Politics: GOP House member files resolution to remove Boehner as Speaker

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The start of something?

This is a first. No member of the House of Representatives has ever filed a resolution to remove the Speaker of the House. The resolution is going nowhere, you understand, because the proscibed process puts it in front of a committe that’s packed with Boehner loyalists who will simply bury it and most likely not even offer a response.

Does that mean it’s a waste-of-time stunt that has no chance of making any impact whatsoever? Depends. That’s what leadership loyalist types will certainly say. And without more House members willing to get on board, file similar resolutions or throw their support behind this one, they’re surely right. But there’s a strong case to be made for Boehner’s removal, and a movement to make it happen could indeed go somewhere if more Republicans follow the leader of Mark Meadows:

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., filed the resolution — a “motion to vacate the chair” — late Tuesday, claiming that he “has endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent.”

The proposal was referred to a committee stocked with leadership loyalists, and therefore unlikely to emerge.

The motion says that Boehner has caused the power of Congress to atrophy, “thereby making Congress subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches, diminishing the voice of the American People.”

The motion also claims that Boehner has used the power of his office to “punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker.”

Last month, the leadership briefly stripped Meadows of his subcommittee chairmanship over his votes but later relented after conservatives objected.

The resolution could place House Democrats in a difficult, and unusual, position. Democrats would face a dilemma of either voting to help preserve Boehner – with whom they have frequently clashed – or backing House conservatives and gambling on pandemonium by helping to throw Boehner out.

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Here’s the thing: Boehner is not going to actually be removed through a process like this. There will always be enough House members willing to protect him if he wants to stay on. But if opposition to him becomes large enough and vocal enough, he might have no choice but to voluntarily step down in recognition of the fact that he simply doesn’t have the support of his caucus anymore.

But there are problems with that. One is that no credible challenge has really been made when his opponents have had the chance at the start of any congressional session. Granted, there was some limited drama earlier this year about whether Boehner could get majority support on the first vote, but I think it was largely for show. There were never enough Republicans willing to throw the speakership into question, despite the misgivings many of them had about Boehner. If you really want the guy out, someone who represents a credible alternative needs to step up, and Boehner’s opponents need to join in getting behind that person. So far that hasn’t happened.

Also, a serious movement to oust Boehner isn’t going to gain steam behind the way he punishes members by stripping them of committee assignments or whatever. The public doesn’t care about that. But the public could and should care about Boehner’s endless capitulation to Obama and Harry Reid on matters like regular-order budgeting and Obama’s continued flouting of the law with no real consequence from Congress. That’s one of the items addressed in the story above. Boehner has been so weak in his assertion of the power of the legislative branch, he’s virtually neutered it as any sort of check against the power of the executive branch. That’s a serious dereliction of duty.

And it all comes down to fear. There’s a lot Boehner could do to tie Obama’s hands when he thumbs his nose at the law and at the constitutional limits on his power, but he knows he can’t do those things without experiencing a media onslaught and claims that he waants to “shut down the government.” All of which is nonsense, of course. The only reason a government shutdown ever comes into play is that Obama threatens to take his ball and go home whenever he doesn’t get what he wants, and the media figures that because Republicans know Obama will do that, they’re the ones shutting down the government if they don’t keep the king happy.

It’s mind-blowingly absurd, but it works because we don’t have a Speaker who knows how to fight the battle – or even wants to. Mark Meadows isn’t going to get Boehner removed via this resolution alone, but if he uses the attention he gets by doing this to publicly make the case that the House needs a real leader, and why, he just might set a dynamic in motion that would put Boehner in a position where he has to step aside.

Then, of course, we’d need a majority of House Republicans getting behind someone who not only is willing to really fight – but actually knows how to do so. You tell me: Who is that guy?

McConnell’s vision of ‘governing’ drags GOP astray

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BY TIMOTHY P. CARNEY

The Export-Import Bank is in liquidation. A majority of Republican Senators want to keep it that way — the chairman of the Banking Committee included. Every serious and semi-serious GOP presidential candidate agrees. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agrees.

So why did McConnell use a heavy parliamentary hand to give President Obama his demand — that a bill restarting the export-subsidy agency be inserted into an unrelated highway bill?

For conservative hill staffers and activists, McConnell’s actions are just one more sell-out — one more time the majority leader has stuck it to conservatives and cut a deal with the enemy. McConnell’s maneuvers triggered a fire-spitting speech last Friday from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in which he blamed the leader for running a Senate that only listens to “the Washington cartel — the lobbyists on K Street, the big money and big corporations.”

Cruz’s speech triggered a barrage of spite towards McConnell, and revived complaints that McConnell’s main goal is to stick it to conservatives. While this demonology of McConnell satisfies and motivates the Tea Party, it misses a simpler — and thus likely better — way to understand McConnell.

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The key word, if you’re trying to understand McConnell’s conduct as majority leader is “governing.”

McConnell wants to prove that the Republican Party can govern. He believes, and wants to demonstrate, that Congressional dysfunction hasn’t been the fault of Congress as a whole, but the fault of Democrats — specifically, his predecessor as majority leader, Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Next fall, when Hillary Clinton and her proxies in the media point to government shutdowns to argue that Republicans aren’t mature enough be left in charge, McConnell wants to point to two legislative years full of accomplishments. Already, he boasts of passing a budget (something Harry Reid basically never did), an update of No Child Left Behind, Trade Promotion Authority and a permanent “doc fix.”

This week, McConnell is trying to add a long-term highway bill to that list of accomplishments. The White House, Senate Democrats, and some Boeing-state Republicans have told McConnell they’ll sink the highway bill if Ex-Im isn’t tacked on. McConnell wants a highway bill to pass more than he wants Ex-Im to stay dead, so he cleared a path for Ex-Im — even though it required Reid-like tactics of blocking other amendments.

Governing, in McConnell’s mind, also includes consensus building and fair play. So while filling the amendment tree on highways to protect Ex-Im isn’t quite fair play, the alternative would be blocking a vote on Ex-Im, although nearly two thirds of Senators want to revive the subsidy agency.

Finally, parties that can govern actually meet deadlines instead of repeatedly passing short-term patches. That’s why he prioritized a permanent doc fix, and that’s why he has been loath to pass the House’s short-term highway bill.

From a simply political perspective, there are reasons to question McConnell’s strategy. The electorate complains about dysfunctional Congress, but are they really going to reward a Congress that passes small-fry bills that most regular people will never hear about?

Then there’s the policy strategy: Can you possibly set the stage for an agenda of shrinking government by passing a bunch of bills that mostly increase government — restarting an expired subsidy agency, increasing Medicare spending and increasing federal spending and revenue through a highway bill?

Compromise is part of governing, McConnell will say when assailed by Tea Party critics, and conservatives need to be ready to give some in order to get some. But not everyone seems to be giving and getting equally in McConnell’s Senate.

Trade, Ex-Im, highway spending — these all happen to be the priorities of U.S. Chamber of Commerce and K Street lobbyists. When The Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed by two former Senate majority leaders praising McConnell for getting the Senate “functioning properly” it was noteworthy that the authors, Trent Lott and Bob Dole, are both K Street lobbyists.

One shouldn’t tag McConnell as an agent of K Street. It’s just that if a Republican sets out to be compromise-minded, to pass bills with bipartisan appeal, and to avoid ruffling feathers when possible, he’s apt to end up advancing the sort of big-business-big-government policies that corporate lobbyists want.

Cruz is right when he says Washington is a cartel enriching the insiders, but he goes overboard when he attacks McConnell’s motives as cronyist. It’s not a matter of a corrupt leader. It’s a matter of a corrupt system. K Street simply provides the path of least resistance for a leader trying to “get things done.”

And because McConnell is an old-breed Republican, he may not see the alternative that sits before him: dismantling the structure of special favors that Reid, Obama and Republicans of old have built for the insiders.

Put another way: You can build bipartisanship with Dan Coats and Mark Warner, or you can build bipartisanship with Ron Wyden and Pat Toomey. There’s bipartisan support for handouts, but there’s also bipartisan support for ending handouts.

If McConnell wants to run the Senate so as to earn the voting public’s trust, he needs to show that he doesn’t let K Street call the shots.

Step one would be standing with his party’s majority and its presidential field, and keeping the Export-Import Bank good and dead.

ISIS Plans Massive Attack in India and Provoke ‘End of the World’ – “Armageddon”, ‘apocalyptic confrontation’ with America

ByPAMELA GELLER on July 29, 2015
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A recruitment document has revealed the Islamic State’s (ISIS) “grand ambition” to ignite a war in India, build a new terror army in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and provoke an Armageddon-like “end of the world” situation.

The document also urges the world to ‘swallow the bitter truth’ that the caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire globe and beheads every last person who rebels against Allah.

Obama’s response? His Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson said — wait for it — that the government will call such attacks “violent extremism” over “Islamic terrorism” out of respect for the Muslim community. Jeh Johnson  announced this policy mandate at a national security conference on July 23.

Be afraid, my fellow Americans.

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“Why do you, and the Obama Administration, describe this as violent extremism and not – and refuse to use the phrase – Islamic extremism?”

Johnson responded, “I believe strongly – and I hear this over and over again from Muslim leaders in this country – that to refer to ISIL as ‘Islamic extremism’ concedes too much. It dignifies them as occupying some part of the Islamic faith, which is about peace.” Really, he pulled out that old line.

He further stated, “And so if you call it ‘Islamic anything,’ uh, we are dignifying this terrorist organization with occupying a part of the Islamic faith which Muslims in this country I know, push back very strongly on,” Johnson said. “So If I went into these [Muslim] communities calling it ‘Islamic extremism,’ I’d get nowhere.”

Lizza pushed back, “Isn’t the government denying the fundamental religious component of this kind of extremism by not using the word, ‘Islamic’?”

He added, “To some people, it sounds like political correctness.” To most people, really.

“I could not disagree more,” Johnson retorted.

Johnson then went on to state the alternative to identifying Islamic terror as Islamic:

“And so here domestically, I think it’s critical that in order to build our relationships and build our level of cooperation with the Islamic community here. Um, we have to say to them ‘Look, we understand that what this depraved terrorist organization is doing is no part of your religion.”

ISIS must be reeling at the Obama administration’s superior knowledge of Islam.

Boom.

A rose is not a rose and if you say it is a rose, you are a hater and a bigot.

“New ISIS document reveals ‘grand plan’ to wage war in India, trigger ‘Armageddon,’” Business Standard, July 29, 2015 (thanks to Narain):

A recruitment document retrieved from Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands has revealed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) ‘grand ambition’ to ignite a war in India, build a new terror army in and and provoke an Armageddon-like ‘end of the world’ situation.

The 32-page-document, titled ‘A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC),’ has been obtained by American Media Institute (AMI), and says that ‘The Caliphate, according to the Prophet’, seeks to unite various terror factions in Afghanistan and Pakistan into a single army, the Today reports.

The document, which highlights a ‘never-before-seen’ history of the ISIS, describes future battle plans and urges Al Qaeda to join the group. It says that the self-styled Islamic State leader should be recognised as the sole ruler of the world’s one billion-strong Muslim population under a religious empire called, ‘caliphate’.

It also warns that ‘preparations’ are on for an attack in and predicts that an attack will provoke an ‘apocalyptic confrontation’ with America.

The document also urges the world to ‘swallow the bitter truth’ that the caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire globe and beheads every last person who rebels against Allah.

U.S. officials are concerned about the recruiting efforts of the ISIS, as the group has stepped up its online outreach.

Confronted with efforts by the Islamic State to inspire Americans to commit violence, the F.B.I. in recent months has apprehended people suspected of being Islamic State sympathizers soon after they came onto the government’s radar.

The F.B.I. has arrested and charged at least 25 people in the past three months with having ties to the Islamic State or other terrorist groups, compared with 20 people arrested over the previous year, according to court records.

The revelation came after former Punjab DGP K P S Gill claimed that the terror attack that took place in Gurdaspur, Punjab recently was carried out under the umbrella of the ISIS.

At least six people were killed and nine injured after three terrorists, who were armed with mortars and night-vision devices, apart from AK-47s, crossed the Ravi on the border and came to Dinanagar by taking the route to the railway track.

The GPS devices showed they were activated at Talwandi Point in Gurdaspur’s Parmanand village and their next target was civil lines in Gurdaspur town, around 25 km from Dinanagar.

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/07/isis-plans-massive-attack-in-india-and-provoke-end-of-the-world-armageddon-apocalyptic-confrontation-with-america.html/#sthash.7QI6y8Nd.dpuf

AS SENATE MOVES TO DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD, ‘SPONSORS’ SCRAMBLE TO DISASSOCIATE FROM ABORTIONISTS

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Companies say they never gave money to organisation

BY STEVE WATSON

Republicans in the Senate are moving swiftly forward with plans to defund Planned Parenthood as gruesome videos exposing the organisation’s involvement in fetal organ harvesting continue to emerge.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has appointed Sen. Joni Ernst to head up a group who will have the responsibility “to craft a measure to deal with these horrendous videos.”

Ernst has previously been targeted by Planned Parenthood, which conducted a $500,000 smear campaignlast year during the mid term elections to publicise Ernst’s opposition to abortion.

The group, which includes Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) who have already introduced legislation to defund the ‘non-profit’ organisation, met yesterday afternoon to discuss the way forward.

“It’s our plan to have a vote on proceeding to a measure that they support sometime before we break for the August recess,” McConnell announced.

Responding to the announcement over the upcoming defunding vote, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid responded bluntly “Good luck with that.”

After the meeting, Rand Paul, accompanied by Sen. Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson, attended an anti-abortion rally in Washington D.C.

They called for a criminal investigation to be opened, including looking into local Planned Parenthood affiliates, as well as congressional hearings.

“When we see the truth, after the time for truth comes a time for action,” Cruz said. “Today is the time for action. Today, the U.S. Department of Justice should open a criminal investigation into…whether Planned Parenthood nationally is a criminal enterprise breaking the law.”

“When you have multiple individuals caught on tape apparently admitting to multiple felonies that carry with them long jail times, justice must be served,” Cruz added.

Rand Paul vowed to defund the organisation, and also noted that Hillary Clinton has received donations from Planned Parenthood toward her presidential campaign.

“This callous disregard expressed over wine and cheese should…infuriate us all,” Paul urged. “We should stop once and for all any penny of money going to Planned Parenthood. And I’m calling today for Hillary Clinton to return the money she’s been receiving from Planned Parenthood officials. The time is now to take a stand.”

Meanwhile, a host of companies have attempted to distance themselves from the abortion providers, with some even claiming that they have never donated or sponsored Planned Parenthood, despite being listed on the organisation’s website as having done so.

As reported by Breitbart, Planned Parenthood had published the company names on the website of its Washington, DC, chapter, claiming that companies such as American Express, Microsoft and Verizon were donators, or had a policy of matching charitable contributions to Planned Parenthood from employees.

However, when Coca-Cola became the third corporation to ask to be taken off the list, Planned Parenthood took it down altogether. A similar list on the national PP website now leads to a 404 page.

Xerox and Ford Motor Company had also demanded their names be removed. “We have never been a donor to Planned Parenthood,” a spokeswoman for Ford Motor Company told FoxNews.com. “And we haven’t matched employee contributions since 2005.”

Vulture funds demand brutal austerity measures from bankrupt Puerto Rico

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A group of hedge funds that hold a large proportion of Puerto Rico’s debt have demanded that its government fires teachers, collects more taxes and reforms labor laws, as the US territory contemplates default.

The demand was stated in a report written by three economists with strong links to the International Monetary Fund and was commissioned by the Ad Hoc Group of Puerto Rico, which comprises 34 hedge funds. The financial organizations specialize in buying “distressed debt” – finances owed by borrowers who have no capacity to pay – for pennies on the dollar, and then attempting to extract at least some of the money. Known by the derogatory monicker “vulture funds,” many of the 34 funds were involved in prominent bankruptcies during the 2008 financial crisis, and previous national defaults.

Together they are owed $5.2 billion in bonds issued by the Caribbean island, which belongs to the US, but is not considered a part of it. Last month, Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the island’s $72 billion overall debt was “unpayable.”

But the authors of the report say Puerto Rico “can avoid a costly default” and “generate a growing surplus” through revenue increases that can bring in $3 billion a year by 2020, and expense cuts that can lop off $2 billion from the budget by the same date.

The authors accused the island, where an estimated 56 percent of children live in poverty, of spending too much on education, while the government has already closed down almost 100 schools so far this year.

Among the suggested measures are “reducing the number of teachers to fit the size of the student population” and cutting“subsidy to University of Puerto Rico” as well as “excess Medicaid benefits.”

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Puerto Rico spends about 80 percent of the US average on education, despite having a median household income at one-third of that in the mainland. Meanwhile, it suffers from some of the lowest graduation rates, and performance scores of all the US states and territories.

“The real expense per student has increased enormously without increasing the quality of education. It’s for the government to decide how much to cut spending by, but you don’t want to waste government resources. There has to be efficiencies. It is more important to establish a position for growth,” Jose Fajgenbaum, one of the authors of the report, told The Guardian.

The authors also advocate an increase in one of the lowest income tax rates in the world – 4 percent – and bigger property taxes.

Local officials, who are pushing for a bailout from Washington, or renegotiated terms with creditors, dismissed the report.

“The simple fact remains that extreme austerity is not a viable solution for an economy already on its knees,” Víctor Suárez, chief of staff to the governor, said in a statement.

Luis Gallardo, majority municipal legislator for Aguas Buenas, a rural city on the island, told the Guardian it was a “typically IMF recipe” that ignores the problems of the local population.

The island suffers from a brain drain – with the seventh-fastest speed of population decline of any territory in the world last year, and one of the highest violent crime rates in the region.

A decision on the financial future of Puerto Rico is expected to be announced in the coming days.

Report: Iran Executes Almost 700 People in Six Months, Obama Yells at Kenya About Gay Marriage

ByPAMELA GELLER on July 28, 2015
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The depth and breadth of Obama’s duplicitous hypocrisy is without equal. While our “Kenya-American” president excoriated our ally Kenya on the world stage about gay marriage, he remains monstrously silent about the treatment of gays under Islamic law (forget gay marriage in Muslim countries, just being gay will get you killed).

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Obama felt safe to abuse and attack a country that worships him. How brave of him to attack our key ally in the region — one under siege by Islamic groups (he didn’t talk about jihad, either).

Obama pontificated:

As an African-American in the United States, I am painfully aware of the history of what happens when people are treated differently, under the law, and there were all sorts of rationalizations that were provided by the power structure for decades in the United States for segregation and Jim Crow and slavery, and they were wrong.

You can always count on Obama to dredge up America’s worst moments in front of the world. It’s evil.

Kenyan President Kenyatta gave President Obama a big boy reality check. He said that Kenya has many more problems to focus on, and that the West should be helping them on issues related to equality for women, water sanitation, and economic growth before attacking laws that many Kenyans view as an important safeguard of their culture.

Why didn’t Obama bring up gay rights in the Iranian negotiations? They are executing gays at an unprecedented rate. Why hasn’t Obama ever raised the issue of gay rights about gays who live in Muslim countries under the sharia (Islamic law)? Muslims are throwing gays off the roof and Obama is beating up our allies over gay marriage? Gay activists in Iran estimate that thousands of gays have been executed by Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. Most victims of capital punishment are executed via hanging.

Why give a country that executes its own people and threatens annihilation to its neighbors nuclear weapons, while insulting our ally over the sanctity of gay marriage?

Report: Iran Executes Almost 700 People in Six Months, By Mary Chastain, Breitbart, July 24, 2015

Amnesty International’s latest report on Iran states the regime executed 694 people between January 1 and July 15. This means the country averages at least three executions a day.

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“Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,” explained Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. “If Iran’s authorities maintain this horrifying execution rate we are likely to see more than 1,000 state-sanctioned deaths by the year’s end.”

The organization rallies against the death penalty, but they keep a very close eye on Iran’s executions. Amnesty claims the death sentences “are invariably imposed by courts that are completely lacking in independence and impartiality.” These suspects do not receive fair trials or access to proper defense attorneys. They are also shocked that some offenses are criminal within the regime, “let alone attract the death penalty.”

Courts found the majority of the executed guilty of drug offenses. A new law allows the death penalty for numerous drug charges, “including trafficking more than 5kg of narcotics derived from opium or more than 30g of heroin, morphine, cocaine or their chemical derivatives.” Amnesty found no evidence that a death penalty sentence lowers drug use or trafficking. In fact, despite the harsh new law, “methamphetamine production and abuse of hard drugs are skyrocketing.” Officials say at least 2.2 million Iranians are addicted to drugs. Only 1.3 million are in a rehabilitation program.

Iran hanged eleven prisoners a day before Amnesty released their report. Ten prisoners lost their lives at the Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, while another died at the Esfaham prison. The regime executed 65 people in one week during April.

From the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI):

In the past week (from April 12 to 18), henchmen hanged at least 65 prisoners. Forty-five of these have been executed just in Karaj City prisons. On April 13, eight prisoners were hanged in Karaj’s Central Prison while 13 other prisoners were executed in Ghezel Hessar Prison. On the next day, 19 prisoners were hanged in Gohardasht Prison. And on April 15, henchmen hanged five prisoners in Gohardasht. Among those executed was Javad Saberi, a juvenile at the time of his arrest.

During this period, one prisoner was hanged on April 12 in Mehriz (Yazd Province), eight prisoners were hanged on April 12 and 15 in Arak, three were hanged on April 14 and 15 in Shiraz, four prisoners were hanged on April 13 in Esfahan, and four were hanged in Zahedan on April 18. Two of those executions, in Mehriz and in Shiraz, were public hangings.

The holy month of Ramadan did not stop Iran from executing or severely punishing people. At leastten people lost their lives during the month. NCRIreported the regime flogged 900 people for not fasting during Ramadan. That number includes young children and women. Another 3,000 received warnings.

The regime added more torture practices on political prisoners, because fasting keeps them extremely weak. “Prisoners are constantly experiencing symptoms of dryness of mucus, muscle pains, severe headaches, blurry vision, vomiting and numbness,” they state.

Officials cut off water to Varamin’s Qarchak Prison for women if they do not observe Ramadan. Police tortured and raped numerous women in this prison during the 2009 uprising. Prison officials told guards “to flog women who eat or drink during fasting hours.” But the regime also performed more executions during the holy month. On June 18, NCRI said the government readied 22 prisoners for death and issued ten more death verdicts.

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/07/report-iran-executes-almost-700-people-in-six-months-obama-yells-at-kenya-about-gay-rights.html/#sthash.Hg4vK8pH.dpuf