Open Thread

We can’t question Hillary’s health, but Trump’s sniffles last night clearly indicate he’s a coke head.

In spite of the fact that it was Hillary – while Secretary of State – who assisted a Russian combine in purchasing US uranium, anti-Trump people are convinced that Trump is the merest stooge of the Kremlin. Odd that it took this long for our Progressive friends to realize that Russia is a threat – and the 80’s really did call and want their foreign policy back. Anyways, in service of this idea of Trump the Kremlin Stooge, someone slapped together a map which allegedly showed that the #TrumpWon hastag started in Russia and a lot of people gleefully leaped on it. Trouble is, it’s fake.

Let this be a lesson on confirmation bias. Avoid it.

Egypt claims a “solid and stable” relationship with Israel. Of course, Israel also has good relations with nations as diverse as Greece and India. Seems that only the United States is on the outs with Israel.

Russia appears to be using Syria as a testing ground for new weapons systems. This, of course, is what Germany did in Spain during the 1930’s…in case you were wondering just where on the “when does the next World War start?” clock we are.

As for me, I still defend the Iraq Campaign as the correct thing to do – but there’s this big argument over whether or not Trump was for or against it prior to the start of the campaign. To which I ask, who the heck cares? The only person in the race who had any actual say in the matter is Hillary, who voted for it. Why isn’t anyone asking Hillary about that?

You’ll be glad to clear that Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) has been cleared in the investigation of a bit of free speech he exercised. You should be in tears over the fact that someone thought there should be an investigation.

Trump and Clinton tied in Minnesota? The poll is from Breitbart which has been very pro-Trump all year, so take it with a grain of salt…but, if true, then Hillary is in a lot of trouble.

If you’ve never been over to Robert Stacy McCain’s website, it is well worth a read. Among other things, he delves deeply into the modern SJW movement…and what he finds there is, well, very strange.

Protestors in Charlotte have come up with a list of demands. One of them is to de-fund the Police Department. I don’t think they really thought that one through.

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38 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Retired Spook September 28, 2016 / 9:57 am

    This interesting essay explains a lot about where we are and how we got here. Considering the guy is a Ron Paul fan, he says very little with which I disagree.

    I’ve read the Cliff Notes of “The Fourth turning.” Has anyone here read the entire book?

    • Retired Spook September 28, 2016 / 11:03 am

      As is often the case, the comments following the essay are as interesting as the essay itself. This one in particular struck me as striking at the very heart of most of our problems:

      On matters of right and wrong

      If you’re right and you compromise you become wrong.

      If you’re wrong and you do compromise you don’t become right.

      Decades long continual compromise with wrong is what has brought our country to the state it is in today and more compromise is not going to fix that.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 28, 2016 / 11:10 am

        Spook

        I had not heard about the Fourth Turning but I looked it up after reading the article and it is downright eerie. Amazing.

        I also agree with the above comments about compromise. I can’t help but think that statements of “Trump won the Primaries, he’s even though he is the opposite of what I want in a candidate, he is our candidate so I’m voting for him” are a compromise. One not worth making.

      • Retired Spook September 28, 2016 / 11:21 am

        Bob,

        The key, IMO, to where we end up in 10 years is the Millennial generation, which is pretty much the point made in “The Fourth Turning.”. It appears that half of them are going to go full Commie while the other half go Libertarian. As a generation I believe they are likely going to abandon the two party system. How (or if) they resolve their differences will largely determine where the country is in 2025. And, of course, how various global, societal and economic events play out won’t be a small part of the outcome. I’d like to think that, when the dust settles, Progressive ideas and policies will have been repudiated once and for all — well, at least until the next generation comes along and decides that the only reason they haven’t worked before is because THEY weren’t in charge.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 28, 2016 / 11:45 am

        Spook

        I didn’t interpret (the microscopic amount) I studied on the topic but the crux was that American history has followed an 80-year cycle. Were that the case, wouldn’t each generation similar to the Millenials try to dismantle the two-party system that has, essentially, always existed in U.S. Politics?

        From what I read, the Millenials are of the “unraveling” class of generation, which pits them in the same category as the “G.I. Generation,” more commonly called Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation. As whiny as they are now, Strauss-Howe predicts good things of them.

        Of course, I’m probably wrong, as the entirety of my knowledge on this topic is Wikipedia. I’m going to read the book. It sounds fascinating.

      • Retired Spook September 28, 2016 / 12:10 pm

        Were that the case, wouldn’t each generation similar to the Millenials try to dismantle the two-party system that has, essentially, always existed in U.S. Politics?

        Bob, I think the perception that the two-party system has outlived its usefulness is a somewhat recent phenomenon. I readily confess to having not read the book but only a 20+ page summary. If you do read the entire book, you can come back and give a book report on it.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 28, 2016 / 12:16 pm

        Will do. (read the book, not give a book report)

        Thanks for bringing this to my (the blog’s) attention, I am really looking forward to learning more.

  2. Retired Spook September 28, 2016 / 11:58 am

    Was anyone else here aware that a mock Article V Convention of the States was held in Williamsburg last week? I got excited about an Article V convention a couple years ago, but hadn’t heard much about it lately.

    The proposed amendments are pretty exciting, particularly from a Conservative/Libertarian perspective.

    • Retired Spook September 28, 2016 / 4:18 pm

      I’ve spent much of the afternoon perusing the Convention of States website. What a treasure trove of information for a political junkie like me.

      • Amazona September 28, 2016 / 6:01 pm

        I have some ideas for amending the Constitution.

        I think a very important thing to address is judicial misconduct. Judges feel free to engage in decidedly unconstitutional actions because of the protections of judiciary under the 11th Amendment. I’m not sure how I would reword that amendment, but I think judges have to be held accountable for what they do, and shouldn’t be able to just dismiss even egregious misconduct as protected opinion.

        I think the oaths of office have to be binding. A law without a penalty is pretty much the same as no law at all, and an oath of office with no penalty or consequence for violating it means it is purely symbolic.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 28, 2016 / 6:22 pm

        Amazona

        I know with our interactions of late you may think I am setting you up or being sarcastic with the question below, but I am not. I am simply curious about a topic of which you know a lot.

        How does the 11th Amendment protect judges? It looks like it explicitly overrules the concept of State Sovereignty and formally sets the Federal courts priority over those of the states.

        Was there a case that made the 11th protective of judges?

        Again, genuine interest, not sarcasm.

      • Amazona September 28, 2016 / 6:48 pm

        Bob, you may be right. When I asked why a judge could simply ignore case law in a recent action an attorney told me that judges have immunity under the 11th Amendment, and I didn’t look it up to make sure that is right. I’ll look into it.

        I do know that the times a judge can be held accountable for his actions are few and far between, mostly regarding actions taken outside the courtroom or where there is no judicial authority. Usually even when a judge rules contrary to case law, precedent, etc. his defense is that this is covered under judicial discretion.

        I’ll see what I can find.

      • Amazona September 28, 2016 / 7:19 pm

        Bob, thank you for doing your research and pointing that out to me. I haven’t been able to find anything directly in the Constitution granting immunity to judges. I did find this:

        1. Judges are immune from redress to those they injure in violation of constitutional rights under color of office.

        2. “Congress shall make no law … abridging the right of the People
        … to petition government for a redress of Grievances.”

        3. The “Coup de Grace” emasculating the Petition Clause is found in 28 USC 2674, in the 1988 amendments.

        “Personal” immunities created by the judiciary now completely
        immunize the government from accountability to those its immunized officers injure in violation of constitutional rights. Today, most government officers who have direct contact with the People can find an immunity to hide behind.

        What happened to the Petition Clause? If it speaks true, wherefrom comes immunity to violate the Constitution? We are told the judges created it; but under Article I, only Congress can make law; under Article IV, only the Constitution and law made pursuant to it, not in derogation of it, are the Supreme Law of the Land; and under Article VI, all judges are
        sworn to support “This Constitution.” The contradictions rage on.

        Judges contend the authority is implied in a constitutional doctrine that is also implied, called the “Separation of Powers.” Judicial Immunity, they say, comes not from law, but from its own constitutional separation from the Legislature. It cannot make law breaching that separation. That is the basis of immunity.

        The problem with that rationalization is not only that its premise is twice removed from the Constitution, so that we can’t find it except by blind faith in our judiciary, but immunity to violate Constitutional Rights also has nothing to do with separation of powers. The issue is accountability to the People for violating their rights, not accountability to another branch. [Emph. J4J]

        A constitution that “implies” a right for judges to violate it with impunity is not a constitution at all, but a license to violate rights under color of judicial fiat.

        Another weakness of that argument is that the judiciary also created immunities for the rest of government. That violates the same separation principle said to justify it, in four ways:

        http://www.jail4judges.org/Judicial_Immunity_Doctrine.html

        …and so on. In other words, it’s a mess, but it has to be addressed.

        I know of a case where a judge simply entered into a ruling the statement that someone in a civil case was guilty of several crimes, including threatening him and his staff—class 4 felonies. The lawyers refused to handle this because they said they didn’t know of any mechanism for appealing to a judge to reverse a statement like this. The person in question filed a violation of civil rights suit citing lack of due process in federal court and it was dismissed due to lack of documentation—yet the complete lack of documentation IS the case. There was no claim filed, no accusation made, no one named as an accuser, no opportunity to mount a defense or even know who had said the threats occurred. There was no due process. There is just a formal ruling in a formal document signed by a judge that this person committed these crimes. Yet a federal judge lined up to protect a district court judge who had by far exceeded his judicial authority and violated several amendments to the Constitution “guaranteeing” due process.

        An out of control judiciary which can ignore and violate the Constitution at will, with no oversight and no consequence is deadly to the survival of a republic.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 28, 2016 / 7:50 pm

        Amazona

        Thanks for the info.

        I agree, judges are like anyone else and there must be means of redress when judges rule beyond their domain.

      • M. Noonan September 28, 2016 / 11:45 pm

        Convention of the States is probably our ultimate way out of the impasse.

        As for me, I’m seriously questioning the retention of the President as Chief Executive. I want such a thing as CinC in war time, but I’m doubting the wisdom of essentially having an elected monarch. Remember, Churchill considered the the President had more practical power than even the Czar of Russia, and the historian Will Durant considered the President’s powers to be equivalent to that of the Roman Emperors during the early Empire.

      • Retired Spook September 29, 2016 / 9:29 am

        I agree, judges are like anyone else and there must be means of redress when judges rule beyond their domain.

        Maybe we could dust off an old idea from the 80’s.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 29, 2016 / 9:43 am

        Spook

        Are you sending a coded message to second amendment advocates to shoot Hill-…uh, judges? Shocking! Appealing, but shocking! Shame!

      • Retired Spook September 29, 2016 / 9:45 am

        Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking Bob. I’m deeply ashamed.

      • Amazona September 29, 2016 / 9:49 am

        Mark, I’m not sure what your alternative would be to retaining the office of the presidency as CEO. I’ve always thought the Constitution handled the whole division of authority and balance of power thing pretty well, and I think the problem lies not in the office itself but in the fact that over time the Constitutional restraints on its power have been stretched, expanded, ignored and finally (under Obama) completely discarded.

        We need an Executive Branch and we need a head of that branch. We can’t be represented by Congress, or by the Supreme Court.

        But back to the judiciary: When average people, just plain old hardworking patriots, lose faith in the judicial system and see it is as rigged, the nation is in trouble. We are seeing the problems of having a large group of Americans exhibit complete lack of faith in law enforcement, and even though this has been orchestrated by the Left for political purposes and is pretty much limited to their target demographic we can see the chaos and anarchy this would create if it were to be shared by mainstream America. But it is the judiciary that has the final say, and where the power lies and where the rot is most dangerous.

      • Amazona September 29, 2016 / 9:51 am

        Spook, it looks like your codes and trigger words are too transparent. You might want to work on making them a little more, well, codier so they are not so obvious. I mean, really—what else COULD anyone think after seeing your link?

      • Retired Spook September 29, 2016 / 10:39 am

        You know, I’m not really all that worried. If DHS wants me they know where I live.

      • Retired Spook September 29, 2016 / 11:14 am

        In all seriousness, aren’t you a little amazed that there’s been no violent push back from any group on the Right? We still believe that we are a nation of laws even though many of our leaders as well as virtually the entire left side of the political spectrum have largely abandoned the rule of law.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 29, 2016 / 11:21 am

        Mark

        I gotta agree with Amazona.

        I don’t think there has ever been a modern nation that did not have a single focal point of governance – a king (or couple, like England’s William and Mary) or Prime Minister or Czar. It is that way for a reason.

        I don’t know if Presidential authority need be rolled back to its original 1700s form – many adjustments were made for valid reasons – but it definitely need to be pared back to closely match the spirit of the original authority granted it by the Constitution.

        Ditto for the Judiciary branch.

      • Amazona September 29, 2016 / 11:33 am

        Spook, I think there is no pushback because the only people really aware of the problem are those who have been damaged by it, and lawyers. And lawyers won’t push back because they have to operate in those jurisdictions and in front of those same judges, and/or the cronies of those judges. Judges band together to protect each other, and when a suit against a judge has to be reviewed or ruled on by another judge, the fix is in from the get-go.

        When someone has been screwed over by a corrupt or incompetent judge, the reaction of outsiders is that everyone who loses thinks he got screwed, it is just sour grapes, etc.

        One way to deal with this at least to some extent is stop the whole lifetime-appointment thing. Specific terms of service followed by review not by other judges but by panels which are required, by law, to review complaints, transcripts and testimony before approving a next term. One is to make the oath of office binding, with violation resulting in termination. One is to examine the catch-all phrase “judicial discretion” and narrow it down a little.

      • Retired Spook September 29, 2016 / 11:38 am

        One is to examine the catch-all phrase “judicial discretion” and narrow it down a little.

        Or a bunch of ex-special forces types could form a team and go around assassinating corrupt judges. It wouldn’t take many before the rest would get the message. Just sayin’

        NSA, if you’re monitoring this, my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek. OTOH, and I say this in all seriousness, betrayal of the public trust and one’s sacred oath should have consequences. If you disagree, well then, as I said before, you know where I live.

      • Amazona September 29, 2016 / 11:48 am

        Spook, you’ve got to quit teasing Bob. It’s funny, but …………..

        One approach would be to have a cable TV station dedicated to exposing corrupt judges. That is, to have some independent attorneys who aren’t dependent on the goodwill of courts to present the LEGAL violations of judges, not to just parrot complaints. I have read some of the web sites about judicial misconduct and a lot of the complaints appear to be based on ignorance of the law. I’m talking about having each complaint analyzed and then presented by legal authorities who can explain where a certain action or ruling was wrong based on the law and the oath of office. Any judge named in one of these shows could come on and defend his or her actions or rulings.

        I think this kind of show would have YUUGE ratings, and also call attention to the problem If a show like this were to get ten thousand complaints with requests that they be reviewed, immediately after being announced, that would start the ball rolling as far as calling attention to the problem.

      • Amazona September 29, 2016 / 12:09 pm

        Spook, I think the NSA and DHS probably know about you, after all those months of you prowling past a local recruitment center while armed and, presumably, dangerous. (I’ve seen you shoot…)

      • Bob Eisenhower September 29, 2016 / 12:25 pm

        Spook

        Ama is correct, please stop teasing me…with all these delicious suggestions.

        Here’s an idea: Judicial Gong Show.

        Every 10 years jurists must appear before a panel of celebrities – Paula Abdul, Pauly Shore and that The-Rent-Is-Too-Damn-High Guy – to defend their rulings. If all three judges hit their button, the trapdoor opens to the crocodile tank.

        Damn, I should work for the networks….

      • Bob Eisenhower September 29, 2016 / 12:28 pm

        Oooh, improved idea. No crocodile tank. They get slimed, ala Nickelodeon, with honey and dropped into the fire ant pit. Genius.

  3. Amazona September 29, 2016 / 11:52 am

    Here’s an interesting view of illegal immigration. More to the point, the impact of Obama on illegal immigration.

    I see this as a deadly indictment of his policies, as well as a mechanism for Trump to tie Hillary to it. Remember, she held Obama’s hand and told the nation she will be the one to continue what he has started.

    Trump needs to force her to get off the fence on things like this—either agree that she will be Obama Lite and continue his policies, or say she will not and risk losing the people he is begging to vote for her because of him.

    http://www.kusi.com/clip/12667034/special-report-border-crisis-reality-check

  4. Cluster September 29, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    Just some observations:

    I am glad to see that Trump only dropped slightly in the polls following his poor debate performance. It shows you just how unpopular Hillary is.

    Public sector greed is far worse, and more damaging to this country than private sector greed. There are laws against private sector greed but no one holds the public sector accountable. I was thinking of this while reading about Elizabeth Warren taking on Wells Fargo which all liberals gushed about. Wells Fargo should be held accountable and will be held accountable, but someone who has become fabulously wealthy in the public sector at the expense of tax payers and college tuition payers, and of whom wholly endorses the Clinton Crime Family foundation, is hardly the person that should be lecturing them. Public official greed needs to become a conversation in this country.

    It turns out that the Charlotte victim, Keith Scott, had done some prison time for armed assault and his wife had even taken out a restraining order on him at one point. Why was this never mentioned?

    • Bob Eisenhower September 29, 2016 / 2:19 pm

      Cluster

      You are spot-on about public sector greed.

      While I find Warren to be…what’s the word to use here…deplorable, I was very pleased to watch her tear the WF CEO a new one because, contrary to your statement, WF will NOT be held accountable.

      HSBC admitted to laundering money for cartels, terrorists and despots and just paid a fine. No bank was truly held accountable for their parts in the 2008 meltdown. Why would WF be held accountable for this?

      Public excoriation of the CEO (and a paltry fine) is all WF faces. I hope Pocahontas rips into that dude, and any other WF top brass, any chance she gets.

      • Amazona September 29, 2016 / 9:11 pm

        Well, Fauxcahontas isn’t going after WF out of any sense of outrage but to further a political agenda. Spanking corporate misdeeds might be a gratifying side effect, but let’s not pretend that she is fighting WF because of some commitment to moral or legal uprightness.

        No government agency was held responsible for the regulations that forced lenders to lend money to people who could very obviously not afford to repay the loans, so I can’t hold banks totally responsible. Being held hostage to federal lawsuits claiming racial discrimination for trying to impose rational lending practices put banks in a very bad position.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 30, 2016 / 11:26 am

        Amazona

        a) looove the name Fauxcahontas.

        b) You are spot-on about her motivation but I do not care. I want these bankers to pay for their deeds and if getting publicly railed by a hideous harpy is all the payback I can get, I’m gonna enjoy it. That CEO should be perpwalked to prison for his daily raping, imho.

      • Amazona September 30, 2016 / 11:59 am

        Hmmm. New penalty for financial crimes?

        Kinda harsh, aren’t you? Crocodile tank, smeared with honey and dropped into a fire ant pit, daily rape……that’s a pretty sadistic take on how to deal with people you think “deserve it”.

      • Bob Eisenhower September 30, 2016 / 12:20 pm

        Amazona

        You say that like it is a bad thing ;=)

      • Bob Eisenhower September 30, 2016 / 12:31 pm

        Amazona

        Just in case there is confusion, all of the above were jokes.

        As far as “deserve it,” I’d say a company that defrauds customers of millions to bolster their stock price and then fire thousands of low-level managers for the crime deserves punishment. He won’t get it, which is why I love Faux doing her thing to him, but he (and others) deserve appropriate punishment.

        With honey and ants.

  5. Amazona September 30, 2016 / 11:58 am

    Remember the old days, when the FBI actually investigated crimes and tried to find out who was responsible? I was looking for a way to have a painting valued, and when I went to the website of the gallery where I bought it I discovered this:

    Validity of French Paintings Doubted : FBI Inquiry Puts Artist, Carmel Galleries to Test
    July 06, 1988 |ROBERT A. JONES | Times Staff Writer

    CARMEL — In the beginning, the FBI believed that it was investigating a routine case of art theft. One of Carmel’s largest art galleries had reported several paintings missing from its walls, and two agents arrived to take a report. They debriefed the staff and then segued to the showroom filled with thundering seascapes and bucolic scenes of French villages.

    That’s when the surprises began. Agent Richard Lack noticed that the staff seemed to be joking about some of the very expensive art hanging on the walls. Then an assistant manager began to talk openly. She pointed out the peaceful scenes of French villages by Paul Valere–some priced at $18,000–and said they were not painted by Valere at all.

    As Lack described the conversation later in court documents, the assistant manager said most likely Paul Valere didn’t even exist. The landscapes actually were painted by teams of artists on an assembly line basis. One would paint the trees, another the chateaux, still another the sky. The conversation in the gallery apparently was light-hearted; Lack said the whole thing was treated as an “inside joke.”

    The agents were not amused. They checked on Valere, could find no evidence that he had ever put a brush to canvas, and launched a formal investigation into possible interstate art fraud by Simic Galleries.

    FBI investigations are not the normal thing on the charm-driven streets of Carmel, and the potential of scandal here has left the town breathless. The art crowd has become divided into camps, each accusing the other of destroying Carmel’s reputation. Dozens of owners of Paul Valere paintings have called the local district attorney’s office wanting to know if they should sue. Carmel Mayor Jean Grace, asked by a reporter to discuss the investigation, did not return telephone calls.

    Artist’s Pseudonym

    Meanwhile, officials at Simic Galleries claim that the whole thing is a case of mistaken identity. The conversation between the agents and the assistant manager really was a joke, they say, albeit an ill-timed one. Valere does indeed exist, they contend, and they offer an explanation for the FBI’s failure to locate him: Valere is not the artist’s real name but a pseudonym.
    “We could have told the FBI about the pseudonym if they had asked,” said Edward King, a vice president for Simic. “I guess they never thought of that. It wasn’t very sophisticated of them.”
    King said even he does not know Valere’s real name, nor does anyone else at Simic. The artist’s identity has been protected by his agent in France, Robert Fruchter, according to gallery executives.

    Fruchter has described the artist as an aging and reclusive man who lives in rural France. Even under the heat of an investigation Valere (pronounced Va-lair ) has refused to come to the United States because of a lingering heart ailment, King said. So last month the gallery and Fruchter arranged for Valere to paint a demonstration canvas at his studio in the presence of French authorities.

    The demonstration took place before an huissier de justice, an official who witnesses and authenticates questioned events for the French legal system. Simic’s attorney, Phillip J. Daunt, said the documentation from the test arrived last Friday and certifies that an artist identified by Fruchter as Valere completed a painting with no helpers over a three-day period.

    Painting Test

    This apparently does not satisfy the FBI. The agency has told Simic and Fruchter that it wants a painting test of its own to take place in Paris.

    Although FBI officials would not discuss the details, others close to the investigation say the FBI will require the artist to complete the painting in two to three days and will safeguard the canvas each night to assure that no other painter works on it. After completion the painting will be shipped to the United States where experts will decide if the style matches those of Valere paintings sold at Simic.

    Fruchter, reached by telephone at his office outside Paris, said the artist is eager to accept the challenge posed by the FBI. The only condition Valere requests, according to Fruchter, is permission to conduct the painting test at his hideaway studio in rural France rather than Paris.

    Location Under Negotiation
    “There will be great stress during this period,” Fruchter said. “So he is asking that he be able to use his own studio where the conditions are familiar. You must understand he is not only being asked to paint but to paint within a certain time frame. He must know how quickly the paint will dry and what the light conditions will be. All these things become very important.”
    The question of where the painting takes place is still in negotiation.

    Yes, folks, there was a time when the FBI took crime seriously, seriously enough to mount a full-fledged international investigation into who painted what paintings. No national security at stake, no violation of laws regarding protection of sensitive and/or classified information, just how some paintings happened to exist.

    Compare the following to the rigor with which the actions of a United States Secretary of State were investigated:

    The demonstration took place before an huissier de justice, an official who witnesses and authenticates questioned events for the French legal system. Simic’s attorney, Phillip J. Daunt, said the documentation from the test arrived last Friday and certifies that an artist identified by Fruchter as Valere completed a painting with no helpers over a three-day period.

    Painting Test

    This apparently does not satisfy the FBI. The agency has told Simic and Fruchter that it wants a painting test of its own to take place in Paris.

    Although FBI officials would not discuss the details, others close to the investigation say the FBI will require the artist to complete the painting in two to three days and will safeguard the canvas each night to assure that no other painter works on it. After completion the painting will be shipped to the United States where experts will decide if the style matches those of Valere paintings sold at Simic.

    Ahh, good times

    http://articles.latimes.com/1988-07-06/news/mn-5342_1_painting-test

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