Conservatives Shouldn’t Look Up to Joe Arpaio

 

Joe Arpaio was my sheriff for 23 years. His predecessors were ineffective and mildly corrupt, so Maricopa County voters embraced the tough-talking, no-nonsense lawman. And he started out pretty well. Sure, there was the shticky pink underwear, tent city, and constant media stunts, but it finally seemed like a dedicated sheriff was at the helm.

But power tends to corrupt. Arpaio started focusing more on media appearances than law enforcement. Scandals started popping up. The headline-grabbing antics got more bizarre. And a man who seemed to many like a conservative stalwart devolved into anything but. I wrote about the ex-sheriff for Monday’s USA Today. Here’s a preview:

During one three-year period, his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office didn’t properly investigate more than 400 alleged sex crimes, many of them involving child molestation.

In all, the department improperly cleared as many as 75% of cases without arrest or investigation, a fact outlined in a scathing report by the conservative Goldwater Institute.

When local journalists delved into Arpaio’s dealings, he had them arrested, a move that ultimately cost taxpayers $3.75 million. We paid $3.5 million more after the sheriff wrongfully arrested a county supervisor who had been critical of him.

About the same time, Arpaio sought charges against another supervisor, a county board member, the school superintendent, four Superior Court Judges and several county employees. All of these were cleared by the courts and also resulted in hefty taxpayer-funded settlements for his targets.

As a U.S. District Court judge presided over a civil contempt hearing, Arpaio’s attorney hired a private detective to investigate the judge’s wife.

On the pretext of going after an alleged cache of illegal weapons, a Maricopa SWAT team burned down an upscale suburban Phoenix home and killed the occupants’ 10-month-old dog. There were no illegal arms, so they arrested the resident on traffic citations.

Arpaio’s staff concocted an imaginary assassination attempt on the sheriff, presumably for news coverage. Taxpayers had to pay the framed defendant $1.1 million after he was found not guilty.

The sheriff’s department misspent $100 million on the sheriff’s pet projects, and wasted up to $200 million in taxpayer money on lawsuits. Yet he still found money to send a deputy to Hawaii to look for President Obama’s birth certificate.

I would have included more examples, but for the strict word limit. Still, this should give conservatives around the nation a better idea of Arpaio’s actual record, instead of the character they see in the media.

I was similarly harsh on the local NBC affiliate’s public affairs show this morning:

The purpose of my article and interview was to correct the record on who Arpaio actually is. He was an authoritarian who routinely used his office to punish legal citizens, repeatedly violate constitutional restrictions, and mock the very concept of limited government.

Perhaps even worse, illegal immigration and the crime rate in Maricopa County remained commensurate with all the surrounding counties. His image as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” did nothing to better protect our borders or stop criminals from plying their trade.

Sheriff Joe was never a conservative; he just played one on TV.

Published in Law, Policing, Politics
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There are 114 comments.

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  1. Member

    Played one on TV…?

    That is what real conservatives are. Everyone else is an establishment cuck too worried about their cocktail parties and pleasing the media elite.

    Joe Arpio made the Democrats angry, and that makes him the truest conservative there is. Because conservatism is just about sticking our finger in the eye of Democrats. Trump is a brave and good man for pardoning him, because his pardon makes all the right people angry. If some people’s precious “rights” have to be violated to stop illegal immigrants then that is what has to happen. If you say his tactics did nothing, that is fake news.

    It’s either this or Hillary!

    • #1
    • August 27, 2017 at 6:38 pm
    • 23 likes
  2. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Played one on TV…?

    That is what real conservatives are. Everyone else is an establishment cuck too worried about their cocktail parties and pleasing the media elite.

    Joe Arpio made the Democrats angry, and that makes him the truest conservative there is. Because conservatism is just about sticking our finger in the eye of Democrats. Trump is a brave and good man for pardoning him, because his pardon makes all the right people angry. If some people’s precious “rights” have to be violated to stop illegal immigrants then that is what has to happen. If you say his tactics did nothing, that is fake news.

    It’s either this or Hillary!

    Well I’m certainly not going to be the one that takes this seriously.

    :) FIFY.

    • #2
    • August 27, 2017 at 6:47 pm
    • 5 likes
  3. Member

    Yep, nailed it. Remember how much we used to love Michael Steele? How about the first year of Chris Christie? Same deal with Arpaio. He sounded great at first, then he became a jerk.

    That’s human nature. Conservatives and conservative-ish people are not immune.

    • #3
    • August 27, 2017 at 6:48 pm
    • 20 likes
  4. Inactive

    We should all aspire to have a public service record even close to his. He was trying to abide by our laws and was put up for sacrifice as Un-PC. He’s 85 and has a life history of true public service.

    He’s not Marc Rich, or anyone close to that level of crook. He’s a patriot. Remember what that is?

    Back off. Too harsh, I think.

    • #4
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:05 pm
    • 4 likes
  5. Inactive

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Yep, nailed it. Remember how much we used to love Michael Steele? How about the first year of Chris Christie? Same deal with Arpaio. He sounded great at first, then he became a jerk.

    That’s human nature. Conservatives and conservative-ish people are not immune.

    Maybe, just maybe, you’ve been taking in too much “news?”

    • #5
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:06 pm
    • 1 like
  6. Thatcher

    As I mentioned in your other Post (How many times have you posted this?) I understand you have issues, Jon. I mentioned there that you should get together some of your lawyer buddies and see if you can prosecute Arpaio based on the things you are claiming.

    But again, this has nothing to do with the Presidential Pardon. You can claim the “Al Capone Defense” that you’re happy they got him on something rather than nothing, but they didn’t “get him” for tax evasion. The Hard Left wanted revenge on him because he was the fly in the ointment that was making non-Leftists take a hard look at how bad Illegal Immigration had become in America. We began to realize that the old “11 million Illegals” number had been used for over 10 years and that number had doubled, maybe tripled. When you have an Illegals problem in New Jersey, for goodness’ sake, all America has a problem. The Left wanted to hide these facts from us, because these 20 or 30 million Illegals would soon become Democrat voters, if they played their cards right.

    That nuisance Sheriff Joe kept bringing it up, again and again. no matter how the Left tried to Alinsky him. Yeah he got popular, and the celebrity probably went to his head. But the basic fact remained that he was forcing America to talk about Illegal Immigration.

    The Left had to get him, and get him good. There had to be jail time so he would be discredited forever. They found a Leftist Judge with a bonus: She had been recommended by the Democrats, and W approved of it. So she was “appointed by President Bush” and nobody could call it an Obama plot. Perfect!

    President Obama had long since told ICE to stand down and not do their jobs; Arpaio did it anyway. The Leftist Judge told him to stand down; he refused. 20/20 perfect. A Judge appointed by President Bush ruled to put him in jail.

    As I said in your other Post (or maybe it was Peter’s Post on the same subject? You guys are tag-teaming us here on this) this is why we have Presidential Pardons. Not so a President can pardon a scofflaw who fled the country with the hope of sleeping with his wife; not so a President can win some Latino votes by pardoning terrorists, not so a President can secure the pothead vote by freeing some dope dealers. No, the Presidential Pardon is supposed to be used when someone is being politically persecuted for opposing the other side. This, of course, is my opinion on Presidential Pardons, and everyone is entitled to their own.

    The Pardon was used correctly in this instance, at possibly great political cost to our President. All you appear to be doing is using other things the Sheriff may or may not have done to bash our President for doing the right thing.

    • #6
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:18 pm
    • 18 likes
  7. Reagan

    Thank you speaking truth to power.

    • #7
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:21 pm
    • 4 likes
  8. Reagan

    It would behoove all those who praise Arpaio to look at his actual record, ethics and character.

    Of course if 2016 showed us anything, it showed us that there is a significant faction of conservatives who care about nothing so long as the person annoys the right people and is willing to arrest all the Mexicans.

    • #8
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:26 pm
    • 18 likes
  9. Reagan

    Trinity Waters (View Comment):
    We should all aspire to have a public service record even close to his. He was trying to abide by our laws and was put up for sacrifice as Un-PC. He’s 85 and has a life history of true public service.

    He’s not Marc Rich, or anyone close to that level of crook. He’s a patriot. Remember what that is?

    Back off.

    There is not a single thing in his record as outlined by Jon that gives you pause?

    • #9
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:28 pm
    • 12 likes
  10. Member

    “Conservatives Shouldn’t Look Up to Joe Arpaio”

    Who should conservatives look up to?

    Luis Gutierrez’s friend Republican Speaker Paul Ryan who has a two-decade long history of pushing for open borders and non-assimilation including refusal to support California Proposition 187 back in 1994 which had 59% support even in liberal California?

    We’d probably have President Marco Rubio right now if the Republican Party hadn’t spent decades abandoning the issue of law enforcement by favoring Democrat lobbyists and crooked, greedy businesses over actual taxpaying and voting citizens and those American families trapped in generational poverty.

    • #10
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:43 pm
    • 8 likes
  11. Coolidge

    Jon, all of the things you say may be 100% correct, but that doesn’t make the pardon wrong. He was neither charged with nor pardoned for corruption. He’s being pardoned for disobeying an order from an activist judge; the rest of his record doesn’t enter into it.

    • #11
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:43 pm
    • 19 likes
  12. Member

    Good luck Jon, if Trump likes him, or Sean Hannity likes him then no matter what Sheriff Joe has done, or hasn’t done he is still the top candidate for the Law Enforcement Hall of Fame. I read a Goldwater Institute report on the failure of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office to distribute warrants to other police agencies in Maricopa County, as well as to Maricopa County deputies.

    Then there is the raid on the Mesa city hall and library to snare illegals on the night cleaning crew. The Mesa City police department was never notified that the raid was going to take place. It was a big success, it netted three illegals, with enough deputies and posse members to take over a small Latin American country. When the police chief of Mesa complained that they were not notified, what a whiner, Sheriff Joe’s response was basically I can do what I want to do.

    Back to the failure to have a coherent warrant distribution policy, that means that felons were not arrested unless they were caught committing another crime. There was no proactive policy to try and find felons before they committed more crimes.

    Like I say Jon, good luck. Facts will not matter.

    • #12
    • August 27, 2017 at 7:53 pm
    • 10 likes
  13. Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Yep, nailed it. Remember how much we used to love Michael Steele? How about the first year of Chris Christie? Same deal with Arpaio. He sounded great at first, then he became a jerk.

    That’s human nature. Conservatives and conservative-ish people are not immune.

    You are being too generous by assuming that they became jerks, as opposed to always having been jerks.

    • #13
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:05 pm
    • 8 likes
  14. Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Played one on TV…?

    That is what real conservatives are. Everyone else is an establishment cuck too worried about their cocktail parties and pleasing the media elite.

    Joe Arpio made the Democrats angry, and that makes him the truest conservative there is. Because conservatism is just about sticking our finger in the eye of Democrats. Trump is a brave and good man for pardoning him, because his pardon makes all the right people angry. If some people’s precious “rights” have to be violated to stop illegal immigrants then that is what has to happen. If you say his tactics did nothing, that is fake news.

    It’s either this or Hillary!

    Well I’m certainly not going to be the one that takes this seriously.

    ? FIFY.

    @valiuth‘s comment is an excellent parody of those who are attempting to justify President Trump’s action. Violating the law is not justified simply because President Obama is not enforcing the immigration law.

    • #14
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:06 pm
    • 4 likes
  15. Member

    @jongabriel Thanks very much for shedding light on Sheriff Arpaio’s real record.

    • #15
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:09 pm
    • 5 likes
  16. Reagan

    Umbra Australis (umbrafractus) (View Comment):
    Jon, all of the things you say may be 100% correct, but that doesn’t make the pardon wrong. He was neither charged with nor pardoned for corruption. He’s being pardoned for disobeying an order from an activist judge; the rest of his record doesn’t enter into it.

    Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion. That doesn’t mean that Capone was innocent of his crimes. Tax evasion was the easiest crimes to prosecute.

    • #16
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:10 pm
    • 6 likes
  17. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Trinity Waters (View Comment):

    Back off.

    No thank you.

    • #17
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:11 pm
    • 23 likes
  18. Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):
    It would behoove all those who praise Arpaio to look at his actual record, ethics and character.

    Of course if 2016 showed us anything, it showed us that there is a significant faction of conservatives who care about nothing so long as the person annoys the right people and is willing to arrest all the Mexicans.

    You mean “willing to say they will arrest all the Mexicans.”

    One of the oldest criticisms of politicians, especially Congressmen, is that they equated passing legislation with accomplishments, as opposed to whatever the results of the implementation of the legislation were. Now, you don’t even need to pass legislation; all that is required is to reflect people’s beliefs back at them through the television and that is considered as unassailable progress by at least 30% of voters.

    • #18
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:13 pm
    • 7 likes
  19. Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Umbra Australis (umbrafractus) (View Comment):
    Jon, all of the things you say may be 100% correct, but that doesn’t make the pardon wrong. He was neither charged with nor pardoned for corruption. He’s being pardoned for disobeying an order from an activist judge; the rest of his record doesn’t enter into it.

    Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion. That doesn’t mean that Capone was innocent of his crimes. Tax evasion was the easiest crimes to prosecute.

    And Arpaio was convicted of a misdemeanor–criminal contempt, without a jury trial. That has exactly what to do with Al Capone?

    • #19
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:15 pm
    • 8 likes
  20. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Then there is the raid on the Mesa city hall and library to snare illegals on the night cleaning crew. The Mesa City police department was never notified that the raid was going to take place. It was a big success, it netted three illegals, with enough deputies and posse members to take over a small Latin American country. When the police chief of Mesa complained that they were not notified, what a whiner, Sheriff Joe’s response was basically I can do what I want to do.

    Yes, I remember that well since it was in my town. The mayor of Mesa had criticized the sheriff, so Arpaio essentially occupied downtown, raided the library and City Hall itself. Conservatism in action.

    • #20
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:15 pm
    • 10 likes
  21. Reagan

    Umbra Australis (umbrafractus) (View Comment):
    Jon, all of the things you say may be 100% correct, but that doesn’t make the pardon wrong. He was neither charged with nor pardoned for corruption. He’s being pardoned for disobeying an order from an activist judge; the rest of his record doesn’t enter into it.

    Unfortunately that was the law, and a sheriff in Maricopa County doesn’t get to override the federal government on a matter of federal law. It sucks that Obama wouldn’t enforce it, but it wasn’t up to Sheriff Joe.

    • #21
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:21 pm
    • 6 likes
  22. Reagan

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Then there is the raid on the Mesa city hall and library to snare illegals on the night cleaning crew. The Mesa City police department was never notified that the raid was going to take place. It was a big success, it netted three illegals, with enough deputies and posse members to take over a small Latin American country. When the police chief of Mesa complained that they were not notified, what a whiner, Sheriff Joe’s response was basically I can do what I want to do.

    Yes, I remember that well since it was in my town. The mayor of Mesa had criticized the sheriff, so Arpaio essentially occupied downtown, raided the library and City Hall itself. Conservatism in action.

    Joe Arpaio is exactly the sort of authoritarian thug that conservatives and other small government advocates are supposed to fear. Alas…

    • #22
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:23 pm
    • 10 likes
  23. Thatcher

    Jon, can you shed a little local light for me. I’ve had no luck in two other threads (probably my own fault) so why not consult the source.

    Arpaio has enjoyed overwhelming support from Maricopa Republicans for 25 years, often winning with 55-65% of the vote in a county where nearly 2/3rd of registered voters are not Republicans.

    Which means he’s enjoyed 90% support of Maricopa Republicans for 25 years (unless there is a different form of Maricopa math). Not one flukey election based on inflamed passions against a carnival barker leftist. He’s won six nominations and six general elections in a county and state which have not been bereft of tactical moderate Democrats.

    Ninety percent support for a quarter century for a racist, corrupt, paranoid, incompetent disgrace who indulges mass molestation and wholesale denial of basic liberties.

    Why? What are you implying about Maricopa Republicans.

    More simply why are you so right and why have they been so deeply wrong (ethical and morally deformed really if you are correct) for a quarter century?

    Think maybe you are overstating your case for effect?

    Please let me have it with insight because this one seems very difficult to square.

    • #23
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:24 pm
    • 14 likes
  24. Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Then there is the raid on the Mesa city hall and library to snare illegals on the night cleaning crew. The Mesa City police department was never notified that the raid was going to take place. It was a big success, it netted three illegals, with enough deputies and posse members to take over a small Latin American country. When the police chief of Mesa complained that they were not notified, what a whiner, Sheriff Joe’s response was basically I can do what I want to do.

    Yes, I remember that well since it was in my town. The mayor of Mesa had criticized the sheriff, so Arpaio essentially occupied downtown, raided the library and City Hall itself. Conservatism in action.

    Joe Arpaio is exactly the sort of authoritarian thug that conservatives and other small government advocates are supposed to fear. Alas…

    Perhaps one’s perception of authoritarian thuggery is shaded by one’s perception of whether immigration laws matter or are really just an authoritarian nuisance to be ignored by those charged with their enforcement.

    • #24
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:33 pm
    • 9 likes
  25. Reagan

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Then there is the raid on the Mesa city hall and library to snare illegals on the night cleaning crew. The Mesa City police department was never notified that the raid was going to take place. It was a big success, it netted three illegals, with enough deputies and posse members to take over a small Latin American country. When the police chief of Mesa complained that they were not notified, what a whiner, Sheriff Joe’s response was basically I can do what I want to do.

    Yes, I remember that well since it was in my town. The mayor of Mesa had criticized the sheriff, so Arpaio essentially occupied downtown, raided the library and City Hall itself. Conservatism in action.

    Joe Arpaio is exactly the sort of authoritarian thug that conservatives and other small government advocates are supposed to fear. Alas…

    Perhaps one’s perception of authoritarian thuggery is shaded by one’s perception of whether immigration laws matter or are really just an authoritarian nuisance to be ignored by those charged with their enforcement.

    If Arpaios wins were limited to enforcing immigration laws the feds wouldn’t this post wouldn’t exist. That said – it’s not up to county sheriffs to decide what federal laws are enforced – or sucks that Obama wouldn’t enforce the law, but a sheriff doesn’t get to defy it.

    • #25
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:44 pm
    • 4 likes
  26. Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Joe Arpaio is exactly the sort of authoritarian thug that conservatives and other small government advocates are supposed to fear. Alas…

    Perhaps one’s perception of authoritarian thuggery is shaded by one’s perception of whether immigration laws matter or are really just an authoritarian nuisance to be ignored by those charged with their enforcement.

    If Arpaios wins were limited to enforcing immigration laws the feds wouldn’t this post wouldn’t exist. That said – it’s not up to county sheriffs to decide what federal laws are enforced – or sucks that Obama wouldn’t enforce the law, but a sheriff doesn’t get to defy it.

    I didn’t say I agreed with Arpaio’s actions. I said that whether one buys into calling him an “authoritarian thug” is likely dependent on the respect one has for immigration enforcement.

    • #26
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:52 pm
    • 4 likes
  27. Reagan

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Joe Arpaio is exactly the sort of authoritarian thug that conservatives and other small government advocates are supposed to fear. Alas…

    Perhaps one’s perception of authoritarian thuggery is shaded by one’s perception of whether immigration laws matter or are really just an authoritarian nuisance to be ignored by those charged with their enforcement.

    If Arpaios wins were limited to enforcing immigration laws the feds wouldn’t this post wouldn’t exist. That said – it’s not up to county sheriffs to decide what federal laws are enforced – or sucks that Obama wouldn’t enforce the law, but a sheriff doesn’t get to defy it.

    I didn’t say I agreed with Arpaio’s actions. I said that whether one buys into calling him an “authoritarian thug” is likely dependent on the respect one has for immigration enforcement.

    That’s a rather sad commentary on your fellow conservatives. What wouldn’t they countance in the name of slightly better border enforcement.

    • #27
    • August 27, 2017 at 8:57 pm
    • 2 likes
  28. Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Joe Arpaio is exactly the sort of authoritarian thug that conservatives and other small government advocates are supposed to fear. Alas…

    Perhaps one’s perception of authoritarian thuggery is shaded by one’s perception of whether immigration laws matter or are really just an authoritarian nuisance to be ignored by those charged with their enforcement.

    If Arpaios wins were limited to enforcing immigration laws the feds wouldn’t this post wouldn’t exist. That said – it’s not up to county sheriffs to decide what federal laws are enforced – or sucks that Obama wouldn’t enforce the law, but a sheriff doesn’t get to defy it.

    I didn’t say I agreed with Arpaio’s actions. I said that whether one buys into calling him an “authoritarian thug” is likely dependent on the respect one has for immigration enforcement.

    That’s a rather sad commentary on your fellow conservatives. What wouldn’t they countance in the name of slightly better border enforcement.

    I would prefer that no one judge my “fellow conservatives” based on anything I have to say. In any event, one can refuse to countenance Arpaio’s actions and still question the use of hyperbole like “authoritarian thug.” One might almost think that’s an audition for a column in Reason.

    • #28
    • August 27, 2017 at 9:05 pm
    • 5 likes
  29. Member

    It doesn’t help that there are only three counties larger than Maricopa County.

    Actually it might be #3 since Houston is now underwater. #2 Cook is supposedly about at corrupt and anti-Republican as a county can get. I haven’t heard good things about #1 Los Angeles County and isn’t unified dis-unified school district either.

    And somehow in all of this mess did Joe Arpaio actually got elected and re-elected. It seems to me that this is a miracle only equivalent to Rudy Giuliani getting elected as mayor of semi-dystopian New York City.

    Over 4.2 million people in one county! That’s kind of insane. Several of the counties where I live are luckily if they have more than one stoplight.

    It’s very difficult to hold multi-ethnic societies together. White flight and permanent Democrat Party control can happen in the blink of an eye. Take a look at London, Western Europe, Houston, Kansas City. It’s a great marketing tool to bring the Olympics to your city, but… The days of Sheriff Joe Arpaio could easily be viewed as the good old days.

    • #29
    • August 27, 2017 at 9:07 pm
    • 2 likes
  30. Thatcher

    I guess my post was TL;DR. Let me put it another way.

    Arpaio is arrested for murder, and sentenced to the Electric Chair. While on Death Row, it is discovered he was dealing heroin years ago.

    While on his way to the Chair, it is proven with DNA evidence that he did not murder anyone.

    You people, including you, Jon, say “Go ahead and execute him anyway! He’s a drug dealer! Don’t bother with a new trial!”

    You are all saying that you don’t care why he was Pardoned. He might be guilty of something else, so Trump should have executed him.

    You are now willing to ignore the rule of Law, the foundation of this country, because you Hate Trump.

    This is what you have become.

    • #30
    • August 27, 2017 at 9:11 pm
    • 15 likes
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