and the administration knew that almost immediately after the incident), we did not bring anyone to justice (not even now, 20 months after the incident), which goes to show that the President and the Administration do not have strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.

            But the kiester-covering was in full swing and scapegoats were worth their weight in gold.

            In his congressional testimony, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell said that then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is the one who linked the video to the Benghazi attacks but that the video was not part of the CIA analysis. In other words, the administration made it up out of whole cloth to deflect blame for its policy failures in relaxing the war on terror…

            Indeed, the day after the event:

            An email on Sept. 12, 2012, to Rice from Payton Knopf, deputy spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, confirmed the attacks were “planned in advance” and “complex,” not spontaneous in reaction to a video.

            Poor Jay Carney had the unenviable job of trying to deny that these memos had anything to do with Benghazi, even though they were provided due to a FOIA request about…Benghazi.

            The fact that they, indeed, speak to the Benghazi issues specifically, but the administration hung on to these memos and did not give them to Darrell Issa and the committee, shows just how revealing they are.

            But only now are the mainstream media noticing this story. The Benghazi hearings have been pitifully covered. The idea that this has been a “Fox News story” (as though they made it up) only came because they gave it the coverage it deserved, while the rest of the media sat on its collective hands. Now, even ABC news reporters found themselves amazed at the stonewalling and dissembling.

            But even with that, ABC has been very reluctant to report on it. Even the President has called out Fox on this — no other network — so you know it’s been getting short shrift elsewhere. And at other networks, without coming out directly and saying it, the news executives suddenly wouldn’t find time to report on it.

            Yes, the daily interviews from the committee can be yawners, and it’s not always breaking news. That much is true. But it’s also true that the latest revelations are news, and even that is getting reported primarily by Fox.

            Oh, and MSNBC? Yeah, never mind about them. If it doesn’t have a link to Chris Christie and “Bridgegate” (where nobody died), they don’t care much about it.

            This is important. If you news outlet isn’t covering it, you may need to switch sources.

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              Health Care Coverage vs. Health Care

              There’s a difference between getting heath care coverage, and actually getting health care. In the US, you could always get health care. Emergency rooms had to see you whether or not you could pay them. And there were various free clinics, like one in Mountain View, California.

              The Rotacare clinic was happy to help out their patients in getting ObamaCare coverage so they’d no longer need the free clinic. Months later, however, the same people are coming back. Why? They can’t find a doctor taking more patients or who are accepting the plans.

              Conservatives warned that exactly this thing would happen, years ago. It was handwaved away as scare tactics. But it’s Californians who are scared now, about having to pay premiums, subsidized though they may be, and not be able to actually use what they paid for.

              Millions of Californians have been added to the ranks of the insured, but 1/3 of California primary care physicians are set to retire. What are we going to do now? We passed a law that said insurance should be magically cheaper. That didn’t work. So then let’s pass a law to make doctors magically appear!

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                Piecemeal vs. Overhaul

                Part of ObamaCare was the PCIP, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. John Lott notes that, at its height, at the beginning of 2013, there were 115,000 enrolled in it. So one big selling point seems to be working.

                Except that dealing with something like this on its own would have been cheaper and less disruptive of the entire health insurance industry. Clayton Cramer did the math, and if you gave those people $20,000 per year to subsidize their insurance premiums, it would cost $2.3 billion. Now, that’s a lot of money anyway, but doing it that way would also allow millions of people to keep their plan if they liked their plan; just one example of the disruption that was caused instead.

                Again I note that Republicans did have their own solutions to the health care problems, but Democrats insisted that the whole industry had to be upended in order to fix it. We’re finding out just how wrong that was. We are. Seems they aren’t.

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                  ObamaCare “Savings”

                  In spite of all its rollout issues, the glitches, the delays and the special privileges, the promise of ObamaCare was that, in getting more people, mostly the young and the poor, insured, that would spread out the risk and make insurance cheaper overall, even with those subsidies. By how much? Well, there were promises made, over and over.

                  Now, in some of those cases he did say “up to” $2500 dollars. And since 0 is technically on the way up to 2500, if you didn’t save anything, he can count you as a promise kept, just like anyone else trying to sell you something on TV. However, what about these folks?

                  A recent survey of 148 insurance brokers shows that ObamaCare is sending premiums rising at the fastest clip in decades.

                  “For the last, about, five years they’ve been doing this survey, so this was the largest percentage increase in any quarter since they’ve been doing (it),” said Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute.

                  “But at 12 percent, 11 percent increase on average across all the states — that puts it at the upper end of any increase we’ve seen for decades.”

                  I don’t think that “truth in advertising” laws would allow you to claim that saving negative dollars is somewhere “up to” $2500. Now, are some people saving that much? I’ll stipulate to that, but in general, on average, this is costing the American people more, not less.

                  And for some states, it’s really bad. Premiums in Pennsylvania went up 28 percent. In Florida, up 37%. In California, up 53%. And those in Delaware have had to deal with a 100% increase in premiums.

                  Oh, and this isn’t considering the higher deductibles. That’s just as much a cost as the premium. And the Congressional Budget Office projects that the premiums of the ObamaCare plans are going to continue to rise.

                  Of course, those paying the penalty are saving loads of cash. That defeats the purpose, but hey, savings are savings, right?

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                    The (Legal) Freedom of Speech

                    (This is part of the script of a recent episode of my podcast, "Consider This!" It is always 10 minutes or less, which is relevant to this piece.)

                    I have a suggestion for a new law and I’d like to run it by you. This podcast has a small voice in politics. It doesn’t have that much influence, if any at all. It’s just me and a microphone, talking to you out there who feel it’s worth listening to, even if you don’t agree with me. I do appreciate all my listeners.

                    However, I’ve noticed a rather huge imbalance, an unfairness, in the scheme of things. There are huge radio networks out there with millions of listeners, broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How in the world am I supposed to compete with that? Why should their ideas and opinions get more influence than mine? Extremely unfair, right?

                    So I propose that national news networks be limited to 10 minutes or less a day. Well, they do have more equipment, talent, and money than I do, and they should be able to say perhaps a bit more than I do, so let’s be generous and make that 30 minutes or less. I mean, we want to level the playing field, right? The individual podcaster should be able to compete with the national network if we really want to stick up for the little guy and let everyone’s voice be heard, right?

                    What’s that you say? The networks have invested in all that talent and equipment, so they should be allowed to say what they want with it? Well then, I’d counter by saying that the CEOs running those networks didn’t oversee that success from the beginning; they are simply the latest head honcho, and while they may have made a contribution to the company’s success, they inherited most of it. I’ve built my success, such as it is, with my own, personal, hard work.

                    So, does this sound rather silly to you, that folks with bigger radio transmitters, or newspaper subscriptions, than I do should have a cap to how much influence they can have? Well tell ya’ what; so do I. Which is why I find it odd how many on the Left have both celebrated such caps, and are upset that some of those caps were recently removed.

                    The courts have said that political contributions are political speech, even though, while money talks, it does not do so literally. Of course, exotic dancing has been considered speech, protected by the First Amendment, so the dictionary definition of “speech” is clearly not what we’re talking about here. Just ask Brendan Eich. Campaign contributions are as much political speech as this podcast, and people with more means, be it more audio equipment, pages in a magazine, or cash, should not have their First Amendment protections infringed like that. But when the Supreme Court decided, in the recent McCutcheon case, that some of those limits should be removed, the liberals on the court were upset that this, “weakened America’s democracy”.

                    So we should shut off those printing presses and broadcast antennas, because America’s democracy depends on it? Absolutely not.

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                      The (Cultural) Freedom of Speech

                      (This is part of the script of the latest episode of my podcast, “Consider This!”)

                      What is it that they say about conservatives? They’re haters, they’re whatever-phobes, they’re intolerant of people who are different than they are. Then what to make of this story.

                      Over 5 years ago, some guy – we’ll call him Bubba – gave $1000 to a political cause. He gave his personal money, not on behalf of anyone else. A bit of free political speech in action.

                      Fast forward to today, and Bubba was the target of a campaign to push him out of his job because someone found out about this contribution. Bubba gave in to the pressure, and resigned.

                      If Bubba had given money to the Sierra Club to save the whales, or to Planned Parenthood to provide free abortions, and this had happened to him, the Left in this country would be outraged. But because Bubba, whose real name is Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla, gave to California’s Proposition 8, the effort to keep marriage between one man and one woman, the otherwise First-Amendment-loving Left are mum, as well as being the ones who did the pushing.

                      I have said it a number of times before, and I need to say it again. The Progressive element in this country is all about Constitutional rights, right up to the point when those rights are used against their pet political causes. Then the hate, intolerance, and phobias that they accuse others of come quickly to the surface. A clearer case of projection – accusing others of what you yourself harbor – is not easily found.

                      And consider this. At the time of his donation, Brendan felt the same way about the issue as President Obama, Vice President Biden, and, as it turned out, 60% of California voters. Five short years later, he’s being punished for it by the real Thought Police. There are no allegations that he mistreated, maligned, or otherwise caused harm to any homosexuals in his company. One’s views on this topic have no connection whatsoever with the business of Mozilla; most notably the Firefox web browser. This is completely, 100% a “thought crime”.

                      It’s the progressive Left that likes to proclaim that it is more tolerant, that is more free-thinking, right up to the point where you disagree with them. Beyond that point, they want to dictate what you can and can’t think, culturally if not legally, and sometimes even legally; just ask Hobby Lobby, or proprietors that don’t wish to participate in same-sex weddings. No, you must toe the line of the tolerant, free-thinkers. Is anyone noticing the irony here, where “mutual respect” only works one way?

                      “If you like your beliefs, you can keep your beliefs. To yourself. If you don’t, you can’t keep your job.”

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                        Defending ObamaCare With Anecdotes

                        You’ve no doubt heard them yourself. I’ve heard them quite a bit; on social media, on blogs, and even in TV commercials. I’m talking about people with their own personal stories about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, has helped them personally.

                        It’s great to hear that people are able to get coverage for things that they either couldn’t get covered for before, or for less money. Who wouldn’t be in favor of that, and be glad for these people? It feels good hearing how people have benefited from this government program.

                        And that’s what those, especially on social media, are trying to say with their success story; this is a good thing, because it worked for me. Then I have to ask, what do we make of this story?

                        William Rivers Pitt, is the senior editor and lead columnist at the leftwing web site TruthOut. He has his own story which he posted at the Democratic Underground website, a forum for the far Left. (Have we figured out where this guy’s politics lie on the spectrum?) He first extolled the wonders of Obamacare, writing about his experience in getting signed up. System goes down in the middle of the session. No problem. Call the 800 number and finish the process there. “No. Big. Deal. Thanks, Obama.” That’s how he signs off that post.

                        And then reality set in. In another post later on, he relates his experience, not with signing up for Obamacare, but actually trying to use it.

                        What I’ve learned after a three-month war with these fiends: the ACA says the insurance companies cannot deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, which is true as far as it goes. But they can deny coverage for the life-saving medications necessary to treat those conditions. The insurance company I signed up with through the ACA exchange just denied coverage of my wife’s multiple sclerosis medication. We’re "covered," to the tune of $700 a month…just not for what she really needs.

                        He signs off that post quite a bit differently. Later he said he feels like a dupe, and wishes he had a time machine to undo what he’d done. His criticisms get to the point that the DU folks stopped allowing him to comment on his own post.

                        So then let’s consider this. Does this prove that Obamacare is an abject failure? No. Additionally, good experiences with it don’t prove that it is a success, either. If you contend that one is true, then you have to accept the other, and they come to opposite conclusions. Well then, what does any of this prove, other than that some people are doing better and others doing worse?

                        The answer is, it proves nothing.

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                          Does the Pope Shop at Hobby Lobby

                          No, but he does seem to be watching their Supreme Court case.

                          Pope Francis and Vatican officials on Thursday told U.S. President Barack Obama they were concerned about "religious freedom" in the United States, an apparent reference to the contraception mandate in Obama’s health care plan.

                          The talks included "discussion on questions of particular relevance for the Church" in the United States, including "the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection," a Vatican statement said.

                          Obama’s 2010 healthcare law, widely opposed by Republicans, includes a provision that requires employers to cover the cost of contraception in their health insurance plans.

                          Catholic and other religious groups say the mandate forces them to support contraception and sterilization in violation of their religious beliefs or face steep fines.

                          Just wondering if all those Democrats who have been falling all over themselves over the Pope when he seems to be saying something they like (whether or not he’s actually saying what they think he’s saying) will take note of this rather obvious political stance.

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                            I don’t know how much the Vatican’s Chief Justice holds sway in terms of official church policy, or how much his opinion reflects the position of the Catholic church, but I thought I’d pass this along.

                            In an interview with Polonia Christiana magazine –and transcribed by Life Site News — Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Obama “promotes anti-life and anti-family policies.”

                            “It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke told the magazine.

                            The former archbishop of St. Louis stated that Obama is trying to “restrict” religion.

                            “Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions,” Burke said.

                            Burke took a swipe against Obama’s Affordable Care Act over the law’s birth control mandate, saying “such policies would have been unimaginable in the United States even 40 years ago.”

                            “In a democracy, such a lack of awareness is deadly,” Burke told the magazine. “It leads to the loss of the freedom which a democratic government exists to protect. It is my hope that more and more of my fellow citizens, as they realize what is happening, will insist on electing leaders who respect the truth of the moral law as it is respected in the founding principles of our nation.”

                            Since this was transcribed by Life Site News, you know there’s an abortion angle, and there’s just a bit more at the link.

                            The freedom of religion vs. freedom of worship is a distinction that I’ve heard elsewhere, and it’s good to hear it given voice by someone at the Vatican. These days, it’s almost like you lose that First Amendment right upon leaving the church building. You don’t, even if you own a business (i.e. Hobby Lobby). This is a serious concern.

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                              From Russia, With Love

                              • Russia taking over Crimea.
                              • Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia worried about the same thing happening to them.
                              • Russian forces massing on the border of Ukraine.

                              No, this is not the opening scene of some pre-World-War-2 movie; it’s history from the past couple of weeks. But during the Cold War, Russia had control of all of these under the umbrella of the Soviet Union.

                              In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan set out to defeat – not just contain, as his predecessors has done, but defeat – the Soviet Union. He succeeded. His detractors said, and continue to say, that he got lucky; that the Soviet Union was going to collapse under its own weight anyway, and it just coincidentally happened on his watch. But Reagan was the first President to actively try to bring it down. That it happened right after this attempt is a cause & effect that is extremely rare in geopolitical affairs. And those he liberated – from places already mentioned as well as Poland and other former eastern Bloc nations – certainly give him that credit. And he did it without causing a nuclear World War 3, which those detractors predicted.

                              A huge foreign policy success in the 1980s liberated millions and kept them free. Understanding the world as it was – not being afraid of the Soviets, but projecting strength to keep them at bay – set the stage for their downfall. And understanding today’s world as it is, is absolutely required in order to deal with the foreign policy challenges of today. But our current President doesn’t recognize what’s going on right in front of him. Here’s an excerpt from one of the debates he had with challenger Mitt Romney

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1409sXBleg

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