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Author Topic: The Internet is Forever
verb
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quote:
I believe Pelosi to be a cackling maniac. Pure evil...and supporting unfettered abortion rights makes you just like the "doctors" who suck the baby out of the womb with a vacuum, then dispose of it in the trash. There is NO difference...

...

It was about "the Church" actually being "Christian" and not just judging women as they walked towards abortion clinics.

So, you lied to them about how you really see them.
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verb
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quote:
I do wonder what the absence of the clinic means for a community. Are there other services it provides that would be missed.
The answer to that questions is "Yes." The pro-life community doesn't care about those services, however.
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sheridan08
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I don't view women who are abortion-minded the same way I view Pelosi, or the "doctors" who perform abortions. So no Verb, I didn't "lie to them".

And yes, the Pro-life community does care about real health issues facing women. Gross generalizations Verb...way to come in 3 weeks after the discussion happened to stir the pot.

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roopsydaisy
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All these messages without animated gifs, you wipe the grin right off my face.

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verb
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quote:
And yes, the Pro-life community does care about real health issues facing women. Gross generalizations Verb...way to come in 3 weeks after the discussion happened to stir the pot.
It's what I do. ;-)

 -

In all seriousness, though, the Pro-Life movement has repeatedly demonstrated that it is less interested in preventing abortions than it is in preventing sinful sexual behavior. It has consistently demonstrated that it's happy to shut down womens' access to non-abortion-related health care services if it also results in reduced access to abortions. Pro-Life "clinics" admit in court that they don't provide medical help, they simply advise women not to get abortions. Spokespeople for the pro-life movement, and members repeatedly and consistently lie about organizations like Planned Parenthood, claiming that they are "primarily" providers of abortions, and claiming - falsely - that most women have other options for the non-abortion-related health services that Planned Parenthood provides.

Demonizing people who disagree with you, as you did earlier in your discussion of Pelosi, is all very gratifying. It doesn't help much in solving real problems, however.

People who are a part of that movement and claim to be "Anti-Abortion" need to understand that they are not helping to end abortion; they are helping maintain an ongoing campaign against sexual behaviors that are not consistent with mainstream Christian mores. They are supporting policies that actually harm women and increase the number of abortions and 'unwanted pregnancies.'

It's a profoundly counterproductive movement in love with its own piety.

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The Sasquatch
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If you believed that abortion was the taking of human life (murder), would you really give a rat's *** about the fact these places also provide other medical services?

You're essentially asking someone who believes that abortion is a violent act against another human being to look past that and look at all the good these places do.
I'm just trying to put this into perspective. It's as ridiculous a request as someone asking you to look past the fac that the US is torturing captives down at Club Gitmo just 'cause we're also getting a lot of valuable information that helps the guv'ment stop terrorism on our home soil.

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mphantm
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quote:
Originally posted by verb:
It's a profoundly counterproductive movement

Counterproductive in what sense? In that it results in more abortions?
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p e t e
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quote:
Originally posted by mphantm:
quote:
Originally posted by verb:
It's a profoundly counterproductive movement

Counterproductive in what sense? In that it results in more abortions?
Short answer, yes.

Long answer, it has two goals which work against each other (at least the way they pursue them).

1) Stop abortions.

2) Stop sex outside of marriage entirely.

If you only want to stop abortions, you would fully support easy and cheap access to birth control and sex education that emphasizes birth control in order to prevent pregnancies. But since a large part of the pro-life movement doesn't believe in sex outside of marriage, they don't support cheap and easy access to birth control and sex education that emphasizes birth control.

So they end up believing people shouldn't have sex outside of marriage, not helping them get access to birth control if they are going to anyway, and then telling them not to have an abortion.

Verb is arguing that by doing this they aren't preventing unplanned pregnancies which are the main cause of abortions because their method of prevention is unrealistic given pretty much any human society in history.

(p e t e)

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verb
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quote:
Counterproductive in what sense? In that it results in more abortions?
In the sense that the policies advocated by pro-life organizations result, demonstrably, in more premarital sex, more unintended pregnancies and -- by extension -- more abortions.

After spending a long time in the movement I came to the conclusion that pro-life organizations care less about reducing abortions than they do about displays of piety; for example, Pro-life organizations steadfastly refuse to promote contraceptives and insist on abstinence-only education despite predictable research demonstrating that it is actually worse than telling kids nothing: it results in the same amount of premarital sex, and less use of birth control.

I don't expect most of the people who self-identify in the pro life movement to agree with me, or agree with the basic point I'm making. Simply explaining why I feel that it's utterly counter-productive and hypocritical.


quote:
You're essentially asking someone who believes that abortion is a violent act against another human being to look past that and look at all the good these places do.
No, I'm saying that Pro-life organizations are lying, and they know it. If they genuinely believed that abortion was murder they would have no qualms about telling teenagers to use birth control rather than pretending to delay sexual activity. For that matter, they would would have far fewer qualms about assassinating doctors who perform abortions. If you knew that there was a building near your home where -- on average -- five people would be killed today, and your only response was to participate in a rally to encourage people NOT to kill those five people, I would call you a coward who values his own convenience more than others' lives.

I'm saying that pro-life organizations need to stop lying and pretend that they care about womens' health, or about preventing unplanned or dangerous pregnancies, when in fact they only care about preventing women who are already pregnant from getting abortions.

Instead, there is no interest in the social systems that make abortion as common as it is. There is active antagonism towards proven methods of actually reducing teen pregnancies (and, thus, abortions). There is utter disinterest in the medical needs of women who rely on Planned Parenthood necessary for non-abortion services.

I don't expect you to agree, I'm just explaining to you why I believe active members of the pro-life movement are hypocrites when they say that they care about womens' health, or anything other than preventing already-pregnant women from getting abortions.

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mphantm
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quote:
Originally posted by verb:
For that matter, they would would have far fewer qualms about assassinating doctors who perform abortions.

I think what you're hinting at is often referred to as the "paradox of deontology." I'll summarize. Suppose that somehow your violating a certain moral restriction (call it R) would result in there being fewer violations of R overall. According to many, it would still be wrong for you to violate R. As Nozick says, "if nonviolation of R is so important, shouldn't that be the goal? How can a concern for the nonviolation of R lead to the refusal to violate R even when this would prevent more extensive violations of R?"

I'm not familiar with any good response to the problem, but I do think that certain Christian ethical systems might be better suited to try.

That being said, throughout the thread there is also this talk of "counterproductive" or "pragmatic consequences." If the pro-life "movement" (I'll be frank, I think it's a bit silly to characterize the whole thing, but ok) is simply out to reduce the number of abortions, then perhaps it is counterproductive. And perhaps everything you've said is true.

However, what if that is not its intent (or at least, the intent of everyone who is "pro-life"--side point, the name doesn't help, since the best arguments against abortion don't even depend upon rights or personhood)? Consider this argument:
1) Abortion is immoral
2) Society has a right to pass judgment on matters of morals
3) Society has the right to use the weapon of the law to enforce such judgments
4) Therefore, abortion ought to be illegal.

Even if making abortion illegal resulted in more abortions that wouldn't appear to hurt my argument.

I'm not suggesting it's a good argument, mind you. Just noting other facets of conversation.

Also--again being frank--I think Sheridan was treated perhaps a little unfairly. At least, if this thread is examined in isolation from anything else he may have ever said.

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breezygirl
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quote:
Originally posted by p e t e:
If you only want to stop abortions, you would fully support easy and cheap access to birth control and sex education that emphasizes birth control in order to prevent pregnancies. But since a large part of the pro-life movement doesn't believe in sex outside of marriage, they don't support cheap and easy access to birth control and sex education that emphasizes birth control.

So they end up believing people shouldn't have sex outside of marriage, not helping them get access to birth control if they are going to anyway, and then telling them not to have an abortion.

(p e t e)

I have such a problem with this. I consider myself pro-life, and ideally would like abortion to be illegal. I think it's wrong. However, this idea that we can do this without educating people on healthy sexual choices and providing cheap/free easy access to birth control is essentially setting us up to fail. You cannot impose sexual behavior morality on everyone and pretend the problem doesn't exist. This is why I frequently do not vote for Republicans (although as an Independent I do occassionally, esp for local office) because of this incongruence.

I agree many -not all - of the Pro-Life movement is chiefly fixated with shutting down abortion clinics, but it's taboo to ever discuss contraceptive distribution because it would be morally wrong to "promote" sex outside of marriage. The thing is, the people having abortions - not all but I would venture to say most - are unmarried and having sex out of marriage anyway. YOu want to prevent abortion, you have to meet people where they are.

Given all this, families still have every right to teach their children what they want, instill values to keep sex for marriage and support church initiatives like True Love Waits (is that still around?). Just because I'm pro-contraceptive access does not mean I think teenagers should be having sex willy nilly.

To me this seems logical. Am I crazy? Why doesn't our political system seem to have anyone at all who believes in this mesh of ideas? SO FRUSTRATING!

quote:
Originally posted by verb:
If you knew that there was a building near your home where -- on average -- five people would be killed today, and your only response was to participate in a rally to encourage people NOT to kill those five people, I would call you a coward who values his own convenience more than others' lives.

I don't know if that's true; I think peaceful protest has its place. It's one way to show opposition. But for the larger anti-abortion movement, I think it's absolutely necessary to move beyond picketing and promote initiatives toward preventing pregnancy, like what I said earlier.

Or at the very least, offer tangible services to feed, clothe and assist in caring for the babies born to mothers who decide to keep the children. Reduced cost child care, free/reduced price clothing, food assistance. It's a long road. I'm not talking government welfare, I'm talking about the pro-life movement themselves working together with church communities to provide this. I've seen some small scale exapmples of this. It requires constant fundraising and donation requests. It's not easy work, but I believe it's necessary to change our outlook on the idea of unwanted children if we ever get to outlawing abortion.

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roopsydaisy
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mphantm
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I honestly have no idea what is depicted in your picture there.

Anyway ... curious what most people on here think about an estate tax?

I don't know if it is on any platforms, but it is certainly an interesting topic.

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verb
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I think there's an active discussion that can be had about what levels of estate taxation make sense/are acceptable. But I'm guessing that no one will be shocked by the fact that I find the estate tax (and income tax, and payroll tax, and other forms of taxation) philosophically unproblematic.

Taxes, like 'em or not, are the eating-our-vegetables part of having a functioning civilization. The primary objections appear to be that it's "double taxation" (so is sales tax; c'est la vie), and that it's somehow unamerican to tax inherited wealth (kind of ridiculous, as large gifts are taxed and even Adam Smith felt estates should be dissolved upon death). Quoth Smith: "A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural."

While Adam Smith's feelings on estate holdings are hardly an ironclad moral argument, it should give us pause that luminaries of capitalism and free markets saw estate taxation as a positive mechanism for preventing damaging market distortions.

Taxation isn't punishment; it's the price of having a functioning society where citizens are mutually interdependent, and the broad health and survival of everyone else directly affects my own success. "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required," and all that.

I feel that a lot of the difference in (heated) opinion boils down to empathetic versus aspirational tax philosophy in the US. Some people want those who are worse-off to have it easier -- both out of a desire for fairness, and because they have a "there but for the grace of God go I" attitude towards poverty and income disparity. Some people want those who are better-off to have it easier -- both out of a belief that the benefits will ultimately make their way down into the rest of the economy through spending, and because they hope to eventually be in that better-off position, and don't want to be "punished" by higher marginal tax rates if they are.

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verb
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quote:
I honestly have no idea what is depicted in your picture there.
Ì̮͉̬̲͙̯̻̐͂͊ͤͧ̋n͔̺͕̭͈̩̺̔̈́ͧͪ ͎͖͖̼̞̯͆ͩ̐͆͆͐ͭͣͅC̱͔̰̞̞͑̓̋ͤ͆ͧ̏͆t͙̙̫͖̲͙̥̂̏͗h̺͍ͯṵ̞̼͚̳̥̊̿&# 876;̋͛ͭͬ͋l̫̘̰̖̊ͣ̒ͨh̠̪̫͈̯̺̔̈́͑̎̀ͨͯ̋u̱̲͎͂ͤ̑ ̭̭̺̱̲̯ͤͯF͖̜̪̺̹̓͊ͪ̐ͤh̖͔̣̜̔ͫ̓̓̅͌͛̒t̗̱̩̤͓̑ͣͥ̒ͩ̚a̬̜ͬͪ̉ͪͥg̖& #841;͂͐̑n͕̪͎͇̠̗̫ͮ̈́ ͍͚͚̐ͫ̅̾͌̄ͥw̬̮̞͉̥̃͐͒̂͌̚e̪̖̖͑̋̆ͪ̀̃̚ ̦͔͎̜̤̣͓̊̍̈͑͌̍́t̗̺̏ͤ̽̿r̻ͬͮͬu̝͙͗ͪ̿s͚̪͇̝̲̭̼ͥͭ͋ͅt͈͇͒ͫ̍͋ͧ̅?̪ ͉̠̯̜̦̏̀
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mphantm
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quote:
Originally posted by verb:
Taxation isn't punishment; it's the price of having a functioning society where citizens are mutually interdependent, and the broad health and survival of everyone else directly affects my own success.

You're nearly begging the question here. [Wink]

Suppose that I thought taxation was theft? In that it is a violation of my natural rights. (In particular, my right to property).

Or, suppose I thought that taxation was tantamount to forced labor? (Essentially, I take it, this is the same point as above ... perhaps not).

Assuming that taxation is morally justifiable, in order to conclude that an estate tax is morally justifiable, ruins some of the fun, don't you think? [Razz]

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verb
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quote:
You're nearly begging the question here.
Hmmm. How so? Given the nature of your question, I just assumed that you accepted that some forms of taxation are acceptable, and that estate taxes in particular were being treated as a special case. If that's not the case, asking about estate taxes in particular seems a little odd.


quote:
Suppose that I thought taxation was theft? In that it is a violation of my natural rights. (In particular, my right to property).

Or, suppose I thought that taxation was tantamount to forced labor? (Essentially, I take it, this is the same point as above ... perhaps not).

I'd say that my natural right to liberty means that no one should be able to imprison me for a crime other than murder or theft. Depriving me of liberty for any other reason is morally unacceptable, and is tantamount to kidnapping.

Participation in modern civilization -- including working at a job in the legal economy, the use of US currency, driving on publicly constructed roads, etc -- is drinking from the well that's built and maintained by others. Paying taxes isn't required, it's just required if you take avantage of certain kinds of societal infrastructure. There's no need to pay taxes if you don't have a job or collect a salary, for example. You can find open land that doesn't belong to anyone else, stake your claim, and farm it. Grow what you need, don't exchange goods or services with those who are part of the public economy, and you're your own man.


quote:
Assuming that taxation is morally justifiable, in order to conclude that an estate tax is morally justifiable, ruins some of the fun, don't you think?
To make an apple pie, you must first create the universe. ;-)
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mphantm
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Well then I'd say you're almost right. Yet, you raise a separate issue. Namely, why is it alright to punish criminals when the criminals are most certainly being harmed? (If nothing else, as you say, they are deprived of their liberty).

As far as analogies go, I'm not sure it works. As you also noted, taxation isn't a punishment. That doesn't mean it isn't theft, though. I grant that we do have to pay taxes as a matter of practical necessity. However, our current tax system may be unjust (for that matter, paying taxes may be unjust).

I raise the issue because it's the only argument against an estate tax that I'm familiar with. Personally, I find the idea of an estate tax as a means of wealth redistribution very intriguing.

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verb
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quote:
As you also noted, taxation isn't a punishment. That doesn't mean it isn't theft, though. I grant that we do have to pay taxes as a matter of practical necessity. However, our current tax system may be unjust (for that matter, paying taxes may be unjust).
I'm curious how paying taxes versus collecting taxes might be unjust. I do agree with you though that a system can be unjust. The problem, of course, is agreeing on a definition of justice. Some would say that income inequality is unjust, while others would say that any form of wealth-confiscation is unjust.

The problem with the definition of taxation as theft is that it requires inventing a new and novel definition of the word "Theft." The plain and simple definition of the word makes it clear that legal systems like taxation don't really fit:

Theft) 1. the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.

Steal) 1. Take (another person's property) without permission or legal right.

In a world where taxation is a necessary process to maintain societal infrastructure, and well-defined laws govern how and when the taxes are collected, and not paying taxes is as simple as growing your own food and not participating in the economy, it's hard to see how any of the qualities of 'theft' apply. We could argue that the rates should be different or that the distribution is unfair, but especially in a democratic political system it's hard to make the case that taxation is illegal or wrongful or done without permission.

The only real non-circular way to maintain the theft objection is to redefine theft as "Someone taking something from me when I wish that they wouldn't." And by that definition, anyone who does business with me and demands payment is stealing from me, because I really wish they wouldn't demand payment.

quote:
I raise the issue because it's the only argument against an estate tax that I'm familiar with. Personally, I find the idea of an estate tax as a means of wealth redistribution very intriguing.
I'm familiar with a couple of different arguments, one of which is that it is a "double tax" -- an estate consists of income that has (in most cases) already been taxed. I consider that rather weak, as gifts over $10,000 have already been taxed; employers pay taxes on their corporate income before paying their employees; customers have already been taxed on their income before they spend it in stores and pay sales tax; and so on and so forth.

There's also the argument that estate taxes force families to break up family-owned farms, land, etc. to avoid crippling taxes when parents die. That strikes me as the downside of owning nothing but large, nonliquid assets. This, ultimately, is a sentimental argument. While there's nothing wrong with that, there are far more compelling sob stories to be found among the ranks of the destitute, where sickness and death are genuine dangers without a societal safety net, than there are in the ranks of the wealthy-who-must-sell-hard-assets-to-pay-bills.

At the end of the day, I can't find any arguments against the estate tax that aren't simply arguments against the concept of taxation. And the arguments against "all forms of taxation", are IMO at least, ultimately arguments against civilization.

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mphantm
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quote:
Originally posted by verb:
And the arguments against taxation, ultimately, are arguments against civilization.

Well I wouldn't go that far. Perhaps as civilization as we know it.

What's so hard to believe? You've laid it out yourself:
quote:
Theft) 1. the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another; larceny.

Steal) 1. Take (another person's property) without permission or legal right.

If I am entitled to my property (all my property) and some of it is taken from me, then that is theft.

Here's an excerpt from Nozick: "taxation of earnings from labor is on par with forced labor. Some persons find this claim obviously true: taking the earnings of n hours labor is like taking n hours from the person; it is like forcing the person to work n hours for another's purpose. Others find the claim absurd."

It all comes down to libertarianism and your views on it. Intriguing, though, isn't it?? [Smile]

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verb
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quote:
If I am entitled to my property (all my property) and some of it is taken from me, then that is theft.
You'll need to add some additional qualifiers, because as spoken that claim suggests that my landlord is stealing from me when she sends me a bill each month. She is, after all, taking property from me. Period, and of story. The fact that I entered into an agreement with her is irrelevant -- she is taking something I do not wish to give.

By participating as a member of a nation-state, you're consuming the fruits of its collective efforts and implicitly accepting the laws in effect in that nation state. At the very least, you're pledging to use legal mechanisms to change the laws you find unacceptable, rather than simply ignoring them.

If you don't want to pay taxes you don't have to use the nation's currency and you don't have to use the roads constructed by the nation, and so on. You can simply go find an open piece of land that isn't owned by someone else, start living on it, and grow your own food. Voila: no taxes.


quote:
It all comes down to libertarianism and your views on it. Intriguing, though, isn't it??
Not necessarily. Libertarianism is a fascinating political philosophy, but when its proponents use it to whinge about the cost of modern society's benefits, it's reduced to mere childish selfishness.

A fundamentally libertarian society is rather difficult to achieve without an Old Testament style reboot of existing property divisions, and a clean break from the existing infrastructure of civilization that others have built with their sweat and blood.

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roopsydaisy
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I don't think the title of this portrait is "Primary Season", but I'm calling it that anyway:

 -

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verb
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See, the horse represents capital gains.
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sheridan08
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i thought the horse was obama...the monkeys representing any person with some intelligence...lighting him on fire with the very thing he hates: gas.

officially titled: "viva la revolution. suck on a chevy volt Mr. President...suck on it you moron because your energy policies are garbage."

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verb
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Truly, the horse on fire is a rorschach test.
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