Wednesday ~ TheFrontPageCover

The Front Page Cover
 2016             The truth will set you free 
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Featuring:
Why U.S. diplomacy can't fix the Middle East
by Aaron David Miller
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 WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE
NatGeo: “On February 27, 1942, nine saboteurs scaled a cliff in the middle of the night to blow up a Nazi-controlled heavy water plant in Norway. Hollywood turned the story of the attack into The Heroes of Telemark, a sappy action-movie-on-skis starring Kirk Douglas. The true story is both more complicated—and more compelling. Using rarely viewed Norwegian records, eyewitness accounts, and his own travels in Norway, Neal Bascomb’s The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission To Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb sets this daring sabotage mission in the context of the high-stakes race between the Germans and the Allies to create a nuclear weapon.”  -Fox News
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 IRS Enemies List Revealed 
Barack nObama's IRS enemies list included a total of at least 466 organizations, the IRS has admitted after three years of legal wrangling. It only took a federal appeals court order. The total is a far cry from the 298 organizations the Treasury Department's inspector general said had been targeted when the scandal first broke in May 2013. And the number also comes with a caveat: Though the vast majority were conservative groups, some number of leftist groups were on the list, but attorneys for the plaintiffs believe the IRS cast its net wider once the scandal was discovered so as to blunt the charges of an ideological bent to its targeting.
          According to The Washington Times, "Sixty of the groups on the list released last month have the word 'tea' in their name, 33 have 'patriot,' eight refer to the Constitution, and 13 have '912' in their name — which is the moniker of a movement started by conservatives. Another 26 group names refer to 'liberty,' though that list does include some groups that are not discernibly conservative in orientation." The IRS redacted the names of 40 organizations that opted out of legal action. As Mark Alexander recounted, "A legal and tax advisor to The Patriot Post informed us that the Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, our education fund advocating Liberty and constitutional integrity, clearly 'met the criterion for the corrupt IRS inquisition,' but for a couple of reasons (which we can't disclose publicly) we were passed over for review."
          The whole scheme was clearly an effort to derail conservative opposition to nObama's re-election bid. Many of these groups were essentially unable to participate in the campaign, and we'll never be able to quantify exactly how much that helped nObama. Yet Lois Lerner, one of the chief IRS officials at the center of the scandal, was able to retire in peace, and no other accountability has been forthcoming. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, confirmed in 2013 on promises to reform the agency, has stonewalled all efforts to do so.
          And because nObama successfully avoided any kind of paper trail, we may never know the extent of his involvement. As Alexander wrote previously, the administration was "smart enough to use 'cutouts' between their office and the bureaucrats committing the offense. Cutouts are bureaucratic managers who act as surrogates to do the political bidding of elected officials. They are blamed and sacrificed for the 'good of the cause,' in order to protect (read: 'provide plausible deniability for') elected officials who feign outrage and indignation at the violation of law in support of their political agenda. When the president of the United States is the elected official behind a culture of corruption and abuse of power, the layers of cutouts make it nearly impossible to find impeachable evidence of executive collusion."
          On a final note, the Leftmedia has done nothing but circle the wagons. According to NewsBusters, "[I]t's been 587 days since any network reported on the IRS scandal, when CBS This Morning made a mention of it on October 28, 2014. NBC last noted the targeting scandal 614 days ago and it's been over two-years — a whopping 760 days — since ABC last mentioned it on the May 8, 2014 Good Morning America." Hear no evil, see no evil, report no evil.  -The Patriot Post
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Defeating ISIS Remains Daunting Task
by Daniel Trombly
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{usni.org} ~ It has been nearly three years since the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) captured Mosul and advanced rapidly through a number of major population centers in northern Iraq... triggering a major U.S.-led internationalization of the conflict between the jihadist group and the myriad opponents to its attempt to establish territorial supremacy in Iraq and Syria. On the whole, while ISIS’s geographic extent and financial means have shrunk, seizing and securing population centers under its control remains a daunting military task fraught with humanitarian risks and political complications. While the Coalition-supported effort to isolate Mosul has advanced only haltingly, Iraqi forces are moving on Fallujah, launching another urban assault in a perennial hotbed of Sunni Arab insurgency. In northern Syria, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and militias affiliated with them under the aegis of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are targeting ISIS in the approaches to Raqqa city and the Manbij pocket, ISIS’s primary extant corridor to the Turkish border. One of ISIS’s greatest military advantages remains its unity of effort compared with the shifting coalitions and squabbling belligerents opposing it. In Fallujah, political divides between Iraqi leaders and the country’s foreign patrons manifest themselves on the battlefield as militias, tribal fighters, Iraqi Army and police forces, and Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service balance the military necessities of the anti-ISIS fight with their political objectives. In northern Syria, anti-ISIS efforts must reckon with the hostility of many Syrian Arab groups and key rebel sponsor, Turkey to consolidated YPG gains, along with the Assad regime’s own multi-front war with rebel groups and ISIS. Despite increasingly apparent strains on manpower and frustrated attempts at internal development, ISIS continues to enjoy the benefit of opponents whose level of coordination ranges from suboptimal to nonexistent...
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A guaranteed income for every American
by Charles Murray
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{aei.org} ~ When people learn that I want to replace the welfare state with a universal basic income, or UBI, the response I almost always get goes something like this... “But people will just use it to live off the rest of us!” “People will waste their lives!” Or, as they would have put it in a bygone age, a guaranteed income will foster idleness and vice. I see it differently. I think that a UBI is our only hope to deal with a coming labor market unlike any in human history and that it represents our best hope to revitalize American civil society. The great free-market economist Milton Friedman originated the idea of a guaranteed income just after World War II. An experiment using a bastardized version of his “negative income tax” was tried in the 1970s, with disappointing results. But as transfer payments continued to soar while the poverty rate remained stuck at more than 10% of the population, the appeal of a guaranteed income persisted: If you want to end poverty, just give people money. As of 2016, the UBI has become a live policy option. Finland is planning a pilot project for a UBI next year, and Switzerland is voting this weekend on a referendum to install a UBI. The UBI has brought together odd bedfellows. Its advocates on the left see it as a move toward social justice; its libertarian supporters like Friedman see it as the least damaging way for the government to transfer wealth from some citizens to others. Either way, the UBI is an idea whose time has finally come, but it has to be done right...Not being an hardliner I disagree with UBI issue.  http://www.aei.org/publication/a-guaranteed-income-for-every-american/?utm_source=paramount&utm_medium=email&utm_content=AEITODAY&utm_campaign=060716
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The Media are Letting liar-Trump Get
Away with Telling These Six Lies...
by Leon H. Wolf
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{redstate.com} ~ The media has focused with laser-like intensity on one specific aspect of liar-Trump’s rhetoric about the liar-Trump University case – the fact that liar-Trump has said the judge cannot render an objective decision because he is “a Mexican.”... Every time the media questions liar-Trump or one of his surrogates about the case, they ignore everything else liar-Trump and his surrogates say, and try in vain to get the subject of the interview to admit liar-Trump is a racist which never happens. Meanwhile, if you watch what liar-Trump is doing carefully, and assume that he has some rational plan here and isn’t just spouting off at the mouth never a safe assumption, you can see that what liar-Trump is doing is using his racist remarks about Curiel to allow him to filibuster a bunch of other untruths about the liar-Trump University lawsuit without challenge. Watch his interview this weekend with Jake Tapper, for instance. For the span of about five minutes, liar-Trump is allowed to spew bovine fecal material virtually without challenge while Tapper is focusing exclusively on the racism angle:...
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Louisiana House of Representatives
Takes Stand Against CAIR
by Christopher Holton
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{familysecuritymatters.org} ~ Late last week, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed and adopted a resolutio(http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=1004598) calling on law enforcement and government agencies in Louisiana to avoid and suspend contacts and outreach activities with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)... The very focused resolution was authored by Representative Barry Ivey in response to CAIR's concerted efforts at outreach to law enforcement across America and the fact that the FBI has severed ties with the organization. The resolution passed with broad bipartisan support, with multiple Democrats voting with the Republican majority to adopt it. The Louisiana resolution comes just two weeks after the Texas Republican Party adopted very similar language as part of its state party platform at its convention in Dallas...
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Absurdity Reigns:
Of Want Ads and Counter-Radicalization
by PATRICK DUNLEAVY
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{familysecuritymatters.org} ~ The theater of the absurd seems to have found a place to perform in the current atmosphere created by the threat of Islamic terrorism in both Europe and the United States... Belgium, which has seen its deeply-rooted radical Islamic nature exposed by the attacks in Paris and Brussels, thinks it has the answer to the phenomenon of Islamic radicalization. The Muslim Executive of Belgium placed an ad seeking counselors to deradicalize inmates. The advertisement lists the following qualifications, looking for candidates with "sufficient religious knowledge" and a "resistance to stress." In essence, Belgium outsourced hiring for this experimental state-run deradicalization program to the country's religious leaders. It's a bad idea that cannot work, and is especially untenable if Americans tried to follow suit...This is one big mistake.  http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/absurdity-reigns-of-want-ads-and-counter-radicalization?f=must_reads
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The old generals' old plan
by CAROLINE GLICK
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{familysecuritymatters.org} ~ The Israeli Left is a one trick pony. As it sees things, all of Israel's problems - with the Palestinians, with the Arab world, with Europe and with the American Left - can be solved by giving up Judea and Samaria and half of Jerusalem along with Gaza which we gave up already... Once Israel does this, the Left insists, then the Palestinians, the Arab world, Europe and Bernie Sanders voters will love us as they've never loved us before. The events of the past quarter century have shown the Left's position to be entirely wrong. Every time Israel has given the Palestinians land, it has become less secure. The Arabs have become more hostile. The West has become more hostile. The Palestinians have expanded their demands...
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When It Comes To Socialism:
Ignorance and Idiots Are Becoming the Norm!
by Jeff Dunetz
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{lidblog.com} ~ Have you heard about the implosion of socialism in Venezuela? Or should I say, the blow up of Venezuela because of socialism?... Food trucks being hijacked, black market food skyrocketing, a dozen eggs selling for over 100 bucks, toilet paper, milk, and other basic necessities not being provided or even available for the general public. YEP! In a socialist nation where everyone is equal. Bernie Sanders said we should embrace socialism because it treats everyone fairly and provides for all. That must have been one heck of an acid trip Bern! The upper 1% get all the toilet paper, food, water, and electricity they want, while “The People” get what the government says they can have. And right now, that isn’t much...  http://lidblog.com/when-it-comes-to-socialism-ignorance-and-idiots-are-becoming-the-norm/
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nObama Admin Promises liar-Clinton
Email Dump On A Day That Doesn’t Exist
by Blake Neff
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{dailycaller.com} ~ The State Department has announced that it won’t be releasing a trove of liar-Hilly Clinton’s emails until after the presidential election, but the day it plans to release them doesn’t actually exist... International Business Times reported Monday that it had made a Freedom of Information Act request to the State Department for liar-Hilly Clinton’s emails concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial free-trade deal. Initially, the State Department said those emails would be available by April 2016. After that deadline flew buy with no emails in sight, the Department updated its prediction, saying the emails wouldn’t be available until an estimated date of Nov. 31, 2016. Besides shifting the email release date to after November’s presidential election, that date stands out for another reason: Nov. 31 doesn’t exist...There is no 31 days in November.  http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/06/obama-admin-promises-clinton-email-dump-on-a-day-that-doesnt-exist/
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Emails Show State Dept. Officials Were
Warned Of liar-Clinton Email Spin
by Chuck Ross
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{dailycaller.com} ~ Newly released State Department emails show that in the days after liar-Hilly Clinton’s exclusive personal email use made international news... officials with the agency’s legal department were urged by the former head of that division to make it clear that the bureau did not sign off on the former secretary of state’s arrangement. But that advice, which came from John Bellinger, the State Department’s Legal Adviser during the George W. Bush administration, appears to have gone unheeded, at least publicly. The State Department never publicly clarified that liar-Clinton self-approved her personal email system. While the agency’s information technology, diplomatic security and legal adviser divisions were not made aware of the setup, those facts only came to light in an inspector general’s report that was published last month... http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/07/exclusive-emails-show-state-dept-officials-were-warned-of-hillary-clinton-email-spin/
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Palestinians: The Fatah Mess
by Khaled Abu Toameh
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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh                                 Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas
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{gatestoneinstitute.org} ~ Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is once again facing insurrection -- this time from the young guard in his ruling Fatah faction. Even autocracy has its limits, and after many years of being gagged, Fatah's young guard is finding its voice... This renewed power struggle between the young and the old guard is probably a positive sign. It seems to signal the Palestinians wish to see new faces in power. However, just because members of this faction wish to see a "changing of the guards at the Palestinian palace" does not mean that they have changed their attitude towards Israel. This young guard, in fact, is neither interested in, nor authorized to, give up the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees -- or even take the basic step of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state...
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Why U.S. diplomacy can't fix the Middle East
by Aaron David Miller
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{jewishworldreview.com} ~ Israel wanted no part in it. And neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians were scheduled to attend. Yet Secretary of State John hanoi-Kerry remained optimistic ahead of Friday's sure-to-go-nowhere Middle East peace conference in Paris. "What we are seeking to do," he said, "is encourage the parties to be able to see a way forward so they understand peace is a possibility."

I recognize that sentiment: the feeling that you need to do something, anything, to keep a nearly dead process alive. For much of my 24-year career as a State Department Middle East analyst, negotiator and adviser, I held out hope that a conflict-ending peace agreement was possible. I had faith in negotiations as a talking cure and that the United States could arrange a comprehensive solution. I believed in the power of U.S. diplomacy.

But by the time I left government in 2003, I was a disillusioned diplomat and peace processor with serious doubts about what the United States could accomplish in the Middle East. I realize now that, like hanoi-Kerry, I was tilting at windmills. U.S.-brokered peace in the Middle East is a quixotic quest. And the more we try and fail, the less credibility and leverage we have in the region.

Looking back now, the high point of my optimism was probably in 1991, the year we orchestrated another, more productive Middle East peace conference in Madrid. I remember that on one of nine trips that led to the conference, a large fly boarded the plane with us at Andrews Air Force Base and buzzed annoyingly around the staff compartment.

I was vainly trying to swat it when Secretary of State James Baker walked by to brief the press in the rear of the aircraft. Hours later, while drafting talking points, I felt a presence over my shoulder and turned just as Baker's large hand dropped the fly onto my yellow legal pad.

That kind of sums up how I thought about our diplomacy back then: With good timing and assertive American leadership something short of fly-crushing brute force, we could solve festering problems once and for all. My memos at the time had a yes-we-can edge.

The moment seemed ripe for a Middle East breakthrough facilitated by the United States. Our influence in the region was at an all-time high. The U.S. military had just pushed Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, and the Israelis and Arabs were off-balance --- in the case of Jordan, Syria and the Palestinians, they were looking for ways to ingratiate themselves into America's good graces. We were respected, admired and feared in the region to a degree we haven't been since.

Baker, meanwhile, was probably the best U.S. negotiator to tackle the Middle East since Henry Kissinger brokered three disengagement agreements in the wake of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. I watched Baker cajole, pressure and threaten to walk out on both Israel's Yitzhak Shamir and Syria's Hafez al-Assad, and I saw him huddle with Palestinians like a football coach to encourage them to attend the peace conference. It helped that he had the full backing of President George H.W. Bush --- his close friend who cared about Mideast peace and was making good on a pledge to Saudi Arabia that he'd take on the Arab-Israeli issue after the Persian Gulf War.

The Madrid conference produced the first direct bilateral negotiations and peace process success between Israelis and Arabs -- Syrians, Jordanians and Palestinians -- since the Egyptian-Israeli agreement 12 years earlier. I reveled in our achievement and marveled at what U.S. diplomacy could accomplish when it was tough, tenacious and strategic.

My mistake was in believing that Madrid, which really produced only a procedural breakthrough, would necessarily create a foundation for progress on the substantive issues. I thought if we just kept the process going, if we were committed and creative, we would somehow find our way to agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians on Jerusalem, borders and refugees, along with agreement between the Israelis and the Syrians on the Golan Heights. But we never got there. Process can't substitute for substance.


I maintained my misplaced optimism into the Clinton administration. Sitting with my family on the South Lawn of the White House in September 1993, watching President Bill Clinton preside over the historic handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, I believed, in what had to be one of the most stunning misjudgments of my career, that the peace process had become irreversible.

The Israelis and the Palestinians, without U.S. involvement, had reached an agreement on mutual recognition and a declaration of principles that was supposed to get them toward talks on the big issues. I really thought they had taken ownership of their negotiations and would dedicate themselves to making the Oslo Accords stick.

Through the crises of the next seven years of the Oslo process -- Palestinian terrorist attacks, Israeli settlement activity, the assassination of Rabin by an Israeli extremist opposed to Oslo -- I kept the faith that the almighty peace process ultimately would succeed.

I convinced myself that with added urgency from the United States, the confidence-building, interim measures laid out in the Oslo agreement could be made to work and pave the way for negotiations on the core issues.

Early in 1997, literally down on my hands and knees in the West Bank city of Hebron measuring the width of a street that figured prominently in the negotiations, I felt both small and ennobled. This was important, and I'd do anything to keep the process alive.

My commitment, and the illusions that sustained it, would take me all the way to the ill-advised, ill-timed and ill-prepared July 2000 Camp David summit: a last-ditch effort to save the Oslo process. During a briefing a week before, Clinton went around the room asking everyone to gauge the prospects of the summit.

And everyone, from the national security adviser to the secretary of state, said more or less the same thing: There was a chance; Ehud Barak and Arafat would make decisions only in the heat of a summit; the president owed it to the cause and to himself to pursue peace before the end of his term.

The assessment we all should have given him was that there would be no conflict-ending accord or even a framework agreement, because neither Barak nor Arafat were ready to pay the price, and the president was unlikely to bridge the gaps. But I brushed aside my doubts and echoed the others.

Part of me was concerned about pissing off everyone else in the room. The invitations to Arafat and Barak had already been issued, so the briefing really was a formality. But part of me still wanted to believe that we could make peace.

The president thought that if he could just get the Israelis and the Palestinians in the room, he could somehow get them to an agreement, building on what Barak was prepared to offer and using the famous Clinton powers of persuasion. But we had no strategy, we coordinated too closely with the Israelis, and we had no Arab buy-in on issues such as Jerusalem nor any sign that the Palestinians would move off their core demands. We didn't run the summit; the summit ran us.

When I think back about that fateful period, I shudder. With the best of intentions, in seven months, we planned three presidential negotiations two on the Syrian track and one on the Palestinian and failed at all three.

What I should have realized all along was that strong U.S. mediation can't make up for weak leadership of the parties to a negotiation. We can't talk them into getting control over their political constituencies. And we can't expect that our enthusiasm will persuade them to invest in solutions, take necessary risks or recognize that a negotiated settlement is in their interest and not just ours.

In March 2002, during the height of the second intifada, President George W. Bush's Middle East envoy, Anthony Zinni, and I were sent to negotiate a cease-fire between Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But that was either the Bush administration's idea of a cruel joke or just a throwaway talking point before the final break with the PLO leader.

That week, a Palestinian suicide bomber had blown himself up at a Passover seder in Netanya, killing 30 Israelis and wounding 140. Israeli forces responded with Operation Defensive Shield, entering the West Bank and imposing closures on most major Palestinian cities and towns.

I'll never forget the scene in Arafat's compound. The place reeked of foul air, body odor and too few working toilets. The only light, in what had been in better days a reasonably well-lit conference room, came from candles and a bit of sun that managed to peek through windows that were almost completely blacked out for fear of Israeli snipers. And there in the gloom sat a self-satisfied Arafat, his black machine gun ominously displayed on the table, holding forth about how he'd be rather be martyred than surrender to Israel's diktats.

There was no longer any way for me to rationalize the importance of process without direction, negotiations without substance or even the use of the word "peace."

Our overinflated optimism at Camp David had had real costs. After raising expectations we couldn't deliver on, we blamed Arafat for the summit's failure, and that made it easier for him, in the wake of Sharon's provocative visit to the sacred Temple Mount, to acquiesce to and encourage the violence that would become the second intifada.

U.S. diplomacy can be effective when we have partners willing to make decisions, when all parties feel an urgency to make those decisions and when gaps separating the parties can actually be bridged. The Iran nuclear agreement, while greatly flawed, is a case in point. It succeeded because it was not a transformational but a transactional arrangement, a highly detailed arms-control accord of arguably limited duration and scope that both the United States and Iran wanted for their own reasons.

But when it comes to matters that cut to the core of people's identities -- such as Jerusalem or Palestinian refugees, or the social engineering required to end Syria's civil war -- or creating an outcome in Iraq or Libya that produces stability and good governance, the United States doesn't have the horses to pull the wagon.

The inconvenient reality is that we will never have a greater stake in this region, or more power to remedy its ills, than those who live there.

I haven't given up hope for smart and well-timed U.S. diplomacy. But I've abandoned my illusions of just how much America is able and willing to do to repair a badly broken, cruel and unforgiving Middle East.

As the fix-it people, Americans have a hard time accepting that we can't sort out conflicts when those directly involved aren't willing or able to do so.

But sometimes, it makes more sense for our diplomats and negotiators to stay home rather than look weak and ineffective while searching for solutions to problems they simply cannot resolve.

http://jewishworldreview.com/0616/miller_gives_up.php3

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