Sunday, August 13, 2017

A New Left Majority Is Possible,... Maybe

Can a new left majority arise from the 2016 Presidential Election, the oligarch and alt-right takeover of our government, and the chaos of the Trump Administration?

The country is in the midst of its most turbulent period since the Vietnam War, Watergate and the “rights” movements of the 1960s. This post is partly inspired by events from yesterday. Saturday afternoon, anti-Fascist protesters clashed in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, with Fascists – partly emboldened by the Trump presidency – who had organized a demonstration to protest the planned removal of a statue honoring the leader of the Confederate army, General Robert E. Lee.

I was shocked by yesterday, and like most people in America and around the world, I am still in shock that Donald Trump was able to defeat Hillary Clinton to become the nation’s 45th President.

Trump is, without a doubt, the most unfit person to win the White House in modern times and is perhaps the least prepared leader the nation has ever seen. In addition to being unfit to lead, a megalomaniac and a pathological liar, the President is a racist, misogynist, xenophobe, and authoritarian.

A new left majority is possible. For it to happen, people of color will need to lead a takeover of one of the two major political parties.

Given that elections for national office are winner-take-all, our political system favors the two dominant political parties, Democrats and Republicans. One of the two political parties must be taken over by a left majority in order to seize political power. While elected officials in both political parties are beholden to their corporate and uber-rich benefactors, the Republican Party has shifted so far to the extreme right that it cannot be seriously considered for a takeover led by people of color.

It will not be easy, but, a left takeover of the Democratic Party is a possibility for at least 3 reason.

Demographic Changes

The Republican Party is a mostly white political party. Non-Hispanic whites account for roughly 90 percent of Republican self-identifiers. On the other hand, the Democratic Party is much more racially diverse. About 4 out of 10 people who identify themselves as Democrats are people of color. More than one-fifth of Democratic self-identifiers are black.

The potential leverage people of color have within the Democratic Party is that Democrats are not likely to win the presidency or regain control of Congress without the enthusiastic support of people of color, especially black voters. The reason for this is because the Democratic Party has been hemorrhaging whites for close to five decades now. "There goes the South for a generation," President Lyndon Johnson is said to have predicted while signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law. Johnson was wrong. It has actually been two generations and counting.

The Democrats need people of color to win. The last time the percentage of the white vote earned by a Democrat exceeded 50 percent was 1964. According to national exit polls, Barack Obama won the White House in 2008 with 43 percent of the white vote. In 2012, he won with 39 percent of the white vote. Had there not been record turn out by blacks and other people color, Barack Obama would not have won the White House in either 2008 or 2012.

According to exit polls, Hillary Clinton won just 37 percent of the white vote. Clinton’s campaign was doomed in part by a smaller turnout of people of color for her (she did worse among black, Latino and Asian voters than did Obama). In addition to a smaller than expected growth in turnout by Latino voters, her hopes were dashed by lower than expected turnout by blacks. Some 12 percent of the electorate was black in 2016 compared to 13 percent in 2012.

As people of color become an even larger share of the nation’s population, whites will account for a smaller share of the total electorate. With the browning of the country, for Democrats if they want to win national offices and especially the presidency, capturing the votes of people of color will become even more important in the future than it is today.

The Billionaire Class Grip on the Republican Party 

Members of both political parties are shills loyal to the billionaire class because they depend on them for campaign dollars. The donor class has a tighter grip on the Republican Party and has pushed it to the extreme right. As a consequence, the leaders of the GOP seem hell bent on destroying our nation’s institutions, or at a minimum, change them so radically that they became shadows of their former selves. If they succeed with their right-wing agenda, they will greatly limit the power of organized labor, suppress the voting rights of people of color through procedures such as photo ID and proof of citizenship, roll back regulations on corporations and the financial sector, shift the tax burden from the rich on to the less well-off, gut the social safety net, and continue to deny the science behind climate change and global warming.

The donor class has a tight grip on Democrats also, but, working to transform the Democratic Party makes a lot more sense given that the party has been a more reliable ally on a range of issues important to people of color, including support for social welfare spending, investments in the nation’s infrastructure, and the expansion and protection of civil and voting rights.

People of Color are Progressives

Public opinion polls show that when it comes to support for programs and policies that promote social and economic justice, blacks are the most politically progressive group in the country and Latinos are not that far behind. Both groups are to the left of most whites, especially when it comes to support for policies that promote racial equality like affirmative action and policies that promote economic equality such as a guaranteed minimum income. By comparison, a large number of whites believe that social welfare programs do not benefit them directly and yet they are made to pay for them. A majority of whites also believe that they now face the most racial discrimination in society, and that programs designed to promote racial and ethnic equality are simply forms of reverse discrimination in which people of color benefit at the expense of whites.

As people of color continue to become a larger portion of the nation’s population, the electorate, and a larger share of the base of the Democratic Party, the pressure for the party to be politically progressive and move further to the left will increase.

Of course, the Democrats can move in the opposite direction. But, the only way they can win the support of, for example, working-and lower-middle class whites seduced by Donald Trump’s Make America Great white identity movement is to shed its “image” as a party that favors the protection of the rights of marginalized groups and the expansion of social safety net programs like Obamacare that disproportionately improves the socioeconomic wellbeing of people of color. This kind of shift would be disastrous for the party. People of color would abandon them, and there is no guarantee enough whites would support the Democratic Party brand to make up for the loss of support by blacks and Latinos.

The results of the 2016 Presidential Election, the chaos of the Trump Administration, and the events of yesterday should leave no doubt about the need for a new left majority as an organized progressive force to take over the Democratic Party and put this country on a different course than the one it is currently on.

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Story About Lenny Keeping The Professor Honest

I'm always looking for interesting ways to talk about the many things that cross my mind about politics, economics, race, and class. So, I thought I would try my hand at using storytelling rather than a straight essay to share my thoughts. This is the first of many to come featuring Lenny, the Professor and their friends.


Lenny walked into my office and immediately extended his fist to give me some dap.

Pretending he was looking around for a camera, he said, “You need to be careful professor. You know fist bumps got Michele and Barack in trouble. I know you have tenure, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t make a move against your black butt."

“The fists bump,” I said, “is the universal black man greeting. You know if I did not give you any dap, you would spread rumors all over the Northend of Hartford that the Professor had sold out.”

“Professor, I wouldn’t do you like that. I love you like a brother from another mother.”

Lenny stepped back and looked around my office at the books on the shelves. “Damn, you got a lot of books. You got books stacked on top of books on your shelves. Hell, you got books stacked on top of books on the floor. You read all those books, or are they for show” he asked?

“What, a black man cannot read,” I replied?

“Answer the question, Professor. Are they for show, or did you actually read all of them?”

“I read a lot of them. Well, I read most of them. Okay, I have not read all of them.”

“So, you’re faking it," he interrupted?

I leaned forward in my chair. “Why you trying to give me a hard time?”

Lenny smiled at me. “Professor, don’t get defensive, I’m just kidding. I know you read all the time. If I had this many books, I’d probably never come out of the house and spend most of my time with my nose in a book like you.

“So, after insulting me, now you are trying to placate me?”

“Dictionary alert,” he quickly responded. “Come on Professor. Stop trying to throw those big words around. I’m a struggling black man in America with a very simple vocabulary.”

We both laughed out loud.

“Do not try that struggling black man stuff with me. I know you.”

Lenny took a seat. He continued to look around the room at my books. I knew he was not finished messing with me. Lenny is an autodidact. Unlike me with my Ph.D from The Ohio State University, he is largely self-taught and one of the smartest people I know. If he wanted a Ph.D., he could easily earn one. He said that he spent a couple of years in college before dropping out. Lenny said he left school because he was tired of arguing with his professors and had grown increasingly disgusted with a curriculum that was, in his opinion, simply training people to be consumers, supporters of the status quo, and future worker drones in service of capitalism. Until we met 5 years ago, he probably never would have set foot on a college campus again. I have to admit, there are times after he has left my office that I feel like I am a student and he is the professor.

“So Professor, you reading anything that will help you save the word?”

“You know Lenny that I don’t believe in trying to save the world. That is a doomed project.”

“Well Professor, I hope that you are at least trying to change the world. Remember, what Karl Marx said: The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

“Lenny, you know I try to do my part.”

“Yes you do Professor. But, we need more of you (clears throat) ‘edumacated’ brothers and sisters to step up to the plate.”

Lenny stood up and leaned toward me and said, “I gotta go. Gimmie some dap.”

I stood up and gave him a hug.

“Have a good day, Professor,” he said, and started to walk toward the door.

“Although you gave me a hard time, it was good to see you Lenny,” I replied.

Lenny looked over his shoulder just as he grabbed the door knob. “Professor, we gotta keep you brothers and sisters in the academy honest. I apologize if I stressed you out. You want me to get you some weed? It’s some good stuff” he said, with a grin on his face.

“Nope, I’m good. You know my motto: just say no to drugs.”

“Professor, you don’t look like Nancy Reagan. Besides, you need to take that message to the white folks in the suburbs and rural America and leave us weed smokers in the hood alone. Okay, but let me know if you need something to help relieve some of that stress you’re feeling up here in the Ivory Tower. Remember, your boy got you covered. You always got the weed hook up.” Lenny laughed out loud as he closed the door behind him.

I sat back in my chair and laughed out loud too.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Connecticut Must Say No To Austerity: Make Corporatons And The Rich Pay Their Fair Share

More than nine years after the start of the 2007-09 Great Recession, the U.S. economy is not working for most Americans. The recovery in terms of GDP and job growth has been weak and uneven across the country.

According to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a major reason for the slow recovery is austerity, a series of economic policies that rely primarily on spending cuts and reducing the taxes of wealthy Americans and corporations to reduce deficits.

Connecticut’s political leaders must resist calls for austerity measures to deal with our current revenue crisis. Slashing government spending and tax cuts for those who least need them will not make things better; austerity will only make things worse. What Connecticut needs is a more progressive tax system to solve its revenue crisis.

Here in Connecticut, the recovery to the Great Recession has been anemic. The state is projected to have a more than $5 billion revenue shortfall over the next 2 years. This year’s legislative session ended without a budget deal because lawmakers could not agree on how to respond to the state’s revenue crisis and where to make major cuts.

There is mounting evidence that austerity does not work. Following the world-wide economic decline during the late 2000s, many European countries implemented these kinds of measures. For the last seven years, the British people have been living under an austerity-obsessed government. Things have not gotten better: the social safety net is under attack; public and private debt has increased; the unemployment rate is higher; inequality has grown.

It should come as no surprise that voters in the U.K. recently voted decisively against the austerity measures of their government and an economic system that is not working for them.

In the U.S., Kansas experimented with the idea that cutting the taxes of the very wealthy and eliminating certain business taxes would spur economic growth. Instead, the budget deficit exploded threatening core state functions such as funding for public schools and other vital services. Overriding a veto by the Republican governor, a Republican controlled legislature approved a $1.2 billion tax hike over the next two years to plug the deficit.

The shocking election results in the U.K. and the failed experiment in Kansas should be a wake-up call to politicians in Connecticut that people do not want austerity.

Reducing state and local government spending and giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations will only result in a reduction of jobs in the public and private sectors and the erosion of vital government services for some of the state’s most economically vulnerable people. Connecticut residents deserve good schools, top-notch colleges and universities, well-run local services, and improved infrastructure and utilities, not austerity.

According to EPI, “Connecticut has ample room to move further toward a state budget that strengthens public investment and other vital forms of state and local spending and that funds these investments with progressive revenue sources, including more revenue from the business sector.”

Their report shows that Connecticut’s wealthiest residents and corporations are not overburdened with taxes. In fact, Connecticut residents in the top marginal income tax bracket pay less in taxes than residents in both New York and New Jersey. And, based on an annual ranking of state and local business taxes, Connecticut businesses have one of the “lightest business tax regimes in the country.”

In short, austerity is a choice; it is not a necessity nor an inevitability. There is little evidence that cutting corporate tax rates will spur long-term economic growth or that raising the taxes of those in the top income brackets will lead to a mass exodus of wealthy people or corporations from the state.

A better path forward for Connecticut to respond to its revenue crisis should include several steps. First, a progressive tax system that asks our wealthiest citizens with the ability to pay more to do just that, pay more. Second, close corporate loopholes (government spending on tax credits, exemptions, deductions, etc.) in the business tax code to raise additional revenue without raising taxes on corporations. And last, protect the social safety net and increase public investments in for example K-12 and higher education, which over the long term can lead to economy-wide productivity growth and higher wages for workers.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

No Time To Go Backwards; Segregated Schools Are Not Acceptable.

Over 63 years ago, on May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 9-0 decision, issued its landmark ruling, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The Justices declared that de jure racial segregation was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling overturned the High Court’s 1896 decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, which had legitimized racial segregation laws for public facilities, including public schools.

Seven years after the case was filed at Hartford Superior Court, on July 9, 1996, the Connecticut Supreme Court, in a sharply divided 4-3 decision, ruled in Sheff v. O’Neill that racial and ethnic segregation and socioeconomic isolation in the Hartford public school system “demonstrates that the state has failed to fulfill its affirmative constitutional obligation to provide all of the state’s schoolchildren with a substantially equal educational opportunity.”

Sheff, like Brown, is a landmark school desegregation decision.

After years of legal wrangling, in 2003, the plaintiffs and the defendants reached a legal agreement which has led to the creation of a network of 42 magnet schools and a voluntary busing program called Open Choice that sends Hartford students to schools in the suburbs.

The Sheff plaintiffs are back in court, however, because the state wants to further weaken the diversity standards to open up more seats in the magnet schools for students of color in Hartford, who want in but are locked out each year (6,000 Hartford children compete in a lottery for about 2,500 magnet and Open Choice seats annually).

Because the schools have failed to entice enough white families to enroll their kids in them, a magnet school is considered “integrated” if 7 out of 10 students are black or Latino. The state wants to increase that number to 8 out of 10.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy's suggestion that the plaintiffs in the landmark Sheff decision by resisting the further dilution of integration goals appears "as if we're going out of our way to deprive kids from Hartford of a good education," is a disingenuous and ahistorical argument.

Low performing schools in racially and economically segregated communities were created by white flight, decades of FHA mortgage insurance requirements that utilized redlining, the use of racially restrictive covenants to prevent people of color from purchasing homes in white neighborhoods, exclusionary zoning practices that limit the availability of affordable housing in the suburbs, and the use or threat of violence to keep black or brown families brave enough to try to cross the color line out of white communities.

The state pats itself on the back for investing roughly $3 billion in the magnet schools and voluntary busing program. Some suggest that the state has done more than enough to right a wrong.

In reality, however, you can’t put a price tag on the harmful effects of segregation? This is why going backwards is so unacceptable.

To suggest that the Sheff plaintiffs actions are depriving kids of a quality education instead of pointing at decades of official government policy that promoted residential segregation, the actions of individual white homeowners who chose rising property values over integrated neighborhoods, the racist practices of the real estate industry, banks and mortgage lenders, and the reluctance of white parents to enroll their kids in high-quality integrated magnet schools is the equivalent of the man who sets his house on fire and then blames the fire department for not getting there soon enough.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

When It Comes To Healthcare, Congressional Republicans And The President Believe It Should Be Survival Of The Fittest

Social Darwinism masquerading as health care reform is the only way to accurately describe the American Health Care Act being rushed through the Congress by House Republican leaders.

Because of the provisions in Obamacare and the expansion of Medicaid in 30 states, over 11.5 million Americans gained access to something they once couldn’t afford, healthcare. If Republicans succeed in moving this piece of legislation through the Congress, President Donald Trump will sign into law two bills that will cause millions of Americans to lose their healthcare coverage.

That outcome is exactly what many Republican lawmakers want to see happen.

Responding to a question about the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, a first term Congressman, Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., who spent three decades as physician and is a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said: "Just like Jesus said, 'The poor will always be with us,…' There is a group of people that just don't want health care and aren't going to take care of themselves."

Marshall went on to say: "The Medicaid population, which is a free credit card as a group, do probably the least preventive medicine and taking care of themselves and eating healthy and exercising. And I'm not judging; I'm just saying socially that's where they are… So there's a group of people that even with unlimited access to health care are only going to use the emergency room when their arm is chopped off or when their pneumonia is so bad they get brought the ER."

Marshall is advocating for a form of social Darwinism. Even though he did not say it directly, he is asking us to ponder the question of whether or not it would be all that bad if people who are poor (disproportionately people of color) and sick should be allowed to just simply die.

During the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, social Darwinism was a popular theory that attempted to apply biological concepts such as natural selection and survival of the fittest to explain social inequalities and cultural differences between people, groups, and races.

Social Darwinist believed that the strong possessed superior cultural attributes such as industriousness, abstemiousness, and prudence that justified their political and economic power, cultural influence and superior social standing over the weak. In other words, inequalities among individuals is natural in human societies.

The term “survival of the fittest” was first coined by the British philosopher and scientist, Herbert Spencer. Spencer believed that the strongest and the fittest should survive in society and the weak should be allowed to die. That some were rich and powerful while others were poor and weak was natural; the rich and powerful were better suited to survive in the social and economic climate capitalism was creating during his lifetime.

But, a disdain for the weak and powerless is not new. Even Plato, who has had an enormous impact on the development of Western philosophy, political thought and our understanding of human nature believed: "Mentally and physically ill persons should be left to death; they do not have the right to live."

Given that social Darwinism has been used to support laissez-faire capitalism and political conservatism, it should come as no surprise to hear some of the cold and heartless things being said about the poor by Republicans who now control the Congress. Spencer’s social Darwinism, the idea that aid to the unfit hampers the success of the most productive and talented members of society, has been a sine qua non of libertarian thought and is the basis of the moral argument against the welfare state Republicans have been making for years.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Betsy Devos Comments about HBCU's Wipes Away the Past and Substitutes History with a Delusion

After meeting with presidents and chancellors of historically black colleges and universities at the White House, charter school advocate and Education Secretary Betsy Devos released an astonishing statement:
A key priority for this administration is to help develop opportunities for communities that are often the most underserved. Rather than focus solely on funding, we must be willing to make the tangible, structural reforms that will allow students to reach their full potential.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have done this since their founding. They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw that the system wasn't working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution.
HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.
To be clear, historically black colleges and universities are the product of exclusion, not “choice.”
Secretary Devos did not simply attempt to “airbrush” or “whitewash” history. She is engaged in something even more nefarious than that. In attempting to rewrite the history of the origins of most historically black colleges and universities (HCBU’s), she rips out, wipes clean and attempts to sanitize the post-Civil War and Jim Crow eras of American history.
Before the Civil War, the opportunity to receive a college education was limited to a small number of black students who attended a handful of schools such as Oberlin College in Ohio and Berea College in Kentucky.
After the Civil War things started to change with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1862, which gave federal lands to the states so that they could open colleges and universities to educate farmers, scientists, and teachers. However, in the South, the overwhelming majority of these new institutions excluded blacks from attending.
Targeting the Confederate states, the Morrill Act of 1890, attempted to rectify the problem of blacks being excluded from white colleges and universities by stipulating that federal land-grant dollars used to create schools either had to make those schools available to black and white students or create a dual, segregated system of education with schools designed to serve the educational needs of black students. Sixteen all-black colleges and universities came into existence after receiving land-grant funds.
Between the 1870s and 1910, most of the public HBCU’s were created. During this period, private HBCU’s were also created, either due to the initiative of black people themselves, or with the help of the American Missionary Association (AMA) and the Freedmen’s Bureau.
But, according to the nation’s Education Secretary, the origin of the Jim Crow styled system of education that emerged during the decades that followed the Civil War was not the product of segregation and the ideology of white supremacy.
Devos version of the story strongly suggests that black students were not prevented from attending white colleges and universities. Rather than try to learn, perhaps, in hostile settings, black people chose to create their own institutions to meet their educational needs, triumphantly pioneering the school choice movement.
What Devos is trying to do is hardly an innocent act and should not be categorized as simply an alternative fact. She is trying to make natural and unproblematic a period in American history when white supremacy reigned supreme. In other words, she tore out and rewrote a period of American history when vigilante violence in the form of lynchings was routine and economic exploitation and social and political exclusion of black people was normalized and sanctioned by the state to fit her narrow agenda of promoting school choice.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Confidence Man Named Donald J. Trump Occupies The White House

President Donald J. Trump is a confidence man. A con man is someone who swindles his victims by way of a confidence game. Confidence men gain their victims trust, playing on some of our most basic human weaknesses (and strengths), such as, kindness, opportunism, dishonesty, decency, arrogance, empathy, recklessness, gullibility, innocence, desperation, generosity, and greed.

Trump has been hustling people for a long time. His ability to con people has rewarded him handsomely over the years and now has resulted in him becoming the 45th President of the United States.

The foundational work for the confidence game started about 18 months before Election Day when Trump announced his candidacy. The scam “officially” hit its apogee, however, on Friday, January 20, 2016, when he was sworn in and gave one of the darkest speeches ever given by an incoming president.

In his inaugural address, Trump invoked dark dystopian imagery that does not match reality. Although U.S. crime rates are half of what they were in 1991, Trump described the country as crime ridden and promised to stop the “American carnage." Even though welfare rolls dropped under Obama and continues to be lower than it was before Bill Clinton signed into law a radical welfare reform bill, he promised to “get our people off of welfare and back to work.” While the U.S. Border Patrol budget has increased threefold since 1991 and the number of agents patrolling the border has doubled, he promised to “bring back our borders,” blaming both Democrats and Republican administrations for “refusing to defend our” border. And, despite 75 months of job growth (albeit anemic) and an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent (a questionable figure given the lack of quality jobs created since the end of the Great Recession and the number of people underemployed or have simply left the job market), to make America Great Again, Trump has promised to “bring back our jobs.”

"Rusted out factories are scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation," Trump said in his inaugural address. "The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from our homes and redistributed all cross the world," he added. Laying out his vision for the future, “buy American and hire American,” Trump has vowed to create as many as 25 million, mostly manufacturing and/or good paying jobs over the next decade. He has also promised in the past an annual economic growth rate of 4 percent.

There are not many specifics to his plan beyond badly needed infrastructure spending, and the usual Republican, Wall Street, and monopoly capital corporation wish list of massive tax cuts for corporations and individuals (most of which will go to the super rich), the gutting of the corporate regulatory system, and a renegotiation of trade deals, such as NAFTA to favor American corporate interests.

How could Trump deliver on his promise? Short of, perhaps, eliminating the use of innovations in technology as a way to lower labor costs and increase efficiency that corporations are so fond of, pulling all the robots and computers out of the factories and replacing them with human beings, moving back to America nearly every manufacturing corporation that has moved abroad in the last 50 years, lowering corporate tax rates to practically zero and then give them taxpayer money to encourage investments, raising worker salaries to where they should be if they had kept pace with inflation since the 1970s so they can go to malls and go on a spending spree, raising the tax rate to about 85 percent for the top earners and transferring that wealth in the form of direct payments to individuals who will go out and spend it and not invest it in stock to build their nest egg, and erecting trade barriers to keep cheap foreign goods out of America so that we only buy American, I don’t see how Trump will deliver on his 25 million new jobs and 4 percent annual growth of the economy.

Given that most of the 11 million jobs created during the Obama years were in the service sector, Trump promised, in typical con man fashion, things he never intends to and will never be able to deliver.

Confidence games work because the victims have trust or faith in the confidence man, belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of this person, and the “marks” or “suckers” are certain that the outcome will work in their favor. His core constituency believes he will and can do what he has promised. According to exit polls, 80 percent of Trump supporters are confident that he can bring about the kind of change needed to make America great again.

It is perhaps not a kind thing to say, but, P.T. Barnum got it right, “There is a sucker born every minute.”