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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Re:Not even wrong (91 comments)

Downloading Copyrighted material without permission of the owner is also illegal.

If it is unlawful, is it criminal? By which I mean to ask, please point to the provision(s) of the Copyright Act 1968 which makes it an offence to download protected sound-recordings.

The University is not bothering to notify either the Copyright owner or Law enforcement that the student is breaking the law.

Under what obligation would the university be to report a student not committing a crime? Under what obligation is anyone to report an infringement of someone else's right?

You are trying to argue that based on the technicality of the verbiage for the "fine"

No I'm not, you simply do not understand the legal issues. And what is does "fine" mean as opposed to fine.

... the University is not obstructing justice ...

In what possible way is the university obstructing justice?

... and coercing students into paying them money ...

Presuming this by-law is valid law under the power granted to them pursuant to s27 of the UNSW Act 1989, the university is specifically permitted to coerce students into paying fines for breach of its by-laws

... which happens to result in no legal action against those students. ...

The fining of the students in no way results in no legal action being taken against those students. Potentially, quite the opposite.

No matter how you try and pretty it up, the students are being coerced into paying "hush" money

That is simply absurd. It cannot be understood, by anyone across the issue, what you could possibly mean by "hush money" (which usually implies money paid to silence people). You are quite obviously out of your depth here. Admit it, you are in fact not a lawyer of the SCNSW.

Oh come now, are you trying to claim that the University has been granted powers that can allow them to ignore the law of the land?

No I wrote, "Do you understand that the university has the legal right, bestowed by parliament, to formulate by-laws and issue fines for the breach thereof (ie. they have delegated legislative power)?" In what possible universe could that be interpreted as allowing the university to ignore the law of the land?!

If, and only if, the University was passing this information over to law enforcement agencies or copyright owners (so that they could contact law enforcement or take other action) would I agree with their methods. I have no issues with ...

You're opinion and what you might agree or have issues with is of no consequence whatsoever. Better it would be if you didn't feel the need even to have one than to spout the kind of nonsense you have done here.

it allows for illegal activities such as this University has been involved in

I cannot fathom how it is, even after having this explained to you by a NSW lawyer (albeit a non practising one, I code), that you persist in this ridiculous notion that the university has, in exercising its right to formulate by-laws and levy fines for the breach thereof, engaged in illegal activities. I trust you system architecting is conducted with great mental discipline, expert knowledge and professionalism, but here you are firmly in Dunning-Kruger territory.

Let me try to explain this to you one more time:

  • UNSW is empowered by parliament to make by-laws and collect fines (see here).
  • UNSW does not want to get their arses sued off (again) by copyright holders, consequently
  • UNSW has made a by-law and told students in effect, "if you use our system to download stuff for which you do not have the permission of the rights holder we will not only suspend your access to the service, we'll fine you as well you little fucks!"
  • To the best my knowledge (and I'm not an IP specialist, I'll ask a colleague if you like), it is not a criminal offence to download a protected sound-recording in Australia
  • To the best of my knowledge (this not being a criminal offence) no provision in the Copyright Act (or any other source of law) creates any obligation to report someone you know has made an infringing copy of a "protected work" or of "subject matter other than works." (Imagine how Orwellian it would be were you personally required to turn anyone you've ever known to download a song over the the cops ... Shit!)
  • Nothing in this in anyway removes from the copyright holder the rights to take action either against the students involved (or indeed against the university). This creates no double jeopardy situation (the copyright holders action not being criminal in any case). They are not being fined for infringing copyright subsequent to the Copyright Act 1986, they are begin fined for breaching the UNSW by-laws. In fact, in fining students the university has in effect created a list which may be discoverable by the rights holders, thereby actually increasing the likelihood of the students being pursued by APRA.

Got it?

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Not even wrong (91 comments)

If the University is "fining" the students and not turning them over the the proper authorities how are they not complicit in the theft exactly?

The university is fining (no scare quotes) the students for breaching the by-laws of the university.

What they are doing is exactly the definition of racketeering:

Racketeering refers to criminal activity that is performed to benefit an organization such as a crime syndicate. Examples of racketeering activity include extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, obstruction of justice and bribery.

The activity of the university is not criminal. What crime, if any, do you think has been committed by anyone in this scenario? The activity is not being performed for the benefit of any organisation, leas of all a crime syndicate. it is not extortion, nor money laundering, nor loan sharking, and involves no obstruction of justice nor bribery. So no, it's not in the least like the definition or racketeering you give. I'm beginning to suspect that you are not a lawyer of the Supreme Court of NSW, am I correct?

Please do not feel you are under any special obligation to form, let alone publish, opinions about which you know worse than nothing.

Do you understand that the university has the legal right, bestowed by parliament, to formulate by-laws and issue fines for the breach thereof (ie. they have delegated legislative power)? Whether this particular by-law exceeds the grant of power under s27 of the University of New South Wales Act1989, as you would probably want to argue were you a student resisting the fine, is a separate question.

Yeah, University officials should be in jail over this one.

Oh come on, surely nothing short of hanging suffices!

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Re:Not the holder's money (91 comments)

The problem with 'copyright holders', is that unless UNSW makes some sort of notification that indicates which owners' copyrights were infringed, they have no way of knowing that they need to take legal action and request discovery. Can I as a random shmoe ...

My understanding is that this usually handled by having the artists (or other original holders) assign their copyright to the collection agency APRA-AMCOS (with whom Music Rights Australia is "affiliated") who then collect licensing fees for the benefit of artists (or record labels) collectively and individually. Any random Schmoes who don't sign over their rights are out of the loop anyway.

I'm not discounting any possible issues relating to standing.

It may be possible for the police to go after UNSW generically under some sort of criminal prosecution ...

That would require the UNSW to have had to committed an offence. I'm not sure even the fined students have done that. So no.

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Re:does the university retain a magistrate? (91 comments)

In most countries anybody can add a "fine" to contract terms.

At common law (and certainly at Australian law) contractual terms imposing a penalty (in excess of the loss which could be recovered or a fair quantity of liquidated damages) is void and unenforceable. (look up 'penalty provision' or 'penalty clause') I ought never even have floated the possibility that this was contractual, my bad. As I wrote to you above "the rule regarding contractual penalty provisions ... [make it] unlikely that this is being done under contract."

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Re:Punishment (91 comments)

Any contract can impose fines on either party as long as both parties agree to it.

No. Generally any clause imposing a fine for breach (as distinct from the recovery of losses) would be void at common law on the basis of it being a penalty provision (see for example here). Your video rental store might be within their rights to recover from you any amount up to what they would have made had they rented out that late returned VHS (but no more).

That's why I realised after I posted at the top that this would probably be done via by-laws. Silly me, duh!

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Re:Not the holder's money (91 comments)

Just because they're aware of the problem and reacted strongly is no guarantee that they successfully avoided liability.

Of course. As I wrote, "[it] must surely be taken as a mitigating factor."

what right do they have to collect for their own benefit, based on content they don't have right to sell?

They have a right, as I mentioned above under s27 to levy fines (whether in this particular instance is, as always, arguable, but also not entirely relevant). They are not collecting money for copyright infringement (as it exists at C'th law). They are collecting money for infringement of the university by-laws.

... the University really "stepped in it" by accepting the money.

Again, I'd ask you to clarify why you think this is relevant to any potential liability they may have to the copyright holders? Forgive me for being so dull, but it is not at all clear to me (the relevant statutory provisions or even better some case law might help).

They won't have liability beyond what they collected

Really? Then why did they have liability in UNSW v Moorhouse beyond the charge they levied for the making of photo-copies? Again where does the idea come from that the fines levied have any impact upon their liability?!

but they have no rights to what they did collect if it was indeed contractual revenue based on sharing copyrighted works.

As I wrote above it is unlikely that this is being done under contract (where the rule regarding contractual penalty provisions would obviously cause some difficulty), and much more so that it being done under the express powers granted to them by the NSW Parliament to levy fines.

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Re:Punishment (91 comments)

I thought only Goverments, via the courts, had the power to issue a fine.

The parliament of NSW has, via s27 of the New South Wales University Act 1989, bestowed upon the university the power to make subsidiary legislation, including by s27(n) "... by-laws ... with respect to ... the payment of such fees and charges, including fines." The university would argue that these fines and this particular by-law are empowered by this section. The student, should they wish to fight the fine, would argue it exceeds the power granted.

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Re:Not the holder's money (91 comments)

[I]s failing to prevent the copyright violations that it is benefiting financially from then they might indeed have significant liability

They are acutely aware of potential liability. UNSW were the defendant in the leading Australian case about what liability flows from providing equipment which might be used in copyright infringement (University of NSW v Moorhouse [1975] HCA 26). This, I'd guess, is exactly why they are coming down so hard on their students here.

The university has no power to collect for the benefit of rights holders, nor to enforce the criminal law of the C'th. The fact that they are, within those powers they have, actively discouraging piracy must surely be taken as a mitigating factor. Upon what basis do you feel that the financial benefit derived from the fine is a relevant consideration in this case?

I'd say those media companies are going to get some sort of settlement from the University.

Sounds like the university is disinclined to reach that at the present time (nor have they shirked from taking these things all the way to the High Court). However, I imagine that the university would be unable to resist any discovery by the copyright holders of the identity of the individual students fined. Were I one of those students I'd be feeling anxious right now.

2 days ago
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UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

Capsaicin Not the holder's money (91 comments)

Huh? What's the confusion here?

The fines that UNSW are levying are for breaches in the terms (or rules) by which students access the institution's network services. What power would UNSW have to "[enforce] a commonwealth law?" Most obviously you'd think this would either be under the contract between the students and the uni, or pursuant to the act by which the university is established, University of New South Wales Act 1989, s27 of which gives the university power to make it's own legislation. I thought these copyright holders might have talked to their lawyers (that was about 45secs of legal research there) before sticking their hands out ... oh wait.

2 days ago
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Real Steampunk Computer Brought Back To Life

Capsaicin Re:100 Year old (81 comments)

1914 is not the 19th century.

That being rather obvious you ought to have stopped and asked yourself the mandatory question "What is it that I'm not getting?"

Then RTFM which starts with the words "This book celebrates a harmonic analyzer designed in the late nineteenth century by the physicist Albert Michelson," his progress is described below:

[Michelson] first built a 20-element analyzer, one that calculates with 20 sinusoids with radian frequencies starting at 1, the fundamental, followed by the harmonics 2, 3, and so on up to 20. He found the “results obtained were so encouraging that it was decided to apply to the Bache Fund for assistance in building the present machine of eighty elements.” His application succeeded: he got $400.00. With those funds he built a harmonic analyzer with 80 elements, which he described in detail in an article published in The American Journal of Science [in 1898].

about a week ago
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Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

Capsaicin Re:Jesus never says no to non-believers (451 comments)

OK, I believe we agree on this whether or not we agree on the main point of my original assertion or not.

Great! And again I don't of course dispute the fact that the Bible has changed (we know this since we have New Testament texts that date back to the C2nd and they very clearly differ from later manuscripts), I merely dispute its relevance. After all what Jesus said or did (most famously the Woman caught in adultery story ... and it's a fine story ... is clearly lacking from earlier manuscripts) may have been --I mean certainly were --emended or added, but it can hardly be postulated that the character of Jesus was a later addition (whether or not the aboriginal document was a work of pure fiction or an historical remembrance).

The link wasn't to an article on the bible, but an article on the historicity of Jesus. I believe you would agree that is more than pertinent to the discussion.

Of course I would!! But then, if you go back an look carefully you'll find it was I who provided a link to that article :) (whereas you linked to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...). Mind you this conversation has been so long (and ultimately our position differ so little) that more than once I've become confused about who wrote what as well. %)

about two weeks ago
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Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

Capsaicin Re:Jesus never says no to non-believers (451 comments)

To the question of of the historicity of Jesus, my first post is 100% relevant, as the main source of writing about him is the bible, and the bible is questionable

I conceeded it was of "marginal" relevance. It cannot be of no relevance at all, because, as you point out, it is the main source. However inerrantists apart (and for them nothing is matter of debate anyway), in the scholarly debate about Jesus' historicity it is hardly acceptable to base on arguments primarily upon the main source. Which is a little odd since we are willing to accept the historicity of other figures (eg Sargon) upon much slimer and more obviously mythological evidence.

More specifically it is not particularly germane because the observation --that the New Testament has undergone emendation, sometimes deliberate, sometimes by accident (i.e. "correction") [If you have not already read it, I'd recommend Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus for a good discussion of both kinds of changes], --does not fatally invalidate the probative value of the Gospels as evidence of Jesus' historicity. One cannot afford to take so binary an approach to documentary evidence.

Your additional citations ...

... were cited to demonstrate the ineluctable pull the historicity debate excercises over religionists and rationalists alike. They were never cited as "proof," but rather as bait. As it happens, I'm fairly well familiar with the failings of both.

As regard the actual question of historicity, I'm happy either to accept that Jesus was real, or that he wasn't. On balance I'd side with the accepted position, I think the very existence of Christians is perhaps the most persuasive evidence thereof. Yes I know that there are people with the religious identification 'Jedi', and it is of course vaguely possible that Christianity had a similar genesis.. That is to say it may have been consciously based on a fictional character which within a very few generations was held by followers to have been a real person. However, that doesn't strike me as the most natural explanation for the existence of Christians in the ancient world.

What probabtive vaule, if any, the Gospels carry for Jesus' historical reality however, they must necessary carry much less as regards the actual words he is reported as speaking. And that brings my back to my orginal point: The philosophy of Jesus can be approached only by those reported words. It matters little whether indeed he was misquoted, or even whether he existed. For the purposes of understanding his "teachings," he must be approached like any other character whose ideas are to be found exclusively in a literary source and the historicity debate is fruitless.

If that first post with an assertion supported by a fact seems rude to you, I suppose all the rest were worse.

You suppose wrong. What was rude was the supercillious suggestion that I "begin with" the Wikipedia page for the Bible and "expand [my] research from there." That the fact was so obvious and not particularly pertinent didn't perhaps help, but it was not the problem.

about two weeks ago
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Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

Capsaicin Re:Jesus never says no to non-believers (451 comments)

Why do you have trouble with this one and keep trying to change my words?

Two reasons. Firstly the platitude that the bible has been modified over time has never been in contest in this discussion and is, as we have discovered, irrelevant to the quesion of the historicity of Jesus. I cannot even read those words, let alone twist them. Your original reply managed to be impertient in both senses of the word. Had you not been so rude I may have left it there.

Secondly, it isn't even entirely true. However, look at your first post:

In reply to "It is foolish for atheists to get all caught up in the historicity debate" you write "Seems like a non-debate"

Then later you manage a relevant point (albeit misintepreting mine) when you write: "there's no point in debating the historicity of Jesus, since no reliable evidence exists of his existence."

When, however, you again shift the conversation off-topic (to the question of the alteration of the Bible), I'm at pains to steer it back into relevancy. That is why at every turn I make clear that the debate is "the debate about the historicity of Jesus." Which I find myself being forced to repeat ad infinitum.

Because otherwise there's nothing to debate?

We can debate your claim that the historicity of Jesus seems like a "non-debate." Anything you write about the alteration of the Bible is simply to be ignored (unless you can find a way to bring it into relevance).

I was explicit again in what I was setting out to prove. I do conceed that you restricted the expression "that water is wet" to the irrelevancies you seek to raise and it was a mistake of me even to read it, let alone use it. My bad. However, the debate at hand is clearly not a "non-debate."

Which "above" statement?

The statement above which was set out to prove wrong. Was there really any ambiguity to that?

But there was no Gandalf....

Sure there was! He was a character in a number of books authored by J R R Tolkien.

about two weeks ago
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Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

Capsaicin Re:Jesus never says no to non-believers (451 comments)

How easy was that?

Prove that the claim that "There is as much room for debate about the historicty of Jesus as there is about whether water is wet" is a False statement:

We agree on the fact, as you put it that "There/s not much point to debating whether water is wet, since the definition of wet involves "with water" in its oldest sense"

Regarding the "works" of Josephus and Tacitus, neither of these mean squat unless other corroborating proof is added. Note that the oldest extant manuscripts date from the 11th century and ...

Here we find you debating the sources regarding the historicity of Jesus (albeit a lower quality version of the scholarly debate you derride as a "billion chimps typing").

Clearly there is room for debate about the historicity of Jesus and the above statement is False. Quod est demonstrantum

P.S.

I think the proper response would be "How do you know he existed and/or said..."

Exactly the same way I know that Gandalf said "You shall not pass!" ... I read it in the book. Duh!

about two weeks ago
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Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

Capsaicin Re:Jesus never says no to non-believers (451 comments)

I never made such a claim. What I did claim is that a bible cannot be stated to be the truth.

Exactly! Your interjection was irrelevant.

So we agree that a) the bible is a story, perhaps based on some historical facts and b) there's no point in debating the historicity of Jesus, since no reliable evidence exists of his existence, unlike, say, Socrates, Plato, or Homer.

Obviously we agree on a), equally obviously not on b). There's little point debating the historicity of Jesus --in relation to his philosophical position (the question might in it's own right be of archeological interest --because, as I wrote, "Jesus [the philosopher] cannot be approached but via the text." That remains so even if we had rock solid proof of his existence such as his remains complete with a Roman death certificate (though you'd be pretty stoked as an archeologist if you found that). Until someone turns up with an audio recording of the Sermon on the Mount that will remain so.

In other words, for a non-believer to respond to "Jesus said ..." with "but Jesus never existed!" is every bit as clever as responding to "Gandalf told Frodo ..." with "wizards and hobbits aren't real!"

There/s not much point to debating whether water is wet, since the definition of wet involves "with water" in its oldest sense

I'm glad we agree on that.

Quantity has little meaning, much like 1 billion chimps typing away ...

Firstly the scholarship we are dealing with is of high quality very much unlike chimps typing away. Secondly, and more importantly, quality is not determinative of debatability. As you point out the very definition of 'wet' involves water, so even low quality debate is precluded.

Clearly your claim that "There is as much room for debate [about the historicity of Jesus] as water is wet," fails both on logical and empirical grounds. But if you're still not convinced, I'll prove it to you: Jesus' existence is independently testified to by both Josephus and Tacitus!

Finally, the point of the changing texts to suit the opinions of the current people in control should automatically call into question anything stated in that set of texts.

Of course, but that's true for everything you've ever heard or read. The point of scholarship is to tease apart what is obviously self-serving or an addition from what appears better to be grounded in historical reality, rather as is done with eyewitness testimony in court.

There's a group of things that cannot be verified ...

None of which, apart from the question of the crucifixion, are in the least germane to the topic under consideration. I guess 1 out of 6 ain't bad. ;)

about three weeks ago
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Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"

Capsaicin Re:its terrible (257 comments)

Then the artist should invite the Post reviewer to his next concert ...

The very first notes ... signalled that he can do anything he wants at the keyboard, detailing chords with a jeweler's precision, then laying little curls of notes atop a cushion of sound like diamonds nestled on velvet ...

Invite that reviewer?! Seriously, having read the review one is surprised it is not the reviewer attempting to assert her right to be forgotten.

about three weeks ago
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Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

Capsaicin Re:Jesus never says no to non-believers (451 comments)

The point is that there is historical evidence that people decided what went in the bible and changed the wording, meaning, etc to whatever suited them.

The fact that the biblical text changes over time hardly proves that there was no historical figure upon whom the text was based, so that observation bears only marginal relevance.

So any debate about veracity of the bible is already voided and pointless.

Veracity? Remember I'm insisting that we must necessarily treat Jesus as the literary character who emerges out of the text (aware of such changes that occur over time), and since any putative historical Jesus cannot be approached but via the text anyway. Therefore the debate on the historicity of Jesus seems fruitless to me and the question of the veracity of the text (I'm not quite sure in relation to what) doesn't even enter into discussion.

However, if there were a question of veracity, your argument (even without considering its overly binary approach to documents) seems self-defeating. How do we know the text has changed, but by reference to earlier extant versions which presumably approach the more original.

There is as much room for debate there as water is wet.

Find me as many scholarly articles that debate whether water is wet as those which debate whether Jesus was an historical person and I'll agree.

about three weeks ago
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Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

Capsaicin Re:Jesus never says no to non-believers (451 comments)

Seems like a non-debate

You think? You can begin with wikipedia and expand your research from there.

I just think the debate is fairly fruitless from the PoV of a reasonable non-believer (if that isn't a tautology).

about three weeks ago
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Help a Journalist With An NFC Chip Implant Violate His Own Privacy and Security

Capsaicin Re:Small Government Mandate (142 comments)

Hell, even Obama and Nancy Pelosi probably wouldn't approve of gov't implanting chips on citizens.

Hell, who needs implants when people voluntarily carry around Android and/or iOS devices everywhere they go?

about three weeks ago
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Ken Ham's Ark Torpedoed With Charges of Religious Discrimination

Capsaicin Re:Jesus never says no to non-believers (451 comments)

Without wanting to speak for GP ... to any reasonable non-believer the question of historicity ought to be irrelevant.

Whether an historical Jesus existed and what he may or may not have done or said, 'Jesus' (like 'Gandalf' or to take GP's highly pertinent example 'Socrates') is approachable only via the text in which he appears as a character. Thus "Jesus said this," has to be understood in the same fashion as "Gandalf said this," etc. As pointed out aspects of the philosophy espoused can be considered on their own merit, and they can also be separated from any claims to divinity.

It is foolish for atheists to get all caught up in the historicity debate (as so many seem to do). From a purely reasonable point of view it simply doesn't matter.

From the perspective of a believer (a fortiori a Protestant believer, for whom the moral teachings of Jesus are practically an irrelevance), of course, the situation is radically different.

about three weeks ago

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