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Posts tagged ‘MSNBC’

GOP’s Blakeman: Hillary Could Have Prevented Russian Attack.


Hillary Clinton failed to anticipate Vladimir Putin’s designs on Ukraine territory and should have taken steps to deter Russian aggression, former Bush-era presidential assistant Bradley A. Blakeman charged Wednesday.

Blakeman noted that Clinton, the former secretary of state and leading Democratic contender for the nomination in 2016, played a high-profile role in hitting the “reset button” on U.S.-Russian relations.

“Maybe she could have prevented this if she had done her job correctly,” he said, “and had [used] the power of persuasion with our allies and others to call attention to Russia’s intentions.”

Blakeman, speaking in an exclusive Newsmax interview, said that while Hillary was pressing the reset button with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, “the Russians were pressing the reject button.”

He added: “They saw America as being weak. They saw Obama as being weak, and somebody that could be exploited.”

Clinton has come under increasing attack from Republicans in recent weeks on issues ranging from Benghazi to her advocacy of the individual mandate that became the linchpin of Obamacare. She appeared to try to get out in front of the Ukraine issue Tuesday while speaking to the media in Long Beach, Calif.

She likened Russia’s pretext for the invasion to Nazi Germany’s push for Lebensraum in the 1930s.  Said Clinton: “The ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right, I must go and protect my people. And that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”

Any resolution of the conflict, Clinton said, must not sanction a de facto annexation by Russia of the Crimea.

During the 2012 campaign, Clinton criticized GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney for his view that Russia was America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe. “I think it’s somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don’t agree,” Clinton told CNN that April in response to Romney’s statement.

But now it appears Romney had a point, Blakeman said.

“She was so out of touch with foreign policy and relationships,” said Blakeman, “that she couldn’t see the forest for the trees that Romney was right, that Putin was no friend of the United States, and had every inclination in causing us problems whether it was in Syria or Iran, and using his power of division to conquer. And that’s exactly what he did.”

He added that Clinton should have discerned Russia’s interest in seizing Ukrainian territory and taken steps to deter it.

Blakeman is a GOP strategist and former assistant to then-President George W. Bush. Now a faculty member at Georgetown University, he is among a growing number of Republicans taking a second look at Clinton’s record in light of Putin’s unchecked militarism in central Europe.

The full geopolitical ramifications of the Russian occupation of Crimea are only now emerging.

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, in an appearance Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, noted that Ukraine gave up a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons in 1994 in return for Russian guarantees to honor its territorial sovereignty. Kristol said the West’s apparent tolerance for the Russian invasion sends a strong message that encourages nuclear proliferation.

“The signal it sends is not only don’t give up your nuclear weapons, [but] build nuclear weapons!” he remarked. “That will guarantee your safety. Everything else is just talk. It’s a horrible, horrible message to let get out in Europe itself, in Eastern Europe especially.”

Kristol added that the Obama administration’s view that it could induce Putin’s Russia into becoming a cooperative member of the world community — the objective of its much-maligned “reset” strategy — should be fair game for criticism.

“That was a centerpiece of Obama administration policy,” Kristol said. “…I think some of us who have been critical of that for a few years are entitled to say, ‘Can we now acknowledge that was a mistake and has failed?’”

According to Blakeman, Clinton’s role in the administration’s attempt to woo the Russians could become a major issue in the 2016 campaign — particularly if Putin continues to provoke Western powers.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By David A. Patten

‘Growing Crescendo’ in GOP to Hold Lerner in Contempt


There’s a “growing crescendo” to hold retired IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her repeated refusal to testify about the tax agency’s targeted scrutiny of tea party groups, one House Oversight Committee member said Wednesday.

In the wake of a contentious less-than-10-minute hearing where Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination — triggering an angry exchange between committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa and ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings — North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows said “The American people … want to hold those people accountable.. and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“There is a growing crescendo that they should hold her in contempt of Congress and the American people get what they deserve,” Meadows told Fox News.

Among the GOP chorus calling for a contempt charge is House Speaker John Boehner.

“She has to testify or she should be held in contempt,” the Ohio Republican said after the hearing, saying he’d wait for a report from Issa.

A contempt vote could lead to a criminal prosecution — and fan the controversy that erupted last year when the agency’s extra scrutiny of tea party-backed nonprofits came to light.

Issa’s committee since then has held five hearings, issued three subpoenas for documents and interviewed IRS officials.

Democrats howled after the hearing, where Cummings had demanded he be given a right to speak before adjournment — but instead had his microphone turned off.

“I am a member of the Congress of the United States of America,” Cummings yelled as Issa dismissed the meeting and cut of microphones. “I am tired of this.

“We have members over here, each who represent 700,000 people. You cannot just have a one-sided investigation. There is absolutely something wrong with that. And, it’s absolutely un-American,” Cummings yelled.

“We had a hearing. We are adjourned. I gave you an opportunity to ask a question. You had no questions,” Issa, a Republican from California, responded.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, slammed Issa for conducting a “witch hunt.”

“What we’re seeing in the House today is a sign of larger dysfunction and partisanship on behalf of Republicans,” Van Hollen told MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown,” according to Politico.

“Darrell Issa has been conducting this political witch hunt for a long time now. He’s frustrated because he hasn’t been able to come up with any evidence of intentional political wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration, and so he’s getting frustrated and making stuff up.”

Democratic National Committee chair, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, called Issa’s conduct at the Wednesday hearing comparable to oppression in Ukraine and Venezuela, according to Politico, saying she was “stunned” that Issa would try to silence Cummings by cutting off his mic.

Cummings continued speaking for about 10 minutes; Lerner remained seated.

Issa said he’ll decide by next week whether his committee will seek to hold Lerner in contempt.

Lerner first appeared before the committee last May, when she also invoked the Fifth Amendment after maintaining that she was innocent of wrongdoing. The committee determined the following month that Lerner waived her right against self-incrimination by making that statement.

A Treasury inspector general’s report has since determined the IRS had used inappropriate criteria to scrutinize groups, though it found no evidence of a political motivation.

The Justice Department is involved in a criminal probe of the matter.

The IRS has since proposed new rules for handling social welfare groups engaged in political activity, though conservative groups have called them too restrictive.

Bloomberg news contributed to this report

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers and Cathy Burke

Ted Haggard: Brewer Right to Veto Bill.


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was right to veto a bill Wednesday that would have allowed business people to refuse service to gay couples, says an evangelical leader who was once caught up in a sex scandal with another man.

Ted Haggard told CNN after Brewer’s announcement that Christians, like everyone else, need to respect others.

“That was a broadly worded bill that had unintended consequences hidden in it that would have developed over the years,” Haggard told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Haggard was a mega-church pastor and president of the National Association of Evangelicals in 2006 when it was revealed that he had had a long-term sexual relationship with a male escort. Haggard was preaching and working against gay marriage when the allegations came to light.

Haggard told Burnett on Wednesday that it is “bigotry” for Christians to refuse to serve others based on a moral code.

“We as Christians are here to wash the feet of others and make life better, not to make life worse,” he said.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council disagreed. Sprigg told Burnett that current Arizona law doesn’t list gays as a protected class, so the new law would have given them added protections.

Sprigg said the battle won’t be over until the U.S. Supreme Court rules. It will take “a Roe v. Wade of same-sex marriage” before the fight will be over, he said.

Haggard responded, “There will be a Supreme Court decision that will make equality the law of the land.”

Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, a socially conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage and pushed the legislation, said Brewer’s veto marked “a sad day for Arizonans who cherish and understand religious liberty.”

The bill, she said in a statement, “passed the legislature for one reason only: to guarantee that all Arizonans would be free to live and work according to their faith.”

“Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits,” Herrod said. “Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist.”

Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo, appearing on MSNBC,  said the veto of SB1062 showed the will of the majority of Republicans to grant equality to same-sex couples.

Angelo’s group fights for gay rights within the GOP, and he said that even though it was Republicans who passed the bill, he was encouraged that it was vetoed by a Republican and that many powerful members of the party opposed it.

“I appreciate the decision made by Gov. Brewer to veto this legislation,” Republican Sen. John McCain said. “I hope that we can now move on from this controversy and as sure the American people that everyone is welcome to live, work and enjoy our beautiful state of Arizona.”
McCain’s colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake, thanked Brewer for her veto on Twitter:

Flake said in a later tweet:

Both senators had urged Brewer to veto the legislation.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the pressure on Brewer from big businesses and professional sports leagues is an example of how fundamental freedoms are being trampled.

“You create a stampede by spooking politicians and the public with misinformation,” Perkins said on Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File.”

“This is going to continue to be a major problem, and it’s going to spread across the country,” Perkins said. “It’s now going to be incumbent upon Gov. Brewer to say how she’s going to protect the religious freedom of thousands of Arizonians.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Albert Hunt: Obama, Christie Need to Reset Their Narratives.


There were several reports this month about the Affordable Care Act, most of them positive: Participation is up; the so-called risk corridors, which critics call a giveaway to insurance companies, will make the government money; and the law will increase labor demand.

But more attention has been lavished on the negative: Over a decade, the equivalent of 2.5 million workers will drop out of the labor force because there are alternative health-insurance options, and the employment mandate was postponed again.

Separately, the drumbeat continued around Chris Christie. The Republican governor of New Jersey held a marathon news conference more than five weeks ago as he fired top aides whom he blamed for causing huge traffic disruptions on the George Washington Bridge last autumn. Christie insisted he knew nothing about the closures, which allegedly were political retaliation against Democrats.

Few new facts emerged about the initial controversy. But there has been a rash of other allegations, some stretching back to the 51-year-old governor’s high school days.

These two story lines — one involving Democrats, the other about Republicans — share common elements; they entail significant political fallout. Obamacare, even as the results get better, will hurt Democrats, perhaps seriously, in this year’s congressional elections. And a blow has been delivered to the presidential aspirations of Christie, who just three months ago was virtually coronated by Time magazine as the Republicans’ great hope for 2016.

Both demonstrate that once a narrative is established in U.S. politics, it’s very hard to shake.

The proliferation and growing influence of social media can accelerate a news narrative, like these two stories, says Teddy Goff, who directed President Barack Obama’s digital strategy in 2012. Over time, however, social media also may help a countertheme prevail, he says. This has little to do with overhyped chatter about media bias. There are effective offsets to media partisanship: the Internet versus talk radio; Fox News versus MSNBC. The mainstream media’s only discernibly consistent bias is on cultural issues — abortion, gay rights, guns, race – - while a smaller-movement conservative news media, oblivious to balanced or fair journalism, effectively pounds messages that often end up in the mainstream media.

That message pounding, coupled with the Obama administration’s miscues — the White House still resists tapping a chief executive officer to run the health-care initiative — has locked in, for now, a negative view of Obamacare. This despite some good news: More than 10 million Americans have new or better health-insurance coverage than before; health-care costs are moderating; and reforms such as prohibiting discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions are kicking in.

Optimists such as Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader, think that once the kinks are worked out, Obamacare will become popular, much as Medicare and the prescription drug plan for seniors did. Still, as he acknowledges, “It’s taking a long time for people to understand” that the benefits outweigh the problems. Democrats running in November don’t have a long time.

Neither does Christie. Even if no new evidence emerges to contradict his proclamations of innocence, the damage may be irreversible. The governor’s appeal as a front-runner was that he could beat Hillary Clinton; his base is big-money Wall Street guys. As he gets hammered daily and now trails Clinton in presidential trial heats, the rationale and the base are eroding. He can’t shake the narrative.

It’s so embedded now that the best scenario for Christie is that he convinces voters that he had a bunch of second-rate top aides who engaged in political thuggery and that he had no clue what was going on. That’s not a compelling narrative for a would-be president.

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Sen. Hatch: GOP Health Plan Makes Financial Sense.


The GOP health plan proposal “makes sense from the financial standpoint” as an alternative to Obamacare, a law that will eventually run the country into bankruptcy, Sen. Orrin Hatch said Thursday.

“We’ve got to come up with a consumer-based approach that really gets rid of Obamacare, but also makes sense from the financial standpoint,” the Utah Republican told MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.”

“What people don’t realize is, the Obamacare is going to run us right into bankruptcy. We won’t be able to pay for it,” he added.

Story continues below video.

The GOP alternative, called the Patient Choice Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, or CARE, was introduced by Hatch and co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Richard Burr of North Carolina. He said his bill would keep some of the more popular aspects of Obamacare, including health coverage for pre-existing conditions and children being able to stay on their parents’ health plan through age 26.

Hatch said the bill takes out the costly mandates, taxes, and regulations in Obamacare, and shifts the management of healthcare to the states. He described it as a “consumer-based program” that saves money because it gets “rid of the bureaucrats … in Washington, and all of the government processes that just eat up funds right and left.”

Obamacare was “not going to work,” Hatch said, and explained one problem with the law was that it pushed costs into Medicaid. He said the GOP bill would “reform Medicaid and make it work again.”

“In the future, [Medicaid] is going to be unfunded, and we’ve got to find some way of … completely rehabilitating Medicaid. And we do that in our bill,” he said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

Priebus Calls for GOP Boycott of MSNBC Over Cheerios Tweet.


Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus is calling for a boycott of MSNBC unless its president apologizes for a Twitter message the network posted slamming Republicans over Cheerios’ new advertisement featuring a biracial family.

“Unless you personally and professionally apologize for this behavior, I have banned [Republican National Committee] staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC,” Priebus wrote in a letter to MSNBC President Phil Griffin Thursday.

The video shows a biracial family discussing the heart benefits of Cheerios.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

Story continues below video.

The MSNBC tweet, which read “Maybe the rightwing will hate it but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,” drew outcry shortly after it was posted on MSNBC’s account late Wednesday.

Shortly after it was posted, the network backtracked, tweeting an apology and saying the live tweet had been removed.

In the first tweet, MSNBC says it regrets the tweet:

One minute later, the network apologizes:

And MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe also chimed in, tweeting:

But the tweets over the Cheerios ads come just weeks after MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry had to apologize to former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for mocking his adopted black grandson.

In addition, host Martin Bashir was forced to resign after calling former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a “world-class idiot” and suggesting she receive the same “disgusting” treatment given to slaves as described in a slaveholder’s diary.

Also, the network fired Alec Baldwin in November after he made a gay slur against a photographer on the street.

Priebus said Thursday that the network’s statements and its stars are showing a “pattern of behavior.”

“Sadly, such petty and demeaning attacks have become a pattern of behavior at your network,” Priebus wrote. “With increasing frequency, many of your hosts have personally denigrated and demeaned Americans — especially conservative and Republican Americans — without even attempting to further meaningful political dialogue.”

Priebus said he enjoys appearing on “decent shows” such as “Morning Joe” and “Daily Rundown,” but said MSNBC is “poisoned” because of its recent behavior.

Cheerios’ newest 30-second ad, which is set to air during the Super Bowl on Sunday, is a follow up to a spot for the cereal company last May, featuring Grace “Gracie” Colbert as the young daughter of an interracial couple. In the newest ad, little Gracie uses her dad’s announcement that she is getting a baby brother to lobby for a new puppy.

The first advertisement received so many racist comments after it was posted on YouTube that General Mills, which makes Cheerios, pulled down the comment section for the video.

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Priebus: GOP Must Add, Not ‘Divide and Subtract’.


The Republican Party should focus on basic mathematics to build its base, Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday.

“We have to grow our party through addition and multiplication. We can’t divide and subtract,” Priebus told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The Republican Party game plan should involve working on all aspects within it to move forward, Priebus suggested. Republicans need to work on strengths to build “where we’re strong,” while also “building our party where we’re weak,” he said Wednesday.

Story continues below video.

The GOP has been engulfed in divisions between conservative and moderate factions regarding its direction. Conservative tea party members, who want smaller government, have been at odds with more moderate party members.

Priebus said the door to the party should be wider to welcome “all aspects of our party.”

Traditionally, a Republican offers a single response to a president’s State of the Union address. This year, Republicans aired three responses after President Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday evening.

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state;  Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; and Utah Sen. Mike Lee offered three separate Republican counterpoints to Obama’s address.

Priebus said the tea party response by Lee was good for the party as a whole.

“I think it’s a positive thing for the Republican Party, for the tea party, to put in a good Republican, giving a good Republican response. Saying this president isn’t delivering on his promises, and that there’s a better way. And there’s a Republican senator that’s explaining the better way. How is that not good for our party?” Priebus asked.

When a party is “five years out of the White House,” it’s expected there will be “a lot of voices,” Priebus explained. He said his challenge is “to keep all of those different voices in the same room and speaking out of same hymnal.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

Aid Agency Chief: Syrian Refugees Creating ‘Regional Crisis’.


Image: Aid Agency Chief: Syrian Refugees Creating 'Regional Crisis'Syrian refugees walk among tents at the Karkamis refugee camp near Gaziantep, Turkey.

By Wanda Carruthers

In light of upcoming international peace talks between the opposing sides in Syria’s civil war, former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the numbers of refugees resulting from the war has created a “regional crisis” that demands attention.

“This is a regional crisis that demands a big international engagement,” Miliband, who is also president and CEO of aid agency International Rescue Committee, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday.

The conflict in Syria has resulted in a “scale of brutality … that hasn’t been seen for a very long time,” Miliband said.

As a result, millions of people are taking refuge in neighboring countries. He called for the international response to be “massively scaled up.”

Invitations were sent to 40 countries for a one-day meeting this week of foreign ministers for peace talks in Switzerland. Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations-Arab League special envoy to Syria, will moderate the meeting.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in the three-year conflict between Syrian rebels and the government of President Bashar Assad. Miliband maintained the upcoming peace talks would not end the war, but could bring attention to how the war is waged.

“I think it’s important to say that this peace conference, so called, no one believes it’s going to bring peace tomorrow. But it can address the conduct of the war, in terms of the targeting of civilians, in terms of the starving of the people in Aleppo [Syria],” he said.

Half of the Syrian population has been displaced from their homes into neighboring countries like Lebanon, Turley and Jordan, Miliband explained. He said the majority of those affected are “relatively middle-class people whose lives have been completely shattered.”

“The people caught in the middle are civilians,” he said. “The figures are what make this a potentially toxic crisis.”

“What you’ve got is kids without education. You’ve got parents who’ve lost loved ones. Sons, husbands, who’ve been killed. Who’ve lost everything at home. Who’ve been totally traumatized,” he added.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Democrat Rangel Expects Tough Race Running on Obamacare.


Image: Democrat Rangel Expects Tough Race Running on Obamacare

By Wanda Carruthers

Rep. Charles Rangel predicted the bid to hold onto his New York House seat would be a “rough one,” but said it would be a “moral mistake” not to run on Obamacare.

“It’s going to be a rough one. But, you know, it’s like shooting craps. Either you win or you lose. You just can’t stay even with the first shot,” Rangel, a Democrat, told MSNBC Tuesday.

“All of those people that have been afraid to stand with the president (on Obamacare), I think, will be making a great moral mistake. But, more importantly, a great political mistake as well for 2014,” he said.

Rangel announced his candidacy earlier this month to run for a 23rd term for the House. A staunch proponent of Obamacare, Rangel called it “the most exciting thing that’s happened for the United States of America since the Republic began.”

“Fifty million people that hoped, dreamed and prayed that one day they could get insurance, no matter what their status was — this is going to start to roll in,” he said.

Should the future of Obamacare play out like the problem-plagued rollout, Rangel admitted the Democrats had “shot crap.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

MSNBC Host ‘Sorry’ for Romney Insult.


MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry has apologized for openly mocking Mitt Romney’s black adopted grandson after she came under fire from a chorus of conservatives.

She made her apology on Twitter.

She quickly followed up with more tweets.

Harris-Perry caused outrage when the Romney family Christmas card was showcased on the MSNBC news show’s “2013: The Year in Political Ridiculousness.”

The card contained a family photo of the former presidential candidate and his wife Ann sitting in the middle of their 22 grandchildren. Romney was holding one toddler on one knee while on his other was little Kieran James Romney, the adopted son of Mitt’s son Ben and his wife Andelyne, says the New York Daily News.

As the photo was flashed up on the screen, actress Pia Glenn started singing, “One of these things is not like the others, and one of these things just isn’t the same. That little baby, front and center, would be the one.”

The Daily Beast’s Dean Obeidallah, who was one of four panel members seated with Harris-Perry, then chimed in, “It really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party and the RNC, where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.”

Harris-Perry then joked that her dream story for 2040 would be a wedding between Kieran Romney and the child of rapper Kanye West and reality star Kim Kardashian. “Can you imagine Kanye West and Mitt Romney as in-laws?” she laughed.

“Holy unbelievable,” former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook page about the supposedly comedic exchange. She described the remarks as “despicable.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus demanded that MSNBC apologize to the Romney family while several conservatives said the segment was racist, The Hill reports.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

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