Thursday, April 1, 2010

Catholic Cover-Up, Republican Sex Romp, And The Rest Of The Sick News Of The Day

Catholic Cover-Up, Republican Sex Romp, And The Rest Of The Sick News Of The Day

I thought the Republican Party was the Party of “Family Values”, (I never believed that hypocrisy for a moment…Lesbian Bondage Bars are in for the moralists…just good clean fun you know), and in today’s world even the veil of secrecy that has shrouded the Catholic Church is no longer able to cover-up the truth.

We have long known that many priests were Gay, and like so many other religious denominations or sects they engaged in the “Great Hypocrisy” of “The Abomination of God’s Laws”, but the escalating avalanche of Pedophilia, raises among many questions, two fundamental questions that need to be addressed.

Does the church have any credibility at all given its sanctimonious criminal long-standing cover-up, and just what personality types are drawn to the Catholic Priesthood?

At this moment in time The Vatican would appear to be as criminally corrupt as any other secular government on this planet. It would also appear to be fly paper for sexual deviants who find cover in the mysteries and piety of their teachings. What a sham.

Likewise, only the New York Times has had the balls to deal with the fact that we are simply shooting innocent people in our Muslim Oil Wars…oh well that must be that acceptable collateral damage thing that I call “WAR CRIMES”.

And there is this militia issue. It is becoming clear that they are truly “Christian/White Supremacist Anti-Government militia units. It is equally true that if you listen carefully to interviews with these folks that they are growing in numbers and are revolutionary in their orientation.

They are racist to the core and in Iowa, for example, tolerated as being totally legal and constitutionally protected. Can you identify one of them with Black, Muslim or Jewish membership? The members of the Iowa groups that we have seen share two things: they are white, and their membership is unemployed.

I can be as concerned with growing deficits and taxation as the next person, but it is a fact that to emerge from our current “Managed Depression” is going to be costly, but the debt by investment is an investment in ourselves and self-salvation.

True those who, and corporate/financial institutions that have authored the world wide economic collapse seem to escaping any penalty and are continuing their arrogant ways; we have no one to blame for this but ourselves. We have not been willing to pick up the pitch forks and load up the Molotov cocktails that would have gotten a criminal congress to respond responsibly. It is that simple!

“Responsible Taxation” is a matter of merely paying your dues to the society you live for the benefits you have chosen to enjoy/demand. What is driving tea baggers and others, other than manipulation, is a hatred of taxation of almost everything in the attempt to salvage whatever can be salvaged of this nation’s economic structure.

This I understand.

The burden of taxation for recovery/reconstruction should fall with full weight on those who are responsible for the disaster. The real problem, however, is the fact that is not happening and the perception (accurate) that the burden is being levied on those already decked by the collapse has to engender a backlash…left and right.

Massive regulation/re-regulation of corporate/financial institutions is required and continues shepherding of those statutes is pre-requisite to any real rebuilding and those who have the fortitude to advance such a program should be rewarded with our support as they will labeled Socialists at best and Communists at the most vitriolic end of political demonization.

Does America know what is good for itself; at this juncture; my answer has to be NO!

We are too far gone in confusion and the rhetoric of polarization and schooled in the fact that our legal system is dysfunctional and a vigilante/revolutionary cast of mind is setting in on both the extreme right and left.

Centrists are standing in the middle of the battle field where they will soon simply be mowed down, their words hollow, and their actions impotent and their positions and reasoning ignored in the din of battle.

We have great issues in this nation that must be dealt with. They are beyond the point of incremental solution. If ever there was a time for Americans to demand, in a manner that cannot be denied or ignored, that paradigm/revolutionary changes be made in this nation; it is now. The system is broken and the only way to a new future is for all of us to act in the restoration of what can be salvaged and in the creation of that which is necessary to cage the forces of hate, corporate/financial criminality in demanding control by the people and imprisoning those who have damn near brought the world to its knees.

There is a point where profit becomes obscene when purchased in the financial Casino of Wall Street. There is a point where profit becomes obscene when purchased in the financial board rooms of stock holders. There is a point where regulation, policing and accountability of the financial ruling class must be enshrined in law and enforced with prosecution and imprisonment. Financial anarchy at the expense of everday American’s ruination must end, and end now!

The Unconscious Politics That Shape Our World, Choose Presidents and Save or Destroy Lives

There is increasing scientific evidence that human behavior is not rational or conscious, and may be completely programmed without logic or knowledge. These unconscious drives affect jury decisions, elections, wars, our everyday experiences and can sometimes determine life and death. This is the subject of two recent books: Shankar Vedantam's The Hidden Brain: How our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars and Save our Lives, and Guillermo Jimenez's Red Genes, Blue Genes, Exposing Political Irrationality. Both demonstrate irrationality but from slightly from different places. We recently discussed these phenomena with the authors.

Maria Armoudian: Shankar Vedantam, you open your book with a rape case in which both the victim and the jury and everyone else involved all erred and sent the wrong person to prison -- for 13 years. Why did that happen? Read More Maria Armoudian AlterNet

Rare Reversal Against Government Spying -- Judge Rules Feds Illegally Wiretapped Islamic Charity

The National Security Agency (NSA) broke the law when it wiretapped Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation's phones, U.S. District Court ruled Wednesday. The government has not yet indicated whether it will appeal the decision in the four-year-old case, which touches upon a variety of tenuous legal subjects including "state secrets privilege" and questions of how the Bush administration's controversial Terrorist Surveillance Program functioned -- and how iterations of it may still operate today under the Obama administration.

For quite some time now, Justice Department lawyers argued that Al-Haramain and its lawyers could not prove it had been spied upon using unclassified information. And it refused to provide the court classified evidence, citing "state secrets privilege."

Government lawyers invoked the executive privilege -- for the first time since Obama has been in office -- by arguing that sharing classified information would compromise national security. This is particularly ironic because government officials accidentally gave the plaintiffs classified information that proved the existence of warrantless spying.

The plaintiffs' lawyers were able to prove the spying despite being unable to use the classified documents. And because the government refused to provide proof to the court that there was a warrant, the judge assumed there was never a warrant to speak of, despite what the court described as the government's "impressive display of argumentative acrobatics." Read More By Daniela Perdomo / AlterNet

Shocking Admission on Killing Civilians by Top US General Almost Completely Ignored by Corporate Media

"We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat," says Afghan commander McChrystal. At the same time, an astonishing open admission of possible US war crimes by Obama's man on the ground in Kabul, senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley A. McChrystal, was reported by Richard A. Oppel Jr. in the New York Times... and then promptly ignored by the rest of the mainstream media. Read More By Rory O'Connor /

Republican National Committee Can't Stop Talking About Its Sex Club Bondage Fiasco

Republican National Committee Can’t Stop Talking About Its Sex Club Bondage Fiasco

This post originally appeared on the Daily Kos.

For some reason, the RNC just won’t stop talking about their party’s recently revealed affinity for bondage and lesbian sex-themed strip clubs.

Today they tried to put the shoe on the other foot … or perhaps more accurately, the six-inch stilleto … by sending out already public expenditures by the DNC to various media outlets. Here’s the DNC’s response to what can only be described as the most idiotic push back in the annals of politics:

We can’t confirm that any of this is true – you’d have to check the FEC reports – which I would suggest you do after the fake memo issue on the Hill. But, assuming these expenses are true, you will notice – there are no expenses on here related to sex clubs. The DNC, unlike the RNC, does not conduct business while watching women engaged in lesbian bondage scenes.

We understand that RNC is desperate to change the subject, but pointing out ordinary expenses related to fundraising activities, including some from over a year ago, just comes off as flailing. Unlike RNC expenses for redecorating the Chairman’s office or table service at a bondage club, these expenses were not for personal use but for the actual functioning of the party and activities that added to the coffers rather than emptying them. Respecting and leveraging donor contributions rather than wasting them may be unusual for the dysfunctional fundraising shop at the RNC, but it shouldn’t be for a professional operation.

The RNC got in trouble not because it was doing traditional fundraising at hotels, or holding meetings at hotels, – and we’ve never raised that issue. They got in trouble with their donors because they are spending more money than they are raising (deficit spending is a pattern with Republicans) and because they are doing so in part at sex clubs.

Instead of spending their time pushing around examples of how the DNC efficiently spent money to catch up to them in fundraising and cash on hand, perhaps the RNC should spend their time scrutinizing their own books to weed out their Chairman’s profligate spending habits.

But, if Republicans want to compare our spending to their spending and allow us to say Michael Steele approved spending money at a Hollywood sex club a few more times – that’s fine with us.

That’ll leave a (whip) mark.

The saga of the Republicans who use Michael Steele's money to go to lesbian bondage bars in LA has developed legs.

The press put more investigative reporters on this one than they ever put on the Iraq war or the collapse of the banks. We already know that Steele is blaming a staffer named Allison Myers for the flub. Steele claims that he was in Honolulu at the time and thus is not to blame. He has airline receipts at United Airlines to prove it.

Poor Sap Was Just Covering RNC’s Rejected Credit Card At Bondage Strip Club

Jeez, Michael Steele’s Republican Party is just throwing its own loyalists under the bus for the hell of it. Turns out Orange County GOP donor Erik Brown covered the Republicans’ party tab at lesbian-bondage disco-strip-bar Club Voyeur West because the RNC’s credit card was rejected. The RNC staffer reportedly said to Brown, who was sitting at the table, “Please help me out and I’ll be sure you are reimbursed right away by the RNC.” Yeah uh and we’ll make sure to ruin your life, too.

The blog Red County has this whole pathetic story, and while it doesn’t make anyone look good, Erik Brown comes off like a patsy. Not as much of a patsy as our friend Rebecca Schoenkopf suggested yesterday, but still ….

“We’re taking you to the hottest nightclub in town,” the RNC gang partying in LA told Brown. Ha ha, and then he gets to pay for it and then have his business wrecked, by the RNC, who named him as the Guilty Party and then, late last night, finally half-ass admitted it was a Republican Party staffer who made the charge and hosted the sex-show boozing, and then couldn’t pay for it. And now that unnamed staffer has been fired, too. But her name isn’t all over the Internet so she’ll probably get another job with Mary Cheney or whatever. [Red County]

GOP Senate Hopeful on Voyeuristic Operative: 'It's Not Like He is My Social Calendar Adviser'

ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports:

Republican operative Erik Brown has agreed to reimburse the RNC for the $1,946.25 bill he racked up at Voyeur West Hollywood, a risqué night club in Los Angeles which features women acting out voyeuristic scenes in live art installations.

It's not clear why the RNC re-imbursed Brown for the charges or who else was with him at the club.

Brown is president of the California-based Dynamic Marketing, Inc.

Brown’s clients include Assemblyman Chuck Devore, a Republican who is seeking the GOP Senate nomination for the seat currently filled by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Contacted by ABC News on Monday, Devore sought to downplay Brown’s involvement in his campaign.

Devore is running against former HP executive Carly Fiorina and former Congressman Tom Campbell, R-Calif., as the true conservative in the race.

“I buy letterhead and envelopes from the guy. I pay him for printing signs and stuff like that,” Devore told ABC News. “It is not like he is my social calendar adviser.”

“We're Taking You To The Hottest Nightclub In Town.”

Those were the words told to Orange County’s Erik Brown by RNC staffers and in L.A., that’s one heavy-duty promise. On Grammy weekend, it’s an even taller order, one which led to the now-infamous night at Voyeur in February, 2009 which was first reported on by the Daily Caller yesterday.

After a follow-up Red County post reported exclusively on some of the details missing from that original DC piece, for the rest of the day I found myself in contact with a number of that night’s key attendees, some of whom I know personally. After speaking with multiple sources I understand how the whole night went down but for the sake of putting the focus back where it belongs—the RNC—in my opinion there is only one moment from that night that matters.

Those charges ended up on Brown’s card for just one reason: because the RNC staffer’s credit card was declined at the end of the night.

Think about that for a second: you now know Brown’s name, and his business has been literally decimated (more on that in a minute), because he happened to be nearby when the bill came due.

“Please help me out and I’ll be sure you are reimbursed right away by the RNC,” was the request—one most others in Brown’s spot would have answered— and there exists a follow-up email chain to prove it.

And it’s a good thing for him that there is such an email exchange because if not, the RNC might still be demanding that it be reimbursed for those charges, as it thundered in its first reply yesterday morning.

Now think about that one for even more than a second, because it represents the type of thing people hate about politicians in general: CYA and throw underlings to the wolves to protect the boss at all costs.

In this case, the first “underling” to be thrown under the bus was going to be an activist and donor, one who had merely gone to the trouble not only of contributing substantially to Republican causes himself, but of recruiting numerous other potential members of the RNC’s “Young Eagles” donor wing.

But what’s one little donor thrown to the wolves when you’re protecting the Chairman of the RNC, right?

If you’ll notice, though, as the RNC realized it was pinned down by facts, the committee’s narrative evolved throughout the day: first, it was demanding to be reimbursed. Later, it had a “commitment that the money would be returned,” with the returnee unspecified. Only very late in the day—after 9pm EDT—did the RNC finally issue an updated statement which finally gave some color to what I’ve written about above. It included the following:

“It is unfortunate that a loyal GOP donor who has recruited other donors became involved in this incident while merely trying to help what turned out to be the improper request of a staffer who is no longer with the committee.”

Erik Brown must be thinking, ‘Gee, thanks.’ So, too, must the staffer who ended up getting axed last night after RNC brass figured out Brown’s head couldn’t be cut off (a fact they had to be convinced of, reportedly, partly with that email string I referenced earlier).

Now, I have no problem with that staffer firing; by all accounts, she was a nice enough person (I’m not including her name here so as not to further damage her new job hunt) but if a house cleaning is in order at the RNC, fine. Question is: how high up should that housecleaning reach?

Obviously, a free-spending culture under Michael Steele has been the norm, as this staffer had no qualms about running this ridiculous charge through the committee. But get beyond the excitement of this nightclub story and re-read those articles, taking a close look at the dollars being spent by the RNC; on the surface, those charges seem simply stunning. At a minimum, they call for deep scrutiny.

Just as important, isn’t it becoming clear that Steele seems to embody all of the characteristics of the very worst public officials? Careless spending of the sort that got our party tossed from the majority in Congress, shameless self-promotion as his top priority and a coward’s penchant for throwing subordinates to the wolves in order to save his own neck: some leader.

Republicans can’t let this one go, not because of the embarrassment factor of a cheesy, over-the-top dance club (and that’s what it is, not a “sex club” as has been reported by some outlets), but because the increasingly embarrassing leadership of Michael Steele clearly puts the GOP at risk.

For Erik Brown, he has his own troubles now. I mentioned earlier this upheaval he’s already feeling in his business; indeed, he’s been on the receiving end of releases like these from campaigns who used to make use of his company's printing services:

This is a quick note to let you know that (campaign’s name redacted) has severed all ties with Erik Brown's Dynamic Marketing, Inc (DMI). This is relevant news in light of recent revelations in the media.

The history of the campaign's engagement with DMI is brief and straightforward: we had them print some campaign letterhead, trifold signs, and stickers. That engagement ended some weeks ago when we contracted with a different printer, and will not resume.

This is a non-story in itself, but as (redacted) is being noted in some media outlets as a Brown client, it's important to provide proper context for the relationship, and to publicly state that there is no present relationship with DMI.

(I redacted the campaign’s name in the hope that doing so would allow it to reconsider its completely unnecessary response; its knee-jerk reaction here was either weak in its own right or, worse, a horrid attempt to gain P.R. mileage off this fiasco.)

But let me be clear here: I’m not suggesting readers shed a tear for Brown. Some folks will conclude that anyone who was there that night is automatically damned straight to Hell—fine. Most others won’t be too upset to learn that not only has he been getting bombarded with media calls, but Erik Brown is already receiving hate mail from unknowns, people torching him with in-depth messages about what a depraved and awful person he is. Those most charitable might think, ‘man, what an awful break,’ which it also was, undoubtedly. But still, the situation is partly of his own making; he attended, partied, and now has work to do cleaning up the mess.

But should Brown suffer the worst fallout from all of this? Should his business be put literally in jeopardy over this nightclub outing—an evening, by the way, which counted two RNC national committeemen in attendance at Voyeur—while Michael Steele skates yet again?

Until now, I’ve had virtually no opinion on the ongoing internal GOP debate over Steele’s leadership of the RNC, but I’ve gone from 0-60 on that one.

The man seems a coward. ‘Me first,’ not a selfless leader. Careless beyond description with donor funds— in an economy in which those contributors’ dollars are harder-earned than ever. And in a near-perfect environment for Republican causes, the RNC has less cash on hand now than when Steele took over as Chairman.

Maybe all of this big spending is perfectly well-grounded, but after seeing the types of expenses highlighted by the nightclub fiasco, do you trust that it is?

And if the spending and the leadership are examined closely and found to be lacking, shouldn’t the man in charge of it all suffer a worse professional outcome than a donor who picked up a bar tab?

NOW Can We Call Them Terrorists?

Earlier this week, several members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan were arrested for conspiring to kill police officers. According to prosecutors, the group planned to make a fake 911 call to lure police officers into an ambush and then use bombs to attack the funerals of the officers slain in the original ambush.

What’s even more chilling is the reasons attributed for these attacks. According to federal authorities, the militia hoped their attacks would spark others to rise up and violently oppose the government. The Hutaree militia (whose name is supposed to mean “Christian warrior”) believed that they were preparing for the Biblical end-times and the rise of the Antichrist in the form of the United States government. Therefore, they believed they were compelled by God to use violence against agents of the Antichrist and that any innocent persons harmed along the way were unfortunate collateral damage to their holy mission.

Sound at all familiar? Who needs a trip to Baghdad or Kabul when you can just head to rural Michigan?

Unfortunately, that’s not the only reason why the Hutaree story sounds familiar. It wasn’t that long ago that an anti-government believer flew a plane into a building in Texas. And it wasn’t that long before the plane attack that an anti-abortionist walked into a church and assassinated a doctor. And it wasn’t that long before the assassination that soldiers were shot by a man violently opposed to the war in Iraq. And it wasn’t that long before the shooting of the soldiers …

OK, you get my point. There’s plenty of reason for concern about the rising tide of politically-motivated violence in this country. This is particularly true if you remember back to the mid-1990s, when the militia movements first gained notoriety. A lot of what you heard back then – the government is evil, your freedoms are being taken away, the President is a traitor, good citizens should arm themselves and resist – is being echoed in the Tea Party rallies of today. Whether the current anti-government rhetoric will culminate as the rhetoric in the 1990s did – with the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the death of 168 people – remains to be seen.

But there’s a broader legal issue that has received little attention. After the September 11 attack on this country, we were told by then-President George Bush that the fight against terrorism was a new kind of war, requiring new kinds of tactics. Those tactics, as it turned out, involved indefinite detention of terrorism suspects, the use of torture, the elimination of habeas corpus, and ultimately the granting of the President with dictatorial powers in the name of “keeping us safe.”

That was a pretty easy sell to a scared nation being told about mushroom clouds hanging over its’ cities. And let’s be honest, it was also made easier when those on the wrong end of all that unchecked Presidential power were named Mohammed or Ali instead of David or Joe.

So, why haven’t we called the Hutaree militia a terrorist cell? The plan certainly fits every description of a terrorist plot I can think of. But there’s no mention of terrorism in the indictment filed against the militia members. There’s been no mention of terrorism in the President’s statements about the attack. Ironically enough, the Obama administration offered support to the people of Moscow who were victims of domestic terrorism in the subway bombings, but no references to the domestic terrorist plot broken up by law enforcement.

Why is this important? Because it exposes the lie told to us for years that constitutional rights have to be surrendered to fight terrorism. The Hutaree militia plot was foiled not by the PATRIOT act, but by good law enforcement. They’re being held in jail, not in a super-secret military prison outside of the country, and they haven’t broken out and wreaked havoc on the American countryside like we’ve been told Guantanamo detainees would if we put them in a SuperMax prison.

Apparently, that means the Republicans believe that foreign-born terrorists are way more dangerous than domestic terrorists. Isn’t that a touch unpatriotic?

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again. “Declaring war” against an abstract concept like terrorism, or crime, or littering, is fine as a metaphor but terrible as a legal rationale. If we’re serious about declaring actual war against terrorists, then we’d be renditioning the Hutaree militia members to Guantanamo and torturing them.

We’re not. Our refusal to accept actions like the Hutaree plot as terrorism is further evidence that, at some level, we understand that treating the “war on terror” as an actual war and suspending our constitutional freedoms for the duration puts us into the perpetual war that George Orwell warned us about in “1984.”

Wikileaks In The Crosshairs

Wikileaks has provided all manner of scoops in its short life – but why would the US government spend tax dollars spying on it?

by Joseph Huff-Hannon

As far as "national security threats" go, real or imagined, it's likely that few Americans lose much sleep over Wilkileaks, the website that publishes anonymously sourced documents which governments, corporations, and other private or powerful organisations would rather you not see. It would appear the US security apparatus does not feel the same way.

On Friday of last week, editor and co-founder Julian Assange posted a letter to the site detailing a laundry list of rather Keystone Kop-like instances of surveillance of himself and other members of the Wikileaks team, likely carried out at least in part by members of the US intelligence or law enforcement community:

"We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away."

Ironic if it were not so creepy, much of the observable surveillance took place while Assange and others were in Iceland advising the parliament on a groundbreaking set of laws ... designed to protect investigative journalists and web service providers from spying and censorship. Assange also described being tailed on a flight en route to an investigative journalism conference in Norway, by "two individuals, recorded as brandishing diplomatic credentials ... under the name of US State Department".

So why are US tax dollars being spent spying on a bunch of volunteer journalists, human rights activists and web geeks, as appears to be the case? There are a few obvious motives, but the smoking gun might be a classified film Wikileaks claims to have in its possession that shows evidence of a US massacre of civilians. Images have power - think Abu Ghraib, think Mi Lai - and efforts at "perception management" by the department of defence will be much complicated by documentary evidence that leaves little to interpretation or "perception" of a human rights crime committed by US forces. Wikileaks plans to show the video at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on 5 April.

"In my opinion, the operation points not to the CIA, but to the US Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), which (among other things) is tasked with tracing information leaks believed to be originating from US diplomatic staff," Dr Joseph Fistanakis tells me, founder of and an expert in the politics and history of intelligence and espionage. "If the US suspected that Wikileaks acquired restricted or classified documents through a US embassy official or staff member (which Julian alludes to in his editorial), then the DSS would get involved."

As a target for surveillance Wikileaks is hardly the Kremlin - the mostly volunteer run site was temporarily shut down a few months ago due to lack of funds. Yet it has provided all manner of scoops in its short life - documented corruption in Kenya, evidence of potentially criminal bank fraud in Iceland, and classified US army documents about the treatment of Guantánamo detainees. And while its list of critics is long, openness and transparency are not chief characteristics regularly attributed to them. North Korea, China, Russia, and Zimbabwe have all blocked access to the site at one time or another in response to controversial leaks.

It's not a very heartening sign that the US government has joined such an illustrious roster. Yet in an ironic twist one of the conclusions of a report prepared by the department of defence intelligence analysis programme (DIAP), and published by Wikileaks earlier this month contains a surprising defence of the workings of a functioning, responsive democracy:

"It must be presumed that has or will receive sensitive or classified DoD documents in the future. This information will be published and analysed over time by a variety of personnel and organisations with the goal of influencing US policy."

If the video Wikileaks plans to screen at the National Press Club on April 5 does indeed include scenes of a US massacre of civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan, as is purported, perhaps the "goal of influencing US policy" becomes a little easier to identify. National security is better served by promoting a just and accountable foreign policy. For starters, stop massacring civilians in the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and investigate and prosecute those responsible for past massacres and cover-ups when and where the burden of proof calls for it.

If the US army and the defence apparatus still need help from the muckrakers at Wikileaks to remind them of this fact, then let the leaks continue. And if you think the work that Wikileaks is doing is important, then consider leaking them some money.

© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited

Joseph Huff-Hannon is a Brooklyn, NY-based independent writer and producer, a 2008 finalist in the Livingston award for young journalists, and a recipient of a James Aronson award for social justice journalism. See more of his work at

And Finally The Catholic Cover-Up!

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