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Mendocino County Today: February 10, 2013

CasparInnTHE CASPAR INN will close at the end of this month. The legendary music venue with rooms for rent upstairs was for years the go-to Mendocino Coast nightspot, attracting many big name entertainers.

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RICHARD THE THIRD has been dead for 500 years. The Brits knew for much of that time, or at least suspected, where he was buried. This year they dug up the parking lot beneath which Richard was assumed to be interred, and there he was, as confirmed by dna.

JUDI BARI has been dead for 16 years. A gaggle of opportunists and criminal cover-up artists has made several million dollars on the false claim that the person or persons who abbreviated her life via a 1990 car bomb is a “mystery,” but if you send them money or watch the bogus movie they've made by gumbo they'll find out what happened.

ACCORDING TO THE CROOKS AND GHOULS who've lived off the Bari “mystery” since the day of the 1990 bomb, the primary suspects are the FBI, corporate timber, a deranged fundamentalist, a berserk male chauvinist, or all these villains (roughly half the male population of the country) wrapped in one big, marketable package pedaled for 23 years now to the credulous sectors of the left.

BUT LIKE RICHARD THE THIRD, the person or persons responsible for the slo-mo murder of Judi Bari can be identified by dna known to rest on three documents associated with the case, one of them a confession letter written by the perp. The “mystery” of the attack on Bari can be solved by subpoenaing the dna of a small number of likely suspects, beginning with Bari's former husband, Mike Sweeney.

HOWEVER, unlike the dogged Brits who were on the trail of Richard the Third for 500 years, American law enforcement, especially the FBI but not limited to them, have zero interest in solving the Bari “mystery.” Which means a well-known person can be blown up in the middle of a major American city while the cops at all levels of government pretend it's just a doggone head scratcher.

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GASOLINE is back up to $4.00 a gallon in most of California; food prices, at my house, are up about 10% over the past two months, and the government is printing a billion dollars a week which the fed funnels to the largest banks to ensure that they don't go belly up. Are we the only people who think we're headed to a very bad place?

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SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE, becoming the first supervisor in County history to take advantage of the simple and convenient “Supervisors Reports” opportunity to actually make a written report to the public, writes in his on-line report for next Tuesday (among several transportation-related items): “Finding More Financing, Finally — Research and polling shows that at this time finding additional funding for transportation is not a high priority with California voters, according to Jim Earp of the California Transportation Commission and the California Alliance for Jobs. Earp believes California voters do not have a lot of appetite to spend more through bonds, although they do support infrastructure investments that create jobs. Don Perata says a user fee will finance the water infrastructure, so that project won't compete with transportation for infrastructure funding. ‘Everyone and his third cousin’ is looking for a 55% vote for new, local revenues. Mark Watts, a lobbyist for transportation funding, believes all of the CTC's $500 billion in needs cannot be funded. Voters do see that if you repair things now it is less expensive than fixing big problems later. We have reason to believe that the trucking industry would agree to support an increase in the excise tax on diesel to support the state highway account, Watts added. In contrast, voters do not support a general increase in the excise tax on gasoline, and, if they would, they would only support such a small increase it wouldn't generate a substantial source of revenue. Watts also believes California voters could support a mileage fee for registered vehicles. At 1¢ a mile, the fee could yield significant funding. With cap and trade going into effect, he believes a carbon tax is unlikely to move forward in California.”

SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG, on the other hand, posted the following on the Coastal listserve (apparently on the assumption that the quirky and ill-informed listserve subscribers are the only constituents he needs to bother communicating with). Most of Hamburg listserve postings are about things on the other side of the Country or the world.

“I look for opportunities to post regarding local issues on the discussion list. I'll try to do it more. As I think everyone knows by now, Board agendas and backup information (exactly the same information that Board members receive) is available at the BOS website on the Thursday prior to the next week's meeting. I'm also always available to answer questions and participate in discussion regarding county politics on the list. On Tuesday, the Board will hold its mid-year budget review. We are basically ‘on-track’; however, pension and healthcare costs continue to rise much faster than revenues. That is our major conundrum! Interestingly, the Board will also hear a report from Economic Development and Financing Corporation (EDFC) executive director John Kuhry on opportunities for expanding business in the county. It would be very helpful to get our sales, property and bed taxes trending upward instead of flat-lining as they have been for the past several years. There are also some ideas floating around that I think need more research. For example, Dan Gjerde and I met with a group of county residents in Boonville last week to discuss foreclosure relief and the potential for a county bank (along the lines of the the Bank of North Dakota). For information on the BND and other local banking opportunities, go to the website of the Public Banking Institute (www.publicbankinginstitute.org). Another economic development item that I've been advocating is Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) which squeezed through the Board last month on a 3-2 vote. I think this program will stimulate local business in the areas of solar energy, water conservation, and waste treatment. It has already been hugely successful in Sonoma County.”

IN FACT SOME HEAVY DUTY economic development BS is on tap for Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors confab. One item is a discussion of “Vision 2030,” and the other is “Informational Presentation by the Economic Development & Financing Corporation of Mendocino County to the Board of Supervisors Reporting on the Economic Development Summit held in the Fall of 2012. On February 1, 2011: Letter of support for the Economic Development Finance Corporation grant submittal to implement Phase II for the meat harvesting/processing facility. Summary Of Request: The Economic Development & Financing Corporation (EDFC) of Mendocino County Director John Kuhry comes before the Board today to report on the outcomes of a local Economic Summit held in the Fall of 2012. The goal of the summit was to identify opportunities and strategies that will provide short-term business assistance and support. The Summit also highlighted significant targets of opportunities for Mendocino County as identified by research conducted by the Humboldt Workforce Investment Board. The Economic Summit facilitated a round table discussion on growing employment within Mendocino County. The Summit participants ranged from local business, community and educational leaders who all gave key input to the process. This presentation features the outcome of those round table discussions, and will give the Board of Supervisors valuable information to consider when making future decisions on business development within the County. The presentation also demonstrates the value that the Economic Development and Financing Corporation contributes to the County through its research and activities to encourage employment growth within the County.”

Ms. Debets in her Humboldt County Prosperity Center
Ms. Debets in her Humboldt County Prosperity Center

WE WON’T BORE YOU WITH MORE PARTICULARS except for this one: One of the presenters is a woman named Jaqueline Debets who is the “Economic Development Coordinator Executive Director, Workforce Investment Board for the County of Humboldt’s Prosperity Center.” Ms. Debets spends several dozen Powerpoint slides (“Powerpoint Hell” is a new term for slides with mountains of textual bureaucrapolish gibberish saying nothing) basically saying that small business is good, as if nobody knew that. Ms. Debets pointlessly suggests that small businesses like “specialty food, flowers and [of course] beverages,” “investment support services,” “management and innovation services,” and “niche manufacturing” and “diversified health care,” and “building and systems construction and maintenance” would be peachy small businesses.

THIS WOULD BE ACHIEVED via “Multi-Cluster Needs • Infrastructure of Connectivity • Plug leaks in capital flow • Proactively address regulatory complexity without sacrificing environment or quality of life • Generate and conserve energy & materials • Ready land for high value uses.”

IF MENDO could get paid by the Powerpoint Hell slide, apparently like Ms. Debets is, we’d have our own Economic Stimulus Package and we wouldn’t need any new small businesses.

ALSO ON NEXT TUESDAY’S AGENDA is: “Presentation of the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show Budget and Revenue Plan — Each year, the Board reviews and approves the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show annual operating budget. On 1/22/13, the Board approved the 2013 operational budget and requested information related to revenue generating activities from the Fair Director at a future meeting. In prior years through 2011, the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show received an allocation from the State Department of Food and Agriculture to provide funding for operation of the annual Fair. In 2012, funding was discontinued and the Fair must now rely on revenue generated during the Fair itself and reserve funding that has been built up over the years to fund expenses. In 2012, the Fair began using reserves for the first time to partially to fund operation costs. A staff memo was provided to the Board along with the Fair budget item at the January 22, 2013 Board meeting. The memo indicated a reserve of $1,530,595. After additional discussion with the Fair Manager, clarification was received that the total amount reported includes the value of buildings and grounds at $891,305 leaving $639,290 for actual Fair funding. If future fair budgets continue at the current level, the reserve would be depleted in three years. Because reserves are limited, a plan must be developed to ensure adequate funding for future Fair operations. Fair Director, James Brown, will provide a presentation detailing plans to generate future revenue for Fair operations.”

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JIM HOULE OF REDWOOD VALLEY WRITES: “Knowing that you find the Ukiah City Council and their average IQ level below your normal level of interest, I am not sure if the letter below is something you want to print. But your long piece about the City Council in your column this Wednesday made me wonder if perhaps you have lowered your standards just a bit. I was not well-motivated to even write it until I talked with one of their members in the men's locker room at the Redwood Health Club on Thursday. Their fortnightly performance is the best argument for a return to the potential tyranny of a monarchical system I have encountered. I have few real live encounters with these five but I prize each and every one. Ms. Landis has assured me, for the record, that she will not indulge in debate with me. I can still get our new Mayor Crane to break his magisterial frown once in a while, and the Commie Clown always smiles somewhat ambiguously. The Mari Rodinbush is puzzled over my having had to explain to her one night that Ukiah did not indeed have the highest possible credit rating. It all reminds me of a very old Radio show we listened to as kids called “It Pays to be Ignorant. “

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To The Editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal (
February 8, 2013):

The Ukiah Finance Director provided a very misleading report to the City Council on February 7th. He announced that by some legerdemain the City Treasury has ended with a surplus of almost $900,000 and that he has wisely “put into the city's reserves and that can be spent on any number of things that reserves are spent on. It's very positive,” he said.”

My, doesn't that make us all feel good about our city's servants? It made a headline in the UDJ and if the busy citizen read no further, he or she would conclude that all is just fine at City Hall.

However, in the next breath, he mentioned that the Budget for the next fiscal year, 2012-2013, showed a deficit of this same amount — $900,000. This didn't make it to your headline. The UDJ could have more accurately headlined “Last Years Surplus May be This Year's Deficit.” Now you see it, now you don't.

The truth is that the City of Ukiah's finances are in deep trouble as a result of the outrageously costly Bonds they issued in March 2011 and which they must pay back over the next 18 years at very high rates of interest. These include $6.2 million borrowed against future tax revenues so that the City can provide a roadway especially designed to speed customers into a new Costco parking lot at the south end of Airport Boulevard. This is an outright gift of your future tax dollars to Costco. The Costco plan, as shown in their just released EIR, will not move forward without the City paying for this dedicated driveway. The State Department of Finance has said flat out that Ukiah cannot use this Redevelopment Act money to mitigate traffic congestion caused by the proposed Costco Big Box. The WalMart SuperStore deal fell through last year because the City had not provided highway improvements. These Big Box guys really don't like to pay their own way.

Assistant City Manager Sage Sangiacomo assures the City Council that maybe they can take the State Department of Finance to court to get them to reverse their decision. This seems unlikely to most of us, but even if Sage succeeds, we still have to pay back these bonds — which when interest is figured in will ultimately cost citizens almost twice as much as the $6.2 million driveway. This whole thing demonstrates the great lust our City Government has for more unneeded big boxes and their inability to assess the costs of their appetite.

James Houle, 
Redwood Valley

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JEFF COSTELLO WRITES: OUR BOY BOB

A Quick 60's Recollection

1966 — When my band The Ones were playing at a mafia club in Salisbury Beach Massachusetts, we met a bum named Bob, who walked around the beach barefoot, and I don't think he even had any shoes. He was from Lawrence and had decided he couldn't live in the house with the man he called “my mother's husband,” who apparently was an abusive type. He had a severe and sometimes funny North Shore accent, which is quite different and more exaggerated than the normal Boston way of speaking. “A vaniller milkshake and a pizzer.” He also abused the English language in a way I found funny. Stuff like, meaning to say something was "a passing phase," he would say "It's just a passing fade." Which actually made sense in its own way.

Bob was broke and starving, and we offered him a job as our equipment guy, or “roadie.” Basically that meant carrying the heavy stuff, and I taught him how and where to plug the wires and such. Bob went on the road with the group. He began to show some odd behavior, but nothing alarming, Remember, he was only semi-literate and had been abused by the stepfather.

The next winter we were living on Beacon Hill in Boston, everyone had apartments close by. I don't remember where Bob was staying, but he had warm clothes and shoes now. I had a pregnant girlfriend. We were too young but things happen. One day Bob showed up and gave my pregnant girlfriend a drawing he had made. It showed a pregnant woman hanging from a gallows with a sword stuck in her belly. “Why would he give me this?” she said. Bob drifted away soon after that.

Kasabian
Kasabian

A couple of years later, I was in Los Angeles trying to get a new band together. I picked up the LA Times and there on the front page was a big picture of Bob. Bob Kasabian, the husband of Linda Kasabian, the one from the Charles Manson “family” who had turned state's evidence. The photo was of the two of them walking into court for the Tate-LaBianca murder trial. Our boy Bob.

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Hillary's Bloody Legacy: Militarizing the State Department

By Ralph Nader

Hillary Clinton has completed her four-year tenure as Secretary of State to the accolades of both Democratic and Republican Congressional champions of the budget-busting “military-industrial complex,” that President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address. Behind the public relations sheen, the photo-opportunities with groups of poor people in the developing world, an ever more militarized State Department operated under Clinton’s leadership.

A militarized State Department is more than a repudiation of the Department’s basic charter of 1789, for the then-named Department of Foreign Affairs, which envisioned diplomacy as its mission. Secretary Clinton reveled in tough, belligerent talk and action on her many trips to more than a hundred countries. She would warn or threaten “consequences” on a regular basis. She supported soldiers in Afghanistan, the use of secret Special Forces in other places and “force projection” in East Asia to contain China. She aggressively supported or attacked resistance movements in dictatorships, depending on whether a regime played to Washington’s tune.

Because Defense Secretary Robert Gates was openly cool to the drum beats for war on Libya, Clinton took over and choreographed the NATO ouster of the dictator, Muammar al-Gaddafi, long after he had given up his mass destruction weaponry and was working to re-kindle relations with the US government and global energy corporations. Libya is now in a disastrous warlord state-of-chaos. Many fleeing fighters have moved into Mali, making that vast country into another battlefield drawing US involvement. Blowback!

Time and again, Hillary Clinton’s belligerence exceeded that of Obama’s Secretaries of Defense. From her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee to her tenure at the State Department, Hillary Clinton sought to prove that she could be just as tough as the militaristic civilian men whose circle she entered. Throughout her four years it was Generalissima Clinton, expanding the American Empire at large.

Here is some of what the candid camera of history will show about her record:

1. A Yale Law School graduate, she shared with President Obama, a former Harvard Law Review President, a shocking disregard for the law and separation of powers be it the Constitution, federal statues or international treaties. Her legal advisor, former Yale Law Dean Harold Koh, provided cover for her and Obama’s “drone ranger” (to use Bill Moyer’s words), John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism advisor. Brennan gave the president weekly opportunities (White House aides called decision day “Terror Tuesdays”) to become secret prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner. Imagine thousands of push-button deaths and injuries of internal resisters and civilian bystanders in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere who presented no threat to the US.

The war on Libya, which Clinton spearheaded for Obama, was conducted without a Congressional Declaration of War, without even a War Resolution or a Congressional authorization or appropriation. She and her boss outdid Cheney and Bush on that score.

2. Although touting “diplomacy” as a priority, Clinton made little attempt to bring the United States into the community of nations by signing or ratifying international treaties already having as signatories over a hundred nations. As a former senator with bi-partisan support, Clinton didn’t use much of her capital on climate change agreements.

Human Rights Watch reports that chief among the unratified treaties are “international conventions relating to children, women, persons with disabilities, torture, enforced disappearance, and the use of anti-personal landmines and cluster munitions.” The last two treaties are designed to save thousands of lives and limbs of the children and their parents who are major victims of these concealed, atrocious weapons. Clinton has not gone to bat against the advocates for those “blowback” explosives that the Pentagon still uses.

When the Senate recently failed to ratify the treaty on disabilities, Clinton, with former senator and injured veteran, Robert Dole on her side, still didn’t make the maximum effort of which she is capable.

3. Secretary Clinton had problems heralding accurate whistleblowers. A 24-year-Foreign Service Officer, Peter Van Buren spent a year in Iraq running two State Department Reconstruction Teams. He exposed State Department waste and mismanagement along with the Pentagon’s “reconstruction” efforts using corporate contractors. Unlistened to, Van Buren, true to his civil service oath of office, went public. Clinton fired him. (WeMeantWell.com.)

4. Possibly the most revealing of Clinton’s character was ordering US officials to spy on top UN diplomats, including those from our ally, the United Kingdom. Shockingly, she even ordered her emissaries to obtain DNA data, iris scans (known as biometric data) and fingerprints along with credit card and frequent flier numbers.

The disclosure of secret State Department cables proved this to be a clear violation of the 1946 UN convention. Clinton included in this crude boomeranging personal espionage, the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon and his top officials all around the world. As befits these lawless times, there were no Congressional hearings, no accountabilities, and no resignation by the self-styled civil libertarian Secretary of State, not even a public apology.

5. Clinton led a dangerous expansion of the Department’s mission in Iraq. As reported in the Wall Street Journal on December 10, 2011, “In place of the military, the State Department will assume a new role of unprecedented scale, overseeing a massive diplomatic mission through a network of fortified, self-sufficient installations.”

To call this a diplomatic mission is a stretch. The State Department has hired thousands of private security contractors for armed details and transportation of personnel. Simply guarding the huge US embassy in Iraq and its personnel costs more than $650 million a year — larger than the entire budget of the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA), which is responsible for reducing the yearly loss of about 58,000 lives in workplace-related traumas and sickness.

Another State Department undertaking is to improve the training and capability of Iraq’s police and armed forces. Countless active and retired Foreign Service officers believe expanded militarization of the State Department both sidelines them, their experience and knowledge, in favor of contractors and military people, and endangers them overseas.

Blurring the distinction between the Pentagon and the State Department in words and deeds seriously compromises Americans engaged in development and diplomatic endeavors. When people in the developing countries see Americans working to advance public health or clean drinking water systems within their countries, they now wonder if these are front activities for spying or undercover penetrations. Violent actions, fueled by this suspicion, are already jeopardizing public health efforts on the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Clinton’s successor, former Senator and war veteran, John Kerry, says he wants to emphasize peace, human rights, and anti-poverty endeavors. He doesn’t have to prove his machismo should he strive to de-militarize the State Department and promote peaceful, deliberative missions in the world, from which true security flows.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)

4 Comments

  1. John Sakowicz February 11, 2013

    Gee wiz, I miss Jim Houle on the Grand Jury. So smart, he made your teeth hurt. A hard worker. A good writer. And a researcher without equal.

    I miss my old buddy.

  2. Mark Scaramella February 10, 2013

    • In 1984, in a letter to his Tennessee constituents, Al Gore said: “As you know, I have strongly opposed federal funding of abortions. In my opinion it is wrong to spend federal funds for what is arguably the taking of a human life. I have been encouraged by recent action in the Congress, particularly in the House, that has indicated greater acceptance of our position with respect to federal funding of abortions. It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong. I hope that some day we will see the current outrageously large number of abortions cut sharply. Let me assure you that I share your belief that innocent life must be protected, and I have an open mind on how to further this goal.”
    • In 1993 (when the House and Senate had Democratic Party majorities) Vice President Al Gore cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate for a bill which, among other things, cut Medicare benefits by a whopping $55.8 billion.
    • Although Al Gore did not invent the internet nor explicity claim to, he did virtually invent the Midgetman missile, he midwifed the MX missile, he has voted against every effort to cut the Defense budget, backed Reagan’s invasion of tiny Grenada and every other foreign military intervention since 1980, supported the Nicaraguan contras and then, in what he called his “finest hour,” voted for the Gulf War — only after shopping his vote on the very day of the debate to each side in order to secure the most favorable TV slot during the debate. Al Gore supported (and still supports) the horrific sanctions on the Iraqi people which the UN says is killed more than 5,000 Iraqi children per day.
    • Clinton was so frustrated that his team couldn’t come up with equally popular Democratic proposals to counter Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America that wouldn’t be nixed by Wall Street that, according to Bob Woodward’s book “The Agenda,” just before the Republicans took over Congress Clinton bellowed to his staff, “I hope you’re all aware we’re all Eisenhower Republicans! We’re Eisenhower Republicans here! And we’re fighting with Reagan Republicans. We stand for lower deficits, free trade and the bond market!”
    • With Republican Morris providing the polling data and advice on how to outRepublican the Republicans (Morris’s “iron rule” was to steal any Republican idea that polled out at 60% or more — principles be damned. Gore did the same thing.), Clinton and Gore soon found that the best way for them to stay in office and get their half of the corporate money was to become Republicans. There was no need to “triangulate” — as Morris called adopting Republican proposals — on things they already agreed with the Republicans on: NAFTA, GATT, international military intervention, billions to Israel, budget balancing, regulation cutting (Gore called it “reinventing government”), crime and drug policy, opposition to universal health coverage, huge military budget increases, education “reform,” the death penalty…
    • Oh, and what happened to the Contract that the Democrats denounced and campaigned against? It was enacted by the Gingrich Congress and almost all of it was signed into law by Clinton/Gore, albeit with a few minor tweaks to make it sound, um, slicker. (When Clinton hesitated to sign the Republicans’ welfare repeal proposal in 1996, Al Gore took the president aside and urged him to sign it, which Clinton did, thus wrapping up the very Contract Clinton and Gore had denounced.
    • And Gore, whose record in the House and Senate is even more conservative than Clinton’s was in Arkansas, never backed away from any of the Gingrich Contract’s provisions that he still supports.
    As a result, the two candidates were virtually indistinguishable. (They agreed 32 times in Dull Debate II.) You can vote for a Republican who calls himself a Republican or for a Republican who calls himself a Democrat.
    As a result lots of “Democrats” in Florida in 2000 voted for the Republican Republican, instead of the Democrat Republican. Well over 200,000 registered “Democrats” voted for Dubya, but nobody ever complains about them. Lots of those 96,000 Nader voters in Florida probably would have voted for Gore if Gore hadn’t pointedly stiffed the Florida enviros over the Homestead Air Force Base airport conversion (next door to the Everglades) just weeks before the election, as he, like his tutor Clinton, assumed that no matter how much he abandoned the Florida enviros they’d still have to vote for the Ozone Man. (And that was after Donna Brazile warned Gore about the Homestead problem, as documented in detail in the Washington Post.) But, then, that’s probably Ralph’s fault too, since he alone publicly pointed out Gore’s failure on the subject. Even more ironic, the Clinton administration quietly withdrew the Homestead airport conversion proposal two weeks before Clinton left office in January. Too little, too late again.

  3. Mike Jamieson February 10, 2013

    Quirky and ill informed list serve subscribers? That might describe the posters there, for the most part (I’m in the quirky department), but the readers also!??! Anybody know how many subscribers there? I saw two different numbers estimated.

  4. wineguy February 10, 2013

    Pease enough toxic drivel from that Nader guy. He played a pivotal role in the tragedy of Iraq et al The delusional egomaniac handed 8 years of Hell to the world as a ‘candidate’ for president in 2000. Criticize others accept no responsibility Nader’s M.O., one sick man!

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