Archive for politics

The puzzle: how can it be?

Burt Prelutsky says that RINOs are not the Enemy and then gets into the rather puzzling beliefs that seem so common.

“In spite of the fact that states that allow their citizens to carry concealed weapons, liberals are convinced that the Second Amendment should be made null and void. In spite of falling temperatures, they believe that Al Gore’s warnings about global warming are as close to gospel as they care to get. In spite of his lies about ObamaCare, Benghazi, the IRS and Ebola, they are convinced that Obama is an honest man.

“Furthermore, they believe that the Republican House is filled with obstructionists who stay awake nights trying to figure out ways to thwart the people’s’ will in spite of the fact that Harry Reid stops every House bill in its tracks, refusing to even allow the other 99 members the opportunity to do what they’re paid to do; namely, vote.”

“Again, I understand that some people hate to confront reality and prefer to say that both parties are the same, and if there isn’t a Ted Cruz or a Mike Lee on the ballot, they prefer to stay home on Election Day, indulging in the luxury of feeling themselves superior. Which would be bad enough, but they then spend the next two, four, six or eight years, whining about how the liberals are ruining the country.”

“It seems that Mayor Parker is unaware of the fact that sexuality, for better or worse, has been a legitimate concern of religion at least since the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s only been in recent years that liberals have managed to turn these matters into political fodder as they’ve gone trolling for votes and financial support in some very peculiar places.

“Yet at the same time that Christian pastors are being hassled, Muslim ministers go their merry way, indoctrinating our prison population, long an ideal recruiting ground, particularly among black inmates, for Islamic terrorists.

“In the meantime, our State Department, which often seems to get its marching orders from our sworn enemies in the Middle East, endorsed a Muslim handbook that promotes Sharia law and refers to jihad as a noble pursuit.”

It doesn’t make sense. It is a puzzle. But then, that’s assuming that people actually think and hold intellectual integrity as a positive value.

Worried, yet?

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What can be done?

Scott Johnson says it’s The Gathering Storm, Part CLVI.

“Watching the Obama administration sell us out to Iran, as in the interim agreement entered into late last year, I feel despondent and hopeless. It’s the way I felt when the Democrats cut off American support of the South Vietnamese government and assured its fall to the Communists rolling into Saigon, or, more recently, when Obama withdrew all our forces from Iraq. What is to be done? I have no idea.

“John Kerry provides an element of continuity in Democratic politics going back to the fall of Saigon. He rose to prominence as a player in the Democratic production leading to our abandonment of South Vietnam. Kerry’s contribution was the dissemination of a demoralizing set of lies asserting the routine commission of war crimes by American forces. I bought his act at the time, but I was a sophomoric student who didn’t know any better. What is our excuse now?”

This is the lead to worries about capitulating to Iran’s nuclear intents. Such worries are also visible on a leftist blog Vox in its Threats to Americans, ranked (by actual threat instead of media hype) where WW III is number 5 and ISIS number 7. How can you tell it’s a leftist blog? Guns (#3) and climate change (#4) are in the list as well as all that stuff you own as a result of capitalism (Your own furniture, #8).

In Nevada, the ballot initiative for a margins tax illustrates the problem as well. It is another push by the teacher’s union for more money for education. It is promoted on the idea that big corporations should pay their fair share to help educate the children. What is frightening is what it says of the teachers’ abilities to think critically and learn from history and measure. The never ending campaign for more money for education over the last fifty years or so has yet to show positive results despite massive infusions of money. The thresholds to define those evil, greedy big businesses is low enough to catch many small businesses. The tax is on the margin and not the net so it may well end up creating a loss in some businesses (restaurants, for example). History also has a clear record that higher taxes tend to diminish and inhibit economic activity or drive it underground.  

The common thread: thinking driven by fantasy and not by reality. The results have often been tragic. Why do it over and over and over? Isn’t one definition of insanity when one keeps doing the same thing over and over and hoping that, this one more time will yield different results? As Scott says: “What is our excuse now?”

worried yet?

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The search for equality: will they ever learn?

At the end of the 18th century, there were two great Western revolutions — the American and the French. Americans opted for the freedom of the individual, and divinely endowed absolute rights and values.

“A quite different French version sought equality of result. French firebrands saw laws less as absolute, but instead as useful to the degree that they contributed to supposed social justice and coerced redistribution. They ended up not with a Bill of Rights and separation of powers, but instead with mass executions and Napoleonic tyranny.

“Unfortunately, the Obama administration is following more the French model than the American.”

Professor Hanson describes Obama’s Ideal Revolution and the inevitable outcome.

“Official stories change to fit larger agendas.” … “We are back to the daily revisionism” … “Once-nonpartisan federal agencies are now in service to the goal of changing America from cherishing an equality of opportunity to championing an equality of enforced result.

“Our revolutionary inspirations are now Georges Danton, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien de Robespierre, not the Founding Founders.”

Think about it. Take a look at the actual history of nations and the health and welfare of their peoples. Why do so many ignore the misery to delve into fantasies again and again? Why do they expect different results this time?

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Vietnam redux

Bruce Walker describes Obama’s Vietnam

“The very preventable Holocaust that Cambodia and Vietnam endured happened because of gutless American presidents and in spite of the courage and honor of our fighting men.

“Whatever the faults of George H. Bush, he fully grasped the reasons we failed in Vietnam, and he scrupulously avoided those in Desert Storm, a war against a much more powerful Iraq (we tend to forget that the battle-tested Iraqi army had outfought, in a decade-long war, an Iranian army three times as big.) We had a specific goal, and we used every weapon we had to achieve that goal. Leftists at the time predicted that this would be “another Vietnam,” but they were utterly and pathetically wrong.

“Obama, now, is demonstrating that it is possible to repeat all the mistakes of Vietnam.”

This is just another example of conveniently distorting history. Columbus Day used to be a celebration of exploration and discovery and now many try to make it an example of Western Culture oppression. Forget the context of the times or what really happened. Paint the picture to suit one’s fantasies. Again, in the mid-East, the effort is to squash the oppression of Western Culture and bash the U.S., especially. Overlook the tragedy and try to ignore the suffering. Again.

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Political tactics: hit job on the ‘enemy’

The left adores the ad hominem and Fox News is near the top in its pantheon of candidates for ‘most evil.’ Jeffrey Lord describes another example in how a hit job on Fox News in a Veterans’ letter attacking Bolling, Gutfeld, hid liberal activists.

It was a hit job. Sixty veterans signing a much publicized “Open Letter to Fox News” — yet the signers were mysteriously never identified beyond the military branch in which they served.

No wonder. I have been through the list of sixty, and it is filled with Obama campaign workers, one ex-Obama White House aide, liberal activists, Democratic Party congressional candidates, Democratic Party state legislators, and more. The letter was sponsored by the Truman Project, a ten-year-old think tank with a focus on national security. Its board of directors includes Hunter Biden, the son of the Vice President. None of which was even whispered in the haughty “Open Letter” that was distributed to a media all too eager to go along with an attack on Fox News and two of the co-hosts on the Fox show The Five — Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld. Instead the letter was presented as a source of genuine outrage from average, non-partisan American veterans — while keeping the real identity of the signers secret.

And you wonder why Americans are cynical about politicians?

The Truman Project has quite deliberately and deceptively made this “Open Letter to Fox News” appear to the media and the wider public as if its signers are nothing more than outraged veterans. Nothing to see here more than that…just look, report it and move on. Which, in fact, is what all those “news” outlets above not to mention the wider social media did. Not a one of them published the backgrounds of the signers.

But in reality this snarky letter is filled with signers who have either worked directly in the Obama White House, have served in or have run for state or federal office as Democrats, or have worked as activists for various liberal causes.

The lack of honesty is a problem because it rubs off on all. It suffers from the tendency to think ‘everybody does it’ if they are a politician. Only when the body politic begins to make distinctions between those that do and those that don’t will such tactics fade.

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Partisanship on criminalizing the opposition

John Hinderaker presents the detail on the partisan attack on free speech and gutting the First Amendment so as to be able to further efforts to criminalize political opposition.

On Thursday, Harry Reid brought SJ Res 19, to repeal the heart of the First Amendment, to the Senate floor for a vote. The result must be considered stunning by all Americans who value their freedoms. Every Senate Democrat–every one, a 54-vote majority–voted for First Amendment repeal.

To my knowledge, not a single Democrat, either inside or outside of the Senate, has spoken up in opposition to that party’s war on free speech.

Worried, yet?

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Endemic corruption

It started with a misplaced telephone call. That revealed the collusion to obstruct investigation. Arnold Ahlert describes The Obama DOJ’s Subversion of the IRS Investigation

It’s going to be an uphill climb for Democrats. In a Fox poll taken in June, a whopping 76 percent of Americans, including 90 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats said they believed that Lois Lerner’s emails were “deliberately destroyed” by the IRS. The gaffe committed by Fallon would be amusing were it not for the reality that it is yet another indication of the endemic corruption that infests the Obama administration, their Democrat colleagues and a willfully somnambulant mainstream media. All of them seemingly prefer to run interference for one of the most powerful agencies in government, than allow the truth, no matter how inconvenient, to come out.

It will take the people to demonstrate that this corruption must end and the people are, at present, rather weak in opposing such behavior.

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aspirational vs envious

It’s New York measured against Hong Kong. Richard W. Rahn – Hong Kong, an aspirational society to emulate – “The currency of Hong Kong is effort, rather than envy”

Why is Hong Kong succeeding while New York City is receding? They are both world-class cities with about the same per-capita income and great natural harbors.

Hong Kong, like Singapore, South Korea, Chile and Switzerland are aspirational societies, rather than societies consumed with envy, like France. Work, saving and investment are not punished in aspirational societies, and there tend to be less social conflict and a higher level of civility. The United States used to be an aspirational society, but has increasingly become an envious society.

The leaders of China understand that aspirational societies work and those based on envy do not — but an aspirational society requires both economic freedom and individual liberty. Those who seek to control the lives of others, whether they are in Beijing, Paris or Washington, fear aspirational societies and thus, seek to regulate them — out of existence.

Envy, hate, and greed – it isn’t capitalism but rather the take from those who have to give to those who appear to need (or those who are friends of those in power). Powerful emotions overwhelm the ability to learn from history or from reality.

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Criminalizing politics

Paul Mirengoff takes a look at the McDonnel case and the matter of criminalizing politics. This is after the battle criminalize Governor Walker.

But how does one distinguish these offenses from the common situation in which individuals, companies, and unions give money to candidates substantial amounts of money in the hope that they will favor them in some fashion? In theory, the distinction turns on whether the recipient accepts the donation with the understanding that he or she will perform official acts in exchange.

The problem, as professor Bellin observes, is that a jury is permitted to infer such an understanding from circumstantial evidence. If the jury thinks it sees “knowing winks and nods” (these words actually appear in the jury instructions in McDonnell’s case), it can render a verdict that will send the public official to prison for a long time.

The “knowing winds and nods” standard, if one can even call it one, leaves prosecutors with enormous discretion to go after public officials they dislike for personnel reasons or want to injure for political purposes. The ridiculous, politically-motivated attempts to portray Governors Rick Perry and Scott Walker as criminals demonstrates that prosecutors will take advantage of this opening.

Such prosecutions are being used as political weapons by unscrupulous ideologues but is also a part and parcel of that ideology the presumes guilt in certain classes.

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Agenda driven scientific conclusions

Reihan Salam describes The Agenda.

It’s all too common: The backers of a broad-based political movement claim their cause is steeped in evidence, but a perusal of the research reveals more hope than substance.

After the drafting stage, the validation committee also recognized that the standards were informed by intuition as much as real research.

developers were warned by some researchers that the link between standards and achievement was tenuous, and that other reforms (“enabling conditions”) would be necessary to see real progress.

But the truth is that we know little about the connection between standards and achievement, and it will be difficult to justify standards-based reform without knowing more.

The subject for Salam is Common Core but the same principles apply to Global Warming and other efforts supposedly based on science (but only with a good deal of imagination supported by ideological bias).

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Hate speech

It appears that the election season is off to a good start and some candidates are already in desperation mode. Andrew Stiles describes how Outrageous and False, Democratic Attack Ads Reek of Desperation and offers advice from the past.

“Good ads communicate with people and don’t yell at them,” a former Clinton strategist told POLITICO in August. “These ads yell at people [and] they’re not believable. They’re not going to create a relationship between the viewer and the ad.”

The overriding strategy seems to be trying to replicate the 2012 strategy of attacking Mitt Romney as a heartless vulture capitalist who literally kills people by injecting them with cancer, though it seem unlikely to achieve the same success given the nature of midterm elections, and the fact that most Obama voters will be too busy watching John Oliver clips to go out and vote in November.

Of course, the real problem is that so many suspend disbelief and take even the most ridiculous assertions as gospel. There is no consideration at all for implications or reality and that provides the temptation to indulge in such personal attacks and innuendo.

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Shakedown

Kudlow describes a shakedown of epic proportions and how it is being used for political gain.

the solution is not to call them names. Or question their patriotism. Or attack “rich people” and “fat-cat bankers.” Or tell America, “You didn’t build it.” The solution is to reform the corporate tax code by slashing the rate to 20 percent. Or better yet, abolish the corporate tax altogether. The biggest winners, by the way, would be wage earners.

So what does all this have to do with billion-dollar bank penalties? Everything. The timing is more than coincidental.

And now, in the saddest of ironies, the Obama administration is again loosening credit standards for “affordable” home purchases and expanding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is incredibly stupid. The same mistakes are being made.

But it’s all part of Mr. Obama’s election-year strategy. Blame it all on the big boys. Pull out the class-envy cards. Rekindle divisive resentments and anger.

Follow the money. Where’s it go? Then examine the tactics. Then examine the implications and what actually happens. 

The people that end up bearing the burden are not those subject to political assault and that is another dishonesty that needs to be properly addressed.

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The end of the smooth path

Monica Crowley:

While in Alaska, I noticed something I’ve seen repeatedly as I’ve traveled around the country over the past 6 years. I’ve watched it grow exponentially since its first waves became apparent in 2009, and it’s only multiplied since 2012.

In the faces of those with whom I speak and visit is a profound, unshakable fear.

They see the staggering lawlessness…

one major political party — overrun by the extremist left …

the other formerly great political party rudderless …

the chaos at the border and the invasion of their nation.

the destruction of the world’s greatest health care system.

astonishing abuses of power …

their leaders continuously lying …

the collapse of American power and prestige…

America spinning out of control…

a world teetering on the brink…

appeasement and submission and withdrawal have only made the situation worse. The path ahead is not likely to be so smooth.

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Equal Protection Under the Law?

It is a comparison between Exxon and Ivanpah. Coyote Blog takes a look at Equal Protection Under the Law? when it comes to energy producing companies.

You can see from the last line that the Feds don’t seem to be even considering a penalty, but are just considering whether they should permit such plants in the future. If the 28,000 figure is correct, this company should be getting $196 million in fines (the Exxon rate of $7000 per bird) if there was any such thing as equal protection. Even the company’s admitted figure of 1,000 a year is almost 60 times as high as Exxon was penalized for, despite the fact that Exxon experienced the deaths across hundreds of locations in five states and this is just one single solar plant.

What it costs is no longer a measure of feasibility. The side effects only matter depending upon context. — nice if you can afford it.

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Looking past the riot and noticing the participants

Russ Vaughn has been watching the protests and riots in Ferguson and noticed something. Obese and ‘oppressed’in Ferguson???

Sufficient nutrition is the cornerstone of freedom; nothing comes before that human right because if you can’t eat, you have no reason to be concerned about the follow-on freedoms of speech, free expression, assembly and so forth. If you’re starving, no other concern of human existence matters.

But when you, as a political movement, put your marchers on the road of protest and with an unusual number of them wobbling and jiggling their expanded waistlines, bosoms and buttocks as they pass the media cameras, you must accept the reality that a large number of your fellow citizens viewing those video accounts are going to naturally respond with a sense of disbelief that we, as a nation, are depriving them of basic nourishment, which then leads all of us to question all the other liberal tropes fed to them by America’s media.

Only in America.

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Yep, it is another Marton, complete with the fabricated angels

The violence in Ferguson didn’t begin when a police officer shot Michael Brown. It began when a 300 lb thug robbed the Ferguson Market and abused a clerk. The release of the video showing the obese criminal assaulting the clerk led to a terrified statement from the store manager that he had not called the police and had nothing to do with the release of the video.

“They kill us if they think we are responsible,” he said.

But that’s not all the story. Hands Up, Don’t Loot also gets into the issue of the militarization of the police visible in the response to riots using a new urban myth as an excuse for the summer games.

All systems and people are flawed, but our law enforcement and military are reactive. When we don’t talk about what they are reacting to, then there is nothing meaningful to say.

We have SWAT teams because of race riots and urban guerrilla warfare. Without Watts, the Black Panthers and the SLA, the police militarization would probably never have existed.

The militarization of the police was a response to left-wing violence and terror.

and, no, both sides are not the same. “The root cause isn’t poverty. It’s not racism. It’s the left.

The myth building is detailed in another comment about how the Ferguson Lie Comes undone

This is a long list of things that were supposed to be true one day but were false the next. But by far, the biggest and the fattest lie to come out of Ferguson is the idea repeated from every news channel that somehow black people are victims of relentless violence at the hands of white people.

And that explains everything.

That is a Big, Fat falsehood.

and the ‘victim’ hagiography also has its problems. Michael Brown: A Criminal and a Thug explains.

As the media-sanctioned rioting, bloodshed and looting continue in Ferguson, Missouri, evidence is emerging that police shooting victim Michael Brown wasn’t the upstanding citizen that many on the Left have claimed him to be.

Through it all, the Left is out in force in Ferguson, trying to make a bad situation worse.

Evidence is now available that shows that Brown tried to wrest a gun away from a policeman and that he was ordered to freeze before he charged Darren Wilson and was shot.

Before the shooting incident last weekend, Brown used violence and the threat of more violence to steal.

the more we learn about the nature of the crime and of Brown’s character, the clearer it is to see who should really be on trial: The likes of Al Sharpton and the race-hate industry, whose lies are fueling a vicious war against civil society in Ferguson.

And they’ll keep digging until they find evidence that vindicates the mob and the left-wing media and the community organizers from Chicago who have descended on Ferguson in order to make an example of the innocent people who live there.

They’ve got a cause. It may be poorly based because it is based on a lie but that only means they have to lie harder and work the propaganda more, that’s all.

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Rights at the whim of the authorities

Massachusetts is working on legislation that allows police chiefs the power over citizen’s second amendment rights;. It’s all in the name of safety, of course. “We seek not to be the safest state in the nation, but strive to make our communities the safest in the world,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

A key factor here is that the evidence clearly contradicts DeLeo’s assertion but that has never bothered those who want to control rights to self defense. The desire to control others’ live runs deep and that means efforts are in denial of reality, persistent, and often pernicious.

Note that the effort is to let government authority, the police chiefs, exercize control rather than private citizens. This distrust of individuals and faith in the government is endemic in the philosophy that drives these sorts of efforts. In light of current scandals, one really has to wonder why.

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Understanding the U.S. Senate

It may have started with Amendment XVII when Senators became directly elected. That was a marker for the start of a slide from the Senate’s representation of a State to its being a more direct representation of the people directly. It is a slide towards populism. It all sounds good. The current Senate is taking the idea to heart. See Orrin G. Hatch: Destroying the Senate — and our liberties. “Procedural changes impede the chamber’s traditional deliberative function”

“The Senate was designed to play a particular role in a carefully designed system of government that is based on two related ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence: First, government exists to secure the unalienable rights of individuals; and second, government must be limited or it will, in fact, destroy these individual rights. Those limits include dividing power between the federal and state governments, separating federal power into three branches, and splitting the legislative branch into two very different houses.

“The Constitution lets the House and Senate set their own rules, and throughout the nation’s history these forms have developed consistent with each body’s function. The House’s function is action, and its form has been majority rule. The Senate’s function is deliberation and its form has given all senators, even those in the minority, a significant role.

“Throughout its history, all senators have had two essential opportunities to participate: the right to offer amendments to legislation and the right to unlimited debate. The current Senate majority has attacked both of these rights relentlessly.”

The war on what the country was is not only being engaged in the executive. It is not only a contemporary phenomena. It is one thing to try for something better but the persistent efforts to demolish what works to replace it with what has a serious record of failure, with pipe-dreams and ideological fixations, is not one for peace and prosperity.

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No, they are not all the same

Paul Mirengoff notes how Democrats tilt towards Hamas and blame Republicans for their position.

“What explains the fact that Democrats now see Israel as no better than Hamas in a war precipitated by Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel and its refusal to accept a cease fire.

“Pro-Israel liberals have come up with an odd but not unexpected excuse: it’s the Republicans’ fault.

This, as Mandel notes, was the thesis of the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg back in 2012. He argued that by criticizing President Obama for his policy towards Israel, Republicans make “supporting Israel distasteful to many Democrats.” Worse, they cause Democrats to “lump supporters of Israel in the same category they reserve for climate-change-denying anti-choice Obamacare haters.”

“As question-begging arguments go, this one belongs in the Hall of Fame.”

“The obvious answer is that ideology drives contemporary Democrats to view Israel far less favorably than Republicans view Israel. The political fallout — criticism by Republicans of Obama’s Israel policy and the identification of the Israel-U.S. alliance with the GOP rather with both parties — is a symptom of the difference in the way the two parties view Israel, not its cause.

What accounts for the underlying ideological difference between the two parties when it comes to Israel? The answer, I think, is this: Israel is a U.S. ally with strong Western values and a willingness to use military force when necessary to protect itself.”

“Many Democrats are uncomfortable with one or more of these attributes. Their ambivalence towards the U.S. and its values causes them view a hardcore U.S. ally skeptically (or worse). “

Then you can take a look at the recently uncovered Lerner Email messages or the partisan vote regarding any attempt to reign in executive expressions of power …

there is a difference, a wide gap, between political parties in the U.S. despite what some may claim. 

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Mess it up, hyperventilate on the result, then go for the kill: leftist political strategy

“The problem with the death penalty in America is that liberals have taken a system that worked, broke it and then claimed the system is so broken it must be abolished. This is sort of like Barack Obama’s approach to immigration.” -PHILLIPS: The myth of botched executions

First you go after any method except one (lethal injection) then you go after the materials (the drugs) needed to implement that one. Then you hyperventilate on the result to try to impugn the whole idea on everything except its merits or any semblance of honest debate.

“The real outrage with executions is not that a convicted murderer like Joseph Wood may have suffered some discomfort. According to the State of Arizona he was sedated the whole time so he would not have felt anything.

The real outrage is that it takes 23 years for a sentence to be executed.”

23 years of litigation all on the taxpayer dime not to mention the costs of imprisonment.

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